On the Horizon: Upcoming Trips

Transitioning back to the workweek after a family staycation and a fun birthday weekend is a challenge- as Nutritionella pointed out, ever feel like you need a vacation to recover from vacation?

I thought it would help to remind myself of the fun trips I have on the horizon for the rest of summer and the beginning of fall.

Back to Hollymead

Work & fun trip to DC

Bachelorette party at undisclosed location

First time in Nashville

First time in San Francisco

Thank goodness I have generous family, friends, family friends, and friend’s family in cool places! We’ll be driving to most of these places, so the gas split between multiple people won’t be too expensive. For the other places, I/we have managed to find great deals by browsing Southwest’s fall sales and planning trips around the cheapest dates {hooray for workplace flexibility!}.

Where are you headed this summer/fall? What tips do you have for affordable travel? 

P.S. For more travel inspiration, check out Linnie’s Summer Travel Series!


i’m backkkk

Peppy, enthusiastic, inspired Cristina is back! I had one of those weeks, but now I am just itching to get back to blogging. I have a growing list of blog entries I need to post, which includes several recipes.

During my hiatus, I asked my sister to write a guest post so you all wouldn’t feel too neglected, so she’ll still be doing that. We just came up with the perfect topic- the post is tentatively called “How I Decided To Love Winter.” It is her guide to changing her negative perspective on winter by participating in festive holiday activities!

In the meantime, here is my weekend recap:

  • Both Friday and Saturday were spent at the animal hospital with Fatty Bratty Maddie, who got into the trash and ate chocolate. What a troublemaker
  • Sushi at Mirage with my LivingSocial deal- I liked my rolls, but my sister wasn’t crazy about hers
  • Lunch at Jibarra- sat on the patio and had delicious steak tacos
  • Beer tasting at Tasty Beverage Co- realized I was correct in thinking pale ales are my favorite. We had so much fun and met some great people here. We said we almost felt like tourists exploring the city
  • Dinner at Five Star- crispy sesame beef!
  • Finished a great book
Despite the chaos of spending two nights at the animal hospital (we were there until 3am on Saturday), it was a great weekend- relaxing, beautiful weather, and fun new places!

This week will be a busy one, as usual!

  • Wednesday night casual networking event with Triangle Entrepreneurship Week
  • Babylon with the blog girls!
  • Getting back into tennis + Pilates
  • Friday night food & drinks with FreshBooks at the Forum
  • Visit from my DC besties on Friday!! They haven’t seen Maddie or my finished apartment yet!
P.S. Thank you to Sara (not my sister this time!) for her super sweet comment about our bloggers group!
This Day Last Year: My post was entitled “Doin’ Alright,” which funny enough, is still in the #1 spot on my current playlist. It’s so crazy for me to think back to where I was in terms of job searching last fall and where I am now. Suffice it to say, I never would have thought last November that I would be the co-owner of a coworking space in downtown Raleigh now!

a{n intentional} hiatus

After some thought, I’ve decided to take an intentional blogging hiatus of unknown time.

I blogged awhile back about how my inspiration comes in waves. And how sometimes I’m wildly uninspired. Not unhappy by any means, but just not in my usual place: of feeling like I’m bursting with things to share- so much so that I have to schedule my blog posts so that they don’t all tumble out in a back-to-back  mess (that would really clog my Twitter feed!).

Maybe all my inspiration was sucked up planning and executing a rap music video?!

Right now, I need to carry this kind of notebook, not this kind of notebook. I want to spend time cuddling with Fatty Maddie. Fit yoga or Pilates into my schedule. Snap pictures of the amazing fall leaves. Try recipes like this Pumpkin Black Bean Soup or Korean Pickled Cucmbers just for the heck of it. Maybe even work on the 56 blog drafts I have on WordPress (yikes!). And definitely take some of my new-found blog friendships off-line.

I hope you’ll be waiting for me when my hiatus ends. Feel free to dig through the archives and subscribe using the button on the right sidebar. And maybe even share with me some things that you find inspirational?

fall festivities

After a splendid last week and a marvelous weekend, I’m ready to take on Monday!

  • Lunch with two girls from Compass Partners. It was really interesting to be sitting in a snazzy conference room with two other girls my age discussing collaboration for our businesses and organizations. I love seeing other young individuals so involved!
  • Several meetings with individuals reserving The Raleigh Forum for events (including one woman who saw our flyer, walked over, and signed a contract!)
  • The Mayoral forum, where I gained a better sense of each candidate’s platform. We also met them in person after the event, which solidified my opinions
  • Welcoming new members to The Raleigh Forum
  • A hectic and awesome Friday- the kind where you almost wish it wasn’t the weekend because you have so much to do!
  • Friday@5 happy hour at Flying Saucer
  • A fashion show at Spy Raleigh
  • Volunteering at the Autism Society of NC’s annual walk/run, followed by bagels and mimosas at The Raleigh Forum. I met a lot of cool people!
  • Mid-day napping!
  • A random Saturday with a friend, which included going to the park with the dogs to watch a volleyball tournament (may or may not have packed a few beers), Chinese food, and lots of time outside
  • My first time at Mirage (can’t wait to go back and use my LivingSocial deal!)
  • SPCA event at Seaboard Station- dogs everywhere!
  • Draft house for dinner and drinks
  • A long phone call with one of my best friends
  • Butternut squash chili, gluten-free pumpkin pancakes, and several varieties of homemade gluten-free granola bars
My week was intense, which I find much more enthralling then a slow, monotonous week. And the weekend was a perfect balance of activity and relaxation- the kind where you feel chill but not guilty for being lazy.
The week to come:
  • Tennis with a new partner
  • Hopefully tennis with my usual partner- are you reading this, Harry?
  • Shabbat dinner at my place
  • Visit from an out-of-town friend, which will include a football game, a trip to the state fair, and LOTS of Taboo!
  • Lunch at Manta, the new downtown Indian restaurant
  • Welcoming visitors to The Raleigh Forum!
  • Signing those Raleigh Forum contracts 🙂

monday morning inspiration

Read these words on Live Creating Yourself

Sip this fair trade K-cup

Sniff this fall-filled scent

Listen to this rediscovered band

Try this crisp weather soup

Embrace these cozy scarves

…And don’t forget your amazing weekend

spicy sweet potato fries

I’m so excited about my sweet potato fries that I’m writing this blog post as I enjoy them.

I’m generally not a huge sweet potato fan, but I picked up a bag at Trader Joe’s on a whim the other day. Let’s be honest, I’m a sucker for anything fall-related, so I should have seen it coming.

I roughly followed this recipe from Country Living, but mostly just improvised (as usual). I picked a spicy /sweet recipe because I’ve been experimenting with opposite combinations lately (on a related note: check out Starbucks’ Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate. Yum!).

I cut my sweet potato into fries (and by fries, I mean awkward lumps) and sprinkled with salt, cumin, cayenne, black pepper, oregano, and some chopped onion for flavor. Then I drizzled a tiny bit of vegetable oil over the fries.

I baked them at 400 degrees for approximately 23.76 minutes and it made them the perfect texture- crunchy on the outside, soft in the inside.

I dipped mine in ketchup- a staple for fries- but maybe next time I’ll experiment with a fun dipping sauce like spicy sour cream or Asian dipping sauce.

Do you have other suggestions for sweet potato fries or just other sweet potato dishes?

on a more upbeat note!

Negativity aside, time for TAD!


  • Early morning date with one of my best best friends. She came over at 8am (eek!) with Pumpkin Spice Lattes and we chatted while I baked mini oreo cheesecakes. She’s a great photographer and she took some amazing pictures in the kitchen!
  • From 10am to 5pm I played with a baby and cooked. Heaven! I made root-vegetable gratin, pot roast, baked butternut squash fries, pumpkin-carrot muffins, and tossed salad. In between cooking, I played with a 3 month old baby. I took her to Whole Foods and Starbucks, and I felt like a mom 🙂 Watching a baby is just about the best feeling in the world, so that made my day.
  • Got the sweetest tweet from a GW Bites buyer: “oreo cheesecakes from @gwbites actually might be THE MOST DELICIOUS THINGS I’VE EVER EATEN. thank you @cmroman (cont)http://tl.gd/6mgrq0.” Made my night!
  • Had a late-night study date with a friend to finish (well, and start!) our take-home midterm for our class. Always fun chatting with her because we share similar values and can relate in terms of professional goals.

exponential growth + more

16 hours ago I tweeted the following:

@gwbites: 8 days. 2,300 website hits. 33 Facebook fans. 4 new guest chefs. Countless consultants. YOU GUYS ARE AMAZING!

Today’s update: 9 days. 2,535 website hits. 44 Facebook fans. 4 guest chefs. 2 strategic “consultants.” 3 offers for website help. 3 potential partners.

I’m still just blown away by how quickly everything has taken off! So exciting and rewarding.

Yesterday’s TAD:

  • Picked up beautiful red fall leaves to put around my apartment
  • Perfect fall weather
  • GW Bites successes

Also: my sister and her best friend will be in DC in 3 days. SO excited. Our plans include: winery tour/wine tasting in VA, little road trip through the fall leaves, Nooshi (fav DC restaurant), watching my friend run the Marine Corps Marathon, sissy’s birthday dinner (big 2-5!), playing Taboo, cooking, jazz club, etc. The three of us have the best time together, so I can’t wait until we’re reunited 🙂

Pictures galore!

The lone table at the top of the hill (the “Table in the Sky”) at the Three Foxes Vineyard in VA, wher we went for a Hike & Wine trip

Beautiful field of flowers at Sky Meadows State Park

I made these amazing pumpkin pancakes and topped them with butter, a dash of powdered sugar, and a few Halloween sprinkles 🙂

Zucchini-carrot muffins made from this recipe. I used cinnamon applesauce because it’s the only thing I had on hand. These are amazing warmed up with cream cheese!

Delicious fajitas made with this homemade fajita seasoning . I stir-fried onions, peppers, and zucchini with the seasoning, melted jarlsberg on top (only cheese I had!), and threw on tomatoes, salsa, sour cream, and beans.

I saw an ad in the laundry room from one of my neighbors, so I went to check out her items for sale. I bought a clear vase, 5 wine glasses, and a picture frame- for $4!

Found a great use for the vase/bowl!

Made great use of the picture frame. I have a picture of my best friend from home (“Wifey”); my sister and I with our newborn nephew; me, my sister and her best friend (who’s like my other sister); and cowgirl hats, which remind me of home.

I’m a terrible photographer but I somehow got this amazing picture when I was in high school. I’ve been meaning to frame it ever since, and I finally did yesterday. *Note: the picture of the picture is horrible, but the actual picture is great 🙂

Pictures of friends and family hanging by my door!

The space over my couch has been glaringly white and empty since I moved in. My friend and I were chatting yesterday when we had the completely random idea to use pashmina scarves (which I needed a place to hang anyway) as wall decor. I love it! It’s funky and eye-catching.

If you know me at all (or even have read my blog at all), you’ll know I’m obsessed with fall. I wanted a place to display this gorgeous pictures- in beautiful shades of orange, yellow, and red- so I decided to make a little hanging collage!