throwing in the towel

I made a decision last night to give up on part of my week-long challenge. It was a tough decision given that ten whole dollars is on the line! Thinking of three things that I’m grateful for or take for granted every night is a piece of cake- I have so much in my life to appreciate. It’s the other part of the challenge that I’m struggling with:

Riding my bike to work twice this week. Sound easy, right? If you’re thinking “Wow, you gave up pretty darn easily,” you’re right. Here’s why I originally wanted to ride my bike:

  • To save money
  • To get exercise
  • To be more environmentally friendly
  • To have fun

And here’s what I realized:

  • My lifestyle isn’t conducive to bike riding- I have a busy schedule where I have to be places quickly. And often that schedule changes, so having a bike inhibits transitions. For example, I didn’t bike on Monday because it was raining; I didn’t bike on Tuesday because I had to bring a tray of whoopie pies for my sisters birthday; I didn’t bike today because I have to run home after work to get ready for Sara’s birthday dinner…There’s always a reason!
  • My work-out schedule is solid right now. I have tennis dates with my tennis partner, weight lifting and Pilates with my sister, and walks with my dog. Extra exercise is always great but not a necessity at this point
  • Ultimately, biking needs to be enjoyable for me to continue to do it. Forcing myself- especially in this freezing weather- is going to make me resent it
  • I pay a flat fee for parking, so I’m not saving any money on parking by biking. Additionally, my car ride to work costs approximately $.30 round trip. Not much of a financial burden

All of that being said, I really respect people who ride their bikes- I think it’s so cool! And I would absolutely love to take up bike riding, but I think I will save it for beautiful, breezy North Carolina spring. And I’m sure, with enough time, I would learn to adapt to all of the potential challenges of biking everywhere.

Do you bike? What do you think of the challenges I listed? How do you overcome them?

goal check-in + tad + this day last year

Whew, that’s a lot to cover in one blog post, huh? Here we go!

My goals for the week were:

  • At least one yoga or Pilates class– Didn’t manage this (too busy playing tennis!)
  • Two weight-lifting sessions– Did one at-home session
  • Continuing working on a certain someone’s birthday present (can’t use the actual verb because I don’t want to give it away- could be make, order, buy, rent…)– Woot woot
  • Set up an official referral program for The Raleigh Forum– In progress
  • Bring one more person into the bloggers’ group– More like five or six! So many people have sent me names of awesome local female bloggers!
  • Make one new soup recipe– I tried two! I made roasted pepper potato soup and a spiced tomato potato soup
If you’ve been following my blog since, say, October 12, 2010, you might recall Three A Day (TAD). This was my easy-to-remember phrase for writing down three things each day that I was thankful for. I thought it was a good idea to bring it back given my challenge for next week!

Yesterday’s TAD:
  • Having a dog whisperer for a sister! I was frustrated about Maddie’s behavior, but my sister showed me the benefits of a gentle leader (a miracle worker), as well as some easy tricks for making her tune into me and respond to my commands.
  • Having a nice, spacious apartment. I was overwhelmed by the amount of dishes and cleaning I had to do, but then I reminded myself that not everyone has a kitchen to clean (sorry for being so cheesy).
  • Having the support of an incredible organization like the Downtown Raleigh Alliance, who hosted an event at The Raleigh Forum yesterday. We have over 50 individuals attend, and I would say that it was a stellar success!
This Day Last Year: I was in the midst of the fall of my senior year and actively listing TADs each day! In my post, I recapped the day before, which included a date with one of my (still) best friends, a day of babysitting the baby that I still love and miss, and a lovely note from a GW Bites customer. That was an exciting fall because I had just begun GW Bites!

weekend + goals for the week

As promised, I took full advantage of my sick weekend to recuperate, refresh, and relax (was that too over the top?! Haha).

  • Most important announcement coming in my next post
  • Watched Erin Brockovich + Ocean’s Eleven + Ocean’s Twelve + Wedding Crashers
  • Worked on part of a special someone’s birthday present
  • Made roasted pepper potato soup based on this recipe (sans cream)
  • Ate lots of sushi and hot and sour soup

On Sunday I was feeling much better so I:

  • Got my car detailed
  • Enjoyed coffee with peppermint mocha creamer
  • Went to a yoga class
  • Had a lakeside photo session (and lesson!) with a friend

My goals for the week:

  • At least one yoga or Pilates class
  • Two weight-lifting sessions
  • Continuing working on a certain someone’s birthday present (can’t use the actual verb because I don’t want to give it away- could be make, order, buy, rent…)
  • Set up an official referral program for The Raleigh Forum
  • Bring one more person into the bloggers’ group
  • Make one new soup recipe


Awhile back, my friend turned to me pityingly and stated, “That’s cute, Cristina still thinks everyone gets to do what they want for a living.”

I’m not so naive that I believe everyone gets to have a job they love. I’ve been on enough service trips, traveled to enough developing countries, met enough struggling people, seen the economy crash enough that I know the facts. Some individuals may always be working away in a job that isn’t their dream.

But there are those of us who do have the power to choose, so why not choose passion, dedication, and a love of Mondays?

Recently, I listened to someone dread the start of the week and mourn the loss of the weekend. I chimed in- in retrospect, unintentionally obnoxiously- that I loved the weekend too. But I also love Mondays. “Basically,” I stated chipperly, “I love life.”

As I wrote this post, I wondered if it made me sound pretentious and elitist. Should I advocate finding your passion when so many out there aren’t in a position to? And I came to a conclusion: yes. And if your passion is empowering others to find theirs? Even better.

11 Goals for 2011

  1. Travel to two interesting new places– Going to Israel for Birthright in February, Costa Rica for spring break in March, and possibly Norway in June!
  2. Finish half-marathon– I’ve completed a 10 mile race, but I would love to finish a half-marathon
  3. Be consistent with work out schedule– I can’t always commit to x number of work out per weeks, but I want to stay on track with my fitness
  4. Find a job I love for next year- As a graduating senior, this is one of my top priorities!
  5. Raise GPA .02 points– I’m just .02 GPA points away from my personal goal.
  6. Continue blogging– I’ve loved blogging (here and on the GW Bites blog) and I want to keep it up! It encourages me to have a positive outlook on life and always search for ways to make my life fresh. Be it home decorating, cooking, or social enterprise, I love having a creative outlet to express myself.
  7. Launch one new business/social venture– I have tons up my sleeve! Stay tuned.
  8. Thrive at my internship– I love the company I’m interning with, and  I can’t wait to hone my research skills, become more entrepreneurial, and meet amazing co-workers.
  9. Stay on top of my finances– As my mom says, I’m reactive, not proactive, when it comes to finances, so I want to make more of an effort to tackle this issue.
  10. Continue operating GW Bites- Whether this means having a direct or indirect role, I want to continue GW Bites in some way, shape, or form.
  11. Find a city I love for after graduation– It’s highly likely I’ll end up in DC or Raleigh, but wherever I end up, I want to love it!

There are quite a few things I did not include on this list. For example, I didn’t write “Continue cooking at home” or “Stay close with family.” For me, these are so engrained in my everyday life that they are givens. I don’t take them for granted by any means, but I also don’t think I need to devote a place on my goals list for them.

(Thank you to Angela of Oh She Glows for the “11 goals for 2011” idea!)

updates on october goals + november goals

  • Reach 400 Forum members-In progress
  • Finish Army 10 Miler– Uh, didn’t exactly accomplish this. Sold my bib the day before.
  • Run 3x a week– Doing pretty well! It’s been more like 2x a week, but I’m working on it
  • Build strong relationships with my Compass mentees– Making headway!
  • Eat dinner at home 4.5x a week (yes, that’s 4.5)– DEFINITELY accomplished this. I very rarely go out to dinner now- in fact, I feel guilty when I do!
  • Go on at least one hike– Postponed to November
  • Apply to fellowship in India– Finished part one!
  • Sell 75 DaretoAsk books (you can help me by going to the link and purchasing a book- it’s an amazing handbook that provides women with the skills and confidence to negotiate in various settings)– Nope
  • Do 4 things from the Washington Post Going Out Guide– Nope
  • Begin a babysitting job– DONE!
  • Bake 4 times- Definitely DONE!
  • Buy new fall clothing- Done (mostly)
  • Meditate 5 mins a day– Nope
  • Check Facebook only once a day– Nope
  • Check two things off the 100 Things List– Yes! Baked for a neighbor and arranged a coffee date with someone new
  • Host a Goals Night with friends- Postponed
  • Go out to bars and don’t drink anything– Didn’t really go out much!
  • Have a spa night (alone or with friends)– Nope
  • Finish decorating my apartment- Done!
  • Begin beta testing my business concept- My intention was to beta test my portfolio idea, but now I’m launching a different business. So I would consider this done 🙂
  • Enter Pitch George elevator pitch competition- Done!
  • Try 6 new recipes– Done!
  • Read the newspaper 2x a week– Nope
  • Build my inspiration board– Done!
  • Host a wine tasting– In progress
  • Keep a budget– Did for part of the month
  • Reach 250 Twitter followers (silly I know!)- Done!
  • Reach 45 followers on WomenDaretoAsk Twitter- Done!

So overall, there were quite a few things I didn’t accomplish, but I also made some significant headway on a lot of my goals.

I also had an epiphany: I’m the kind of person who will accomplish a lot, whether or not I have set goals for myself. In fact, I think I need to focus more on doing less– for example, if I focus less on professional accomplishments, I can focus more energy on personal endeavors, like meditating 5 minutes a day. Which leads me to November’s goals:

1) Have fun & chill

Yes, I have several things I need to do- like finish my India fellowship application- but I want this month to be more about enjoying things for the sake of enjoying them- not just checking them off a list.

So here’s to  No Goals November 🙂

Yesterday’s TAD & October goals

Yesterday was CHAOTIC- up at 6:45 for a run, work, studying, GW Social Enterprise Forum documentary viewing (The New Recruits), Compass module in Georgetown with Julie Kantor (my mentor) of NFTE, cupcake making & studying with friends. Whew, busy but rewarding day!


  • Catching up with Julie. We [tentatively] planned a dinner get-together at her place!
  • Great early morning run + sitting on the roof with breakfast before work
  • Excellent strategic planning meeting with the VP of the Forum

I have decided to do a monthly goal check- in (credit goes to Kimberly Wilson for this idea). I’m comfortable sharing most (I’m a very open person!), but some I’m keeping alllllll to myself (or sharing with close friends).

  • Reach 400 Forum members
  • Finish Army 10 Miler
  • Run 3x a week
  • Building strong relationships with my Compass mentees
  • Eat dinner at home 4.5x a week (yes, that’s 4.5)
  • Go on at least one hike
  • Apply to fellowship in India
  • Sell 75 DaretoAsk books (you can help me by going to the link and purchasing a book- it’s an amazing handbook that provides women with the skills and confidence to negotiate in various settings)
  • Do 4 things from the Washington Post Going Out Guide
  • Begin a babysitting job
  • Bake 4 times
  • Buy new fall clothing
  • Meditate 5 mins a day
  • Check Facebook only once a day
  • Check two things off the 100 Things List
  • Host a Goals Night with friends
  • Go out to bars and don’t drink anything
  • Have a spa night (alone or with friends)
  • Finish decorating my apartment
  • Begin beta testing my business concept
  • Enter Pitch George elevator pitch competition
  • Try 6 new recipes
  • Read the newspaper 2x a week
  • Build my inspiration board
  • Host a wine tasting
  • Keep a budget
  • Reach 250 Twitter followers (silly I know!)
  • Reach 45 follows on WomenDaretoAsk Twitter

I’m excited to continue tackling these goals! What are your October goals?