Monday Morning Inspiration

When I posted some Monday morning inspiration awhile back, I didn’t realize it would become one of my most popular blog posts {not just on that day, but every day!}. Apparently people really need to be inspired after the weekend!

Hope this helps 🙂

Source: via Cristina on Pinterest


#ncmapinup event recap

When I was searching for a roommate on Craigslist, I ended up meeting a few great girls who didn’t end up becoming my roommate for one reason or another. So guess what? I turned them into friends! I realize it sounds very strange to most people, but I do have a history of making friends online 🙂

One girl I met works at the NC Museum of Art and she emailed me an invite to a Pinterest party at the museum. My first reaction was obviously “#Pinning!” {because I refuse to stop saying #Winning even though I know that ship has sailed}. My second reaction was to forward the invite along to a group of random girls in the area- turns out, I wasn’t the only one who was excited. My sister thought it was the nerdiest thing ever, but we ignored her 🙂

First stop: food obviously. We suspected that all the recipes were found on Pinterest. Such a cute set-up!
I’m not usually a fan of goat cheese but I loved these bacon and herb chevre pops! And they were the only gluten-free option so they were my go-to snack!

My beloved chevre pops with the other food in the background- strawberries and angel food shortcake with icing drizzle and ciabatta bread with roasted vegetable and white bean hummus. Since I couldn’t eat the shortcake, Sara and I tag-teamed the dessert- she ate the poundcake and I got the strawberry!

Panel of Pinterest users including Cynthia Deis of Ornamentea, Amanda of Wit & Whistle, Lee Cherry of One Bit Pixel, and moderator Kailee Brown of Ignite Social Media. P.S. Loved the simple yellow flowers in the center of all the tables!

And then of course it was time for dress up! Our fun random group: {Bottom from left to right} Caitlin, Sara, Linnie {Top from left to right} Colette, Erica, me, Linsey, and Lindsey! Some of the girls already knew each other, but it was fun to introduce everyone else to each other 🙂 Nothing makes you bond more than silly pictures {while, maybe waiting in bathroom lines together}.

Pretending to be normal

Biggest takeaways:

  • Best quote: “[Pinterest is like]  window shopping for the soul.” – Lee Cherry
  • Apparently people use Pinterest as a platform to bash others. Keep these thoughts in mind before typing a negative comment.
  • Use water marks to protect your images before they get pinned.
  • Somebody suggested that Pinterest automatically add a water mark to protect the copyrights of contributors whose images get pinned.
  • Pinterest now automatically tells you if an image has been pinned from Flickr {like this image that I used under the Creative Commons licensing for my chicken bacon lentil soup recipe}.
  • Pinterest generates revenue for items purchased through the site if the original site has an affiliate program. I had no idea!  I say good for them for monetizing so early, but disclosure is probably a good policy.
  • Just because it’s on Pinterest doesn’t mean it’s fair game- be sure to take the time to find the original source to give them credit {try Chrome’s Search by Image Extension, which allows you to right-click on an image and find everywhere that the image is housed on the web}.

Thanks so much to the NC Museum of Art, all the panelists, and of course Linsey for inviting us!

how to find scintillating blogs

Source: via Jillee on Pinterest


It’s sometimes difficult to find beneficial, enticing blogs that you can’t wait to catch up on. I have several “go tos,” but it’s always nice to periodically add a few more! Here’s how I find worthwhile blogs:

Blog rolls– once you find blogs that you love, see what blogs they love {blog rolls are generally found on the right sidebar}

Tags on WordPress– click here for a list of the most common tags or on your WordPress homepage, click the “Read Blogs” tab. You can add topics there {I have added “Raleigh,” “Social Enterprise,” and “Gluten-Free Cooking.”

FoodPress.comtheir tagline is “Serving up the hottest dishes on WordPress” and they are indeed! Search through posts that have been “FoodPressed” to find new recipes on new blogs {one of my posts popped up on the site one time!}

Google Reader– once you have added a subscription, click “Feed settings,” then “More like this”

Comments– I periodically browse through the comments on my favorite blogs. Commenters are often bloggers and you can follow their URLs back to their pages!

Pinterest– This newbie platform is quickly shifting the game of blogging. It’s incredible to me that I can send a picture to Pinterest and have hundreds of hits to my blog within minutes. Search for random interesting topics to find a carefully curated group of results, which ultimately link back to blogs.

How else do you find cool blogs to follow? 

creative foods

If you’re like me, you love dishes and recipes that incorporate interesting ingredients {like sunchokes} or creative displays {do you see that cupcake baked in an empty eggshell in the picture below?!}

{Click on the image below to be taken to my “Creative Foods” board on Pinterest}

What’s the coolest, most creative food arrangement you’ve seen?!


This Day Last Year: Divine Secrets of The Roman/Prater Sisterhood

holiday pinspiration board

I logged into Pinterest recently and was inspired by all the pictures posted by my Pinterest friends- so much so that I decided to make a “holiday pinspiration board” to keep track of all the things I want to do/make/appreciate over the holidays!

{To see all the photos I pinned, click on the image below}

P.S. Remember when I blogged about “Ask and You Shall Receive“? In my recent review of Garden Lites gluten-free souffles, I half-jokingly asked the company if they wanted to give me some free products to sample. Well, I did one better- I got a response on Twitter offering e-coupons for YOU, my readers! I’ll do a little giveaway in mid-January 🙂 I heard great things about the zucchini marinara, so I’m excited about trying that out.


This Day Last Year: My observation about being a perfectionist and always striving to be better instead of just allowing yourself to appreciate your many accomplishments. I recently sent this post to my sister to remind her to just think about all she’s done instead of stressing herself out to do more!

cristina’s weekly lessons

Let go: I made an insensitive comment (completely unintentionally!) the other day and I kept beating myself up about it. What I finally convinced myself of: if you feel you should apologize, do it. If not, let it go. Everyone says and does dumb stuff, and chances are nobody else is still thinking about it.

Unplug: I did the Tir Na Nog run through Historic Oakwood last night and it was so great to run without headphones. I felt like I had discovered a whole new part of the city! The crisp, beautiful fall air and colorful leaves didn’t hurt either.

Don’t do it just because you should: OK, all you North Carolinians, don’t be upset: I don’t like the state fair. I really want to. I want to love the food and the rides and the excitement (like in the picture below) but all I can think is: crowds, lines, tons of money, parking, and stress. So this year my sister and I decided that we were forgoing the fair in lieu of another fall festivity that we’ll actually enjoy, like yoga or a fall walk.

Sometimes it’s okay to have that extra cup of coffee: I’ve been very conscious of my caffeine intake recently and I don’t generally need an afternoon cup of caffeinated coffee. I got 8 hours of sleep last night, I worked out, and I ate a healthy breakfast and lunch. But you know what? I’m enjoying my full-caf mug of coffee right now 🙂

my shabbox

In October, I am hosting a Shabbat dinner, courtesy of Taglit Birthright, the organization that sent me and my sister to Israel FOR FREE. I even get my own Shabbox to use during throughout the dinner! I was browsing the internet for inspiration, so I decided to share it here.

My future Shabbox. The name cracks me up every time!

Image credit:

"Challah" back. #JewJokes

The Western Wall, where we spent our last Shabbat

And you KNOW this will be playing.

And if you have no idea what to do for a Shabbat dinner (ahem, not me, of course):

Going to Shabbat Dinner for Dummies

Judaism 101: Shabbat

How to Host a Trendy Shabbat Dinner

 (since obviously being trendy is very important on this special night)

the american (closet) dream

I realize I risk sounding vapid with this next question:

What girl doesn’t want an awe-inspiring closet, chock-full of multi-colored clothing, cute accessories, and a whole host of purse options?

Guilty as charged (even though I do prefer Target over Gucci).

And with not one, not two, not three, but FOUR closets in my new place, maybe I’ll be one step closer to achieving the American (closet) dream.

get ready for some design inspiration!

As I plan my new apartment, I’m seeking inspiration left and right, and I wanted to share it with you.

First of all, do you know about Pinterest? The website says, “Think of Pinterest as a virtual pinboard — a place where you can create collections of things you love and ‘follow’ collections created by people with great taste.”

An online inspiration board can’t take the place of my “flesh and blood” corkboard, but it sure can supplement it 🙂

On today’s edition of design inspiration, my favorite room in an apartment- the kitchen. This collection is colorful, functional (do you see the dresser refurbished as a kitchen island?), and (mostly) apartment-sized.

(click on the picture to go to my full Pinterest board of kitchens)