the week in review + deep epiphanies

  • A Night in Raleighwood party. Step-and-repeat, twinkly lights, red carpet, beautiful dresses, oh my!
  • First trip to David’s Dumplings. David greeted us at the hostess stand; he was so welcoming! We got free samplers of carrot ginger soup (amaaazing), half-fried dumplings, ginger salad. For our entrees, Sara got the ginger eggplant (yum!) and I got pho (it came out with chicken the first time, so they sent it back and had David remake it). I also ordered a pot of the green tea, which I love on winter evenings. We will definitely be going back there because of the warm service, reasonable prices, and delicious food.
  • Cruise planning session with the girls at Raleigh Times. We planned our theme nights and back stories for prank night 🙂
  • A few cool people dropping into the office- one is brand new to Raleigh, so I shared a few of my Raleigh blog posts with him 🙂
  • Change the Triangle volunteer event with the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle. I didn’t get to meet any of the recipients of the food because I was the official delegator for our shift. Interestingly, Sara loves the hands-on aspect of volunteering, but I’ve always loved directing (like back when I was the Student Coordinator for a freshmen volunteer program at GW called CBC). Month after month, I’m blown away by the sheer positivity and warmness of the CTT volunteers; such an amazing vibe. P.S. At the social event, I went head-to-head with one of the guys on a hot sauce eating contest. I’ll give you one guess for who mopped up that competition 😉

I had two epiphanies this week that I wanted to share:

1) While I enjoy our social events at The Raleigh Forum, what I really love is the day-to-day moments  of coworking {which we talk about here}. It’s seeing the first person walk into the office on Monday morning and recapping our weekends. It’s going with Heather to grab Starbucks and catch up on Raleigh happenings. It’s sitting across from my sister while doing work. It’s seeing Cortney’s tweets, knowing that she learned how to use Twitter at our brown bag lunch. Like we say in the video above, it’s these little moments that make it a coworking space, not just a shared office space.

2) As you see through reading my blog, I experience tons of highs but also stressful periods, like trouble with Maddie, pressure at work, fights with my sister {I know, shocker, we fight every once in awhile haha}, or bigger issues. Sometimes I envy people who don’t seem to experience extremely stressful situations, but I realize this often goes hand-in-hand with not experiencing amazingly positive experiences as well. Personally, I would rather feel stress and euphoria then live life on a flat line.

Deep, right? 🙂


a night in raleighwood raffle items

{Cross-posted from The Raleigh Forum blog}

Every ticket to A Night in Raleighwood includes one raffle ticket. Attendees will be able to choose which raffle to enter. Additional tickets can be purchased at the event for $2.

Thank you so much to all the local businesses who graciously donated raffle prizes for our party!

We will also have a raffle for a one month full-time membership to The Raleigh Forum. Tickets for this raffle are $10.

a fun-packed week & weekend

This is a pre-scheduled post. I am writing it while sipping coffee in my comfy bed. By the time you see it, I will be out and about- buying new jeans, grocery shopping, watching football 🙂

  • Met a new friend for coffee at Starbucks {still on a quest to become the Foursquare Mayor while limiting the amount I spend on coffee. Tough choices}. We pondered what you call “extracurriculars” after you graduate…
  • Went to The Pit for the first time with Sara. I enjoyed it but wasn’t blown away. Definitely fun in terms of atmosphere though! After dinner I got to see Sara’s sick loft apartment.
  • Took a long walk with Maddie and a friend. I always feel productive combining socializing with exercise…even better when I’m getting my dog exercise too!
  • Made Mussel, Clam, & Shrimp Soup in Spicy Broth
  • Enjoyed a fun lunch at Gravy with all of the members of The Raleigh Forum. We’re a very male-dominated group, so I’m on a mission to bring in some estrogen 🙂
  • Hosted an open coworking day at The Forum- we saw tons of new faces! Things went smoothly except for the fire alarm going off mid-day. Whoops!
  • Got back into the gym with a long yoga class. My back has been hurting so I was itching for  a deep stretch. Yoga was just the cure I needed!
  • Set date for a LivingSocial employee get together
  • Chose the winner of the Night in Raleighwood giveaway
  • Birthday dinner for my sister’s roommate, Sarah, at Humble Pie. I ordered the butternut squash conchiglioni- amazing! It was like manicotti, stuffed with ricotta in a sauce with charred tomatoes, capers, and pesto. I told everyone at the table a really gross story and Sarah thanked me after for helping to bring everyone together. Haha!
  • Went to the Rembrandt Exhibit at the NC Museum of Art. Admittedly, I’m not much of an art appreciator. Maybe I should have taken a class in college….but I did really enjoy the exhibits (particularly the photography section) in the other wing. I’m about enjoying art, not taking it too seriously
  • Doing some serious training and exercise with Miss Maddie
  • Game night (charades!) with a few friends. Such a fun way to spend a freezing, rainy Saturday night

raleighwood inspiration

I’m about to hit up the party supply store for decorations, centerpieces, and even a red carpet for our Night in Raleighwood party! Before I head out, I wanted to get some web-based inspiration for our shopping spree 🙂

{Photo credit}

{Photo credit}

{Photo credit}

I rarely go shopping but the hostess deserves a pretty, sparkly dress, right?! {Photo credit}

{Photo credit}

the week in review

This week raced by! It’s been great but I’m excited for this weekend- skiing at Wintergreen!
  • Ski weekend in VA- we had such a fun time hanging out with our stepdad. We didn’t actually ski but we played Wii, drank hot chocolate, snow tubed…and joked around the whole time, of course!
  • Bachelor Night with the girls- it’s fun watching with a group because everyone has snarky commentary to add 🙂
  • Downtown Raleigh in Review event {the proceeds went to Change the Triangle}, followed by trivia with a random but super fun mix of friends. We dominated one of the rounds but came in fourth overall 😦
  • Tons of new faces at The Forum
  • Devoured chicken tacos from Raleigh Times and the pork loin {rice} noodle salad from Spize
  • Won the Mayorship on Foursquare of The  Raleigh Forum 2.0 {our temporary space}. Winning!
  • Brown Bag Lunch with Erica on Twitter 101. We had about 12 people in attendance, maybe of whom didn’t have a Twitter account yet. The session was very informative for them- one woman said it was enlightening and changed her perspective on this form of new media 🙂
  • Sent out an email to arrange a get together for North Carolina-based LivingSocial employees. It’s important to have a local network of coworkers when you work remotely!
  • Chatted with Sara about our next blog group event {and welcomed a new member!}
  • Two early morning weight lifting sessions + one uber-relaxing yoga class {we have a group chat for a bunch of girls who are members of the YMCA. If you’re a member and want gym buddies, contact me!}
And, most exciting of all this week: planning for A Night in Raleighwood!
  • Yelp is now a sponsor
  • We’re having a glam booth {Melissa from The Head 2 Toe Boutique is running it}
  • Still searching for a photographer for the event; if you know of someone, please let me know 🙂
  • Received our step-and-repeat in the mail!
  • Sold tons of tickets
  • Received lots of entries and great feedback on my giveaway {enter here!}

P.S. Just logged into my work account and saw that today is my one year anniversary at LivingSocial! I’m practically a veteran 🙂

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!

Cristina’s back with a brand new track…

Just kidding! Well, kind of. I actually am working on track for a Raleigh Forum marketing video! You will die of glee when you see the final product; it is epic (and winning).

Lots has happened since my last real blog post!

  • My sister’s birthday week/weekend. Girls’ dinner at Buku; mini scavenger hunt with gifts; wine tasting at Hinnant Family Vineyards; brunch at Irregardless; a night out at Hibernian; and a bonfire. There were several unexpected speed bumps, but all in all, a hilarious, fun-filled weekend with friends.
  • Hours of planning and shooting for our video, including a brainstorming session at Boylan Bridge (see pic below).
  • Getting sick yet again- Tylenol PM and DayQuil helped a lot!
  • Continuing to read the blogs of new “blog friends.” See the “Local Bloggers” list on the right hand side of my blog!
  • Arranging new events at The Raleigh Forum
  • Spotting Colin Firth on Fayetteville St, where he’s filming a dark comedy with Emily Blunt

Beautiful view from Boylan Bridge

Dear Starbucks…

I have to write a blog post about this because my sister is sick of hearing me talk about it (seriously, just ask her).

Dear Starbucks Corporate (Panera Corporate- please take note):

I love you. You know I do. But I have to bring this up because it’s really bothering me.

I co-own a business. It is legally set up as an LLC but I wholeheartedly believe that it contributes social value to the Raleigh community. There is no doubt it that provides economic value as well: through taxes, as well as the fact that it provides a place for small business owners to grow their businesses so that they, in turn, can provide value to the community.

You may wonder where I’m going with this seemingly obvious clarification.

Could we have been set up as a 501c3? Absolutely. Some coworking spaces are. We chose not to be. Not because we are profit-mongering bloodsuckers, but because it was the right decision for us. If we were a non-profit, would we have been paid a salary? Yes. Would our fundamental model have changed? Almost certainly not. We would still have charged the exact same fees-for-service in order to pay said salary in order to continue building our coworking space in order to continue adding social value to the community. 501c3 or not, they would have been the same fees because our expenses are the same.

So why can’t I hang a flyer on your community board?

If you stand by your decision to only support non-profits, help me clarify another issue I have. Upon seeking clarification of your flyer-hanging policy, I was told by one of your employees that I could only hang a flyer for something where there was no charge.

Wait a minute. Do I have to be a non-profit or do I have to be offering free products and services? These are not the same.

Yes, non-profits often offer things for free. But non-profits also often charge for their products and services. They have earned income streams. They charge fees-for-services. They sell tickets to galas, block parties, and fashion shows. VisionSpring sells eyeglasses. The SPCA sells items emblazoned with the SPCA logo.

And yes, businesses generally charge for things. But they also often offer free things. They offer happy hours, seminars, and workshops. The Raleigh Forum occasionally hosts free events, like our upcoming Design Mixer with AIGA.

I appreciate your willingness to support social causes (no sarcasm there). I really do. But as the lines between business and non-profit blur, I urge you to reconsider your policy. But most of all, I urge you to encourage your employees to understand the intricacies of tax designations before making flawed arguments.


Cristina (The Girl Who Single-Handledly Keeps You In Business By Buying Soy Mistos)


Do you have a different opinion or think MY argument is flawed? Let me know! I’m interested in other people’s thoughts on this issue (I’m looking at you, Matt, Sarah, Peter, and Elizabeth!).

Edited: my friend sent me this article, which details Starbucks’ commitment provide loans to small business owners. I thought it was very relevant to the discussion!

Edited: I submitted an edited version of this letter on the Starbucks website and got what may or may not be a form email promising to pass it on to corporate. I then posted it on My Starbucks Idea, which seems to be a pretty democratic way of suggesting changes to Starbucks. Feel free to thumbs up my post 🙂

Clearly I feel very inflamed about this issue, mostly because I see it as symbolic of the continuous divide between business and non-profit.