Tag Archives: resolutions

Currently.

2nd February 2015

Photo on 12-8-14 at 7.28 PM #4

*taps mic*

Is this thing on? I was looking back at this space a little while ago and realized that I hadn’t posted since November! Steven keeps pointing out that I need to do something. Write something, anything, and so here I am. I’m glad that I took a break from being here. I needed to do it to preserve my own sanity, but also because it didn’t feel like a safe space anymore. The less said about that, the better, but I will say that I’ve spent the past few months contemplating life, stressing about things, being utterly excited about things, and working hard to find peace in the chaos. I think I’m getting better at it.

There are a billion little things to write about and I’m not sure where to start. I think sometimes it’s hard to find a perfect way to jump back into something. Thank goodness for “Currently” posts. ♥

Reading: I’ve been savoring Anne Lamott’s book, “Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace” for weeks now. I bought Steven a copy as part of his Christmas gift and ended up buying one for myself, because I simply couldn’t resist the thought of having a “read off” with him. I used to do that with my brother when the Harry Potter books were released–we’d each get a copy and hole up in our rooms for hours reading until one of us had finished. The first person to finish was the winner, of course. But with this book, I just couldn’t do that. I think Anne Lamott is a person who was put on this earth to do great things, I really do. She is somehow magical and startlingly real at the same time. I don’t know how she strikes the balance of providing pure wisdom and examples of our bumbling humanity, but she does it so beautifully. I approach each new chapter with a mix of anticipation and dread thinking, Are we going to laugh today, Anne, or are we going to cry? Most of the time it’s both.

Sometimes, when I read the bible, I’m struck by a moment of complete understanding and grace. I can feel it in my heart. I know that what I’ve read is right for me at the time. And then other times, I have absolutely no idea what the heck is going on. I’d like to think that God knows this about me and provides me with other sources to dispense something into my mind, and so he brought me Anne Lamott. Because she’s funny and thoughtful and flawed. So when I needed a good piece of writing/thinking/inspiration to make me consider a big problem in my life, I was given pages and pages of words in “Small Victories” to help. I’d been working (let’s be real, I’m still working) on the idea of forgiveness and letting go and how hard it is to do those things. Then I read this…

1. “A lack of forgiveness is like leprosy of the insides, and left untreated, it can take out tissue, equilibrium, soul, sense of sense. I have sometimes considered writing a book called: All the People I Still Hate: A Christian Perspective, but readers would recoil.” (For the record, I would read that book so hard!)
2. “So you sacrifice the need to be right, because you have been wronged, and you put down the abacus that has always helped you keep track of things. This jiggles you free from clutch and quiver. You can unfurl your fingers, hold out your palm, openhanded.”
3. “Forgiveness is release from me; somehow, finally I am returned to my better, dopier self, so much lighter when I don’t have to drag the toxic chatter, wrangle, and pinch around with me anymore. Not that I don’t get it out every so often, for old time’s sake. But the trapped cloud is no longer nearly so dark or dense. It was blown into wisps, of smoke, of snow, of ocean spray.”

And little by little, I started to move on. Thanks, Anne.

Watching: There are two shows that I watch consistently: The Mindy Project and Extra Virgin. I’m not sure which one makes me happier. Maybe Extra Virgin, because it’s about food (food porn) and life and few things are better than that.

Listening: Shakey Graves! Well, one of his songs. I don’t even know what this dude’s real name is, but I guess it’s not important. This duo with Esme Patterson is perfection. As is Esme’s dress/boots combo. Priorities, y’all.

Loving: My daily indulgence: Lindt’s A Touch of Sea Salt dark chocolate bar. Give me a tiny square on the drive home from work and I am a happy girl.

Thinking: About school and teaching. Always, always, always. Also trying to figure out how to personalize our wedding as much as possible, while still making sure that it’s inclusive enough of other peoples’ tastes and traditions. On the plus side, I’m not thinking about what I’m gonna wear because I bought my dress during winter break (a goal I was so happy to have accomplished) and it’s all sorts of pretty. Booyah! It was a strange moment for me when I realized that I couldn’t Instagram a shot of it for my friends. What’s a social media lovin girl to do?

Working: I’m working on feeling centered as a human being. How much of a hippie do I sound like right now? But seriously. I promised myself at the end of last year that I would work on becoming my best self in 2015. I usually use this blog to write down my goals/resolutions for the year, but I felt like I needed some time to sit with them before writing them down over here. In a few weeks, I’ll be 29 and I thought it was a good time to get my shit together. Or at least some of it. There are a lot of things that are out of my control, but my health has a lot to do with the choices I make.

I set a goal for myself to lose 25 lbs by the time I get married. It’s less about a number on a scale, though, and more about helping to establish healthy habits. I’ve been working out at least 5 times a week and keeping track of what I eat. I’ve been more mindful about what I’m putting into my body and pushing it to do better every single time I exercise. I’ve lost 6 lbs so far and I plan to keep chugging along, not because I have to, but because I want to. I’m excited that my body is beginning to change in small ways. I can feel some confidence oozing in and it just makes everything better. I want to know that when I get married in October, that I feel great about my body. I want to know that I worked really hard for it, too, because then maybe it’ll help keep me on a better path as I get older. I’m doing this because I care about myself and I’m doing this because I care about the life I may have in the future. Because I want to be the kind of person who encourages healthy habits in her children.

I’m glad that right now, the wedding seems to be a huge incentive for the people in my life, too. My parents have been encouraging each other to eat better and will start incorporating more exercise into their lives soon. Steven signed up for a half marathon and I can see how happy it makes him to reach certain running goals, and so it makes me happy too. I will never ever be a skinny girl; I don’t want to be. That’s not what this is about. It’s about cherishing the life that I have, and the body that I have, and actively working to make things a little better.

I hope that you all have a wonderful week and that my fellow anal retentive folks cherish the thought that our month looks like this. Thank you, February. Thank you.

(Thank you to Dani Hampton of Sometimes Sweet for the continued inspiration behind these Currently posts. They make for a great start.)

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2014? Seriously?

7th January 2014

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Six days in and I can’t quite believe it’s already 2014. The holidays zipped by in a flurry of activity–there was lots of baking, gift wrapping, card writing, cooking, and hangout times. Lots of thinking about the future and my career. Thinking about this little blog space. And a whole lot of watching Mason sleep, which is pretty much my favorite activity ever.

Here are a few snapshots of the past two weeks…
Baked Raspberry Macarons and Ginger Chocolate Chunk cookies!
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Tried some delicious Dutch beer! (Thanks Jorn and Blanca!)
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Bestie times.
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Grandma times.
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Bro times.
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Snow. Wretched, wretched snow.
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Everyone has been talking about goals and resolutions for the new year. I’ve tried to keep up with my lists for the past few years, with Project 365 or reading one book a month, and it’s all been hard. Things that usually come naturally to me suddenly feel almost forced or make me feel frustrated when I don’t see them through. Steven has his 2014 intentions down to a few words and I thought that might be good for me, too.

In 2014 I’d like to….

Read
Love
Experience
Taste
Feel
Move
Pray
Learn

…more.

I bought a handy new washable bottle to transport my morning smoothies and I started doing Zumba again. I’m going to do my best to follow along with the A Beautiful Mess book club because I check on that blog every day and it’ll be fun to follow along with them. The first book of the year is “The Interestings” by Meg Wolitzer, which I’ve heard a lot of great things about. So far I’m not loving it–lots of pretentious theater kids pondering their lives, politics, and art–but I think it’ll get better. My best friend also bought me a wonderful book called, On Looking: Eleven Walks with Expert Eyes, which is very much a Cristina kind of book. I’ll be following through with more cooking/baking experiences, simply because it’s fun. [I’ve been pinning tons of recipes (and DIY home awesomeness) on my Pinterest page if you’d like to follow me!] I’ll also be participating in the 52 Week Money Challenge (this links to a helpful, realistic and semi-alternative to the plan)[Thanks, Brighid, which should be pretty simple for me. I’ll be saving a lot less than I want to (though nearly $1,400 isn’t too shabby), but this year is still about paying off debts rather than saving huge chunks of cash.

And that’s pretty much it. In a lot of ways, it feels like I’m just going to be doing what I normally do, which is fine. 2013 was on okay year, no better or worse than others, and 2014 should be fine. I don’t feel thrilled about anything in particular, but I’m always grateful for another day of life and another opportunity to exist in this crazy universe of ours. Did anyone post goals or intentions for 2014? I’d love to read them!

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2013: New Year. Same Cristina.

5th January 2013

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Well, folks. It’s been a year. 2012 started off well and ended just fine, but there were many messy times and struggles to be had. I’ve been checking my list of goals for last year and I’m happy to say that I did accomplish some things. There were new teaching experiences (from preschool to almost high school to community colleges) which came with many challenges, but also so many rewards. I became a new puppy!mommy, which has been a fascinating experience so far. I’m also one week away from a new-old job (going back to the preschool) and achieving one year in a successful relationship. Holler! Plus, I’m pretty sure I managed to take a picture every single day last year, even if I didn’t tag them all. I read a few books, but certainly not one each month and my major failure was with my writing. It’s a new year, though, so it’s time to hit the refresh button and refocus. While I can’t say that 2013 will be my year, it will certainly be a year. Considering the world was slated to end last month, I think that’s an achievement in itself.

I expected hits from the States, but there were some really cool places mentioned here!

I expected hits from the States, but there were some really cool places mentioned here!


Goals for 2013:
1. Blog more often. As a long time user of LiveJournal, I’m disappointed at how the site has been managed (mismanaged) lately. The community and camaraderie I experienced on LJ can’t continue if the site itself doesn’t work and if the powers that be constantly make changes that destroy the overall usability of the platform. When I first started this website, it was meant to be a place to keep some work that I’ve published, in addition to linking out to more personal things, but I haven’t written for a magazine in a while and I miss being able to write just to write. I miss being connected with a community of readers and writers. I know that most of the bloggers I follow are on the Blogger platform, but I’d prefer to keep my journaling/posting here for as long as possible. Maybe I can crosspost to Blogger? Not sure yet. I’ll definitely be cross posting to livejournal, Twitter, Tumblr, and all of the other social media sites I’m connected to.

2. Reading and commenting. With blogging comes interaction. I started following a few blogs last year, but I realized I was never commenting. I’ve been trying to make more of an effort lately, especially with blogs that I read daily. Sometimes Sweet is one that I check every single day. I’m new to Starry Eyes+Coffee Cups, Say Yes to Hoboken, Delightfully Tacky and a few others. Girl with Curves is another one I visit daily. I figure if I take the time to actually read a full post, I’ll probably have something to say about it. Even if it’s a quick comment. (By the way, this goes both ways! If anyone stumbles upon this blog, I’d love to read your thoughts/responses! ♥)

3. Exercise. Oh, exercise. For the first six months of 2012, I was ON IT. I made friends with Zumba and reignited my love for Pilates. All was right in the world. I felt great about myself. My clothes fit better, I was losing weight, I was making smart choices. I don’t know what the heck happened and I’ll have to chalk most of it up to laziness, but everything just sort of tapered off. And the thing is, I knew that I needed the exercise. Every time I went back to it, I felt amazing, but it was never enough to get into my routine again. I went ahead and gifted myself with Zumba Exhilarate, plus I have the four original workouts they put out. I’m excited to learn some new dance styles and to start working out again. My goal is to exercise at least 4 times a week and to mark each session on my calendar. Keeping track of my workouts was a great motivator last year because I could look back at each month and see my progress.

Making rice pudding during the holidays. Mmm, vanilla.

Making rice pudding during the holidays. Mmm, vanilla.

4. Try one new recipe a week. This one will be tough because I don’t plan on eating dinner every night. Since I’ll be exercising after school, I’ll probably be having a fruit smoothie or maybe a slice of toast with peanut butter for a meal, but on the days that I do eat dinner, it would be nice to start incorporating some new things into my family’s diet. I love the recipes on Whole Living and I’ve found some great things on the Internet as well. If anyone has any food blogs or cool recipes to share, I’m game!

The road home.

The road home.

5. Project 365. Taking a picture each day? Not difficult. Remembering to tag each picture with the appropriate date? Ugh. I’m posting my photos here. I’ve also charged my camera batteries so that I can use that instead of my phone all the time. My iPhone (Eames) is so easy to use and Instagram is a great way to get everything sent out when I need it to, but I miss the quality of camera photos.

6. Get my finances in order. I don’t have a lot of money, but I manage it fairly well. Still, things could be better. Now that I’m set with a job until June, I can start saving money again. I had to dip into my funds a few times which sucked, so I feel like I’m rebuilding it from scratch. My bestie, Jackie posted a link on Facebook to Mint.com, which securely collects all of your finances and puts them in one place. It can help you create and stick to a reasonable budget by tracking your spending habits so you’re not making unrealistic goals. I’m ready to try this!

7. Find a job. While being an assistant preschool teacher is amazing, I know that this really needs to be the year when I buckle down and work my ass off to find something within my certs and age range: English, 5-12. I think a lot of things were holding me back last year (experience, opportunity, fear), but I know I’m going to do my best to land something for September. Teaching college students with little preparation was exhilarating and terrifying, plus it made me realize that I can do this job. I’m leaving myself open for sub work and I’m going to make as many connections as possible. While I was teaching at the college, I received a number of phone calls and emails about possible leave replacements, so I’m thinking that’s just the way things roll. As much as principals and administrators would like to account for all placement before the school year begins, there’s always something that comes up after then. I’d like to be in the running for those spots.

Mason Arthur Moreno, at your service.

Mason Arthur Moreno, at your service.


Coffee and a bestie.

Coffee and a bestie.


My dudes.

My dudes.


8. Keep smiling. I have a lot of things to smile about. I have a wonderful family, a great dog, amazing friends, and a fantastic boyfriend. I have lots of love in my life and even when things get bad, I know in my heart that I have an incredible support system that will always be there for me. I need to keep that in mind more often.

I think those are enough for now. I’d still like to read more this year, but one book a month isn’t a reasonable goal. Still, I’ll update my GoodReads page whenever I can remember. I have a number of new books to choose from thanks to my boyfriend and his family. Woot! I also have a few tiny personal goals (creative things), but I don’t want to overwhelm myself with too much too soon. Spending more time with my friends is also a priority.

What about you? What are your goals for 2013? If you made a blog post, please feel free to share the link so I can check it out!

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2012: Get Shit Done.

1st January 2012

I was texting with a friend a few days ago, talking about plans for 2012. We both agreed that we needed to try new things. I said I wanted to have fun. She declared that 2012 would be, “The Year of New Fun Stuff,” which I thought was perfect until today.

Today I was inspired by Julie Powell, who challenged herself to complete every recipe featured in Julia Child’s legendary cookbook, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” within one year. According to Powell, there were 536, but Amazon tells me there are 524. Whatever. That’s not the point. The point is that I was watching the Hollywood adaptation of said challenge on Lifetime (Did anyone else see it? What the hell is up with that new Rob Lowe movie where he’s a creepy killer? Is that why Chris Traeger’s hair was so dreadful for the first half of this season of Parks and Rec?), whilst painting my nails a sparkly red to celebrate the end of this miserable year, when I realized that I, too, needed a challenge.

I looked over my “non-resolutions” post for 2011 and realized that I pretty much failed at everything. I did a few things on that list, but I’m certainly not satisfied. I don’t feel like anything was accomplished, I just feel older—the death of someone you love dearly will do that to you. Last year, I dared the universe to bring it. The universe brought it. I lost. This year, I’m relying on myself–my stubbornness, my strength, my stupidity–to do something great. “Great” being a relative term. For 2012, I’ve realized that I want a lot of the same things, but that I need to be more proactive about achieving my goals. I need some specificity. (Points to all of the cool people who giggled after reading the word “specificity.”) I need to get *shit done.

Shit I need to do in 2012:
• Complete one piece of writing per month. Rant, poem, freelance article, music profile, anything. Just. One. Thing.
• Read one book per month. Starting off slow, because apparently, reading 20 minutes a day was far too ambitious. (To be fair, I read a lot each day, but I’m trying to focus on actual novels here.)
• Take one picture per day. Hello, 365 Project, remember me? I’m back. Pictures may or may not be posted on Tumblr. That might be too much pressure.
• Watch one movie per month.
• Go on a date before the year ends. (To all of my friends: Bugger off! I have until DECEMBER of next year to do this. Leave me alone.)
• Go on one vacation/adventure by myself. Boston in January for the American Idiot tour? A definite possibility.
• Attend two concerts.
• Work out twice a week. Ugh. (Dear self: running after your students does not count.)
• See my friends once a month.
• Turn 26.
• Be reckless…at least once.
• Learn how to make arroz con gandules.
• Watch the hell out of The Dark Knight Rises.
• Build a TARDIS.
• Tell the people I love that I love them.
• Practice kindness.
• Breathe.
• Smile.
• Live.

May 2012 be remarkable in all of the best ways. ♥

(*I realize that this is public, so family members, parents of my students, potential interview subjects and everyone else who gets linked to this page will see it, but I don’t think “stuff” was good enough for this. Shit was the loveliest, most appropriate word that I could think of. I was also inspired by my favorite miniseries, Generation Kill and the unofficial cry of the Marines: Get some!)