About Christina Does It All

Doing it all, One blog at a time

That’s Twenty-Six Talkin’

The past two weekends have been absolutely wonderful. They’ve been full of late nights, dancing, slumber parties, out-of-town friends, nonstop laughter and downtown shenanigans stretching into the wee hours of the morning. These past two weekends have also been a reminder that I’m not exactly twenty-one anymore. I can’t remember the last time I’ve partied every night of the weekend for TWO weekends in a row. How did I do it?! IT’S EXHAUSTING. I texted my best friend to happily complain that SXSW and spring break were killing me. “That’s 26 talkin’.” she responded. Ain’t that the truth.

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I turn twenty-six in a week, y’all.

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And I feel like I’m in a pretty good place to start another year of my life.

I’m currently flirting with the idea of getting my master’s. Then again, I might just continue focusing on my growing career. I’m keeping my options open, and that is an adventure in itself. I’ve recently taken on a new part-time social media client and am now looking over resumes to hire an intern to work below me. It’s a little surreal and very exciting.

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Not being certain of what’s next is part of all of the excitement. I know I could change my mind on this one, but as of right now, I don’t plan on having another little one until I’m about thirty. I personally hate the phrase “getting it out of the way.” I know everyone’s reasons are understandably different, but I just don’t want to get anything out of the way. I want to savor every minute of it just being Robby, Bryn and me. I want to enjoy each and every moment of her growing up, and to allow her to have a good amount of time where she is our only one. On a more selfish note, I am also enjoying the good amount of flexibility and freedom I still have with just one kiddo. Brynlee is a cheerful and easygoing baby, and she has a pretty fantastic daddy. The three of us have a routine and rhythm down that is perfect for us, and I just love everything exactly the way it is right now. While other people seem to do amazing at doing the two-under-two thing, the thought alone nearly gives me hives. I love having what I see as the complete luxury of not having my children back-to-back. I don’t feel rushed for a thing, and for a girl as restless as I, that feels almost like an extravagance.

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I know that the days have a funny way of sneaking up on a person, but right now thirty still seems so deliciously far away. The next four years stretch out in front of me, and they are beckoning me with the options, uncertainties and dreams that they hold. They are full of plans of adventures and treehouses and exploring lands both real and imaginary with Bryn and her handsome daddy. I’m delighted to not know exactly what is coming next and to be toying with so many different schemes and possibilities. I love my late nights out, but I’m growing preferential to early nights in with my lovely little tribe. I love what I do and the direction life is taking me, and I adore the people that make up my world. I’m just having so much fun, and fun is such a beautiful thing.

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I’m not twenty-one anymore, and that is definitely okay. I don’t really miss the experience of regularly throwing up in toilets.

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Twenty-six is talking, and it sounds so very sweet.

Mishaps, Surprises And A Half Marathon

The past week and a half has been crazy, busy, stressful and packed full of sweet surprises and blissful reminders.

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My daughter ate deodorant (Poison Control assured me she’d be just fine), my relatively new, usually perfect car refused to start, my debit card somehow got demagnetized and I accidentally hit on and probably terrified an attractive man. Let me explain that last part. Husband and I were walking out of date night at Punch Bowl Social and had just acquired some new photo-booth photos. I waved the new photos in front of my husband’s face and said “Lookit how cute we are!” Except it wasn’t my husband. Robby had politely opened the door for some folks and I was waving photos in front of a cute, probably terrified stranger. We both nervously laughed as I mumbled an explanation, and proceeded to quickly find our respective parties. Both myself and my respective actual husband proceeded to laugh at me a lot.

Now onto the sweet surprises and blissful reminders.

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My best dude friend randomly texted one evening last week asking if it was too late for dinner. He lives in San Antonio, but was in town for an interview the next day. I couldn’t help but smile at his typical impromptu plans. It was wonderful sharing unplanned drinks, stories and laughs with one of my favorite people of nearly nine years.

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On Saturday, a gal pal and I made a mini road-trip to San Marcos to run Moe’s Better Half Marathon. The weather was cold, wet and windy, but I was giddy to run my third half and join Becca as she popped her half marathon cherry. This was also my first half to run with a friend, and despite the fact that we were running in icy rain, I loved most every second of it. Never has 13.1 miles gone by so fast as when I was chatting, giggling and maybe even once peeing in a bush with my lovely friend. After we crossed the finish line, we rewarded our accomplishment with an incredible brunch at downtown San Marcos’ Root Cellar Cafe. The restaurant was cozy and quaint, the presentation was gorgeous and the meal absolutely scrumptious. I was double fistin’ with coffee and mimosas. Paradise. It was exactly the brunch destination I envisioned treating myself to after an especially long morning run. It definitely didn’t hurt that the company was also pretty excellent.

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As part of my adventure of the day today, I visited the specialty beer store that is Hamrick’s Market. I was thinking the cashier looked familiar and was trying to place him when he asked, “Did you used to work at Target?” I remembered then. Jacob and his best friend were two of my favorite, most entertaining customers. As he was updating me on his life Mr. Jacob told me that he and his pal were about to become roommates. With amusement in his tone he added, “But it’s not like that.” Apparently I had once assumed him and his pal were lovers. I was tickled that, after five years, he not only remembered me but also my word vomit.

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Mishaps aside, life has been giving me butterflies lately. I am infatuated with the love, the joys, the opportunities and the exciting possibilities that are filling my days.

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I think it should be noted that, on the two different occasions that my car wouldn’t start, two people I hadn’t known five minutes prior helped to jump-start my vehicle. A reminder to never underestimate the kindness of strangers. A reminder that there is beauty to even the moments in which things go wrong. A gentle nudge to remember the rest of these perfect moments, in which everything goes so very right.

Anything for Adventure

I am smitten with 2015.

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It’s only February, and already the year has been completely packed full of magic.

I’ve brunched in Arlington, Virginia and toured monuments in D.C. with my best friend of thirteen years. I’ve dined–and met the famous PIEMAN– in Round Top, Texas with my handsome hubby at Royer’s Café.

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I’ve sipped wine with gal pals in the adorable town of Georgetown, Texas and near an extinct volcano at Pilot’s Knob Vineyard in Bertram. That particular night was spent with my Rachel face and her sweet mama, drinking a delicious red and watching the sunset with a scenic view. It was one of those gorgeous, flawless evenings that I know I will keep with me for a very long time.

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I’ve gotten puppy kisses and happy feelings whilst volunteer dog-walking at my local animal shelter, and good conversation with great people while volunteering at my nearby Alzheimer’s Center.

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Covering media events has given me the chance to do things like drink wine while trying on fancy-shmancy jewelry, drink more wine in a cooking supply store and eat plenty of delicious food.

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Running my first 10k of the year gave me the opportunity to eat complimentary donut holes once crossing the finish line. I do it all for the chocolate glazed, yo.

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My little lady is 10 months old now, and she is this outgoing, silly, happy, vivacious bubble of fun. She is a redheaded, blue-eyed version of her daddy, and has us constantly laughing with her antics and sweet personality. Watching her grow has been and continues to be this beautiful, wonderful, wild journey. And raising her with my best friend gives me copious amounts of joy on a daily basis.

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This past weekend I had a photo shoot in downtown Austin with one of my favorite photographers. Being navigationally challenged, I got lost trying to meet up with Dave and he had to find me. While shooting, I simultaneously explored new nooks and crannies of my beautiful city. And at the end of the shoot, I had wedged myself into a tiny little nook and cranny in an alleyway by a dumpster to get a good shot. Anything for adventure, y’all.

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After the shoot, I sat myself down with a good book, a notebook and a delicious cocktail at Halycon Coffee Lounge. Reading and writing in a coffee shop with a tasty, boozy drink felt a little bit like paradise.

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A little over a week ago, I started a project called Adventure Of The Day. I’m challenging myself to try a new escapade every single day, and am chronicling it all at adventureofthedayatx. I can’t tell you how inspirational and invigorating this self-made challenge has already been. Within a week’s time, I was given a spontaneous inside tour of a tea trailer, purchased plane tickets, made a quick jog down to the area of a cave preserve, and climbed to the top of a staircase to get a lovely view of Buda, Texas. Today I tried lavender hot cocoa for the first time, ate a truffle made with six different peppers and took a selfie with a barista. It’s the perfect excuse to do something great even on Mondays. Every morning brings with it the knowledge that something delightful -and often unplanned- will be happening in the very near future. Though I’ve made a career as a social media representative, I’ve been slow to the Instagram game in my personal life and have only occasionally posted on my first handle. Now I find myself giddily anticipating plans and excitedly wondering what my next new experience to post will be.

And I just can’t wait to see what adventures will be awaiting me in the next twenty-four hours. And the twenty-four hours after that. And the….okay, you get it. ADVENTURES AWAIT!

Happy Birthday, You.

He loves Star Wars and The Goonies, but Back to the Future is his favorite. Parts 1, 2, and 3.

He is silly, and incredibly selfless and his big smile never stops turning my heart to goo.

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(Ice-skating, January 2015)

I married him at 20 and I married him again renewing vows at 25. I hope to marry him again, and again, and again.

Our daughter can’t fully understand yet how very lucky she is to have him, but I know that she will. He would hang the moon for that little girl, and watching them together is nothing short of breathtaking.

Today he turns thirty-two. He was my age when we first locked eyes at a party in 2008. That first night was spent bantering and juicing a cantaloupe. The first thing we ever had together was fun.

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(My heart melts for the billionth time, February 2015)

Nearly seven years together, and still he showers me with affection, kisses and surprise candy bars. Still he never fails to tell me how much he loves me or to let me know he thinks I’m, in his words, “ravishing.” Still my safest place to rest is nuzzled right next to him. Still, one of the greatest things we share is so much fun.

Happy 32nd to the man who has proven to me that love really can be all it’s cracked up to be. You’re my Han Solo, my ancient pirate treasure, and my DeLorean, all rolled into one.

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What started out as my first media event of 2015 quickly turned into a night of adventure.

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My gal pal Emily joined as my plus one to the downtown opening of Lucky’s Puccias. This is the second Lucky’s but their first restaurant, the first being a popular trailer eatery. Instead of looking at my email I unwittingly just put the address into my phone, which took us to the trailer location. After walking around for a bit and doing a little asking around (and checking my email), we realized the new restaurant was all the way on the other side of 5th street. Oops. These mishaps are a common occurrence when you’re friends with me, but if you’re game, lovely things can come from them too. I make sure to always find friends who are game for my mishaps.

So we walked and talked and laughed our way to the other end of 5th street.

 We dined on deliciously cheesy pizza and drank tasty wine and were very merry.

Upon leaving, we quickly decided to take advantage of our walk back by visiting a couple of other bars along our route.

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Right across the street was Donn’s Depot. At first glance, you wouldn’t know that this joint was anything more than a seedy dive bar. I’m a little ashamed to admit that, this being my first time here, this was what I originally thought. But looks aren’t always what they seem and luckily I have to pee a lot, as the lady’s loo shows the true beauty of this Donn’s. After starting a curious conversation with a fellow bathroom goer, I found out that I was drinking in a very old train. What is now a room to potty was once the caboose. Em and I proceeded to have a grand time exploring and climbing on the nooks and crannies of this spectacular urination area.  I’m not at all surprised that Esquire Magazine named this bar one of the top in the country. It has the most magical bathroom I’ve ever had the honor of tinkling in.

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We ended the night at Kung Fu Saloon, showing off our skills of giant Jenga game-playing while simultaneously showing up the dudes playing across from us. Not to brag, but we’re like, really good at stacking blocks.

What started as an evening of Italian food and wine ended with super-sized games and a magical caboose bathroom. I adore the variety of this weird, wonderful city of mine.

Em and I lost touch for a while at the most similar points in our lives. She was engaged and I was married but childless, and for whatever unintentional reasons we drifted apart. Now she’s single and I’m married with a baby, and we’re closer than we’ve ever been. Life has a funny way of  bringing together those who were meant to be adventurers-in-crime.

‘See You Tomorrow.’

“But just because I’ll forget it some tomorrow doesn’t mean that I didn’t live every second of it today. I will forget today, but that doesn’t mean that today didn’t matter.” – Still Alice

During my last year of undergrad, one of my favorite professors gave out an interesting assignment. She challenged us to volunteer somewhere that made us very uncomfortable. Admitting that she probably wouldn’t know if we were lying, she was trusting us to leave our comfort zones on our own accord. This is something I try to challenge myself to do on a regular basis. I’ve always believed that leaving the places I feel the safest will encourage me to be a stronger and more open-minded individual. If it’s at all possible to feel comfortable leaving a comfort zone, I do. So I knew that to truly fulfill this assignment, I would not only have to get out of my comfort zone, but also skip, jump and fly over it.

Of all the scary things in my life that I’ve done, walking in to volunteer at Cedar Ridge Alzheimer’s Center for the first time was amongst the most terrifying. It was not the people that scared me, but a disease so ferocious in its ability to completely take over a human mind. That first day, I hand-fed a grown woman while a resident on the other side of the room continuously moaned in what sounded like complete misery. I honestly felt that I might pass out. So taken aback by what I saw as such an overwhelming sadness, I felt my body reacting physically. I could not wait to get out of there that day.

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It didn’t take much time until my required volunteer hours were completed, but then a funny thing happened. I began seeing less of the disease and more of the person behind it. Sometimes it was simply a smile or a sparkle in the eye. Other times it was a witty comment, small talk or reading a short bio outside of a resident’s door. What I had at first failed to acknowledge was that this disease was only a small chapter of the residents’ lives. In previous chapters there were careers, hobbies, families, passions, accomplishments and lives well lived. Dementia was only a small part of their stories. I began researching and reading about Alzheimer’s to have a better understanding of what those at Cedar Ridge were going through. And I kept going back.

It’d be a lie to say that I don’t still have to mentally prepare myself for hard moments. Residents often feel lost, or are searching for someone, or become upset because they want to go to a home that they don’t realize is no longer theirs. During my last visit, a woman I was chatting with asked me to read something for her because I had a “better brain.” I would imagine that the rare moments of lucidity are the most difficult part for those in later stages of Alzheimer’s. But in the midst of this constant confusion and heartbreak, there is also joy. I fair and square lost more than one game of dominoes to a sweet old soul. Cookies and warm conversation have been shared with a group of lovely ladies. I’ve read magazines, watched movies and listened to live music with some truly great company. One charming gentleman wandered around in search for his family, but still managed to smile and flirt whenever he passed my way. Amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles be damned, it only took a bit of searching to see the beautiful hearts and terrific personalities I was surrounded by at Cedar Ridge.

After learning of my pregnancy, I went back to Cedar Ridge once more before realizing that I should take a break. Usually a person with a firm grip on emotions, my hormones were now causing me to cry at the drop of a hat. Knowing what both I and the residents could and couldn’t handle, I waited.

I went back for the first time last weekend. In the past, I’ve always wondered how much good I was really doing. Even if I was able to help in some miniscule way, wouldn’t it only be forgotten soon after? Did my being there for such a short time really help anyone at all? I wasn’t sure. As I was saying my goodbyes last Saturday, one woman stopped me with her words. “Don’t go.” she said, the kindest smile on her face. We embraced as she went to kiss my cheeks. And then, “See you tomorrow.”

I told her I would see her soon, and then I left. Maybe she forgot about me as soon as I walked out the door. But in those few moments, we were both able to make a positive mark in the other’s life. If only for a short time, we shared smiles and caused happiness. I knew that I would not see her the next day, and she might not have any recollection of telling me that she would. Still, we had today. And that was enough.

Visiting the Virginias, January 2015

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Already 2015 is proving to be wild and wonderful.

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I have a New Year’s resolution of visiting four new-to-me states this year. Within two days of 2015, I had accomplished half of this goal by exploring both of the gorgeous Virginias. This also meant getting lost with the best friend on a road trip, which is an unintentional ritual for us. We can’t recall a time we’ve visited the other without getting at least slightly lost. This time our plan was to leave Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia and head back to Meg’s home in Arlington, Virginia. Despite living in the days of GPS, we managed to end up an hour and a half off route in another Virginian town. I’ve also had the pleasure of being lost in Austin, Baltimore, D.C., New York and Pittsburgh with this girl. It is an endless adventure with the two of us.

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In between West Virginia and getting lost, we found the most spectacular winery I’ve ever been to. (Coming from a wine-o, this says a lot.) Maggie Malick Wine Caves is a winery, cave and hill all rolled into one. I sipped on wine and then climbed to the top of the winery. And then rolled down the winery and got mud all over my new clothes. Because what else are you supposed  to do when you find a winery-cave-hill?! I mean, YORDAWHO. (You only roll down a winery hill once.)

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We made it back to Meg’s apartment in time to get spruced up for a night out on the town with a Redcoat for a haunted pub tour of Alexandria, Virginia. Usually these tours have upwards of 30 people, but on this particular night it was just me and my best friend. This just made our night exploring this eccentric and historic town all the more enchanting. I can almost still feel the chill in the air as I peeked through the window of a restaurant George Washington himself once dined, and where ghosts may or may not presently haunt. It was pure spooky magic creeping in on that dinner party, y’all. Afterward, we made our way back to our favorite bar of the night to talk to strangers and drink delicious chocolate porter. Our bartender charmed us with conversation and free drinks–including one scrumptiously bold cup of coffee for me upon request– and we left that night in a cab, feeling tipsy and giddy and giggly and incredibly alive.

The next day we had an absolutely divine brunch at Chadwick’s–a place so magical that we ventured there by first walking down a cobblestone street— and then made our way to D.C. to gaze at monuments and memorials.

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Here we are just casually chillin’ with Abe.

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Meg and her beau were smooching and being adorable so I decided to much less adorably kiss the air.

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My last morning in Virginia was spent on Meg’s apartment roof, a charming experience made complete with coffee and a lovely view of Arlington and D.C. If it was possible to fall even more in love with Virginia, I did in those moments.

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One of my favorite pictures of my trip was taken by Meg’s boyfriend, shortly after I had flown in from Austin. Meggie and I were just laughing and talking as we walked down the streets of Arlington together. Of our fourteen years of best friendship, nine of these have been spent traveling to see the other. I don’t know if a photo can completely capture the childish and weightless joy we always feel upon reuniting, but I do think that this one did a pretty decent job.

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I’m hoping that she and I will be lucky enough to get lost exploring the world together for as long as we both shall live.