About Christina Does It All

Doing it all, One blog at a time

When Life Sparkles

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“I had the time of my life, fighting dragons with you.”

Long Live, T-Swift (Duh)

This is a season of my life that is sparkling in its goodness.

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I’ve just finished my second semester of grad school. I survived with the help of my cohort, otherwise known as my academic support system, partners in MBA crime and the best of drinking buddies. I started this program with the main goal of furthering my education, but in the process I’ve gained a second family. Graduation is a year from this August, and I know most of us will be a messy mixture of emotions when that time comes. It will be the most bittersweet of days.

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With an entire week of freedom before summer classes start again, this is when I greedily binge on books, family moments and Netflix. I’m in the process of watching Mad Men for the first time and everyone can find me crying in a corner when I finish season 7. But I digress. This has also been a week for reflection, and I’m reflecting on the pure magic that has been the month of April.

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Out of town best friends have visited, and the laughter and long talks are still lingering in my mind. There was one evening spent in a hotel room that quickly led to the kind of laughter that makes tears form and stomachs hurt. I’m so grateful to have people in my life that induce the happiest of crying and belly aches.

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We also celebrated Bryn’s second birthday earlier this month. My talented, practicing photographer grandma snapped some family pictures pre-party. (I think I just made a tongue twister.)

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I’m still constantly amazed by this little person that my favorite guy and I created together. Bryn is sassy and goofy and wildly independent and even more extroverted than I am. She’s this fierce little firecracker who sees the wonder in absolutely everything. I’m forever grateful that she calls me mom. And also that she sleeps until 9 every morning. You’re my bae, Brynlee Mae.

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The ‘rents hosted Bryn’s party at their house, and it was a day to remember. My mom made her famous peanut butter chocolate chip cookies and my friend Amy drove out to the boondocks of Texas to spend the entire day with us. We drank mimosas and celebrated my cute kid whilst my sweet pal got to know the entire fam. By the end of the day, she was gossiping with my grandparents and trying to trap my brother in a closet. It’s safe to say she’s one of us now.

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Speaking of ‘us’, a family girl’s trip to a gorgeous resort in the Texas Hill Country was another April gem. This trip wouldn’t have been complete without the usual Cirotto shenanigans. My cousin and I both suffered burn wounds from our attempts to light the outdoor fire pit. It attacked us, really. I lost some arm hair but heartfelt conversations around said fire made it more than worth it.

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There was a hot tub and late night jumps into icy cold pool water, because my fam knows Tina simply can’t turn down a dare. There was also a lovely winery and tasty three course dinners, and stunning sunsets with the loveliest of company. And trying to teach Jackie how to take a selfie. And prank calling other members of our family at all hours of the night, because isn’t that what mature adults do at family gatherings? Let me not forget the last night at the resort, when my aunt, cousin and I attempted to scare my poor grandma in the next room. I thought I might die of laughter-stifling when Jackie started army crawling across the floor towards her mom’s- my grandma’s- bed. My cousin and I followed not-so-stealthily behind until we were discovered and yelled at to go to bed. More manic laughter ensued.

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So much of who I am today is a result of all the ladies I grew up with. Woman power runs strong in my clan, y’all. I got really lucky, being born into this crazy, beautiful family of mine.

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I can already tell that this is a time of my life that I’ll be wishing I could have back one day. While it’s here, I’m just doing the best I can to treasure every precious moment.

Cryotherapy is Cool (And Cold)

The weather in Austin is warming up but last weekend I had a chillingly good blogging experience.

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Ever heard of cryotherapy? I hadn’t until just a few weeks ago so I’ll give you the lowdown.

Cryotherapy is the use of extremely low temperatures – we’re talking up to -130 degrees – to aid in a slew of health issues. Decreased fatigue, better sleep, less body pain, weight loss,  a boosted immune system… .Really, I could go on with the long list of benefits all day. As a runner, I was personally interested in cryotherapy when I learned it can help heal injured joints. My knees are starting to take note of my decade of jogging, so I loved knowing that cryotherapy could help heal my old lady parts. That and it just sounded like such an adventure. And oh, was it.

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I walked into Cryo Body Works admitting I was a little nervous about the extreme temperatures that I would be subjecting my near naked body to. The sweet gal at the front counter comforted me. “Have you ever taken an ice bath?” No, no I have not. “Oh. Well, it’s a lot better than that!” Good? Gulp.

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Guys, let me tell you. If I took the coldest I’ve ever been and multiplied it by like, fifty-five and a half, this is how cold I was entering the cryosauna. They recommend you go in with nothing but your undies and these adorable little booties they let you borrow, so this is exactly what I did. No bra even! It got a little nippy in there, if you know what I’m saying. I stepped inside and the cold, dry air immediately welcomed me. It was exciting. AND SO COLD. I was told that the normal session lasts for three minutes, but that newbies usually go for two to two and a half. Two minutes went by much faster than I thought it would. I think maybe my brain was partly frozen too, so that was helpful. Through chattering teeth, I asked to stay until 2 minutes, 30 seconds. I cannot be the weak newbie!

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I felt like a frozen warrior princess walking out of that machine. I survived! I had burned 500-800 calories just standing there! I did a new thing that made me feel like a human ice-cube! And really, I loved every frigid second of it.

Cryo Body works was the perfect place for me to dabble in cryotherapy for the first time. First timers get an amazing deal for their session, so I would definitely recommend trying it out, y’all. The staff was friendly and accommodating, and I was smitten with the relaxing, spa-like environment. The whole experience was invigorating, refreshing and made me feel just a little more alive. And also cold. Did I mention cold?

Note: I received my cryotherapy session free of charge, but Cryo Body Works did not otherwise compensate me for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

A best friend is like a bra….

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Welcoming my 27th year this month has been magical and has left me feeling so loved and lucky. I had most of my original birthday blog post written and ready to post before I picked my best friend of fifteen years up from the airport this morning. Then she gifted me with a $50 Victoria Secret gift card paired with a sweet note comparing me to the perfect bra. I should note now that she knows I have a tendency for buying bargain everything. I’ve been this way since I was a kid. Even now as a grown-up with a full-time job, I just love the thrill of a good buy. Meg knows I would never buy a fifty dollar bra on my own. I should also note, if it’s not already obvious, that I have very small boobs. So when I recently went into a department store and found a set of bras for a great price with the label ‘large’ and THEY FIT, I knew I had to buy them. I walked out happy and with a slight ego boost from my purchase. When I got home, I finally realized what had just happened. I had bought large CHILDREN’S sized bras. That fit perfectly. Goodbye ego trip. I swallowed my pride and still wear those bras to this day.

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This is where Meg comes in to save the day with the gift card and note comparing me to the ideal bra. I’m going to share that note now, paired with snapshots from my birthday month that make me feel incredibly grateful.

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“Happy Birthday Tina Wina!

I got you this gift card to Victoria’s Secret, not only because I know you’ll never leave the junior’s section for bras on your own, but because I think it’s a befitting gift for you because it represents our friendship in so many ways!

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There’s a cliché expression that a best friend is like a bra– supportive, reliable, all those great things. That describes you. But you are far more complex than that. Plus, we don’t really need much support because we’re such long-standing, proud members of the itty bitty titty committee (althought you took about a 9-month sabbatical during your pregnancy. I forgive you by the way.) So the explanation doesn’t really fit us. In honor of an age of being offended, I take offense that we do not have a cliché bra metaphor that perfectly describes our friendship as women with small breasts. #smallboobsmatter

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So I’ve come up with an explanation that fits your uniqueness and lets us use the bra metaphor.

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You’re like my best bra. Really, my dream bra because, although I’ve found a friend like this in you, I don’t think I’ve found a bra like this. Picture this: I walk into Victoria’s Secret; I’m immediately intimidated by all of the voluptuous ‘Kim K. types’ clearly more fit to be shopping there. I, of course, head straight to the clearance section expecting to find a bra that is under $20, practical, but probably an ugly shade of green. This is worth it because it fits me and makes my boobs appear larger than they are. Suddenly, my eyes are drawn to a 32B bra hanging on the rack. It is glowing among the other 32DD bras that are left over since all the other skinny girls have sucked the sales rack dry. It is bright, it is vibrant, I don’t even have to worry about buying matching panties because it has so many colors it will match with everything I already have (not that I usually match my bra and panties, but if I shop at VS I’m clearly expecting company so maybe I’d step up my game for the night.) I don’t have to change or add a thing about what I already own! I try on the bra and it’s a perfect fit! If my boobs were saggy, it would be supportive, which is comforting to know, but this isn’t the case at 24 so it’s just extremely uplifting! Suddenly my boobs look and feel better than ever before! I’m ready to hit the town and take on any and all adventures; adventures I wouldn’t explore without this bra helping me feel comfortable and my best. It makes me feel more myself than I do with other bras! It’s uplifting, vibrant, exciting and adventurous. And the best thing? It expects hardly anything in return except for a little bit of money, a little fun, (because this is not the type of bra you don’t take advantage of how it makes you feel) and only red wine because it’s just not a white wine type of bra. The wine thing is probably the biggest downfall, but I drink wine most often without a bra on anyway so I don’t care too much.

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LOVE YOU! Thanks for being my best friend for 15 years.

Love,

Meggie Moo.

P.S. Don’t share this on social media though I know you might want to– alongside a picture of the gift card and maybe a TBT picture of us– because someone might get offended that I said #smallboobsmatter and talked about being skinny vs. voluptuous.”

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We decided that sharing to my blog was okay, by the way. I would like to take a brief moment to clarify that Meg is amongst the most unoffensive of people that I know, and that our sense of humor is just clearly very strange.

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This life I share with the people who love me is just the very breast.

Cupprimo Cupcake Tasting

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Having a cupcake tasting at Cupprimo felt like the perfect way to kick off my birthday month.

You guys. Go here. RIGHT NOW. Eat ALL of the things. Don’t tell me I never gave you good life advice.

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Cupprimo makes their cupcakes fresh every single morning. They have a rotating cupcake menu and also a permanent one, and you’re going to want to stuff them all into your mouth immediately. We’re talking flavors like Salted Caramel, Boozy Pineapple and Coconut Crème Pie.

They taste like pure happiness. Also they have great coffee.

The love and fresh ingredients used in the baking process are truly evident in each and every bite. It didn’t really surprise me at all that they’ve been featured on Food Network and often sell out of cupcakes. Though it did tempt me to buy every last morsel and hoard them all to myself until I fell into a cupcake coma.

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I tried more than one mini cupcake where my response was, “Oh my God.” immediately after taking my first bite.

But it’s more than just their incredible baked goods with orgasmic icing on top. The real icing on the (cup)cake are the fantastic folks who work at Cupprimo.

They are funny and charming and kind. They made me feel like I was at home with family. A family with a home full of small, scrumptious cakes.

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The owner, put simply, was such a bad-ass and is also kind of my new hero. Amy has FIVE kids, looks like a rock-star and has owned her massively successful (and tasty) business for eight years. She makes a point to always give back, donating to everyone from elementary school bands to the LGBT community. Amy and team often give leftover cupcakes to the homeless, and she volunteers weekly at a local shelter.  She shared one story about a homeless man who was sleeping under a tree near Cupprimo. Shortly before Christmas, she had gifted him and others resting under said tree boxes of cupcakes leftover from that morning. Recently, this man came to Cupprimo to order an Americano and to thank her. He was living in a permanent residence and had found a steady job, but hadn’t forgotten how Amy and family had fed him when he was down on his luck. Not only was my stomach happy during this tasting, my soul was warmed too. We fell off the subject of cupcakes quite a few times during our chat, and with each digression she inspired me a little more.

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I felt lucky to have spent my afternoon chatting, laughing and developing a serious cupcake addiction at Cupprimo.

It is sweet places like this one, overflowing with heart and yum, that make me so proud to be an Austinite.

Excuse me while I go dream about Dirty Girl Scouts now. Um. That’s a Cupprimo cupcake. I swear.

(Note: I was given this cupcake tasting free of charge, but was not otherwise compensated to write this review. All opinions expressed belong to me!)

 

Alive

HI!

I’m alive.

Just so very busy.

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You know that Taylor Swift song about being twenty-two (which, by the way, I swear I was just like five and a half days ago) that talks about being happy, free, confused and lonely at the same time? I completely understand the clashing of all the feelings. Grad school is engulfing and mesmerizing and terrible and terrific at the same time.

I had a study session with a few of my fellow students at our regular coffee spot on Friday. Jake called me an ass for snatching an econ paper before he was done reading it and we all laughed and then I devoured a banana chocolate chip muffin. It was all very Friends goes to grad school.

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In other news, my little redhead will be two in April and my husband turned thirty-three this month. This time stuff, y’all. It seems like days ago Bryn was just a bean in my stomach. I clearly remember when Robby was just a youthful lad of twenty-five. Except, at the time, I thought he was SO incredibly old. I turn twenty-seven next month and it’s a little scary knowing exactly how ancient nineteen-year-olds think I am. I find comfort in the fact that Robby is currently thirty-three and SO incredibly old.

Also, I bought a bike.

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I feel young and old and sleepy and inspired and lucky and alive, at the same time.

I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling (almost) twenty-seven.

Murder Mystery Weekend at Crystal River Inn

Two weekends ago I was presented with arguably my most unique blogging adventure yet.

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I was invited to murder mystery weekend at the Crystal River Inn. It was such a killer experience. (Get it? Killer?! And it was murder mystery weekend?! Okay, please excuse me for being really terrible at puns.)

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Two of my favorite ladies and I arrived on Friday evening to the Crystal River Inn in San Marcos, Texas. The Austin traffic had us running slightly late, so we quickly ran into the next room to change into our costumes for the weekend. Already we were in fits of giggles, which was a good indicator for how the rest of the weekend would play out. Rachel donned an 1800’s style dress, playing her role as the sweet but secretly adulterous Maggie. Shannon rocked her top hat and tuxedo ensemble as the town Senator. Me? I was Crider, the hillbilly of San Marcos, so I went for an overall romper paired with a white t-shirt and boots. And a straw hat, of course. To the amusement of my lady loves, I also took the liberty of stealing my husband’s southern accent for the weekend.

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We were ready to roll. Or, uh, rearin’ to go, y’all. The three of us were the youngsters of the group, but this didn’t deter the group comradery in the slightest. Almost as soon as we sat down with the crew, we were in complete stitches. After being handed champagne and sheets that described our characters with light instructions on how to proceed, the fun began. Because it was an all female group, many of us were given male characters to play. The gal who played the role of Rachel’s secret lover began with this unexpected line.

“Hiding this secret from everyone is just getting so hard. Amongst other things, if you know what I’m saying.”

I think my little group had a mixed reaction of equal parts gasping and hysterical laughter. We had no idea that this group of ladies would be such raunchy kindred spirits. It’s good to know that we probably won’t mature out of said raunchiness.

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The rest of the weekend followed with more surprising delights.

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The decadent and beautifully presented meals. A scavenger hunt to find whodunit clues throughout the B&B. Exploring and drinking our way through the charming downtown San Marcos. Sharing the master suite with my gals, and staying up late to drink wine and play Cards Against Humanity in Shannon’s bed. Constant laughter and great conversations with some truly incredible ladies.

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It should also be noted that, by the end of the weekend, I had proposed to a lovely lady named Peaches. After a lot of convincing, she agreed to marry me. Thank you in advance for your congratulations.

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At the end of our stay, we all voted for best costume and actor. I was surprised and giddy to find out that I had won best actor and another night’s stay at Crystal River Inn. Since my husband let me borrow that southern twang of his, I suppose it’s only fair to share with him that extra night’s stay. I am all kinds of excited to show him the wonder that is the Crystal River Inn.

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I’m also pretty pleased that this was the bed and breakfast to take my murder mystery virginity. My gals pals and I were completely swept away by the magic of it all. What an eccentric and mesmerizing weekend, and what a perfect reminder that you’re never too old to play pretend.

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Pst- You guys, The Crystal River Inn hosts multiple murder mystery weekends throughout the year. I swear to you, it is absolutely impossible to not have a darn tootin’ good time being a part of this. Unless you’re a stick in the mud. But I’m going to go out on a limb and assume sticks in the mud don’t read my blog. My puns are improving, eh?! Ahem. GO MURDER IT UP, Y’ALL!

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(Disclaimer: I was not charged for my weekend at Crystal River Inn, but was otherwise not compensated to write this review. All opinions expressed in this post belong to me!)

Seguin Brewery

To kick January off with a yeast-fermented bang, my hubby and I recently took a little road-trip to Seguin, Texas to enjoy some beer tastings at Seguin Brewing Co.

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I’m sure I’ve driven through Seguin multiple times over the years, but this was my first time to slow down and visit this lovely little city. My husband hadn’t been either, so it was exciting to go into this blogging adventure with my person, neither of us knowing exactly what to expect.

It was even better that the experience completely exceeded any expectations I could have had.

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Seguin Brewery is, as I told the brewery-owner multiple times, so charming.

Before even stepping inside the brewery itself, I was sold. There were couples and little ones and groups of friends just frolicking about. You may think to yourself, “Christina, really? Frolicking? Why do you always have to be so dramatic with your verbiage?” But GUYS, I looked it up so you don’t even know. Ahem. The definition of frolicking is to, “Play and move about cheerfully, excitedly, or energetically.’ This is exactly what was happening. But with beer in hand, so even better.

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During the quick but informative tour, I had a chance to hear about all of the care and dedication that goes into making their beer. Seguin Brewing uses a mixture of both old and new brewing techniques to create the most unique of beers. They managed to give me my first IPA that I actually enjoyed. Usually the bitterness of the hops is too much for me, but this was my first ever Black IPA. It was still a bit bitter, but I was okay with this as it was a much darker brew with hints of coffee. My taste buds were intrigued and happy.

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The ‘tastings’ themselves were actually three very generous pours of beers, and I was extra excited to find out that we got to keep the adorable glass that the pours came in. The hubs and I actually used them for our strawberry margarita, Connect 4 and Making A Murderer date night on Friday. So the glasses are quite versatile and also I am the reigning Connect 4 champion, if anyone was wondering.

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Moving back to the brewery, I was also smitten with the open and inviting atmosphere that the lack of doors created. I loved that the outdoor and indoors were united, as the outside was where so much of the magic happened. There was a huge Jenga table and giant lawn chairs and laughter all around. There was a chill in the air and smiles on the faces of all nearby. My husband owned me at a game of washers, but I was too giddy to even care THAT much. Seguin Brewing was overflowing with magic and happiness and BEER. Can there be a better combination than this one?!

The fun-loving owners also suggested eats for consuming after the brewery, which gave Robby and I an even better look at the enchanting, cozy town that is Seguin, Texas.

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In closing, I also loved seeing the motto featured on their website.

“Small town, big nuts!”

 Seguin Brewing, you’re doing it right.

(Note: My husband and I were given the tour and tastings at Seguin Brewing free of charge, but I was otherwise not compensated for my review. All opinions expressed are all mine!)