December 29, 2010

2010 Year in Review

2010...what a year. I have some great memories from this year, made some amazing new friends and I changed. A lot. And I'm sad to say that a lot of those changes weren't necessarily for the better. I don't want to end the year on a negative note but I'm definitely ready for a new start. I almost never make New Year's Resolutions but this year, I am. I won't write about them here, but I've already started making the changes. I need to make 2011 a better, happier year for me. So with that said, let's look at the highlights of 2010 and blow a goodbye kiss to the 2010 while welcoming in 2011 with open arms.

Christy's 'Best Of' 2010 Moments

 *Ringing in the New Year in Montreal with this guy*
*Celebrating my birthday three times with friends in New Jersey, New York and DC*

*Going back to Texas in April with The Pilot to visit my family*
*Running my first Half-Marathon with Lauren from Failed Muffins*

*Quitting my job and moving to New York City*

*Summer RoadTrip to Chicago & Milwaukee*

*Starting Graduate School at NYU*
*Volunteering at the United Nations General Assembly*

*Visiting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter*
*Running my first marathon*

*Finishing my first semester of graduate school*
*Celebrating the holidays with family and friends
*The Blizzard of 2010*

So now I'm kissing the year (and the snow!) goodbye and gearing up for 2011! I can't wait to see what the year has in store and I can't wait to read all of your wonderful stories through 2011!

Wishing you all a Happy New Year!

December 23, 2010

three things thursday

1. Noche Buena: My house smells like frijoles negros y cebollas right now (that's black beans and onions for you non-Spanish speaking folk!) and we're gearing up for Noche Buena! I'm spending Christmas with my mom's side of the family and being Dominican, we're having pasteles and shrimp, queso blanco, a roasted pork (which I will not be eating), yucca, frijoles, platanos,sangria...the works! Let me tell you, you haven't had Christmas dinner until you've had it at my house because we Dominicans know how to cook! I can't wait for the yummy feast! The house smells delicious right now! And since we're Americanized we open our Christmas presents on Noche Buena instead of on 3 Kings Day. Did you know that the 12 days of Christmas are actually the 12 days between Christmas and January 6? January 6 is supposedly when the 3 kings (of Orient are...) brought their gifts to the Baby Jesus, so traditionally presents are opened on that day! There, now I taught you something, go spread the word!

2. Christmas Cookies: I made Chocolate-Hazlenut Nutella Thumbprint Cookies this year! Mmm mmm mmm! I'm such a sucker for Nutella! I could eat it all day! (*Note to the Nutella folks out there if you want to send me some samples =D) Check em out! Aren't they cute?

 Don't they look delicious?! As soon as they're cool, I'm gonna spoon some Nutella onto them and they'll be perfect!

3. Farrah Fawcett Hair: I went and got my hair cut yesterday and it accidentally came out looking like Farrah Fawcett's, but I love it! It's so flippy and it looks great and I'm sad for when I have to wash it and have to fight over the fact that it won't look nearly as good as it did these few days! I also got a mani/pedi! After all that Holiday shopping, I needed to treat myself! I am ready for the Holidays! And hey, I'm picking up The Pilot from the airport in 3 hours and I haven't seen him since the marathon, so you know...I gotta make myself look some kind of pretty =)

Sorry for the picture quality! I'm hoping a certain man in a big red suit brings me a new camera this weekend!

Merry Christmas!
Happy Holidays!
Hope you all have a FANTASTIC weekend!

December 21, 2010

To Tri or not to Try

So #3 on My List is to Complete a Triathlon. I got the idea into my head at the same time that I decided to do a Triathlon. Fitness Magazine did a spread in one of their issues about a year and a half ago that featured two articles: "Yes, You Can Run a Half-Marathon" and "8 Weeks to Your First Mini Triathlon." Well, I followed their training plan and completed my first half-marathon in May and added a triathlon to my list. But I'm starting to have second thoughts about it...

It's not that I don't think I'm capable of completing a triathlon. I'm only aiming for Sprint Distance and have even picked out a tri that, if I do go ahead with it, I want to do. (The Washington DC Triathlon, for those of you who are wondering) But I'm starting to realize the burden that training for a tri would put on me.

Let's get physical: It's no secret that a triathlon is a tremendous physical feat. While I know that handling the run of a sprint distance tri would be a piece of cake for me, even though I'm a strong swimmer, I've never actually swum laps or distances before. I also haven't ridden a biscycle since I was about 10 years old and honestly don't know that I still remember. I know what everyone never forget how to ride a bike, but I'm not so sure about that! As far as swimming goes, my friend Erin (formerly a water polo player) also wants to complete a tri and we've talked about doing it together so she's offered to coach me as a swimmer, so I don't think that would be too much of an issue.

On top of that, I'm already registered for a Half-Marathon and a 10-miler for the spring and really looking to try and squeeze in a marathon somewhere around May or June and I'm not too sure that my body could handle the additional stress of cycling and swimming on top of marathon training. Then again, I could incorporate cycling and swimming into my cross-training workouts but since I typically run 4 days a week and cross-train 2, that probably wouldn't be enough, right?

Mental Preparation: Being in grad school, my life is still dictated by semesters and next semester is going to be tough. Between my job and my internship, I'm working a full 40 hours a week. On top of that, I'm in school full time with 4 classes, 3 of which are until 9pm next semester. I also have a part-time weekend job that occupies my weekends anywhere from 2-12 hours at a time. Let's not even throw school work into that mix. It's because of all this that I don't think I'll quite be able to run a full marathon in the spring. But maybe, if I start tri-training after my Half-Marathon in March, I'll be in good shape for a June tri and can then focus on running a fall marathon and breaking 4 hours!

Financial Burden: Running gear? Check! Swimming gear? Almost check...I would need a wetsuit...right? Cycling gear? Umm...this is honestly where the biggest issue comes into play. Bikes are expensive and I'm not in any position to spend the money on a bicycle to try a triathlon for the first time without any indication of whether I plan to become a triathlete beyond the one. Helmets aren't cheap...and then I would need cycling shoes and who knows what other things triathletes need to get them through training and ultimately, a race. Aside from completing a triathlon, becoming financially self-sufficient is also on my list and being a triathlete is an expensive hobby (so is being a runner, I'm slowly starting to find...but much less so!).

So with all of that said, I'm really starting to consider whether I should change the #3 on my list. I'm not really leaning toward one way or another and that's why I'm writing about this! So what do you advise? Have any of my wonderful readers ever done a tri? Have you considered it and are held back for any of the same reasons I am? What do you all think? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

And while you're thinking about it: meet my newest hero. I haven't read her book yet, but this woman is amazing! She's an 80-year-old nun who has completed over 340 triathlons and I don't know how many marathons. She's responsible for their being a 74-79 age group in the Ironman Triathlon competition and they call her the Iron Nun. I love everything about this.

December 20, 2010

20SB Blog Swap!

I'm not sure how many of you out there are on 20sb, if you aren't, it's a network for 20-something bloggers to connect with one another and it's a great way to meet other bloggers! So every once in awhile, 20sb coordinates Blog Swaps where you're matched at random with another blogger and you swap posts on a common topic! This time around the topic is Action: What will you do next year that you've been putting off for too long?

I partnered with Kelli from Little Jelli in a Big World. You can check out my post over at her blog and here's hers!

Thinking back on 2010, my first thought is how thankful I am for all that I have in my life. 2010 brought the birth of my second daughter, which in and of itself is a perfect gift and miracle. Avery completed our family – rounding us out as a sweet little family of four...but with Avery came a total lifestyle change for me (the Momma) that I didn’t get with just being a parent of one.  You see, when you have one kid, you can still carry on a fraction of your “old”, pre-kid lifestyle.. but with two (at least for me) everything changed.  

With one child, I could still slip out on  Friday nights to spend some girl time or browse my favorite blogs while she quietly played at my feet. But with two children, it seems that I am constantly cleaning up after someone, holding somebody, running errands, doing laundry... you get the picture. And somewhere along the way I lost ME.  I lost my passions; my desire to be organized and completely in control of myself; my ability to always be one step ahead of my work ( I teach high school English) and my home (I am a clean-freak).  I love to read and am a self-proclaimed video game nerd and I also love to walk and be outside.  I am not over-the-top into my clothes or body, but I used to take some pride in looking and feeling good about myself.  These days, I cannot remember the last book I read, or the last time I sat and played a computer game or watched a good old cheesy Lifetime movie.  I never just sit and relax without my mind racing on what needs to be done.  My classroom is the same way- I feel like I am treading water with grading papers and lesson plans.. and that I just can never get ahead.  I never get to spend time browsing the sale racks at my favorite clothing stores.. I never go to the library and rent a book; hell, I don’t even get to listen to my own music in my car for the love!

So that’s what I want to do for 2011- take more time for ME. Find myself again. Because when I think back on who I was before I had my beautiful girls.. I was pretty cool and pretty self-satisfied.  Don’t get me wrong, I am a very happy lady, but just not a WHOLE person- like a part of my soul is dormant.  So my goal is to remember ME- be a little selfish- and get back to being the chic I used to be... which in turn will make me a better wife and mother- cause if your inner-soul is at peace, so can your life be.

Thanks Kelli! Best of luck in 2011!

December 16, 2010

three things thursday

1. School - I turned in my International Law paper at 5:30 yesterday evening and am now officially finished with my first semester of grad school! Woohoo! It was a great semester and I loved all of my classes (there's always one isn't there?). And as much as I'm excited for winter break, I can't wait for my classes next semester! I'm really excited for what I'm taking and some amazing opportunities coming out of them!

2. 2011 Race Calendar - I am a lucky, lucky girl this week and should seriously play the real lottery because I got into 2 race lotteries this week! I got into the NYC Half-Marathon on March 20 and the Cherry Blossom 10-miler in DC on April 3! Woohoo! Anyone else running these races? I'm super excited about it! I still haven't decided if I'm going to do a spring marathon yet mostly because my schedule for next semester is crazy busy so we'll see! Speaking of races, Operation Jack is hosting a virtual race on December 26 in honor of Sam Felsenfeld finishing his 61st marathon this year (!) in support of his charity, Train for Austism. It's a 6.1 mile race and registration is $25 and includes a race medal and a t-shirt! Go sign up! I'll race ya!


3. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - I crossed another book off The Book List this week! (Only about 70 more to go...oy vey!) After reading The Adventures of Huck Finn, I need to go back and watch that movie with Jonathan Taylor Thomas (JTT OMG!), remember that one? He played Tom Sawyer I think...I probably saw it in the theaters when I was about 7 but I want to see if it's anything like the book. It was a good read, a little slow but I enjoyed it! Now that I'm on break and I'm going to be playing stay-at-home wife to The Pilot in Florida (=D) I'll have plenty of time to read! I'm not sure what to read next so check out my book list and let me know what you think I should read! I can't wait to hear your suggestions!

December 10, 2010

An Open Letter to New York...

Dear Manhattan,

I'm beginning to develop a hate/love relationship with you. When I was walking through the Bryant Park and Union Square Christmas markets last night, I was definitely loving you. Even though it was 23 degrees outside, I was more than happy perusing all of the shops in the market because let's face it, New York, you know how to do Christmas.

But some things need to change. It's crowded. Too crowded. I'm not asking you to go China on the city and institute a one-child policy to curb population growth but maybe recognize that it's crowded and expand the side walks a little bit so that I don't have to feel like I'm a sardine just trying to walk down 1st Avenue to get my eyebrows waxed.

And let's talk about rent. (Fellow bloggers, I'm revealing some personal information here) I pay $1000 a month + $50 in utilities (which is actually really low) to live in an 11x7 space (I'm sorry, I can't call it a bedroom) with a 15 inch wide by 12 inch deep nook that is supposed to serve as my closet. Oh and I share this apartment with 3 other roommates. The fact that this is normal is ridiculous. I lived quite comfortably on my own in Boston with my real people salary (which was not at all absurdly high) in a beautiful one-bedroom apartment. I shouldn't have to live like a cow in a slaughterhouse (this is so PETA of me...ugh) just because I don't make $60,000 a year.

Are there other places to live where I don't have to live like a sardine? Of course. Brooklyn is nice. The UWS and UES aren't crowded. But let's talk about this little thing called Apartment Hunting. Since November 15, I have sent out more than 120 e-mails to various people about apartments using Craigslist (which I abhor). More than half of them have been very nice people responding to me about how they're looking for a nice person to take over their apartment while they're doing mission work with AIDS patients in Nigeria and they'll send the keys over after I send them 2 months rent in security via Western Union.

No thanks. It's not like I'm applying to $600 one-beds in Chelsea either (clearly a scam)...when I respond to an $1100 studio in Prospect Heights...that's not unreasonable.

The other half of the places I respond to never write back (probably because they've received 27,000 inquiries...and the very small, select few of people who have gotten back to me are 1) people who I'm not compatible with 2) people who don't choose me to live with them or c) apartments in areas that I'm not too comfortable living in.

So what's a girl to do?

New York, I want to love you. In fact, I do love you. I love that I don't have to drive anywhere because you know how much I hate driving. I love that I can get fresh veggies at the USQ Farmers' Market instead of paying $5 for an avocado at the grocery store that rots the next day in my fridge. I love that it only costs me $6 to get a brow wax. I love that I see people like Mike Meyers and Bradley Cooper on the street and realize that that's normal. I love that the Mets live here. I love that there is a drug store on every corner.

But I hate that the only way for me to shop at Trader Joe's is to get there at 7am when they open or to wait in line for 45 minutes just to get into the store. I hate that I can't just run out of my apartment to go for a run because it takes me 45 minutes just to run 2 miles. I hate that the subways are horrific on the weekends. I hate that I don't think I've gone more than 4 minutes without hearing an ambulance siren blaring since I've been living here. I hate my apartment (but that's not your fault).

So what do I do? We need to make some changes to our relationship here. How about we work together? I'll stop complaining about you if you find me an apartment somewhere that's not so crowded and you get Trader Joe's to expand and you get the subways to start working a little better on the weekends. Hey, I'm ok with the $15 price hike for a monthly unlimited pass as long as you use that $15 that you're taking from me to get the E train to start running on the weekends.

Deal? Or maybe I'll make it my New Year's Resolution to stop complaining anyway...but you need to help me out here somehow, k?

Yours truly,

December 3, 2010

November Recap!

Hello! Happy Hanukkah to those of you who celebrate! And to those of us who don't,'s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! And unfortunately, instead of spending my days being "merry" and "bright," I'm spending my days in the library and behind books finishing up my last 3 papers and studying for 1 final before school all comes to an end for the semester on Wednesday!

But alas, it's December and that means it's time for another monthly recap. November was a busy (and, at the same time, not so busy) month in terms of my list, but a good month all together!

In November I:
  • Ran a marathon in 4:08:40!!!
  • Reached 100 posts on my blog and have 'started and kept a blog!' (Don't worry though, I'm not going anywhere!
  • Watched 3 movies off The Movie List
  • Cooked 4 recipes out of one of my cookbooks!
I have just a few days left of school and I will officially be on break! As I said in my October recap, I'm super excited to have time of from school (starting Wednesday!) because I have big plans for this winter! But you can learn all about just what those plans are later, right? =)

Happy Friday!
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