I miss my little blog! For the past few years, it’s been a consistent place for me to document my day-to-day happenings, my favorite recipes (especially during my transition to gluten-free eating), my career journey, and my advice for dominating the online world through online presence management. As I said before, I always hear other people say that their blog is the first thing to go when they get busy, but that hasn’t been the case for me- until now.

I’ve been trying to make an effort to get offline more, especially now that my entire job consists of online work. Pinning recipes is not the same as making them. Looking at images of yoga poses is not the same as going to yoga class. Reading book reviews is not the same as reading books. I’m trying to remember all of that,

Back in my GWU days, I was very involved in the then-emerging field of social entrepreneurship. I co-founded The GW Social Enterprise Forum, helped launch the GW chapter of Compass Fellows, interned with Ashoka and Social Enterprise Associates, and read SocialEarth like it was my job. So I jumped at the chance to attend this year’s AshokaU Exchange as a representative of Leadership ExCHANGE

On the 4th day of our cruise, four of us took a catamaran to go snorkeling in Nassau. It was such a fun experience and I would highly recommend it- luckily we didn’t have any scary eel or water snake run-ins!

wireless microphonePhoto credit

When we got on the catamaran, we plopped down in the trampoline-y area where some of our cruise friends were. My friend and I proceeded to take out the plastic microphones that we had brought along and force everyone in our little area to introduce

Happy Monday! Did you have a good weekend? Mine included watching Skyfall at the IMAX, watching a million episodes of Damages, going out one night, eating brunch at one of our favorite local spots (after we complimented our waiter, he looked at us and said “Y’all aren’t creepy at all.” We of course died laughing), going to a upscale bowling alley, and getting dinner in Durham. I also did some redesigning of my blog (including the social media buttons on the right side). It’s not finished yet, so don’t tell me if you hate it ;)

Now I’m sitting with a mug of toasted almond coffee, preparing tweets for @LivingSocialJob and writing this roundup of interesting things I’ve read lately. Several of them are unintentionally centered around saving money- just in time for the holidays :)

On Saturday morning, we picked up coffee and hit up Lucky, the local grocery store, for picnic-y foods. We learned quickly on the trip that we all move at a glacial pace, so it was a few hours later before we got into the car for a trip to Muir Woods, one of just a few national redwoods forests. We ate our delicious smorgasbord right before the entrance to the park (next to the sign that read “No Picnics”- we’re sneaky like that). We had salami, turkey, hummus, carrots, sushi, and crackers (including new-to-me Blue Diamond gluten-free Cheddar Cheese Flavored Almond Nut Thins)- a random but perfectly filling assortment!

What started out as a leisurely walk through Muir Woods soon turned into a full-out hike. That kept going. And going. We thought several times that it would be over soon, but we ended up walking for much longer than we anticipated (which I’m pretty sure caused my foot issue).

Halfway through the hike, we saw some pretty sick views from a peak then promptly stumbled across a very cool but slightly strange mid-forest biergarten called the Tourist Club SF. By the time across the place, we were all slightly delirious with exhaustion (mostly kidding) and felt like we had stumbled upon a scene out of a movie- most likely a horror film where tourists at a mid-forest club get killed while partying. Imagine being lost and tired and walking off a trail only to hear and see a bunch of young people laughing, playing Apples to Apples, drinking beer, and looking perfectly at ease. Haha interesting to say the least!

See that cabin in the middle picture? It was located behind a “Members only” sign.” Not quite sure I want to know what goes on there!

A big thank you to everyone who made my first trip to San Francisco so memorable!

  • To Karrie and Lindsay, for making the same dumb jokes over and over, sympathizing with me when I hurt my foot, accommodating my gluten-free needs, making pit stops at Starbucks multiple times per day, over-planning and obsessing over our schedule, and much much more.
  • To Matt, for taking us to Napa and Muir Woods, letting us sleep in your apartment, and suffering through Indian food with us.
  • To John, for lunch, shlepping us around Napa, sharing punny jokes with us, and giving us a tour of Benecia.
  • To Jason, for our first Uber ride, our first SF apartment roof experience, and a fun Halloween night at a chic club.
  • To Emmanuel, Pat, and Hailey for being seemingly unfazed that the three of us took over your apartment for five days, made a mess of the bathroom, and giggled incessantly.
  • To Donnie, for taking time out of her busy eng recruiting schedule to show me around the SF LivingSocial office.

(I’m a poet and I didn’t know it).

1, 2, 3

As you

As we sat at Hollymead on Saturday, we contemplated what to do with our last day. Our top choices included a trip to nearby Blowing Rock or a day at a local vineyard. Since we went to Shelton Vineyards last time, we opted for the hour drive to Blowing Rock, which I had never visited but had heard rave reviews about.

This time it was just me, my sister, and Larry- we managed to have a good time even with Larry there (just kidding- Larry reads my blog and I wanted to poke [more] fun at him!). It was a marvelouuuuus day in an adorable little mountain town. The drive to town through the mountains was beautiful, even though the leaves haven’t fully turned yet. We grabbed lattes at Revive Java, wandered through the shops, snapped a bunch of pictures, saw a couple we know from Raleigh (hi guys!), played a prank on Larry, ate lunch at Storie Street Grill (pot roast with mashed potatoes and green beans for me!), and then got ice cream at Kilwin’s

I guess I should have put more thought into the word “relaxing” yesterday. Does mowing a pasture count as relaxing? Larry was gracious enough to “allow” me to use a zero-turn radius mower on the lower pasture again- my sister got to ride horses, I got to ride the John Deere! There is nothing like sitting on that mower seat on a perfect fall day in the country with the radio playing on headphones. I’m secretly a farm girl…

Other highlights of yesterday: 5pm snacks of spicy hummus and margaritas, delicious gluten-free eggplant parmesan and red wine for dinner, watching a very sweet 50th birthday video, and watching a few episodes of Modern Family.

On the agenda today: more mowing! Then a field trip to either a vineyard or Blowing Rock!

(Yup, had to have my Starbucks cup on the farm!)

(Should read Welcome to Paradise…)

(The Kabota, which we nicknamed the Katubah)

Another weekend at Hollymead, this time just me and my sister!

Our road trip to the farm consisted of eating at Smithfield’s BBQ (sans buns to make it gluten-free), listening to Basshunter, responding to several work emails, and updating my sister’s resume (in related news, I want to offer resume writing/critique services since people are always asking me to review theirs!).

So far today I’ve eaten pumpkin oatmeal and sipped Caribou Daybreak coffee for breakfast, helped load food for a school backpack program, and had lunch at a local pizza parlor. We’ll see what the rest of the day holds, but I have no doubt it will be a fun, relaxing day on the farm!

Roses from the gaden in a vase in the house

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+Cristina Roman