Correr y Correr (llorar y llorar).

I’ve always wanted to be a runner, desde chiquita at Palo Alto Elementary, I remember longing to keep up with my fast friends but trailing behind-- pink and sweaty and out of breath. I learned to detest P.E. and all things cardio. In middle school I tried out for volleyball in 6th grade. I promised my friend Blanca that I would at least try. The coach instructed us to do 10 push ups and then mocked my form (or lack thereof, if we’re being honest). WHAT AN ASSHOLE! I could have been the next (who’s a famous volleyball player?). Didn’t she know that my Tia Chaparra was practically a pro in Mexico and was on a legit team with legit uniforms? How did she not spot my Virgen de Guadalupe given talent?  What a mensa. That was the moment that my FUCK THIS attitude was born. I walked out of that stupid gym and never looked back. Basically, from then on life looked like this:

Them: Hey, Cristina, let’s go for a walk!
Me: Fuck that.

Now, years and years later, 30 to be exact, that pink and sweaty gordita is back and longs to run again. I took a trip to New Orleans earlier this year and that’s where the longing sparked. NOLA has my heart in so many ways. La música y colores and the LIFE that happens loudly and unapologetically leaves me a little raw every time I visit. New Orleans is love and cultura and resistance and history. Every time I’ve left, there’s a piece of me that stays and waits for more. NOLA also requires a lot of walking and I was very side eyes about it all. My friends were all gungho about walking real ass miles from place to place, and I was behind them, rolling my eyes, and contemplating ditching them in an Uber.

On the real, it was hard to keep up, and while these are the most tender and fierce women that would have totally understood my struggle, I was embarrassed.  Y listen, I am a confident woman. I attribute my Mami and Tías for always reminding me that I was both smart and beautiful growing up. Although, yes, I can be vain (and believe most of us are and it’s totally ok), I was more upset about not being able to navigate the world in way that felt comfortable.

After alllll that annoying (and beautiful) walking in New Orleans I came back knowing things had to change.

I joined the gym the next morning and immediately started running. I ran a 5k my first day and the rest is history! Tan Tan!

Girl, no. First of all, I already had the pinche gym membership. One that sat unused for the better part of three years. 3. 3. 3. Years. I don’t even want to do the math.
I started by thinking about the food I was feeding my body, about how it made me feel, and how much money I was spending on it. The truth hurts, ya’ll. I knew I had to make some radical changes. If we’re being honest, and by we I mean me, I am facing the issues I have around food. I was taught to eat every single thing on my plate. Like so many others, my family celebrates and mourns and shows love with eating! I show love with food, too. One of my favorite ways to show love is by cooking for my beloveds.
It’s hard to change your palette, it’s hard to release emotional attachment from the thing that nourishes you in so many ways. I don’t even know that I want to do that, cause food is love in so many ways, pero ayyyy! I knew I had to stop feeding myself toxic things and take it back to the kitchen and real foods.

I have changed the way I eat, taking note of how foods make me feel, and of my energy before and after. Green juice is something I drink on the regular now, and actually really LOVE it. I have a recipe and routine in my IG highlights if you’re curious.  I am consuming way way wayyyy less sugar. I don’t deny myself anything, but I am much more considerate to my body. I love her, I think she’s beautiful and I want her to be thriving until we’re 113 years old.

Cardio, ayyyy pinche cardio. It’s taken me a long minute, but I’ve been going to the gym regularly. After 3 months of steady working out I have FINALLY started running, ya’ll!!! I’ve learned to combine something I dread with something I absolutely love-- music. Creating playlists and sharing what literally moves me has shifted something inside of me. I run a song, then walk a song. Lately I’ve been running two songs and picking up my pace! Maybe I’m not the next (who’s a famous runner?), but I am a much healthier and happier version of me. I’m taking this slowly and I have already seen an amazing transformation in my body, pero I know this is not a short term thing for me. I want to run around the world, I want to walk happily from place to place when visiting somewhere new, or even the familiar spots.
I’m very proud of myself for sticking to it and for prioritizing both mental and physical health. I loved my body then, I love her now, and we’re in this for the long haul.

 

Casita Vibes

When my house remodel started, I rented a Pod. I highly recommend this, bc it made moving my stuff in and out a breeze. Well, as breezy as something like that can be! It was an eyesore for two long months, but I'm grateful for that luxury.

So in moving my stuff out, I also got rid of a good 3/4ths of the things in my house. See, this house is a gift, the greatest gift of my life, and came with a lifetime of family memories as well as a lifetime of THINGS. SO. MANY. THINGS. A lot of them my own, but mostly an accumulation of the things a family of six collects over 40 years.

Moving my things back in was a way different experience than out. I kept a fraction of what was, even giving away things that were stored, and in settling back in, I'm being super intentional with what I keep and what I give away. Now, the only things that are in my house that were not originally mine, are the things I treasure with my entire heart. My grandparent's vintage dresser that still smells like their house, their owl light switch cover, my mom's owl cookie jar that was passed around in the family until it got to me.

While I used to have a really difficult time with letting things go, I came to the realization that donating or discarding things does not mean I wasn't grateful for them, or that they didn't mean something to me. It means they served their purpose and now they'll serve someone else.

Moving back in, I was really worried this "new" space wouldn't feel like the only home I've ever known. I was so wrong. The love doesn't live in the walls, the memories weren't discarded with the broken foundation.

I find myself often overwhelmed with gratitude for this space, my home, my sacred place. I'm pouring love and care into it, every single evening after pouring love into Very That. It's an amazing chapter in my life, one that I feel very deeply.

Product launch.

Idea
Research
$$$$
Order material
Test and test and test
Practice a lot
Make a bunch of mistakes, expensive ones, even heartbreaking ones
Stay up v late in the process
Ooh, it's getting there
Oh snap, I think I got it
Decide on the first few
Figure out the shipping part
Boxes and bubble wrap
It's gotta be cute
An amazing display for shows
It's gotta be cute cute
Ok
Ready to share
Take all the fotos
Create a cute background
Different angles, good lighting
Write a great description, be precise with size and how it will be shipped
Decide on a price point
It has to be profitable but you will never overcharge
Create the listings
Check and recheck
Ok
Deep breath
And POST
release this new thing into the world, hoping it will be well received
Thanking the machines that make it possible
Thanking the ancestors for the ganas
Thanking your mami and abuelas for the inspiration
Thanking the friends that helped encouraged you through the rough bits
Thanking yourself for taking chances

The Comeback

I ran into a friend last night, literally-- ran into her! I was at La Botanica dropping off an order to a comadre, and she text saying she couldn't make it after all. I turned around, exhausted from working all day, which was pretty major considering La B was celebrating Lemonade's one year anni. I stopped dead in my tracks, and recognized the face that seemed equally surprised. We screamed... A lot. We hugged and and laughed and then screamed again. It has been around 5 years since I've seen her. We worked together at my last job, the job I left to be Very That full time. When she last saw me, my mama still had breast cancer- I was unhappy and pretty mean if we weren't close. It was all a cover up to how painfully dissatisfied with life I was. So we quickly caught up, in between all the hugging and laughing, and I can't begin to tell you how good it feels to tell my story now. I'm no longer unhappy, unchallenged, and complacent. I told her about Very That, my tiendita that went up and down, Mujeres Mercado, the crazy business relationship that made me question every single thing... and my comeback-- the beautiful rise of my confidence. I told her I found love, that I've traveled a bit, that my little creations have been shipped to places all over the world. Hearing the story come out of my own mouth was incredible. I feel so lucky to tell it, and I feel so ready to add more to it.