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    Ay Güey! I’ve lost 50 lbs ...

    I’ve been nervous to post this, to write about it, to share it in general. It’s a huge scary world filled with cynical people dissecting every move--- it’s also a big beautiful world full of people with light and love. I choose to roll with the side full of luz & just know that sharing my story will be ok. This is my story, this is not a formula or by any means a plan. I loved myself 50lbs heavier, I love myself today.

     


    Everything is everything, right? Let’s go back a little.
    I have come to realize that a toxic relationship with a former partner had me all mixed up around food. They didn’t always have enough money to eat, so that was one of the ways I showed love. I cooked and always made sure there was extra for them to take home. It became an expectation I grew to resent when things went south in other ways. That person pointed out my weight gain, they came up and grabbed my beloved lonjas with hands that did not feel loving nor gentle. At one point, their touch made me feel like I had espinas all over my body, as if my skin was rejecting their graze. I gained over 40 pounds during the two years I was with this person, all in my panza, as if to wedge us farther apart. One of the very last, if not the final, conversations we had, ended with her calling me a “mean fat girl”. Fat isn’t a bad word, but I am not a mean person. It cut me so deep. It cut me to the core.


    Growing up I was always gordita y bien contena. I have always been confident about my body and have generally been happy with my looks. Laura, my sister and #1 hype girl, my Mami, my Tias-- they always had me real chiflada. I can honestly say that I haven’t had any major body issues until that awful relationship. Healing is a process, one I am very much still in, and I’m grateful that most of my life has been laced with confidence. I know that is a gift and do not take it for granted. Tasting that bitterness only makes the sweeter so much more delicious.


    So, earlier this year I shared this blog about my visit to New Orleans and how much I hated all the walking in my favorite city. It was hard to realize it in the moment, NOLA is so special and a walking tour is beautiful. I felt like I was cheating myself out of experiencing something so magical.

    I decided to make major changes right after I got home. March has always been a significant and transitional time for me. I’m surrounded by Pisces women, my best friends, sister, niece-- all fierce fish. I’ve noticed a pattern, magical things happen in March.

    The first thing I did was think about how I was nourishing my body, and the truth was that I really wasn’t. I grew accustomed to not cooking, eating out for nearly every meal, and only when I was ridiculously hungry. I started making my own green juice again, I swear to God and Beyoncé that this stuff is magic. I also cut all processed sugar from my diet for a few weeks. I needed a major shift to wean myself off food that was literally doing nothing nutritious for my body. I’m going to list a few things that helped me get on track, again. For the first few weeks I really just loved on myself extra hard and didn’t think about movement. I eased back into cooking and grocery shopping and took note of how certain foods made me feel.

    I went back to the gym a couple weeks after that and tried to make it a nearly every day thing. I have incorporated my love of music with something I dread-- cardio. It has made things easier and apparently others appreciate it too! I get so many messages about the music I share. I’m happy that my motivation has moved others, literally!

    There are so many things I want to share and document, but this entry might get too long. For now I’ll share some of the things that have been vital in this change:

    • Water!! Drink so much water. Yes, you’ll have to pee constantly, but we need it. I can’t tell you how many times water has saved me. Agua es vida.
    • When I can’t make my own green juice, I pay for it and don’t feel bad about it. I support a local black-owned business called Squeezers. They make the best juice and I’m circulating my coin where it matters.
    • Sonia, Myra, Yvette, Perla: these women have supported me endlessly, have helped me stay accountable and inspired. I love you. Thank you.
    • I eat what I want, when I want. I find that when I give myself time to think about what I will eat, I find myself craving colorful, bright foods. Decolonizing my diet.
    • I’ve had ups and downs. I didn’t work out for a month and a half. I don’t feel bad about it-- I try my hardest to never let guilt have a role in my selfcare.
    • I have found that alone time at the gym is sometimes the ONLY time I have to myself--- I cherish it!
    • Slow and steady por vida.
    • It’s been HELLA fun wearing old clothes, giving clothes away, buying new stuff, etc.
    • I love showing off my panza, she’s still llenita and so cute.


    I’ll write more about food and culture and how my Tía Mari used to guilt me into eating every last grain of rice on my plate. I’m nervous to share this foto and this part of my story, but I know my community holds me up. More later! 

    Casita Vibes y Pan Dulce Parties

    Casita Vibes y Pan Dulce Parties

    After falling asleep sometime after 3:30am, I woke up at 7:30 this morning and eagerly got out of bed. After washing up, walking my friend’s dog, I drove to H-E-B. I asked for 20 pink balloons and picked up some pan dulce, a sparkly candle, and confetti poppers. 
    I came home and cleaned up as quickly as I could and the welcomed my mom, my sister oti, niece Lexi, the babies Nana & Rudy and Steph. We made coffee and turned on the cumbias. 
    At precisely 9:58 am I went on IG live and welcomed a few hundred people into my home. What seemed like 3 seconds later, I hit publish on my new website, we popped the confetti, and the sparkler was blazing. 
    I felt the love today, both from the people physically present in the room, and all those that joined me online. Some of my best friends and family came through. People I admire, people I went to school with. It is amazing. 
    For a minute I thought, why do I always have to do the most? Lol. But, like, why not? These moments are fleeting and I plan to savor them all. This is a big day, my life is pink and yellow and all the shades of glitter. I want to celebrate that & remember these moments always.
    Thank you to everyone that has shared my site, shared in this day, shared their well wishes. I see you.

     

    Bidi Bidi Changes

    The first time I visited Ana, aka Cha Cha Covers, in LA, she gently insisted I take my business online. I tried Etsy over five years ago, when I first started Very That, pero I failed miserably. I did not think I could try it again, even though my sister and biggest cheerleader, Laura also kept nudging me to take the leap.
    Timing is everything.
    I noticed that my Instagram following was growing out of San Antonio, and then out of Texas. People were asking where they could buy my stuff and I didn't know what to tell them. I sold via Instagram for a while, but that was a hard thing to manage after the first dozen orders. It was a good problem to have!
    I came home from that first west coast trip different, mas enfocada en mi. I did so much research and homework and took the time to vision what selling online would look like. YouTube University is real, ya'll. Also, friends like Ana and Nicole from Sweetcraft Jewelry, both pros at Etsy and e-commerce, were there to answer my many many MANY questions. 
    After a lot of work and trial and error-- sas! I posted my first few items on Etsy and never looked back. 
    This has changed my life in so many ways! I went from doing local shows ALL the time, to being able to really pick what shows are best for me and my products (and honestly, my back and sanity). I had to quickly learn the world of packaging and shipping and ALLLLL of the things that go hand in hand with e-commerce. It's a fascinating world, and I really enjoy this learning process. 
    I believe that the universe has my back. I believe in the law of attraction. & I believe in the power of manifestation. The previous holiday season, which would have been 2015, I loaded up on clearance bubble mailers at Target. I bought them ALL up and stored them away knowing I'd need them one day. Etsy wasn't even a second thought at that time. I went through that first batch so quickly! 
    Timing is EVERYTHING.
    Now, over 18 thousand online sales later, lots of mistakes and triumphs and so many lessons learned, I am ready to take a leap of faith. 
    I introduce to you the all new VeryThat.com ! You'll soon see the full thing, with all her bells and whistles and a very full tiendita, on my very own website. I'm so excited, un poco nerviosa, and very very grateful at how it has all come together.  While Etsy was a great way for me to start, I'm clear on who they promote and who they don't. As a QWOC, I'm very proud to have something that is independent and all my own. You'll still find a smaller selection of my things there, pero now all traffic will point to verythat.com. ME SIENTO MUY EXCITED! 
    In the coming months you'll see video content, behind the scenes, workshops, and more of my writing. I'm curious to know what YOU would like to see. Very That is very much a community of comadres and chingonas and poderosas, and I want to hear from you, queridas. 
    Thank you so much for supporting me, my store, my heart. I cannot express how grateful I am to do what I do, to connect with all of you, and to live my life like it's golden. There's going to be a huge sale starting 9/1, mucho ojo! 
    Con tanto tanto tanto amor,
    Cristina Maria Martinez 
    La Very That 

    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. 

    All the Stickers!

    All the Stickers!

    Like so many of my friends and favorite people, stationery and school supplies are my JAM. As a kid, the best part of going back to school was looking forward to getting all new supplies! Binders and notebooks and pencils, OH MY GAH ...

    We were raised on a strict budget most times, but my Mami, being the angel that she is, always let me slip in something fun. I clearly remember a pack of teeny tiny pencils in 2nd grade, completely a novelty product, but they made my teeny tiny heart sing. And then, of course, there was Lisa Frank. 
    Lisa. Frank. LISA FRANK. L I S A F R A N K. OMG.
    Even thinking about it now gives me excited chills up and down.
    She was the queen of all things stationery, but where she really grasped my heart was with her stickers. Sheets and sheets of them all at my disposal. 
    In working on my own cositas and brand visioning, I knew that it was inevitable to create my own stickers and stationery. I've been releasing a new design every couple weeks for the last two years or so, and my collection has grown so fast! Here are some of my latest batches. I've made some out of vinyl, with the help of StickerApp.com. These are perfect for your laptop, journal, car, really anything. They're made of really high quality vinyl and will outlast weather and washes. 

    Like any 80's baby, I rode the first wave of the planner craze. From the binder ones you'd buy refills for (I never bought the refills, btw, I just found an excuse to get a new one every single year.), to the tiny ones for your purse- I was in all the way.
    I remember when I got my first Palm Pilot phone, my planner was used way less and I relied on technology way more. I missed writing things down, I missed the doodles along the border and the physical reminder of years past. 
    It seems like the planner craze is back (much like the 90s in general!), and I couldn't be happier. I use mine religiously, especially for work. Managing an online store, vending, meetings, and regular social stuff has finally gotten fun again. I created planner stickers because I couldn't find anything I really related to in the online planner store world. 
    So far, I have released around 7 designs that were made especially for planner sized boxes. These have received great response so far, and I'm so excited to release the secret gems I've been working on!