Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Musings on Motherhood: Do Babies ‘Take Over Your Life’?

As part of my “So What! Wednesday” post a couple weeks ago, I wrote about the fact that I still have other things I want do before babies come along and “take over my life.” My longtime blog friend HiLLjO responded to this statement, making the excellent point that while a baby may change your life in every possible way, that doesn’t necessarily constitute a complete “takeover” of all your free time, or a loss of your individuality.

While I know everyone’s personal experience is different and that no two women view motherhood in exactly the same way, in my eyes, at this particular time in my life, a “takeover” is exactly what I fear might happen were I to have a child. Yes, I’m sure there are plenty of women who, especially with strong support systems in place, can find the right balance even from the very start. But I also know that there are women who, especially during the months right after their children are born, claim to barely have time to use the bathroom or sit down, let alone schedule “me” time and work on personal projects.

Image Source:
All of that said, even though I think I do want to have a baby someday, I'm hoping it won't be until I reach a point where I’m ready to focus a little less on myself, my husband, and our individual goals, and a whole lot more on a devoting myself to caring for a child. And since I'll be turning 30 later this year, I do also realize that it's time to start nailing down some long-term decisions sooner rather than later.

What do you think? Does having a baby often mean at least a partial loss of your identity and freedom as an individual, or am I misinterpreting things completely? 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Now Blogging for All Women Stalk

I'm thrilled to join the team at All Women Stalk, where I'll be blogging about weddings, travel and more several times a week. One of my first posts, 7 Budgeting Tips for Your Wedding, just went live a couple days ago, and I'll have a lot more going up soon. 

Image Source: All Women Stalk
Feel free to stop by and say hello sometime!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Happy Inauguration Day

Happy Inauguration Day! Instead of battling the crowds down on the National Mall, I'm here at home watching CNN, working on articles, and celebrating the freedom to pursue my dreams and do the things I love.

Congratulations, Mr. President! 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

So What! Wednesday: January 16, 2013

It’s been quite a while since I last linked up with So What! Wednesday, but because I’ve had a lot on my mind lately, including some big “life questions,” I figured this would be as good a time as any to jump back on board. Today, I’m saying “so what” if:

#1  I’m back on track with my workouts, but am still not down to my goal weight. I know that if I keep up the hard work, though, I will definitely get there this year!  

#2  Now that Stephen has officially turned 30, I’m especially dreading my own birthday in September. Even though I’m proud of many things I’ve accomplished during my 20s, and everyone keeps telling me that 30 is “just a number,” there’s something inside of me that’s not yet ready to leave this “younger” phase of my life behind.

#3  My several recent attempts at becoming a vegetarian have failed. While I now rarely meat at home, and usually only have it for special occasions that include some of my favorite dishes, cutting it out completely just left me feeling too deprived. I also surprisingly gained weight during my meatless stints, since I ended up replacing lean meats with more cheese and dairy!  

This spicy bean and veggie stir fry is one of my favorite meatless meals!
#4  I’m still not ready to have a kid, even though it sometimes seems as if everyone around me either already has a baby or is expecting one this year. I have nothing but congratulations for those who are ready to start their families, but I have too many other things I want to do before babies come along and take over my life.

#5  Since leaving my congressional job following the 2010 election, I haven’t been following a “traditional” career path like many of my peers. This is in part because Stephen and I had initially considered moving back to California – a plan we then rethought due to several can’t-pass-it-up career opportunities that came his way. But even though I may not have gone back to working a 9-to-5 job as of yet, I've still earned my master’s degree, worked on various writing and wedding coordination projects I loved, traveled, and spent lots of time with family. Figuring things out career-wise is definitely at the top of my goal list for 2013.  

What are you saying “so what” to this Wednesday?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Happy 30th, Stephen!

Today, I’m wishing a big happy birthday to my husband and lifelong partner in crime as he celebrates his 30th! 

Happy birthday, Daddy! I love you! 
I’ve got a few gift surprises ready to give him tonight after work, and we’ve also been celebrating throughout the past couple weeks with sushi at a local restaurant and homemade Mexican posole. Our “major” celebration will come later this year when we once again travel out to Hawaii in honor of both our 30th birthdays, our third anniversary and my sister-in-law’s wedding. 

Happy birthday, Stephen! The kitties and I love you so much! 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

DC Up Close: U.S. Botanic Garden

The U.S. Botanic Garden has always been one of my favorite places to go when I need an hour or two to unwind. It also happens to be a blissfully warm refuge during the winter months! This past weekend, I made it there just in time to catch the tail end of the popular Fairy Garden holiday exhibit, featuring handmade fairy village displays, along with stunning replicas of DC monuments and museums. The coolest part? Each design was crafted entirely out of plant material!

Pretty neat, huh? Have you ever visited the U.S. Botanic Garden? 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

2013 Reading Challenge

The start of a new year means that it’s time to once again kick off the annual Goodreads Reading Challenge! Although I joined the 2012 challenge halfway through the year, I still managed to complete 25 books, especially given the significant number of cross-country flights I put under my belt between June and December.

This year, while I don’t expect to be doing quite as much traveling, I still hope to read more books than I did last year. Initially, I’ve set my 2013 goal at 30 books, but should I find that I’m burning through them faster than expected, I’ll definitely increase the number as I go along.

Are you joining the Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge, and if so, how many books are you hoping to read this year? Feel free to come say hi and link up with me! 

Friday, January 4, 2013

Movie Review: Les Miserables

After an entire year of anticipation, my curiosity about the new Les Miserables film adaptation was finally satisfied this past weekend, when Stephen and I ventured out into a lightly falling snow to catch a morning showing. By the way, before I get into discussing the movie, did you know you can get tickets for just $6 at AMC Theaters when you go to a showing before noon, any day of the week?! I just found this out recently, and let me tell you, the low price definitely made our trip to the movies all the more enticing.

As for the film itself, while I did enjoy it and would definitely recommend it to others, in some ways it also differed from what I had originally envisioned. Maybe I simply went in with overly high expectations, or maybe the fact that I have previously seen this musical performed on stage three separate times colored my perception. Whatever the reason, I thought that while the movie's star-studded cast did an excellent job overall, the vocal performances they gave were on the whole not as powerful as those I have seen delivered on stage.

Samantha Barks as Eponine. Image Source: Les Miserables iTunes Image Gallery


For instance, the scene where the villainous Inspector Javert commits suicide, one of the most heart-wrenching and dramatic moments in the entire play, seemed to come across in the film as much more restrained. Perhaps the reason for this is that some of the actors in the movie are not experienced stage performers accustomed to performing dramatically and vocally at the same time. The fact that some of the songs were performed while the actors literally cried for the cameras also, in my opinion, weakened the results. I additionally felt that the extensive use of close-ups on the actors' faces throughout the majority of the film eliminated some of the sweeping grandeur that comes with seeing this musical performed live. 

All of that said, however, while I may not be running out to replace my current Les Miz soundtrack with this one, would I see the movie again or consider buying it once it comes out on DVD? Absolutely. 

Have you seen Les Miserables on the big screen yet? What was your take on it, and how did it compare with any Les Miz productions you've seen on stage? 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Looking Ahead: Happy New Year

Happy 2013! I hope you all had a wonderful New Year’s Eve, and that the first couple days of the new year have been good to you. Now that I’ve put 2012 behind me, I’m looking ahead to what 2013 will hold, including my turning 30 this coming September. While I definitely have mixed feelings about leaving my 20s behind, I'm also starting 2013 on a positive note by focusing on the various goals I’m hoping to achieve this year.

1. Maintaining my health and wellness

2. Completing my first novel

3. Attending the Writer’s Digest Conference in NYC

4. Making positive career-related decisions

5. Supporting my husband as he begins working toward earning his graduate degree 

6. Spending time with family and friends

7. Staying as grateful as I am today, even when it seems hard

8. Giving back

9. Traveling

10. Reading just as much as I did during 2012, if not more

What are your top goals for 2013?