Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Real Women of the World: Why I heart Marie Claire Magazine!

So, I'm a fan of Reproductive Justice. I'm a proponent of all things related to women's empowerment.  I love talking about it, I love getting people riled up about it.  Because really, everybody has some opinion on the matter of sexuality, feminism, sexual education, abortion...

But I especially love it when main stream magazines spotlight real women of the world and air out their business for us American (I'd argue somewhat sheltered in our own bubble) women to see.  Each month, I am excited to get Marie Claire Magazine in my mail.  At first glance, it's nondescript.  You don't really hear about their magazine in the news.  When you go to their website, it looks like a women's magazine website.  It's got the required hot celebs, newest fashion, the best makeup and hairstyles (Nothing new here).  But it also dedicates a large portion of each issue to real, living, breathing women from all over the world.

I find articles about women who I might not ever meet in this life.  Marie Claire gives them the time of day to share their stories.  I was shaken when I read this article a few months back.  It follows the story of sex slaves in South East Asia. In this particular story, the woman had escaped and was trying to empower other girls to believe that being a sex slave forever wasn't their destiny.

I found "The Toughest Woman in America" in this month's MC and was in awe of them publishing a female positive piece about women in the military.  I've heard too much from the male dominated world of the military who think that women don't belong... well, so much for that.  Gunnery Sergeant Ronda Porter looks like she's tough as nails. Good for her.  But the best part of the article is that they show that she is complex.  She turns the "tough" on when she needs to... that's something all of us can relate to.

There are also some fun and interesting pieces... I particularly enjoy "What it costs to be me: Five women from across the world reveal how they spend their monthly paychecks." (I can't find a link to it, you'll have to go out and buy MC yourself!) You get to see what people make and how they spend it.  It's fascinating!!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

We're Engaged!

This holiday season has been such a whirlwind, I'm finally catching up!

First things first, Dave and I are engaged to be MARRIED!!

Here's how things went down.
We went to Annapolis to be with his family for Christmas. I love his family. I enjoy spending time with them, very very much.

For those of you who don't know, I had to uproot myself from my beloved Washington DC for a number of reasons and move to North Carolina. I was sad to leave the beautiful city. So during the Christmas holiday, I was determined to visit all the monuments and do "the DC thing." It didn't take much of Dave's convincing to get me to go back into DC on Christmas eve. It had just snowed an EPIC record snow the week before and the Mall was still covered in the beautiful white.

We took the train into the city. We planned on hitting up the Newseum (News Museum) because I had purchased a Groupon for the museum's admission (50% off!). (Note: ALL the museums in DC have security checks, if you have any metal objects on you, they won't let you through... except if you have a Tiffany's blue box with a pretty white ribbon, and you show it to them without your girlfriend seeing, they MIGHT take sympathy on you and let you through) If you haven't been to the Newseum and you are vaguely interested in our govenment, censorship, the first amendment, interactive museums, 9/11 or anything related to the news, this is a fantastic place to go. There are SO many exhibits, so many things to see and play with. I was amazed. If I hadn't gotten hungry, I would have stayed!!

I'd never been to Potbelly's the entire time I'd lived in DC. Dave thought this to be a crime. We scouted and found this dining establishment and ate a yummy lunch.

Let me just take a moment to explain that I knew Dave was acting funny. But I didn't think he had possession of the ring so I didn't suspect that he was going to propose. He had planned a birthday dinner party that was supposed to take place the week before (during the same EPIC record snow storm) so I thought he might be trying to surprise me with a rendition of that... but it was Christmas eve, nobody who was in on that secret would have wanted to come out to celebrate! So I really thought nothing of it.

We decided to nix the metro and agreed upon walking down the Mall. Dave asked me which monuments I wanted to see. I'd never spent too much time at the Lincoln and had never actually been to the Jefferson. (Clearly he knew this about me and was asking leaning questions so that I would say that I wanted to go to the Jefferson). On to the Jefferson we go!

Fast forward a bit...

We built a snowman on the Mall.

We did the required DC "lift the Washington Monument" picture.

We trotted through the knee deep snow.
My Uggs were soaked through by hour 2.

At around 4:00 pm, I mentioned that it was almost sunset. Aparently that was NOT the thing to say. Dave practically PULLED me all the way to the Jefferson over ice and snow. We HUSTLED.

With a few logistical challenges (a giant construction wall obstructing the entrance), we finally made it to the Jefferson Memorial right before sunset. It was BEAUTIFUL. There was a tour bus full of Asians who also thought it was beautiful (whether they grasped what the Memorial was tribute to is beyond me). I wanted to take pictures of the building, of Dave, of Dave and Me. He was acting strange and kept wandering through the monument mumbling "we have to find the perfect spot." I have long ago given up on trying to understand when he is in one of his mumbles. I perched myself onto a step (kicking up some snow) and observing the large, fat, winter sized squirrels that were romping around. I didn't understand why we couldn't just take a picture there.

He finally came back, I haphazardly took a photo. He wasn't even looking!

Distracted. I put my purse down, he wanted for me to take my coat off (I didn't think anything of it, odd since this was a public place in the cold... but I was warm from the long hike. I turn around from looking at the White House, expecting for us to take a picture together and what do I know, the universal sign of a woman getting proposed to... Dave was on one knee with the PERFECT blue box in his hand.

With my hair blowing all over my face, my tears, I couldn't see or really hear what was going on. All that registered was OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG!

After what seemed like forever, he got up, coerced me to help him open the box, take out the velvet jewel box to find the most beautiful and perfect ring for me. It looks so much better in person than it does on the website.

I hug him crying all over his shoulder and I hear a few of those Asian people I mentioned earlier clapping. I also heard the click click click of camera shutters but I didn't find that odd because people were frantically taking pictures of the sunset. Except I saw a figure moving rather fast to my left, when I look up, I see Emily G. snapping photos of us. In her typical cheery tone, she says "Congratulations on your engagement!"

I should have expected this but I didn't expect ANY of this. And it was PERFECT.

Christmas Eve after a HUGE snow storm, the perfect ring!!! And beautiful pictures to prove!

All the pictures here (except the one where Dave isn't looking) are courtesy of Emily G. without her help and her camera, these beautiful pictures of a really special moment wouldn't exist!

We then went back home, with the exciting news and kept it a secret (well sort of, his mom figured it out pretty quickly) for 2 hours! Dave made the announcement at dinner and it couldn't have been received more warmly!!

What a perfect Christmas Holiday!!
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