recent obsessions

i have a pretty obsessive personality. there are some things that i have a lifetime obsession with, and then there are obsessions that come and go during different seasons and chapters of life. some discoveries are just so awesome!

here’s a few things i’ve really, really been loving lately:

the royal courts of justice – an insanely beautiful london building that i feel is often overlooked! my friend julia and i met up there the other day to explore. we couldn’t take pictures inside, but woah, the interior is stunning (in addition to the sublime exterior, of course)! we got to sit in on a court case and watch the lawyers do their thing – with their traditional robes and wigs on!


these workout pants i got from the gap the other week. i bought two different colours because i liked them so much. i just think they are so fun with their “chameleon” effect. when i fell running in prague, my first concern was obviously the baby in my womb, and my second was ripping my leggings – not much thought about my torn up skin, haha! the chameleon pants survived the fall!  isn’t it great when you have exercise clothes that really make you want to exercise?!

speaking of exercise, i am doing a two week trail of class pass, and have so loved trying classes at different studios around london. i get to explore new neighborhoods, interact with new people, and train my body and mind in new ways. i have done pilates, yoga and barre, and tomorrow i am going to a “pregdance” class – prenatal ballet!

speaking of my body, i am so so amazed and awestruck and fascinated by pregnancy and the fact that my body parts are working together to seriously create a human being. everything new i learn about what is happening inside me pretty much blows me away. how the heck…?! and i am genuinely so excited to experience childbirth, harnessing the incredible power of my body to help our baby boy enter this world outside the womb. 
i have been following a few birth photographers on instagram and am obsessed with the images i see. here’s one of my favourites – check out @cordmamas and @birthbecomesher (and those linked from her photos/hashtags) for more (warning: the pictures are sometimes a bit graphic). isn’t the umbilical cord just the most amazing thing?! and the captures of raw, intense, beautiful emotion and sensation are so, so awesome.
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the mature cheddar and pret pickle sandwich from pret a manger (a cafe/coffee shop on what seems like every corner here in london!). i maybe ate one of these for lunch four times in a week recently…i don’t know what it is about that sandwich, but i’m so obsessed!

i got this rio sonicleanse face brush as a late christmas gift, and i love, love, love it. i’ve been wanting to try something like this for a while (i’m not huge on beauty products and kind of have no idea what i’m doing when it comes to skin care and makeup and etc, but have been wanting to up my “beauty regimen” a little…) and i wasn’t about to shell out over one hundred pounds for a clarisonic. i think this has got to be just as good. i am amazed at how it has changed my skin!

the daffodils in st. james’s park! we went for a sunday stroll over there yesterday and those thousands and thousands of yellow flowers were quite the sight to see!! they make me so happy!
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^^ can you spot the london eye behind the boy?! ^^

eight. (this is the best one!)
this week i heard from two of my old friends, who have become two of my greatest heroes, with incredibly awesome news that i am obsessed with!
one of the girls i worked with as a counselor at a residential treatment center (my first post-mission job in 2009-2010) was part of lady gaga’s performance at the oscars last night, representing survivors of sexual abuse. i am so, so, so proud of this brave, resilient, amazing girl and all that she has overcome.
one of the students from the eighth-grade class i taught in san jose let me know that she was accepted into and will be attending a summer program at harvard this summer!! mayra has to be one of the most remarkable individuals i’ll even encounter in this life. on her first day of seventh grade at alpha public schools, she knew zero english (can you imagine being thrown into middle school not speaking or understanding a word of the language?!). by the end of the year, she had straight a’s, was named student of the year, and had the utmost respect of her classmates whom she had each and all befriended. she was the top student in my class in every subject. she worked so, so hard and was beloved and admired by literally every one of her peers. our class was named after harvard (each class in the school had a university name) and mayra has had her sights firmly set on harvard as long as i’ve known her. and now she’s headed there!! her employer (now as a sophomore in high school, she’s an intern at cisco) will be funding most of her expenses for the summer program (i'm sure she's a crazy good employee), but she still has quite a lot of money to raise to make this dream come true. check out her go fund me page and donate if you can! i honestly can’t think of a better use of a donation – this girl is going to make a difference in the world!
i'm so blessed to know these two inspiring young women!

life is beautiful! i hope whoever reads this has a really great day.


  1. Those daffodils are so dreamy! Love the cheery feel.

    You might like Aviva Romm's website. A friend recommended it when she was pregnant and there are a lot of holistic and just really wonderful resources for pregnancy and life. Worth a look!

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  3. Always keep in mind that success is a safe delivery for mama and baby. Sometimes, that can cause havoc to your birth plan.
    When deciding about pain medication, remember this: no one expects you to have a root canal without meds, and labor/delivery is a marathon of pain.

  4. totally agree about birthing success! i keep reminding myself that flexibility is the most important part of my "birth plan." but i just fundamentally believe that my body is built to give birth, just like every woman's (of course with some exceptions). it isn't necessarily built to have a root canal, which is a procedure that is used to prevent future pain, rather than a natural human process. i am choosing to give birth with as little intervention as possible not because i think it is expected of me by anyone, but because i want to experience the natural, incredible, god-given power of the female body (which has been exercised in marathons of labor/delivery pain without medication by billions of women around the globe and throughout time). that's just my perspective, which i would never hold another person to! thanks for sharing yours!

    1. I hope you get your fairytale.

      The body needing a root canal is not a character flaw. The body not being able to get pregnant or carry or deliver a baby on demand isn't a character flaw either. The body needing a csection is not a character flaw. The body needing pain relief finally available isn't a character flaw. You speak with such passion, if you do get a pain med in the end you won't be thought less of. I wish for delivering moms to be comfortable, the baby to come out healthy with no drama, and mom to recover quickly and without unnecessary burden. Did most nieces and nephews come into the world by midwife?

    2. hi kris! giving birth naturally is not a fairytale - it is a miracle that happens thousands and thousands of times daily. i am prepared that it might not work out for me, but i am preparing for it because i believe it is what is best for me and my baby. that does *not* mean i hold any other person to that personal belief and of course any of the choices/situations you mentioned are not character flaws! i don't think i'll be less thought of if i used pain medication in the end - not worried about that a bit. and i wish the same as you for delivering moms.

      i personally believe that i am most likely to be comfortable (all-around in the experience as a whole, not in the middle of a really painful contraction!), the baby is most likely to come out healthy and with no drama, and i am most likely to recover quickly and without unnecessary burden if i labor and deliver with the least amount of medical intervention that is necessary in my own situation. of course it is 100% fine and great if other women believe and choose something else!

      some of my nieces and nephews were born with midwives and without intervention, but not many.

  5. Taking bets that on baby #2 (and #3, #4, #5 #6) that you'll reconsider the pain meds.

  6. Of course you can plan any kind of birth you want as long as it's safe for your baby. Since "we do hard things" is a big part of your life seems like non-medicated birth fits nicely. I do think the "god-given power" justification sounds super silly. Men and Women have been recovering from broken bones for millions of years, God made our miraculous bones so they can heal, but that doesn't mean I'll volunteer to have my broken bones set without pain meds. no need to justify.

    1. we will see what happens this time and next time. meanwhile i am appreciating the experience and learning about my amazing body.

      broken bones are broken. nothing is broken or not in its most ideal shape when i am pregnant.

      to each their own! this is just my decision based on what i have learned is safest for me and my baby. and i am pretty excited about it :)

      thanks for reading!

    2. the tears etc of childbirth require healing. Much like a broken bone. You know historically millions of women died in childbirth before the invention of modern medicine, right?

    3. hey jenny, i am definitely a fan of modern medicine and the amazing ways that lives can be saved and the body can be encouraged in healing. if i tear during childbirth of course i will gladly accept stitches and treatment. and if there are complications during labor and delivery, i will be so grateful for medical assistance no matter what form it takes (and i am grateful for how that assistance has saved so many lives in the past!). but the pain of childbirth itself is not dangerous, and from my study and consideration, i believe most available medical interventions to assuage that productive pain are not what is best for me or my baby. i do not expect anyone else to come to the same conclusion and have zero judgement for those who decide something differently about medical intervention in a non-complicated labor and delivery.

    4. In reading these comments (I'm catching up this afternoon!), I have an image in my mind of two people standing in a field of flowers on a blindingly sunny day, and one saying to the other "this field is going to look just dreadful once all the flowers have shriveled up; and surely this sun won't last - before we know it, pelting rain will come, and it may destroy the flowers even faster...not to mention frost, which isn't unheard of"...I honestly can't understand why we choose to look ahead and craft grim scenarios to present as some sort of "no-nonsense gift" to those who desire to live with a positive, hopeful attitude?

      Charity, I so enjoy your posts on this blog, but I appreciate your responses to comments, whether happily thanking others for their good wishes, or determinedly standing up for your optimism in response to dissenting views. You are an excellent example of looking at the future with happy anticipation.

  7. Congratulations on your soon to arrive baby boy!!! Seems like just yesterday that my hubby and I were finding out that our first baby was a sweet little boy too. We've since had two more boys and a little girl and of course we just love 'em all to pieces!! Time sure flies by, and I'm happy that you are "soaking in" and enjoying this special time in your life! My four pregnancies and deliveries, (some of them with pain medication and some without, and each of them with their own unique challenges and blessings) have such a precious place in my heart. You'll feel just the same way about your own birthing experience. :) Anyway, sending along my best wishes during this wonderful time for your family!

  8. Just love your childbirth mindset. Believing in your body and it's strength and intuition is so important to building a confident vision for giving birth! And don't you find every exercise class more exhilarating and empowering when your training goal is what may very well be the most demanding physical feat you've conquered yet?! I love that feeling, and the focus and determination that pregnancy gives you when you feel empowered to have a natural birth. Yay!!! I loved checking out hypnotherapy meditations online, and also watching birthing videos! My labor ended entirely unexpectedly in an emergency c section (which I think was one of the gentlest, most beautiful c sections ever performed!), but although my birth plan didn't come to fruition, I STILL feel empowered by that pregnancy and how I prepared to welcome my baby naturally. I love your approach and your admiration for the female body and its capabilities.

    1. thank you for sharing your experience - i love that. no matter what happens, the things i have learned are so cool and empowering. and yes on exercise! when my muscles hurt while working out, i consider it great prep for exciting painful adventure ahead :)

  9. Hi Charity! Congratulations! There is nothing like your first time through all of this!

    I've given birth four times. Twice with an induction and epidural and twice without an epidural and going into labor spontaneously. I have so much heartache for the deliveries in which I received the epidural. I remember very little about the experiences and feel little connection to their deliveries. This always seems to be such a hot topic (I don't really get why) and so I wanted to offer some positive words to you because I've been on both sides and I feel the heartache often that I missed out on what could have been. I think daily (daily!) about the natural births I had because the experience was so profound and life changing for me. (I don't think all women feel this way about it, but based on what you've expressed, I think you are one who will feel it!)

    I think it's wonderful that we all get to choose for ourselves because we are each unique in how we view and feel about birth. (P.S. Have you viewed The Business of Being Born?)

    Best to you and your growing family!

  10. A friend of mine, who had all of her babies (4) at home and nearly delivered them all herself (minimal assistance from her midwife mother-in-law), would say the best place or way to deliver a baby is where mom feels safe. I appreciate that definition because it is empowering. For me, that was with meds, in a hospital, for my friend, it was her tiny apartment surrounded by her family. The great thing is that we have so many options and can find ways to make the experience that best it can be for each individual. Each situation may also be different. Good luck, Charity.

  11. I had 5 babies and I was in the 19070's I had my first 2 and 1980's next 2 and one in the 1990's. With the first one it was very popular to do either the Boyer method which is water and a quiet birth. The other was Lamaze method which I chose. Yes I did the red raspberry tea and even took it to the hospital when I labored. They weren't fond of that but I insisted. I also took an herbal supplement call PN-6 now called Labor perp. I delivered 9 and 10 pound babies with some ease save it be the first. I swore by my tea and supplements. Who knows, it was my thing! Every birth was different except my desire to do what was best for my babies. For heart burn I bought papaya enzyme chewable tablets from the health food store.
    The 3rd birth I was blessed to be at a hospital that had a "birthing chair"! Now that was a crazy rapid birth! A 10lb 12oz baby girl was born oh too fast for everyone! Gravity really made the birth expedited! Talk about easy pushing the baby out. But oh man it was the first time I felt the "ring of fire" full force head on and man alive it burned!
    One thing I did with baby #3 was I decided that they would not take the baby after she was born. I determined that I would keep her in bed with daddy and I without wisking her away for bath, diaper, feet print, shots etc. We were able to spend 4 hours with this precious newborn just the 3 of us and her latched on nursing to her hearts content. Warning! 4 hours on one breast is not a good idea for mama!OUCH! But it was pure bliss!
    I was not prepared nor do I think you can for the EXTREME amount of love you experience upon looking at your baby. I seriously was taken back by the intensity of a mothers love!
    My final word is to research, study, learn, and then when labor starts you will need to listen to your body and someone else who knows exactly what you are experiencing that you can trust for guidance. This will be YOUR own person birth story! You make your choices ahead of time and then listen to body with how to proceed with each phase of birth. Be patient and do not rush the process. Each phase has its own timing and own experience. Oh my, I pray you don't have a baby with a large oblong head because they are hard to push out. Also waaaaayyy back in 1977 with my first baby I had a dialog that I got from my mom's words..."if the doctor takes his/her time and stretches you slowly as you deliver and you push accordingly you don't need to be cut." It worked except with #1 because they decided to give me the biggest epidural and I could NOT push my baby out because I was numb from my chest down! Yes, they used forceps and suction, everything I was so again having practiced Lamaze! The nurses were all pushing hard on my stomach to get the baby out. Awful experience but a 23 year old unexperienced mom I was not in the driver seat, Last time however because like you are doing, I intended to take over what happens to me to the best of my ability hence forth and it worked! Good luck Charity, I hope everything goes beautifully!

  12. Awesome post! As you know, I'm obsessed with the joys surrounding newborns. It's as close as one can get to heaven! Can't wait!

  13. A woman's body truly is AMAZING!!!! (If there's ever any argument as to which is better - being a man or woman - pregnancy and childbirth definitely win it over for me.) I checked out @cordmamas, and wow! I had tears streaming down my face as I scrolled through and read the captions. So so beautiful and miraculous and powerful! I feel privileged to be a woman and to be able to have children. We have three girls and just had our first boy 6 months ago. It's so fun to have my own little miniature boyfriend! I am truly enjoying following along on your London, marriage, Europe, pregnancy and life journey. Thanks for sharing!
    Camile from Connecticut