Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Find adventure, Single or Married

When I finally had a good internet connection today and hopped on Facebook, I saw the article, "23 Things To Do Instead of Getting Engaged Before You're 23." I decided to take a quick break from exploring temples, riding elephants, and learning to cook here in Thailand to share my thoughts on this topic.

When I saw the article's title, I thought, sure, there are tons of things to do and see at 23. As soon as I made my way past the title and down a couple paragraphs, my blood started to boil. I get the author's intent: there are other things to do with your life in your early 20's other than getting married. Ok, fair enough, not everyone gets married at 23 and that's perfectly fine. But to state that getting married young is a cop-out? I call bullshit on that one.

The author of this article makes several points, the main one being that you miss out on adventure and finding yourself if you get married before 23. She then gives a list of all the things you could be doing instead of getting married. On her list, only 2 things you can't (or shouldn't) do while married. I am pretty certain that marriage doesn't stop me from adopting a pet, doing a pinterest craft, signing up for crossfit, eating an entire jar of Nutella in one sitting, or writing a blog. I can do these things married, engaged, single, old, young, now, later; I don't think it's defined by my relationship status. Do single people think that we married people just sit at home and stare at each other?

The point of this list was to tell the young singles that you must "find yourself" before giving yourself to someone else and that you will not have these opportunities to discover yourself once you "settle down" in marriage. I don't think that you should ever stop discovering yourself, growing, adapting, learning, whether you are married or not. Marriage doesn't mean you have to stay the same person forever and never change. Just as in single life, you can learn news things, see news things, make mistakes, discover the world. Marriage does not mean "settling down" and it certainly doesn't mean giving up opportunities. Sure, there are more compromises to be made, but that doesn't mean you have to stop doing things you love or seeing the world. It just means you have someone to do those things with. Life is an adventure at any age or marital status.

Since my husband and I said "I do" in 2012 at the ripe old age of 21, I have had more fun and adventure than any other stage of life. We didn't stop hanging out with our friends or doing fun things on weekends. We didn't stop chasing our dreams or getting an education. We didn't stop traveling. We didn't stop finding new hobbies. If anything, marriage has helped me discover myself more than being single ever did and has opened up adventures that I never knew were possible.

The article also states that people who get married young do so to "hide behind their significant other instead of dealing with life's highs and lows on their own." You mean to tell me that life all the sudden gets easy when you are married? Yes, hardships are easier to face with someone, but was I coping out? Hell no. Marriage isn't easy and life doesn't turn into rainbows and unicorns as soon as you say I do. Life's ups just seem a bit more enjoyable when you have someone to share them with. Sure, you shouldn't jump into marriage just to have someone to share life with, and yes, some people make the mistake of marrying the wrong person when they are young. At the same time, if you are 100% sure your significant other is the one for you and you are ready for that step, being under 23 shouldn't stop you. There is no set age at which you should get married or any set list of things you have to do before you take that step.

The point of all of this is simple: Each person is dealt a separate hand in life. Some get married young. Some don't find the person they are going to marry until later in life. Some people never get married. There is no rule book saying at what age you should be hitting each milestone in life. Instead of focusing on changing the cards you were given, make the most of them. If you are 23 and married, live life to the fullest and take every opprtunity. If you are 23 and single, do the same! Life is too short, we don't need anyone telling us how our life is supposed to play out.

Rant over, time to go back to my married life, living abroad and riding elephants

Monday, December 30, 2013

Looking Back on 2013

2013 was crazy, exciting, fun, and a HUGE year for us. I think it will be a year we will remember for a very long time. It was so much fun to look back at all of these wonderful memories. Here is to 2013.

We packed up all of our things and I joined Jake in Virginia. We spent New Years with new friends. We took advantage of our new home and explored DC. Jake spent lots of time in the field. I started my job as a nanny for the cutest little baby ever. 

We started to settled in and Lexie started to feel at home. I hung our gallery wall in our temporary apartment to make it feel more like home. We spent weekends hanging out with great friends. I visited Kentucky for the weekend. My dad visited Virginia to see my sister and I. Jake spent lots more time training. 

March was a cold month. Jake spent lots of cold days/nights in the field learning about being a Marine Officer. I spent time with the girls while the husbands were gone. Spent my 22nd birthday rocking out to TSwift's 22 and hanging with good friends. We also had a super fun snowday. 

Spring arrived and so did the cherry blossoms. Kellie Jo got to come visit and we showed her around DC. I ran Color Me Rad with a group of fellow TBS spouses. Jake spent even more time in the field. We enjoyed springtime in Virginia and went to the Foxfield races with a group of friends. We had a blast at MOS reveal and Jake found out he was going to be a logistics officer. 

May was a crazy month. Jake celebrated his 23rd birthday. We found out we would be moving to Okinawa in September. I ran a 5k with my sister. We attended the best concert ever, Luke Bryan and Florida Georgia Line. We celebrated our first year of marriage. We spent last weekends with friends we will keep forever. Jake's family came to town and we celebrated his graduation from TBS. The movers came and packed all of our things and sent them to Japan. 

We made our way down to Charleston where I settled in for the summer. Jake checked into Logistics school in North Carolina. I got aquatinted with my new BFF, Nellie, the chocolate lab puppy. I also got aquatinted with the swimming pool. I fell in love with bikram yoga and eating clean. We spent weekends on the beach in Charleston or downtown Wilmington. 


We spent the weekend with Meghan and Joey and fam in Charleston. I reunited with Sarah and we headed up to Lexington. We spent the 4th in Lexington and had a blast hanging out with friends and family. I spent lots of time on the beach, doing yoga, and hanging out with the parents. Jake spent time learning about logistics. 



We spent an amazing two weeks in Lexington hanging out with friends and family, relaxing, and getting ready for our move. We had to say goodbye and headed to Okinawa. We arrived in Okinawa nervous and excited. We bought cars, found a home and moved in, developed a ramen obsession, and fell in love with this little island we call home. Jake started working, and working a lot. 


We continued to explore our new home and fell more and more in love. We had lots of fun adventures. We found beautiful beaches and cafes, went 4wheelin', saw a bull fight, went to an auction, watched many beautiful sunrises from our bedroom, and I went on a field trip with the spouses group. We also survived our first typhoons. 


Jake headed off to mainland. I spent lots of time exploring by myself. My friend arrived on the island and we had lots of fun getting pedicures. I went the the aquarium with friends. I went on a field trip to the botanical gardens. Jake got home just in time for our first Thanksgiving on the island. We had a fun Christmas photo shoot on the beach.

My friend Shannon and I went to the Tour of Homes and then they accompanied me to a wonderful festival on our base. We decorated for Christmas and tried to get into the holiday spirit. We had a blast at Okinapa. Lexie enjoyed time sitting outside enjoying the beautiful weather. I got to show Jake some of the places I found while he was gone. 

Oh, and we spent Christmas on the beach in Thailand. No big deal.

We cannot believe how increible this year was and can't wait to see what 2014 holds. 

Cheers to the new year!!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Merry Christmas from Thailand

Christmas has come and gone on this side of the world, but I wanted to stop in and wish everyone a very Merry Christmas! We are enjoying our time here in Thailand and are in the relaxing portion of our trip. We had a wonderful Christmas, but missed our family a lot. We are looking forward to ringing in the New Year next week!

Merry Christmas from Bell Bliss

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Celebration

We celebrated our Christmas Friday evening since we will be gone on actual Christmas day. This didn't seem out of the ordinary as we have a hard time keeping secrets anyways so the presents under the tree might not have lasted much longer.

Every year my family eats fondue or clam chowder on Christmas eve, depending on what side of the family it is. My grandma sent us a package of cheese fondue, so we decided to have that for our little Christmas eve. We ate fondue and opened presents and then let Lexie have her presents. What kind of dog parents would we be if we didn't get her some stuff?

We eat at the coffee table, a lot. 

Lexie was under the impression that this was her present

Lexie's new bed

For our "Christmas Morning" we woke up and I made this awesome breakfast casserole I pinned from Chelsea's blog, Anchors Aweigh.  It was so good!

The rest of the day was spent packing, making last minute arrangements, and running last minute errands. Jake spent the entire day relaxing as he did not feel good. My theory is that his body realized he was finally on vacation and gave out after going non-stop for the past few months. This vacation came just in time!

And that was the extent of Christmas cheer over here. We are not sure what we will do actual Christmas day, maybe just hang out on the beach. We are excited to see what Christmas day in another country has to offer!

Happy Holidays

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Leaving On A Jet Plane

Our bags are packed and we are off on our adventure to Thailand for two weeks. Some how, even though I am the biggest over packer there ever was, I managed to fit everything into a carry on suitcase. Gold star for me! I feel some anxiety over the fact that I may not have packed enough or the right stuff, but I know I will be so happy that I don't have much to haul around the 7 airports and 2 train stations we will be visiting. It makes it so much easier that we are going to a warm place so dresses and sandals are all I really need.

For some reason I am so nervous and kind of freaking out. I am worried about everything, since I planned it all.

What if they won't let us in to Thailand?

What if I don't have all of the right documents?

What if a hotel or airline says they can't find our reservation?

What if we can't find taxis or are scammed by taxis?

What if something crazy happens?

What if we don't get to see/eat/do everything?

What if the hotels suck?

What if the whole trip sucks and we wasted all of that money?

What if they won't let us back into Japan?

I know some of these are irrational, but I can't help the nagging feeling I have in the back of my mind.

I am also sad to leave this cute face, even though I know she will be in good hands. 

Ok, I am going to try to stop stressing now and enjoy this amazing opportunity and quality time I get to spend with that one guy I call my husband. I don't know how much blogging will be taking place, but I do have one or two posts scheduled already. I do promise a full recap with pictures upon my return!

Safe travels to everyone and happy holidays!

Friday, December 20, 2013

High Five For Friday 12/20

Hello! Happy last day of work before the holidays to most of you! I've been feeling guilty about being excited for the "break" since I don't have school or a full time job. I guess my main excitement comes from the fact that I get to spend uninterrupted time with the cute man in my life. I know that he is so ready and so deserving of a break.

I feel like I am finally getting the hang of this stay at home wife thing. This week I was so busy and felt like I didn't even have a minute to sit down. And that was after I turned down a couple of social events because I was sick. I feel like I know how to keep myself busy and fill my days with meaningful things. I keep wondering how I will fit everything in if I ever start working full time. 

I was thinking today and wondered why I was so busy this week and then I realized I spent most of my time making holiday treats. I love holiday baking and Jake asked me if I could make treats for all of his coworkers and Marines. My grandma sent me a cake-pop kit, which I have had horrible luck with in the past. I decided to give it a try again, despite everything in me telling me not to. Even though they were a pain and so time consuming, they turned out well and I kind of enjoyed myself. I felt very proud looking at my 85, yes 85, cake pops. My mouth literally dropped when Jake late came home and told me he needed treats for 40 people. I picked my jaw back up, ran out to the store, and made more treats. We also had a cookie drop for the single marines, so I was pretty much baking any free moment this week. It made me miss my momma, who always makes the best holiday treats and is always so giving around the holidays. It was exhausting, but it made me happy knowing Jake was so proud to hand out my masterpieces and that I might have made some homesick Marines smile. 

Speaking of holiday treats, I was at the exchange preparing for our trip. I was buying every travel size toiletry in sight and decided I wanted to pick up a few things for our stockings. They have aisles and aisles of Christmas goodies set up right now, which is nice because we can feel like we aren't missing our favorite holiday stuff from the states. But seriously, what is up with the holiday candy situation? That stuff is super expensive! And ridiculous. There were boxes of chocolate the size of my entire upper body. Who needs that much chocolate??

I did run across some excellent Ghirardelli chocolates. I have been doing everything in my power to stay away from sweets, but between baking and other sweets we have gotten, I am like the freakin' cookie monster. I can't stop eating sweets! I have never been like this, potato chips have always been my weakness. I can really tell the different in the way I feel and look when I eat sweets. It makes me realize why I care so much about eating clean. This new year is so needed so I can "give up" sweets all together and get them out of my house and out of mind!

This bag had eggnog, peppermint bark, and pumpkin spice. I had some self control and put this back on the shelf and only got a small thing of peppermint bark for Jake's stocking. 

Monday I went to lunch at Dean's Kitchen, a cute cafe, with a friend. I was so happy to find out that this island has so many cute cafes and places other than sushi and ramen. I have always loved cafes that have character and good food, and this island sure delivers. I have a list of all the places I want to try while we are here and I sometimes get overwhelmed. Slowly, I am crossing everything off of my list. 

We leave for Thailand on Sunday. I almost wanted this week to go slowly, not because I'm not excited, but I feel very unprepared. I don't know if it is because I planned the trip spur of the moment or if it is the first big trip I have planned myself. I am just nervous I am forgetting something or haven't made the proper arrangements. I also get overwhelmed by wanting to plan every minute and at this point I haven't made a specific day to day plan. I decided I wanted to go with the flow and decide things as we go. This may be stupid, but it may be to our benefit. We will see! 

This weekend we are doing our little "Christmas" celebration and packing, which we always seem to put off until the very end. In less than 48 hours we will be off on a crazy adventure!

Linking up with LaurenDarci, and Jennie

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas Card Shoot + Christmas Card Reveal

I was so excited for this fun little photo shoot at the beach near our house. I really wanted to have pictures of us on this little island we call home. These are some of my favorite pictures of us to date, not because they are perfect, but the definitely capture our couple "personality."

And our Christmas Card! Due to time constraints, I made it myself on Picmonkey (for those who don't have photoshop/photoshop challenged) and had them printed and then found envelopes at the store. I've learned that life living abroad, you make things work and you just have to be happy with it. In the end, it's a Christmas card and it's that thought that counts!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Be your "REAL"

We all blog for different reasons and our blogs take different forms. That comes with the territory, since naturally we are all different people. Some use their blog as a "private" space away from their real world to share their feelings and secrets. Some people give tips on beauty, fashion, or decor. Some people share funny stories or antidotes about life. Some people (me, me!) give a little glimpse into their life. Whatever it is you blog about, it's your space.

Lately I have noticed an upsurge in the term "real" blogging. We all say that we enjoy reading blogs that are real. But what exactly defines a "real" blog? It seems to me that most people think real blogs are the blogs that share insecurities, secrets, intimate details of their life. Posts that most people get scared to post. I've always appreciated these posts and admire those who are brave enough to share these things with the world.

At the same time, I don't think these types of posts are necessary to make a blog "real." People who are sharing these things have created a space in which they want to share these things and feel comfortable doing so. Not everyone's blogging space is meant for such personal details. Now, I am not trying to discredit the people who have posted so many wonderfully brave posts, but just trying to get all of us here in the blogging world to take a step back and think about how we define a "real" blog.

My "real" is not posting about things I have no business posting about. Make-up tutorials? Ha, trust me you don't want my help. Money saving tips? You are better off just googling that. My "real" is staying true to my original purpose. My "real" is only posting when I feel inspired or have something to share. My 'real" is sharing the good times in my life, but also the silly and hard things that make my life not so perfect.

Most likely you won't find me posting my secrets in this little space. Am I scared? No. Is my life perfect? Not by any stretch of the imagination. I have had my share of struggles in life and my day to day isn't always sunshine and rainbows. First, I don't think I could give my struggles the right words they deserve. Second, I don't really feel like that is what this space I have created is about. Sure, I share some things that aren't always positive and upbeat, like my struggle with the language barrier. I also have a few posts sitting in my drafts that edge toward the more vulnerable side. But in general, if you are looking for a blog that shares every insecurity or struggle I've ever had, you've come to the wrong place. Does that make me or my blog any less real? I don't think so.

So if you find yourself wondering if your blog is "real" or wanting to make sure it is, think about what "real" is to you and your space. Think about your original blogging purpose. Remember that each blog takes its' own shape and form and all types of blogs are needed and enjoyable here in the blogging world. Be your "real," whatever that may be.

Monday, December 16, 2013

A Busy Weekend

Hi! One more week before the Holidays. Not that I'm counting down : )

This weekend was a fun one. Friday afternoon I was super busy running errands and making food for Jake's work Christmas party that evening. I did make a quick stop at the cute cafe down the street I've been wanting to try. It was past lunch time so I was given the "tea set" which included goya sherbet and rare cheesecake with dragon fruit sauce. It was really good and the presentation was awesome. I can't wait to go back for dinner!

For our Christmas party I made cheese potatoes and chocolate chip cookie dough cheesecake. The cheesecake was the hit of the party! I was excited that it turned out so well. I will definitely be making it again in the future. 

Saturday we met up with friends at Okinapa, one of the biggest events of the year held at the officer's club ballroom. It was one of the funnest things we have been to since we have been here. It was super fancy with ice sculptures everywhere. There was food every single way we turned. There was a pasta bar with every pasta you could ever imagine. There was a table with lots of sushi. There was a carving station, shiskabobs, crab cakes, and oysters. There were multiple cheese/meat tables (basically my dream). There was a dessert bar and a crepe table. It was pretty incredible and I may dream about the food for a couple of weeks. It was fun to get dressed up and hang out with friends. 

Sunday we decided to go explore so I could show Jake some of the places I found while he was gone. We started by having lunch at my favorite little market place. It has the cutest bakery, outdoor food stands, a gift shop, and a produce stand. I have never seen any Americans there, which I kind of like because you feel immersed in the culture. 

After lunch we drove around and stopped at a few beaches. We also found some ruins at the top of a hill, which was an intense incline on sharp rocks and I was definitely not wearing hiking shoes. The view from the top of the hill was incredible, though. Too bad it was a very overcast day.

During out adventure, what I thought was just tiredness and the sniffles turned into severe cold symptoms, so we decided to head home. Jake cooked me a delicious dinner of frozen pizza while I laid in bed and drank ridiculous amounts of orange juice and watched Christmas movies. I took nyquil and went to sleep very early. I hope I can kick this cold before our trip next week.

This week will be VERY busy packing, getting ready, and preparing for Christmas. I am trying not to stress, but part of me feels like I am missing something for our trip. I keep reminding myself we will be on the beautiful beaches of Thailand in a week!

Linking up with Logan, LisaKimberlee, and Carissa