Thursday, October 31, 2013

Life of a College Dog

I got Lexie (our dog) when I moved out of the dorm and into an apartment Sophomore year of college. It probably wasn't the best idea. My parents told me that I needed to focus on school and work and not get distracted by a puppy. They also told me that dogs were expensive and a huge responsibility. Jake agreed with them, too, even though he completely denies this now. I didn't care, because the opportunity presented itself and I could not resist. Let's be honest, who can resist a cute puppy face??

Most people in college were way more responsible than I was and did not have a dog. Lexie quickly became very popular. People always wanted to come see her and some people would even bring her presents and treats. Everyone really loved her and she loved everyone. People would fight over who was her favorite and many people consider themselves her best friend. Looking back, though, this dog went through a lot. People always wanted to pet her, hold her, take pictures with her, and I am sure she just wanted to be left alone. She often got to be part of late night selfies and typical college photoshoots. She was a trooper.

Everyone wants a Lexie photoshoot!

That poor dog. We made her do crazy things.

I also thought it was necessary to take pictures holding Lexie whenever we were in "photo shoot mode." She does not look like she is enjoying it in any of these pictures. (Note: top right was a halloween costume, not daily wear. Just in case you were wondering)

Looking back now, even though it wasn't the most responsible decision, I wouldn't do it any differently. I still would have snatched up that cute puppy that captured my heart with her weird ears at the humane society. College was super fun, but it also wasn't easy. I loved having a puppy there to make me smile during the hard times and snuggle with when I needed to be cheered up. 

I know it's kind of corny, but Lexie also made Jake and I's relationship stronger. Our love for her brought us together during a very difficult time when college threaten to tear us apart. She's made 5 different moves and been through lots of stages of life with us. She has been a point of stability during times of change. She truly has been man's best friend. woahh sorry this post wasn't supposed to get sappy. 

Having a puppy in college was tons of fun. She endured a lot of shenanigans, but if she could talk, I think she would say she didn't mind. She is a diva after all, and diva's like their photo ops. Many of my college memories include Lexie, since she was pretty much just one of the roommates, or most of the time, the favorite roommate. She has so many people who love her. People always ask how she is doing when they talk to us and want to see her on Facetime. We are a family of three and we love it. Lexie, you are one very loved dog.

Did you have any pets in college? Do you put your dogs through weird stuff (halloween costumes, outfits)?? I would love to hear stories!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Someday I will

I'm in need of some inspiration today. Here's to encouraging yourself when life gets weird and you need a bit of motivation

Someday I will plan my blog posts ahead of time

Someday I will run more than 3 miles. And like it

Someday I will sweep and mop my floors instead of just saying I will do it tomorrow

Someday I will give up sweets. Just kidding

Someday I will actually make a monthly budget....and stick to it

Someday I will drive a car that is newer than 2002

Someday I will be a teacher with my own classroom

Someday I will only go to the grocery store once a week

Someday I will buy a juicer and drink juice until my heart's content

Someday I will do a workout in an actual gym instead of my home

Someday I will learn how to code HTML. Or at least learn how to not suck at it

Someday I will find a pair of jeans that fit me perfectly

Someday I will be able to communicate in Japanese

Someday I will figure out how to do something to my hair other than straighten it

Someday I will buy a DSLR camera, learn how to use it, and take beautiful photos

Someday I will go to a Cowboys game at their stadium. Preferably the Super Bowl

Someday I will make a difference in the Education system

Someday I will have a wardrobe I absolutely love

Someday I will have my dream home and it won't be very big

Someday I will be a mom. And a darn good one

Someday I will ride an elephant in Thailand, see the temples at Angkor Wat, sit on the beach in Bali, ride on a boat in Halong Bay, see the rice terraces in the Philippines, spot at Geisha in Kyoto, stand on the Great Wall in China, throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain in Rome, drive the Amalfi coast, kayak in Croatia, and the list goes on

                                                     The Daily Tay

Monday, October 28, 2013

Food and Fish Markets

We had a pretty relaxed weekend due to the fact that Jake needed to spend time getting ready for an upcoming event. Sorry, I know that is vague, but as a military spouse I don't really have the luxury of sharing every detail of our life. 

I feel like our lives and adventures here center around food and I'm ok with that. Friday started with a pizza night in while Jake ran around the house making preparations. Saturday started off with pumpkin pancakes, one of our favorite breakfast items.

I have a hard time getting ready here. I still can't quite figure out the weather. It is getting cooler, but not cool enough to wear a typical fall outfit. The mornings and evenings are super cool, but it still gets pretty hot during the day. This is the solution I've come up with:

Shorts, sweater, and booties. 

We went to our favorite ramen place for lunch. I talk a lot about our ramen obsession, but I can't even describe what it's like and how fabulous it is. You might be thinking top o ramen noodles that cost 38 cents at Kroger, but this ramen doesn't even compare. The hole-in-the-wall place we go to cooks the broth for 14 hours. They include incredibly tender pieces of pork. Most ramen usually has green onions and bean sprouts as well. The noodles are soft and absorb the broth. It's basically perfection and we can't get enough.

We then went to the Px and the commissary for some shopping, which I really enjoy doing. I love grocery shopping and Jake loves coming with me so that he can pick out things he wants. I always come home with way more when Jake comes with me. 

We have been missing our Mexican food fixes, so we decided to have a little fiesta. I made my favorite green chile chicken enchiladas and they ended up being the best batch I've ever made! It was nice to have a bit of comfort food. 

Jake pretending to help with dinner

Sunday we decided to get out for a bit. We had been wanting to check out a fish market in the town over. On our way, we passed a mall and decided to stop and see what it was all about. It was such a cool and interesting place, like everything here. The first thing we walked into was a huge supermarket. There was tons of fresh produce, fish, and meats and also tons of ready to eat items. There were also little stands of people making food and a huge bakery. The rest of the mall looked similar to what we see in the U.S. Clothing stores, shoe stores, a food court, and center pagodas. Add in a couple of arcades and you have an Okinawa mall. It was super interesting to see and I can't wait to go back to actually shop. We also stopped by the furniture store that is very similar to Ikea and a store very similar to Dick's Sporting Goods. 

Next we headed to the fish market. It was smaller than I was expecting, but there was tons of fresh fish and seafood. The fish was pretty much as fresh as you can get, brought into the port that morning. The market also has a little cafe that uses the fresh fish. We had heard that it was amazing and so we tried the lobster plate. WOAH, it was different and wonderful. It was half of a lobster covered in some sort of gooey cheese. It also had the freshest sashimi I had ever tasted. My only disappointment is that we didn't get any fish to take home with us. 

Later that night Jake went on a run and came home very excited. He made me get in the car and go with him to look at something he found. He had discovered a private, beautiful beach RIGHT NEXT to our house. We don't know how we hadn't found it before. There were tons of shells and the water was super clear. I am also learning that we get beautiful sunsets even though we are not on the west side of the island. 

Yes, the water is this turquoise!

Have a wonderful week!

Sami's Shenanigans

Friday, October 25, 2013

HIgh Five For Friday 10/25

I will be honest here, I had a really uneventful and boring week. The most interesting thing that happened was that I was an hour early to my English class I teach and didn't realize it until I sat there for 30 minutes. Yep, that happened. The people at the school even tried to tell me, but they don't speak English so I didn't know what they were saying. They probably think I am super crazy. Oh well, better than being late. 

I am still getting a hang of this whole stay at home wife thing. The days seem to go by quickly and at night I always ask myself what in the heck I did during the day. Seriously, I can't even remember what exactly I did this week. I barely got out of the house because it was typhooning like crazy. I got a few workouts in, watched a lot of shows, and didn't get much cleaning done. It seems like the more time I have, the less house work gets done. How does that work?

Since I don't have much to share with you as far as exciting activities, I will share some of my inspirations from the week

Since I am still figuring out this stay at home wife business, I found this fun article. It gives free ways to entertain yourself at home. I have done some of these, but it is a cool go-to list when you just need something to do. Some of these things I would have not thought of, so I was excited. 

I did get some packages this week that pretty much made my life. My friend Julia sent me a package of Trader Joe's goodies. Um, YES! I love and miss Trader Joe's. I love that most of their products are less processed and don't have as much of the bad stuff, even if they aren't a "healthy" food.

-Pumpkin Bread Mix
-Dog Treats
-Pumpkin Butter
-Sesame Honey Cashews
-Harvest Grains Blend
-Pumpkin Cereal Bars

Powerberries are my all time favorite Trader Joe's product. Try them!!

These are delicious. And the name cracks me up

She also sent me this book and can't wait to read it!

She and my mom both sent me lots of quinoa and I am super happy! I can't wait to make tons of quinoa recipes

Speaking of quinoa, I saw this recipe for quinoa casserole with kale and chickpeas and will be making it ASAP. I am always looking for unique quinoa recipes and this one really caught my eye.

Looking at design inspiration is one of my favorite things to do. I am always changing my design style and looking for inspiration. I have always loved this apartment tour at Breakfast at Toast and especially love this living room. 


I am loving this combo. I am not one to play with different colors, but these really work. How cozy does that sweater look??

Hope everyone has a great weekend!
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Style Elixir
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Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Dirty on Eating Clean

Honestly, if you asked me if I would ever blog about this topic a year ago, my answer probably would have been no. Why? I love me some potato chips. Particularly cheddar and sour cream Lays, Cheetos, and Pringles. I've always eaten fairly healthy. My mom always made well balanced meals and taught me to eat my fruits and veggies. On the other hand, we could also put down a huge pizza and entire pints of ice cream. I guess you could say we appreciate food. 

College is hard on anyone in the food department. Freshman year you are given a magic card that you can swipe and get all the food you want. It is your first time away from home and no one is telling you what to eat. Freshman 15 anyone? After freshman year, you live on your own with a kitchen. You and only you are in responsible for your meals. On top of that, you are super busy. Ramen noodles, frozen meals; anything easy and fast is usually the norm. 

This summer I lived with my parents while Jake was at training. My parents have been on a major healthy eating kick due to health reasons and because they like to try new things. They have tried all the trends; gluten free, vegetarian, Atkins, you name it. I was bored this summer and decided to jump on this clean eating thing. 

I started reading about things that companies put in food products. I became grossed out with the chemicals and the crap that just doesn't belong in food. I researched what different things do to your body and why they aren't good for you. I started this crazy habit of looking at labels of everything I was eating to see what was in it. There were times I wanted to throw up thinking about the kinds of stuff I had been putting in my body. I found that even products that are advertised as healthy might not be that great for you and still contain chemicals. I learned the best way to ensure quality food is to eat products as close to nature as possible.

I learned how to feed myself with all natural products. I learned how to make healthy, flavorful dishes and to satisfy my hunger without sacrificing quality, such as the avocado tomato quinoa bowl. My entire relationship with food changed. I learned to listen to my stomach instead of my head and only ate when I was actually hungry. I began craving foods that were good for me. Along the way, something weird happened. I stopped enjoying the foods that I use to love. The thought of putting a Cheeto in my mouth made me gag. I sincerely wanted to eat things that were good for me, especially fresh pressed vegetable juice. 

So here's how it happened. I:
-Drank green smoothies for breakfast every morning
-Eliminated all processed food
-Added in as many fresh fruits and veggies I could possibly fit in
-Ate protein in different sources (quinoa, eggs, chicken, beans, yogurt)
-Made smarter choices when eating out
-Cut out most gluten-heavy foods

During my period of eating entirely clean, I was feeling great, had lots of energy, and lost weight. I will say that my goal was NOT weight loss, hence why I don't have before and after pictures. My goal was to have a different relationship with food, and that is what happened. Am I happy I lost weight in the process? Yes, who wouldn't be. Throughout the time I was eating completely clean, I lost 14 pounds. Losing weight has never been easy for me, so this was a complete shock. 

Eating clean is a lifestyle, but I will say it is really hard to keep up with. Through our vacation time and our move, it was almost impossible to eat clean. We lived in a hotel for over a week and take-out food was inevitable. Since we've moved into our house, it has still been hard. Jake enjoys comfort food and I like to cook things he likes, especially being so far away from home. I still try make smart choices. For example, I have a side salad with my pizza instead of eating extra pieces. Or, if I cook something not as healthy, I do it is naturally as possible. I don't use ready-made products with preservatives, I make it from scratch. Jake also likes to snack, which means we sometimes have some very processed foods lying around. Sometimes I do eat them, but it isn't the same. I don't enjoy the processed food as much as I did before I started eating clean. I get sick to my stomach if I eat something highly processed. I crave food that is good for me and feel great when I have a "clean" day. 

Is eating clean hard? Yes, it really is. It can get expensive, especially if you are drinking juice. Do I still struggle? Yes, sometimes I just really want dessert or can't stop eating the baked ruffles. Is it doable? Yes, if you commit. Is it worth it? 100%. If you are considering a clean eating lifestyle, I encourage you to try it! I can't wait to share more clean eating tips and I would love to answer any questions you have!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Avocado Tomato Quinoa Bowl

This is one of my go to meals. It is easy, healthy, and you can substitute in any vegetables you like. It is a super clean meal but doesn't sacrifice flavor. It's also an entire meal in one bowl, which I love!

Avocado Tomato Quinoa Bowl
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
I large tomato
1 ripe avocado
1/2 large yellow onion
1 cup quinoa
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
I clove garlic
1 tablespoon EVOO
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp Lawrys garlic salt
1/4 tsp pepper

1. Cook the quinoa in the chicken broth using my tips here 
2. Cut up the chicken, garlic, tomato, avocado, and garlic

3. Add the EVOO to a large skillet and heat over medium high heat
4. When the pan and oil is hot, add the chicken
5. Add all of the seasonings to the chicken
6. When the chicken is about half way cooked, add the onions

7. Once the chicken is cooked and the onions are translucent, add the tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally

8. After about 2 minutes, add the avocado and cooked quinoa

9. Cook for another 2 minutes, and then it is ready to serve 

Feeds 2-4

Enjoy your delicious avocado tomato quinoa bowl

Linking up with Karly Kim

Monday, October 21, 2013

GIVEAWAY: $125 Zappos

Happy Fall, y'all! The brisk Autumn weather is the perfect excuse for new fall footwear! Mal, 11 other ladies, and I are giving away a $125 Zappos gift card to one lucky winner so she can buy a new pair of boots, flats, or other shoes.
Giveaways are a great way to discover new bloggers, make friends, and possibly win a prize! Be sure to stop by and check out these pretty ladies who helped make this giveaway possible!

The giveaway will run Monday, October 21st, 2013 through Monday, October 28th, 2013.
To enter, simply use the Rafflecopter giveaway tool below. The winning entry will be verified so please be honest.
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Bull Fights and Charity Auctions

This weekend had a bit of everything; excitement, culture, adventure, and relaxation. There was a festival going on in our city this weekend. I've found that festivals are pretty common occurrences here and I am certainly not mad about it. Our city is known for the large bull fighting arena. Bull fighting is very popular here. Last week we even saw a guy taking his bull out for a walk. For the festival, they had a huge, free bull fighting event at the arena. I was slightly skeptical, because as an animal lover, I wasn't sure how I was going to react. I got online and read that they are a great cultural experience and not gruesome, so I was excited. The event started out with a typical Okinawan ceremony; drums, dancers, karate. 

After the counselors of the city started the event with a huge ball of confetti opening from the ceiling, 10 different match-ups began. The biggest bulls went first. Basically, it is two bulls going head to head, literally. They push each others' heads and try to get the advantage over the other. They each have a handler holding their rope and yelling at encouraging them. The bull who over takes the other wins. I was glad to see that they were hurting each other too much even though they have very sharp horns. After one bull wins, they have a short ceremony for the victor. 

Bull Fighting Arena

This is where it got pretty heated

Winner Winner 

We stayed for about 5 matches and then headed onto our next adventure. We were glad we went and thought it was a great cultural experience. We then headed to the Charity Auction at the Officer's Club. We decided to take the scenic route and were glad we did. We happened upon the neatest warehouse full of things from different countries. There were statues, furniture, decor, kitchenware, clothing, jewelry and much more. I probably could have stayed in there forever wandering around. I am sure I will make it back there at some point to buy some goodies. Christmas presents anyone??

I really wanted this, but what are you supposed to do with a $2000 elephant head?

Jake found a little piece of Kentucky here on Okinawa

After this little detour, we made it to the auction. The auction is a semi-annual event where items from China are brought in and auctioned off for local charities. There were so many amazing pieces and plenty things that I would have gladly taken home with me. It was mostly antiques, furniture, decor, jewelry, and other artifacts. The big pieces were live auctioned and others were silent auctioned. The event lasted 6 hours with a buffet dinner in the middle. We sat for awhile and watched some of the items being auctioned off. We stayed until the silent auction closed so I could make sure I got my item. Thankfully, I beat out 3 others and got the item I wanted, how exhilarating (sarcasm). The most popular item was a dinosaur egg. It sold for way over the starting bid price. I tried to convince Jake to bid on it, because who doesn't need a REAL dinosaur egg?? We opted out of the buffet dinner since we had already eaten our fair share of appetizers. We headed to a fast food udon noodle place and then to A&W for root beer floats. What a fun day!

My auction purchase. Now I need to figure out how to hang this bad boy up.

Me and my bidding paddle

Sunday we did nothing. Like as in absolutely nothing. Well I grocery shopped and Jake cleaned (what??) and that was the extent of it. I had really wanted to go to some of the festival events going on in our city, but we were sick of traffic and crowds so we decided not to. I did decide to do a bit of country cookin' and made chicken fried steak and mashed potatoes from scratch. Who the heck am I?? 

Sometimes life requires a home cooked hearty meal

On to another week. Hope it's a good one, y'all!

Have you ever been to a cultural event? Have you ever bid at an auction? What's your favorite home cooked meal? 

Linking up with Sami and Kimberlee