Thursday, November 28, 2013

Let Us Be Thankful

I couldn't let this day pass without sharing what I am thankful for this year

The opportunity to live on this beautiful island and to get to experience such a wonderful culture


A hard-working, dedicated, sweet, supportive, super cute husband

That I get to go through life with my best friend

A super cute puppy

A wonderful family who loves and supports us

Friends who make an effort to let us know they are thinking about us even though we are on the other side of the world



Farmer's Markets

That J.Crew ships to PO boxes




A house that feels like a home 

What are you Thankful for today?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

How To Liven Up Your Salad

I personally love salads. I sometimes specifically go out just to get a salad. More often than not I order a salad at a restaurant because it sounds good, not just because I am trying to eat healthy. But when it comes to eating salad at home, I am not always as excited about it. Restaurants seem to know how to give that extra pizazz that makes me want to eat the salad. At home my salads seem to be boring and not as desirable. Over time I have learned how to liven up drab at home salads.

Add grilled veggies
Veggies are no stranger to salads, but when you grill them first, it gives something extra. The juxtaposition between the cool, crispy lettuce and the warm, soft veggies makes a salad a bit more fun to eat. 

Favorite grilled veggies: eggplant, onion, zucchini, squash

Quinoa is incredible on salads. It gives a salad a little bit extra crunch and a protein boost. Add the quinoa while warm for extra excitement.

Goat Cheese
Cheese is probably one of my biggest weaknesses, but I think in moderation it is ok. Any cheese is great on salads, but the creaminess of goat cheese is perfect. It is also one of the healthiest cheeses you can eat.

I am not a fan of this, but many people love fruit on their salad. Tangerines, strawberries, pears, just to name a few. Pecans, walnuts, and almonds are also great.

Over-easy Egg
Many people put hardboiled eggs on their salad, which is great. I like to put an over easy egg, because when the yolk breaks it mixes with dressing and makes the salad interesting. This idea isn't for everyone, but give it a try!

Beans are great on salads and also add extra protein. Put some black beans, corn, avocado, and salsa and you have yourself a southwestern salad.

Other favorite add-ins
mushrooms, feta, olives, avocado, corn, salsa verde, greek yogurt dressing, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, shredded carrots

What do you like to put on your at-home salads to liven them up?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Travel Babbles

I am so excited to introduce you to Kym from Travel Babbles today. I was lucky enough to get her as my blogging big through the bigs and littles blogging network. I've always loved her blog and have loved getting to know her over the past month. She is super funny and inspiring and her post on why she blogs always helps remind me why I blog. After you read a little bit about Kym below, head on over to Travel Babbles, you won't be sorry!

Hi there! My name is Kym and I blog over at Travel Babbles. I was born and raised in Massachusetts, and I currently live in Denver, Colorado with my husband TJ and our tubby English Bulldog, Brutus. You can learn more about all of us here

I started blogging back in 2010 when we moved to Germany for the first time when my husband signed a contract to play hockey over there, and since then I've documented our travels between Massachusetts, New York, Florida, Texas, and a second stop in Germany. We have what some consider to be a very unique and interesting lifestyle ... but we like to keep things very simple. My favorite thing about being the wife of a hockey player is that we're constantly on the move, exploring new cities and meeting new friends from all different parts of the world. My favorite place that we've traveled to thus far has been Hanover, Germany because it was a completely life changing, breathtaking experience, and we were able to take a little holiday to Paris, which is a city I never thought I'd get to see in this lifetime.

While Travel Babbles simply started out as a personal blog for my mom and grandma, it's slowly evolved into my creative outlet, my diary, my recipe book, my photo album, and my travel journal. It's become a collection of my favorite things, pieces of my heart, our hockey life, our loss, what inspires me, and the many things that make me smile. The most interesting thing that I've experienced as a blogger thus far has been meeting other bloggers in real life. It's totally weird, but really cool that we live in a world where we can develop relationships with people who are located all over the world ... and it's even cooler when you're able to take those relationships offline and meet your "virtual friends" in real life!

I hope that you'll stop by Travel Babbles to say hi, and that you'll enjoy my little space on the interwebs as much as I do - I look forward to chatting soon! xo

follow me on: bloglovin' // twitter // facebook // instagram // pinterest

Monday, November 25, 2013

He's Home!

I don't know if you noticed, but Jake has been very absent in my posts lately and I have been using a lot of I's instead of we's. Nope, I haven't kicked him to the curb or anything. He has actually been up in mainland Japan for the past month for a training exercise. I didn't share this little tidbit on here for a couple of reasons. One, OPSEC, which basically means you shouldn't talk about things your military spouse is doing. This information wasn't top secret or anything, so the main reason I didn't share it was for my safety. I just felt like I would feel safer being alone in a new place/foreign country if the whole world didn't know I was alone. It may sound dumb and I will probably get over this in the future, but it was what was right for me at the moment.

Needless to say, after a month of being alone in a new country where I know very few people, I am glad to have Jake home. I did enjoy my time to make whatever meals I wanted and explore some things at my pace, but life is just better with your best friend by your side.

Jake enjoyed his view of Mt. Fuji for a month, but said he was excited to get home to his tropical island

Jake was originally scheduled to get back on Friday, so when I found out he wouldn't be home until Monday I thought the weekend would drag. It ended up being a fun weekend and went by fairly quickly. 

Friday I went to dinner with a friend at a local restaurant. We had fun talking, people watching, and looking at weird items on the extensive menu. Husband's are fun, but a girls night every once in awhile is so needed!

Since we stayed up super late talking, I slept in on Saturday. Then I found out Jake would be home Sunday, so I excitedly cleaned the house and prepared for his arrival. I also went to the grocery store and stumbled upon pumpkin spice soy milk. It is so good by itself, but is especially good in hot chocolate. I was surprised I found some as people here usually fight to the death for anything pumpkin spice. When I went back to the store the next day, all 10 cartons were gone so I guess I got lucky.

Sunday I decided to do some Christmas shopping at my favorite warehouse of stuff from all over the world. I found some great presents and lots of stuff I wanted to keep for myself. I personally hate Christmas shopping. I love to give presents, but I like to give presents I know the person is going to love. It is hard to find the perfect present, so I always end up feeling like I buy something just to have something to give. It felt good to get some shopping done in November instead of last minute like I usually do.

On my way home I found a cute oceanside cafe. I hadn't had a burger in over a year and I hadn't really been missing them much. For some reason, though, when I saw a burger on their menu, I wanted one more than anything. It was so good, but afterwards I didn't feel good and it helped remind me why I eat clean.

On my way home I saw it was low tide so I decided to go grab Lexie and take her to the beach. It was a beautiful evening and perfect for finding beach treasures. I found tons of sea glass, seashells, and drift wood. I don't think being able to walk down the road to the beach will ever get old.

When I got home from the beach, time started to drag. Jake was supposed to be home around 7, but his arrival got moved later and later and I didn't end up picking him up until 4:30 in the morning. It was kind of a bummer, but I am just glad for a long weekend coming up to have some time to spend together.

Speaking of, I am super excited for our first holiday oversees and trying to let the excitement drown out the sadness of being away from family for the first time. I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving week and enjoys time with friends and family!

Linking up with Logan, Sami, Kimberlee, and Carissa

Friday, November 22, 2013

High Five For Friday 11/22

I had a great week this week! It was pretty busy, which I enjoy. It was filled with shopping, field trips, lunch dates, and getting ready for the holidays!


I have been having the urge to shop lately so I thought I would go to the mall and walk around and check out some stores. I tried on a few things, but I really didn't like anything. The trend here right now is really long, baggy sweaters. It is 70 degrees, way too hot for full body sweaters. I did find one store I liked and bought a shirt. I really miss American stores, especially boutiques and J. Crew!

While I was trying stuff on, I was handed a paper mask to wear. It helps keep the clothes clean, which is super smart. Count on Japanese culture to do everything the smart way. I couldn't stop laughing every time I saw myself in the mirror, though.

Ignore the ugly sweater and check out my cute mask

My favorite store, A.V.V


I also did some shopping for our guest room. It is coming along nicely and I can't wait to get it finished. The store like Ikea here has some great stuff for good prices. I also discovered a new home store, called Living Design Square. It is an entire shopping center of furniture and home stores. I didn't find much, since most of the stuff was pricey, but it was fun to look!

I really wanted this, but at $700 it wasn't going to happen

Living Design Square


I met my friend for lunch at Transit Cafe on the seawall for lunch. It was a such a cute cafe and had a great view. The food was so good. I had been craving a salad since not many places have them here. 

Cheese Fondue

View from lunch


After lunch, we got pedicures at a famous salon, Cocok. You sit in big, comfy recliners that look out onto the ocean. They give you the most incredible massage for about 30 minutes. I did not want it to stop! Then, you pick a nail design from hundreds of pictures and sample nails. You can get flowers, shapes, jewels, sparkles, animal print, you name it. They free hand everything, which is incredible. It was totally worth $40! 

Just a few of the hundreds of options


My friend found flavored KitKats for me! She found me strawberry and purple sweet potato. They are SO good. I may or may not be eating some as we speak. Now I just need to find the passionfruit and mango. I love finding interesting treats here!

What a wonderful week! I have a fun weekend scheduled and exciting things happening, which I can't wait to share on Monday. Have a good one!

Linking up with Lauren, Darci, and Jennie

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Southeast Botanical Gardens

Last month I talked about my "adult field trip" to the Yomitan Pottery Village and Zakimi Castle.  It was tons of fun and I couldn't wait for the November trip. This month for our field trip we went to the Southeast Botanical Gardens. It was such a beautiful day, 68 and sunny. Everything was so green and lush. It made me realize that even though I miss "fall" that I am used to in the states, fall here is different, but just as beautiful. 

At the gardens, there is a small petting zoo with squirrel monkeys and capybaras. The monkeys kind of creeped me out. The capybara rolled over like a dog when I petted it, which was kind of cute. 

After touring the gardens, we had lunch at the buffet restaurant overlooking the gardens. The buffet was such a good chance to try lots of different things I wouldn't normally order. Some things were pretty good, but nothing was incredible. 

Yep, those are both mine. I had to try everything

Just trying some squid


On my way home, I kind of got lost and happened upon a dam and beautiful lake. I figured I would stop and take some pictures. That's one of the things I love about this place, you can find somewhere beautiful just by getting lost. 

Another beautiful day witnessing beautiful things here in Okinawa. I am truly thankful for the chance I have to live in such a beautiful place and experience such wonderful things.