Monday, March 31, 2014


So my last post was a rant about Lexington and UK, but before I get into my weekend, can I just say that UK played some mighty fine basketball this weekend. I don't care who your team is or if you even like basketball, both games this weekend were so interesting to watch. It didn't hurt that we are now on our way to the final four. I did have to wake up at 6 AM and go into work to watch the game, but I'm not complaining.

On Friday we had a field trip to Okinawa World, a place that is an assortment of Okinawan-based attractions. It is interesting to see how the life of an American child in the school system is so different, interesting, and rich in Okinawa. At Okinawa world there is a cave, habu (snake) museum, snake show, souvenir shop, brewery, Eisa performances, and garden. Yeah, it kind of seemed like a random assortment of things. My favorite part was the Eisa show. They had traditional dress, drums, instruments, and dance. It was so entertaining, but unfortunately they did not allow photos. I also actually like snakes, so the snake museum and show was interesting to see. The kids got to take their pictures with a python over their shoulders or holding a small snake.

Field trips are absolutely exhausting. It was so fun and the kids really enjoyed it, but I was worn out. I had to take a nap as soon as I got home. That evening, I met up with some friends to celebrate my friend's birthday. We went to one of our favorite restaurants. We had such a fun time talking and hanging out. I sure do miss Jake, but girl time has been so fun. How is it that girls can talk for hours and hours on end?

How cute is this dolphin cake?? I didn't make it, I'm not that talented. 

Happy birthday friend!

Saturday I watched the Cats play and then went into my class to work for a bit. One of these days, I won't work at all on the weekend. But that weekend was not this one. I have eaten out about 2 times total in the past month and I haven't been making all of the recipes that I had wanted to while Jake is gone. We have a Thai place that is right down the street from our house. Jake won't eat Thai after his food poisoning our last day in Thailand, so I decided I should try it before he gets back. I walked in to see if they had take out, and within 10 minutes I had ordered and was out the door. They were so kind and friendly. They even gave me a bowl of pineapple to eat while I waited. I really love the restaurants here. I got the basil chicken and it was delicious. I want to go back to Thailand!

This coming weekend my friend and I are going on our trip to Ishigaki Island! So on Sunday we decided to go down to the outlets for a little shopping. If you are like me and stopped shopping at Gap for awhile because of their bland clothes, do yourself a favor and start shopping their again. There stuff has been so cute lately and has such a J.Crew vibe. I like shopping way more than is necessary, but I don't shop that often anymore, so I have to take advantage when I do.

Sunday evening I took Lexie for beach walk. The weather is finally starting to be consistently warm. I thought that it would be very warm at this point in the year, but many places in the States are warmer than it is here. I thought I was moving to an always warm tropical island! I hope the weather is good on our trip this weekend! I just need to make it through this week and then I am onto our trip and Spring Break!

I know things have been a bit boring around here lately, but thank you for sticking around with me during this crazy adjustment time. I promise lots more exciting adventures are coming!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

What is it About Hometowns + Newsom's Nest

For some reason, I've really missed my hometown, Lexington, KY, lately. I really love it here in Okinawa, but you never forgot the feeling that "home" gives you. I think I have been missing it lately because of basketball season. If you didn't know, UK is the best college basketball program in the country. That's not debatable, folks, because it's in the numbers. March is hands down the best month(usually) to be a UK fan and to be in Lexington. The atmosphere of camaraderie is one of the best feelings. I was lucky to be in college and to be in Lexington two years ago when the Cats won the National Championship. It was complete madness and an experience I will never forget. I stayed away from the burning couches, fortunately, but it was still fun to be a part of the celebrations. This year we have made it to the sweet 16 so far, and I am dying to be in Lexington! But I will just have to cheer on my Cats all the way from the other side of the world!

I might be biased, but I truly believe that Lexington is one of the best places to live. It has a fun, southern feel, but at the same time, it isn't too conservative and is still artsy and eclectic. It is a big town, but still has a super cute, home-towny downtown. Not to mention, you can drive 10 minutes out in any direction and be in the most beautiful countryside you have ever seen.

Ok, I could go on all day about how much I love Lexington, but today I am here to introduce someone who loves her home state just as much as I love mine. I met Katherine from Newsom's Nest when I first started blogging. She is a fellow Marine Corps spouse and teacher. Her passion for life radiates from the moment you start reading her posts. She recently got a beautiful new blog design that reflects her personality and her love for her home state, Texas. I asked Katherine some questions and I really enjoyed reading her responses. I hope you enjoy them as well!

1. If you could have any job or career in the world, what would it be?
I've always dreamed of working for the DoDEA and teaching at an elementary school full of military kiddos. Preferably one overseas, in their branch in Europe, for a few years. The bummer is that there aren't any DoD schools here in California, since the districts and schools are so numerous! But I would love to be able to  give back in that way --- I've been in their shoes, since I grew up with my dad in the Army, and I know what it's like. Being able to relate to your students - living in the same neighborhoods or having a similar lifestyle, etc - is SO important. I know how it feels to move around all the time and switch schools constantly - those kids are not alone! It would be a great way to really make an impact on those little lives! If only there were more DoD schools stateside...

2. What is one things that surprised you about military life?
Since I grew up as a military kid, there weren't any big, huge surprises for me. One thing that struck me though was military housing - we only lived on base a handful of times when I was little, all before I was in kindergarten, so you can imagine that I don't recollect any of it. While we were living in Virginia, I had a friend I met through LINKS who lived on base, and went to visit. I was SO surprised! Actual houses?! That's not what I remember! Of course, growing up we were generally near a reserve base, so there isn't housing to compare, and we lived in town. I was just so little the last time we lived on base (Colorado and Kentucky, both when I was in preschool) that I was shocked when I realized that people actually do live on base! Woah. Now one of my best friends here in Camp Pendleton lives right on base, so it doesn't shock me anymore. But when I think about it... I didn't expect the housing to be that nice (comparable) nor that numerous. There are at least 6 housing areas here, which just blew me away. We love living in town, but I know others prefer not to!

3. The Marine Corps moves you around often, but you talk about your home state, Texas, often. Do you plan on settling down there one day?
Oh yes, hands down, no questions asked! We are settling in Texas without a doubt - that is our home. There is just something about it. Right now we aren't planning to put in for career designation, and Marshall isn't even up for that yet. So at this point we are "planning" on finishing our next few years in California, then getting out and PCS'ing back home to Texas for good. Tentatively. But who knows what is going to happen - you can never ink in plans with the military!

4. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I really want to take Marshall to Hawaii for a vacation one day. I went with family during my freshman year of college, and we were dating then, so you can imagine how jealous he was of that kind of a vacation! It was my high school graduation gift - a fun trip. Somewhere tropical, for sure - maybe even exotic, to an extent, like Cabo. We also would love to go to Australia if given the opportunity--- But it has to be somewhere warm!

5. What are three posts readers should not miss when reading your blog?

Reminiscing on our first year in California

You kind find Katherine on Bloglovin', Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Wat Arun, Bangkok

After we went to the Floating Market near Bangkok, our taxi driver took us to Wat Arun. I hadn't done much research on it, but the taxi driver said it was worth a look. The traffic was horrible getting there and I began to think that maybe we should just skip it. We finally made it, and I am so glad we did not skip it. It was so interesting and had beautiful views of the city from the top. We unfortunately didn't make it to the Grand Palace or to take a ride on the Chao Phraya, but more reason to go back to Thailand one day.

The main part of the Wat Arun was undergoing a bit of construction, but we were still able to climb up the steep stairs to the top. There were so many beautiful details, I spent some time examining it up close. The temples surrounding it were incredibly beautiful as well. Every square inch was made out of delicate, colorful stone. It is crazy to think of how many hours were put into creating such beauty.

Steepest stairs ever!

From far away, it just looked like grey rock. Up close, it was color and intricate.

Many people skip this site in Bangkok, because it is across the river and hard to get to, but I would definitely recommend going!

Linking up with Bonnie and Tina for Travel Tuesday!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Officially Official

So you may have notice, but things look a bit different around here. I loved my original design by Marquis at Simply Clarke, I couldn't resist getting a new one when I won a giveaway over at Niecior's Notes. Amanda did such a great job! I was super picky because I knew exactly what I wanted. She worked with me through all of my crazy demands and hundreds of changes and gave me exactly what I was wanting. What is it about a new blog design that feels so refreshing? Also in the giveaway, I won a domain name. Amanda hooked me up and I am now officially I never felt like I needed to have my own domain name, but now I understand why bloggers say it is so important. Thank you Amanda!!

Now onto my weekend. Friday was a half day at school, but after a couple of meetings, all I did was come home and sleep. Thank you sickness and thank you children with germs. I slept for a significant amount of time and woke up Saturday morning feeling so much better. Saturday I attempted to get up early to clean and workout, but that didn't really happen. You win some, you lose some. It was a beautiful day so after making food for a cookout later in the afternoon, Lexie and I decided to go for a walk. The men working in the field behind our house decided it was "take your goat to work day" and had a goat tied up along the sidewalk. Lexie was really interested in it, until it made a really scary noise at her.

On our walk, we like to climb this huge hill, just for this view. It was a perfect day in the bay, as I like to say.

Later that afternoon, my friend and I drove up north for a little BBQ and bowling. I hadn't been bowling in such a long time. I am still as bad as I used to be, but I randomly bowled a 90 one game. That is probably the highest I have ever bowled. And how did I forget how ridiculous bowling shoes are?

Sunday I spent the entire day in my classroom. I planned on going in for a couple of hours, next thing I knew I had been there for eight hours. We have this important visit this week and I had to make sure my classrooms and lessons were ready. I feel like my classroom is finally coming together and I hope to share pictures here in the next two weeks or so. It has been a long process, but I am really enjoying it. 

As much as I have been enjoying teaching, I feel like I haven't gotten to enjoy this beautiful island lately. I have been feeling a bit down about it because I want to make the most of every moment we live here. When we first got here, we were exploring every minute of the weekend. I haven't even tried many new restaurants lately. I miss our adventures every weekend. Maybe once Jake gets home and I have gotten in a better routine and balance with teaching, the adventures will resume. Until then, I still enjoy waking up to this every.single.morning.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Get in Touch With Your Adventurous Side With Gipsy Dharma

At the beginning of the year, I did a guest post on finding adventure in 2014. One thing I suggested was going out of the box and buying or wearing pieces of clothing you love but are a bit different from your day to day wear. I recently was introduced to an online boutique that exudes adventure and excitement.

Gipsy Dharma is an online store based out of England that specializes in handmade, unique clothing and leather boots. The boots that Gipsy Dharma provide are truly one of a kind. Each pair is handmade from genuine leather. There is something about quality, handmade items that make wearing them that much better. Not just that, because of the quality of the materials and the durable soles, these boots will last a long time.

As soon as I saw these boots, the first word I thought of was whimsy. They are so exciting and bring fantasy to every day wear. Go on over to Gipsy Dharma and check out all of the wonderful items that await. There are so many options, from ankle to above the knee. They even have handmade, leather flip-flops.

Friday, March 21, 2014

High Five For Friday 3/21

Last week I pushed myself to the limits, staying up late and doing nothing but working, and then staying out late with friends on the weekend. I was feeling fine and the lack of sleep didn't seem to be bothering me that much, so I kept pushing on. This week, it finally caught up to me and real bad. I have been super tired and now I am sick. My immune system hasn't adjusted to all of the germs that come along with elementary school kids yet I guess. And then on Thursday, I had one of those days where everything seems to not go right. I woke up late, Lexie was sick, I got my key stuck in my front door, and then later that night as I was making meatballs, I spilled them all over my oven and floor. As I looked at my wonderful meatballs in pieces all over my oven, I wanted to cry. But instead, I just sat down and laughed. I mean really?? How do you drop your meatballs everywhere? Thankfully, I had a whole tray of perfect meatballs, and they were delicious. But here is how the rest of my week played out.

Last week I bought a juicer off of someone on the Craigslist-type website here. That website is awesome because all the Americans here use it and you can find so many great things on it. I got the juicer for $15. It was old but had only ever been used once. I have been drinking juices all week but I am looking for more recipes, so if you have a good one, please share! My current juice is carrot, cucumber, kale, spinach, apple, lemon and ginger. It is pretty tasty. But I will tell you one thing, juicing is not cheap. 

I had to give our inherited class pets a bath the other day. I hadn't ever really paid much attention to them, they are just hermit crabs found at the beach here and they just kind of sit around and eat stale popcorn. When I was getting them out to give them a bath, I discovered there were 25 of them. 25! It was so interesting to see them climbing all over each other. 

I love living in the more rural area part of the island. Most people live down towards the more populated area of the island and where there is a concentration of bases, where as we live further out where everything is more spread out and quiet. Every day when I am driving home from work on cute little back roads, I see the local farmers out tending to their crops and the bull trainers taking their bulls for a walk. It is so fun to see how daily life plays out here. 

With all of the birthdays and special events, teaching has not been good for my clean eating. I really couldn't resist when a student brought in red velvet(my favorite) cupcakes for their birthday. I have been making some yummy, clean meals for dinner. My two favorite recipes this week:

Baked turkey quinoa spinach meatballs (These were THE meatballs that fell all over the oven. But they are absolutely delicious and my newest obsession)

It wouldn't be a favorite meal without quinoa!

Today Jake and I have been together for 6 years (and married for almost 2). SAY WHAT? That seems like forever. So cliche, but I can't wait for the many years to come. 

This picture was exactly 6 years ago. I share this picture all of the time, but it is my very favorite, so I probably won't ever stop. I knew that day something exciting and real was starting, but I never knew we would be where we are today. Love you Jake!

Have a good weekend!

Linking up with LaurenDarciRebeccaCasey, and Jennie

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Best of Both Worlds

This post was originally a guess post over at Niescior's Notes, but I wanted to share it on here today because I don't know how many of my readers got to read it. This post really explains my life here in Japan and why it isn't a typical "expat" experience.

When people ask about my life here, I always explain it as having the best of both worlds. No, I'm not actually a popstar living a normal life (Hannah Montana anyone?).  But I am kind of a poser. Yes, I'm calling myself out. I am not a "real" expat. At least I can admit it, right?

Here's the deal, my husband is in the Marine Corps, and they moved us to Japan. Living in another country on military orders provides the best of both worlds. We get to have all of the experiences of living in another country. We experience the culture, the food, the sights, and all the wonderful things that this country has to offer.

On the other hand, we get a lot of the comforts of home. I can buy all American groceries at the commissary on base. There is a store on base that sells any American product we may need; furniture, electronics, make-up, clothes, etc. I can go to the doctor on base whenever I need to. We can go to restaurants, movies, and bowling on base, just like being in the States. We have so many resources available to us to help make our lives in another country easier. We also have tons of other Americans in the same boat that we can be friends with.

These American comforts are what make me feel like an expat poser. I feel like we don't have to face as many hardships that other expats face. We didn't have to be super brave and make the decision ourselves to move abroad, we were sent here. We don't have to experience adjusting our cooking to not having any American products. We don't have to navigate a foreign healthcare system. Not that we wouldn't want to be friends with locals, but we have Americans to be friends with as well. We are given money from the military to help offset the cost of living, which we wouldn't get as regular expats.

I am not going to lie, I kind of like being a poser, because I don't know if I could be a real expat. I don't know if I would have had the courage to drop everything and move to another country without knowing what was in store for me. I am so thankful that the military has given us the opportunity to have the best of both worlds. It has been such an incredible experience so far. This place is incredibly beautiful, the culture is so wonderful, and the food is unforgettable. This experience has been so great, maybe someday I will want to be a "real" expat!