Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A Country Girl's World

Today I have Jenn from A Country Girl's World here for a bit of a question and answer. Jenn has followed my blog for a long time now and leaves the most genuine comments. When I first stopped by her blog, I was immediately struck by how original she is. She is totally herself when blogging and her personality really comes through. She shares her passions on her blog, which is really refreshing and makes me want to be more passionate about things in life. She has so many interesting and informative posts, I always look forward to what she is going to post next. I especially appreciate her post on being a humane consumer, something I need to be more aware of.

1.      How would you describe your blog in 1-2 sentences?
The best way to describe my blog is: random.  I write whatever is on my mind, usually travel, books, humane consumerism, and wedding planning J

2.      It seems like you have traveled to so many wonderful places. What is your favorite place you have ever visited?
Costa Rica, hands down!  I loved this country so much and would give my left arm to go back!  There is so much natural beauty there and the locals are incredibly nice.  I experienced so much in my week there and I can’t wait to go back one day!

3.      I really enjoy reading all of your "Being A Humane Consumer" posts. What started your passion for this issue?
I came across a post on the Beagle Freedom Project and started reading more about animal testing on their website and about products that are cruelty-free and products that are not.  I had no clue that so many companies still test on animals and I had no idea that beagles made up 96% of that number!  Beagles have a special place in my heart and I knew that there was no way I could go on buying the products I learned were tested on animals.  Unfortunately, it is an issue that's often overlooked and I wanted to help get the word out there.

4.      You are currently planning a wedding. Any advice for anyone about to go through this process?
Be VERY specific about who is invited.  I am currently experiencing a lot of frustration because people just assumed they could bring a date.  We currently have more people attending our wedding than were invited.  It’s insane and causing a lot of headache. I didn't think it would be this much of an issue because I was taught that only the people whose names were on the envelope are invited.  

5.      What are 3 posts that readers should not miss when reading your blog?

You can find Jenn at any of the links below!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

White Beach Festival and Japanese Holidays

Another weekend, another adventure. Saturday we tried out a new cafe with some friends. I cannot get enough of the cafes on this island. All of the food is so fresh and delicious. The cafes are family owned and run and you can tell they put so much love and thought into their food. I would try a new cafe every day if I could. It was a beautiful day so we took a walk on the seawall and then did a bit of shopping. We also gave in and finally stopped at the Chilis on base. American food is sometimes a necessity. Chips and queso, come to mama! We finally bought a weed eater for our jungle of a yard. Jake spent the evening doing yard work and grilling himself a few brats. It got me so excited to spend evenings in our backyard this summer. Right now it is pretty bare, but we plan on building a table, getting a fire pit, and planting lots of flowers. I am always scared to do too much, though, because I don't want to take away from our wonderful view.

Sunday we got up and cleaned the house and did some work. Then, we headed off with friends for an adventure. We took them to the Don Quijote, which is like a Walmart with an extra amount of sensory overload. There are blink lights and colorful signs every where you look. There are so many cool things to see and they pretty much have anything you could ever want. It originated in Tokyo and has recently become very popular in Okinawa. We then headed to the Navy base just south of us, White Beach. Each base has a festival throughout the year where locals are invited to come onto base. There are food booths, games, and performances. The food ranges from local street food to American food. At this particular festival, they had dragon boat races because it is dragon boat season. The dragon boats are really neat to see because they are teams of around 30 rowing in synchronization to get the boat to move very fast. There was also a riff raft boat race, where the boats could only be made out of cardboard and duct tape.

It was kind of a gloomy day, unfortunately, so we didn't stay too long. We were planning on going to our favorite comfort food restaurant on the base, but it was closed so we ate the festival food instead. Jake got some ribs and they ended up being even better than the ones at the restaurant anyway!

This boy likes his BBQ

On our way home we passed a stream in our neighborhood and saw that they had put up tons of carp flags in celebration of Children's day on May 5th. This week is Golden Week in Japan, which is basically an accumulation of lots of holidays. Many Japanese take time of work during this week. It is the Emperors Birthday, Children's Day, Showa Day, Greenery Day, and Constitutional Memorial Day.  In Okinawa they also have the huge dragon boat races on May 5th. You can see the carp flags all over the place and they are really colorful and fun.

We decided to take Lexie to the beach even though it was very windy. We got to our favorite little beach just in time to watch the swells come in and all of the surfers to head out. We watched big waves hit the shore and waited for the surfers to catch some waves. Unfortunately, they were not having much luck.

Interesting pineapple looking tree. It is not a pineapple, I'm just not quite sure what it's called.

Why do weekends have to end? I think we should just switch and work Saturday and Sunday and then have Monday-Friday as the weekend. Who is with me??

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Spring Style Giveaway


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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Gutenblog Y'all

I woke up this morning feeling absolutely horrible. I told myself, if you have a fever you can stay home. No fever. So that meant off I went to hang out with twenty-four precious 9 year olds that need my attention at all times. I made it through the day and immediately came home and passed out. We never eat out on weeknights, but Jake got home and said he thought ramen would make me feel better. We headed out to our very favorite hole-in-the-wall ramen place. Sure enough, after a bowl of delicious ramen, I was feeling so much better. So there you have it, ramen, the solution to life's problems. Since I am still trying to recover from this latest germy children induced sickness, I have Margo from Gutenblog Ya'll here to give you a few tips for making the most of a day in Venice. Not only is her blog name the cutest ever, but her pictures are amazing! They look like they are straight out of a travel magazine. It really makes me want to invest in a nicer camera. Margo, take it away. 
Hi there, I'm Margo and I blog over at Gutenblog Y'all. Mackenzie is a doll and I'm happy to have sponsored her this month. 

I won't play games with you sweet Bell Bliss readers, so getting right down to business, here's all you need to know about me:

1. I called Virginia my home until August 2013 when I followed a job opportunity in beautiful little town of Heidelberg, Germany. I dragged my sweet fiancee, Dan, and our schnoodle (schnauzer-poodle) Stuart right out of Arlington to join me. We're tying in the knot in less than 2 months! (Dan and I, that is..)
2. In this order, I love: wine, running, TripAdvisor, Target and Chik Fil A.
3. I've been really lucky in that I've been able to see a lot of Europe through work and personal travel. Gutenblog Y'all is my space for sharing pictures and advice for seeing Europe. 

On the note of advice, I wanted to share my 6 tips for making the MOST of a day in VeniceDan and I were only there for just over 24 hours but I know that we really experienced the city. My readers loved this post and I think you will too!

1. Get LOST - Inevitably, you WILL get lost. You'll look down at your map, you'll turn it 180 degrees, gaze up and down the alley or canal and you'll realize that it happened. Despite how carefully you follow your map, you're backwards. But THIS is Venice. This is the best way of seeing the city, wandering the narrow alleys with no specific purpose in mind. This is how you see the locals and most beautiful parts of the city at the same time. 

(Tip: If you'd like to pass on this magical state of disorientation, download Ulmon app for Venice.) 

Venice, Italy

Venice, Italy

Venice, Italy

Venice, Italy

Venice, Italy

Check out more pictures from my morning stroll through the city here.

2. Visit Piazza San Marco (St. Mark's Square) and St. Mark's Basilica - Yep, one of the most photographed places in Europe, visiting this beautiful square is a must. Perhaps you'll be there with a zillion others but quickly hop in line for the Basilica then gawk at the square itself after. Once in the Basilica, look UP. The golden ceilings are beautiful. 

Piazza San Marco
Piazza San Marco

Piazza San Marco

3. Capture blue hour from the Rialto Bridge - Blue hour is only something I recently discovered as being VERY important in world of photography. It's that interesting period at twilight when the sun dips below the horizon and the sky turns to a lush deep blue. Positioning yourself on the Rialto Bridge at this time you'll be guaranteed lovely pictures. The Rialto Bridge is a beauty in itself and is one of just four bridges that crosses the Grand Canal. As gondoliers paddle by and the city begins to sparkle, it's the pinnacle of romantic. 

Venice Grand Canal

Venice Grand Canal

Venice Gondola

Venice, Blue Hour

Venice Gondola

Venice Gondola

Venice, Night, Rialto Bridge

Well, of course I'm not going to bog Bell Bliss down with all this Venice talk. She's got beautiful pictures to show from HER travels. For the last three tips hop over to my blog at: and perhaps take a peak at my visit to Burano Island- gorgeous, I tell you! 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Waterfalls and Hamburgers

I'm back after my couple day blogging hiatus. It was nice to spend some time with Jake and do wifey things again. Sometimes I have a hard time adjusting to him coming back, especially because it usually looks like the Marine Corps threw up in our house whenever he is home. Not complaining though, it is good to have him back!

Jake had been sick all week and so all he wanted to do on Saturday was rest. Sunday he was feeling a lot better and we were itching to get out and explore. I had been so busy I hadn't been doing much exploring and Jake hasn't been around to explore. It is easy to forget to appreciate this place we live if you are just going to work and back every day. As soon as we hopped in the car and started driving up North, I began to remember how wonderful this place is and reminded myself I need to appreciate it more. We have a tendency to just drive and find random places. We planned on going straight to a waterfall,  but got distracted by beautiful beaches, got lost on top of a mountain, and then finally found the waterfall.

There are quite a few waterfalls on the island, but we decided to start with the one that didn't require much hiking. You have to do some extreme hiking to get to some of the other ones, so we decided to do those another day. This waterfall was right off of the road and didn't take much climbing to get up to. The small swimming hole was kind of gross looking and there were a significant amount of spiders, so we decided to pass on the swimming. It was rumored that the swimming hole had doctor fish, the fish that come and eat the dead skin off of your feet. I stuck my feet in for a bit, but no doctor fish. 

After the waterfall, we decided that while we were up north we should try the burger place that everyone raves about. Some places here get a lot of hype from Americans and end up being somewhat disappointing. This place lived up to every single expectation. The place was like a lot of cafes here, random stuff all over the walls, an interesting assortment of old furniture, and oozing charm. The burgers were fabulous! They put some sort of awesome sauce and load it up with all sorts of goodies deepening on what you order. Life changing burger I tell ya!

Love this "humburger" sign!

On our way home we decided to take the scenic drive along the Eastern coast of the island back down to our little city. We got lost down tiny dirt roads and found some great views. We also discovered something very interesting. The Okinawans bury their families together in large tombs randomly dispersed all over the island. They vary in size and extravagantness and some are very old. They were also hiding places on the island during World War II. We even have a few tombs back behind our house which creeped me out at first, but now it seems fairly normal. What we discovered this weekend is that the families go to the tombs and have parties. There were tables, coolers and tons of food set up around the tombs and the families were mingling, eating, and having a good time. It was very odd to me, but it is so interesting to learn about different customs. 

Every day living in another country is an adventure. I learn something new every single day. We have a few adventures lined up for the coming weekends and I cannot wait! 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Better Together

After almost 2 months, Jake is home from South Korea! Thankfully time flew by since we were both so busy, but life is just better when we are together. Plain and simple. Jake got to do some awesome things while in South Korea, like visit the DMZ. It is unfortunate that he has to be away at times, but it does give him opportunities to see and do interesting things. We are celebrating him being home by cooking all of his favorite meals, which pretty much consists of grilling some sort of meat every night. Thankfully, the weather is so gorgeous that grilling is a great option. His first day back we did go to his favorite restaurant, the sushi-go-round.

He really was happy, I promise. 

Of course a walk on the beach with Lexie was a must as well. I know, I know, I always post pictures of the beach. I just can't help myself. The water was every shade of blue, turquoise, green you could imagine. 

 I may be a bit absent around the parts for the next couple of days. I want to enjoy my time with Jake uninterrupted!