Wednesday, February 26, 2014

I miss Japan!

I cannot believe we've been back in America for over 6 months.  Most days I feel like we're just on an extended vacation and any day we'll return to my beloved land of the rising sun, then my alarm goes off and I realize it's time for another day at the office and not the day we return to Japan.  I thought I'd share with you some of the things I miss most about Japan, in no particular order

1. Our friends.  We had the best group of friends in Japan and I would kill for a day with them! (Reunion in 2015?!?)

2. Trains.  I think I took the trains for granted while we were living in Japan.  I rode them a lot and they took me to a couple of incredible destinations but I don't think I truly appreciated their convenience, reliability and affordability.  I hate having to drive everywhere.

3. Combini/Train Station food.  GOOD food that is convenient.  I miss being able to pick up healthy, delicious food on my way home or while we're out and about.

4. Culture.  We experienced so many awesome new things while we lived in Japan.  We never knew when a new opportunity would arise and it kept things interesting.

5. Food.  Oh, the food.  I try to make it here, myself, but it just isn't the same.

6. Recycle shops.  I miss searching for hidden treasures in the recycle shops.

7. Sakura, the flowers.  Being surrounded by these beauties is something I hope everyone gets to experience at least once in their life.  To have a meal and drinks with your friends under the blooming trees, Hanami, it's one of my favorite memories of Japan.

8. Sakura, the bar.  Yakitori, umeshu, friends.  Life doesn't get much better!

9.  The people I met, my students, my friends.  These incredible women.  I think about them every single day.  I'd love to share one more laugh with them.

10. Vending machines.  Almost anything your heart desires for a couple bucks and the push of a button.  Life's simple pleasures.

11. Squatty potties!  I can't help it, I prefer them to western style toilets!


Monday, February 24, 2014

Bloggers Giving Back

A few weeks ago, Elizabeth turned me on to a new community service organization being started by a couple of local bloggers.  Bloggers Giving Back(website coming soon) is the brain child of Melyssa who blogs over at The Nectar Collective.  It's not a secret that mission work and helping others is a passion of mine so combine that with blogging and I'm all over it!  Melyssa and a few other SoCal bloggers got together and created the first event, the OC Blogger Brunch.  The event was held at Great over Good, a fabulous little art studio in Santa Ana with a very powerful message.  On Saturday morning, 25 (ish) local bloggers got together to have brunch, get to know one another, and collect donations for a couple of charities, Working Wardrobes and The Princess Project.

Melyssa and the other ladies who orchestrated this event thought of everything and did a great job decorating the studio space.

Brunch was catered and absolutely delicious!


One of my favorite parts of the morning was getting to meet Julie of Soldier's Wife, Crazy Life who just happened to be in town visiting family and was able to join us for the day.

They even had a fun photo booth set up.  Who doesn't love a photo booth.

We collected a ton of clothing to donate but I failed to get a photo of the pile, so I borrowed one from Justina.

If you're local and would like to join us, we'll be getting together again next month to make care packages for deployed soldiers, something a few of us are all too familiar with.  I'm so excited to be a part of this group and can't wait to see what fun community service projects the leaders come up with.


Sunday, February 23, 2014

This Week's Eats {A link up}

Last week we didn't do a very good job sticking to our menu.  Days don't always go as planned and we had to make some adjustments so there are a couple repeats on this weeks menu that we didn't get to last week.

Sunday: Chicken Souvlaki Pitas
Monday: Buffalo Wild Wings with my cousin.  It's one of my favorite chain restaurants and they're opening one at the bottom of our street.  I've been waiting 6 months for it to open, so we're going for opening night!
Tuesday: Shrimp Pad Thai
Wednesday: Eggplant Pasta
Thursday: Buffalo Chicken Quesidillas
Friday: Salmon & Veggies

Jessica Lynn Writes


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Our Lima.Oscar.Victor.Echo. Story

Last week all of my military spouse friends were posting their Lima.Oscar.Victor.Echo {LOVE} stories and linking up for Valentine's Day.  I'd never shared our story here so I typed it out, dug up some old photos and was all set to share it with you...then I had some issues with Google not wanting to let me renew my domain name and in the panicked frenzy to get that resolved, I accidentally deleted the whole, long post!  I was so bummed and did not have the time or mental capacity to retype it.  I figured maybe I'd redo it for next year or our anniversary or something.  Then Jessica Lynn posted about her 9 year blogging anniversary and talked about some of the old sites she'd used before blogger or blogging was a big deal.  This reminded me that 10 years ago I used to write on a site called LiveJournal.  I decided to find my way back into the site (I had no clue what username/password I used back then).  February 22nd, 2002 I wrote my first ever "blog" post and after ready through 2 years of my posts on that site  (90% of which were about stupid boys) I found some entries that I don't remember ever writing, including some about Jason & I.  With that I found the drive I needed to rewrite our story.  Here it is!

April 27th, 2005, I had recently ended a long, serious relationship and my girlfriend and I were hanging out at my house chatting about boys and love and all that stuff 22 year olds talk about.  She told me there was this boy that she used to spend time with as a kid (her aunt & uncle were best friends with this guy's parents) who she had recently found on Facebook.  She told me he was smokin hot and pulled up his profile.  One look at this photo and I was sold!

I sent him a message, and looking back, had I known this was the man I would marry, I definitely would have said something different, that said 

"hi :)
my friend says you're hot and that I would eat you alive ha ha...I love West Point, that campus is so gorgeous!"

We chatted for a few weeks via Facebook and AIM which evolved into long conversations on the phone and plans to meet up once he graduated a few months later,

Here is what I shared on LiveJournal about my initial feelings for him.

I'm going on a date in a few weeks that I'm really excited about. This guy is so unlike any guy I've ever been interested in but we get along so well. He's about to graduate from West Point but other than that (the military aspect) he's the total opposite of the 2 serious relationships I've had in my life which is something that I need in my life right now. Something different and refreshing. So I guess there will be more (hopefully positive)to come on that in the near future.

He graduated on a Sunday and we had plans to meet on Thursday.  He only made it 1 day at home in Cincinnati before he was bored and called me to see if I wanted to hang out.  It was the weekend of the Taste of Cincinnati and there was a musician I wanted to see playing that day (Keith Anderson) so he picked me up and we headed downtown.  Every thing was going well and after the show on the way back to his truck he asked me if I had plans for dinner, I told him I didn't, he asked if I like tacos, I reminded him I do not eat beef or pork but I love turkey tacos, and that was it.  He changed the subject, drove me home and said good night.  I was so baffled.  He continued texting/calling like nothing had happened so I eventually forgot about it, we went on the date we had planned and really started to hit it off.  We continued to hang out for a few weeks, then he left town for a while to attend some wedding/bachelor parties/general post graduation festivites.

So Jason was supposed to be getting back from Miami some time tonight. When I talked to him last night around 1am he said they were getting ready to stop for the night, so when he called me at 7 this morning and said he needed me to do him a big favor I was a little worried. Until he told me what he needed...for me to open the door and let him in! They drove all through the night so they could get home, he dropped the boys off then came over to wake me up. It's the little things that get me!

I think that was the moment I knew I could love this man.  We spent a few more glorious week together before he had to leave for OBC (Office Basic Courses, as it used to be called.  I think they call it BOLC now).
One of our very 1st photos , 4th of July at my uncles house.

When it was time for him to leave we both struggled with how to proceed.  We were both expecting a fun summer fling and I think we were caught off guard by the feelings that developed.  We made plans to meet for my birthday 2 months after he left.  We didn't make it 2 weeks before we met in STL for the weekend.

From our 1st weekend rendezvous.

After 6 months of back and forth between Cincinnati and Fort Leonard Wood Jason was preparing for a deployment and decided to end things between him and I before he left.  That was a sad time for me and I don't care to relive it.  The good news is that not even a month into his deployment he realized he'd screwed up royally and started calling me.  He didn't admit that mistake for a year and a half but during that time we talked regularly (as regularly as a deployment permits) and everyone around me swore they knew we would get back together but I didn't allow myself to believe it.  When he returned from that deployment we started dating again and 6 months later we decided to get married before he left for deployment #2.  It was kind of spontaneous and a little rushed but we knew it was the right time for us, so we gathered our immediate family and headed to a fabulously ghetto "chapel" in Kentucky and got married!

He deployed shortly after that.  For his R&R during that deployment we met in Europe for our "honeymoon".

Then, shortly after he returned from that deployment we had our big wedding with all of our friends and family!

That's a really long story, and it's just the beginning!  If you read the whole thing, thanks!


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Stitch Fix

Y'all, I'm hooked!  I signed up for Stitch Fix as a way to add some pieces to my wardrobe that I normally wouldn't pick for myself but still love.  If you're not familiar with Stitch Fix, you start by filling out an in depth fashion profile.  You answer lots of questions and choose lots of photos based on your personal style, needs and budget.  Next you are assigned a "personal stylist" who studies your profile, any Pinterest boards you choose to share with them and any notes you contribute.  They then choose 5 pieces, package them up and send them to you.  Once your box arrives, you try on all the pieces and decide which ones to keep, any you want to return you simply place in the prepaid package they include and send them back.  There is a $20 fee each time they ship you a box but if you keep one or more items the $20 goes toward the price of the piece(s) you keep.

My first box arrive this week and I wanted to keep every single piece!  I almost didn't try them all on because I knew if they fit well it would be more difficult to send them back but I wanted to document them to share with you all.  Let me share with you my first Stitch Fix box

My 5 pieces

They even include a style guide to give you ideas on how to wear the different pieces.

Item #1: Miilia, Crochet tank {I own a tank just like this. RETURN}
Item #2: Just Black, Adora Skinny Jean {I've been needing wanting new jeans and as soon as I put these on I knew there was no way I could send them back, even if they were at the top end of what I'm willing to pay for Jeans.  KEEP}

Item #3: Collective Concepts, Valencia V-Neck 3/4 sleeve blouse {This was a little too tight in the chest area, otherwise, I loved it. RETURN}
Same jeans as above.

Item #4: 19 Cooper, Clemency Diamond Print Tunic {I loved this but I just couldn't justify the price in addition to the other two pieces that I was keeping. RETURN}

Item #5:  41Hawthorn, Leopard Print Infinity Scarf {Love, love, love this!  I knew I was keeping it the second I saw it.  You can't tell in the photo but the dark color is actually a purple..  I couldn't love it more. KEEP}

In a dream world I would have kept them all.  I really wanted to just love one piece but jeans are so difficult for me to find and these fit so well, I just couldn't send them back.

My only issue was even though I chose the cheapest option, all of these pieces were a bit more than what I am normally willing to pay.  I was afraid I wasn't going to like any of them and be stuck paying the $20 fee but after my 1st box now I'm worried about how I'll ever just choose 1 piece to keep each month since I obviously failed to do that on round 1.  I can't wait for my next box to arrive.

Hate shopping?  Love fashion?  This is a great option.  If you choose to sign up I would appreciate if you use this link so I get $25 credit (I'm going to need it if my stylist keeps rocking it like she did this time!).

This is not a sponsored post, I just love the product enough to share ir with all of you.


Sunday, February 16, 2014

This Week's Eats

I love this link up because it keeps me accountable to meal plan every week, even when I don't want to.  Somehow last week I only planned for 5/7 days, like we weren't going to eat the other 2 nights.  I made sure to account for dinner all 7 nights this week.  I've also started our meal plans on Saturdays since that is when I go to the farmers market and I can start with the ingredients that need to be eaten first (for freshness factor {what up unintentional alliteration}).  Plus it keeps all of my recipe links for the week consolidated nicely.

Saturday: Fondue!  Cheese, cheese and chocolate.
Sunday: The Pioneer Woman Sloppy Joes
Monday: Minestrone Soup
Tuesday: Sesame Ginger Salmon & Veggies
Wednesday: Okonomiyaki
Thursday: Eggplant Pasta with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce (this is SO GOOD)
Friday: BBQ Chicken Quesidillas

I'm so excited to eat this week!

Jessica Lynn Writes


Monday, February 10, 2014

10 on 10 {February 2014}

I truly enjoy participating in the 10 on 10 project every month but it's really hard to be creative when you spent most of your day in a beige office with a beige desk and a beige chair and get the idea.  This month I decided to go with a theme for my 10 photos, not the most exciting theme, but a theme none the less.

I'm trying to make this manicure last as long as possible but I think it's about time for a new one.

Stamping documents.

Taking notes during a meeting, and f/u means follow up, not what your dirty mind is thinking.

Off to buy a sandwich to go with the soup I brought from home.

Lunch time.

Sending emails.

Making a call.

Entering data.

Snack time.  There is a new farmer selling strawberries daily down the street from our house and I can't get enough!  The homemade whipped cream is delicious too.

My honey took the car today so he dropped me off and picked me up from work, it was nice to start and end my work day with him.

ten on ten button