24 September 2010

5 in 5

I swear I've had 5 posts saved as drafts, but I've been feeling uninspired therefore they have remained incomplete. 

I could blame the insane heat we have had in Japan (I like to blame the heat for everything!) 
But whatever the reason, my writing has suffered. 

We have also had a very busy few months. Sponsoring a new family, starting the new school year, doubling up on my own courses, preparing an international trip for my students, and making arrangements for OUR part of the trip to NY. 

Since finding out our next assignment, I've felt stuck. Stuck between two worlds. My present life in Japan with my job, teaching, and friends. And what my future (very near future) life will be in the UK and getting prepared for it. 

Justin is off to Seattle soon for a little training and I'll stay here in Japan. 
& since I've been feeling a little uninspired, I thought I would take an hour or two everyday that he is gone to explore places I've never been to. I am a huge fan of wandering around until I find something. Justin is not. So what better way to do so than when I'm on my own!? 

Hang in there with me as I get the hang of writing again. I'm struggling to find things to talk about. My life has been rather uninteresting... I guess I need to do a little soul searching.... 

Oh and did I mention that the cool weather arrived today?! Yes! 
It's fabulous. Which makes me more inclined to venture outside! 


Next Week's Feature: 



08 September 2010

Video Blog!

Hello Everyone! 

Justin and I have REALLY big news! 
It has been difficult trying to keep the secret from a few family and friends, but now that EVERYONE (and their mother) knows, I felt it was time to broadcast it! 

What better way to do that, then by putting my new MacBook to good use and make my very first vlog

It took me about 100 takes and I feel apprehensive about showing it. 
But, I'm just going to put it out there. 
I would love some feedback!
Let me know what you think! 

video

I'm hoping as I get more comfortable, I'll be able to post some really great video blogs for everyone! 

Does anyone think it is weird listening to your own voice??? 
I don't necessarily hate my voice.. but, it's just weird. 


Anyway.. 
It's Wednesday here! 
Woo Hoo! Just 2 more work days will the weekend. 

Still waiting for some cooler temperatures in Japan. 
It's bringing a new meaning to Indian Summer. 
It's WAY to hot! 

I promise to catch up on everyone's lives! 

23 August 2010

It's been too long.

I wish I could say that I took a hiatus from writing and blogging so that I could relax and enjoy the rest of my summer vacation. But.that.would.be.a.lie.

I wish I could say that I've been on some fabulous secluded beach- miles away from the nearest internet connection. But that would also be a lie.

The truth is, I've been here, in Japan. Mostly in the air conditioning, trying to escape the relentless heat Japan is experiencing this year. And my brain has been fried. Not only from the 90 degree weather, it is fried from an ethics class where my instructor dishes out hundreds of hypothetical situations and I have to determine which theory/decision would be ethically correct. So boring.
And I've been putting the final touches on the Big Trip to America for 5 of my students.

Haven't heard of this Big Trip yet??
Well, it's all that I can think of lately..
Justin and I will be traveling home mid-October! It's exciting! We haven't been home in a year and I've turned into a huge Mama's girl since moving away from home, so I can't wait! Also, we will be home to attend a friends' wedding! Can you say cobalt blue, a-line, cocktail dress??
Even more exciting than all of this is Justin will be turning 25! Which to me is cause for celebration!
To him, as he has reminded me, more than a quarter of his life is over. And I don't have the heart to tell him that based on the current life expectancy report, a quarter of his life was over before he hit the 2-decades-of-life mark... (He isn't really moping around cursing his upcoming birthday, but he did make that remark once).

But even MORE exciting that THAT is... my students are going to fly to NY to start their Big Trip to America vacation. 9 of their 14 days will be spent with me traveling around the Northeast (Niagara Falls, Boston, NYC), before they continue on to Washington DC and Arkansas.

Have you ever gotten upset when you realized that your travel agent has an additional fee for handing your trip arrangements. I will never EVER complain about this little fee ever again. I've been playing travel agent for a few weeks now and it is not an easy job.
After booking all of their plane tickets for 5 flights, I moved on to searching hotels that were within budget and walking distance to sight seeing attractions. After that, I had to coordinate all the smaller transportation to and from cities, hotels, and attractions. Once I priced and scheduled those, I started on buying all the tickets needed for the tours and such... 

In addition to all of this, I've been brushing up on information and history about the cities and locations and making sure I can guide them through the public transportation systems of America.

It's refreshing that people have so much faith in my travel agent abilities, but sometimes I wonder if I am just too stupid to notice I'm in way over my head. Right now, I'm pushing to have all of the reservations/tickets/tours scheduled and put in an itinerary before Justin and I leave for NY. That way, everything is settled before we go home to spend time with family and friends. So that leaves me with about a month and a half to finish. Seems reasonable, right? 

So, I have been frying my brain with difficult and boring textbooks, causing some chaos playing travel agent.. what else has kept me from blogging?
I've been teaching my English classes.
Starting up work at the Middle School this week.
And trying to slim down (just a little) before October.

The 30 for 30 challenge was sadly finished undocumented, but was such a lesson in closet etiquette 101.  Never brush aside a t-shirt you thought had limited options in your wardrobe.. you can make anything work with some accessories and confidence. It was certainly a challenge limiting myself to these items without dipping into my entire closet, but I was able to save some money during the challenge by not buying any more clothes. Which I'm happy to report is now O-ver!

So what is next for Sometimes Life is Messy?
How about some dressing up styling for those of you who have a fall wedding to attend  like me?
Also, Air Force Ball will be coming up in September (?)....
So I'm guessing that the future will hold some posts about how-to-and-how-not-to dress up at these events.


Lastly, Can everyone keep their fingers crossed for Justin and I???
Why?? 
The overseas assignment list came out recently and we REALLY want to stay stationed overseas.
Preferably in Europe.
And we have a pretty good chance to do so..
But I'm thinking it wouldn't hurt to have everyone crossing their fingers (at the same time) for us.
Maybe then the universe will be unable to ignore the request and give in to our need to change fate!

Ready.....

CROSS!

You are too sweet! 

I'll be around when I can..
I'm not making any promises, I can't keep.
But, I'll try to check-in and be a better blogger and bloggy friend!


Have a Happy Week!

11 August 2010

Recovered.

Two years ago I bought a storage ottoman.
1. It was cheap.
2. I needed extra storage.

I didn't care for the 'nautical' look and for a while I just stapled some 100 yen store felt to it and shoved my files in it.
But, after parusing (which I originally spelled as par-oo-sing) the do-it-yourself blogs out there, I thought about recovering it. So, I read the tutorials, bought the supplies, and recovered it. It took about 2 hours to complete.

I bought a light weight fabric, because it was on sale and we don't sit on the ottoman, we just use it for storage. But, in the future I now know to splurge on a medium to heavy weight fabric due to the tugging and pulling that naturally happens on furniture. I thought it was a great way to get my feet wet in the do-it-yourself world. There are some wrinkles in the fabric, but I think it came out really nice.
And Justin was pretty impressed with my gumption to take on this project. But really, the credit should go to the fabulous tutorials on countless blogs that gave me the confidence to do this!

It is yet to be seen if this little guy can handle an overseas move, 
but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that he will be included at our next base! 
_____________________________________________

For my seventeenth outfit, I decided to show off the ottoman and get back on track with taking daily photos of myself. I've missed my narcissistic hour or so, where all I do is self time & critique my photos, edit them, and post them. 

This is a casual outfit for yet another hot day in Japan. I'm back to school after a small break for Justin's nose surgery. And I'm teaching this afternoon. Justin is back to work and I am happy to say that we are back on a normal everyday routine. Yesterday I posted about spontaneity. Which has been the theme during his recovery. We could wake up whenever we wanted. Go with the flow of the day and wherever it takes us. But, eventually order must be restored and it is refreshing to get back into normalcy. 

[Do you see Bruce, our camel, sneaking in the picture on the bottom right??]
 

This is another outfit that is under $30! 
Skirts are my new favorite thing to wear. 
I was skeptical about them at first, but they are forgiving and now we are friends.
I'm going to have to figure out how to continue wearing them while biking to work.. 
Maybe I can throw a pair of bike shorts underneath! 


My friend Mickenzie is a crafting goddess. 
She has more talent in her pinky than I do in my entire body. 
Those bracelets were a Christmas gift from 2 years ago. 
They are fabulous. & So is Kenz.


I'm so happy today is Wednesday! 
Enjoy the sunshine!

10 August 2010

Spotaneity.

In this world that encourages routine, organization, order, and planned events it is easy to overlook the gift of spontaneity. Sometimes it's a ride in the car without a destination. Other times its a spur of the moment decision to try something new. 

It's easy to forget that feeling when you are going through the motions of everyday life. 

I'll be the first to admit that I am not a spontaneous person, by nature. 
But, ever since we moved to Japan, I've learned to carpe diem.

When Justin and I were laying in bed watching a late night special on the best hot dogs in America, we were both salivating. The next day during our errands we stopped at the store, picked up the ingredients, came home and made our own creations.
It may not be a huge spur of the moment event. 
But those hot dogs were damn good
And they were only enhanced by the spontaneity of it. 
[And since Justin was still recovering from surgery (hence the swollen nose) it was nice for him to forget about the pain for a little while to cook us up some dogs.]

carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero
[Seize the day, trusting as little as possible in the next.]
Odes, 1.11

06 August 2010

Triptychs.

I am very happy to say that Justin is feeling MUCH better.
His nose surgery was a week ago today and he is already feeling a difference in his breathing.
He had a septoplasty procedure to straighten out the septum that has been deviated since he was a child.
So for the last 7 days he has been recovering.

Although this surgery was on a small area and his recovery has been quick, it is a very sensitive area and he has been in a lot of pain and discomfort. Relatively speaking, this is a very easy procedure.
But, Justin would never wish this upon anyone, he says.

Also, I've been camera-less. Not only was I unable to snap some pictures of his nose and the surgery, I haven't been able to keep up with my outfits. Finally today I had a few hours to track down my outfits in the laundry and re-wear them for a small, self-timed photo-shoot.

However, these pictures are taken in the only part of our apartment that isn't messy. But even this corner of the spare room managed to be just as cluttered. So forgive the lack of imagination...
I think I may have forgotten a few outfits along the way, but I managed to recover my memory on a few...

Eleven was worn out and about in Japan. I love window shopping and walking aimlessly through a new store in a foreign country. Sometimes I just drive until I find one that I've never been to before. I got compliments from some cute Japanese women, but I couldn't entirely translate what they were saying to me, but I'm assuming it was good since one of them wanted a picture. Hopefully I don't end up on some website called, What was she thinking when she wore this!?
I'm realizing how tight this shirt is and I'm regretting even putting this up here. Yikes!
Oh well.

The next outfit was worn to a BBQ on one of the hottest days this summer thus far. No joke, I sweated right through this outfit. The BBQ was fabulous, my student and her family hosted this summer get together and cooked up some delicious food. But, just for the record, eating raw fish outside on a hot day is not so yummy. The heat was nothing a few cold beers couldn't cure and the homesickness was nothing a few Japanese mothers couldn't cure.
Oh and don't you love this flower brooch? I'm almost positive it was a gift, but for some reason I can't think of the thoughtful person who gave it to me. Which makes me wonder if it was an impulse buy and the wave of adrenaline those types of purchases send through me has made me forget where and when and how much I got it for. If anyone, especially the person that might have given it to me, can help me put together the pieces on this, let me know!

Number thirteen I wore running errands with Justin. After being complete shut-ins for a few days it was necessary to pick up some supplies and taco rice (of course!). I also made a stop at the library to pick up some more leisure reading for the rest of the summer... I am having an affair with Ms. Picoult and her complicated characters.
&
Oh how I love this necklace... I had been having another love affair with this beauty on the 2nd floor accessory section at H&M. But at $15, it was more than I wanted to spend on it! Well, the mall is conveniently located on the route I take home from teaching. So, I made a brief stop, took some of my teaching money, and went directly to her. I tried her on, thought of all the lovely outfits she would complete, and bee-lined it to the register. It's weird to feel more complete, but I do, so what!

In addition to the time spent with Justin, my other favorite part of my week is the time I spend teaching English. It isn't a secret how much my students mean to me and it is a highlight of my time in Japan to spend time each and every week with such fabulous people. Every since I started this challenge they have showered me with compliments. It's more attention than one person deserves. Never the less, they are sweet. So I up the ante a little on Tuesday nights to show them something they haven't seen before.

Another something that I've come to enjoy is walking over to the coffee shop, ordering my usual, and reading. Most of the time, it's my dry-college-text books that I bring along. But, sometimes it's an old book of poems or a how-to-recover-your-ugly-ottoman article. Even though there are many places off base in Japan that I can go read and drink a latte, it is really nice having something just a 3 minute walk from the apartment! The baristas at the coffee shop are these cute Japanese women who know my drink by heart and ask me questions about my outfits and are shocked when I order something unusual, like a mango-coconut frappacino!
& Take notice of the hair-pin. I made a bunch of these hairpins/brooches from left over fabric a while ago. They are the easiest things in the world to put together and take all of about 20 minutes to complete.

The final outfit I remembered was one that I wore to the commissary. It was the only time that day that I stepped out of the apartment and I needed something easy to put on. Jeans and t-shirt is my go-to outfit for ultimate comfort, though these jeans take a while to get to that oh-so-comfortable state. These jeans are super crisp when the come out of the dryer and take a bunch of awkward stretches to shimmy them up to my waist. But, give them a few hours and they relax a little and make the whole outfit more comfy. Okay, about these earrings. (Maybe my Mom can fill in the blanks). When I was in [Elementary School? Jr. High?] my parents went away on a [small trip? vacation? weekend getaway?] to [somewhere in the North East] and my Dad brought me back a pair of earrings and a bracelet. I have no idea where the bracelet ended up, but I vaguely remember it being too small for my wrist. But, I re-discovered these earrings in a small box in my jewelery box and I almost cried. It's special to find things that remind me of my Dad. It's like the time I found a piece of paper with his hand writing on it, it takes your breath away. I'm so happy to have found them.


Keep an eye out for some more outfit postings.
Now that I have a new camera, I'll be able to post them more frequently.
I'm more than 1/2 way done and despite some mishaps, I'm still on track for the finish line!

Happy Friday-ing!

29 July 2010

Featured.

The Better After blog is an insane addiction I have.
I drool over the jaw-dropping transformations...

I submitted 2 before and after shots of my blah military apartment.
The transformations I submitted cost me little to no money and were done with things that I made or had sitting in storage containers...
It's amazing what you can do with what you already have! 

When I sent the e-mail, I was almost positive that I would get one back saying, "Love what you've done, but not enough drama..." because the before and afters that are featured on this blog are ridiculously fabulous.
Mine could pass for under-whelming.
But I am so gracious that she decided to include me among the ranks of some serious do-it-yourself-ers..

So I say, check out her blog.
It has sparked some ideas for future projects, wherever we end up next.
Every week I gush over the pictures and I think you should too!!

Surgery & Outfits

Things in Japan are pretty much the same. 
Hot & Humid. 
Today was windy and fabulous, which gives it the illusion of being cooler even when it isn't.

My world seems a little busier these days.. 
Justin has nose surgery on Friday. 
It is nothing serious, but long overdue and well deserved. 
Shouldn't everyone deserve to breath in and out without difficulty?
I think so too... 

Good news is, this surgery is a relatively easy procedure. 
This is of course coming from the doctor that whipped through the pre-op exam and talked so fast that it made me want to cover my ears just to process all the information. He seems pretty confident about the whole thing and maybe even slightly bored by this procedure. He definitely let us know (over and over) that he has done this a million times, but I couldn't help to hear slight disappointment in his voice that Justin's nose couldn't have been a more complicated case. I felt like I had to apologize for not spicing up his Ear, Nose, and Throat career in Japan. 

The bad news is, Justin will be uncomfortable for a week with the splints up his nose. Not to mention he will be breathing out of straws (or the medical equivalent) for a while..

So, I'll be a good nurse and wife, & maybe while he is all drugged up I can ask him to replace my camera so I can continue to take daily, self-timed pictures of my outfits and carry on with my self-absorbed postings about our life.. Or maybe I could convince him that a trip to Bali is totally worth the thousands of dollars we have worked so hard to save... 

Okay, I'm kidding...
I'll just take the time to rent tons of girlie-mushy-romantic-comedies and veg out on the couch with him during his recovery.... 

Also, I am going to say HELLO to my students. 
Every week at the beginning of our lesson they talk about who read my latest post, who saw my latest pictures, and what they thought of my outfits. One of my students is keeping a running tab of what I'm purchasing during this challenge. They know all the rules and they make sure I'm sticking to them! Everyone needs 8-10 Japanese Mothers making sure you don't buy anything you aren't supposed to. Oh how I love them!
But, they have informed me that they skip all the words (that are filled with vernacular phrases and improper grammar) and go straight for the pictures. 
I can't blame them.... 
But never-the-less they are here and I love that they read look at my blog! 
HELLO FABULOUS ENGLISH STUDENTS! 


Also, I would like to welcome some new followers. 
YOKOSO!  Welcome!

After the canon camera crisis was over. 
I was able to recover some of the pictures from outfits 10 and 11.

First, outfit #10. 
This skirt is amazing. 
It is one of the better purchases I've made recently. 
It is easy to wear and comfortable!
I wore this to make the rounds around Fussa getting fruits, veggies, and a coffee! 


Okay, now #11..

I wore this to the library and running some errands. 
I got told at the post office that they liked my outfit, which made me smile for the rest of the day. 
The whole outfit is from h&m, which was unintentional. 
It wasn't until I was adding the text to the picture that I was like..whoa! 


Did I mention that the switched Justin's work schedule around? He is on night shift because the heat index is too high during the day. The only thing about him being on night shift, is my sleep schedule invariably switches as well considering both of us are toddlers and can't sleep without the other in bed. Hence it being 3 am in Tokyo now and I am wide awake.. 
Thank goodness it is summer vacation and I have the luxury of sleeping in tomorrow! 

R.I.P. Canon

My camera broke. Like doesn't-take-pictures-anymore broke.


So, I have some catching up to do on the 30 for 30 posting.
But, in the mean time, here is a recap of #s 1-9! 




I've managed to save the pictures from outfits 10 and 11 from the canon...
And I'm technically on outfit # 14 including today's... 
so I'm going to have to re-wear those outfits to capture them for everyone to see. 


In my opinion....
The most comfortable were 3 & 5. 
But, my favorites were 6 & 9. 

Which one is your favorite?? 
Would you wear any of these?

24 July 2010

Japan Summer. Clothing Swap. Cockroaches.

I feel like I have a lot on my mind and a lot going on, but I can't really discuss any of them on here.
It has really made posting quite difficult, because there isn't much else to talk about.
Forgive me, I'm really trying to keep you interested, I just wish I could go into details about the things that have consumed my life lately. 

But, Something I CAN talk about is the big trip to NY I'm planning for some of my students!
I had no idea that I could coordinate a trip this detailed. They will be hitting Niagara Falls, Boston, NYC, DC, and Little Rock in 14 days! Despite being nervous about getting to do and see everything they want to, this trip is really coming along great! I'm looking forward to spending time with them and having some time after they leave for DC to hang out in the city with some friends and head back upstate to spend time with my family! October is just around the corner and I cannot wait!!!

Another thing that I did, was swap out some of my items for the 30 for 30 challenge. I've was going back and forth about doing this, but I think considering the season changed and it is now the equivalent of what hell might feel like, I don't feel bad about getting rid of the items I did. I think the swap is just what I need to get me through the rest of this challenge and through this Japan humidity.


I'm not really sure what possessed me to put black pants and a jean jacket in the remix. I'm sure it had something to do with the rainy season and the up and down temperatures we had. But, now that the rainy season is over, summer is upon us and it is hot! Some people might call this cheating. But I think it was absolutely necessary. I would not have survived this challenge without the swap. I'm already feeling much better about this!

Outfit nine includes one of my favorite articles of clothing. When I saw this sweater at the store I immediately attracted to it. It was not on sale, but for $20 I thought it was worth the price. It has really great details and the fabric is super breathable and light, good for this wicked heat wave we are in (just in case I haven't complained enough, I seriously HATE this heat!). The only thing, is that I didn't know what to wear it with or how to style it. I threw it in this remix to get some really good use out of it. I can't wait to see what else I can do with it!

Random story-time: When I walk by myself in the dark, I let my mind get the better of me. The worst thing about the Japan Summer, in my opinion, are the fearless cockroaches that come out at night. Last night I had dinner in Tachikawa, about 20 minutes away from base by train. On my way back home, I was jumping and screaming like a toddler every time one was scurrying across my path. I was actually talking to myself, calm down, you are fine, they can't hurt you, they can't fly, yes they are gross, but they are harmless, keep breathing. I ended up running to my apartment building from the gate in sandals, which gave me a blister. When I woke up this morning I cursed the cockroaches for giving me a blister!
True story-time: A friend of mine had one scurry across her foot while she was in the shower. I tell you, they are fearless!

23 July 2010

Photo Journal: Brothers in Japan.




[This has been a work in progress since my brothers left Japan. We had such a great time with them and really miss having them here with us! I wish I could include all the special moments and candid shots with everyone, but I decided it was better to put together the major highlights of the trip. I would have loved to show you their faces when they were presented with some interesting food or the mastery of chopsticks by the end of the trip. I also wanted to share all the laughter and smiles when faced with new situations or their efforts at learning the language. But, in the end, those moments are difficult to capture in photos or words.]