24 June 2010

Accessorizing 101

This is part of the Style Series, which all started with some great feedback on my Summer Style
Just for fun, you can read all about my closet here.
Color. Texture. Pattern. Shine. 
 That should be your mantra when accessorizing any outfit. 

I've put together some VERY basic looks. 
I'm just using your everyday t-shirt and jeans...
I have an incredibly oversized t-shirt I bought 
dirt cheap at Forever 21. 

I chose this over my other (better fitting) t-shirts, 
because I wanted to challenge myself to make it cute. 

Here is what I came up with. 
I created an a-symetrical neckline by bunching the shirt under the brooch. 
The belt adds some structure to the shirt.
The draping necklace adds some texture and movement.

diy brooch: $2.00
thrifted necklace: $2.00
belt, f21: $5.00
hoop earrings: gifted. 

FYI: Kids are definitely accessories, especially if they are this cute!

I recently found a really great fitting black tang-top for under $5.00! 
I love the fit, the straps, the neckline...
I bought one in gray too!

Here is how I accessorized it..
I usually am not a tuck-er. 
But I am when I've worked this hard to eliminate a muffin top! 
The skinny belt adds a little contrast & the scarf is super lightweight and fabulous!
I also have some pretty earrings on..
belt, h&m: $5.00
scarf: $8.00
earrings: $4.00

The next few shots are things you can do with scarves...
I am a scarf person. 
Not everyone is. 
I'm told it's a NorthEast thing...
I don't know if that's true.
But, what is true is that ANYONE can rock a scarf...

You could wrap it around your arms for a pretty evening look. 
The back looks like this:

Or you could try one of these looks: 
Usually I'm a grab, wrap, and go scarf wearer. 

Well.. I'm sure you can tell that these are not self-timed pics..
Nope.. I upgraded!

Wanna meet my photographer??? 
Blogging Friends meet Kim. 
She is a fantastic mother of three!
Just six weeks ago she gave birth to a beautiful baby boy!!
Here she is on the other side of the lens, trying out some accessorizing:

She is really a wonderful lady. 
I can't tell you enough, thank you for taking these pictures. 
They are 100000000x better than my statuesque self-timed ones!
You are amazing.

Accessories are what make an outfit fabulous...
You don't need to by a $100 shirt to be stylish. 
Just add a bit of frosting. 

What is your favorite accessory? 
Is there one you are afraid to try?
I want to hear from you!

23 June 2010

Summer Motivation

Summer has had a slow start. 
I've been entirely consumed by a Critical Thinking class, 
 which apparently does not come naturally.. 

I've been a shut-in, glued to the computer screen, reading material I forget 10 minutes later. 
To describe this class as challenging would be a vast understatement. 
I downright hated this class. 

But, I can't dwell on the suck-y-ness of this class for long considering my new class started...


Despite the Japan humidity and the disgusting rainy season that is upon us... 
I'm in good spirits!
I'm back at the gym!
On my terms! 

There once was a day when I imagined a fitness blog describing my adventures of weight loss. 
But, I sort of stink at writing about it... 
Ok, okay.... I REALLY stink at it. 
I hated forcing myself to write about fitness...

But just because I nixed the fitness blog, 
doesn't mean I gave up on the workouts...

I started a Couch to 5K challenge, 
which I revised to Computer Desk to 5K. 
Which is appropriate considering a majority of my 
studying, writing, discussions, blogging,
emailing, and of course facebooking 
happen here, in front of the computer. 

My cousin Kelley and her girlfriends all started this together 
and I have been inspired by their determination.

For anyone that is interested..
it is an application you can buy on itunes.
It is pretty fantastic! 

Has anyone tried it before? 
Do you need something to jumpstart your running? 

On another note: 

My baby brother is graduating from highschool this weekend! 
And without going into details...
this has been such an incredible challenge for him. 

So my two baby brothers will be in Japan this time next week and 
we will be on our way to a fabulous trip around the country.
We will be hitting some hot spots along the way, 
and I'll be sure to keep you posted with pics and details!

We will celebrate graduation and new beginnings. 
I'm thrilled to share a piece of my life in Japan with them! 

The Hubby and I both have homework to attend to. 
You should see us, eyes glued to the computer screens... 
quite a sight.. 

Happy Wednesday-ing!

22 June 2010

Exam Time

It's 8:30 am in Tokyo. 
I'm sitting at my computer. 
Tea is made. 
Eye Sleepies wiped away.
and now it's time...

Can you tell that I'm nervous? 

Wish me Luck!

20 June 2010

Style Series.

I received a ton of e-mails and comments about my Summer Style and the MilSpouse Closet. 

Some readers had questions about how to keep style while traveling.
Others were asking about packing for trips that give you comfort and style.
And even had someone ask what I wear on date nights!

I LOVED all the feedback!
I've never thought I've had style.
I've just got a good eye for things that I can throw on that look good.  

But, it turns out some readers actually want to hear my thoughts on these things.
Which is wonderful!
And I've been trying to think about how I want to approach it...

So, without further adieu... 
Welcome to the Style Series!

This will be an indefinite-part series that address anything and everything you might want to know. 

Here are a few, to keep your eye out for: 
Accessorizing 101. 
How-To Blend Style and Comfort. 
Make Date-Night Special. 
Dressing for Military Occasions.
A Culturally Mindful Style.

Among other things. 

Please leave comments here about anything you might want to know. 

Again, this is an indefinite amount of posting, so ask away! 
I will continue this as long as you want to read it!

18 June 2010


Yesterday I posted about how I summer-ize my apartment.

And I showed you a picture of our bedroom all cooled off
Well, in that picture (at the very top) you can see a map hanging over our bed. 
It is a poster I found for $3.00! 
But, there are NO poster sized frames to be had on this base... 
I want a customized frame from the kind, but expensive frame makers.

No, thank-you.

So I taped it up there! 
Well - after I posted this I decided something had to be done...
So I went thrifting. 

And I found this gem: 
The person that put this puzzle together spent ALOT of time doing so!
I'm not going to lie, I felt bad ripping it off of the backing. 
So I sent out a quick thank-you to that person!

There were so many of these framed puzzles! 
I chose this one for the wooden frame 
because it had hooks on the back ready to hang. 

Silly me didn't take any measurements... 
So, I eye-balled it and thought, "this could work!"

And it did:

And so now our bedroom has a beautifully framed map 
and the total cost was $8.00!

Its funny how such a small thing, 
like a $5.00 frame, 
could really enhance a space. 

Think about that next time you want to upgrade something. 
First try something simple.

Wanna see what else I bought??? 
There are 2 things I LOVE about thrifting in Japan: 
The pottery: 

Crackled vase: $3.00

And the Kimonos:
Kimono Layer: $6.00
It has such a beautiful pattern. 
And it is in really great condition! 

When I bought it I was thinking I could use the fabric for some cute pillows! 
And it just so happens that these pillows fit right into the sleeve of the kimono! 

This summer, while I have some time, 
I'm thinking about taking this super special route to the thrift stores around the area. 
I think there are 9 of them! 

I'm looking for company, so just drop $1500 on a plane ticket, 
fly 10,000 miles and come join me! 

17 June 2010

Summer-izing the Apartment

It's official...
Summer is HERE!
I'm officially on summer break. 
(from work... not my school..)
And the Japan humidity has returned. 
It is stifling... for.sure

So.. every year I go through this phase of cooling off the house. 
I put away all my tchotchkes. 
I put away all the cozy blankets. 
I give my apartment a chance to breath. 
(Which is getting increasingly harder to do in this humidity).

There is nothing better after being out enjoying summer than to come home to a "cooled" house. 
It is much more relaxing. 

Wanna see what I've been up to?? 

The warm brown, heavy quilt and dark pillows are put away. 
They are replaced with an airy-er version. 

I LOVE a white comforter. 
While my usual bedding was being washed, I jumped on the chance to cool off the bedroom. 
And it is just what we needed!

The Hubby is in love with his recliner. 
But it is a dark leather...
you can barely even see that cozy brown blanket in the first picture. 

That blanket is my favorite..
but just looking at it in this humidity makes me feel sticky. 
So I cooled off this area by adding a lighter colored throw and a white pillow. 
I  put away everything smaller than a football. 

For the dining area I tied back the curtains and cleared off the table. 
I also eliminated a chair and dropped the leaf on the back side. 
I was able to push the table back and open up the living area more. 

It is heaven! 

Does anyone else do this? 
Are there ways that you could do this? 
I wanna see pics! 
So let me know if you do a post about cooling your house. 
It could be just de-tchotchke-ing your house. 
Or maybe, if you are like me, add cooler colors.
Yesterday I did a post about HauteLook
I want you to know that I wasn't being paid to write that..
After re-reading the post it sounded like a bad advertisement...
I truly thought it was worth sharing!! 
Just in case you were wondering.... 

I'm feeling the need to celebrate the commencement of my Summer Vacation! 
Margaritas anyone? 

16 June 2010

Insider Secret

A while ago I was introduced to HauteLook

Have you heard about it?? No?? Yes?? 

Well I didn't know that it existed until my friend (who was invited by her friend, who was invited by her friend) invited me into this money-saving-48-hour-sale-event website.

Discounts on designer clothes, accessories, and home goods are incredible. 

75% off Michael Kors? Yes Please! 

Wanna in on this??? 
If you are anything like me, a self-procclaimed-bargian-ista, you should check it out. 

Membership is free. 
So, whats the harm??
The link below will take you to the invite form to activate your membership and gives you instant access to a TON of  discounts. 

I've got my eye on the upcoming Kensie sale! 
Let me know what you think about this website.
I'm relatively new to it, but I'm pretty much in love.

13 June 2010


I'm not a huge fan of camping.
I'm not the type of person that can sit, sleep, and eat in dirt, sweat, smoke, and bugs.
I'm not someone that can sleep anywhere.

I'm the one that carries the wipes around camp with her.
I'm the camper that makes everyone move the picnic table into a non-smoky area of the site.
I'm that person who will request the buddy system for my trip to the bathroom.
And I promise I won't be the one to go gathering for sticks after dark.

Yes, I'm that girl.

But, I'm in love with this man.

And the Gods-honest truth is,
I'll follow him anywhere...

...even camping.

08 June 2010


With only a year left in Japan, I can't help but fantasize about where we will go next. The Hubby and I have a nightly ritual, we fall asleep dreaming of our first house together.
Each night we make it someplace new and different.

Sometimes I see ourselves in the mid-west with a huge yard and an older home with lots of character.
Other nights, we are overseas, exploring a new country (again!).
I've thought about seaside locations and tropical weather.
There are times that I even see us cuddling up in the frigid Alaskan winter.
[Which is weird considering I detest everything to do with snow!]

So I allow my mind to wander to far-away places and to some places that we could make the best of....

I have also been gushing over home decor and design.

I can't get enough of the galleries of people's homes that I would love to spend time in.
Which would be weird because who would want a stalker checking out their stuff?

But, never the less - I gush. I oogle. At gorgeous design.

And then I take all this inspiration and work them into my late night dreaming.
Wanna see some inspiration??
I'll pick them out of the inspiration folder that is reserved for the pictures that make my jaw drop.

I believe that home design should be an extension of who you are as a person. It should reflect your life and include pieces that express your unique personality and style.
(What does a candlestick holder, turned paper clip holder say about my style? I don't know. But it's me!)

BTW: These photos (all of them)  are credited to either Elle Design, House Beautiful, or Better Homes and Gardens. They were designed by incredible artists and interior design professionals. 
I only wish I could have an ounce of their talent.
Here we go: 
Picture Tour to Kate's Dream House 
via inspirational photos
starts now!
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
I want a kitchen that you can congregate in. 
Cook dinner with friends in. 
Have a glass of wine in. 
Wander in at midnight for a snack!

I can picture myself here. 
Probably still doing homework. 
School will own my life forever....it seems.
(Minus the gingham chair. It would be replaced with a leather club chair!)

A pretty entrance. 
One that may display unique pieces from my (future) world travels.
And a chair; unique and weathered. 
I want my chair to have an untold story. 
Is that strange?

A bedroom full of color and life. 
(Minus the lime green... I sort of loathe that color)
A requirement for my bedroom is that it has to be nap-able. 
This looks like a place I could do that.

Oh! And a pretty office. 
It even has a dog bed for the dogs that are in my dreams...
FYI: It's a collie. Like Lassie. Named Frankie. 
I'm pretty convinced that Frankie will save me. 
that's what collies do right? 

Ahhh, a hallway with a great runner. 
It is a must! 
I'm not a fan of pink in the room beyond this hallway. 
But I'm in love with that ceiling art, that is hiding either an ugly light fixture or a skylight. 

So this is some of my inspiration that I think of as I lie in bed dreaming of our next adventure. 

Love it? 
Hate it? 
Wanna join in? 
Already gushing over something?? 

I want to hear about it!!!

A Military Home

What does it look like? 

Are there stacks of tan t-shirts? 
A load of ABU's in the wash? 
Pants, Tops, Socks laying around? 
Do you find small stickers in your laundry that remind you that deployment is real? 

Do you have enough blue folders to wall paper the Sistine Chapel? 
Are dress blues ready for a ceremony? 
Are there boots to trip over? 
Do you stub your toe on the steel toe? 

 Are there flags? 
On the nightstand are there dog tags waiting for an impending deployment? 

Whatever it is - take time to realize what it all meas. 
They are symbols...
of service. 
of commitment. 
of 1% of the population that protects 100% of the rest and fights 100% of the conflicts. 

[All these pictures were taken as they really are around our apartment.]

07 June 2010

Creativity Un-loaded.

What happens when you have TONS of creative ideas but.....

-You will be leaving here in a year.
-You don't have tons of time to spend on projects.
-Nor do you have tons of money to decorate with.
-You are in need of a change.

Story of my life today.

I needed something to do. I could feel the creative juices flowing, but DID NOT have the energy to take on a huge project. Plus, I'm saving all my money for my brothers trip here in June...so I can't splurge on anything... except overly priced lattes made by the sweetest Japanese ladies in the world.

I made some very minor changes. 
And I don't have a before pic... who does have one of their laundry room? 
Just trust me... it was standard.

The smallest room, 
but I surprisingly spend enough time in there 
to need something pretty to look at. 
Don't you think?! 

I have a thing for pretty glass. 

These flowers are clearly fake... 
but still pretty.

And just for fun....
Here is what I wore to the market this past weekend: 
 The Siblings will be here in 21 days! 

05 June 2010

MilSpouse Connections.

I saw on Julie The Army Wife that Household Diva (also an Army wife) is starting a Military Spouse Community for bloggers!

Couldn't have come at a more perfect time. 
One of my goals this summer was to make more connections in the blogging neighborhood with some of these fantastic military spouses!


If you go to Ann Marie's blog just follow the directions to be a part of this fantastic opportunity. 

If you don't already read Household Diva's blog, you MUST!
(I'm a new follower and I fell in love...)

She has some really great posts about OPSEC, moving, blogging, photography, and of course the Military. 

While I finish my cup of coffee and before I venture to the market,
I'm going to take a little time to connect with some of the military bloggers she already has listed! 

Happy Weekend-ing! 

03 June 2010


Here are some pics from the Hubby's re-enlistment ceremony. 

I wasn't able to be there in person, so I sent him to work with the camera. 

I was crossing my fingers that he found someone reliable to snap a few photos at the culmination of all of our big discussions, planning, and worrying. 

We have added 5 years to our Military adventure, which starts after next May! 

Although, it comes with a lot of baggage, it is one of the best decisions we have ever made! 

This is the part of the oath where he says, 
"My wife swears to move our entire household 3 more times, and I promise to subject her to involuntary stress, and leave her at a moments notice." 

I swear that's actually in the oath! 
Isn't that basically what they are saying?? 

I'm kidding...

I thought the C-130 was a nice touch to the ceremony. 
It really made it special. 

Needless to say, I'm proud. 

Very Proud!

01 June 2010

MilSpouse Closet Tips

Did you thank a service member for your extra days off?? 
I thanked my husband OVER and OVER for the work he does so that I get an extra holiday just before summer vacation!!! Yeaaa! 
[Which by the way is about 12 days away]
But, in the mean time I'm still busy.

Justin and I celebrated our third anniversary being married to the Air Force this past month and today he re-enlisted for another five! Which is exciting news, because it means that we have income!! 

Another bit of exciting news is my brothers will be making the journey to Japan at the end of this month!!! So I'm super busy getting things ready for their trip! That means coordinating the zillion trips we will be taking and making sure we have enough money to do so! Things that made the cut are a 2-day stay in downtown Tokyo, a bullet-train overnight trip to Hiroshima, a 2 day stay in the mountains, a trip to the amusement park, a Japanese baseball game, and a couple day trips to China Town and the big Buddha! Wheeww! It's going to be awesome! And this still leaves us some down time to chill and catch our breath!  

I got A LOT of feedback about my summer style post, which was very motivating! 
So Thank you for your sweet words! 
One commenter and a few e-mails were asking for tips on how to consolidate their closet as a military spouse (or ANY spouse!). 

Since I took the weekend off from blogging I came up with a few tips: 

1. Versatility. Your wardrobe has to be versatile. Why? Because military families, on average, move every 3 years! And I know that I cannot afford to re-stock my closet with every move. Therefore, make sure you can easily transition your wardrobe into any climate (of course with a few necessary purchases!). 

For example, my wardrobe could survive a move to Alaska, as long as I spent money on a parka! And, my clothes could travel with me to Hawaii, as long as I added a couple pairs of shorts! 

Bonus Tip: The best way to keep your wardrobe versatile is to buy high-quality, classic, breathable layering pieces. (That is a mouthful!). Avoid being tempted to purchase super cheap clothing, you get what you buy and unfortunately, they may not last... In my opinion, a few quality pieces go further than several cheap pieces. Breathable fabric, like 100% Cotton, is less stifling, so you can wear a short-sleeve shirt without feeling like you are going to pass out. For the record, polyester will NEVER be a breathable fabric...
Ultimately, layering is the best way to get the most out of your wardrobe! Especially if they are timeless classics that don't ever go out of style, EVER! 

2. Pack-ability: Your clothes should be pack-able. You will be packing constantly as a military spouse. Whether its for an overseas move or a quick trip back home, you need pieces that you can grab (sometimes quickly) and pack. That also means investing in some packing "accessories". My suitcase has a compartment that I can pack dresses and blazers with very little wrinkling. I make sure my shoes are in bags so they don't stain my clothes. And I use vacuum sealed bags for things I don't mind getting wrinkled (like pjs!) to make room for other things.
Pack-ability also means you have pieces that can easily be put together to make outfits. 
For me that is: 
Dark Denim-Boot Cut jeans. They have been hemmed for flats (easier to travel with) and go with just about ANY top (I promise!). 
Black Pants. Dress them Up. Dress them Down. You can't go wrong with a well fitting pair of these! It is a wardrobe stable! 
White T-shirt. Any white t-shirt that doesn't have a stain!! It could be a Hanes V-Neck, mine is a $4.00 bargain from H & M. White t-shirts are uber-pack-able! They can be dressed up easily tucked into black pants with a statement necklace and nice summer sandals. Or then can be dressed down with the dark denim and a pair of Old Navy flip-flops. 

3. Organize: You can't have versatility or pack-ability without organization. That is why I invested so much of my time into organizing my closet. Making outfits is SO much easier when you can SEE what you have! Packing is so much easier when you can visualize outfits. Shopping is so much easier when you can pick out what you need. I think you get my point..... don't stop at your closet. Organize your jewelry.... Organize your make-up..... Organize your shoes...... Organize your scarves..... 
I'm not kidding, you will LOVE life so much more when you can see what you have! 

4. Accessorize: I'm all about basics. Give me white t-shirt and jeans any day! (honestly, today I wore a t-shirt and jeans!). But accessories are what can save your time and budget! I call my accessories the "frosting station". After I'm dressed, I go over to my jewelry and help pump up my outfit. Earrings, a scarf, and a bangle will take your outfit up a few notches. What this does is add interest to an otherwise boring outfit. Belts can do the same thing, they accentuate your waist and add some color and texture to the outfit. 
Stacy and Clinton from What Not To Wear say: Color.Texture.Pattern.Shine. Those are the four things to look for in accessories! 
Bonus Tip: Your accessories don't have to be expensive either! I don't think I have any accessories, that I bought for myself, that have been over $10. That's including shoes (and excluding my running sneakers that were $30). For some people, their skin can't handle the material that the "cheap" jewelery is made of. With the eco-friendly organic movement sweeping the nation, there are many more pieces available in hypo-allergenic and natural materials. So, don't give up on finding bargain pieces! 

So here are my tips: 
Versatility. Pack-Ability. Organize. Accessorize. 
Are they applicable to your wardrobe? 
Will these tips help you with your upcoming move? 
Do you have any additional tips? 

I want to hear from you!

My friend Kim said she would gladly take the photos for me next time. So I'll be doing a part 2 on summer style soon! 

Have a Happy 4-day Week!