29 July 2010


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! 

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.]

Another Hot Day!

As the heat drags on in Japan, my excitement and creativity is melting away. 
When I started this challenge, I picked some really great things to remix. 
But, as soon as summer started (when the rainy season ended) the heat has really messed with my ability to wear 1/2 of my items. 

But, I'm no quitter. It is just going to take longer for me to put these things together. Considering I find myself staying home in the air conditioning more than my usual daily outings. I've convinced myself many times that sweating in this heat is never worth walking to the coffee shop for a latte, going to the library to study, or needing a rental movie. I've managed just fine staying away from the heat. 

The only thing that will get me out of the air conditioning is teaching my fabulous students. The English class I teach meets on Tuesday nights. And the sister class (taught by a different teacher) meets on Wednesday afternoons. Well I had the pleasure of teaching both lessons this week. But that meant having to go out in the heat...So the outfit (8/30) was cute, but stifling. I love this shirt and the fact that I found it on triple clearance (you know the take 50% of the clearance price and an additional 25 at the register)! I love the neckline and the color, but I hate how it traps my body heat and doesn't cool me off. 

I suggest Under Armor, Nike, or any other sport company should start making smart cowl neck shirts that will wick away sweat, but in style. Wouldn't that be awesome?! I'm going to draft a letter and send it out! 
I would totally buy those! 

Today happens to be Friday and guess what... its another hot day! But, the whole day isn't a drag because tonight  I'm meeting up to celebrate an upcoming wedding. It is a fabulous love story:
The previous teacher of my class invited her brother to come and visit Japan. One night she asked him if he could cover one of her English classes, a one-on-one lesson with a young woman. Well they clicked and started dating. He would travel to Japan to see her. She would travel to Ohio to see him. And the rest is sort of history. They decided to get married and had a beautiful ceremony in Ohio. But, now they are going to have a wonderful Japanese ceremony at a huge Shrine in Tokyo. I hear tidbits of his experience, trying to translate the meetings which are conducted in 90% Japanese or getting fitted for the antique kimono he will be wearing.

It is pretty fabulous and tonight I have been invited to dinner, with my students, to celebrate this love and spend time with him, his beautiful wife, and his parents! Such a treat! 

Want to know a secret?
The outfit I have picked out is NOT a part of the 30 for 30 challenge. 
But, I'll still be featuring it for the style postings I promised you! 

Well lets get to the outfit. 
I'm pretty happy with the outfit. The only thing that bothers me is that the skirt kept riding up because the satin shirt kept allowing it to happen. I was pulling it back down all day. 
And The lack of accessories is necessary. 
I hate the feeling of a necklace on a hot day. 
I feel claustrophobic. 

Well. I'm  back to writing papers and studying hard. 
I'm in my final week of a critical class!! Woo Hoo! 
By the way. I graduate one year from Aug. and I'm feeling the pressure. 

21 July 2010

Enduring the Japanese Summer.

Things around here are nuts. 
I have multiple things happening in my life at one time 
and it is creating a bit of discomfort. 
All this stress. 
It is consuming.
Where is that relaxing summer I wanted?

Not to mention, this heat is really getting to me. 
Nothing some ice tea, sorbet, and frozen fruit can't cure though! 

And luckily, none of these things are getting in the way of the 30 for 30 challenge. 
Here is outfit #7.
The accessories are what really made this outfit sparkle. 
I layered 4 necklaces I had. And I realized if I were to purchase a layered necklace like this I could easily spend $20. But by trying out a few pieces I already had, I was able to get the same look for MUCH less.
Here is what I used:
The pink pearls with earrings were a gift from my Hubby. 
There is a pendant that I found at a Forever 21 sale for $2.00. 
There is a wrapped beaded necklace I bought at a craft fair in NY for $4.00.
And a strand of fake pearls that I found while thrifting for $1.00. 
Maybe you can see the feather head band in the picture above. 
It is a Forever 21 purchase for $3.00! 
And the shoes were not in my 30 for 30 selection. 
But they work well with the outfit, so I don't really mind that I cheated.
I'm realizing that I'm running out of places to take pictures in our apartment.It's not very big, so I'm going to have to venture out to get some good shots eventually. I took these in our bedroom and used the rocking chair my Gramma gave me as a prop!Usually it is used as a coat rack for the Hubby's uniform, a laundry basket for clothes that need to be folded, or as a place to set out clothes for the next day. 

It rarely gets used as a rocking chair, but yesterday I really wanted to show it off.
In the picture above you can see the shirt and scarf. That is a little surprise not part of the 30 for 30 challenge, but part of the style series that I'll continue.
[You can take a look at the other posts I did here, here, and here.]

I'm off into the Japanese heat to run some errands and teach a little English. 
Can the weekend hurry up?!

19 July 2010

I love heart sunglasses.

Not to long ago, my friend Kim and I made a quick stop at the thrift store. 
Among the many finds I bought, were these sunglasses. 

I remember as a kid I would wear star and heart sunglasses in neon colors. 
Maybe my Mom still has a pic of it?! 

I found adult size ones! 
They are ridiculous and fantastic!

Today will be the first day I venture out in public with these on... 
I think they are sort of fabulous!
It is another hot day here in Japan. 
Good news? The rainy season ended 2 days ago! 
Bad News? Summer has now started. 
Bring on the humidity! 
This skirt is super comfortable, I bought it last year at Forever 21 in Harajuku and it is made of the winderbreaker fabric. Which means this can be dressed up super easy as well! 

[If you want to see close ups, just click on the pics to see more detail!]
I'm wearing the same flip-flops I've worn with past outfits. 
Jessica Simpson: $10. 
They happen to be the only pair of sandals I decided to include in the 30 for 30 challenge. 
Note to self: It's summer, include more sandals!!! 
(Special Note: This is another outfit under $30!!)
That necklace was 50cents on a random stop at Rue 21 a few years ago! 
And I couldn't get a good pic of my earrings, but they are the same ones from this outfit.

I feel worn down. 
My sleep schedule is off. 
My eating habits have gone awry.
I'm bogged down with homework. 
& I'm playing travel agent for the trip to NY with my students. 

All this organizing and coordinating keeps me up at night going over all the possible mishaps and difficulties we could have on the trip in October. To be honest, I'm actually a decent trip coordinator and I love arranging trips!! It's challenging and sometimes trying on my patience, but I know that this trip with be such a wonderful opportunity to share my American life with my Japanese family. 

So, I keep on going. 
Do you ever wish humans could run on batteries after the regular supply of energy runs dry?!
For now, my lattes will have to do!

How do you feel about these sunglasses? 
Would you rock them? 
Or are they just plain ridiculous... 

17 July 2010

Lazy Saturday.

Some homework. 
Some errands.
A movie. 
A nap. 

That is how my Saturday went. 
I am absolutely positive it has been a LONG time since I've had one of these Saturdays. 
But, I did get dressed!
It was another easy outfit. 
This old navy t-shirt dress is very comfortable and they still have them available. Some for under $7! 
(Just a heads up, in my experience old navy t-shirt dresses run a little short. So when I bought this one I bought it in a Tall size... And you can see how short that is.. Just in case any of you were considering purchasing it.)
Add a belt, sandals, and earrings and I was out the door. 
Those earrings? 
I got those at a little 500 yen store in Harajuku. 
They have fashion earrings 2/500 yen! 
Can't beat that!
And the belt was one of several I found thrifting for $1!

I cut off my head in the second picture, but that's what I get for being impatient. 
 I could have waited for the Hubby to get home. 
But, I like to take pictures when I'm freshly put together. 
Who knows what my pictures would look like after sweating it out in the Japan humidity 
and shoving small children aside for last dibs on some chai-tea concentrate.
(They later put more on the self, so I don't feel bad.)
I'm viscous if anyone messes with quad-weekly chai-lattes! 
Watch out!

After getting the groceries. 
I settled down in our spare room for a movie and an unintended nap.

So there was outfit 5 of 30! 
I think I might be challenging myself to put together more outfits for under $30! 
I can't say I'm surprised, 
I have an inner magnet that is attracted to any clearance rack.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!