Thursday, October 23, 2014

Okinawa Island Wide 239th United States Navy Birthday Ball

Last weekend was the Navy Ball here in Okinawa! I think Gene and I may have had our tickets before we even left California! I don't know when I turned into a "ball person!" I used to loathe them, now I only loathe the part leading up to them (finding a dress, making sure I still fit in it, getting my hair and nails looking good, and getting out the door!) and relish in sitting back and watching the young people make fools of themselves. Seriously, it's not a ball if young people aren't making fools of themselves. <<< And with, I verified I'm 30 going on 68.
 We always take a picture before we leave. We normally take one after setting the tripod up at the front door. This year, we have neighbors all around us who are simply awesome! One of which took this picture of us in front of the tree in our cul-de-sac! This was after I noticed I had dropped some chocolate on the front of my dress and with minutes left before leaving had to either wash it out, or change! The worst part was: I didn't even eat any of the cake... I was putting it away!
The stain came out, and we were able to continue our night! We headed down to the Rocker NCO club on Kadena. I don't know what NCO clubs are like in other branches, but the Air Force definitely pampers these guys! Almost enough that Gene wants to be one! The Rocker is a gorgeous facility that I had been to a few other times for OIWC events. We got there early and found ourselves in a casino room they have at the Rocker getting a drink at the bar. Navy balls always have the worst cash bars ever, not this one! There were even full bars in the ballroom, because, hello, it's a base club and not a resort!
This is Gene's idea of a picture of me with the full bar, hahahahaha. Bless his heart!
The room was set up beautifully! We sat at long tables and we weren't sure if we should sit next to one another or across from each other. We decided to sit next to each other, which I guess is what most people did. We found a table  in the back near a bar, the photographer, and the exit. It ended up working against us, as we could hardly hear the presentations and guest speaker as the room was divided by a glass wall with only door openings, so the back half was rather noisy the entire time.

We were also rather impressed by the favors! It just isn't a Navy Ball without some kind of drinking receptacle. Birthday ball mugs, wine glasses, pilsner glasses, beer steins (but cheap ones, not fancy ones), one year we even got a stainless steel water bottle. For the love of God, birthday ball planners, nobody keeps all those glasses! This year, we didn't get another set of glasses I'd feel bad about tossing before our next PCS! We were gifted etched chopsticks! Pretty sweet for being in Okinawa! We'll keep those!
The food was rather amazing! We were given the choice of vegetarian, chicken, and swordfish. I went with chicken, Gene went with swordfish. Both came with a piece of steak, roasted potatoes, and sauteed vegetables. I didn't think to get a picture as we were having delightful conversation with the other couples at our table! Trust me though, it was yummy! We did have legitimate birthday sheet cake though! The balls I've been to have always had fancy desserts that the kitchen made to go with the good service, so it was interesting to get a slice of marble sheet cake! Happy birthday!
Things were done a little differently here as far as the program went! They did the opening remarks and the POW/MIA table setting ceremony before dinner, but then dinner was served before the guest speaker. That sure made it hectic when the Rear Admiral was introduced and a group of Marines refused to settle down. Like, above and beyond general rudeness into the douchebagery that made me embarrassed for them and the United States Marine Corps. That's neither here nor there and I refuse to get into.
 We tried our hardest to listen to the guest speaker, to no avail. We had our professional pictures taken earlier on in the evening, so when the entertainment came out and we couldn't hear or see them, we decided to call it a night like the old curmudgeons we are.

As for the professional pictures? They were fabulous! A very awesome husband and wife photography duo was on hand to take the pictures for us! Of course they wanted everyone to do the good old prom pose where they guy stand behind the gal, and hugs her waist and she puts her hand on his to show off her corsage. This is a Navy Ball, not Prom 2014. Gene didn't get me a corsage and I'm too fat for him to actually put his arm around me and not look like we're showing off a baby bump, so we politely declined that pose. We know what works for us:
And with that, another Navy birthday celebration has come and gone! We still have a Marine Corps Ball to attend later on this fall, but from what I hear they are crazy different! Separated by units or commands and rank or how important you are and there's assigned seating and much better favors, so the one we are attending should be low key and mostly with people Gene works with? I'll be sure to report back all about it!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

@hellotodaycreate // Hashtag Found InstaCrush

Being on the opposite side of the world from about 95% of my friends, my afternoons at home can be puh-ritty boring. Nobody is posting anything new on facebook, nothing new is showing up in my Instagram feed, and hulu goes buffering crazy starting at about 3pm. These are the times I find myself scrolling through hashtags on Instagram. Whatever is interesting me on any given day, I click a hashtag and scroll, scroll, scroll along. I've found some awesome 'grammers this way and thought it would be nice to share!

I recently found @hellotodaycreate while browsing #ProjectLife. It might just be my favorite tag to browse. I like most every picture I see, and comment every once and again. This picture begged me to comment on it:

How perfect is that gram?! Seriously? It makes me want to buy a sewing machine and learn how to use it just to make fun cards like that for my scrapbooks! I then wasted about a half hour scrolling through her feed looking at some of the prettiest pictures around!

Hello, gorgeous! Look at that pretty layout! It always amazes me to see folks scrapping in smaller formats! I'm going to start one, but I'm so nervous about it! Then I scrolled and saw these pretty clips! I don't use too many embellishments in my Project Life books, but this is something that would be so fun and easy to incorporate without adding too much bulk!

All of her pictures are just so dreamy, don't you think? I'm ridiculously excited I found her!

Do you ever scroll through hashtags looking for pretty 'grammers? 
Who are some of your favorites?

PS: Did you see Kara's post about her favorite instagram accounts? She has definitely inspired me to share more of mine with you, since I ended up following the ones she shared I never knew existed!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Taco Rice and Gate 1 // E Squared 101 in 1001

One of the things I absolutely love about Okinawa is trying all of the new foods. There are thousands of restaurants out there waiting for us to discover them, and be brave enough to try them out! One of the things on our bucket list for Okinawa is to eat at 50 new restaurants. We figured this would keep us from getting too comfortable with "old haunts" and make us explore a little more!

One of the new restaurants we tried is Gate 1, right across the 329 from Camp Hansen (for all you Okinawa folks!). It did not disappoint. We had passed it several times, and stared at it every morning when we first got here, and Gene was working 12 hour night shifts on Hansen. It's a seedy little place, but we're learning that's how Okinawa is- functional, not aesthetically pleasing.

They advertise one of my favorite Okinawa dishes: TACO RICE! It's not what to get if you've got a hankering for Mexican food, and I find that people either LOVE the stuff or hate it. It is a tasty Okinawa twist on a taco salad, and I am in the group of people who think it is delicious!
Clearly, the tacos are pretty banging too ^^^. Parking was a little tricky, and there are about 3 other places in the same alley that also serve taco rice, so I don't know when we'll get back to Gate 1, but that, of course, is the purpose of the goal- not stopping at the first "best taco rice" place we find and making it our usual haunt! I did, however, buy some taco rice kits from here to try and make the dish on our own! Wish us luck with that one!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Starting To Collect A Jar Of Sea Glass // E Squared 101 in 1001

We have a little sail boat in our living room. I bought it at the Marine Corps Exchange at Camp Pendleton, I suppose thinking we'd make our whole living room "nautical" themed. That didn't really pan out, but I really love that little sail boat and decided I wanted to work with it somehow. When we moved to Okinawa, I knew it would be the perfect place to become a beachcomber and collect sea glass, and sea shells, and fill jars with them for the sail boat shelf! Collecting these things got put on our 101 in 1,001 Okinawa Bucket List! For my birthday, we set out on an adventure to find Sea Glass Beach and begin our collection!
The entire day was filled with adventure, but finding this little beach was particularly fun! It's off the beaten path, and as with all directions here in Okinawa, it was a good little hunt to find! These were the direction we had from our house
  • Take a right at the second 13 off the 329 (just past the College of Technology)
  • Take a right just before the Y and go down a hill
  • Take a left at the gas station
  • Drive until you see a huge house with a red tower-like roof
  • Take a left onto the gravel road across from this house
  • Drive straight down the gravel road. Turn right at the Y.
  • There'll be a Japanese sign leading you to the beach
We took a wrong turn, but it gave us this incredible view from the top of a cliff before finding the beach:
The gravel path we were on was big enough for one car, and I maneuvered to turn her around to get back to the main road. One thing different about Japan is that all US Military have license plates with a Y on them, so if you're ever lost and see another Y plate, you either take comfort in knowing you're not too far off the path, or you follow them. We decided when we saw some other honkeys driving towards the beach that we would follow them, and they took us right where we wanted to be!
The beach was filled with shells, sea glass, broken pieces of pottery, and coral! We had heard about the beach before, and people kind of made it out to seem like it was nothing but sea glass, but I'm so happy we were treated to a little variety! We found tons of sea glass, and we also found TONS of crabs! We checked the shells extra good to make sure no crabbies came home with us!
It was such an awesome afternoon collecting fun little treasures! Our sea glass jar isn't quite filled yet, so there will be more collecting to be done, but we're almost there, and our shelf is looking pretty fun!

Monday, October 13, 2014

This is Thirty

Oh friends. Today marks the end of a decade: my twenties are officially behind me! I never in a million years thought I would be celebrating my birthday in a foreign country, but here I am! I have been looking forward to my thirties probably for half of my life! Not that I'm an old soul who needed to grow into her personality, but in that I've been looking forward to the confidence, the calmness, and the comfort my thirties would bring.

I guess I always felt I'd feel a little more confident with who I am... that I would know who I am, in my thirties! I always thought I would be a little calmer in my thirties- not so rowdy, not so loud! I just knew that I would be more comfortable in my thirties: with where I am in life, with how I felt about myself, being settled down and in that good old comfortable flow of life.
We decided who needs a "3" and a "0" candle when you can have sparklers?!
I welcomed in my thirties with one heck of a day! Luckily, super typhoon Vongfong passed over Okinawa over the weekend, leaving me my birthday to head out and explore with Gene, since he has a 96 this weekend! We decided we would head out on an adventure to find Sea Glass Beach! We had an amazing day eating lunch at a new spot, starting our sea glass and found pottery collection as well as finding a few more shells and coral, and ending with dinner at a Japanese steakhouse and dessert at home from a local patisserie (because it's fancier than a bakery)!

This is thirty:
Walking around Kin Town- grabbing a delicious lunch at Gate 1, and heading off on Adventure!
Taco Rice and Taco Combo at Gate 1!
Collecting Sea Glass!
I'll be sure to share all about our lunch and beach adventures later this week! We ended the evening with dinner at a local steakhouse where they cook your food right in front of you on the table. I completely forgot my camera! There's just something about being in Japan for your thirtieth birthday that made that kind of meal feel really awesome! Even though I admit, it wasn't what I would have picked for myself- thanks Gene for the special memory!

I'm ready to embrace my thirties. I'm ready to celebrate this decade with reckless abandon! I'm ready to get comfortable, make memories, and enjoy my life in a way I never knew possible in my twenties. This is thirty, and I'm glad to be here!

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