Friday, August 29, 2014

International Foodie Penpals!

This month I was SUPER EXCITED to take part in the Foodie Penpal swap hosted by The Lean Green Bean! I have participated for several months, and I love that we get an American address on base so I can still participate! I jumped right in and signed up to get some great American goodies right here in Okinawa! BONUS: I was able to find some really awesome things to send to my pen pal :D

I wasn't sure how long it would take to get here, but I'm so excited that mail has been coming rather quickly! Here are the goodies that Kelley included in my package:
Are you loving the flamboyant background on MY NEW KITCHEN?!? I can't wait to get our things and get some COLOR in there!
I know the first thing you must be thinking is "SPONGES?!" Let me tell you what, I almost cried while standing in the commissary, looking at the sponge selection, realizing my favorite brand was not an option for me. I've looked out in town for something similar to no avail, so I was super excited to see TWO PACKS of Dobie from Scotch Brite included in my package this month! Even though it's not a food, it's used to clean up after cooking, amiright?!

Onward to the food goodies we got. Traders Joe's has an amazing spice called 21 Seasoning Salute. It's a blend of spices that you can use on just about anything, and I do! I use it on pork chops, chicken, pork roasts, steak, burgers! You name it, and it adds a fun little mix of flavor! I love that I don't have to use a ton of it to add amazing flavor to just about any dish! Next up we got some Monster Trail Mix from Archer Farms. This is maybe my favorite trail mix, and I love it even more since Gene will eat the peanuts I pick out of my servings! That's love right there! In front of that we have some Justin's Almond Butter including a flavor I've never tried: vanilla! I'm excited to try that with an apple! Before we left the states I picked up some of the Simply Balanced Fruit Strips from Target and we fell in love! There are no Targets in Okinawa, so I was happy to have more of these to toss in my cupboard for quick on the go snacks! One thing I got that I had never even heard of was the Skinny Girl Water Flavoring! Kelley gave me some in Apple flavor- you squirt it right into your water and can add as little or as much as you want!

Kelley is a fun foodie blogger over at Lavender and Cream! She actually went to the college I dreamed of leaving home and going to, St. Joe's in Philadelphia (where Nan is from, and her sister and brother [my great Aunt along with her son and great Uncle] still live, as well as one of Nan's sons [my uncle] with his family!) Things worked out differently and I ended up not even applying, but staying home and going to ODU! Back to Kelley! Hop on over to her blog where she'll be sharing all about the Japanese goodies I sent to her, including the cutest mustard for her boyfriend!
I'm sure you can use it for more than just hot dogs though, like Philly street pretzels :D
If you are interested in getting a foodie pen pal all your own and swapping some fun goodies, hop on over to The Lean Green Bean and sign on up! It has been one of the more fun parts of my month, every month, and who doesn't love fun mail?!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

This Is My JAM!

Y'all know I just love living under rocks and what not, it's just what I do. So, when everyone and their cousin was going on about Jamberry nails, I turned the other way and decided it was too much hassle for me to be bothered with- I mean, I can barely PAINT my own fingernails let alone apply stickers to them! Cut to my friend Jes becoming a Jamberry Nail Consultant! She invited me to about my 195th Jamberry facebook party, and I'm not sure why, but I accepted the invite and got serious about learning what Jamberry was!

I tried a sample first, and decided to apply it to my dominant hand since that was my biggest concern! It worked much easier than I thought it would and I was hooked! So, I bought 4 sheets through her party (and won a sheet!) and then another four through a friends party! I maybe bought a ridiculous amount of the ones retiring this month... I mean, and absolutely absurd amount, like 10, or a few more... in my first order (my favorite, favorite, favorite designs were going away forever)! It's true, I maybe placed a second order to snag some of the ones I was going to really be sad about never being able to get again!

Here are some of my "Jamicures" so far:
Obviously I LOVE the nautical set :D
I'm so sad the yellow nail was retired (and I got lucky by finding a sample of it!) and the peacock is retiring this month!
I almost lost sleep over BOTH these retiring. Let's just say I "stocked up" on these patterns ;)
This one may have been my favorite! It was created in the Nail Art Studio for our Disneyland vacation!
What's on my nails now! I barely got them done before losing power again at the Shogun!
The good news about retiring designs is that brand new ones come around. I'm hosting a party with Jes and we get the pick from all of the new designs :D I'm beyond excited! I would love, love, love to have you at my party! It's on Facebook, so no matter where you are, you can be there with us! If you know all about Jamberry, it's the perfect time to check out the new line! If you've been resisting or haven't thought seriously about using them on your nails, stop on by and check it out! Jes has samples she can send you if you're coming to my party! There's games and prizes, and it's a whole lot of fun getting "together" from the comfort of our own homes! Just click right here to go to the party event on Facebook and join us! I'd love to have you!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Blogging From The USO!

If you had asked me a few months ago if I would ever be one of those people with their computer plugged into a public outlet, tapping away at the keys, sharing my story, I would have given you a resounding "NO!" Then we moved to Okinawa! It's been a whirlwind of a week, and today finds me sitting in the USO on Kadena AFB, plugged into a public outlet, using their wifi to let y'all know what's been going on!
We moved out of the Shogun in Saturday morning. We lost power Wednesday night, had it for a few hours Thursday night before losing it again, and didn't get it back until Saturday morning. LUCKILY, we picked our keys up Friday afternoon, so we were able to sleep in the air-conditioning of our brand new home!
Of course, this means we moved out in the dark, in the middle of the night, like two fugitives running from the law.
Gene is upstairs holding our lantern like Paul Revere he said. "The Osborns are moving! The Osborns are moving!"
We went to the Exchange on Saturday and got some stuff for the house: a dish drainer, bathroom decor for our main bathroom, trashcans... We got lucky and our express shipment came in Monday! I was a little disappointed with how little we packed in that shipment. Next time will be different! I'm working on setting up our kitchen though, and I've already rearranged the cabinets multiple times!
EEEEK: The first picture of our new house! It's newly remodeled and I can't wait to have it "picture perfect" to share a tour with you all! It actually still smells like new! We're the first people to live there since the renovations! IT'S WHITE, but I'm already working on plans to combat that!

Gene is working nights, so it's been kind of boring around our neck of the woods. Such is the PCS life though.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Great Kadena Power Outage of August, 2014

Ladies and gentlemen: I survived my first power outage in Okinawa. If you follow me on Instagram, you know how the story begins. In case you do not, I will retell it here.
Wednesday night Gene was at work and I was hanging out in the good old, world famous, Shogun Inn. It's a temporary Lodging Facility run by the United States Air Force. Only the best for our service members (and in case you don't know, that's sarcastic... It's a glorified Motel 6). I was watching Philomena on the computer when I decided to pause it and take a shower before doing my next Jamberry Nails manicure. (I like not having to shower right after applying them, I don't know why, it's weird.)

I hop on into the shower right around 10:30pm. I'm in the shower, water warmly running over my skin- you know, those ten minutes you waste just standing there? Suddenly, the room goes dark! I stand there frozen while every single horror movie I've ever watched races through my head and I make the split-second decision to turn off the water as to not inform the killer where I am, except the killer is already in the room, he's already heard the water, and soon I will be drowning in a pool of my own blood, inside the shower, and that's how Gene an the M.E. will find my cold, lifeless body in the morning when he gets home from work. (I'm not even kidding you- I've seen a counselor for my over-active, worst-case scenario imagination. Clearly it didn't work so well.)

I stand there in silence waiting to hear movement. Nothing. I reach my hand out and feel for the wall. Naked, in the darkest darkness I've ever experienced, in unfamiliar surroundings. I find a towel, in the darkness. I feel my way out of the bathroom, walking along the wall. I reach out and feel for the bedside table where my phone will give me a little light. I put on my pajamas and call the front desk to inquire about what is going on.

"Oh, don't worry, power should be back within the hour!" he cheerfully told me. Ok. So I sat in darkness until I fell asleep. I awoke abruptly at 6:08, to no power. The phone was dead. I got dressed and walked over in the muggy morning to the main building. They were the least helpful group of individuals I've ever encountered, and assured me power should be back on within the hour. Except that's what they told me last night, so I wasn't buying any of it!

Gene came home and we tried to sleep in the heat and humidity of the day. We awoke sweaty, we tried opening a window, but there was no breeze. We sat there, sweating, worrying about the food in the freezer and thinking about the things we were going to buy to have at our house to be prepared for the future.

As Gene left for work, I went to the Exchange to get an LED camping lantern and found a mid size one and a mini one. I came back and talked for a bit with two couples down in the parking lot- an area cooler than the rooms! I got ready to go to a spouse function, and drove the block to get there simply for the air conditioning!

When I got back, the power was on, but based on the clock in the bedroom flashing the new time, we were without power about 21/22 hours. The sweatiest hours of my life. The most miserable hours of my life. I've been through outages lasting over a week. When Hurricane Isabelle hit in 2003 we were without power for 10 days, but we were HOME. That made this all the more miserable. There was nothing to do! We didn't have any of our things. We couldn't lay in our bed, or on our couch, or on the cool linoleum floor in our dinning room.

We hear this happens pretty regularly out here, but usually with a little more warning if it's a planned outage. We've got flashlights, we're ordering battery operated fans, and we've got a list of a few other supplies to have on hand! Next time, we'll be prepared.

Also: I will never shower after sunset again, unless my little LED light is in the bathroom with me!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

This Is A Post About Holding A Snake... A Giant Snake

If that title wasn't warning enough for you, this post is going to be all about that one time that Gene and I went to Okinawa World and held a giant albino Burmese Python. I get that snakes might not be your thing, so feel free to skip this entire post if that is the case. It was hilarious, horrifying, and yet oddly left me feeling such a sense of accomplishment!

I don't really "do" snakes. They're not my thing in the least. I don't like seeing them in zoos, I definitely do not enjoy seeing them in the wild, and yet I was the one who first saw this opportunity to hold a "lucky white snake" and get our picture taken with it. Not only did we do this, but we paid 1,000¥ for the chance ($10). Right as we saw the opportunity, there was a line forming of people interested in getting their chance to hold the python. We got in line behind a few little kids and another couple.

We were hesitant. We swapped a few of the following lines: "Is this something you really want to do?" "When do you think we'd ever get another chance to do this?" "Are you going to really do it?" "Let's not do it, I mean, we don't really need to do it!" Ultimately, our bravery outweighed our chicken-ness and we did it. We discussed who would hold the head, and Gene wasn't really feeling it so he lucked out and took the tail while I took the side where the head would be. We sat on a bench, backed up to the wall (I guess so the snake didn't fall), and the girls draped the snake over Gene's shoulder and back, then onto my back and shoulder. IT WAS HEAVY, and he was livelier than I would have liked.

He was sticking his tongue out, he was waving his head around, and to top it off we had what felt like a million locals watching us. There was some deep breathing and some internal pep talk going on, that's for sure! I mean, sure... I'm kind of showing some teeth and "smiling" but in case you couldn't see the fear, this is how I felt on the inside:
It was the funniest thing: as soon as I made that face, I think every local started taking pictures. Americans joke about "Japanese tourists" all the time, and how they take pictures of everything and I'm here to tell you it's not just when they're on vacation... IT'S ALL THE TIME. As a matter of fact, it makes me feel more comfortable being such a photobug when everyone around me is seemingly always taking pictures! I laugh when I think of all the people who saw this picture of two Americans freaking out holding a snake... I bet we're all over the internet and not just here.

While I never expected holding a snake to be the thing to make me "internet famous" I have to admit it was a fun experience. One I don't think I will ever attempt again, but something I'll be telling people for years. I even made it my facebook cover photo, that's how proud I am of the experience, hahaha! I feel like adding it to all my one liner "bios" on social media:
"Virginia girl, living abroad in Okinawa. 
Tough Mudder, Stella & Dot Stylist 
Albino Burmese Python Holder."

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