Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Checking Off "101 Things in 1001 Okinawa Days" Bucket List Items on Our Ishigaki Trip

Gene and I decided to take a little adventure for Thanksgiving weekend, and get away from the tiny Military community in Okinawa! In the event the longest post title in the world didn't give it away, we crossed a few things off of our 101 in 1001 list while we were there. In fact, the entire trip itself crossed a big one off the list!
The view of Ishigaki Island from Taketomi Island
I never thought we would be traveling so soon into our stay on Okinawa! It all came about when we were anticipating a little Thanksgiving sadness. Would it really be "the same" if we were living in a foreign country, fighting for a way too big turkey in a commissary full of people hoping to make their Thanksgiving dreams come true? I didn't want that for my Thanksgiving and we felt it would be easier to ignore the entire event. We googled "cheap airfare from Okinawa to Ishigaki" and found tickets for about $85 a piece, round trip! Then I went to Booking and looked for hotels on Ishigaki. We found one reasonably priced at just under $300 for four nights! We booked them both ourselves and the rest just kind of fell into place! (Except for Gene almost not making it home the day before from a business trip... but it all worked out!)
We flew out of Naha Airport to the new Ishigaki airport via ANA. It's the airline we actually transferred to in Japan when we were moving to Okinawa. It was a quick flight, and before we knew it vacation was upon us!

We had absolutely ZERO plans for our time on the island. Gene just got back from two weeks off island and I kind of thought that if nothing else, we would hang out in the hotel and enjoy just hanging out with one another! Speaking of the hotel- I considered that a part of the bucket list item of planning an off island trip by ourselves! We stayed at Hotel Patina. It was about a 25 minute ride or so from the airport. We just took a cab to get there and walked around during our stay since we were located in Ishigaki City, close to the action, restaurants, and the ferry terminal!
 Since living in Okinawa, I had been to lunch with girlfriends where we sat on the floor to eat. It is "E Squared 101 in 1001" though, and so we were pleasantly surprised when we got to cross that off our list together! During our second visit to Garlic Island Busse, we entered only to discover that the one traditional (I guess) European style table was occupied. The hostess/waitress/owner hesitantly offered us to sit at our choice of traditional Japanese floor tables. We gladly accepted the opportunity to sit for another delicious meal! It's not the most comfortable thing I've ever done in my life, and I will gladly take a table with chairs if the opportunity presents itself, but it is a fun experience.
This is us on the floor. I know you can't really tell, but trust me.
We kind of tooled around Ishigaki before making our way to the ferry terminal to check things out. One of our bucket list items was to visit Taketomi Island- a small Ryukyu island you can only get to via ferry from one of the larger islands around it. The island is home to something like 350 people and still resembles a traditional Ryukyu village. We were able to get round trip tickets and tickets for a water buffalo cart ride while on the island for something like 2200 JPY (so, about $22, USD). We decided now was as good a trip as ever to take the ride over!

It was only about a 15 minute ferry ride on a very fast moving boat! Once we got to Taketomi, there was a shuttle ready to pick us up and take us to the center of the island where the village was. We didn't have to wait too long to take a cart ride. Afterwards we explored the island a little on foot, grabbed a quick bite to eat, and did a glass bottom boat coral exploring ride before heading back in a super fancy ferry!
Selfie on the super fancy ferry! Like, fanciest travel method I've ever been on!
I can't wait to share about our trip in more detail and all of the fun things we had the opportunity to do! It was my first foreign vacation, ever! I never went on Spring Break to Mexico or The Caribbean. I never studied abroad in Europe. I never in a million years dreamed I'd be vacationing in Asia! Ishigaki will always hold a special place in my heart as a result of it being my first international getaway. It will be more special as a memory knowing I planned it all on my own and we crossed some special stuff off our 101 in 1001 while we were there!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Getting Started on The 21 Day Fix // Five Tips From My First Week

Here I am on Day Two of my second week on the 21 Day Fix and I wanted to share with you all a little about how our first week went! Sunday night we sat down and figured out what tier we each would be in, since Gene was doing the fix with me! There are 4 tiers to the 21 day fix program- different levels indicating a calorie range and how many containers you are allowed. I am at the top tier. Everyday I get 6 green containers (vegetables), 5 purple containers (fruits), 6 red containers (meat/proteins), 4 yellow containers (carbs), 1 blue container (healthy fats), one orange container, and 6 teaspoons. The containers are each a different size, making sure you're not only eating the right amount of calories everyday, but that you're eating the right kinds of food every day. I was a little worried about the carb container, but I've been doing pretty well!
*Publicity image for the 21 Day Fix. Not my image. 
Our plan was to eat six times a day, and break our containers down evenly over the course of the day. Six green would get broken down into one at breakfast, three in a big salad at lunch, one in an afternoon snack, and one at dinner. Purple would get broken down into two for a morning snack (1 banana is considered 2 containers, so we've been working with that!), one in the afternoon, one after dinner. We're breaking our red down one at breakfast, one at lunch, one in the afternoon, one for dinner, one after dinner! Two of those times we try to have one and a half. Our carbs get broken down into one at breakfast, one at lunch, one in the afternoon, and one at dinner. We have our orange with lunch and we use our blue either at breakfast (I like cheese in my scramble) or in the afternoon (Gene likes a nut mix in the afternoon with his fruit).

FIRST TIP: break your containers down across the day. It takes the guess work for me right out- I know my lunch will be three green, a red, a yellow, and an orange. I know my dinner will be constructed out of a green, a red, and a yellow. It makes it easier for me to follow along with the plan and has helped me not end up with a bunch of containers at the end of the day I still need to eat.

I'm FULL. You guys. I was eating so poorly before. I wasn't getting the nutrition I needed, and my body was in complete retaliation mode. It's hard for me to eat all of the food I have to on a daily basis and I haven't hit a single day where I got all of my containers in, but I try! I force myself to eat at regular intervals and that's my SECOND TIP! I eat breakfast at roughly 7am when Gene is home. First snack at 9am. Lunch about 11:30am. Part of my afternoon snack at about 2pm and another little bit at 4pm. Dinner around 6:30pm and then a little evening snack around 8:30pm. Even if I'm not hungry, there is a container to eat, and I need to kick up my metabolism, so I eat it on schedule.
What I've been eating on Instagram @theyoungretiree #TYR21DayFix
Not just that, but I've been forcing water on myself this first week too, and now, I crave it! I started with filling my 24oz Tervis Tumbler and drinking it with breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Forcing myself to drink those 72 ounces a day. I moved on to downing a 12oz glass when I would first woke up in the morning. I started adding that 12oz glass with each of my snacks, and now I just drink a 24oz tumbler with all of my snacks and meals. THIRD TIP: drink your water! It's helping keep me full, and I've noticed a huge change in the dryness of my skin and of my complexion!

I think a huge part of my success sticking with the plan, in addition to meal planning what meal my containers would be consumed in, was meal prepping my food. FOURTH TIP: do it. Meal prepping is easier than I ever would have thought! I batch cook up a whole tray of chicken when I'm baking it. I chop it up knowing that's how I'll be measuring it out in my red container, and I store it in a large container in the fridge- at my fingertips, ready to top a salad, or heat up for my afternoon red fix. We have been eating scrambles with chopped peppers every morning for breakfast, so I dice my peppers up when I buy them so that all I have to do is measure them out every morning! Same applies for rice and couscous- I cook up a whole box, and it's ready to go when I need that yellow container ready! Meal prepping has helped me stay on track immensely!

For my FIFTH TIP it would have to be to treat yo' self! In the eating plan book that come with the 21 Day Fix, there is a spot that shows you how to replace some of your containers with drinks and treats! Three times a week you can trade one of your yellow containers for a drink of your choosing (from the list). Milks, juices, wine even! There are even some food treats you can switch containers out for! Plan for this ahead of time if you can't be treated without going crazy! For me- I drank nothing but water all week long, a HUGE step for me! So Sunday night I treated myself to a mug of hot cocoa with chocolate peppermint vodka and a little whipped cream. It was not on the list of approved beverages, but I don't drink milk, or wine, and it was something I knew I was going to have ahead of time. This week- I will drink water all week long, and come Sunday night, I will watch a rom-com Christmas movie with a glass of egg nog!  

From Monday, to Monday I'm down 4.4 pounds my first week. That's with a food slip on Saturday night and with that amazing hot cocoa mixed in, and without a single workout thrown in yet. I'm really trying to make this way of eating a lifestyle, and so far, I can see the portion control habits I'm learning lasting a long time to come!

Do you have any tips for the 21 Day Fix? I'd love to hear them down below! As always, if you have any questions, drop me a line or make sure I can reply to your comment via e-mail!

*I am not a Beachbody Coach. I am not drinking Shakeology. I was not compensated in any way for this post. All opinions are my own. If you are looking for a coach, I would love to put you in touch with mine- she's a sweetheart and awesome at checking in with me! For more posts related to my experience with the 21 Day Fix, click here

Monday, December 1, 2014

Back Into Good Habits // Starting The 21 Day Fix

If you've been reading my little blog for any length of time, you'll know I've struggled with weight loss and my lifestyle for my entire life. Back in 2012 I had gotten into such a good routine and was finally taking charge of my health! I was eating healthy, adhering to some Paleo recommendations of whole foods- meats, veggies, and healthy fats. I was exercising regularly through pilates & spin. Then in 2013 Gene and I started participating in 5Ks, and I even earned a Tough Mudder finisher headband!
*Image from SomeEcards
Sadly, 2014 saw me completely relapse, gaining back not just everything I had lost, but to be at a higher weight than I started with in 2012! I was devastated and made excuse after excuse for myself- It was our cross country road trip, it was stress from moving, it was living out of suitcases for three months, it was wanting to try all of the food in a new country! It was me being completely out of control. I knew I had to do something, and I had to really make it a lifestyle change.

*Image of the 21 Day Fix Program from Beachbody
Now, like a broken record, I'm finally climbing back out of the darkness I've crept into. My neighbor just became a Beachbody coach and is coaching me through the 21 Day Fix. I laughed at it at first- who needs to buy a program to tell them how to measure their food?! Well, as it turns out, I do. If you're unfamiliar with the program, you follow the workout regimen and eat a certain number of portion controlled containers for the various food groups: green is veggies, purple is fruits, red is protein, yellow is carbs, blue is healthy fats, and orange is your dressings/oils. I will not be adding Shakeology into my 21 days, or my lifestyle as it just does not agree with my system (and I really don't think you need a shake to be in good health).

Gene is doing the food portion with me, and then his own workouts. I'm really excited to have him teaming up with me to really make it a lifestyle change and not just a fad. So: I'm going to list out why I'm doing this in case I lose sight of my goals!

  1. WANDERLUST! I want to travel so much while we're here in Okinawa, and I don't want to have to whisper to the flight attendant what seat I'm in and ask for a seat belt extender. I don't want to be in pain from all the walking we do while sight seeing. I don't want to have to worry about stopping and dragging Gene at a slower pace because I'm too hot and tired to keep going!
  2. HEALTH! Let's be honest, my health is a huge motivator for me. "I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired!" I don't want to be in pain when I eat foods that don't agree with me (mostly processed garbage and grains). I don't want to ache all the time. 
  3. (Ultimately) CLOTHES! I hate having a hard time finding clothes. There is not a single thing on this island that fits me. I have to order everything from stores online that carry plus sizes. I don't want a single thing I own right now to fit me when I leave this island! 
I'm really looking forward to not just the next 21 days, but using the next 21 days to learn how to get back to healthy portions and a healthy lifestyle! I'm off to a smashing start by heading to a luncheon today, but I'm packing my own meal to take with me, even though it's a little awkward, I'm not blowing it on the first day!

I'll be sharing my meals on my instagram and if there's an interest, I'll do a weekly recap of how everything is going, with what we're eating, here!

Monday, November 24, 2014

November // Currently

Hello, hello! Life has been kind of funky around here lately. Nothing much new to report and I feel like I'm spending every waking minute inside my Gilmore Girls marathon, without good snacks! I thought I would send out a smoke signal update of what all has been happening currently to let you know I haven't fallen of the rock!
Barefoot, rocking skinny jeans on our patio!
Here is what I am currently up to!
  • Cooking with my new Flavor God spices! If you haven't heard about Flavor God, you need to just hop on over to the site and give them a look. It's kind of a one man shop with a little help from his friends! He bottles all of his spices upon receipt of your order, and miraculously, they got here in about 10 days! I've been sprinkling them on just about everything I cook from veggies and potatoes, to steak and chicken, and even in my eggs!
  • Listening to "Indie Christmas" on Pandora! I won't embarrass myself by telling you how long I've been listening to it, as it may have been a little before Halloween when I started wrapping up gifts!
  • Playing Gilmore Girls on Netflix! Seriously you guys, it's been a binge fest like no other & I feel like I should get a medal for this cinematic marathon! I caught bits and pieces when it originally aired, so I am so happy to be catching the entire series from beginning to end!
  • Wondering what all we're going to do on our first trip off the island! We are leaving this week and I don't have the first thing planned other than relaxing, maybe taking a few bike rides to find exciting places to shop & dine, and enjoying ourselves worry free! I'm kind of freaking out about it, but I'm sure it will be exciting and fun!
  • Loving some new pajama pants I got in this week. I bought them more for Gene than me (but they're mine). He loves little bulldogs, and what's cuter than bulldog jammies?!
  • Hoping we figure a tree out before Christmas! I *maybe* set it up last week just because I was so darn in the holiday spirit! It's a little 4 1/2 foot pre-lit tree, but the top half shorted out on me! We definitely don't have room in the budget for a new tree and I refuse to settle for one just to have one! I managed to get the lights off of it, and we're hoping we can just throw a string of lights on it and call it a day! Fingers crossed we can find some out here! 
  • Wearing SKINNY JEANS. It's true. I ordered my first (and second) pair of skinny jeans this month and was kind of crazy excited when they came in quicker than I anticipated! I was so nervous at just the thought of them- could I "pull them off" as a larger gal? I think I am, and while I'm not crazy trendy, they do help me feel a little more hip with it!
  • Buying amazing clothing, all on clearance! I browse the JCPenney and Lane Bryant sites every other week or so to see if there's anything good in their clearance section! Since we're living on a tropical island, I can still wear most of the summer clothes that are all marked down. Yesterday, I hit the jackpot! I found two beautiful dresses (which I know will fit amazingly since I have them both already, in different colors!), two skirts, a few pairs of pants and several tops! I saved $400 between markdowns and a sales event where I was able to take an addition 25% off!!! I can't wait for that package to get here!
  • Reading The Hunger Games... for the very first time. That's what our book club is reading right now. We plan on alternating between the trilogy and other books to read the entire series between now and the summer. We spend two months per book mostly so we can stretch out our getting together time with more chitchat than book talk.  
  • Planning the 21 Day Fix! I am so excited to get to work with my neighbor, who is a new Beachbody Coach, through this program! It's a nutrition and workout program and I'm really hoping it helps get me back into awesome portion control and back to a whole foods approach when it comes to our eating habits!
Exciting times around here, huh? I will of course be instagramming all about our vacation and what I'll be eating on the 21 Day Fix! I'll work on getting posts up about them as well! For now- time to get a packin'! 

What have y'all been up to?

Saturday, November 15, 2014

My Thankful Hearts Swap Reveal

Krystal and Cami are two women behind the blog Simply Girly, who organize a monthly swap! This month, I decided to join in on the fun with a pretty beautiful group of women on Instagram who participate! The theme for it was the Thankful Hearts Swap where we swapped thank you notes and a journal! I'm all about this entire concept of writing thank you notes to people who are so seldom thanked and immediately thought about the Gate Guards who protect our bases, those who work in the military post offices who are seldom thanked for getting us our precious goodies, and so many others!
Thank you notes are kind of hard to find out here in Okinawa though! I did my best, and shared some from my personal collection along with some fun Japanese stationery! I packaged it on up and sent it on out to my partner Rhiannon! Nothing could have prepared me for the package I received from her though! I mean, wowzers, it was beautiful from the very moment I opened it up and I was in tears by the time I had unwrapped everything.
It's been a hard week. A week where I've been trying to keep myself from playing the "my life is so hard!" card and "military life is so unfair!" card! A week where everything I thought I knew about deployments and TDYs and exercises was proven wrong. If you're a military spouse- you've had this kind of week. This package came at just the right time and I will always be so thankful to a complete stranger who took the time to put her heart and soul into a beautiful package for me!
 She jazzed up some beautiful craft note cards! They are a gold, cream, tan themed set featuring chevron, polka dots, and houndstooth! She then embellished them with bakers twine, ribbon, bows, and tags! They are simply stunning- there's just no other word!
 I also received a beautiful spiral bound journal with the cutest little owl on it and some glittery gel pens to stick with the theme of the package!
And then, I cried! After following Rhiannon on instagram for a few weeks, I can already see she's an incredibly talented crafter & can sew some of the most beautiful things! She included a little make-up pouch filled with goodies! Lotion, gold washi tape, chocolate, tic tacs, gum, lip balm, hand sani, and a cute little tissue pack cover! The fabric on the back of the case is all the same blue bamboo fabric that makes the star on the front!
This day- this day has possibly been the worst day in the history of days. This little box filled with love, and kindness, and such beautiful generosity made it not nearly as bad, and offered me such warmth and light in such a nasty moment in my life. I can't wait to write my thank you notes, and I think the first one is going to be to Rhiannon, I'm sure she'll never understand what this package meant to me today, but I'm sure going to try to tell her!

If you want to participate in future Simply Girly Swaps, make sure you follow the Simply Girly Blog on Instagram!
 
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