Friday, May 22, 2015

Getting My Green On

I've been alone around these parts quite often lately. Gene has been travelling quite a bit for work, and when he's not travelling, he has been putting in long and hard hours. This means we haven't always been eating quite like we should. I've been having late lunches and using them as dinners since I was by myself. We've been missing out on our fruits and veggies big time, so I decided to step back into one of my favorite ways of getting them in: GREEN SMOOTHIES!
I got BIG into green smoothies a few years ago, and I allowed myself to be swayed away from them by misunderstanding something an influential member of the Paleo community had to say about juicing. I was new to smoothies and thought they were a great way to get great nutrition in when I wouldn't normally, but this person said something to the effect of "eat your food, don't drink it!" and I kind of agreed. Cut to earlier this year I see that same person talking about the benefits of green smoothies, and I made my mind up: I wasn't going to listen to anyone except my body.

With all of my health issues lately, I've stepped back and tried to remember what I was doing when I felt my absolute best. I was walking a few miles a day and I was drinking my green smoothies daily in addition to enjoying a whole foods approach to meal planning. Even when I was doing the 21 Day Fix, I struggled getting in my fruits and veggies. I'm changing that for us!

I have been making the "beginner's luck smoothie" from Simple Green Smoothies. I even got Gene on board with them (even though he doesn't look too pleased in this picture- he doesn't mind them).
It's a basic recipe that is super easy to make up! I put 2 cups of fresh spinach into my vitamix, with 2 cups of water, and blend until it's a juice. I add in my 2 bananas, 1 cup of fresh pineapple, and 1 cup of frozen mango, and blend that until it is a smoothie, maybe 30 seconds! That serves two, so I'm getting THREE servings of fruit (I try to get green tipped bananas to keep the sugar a little lower) and a serving of veggies! This is the only "serving" of fruit I get in a day. I'm working on adding in coconut oil too- hello health benefits!

I've got a pin board going where I've been saving some fun recipes and "smoothie type stuffs" I've found on the interwebs! Hop on over and follow along there as well as on Instagram (@theyoungretiree), where I'm always sharing our smoothies!

Follow Elizabeth, The Young Retiree's board Green Smoothies on Pinterest.

Do you drink green smoothies? 
I'd love if you left a recipe for us in the comments to one of your favorite recipes!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

100 Miles of Summer Challenge

Earlier this week I saw a fun post on Instagram from Jost Running (@jostrunning) about their fun virtual challenge to get in 100 miles this summer, before August 31st! I hadn't been out for a walk in a week and was needing motivation, so I committed to doing this one! I could walk a mile a day in the Okinawa heat & humidity if there was a sweet medal waiting for me at the end and a virtual community for support!
I was then approached by Jost Running and offered a discount if I could gather a team of ten ladies on the island to join me! "In this Okinawa heat and humidity? Good luck!" I thought! I posted on Facebook, not expecting to get nine more ladies, asking if anyone was interested. I now have a local team of over thirty ladies who are completing this challenge!!! You guys, that motivation got me right out and moving last night for my first mile and a half!
You can follow my progress with pots like this on instagram @theyoungretiree!
So now, I am working on a fun celebration banquet for the end of summer! I'll be handing out our medals, and I'm working on swag bags for all participants and fun prizes for whoever got the most miles above and beyond their 100, whoever got to 100 first, and whoever had the fastest 100 miles! I think a little stiff competition adds to the fun of it all! I've created a little facebook group to support each other, motivate each other, and maybe even get some gals together for runs or walks! I guess I can add race event coordinator to my unofficial resume!

To follow along with my progress, make sure you're following over on Instagram, where I'll be sharing my daily-ish #TYR100MilesOfSummer moments.

Are you running or walking any fun events this summer?
What do you think would be awesome in our swag bags 
and runners prizes?

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Typhoon Noul, 2015

This past weekend, we found ourselves in TCCOR* 5. This was something most people had never heard of. I don't know if it's new this year, or something they had years ago and are bringing back, or if it's only used when a typhoon is coming through before "typhoon season" (June 1 through November 30). TCCOR 5 means that destructive sustained winds of 50 knots or greater are possible within 96 hours. They advise you to stock up on food, bottled water, dry milk, batteries, candles, and other emergency supplies. Basically: if your typhoon kit isn't prepared, get it together.
Okinawa is the little dot labeled "Kadena"
We then just move through the TCCOR schedule as we get closer to landfall:

  • TCCOR 4 we look at those destructive winds of 50 knots or greater possible within 72 hours. 
  • TCCOR 3 means destructive winds of 50 knots or greater are possible within 48 hours. This is when housing residents are told to secure all outdoor and balcony items, fill vehicles & grill gas tanks, secure important documents so they don't get wet should there be leaks, and clean storm drains and gutters. 
  • TCCOR 2 means those winds are possible within the next 24 hours. I think this is when they stop selling alcohol at all base shops. This is when you should be getting everything cleaned and secured if you haven't already and doing a final check of food, water, and supplies. If you haven't been to the commissary yet, be ready to stand in lines. This is when refuse contractors stop their pick up routine. 
  • TCCOR 1 means it's going down. Winds of 50 knots or greater are expected within 12 hours. If you're not ready, it's too late. Everyone is headed home to base, and I think you're confined to base. 
  • TCCOR 1 Caution means sustained winds of 35-49 knots are happening. All outdoor activities are suspended. DOD schools are closed. You should also remain in your house at this point in time. This is when it gets BORING. You're stuck, and it might not even be raining yet. If you are 37+ weeks pregnant, you have to go check into the hospital.  
  • TCCOR 1 Recovery means that the storm has passed, but we are still confined to our dwellings until emergency crews cover all of the bases and make sure there is no damage and it's safe to return to normal activities,
  • TCCOR All Clear means we can return to our normal schedule and wait for the next one.   

Settling in and getting ready for Noul with blue skies still behind me.
As for Noul: I slept through the entire thing. There were some slight winds going on and loud rain woke me up once, but nothing like the last typhoon. If anything, I think Typhoon Noul was a nice welcoming party- getting everyone in shape and ready for the season. It served as the opportunity to check your cupboards, make sure you had your typhoon kit assembled and ready to go. We have regularly scheduled power outages in our housing since they're doing construction and remodeling on our base, so I feel like I was really prepared.  
The one thing I found myself having trouble with was our darn tub. I don't do baths, y'all. It's like germ stew. I find nothing even remotely relaxing about them, so I have never filled the tub with water. Gene filled his last time, but this time I had the task of filling the tub, and then I couldn't get the stopper to release! I posted on the neighborhood facebook page asking if any of the moms with bath time aged kids had any tips or tricks I could try before calling maintenance! I luckily got it before having to have a crew come through and unstop it, ha!
I'm glad this one was easy peasy but I'm a little worried we're in for a rough season this summer! Wish us luck during the rest of them! To see our Typhoon Shenanigans, make sure you're following along on Instagram (@theyoungretiree)!

Have you ever been through a typhoon, hurricane, or blizzard?
What did you do to occupy your time inside?

*TCCOR: Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness

Friday, May 8, 2015

Plain White T's Play Camp Shields, Okinawa

I think one of the things I took for granted the most back in the States was live music. Being able to go to one of several concerts rolling through wherever we were living, being able to go to our favorite local bar and see a band play, or seeing the bands that would come through the San Diego County Fair! It's part of my young adult experience and date nights in our marriage that I have particularly enjoyed! Moving overseas, your town suddenly isn't on the summer concert tour schedule for many bands. The benefit to living on a military installation overseas is- performers do come to Okinawa and play shows, usually for free! Last night, I got to see the Plain White T's perform here on Okinawa, and go to a meet and greet after the show!
This is the second concert I've been to in our time on the island. It was a free concert courtesy of Navy Entertainment and MWR. They did a phenomenal job setting it up, on a field, pretty much right inside the gate to the base. I just didn't think about it, but we could have brought in beach chairs to sit, if we wanted to! There were food and beverage vendors on site as well so you could grab a bite and stay hydrated!
This also happened to be the second time I had seen the Plain White T's perform! Back in, I want to say the summer of 2007, they opened up for O.A.R. at the Ted at ODU! Of course I knew their hits "Hey There Delilah," "Rhythm of Love," "Our Time Now," "1, 2, 3, 4," and a few others right off the top of my head when asked what all they sang. I was really impressed this old gal knew almost every song they played. Sure, I embarrassingly admitted I didn't realize they were the band who performed "Should've Gone To Bed" though!
Before singing "The Giving Tree," the writer and singer (Tim) asked how many folks were young and married. I almost started whooping and clapping before realizing to the 18-20 year old married couples in the audience, I was old and married. He said they didn't normally perform the song because he wrote it about his ex-wife, but since a few people requested it, he would sing it. It was heartbreaking to hear him perform it live!

I think the coolest thing was the meet and greet they opened up to anyone who wanted to stand in line and wait to meet them! My friend & fellow Okinawa blogger, Laura (Inspiration Sparks), stood in line with me for almost 2 hours to meet the guys! I excitedly brought up seeing them back in Virginia, and they were legitimately excited I think! It was a real quick sign the flyer, stand behind them, snap a picture, move along process, but definitely awesome! They had to be tired by the end of the night!
I found myself wondering if bands like them knew how much they were appreciated by fans and music lovers stationed and living with their military family members overseas. Sure, it was a small crowd and not a big stadium or amphitheater full of people, but I know I legitimately had an amazing time and I think everyone else did too! They played with as much passion as I remember them playing with when they opened that summer so many years ago.

The lead singer (Tom) stopped to talk for a few minutes about "Hey There Delilah" before singing it. I was a little nervous I was going to cry since that song was everything to me that he was describing to us. He told us how so many military members would come up to them after shows and tell them how that song helped get them through deployments, long distance relationships, and hard times. When we were talking about getting married, and we thought Gene would be in California for 6 months without me while I stayed at work and in college, I knew the distance would be ok and we would get through it, and even more in love with Gene I would fall, because of this song! Because there were planes, and trains, and cars that could bring us together. I had friends who made fun of us and our dreams and our love and relationship and because of this song I knew it was because they hadn't felt the way we were feeling. My world would never, ever be the same, and Gene was to blame.

Music is memories, and I'm so glad to have added a night of awesome ones with girlfriends out here on Okinawa thanks to the fellas of Plain White T's! I also found a new anthem for life, and the rest of our time here on Island! Enjoy their song "Pause" friends!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

My Thoughts on the Mayweather Pacquiao Fight

I'm sure by now you have at least heard that there was a boxing match this weekend between Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao. It was a Pay-Per-View event in the United States, but here in Okinawa it was aired for free since it was donated to AFN (the Armed Forces Network). Gene is a huge Pacquiao fan, and so we tuned in for "the big fight!"
Ugh, Mayweather just looks like a smug jerk, even in his own promotional material.
It played Sunday morning here in Okinawa. I had never seen a boxing competition before in my entire life. Gene has had UFC fights on and I've been around for them, but I never actually actively watched any. Here are my thoughts on the fight, as a first time viewer.

I had heard of both fighters before, I mean, I don't live in the dark! First and foremost, I have to tell you that I just can't stand Mayweather. He comes across to me as one cocky s.o.b. and I just can't stand that in athletics. Oh, you have a 47-0 record? That's awesome, you excel in your industry, but a little humility and grace will get you very far in life, old grasshopper. Manny Pacquiao is exactly how I love athletes to behave in public. He exudes humility, grace, thankfulness, and yet still has pride for himself and the nation he represents. I couldn't tell you his record, because I didn't hear it a million times during the duration of the fight, but he was undoubtedly the underdog.

We still were rooting for him and hoping against the odds he would come out and show everyone that Mayweather could be beaten. Sadly, Gene had to go into work this afternoon and he had to leave before the main event fight even started. I continued to watch the broadcast because two hours in, and two opening fights later, I was committed!
The Mexican National Anthem was sung beautifully by a man in a lovely suit/tuxedo. The National Anthem of the Philippines was performed by a woman in an amazing sparkling formal gown, with the accompaniment of about 5 men wearing barons and one man waving the flag of the Philippines through the duration of the anthem. I was moved. Next up would be the National Anthem of the United States of America. I am usually moved by such performances to misty eyes, but goosebumps in the very least. I was picturing a beautiful performance in my head- the fight was taking place in Las Vegas, after all!

BUT NO. Jamie Foxx was the person selected to perform our National Anthem. Seriously? Was no other performer available? Do people despise Floyd Mayweather so much that the only person they could get to sing the anthem before his fight was Jamie Foxx? Sorry, not sorry. It should have been someone else. My initial reaction was only made worse when Foxx opened his mouth. Good Lord, WHY? Such a disgrace.

Then the fight began. I'll tell you what. I am so proud of Pacquiao. He came to fight, and he didn't dance around the ring, he fought. He wasn't the best, and he didn't win, but it was a damn close fight with one judge rating 118-110 and two others rating 116-112. Mayweather at least had to work for the cockiness. Before the results were announced, as if I couldn't be more disgusted by this "athlete," he jumped on the ropes, started banging his chest, and shouting "crown me!"

I died a little on the inside knowing that this was how The United States of America was being represented to so many other countries in the world, all tuning in to see this epic boxing event. That for so many people, around the world, the likes of Floyd Mayweather Jr is how Americans behave. I'm ashamed.

Pacman gained a fan for life today. Even as it was announced that he did not win, he remained humble, continued thanking his fans and supporters, and left the arena one proud man. Young athletes, look to Pacquiao to see how you should be behaving. Never get so wrapped up in yourself that you behave the way Mayweather did, regardless of your talents.

Did you watch the MayPac fight?
What were your thoughts?

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