hello new skin. i'm sure we'll get along fantastically.

one of the biggies of living in northern japan for 18 months is that i'm to be blessed with a cold winter. a snowy, freezing, icy, negative degree winter. on my to-buy list were boots, wool socks, thermal underwear, beanies, earmuffs, ski gloves, light gloves, and a heavy duty coat that would go mid-calf. their winters are serious business. and that stuff is seriously so expensive.

i knew the boots wouldn't be cheap so i was prepared for that. but the thermals! there were cheap thermals but $5 but i didn't think those would cut it in -20 degrees. the next cheapest ones were $25, for tops and bottoms alike. there were 100% silk thermals and merino wools and polyester with wicking. i wanted thin ones so i wouldn't look too bulky as well as breezy enough to not sweat like i was wearing a plastic bag. i looked through quite a few and these are the ones that i ended up with.

for tops:
-the varitherm, duofold by champion. they're for high activity, odor resistant, and have moisture control.
-baselayer by koppen. it provides insulation and is supposed to recycle heat energy back to the body (i'm wearing this in the picture).

for bottoms:
-cloud nine performance base layer by hottotties terramar. they have contoured seams, jersey fabric for added comfort, and have quik-dri comfort control. (i'm wearing this in the picture and have been all day, they're so comfy!)
-omni heat baselayer by columbia. these were pricey but they have the omni heat reflectors inside the pants (same as what emergency blankets are made out of) and are still breathable.
---other than the terramar brand (which i bought at big 5), i bought my thermals at dicks sporting goods.

for wool socks, i bought heat holders and powersox. the inside of the heat holders feel like fleece blankets and the powersox are cushioned and are designed to support your feet. i bought all of them at big 5. for boots, i bought sorels on sale at dicks sporting goods. when my brother saw them, he raised his eyebrows and asked if i was going to antarctica haha.

a part of me hopes this is all overkill. i mean, will i seriously need all of this stuff? but the wimp inside reminds me that i don't like being outside for ten minutes during the winter, let alone eights hours. plus, the riding a bicycle in a skirt part means cold breezes up the legs.

none of this is sponsored, i just wanted to share what i learned so maybe others won't have to go to three different malls to try and find quality at a decent price :)

**disclaimer:  it's not cold enough in seattle to test just how warm these are in freezing weather but i've worn them; so far they're comfortable and, of course, have kept me warm :)


let me tell you how excited i am

you wanna know why?
after ten trips
hours on the internet
and dollars and dollars and dollars
i am done shopping!
and i think i still like it ;)
hopefully if the weather cooperates, i'll get some outfit pictures up soon!


this one is for you mama

it was your 50th birthday yesterday and i know you didn't like it.
"fifty already? where did the time go? almost an empty nester? no way!"
(the list goes on)
but first, i wanted to congratulate you for making it to fifty.
not everyone does, you know.
and think of all that you have done!
you served a mission for our church.
you got married to the right person, at the right time, at the right place, and you're still married!
you raised three kids, one who is especially awesome ;)
you've traveled to and lived on three continents.
you're a master gardener, baby whisperer, cat caretaker.
you're adventurous enough to try and grow anything, animal or plant.
you can put any fruit or vegetable in a jar, have it keep, and make it taste good.
you're quite the visionary; you see potential projects from stuff others think is garbage.
and let's be honest, who else do we know that can rock purple hair like you do?
there's a lot more that i know you can come up with
so before you go thinking "so what have i done with my life?" think about all that you've accomplished!
and besides, you've only reached the halfway benchmark; just think of what's to come!
love you so much mama.
hanging out with you the past three months has been so much fun.
i'm so happy i decided to come home :)
happy birthday!
ps. and wasn't that a bomb chicken pot pie?


back when friday nights meant party time

back in high school, friday night meant "YES-time-to-hang-out-with-friends-a-sleepover?-sure-why-not!" i tried my very bestest to have plans for both friday and saturday night. and for some reason, felt the need to document any and every possible moment and then, have cute little photo ops at 2:00 am. those photos are gold my friends.
since tonight is friday and i don't have exciting friday nights anymore (or really any exciting nights out), i decided to dig through old pictures.
it wasn't unusual for me to come home from a sleepover with 200 photos from the night so here are some prime ones from just two nights.
**the following photos may contain embarrassing faces, sugar induced hyperness, and plain teenage craziness. consider yourself warned. 

thanks for indulging me. now if only i could get some of that energy back... ;)


my valentines

happy valentines day! these boys are the only ones who will be getting any kisses from me today and i am a hundred percent okay with that. none of this "happy single awareness day" junk. i'm happy for those who have found love; the world needs more of it! it's been cute watching my parents exchange cards and remind each other of their love, it's sweet :) enjoy spending the day with your loves! because i sure will be. chocolate covered macadamia nuts, skyfall, and costco pizza ;) cheers!


halfie life + bit of chinese

--hanging out with my dad at his school while he teaches japanese classes all day.

--going to an asian store but not realizing it was the day before chinese new year. the place was PACKED.

--picking up my japanese passport! the lady at the consulate had to verify it was me because "i looked nothing like my picture"

--my dad coming home the other night with pizza and sushi for dinner. nothing like a little 'merica and nippon.

--thanks to our chinese exchange student, eating a feast for chinese new year! i'm always up for celebrating another holiday with food ;)

--digging through my mom's desk and finding 25 passports. you would think we've been traveling our entire lives. ha.

--also finding in my mom's desk my little japanese coin purse that i stashed away before leaving for college, and then finding 10,000 yen in it (the equivalent to about a $100)! thanks for making my day coin purse!

--going to costco and buying a giant box of tampax because most stores in japan don't sell them.

--this new habit i have of putting hot sauce of errryyyythang. pizza, chicken nuggets, broccoli, rice...you get the idea.

i like my halfie life. 

^^the family + alex. 


of babies and kids

while i've been home, i've been lucky to find some part-time work watching kids in addition to helping out my mom with her nanny job. so lately it hasn't been an uncommon thing to have two to four kids at the house. but as grateful as i am for the extra cash, frankly, it's really tiring. i'm only on the job from nine to five; imagine if it was 24/7! i seriously tip my hat off to mamas for how much they do, how much they love their kids, and wearing anything but yoga pants and oversized shirts.

surprisingly, all of this baby time has been a happy wake up call. rather than feeling lonely and almost bitter left out for not getting married yet, i feel awesome! i'm clearly not ready to take care of littles or even take care of a husband but i don't have to worry about all that shtuffs for another two-ish years. i know a mission is going to be exhausting hard work but at least i won't have to change any diapers and i'll get a solid eight hours of sleep at night ;) so thanks babies for reminding me to be happy with where i'm at in life; my future babies thank you!

**this isn't meant to be offensive to anyone who is married and/or has children. this is where i'm at in life and i'm happy about it.

Nippon::Part Four::Bits & Pieces

here are a few more pictures of our trip to japan. just one more japan post until i'm done, promise!
^^a castle we visited. not an original but a pretty darn close replica.

^^the most beautiful day at the ocean!

^^we like to eat. a lot.

^^another shrine.

^^food. more glorious food.

^^a giant mall that i only had 45 min to explore.

^^of all the stores from america to have, this one?

^^the fam bam. my dad's face kills me haha.
^^my cousin's three year old girl. i wanted to put her in my suitcase and take her home with me! 

^^visiting family graves.  
^^the house my grandfather grew up in.