Sunday, September 21, 2014

Battle of Okinawa Tour I

One of the funnest/interesting things we did while our family was here was take the Battle Sites Tour organized by MCSS Tours+. Gustavo and I have been wanting to take this tour for a while and we thought this would be the perfect time, especially since i knew my brothers would enjoy all the history. We met at the Bowling Alley on Camp Foster, we took a bus to the first stop Kakazutaka Observatory Park in Ginowan, otherwise known as Kakazu Ridge, which used to be two steep hils with a connecting mountain pass. This ridge was the site of some of the bloodiest and most tenacious battles because the ridge stretched from east to west and blocked Shuri the capital of Okinawa. Up the stairs you can see a split globe observatory, which houses one of the most amazing views on island! 

^^ After hearing about this grewsome fight, finding this Peace Pole in the park was so moving ^^^^ Around the observatory there is a memorial/prayer site, which was decorated with colorful cranes ^^ 
During this whole tour i couldn't shake how surreal it felt to hear the tragic story of the battle that was fought exactly where we were standing only 69 years earlier. But i'm glad we had the chance to learn more about Okinawa's history. 

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Saturday, September 20, 2014

How to Embrace Your Natural Curls

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Ever since i can remember i used to get my hair chemically straightened because my curly hair was always too much to deal with. There was only a year in high school where i left my hair untouched and i loved it, but i got tired of it pretty quickly so i went back to chemically straightening it. Lately i've decided to start embracing my curly mane. I did some research before starting my No-Poo journey and these are some tips that i love and some i've been meaning to try. 

1. Change your shampoo/conditioner. I decided to go into No-Poo and after doing it for 6 months i've changed into a Co-washing regimen, which basically means you wash your hair with a cleansing conditioner instead of shampoo. If you're not into this just start by changing your shampoo for one without sulfate or suds. I use L'Oreal's EverCreme Intense Nourishing Conditioner for my super dry hair. 

2. Deep conditioning your hair. If you've chemically straightened your hair (like me) or if you use a hair straightener every day, or every week this step is a must! Also, I bet there's tons of masks and serums you can buy at the store to deep condition your hair but my favorite is coconut oil, because it's 100% natural plus it's free of silicones, alcohols and other chemicals. Research other natural ways to 
deep condition your hair! 

3. Learn how to dry your hair. After getting out of the shower do not put your hair up with a towel, instead scrunch up your hair using a microfiber towel to absorb all of the excess water; then apply a leave-in conditioner. I have to admit this one is always hard for me to do because i like putting my hair up in a towel and then watch tv until it dries, but when i'm planning on wearing my hair curly i just do it. 

4. Forget the moose, find a good styling cream. Because i haven't worn my hair curly in a while i did not know this, before everybody used moose but i guess times have changed. When you find the perfect styling cream for your hair just remember to not apply it on your roots, just your ends. 

5. Diffuse hair with blowdrier. I personally have never tried this before i like letting my hair air dry and because i never have time to do it in the mornings (i like sleeping in as long as possible), but i've heard it does wonders especially if you'd like more volume, also use a volumizer hair spray or hair spray to seal it up. After seeing a couple of Youtube videos i will definitely be giving this one a try. 

6. Dry Shampoo. You can also find these in any neighborhood pharmacy or store, but i like this recipe of DIY Dry Shampoo for Dark Hair, because my hair is really dark and normal dry shampoo is white and is not easy to blend, also because it makes your hair smell like chocolate! HA! Just apply the dry shampoo with a makeup brush, let it sit for a couple of minutes and brush it off. 

7. Embrace YOUR curls. Remember curls are supposed to be wild and free, they will never be "perfect" and that's the fun part. All curls are different, you just have to find the best way to wash/style that works with yours. The only way you will find the one that works with you is by experimenting with different techniques. I say it's time to put that flat iron down and give your hair a break from the heat. 

Follow these steps and flaunt those curls!

Q: Do you have any personal tips on how to style natural curls?

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Two Years of Okinawa Lovin'!

Two years ago today we set off on the adventure of a lifetime, moving to the other side of the world! It's safe to say we have fallen in love with Okinawa over and over again. These two years have been pretty amazing and i can't wait to see what the next year has in store for us. It's pretty hard to believe that we have less than 12 months left here on island. Here's a monthly recap of our second wonderful year abroad, if you missed our first year recap check it out. 

{September 2013}: G spent most of this month at a field operation in Camp Fuji, so i didn't really do much besides work. I did however explore the beautiful Southeast Botanical Gardens with a friend.  I also completed Story of My Life's Blogtember challenge!

{October 2013}: G got his sailboating license and he took us Sailing at Kadena Marina on a perfect day! We also explored Fukushen Gardens, the little chinese oasis in the city of Naha. I stopped working at the Base Exchange and got a fun job at the Fleet Gift Shop! :) We also dressed up as Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters for Halloween ;). 

{November 2013}: G got promoted to Sergeant at the beginning of the month and we had a blast at the USMC Ball! We drove to the northest point of Okinawa and feasted our eyes at the gorgeous Cape Hedo in the rain. We had dinner at Pizza in the Sky and searched for delicious pineapple wine! I also shared advice on 'How to fall in love with your spouse everyday'. 

{December 2013}: We flew to mainland Japan for our first vacation and had a blast exploring Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. We watched Frozen and ate Korean BBQ for dinner with our closest friends on Christmas Eve. I shared how to make the holidays feel special while living overseas

{January 2014}: Started the year by writing down my New Year's resolutions and my Blogging Goals for the year, as well as starting my No-Poo journey. We explored Cape Zanpa during the day for the first time and then G left for Camp Fuji again. I saw the first sakura blooms in Naha and walked around fields of sunflowers in Kitanakagusuku. I also shared 5 reasons why Okinawa has my heart

{February 2014}: G took me out on a motorboat and it wasn't as bad as the sailboat. HAHA! We walked around the Katsuren Castle Ruins and Hamahiga Island. We petsitted Miss Penny, while her parents had a chunky little baby and we moved into a renovated apartment! This was a great month! ;) 

{March 2014}: We went whale watching but i sadly got horribly seasick... We also finally got the chance to see visit the cherry blossom festival and see the trees in full bloom! A friend took me seaglassing for the first time at Sand Dollar beach and found tons of mermaid loot to display in our beach themed bathroom.

{April 2014}: I participated on Simple Green Smoothies 30-day Green Smoothie Challenge and felt good all month long! I stopped on the side of the road to photograph the gorgeous Children's Day Koi Fish carps and we drove around the east side of the island taking pictures until we reached Ikei Island

{May 2014}: Created the cutest little key DIY to remember our first apartment and we celebrated our second anniversary by going on a little weekend getaway to Ishigaki Island, we stayed in a hotel by the port, rented a little japanese car and explored the island, took a ferry to the smaller islands and even took a water buffalo taxi to Yobu island. 

{June 2014}: G got sent to another unit and now works 2 hours away :(. Two weeks in he was sent to Mongolia to be an instructor for a UN peacekeeping exercise called Khaan Quest. I put together my first giveaway and i took a little solo beach day with a good book.

{July 2014}: We petsitted Lucy and Macy while their parents brought the cutest little girl into the world. I got our house ready for guests, G (finally) came back from Mongolia and we had 3 weeks of fun with our family. It was a very interesting experience to have 6 people in a small two bedroom apartment. 

{August 2014}: We flew to Tokyo with our family and showed them around our favorite places; we also made it to Disney Sea! While in Tokyo we had the chance to eat Puerto Rican food and maaan was it amazing!! After we got back from our trip G was sent to another survival training in Malaysia, but this time around he'll be a student. Let's just say if there's a zombie apocalypse my husband will surely be ready for anything! 

We are so ready for our the third year in Okinawa!
Stay tuned I will be sharing our Bucket List for Year 3 this week! Like i did last year ;) 

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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Capes by the East China Sea

Our family arrived in Okinawa on a Thursday night and thankfully they were able to go to sleep as soon as we got home, meaning they didn't suffer much from jetlag and we were able to explore from Day 1! We did have a late-ish morning, cooked a yummy breakfast and then headed out to explore Cape Manzamo and Cape Zanpa in the west coast of the island. The day was gorgeous and humid (ugh), all i wanted to do was jump into the water! It was also our first time exploring Manzamo and i couldn't get over the coral reefs that were visible from the top of the cape. I wish i was into snorkeling because i bet this spot is gorgeous!
^^ i love being able to see Ie island everytime we visit this part of the East China Sea ^^ 

^^ yup, my mom practicing her japanese pose!! ^^

^^ you can find these cutouts all over the island, this one's a Goya

^^ yup, channeling some Rose and Jack in Cape Zanpa ^^ 

^^ of course we needed some shots in front of the giant shisa dog! ^^

^^ i promise you he loves his sister, don't let that face fool you! HAHA ^^
^^ We ended up at the Sega Arcade in American Village and it was a pretty fun experience! ^^

* all of the Zanpa pictures were taken from my iPhone because of course i forgot to charge my camera..

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