Jodie's here!


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Two of my favorite girls from my old stomping ground of Fox News are taking over the blog for the rest of the week while we're in Thailand. Jodie is not only gorgeous and wise, she's also honestly one of thee funniest women we know. She is also the kind of person that you instantly love the second you meet. She was such a rock to me while we worked at Fox - and even better - we got to have her as our neighbor too.

I am sadly not Amanda Marshall.  I’m just Jodie.  I haven’t traveled the world, but once every six years or so I make a point to get on a plane just to prove they aren’t as terrifying as I imagine them to be.  I’m not fearless and I’m far from an adventurer.  (Missing Amanda yet?)  I enjoy watching Jeopardy, baking, listening to Frank Sinatra and demolishing seasons of West Wing while never changing out of my pajamas on Saturday.  In conclusion, I’m your grandmother in a 28-year-old’s body.  I can’t keep up with young whippersnappers.  I’m quickly approaching 29 and the closer I get to 29 the more I hear the sirens of the approaching year.  And for the first time in a long time, I’m okay with turning 30.  So, if we can make it until August 2013 (no thanks to you, Mayans) I’ll reach that magical number.  And with it I’ll bring a list of ten things I wish I could have told my 20-year-old self.

  1. Hang out with your parents.  They are hilarious.  They are usually right.  And heaven knows, they’ve earned it.  They seem to love you unconditionally for reasons you can hardly understand.  They still slip $20 into your account for holidays that don’t warrant money giving.  They’ve reminded you to change your oil, been your first call after a fender bender, and told you when it was absolutely necessary to go to the doctor.  You cannot hang out with them enough.

  1. It’s okay to know what you believe.  You’re not close-minded because you love God.  You’re not na├»ve because you decided to not fully indulge in the ways of the world.  You just never wanted to.  God is enough.  Every year, people will tell you He’s not.  Everyday they’ll get a little louder.  But you know enough to know God is enough.  You’re not missing anything.  You’re not pious.  You’re just you.  By the grace of God, you’re you.

  1. You’re skinny enough.  Stop counting calories in your head when you should be listening to your friend’s conversations.  Stop counting how many girls in the room are smaller than you.  Stop passing on the free cupcakes.  Just stop.  People love you at every shape and size.  Pass the chips and salsa.

  1. Stop (insert vice).  If it’s smoking, a tanning bed addiction, sleeping in your makeup or countless other things now’s the time to wrap it up.  Take one last drag, soak in those rays one last time, sleep in your eyeliner if you must then start getting your act together.   When you look in the mirror somewhere close to 30 you’ll realize this stuff does actually wear on you.  PS – I definitely don’t smoke and am paler than a DC blizzard, so you can probably guess my vice.

  1. A job is work.  There will be days at your job that feel more like work than others.  Some days you might even feel like the worst version of yourself.  But, you’re not.  You’re human.  Sometimes a job is supposed to be hard.  You’re supposed to be challenged.  That doesn’t mean God has forgotten about you or you’ve lost track of your ways.  It just means you’re employed.  And that is a blessing.

  1. You’re more than option.  At some point in your life you will make someone your priority who really only considers you, at best, an option.  This is a really awful realization.  You’re allowed to cry and mope (maybe a day or two) when you figure this out.  Then, dust yourself off and move along.  You’re somebody’s priority.    

  1. You are allowed to change your mind.  Over the past nine years I’ve said I hate baseball, I’ll only run if chased, I don’t eat sushi, I can’t stand the beach, and I’ll never wear skinny jeans.  Turns out none of that is true.  You don’t know everything when you’re 20 so give yourself plenty of opportunities to change your mind.

  1. Find a friend who will tell you the truth.  Everyone needs someone in their life who will tell them capped sleeves don’t look good on them.   Someone who will tell them when it’s finally time to turn off the Law & Order marathon and start living.  Someone who will point out the good guys and raise an eyebrow toward the questionable ones.  An extra bonus is when this person is still a friend even though you’ve ignored every bit of their advice.  And at the moment they’re most allowed to say, “I told you so,” they don’t.

  1. Thirty year olds aren’t old.  Granted it took me most of my twenties to realize this, because I spent several birthdays hyperventilating at the thought of nearing the age of 30.  Turns out when you grasp the fact that you will have to turn 30 you start to realize you’re a little more confident, a little more financially stable, and a little surer of what you believe in.  If that’s old then count me in.  There’s still time for marriage, kids, a new career path, a more aggressive 401K, traveling the world, moving to a new city, etc, etc, etc.  Good gosh, you’re just turning 30 not throwing out a hip.

  1. Give soon and often.  I used to think charitable donations and volunteer organizations were something I would get involved in when I was financially stable and had extra time on my hands.  Spoiler alert, that day will never come.  You’re always going to feel like finances are a little too tight to make a contribution.  Every day of the week you’ll convince yourself time is spread too thin to put anything else on your schedule.  That’s when we need to give the most.  When we feel like our money is tight and our life is stressful we need to take a step back and give until our heart falls out.  Give your time.  Give a couple of dollars.  Even if it’s not an organized activity start giving a smile at the very least.  Hold a door open.  Let someone in when they’re merging in traffic.  Put some change in the tip jar.  Hold the elevator for the clicking of heels you hear behind you.  Be patient with a slow cashier.   Have that same optimism you had when you were say, oh, I don’t know…20.

It’s been a pleasure marshalls abroad readers.  Our adventurer Amanda will return soon with exotic pictures and insightful quotes and recipes that will make your mouth water just looking at them.  Until then, I’m one day closer to 30 and so are most of you.  I think my grandmother said it best,  
“Feel free to age, just never get old.”  

Little Things // 1,000 Gifts


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

     Every day we realize more how much we have to be thankful for ~ the simple, wonderful,
 seemingly little things in our life way out here on this island that... seriously blow. our. minds.
There really isn't a more eloquent way to say it! This time here has been flying by {it'll be a
year already in July! how is that even possible?!} and we don't want to take a single day for
granted. God is SO good. We are utterly astounded by Him!
I'm linking this today to my lovely friend Sadie who has started writing down 1,000 things
she's thankful for ! by New Years.  Here's a few of ours recently..  on an ever-growing list..

1. Waking up to this. It's the sight, and it's also the smell & the sound of the sea.
2. Lemon water. It's starting to get hotter than the blazes out here so this has become
our yummy refresher.
3. he's going to make such an amazing daddy!
3. Morning run & swim! & where we went diving last weekend -- gorgeous!
4.  The sun radiating on Moon Beach.  Sometimes it's so beautiful it doesn't even seem real!
5. talking to the most wonderful man alive with a bottle {or two.. or three.....} of wine on our deck

6. getting ready to go to Hong Kong & Thailand this weekend!!!!
7. being able to call & skype with fam
8. Cam never leaving for work without waking me up with a kiss goodbye
9. good friends
10. to be continued..

Also: two very sweet women - Corey & Jenn - are going to send a box of printed emails & letters to Jenn's hubby & other marines who are currently deployed.  They have opened it up to anyone who would like to say hi, thank you or send some encouragement or even your best jokes. Cam has told me before how much notes and letters mean when deployed - even from people you've never met. It can be such a boost to know they are appreciated for putting their lives on the line for us. If you'd like to, please send your message to
They'll be printed & sent out in June!

Grilled Fish with Cilantro Bean Salad Over Parm Pasta


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

 {the beautiful hotel we swam at this weekend by pretending to be rich Japanese.. though we are clearly neither}

Since living on this beautiful little island, I have totally rediscovered my love for cooking and creating new dishes. I always loved watching my Mom humming along in the kitchen, hearing her happily tell how she was making dinner, eating her glorious feasts, and admiring beautiful presentations of good food.
Cooking is an art. And my gosh do I have so much to learn about it.
Just like there are endless possibilities of naturally grown ingredients, colors, textures and flavors ~ from spices to herbs to veggies to fruits to breads to meats ~ there are endless possibilities for creating meals. It never has to be boring and I don't think it ever should! We were made with the ability to create art and that's exactly how meals can be.. to enrich the lives around us.

This was actually really easy to make!
First, mix together the ingredients below for the bean salad. It takes about two minutes to do so and can be prepared earlier in the day to allow the flavors to marinate even more.
The red onion & cilantro add a nice pop of flavor and it's so yummy that I sometimes eat it by itself for lunch with a piece of french bread.
Then, prepare the angel hair pasta al dente.  It only takes 4 minutes to cook in boiling salted water. Once drained, add 2 cups of parmesan/asiago cheese and a generous amount of olive oil and toss until the cheese begins to melt. Set aside.
  Grill the fish - I kept it simple with just a pinch of sea salt and squeeze of lemon to cook in.
Pile some pasta on a plate, a tuna steak next, and top the whole thing with the cilantro bean salad.
And there's our dinner from tonight! Each of the simple flavors came together DELICIOUSLY.



Monday, May 21, 2012

I get excited to find different fabrics, colors & textures to wear.. at good prices.
It turns the daily getting dressed into another creative outlet that can definitely be done inexpensively.
Ikat is an age-old pattern that seems to be everywhere right now..
I have been loving it and this morning bought one of you a skirt made out of it  (:
 It has adjustable straps to fit a size 2 to about a size 8 and can be worn lower on the waist
or on the hips like I have it.

If you'd like to have this pretty little skirt, simply leave a comment.

to enter more comments:
*tweet about it
*pin it
*let me know your favorite way to get creative with your wardrobe
without spending a lot of money

::congrats, Brianna!::

Welcome Story of My Life Readers!


Friday, May 18, 2012

If you're coming over for the first time from Jenni's beautiful & engaging blog, Story of My Life 
welcome! (:
{My Husband and I}
I'm from Southern Cali & my love from Colorado
but we met + fell in love in Annapolis, wed on a vineyard in North Carolina & lived in D.C.
I was a journalist who left my job to move with my handsome Marine...
 to the other side of the world.. where we're so thankful to have our home on the East China Sea
on the subtropical island of Okinawa, Japan. It's our home for the next few years or until the Marine Corps tells us otherwise!
{We love traveling together & having the opportunity to see Asia..}
{exploring the island...}
{cooking in our tiny kitchen...}
{decorating & building things together for our home...}
{... riding our scoot}
 {and being madly in love.}
We are so so grateful to get to live in such a fascinating part of the world together, travel, experience God's AMAZING blessings undeservedly in this season of life.. and share it with you! 
Thanks for letting us!

Fresh, Healthy & Delicious: My Summer Salad


Thursday, May 17, 2012

I'm back to making this salad on the nightly. 
Oh, it is so delicious.
I'm starting a new summer series on the blog as of today, simply called: Fresh, Healthy & Delicious. 
It's going to be some of my most favorite salads & fresh, simple meals I make us all summer long.
Happy Thursday!

Where We Stayed: Vietnam


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

 For the girls who have been asking me about where we stayed, what we did, etc., I hope this post helps! Blogs have sometimes given me the best travel tips, which I'm always grateful for, so I hope to return it. 
There's a lot to take in and think about in Vietnam. 
In Hanoi, we stayed at the Hanoi Elegance Ruby and we could not recommend it more. 
It was honestly the best $45 we've ever spent on a hotel room!
The staff was just amazing. They picked us up from the airport, which I'd highly recommend because there are tons of scams in Hanoi. We were greeted by the most hospitable staff who served us mango smoothies and gave us cold hand towels while they turned on everything in our room for us.  Our room was small but so lovely and SPOTLESS. Everything is new; the bathroom was all marble with a rain-shower and teak floor. Breakfasts and coffee were fantastic. There was a complimentary basket of fruit {mangoes, bananas, papaya} & water bottles in our room each morning. But even with all of the incredible details, the service is really what stood out the most to us. It was that good.
We also really liked the location of it. It's on this little side street in the Old Quarter, with markets everywhere and walking distance to just about everything you want to see.
There's really yummy restaurants in the area too..
We took the hotel's recommendations for our first night out at the Green Mango
and had a delicious traditional Vietnamese dinner that cost about $16 total.
We took another of their recommendations for our last night in Hanoi as well - and ate on the rooftop at the Gourmet Corner. The meal, service, prices and views overlooking the city were awesome.. and it was such a nice break from the chaos below. Cam and I lost count of how many mango & papaya juices I consumed.. it was a lot. Soo good.
The junk cruise in Halong Bay that we sailed on was the Indochina Dragon's Pearl. We booked through our hotel and I would highly recommend that. They took care of all the details for us. All transportation {it's a 3 hour crazy crazy fun drive from Hanoi} & meals were included.
Our room was tiny but perfect.. decorated along with the rest of the ship in Indochina style. That hard as a rock bed was surprisingly comfortable.. or maybe it was all the wine we drank? (:
Goodness, it was ammmazing and romantic.
We were just there a few weeks ago, right?!
One of the great things about this junk is that it goes to Bai Tu Long Bay, which is the more remote side of the Gulf of Tonkin.
 {his adorable put-down-your-camera-and-sit-your-butt-next-to-me-and-drink-your-wine face}

As I said already in this post, the staff was so wonderful. They knew our anniversary is coming up so they made us a huge cake, sang to us, and made me a pretty necklace out of local shells. They were so sweet and so good to us all. "Congras-lation Mr. Mrs. Ma-sha!"

Camping Ikei Island


Monday, May 14, 2012

We packed up the Jimny this weekend after diving, and set out to beach camp on one of Okinawa's outer islands. Ikei {remember this beautiful place?} is a small island with a small population {I think only one village?} with nearly all farmland and rugged coastline.  You have to cross a cute red bridge from Miyagi island to get out to it, and when you do, the narrow road weaves along the inlets and coves until you hit farms. Somewhere in the farmland we found a narrow overgrown path:

that led to this:

This turned out to be the best site we've ever camped at together. It was so peaceful being on the beach with just the sound of crashing waves and the ocean breeze through the trees. And then came the dazzling stars and night sky. We laid in the sand around our campfire and stared in awe of our Great God. We stayed up late talking and making s'mores around the huge campfire Cam built. 

There's our Meaghan Leister gifted picnic wine carrier again that we bring everywhere with us!

Turquoise sea glass is my favorite to collect.

Cam laughed at me for bringing sparkling water to camp, but I say, why not!?

dearest Mama

Sunday, May 13, 2012

happiest Mother's Day!! xxxxxxox

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