The Daily Magic

I am all about the little things lately.

I can often dwell on things that can’t easily be helped, at the most futile times (i.e., when I’m trying to sleep), creating a severe case of spaghetti brain that dismantles my balance and subdues my energy. I’ve recently made an effort to focus on the magic present in my life every day, no matter how small or ephemeral.

Like the hummingbirds and butterflies that call my backyard home. Or the classical music I play to fill an empty house with soothing, yet uplifting notes. Or the half-dozen avocados I plucked from our tree that are now ripe and ready to eat.

I know we frown on materialism, but I like to appreciate the small material things with which I have surrounded myself as well, because they make me happy. Like my imperfect, rather damaged rose gold globe. Or my floral tea kettle. Or my lightly engraved Balinese treasure cabinet. Or the rustic wooden arrow that reminds anyone looking to “Find Your Wild.”

Anyway. Follow “DailyOm” on Instagram for regular inspiration and insight. I highly recommend it!

California Zen: Life in the Pink House

When I think about the past four-and-half months, my head spins! Since late May, I lived in a Magician’s Mansion (with a 120-lb tortoise named Henry), bounced East to DC to visit friends and family, moved into La Casa Rosada (the Pink House), and hosted an ongoing carousel of visitors. Throw in a side trip to Santa Monica, a highly anticipated Himalayan salt lamp, goat yoga, and a refrigerator full of kombucha, and you have yourselves a fully christened California Girl 🙂

Each of those random things hosts a story all its own, but I have been negligent in tending to my little online garden. Mostly, this means that my life has been busy and full. And it’s true! I adore my little Pink House. In fact, I probably love it a little bit too much. We did not buy it  (we are simply renting) but it’s the first house that Chuck and I found and chose together, and the first time in quite a while that we haven’t been forced to live in something we didn’t want. After 3 years of involuntary, military base housing, I was ready to regain some control and make ourselves a little home.

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Gypsy Kitty: My New Look

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Kin Town, Okinawa, Japan

Every time I move, or experience a transition, I tend to rebrand myself and my little corner of the internet. When I got married and moved to North Carolina, I went from DC party girl “Bad Kitty” to “Keep Calm & Have a Cupcake,” documenting my attempts at domesticity and “blooming where I’m planted” as a new military spouse.

When I moved from Georgia (yet another “keep calm” sort of location) to Okinawa, Japan, I still felt the need to keep calm and bloom, but decided to revamp my blog to suit the Asian adventure upon which I was about to embark: lotus flowers, better photography, menu items, a new template. Mostly, Keep Calm & Have a Cupcake became a travelogue.

Now, I am living in Southern California, and it is time for a change!

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Taipei, Taiwan

My experience in Asia taught me to explore anything and everything. I had taken DC for granted in my youth, mostly staying within my comfort zone and only occasionally venturing beyond what I knew. Of course, much of that had to do with the fact that I didn’t have a lot of disposable income with which to have such adventures. Still, there was plenty in my own backyard that I failed to become acquainted with, because I was too busy with work, family obligations… and being a Bad Kitty.

With Asia – and with growth – came a greater understanding and appreciation for the nooks and crannies all around. Sometimes that was an exciting new country, and other times, it was a particular corner of a particular street in the village outside my gate. With all of my transience, I’ve learned to make the time to explore the world around me, whether it’s a foreign country, a different state, a new city, or even my own backyard. (Not to mention my own state of mind!)

At the same time, I continued to explore the nooks and crannies of my own life  – learning from others, as well as myself. Now that I am starting over yet again, I’m ready to blend that curiosity and wanderlust with the fun girl that loves to dance, sparkle, and drink wine with her cats. A Gyspy Kitty, if you will! Purrfect. For now 🙂

As always, this blog keeps me connected, introspective, and contemplative as my definitions of home and self continue to evolve. I’m surely enjoying the ride!

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La Jolla, California

My Favorite Little Corner of the World

Goodbyes are never easy. It’s an old clichĂ©, but we all know it’s true. My Okinawa goodbyes were not particularly graceful or memorable. They were actually rather abrupt, but in some ways, I like that better. As my friend Sally said, it’s like ripping off a BandAid. Or diving head first into cold water. You’ve just gotta do it. And in the end, most of my goodbyes were not that serious, because I know I will see many of these people again. But there was one goodbye that was harder for me. Because I know I will never see my Uken family again.

IMG_0099_20160207124157It’s hard to explain what Uken Beach means to me. On the surface, it may seem obvious: I like cats. Cats are my spirit animal. And believe it or not, I haven’t always been as obsessed as I am today. Sure, I’ve always loved them, but it wasn’t until my mother got rid of my cat while I was in college (without my knowledge) that I truly realized their significance in my life. As my mom struggled with mental illness and my home life disintegrated, Sammy was my consistent source of comfort. When I didn’t have her anymore, I felt her absence on a very deep level, and from then on would obsess over when I could finally get another feline companion of my own. Continue reading

Happy 2017!

This year, I am excited to make my blog more dynamic again. It used to serve as an outlet for any number of different topics or issues on which I could pontificate and ruminate. Since moving to Okinawa, it’s been largely a travelogue.

Not that there is anything wrong with that, of course! I have lots of travel posts to catch up on, in fact. I’ve had many international adventures since Singapore, and will soon share my experiences in Bali, Paris, London, and New Zealand. But, I do miss writing about other things, too – however interesting or mundane. And I don’t like that my writing has gotten rusty.

Now that I have completed my Master’s degree (woohoo!), I should have more time to write again. To reflect. To read for pleasure. To explore new things. To prepare for our next big move, as our time in Okinawa draws to a close…

I am looking forward to sharing what 2017 has to offer, especially since I have no idea what to expect in this transitional time. I am a little nervous, but I also can’t wait  ❤

Annie, I need you…

Annie Bean was the cat that everyone liked, even if they typically didn’t like cats. And when I say everyone, I mean that fairly literally. Many people close to me passed through Annie’s life at one point or another, making note of any number of various traits: her laid back demeanor, her pleasantly plump figure, or her sassy self-assuredness, juxtaposed with her surprisingly social and tolerant approach to strangers.  The fact that Annie was so known, liked, and even loved has made her memory that much stronger and the comfort that much greater in her untimely passing.

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An Easter Update

It’s hard to believe that Chuck and I will hit our 2-year mark in Okinawa in just a couple of weeks.  One year left sounds like both a lot of time, and no time at all. Much has been done, and yet there is still so much to do!

I didn’t mean for this blog to turn into a travelogue, in which I only update when I go somewhere exciting. Even if no one ever reads it, I want to look back on it myself and remember all the adventures I had, big and small. So, here’s a quick re-cap of what we’ve been up to since our Thai Holiday, in reverse chronological order.

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