Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday Randoms

Some Friday randoms:

*We've got Martins.
What are Martins you ask? Apparently they are small rodents similar to a mole or weasel. They like nesting under the hoods of cars (yes, more car trouble) and chewing up everything in sight. We took Js car in this week and found out that the transmission fluid pressure switch is broken. It's a cheap and easy fix, thankfully. BUT we also found out that the Martins have been playing under the hood. We were told to fill up panty hose with either dog hair or moth balls and tie to the inside of the hood to keep them away. Can we say fire hazard?!

*Karma is a wonderful thing. J was heating up a cinnamon roll in the microwave. He was making fun of me and all the sudden I see smoke coming out of the microwave! He put it in there for 2 minutes! TWO minutes! Lol... It was completely burnt and smoking up the house. Now we've got all the windows open and are freezing, but I cant stop laughing! Serves him right!

*Ive gotten two job offer/opportunities this past week! My resume has been out there for six months and Im just now getting calls. Things move very, very slowly in Germany. I dont know if Ill take/get either one, but it's nice to know that my resume really is circulating out there.

*I lost three followers this week. =(

*It's cold, dreary, foggy and snowy here in Germany still. Im SO ready for Spring and some good weather!

*I am loving Adele's new CD! She has such an awesome voice.

*I received an award from Leah
 over at Leah Miller's Author Blog. Thanks Leah! She's such a sweetie. We met in 10th grade when her family moved to my hometown and were instant BFFs. Unfortunately, they moved away soon after but through the all mighty power of Facebook, we reconnected!

*Big news coming next week, so stay tuned!

Happy Weekend Everyone!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Book Review- The Girl Who Played with Fire

I really want to like these books. I do. 
It's just that this book, as with the first, is so difficult to like. 

With the first book, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, it took me FOUR 
weeks to read. FOUR. I am a very fast reader, so this was highly
unusual for me, but I just couldnt get into the book. 
The first half bored me to death and the second half was riveting. 

Unfortunately, this book is similar. I finished it fairly quickly, but only
because I couldnt wait to just be done with it. 
The first three quarters of the book are painfully dull, 
while the last quarter was actually quite interesting. 

It feels as if the author tries to use large words, statistics and nonsense to fill the space 
before the interesting part. Most of the book felt like "filler" and not substance.

Overall, I thought this book was a dull, painful read with a good ending. 
Im not sure exactly why, but I will probably read the third book. 
Maybe because it doesnt feel right to only read two-thirds of a trilogy. 
Or maybe because Im a glutton for punishment.
Whatever the reason, when Ive built up some tolerance, Ill dive into the third book 
and finish up this overrated (in my opinion) series. 
Rating: **

Has anyone else read these books? If so, what did you think? 

Rating Scale
*****: Amazing, wonderful, MUST-read, loved it!
****: Really liked it, would recommend, great book!
***: Liked it, enjoyable, but not the greatest book ever written. 
**: Not so great, some good parts, but overall, it was just ok. 
*: Didnt like it, wouldnt recommend it, bad book all around.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Welcome Back

Hello everyone!

Im back from my vacation and getting back into my normal routine. Coming back to Germany this time was brutal. Skipping seven time zones really just isnt any fun and its taken me a week to get readjusted. Waking up at 3 am starving, then not being able to go back to sleep is not my idea of a fun night.

It was all worth it though because I had a fabulous trip back home. My first weekend back, I visited J in ATL. We went to the Atlanta aquarium which was amazing and had some kick-ass American food, which I had been craving. When the weekend was over, I drove to my parents house in AR and spent a lovely week being a bum on their couch. It felt wonderful to just relax, watch real TV (no AFN commercials!) and have all of my meals cooked for me. I love my parents house! =) Unfortunately, I also caught a terrible cold Day 1 of being there. Thankfully, it only last 1.5 weeks and Im all better now. That Friday, I picked J up and we spent another week with my family. We shopped, we ate (Mexican, Brazilian, Sushi yum!!!), we even got snowed in. After a winter in Germany snow has lost its luster for J and I.

I didnt realize that I was homesick until I actually went back home. I miss my family and so many things that living in the States affords you, things that you take for granted when you've lived there all your life- the convenience of everything, a variety of restaurants, shopping, being in the same, or nearly the same, time zone as everyone you know, television, variety in every form, being able to pick up the phone and call anyone, etc. Dont get me wrong- I love living here in Germany. I just didnt realize that I also really missed living in the States.

While I was away I acquired several new followers, so I just want to say hello to all of you and thank you for following! Im more likely to follow you back if you leave a comment, that way I can find my way to your blog.

This past week was very busy and exhausting:
-We havent fully unpacked (make that- J hasnt fully unpacked yet).
-J went back to work.
-J's car broke right before I left for the States. While I was driving it. NOT my fault (thankfully), but we've been without it all week and havent had a chance to take it in. For now, we're back to being a one car family. (why do these things always happen when the men are away?)
-We had three Dr's appts between the two of us. More on that to come later...
-We hung out with several of our friends. I really missed them while I was away!
-We celebrated Valentine's Day by having dinner at a castle restaurant! The setting and ambiance was so romantic and gorgeous. The food was really just ok, but that didnt damper our mood.
-We spent tons of time with our pup Reese. I missed her so much and I know she felt the same from the welcome home we received. Her mamaw bought her some new outfits and, wait for it...... shoes. Yes, my mother bought my dog shoes. Pink ones at that, with a zipper and velcro. Pictures and even a video of that are on the way. Watching her in those shoes is one of the most hilarious things that I have ever seen!
-We caught up on a few of our favorite shows- Glee and Modern Family. Im also digging the new shows Harry's Law & Fairly Legal. Ive always loved CSI, HIMYM, Top Chef & Cougar Town!

Now that our first week back is out of the way, Ill hopefully be back to my regularly scheduled posting.

I hope everyone has had a wonderful weekend! Happy Monday!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Guest Post: The Recovering Brit

Today marks the last of my guest bloggers. Ive really enjoyed all of my guest bloggers and hope you have too! Nicky from The Recovering Brit recently took a trip to New Zealand and shares her experience with us. Nicky is fairly new to the blogging world, so head over to her blog and leave her some love! She has a great "How we met" story!

The Screw Cap Edition

Hi folks! I’m delighted to have been invited to Uncork & Unwined today. I just love K’s blog, not least of all because I too have a passion for coffee, wine & travel. So on that note, I have decided to chat a bit about my recent New Zealand trip, where wine played an integral role. My boyfriend & I were there on vacation for two & a half weeks in January, & we particularly enjoyed our wine tour in Marlborough.

Since this was my first visit to NZ, everywhere we visited was new to me. And  everywhere was also fabulous. Reaching Marlborough was no exception, even though we arrived in grey, overcast, misty & tremendously windy conditions – right in the middle of a cyclone that was bringing in some extreme weather! Despite this, however, the scenery remained gorgeous, & I remained excited about our wine tour.

The Marlborough region of the South Island is considered the wine capital of NZ & is famed for its (delicious) Sauvignon Blancs. Since this just happens to be my ultimate favorite wine, I didn’t think I could go wrong! Our wine tour was booked for the following day, & we expected to be enjoying our vino in raincoats since the bad weather was forecast to continue. So imagine our surprise next morning when we unexpectedly awoke to beautiful, cloudless, blue skies & bright sunshine - weather that was perfect for wine tasting, as well as for further accentuating the amazing scenery.

I’d booked our tour with Bubbly Grape Wine Tours (  - they had great online reviews from previous wine tasters, so I felt we couldn’t go wrong there. We weren’t disappointed either. Kerry who runs the company was our tour guide for the day. She is a very lovely, friendly & fun-loving Australian, & knows more than quite a bit about the wine industry.

There were only 4 of us on the tour, so it was a really cozy trip. Our cohorts were a slightly older Dutch couple who were so much fun to hang out & drink wine with. Kerry took us all to five local vineyards, including Bouldevines Estate ( which we really loved – they have a handful of other things on site, in addition to their cellar door for wine tasting - including a nice cafĂ©, gift shop, ice cream & fudge shop, & liqueur tasting room. All in all, a great stopping point to cover a multitude of evils!

During the tour we got to sample heaps of wonderful wines at each vineyard – many Sauvignon Blancs as you can imagine, but also some other lovely whites, such as Chardonnay, Gewurtztraminer & Pinot Gris (which we took home with us). And although Marlborough is better known for its whites, we also happened upon some of their fantastically aromatic reds – in particular some Syrah as well as a tasty Merlot-Malbec blend which also both found their way home with us!

Kerry extended our tour way beyond the scheduled finishing time – we must have been a well-behaved group! She squeezed in an extra, fifth vineyard for us, even though we were initially supposed to visit just four. I really didn’t want the day to end, it had all been so perfect – weather, wine and company. We couldn’t have asked for a better day all around.

Marlborough was our last stop on the South Island – the morning after our wine tour we headed a north to Picton to catch the ferry across to the North Island. It was very sad to bid goodbye to the South Island, and in particular the lovely Marlborough region – we could definitely have stayed there longer. But we were still excited to see what adventures (& wines) the North Island had to offer us.

If you’ve never been to NZ, I’d highly recommend it if you ever get the chance to visit – and be sure to stop over in Marlborough. Even if you’re not a fan of the grape, the scenery alone is worth the visit.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Milspouse Friday Fill-in

It's Milspouse Friday Fill-in time! I havent participated in awhile, but thought I would today. 
Head over to Wife of a Sailor to see more! 

What is your favorite MilSpouse blog (not including Wife of a Sailor who we all love, or your own)? submitted by Our Crazy Life (Wifey note: whaaaat? You can't say my blog? No fun! LOL, just kidding)

Hmm... This is a tough one because I do love so many...
A few of my favorites are:
Army of Two, the annoyed army wife, My Goal is Simple, Adventures in Italia, 
It's a Dog Tag Wife Life, My Camo Colored Life, Tomorrow is Another Day & {Mis}Adventures of an Army Wife. See my side bar for more though, seriously there are just too many to list. 

What are your favorite perks about your s/o being deployed (we all know there are perks)? submitted by Ramblings of a Marine Wife
I actually think there are very, very few. 
We make more money & I dont have to cook or clean as often. 

How long did you date your before getting engaged? Married? submitted by Utterly Chaotic
We dated for 2 years before getting engaged and got married 3 months later. We didnt have our wedding until 6 months after we were legally married though. 

What do you think your would do if s/he wasn’t in the military? submitted by Adventures of M-Squared
I think he would be a teacher. He is so patient and great at teaching, that I think he would make a wonderful teacher or instructor of some kind. 

If you could talk to the Secretary of (fill in your appropriate branch) what is one suggestion you would like to bring to their attention in order to improve the lives of military families?  submitted by My Life as His (Air Force) Wife

Hmm... That despite what they may think, longer deployments, less often, do not provide more stability for families, nor to they comfort them or make the situation any better.

I hope you enjoy my guest today! 
She's a real life friend, so be sure to stop by her blog and check it out! 

Guest Post: My Life as his (Air Force) Wife!

Today's guest blogger is a real life friend of mine! We started reading each other's blogs right before I moved to Germany. She's lived here for six (!) years, so I knew she would be a great resource. What I didnt know was what a great friend she would become. Im so happy to have her today and I know youll all enjoy her post. She's a newlywed who just got back from her the Maldives! So be sure to check out her blog when youre done here and see her gorgeous photos! 

First of all, I want to thank K for allowing me the chance to guest blog for her.  She is a great blogger, a dear friend, and if you think her recipes look delicious, they are absolutely delicious to actually try!  An additional thanks to her for providing samples at various times of her tasty treats.  Thanks, K!
Well, as a first time guest blogger, I had to rack my brain for what to write about.  Back in May of 2010, I said “I do” to the wonderful “J” of the J loves K of my blog!  We decided to take a delayed honeymoon somewhere warm when winter came in order to escape the winter blues.  We just got back, and yes, it was amazing!  But, it got me thinking of how crazy it was that Joel and I actually met.
I never believed in soulmates growing up.  That was just in the movies, and things like that don’t really happen in real life.  But, meeting Joel made me change my view on that.  I know, it does sound cheesy, but stay with me here.
I am a Midwesterner from Indiana whose entire life consisted of staying in the Midwest.  Big family vacations included NashvilleCincinnati, Louisville, and the fancy city of Chicago!  No one in my family ever left the state for good.  My mother fully intended that I will always live within a 10 minute drive from her, as our house growing up was only two blocks down from her mother’s house.  That is just how her side of the family was.  But, I had different plans.  When I was 20 and still in college, I got a rare opportunity to move and live abroad.  So, with two suitcases and my dog in hand, we flew (by ourselves) all the way to Germany.  I have been here for six years now and I love it!
Joel, who is four years older than me, grew up in Oregon.  His dad was retired Air Force, and after he graduated for college, decided during his job hunt that he would follow in those some footsteps and commissioned the same year that I moved to Germany.  In the amount of time I have been here, he has been stationed all over, from Japan to Turkey.  In 2009, he received orders for Spangdahlem Air Base, about an hour from me, and a place I have only been to a handful of times. At the last minute, his orders switched him to Ramstein, the base next door to where I work.
It just so happened that when he moved to Germany in June 2009, we had a mutual friend.  The very first week he was here, she invited him to a movie night that I was putting together.  I happened to be on a kind of date that night.  But, he was very nice and a friend of a friend, so he tagged along.  While it took me a little while to notice him in “that way,” Joel tells me that that night, he just knew that he had to get to know me more.  There was something about me that spoke to him, and he wiggled his way in my circle of friends.  After a little while of flirting, he finally admitted his crush and I knew, then, that I was crushing back pretty hard, too.  The first date was it for us.  I knew I wanted to get to know him more, and he said that he fell in love with me that night. (Of course he didn’t tell me that night.  Then this story may not have happened!)
Of course, our circumstances make it totally possible that we never should have met and our paths never should have crossed.  But they did. And we fell in love hard and fast.  When people say someone completes them, I get that with Joel.  He really does.  And so is the story of how this Hoosier met her Beaver.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Guest Post: A{muse}ing mommy on a pink park bench

Today's guest is Mrs. Mootz from A{muse}ing mommy on a pink park bench. It was on her blog that I first guest blogged and now here she is, guest blogging for me! She's adorable, has an equally adorable son, is crafty and is about to take an amazing trip to... well, Ill let her tell you.

A Wee Bit O' Travel Help, Please
I am so excited to be here at Uncork and Unwined today! Isn’t K just the duck’s quack? She’s always been one of my favorite reads, so I’m psyched that she asked me to guest blog for her!
I know many of you come here to read about her wonderful travels, so I thought this might be the perfect place to tell a little secret I’ve been keeping and ask for some advice.

Stonewall and I are going to IRELAND!

Whoooot! (I totally tried to write an intro to that announcement, but the suspense was just too much for me…)

About two weeks before Christmas I was perusing some travel sites (as I tend to do and dream…) when I saw a headline for one week in Ireland including travel and board for $600 per person.
Sounds a bit too good to be true, hm? I thought so too, but I clicked anyway just to see what was up. The travel site said the same thing: One week in Ireland, including round trip airfare, a car and B&B vouchers for $600 a person. So then I called the travel agency because I figured there had to be small print somewhere. Turns out I was right.

The small print said we had to leave from JFK...totally doable...and travel during certain dates…certain dates that we just so happened to have available…

Maybe I’ve inhaled too many poopy diaper fumes, but that sounds like a pretty good deal to me. So I booked it as a Christmas gift for Stonewall! Stonewall was completely taken by surprise. He knew I had gotten him a pretty big gift, but he was completely clueless. I wrapped smaller gifts as clues for him and put limericks (another clue!) on each gift. He didn’t figure it out though until he opened his final clue which was a scratch off map. I scratched off all the places we’ve been together and I included Ireland in the mix. Needless to say, he’s pretty stoked.

So like I said, I need some advice…

What should our itinerary look like?!

We fly into Shannon on a Thursday (we leave on Wednesday and our flight is overnight) and we have until the following Tuesday to get our butts to Dublin (we leave early Wednesday morning). We spend the first night in a hotel in Limerick, the next four nights in random B&Bs of our choice, and the final night in a hotel in Dublin.

The only thing I know I WANT to do is go to the greyhound races. I’m not seeing the races mentioned in many tourist sites/books, so I’m guessing it’s more of a local thing to do which makes me want to go even more.) They’re only held on certain nights, so I’m having a hard time deciding which day and stadium would be best. Right now I'm thinking Cork, but that means skipping the whole southeast portion of Ireland and I hear that's a pretty beautiful part to miss. There's also Limerick, but the races aren't until Friday evening, so that means two whole days in that area and that seems bit of a waste of valuable sightseeing time. Do you see my dilemma?!

Other than the races I’m at a loss. There seems to be so much to do and see. There are the typical tourist attractions, the Blarney Stone, various castles and famous natural attractions, but there’s also the best local restaurants, the pubs, shopping, all the cool local things most tourists skip. I don’t even know where to start. Add to it that I have no idea how long it will take to get from place to place…

So HELP ME! Tell me where to go, what to do, what we MUST see, what we can skip, and where the best place to find a pot o' gold is. Send the advice my way, please!

Monday, February 14, 2011

We Call Him Cupid

I love, love, love hearing how couples met. It must be the romantic in me, but those are some of my most favorite stories to hear. It's the promise of a new beginning, a happily ever after. And the excitement in each meeting is infectious. After hearing about how some of you met your significant others, see here and here, I really wanted to share our story. Of course it's my favorite "how we met" story of all!

Cupid introduced us. 
At least that's what we call him.

On May 5th, 2006, I went to the first roof top party
of the year at the Peabody, a hotel in downtown LR. 
It was Cinco de Mayo and there was 
a festive air all around us. 

Several girlfriends and I went with no higher expectations
than to drink and dance our bootys off. 
Our favorite band was playing. 
Venus Mission.
They were an 80s cover band who sang all the pop classics
and had several wardrobes changes throughout their show.
They rocked!

We hadn't been there long when I noticed a tall, dark & handsome
guy across the roof. 
I also noticed him noticing me. 

On the way back from the bathroom with my intoxicated friend, I
 realized that he was right behind us.
And then it happened. 
The fall.
Hers, not mine, thankfully.
My friend tripped and spilled her drink.
As I was helping her right herself, I heard him laugh.
I immediately turned around to scold him for laughing, 
to which he just laughed even more.

He went back to his side of the roof and I went back to mine.
More staring, smiling, flirting.

A guy had been hitting on a friend of mine all night. 
He noticed J & I noticing each other and decided to intervene.
He asked me if I wanted to meet the mystery guy.
If so, he would love to introduce me.
He just happened to be his best friend and knew he was single. 
I told him no thanks, I didnt want his help, but, like most men, 
he didnt listen.

He walked over to J, told him that he wanted to introduce us, 
and brought him over. We started talking and hit it off
immediately. So much so, that we hung out the rest
of the night and went to two other bars together.

He got my number and called the next day.
I was thrilled he didnt wait the standard (and ridiculous)
three days.
We went out again a couple of days later and the rest, 
is history.

I know you're all thinking, "What about Cupid?"
Later that first night I mentioned to J how sweet it was
of his friend to introduce us and how happy I was that he did.
I received an open mouthed, blank stare. J just shook his head. 
He had no idea who that guy was. He'd never seen him before in his life.
He wasnt his friend. In fact, J had only been living in LR for two weeks.
When he went to get J he told him he had a girl friend that 
he wanted to introduce him to. He tricked us both. 
It didnt take us long to figure out that that sweet guy 
just noticed two people noticing each other
and gave them the push they needed.
We'd never seen him before & 
we havent seen him since.
We call him Cupid 
and thank him

*That night I asked J what he did for a living. 
When he replied, "Im an AF pilot," 
I literally groaned out loud!

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Guest Post: My Goal is Simple

Today we have Karen from My Goal is Simple. I simply adore her and her blog so I was thrilled when she agreed to guest post for me. Her husband recently returned from deployment and they are about to embark on a whole new adventure: moving to Oklahoma! She has the most adorable little boy, loves wine and just got her Master's Degree. Sounds awesome, right? Go check out her blog, after you read her post here!

My Goal is Simple

As a first time guest blogger, I am typing this post with just a tiny bit of fear. What if I ramble about nothing you have no interest in reading, therefore causing you to curse my blog and pray I receive a bad case of writer's block, just so you don't have to worry about ever stumbling across my musings while combing through your reader? The horror! So while I am a bit scared, my ego can handle this rejection; after all, I blog. Which means I am conceited enough to think other people want to read my thoughts. Yeah, yeah, yeah…I know there are some out there who blog for themselves and themselves only but (surprise!) I am not one of them. Because if I were, I would just write in my private journal (which I do, but we're just going to ignore that little factoid) and call it a day without leaving my mark on the Internet.
I am not afraid to admit that I am a tad obsessed with my quest for contentment and satisfaction. I want it all. Leaving this world without sampling every sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell frightens me. Questions concerning I am doing enough to ensure that I am living to my fullest potential race through my head at night – bouncing back and forth like Charlie Sheen in a New York hotel room.  I just want a long and happy life…is that too much to ask? Ruth Bernhard didn't think so.
If you're not familiar with Ruth Bernhard, I suggest that you check out her work. Some of her work is arguably among the most famous contemporary photographs of female forms. Breathtakingly beautiful. By all accounts, she was feisty. How can you not love that? I recently came across her Recipe for a Long and Happy Life. I thought I would share because it is too good not to. I tried to find the original source where Ms. Bernhard first wrote/said the recipe, but my search was unsuccessful, otherwise I would link it. If you know it, please share!
Recipe for a Long and Happy Life
1.    Never get used to anything

2.   Hold onto the child in you

3.   Keep your curiosity alive

4.   Trust your intuition

5.   Delight in simple things

6.   Say 'Yes' to life with passion

7.   Fall madly in love with the world

  1. Remember: Today is the day!
Easy enough, right? If I pray hard, dream big, and follow this recipe for a long and happy life, there is nothing that can get in my way (cue inspirational background music). And maybe, just maybe, I can have a long and happy life. Or least prevent you from cursing my blog.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Book Review- The Hangman's Daughter

Not my photo

This week's book was an Amazon recommendation and it was only $4. It takes place in Germany in medieval times. It follows an infamous executioner family, specifically one man and his daughter. A series of events lead the superstitious townspeople to suspect one of their own of witchcraft. It's up to the hangman and his daughter, with the help of a couple of friends, to prove that the accused isn't guilty. Can they save her in time? 

I liked this book. It takes place near where I currently live in Germany, so it was cool to read about what this area might have been like in the 1600s. I enjoy reading about times past and since this book is based on an actual family, the facts are more interesting. Some of the torture parts are a bit tough to read and I figured out the mystery long before then end, but it was an enjoyable book nonetheless. The author did a good job of making the characters likable and kept with the details from the time period. 

Rating: ***

Rating Scale
*****: Amazing, wonderful, MUST-read, loved it!
****: Really liked it, would recommend, great book!
***: Liked it, enjoyable, but not the greatest book ever written. 
**: Not so great, some good parts, but overall, it was just ok. 
*: Didnt like it, wouldnt recommend it, bad book all around. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Guest Post: Tomorrow is Another Day

Today's guest is one of my absolute favorite bloggers! Angela is the kind of girl that I would be BFF with, and yes, I know that just from reading her blog. Im completely envious of her writing style and wish I had her way with words. While I may be living in the land of her dreams, she is currently living in one of mine. Ive always thought the Charleston, S.C. area would be a wonderful place to settle down...eventually. 

Hi, I'm Angela from Tomorrow is Another Day, and I first discovered Uncorked and Unwined through the MilSpouse Friday Fill-In.  I was drawn here by the allure of vino, and kept here by K's beautiful travel stories, delicious recipes, and adorable personality.  I also have a teensy obsession with her, because she is living My Dream.

You know how some people have a dream job when they're small?  Something that drives them their entire life toward greater accomplishments?  Well, I've never really had that kind of ambition.  When I was little, I wanted to be a ballerina.  Things didn't really work out in that direction once I dropped out of ballet class at age 9.  Then when I got older, I wanted to be a psychologist.  Until I found out you had to take a Stats class in college.  Nixed!  My lifelong ambition has been to live overseas.  And once I joined the military, then married a fellow military man, that dream became more focused on moving to Germany.

My husband and I love to travel internationally, but the part that makes it most challenging to do on a budget is buying that plane ticket.  I love that living in Germany, so much of the world is just a train ride away.  There are castles around every bend.  More cathedrals than you could visit in a lifetime.  Ruins for everyone!  BMWs are the cars of the common man.  Schnitzel!  Strudel!  And the chocolate is SO much better!

Of course, this is just my dream world.  In reality, I know the snow would crush my soul.  Being on the other side of the world from family and friends would be difficult.  There are plenty of quirks that would probably drive me to drink, including laundry facilities in the kitchen and tiny bathrooms.  But still, I think the adventure would be so worth all of the little... pits in the road!

We've still got about two years left in beautiful Charleston, South Carolina, before we get our next assignment, and I'm loving our experience here.  So for now, I'll continue to live my German life vicariously through K's adventures!  Have you ever wanted to live overseas?  If you've already had the experience of living in another country, did it live up to your expectations?

“I love people who make me laugh.  I honestly think it's the thing I like most, to laugh.  It cures a multitude of ills.  It's probably the most important thing in a person."  ~Audrey Hepburn~

Monday, February 7, 2011

Guest Post: {Mis}Adventures of an Army Wife

Today's guest post is from one of my favorite bloggers. I know if I ever need a laugh, I
can get one from reading her posts. She's funny, sarcastic and isnt afraid to speak her
mind. Her post today is a very creative one that I would love to try one day. She did
a great job and it looks beautiful!

Beer Can Butterflies
About two months ago, I had this brilliant idea that I was going to make my own wall art.  You see, we had just moved into our new apartment, and it hadn't occurred to us that our gorgeous, vaulted ceilings also meant a 20 foot wall that needed to be decorated.  In the photo below, you can see just how bare the wall looked.

We brainstormed for a few days about what to use to decorate that space.  I didn't want to buy anything too expensive (because I'm way too poor for that!), so I decided we should make something.  Then I realized that not only were my craft skills comparable to that of a second grader, and I had no ideas.  An episode of Gossip Girls rescued me.  If you're a Gossip Girls fan, you know that above Serena's bed, there's a crazy piece of art work made from butterflies.
 I did some googling and discovered it was an installation by NYC artist Paul Villinski.  He, literally, cuts butterflies out of beer cans he has collected in NYC and mounts them to the wall.  When my husband heard the term "beer", he was immediately on board with the project! Shocking, right?
We actually went out and purchased a 24 pack of canned beer.  I was determined that we were going to cut out the butterflies I needed for my wall art just like the artist did.  Let me tell you, that didn't last long!  Do you know how disgusting canned beer is?  Thankfully, due to my awesome research skills, I discovered you can purchase a roll of aluminum that is very similar in weight, composition, thickness, etc.. as a beer can.  Not only did I save some calories, but I saved tons of money!
I downloaded some butterfly shapes from the internet and got to cutting butterflies of various sizes.  After a trip to Walmart for spray paint, I had beautiful, blue butterflies!  
I was really excited about my blue butterflies until I realized I hadn't thought about how to get them on the wall.  We ended up trying (probably) every solution known to man - different tapes, adhesives, etc.  The answer was actually in my sewing box.  I just used sewing pins to pin the butterflies on the wall just like a butterfly collector would pin a butterfly in the display case.  
Here's a photo of the partially completed project!   

Here's a closeup of the butterflies.

Technically, the project is only half-complete.  I had planned for the butterflies to really fan out over the TV.  Unfortunately, I'm just too lazy for that!  The completion of the project would include getting up higher on the ladder (which is too high for my comfort!) and moving the TV.  Maybe if the Army keeps us here for longer than 5 more months, I'll finish the project.   
If anyone's willing to come over and cut out butterflies, let me know!  There could be free (and terrible) canned beer involved!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Guest Post: Wife on the Roller Coaster

Today I'd like to welcome Wife on the Roller Coaster from Riding the Roller Coaster
Her blog was one of the first that started reading when I jumped into the blog world
almost a year ago. She's a MilSpouse, runner, reader & wine lover. In other words, 
a lot like me. (Well, except for the runner part.) Her family experienced an 
overseas tour in Japan. Japan! I simply can not imagine how crazy that 
must have been. Germany & Europe are one thing, but Asia and Japan?
Another kettle of fish all together. Today she shares a little of what
life in Japan was like. I cant wait to hear more! 

Living Overseas and Turning Japanese

 Before I start, I just want to say how excited I am to be guest posting at Uncork and Unwined today!  I love living vicariously through her adventures abroad, and I so wish I could fly over to Germany and have a glass of wine with her!  Her stories and pictures inspired me to share a little bit about my own adventures abroad.  So here goes…

“Jacksonville or Japan?”  I stared at the phone in disbelief as my husband told me the options for our next duty station.

“What happened to California or Virginia?” I whined.

At the time, we were already living in Florida, and I had little desire to stay in the Sunshine State.  On the other hand, Japan didn’t top my wish list either.  I had never traveled outside the US before, I didn’t want to move a half a world away from my family, and I wasn’t exactly known for my adventurous personality.  All signs pointed to Jacksonville.

But somehow, I heard myself blurting, “Japan.  Let’s go to Japan.”  And 5 months later, I was living overseas and turning Japanese.

After only a few days in Japan, I wondered how in the world I’d last 3 years in this country that was so foreign that I couldn’t even pretend to blend in.  As a taller than average, blonde American woman, it was impossible not to stand out in a Japanese crowd.  Besides my physical appearance, I could neither speak nor understand the language, I was rendered illiterate, and I was terrified of driving on the left side of roads that were half the width of the roads I’d driven on since I was 16.  What had I gotten myself into?  Was Jacksonville still an option?

It’s always difficult to try something new and jumping into a foreign culture is no different.  I was tempted to barricade myself within base housing, to hide within the microcosm of America that we called the fishbowl.  But I couldn’t hide.  Not only would my adrenaline junkie husband not allow it, but the housing office wouldn’t allow it either.  There were no openings on base housing when we arrived, and we had to move into a Japanese neighborhood while our names slowly crept up the waiting list. 

For me, moving into a cho house 20 minutes away from base was precisely the push that I needed.  Before I knew it, I was exploring Japanese stores and restaurants, driving with ease, and using Japanese phrases without hesitation.  The chorus of the song “Turning Japanese” played in my head like my own personal mantra: I’m turning Japanese, I think I’m turning Japanese, I really think so.

Once I shed my training wheels, I graduated to more challenging feats.  I became a regular at a local onsen (essentially a spa where everyone soaks in hot springs naked), I sang karaoke while drinking chuhais (a fruity Japanese mixed drink), and my husband and I tested out love hotels (that’s a blog post in and of itself).  I joined a spouse club that went on monthly excursions, I signed up for Japanese craft classes, and I joined a dozen other Americans to compete in a Japanese half marathon.  Our family traveled to Thailand and Korea and numerous locations throughout Japan.  We toured castles, we saw geisha, we cheered at a pro baseball game, we admired cherry blossoms, we ate exotic food, we rode the Bullet Train. And the ultimate practice in cultural immersion?  I welcomed my baby girl into the world in a Japanese clinic surrounded by non-English speaking nurses.   I truly did turn Japanese.

Living overseas is a unique experience in one of two ways.  It’s either a dream you hope you’ll always remember or a nightmare you pray you’ll soon forget.  You either love it or you hate it.  And it’s up to you which experience you end up having.  I chose to make the most of our time overseas, and I will always cherish the memories and friends (and furniture!) I left Japan with.  I can’t imagine hiding through an entire tour.  I can’t imagine missing out on all of the amazing things I experienced.  I can’t imagine choosing Jacksonville.  I can’t imagine not turning Japanese. 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Book Review- Millie's Fling

Not my photo

This week's book is another cute chick lit book. It is set in London (I just love British books!) and follows a girl who's life appears to be falling apart. She loses her job, is broke and has made a fool of herself in front of the guy of her dreams. Not mention her wacky mother and the crazy author who wants to make her life into a best-selling book. Her selfish roommate got on my nerves, but I really liked all of the other main characters.

This was a lighthearted book and an easy read. It wasnt spectacular by any means, but it was enjoyable and funny. I think it would be a great summer reading by the pool/beach book.

Rating: ***

Rating Scale
*****: Amazing, wonderful, MUST-read, loved it!
****: Really liked it, would recommend, great book!
***: Liked it, enjoyable, but not the greatest book ever written. 
**: Not so great, some good parts, but overall, it was just ok.
 *: Didnt like it, wouldnt recommend it, bad book all around.