by Koko on April 10, 2015 · 1 comment

in Army, Travel

Moving House; Shutterstock ID 91899812; PO: aol; Job: production; Client: drone

Moving is a pain. Since we found out we were officially moving, Q and my brains have been spinning. There just feels like there is SO much to do and there sort of is.

*Preparing our house to go on the market. That means packing up our closets so they don’t look packed. And that means spending hours packing up clear crates and dragging them into the attic. (UGH). It also means keeping our house clean at all times. (double UGH). For the next two weeks we are pushing through with some final renovations (tile in the master bath, painting some cupboards) and hope to list it after that (by the end of April). We aren’t concerned that it won’t sell (maybe we are being optimistic), but just want to be under contract by the time we move in June.

*Buying a new house. We have spent hours on Zillow and Trulia. My dreams are all about homes. We have learned SO much from our first house. We sort of lucked into a fabulous neighborhood with fabulous neighbors, but don’t want to depend on blind luck this time around. We are doing our research. And asking SO many questions. How far from Nashville will our new house be? How far from post? Is it near a park? Distance to the highway? Do we want to renovate? Do we want to do a TON of work? What about a new kitchen? How many bathrooms do we really need? 2? 3? Do we want a fabulous master suite like we have now? What are the closets like? (this is mainly asked by ME!)


*We are headed to Clarksville this weekend to check out our list of a zillion homes and start the process. It’s exciting and overwhelming at the same time. Where will we settle next? It was much easier buying our first house in Columbus since we had already lived there a year (on Fort Benning) and generally knew the better neighborhoods to live in. This time around we are moving without any personal knowledge of Clarksville, which makes the whole thing a little scarier.

It’s stressful this whole buying and selling houses thing. I stay up at night wondering when our house will sell and what if the new house is not what we imagined. But Q always tells me it is all going to work out. And I know it is. In a year from now, 5 years from now, 20 years from now, I will look back and think “Oh remember that time I was so stressed out about moving and it all worked out so well?!?”  

Can’t wait to keep you posted on how it all turns out. 

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Final Thoughts on Japan

by Koko on March 31, 2015 · 0 comments

in Travel, Uncategorized


There is something so spiritual about Japan. It may be the thousands of temples or the deep history, but walking around the city felt like something truly special.


The Japanese really care about their homes and gardens. Even the flowers around the city are perfectly manicured. Some of the pots outside of their homes are only seen once or twice a day, yet are miraculously taken care of.


The Japanese are SO tiny. I went into a Gap to get a jacket and all the sizes were XXXS – S. I could barely get an arm in there. How are they obsessed with perfect desserts and yet stay tiny??

IMG_4323 Trenchcoats are EVERYWHERE. I swear I never wanted a trench until I went to Tokyo and saw everyone wearing one. On the shopping list!


We walked a TON in Japan (92,000 steps aka 46 miles in 5 days). Want to know why the Japanese are so slim even though they eat rice at every meal? I think the walking and biking everywhere has something to with it.


Japanese kids are so darn cute!!!


And Japanese dogs are so talented! We ran into these two Jack Russels whose owner showed us videos of the dogs DRIVING a mini motorcycle. Literally pressing a button and driving a motorcycle. Amazing.


The jet lag hasn’t been too bad (knock on wood), but still a bit tired. I’m taking it easy this week until I’m back to my normal sleep routine (aka not waking up from 2-4AM each night…).


Japan Day 5

by Koko on March 28, 2015 · 1 comment

in Travel


Our last day! Hard to believe how quickly the week flew by.


This morning we slept in a little (6:30 oh my!) and then headed out to explore our neighborhood before we headed to the airport. Our small town, Yanaka, is known for being filled with temples. Off of almost every side street you would see 2-3 temples. The hundreds of temples were moved to Yanaka during the  Edo Period (1603-1867) in an effort to curb the raging fires that plagued the crowded capital and ignited thatched temple roofs like matches. Their former city lots were left empty to serve as firebreaks; their new location on the outskirts could provide added protection in case the city was ever attacked.


We had coffee at a local tea house (no shoes allowed!) and walked through the Yanaka cemetery, which is said to have some of the best cherry blossom trees in all of Tokyo.




We continued to wander, exploring the temples for the rest of the morning. The temples have tombstones from hundreds of years ago. The small bamboo buckets you see are purification buckets for you to use when you enter the temple and the flowers are for the tombs.



The last temple we visited was Nezo Shrine, which is known for its red lacquer gates. It is almost completely silent inside the temples, even though they are dozens of people walking around and praying. It is a really magical experience to be inside one.


We grabbed a quick bento lunch (rice, masubi, yakatori skewers) and ate them in our Airbnb before taking the Skyliner to the airport. The Skyliner is the quickest way to get to the airport, taking only 40 minutes, compared to a bus that could take up to 2 hours.


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Japan Day 4

by Koko on March 27, 2015 · 0 comments

in Travel, Uncategorized


This morning it was a much warmer day (hooray for no scarf around my ears). We got another early start and headed out to Shinjuku, a very bustling part of Tokyo. We took the subway to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building where there is a free sightseeing deck of Tokyo. It was a clear day and we got a beautiful view of My. Fuji.

japan4a IMG_4340

We then headed to Takashimaya, a very hip high-end department store similar to Neiman Marcus. Fifteen floors of clothes, bags, shoes and food. It was fantastic! We spent almost 4 hours in the store looking at things and eating lunch. (That fruit basket was $194 for 9 pieces of fruit!).


We chose a small tempura restaurant inside the store for lunch. Fabulous and fresh tempura like I’ve never tried before.


Afterwards, we wandered around Takashimaya and into smaller stores that were attached like Uniqlo (think Old Navy for Japan) and Tokyu Hands (sort of a department store for bento boxes, cookware, sports goods, etc.). I always get a kick out of their rough English translations!


We took all of our bags and hopped on the rail back to our home. Each afternoon when walking back from the rail station, we walk through the cherry blossom trees and each afternoon more and more seem to bloom. Here is hoping that tomorrow we get some more blooms! We also stumbled across this sweet (and enormous) cat in the cemetery on the walk home. We nicknamed him Sumo.


Tonight we are heading out for some more local food for our last dinner. It is hard to believe we are heading out tomorrow! We don’t leave until the evening, so we have a full morning to continue our exploring.