Seen/Heard/Tried · Spring Bucket List

Spring Bucket List Update!

As of a few days ago, summer has officially arrived! I figure that means this is a good time to update you on how my Spring Bucket List went, and to get started on a new one for summer! (You can find my original list here!)

1. Start running at least 1 mile every weekday √ I’m going to give this one a check because I did it for nearly two months, and for the majority of the days I did it, I ran 1.5 miles to 5K each time. Some health stuff (nothing to worry about!) got in the way of me completing the goal all the way through, but I’m still pretty proud of what I did do!

2. Go to Studio Ghibli – We didn’t get a chance to go to the Ghibli museum yet (something to move onto my Summer Bucket List!), but we did go to another museum called the Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum. The museum itself was pretty cool–most of it featured art deco-inspired design, and it also had a pretty garden outside. We went to see an exhibit about masks around the world, and were disappointed to find very little English, but on the bright side we were able to take a couple fun pictures at the end! IMG_2057 IMG_20583. Find an oven and start baking again – still on the search, unfortunately!!

4. Try chocolate matcha fondue √ did it! I even made a video for the Epicurean Baristas, but I never got around to editing it. Here is some photographic evidence, though!
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The set came with ice cream, puff pastry squares, mochi, a few slices of strawberry, and some unusual jello konnyaku type things. The set cost nearly 1000 yen, and honestly wasn’t that great. But, I’m still glad I tried it!!

5. Find Japanese Lessons – Everywhere I’ve looked so far for lessons has been really expensive, and I haven’t been able to find volunteer lessons that take place outside of my working hours. Don’t know if this one will be getting checked off while we’re in Tokyo!

6. Make one creative project a week (in addition to art journaling) √ Sometimes my projects tied in with #9 on my list, but sometimes they were just chance (like when we painted our pretty little totes at the Hydrangea Festival).

7. Read 3 Books √ I read Land of Love and Drowning, Yes Please, and Lucky Us. I liked Yes Please by Amy Poehler the most because it made me laugh and had a lot of quotable sections I want to remember.

8. Try 3 New Cafes – I tried Bear Pond Espresso, which was amazing (read about my experience here), and Streamer Coffee Co., which was also amazing. I was so close to checking off this one, but to be honest, the two new cafes I did visit were so fabulous I have no regrets!

9. Decorate our kitchen √ I made an easy and fun Photo Garland, as well as a little Wall Art.

10. Start Montessori Certification – This one is still in the works! We’ve had a bit of money transferring hoopaloo to get through, so I’m just trying to be a patient peach!

11. Write more – Um…to be honest…I don’t think I really did this one at all! Something to consider working on in the coming months!

12. Try new cocktails/wine – Can you believe I didn’t get around to checking this off? I guess beer is just what always seemed to be happening for me!

13. Go on at least one picnic √ We had several, including the ones at Koishikawa Botanical Garden and Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden.

14. Try at least two new recipes √ I tried several new recipes, one of which was Rice Cooker Spanish Rice, a kitchen experiment that turned out super yummy!

15. Have a Ladies Night √ One night after helping set up a new campus for our school I went out with a few girls for dinner, but I’d really like to do more in the future!

We had a lot of fun in the spring months, and I enjoyed checking things off my first ever Spring Bucket List. I’ll get hopping on my Summer Bucket List for 2015 for you soon, but in the meantime I’d love to hear about some fun things you did this past spring! Tell me in the comments below 🙂

xx Caitlyn

 

Projects · Spring Bucket List

Inspiration on the Cheap!

Well looky what I found today at my local one hundred yen shop: two really cool books for artsy types! The one on the left is a book of postcards with two per page–one already colored for reference, and another that is blank for you to color. The one on the right is full of cute paper cutting templates, printed directly on patterned paper to use. IMG_1854 IMG_1855
The paper cutting “book” has an added bonus: instructions in English! Above you can see a few examples along the edges of what you can make inside. I’m thinking I might actually make a bunch of the stencils into templates so that I can choose my favorite paper to use, and also so that I can make paper cuts I like multiple times. Can you believe this was only the equivalent of roughly $1!? I’ll update you with any projects I make using the book as inspiration.IMG_1856As for the “coloring book,” it too has instructions, including some tips on using colored pencils. This book is only in Japanese, but it’s pretty easy to get the gist from the pictures.
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Here is an example of the setup of the book. I definitely think I will try coloring some of these in the future (there were also more books in the series with flowers!), but today I decided to use the book in a different way. Remember how one of my Spring Bucket List assignments was to decorate my kitchen? Well, I made my photo garland, but our kitchen still needed something more. I decided some of the pretty pre-colored postcards would be nice additions to my kitchen decor, so I set to work!IMG_1858
I chose my four favorite postcards from the collection and attached them to a lonely-looking wall in the kitchen.IMG_1859
After that I just added a border of craft tape (an idea similar to the washi tape frames I made for my cute living room gallery here), and viola! I’m thinking I might redo the border with actual washi tape eventually as I had to cut the thick craft tape in half and the unevenness might drive me crazy, but we’ll see.IMG_1861
So here’s how a big part of our kitchen is looking at the moment. My new artwork on the left, a rack hanging in the back for cooking utensils (since we have only one small drawer for them otherwise), a few cookbooks, a basket for oil, spices, etc., another basket for produce, our French Press, drying dishes, cards and pictures, and my little Matryoshka (don’t mind the dirty dishes in the sink *ehem*).

I have to admit that there was a plant where the Matryoshka are, but I sort of killed it by over watering it. I also have to admit that even though this part of our kitchen looks a little cluttered, I still think overall it’s pretty cute. (Especially with my easy, cheap DIY art (just 200 yen! *woot*)!)

I have a feeling more fun is to come from these two little hundred yen shop books. Have you found any inexpensive inspiration lately? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

xx Caitlyn

Seen/Heard/Tried · Spring Bucket List

My week (and a few days) in pictures

IMG_1694                                              Above: My last week in art journaling

After our tram ride journey, we had just one more day of break before returning to school. We decided to go for a yakiniku lunch at a place called Ikebukuro Yakiniku Stadium, and it was super delicious (and only 900 yen each!).IMG_1617                                                                  kimchi

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This guy *swoons*

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I also got around to doing some hand lettering after being inspired by the cute bag from this post.IMG_1653After two days of school, it was already the weekend. Saturday was super cloudy, so we went for coffee at Starbucks and I started reading Yes Please by Amy Poehler. (This means I’m on book two out of three for my Spring Bucket List!) I’ve really been enjoying the book so far.IMG_1659On Sunday we had sunny weather, so we decided to head out to Setagaya to go to the famous Bear Pond Espresso. I first heard of the cafe when we watched A Film About Coffee back in the states, and had been dying to try it ever since. On the way there, we saw this giant ape above a Family Mart!IMG_1671
The cafe is a bit inconspicuous–we actually walked right by it at first. I tried to covertly take a picture of the outside, having read that there are strict rules on photography there.IMG_1672Despite the rules in place, the owners do allow some pictures if you ask first, so I happily took pictures of our lattes when we were inside.
IMG_1673I’m sure if you’re anything like me, you’re dying to know the verdict. And the verdict is… amazing. Super nice flavor with the espresso really standing on its own. Chad pointed out that BPE espresso is a bit more citrusy than the espresso at Streamers, which I’ve got to admit still has my favorite lattes so far. BPE’s latte was a close second.IMG_1674IMG_1675 IMG_1682
When we left, we saw this cool street art above. I love how so many shop doors are painted in Japan.
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Above is my art journaling for this week so far. Last week I was running every weekday for at least 1.5 miles or more, and I’d been keeping to my goal of running at least a mile each weekday for about a month. This week, however, I was feeling a bit under the weather, so I only ran on Thursday. On the bright side, I felt creative this week and had a lot of fun in my classroom.

IMG_1687Here is the pretty piece of cake I chose from several our manager got for us. It was a really nice balance of chocolate and orange flavors.IMG_1693Lastly, we’ve been sashimi crazy as of late. I think we’ve been having it for dinner two or three times a week, and we still love it! I feel lucky that we can take advantage of easy access to quality sashimi in Japan.

I hope you enjoyed a peek at what I’ve been up to lately. We’ve got some more fun planned this weekend that I can’t wait to share with you soon. Hope you have a great, inspiring weekend, Little Snail darlings!
xxCaitlyn

Around Town · Spring Bucket List

Around Town: Koishikawa Botanical Garden

IMG_1475Hello friends! Today we went to Koishikawa Botanical Gardens (not to be confused with the Koishikawa Korakuen Garden we went to in January). The weather outside was perfect: Blue skies, warm sunshine, and (in the gardens) there was so much green you could almost forget you were in Tokyo!IMG_1476 IMG_1478

We had a light picnic in the gardens, and I was super happy with the flavor of my grilled salmon onigiri. (I was also happy to cross going on a picnic off of my Spring Bucket list, though I know more picnics are sure to occur!)IMG_1479 IMG_1482

IMG_1483 IMG_1487 IMG_1488 IMG_1490 IMG_1491     I love these flowers because the petals almost look like a print on fabric.
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IMG_1525 IMG_1506 IMG_1510 IMG_1512  IMG_1520IMG_1521 Going to the gardens was well worth the 400 yen entrance fee. We left feeling so relaxed! We’re thinking next time we’ll go earlier in the afternoon with a bottle of wine and spend several hours enjoying the nice atmosphere. Hope you had some sunshine your way today, too!

xx Caitlyn

Projects · Spring Bucket List

DIY Photo Garland

I am so excited to share my most recent project with you: a super easy and fun photo garland! On my Spring Bucket List, one of my goals was to decorate my kitchen in my rental apartment, so making a photo garland was one of my first steps. Here’s how I did it!IMG_1411Step One: I printed a bunch of pictures, and then prepared washi tape, die cut stickers, photo envelopes and colorful clothespins. I chose to use FLAKY STICKERS for my die cut stickers, and pre-made photo envelopes from moodsnviews, both of which I got from a local craft store. You could use pretty much anything you like, and if you can’t find pre-made photo envelopes or colorful clothespins (though I’m sure you can because I remember seeing them even back home!), they would be easy enough the make yourself!IMG_1412Step Two: I chose my pictures and started playing around with where I wanted to put my die cuts and washi tape.IMG_1413 IMG_1416Step Three: I hung up my beautiful work!

IMG_1417 IMG_1418 IMG_1419 IMG_1434I am in love with this project! I can’t decide whether I like this project or my washi tape photo wall better, but both are certainly sprucing up our place! This project cost me less than $10 USD (less than 1000 yen), and took less than 45 minutes, but I am ready to enjoy it for a long time ahead!

Talk to you soon, lovelies!
xx Caitlyn