Monday Matters · Seen/Heard/Tried


Today I spent a good portion of my day at work, which is kind of a bummer since I’m technically on holiday, but at the same time not too bad. Once I get started working it is so hard to stop, hence the reason I’m on my way home now, at around 8:00 on this super cold night. Anyway, I also had to work a bit on the weekend too, but on the side I watched two movies: Lincoln (slow, but interesting), and Argo (good, but super tense). I know it’s a very cliche thing to say, but with both movies I felt so saddened by what humans are capable of–saddened by killing and war.

I also started watching a new documentary “shorts” series with Chad called Crash Course World History. We’ve watched about 5 episodes so far and really like it. You can watch them for free, too, by going to Watch Documentary. (There is also a Crash Course series for biology, but it’s a bit over my head.)

We were able to meet some friends on Sunday for lunch, and one of them took this lovely photo of Kobe Tower with cherry blossoms:


Later that day I saw this pretty cherry blossom wine I might have to try:


And earlier that day I saw dancing dragons in the China Town:



I indulged myself and bought a sparkly Rilakkuma pencil and these adorable socks:


He’s like, “Look everybody! I’m super cute and I’m drinking coffee! Don’t you wish you had coffee?”

And saw these three confused station attendants:


How was your weekend? Is your Monday off to a good start?


Picnic Fever!

It’s a rainy day in Japan, and that’s left me feeling very contemplative. Where was I around this time last year? Oh yeah, France. And then Italy and Spain and Holland. Oh how I wish I could go back! We’re pretty lucky to have unusually warm weather in Japan though, and I’m hoping that from next week the rain holds off so that the cherry blossoms can bloom and stay around for a while. I love cherry blossom season in Japan, and while considering our lovely time in Europe last year (much of which was spent outdoors picnicking or soaking in the sun) at the same time as anticipating upcoming cherry blossom fun, my mind has naturally started going crazy thinking about picnics! So crazy, in fact, that I started collecting picnic-related pictures on a new pinterest board. Here are a few dreamy pins I’ve found:






Sophisticated Picnic Fare


Also, look at these pretty picnic basket sets!

Moka Yellowstone Picnic Basket


Pinned Image



Sometimes we’ve had indoor picnics on rainy days, and we open up the windows if it’s warm enough so we can listen to the rain. But I’ve got to be honest, I’m ready to get outside–I’ve got picnic fever and I need to remedy it! What are your favorite things to bring on picnics? Do you have a favorite place to eat outdoors?


Spring and Supplies

Recently there’s been a trend on Facebook in which people write about themselves years ago, and then compare what they’ve written about that time with how things are now. I often think about the ways I’ve changed anyway, but I really liked the exercise and its specificity. Since it seems fitting to recognize that things have changed–and will inevitably continue to do so–in accordance with spring, I created the following page in one of my art journals over the weekend.


    Age I was given: 19 (2005)

    I lived in: Allendale, MI
    What I did: I worked at a pizza place, a gas station, and as a Japanese language tutor at GVSU. All to help pay for going to university as a history major with a minor in psychology.
    I drove: A 1995 maroon Ford Taurus, which hated me as much as my next car.
    Relationship Status: Dating Chad.
    I feared: Not having a purpose, never finishing school, not being happy with my schooling choices, not being accepted by others

    Age now: 27 (2013)
    I live in: Kobe, Japan
    What I do: Work as an Executive Head Teacher & Curriculum Coordinator for an international school. Try to be fit and healthy while having a serious love for food. Be creative as often as possible. Be grateful as much as possible. Try to be as kind as possible. (By the way, I graduated with a degree in English Lit & Language with a minor in East Asian Studies…a bit different than I started out!)
    I drive: Nothing! I take the subway and train, and walk everywhere else.
    Relationship Status: With the best husband I could ask for. Married to Chad Dykehouse for nearly five years and together for about 9. Thankful everyday for someone who does so much for me –even when I don’t deserve it– who makes me laugh even when he’s being super naughty, and who drives me to remain curious, creative, confident and healthy.
    I fear: Losing my competence in teaching when we go back to the states. Living a life without travel and adventure. Losing my Japan “family” over time and distance.

When I made this page I was really excited to try out these new “photo” stamps I found for about ¥200:


And when I thought about showing you those, I thought you might like to see my other supplies:


    Pens, pencils, washi tape (which you can buy at ¥100 stores in Japan!), stamps, stickers, glue, tape, scissors, push pins, little charms, envelopes, rulers, postcards/other found objects…


    Two different art journals (one with blank pages and one called SMASH with pre-made backgrounds), acrylic and water colors, crayons & pastels, gesso, colored paper/patterned paper, cutting board, tape…

All of these things need to be compacted, as you might imagine if you know anything about the amount of space (or lack thereof) in Japanese apartments:



    The pink basket in the back is stacked on top of old magazines

So that’s what I’ve got going for supplies, how about you? If you do art journaling or scrapbooking, what’s your favorite thing to do with your pages/to use on them? Or, separately, have you noticed any big changes in your life over the years, or are you expecting any with the coming spring?

*Side story: The reason I have a cutting board and no exacto knife has to do with a certain trip to Europe we made last year in which I forgot the knife was in my carry-on after using it at school, and proceeded to go through security with it! I guess we all feel safer knowing I was caught? Then again, we accidentally made it to Amsterdam with a beer in our carry-on, so one can never be too sure.