Open Heart

urdhva dhanurasana, upward bow pose, wheel pose, yoga, backbend
Urdhva Dhanurasana (Wheel Pose)

Ever since I moved to Okinawa, I have only been practicing yoga 2-3 times a week, and almost always during my lunch break. Risner Gym on Kadena Air Base offers lunch-time yoga every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, which is super convenient. It is so nice to be able to take a break from work and do my favorite stress reliever.

Don't know if it's obvious or not, but I've been having a rough time ever since I moved to Okinawa. Work isn't what I expected it to be and be going through some real shit with my divorce. But even though I've only been going to yoga a couple times a week, I've actually never felt stronger and more open. Not sure if it's because I'm also working out through my issues. Haha. But hmm, yes, I feel strong despite practicing less. And the odd thing is feeling more open.

When I say open, I mean physically and emotionally. I tend to carry a lot of tension in my shoulders, so it feels really good to stretch and try to open my chest and shoulders. And I've been feeling really backbendy lately, but I feel like I'm not just becoming more flexible. I feel like I'm becoming more strong to support my flexibility. I don't know. It's probably something that's supposed to be obvious, but I'm really having a revelation here! Haha.

And in the other aspect of "being more open." I think I'm just trying harder to be more honest with myself and others lately. I mean, sometimes it bites me in my ass, but at least I can say that I was trying to be real. I think I'm just really scared of being in denial about important aspects of my life and people not being honest with me. I don't understand why people lie about some things, as if it will spare me my feelings. It would hurt less to just be told the truth up front in the beginning. Instead of beating myself up and getting more hurt later when I figure things out. So, I'm trying to be more honest with others. And also, I think I'm being more honest with myself. Haha.

For example, those personality tests that you take on your own? I think I used to answer the questions as how I wanted others to see me. So on the Myer-Briggs test, I would usually come up as INTJ or INTP. And reading the results, it was like, "oh, I guess some parts of that match me. In a way." Never really seemed to fit. Well, I recently took a couple different tests and came up as ENFP every time. And this time, reading the results, it's like, "omg, this is totally me!" Haha. So, I don't know. I'm coming to a lot of realizations about a lot of things in my life and it's kind of scary, but also exciting at the same time.

So, here's to being more open! Open to life, open to yourself, and open to others! May I accept whatever the universe has in store for me. And if it's unacceptable, may I have the strength to initiate change.

Peace and love!

Feeling Better!

kyoto japan flowers river sanjo
Eat, Pray, Love, Kyoto!

So, I'm still getting divorced, but I needed to "delete" a couple of my most "recent" posts. Will probably wait until it's official before I put them back up. I guess I got paranoid or something. I'm still keeping up older posts with Dallin in it because... lol idk. I'm okay with what is happening and even though it still hurts, I don't want to completely delete those good memories from my life just yet. I mean, they still happened... idk. We'll see how I feel in a year!

But oh wow. What a year 2017 has been. I'm so grateful I got to July relatively unscathed. I actually feel optimistic right now! About my present and future. It feels good. It's been a journey, honestly. I don't want to be dramatic, but May 2017 was probably one of the worst months of my life. There are just way too many "memorable events" in May (wedding anniversary, Dallin's graduation from college, and just basically reminiscing about our Cairns, Australia honeymoon). Plus, I had to present an ultimatum (I know) to a guy I really liked who turned out to be the biggest asshole on this island, so there were a lot of emotions. And perhaps starting on a new birth control pill fucking did it, too. Basically, May was a shit show. Like, what used to be one of my favorite months turned into a month where I could not stop crying. It got so bad that my supervisor actually noticed and I finally told him what was happening in my life regarding my divorce. I'm actually glad that happened. Even though work is supposed to be a professional environment, I was hanging on by a thread everyday. And after he found out, I felt that much better at work. So yay. Progress! Little by little. Haha.

Anyway, I feel like I've done a lot since then. It almost feels like May was eons ago. Like, who was that person who lost her shit?! Was that really me? I like to think that I'm a strong, confident person. But I feel like I was trying so hard to feel normal again that it kept blowing up in my face. I think part of that came from not knowing exactly why my marriage didn't work out. My homework had been to really reflect on it and do some soul searching. And I recognized the red flags, but couldn't quite put my finger on the root cause. And maybe it was a lot of little things. Maybe it was because we got so used to not spending time with each other (deployments, him going to evening school to get his degree, me choosing to move to Okinawa thinking that we would be okay) that it just felt normal to me. But maybe we were brewing resentment little by little. Lol. I don't know. The fact is that, in the end, Dallin wanted me to be okay with moving back to the states, but having our marriage be put on the backburner. And I needed the marriage to be kept a priority. So I had to walk away. I guess it does matter how things got to be that way. But I think the most important thing is that he actually asked me to be okay with it. And I actually considered it. And then I realized that I would be completely miserable. I used to be be angry about it. But I'm at the point where, like... I can't control other people's feelings and what other people want. But I am in control of what I put up with. And no thank you. I will be okay.

So, yeah. All this time I have been doing what I needed to do to feel peace again. And I've been super gentle with myself. Letting myself cry when I need to cry and just basically cutting myself some slack. I'm not exactly 100% okay yet. But I am so proud of myself for where I am now. I know that whatever happens in my future, I will be okay. Because I'm bad as hell, or at least I like to think I am. I feel like I am completely capable on my own; I've always been. And I'm comfortable with who I am and spending time by myself. And I think the universe sends certain people into our lives, temporarily, because we need to learn certain lessons. And I realized that I've been trying to learn the same damn lesson since 2011. Basically, I needed to stop bending over backwards for men who ain't shit. Like, as if I were scared of losing them, but why?! I feel like I'm more selfish now, but is it really a bad thing to think of yourself? I don't think so. I feel like there needs to be some compromise in relationships, both ways, but no one needs to accept being treated in a way that is unacceptable. And if it's only one person doing the compromising, then that's definitely not fair.

Anyway, just wanted to give an update. Yes, I'm doing fine. Yes, I'll be okay. I have a lot of things I want to get off my chest and a lot of experiences that I want to share! I just need to make time for it. I took 3900 photos during my Kansai + Hiroshima trip, soooo yeahhhhh. A lot of blurry photos to go through! Haha. But I'm super excite.d about some of the shots that I got! Kyoto was beautiful. I fell in love with the city and I fell more in love with myself. So hopefully I will be able to convey some of that magic in some of my future posts/ramblings.

Peace and Love!

Camping at Keowee-Toxaway State Park (SC)

lake keowee, south carolina, state park, camping, hiking
View of Lake Keowee. Can kind of see the jump-off rock where the boats are.

raven rock trail, lake keowee, hiking, south carolina, state park, camping
View of Lake Keowee from the Raven Rock Trail. Absolutely beautiful!

lake keowee, geese, south carolina, state park
A gaggle of geese swimming by one morning.

camping, lake keowee, toxaway, state park, south carolina, marmot, tent, trees, ts-3, ts-003
My campsite, TS-3. Right on the water.

In June 2016, Dallin went away for a three-day weekend without me. Instead of following him, I decided to do my own thing. I was thinking about flying somewhere like Nashville or Washington D.C. or maybe driving to Savannah. But in the end, I had this crazy idea that I would go camping by myself at one of the SC State Parks. Thinking back on 2016, even I'm like, "what the heck was going on, Cathy?" Maybe I was going through a third-life crisis or something. I just wanted to see if I could handle it by myself. Worst-case scenario was that I would get scared and drive home after a day. (Actually, I guess the worst-case scenario would be getting murdered, but I wasn't too worried about that for some reason). When I told the people at work, they kind of looked at me with a concerned look in their eyes, but I assured them that I would be okay and that I could handle it. Haha. I'm not sure if they believed me, but I wasn't concerned. I think Dallin thought I was crazy for wanting to do something like this, but he was also very supportive. 

I reserved a trailside campsite TS-3 at Keowee-Toxaway State Park, which had a beautiful view of Lake Keowee. TS-3 probably has the best view of the lake out of the three trailside campsites, since it's at the end/point. These trailside campsites are only accessible by hiking the Raven Rock Trail or paddling there via canoe/kayak. So, they're kind of secluded, but not really. There was a lot boat traffic since it was summer and the weather was so nice, but also far enough from the actual trail that I don't think many people walked through. It was secluded but I also saw people all the time. Haha! Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that I felt really safe and I didn't feel like my stuff was going to get stolen when I was gone for the day.

The hike to the campsite was rough, y'all. I think it's only a total of 2 miles to get to the site, but the Raven Rock Trail is described as "moderately strenuous," with a lot of ascending and descending. I'm pretty sure it wouldn't have been so bad if I didn't overpack. My pack was 50+ lbs because I haaaad to bring all the foods "just in case" and I brought a lot of other unnecessary things. Probably could've shaved off 10 lbs, at least! But I survived. And I think that if I can bring everything I needed to survive 2 nights and more, anyone can do it!

I really recommend camping at one of these trailside campsites at Keowee. Or even just day hiking the trail or hanging out on the lake. The lake is amazing for real. The weather was so hot and humid. Pretty miserable, to be honest. Haha. But the lake water is so cold and refreshing. Plus, it's very clean. I spent most of my second day swimming, after exploring the trail. Also, if you're feeling adventurous, there is a rock that people jump off from into the lake. It seemed pretty popular and a lot boats hung out near there. Fishing at the lake was pretty good, too. I caught and released bream, catfish, and bass. I even kept a bass and cooked it for dinner my first night. Two thumbs up from me!

fishing, bass, south carolina, lake keowee, fish, camping
Proud AF of my bass. Haha.

Writing about this makes me miss SC even more. I think that if I had more time, I would've also camped, or at least visited, Lake Jocassee, which is a larger lake that actually feeds Lake Keowee (they're both man-made). But Devil's Fork State Park is apparently super popular and was booked solid! I have a lot of regret about not seeing more of South Carolina before I left. Haha... :( 

Does anyone else camping or hiking? Would you ever hike/camp solo? Also, what's your favorite trail? I'm so curious! :)

Current Cleansers: Mini Reviews!

I previously talked about facial cleansers that I was using in this post here (July 2014). Different cleanser products have come and gone since then. However, within the last couple of months, I've changed up my routine and mindset. I am no longer trying to use harsh, physical exfoliants (that microdermabrasion scrub! nooo). I now prefer chemical exfoliants (AHA/BHA) if anything, which I'll probably talk about in a later post.

I am trying to nurture my moisture barrier and my acid mantle by using cleansers that are around the skin's natural pH which is 5.5, slightly acidic. This blog post by Skin and Tonics was a revelation to me! I stopped using my old cleansers that I feared were too alkaline (with a pH of 6 or higher). I am not 100% sure of the pH of my old cleansers because I don't have pH test strips and couldn't find information online about it. However, I tried to keep using them, but I noticed that they make my skin feel more dry compared to my new "skin pH friendly" cleansers that I will talk about shortly. Not sure if that's just a psychosomatic response or not! Haha. But I'm putting them to good use by using them to clean my make-up brushes and sponges. :)

Facial Cleansers, Oil Cleanser, Shu Uemura Cleansing Beauty Oil Premium A/I, SU:M37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick, MRCS, Tosowoong Enzyme Powder Wash, pH 5.5

These are the cleansers that I'm currently using-
Oil Cleanser: Shu Uemura Cleansing Beauty Oil Premium A/I
Water-based Cleansers: SU:M37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick and Tosowoong Enzyme Powder Wash

Valentine's Day 2016

Yesterday was Valentine's Day! I don't like to make a big deal out of it. I don't expect presents or flowers (but MAYBE CHOCOLATES!). But that's just me! If I want something, I'll buy it myself. And I feel like my husband is the same way, which is nice. No stress! However, we always enjoy eating out, regardless of the occasion. ;)

39 rue de jean downtown charleston south carolina bar restaurant upper king brunch
We sat near the bar this time. Ooh La La!

We went out for brunch at 39 Rue de Jean, which is literally located at 39 John St off Upper King St in Downtown Charleston. The first time we ate here was for dinner during Restaurant Week and we thought it was delicious! And brunch was the same. Yummy.

cathyahh mimosa 39 rue de jean charleston downtown brunch
Husband and I. It's unfair that he was hogging all the good lighting. Whatever! #backlit #potato