Fall Favorites!

Happy Fall Everybody!!!

I keep saying that but I can’t help it! (I would say Happy Fall Y’all, but I’m not Southern enough for that… not even a little bit.) I love this time of year, when the weather gets crisp and makes you feel so alive, with leaves crunching underfoot… when we get to bundle up under scarves and sweaters with coffee or hot chocolate or apple cider…

Oh fall, I love you.

I wanted to show you some cool fall finds from around Japan as well as a little something I made for Halloween time!


Pumpkin Greek Yogurt!

I got this at the Seiyu (like Walmart in Japan… in fact they are owned by Walmart)

It was good, but after talking to my Debi Mom, we both came to the consensus that these new pumpkin greek yogurts could use more SPICE! I plan to spice mine up next time myself.



“Pumpkin” Kit Kats!

They have the a Kabocha squash (to the left in the pic…one of my very favorite squashes now!) on the bag, because that is what the people in Japan call “pumpkin.”

Have you experienced Japanese Kit Kat culture yet? They loooove their novel Kit Kat flavors. I have seen Sake, Green Tea, Wasabi, and the new Cranberry Almond just to name a few… yea, there are LOTS of flavors!

I didn’t think these were going to be that good, but I tried one and they are pretty tasty. I got them at the Don Quixote (which is like a GIANT Big Lots mixed with a dollar store).


My boo shirt! I made it, aren’t you proud?! Im excited to get to wear it for Halloween time. I have another shirt that I made too… but you’ll have to wait until later to see that one.


Our fall Placemats, and Pumpkin Pie candle. My Mom sent me the Placemats last year, and I brought the candle back from Ross before moving here. That thing has been stored and moved so many times, I’m surprised it made the trip and I knew where it was!

That is my Special Avocado Toast on top, incase you missed it!

What are your favorite fall finds this year?

Wishing you all the pumpkin and apple cider your heart desires!

❤ Kaci

Special Avocado Toast

Hey Everybody!

You all know about Avocado toast right? Mash an avocado on some toast, salt and pepper… done. Well, while listening to the Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey Podcast (One of my top three favorite podcasts ever!) I learned about a special avocado toast. It was Episode #76 Sally Lloyd-Jones and she talked about a restaurant that made this, and now she makes it at home all the time. We already had the ingredients were already in our fridge or pantry, so I decided to give it a try…


In no time this toast became a stable in my diet… it almost always sounds good, for breakfast, lunch, even dinner (especially when Josh isn’t home). I don’t know what it is about the cumin… lemon… feta… such a perfect combination!


Give it a try this week, you won’t be disappointed!

Special Avocado Toast

  • 1 slice toasted whole grain bread
  • About 1/2 a small avocado (whatever you need to cover the toast)
  • Feta Cheese, crumbled
  • Salt/pepper
  • Cumin
  • Chili Powder
  • Optional: Red Pepper flakes, fried egg, crispy bacon

Some Favorite Books

Hello Friends!

Today I wanted to do a light-hearted post about some of my very favorite books.

Fun Fact: I hardly read anything but text books for a good 6 years, but ever since about a year and a half ago, reading has become one of my favorite ways to spend time.

I’m planning on doing several posts that each give a review of some of my very favorite books. These aren’t books I’m reading right this moment (per se’) but are tried and true favorites. All three books in this review are ones I would recommend in a heartbeat! I hope you love them as much as I do…

1. Hinds Feet on High Places: by Hannah Hurnard

This was the first real book I read while in Dental School. It is an “allegory” meaning that the names of people and places are the same as their character… for example, the main character’s name is ‘Much-Afraid’ and the book is about her journey with the ‘Good Shepard’ to the ‘High Places.’ She has encounters with her cousins Pride, Resentment, Self-Pity along the way… It is just SO beautifully written.


Something else you should know about me is I don’t do Fiction. I just can’t do it. I have literally forced myself to get through some fiction books… but what happens is I get part way through and after multiple attempts not to fall asleep, I decide I don’t care. So I stick to Non-Fiction type books, I particularly love a good memoir!

So, Hinds Feet on High Places may seem like a weird choice… but it is so relatable. When I read it I fell like she is talking directly into my life… she captures the emotions and struggles so accurately and poetically… I’ll call it honorary Non-Fiction😉

2. Love Does: by Bob Goff

I’ll be honest… I read this book because I got it for free.


I was in my “non-reader” phase where all I read was my Bible and whatever Biological pathway I needed to memorize, when Bob Goff came to speak at our church and gave EVERYONE a free copy of this book. My roommate at the time was a avid reader, and she told me it was good so I should give it a try.

Well, I must have been bored one day because I picked it up and LOVED IT!! It was so hilarious I was crying! I couldn’t help but read chapters out loud to Josh on the phone, and I started to restrict how much I would read at night because I didn’t want it to end!

Love Does is a winner for sure! It is such a funny and motivating book, my Mom and Grandma loved it too.

3.The Meaning of Marriage: by Timothy Keller

This book was recommend to me by a couple from my Church in Portland who did pre-marital counseling. They helped lead a small group that I was part of, and said we all needed to read it, whether we were married or not… even if we didn’t plan on getting married. img_2534

It changed the way I view love, it changed the way I thought about marriage, and committing to one person for my whole life… Definitely a must read.

My favorite idea from this book is that Jesus loves us, not because we are beautiful, but to make us more beautiful.

I think about that a lot in relation to how I treat Josh. It is my commitment to him to love him when his words and actions and attitudes are beautiful to me and when they are not, because I love him to help make him more beautiful…

Well, that was more fun than I thought it would be! 

I can’t wait for the next book review!

If you have any must-reads, please, comment down below!

❤ Kaci

Cosmos Half Marathon 2016

Hello Friends!

On Sunday (25 Sep 2016) I ran in my first Japanese Half Marathon! I went with the Yokota Striders, a helpful and fun running group. I can honestly say I would have never been able to sign up or find this race without them, and it was super fun to feel like part of the Yokota Striders ‘team!’

The race I signed up for was the Cosmos Half Marathon (there was a 10 k and a kids run as well). It was in the Niigata prefecture (about a 3 -4 hour drive from were we are). We met at 5am and bussed over to Niigata and walked to the event area, here is what it looked like…


The colorful tents on the left are the food and merchandise vendors and the white tents are changing tents/packet pick up/bag drop off.

I had to laugh when one of the (Japanese National) ladies who was leading our group told me, “They have bag drop off… but you don’t need it. This is Japan. No one take your bag.”


Our group!

This was the best pic I got! The kids were rowdy because they hadn’t raced yet. We are missing about 3 guys in this pic. The kids seemed like they had a lot of fun!


Here are the ladies with our Sparkling Sake samples before the race began.

No better pre-race fuel than Sake right?

Do you like my sweet Sunglasses by the way?! Got those from my dad. Im pretty sure they are actually tinted safety glasses.


We all got bags of rice and a towel for signing up…

That’s how the Japanese so Swag Bags!😛

Everyone who has run the race before said that the rice is really fragrant and delicious. I’m planning to make a special curry dinner with it! I use THIS recipe, but add Kabocha Squash. It’s our favorite!

It was also fun to get to run in the country that birthed my all time favorite running shoes, Mizuno Wave Riders❤ how I love you❤


Here’s a little snap-shot at about mile 7. It was pretty much up hill for the first 3 miles and then down hill for the next 4. But these first 7 miles were really beautiful! You run through the hills and along a river. There are also people playing drums along the path which was fun.

The last 10k of the half are the same as the 10k race. These final 10k go through the town, and are half down hill and then back up hill to the finish.

I was sad that the 10k runners didn’t get to run through the mountains!


Here are some runners heading toward the town to do the second 10 k of the half.


This was my favorite, the finish line says “goal” instead of finish😀 too cute!


Here is a picture of my sweet OHSU SOD race shirt! Represent!😛

Overall, I had a great time at this race. The first 5- 6 k as well as the last 5 k were challenging because they were so hilly. It was AMAZINGLY beautiful for the first 10 k, but since the race starts at 9:30 am it was HOT!!! It was so hot I started dumping water over my head at each water station, the problem was…. some of the “water” was a clear Japanese sports drink called Aquarius!

I later told Josh that my hair was possibly the grossest it has ever been.

After the first few dumps I learned to taste-test the drinks!

There were also ladies standing around with little sugary candies in the last 10 k. I tried to try one, but it popped out of my hands and bounced down the street! So sad😦

That was my run! It was SO NICE to be able to lay down and relax on the Striders bus on the way home. Check them out if you like to run and live in the area!

What is your favorite race you’ve ever run?

What is the weirdest thing you’ve ever gotten in a swag bag?

❤ Kaci

Hiking Fuji!!

We did it!!

We hiked “The Fuj!”

Josh and I headed out on Labor Day (Monday, Sep 5th 2016) and decided that was the day we were going to conquer Mt Fuji! I honestly have to say that I didn’t think it was going to be as tough as it was. I thought “Meh, I’ve hiked mountains before. No big.” but it really did get strenuous towards the summit. There is nothing “technical” so you don’t have to have rock climbing gear, but there are several steep parts where you climb with your hands and feet.

We did some things well, and we made some mistakes… so let me tell you about this crazy experience!

The day before we left, Josh had an early morning. He was up at 4, so he wanted to sleep in a bit. That being said, we left about 7 am and were hiking by about 10-10:15 am. It is a little over an hour drive, and then you take a bus from the parking lot to the top, which is a 45min-1hour bus ride (plus we got lost which you will learn below).


Here we are at Kawaguchiko Station waiting for our train to Fuji Fifth Station (where most people start hiking from).

Ok, full disclosure time: we drove and drove and drove around looking for the correct parking lot, but couldn’t find it. All of the directions I could find online we really vague and didn’t give gps coordinates. We ended up at a stadium one time, and I had to use their bathroom (which was like one of those unkempt bathrooms you find at national parks). It was a squatty potty and there were about 5 spiders and a live cricket IN the toilet! I get really, really creeped out by crickets… so it didn’t help that he was jumping all around in there! I had to check my pants like 3 times to make sure he didn’t get in them somehow!!


My husband, who is much better at directions than I, figured out that we could catch a bus from Kawaguchiko station, so we drove there, figuring it was our best bet. WARNING: the parking has no set limit for how much you pay, so it will continue to charge you all day, leaving you with a BIG bill you have to pay at the end in EXACT change. Lesson learned. Don’t do what we did. Instead, be smart and park HERE. That is the parking lot we were trying to find. Turns out the bus stops there on its way to the Fifth Station, so Josh dropped a pin for all of you, friends🙂 It costs way, way less (around 1500 yen to park) and is closer to the top, saving you time and money. It costs about 2100 yen (about $20) per person to take the bus round trip.


Here we are at Fuji Fifth Station! Ready to get our hike on!

It is tradition to buy a wooden hiking stick and have it “stamped” at all the stations on the way to the top. When a station has a stamp, they will hang a poster with the design and price. If you want to get the stamp, you pay between 200 and 500 yen to have them burn the design (or designs, some stations have more than one) into the stick with a hot metal “stamp.” We bought our stick here at Fuji Fifth Station.


Here is Josh at the official start of the Yoshida Trail! There are several different trails that you can take to the top of Fuji. Yoshida is the most popular, and this is the one Josh and I chose to take. We hiked on a Monday, which meant it was a lot less crowded than if we went over the weekend.

When you hike to the trail head from the Fifth Station, you will go up and down… we though it was so weird that we were going down for awhile! But don’t worry, you are on the right path… you will still get to the top eventually!


A Torii Gate along the way! If you look closely at our hiking stick, you will see a stamp with a Torii Gate on it that we got at the station you can see behind this gate!


Lunch break! We had one of my favorite lunches of all time… Whole wheat PB&J sandwiches❤ Look how excited Josh looks!😛

Something I want to remember is that we met a guy from Australia on the bus on the way up, and we ended up hiking the same pace all the way to the top. We would pass him, then he would pass us, and back and forth, all the way to the top! Then he disappeared and we didn’t see him the whole way down. We also met a woman from Singapore who was super fun to talk to. She was staying the night at the 8.5 station, so we had to leave her behind at that point. She suggested going to the Singapore Zoo if you ever go visit. It is apparently the “worlds best rainforest zoo.” Josh and I consider ourselves somewhat of Zoo connoisseurs after all these years, so it is on my bucket list for sure! The first time I came to visit him at the Air Force Academy we went to the Denver Zoo! We were so young!

Here is a picture of what some of the terrain looks like for the first 2/3rd ish of the hike. It’s rocky and foggy with tons of switch backs. And it feels like hiking on the moon.img_2356

Every time Josh and I hike, we say the phrase “No breaks ’till the top!” at least 50 times. It came about one day while hiking in Arkansas, we passed a family with several young kids. Some of them were sitting down on a rock when this little boy came marching up the trail exclaiming “No breaks ’till the top!” #slavedriver

We immediately cracked up laughing, and it has been our go-to phrase ever since. You can imagine how excited I was when I found this sign at a rest station near the top…


And then here’s Josh…




You can see the fog/cloud in the back ground of this picture. For several miles we were completely damp, with water droplets clinging to all of our little hairs. It was like walking in a mist machine!


Here is Josh at the last “station” before the top! See the Torii Gate stamp?!

This station was tiny and it was all boarded up. But it was a good place for a few pictures. After this tiny station, you break through the clouds and can see a lot farther!

Here is a map of the hike so you can get an idea! Where we are in the above photos is the 3rd from the top of the right side blue line…


The right line above is the ascent and the left line is the descent of Yoshida’s (the yellow) trail. The white hut at the bottom is where we started! You can see that once you get to the top, there is a trial that walks around the crater in a circle. It’s important that if you walk that trial, you come back around to the correct descent trial, or you will end up heading down a different part of the mountain! It could be easy to do since there are Four different climbing routes.

The hardest part of the whole hike was after this station (I believe it is called 8th station Tomoekan Hut). The path gets steeper, more rocky, and the air gets thinner. I could feel my heart pounding like crazy!! It was a weird feeling, so periodically we would stop and take some deep breaths to get the oxygen flowing again and let our hearts calm down.

A little while after the hut, it said we had 600 m left to go. I kept saying to Josh, “This is NOT 600 meters!” It felt like a lot longer!

But eventually…


We made it to the summit!

It was so cold and windy up there, we really didn’t want to stay for more than 10 minutes. So that’s what we did! We walked around a bit, got a stamp, and then headed back down. But the first thing Josh wanted to do once we got up there was this…


See the crater! It is easy to forget that Fuji is a volcano until you see that! img_1670



Proud of all our stamps!


Now we keep our stick in our living room. Because I have very little decorating sense, and it make us happy there for now!


Here’s an up-close view. And look! The Torii Gate made it in this shot!

The dragon stamp is Josh’s second favorite (his first is the one we got at the top, of course), but we almost didn’t get it! We couldn’t find the guy to stamp it, but we kept poking our heads in the hut saying, “Sumimasen!” (meaning “excuse me!”) until we found someone to do the stamp.

The hike up took between 4 and 4.5 hours and the hike down took between 2 and 2.5 hours. You just have to remember to make it back before 8:30 pm when the last bus leaves!

The down trail of the Yoshida route was a really steep grade. We had to serpentine most of the way down to keep from sliding in the loose gravel. I was told by Emily over at myemiline to bring gaiters for around our boots to keep the loose gravel from falling in our shoes. I kept mine in my back pack and put them on at the top, and was SO GLAD I did! Thank you Emily!

She also told us to try and get hiking poles for the way down to take some of the pressure off our knees. We couldn’t get any in time, but we wished we did! It would have helped a lot I’m sure. Josh said he was very glad for that wooden hiking pole on the way down!

And just like that, we crossed ‘Hike Fuji’ off the Japan Bucket List!

Any suggestions for what else should be on our Japan Bucket List?! We love adventures!!!


Thanks for hiking with us!❤ Kaci 


Today I’m going to tell you about Bills.

We were recommended to go there by the two Australian Photographers over at 37 Frames Photography when we participated in a “Share The Light” photo shoot in Kyoto! I will have to do a blog post about that too, Tracy and Dee at 37 Frames are SO much fun!!! I cannot say enough about how friendly and inviting they are. And their photography is distinctive and breath taking. Check out their blog!

Anyways, Dee and Tracy said we had to visit Bill’s, which is apparently a popular restaurant in Australia that has now spread to Tokyo, Korea, and London as well. Another chef friend of ours said that they have the BEST Almond Milk Chai Latte; she said they make their own almond milk… That’s right, they make their own almond milk for their chai latte. If that doesn’t give you a picture of Bill’s then I don’t know what will!


Waiting for the Train to Harajuku!

He has two essentials whenever traveling in Japan: Coffee and a big water bottle!


This is where we waited to get in! It was about a 30 min wait, we went for lunch on a Friday.

We decided to visit their Harajuku location which is in the Tokyo Plaza. They are open 8:00 am – 11:30 pm every day of the week and are positioned right above the Starbucks.


This is what it looks like from the outside. Bill’s will be up at the top (on the left in this picture). It overlooks that outdoor roof garden you can see. You go through that crazy glass shard escalator to get inside. Those are three words I’ve never thought I would use together “glass shard escalator” ha!


Josh got the organic eggs and toast

(although he can’t honestly care less if they are organic)


I got the Corn Fritters with bacon and guacamole! I came in wanting to get the famous ricotta pancakes… but say “bacon and guacamole” and I’m in!


We each got a drink too, which was pricy. The drinks were very fresh, delicious and strong flavored. I told Josh that when I received my Beet and Fennel smoothie, I felt like I got ripped off because it was so small. But, it turned out to be so concentrated, I was glad it was small!


I LOVE BEETS!! There, I’ve said it. Am I the only one?!?

Also, beet and fennel is a wonderful combination. Just sayin’.

Josh got the fresh squeezed lemonade which was good (and strong!) also.

So that’s Bill’s! The food was fresh, beautiful, tasty and unique. It was not cheap, but not hugely expensive for Tokyo, maybe about $20 per plate and $7-8 for a drink? I can’t remember exactly, but it’s not super cheap so make sure you bring plenty of Yen, especially if your wanting to get some appetizers and drinks.

And after that, we went to Josh’s dream place…


Yodobashi Camera!!

We learned about this store from Dee and Tracy also!

dsc_0214How can you say no to that guy?!?! It’s the hardest!!

This is Josh’s absolute favorite camera store. If you go, be sure to bring your Passport and you will get a discount.

And that was our fun Friday at Bill’s! I hope you have a fun date there too!

❤ Kaci

Philipsburg, MT

This summer, my Hubby and I went home for 3 weddings and a baby. I had some time to hang out with my Mom and Dad, and one day we made a trip over to Philipsburg, Montana!


If you have never been to Philipsburg, let me paint a picture for you…

It’s a really small town with a lot of character that sits at the base of the Back Side of the Discovery Ski Area. Discovery is a favorite ski area among my friends and family. Skiing there is familiar, like being home. So many memories, ‘secret’ runs and trees cloaked in thick white pillows of the most fluffy powder you can imagine.

Ater skiing, you can head over to Philipsburg for a burger and milk shake or some barbecue. Of course, no trip to Philipsburg would be complete without hitting up the Sweet Palace… a huge candy store with tons of vintage candy and a plethora of fudge. Wether it’s winter or summer, Philipsburg is a great place to visit for some amazing food, fun shops and small town Montana charm!


This is what the main street looks like. And yes, this is basically all of it!

Our first stop was Up ‘N Smoke, of course. It’s our very favorite Barbecue place.

We got the BBQ salad and Ribs this time, but I’ve had the pulled pork baked potato before too, and it never disappoints. Just down the street, about one block over is a brewery that I have heard rave reviews about.

So where’s the next place you have to visit in Philipsburg, Montana? The Sweet Palace of course?!?!


Let’s be real, this was the main reason for our trip. Mom and I watched a documentary about black licorice one night, and decided we must go check out the selection at the Sweet Palace. And let me tell you, it did not disappoint!


This is their licorice wall and a sneaky Mom arm getting some licorice!


They have spicy licorice, salty licorice, licorice sticks and wheels and buttons and every kind I could imagine. These, Hot Peppered Licorice Fire Trucks were as weird as they sound. The weirdest part was that they were filled with spicy goo. I did, however, like the salty licorice, which Mom and I learned about in our documentary!


Those “Red and Black Raspberries” candies are Daddy and my favorite! I think they taste like perfume… in a good way.


These were a random addition and were SO GOOD!! I highly recommend them. The beer flavor Jelly Beans however… not the best impulse buy.


Here is the shop from the back looking to the front.


Then we went upstairs and Dad made me take his picture with this frog.


This is the shop from the top down. That center part is where there are all sorts of chocolate treats, and any kind of chocolate covered nut you can imagine. The front to the right is the cashier and where they make some of the candy in front of you!


Here I am with my stash!


And on the way out they give you free “samples” of any one of their fudges your heart desires. I say “samples” because they are quite a good size for fudge!

We went shopping all up and down the streets next. There are several cute shops, and I ended up finally finding a spoon rest that I like from this place…


Back Creek Pottery had a ton of beautiful pieces I wish I could have taken home! I wasn’t sure much else could survive the flight back to Japan. I talked to the Co-owner and husband to the artist who was working the shop and he said they do custom orders! The shop is located in that cute white building in the background. They are open every day from 11:00-5:00 and will open other times if you call them.

Then on the way back home, Dad suggested we go put our feet in Georgetown lake. Now, I’m not the type to turn down putting my feet in a lake… So that’s what we did.


The last place we stopped was a freshwater spring between Georgetown and Anaconda, MT to fill up our water bottles before heading home. Oh Montana, how I love you❤

Have you ever been to Philipsburg? I’d love to hear about it! What’s your favorite place to visit there?

❤ Kaci