Guest Post // Let's Pack!

Welcome, friends! While I am off in Japan, I have collected a lovely team of bloggers to share a variety of guest posts about travel, fashion, and everything in between! I will be back from my adventuring soon, but in the mean time please enjoy these wonderful ladies :)

Today I have a guest post from Katie of Lublyou. She is one of my very first blogging friends & always puts a smile on my face. After reading her posts about a Russian girl's life in Idaho and the adventuring she is up to, I can't help but leave her blog feeling happier than when I arrived! I hope you love her as much as I do!

Hi, this is Katie from Lublyou (formerly Chestnut Mocha)!
Summer is getting closer and so are vacations and road trips! Here's my formula of an ideal wardrobe for a week-long city vacation. I usually I try to find things that I can combine into a few possible outfits.

1. Bottoms x 3: shorts, skirt, jeans.
2. Tops x 4: long-sleeve shirt, t-shirt, tank top x 2.3. Colder weather tops x 2: jacket, sweater.4. Shoes x 3: heels, flats, sandals/flip flops.
5. Dresses x 2: casual, evening.
6. Bags x 2: small and large (doubles as a carry-on!) All of these pieces can be easily mixed up into different outfits:Pack smart and travel light! I hope you find my tips useful. :-)



Guest Post // 5 Things Americans Should Know About Visiting Japan

Welcome, friends! While I am off in Japan, I have collected a lovely team of bloggers to share a variety of guest posts about travel, fashion, and everything in between! I will be back from my adventuring soon, but in the mean time please enjoy these wonderful ladies :)

I am so happy and honored to welcome Melyssa of The Nectar Collective to my blog today! Ever since I found her blog last year, it has been a constant source of inspiration, encouragement, & advice. Melyssa is such a genuine and creative person, which is what I love that about her! I thought she would be the perfect person to kick things off today, as she was living in Japan when I started reading her blog & has unique insights as an American that has been immersed in Japanese culture. Enjoy!

Hello Foreign Room readers! I'm Melyssa and I regularly hold down the fort at The Nectar Collective, where I blog about everything from self-improvement and creativity to corgis and adventures. I also lived in Japan for a couple years, so I'm excited to fill in for Jessica while she's off invading my old stomping grounds!

Today, I'm excited to share some tips that might come in handy for anyone who is thinking of traveling to Japan. Something that I learned after living abroad is that each country you visit will have a completely different culture and mentality than the one you came from. If you're coming from the US, Japan is about as opposite as you can get! Considering these tips before hopping on a plane will ensure that you understand Japanese culture enough to respect it and will give you an idea of what to expect when you arrive. I hope they're helpful! Now, let's get started.
1. Most people don't speak English. This has shocked many of my friends who visited Japan. Not only do people not really know English, but they are also too shy and embarrassed to speak it to strangers, as a function of Japan's humble and reserved society. Big cities generally have English signs, but if you're going somewhere besides Tokyo, you might want to print maps ahead of time and plan to speak in gestures. Or better yet, learn some Japanese before you go. They will LOVE you for it!

2. It's disrespectful to be loud on trains. The extensive train system in Japan is one of its best qualities -- getting around is a cinch! But that means that many of the people on trains are commuting after an extremely long day of work and use that time to relax and even sleep. In general, being loud in Japan is uncommon, and being loud on trains is something you only really see from foreign tourists. Be respectful of Japan's cultural values and speak quietly if you have to.

3. Learn how to say "thank you" in Japanese. You might feel like an idiot when using it, but it means a whole lot to Japanese people if you can thank them in their own language. This video does an awesome job of explaining how to say it and when you would use the different forms.
4. Embrace cultural differences. In an average day, a Japanese person might use a squat toilet, take a cigarette break at work, and eat octopus for dinner. These might be a little odd in your home country, but for the Japanese, they're second nature. You don't have to enjoy all of the cultural differences, but try to embrace them as another way of living instead of mocking or detesting them.

5. Be polite and sincere. Japan is a small country, yet many of its people choose not to travel internationally. This means that lots of Japanese people only gain interaction with other nationalities when they see tourists in Japan. This can prove to be a good and a bad thing, because if foreign tourists are being disrespectful, loud, and rude, then it gives Japanese people a bad impression about other countries. Likewise, if you're kind, polite, and sincere, it gives them a great impression about the rest of the world. You are an ambassador of your home country, so wear it well and always be genuinely nice to the people you meet (no matter where you are in the world!). :)

With all that said, these tips aren't meant to make you be someone you're not. It's important for Japanese people to meet foreign tourists, so that they can learn about other personalities and ways of living, but it's also important for us to respect the native culture we're embarking into. As long as you respect Japan when visiting, everyone will have a great time! If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch with me on my blog, The Nectar Collective. Sayonara! :)

blog // facebook // twitter // instagram


Good to Go // I'm off to Japan!

Well guys, this is it, the day I have been waiting for three months to arrive: I'm finally off to Japan! In fact, as you read this, I will be (hopefully) fast asleep on an airplane, attempting to outsmart jet-lag. Though I have eagerly awaited this trip for months, I have hoped to one day make this trip with my best friend by my side for a few years, and have dreamed of seeing this vast world my entire life. This day has truly been 20 years in the making! I am elated to say the very least, and even a little bit nervous in the best way possible. I just can't believe this is happening!

So, now that I will be galavanting through Japan for the next couple weeks, what does that mean for this space? Well, things will actually be continuing on here without me! I have worked with a long list of fabulous ladies throughout the Blogosphere to organize a killer line-up of guest posts while I am gone. These gals will be talking about their travel tips & experiences, their hometowns, style, and life in general. You didn't think I would just leave y'all hanging while I am gone, did you?! I am so excited for you all to get to read their posts and grow to love them as much as I do!

Come back tomorrow to kick things off with Melyssa of The Nectar Collective!

Many hugs and kisses to you all! Now, I'm off to adventure.


Outfit // Basking in the Golden Light

Hi friends! Happy Monday! I think it is safe to say that I've never been so happy for a Monday in my entire life. This evening after school and work, Dai and I are taking off for Japan! Crazy, I know! We first fly to LA and then our flight to Japan doesn't technically leave until 12:30am tomorrow, but the traveling begins tonight. We are very excited, but have been very busy people to get to this point. There was a lot of cleaning, packing, organizing, and studying that happened this weekend, which was kind of sad since it was Easter and all. I usually love picking out a nice dress to wear and making it to church. With all that was happening in preparation for Japan (& my dad getting ready to put our house on the market), it just wasn't in the cards. Next year!
Thankfully, I was able to fit in just a little bit of "me time" to finally get my hair cut (not pictured here!) and get a nice mani-pedi for vacation. I got my first gel shellac manicure and let me tell you, I am a believer. It. Is. Wonderful.
Needless to say, these purple skinnies were the closest thing I had to an "Easter outfit" this year. I got these about a month ago and they have been a pretty nice addition to my wardrobe this spring. I don't usually wear colored bottoms, so these are kind of fun! I also just recently got this embroidered top and am in love with it. I am just a sucker for a beautiful embroidery pattern. Also, I haven't broken out this vintage Dooney & Bourke bag in a while, but it will always be one of my favorite bargains. Snagged it at an antique fair for only $10!
I hate to admit it, but this outfit was the first (and only) time I wore "real" clothes or put on any makeup all week. The rest of the week was the standard tired college student uniform: yoga pants and t-shirt. That's where I'm at right now haha.

Every time I wear this hat, I love it more and more. It kind of makes me sad that it hung displayed on my wall for so long with the intention of being worn on adventures, but never taking it down from its perch. It's about time this hat gets some love! I used to think I could only wear it in the fall for some reason, but I believe I must rethink that philosophy now. As I was heading out the door to shoot these photos, I grabbed it on a whim and am now glad that I did! Its an easy way to add a little flair to an outfit and I think it worked out well with this one.
By the way, this is my new favorite spot for photos! It is so private and lovely, and is only a few blocks down the street from my house! I was a very happy girl basking in the golden light, and even happier when my pup got to run free with me.

I know it has been a while since my last outfit post, but I am looking forward to getting back into the swing of things with those and to hopefully come back from Japan with a nice little collection of them to share :)

Though my traveling begins tonight, don't worry, this isn't the last you will be hearing from me before my blogging break! Be sure to come back tomorrow to say farewell :)

Pants // Uniqlo
Shirt // Marshalls
Sandals // Old Navy
Hat // Lucky Brand
Bag // Vintage


The Hair Crisis

Hi there. It's me, at 1:30 in the morning, typing this as I wait for my clothes to finish washing so I can start packing for my 2 week trip to Japan and doing my best to check things off my mile long to-do list before I leave. And of course, this is the time that a woman should have a hair crisis. A crisis, as in "my first hair appointment in over a year and half is in the morning and I have no idea what to do with it" kind of crisis. We've all been there, right? So, of course, the only logical thing to do is turn to the blogosphere at nearly 2am and pray that all the wise people there have the answers.

I was originally trying to grow out my hair to eventually cut my bangs a lá Zooey Deshanel, but then I decided that I was very unsure of that option and that it may be nice to rid myself of some of this length that I have going on for the warmer months. That and I'm pretty sure that my ends are rather dead and that the stylist may recommend cutting off a good chunk, SO I want to be prepared for that scenario as well.

The way I see it, I have 4 options:
1. Get it trimmed to a healthy length (maybe adding layers) and pretty much keep my grown-out bangs in tact.

2. Get it trimmed to a healthy length (maybe adding layers) and have some Zooey fringe cut into it.

3. Cut it down to a medium length bob, something that maybe has layers or is very slightly A-line, with grown-out bangs in tact (similar to center photo or upper right corner).

4. Cut it down to a medium length bob like described above, but with some side swept bangs (similar to right bottom corner).

So guys, what do you think? I know that it is very last minute to be asking for help, but what's a girl to do? Maybe some of you insomniacs or East Coasters that will be getting up 3 hours ahead of me have the answer!

They should really take the computer away from me by 11pm.


Spring Wardrobe Wishlist

Spring Wardrobe Wishlist
+ Fruity Suity One Piece - Modcloth
+ Air of Adorable Dress in Dotted Gold - Modcloth
+ Charter School Cardigan in Cantaloupe - Modcloth
+ Capri Garden Necklace - Kate Spade
+ Breathtaking Tiger Lilies Skirt in Black - Modcloth
+ Classy Collector Top in Black - Modcloth
+ Cori Flutter Sleeve Cotton Gauze Top - Calypso St. Barth
+ Graceful Greenery Dress in Dog Park - Modcloth
+ Skinny Mini Bow Studs - Kate Spade
+ 'Resort Fling' Nail Polish - Essie
+ Holly Street Rubbie Crossbody in Giverny Blue - Kate Spade
+ Gold Saltwater Sandals - Saltwater Sandals

With every changing season, adding a few new things to your wardrobe is a nice treat that makes everything feel fresh. While I wish I had the funds to purchase everything on this list, it is still nice to daydream and think about ways to maybe find similar, less expensive pieces or decide on what to maybe splurge on. As you can see above, I have quite the online-window shopping affair with Modcloth. There is just so much in its depths, it is like the Amazon of clothing. Plus, things from that site typically fit me pretty well!

I have been feeling a bit un-inspired with my wardrobe the past month or two, and I'd really like to change that. I was loving the habit of doing outfit posts every week, but I kind of came to plateau with ideas for pieces I currently own, haven't been loving my body very much lately, and have been busy with other things on the weekends (the only time I really have to shoot outfit photos with Dai). Needless to say, I'd like to change that and maybe treating myself to some fresh items with get my wardrobe wheels rollin' again.

Do you miss my outfit posts? I feel like we had a good thing goin' there for a while with them. They ended up being my most commented on posts every week and it was nice to feel like people actually enjoyed my personal style. Hmm, what a concept!

Any online shopping sites you recommend? Where do you tend to shop most? Would y'all like to see outfit photos back into the rotation here on the blog?


West Coast Love // Nopalito

This is one of my new favorite places here in the Bay Area. It all started two weeks ago when we were attempting a family photo shoot with my aunt, uncle, and cousin visiting from Texas. The last shoot I had done of them was last summer in Houston when I was living with them, so we wanted to try to fit in an updated session while they were here. We wandered around Golden Gate Park in hopes of finding the perfect spot for the portraits, but alas, when a two-year-old is over it, there is no hope. We decided that the best thing for everyone was to find food ASAP, so I quickly looked on Yelp for the best thing that was near by. That's when we found this gem.
Located in the Inner Sunset District, Nopalito offers traditional Mexican comfort food in a modern and vibrant environment. I loved it as soon as I walked up. I mean, look at that cute table, the modern chairs, the bright green paint around, and those huge succulents.

Also, I think it is important to note that I really love eating out with my Aunt Jenny and Uncle Jacob. Their company is lovely, of course, but it is really because they are 100% okay with eating Mexican/Latin food pretty much every day. Just. Like. Me. That's how you know you have found your food soul mates. (By the way, we ate at a place called Cafe La Taza the day before and then ate at Sol Food the next day. So, basically it was a perfect eating week.)

I appreciate details, so I loved the small fold up menus, the glass bottles some drinks were served in, and the interesting light fixtures throughout the restaurant.
Housemade almond horchata. I've never been a huge fan of horchata, but this stuff was delicious. If I could insert an emoji, it would be that one with the hearts for eyes.

I ordered the chicken mole enchiladas. WOW. They were so, so, so good. The sauce was rich and sweet with just a little bit of spice. I must say, I always choose enchiladas wherever I go, and these were amazing.
The best photo of the day. Not a photo session, but just a snapshot from the girl sitting across from this little family.
My mouth is watering as I write this and I am thinking of ways to convince Dai to take me here for a date night before we go to Japan. They have different menus for lunch and dinner and I am just dying to try their dinner menu as soon as I can.

I hope you enjoyed another peek at a spot around SF and that this restaurant maybe makes your bucket list for your next visit to the Bay Area!

As my Aunt Jenny would say, "You had me at 'Nopalito.'"

Nopalito // 1224 9th Ave,  San Francisco, CA