another birthday another bathing suit

waikiki

hbay

snorkeling

tokyotemple

eel

tokyodress1

tokyodress2

tokyodress31. Strolling along Waikiki Beach in Oahu, Hawaii (!!!!!)
2. Panoramic shot of Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve in Oahu.
3. This is what you look like after you swim with a school of fish in Hanauma Bay. AMAZING.
4. Me in front of the Naritasan Shinshoji Temple, which is one of the largest temples in Japan. Want a fun fact? We got here by accident. The cab driver dropped us here instead of our hotel….which is why I’m pictured at the temple entrance with my luggage. So frankly I still have yet to visit the grounds. Talk about lost in translation.
5. Apparently this is the best place to go for fresh Unagi (Eel) !!
6. Me in my latest handmade look on these Japanese streets!
7. Front + back look at Simplicity pattern #2222, version B.
8. Closer details of buttons, drawstring enclosure + pockets.

Since embarking on my third decade of existence, it seems like every birthday I get the recurrent itch to spend a few days as a clothing minimalist choosing to strictly live in only cute bikini tops + bottoms. This also means giving up real shoes, everyday life stresses and my usual concerted effort to avoid terrible tan lines and the overall process of natural skin-darkening in general. I think my back JUST finished peeling, and if I dropped trou right now I am totally the Coppertone girl doppleganger. I spent 3 full days in Hawaii tanning and catching sand between my toes (and other crevasses) for a living.

I am 31, and I have no regrets.

And I actually got in the water. Like, I didn’t just dance along the coastline and let those baby waves cover my shins this time. With some major coercing from the fellow pictured above I went rolling in the deep. Er, more like wading on a floater board that is. I’m so in love with the ocean, but it’s a beautiful force I’m deathly afraid of. It’s something about viewing the world as merely a head above water and all that is visible to you is endless sky stacked on a layer of endlessly unsettled water with no ounce of land cut in between because it’s mysteriously hiding somewhere far below your feet. Even the smallest wave becomes your own personal giant that can reel you far from the shore. The same shore where those people you recall who were your size now look a like a collection of ants on a sandy ledge.

Yep. That doesn’t sound unsettling at all.

But I didn’t come all the way to paradise to stop living. The next day we went snorkeling and even with a florescent life preserver I was terrified too. Did you know they have prescription goggles for blind folks like me??!! I was so impressed. All the while I wanted to breath through my nose, and I sincerely panicked when water seeped through my equipment a few times. But I did the whole little mermaid thing. Not to mention the romantic swimming hand-in-hand thing (he’s going to kill me for this, lol). These awful tan lines were not earned in vain I tell you.

Then onto Asia. This marks my 3rd time back to Japan. My Japanese tongue is still underwhelming. I told a hotel cleaning staff person ‘good evening’ at 8 in the morning. Oh well, I do try.

We spent two hurried and rainy nights at a hotel in Narita, which is the enclave nearest Tokyo airport. Japan is 19 hours ahead of Hawaii, so we lost a day and gained more jet lag. Determined not to be total bums, we managed to get a nice dinner out and some drinks in the city before his journey back to base in southern Japan and my 12-hour flight back to Houston.

I made this outfit in time for my birthday, so it would’ve been a total waste if I didn’t wear it out on the town. As with most shorter dress patterns, the skirt is always a bit TOO short for my taste. It’s my *ahem* backside. Other than that I think it turned out pretty awesome! I initially had other plans for this fabric, but this romper-style option from my pattern stash with racer-back detail AND pockets was too good to pass up. Not to mention a quicker project to sew overall.

Getting older is supposed to be terrible I think, but I couldn’t be happier about my 30s so far. Goals for next birthday definitely include going to another amazing beach, but not being as terrified of the water next time. So I guess the first step is learning how to swim beyond doggie-paddling and the deadman’s float in a regular pool.

And I’d also like to learn a little bit of French. Is that totally random?

I’m okay with that.