Photos from Amsterdam

Masa and I took a 5-day trip to Amsterdam last week.

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Vondelpark

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Panekoken at Panekokenhuis Upstairs

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We had a great time and ate at some wonderful restaurants including Bussia, Prego, Herengracht Restaurant and Bar for dinner and a restaurant called Greenwoods for breakfast.

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Full English Breakfast at Greenwoods

 

We also visited the Heineken Museum and saw an improve show at BOOM CHICAGO. Both were lots of fun and we got free beer at the Heineken Museum!

 

Masa and I spent most of our time in Vondelpark, which was gorgeous. We also took lots of naps and just relaxed. We avoided the museums this time around as the lines would be much too long during the summer tourist season. Our trip to Amsterdam was a great way to recharge after going through a very rainy and hot Japanese summer.  Amsterdam felt like spring most of the time, and except for the occasional rain shower, the weather was very sunny.

 

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Enjoying a spring breeze at Vondelpark

I’m going to be candid and admit something else I did in Amsterdam, and no, it doesn’t involve going to the red light district! I went to about four or five H &Ms while I was there and bought a ton of clothes. It was so refreshing to easily find clothing my size!

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A sampling of a few of my H&M purchases

I cannot wait to visit Amsterdam again and hopefully Masa and I can routinely summer there when we get older (and much richer)!

 

Happy Birthday to Me!

It has been a week since I last posted and it was because I was too busy celebrating my birthday! I am 31 years old and loving it! For some reason turning 30 was pretty difficult emotionally, but turning 31 was not a problem!

On the day of my birthday I drank champagne all day and enjoyed breakfast in bed. I got to watch whatever I wanted on TV and Masa did all of the chores. It was glorious.

Since we are saving money for the weddings this birthday was pretty low-key- no major gifts or fancy dinners. It was still a wonderful birthday!
My coworkers gifted me with a beautiful card. It was black velvet and had more than a dozen sparkly gold rings. The rings were actually message cards!

This cards was so fitting as this will be my only birthday as engaged woman.

This card was so fitting as this will be my only birthday as engaged woman.

The rings are actually message cards!

After I pulled out some of the rings.

I actually teared up a bit reading all of the messages. They even got a few of the older students to write messages for me. I have amazing co-workers!

When I got home my fiance gave me a lovely bouquet of flowers.

Sunflowers and lilies! My favorite!

Sunflowers and lilies! My favorite!

 

We finished the night with a little birthday cake.

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I blew out the candles hoping I would have a happy and healthy life and of course I made a wish.

 

Being 31 is looking to be pretty good. If everything works out I will probably have a pretty awesome year- two weddings, a honeymoon, and finally finding out who Ted Mosby’s wife will be.

 

Happy birthday to me!

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The Mondrian Hotel

Masa and I love to stay at gorgeous hotels. On most vacations we will try to find a fancy hotel and stay for at least a night and do average mid-level hotels the rest of the time. Why do we love staying at fancy hotels? Well, for Masa- it makes him feel like he’s a VIP. As for me, I love walking into a hotel and being in awe of the lobby, and nothing is better when you open the door of your hotel room and its absolutely gorgeous.
In March, Masa and I stayed at the Mondrian Hotel in South Beach Florida. Masa choose this hotel and he did a great job choosing it. Its a very artsy and sophisticated.

This girl is painted all over the hotel. Its kind of creepy, but kind of cool.

This girl is painted all over the hotel including the hotel rooms.  Its kind of creepy, but kind of cool.

The lobby was amazing. The columns and staircase are all over sized and very chic.

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We went to check- in,which took FOREVER- I would say we were standing there and waiting for at least 30 minutes as our room was  not ready even though check- in is at 3pm and we were there at 4pm. However, we did get upgraded from a King Suit to a 2 bedroom/ 2 bathroom suite with a full kitchen. Our room was huge and I loved the wallpaper.

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My sister and brother-in-law actually live very close to the hotel and they stopped by to say hello.  My brother-in law told me the hotel use to be a condominium which would explain the two bedroom/two bathroom suite.

Our view out of the suite was breathtaking. We were on the 26th floor and you could see the Miami skyline in addition to boats and cruise ships floating by.

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We really had a nice time at the hotel. It was Masa’s first time on South Beach and we did it in style! Our hotel room was entirely too big for us but it was fun feeling like millionaire!

Something weird did happen while we were staying there. A man was pacing up and down the hallway and asked us if we had any extra sheets in our room. What would you need extra bed sheets for?! Where they making a sheet fort?

Stump the Bookseller

During spring vacation I started a quest.

A quest to find a beloved book from my childhood about a kitten. The only problem was that I didn’t remember the title or even the main character’s name. The only thing I remembered was a sentence – “What a pickle you’ve gotten into!” This was said after the kitten fell into a bowl of milk. I remember sitting on the floor of my bedroom as a child trying to figure out how a cat could get into a pickle (the green cucumber-y kind) and why the picture didn’t match what was written. I later asked my dad and he explained to me that getting into a pickle meant getting into a troubled situation.

This was probably my favorite book as a child. Growing up in the 80’s most girls loved horses, kittens,or dolphins. I was a kitten girl.

Yep, this cute little girl loved kittens.

Yep, this cute little girl loved kittens.

While trying to look for the book (i.e. googling: kitten, pickle and children’s book and coming up with nothing) I found an awesome service online called Stump the Bookseller. You write as much as you can remember about the book, no matter how little, and a group of booksellers try to figure out what you are talking about. You can also go through the archives and see if someone has already answered your question rather than paying the four dollars to get your inquiry posted for the booksellers.

I went through the archives at first but couldn’t find my answer (on later reflection I probably did stumble across the answer but didn’t recognize it since my memory of it was so vague).

My question was answered in 2 days! I read the answer and immediately bought the book on Amazon. I was ecstatic!

Here is the book!

Here is the book!

Okay, this is where it gets real. I pull out the book super excited and full of expectations of how wonderful I remember the book being and…. it was just okay. As always, being a child makes everything brighter, shinier, and better. Or maybe I had just built the book up in my head after all this time.

As an adult, I noticed something that I hadn’t noticed before : there were no people of color in the book.
As I said before, I am a child of the eighties and from what I remember most TV shows and books had lots of diversity, such as The Baby-Sitters Club, Jem and the Holograms, Sesame Street, and so much more. It was a bit of a surprise to flip through this book and not see any of that.
Nonetheless, It is still a really cute book and I fully intend to pass it on to my kids.

Did you have anything from your childhood that on second viewing wasn’t a great as you remember?

I’m Back!

I’m back!

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It has been a month since I last posted. Whoa! My spring vacation trip was jam packed with events, and I got back to Japan about a week ago. I finally got over jet- lag and finished up the insane amount work that comes with the beginning of a new school year. (The Japanese school year starts in April.)

I am so happy to be back in my old routine and writing again.

Quite a few of my next posts will be wedding related so if that’s not your thing- so sorry, but never fear I will also be writing non- wedding stuff as well.

I hope everyone out there is enjoying the awesome spring weather! I know I am! I am in such springy mood I have flowers all over the house. In the kitchen, office, and by the TV.

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As a girl I grew up in South Florida- an area with two seasons-summer and hurricane. I love living in a place where I get to experience Spring! ( I still really hate the winter.)

My Treasure Chest

There are a two things that always inspired feelings of wonder in me when I was child, trunks (the kind that you store things in) and lockets. I don’t know anyone who wears a locket in real life- including me, though I do think this one is quite cute.

I remember buying a locket at Disney World and never finding a picture small enough to put inside. I gave up on lockets after that, but when I was about 13 I asked for and received a trunk for Christmas. I proceeded to put in special pictures, every Christmas and birthday card I  ever received,   school memorabilia, and special souvenirs.  I kept adding to my trunk until I was about 25, and by then it was filled to the brim.

About a year ago, I decided it was time to stop cluttering my parent’s house with my junk as I was making a new house with Masa.  Looking back,  I think it was a subconscious way of me letting go of my old life and starting a new one.

I pulled the trunk out and I found some pretty embarrassing  cute stuff.

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Fairy, Sailor Moon, and Pocahontas stickers covered the inside (and I am ashamed to admit a few Jordan Knight stickers).

Two awesome collages  I made in high school. These were a little cringe worthy.

Two awesome collages I made in high school. These were a little cringe worthy.

I also found some blue ribbons from some high school language competitions,a Tinkerbell music box, and lots of X-Men trading cards,

But, wait! I found something amazing at the bottom of the trunk. Something that is possibly worth a small fortune in some circles.

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A BABY-SITTERS CLUB POSTCARD BOOK!!!!

I was a huge fan of the Baby-Sitters Club growing up.  I loved artsy Claudia, cool Stacy, and I could totally relate to Mallory who had a huge family.  I am not sure where I got this postcard book from, but it is in great condition. It is about 40 pages of postcards which are reprints of the book covers. I never ripped out a page and used them as postcards.  As a result, I am sure this is worth about a million dollars!

This was from my absolute favorite super special. Everyone gets stuck on a deserted island.

This was from my absolute favorite super special. Everyone gets stuck on a deserted island.

I am so glad that I got a trunk and put all of my treasures inside it.  It was amazing to go back and see all of the things that were dear to me when I was 13 years old and on.  I must admit that sometimes I would cringe at some of the things I had packed in their- love poems to boy, notes to friends  where I tried so hard to be “cool,” and some pictures of my 1990’s fashion choices. The absolute worst was a diary entry where I went on and on about how I would never get a boyfriend– MORTIFYING!

No matter how cringe-worthy some of the things were it was really heartwarming to finally act out a scene from a long forgotten book which kindled my interest in trunks- an old woman sits in an attic and opens a dusty old trunk. She goes through her treasured memories and smiles at all she has done and sits happy with her memories.

Back Home Again

I’m back in the United States of America!

America...f**K yeah!!

America…f**K yeah!!

It is great to be back! The trip from Japan to America wasn’t too bad this time . I took the shinkansen(bullet train) to Tokyo and 19 hours later, here I am  in sunny south Florida.

My welcome home was especially amazing thanks to this fancy lady:

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My mother at a tea party- yes, an actual tea party

My mother is a very fancy lady (as you can see, she enjoys wearing gloves at formal events- now that’s fancy). She is an etiquette teacher, an event planner, president of  her Women’s Club, and has a full time job. I am biased, but I think she is pretty amazing.

After a long flight I came home to this spectacular room waiting for me (picture heavy).

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Fresh cut flowers

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Beautiful candles

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A goodie bag

the full contents of the goodie bag

The full contents of the goodie bag

my favorite dessert- dove white chocolate

My favorite dessert- Dove white chocolate bites

There were also slippers and pajamas laid out on the bed along with a bottle of water. I felt so special once I walked into the room! It was like being in a five star hotel- and after traveling for 25 hours it felt wonderful to not worry about rummaging in my suitcase for my toothbrush or shower cap.

I woke up this morning pretty refreshed and I am hoping I won’t have jet lag too badly this trip. Tommorow, I plan on spending hours at Target. The day afterward I am going to go wedding dress shopping!

It has been so great to be back in the states!