Matches for: “anniversary” …

LWA 10th Anniversary Toast

Letter Writers Alliance 10th anniversary toast, Greer ChicagoRight after returning home from LA, the Letter Writers Alliance ladies hosted a 10th Anniversary toast at Greer in Chicago. White Oak Tavern, chicagoNaoto and I made a date of it and ate dinner in the neighborhood. We enjoyed incredible cocktails and a fantastic dinner at White Oak Tavern, a few blocks away from Greer. Letter Writers Alliance 10th anniversary toast, Greer ChicagoAt Greer, we toasted the LWA with sparking wine and milled around shopping and talking. Donovan shared all of her favorites from the shop and she and Kathy introduced us to a new-to-me paper that works with both fountain pens and other pens (which I’ll share in a future post.) Letter Writers Alliance 10th anniversary toast, Greer ChicagoIn addition to the local crowd, two of Donovan and Kathy’s faraway friends came to town for the party and one LWA member came from Champaign, Illinois (about 140 miles away!!) As you know, I always love a letter writing crowd. The people and the magical atmosphere of Greer made for a fine night.

Cheers to the next 10, LWA!

P.S. Thanks to Naoto for taking pictures!

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Letter Writers Alliance 10th Anniversary Party

cake, letter writers alliance 10th anniversary, paper pastries, LWAinLALast month Naoto surprised me with a trip to Los Angeles for the Letter Writers Alliance 10th anniversary party hosted by Margaret from Paper Pastries. Margaret and I have been pen pals for a few years now but we’d only met briefly at Ex Postal Facto. So I was really looking forward to seeing her again and meeting her sweet family. The trip exceeded my expectations. There wasn’t a ton of time for sight seeing (especially since my Friday was cut short thanks to flight delays, womp womp) but I loved the time I spent with Margaret and celebrating ten years of writing with the LWA.Los Angeles City Hall viewLos Angeles City Hall mailbox

On Friday afternoon, Margaret took me to the top of City Hall for a view of LA. Then we shopped around Little Tokyo. Chicago doesn’t have a Japanese neighborhood so it was such a treat to go to these little shops and restaurants. We haven’t planned our 2017 trip to Japan yet, so I’m feeling a little Japan withdrawal so it was great to immerse myself in the cuteness of Little Tokyo. I bought some stickers and a fuurin, which is a Japanese wind chime. (I’ve been wanting one for Tanabata next month. I’ll show you soon!)

Honeymee, Little Tokyo Los AngelesWe also had Honeymee which was amazing and is making me rethink my summer treats. It’s a special soft serve that comes topped with a real honeycomb. Seriously, what a combination! It was so good and worth the sticky hands that followed.

Poketo, LA, stationery and home goodsPoketo, LA, stationery and home goodsI also got to go to Poketo which has been on my list for some time. I only bought some greeting cards but I just love their style. ​

On Saturday morning I went to brunch with Margaret, her husband Tony, and their adorable daughter Ellis. (Sadly no pictures of this…)

Museum of Neon Art, Glendale, CAclayton plumbers at the MONA in Glendale, CA Pep Boys at Museum of Neon Art japanese katakana, neon, neon art, museum of neon art, monaThen I killed time at the Museum of Neon Arts in Glendale. It was the smallest museum ever, but it was packed with neon signs and modern art. I liked the old neon signs the best but I was smitten with the Japanese katakana in the last piece above. (It says “neon” and was made for an art installation in Japan in 1998.) donovan and kathy, letter writers alliance, 10th anniversary party, giant sprinkle cake, paper pastriesletter writers alliance, 10th anniversary party, giant sprinkle cake

On Saturday afternoon, a few dozen people showed up at Paper Pastries for the official Letter Writers Alliance anniversary party and letter writing social.  letter writers alliance, 10th anniversary party, letter writing social, paper pastries, glendale, CA letter writers alliance, 10th anniversary party, letter writing social, paper pastries, glendale, CAI shopped, I wrote a few postcards, I chatted, I drank champagne punch, and I ate the most delicious cake ever–white cake with white frosting and COVERED in festive sprinkles. It was perfect. It was so amazing to see people come from far and wide to celebrate letter writing! The letter writing community is so diverse and friendly!

bubble martini Clifton's cabinet of curiosities After the party we all went out for dumplings and drinks which was the perfect ending for a day with pen pals who’ve become true friends.in-n-out burgerin-n-out burger

On Sunday my flight left pretty early so I just had time to finish some postcards and eat an In-and-Out burger, my first. (It was good…I didn’t get the fries because it was 10:30AM.) Burbank Airport, Bob Hope AirportWhew…it was a whirlwind trip. Now I’m home and looking forward to the NEXT LWA party, tomorrow night at Greer!

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Kyoto Part 3: Our Anniversary Lunch

IMG_3181Would it be weird to start blogging about my 2015 trip again? Maybe? I’m going to write anyway. I’ve been going through my pictures and reminiscing about all of the fun we had last spring and I realized that I’ve never really closed the book on that trip. I have a few last things to mention about Kyoto and some new editions of Spending the Yen.

We were in Kyoto for our anniversary last year and Hisae (my sister-in-law) took us out to lunch at Yuzu-ya, a restaurant and ryokan near the Yasaka Shrine. At street level, it looks like a black storefront (pictured above) but once you go through the doorway, you see that you walk up a rocky stairway to get up to the restaurant. IMG_3174IMG_3173Once you’re there, you forget that there’s a busy street below. It’s surrounded by lush greenery and trees and feels so removed and peaceful. ambiance, Yuzuya Ryokan, Kyoto, JapanThere is traditional seating near the windows where you can appreciate the trees and fountains outside. We sat at a regular table, but we still had amazing views. IMG_3158The meal was very traditional, using locally-sourced ingredients and lots of yuzu, hence the name Yuzu-ya. (Yuzu is a Japanese citrus, in case you don’t remember me talking about it before.)  Our first course was an appetizer of traditional Kyoto-fare. As you can see, it was presented beautifully on a tray of tiny plates adorned with leaves. Each bite was so different in taste and texture but it all worked together perfectly. IMG_3161Next, we had smelt grilled alongside bamboo leaves on a tiny table-top grill. IMG_3162(It was looking at me.) On the side was a yuzu sauce. I picked off as much meat as I could, but Naoto finished it off for me. (He ate every last bit, including the eye and the bones!)Then we had porridge with rice and fish and egg and chives, again cooked table-side and finished with a squeeze of yuzu. IMG_3167It was incredible. dessert, mochi, Yuzuya Ryokan, Kyoto, JapanThe dessert course was green tea and a brown sugar mochi. A simple but delicious way to end the meal.

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Oak Park Post Office 80th Anniversary Celebration

  
A quick reminder, if you live in the Oak Park, IL area and want to join in on the party for the Oak Park Post Office’s 80th Anniversary, it’s happening tomorrow, Saturday, August 29th, from 10am-2pm. There will be popcorn and giveaways and a tour of the gorgeous building and a special postmark…lots of postal fun. And regular postal business will be happening too, so buy some stamps, mail your packages, snag a passport or a money order. I’m furiously writing a stack of postcards to mail out tomorrow. Write, write, write! 

Anniversary in Kyoto

 

 Naoto and I are spending our 9th anniversary together in Kyoto. Hisae (my sister-in-law) met up with us here and spent the day with us and took us to eat a traditional Kyoto lunch. It’s been a nice, slower paced break from Tokyo, but we are trying to pack a lot into our few days here before heading back to Tokyo on Thursday, so no rest for the weary! 

Our 8th Anniversary

naoto in chicagoYesterday Naoto and I celebrated eight years together. We both had the day off, so the morning involved a whole lot of relaxing, gift exchanges and, of course, coffee.Naoto and his alarm clockIt was rainy, but we sat out on the balcony to eat breakfast and exchange gifts. According to the Anniversary Gifts by Year (which we have been following all along), the eighth anniversary gifts are pottery (traditional) and linens (modern). I got Naoto a fancy new alarm clock that will hopefully wake him up with light and bird tweets. Not a theme gift, but he is a serial snooze pusher and I’m hoping this alarm clock helps make mornings a little bit easier for all of us. Naoto and spoon rest from Circa CeramicsAnd, for the “pottery” theme, I bought him a cat spoon rest from Chicago’s Circa Ceramics. It will add the perfect amount of whimsey and usefulness to our kitchen counter. vintage table runnerNaoto got me a new juicer (the kind I used at North Shore’s cocktail class) and this amazing vintage table runner. It’s currently residing on our dining room table. I’m in love with it. lunch at Little Goat DinerOnce the rain stopped, we headed into the city for no real reason. On the way, we decided to go to Little Goat Diner for lunch. You can see our entirely healthy meal above…we had to push back our dinner reservations because we were so full. (Oh, and that’s a Ol’ Blue cocktail above: bourbon, blueberry jam, benedictine and lime…go get it before they change the menu!) pie at Little Goat DinerOh, and there was pie…because well, chocolate cookie crust with sea salt caramel and caramelized bananas…how could we not?Chicago Wrigley building It was a teeny bit warm, but it really was a perfect day in Chicago. We walked along Michigan Avenue and lingered along the river.

Before dinner, we headed to the garden to check out our plants. (More on that later this week.) dinner at golden steerWe had a late dinner at Golden Steer, our tradition since we moved to Forest Park in 2010. As usual it did not disappoint. For the first time in the history of our relationship, Naoto could not finish all of his steak and we both ended up bringing something home. During dinner, we wrote our 2014 Summer Manifesto–simple but spectacular. (I’ll share tomorrow!)

And with that, eight years are in the books…little goat diner photo booth

 

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7th Anniversary Gifts: Copper & Desk Sets

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When Naoto & I exchange anniversary gifts, we use the traditional and modern gift ideas as guidelines. I buy or make something for Naoto from the traditional list, and he buys me something from the modern list. (I wish I could tell you what we’ve gotten for each other in year’s past, but I don’t remember all of the gifts…we should have written them down.)

So since it was our 7th anniversary I got to work with wool or copper (ah, if I only knew how to knit!) and Naoto had desk sets for me…seriously…could he have HAD an easier gift for me?! (I even have a Pinterest Board dedicated to desk stuff!)

I really like to make things for Naoto. He never has a wishlist (I married the least materialistic person on the planet.) and I like to try out new things. My first embroidery project was an anniversary gift (year two is cotton). I’ve been wanting some more art for our home and have been looking online for different mobile type ideas. Through my search, I found this tutorial from Smile and Wave for a copper pipe himmeli. I was a little bit intimidated by the project at first. I don’t make a habit of poking around the plumbing section and I’ve never cut a pipe before. And parts of the tutorial didn’t make sense to me until I actually started working with the materials. But I have to say, Rachel’s tutorial ended up being perfect. Locating the materials was the hardest part (mostly because they didn’t have the right pipe size at Menards and then Lowes put my paid order back on the shelves) but once I got started, I really enjoyed this project–so much so that I plan to make a few more. I’d love to have a little cluster of them with a plant or two in the corner of the bedroom. I’m going to make that happen. (Because one looks lonely and ridiculous.)

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I used a slightly different pipe than Rachel used. Because Lowe’s put my original order back on the shelves (I guess that was a happy accident), I had a chance to poke around the copper pipe section and I found a skinnier pipe–1/4″ Type OD. I have no idea what that means, but it’s skinnier than the 1/4″ Type L (even though they are both 1/4″…don’t ask me, I’m not a plumber). It worked like a charm. Also, it was very satisfying to cut the pipes with the little pipe cutter. It took some practice and some patience. (First I smooshed the end of the pipe because I was too impatient and tightened things too quickly. Then, I didn’t feel like I was getting anywhere as I turned the pipe cutter round and round, but then one last little twist and the pipe was cut–like magic.) I think the whole project took around an hour and the hardest part was threading the twine through and then getting it all lined up at the end. Mine is quite imperfect, but I hope to get better as I make a couple more. I think Naoto liked it. (Or is that his what-the-heck-is-this-well-she-made-it-so-I’d-better-smile face?)

IMG_2288And I know Presley finds it quite intriguing…

DSC_0051(Maybe hanging it at the side of the bed was a bad idea??)

DSC_0005For my gift, Naoto got this sweet wooden cat pencil holder and this planner from Paper & Type. I think I’m going to use the planner for scheduling blog posts because I don’t want to wait until 2014 to put it to use! My Letter Ledger is from Paper & Type and I just think her products are so unique and useful. Thanks for the lovely choices, Naoto!

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Our 7th Anniversary Weekend

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Naoto & I spent the whole weekend together celebrating the every day of seven years of marriage. We did nothing exceptional, we just enjoyed each other’s company and lots of good food. Naoto popped out on Saturday afternoon and brought back this huge bouquet of flowers “from Presley”. It was such a sweet surprise and I’m enjoying having them at my desk (for maximum enjoyment and minimum Presley “enjoyment”.)

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After relaxing on the balcony with breakfast and coffee, we headed to the community garden to check on the plants. We did a fair amount of weeding and watered our plot. (I will talk more about the garden later this week…we are both amazed and thankful to see it’s growing!)

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After relaxing out on the balcony and watching it rain, we headed to the Golden Steer for our traditional (since moving to Forest Park) anniversary dinner.

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It was our fourth year going there and it never disappoints. I always fill up too much on the cracker basket, the French Onion Soup, the salad and the baked potato to eat much of my steak! And the lone button mushroom floating around on the steak plate makes me giggle every time…

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After the Steer, we went to the Marion Street Cheese Market for dessert. Naoto had a chocolate dessert with a homemade chocolate marshmallow and some snicker doodles and I had a strawberry rhubarb dessert (sweet pastry layered with strawberry rhubarb and topped with meringue).

Sunday was our actual anniversary. We slept in, had coffee and exchanged gifts (more on that later). Then we reluctantly went to the gym together. So romantic, I know.

After the gym, we headed to the Little Goat Diner. This was Naoto’s choice, not that I needed any arm twisting. I did a little research and realized that it’s an easy trip on the el (too easy…I think we might have to get pie and coffee at least once a week now!)

IMG_2295Little Goat was busy, but they could seat us right away at the counter, so we decided to try it out. We’ve sat in all of their seating options now (communal table, booth and counter) and while the booth is nice and quiet and private, we both really enjoyed the frenetic people watching at the counter. It was neat to see the orchestration of the orders and to hear the cooks interacting with each other.

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We ordered the Smoke Fries…and I don’t think I will ever NOT order the Smoke Fries in all future visits. They were skinny and perfectly crisp and savory…my idea of the perfect fry. (My passion for these fries will now rival my love for the pie.)

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IMG_2298Naoto got the Tonkatsu sandwich, which came with this tasty-creative pickled daikon radish, zucchini and rhubarb salad. I decided, since I always feel too full for pie, to get a CUP of the Tomato Apple Soup, which now comes with a tiny Monte Cristo sandwich on the side (instead of the original, reeeeallllly good cheesy toast from our visit in February). I was super disappointed…until I took a bite of the Monte Cristo…it was like eating a tiny ham and cheese sandwich in between two savory donuts…

IMG_2300And for dessert, of course I got the pie (Blood Orange Meringue) and Naoto got the Miso Hungry Banana Split…ice cream covered in a miso sauce with miso chips on top. Weird? Not at all…it was amazing!

(I just realized that I spent most of my anniversary post talking about Little Goat Diner…no regrets!)

IMG_0771When we got home, I made us two Blue Hawaii cocktails (more on these later) and we lit our unity candle and toasted seven years.

It was the perfect ending to the weekend.

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Happy 40th Anniversary

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Happy anniversary to my parents who are celebrating forty years of marriage today! Here’s to many more years of happiness!

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Stationery, Not Stationary 

greer chicago, stationeryI wanted to share a little round-up of the things I bought at Greer during the LWA anniversary toast. In LA, Margaret and I talked about our stationery collections/hoards and how we have enough for a lifetime of letter writing and how we try to impose buying moratoriums on ourselves…yet we still buy. It just means I need to write more letters more often.

I am running low on my Original Crown Mill stationery (a lovely grey cotton paper and envelope set) so I decided to replace it with some classic white cotton paper. And at the register I snagged a “Stationery not stationary” key tag. (I couldn’t find this exact one online but how great is the “Stationery maven” one?! I want that one now too!) Mnemosyne paper, Greer Chicago, grid paper, Japanese stationery Donovan and Kathy both suggested this Mnemosyne paper. It’s a top spiral notebook with perforated grid sheets of the smoothest paper I’ve ever felt. Of course it’s made in Japan. Like I mentioned earlier, the paper is great for fountain pens and other pens. (I mostly use gel pens and LePens in my letter writing.) And…pencils glide across this paper like butter…sigh. If you are my pen pal, you may be receiving a pencil written letter soon. I had Naoto translate the yellow introduction page for me and he basically summed it up in a rough translation as “Great for creative expression, tool for group discussion, easy to carry in a purse, and good for capturing inspirations while you are out and about.” I think that’s why Donovan likes it so much–she’s an on-the-go letter writer!cheree berry dear/PS stationery, greer chicagoAnd I fell in love with these flat cards from Cheree Berry. It’s a super-thick letterpressed card with a tiny extra card and envelope for a little P.S. message. Genius, right?

I am in the middle of a giant desk clean out. My living room is a mess of stacks of mail, stationery, greeting cards, pens, paper…all in the name of getting rid of some stuff and getting the desk organized better. No visitors please…but maybe I’ll share pictures next week…or next year when I get it all done. Oy.

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