Matches for: “anniversary” …

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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11 Years

Naoto and Kimberly wedding dance, 06/02/06, 11th anniversaryToday is our 11th anniversary. I was looking through our wedding album to find another picture to share with you (I feel like I have shared so many over the years!) and this one made me smile. Our first dance was “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwo’ole. Naoto made me laugh the whole time. Eleven years later, he’s still making me laugh.

xo.

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Forest Park Library’s 100 Artists Event

Presley with indigo dyed embroidery projectA few months ago, in a random moment of Instagram scrolling, I signed up to participate in the Forest Park Library’s 100 Artists event. Forest Park Library is celebrating its 100th anniversary and put out an open call to get 100 artists to create a piece of work in the theme of “access” for a gallery show on Madison Street. As the deadline approached I was sort of panicking about not having an idea for my project. Since I’m not an artist, I was especially self-concious about my (lack of) skills and artistry.

Finally (three days before the project deadline!) I decided to embroider a quote about books (because they are still my favorite part of the library in spite of all the other amazing and modern things libraries offer these days!) I was going to just work on some linen and make it very neutral, but then I remembered that I have a nice stash of indigo fabric that I dyed two winters ago. It ended up being the perfect thing! I’ll share the final project, wonky stitches and all, next week.

All 100 projects will be showing this weekend at Bottle Rocket Gallery here in Forest Park. You can register here to attend. It’s free! If you’re in the area, come!

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10 Years

Happy 10th Anniversary to my dear Naoto. Ten years is a huge milestone and every day is a new adventure. I’m feeling especially lucky today. XO