Category Archives: what’s in a name

Tiki Birthday Party

tiki birthday party, aloha birthday, #jktikiparty, tiki party, tiki drinks, man tais, cocktail umbrellaOver the weekend, James, Naoto, and I threw a tiki-themed birthday party for friends, Karen and Jackie. I LOOOOVE theme parties (as you may know) and I thought it would be really fun to jump into summer with a tiki theme. tiki birthday party, aloha birthday, #jktikiparty, tiki party, table setting, leis tiki birthday party, aloha birthday, #jktikiparty, tiki party, table setting, leis I did a simple table because we had a spread of fun food. I got the “centerpiece,” leis, napkins, and a couple of garlands from the Dollar Tree. I really don’t shop there often, but I went with my parents once and now it’s my go-to place for parchment paper and tissue. We went a couple of weeks ago and I was delighted to see that they had a bunch of tiki party things. (By the way, this is not a sponsored post.) tiki birthday party, aloha birthday, #jktikiparty, tiki party, table setting, leisEven though it was a small gathering, I made us little festive place cards with some peacock card stock and little puffy pineapple stickers from Paper Source. paper source kit, tropical leaves kit, tiki birthday party, aloha birthday, #jktikiparty, tiki party, table setting, leisI had these tropical leaves (an old Paper Source kit) leftover from a couple of summers ago, so I hung them up in the corner. They will likely stay up for the whole summer. paper source kit, tropical leaves kit, tiki birthday party, aloha birthday, #jktikiparty, tiki party, tiki drinks, blue hawaiis paper source kit, tropical leaves kit, tiki birthday party, aloha birthday, #jktikiparty, tiki party, tiki drinks, blue hawaiis, crab rangoonWe started the night with Blue Hawaiis and crab rangoon (purchased from a local thai restaurant.) James told me that flamingos are not tiki, but I couldn’t resist the neon pink flamingo stirrers (also from the Dollar Tree!)

tiki birthday party, aloha birthday, #jktikiparty, tiki party, tiki drinks, man tais, cocktail umbrella, tiki friendstiki birthday party, aloha birthday, #jktikiparty, tiki party, tiki drinks, man tais, cocktail umbrella, tiki friends, presleyWe stayed in the kitchen and ate and drank Mai Tais while Naoto finished cooking the dinner. He and James were in charge of the menu and I was in charge of decorating, cocktails, and cupcakes. Collaborative party planning is the best!  tiki birthday party, aloha birthday, #jktikiparty, tiki partyFor dinner, we had pineapple fried rice served in the pineapple, Hawaiian pizza, and an Asian slaw. I’m going to admit that the fried rice in the pineapple was sort of the catalyst for the whole party (thanks, Pinterest!) James and I watched a YouTube video to learn how to hollow out a pineapple and it was not as hard as it sounds, as long as you have a sharp knife and a little patience. (James executed it perfectly because I have neither a sharp knife nor patience.)

Naoto has really been into making his own pizza lately, so we decided he should make a Hawaiian version. And James made the slaw and he doesn’t use recipes. Everything was really tasty (which I can say because I only made the cocktails and the dessert!) tiki birthday party, aloha birthday, #jktikiparty, tiki party, table setting, leis, gift wrap, paper source gift wrap, flamingo, pineappleWe ended the night with gifts, cupcakes, and a last cocktail, the Admiral Montenegro, which I cannot recommend enough if you like slightly bitter tiki drinks. (The cupcakes were not-so-photogenic but taste-wise, Martha didn’t let me down!) tiki birthday party, aloha birthday, #jktikiparty, tiki party, tiki drinks, man tais, cocktail umbrella, tiki friendsHappy Birthday, Karen & Jackie! XO

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Naoberly’s Noodle Tour: Furious Spoon

Furious Spoon, ramen, chicagoOn Friday, I met up with Donovan for a date at Furious Spoon-a delicious new addition to Chicago’s ever-growing ramen scene. Furious is near Naoto’s office…lucky him. I can see him becoming a regular here. Furious Spoon chicagoEverything at Furious Spoon is pretty simple. The menu offers four ramen options, a few sides, some Japanese beers, sake, whiskey and pop. You order at the counter and take your number and an enormous wooden ramen spoon to a seat and wait for your ramen to arrive. The tables are communal and there is a long counter of seats looking into the food prep area. Donovan and I sat at the counter, giving us a good view of the ramen assembly. The noodles are made in house and the bowls are assembled quickly with care. I thought the presentation was beautiful. I’m only sorry I didn’t get a shot of the huge wooden soup spoon in my picture.

I got the Shoyu Ramen and I thought it was wonderful. The broth was really tasty and not quite as salty as some of the other ramens I’ve eaten recently. The noodles were so good–they had the right amount of bite and a good texture. The cha-sui (pork) was kind of skimpy, a little bit fatty (which some people really like for the flavor) and a little bit boring. (Disclaimer: I am so enamored with the char-grilled cha-shu at Ramen Miso-ya that it’s hard for me to find anything that compares!) The simple additions of bean sprouts, bamboo shoots, fish cake, nori and scallion were perfect complements to the texture and the flavors in the bowl, but you can add twelve other toppings, too. Donovan had the Vegetable Ramen and she shared a pickled shimeji (mushroom) from her bowl. It was so tasty that next time I’m ordering a side of pickles!

I really liked the vibe of the restaurant–they play old school hip-hop, but it’s quiet enough to have a conversation. The staff was friendly and attentive, making sure we liked our bowls. And, an added bonus…the ramen is the least expensive of all the ramen we’ve had so far. I’m hoping Naoto can squeeze me in for a lunch date soon so I can try those pickles and another kind of ramen!

P.S. Our other ramen visits can be found here:


Slurping Turtle 


I think I need a name for this series…Naoberly’s Noodle Tour is in the lead, because I love alliteration.

Tagged ,

What’s in a Name | Part Two

As I settled on Kimberly AH as a blog title, I realized that AH also stands for “At Home”. “At Home” is fitting because most of what I intend to talk about on this blog happens in our home: remodeling, decorating, coffee drinking, letter writing, crafting, cooking, baking, cleaning, happy hours, volunteering…

I have also been feeling very “at home” in my life lately. I left my full-time job over two years ago and have often felt awkward and unsure when explaining my “lifestyle” to people. Most conversations with new people start with the question, “What do you do?” For the past couple of years I have dreaded this question. I would kind of laugh and jokingly say that I was a housewife and look to Naoto for help. Then there would be this abbreviated explanation about my old job and why I left, and how I just work part time now, oh, and I volunteer (an afterthought)… I felt like I had to justify my existence somehow. This experience was so weird for me, because not once have I regretted or even questioned my choice to leave corporate America (The biggest sign it was the right decision: the night I put in my notice, I slept through the night for the first time in six years.)…but it still was hard to explain to those who didn’t know me. But, as I fell in love with my new life, it didn’t matter what other people thought…the only validation I needed was my own joy.

I’m finally feeling at home in my life, at home in my own skin, at home with Naoto and Presley. I’m right where I need to be.

I know that picture is terribly out of focus, but it is my favorite of the three of us. You almost can’t even tell that Presley was feeling “over-loved” in the moment.

what’s in a name | part one

If naming a child is anything like naming a blog, I am in trouble. I am hugely indecisive and I tend to over-think things. And thoughts of “branding” and all of that nonsense started filling my head. Every title I considered seemed to represent “me” right now, but not necessarily the future me. So, I went with my first name and last initials. Simple and easy. And then, I realized that AH had a few other meanings that speak to me right now, and if I’m lucky, will continue to speak to me in the future.

So, the original meaning behind Kimberly AH–my first name and last initials: Adami Hasegawa.

Adami (pronounced Adam-eye) is my maiden name. Adami is Italian, and though my relatives came over from Northern Italy several generations ago,  my mom & I never made red sauce and cannolis while I was growing up (sad, I know!) We ate Midwestern things like casseroles and jello salads and margarine. We are still Midwesterners, through and through. It really wasn’t until I met Naoto, who has a very distinct heritage, that I even considered “where I was from.”

Hasegawa (pronounced Hah-say-gaw-wa) is my married name*. Hasegawa is Japanese. Naoto IS Japanese (not Japanese American). He came to the US when he was twelve, without his parents. He is still the only one in his family who lives in America. He is fluent in both Japanese and English. This comes in handy when I need him to translate Japanese office supply websites and craft books.

I’ll be back tomorrow with the “At Home” meaning behind the blog. See you then!



*Yes, I kept BOTH names, much to the dismay of the lady at the Social Security office, who gave me some serious attitude about the length of my names…I’m pretty sure SHE isn’t going to have to write it out every day! I always planned to keep my last name, and marrying Naoto–who has such a distinctive last name–solidified that decision for me. I didn’t want to surprise people who would always assume, from seeing my name, that I was a tiny Japanese lady. And the two names flow together quite nicely, don’t you think?