Stanford Vacation

After spending the weekend in Costanoa, we continued our California vacation by spending a couple of days around Stanford University. As readers of the blog know, Ken and I started dating at graduate school at Stanford (although Ken and my brother were best friends and roommates at Amherst for undergraduate). It was extra special to be there with the kids and show them the various places that had an impact on our life (i.e. dating –> love –> marriage –> life –> kids). Not only did we go to Stanford, but my father did as well for graduate school (right after marrying my mother), so this place is special to the whole family, and not just me and Ken. Take a look at the pictures (and I promise this will be our last post on our vacations, as we return to NYC so soon).

 

My squad at the hotel.

My (good looking) squad at the hotel.

Eclipsing at the hotel pool. YES, totally ironic that we were in California when they hot spot for eclipsing was in Oregon, but you do what you do, and oops, bad planning on our part.

Eclipsing at the hotel pool. YES, totally ironic that we were in California when THE hot spot for eclipsing was in Oregon.  But you do what you do, and oops, bad planning on our part.

Even though the eclipse was 75% totality in Northern California, it was pretty incredible and super cool to see.

Even though the eclipse was 75% totality in Northern California, it was pretty incredible and super cool to see.

The dish is a Stanford University hike and one of my favorite activities to do while catching up with friends, making plans with future husband, or just looking at the view.

“The Dish” is a Stanford hike and one of my favorite activities in the area.  Fun for catching up with friends, making plans with a future husband, or just looking at the amazing views.

The dish hike is incredibly beautiful, scenic, and hilly. Not necessarily the best walk for the kids, but we did it.

The dish hike is incredibly beautiful, scenic, and hilly. Not necessarily the best walk for the kids, but we did it.

Steep hills.

Steep hills with cutie patootie people. This does not look steep in the picture, but I promise you, it is very much so.

Reminiscing about the past.

Reminiscing about the past. That is Hoover Tower in the right corner. The red roofs are all part of Stanford’s campus.

WE ARE AWESOME.

WE ARE AWESOME.

Ken's artsy shot

Ken’s artsy shot

Palo Alto just opened up a new Nobu, so we had dinner with our besties there. Delicious, fun, and a great way to spend a Monday night.

Palo Alto just opened up a new Nobu, so we had dinner with our besties on Monday night. Delicious, fun, and a great way to spend a Monday night (best lychee martini).

On our last day, we toured around campus and visited with a dear old friend. It was so fun to show the kids our old dorms, and old stomping grounds. We kept saying "this is where we fell in love" to which they smiled and smirked.

On our last day, we toured around campus and visited with a dear old friend. It was so fun to show the kids our old dorms and stomping grounds. We kept saying “this is where we fell in love” to which they smiled and smirked. When they get older, we will go back and show them even more of our campus hangouts.

And yes, we walked around the whole time in swimming suits. #Ballers

And yes, we walked around the whole time in swimming suits. #Ballers #California

Check out Hoover Tower in the background. And the red hoop fountain -- too cool.

Check out Hoover Tower in the background. And the red hoop fountain — too cool.

Had students been in session they would have been confused by the old lady dressed like a college student (slides / backpack / tee shirt) and the little girl in the neon swimsuit. But hey, no students on campus, so we were free to dress our part.

Had students been in session they would have been confused by the old lady dressed like a college student (slides / backpack / tee shirt) and the little girl in the neon swimsuit. But hey, no students on campus, so we were free to dress our part.

Only shot of the four of us! This is at the Schwab Resedential Center where Ken lived during his first year in Business School. Yes East Coasters, this is what going to school in California looks like.

Only shot of the four of us! This is at the Schwab Resedential Center where Ken lived during his first year in Business School. Yes East Coasters, this is what going to school in California can look like!

 

Overall, we had the best mini vacation in California and loved our time there — both this past weekend and in our life. Thank you, California….you are an incredible state and we love you oh so much. Now, back to our final days in Oregon before the real world begins again afresh in NYC.  A few more days of long runs, crisp mornings, green views, home cooked meals, and family time. Thank you, summer.

Anika Yael Natori, aka, The Josie Girl

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Pangulasian, El Nido, Palawan

Hands down, the highlight of our 2016 trip to the Philippines was our visit to Pangulasian, El Nido, Palawan. To say the resort, scenery, environment, location, food, service, experience was amazing is an understatement. I will go out on a ledge to say that it was the most beautiful and breathtaking vacation I have ever been on. It was so incredible that I would fly across the world again tomorrow to spend more time there.

 

To get to the resort, we had to fly from Manila to El Nido, then take a van to a boat. The boat was a tiny speed boat that took 20-30 minutes to get us there. Worth every travel minute to get to this paradise.

To get to the resort, we had to fly from Manila to El Nido, then take a van to a boat. The boat was a tiny speed boat that took 20-30 minutes to get us there. Worth every travel minute to get to this paradise.

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Punta Fuego, Philippines

Our holiday trip to the Philippines has been a mix of time spent in metro Manila where most of Ken’s family lives, and time spent out of Manila, which is more know for beautiful beaches, nature, and tourism.  (Fortunately, Typhoon Nina didn’t do as much damage to Manila as some had forecast).  Our first getaway was to gorgeous Punta Fuego, where we went with Ken’s 11 cousins (on his mom’s side of the family), 4 kids (including our two), and 2 of 3 spouses (including me).  Enjoy the pics!

 

 

Punta Fuego

Club Punta Fuego has an amazing infinity pool. Toosh enjoyed her lounge time.

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We Made It! – Philippines

Greetings!

I will let Ken’s Instagram post speak:screen-shot-2016-12-18-at-4-25-20-pm

Yep.  2 hours of delay on the snowy JFK tarmac, 16.5 hours to Hong Kong, an hour layover, another 2 hour flight to Manila, and two hours through customs and to Ken’s family’s house later, we are in Manila for a family reunion extravaganza for his mother’s side of the family.  It is 5:30 AM Manila time now and the kids have been up for 2 and 4 hours respectively, but we are excited that we made it without dramatic incident (though we are still waiting on the kids bag to come… hopefully later today).

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Llama Inn – Sunday Brunch

The perfect bite.

After our big celebration this past Saturday night, we went out to cure our hangover / adrenaline / socialization with a big brunch. My brother, Giora, who lives in Seattle and is always up to speed with pop culture and what is cool (way more than any other New Yorker I know) told me about a restaurant that he wanted to go to — Llama Inn, a new Peruvian restaurant in Williamsburg that has a lot of buzz about it.

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Grateful Dead Concert: Fare Thee Well

Ken’s here! So happy to have our full family back together for the next week and a half. On his way out from New York, he had the privilege of seeing the Friday night show of the Grateful Dead’s final three concerts in Chicago.  Here’s The Josie Guy.  Enjoy!

 

IMG_1181

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Puerto Rico – Spring Break

Happy Spring Break! As mentioned on Monday, I spent the first half of Spring Break with my family in Mexico, summarized here in 5 pictures. Now we are in Dorado Beach in Puerto Rico with my in-laws.  To keep up with the 5 picture theme and little words (shorter and funnier), here are cinco pictures of our current trip.

 

Josie Girl Blog - Puerto Rico Playground

Kids’ heaven. Playground with multiple airplanes. It is always deserted with very few people, and we are so happy to be there.

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Mexico – Spring Break

Hola, amigos! The kids and I had a great time with my parents in Mexico (Bucerias, outside of Puerto Vallarta) last week, and are now on part deux of vacation with my beloved husband and his parents in Puerto Rico. One spanish speaking place to the next, (but Pacific Ocean to Atlantic Ocean)! As I am still on vacation mode (= no downtime away from kids, and when kids are in bed, I collapse), instead of a full post, here are 5 photos that give you a good feel of Mexico. Enjoy the brightness, color, and look!

 

Day 1 Yellow wall.

Day 1 Yellow wall.

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9/11 Memorial & Museum

Last Friday, I had the opportunity (and privilege) of visiting and touring the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. To say I was blown away is a true understatement. It took my breath away and has preoccupied my mind since. Mind you, I did not live in NYC during the 9/11 attacks, nor did I know anyone who was directly affected.  As a result, I had never been overly emotional about it.  But visiting the museum changed everything.

 

Freedom Tower

The power of the tallest building in the United States, The Freedom Tower. An eerie view from the memorial looking up to the sky.

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Happy T’giving!

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!  We are in New York and had dinner with Ken’s family, minus my mother-in-law, who is in the Philippines.  We are laying low this weekend in New York, outside of a fun event tomorrow night (more on that next week).

 

Around Thanksgiving, I always think about the following story that I shared with you a couple years ago.  A true story of tragedy, inspiration, and determination involving one of our amazing friends, Laura Wales Holliday, who survived, and another friend, James Hsu, who didn’t. The story is re-copied below and the link to the original post is here.  Have a great Thanksgiving weekend with your loved ones.

Laura

Laura — pretty as can be. Always a smile on her face and a twinkle in her eye.

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Buly 1803

Paris has so much to offer….food, clothing, chocolate, beauty products, you name it. On our recent trip, I visited (thanks to a friend’s recommendation) the most insanely beautiful and luxurious fragrance and skincare boutique, Buly 1803. Originally founded in 1803 by Frenchman Jean-Vincent Bully, who was known for his signature perfumes and scented vinegars, it was reopened in April 2014 by Victoire and Ramdane Touhami on the quaint Rue Bonaporte in St Germain de Près. It maintains an old vibe with some new, modern flair (they took out the second ‘l’ in Buly to make it similar, but different). This place is incredible — old school, antique, and classic, but with new skin care concoctions that draw on the virtues of natural ingredients. All of the products are made without parabens, phenoxyethanol or silicone! What is not to love?

 

Classic French

Classic French

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Flying Without Kids

Greetings from Paris! Ken and I are sneaking away for a few nights (sans kiddos, but with in-laws for part of the time) to celebrate our 7th anniversary. Amazing how time flies.  Feels like it was just yesterday we celebrated #5.  While we are groggy and jet lagged, flying without kids is a vacation in and of itself.  Here are 7 things we did on the flight that we can’t normally do.  Stay tuned for more from Paris next week!

Pre-flight. Belgian fries and a beer.  As opposed to buying toy airplanes and changing diapers.  NIce.

#1. Pre-flight. Belgian fries and a beer. As opposed to buying toy airplanes and changing diapers. Nice.

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