Ken and I went to Utah this past weekend for a belated 10th anniversary celebration. And what a weekend it was — can’t rave enough about the extraordinary experience we had during our stay. It was to date, one of my favorite vacations and involved everything I love: adventure, exercise, beautiful sunny weather, nature, great food, and relaxing. One of my favorite activities was a climb in the mesas of the Canyon Valley of Southern Utah. The type of climb we did is called a Via Ferrata which involves steel rods / climbing ladders, and a steel cable that you are connected to. So yeah, JV type of climbing, but so fun and scary nonetheless!
This activity involved a guide, and I told the guide that we were both in good shape (#humblebrag) and wanted the hardest via ferrata climb that they had…..so look at the mesa we climbed. OY.
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 (good looking) squad at the hotel.
Last week, we jumped into the car and drove to Crater Lake. Although I had gone as a child, I didn’t remember my experience and the trip had been on my to-do-list for several years. This year, I was determined to make it happen, and despite the long car ride (Thanks Pups for being our driver), it was INCREDIBLE. A MUST SEE. A MUST GO TO. A MUST A MUST A MUST.
On our drive South, we stopped at Watson Falls, for a quick hike and lunch pit stop. Oregon always blows me away with its natural beauty and divine power. We were all mesmerized with the water, the green, and Mother Earth.
We returned Sunday night from our Third Annual Sonoma Trip with a small group of our Stanford friends. It continues to be a wonderful tradition and something we look forward to each summer. If you have never been to wine country in CA before, I highly suggest doing it– beautiful vineyard views, hot dry weather, delicious farm-to-table-food, and of course… amazing local wine. Can life be any better? Thank you to our wonderful friends and hosts, Kimmers and Joe. Enjoy the photos — I want to go back now!
The guest house we stayed at on our friend’s property. We took over a cabin close to the main house and it was oh so cute (and all four of us Natoris slept in the same bed for three nights!)
I just returned from a quick trip to Paris where I completed by 4th Paris Marathon (7th marathon total). It was great fun — both the trip itself and the run, and now I am looking forward to not traveling, not doing long runs, and staying put….. at least for the next couple of months (I have already planned my next two marathons…). Here are pictures of the weekend! (And what day is it today?)
We landed at 2 pm on Saturday, 16 hours before race time. So the only thing we could do that day was go to the Expo to pick up our bibs and get settled for the race next morning. YUP. The race at 8:20 am the next morning! Here is our feast pre-race.
We are now full swing back to reality with school, tutoring, responsibilities, etc…so it seems hard to think that we were just in Oregon a couple of days ago — it seems like an eternity. I already miss my parents, the fresh air, the fir trees, the crisp delicious water, and everything Oregon. Here are some pictures of our week skiing in Sunriver, Oregon. Enjoy!
Ken is the downhill teacher. He did an amazing job each day spending half the day with one kid, and then the other half with the other kid. They made huge improvements!
Spring Break! We were fortunate enough to spend our first week in the sun, first in Puerto Rico with my in-laws, and then in Florida (just me and the kids). Lots of sunshine, beach, pool, french fries, chicken fingers, and sunscreen. Here are some pictures to recap our week! Enjoy (and thanks for letting me indulge).
We stayed at Dorado Beach for the fourth straight year. Good combo of kids activities and things for my in-laws to do. Love the combination of beach and then pool. And of course, minutes soaking up the Vitamin D on the ground.
We just returned from a special 40th birthday party of a very dear friend in the French Alps. It was a weekend of snow, ski, rose, fondue, meat, relaxation, and lots of fun. An incredible experience that we will never forget.
Val D’Isere is located in the French Alps, a three hour drive from Geneva. We landed early morning in Geneva, took a bus to our chalet, got fitted for skis, and went straight to the mountain. No wasted time!
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.
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!
Club Punta Fuego has an amazing infinity pool. Toosh enjoyed her lounge time.
I will let Ken’s Instagram post speak:
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).
It feels like a million years ago that we were on vacation with our dear friends in Deer Valley / Park City, Utah. In reality, it was just a week ago (another trip to the West Coast this weekend for my sister’s wedding sure makes time confusing). Deer Valley was the perfect ending to a fabulous summer, filled with lots of activities and simple family fun with great friends. Here is a recap of our trip with recommendations.. Deer Valley is a PERFECT summer getaway (particularly at the end of the summer after Utah schools start up… everything was empty which was perfect!)
On our final weekend on the West Coast (Best Coast), we went to Napa to celebrate our best friends’ joint 40th birthdays. It seems like there were a lot of California trips this summer (there were), but this one topped them all. Just like we did 10 years prior for our friends’ wedding, we stayed at The Carneros Inn. Over the weekend, we had an incredible (INCREDIBLE) dinner at Ad Hoc, one of Thomas Keller’s restaurants, brunch at The Fremont Diner, and the party at The Barn at Cornerstone. Not only was it hog heaven food wise, but the weather, the company, and the experiences were all top notch. I already miss the ease of flying from Eugene to San Francisco, and all our West Coast friends….
White farm flowers.
This past weekend, the kids, parents and I went to the Oregon Coast to escape the hot temperatures of Eugene (in the 100s) and surround ourselves in the beauty of the Oregon Coast. We had a great time and thoroughly enjoyed nature, and family (minus Ken, who was in New York). Take a look at the pictures.
The Oregon Coast is always much colder than inland …. which makes sense, but this past weekend it was 30 degrees colder. 30!!!!
Saddened.. yet again.. by another mass tragedy. France is incredibly close to my heart as I spent all my summers going up with my French exchange family and try to go back as often as I can.
I am sad for all of the victims, and for humanity.
Let me count the ways that I love the West Coast: 1) Oregon 2) California 3) Washington. This past week, we traveled to Yosemite with Stanford Classmates where we lounged, hiked, made smores, laughed, swam, and simply enjoyed the simplicity of the California Nature. AHHHHHH California.
Yosemite National Park is known for its waterfalls, meadows, giant sequoias, and vast wildnerness. This is a photo from our hike on Day 1. It was an easy hike yet truly beautiful, surrounded by trees, water, and waterfalls.
Happy short week (and happy belated birthday, USA)! I hope everyone had a nice holiday weekend and off to a great July (holllllly smokes). As always when with family, we had a great weekend celebrating with my brother and his family in Seattle. The only bad news was that Ken was unable to fly out as planned due to a storm on Friday night in NYC. After 4 hours on the tarmac and his flight being canceled, he sadly didn’t make it to the west coast. We missed him but will be reunited with him for 10 days on Friday! Here is a recap of our weekend!
We went sailing in the evening on Lake Washington (pictured: son Cruzzie, brother Giora).
Summer (for me) officially begins tomorrow when I fly out to Oregon with the kids to spend the summer with my parents. Once out there, I have no friends, no life, no tutoring, and no real responsibilities (not necessarily very “summer-like” for most people….but it is my way of recharging). It is the PERFECT time for me to read. I have a long list of books I would like to read this summer, so here they are. If you have any book suggestions, please share.
Books / xoxo / Cruz
Here are traveling tips when going abroad to Europe with kids (I need tips from you all on how to bring kids to Asia — GASP SWEAT GULP….6 months away and so nervous).
* Bring a scooter!
Below was my itinerary in Paris for my recent trip with Cruz. While it was just from my own research, childhood memories, recommendations and experiences, it worked great. Stay tuned for Friday, for tips on *how* to travel to Europe with children, and things that *worked* for us.
Day 1: Jardin des Tuileries, Ferris Wheel, Place de la Concorde, outside of the Louvre, crepes.
A view of La Place de la Concorde in the Ferris Wheel. It was great elevating and showing Cruz where our adventures would lead us the rest of the trip
I’m back from a whirlwind mother-son-Paris-adventure with Cruzzie, and I am more tired, jet-lagged, exhausted, and yet more full, cultured, and educated than I ever knew was possible. Who knew that a trip to Paris with a 6.5 year old would be so difficult and yet so rewarding! Currently, I feel like I could write a book (a best selling book, too!) about what to do in Paris with children….and I *also* feel like I could pass out from being up for 40 hours straight-and-traveling-across-the-Altantic-WITH-child. So come back on Wednesday for a 5 day guide for Parent-Child-trips-to-Paris, and until then….
Paris Guide Coming to the JGB soon!
Bonjour! Hello from NYC after a whirlwind trip celebrating Mother’s Day with my special mother-in-law Josie Natori! As most of you know, I have a deep profound love for Paris and feel that it is my second home (Cruzzie corrected me and said “third’ — after NYC and Oregon, so true true). As it had been over a year since I had last been there, I was dying to get there. So my mother-in-law and I (just the two of us), jumped on a plane and went there for the long weekend. And what a special and wonderful treat it was. I am currently cross-eyed from no sleep (Jet Lag and I don’t mix), and we #ShoppedTillWeDropped, but it was so special and fun; a weekend to always remember. Take a look.
The view from the apartment. There is just something so special and glamorous about the buildings there. #BuildingEnvy
After our wonderful vacation in Mexico with my parents, we headed to Puerto Rico with the Natori Seniors…YUP #hardlife and YUP #travelwithparents. We had a luxurious, lavish, relaxing, and fun 5 days (just like last year. Same vacation, different year). Take a look at the pictures….wish I was back there NOW! NYC is flipping cold and un-Spring like.
Bucerias, Mexico to Puerto Rico isn’t exactly a direct flight. We had 4 hour layover in Dallas, so we killed time (at the kids’ request) by taking the airport monorail in circles for 45 minutes. #KillingTime
Like last year, we spent the first portion of Spring Break in Bucerias, Mexico at my uncle’s beach house. My mother, born and raised in Mexico City, still has two brothers that live in Mexico. And fortunately for us, one of them has a beautiful beach house in Bucerias, a sleepy-non-tourist town north of Puerto Vallarta, on the west coast of Mexico. Here are the highlights from our ten day vacation with Nana and Tata!
The holidays are upon us. If you’re like us, you have a lot of travel over the next month and a half. So here is my Fall 2015 Book list. Enjoy!
Cold and rainy days are perfect for cuddling up on a couch and reading.
1. The Japanese Lover (Isabel Allende)
I was fortunate enough to run the Chicago Marathon this past Sunday, and man oh man, what a rush, joy, privilege and honor it was! Sorry for so many marathon posts (YUP, fully addicted #cantstopwontstop), but here is the recap from my weekend. First and foremost, huge shout out to two special people that made this weekend possible: Michelle, my dear friend I met on the course at the Paris Marathon this past April, who hosted me and was so generous and giving; and my bestie in the whole wide world, Amy, who flew across the country to support me and my crazy habit. Thank you thank you thank you thank you. I love you! And of course, also another thank you to my running-widow-husband who allows me to disappear and do what I love… thank you!
My bib. And a ticket for a free beer after the race (didn’t use it). Notice, I was in the slowest wave which mentally handicapped me for a little bit. That said, I managed to get through it and overcome.