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.
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.
Kids’ heaven. Playground with multiple airplanes. It is always deserted with very few people, and we are so happy to be there.
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.
Happy Monday! I just (barely) survived my first solo travel excursion with both kids. To make it easy, we made the trip to Mexico…. with a stopover…. and a forty minute drive (joking on the easy part). All worth it to meet my parents on vacation (I meet Ken, who couldn’t take two weeks off, next week), but boy, was it an effort!
The below (while not taken yesterday), summarizes my (our) feelings.
Toosh… Make a mad face
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?
Sorry for the silence on my end. It has been a whirl-wind week with Parent Nights, kindergarten applications, marathon tapering, and a trip to Paris. YEP, a trip to Paris. I think Ken and I are the only people in the world who live in NYC who are planning to run the NYC marathon (this weekend), who decide to leave the weekend before for a quick adventure to Paris. Nothing says “rest” and “don’t do anything out of the ordinary” more than a 3 day trip 5-days-till-marathon with 7 hour per day walks and rose wine. But hey, you only live once. Crossing my fingers that this fun and beautiful trip will not hinder my marathon experience or expectations. Perhaps wishful thinking, but I am happy we did it. And since you haven’t seen enough pictures of Paris recently on the blog (here and here and here and here and here), here are some more. Enjoy!
Eiffel Tower — haven’t seen you in 4 months. Still as beautiful as ever.
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!
#1. Pre-flight. Belgian fries and a beer. As opposed to buying toy airplanes and changing diapers. Nice.