I had lots of different ideas for my son’s 14th birthday party, but due to last minute planning and bad weather, we ended up with an organized scavenger hunt in Grand Central. Although thrown together last minute — it was a hit and I highly recommend for adults and kids alike. It was a private event, created by Watson Adventures, and it was sooooo much fun. The questions were quite difficult and we ran all around Grand Central trying to figure out each clue.
We met with our guide at a meeting spot, downloaded the information we needed on our phones, and took off. Since there were only 6 boys (and myself), we were one team, but I created prizes for everyone. It was highly competitive, everyone was very engaged, and we all had so much fun.
Earlier this week, I celebrated my 42nd birthday, and randomly the highlight was shoveling snow with a homeless man. The actual day was one of the best birthdays I have had in a long time — probably because I had zero expectations of a COVID birthday and so everything was so much better, lighter, and happier than other days (and birthdays). But honestly, my 90 minute shoveling experience was the best. OK, so let me explain.
Yes, I shoveled a track.
In one of those cant-sleep-instagram-frenzy-rabbit-holes, I came across a bakery in Brooklyn with the most beautiful cakes; Broken Tart. I knew the minute I saw the cakes that (a) I needed to follow Broken Tart on instagram (b) I had to have a cake for Tusia’s 5th birthday party. The cakes are not only beautiful, magical, whimsical, and unique, but they are tasty and delicious. The perfect duo (pretty AND yummy).
The cake arrived in the perfect package. Who says not to judge a book by its cover?
Today is a special day… the 70th birthday of my fabulous and wonderful mother-in-law, Josie Natori! I used to think that 70 meant old age, but she makes 70 look chic, young, energetic, and fashionable — more than anyone else I know. My mother in law is incredibly talented, bright, smart, with-it, creative, accomplished, successful, caring, and wonderful. Here is a look at her throughout the decades — and happy birthday to such a lovely lady, I love you.
Here is the beautiful Josie Natori as a young girl. I love her bangs!
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.
My husband Ken is one of the most caring, down-to-earth, and fun people I know, on top of being extremely brave, courageous, and committed. For his 40th birthday, he threw a concert (similar to his 38th year birthday recital) but instead of doing it solo, he cobbled together a full band (frequent readers know he started taking guitar lessons 3.5 years ago when he won an O.A.R. Sound Check at a silent auction). So, with a lot of work, practice, and dedication, he had a fabulous 40th birthday party last weekend. I am so proud of him for putting himself out there and taking risks. Here are the photos (most of them are taken by Cynthia Delconte, our wedding photographer!) Enjoy!
A trip down memory lane…..Three years ago (to the date), I gave birth to my little baby girl, Zoe Esther (also known as ‘Tusia” or ‘Toosh”) Natori. Maybe it is from watching videos like this or this or reading about when she was 1 but DAMN, being a mother is such an emotional and rewarding job. And with Tusia’s birthday today, I can’t seem to hide my tears. I tear because I never knew that this type of love was possible; that she is no longer a baby; that we are now in a new phase of our life; the concern of future hardships; the pride I beam for who she has become; the curiosity of her mind. I carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart). “Tusia Na-ta-tori” as she calls herself is my little princess, and I love her up to the sky, down again, around the world, and back again. Happy 3rd birthday, Toosh! I love you.
Big girl Toosh celebrating her birthday and Mother’s Day yesterday eating a “Hello Kitty” sorbet and relaxing in Central Park.
One of my all time favorite gifts is the “Birthday Interview Book.” This tiny little book is a simple way of keeping track of your child’s favorite items each year. Every year, on his birthday, we ask Cruzzie the same 20 questions (favorite color, song, friend, meal, etc…) and record it in the little keepsake book. We will start the same tradition with Toosh this May when she turns 3. It is a fun (and smart) way of collecting information about your child as they grow up (tear — not too fast, kids!). And the kids love to answer and record the questions as well! To purchase, go here. It is the perfect gift for your child (or a friend!).
Tiny, little blue book with powerful, meaningful keepsakes.
Per request, here are photos of my son’s 5th birthday party! (JK no one asked to see them, so thank you for letting me share them with you!) My son, who turns 5 in nine days (who is counting?) celebrated his birthday with friends from school this past weekend up in Pound Ridge. Dedicated to sharks and the ocean (perhaps he will take after my brother), the party was shark centric. Here are the pictures!
Eeks, there is a shark in the grass!
While totally old fashioned and retro, I have a soft spot for all letterpress and stationary (gasp!). And I have totally fallen in love with the wittiness and humor of the cards from Dude and Chick Letterpress. The founders, self described as a dude and a chick from Minnesota, sell their cards at various boutiques nationwide and on etsy.
Tomorrow, my little itty bitty baby, turns one. I have absolutely no idea how it happened, but I blinked, and now I have a one year old (and a three and a half year old). It seems like only yesterday we welcomed Baby Zoe Esther Natori (aka Tusia or Toosh) into this world. As with most parents and their newborns, it has been a wild ride, from the pregnancy to the sleep deprivation, to the smiles, kisses, and hugs. I have an incredible amount of love for this little peanut, and I am proud to have her as my daughter. Thank you for letting me indulge in posting the following pictures of Toosh, I know it will only interest a handful of you (Nana, Tata, Lola, and Gramps!) so thanks for giving me the satisfaction of remembering the past 12 months.
Welcome to the world, ZEN. You were the cutest little Eskimo!
First hairbow, of hundreds. So sleepy and soft.
And the sibling rivalry begins…always letting your big Kuya brother have his way and attention.
The only time her legs have been this skinny! (I love meat on bones!). What a little cute love bug!
Camera shy. Aw shucks.
It’s hard to believe the blog is a year old! It all started with this post. A year later, I am amazed at how much fun (and time consuming) this has been. Of course, a blog is nothing without its readers, and I thank all of you for taking the time to check in. Means so much to me. Thank you!
To celebrate our year anniversary, we are going to do a week of giveaways of some of my favorite things!
Melting. Best cookies in the world. Can I win?
Today’s giveaway: 12 of my FAVORITE cookies in the world from Levain Bakery. (Yes, they deliver around the country.) The official rules are here, but basically, you can enter by joining our email list, which you can do by putting your email address in that red box on the top of the right sidebar. Good luck! If you haven’t had Levain cookies yet, you are missing out on one of the best things in the world!
To celebrate the blog’s first birthday, below are my favorite posts over the past year. Of course, in the form of a top 10, because as you know, I love lists almost as much as I love my children. DRUM ROLL…..