Road trip to Whistler

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Happy Friday to you! What do you have planned this weekend? I’m heading to Whistler with my girlfriends. We just learned that we’ve been upgraded to the penthouse suite! How awesome is that?! Unfortunately, the weather looks terrible. My friends plan to ski in the rain… I plan to read books by the fire. :) Hot chocolate might be involved.

Here are some fun links for your weekend distraction….

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These language family trees are so cool.

How to find yourself. This is just perfect.

Brits and American label maps of Europe and US.

Do you know anyone in a Lean In Circle? It’s a great idea. Especially for moms in transition.

Send glitter to your enemies.

(Don’t) Ask your spouse these questions. (So funny)

The White Album App. I love this idea for capturing memories — and it’s so retro!

The best gift for a skier: the shotzksi.

You’re doing it wrong: hot chocolate.

And, where I’ll be eating in Whistler.

San Jose, California

I gotta say, so far I am loving 2015! Sophia and I just returned from our second trip of the year – a short but sunny weekend getaway to San Jose, California. We called it a “business trip” because the purpose of the stay was to audition for a summer intensive dance program with ABT. We also ate a lot of froyo, gave each other facials and watched chick flicks in our hotel room… Which is totally what business trips are like, right? Here are a few other highlights…

We stayed in Downtown San Jose. No need for a car - we walked everywhere!

We stayed in Downtown San Jose. No need for a car – we walked everywhere!

San Pedro Square Market. I loved this place - tons of eateries and bars, plus live music and artist galleries. I could've spent a few hours here, but my "business partner" lobbied hard for The Old Spaghetti Factory.

San Pedro Square Market. I loved this place – tons of eateries and bars, plus live music and artist galleries. I could’ve spent a few hours here… but my “business partner” lobbied hard for The Old Spaghetti Factory.

Ballet San Jose is affiliated with ABT (American Ballet Theatre). Auditions were held last weekend for the ABT Summer Intensive Programs in NYC and California.

Ballet San Jose is affiliated with ABT (American Ballet Theatre). Auditions were held last weekend for the ABT Summer Intensive Programs in NYC and California.

What you don’t see in these pictures… all the great talks and laughs. I can’t wait to do the same thing with Sasha one day — although it will probably be for a soccer tournament of some sort! Fine with me – just please let it be this sunny!

Celebrating the New Year in Kauai

joy

Poipu Beach, Kaua’i, Hawaii

Sophia with Boogie Board

Sophia heading out to catch some waves.

Sasha with her Boogie Board

Sasha and her boogie board.

a tiny lizard

a tiny lizard

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Our Favorite Places and Activities:

Outfitters Kauai Zipline Safari

Waimai Canyon (hiking trails)

La Pizzetta in Koloa

La Spezia in Koloa for breakfast (mascarpone french toast)

Koloa Mill Ice Cream (The ice cream is good – but the shaved ice is even better! Favorite flavor: Tiger’s Blood)

Josselin’s for tapas and sangria (Don’t miss the short ribs and the white wine sangria.)

Merriman’s Fish House

Read this book!

Sarah Vowell’s Unfamiliar Fishes, a collection of essays on the history and culture of Hawaii. She’s smart, funny and a regular contributor to This American Life. You can hear her voice as you read the book…

“Anyone who has been to any of the islands for more than fifteen minutes and hasn’t heard Iz’s cover of “Over the Rainbow” at least five times is not paying attention.”

Healthy airplane food

Here’s my theory on airplane travel: if you arrive safely to your destination and no one has thrown up on you, you should call it a good day. There was a time when I was routinely pooped or puked on by my children during flights. Reading a book was out of the question. Look at me now! I can type this blog while my children watch movies on their iPods! It’s incredible!

So I can’t work up the energy to rant about airplane food. The truth is, it’s hard to make food appetizing at 30,000 feet (this article does a great job explaining why that is). We should all really just lower our culinary expectations and shut up about it. I’m kind of a foodie, but it when it comes to eating on an airplane, I’m practical. My goal is to make it to my destination feeling relatively healthy.

Some pinterest ideas for you

And here are my top choices:

Water water water

Yep, it makes you pee. That’s the point. If your neighbor doesn’t like it, they shouldn’t have chosen an aisle seat.

Protein

My favorite, easy-to-pack combos are: 1) cheese and fruit 2) protein bars and cucumbers 3) spiced nuts and a bubbly water.

Strong flavors and crunchy textures

Because pressurized cabins deaden our taste buds, we tend to crave salty and sweet flavors. One way around that is to focus on texture (crunchy or bubbly), spices (i.e. spiced nuts or cinnamon tea) or fragrances (i.e. clementines, mint tea). The umami flavor also seems to withstand the altitude, which may explain why people drink a disproportionate amount of tomato juice in the sky….

 P.S. Louis CK on airplane travel.

5 Cookbooks for Travelers

Certain foods – like songs – instantly transport me to a time and place. A fresh tomato tart with a crunchy butter crust will always remind me of a weekend in Provence with our Parisian friends. Meringue with fresh berries and mint reminds me of my sister-in-law, baking away in her charming cottage outside of London. Blueberry cake? Prague. Chocolate truffles? Brazil. Corn on the cob? Indiana – duh. :)

That’s why I love cookbooks. To remind me – or introduce me – to the flavor of a place.  Plus, some cookbooks are so damn gorgeous they just beg to be owned. Here are the 5 cookbooks I’m asking for this Christmas…

1) Mexico, The Cookbook, by Margarita Carrillo Arronte

2) Jerusalem: A Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi

3) Balaboosta by Einat Admony

4) My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz

5) A Boat, a Whale and a Walrus by Renee Erickson, Jess Thomson and Jim Henkens (Photographer)

Happy December…

nutcracker season!

It’s officially Nutcracker season! This is PNB’s final year doing the Stowell and Sendack version of The Nutcracker. Sophia is in nineteen shows this month and loving every single moment. And really – what more could a girl want? She gets to ditch school and dance around backstage with professional ballerinas! She’s in heaven.

And so am I! Because I turned 43 this week! I’ve been spoiled rotten with lunches and dinners and gifts and chocolates and flowers… I am truly a lucky girl. xo

Here’s what’s been on our minds this week….

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6 things you didn’t know about being a ballet dancer.

It’s all about the peacock.

Sophia’s reading Misty Copeland‘s book right now and totally inspired.

Here’s the difference between Balanchine and Classical Ballet (PNB will do a Balanchine Nutcracker next year).

And look what I got as a gift this week…. Do my friends know me or what? :)

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

happy thanksgiving

Wherever you are in the world, I hope this day fills you with gratitude and mashed potatoes. We are super duper lucky to have my mom visiting us. She is cheerful and helpful and an all-around awesome house guest.  Plus, she’s a retired elementary school teacher with endless craft ideas. My girls have been working on art projects for days! By the end of the weekend, our house will look like Christmas exploded.

Speaking of which… time to start working on those christmas lists!  Have a great weekend!

Just a few foodie links…

How to Set the Thanksgiving Table.

Forget bacon. Give me a jar of caramel. And a spoon.

20 awesome food journals

Provisions for food lovers: a gift guide

Insider’s guide to Pike Place Market, Seattle

Goofy foods you’ll find in a French supermarket.

Paris Grocery Store in Seattle

Armchair Travel

Armchair Travel

Sasha and I have been stuck at home this week. The poor thing has pneumonia! No fun whatsoever. She’s a sweet and cuddly patient, but I miss the old Sasha.

Neither of us have enjoyed the forced down time. We both like to do things – go places, exercise and see friends. Instead, we spent the week sitting on the couch, playing board games and watching TV.

It was fun the first day. Not so much on Day 8.

What do you do when you can’t go anywhere?  Read books? Watch movies? I do both. But mostly I start planning for the next trip. We’re thinking seriously about a Paris séjour next summer… what do you think?

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Here are a few fun distractions…

I love this book: Book Lust To Go – Recommended Reading for Travelers, Vagabonds and Dreamers

Good Reads List of Armchair Travel Books

I love this idea: Murder, They Wrote

This post made me smile and reminded me of our Provence séjour.

I devoured every single syllable word of this article! Hint: Walnut Grove

I’m reading/listening to The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters. Which inspired me to learn more about the Cockney Accent.

I was mesmerized by this video with Marion Cotillard.

Cool map of world events, festivals and celebrations.

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Have a great weekend and stay warm!

Travel Photography

One of the many gorgeous photos on MimiThorisson.com

One of the many gorgeous photos on MimiThorisson.com

I’m obsessed with the photographs on Mimi Thorisson’s website. How does she do it? The woman has six children and a dozen dogs. And just look at the tranquility and beauty in these photos. Her husband is a professional photographer (duh) and his talent is humbling. He also has châteaux in rural France, a drop-dead gorgeous wife and endless supply of stylish children and french villagers.

But still. Wow.

My life is not that photogenic. But I do occasionally go to interesting places and I want need to improve my photography skills. Last week, I took a field trip to Chinatown and came home without a single useable photo! It was so frustrating. In my own defense, it was pouring down rain. But as my husband would say, “sounds like a development opportunity.” (That’s Amazon speak for get your shit together.)

So next week I’m taking a 2-hour seminar entitled “How to Use the Manual Settings on Your DSLR.” I’m so excited! I hope it will give me the confidence to experiment with all those settings…

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Some fun links on travel and photography -

5 Secrets to Better Travel Photos

This post covers some basic photographic principles

How to shop for souvenirs like a local

You have a travel itinerary. How about a travel eatinerary? I love this idea!

Paris Restaurant Recommendations from Mireille Guiliano, author of French Women Don’t Get Fat.

Of all the books I read in October, this one was my favorite! So hauntingly good.

I dare you to watch just one episode of this show without getting completely hooked.

Pretty Faces: The Story of a Skier Girl. This movie was so inspiring to the girls. When we got home, Sasha made a poster for her wall that says ALASKA.

Have a great weekend!

Happy Halloween! (and links)

A Pop Star Minion and a Rockstar

A Pop Star Minion and a Rock Star

Happy Halloween! Are you dressing up? This used to be my least favorite holiday, but over the years, I’ve come around. The girls love it SO MUCH and their enthusiasm is contagious.

Over breakfast, I asked Sasha: “What’s your favorite part about Halloween?”

It was a rhetorical question. I knew she’d say candy.

But she thought for a minute and then said, “ I just love that you can express yourself any way you want.”

Oh man! How sweet is that?

This year, Sasha is expressing herself as a Pop Star Minion. Sophia is a Rock Star.

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Here are a few fun links. Below that, 9 years of Halloween photos!

Eerily Beautiful Abandoned Places

Medoc, France never looked so beautiful. I absolutely love her blog.

10 Reasons to Visit Paris in the Fall

Love this new service! It’s a great way to add experiences on your next trip.

12 Treasures – What to buy in 12 European cities.

Photographic evidence: the death of conversation.

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Have a great weekend!