The Surprise Birthday Party

I love parties.
Especially when it’s not all on you and you have a great organizer like my friend E. There’s really nothing worse than hosting a party by yourself and your ideas become too elaborate and you’re short on time and you end up crying from fatigue when the time finally comes (this was my thanksgiving dinner last year…haha!).
So when E mentioned that they were throwing her sister-in-law a surprise birthday party during my stay in DC, I was excited. E always has the best party ideas and is a magician in the kitchen. Her husband Y is an artist and can make pretty much anything into a masterpiece. I get to take pictures and also help out here and there, all while humming a little tune. It’s really great.
While her brother took the birthday girl out for coffee, we snuck into their house and started decorating and preparing food. Did I mention that E made a chocolate cake with chocolate cheese cream frosting? YUM! Their friends started coming over and we put them to work, too. We all gathered in the living room when we got the text message saying they were coming back and kept quiet enough to surprise the birthday girl with a big “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!”  
It was a really fun party and because I was the unofficial photographer, I will warn you in advance…there are a lot of pictures.
Here they are: 

We decorated the table with fall items like mums, pumpkins, and acorns.

Presents for the birthday girl 😀

Fall apples are so delicious.
Aren’t the mums pretty?
I thought the table looked really pretty with all the flowers and food.
The fabulous birthday cake! (The banner and number of candles may confuse you…haha)
E and Y doing their thing in the kitchen. They are a great team 😀

The surprised birthday girl! 😀

The kids mingling.

I ate every last bite of this cake…it was so so good! 😀
K was trying to get cousin Walter (aka the cat) to come join the party.
We ate and chat and even played this game.

Group picture before we left so the kids could go wild without us older people ;D

I think she liked her birthday party…love these two. x

The Afternoon at Sweetgreen

Have you ever heard of sweetgreen?
I’ve had a big vegetarian crush on this store ever since I read about it on this blog. It’s an amazing store that mainly serves delicious and healthy salads, pressed juice, and frozen yogurt. The organic produce are from local farmers, which I think is a great concept. Naturally I looked up where their stores were but found they were mostly located in the DC metro area.
So imagine how excited I was to hear that my friend E started working for them! Woohoo!
During my stay in DC, I begged E to take me to her store and I got to try their seasonal October Salad! It was a bowl full of organic mesclun & shredded kale with local apples, pears, organic basil, organic white cheddar and candied pecans, and topped off with balsamic vinaigrette. Doesn’t that sound fabulous? Oh, and I got roasted tofu, too. It was so so good and surprisingly very fulfilling! 
I feel like we need more places to eat like this in Tokyo. I’m am now hooked on their salads and I’m crossing my fingers that this store makes it’s way to this side of the world sometime soon. *hint hint*
Here are some pictures:
Checking out the store with this sweet girl.

Did I mention the bread? It was also amazing…yum yum!
You can get one of the salads on their menu, or you can make your own salad, too!

K and I shared a cup of frozen yogurt 😀
Doesn’t the salad look delicious? I could eat it every day. x

I loved their shelf full of salad greens.
This is actually a different sweetgreen and not my friend’s store…but you get the idea! 😀

The Trip to Washington DC

There is nothing like this view above the clouds to get me excited for a trip ahead!
Especially when the trip starts in Washington DC. My five days there with my grade school bff’s family were filled with lots of laughs, good food, and seeing old friends. And when my favorite two year old welcomes me with an excited high-pitched “Auntie Kaoriiiiiiiiiiiiiii” at the door, it really doesn’t get any better than that.
I can’t believe how fast this little girl is growing. The last time I saw her, we had her first birthday party and she wasn’t talking yet. Just a word here or there. But now she’s chattering away and it completely blew me away! Every time we would get in the car, she would remind me, “Auntie Kaori, seat belt!” Yes, ma’am! Oh, and her prayers before her bedtime? So stinkin’ precious, I melt every time.
Every time I come to DC it feels more like home because of this family. I love getting to visit and spend time with them. And you know I’m already looking forward to the next time! xx
Here are some pictures:
Graffiti art on a wall in Bethesda

Our Mexican dinner was delicious and we were all stuffed by the end of our meal.

K loves the horses…even after one almost bit her. She said, “horse eat my hand!”

K making a handmade birthday present for her her tia (aunt in spanish).

We threw a surprise birthday party for E’s sister-in-law (blog post to follow!).

Our mutual grade school friend, who lives in the DC area, came over for brunch! 😀

Had fun at the local park on a sunny morning. This girl is fearless.
Spent the afternoon chatting with an old friend (who both E and I babysat! crazy!).
It was fall in DC and some of the leaves were such pretty colors.

Loved seeing this girl and her fabulous family! xx

Had such a great time in DC…now heading to Chicago from this lovely airport. x

The Post Vacation

Hello. How are you? I’ve finally come back from my vacation.
My flight came in to Haneda Airport very early this morning and after taking a shower, I went to work like a normal work day. I didn’t have jet lag at all today.
Ever since reading this article about how to beat jet lag, I’ve been experimenting with eating light before the flight and then eating a sturdy breakfast after the flight. It really worked when I went to DC last week. But I usually only get jet lag when I come back home to Japan so we’ll have to see.
Pictures of the trip to come soon! x

The October Link Love

Hello hello October!

The second half of the fiscal year has started and I am loving the cool bring-out-your-knit-sweater weather we’ve been having here in Tokyo. Isn’t it perfect for even more picnics this month?

But I am behind on almost everything at the moment. Even this post is late. Helping out at tennis tournaments on the weekends and the busy days at work right after a company shuffle has had me running behind from day one.

Oh…and I’m also packing and buying flavored kit-kats to go see my friends this month! I get to see my grade school besties in DC (this girl and her family), Chicago (this guy), Michigan (this girl and her family), and LA (this guy). That’s right. I’m going to 4 different states in 12 days. Pretty sure I’ll be dead on my feet when I get back but I can’t wait!

What are your plans for this lovely month? Hope you enjoy it! xx

——————————————————-Link Love——————————————————-

– My new favorite font that makes me hungry.

– Can’t wait to see this documentary.

– If only my travel book looked something like this.

These may just be too amazing to eat.

– Heartbeat making music.

A letter from a mother to a daughter.