I was already a huge fan of blue and white before I moved to Japan, but living for a year among indigo shibori, sashiko, and prized blue and white porcelain, it became a full obsession. How thrilled I was, then, to find that World Market now has a whole new line of indigo decor items!
Some of my favorites:
These blue and white tea rests
These shibori pillows
And this cherry blossom dinnerware set.
And all very affordable!
While my husband was really into D&D for a time, (that’s Dungeons and Dragons to us non-gamers) it never really appealed to me. I had to laugh out loud, however, when this Hermes leather paperweight, which can also serve as a d20 (that’s a 20-sided die), popped up on my Pinterest account.
(Photo: theselby/Instgram downloaded from NYMag)
It made me wonder if perhaps a game of D&D might appeal to me if a few adjustments were made to my “bag of holding” to go along with the Hermes die. For example, my bag could be Longchamp and might contain something like:
- Christian Louboutins +2 that are magically comfortable for running
- Chanel No. 5 that can also be used as a “hold monster” potion
- One Hermes scarf that doubles as an invisibility cloak
Unfortunately, I don’t have $6000 to invest in the d20. That’s OK – it just leaves more for my “bag of holding” items.
Now that the stress of moving back from Japan is long in the rearview mirror and we are settled into our Denver lives, I have found that it’s far too easy to come home from work, whip up a decadent dinner, pour a glass (or 2) of wine and veg on the couch. As much as we strive for comfort in our lives, it rarely contributes to growth or learning.
Starting in January, I have decided to try a few new hobbies. I was looking for activities with minimal cost, fuss, or commuting time and things I could easily incorporate into my travel schedule. I thought back to an article I once read outlining Benjamin Franklin’s strict daily regimen that helped him to stay focused throughout his day. Since most of my day is spent working, I adapted the idea to a weekly schedule of things I had always wanted to try.
Starting off, my evening routine will include 10-15 minutes of French lessons (getting the basics using DuoLingo for now), 30 minutes of exercise, and 10 minutes of stretching or meditation as well as wrapping up any unfinished work or household needs.
Following that, I plan to follow a weekly schedule which will include approximately one hour per evening spent on a hobby of choice:
- Sundays: Music (starting with a simple recorder or thumb piano)
- Mondays: Ballet workout (using Ballet Beautiful videos or recorded live ballet classes on YouTube)
- Tuesdays: Draw or paint (using Craftsy)
- Wednesdays: Read
- Thursdays: Calligraphy (using Craftsy or YouTube videos)
- Fridays: Write (hence this blog post today)
- Saturdays: Intense yoga or running
What I love about this is it keeps me from getting bored with any one particular activity and allows me to simply explore without a lot of commitment. If I find that one pursuit isn’t all that interesting to me, I can always switch it up for another or I can add a second day of something I’m really into.
What I need to be especially cognizant of while diving into these new areas is to make certain that my perspective remains one of exploration and growth, not of accomplishment. I find I can get discouraged when new hobbies fall so short of those who do this for a living or have been practicing for years. (And for that reason, I am not likely to post any of my artwork or recorded concerts on my thumb piano!) I need to keep the mindset that this is for fun, health, opening new doors – the pursuit of happiness.
Any new areas of interest you’re planning to explore in 2018?
Was anyone else as smitten by Veranda’s Jan/Feb 2016 cover as I was? That stunning mirrored china cabinet instantly grabbed my attention, as did the owner’s shared love of blue.
I have a couple of Ikea pieces that, while functional, certainly don’t win any design awards. I’ve already changed out the hardware, but the mirrored cabinet got me to thinking. Could I paint it silver-leaf and get a similar effect? Maybe even do a little gold-leaf mercury-glass effect?
LiveLoveDIY has a great post on how she transformed a standard wooden vanity into a beautiful silver piece. Her result is gorgeous!
I also like how DIY & Crafts combined flat grey paint with silver leaf for the details.
So…when the weather warms up, looks like I’ll be experimenting with silver paint and silver leaf on my china cabinet & dresser. I’ll let you know how it goes!
Prior to our move to Tokyo, I was really into robin’s egg blue. I’ve found that, upon our return, I’m more into deep peacock and aquas. (Here’s our living room pictured below.) I was initially worried that the shades would clash with my blue & white porcelain, but they seem to complement each other.
These colors especially pop when set against the red vintage chairs we found on Meguro Dori last fall. (Being showcased here by the ever-elegant Marty.)
While our year in Tokyo was exciting, it was actually a pretty tough year. We are thrilled to be back in the States and jobs we love. I’m also having a blast decorating our new space.
I plan on picking up this blog again, but in the meantime, you can follow my Instagram feed for random pictures as we enjoy this Colorado autumn.
For a quick birthday get-away, my husband and I decided to head down to Yokohama, only about an hour’s train ride from Tokyo. We stayed at the Hotel New Grand, an 88-year old hotel located near Chinatown. (I have a thing for historic hotels.) The dark, stately Sea Guardian Bar II serves wonderful cocktails…
…while Le Normandie offers a nice breakfast buffet with gorgeous views overlooking the harbor. (Picture below courtesy of Hotel New Grand.)
Our first day was spent wandering around Chinatown and the Motomachi/Yamate district (or “The Bluff”), where expats built beautiful homes and embassies in the late 1800s/early 1900s. I was especially intrigued by the ruins of the home of the French consulate, destroyed by fire in the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923. The ruins sit right in the middle of a park with ivy and plants growing over the bricks.
Dinner was at Aqua Olivine, a French restaurant near the hotel. From the amuse-bouche (who knew seaweed jelly with tuna, crab, & avocado could be so good?!?) to the New Zealand beef, each dish was delightful.
The next day, we spent time at the Yokohama Silk Museum, which was probably the highlight of the trip (to me). They’ve really focused on helping visitors to understand how silk is made, dyed, and crafted into beautiful garments. Among my favorite displays were the live silkworms (I’ll spare you the picture) and an interactive display where you can weave together silk strands straight from the cocoons.
The display showing natural dyes was also really interesting.
Our final stop was the Yokohama Ramen Museum, which is really more like a ramen food court. While my dish was quite good, I can’t say that I would make an effort to return.
Overall, it was a great little get away and I can’t wait to return in warmer weather to enjoy the many gardens, piers, and walkways!
Posted in Travel
Tagged food, Japan, Travel