Monthly Archives: December 2012

Goodbye 2012


I’m a little sad to see 2012 go…not just because it was a super-fabulous year (as all years are, in my book) but because I have to say goodbye to my lovely Rifle calendar and Mister Donut/Snoopy planner.

I’m usually not a fan of art calendars. I prefer the little practical boxes for writing in birthdays and events. But last year I couldn’t pass up this pretty botanical number…and now I’m trying to dream up ways to help it live on into the new year (cutting it into envelopes perhaps?)

And my Mister Donut (Misdo) planner was a gift from my sister-in-law in Japan…she knows me too well (I ate donuts at Misdo every day during our trip to Japan in 2011. And I’m probably the first person to go to Japan and gain weight!) and I looooved that every time I consulted my planner, I was met with Snoopy and Woodstock munching on cute donuts. Sigh…I’m going to miss those guys. (But maybe I will be less hungry for donuts in 2013? Probably not.)

In addition to working on my 2013 calendars, I’m trying to get the ol’ apartment (somewhat) organized today so Naoto & I can enjoy a cozy New Year’s Eve at home. We are going to an early dinner at our favorite old-school steakhouse (Golden Steer, for you locals…for me it’s all about the cracker basket, the baked potato and the french onion soup!!) and then we are coming home to enjoy a bottle of Adami prosecco in our new glasses.

Simple, quiet, easy…just the way I like it.

Happy New Year, Friends! Thanks for coming along with me in 2012 & many wishes for peace and happiness in 2013!

Tagged , , ,

wobbling cocktail glasses


Sticking with the cocktail theme this week (I guess I’m in the mood for New Year’s Eve?), today I’m sharing another new addition to our cocktail cart. These cocktail glasses were a gift from Peggy. She got them from the MOMA store and they have rounded bottoms. They wobble around, but don’t fall over, even when filled with liquids. They remind me of those Weeble toys that I didn’t have as a kid! (I was more of a Little People kind of a kid.) I was going to use them on Christmas night, but we had to postpone cocktails for another time…well, I’m feeling better now, and I can’t wait to try them out!

Tagged ,

Our New Ice Bucket


On Thanksgiving, my parents came bearing thrifted gifts. I’m a bit behind on blogging about them. My dad gave me this 1950s ice bucket/bun warmer. Yes, you read that correctly…it keeps your ice cold and your bread hot (though, not at the same time). My picture is terrible, but there are penguins walking around the bowl part and it has shiny bakelite handles. It was made by West Bend in Wisconsin back in the 1950s and this one is still in shiny, almost-new condition! While I’m intrigued by its bun warming capabilities (my grandma used it this way and my mom said it works), its primary job in our house will be in the ice department. I’ve been searching for an ice bucket for a long time now, and I’m glad I held out for this little round guy!

Now, to plan a little cocktail party and put it to good use!

Thanks, Dad!

Tagged , , ,

Post Christmas Quiet


How was your Christmas? Ours was -sigh- calm and quiet. I was still recovering, so we slept in and opened gifts and played with Presley and drank coffee and talked on the phone to my parents… and then we drove to Mitsuwa and Naoto shopped for groceries ’til his heart was content while I restrained myself in the book store (I only bought three little things for my 2013 calendar!) and the snack food aisle. Then we had a quick somen supper (I need to share our somen recipe here…simple, quick and delicious!) and our neighbor friends came down for a bit to share some Christmas cheer.


Naoto & Presley are awesome Christmas shoppers…Naoto knows I have a “the internet makes me want-y” Pinterest Board and he uses it. But he also throws in a few surprises–especially in my stocking! This year’s stocking was packed with lots of treats: my favorite tea, a gift card, a phone cover & car charger (much needed!) and (as pictured above) a bottle of my favorite new ink in silver, a new zine from Marissa and a place card rubber stamp from Yellow Owl Workshop. (Friends, you’ve been warned–no matter how small the dinner party, there will be place cards!) Naoto completely surprised me with this stamp–not only was it not on my wishlist, but I’d never even seen it before!


And the “big gifts” (pictured at the top) – which were hilariously wrapped in wads of kraft paper (and labeled by Presley apparently) – were the best gifts ever! The mailbox has been on my wishlist ever since Kathy & Donovan started bringing their shiny red one to letter writing socials. I’m very excited to make room for it on my desk and using it to store stationery and stamps. And the pillow flew onto my wishlist as soon as I saw it in the Winter Cabin Collection. It was hand-lettered, hand-screenprinted, and hand-made…worth every penny. And, it perfectly describes me in the winter–hibernation is what I do best! It was packaged so sweetly and I can’t wait to put it on our bed!


I gave a stack of SPAM gifts (a calendar, socks and a new t-shirt) to Naoto and he’s picking out a fancy new rice cooker for Christmas, too. And Presley was spoiled this year–tasty new treats, some catnip goldfish and a potent new catnip stick (which she pulled out of the stocking herself!) The Adami-Hasegawa home is a grateful one.

I have a nice stretch of days off before the new year, so I’m hoping to take advantage of the time to get ready for a fresh start. I’m also kind of itching to take the tree down, but I think part of that is just an avoidance tactic so I can pretend I don’t have other (more pressing) things to do…typical me.

So…anyone out there get anything crazy-good for Christmas? Do you have any end-of-year rituals to share? I’m sure I won’t be the only one setting up my 2013 calendar, clearing out my files and cleaning out a closet or two, right?

Tagged , , ,

champagne season


Tis the season for sparkling cocktails.

I’ve been searching for champagne coupes for awhile now. Goodness knows I don’t need anymore glasses. I have dozens of wine glasses and I have nine flutes, which are actually better for sparking wines because they contain the bubbles better…but there is really nothing more elegant than a coupe. It feels very 30s and chic. I found plenty of options on Etsy, but never loved anything enough to hit “BUY”. I had my eye on some at West Elm, but at $10 per glass, I was afraid that I wouldn’t use them for fear of breakage.

Well, I’m so glad I waited. Last week, when I met my parents, we stopped at the Goodwill to donate some stuff and I found these (pictured above) for…

wait for it…

forty-nine cents each! They are just plain glass (not crystal) and there are two different styles, but I loved them both, and at a whopping $2.94, I figured I could afford all six. I cannot wait to pop open our bottle of Adami Prosecco on New Year’s night!


Tagged ,

Joy is…


…the first cup of coffee in more than two days. Even if it is a small one (and you only finish half of it).

I was knocked down and dragged out with the flu over the weekend. The treachery started Friday night…and thankfully ended Saturday, but I pretty much slept the weekend away while watching Miracle on 34th Street over and over and over again.  I didn’t eat anything until late, late Sunday–a dry bagel and clear broth, super-festive. I am very anti-flu shot, but this experience might make me reconsider… Naoto was a wonderful caretaker and so was Presley, who slept at my feet and waited patiently at the door for me.

But, on a happier note, it’s Christmas Eve! Naoto is out doing a little “last-minute” shopping and I am heading to work. Thankfully, I finished up my shopping on Friday before the illness hit.

Tomorrow, we’ll be making our annual Christmas journey out to Mitsuwa, the Japanese grocery store. We go there every year, just for fun. I have a little cash in my wallet that I’m ready to spend in the bookstore on $9 paperclips or some lovely Japanese stationery. Then in the evening, we will host our neighbor friends for cocktails and little bites. I have no idea what we are serving since nothing sounds delicious…Naoto shall be in charge of the menu.

In case I don’t have time to pop back in tomorrow, and because I know some of you are having Christmas already, Merry Christmas and best wishes for a joyous holiday season!



Oh Tannenbaum 6 – Road Trip Honeymoon


Since we had so much fun on our first road trip, I made my mind up that a road trip honeymoon was the right idea for our wedding the following year. We didn’t want to do anything too crazy expensive, since we knew we wanted to go to Japan at some point. And we didn’t want to do a beach honeymoon because we could visit Naoto’s host family in Hawaii any time.


So we decided to head east for the honeymoon. We started in Cleveland and the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame. The ornament isn’t crazy-awesome, but the building really is amazing. It was designed by I.M. Pei (who also worked on the Louvre expansion) and the building itself is enough of a reason to visit Cleveland, not to mention the rock awesomeness on the inside. It was super-educational for Naoto, too…because he didn’t have the same rock education growing up as I did.

After Cleveland, we headed into Pennsylvania for the main event: a visit to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Water (ornament pictured at the top). We are both huge fans of Frank Lloyd Wright‘s work, especially since we were surrounded by so much of it while living in Oak Park. (Plus, we were married in Wright’s Unity Temple.) Falling Water was stunning…we geeked out over all of the architectural details during the tour and had the perfect summer day to walk around the grounds. We even took a quick side trip to see Kentuck Knob, another Wright house nearby.


Our next stop was Hershey, Pennsylvania– home of chocolatey goodness! We stayed in the Hershey Lodge (which was slightly cheaper than the fancy Hotel Hershey) and it was sweet (pun intended) and filled with cute details. The room numbers are adorned with Hershey kisses, the pillows had Hershey Kiss covered pillowcases, the restaurant served chocolate-themed food (not just desserts either!) and I drank the most delicious, not-too-rich chocolate martini I’ve ever had, and Naoto had his favorite chocolate beer ever! And, when we left our room in the morning, there was a York Peppermint Patty hanging out in the hall to greet us! He gave me a hug.


After Hershey, we drove along to Philadelphia to visit Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell (pictured above). The Liberty Bell was way more impressive in real life and Independence Hall was very simple…it seemed smaller than I imagined.

And finally, with no ornament to share, we ended our trip at the Crayola Factory. Because of Mister Rogers and this video, I’ve always wanted to see the Crayola factory. And while it isn’t the actual factory where the crayons are still poured, we still learned a lot. And, we were the only people in the whole place without children. Because it is one of those places that kids go on school trips or with their parents…there were crafting areas where kids could play with the clay, the markers and the crayons. We didn’t do that (because it would have been awkward), but we learned a lot. The best thing we learned was that Mister Rogers poured the 100 billionth Crayola. And a cardigan hangs in the museum next to that crayon. Neat, huh?

So that was our honeymoon…I have to admit that a road trip honeymoon wasn’t completely relaxing. It would have been much calmer for us to head to a beach and stay in one place. But the road trip was perfect for us, and we had so much fun together on our first adventure as husband and wife.

I wouldn’t change a thing.

Tagged , , , , ,

Oh Tannenbaum 5 – Road Trip!


In 2005 I was tired of work travel and itching for a good vacation. Naoto & I had taken several flying vacations before, but I wanted a road trip. I kind of hate flying, so sometimes the anxiety about getting on a plane is enough to spoil the relaxation in a vacation. Plus, road trips are a great way to see plenty of states.

We started in Iowa in Madison County. I’ll let you take a moment to giggle…I’ve always loved covered bridges, not necessarily because of the book or the movie, but because I visited one as a kid and I thought they were neat. Well, I probably didn’t think it was neat at the time, but as an adult, I grew to love them. I think Winterset, Iowa is just about the cutest tiny town in Iowa and I loved that the bridges held years of history…many initials and names were carved in the old wooden walls and the floor boards of the bridges were gorgeously worn.


Our next stop was Mount Rushmore. On the way, we visited the “required” stops in South Dakota: the Corn Castle and Wall Drug, the Black Hills, Crazy Horse, the Badlands. Mount Rushmore was incredible…breathtaking…it’s absolutely amazing to think that it was designed and executed without technology… I am not someone who gets weepy about my country (okay, I sometimes am) but seeing those presidents sitting on a mountainside just made me feel proud of their hard work many years ago…


Our final stop was…the SPAM museum. Naoto grew up in Hawaii from age twelve and is a huge SPAM fan. He ate it all the time growing up and he still eats it today (when I’m not around). The museum was great fun…the exhibits were interesting, educational, historical and hilarious. I think we giggled through the whole place. And we spent a fortune in the gift shop on crazy SPAM paraphernalia and “limited edition” SPAMs (that sit unopened in our pantry, yet still have a few years to go on their expiration dates…)



Tagged , , ,

The Igloo Drive-In


Presley always tries to coax me into staying home when she knows I’m going away for the day.

On Tuesday I met my parents in Peru, Illinois for some Christmas shopping, eating and good ol’ hanging out. Peru is in the central part of Illinois, only about a half hour away from my parents’ home. It’s a nice place to meet because there is a little mall and plenty of stores without the traffic of Chicagoland. I did most of my Christmas shopping online or in my neighborhood this year, but there were a few things I needed from a big box store to round out my gift list.

The best part of the day was dinner. I finally got to try the Igloo Drive-In! My parents stopped there on their honeymoon forty years ago. Back then, car hops delivered their food to their car. It’s not like that anymore, but it’s still charming. The menu is small, but all of the drive-in classics are there. On the wall, they have maps where customers can pin their hometowns…people from all over the country have visited the Igloo!

I had a tenderloin sandwich and a homemade root beer (which I accidentally Instagrammed five times–oops). I love that the tenderloin came wrapped in parchment paper with a little toothpick and the root beer came in a frosty mug. Sometimes simplicity is perfect.



Tagged , ,

Christmas Tea


Christmas is catching up with me…I have cards to finish, all of the wrapping to do, some last minute gifts to get and I was reeeally hoping to hand-make a gift or two. But work, the bathroom and other obligations keep taking over…and there has been some fun mixed in there, too…and clementines…about 500 clementines.

One of the fun things was book club on Saturday. We read A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Have you ever read it? I hadn’t. Of course, I was familiar with the story. I think I’ve seen every version made and I am slightly ashamed to admit I’ve seen quite a few made-for-TV re-makes (Susan Lucci as Scrooge, anyone?) But reading the book was a new experience because of Dickens’ writing…it brought a more colorful picture of Scrooge’s overnight transformation to my mind than anything I’ve ever seen on TV or in the theater. And I have to admit, in such a busy month it was a pleasure to read something so short…especially considering next month we are reading The Count of Monte Cristo (which is more than 1000 pages!)

After book group Peggy had a few of us over for a Christmas tea. I wish I had taken more pictures (this phrase will be written on my grave!) but the photo above shows the festive table.

For the tea, Peggy served chicken salad and homemade egg salad sandwiches, homemade scones with homemade clotted cream, homemade lemon curd, homemade ricotta, homemade tomato jam and for dessert, homemade almond shortbread. She went overboard, in the best of ways…every bite was amazing and I drank so much delicious tea that I thought I would float away. After we ate we sat in the sitting room and enjoyed the twilight as the day faded into darkness. Peggy’s home is covered in Christmas cheer. She has a gorgeous assortment of Christmas dishes, ornaments, wreaths and lights–hundreds of twinkle lights! Being in her home put me in the mood for Christmas. Not in a let’s-go-shopping kind of way, but in a let’s-curl-up-on-the-couch-with-a-cocktail-and-enjoy-the-lights-of-the-tree-and-think-about-how-good-life-is kind of way…which is exactly what Naoto & I did when he got home from work on Saturday night.

Tagged , ,