Dec 4, 2014


"A portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2014."

It's so good to be home after a month away, but the transition has been rocky. She clings to me most days, and it is looks like these that make me want to hold her tight, assure her that all will be well soon, and never let her go.

Dec 3, 2014


We celebrated Halloween a week early this year (yes, this post is a little late), as Julie and I would be in Tokyo for our epic travels during the actual day of dress up and candy overload. My mother-in-law adores Halloween, and she used to make her children's costumes. By hand! I can't even imagine, but I wish I had it in me to make Julie's costumes...Maybe one day. This year the little one was a butterfly. We carved pumpkins, ate delicious food, and smiled as she flew about the house, shaking her little wand.

what we ate (on the road)

We just came back from a month long trip home (one of my homes, anyway!) to Japan. In LA, we live comfortably on a diet of Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, and local farmers markets. All vegan, and mostly organic. I'm very aware of just how lucky we are to be able to eat this way. Due to the mild weather here year round, and the food conscious culture that abounds, our options are pretty fantastic. Before our big trip, I was pretty strict with Julie's diet. We rarely went a day without some sort of green juice or smoothie, and I planned her meals meticulously. Well, that went out the window quickly in Japan.

Although there are more vegan options now than there were when I lived there some years ago, it is still work and a trek to find a green juice and organic goods. Getting around in central Tokyo without a car means a very long walk, or braving crowded (understatement) trains, or shelling out for a taxi. All this while hauling around an increasingly heavy and opinionated little one. The good part of all of this was that I finally let go a little because I had to. We ate a lot of white rice and noodles, indulged in some sweets, and had a truly wonderful time. Julie adapted just fine. When we stayed with them, our relatives went out of their way to make us the most incredible meals. Here is the menu from one of our days.

Breakfast-Brown rice with natto, toasted seaweed, pumpkin soup, grapes
Lunch-(on the bullet train) assortment of rice balls and oinari-san(rice balls wrapped in fried tofu), green juice, barley tea
Snack-multi-grain crackers, strawberry soy milk, more rice balls
Dinner-vegetable tempura, yuba (tofu skin), stewed vegetables, rice, pickled kiku flowers

Nov 30, 2014


It's been six years since I came back to Tokyo, a place that is at once startling and foreign, as well as comfortable in a way that can only be called home. It has been harder than I ever expected to travel with my two year old, as culture shock is as real for her as it is for me, and we are both raw with the unceasing rhythm of this city. There are so many people to see, and endless numbers of trains to take, and I am so very tired. I know that she is exhausted, too. But, I can say with every fiber of my being, that it is worth every inconvenience and discomfort. We will find our way past the tantrums and tears (both of us), and that bone deep weariness that comes from being on the move constantly. Despite any difficulties, my heart is so full at the end of the day.

Once my little one is asleep, and Grandma is watching over her, I am free to venture out into this wild and wonderful city. Sometimes it is only to walk a block to the nearest vending machine to get a bottle of hot tea (yes, from a vending machine!). Other times it is to see dear friends who I haven't seen in six years. We sit head to head, deep in heartfelt conversation, frosted beer mugs in hand, and in an instant, those years between us are gone, as if they never had been. It is only when we say goodbye that i realize anew that our lives will continue on with vast distance between us, and that I can't say with any certainty when we will meet again. Then my heart breaks all over again, for those dear friends are family, and we are bound to each other with a love I can't quite express. Time and distance are powerless in the face of that kind of love.

Then, there is my family--the ones who are related to me; the kind where we can see our likeness  echoed in each others faces. I see them, and realize that I have been missing them all along, without even realizing it, for it is something that is easier kept buried within. I can pretend that I am not as lonely for them, and life can go on tidily. But I've seen them now, and talked with them into the still hours, cried, laughed, and felt their embraces, and the floodgates are wide open. Yes, it is easier to keep those gates closed, but there is something to be said for unlocked emotion. I feel so strongly because I am blessed with that much love in my life, and that is something to be grateful for indeed. Homecoming is bittersweet, and everything I could have hoped for and more.

Nov 17, 2014

10 things i'm grateful for (Japanese holiday style)

1. Japanese style baths. Being able to wash first on the side of the tub, and then stepping into steaming hot bliss, where the water actually covers my shoulders.

2. Convenience stores here--they seriously live up to their proposed convenience. You can choose from a dizzying array of rice balls, send your mail, or hang out and read the latest magazines.

3. Bullet trains--there is nothing like the smooth ride on a shinkansen, with an "eki ben" (station bento box) and cold beer in hand, as you hurtle to your destination at 186 miles/hour.

4. Celebrating my great aunt's 90th birthday in the remote countryside with my toddler. Her tears of joy when she saw my daughter for the first time, and the way they looked at each other--with completely uncensored happiness.

5. Watching my mother and daughter adore each other. At two years old, my little one met her Japanese Obaachama (Grandma) for the first time, and my heart is so full to see them together.

6. How travel sparks me alive like nothing else--that feeling of being a stranger amidst locals always gives me a secret thrill. I adore the challenge of finding my place in the out of ordinary, and coming face to face with a reminder that the world is vast and full of so many untouched secrets.

7. The constant hum of Tokyo, long into the wee hours of the night.

8. The unparalleled comfort and convenience of taxi rides here. You never have to wait long, and the cars are always immaculate.

9. The humble rice ball. I'm convinced that I could live off of them for the rest of my life, as there are that many flavors, and they are just that delicious.

10. The adaptability of children. I'm blown away by my toddler's ability to take all of this cultural difference and jarring change in environment in stride. She lives purely in the moment, infused with curiosity and joy.

Oct 9, 2014

tech fast

I've taken a break from my computer, from blogging, and kept social media to a minimum this past few months. It started with a trip to Wisconsin, where there was no place for technology--just fresh air, clear skies, and miles of pristine woods and lakes. It was truly lovely, and much needed. There have been times when I have felt like much of my connections with other souls comes though this avenue of online everything, as there hasn't been a whole lot of time away from my little one. I'm so happy about this choice to stay near her during her early years, but I admit there are times when it can feel lonely and isolating. So I am grateful for the beautiful connections I have made online.

Still, this break was much appreciated by my own soul, as it gave me time to just be with myself for a while, with no distractions. Julie gets cranky when I am on the phone or computer, and I can't say I blame her. My attention is divided, and I am not living in our shared present moment. We are also back to our beloved Waldorf parent-child class, and the conversations I have there always inspire me to no end to be more present, "worthy of emulation" as Rudolph Steiner said, and unplugged from technology in my little one's presence.

But I am happy to be back online now. As of today. To finish this post was en epic battle with inertia and the end of the day oblivion I have found myself sinking into day after day. It is all too easy to just collapse onto the sofa for the remaining hours until bed, but when this has become the norm (as it has these past months), I am left wanting and creatively unfulfilled. When I don't devote time to what makes my heart sing and sparks my passion, I am not filling my own cup. But that is a whole other post. There is much I want to say on the topic of pursuing our passion! So for now, I will end by saying thank you to the recharging and rekindling that this little tech fast provided, and move forward in excitement for what is to come.

Aug 18, 2014


"A portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2014."

We took a trip to Wisconsin recently, and spent our days in a cabin by the lake. We walked quiet roads surrounded by forests as far as the eye could see, and took a break from technology, as well as the bustle of city life. She adored every moment, and it left us all longing for a life that is more in touch with nature.


"A portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2014."

It takes her a while to warm up to new situations. She likes to observe carefully and intently before dipping her toes in. Here she is at a birthday party full of excited children, holding tight to Daddy, in full on observation mode.

Aug 14, 2014

30/52 + 31/52

"A portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2014".

Better late than never! The first portrait was taken on the day she got her very own sling. She put as many of her little friends in there as possible, and beamed from ear to ear all day long.

The second portrait was taken at our favorite gardens. She is so at home there. Her little spirit breaks free from the usual reservations she has in public, and dances about the trees and flowers.

Jul 19, 2014


"A portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2014."

Such a pensive little soul.

Jul 14, 2014

20 facts

I shared these facts on my other home on Instagram today, and thought I'd share here, as well :-)

1. I’m American (French & English) & Japanese, and I spent half of my life in Tokyo.

2. I attended 2 high schools, 2 middle schools, 3 elementary schools, 2 preschools, and a few acting schools and colleges. And I just started back in school to study photography.

3. I started acting professionally when I was thirteen.

4. I’m a HUGE introvert. I love dining, going to the movies, and traveling alone, and big groups make me super nervous.

5. I’ve been a vegan for a decade.

6. I play the handbells. They’re awesome! The bond you form with your bell choir is the best. I’m currently on the hunt for a bell choir to join!

7. I bartended for thirteen years, and have the stories to go with it ;-)

8. I have a bunch of phobias—bodies of natural water, flying, insects and spiders (EWWW!), and needles. Ugh.

9. My favorite books to read are cookbooks. I like to pull out a stack every day, and dream up elaborate meal plans.

10. I am terribly impatient, and have quite the short temper, even if I don’t always show it. I’m working on this.

11. Every few years, I get an overwhelming urge to move somewhere new and start fresh. Oregon? Washington? Somewhere green and lush where we could have our own garden, and live more of a country life would be ideal.

12. I can’t stand Elmo. Today, my daughter said his name, and I pretended I had no idea who she was talking about…

13. I was an English major in college. I adore books and writing.

14. I hated my unruly hair for years, and straightened it for so much of my life. Now I let it go natural, and am much happier.

15. My life’s dream used to be becoming a successful actress in Hollywood. The reality of the industry didn’t sit well with me. I never felt authentic within it, and the constant self-judgment got to me. So my future is wide open now, which is scary, but exciting, too. Yay to blank slates!

16. If I could only eat one more food for the rest of my life, it would be natto (fermented soybeans—sticky, smelly, and so good!) or miso soup.

17. I love to tap dance. I’m hoping to really throw myself into dance again. In the meantime, I’m obsessed with “so you think you can dance”.

18. I don’t like to go shopping. Unless it’s for food :-) Most of my clothes are from college and even high school…

19. I was sick for many years, and it completely changed the way I live, and how I see the world. I am definitely thankful for my life in a way I wasn’t before I was ill. It also opened my eyes to healthful eating and alternative healing, which has been an amazing adventure.

20. Motherhood has challenged me in ways I never could have imagined. I am becoming who I really am and always was beneath the layers of self-doubt that I’ve struggled with my whole life.

Thanks for reading!!

what we ate

Our meals are evolving. We are in that awkward in between phase where Julie can eat a lot more of what we eat, but not quite everything. I haven't quite figured it out, and somedays I fail epically. Somedays, we get our green smoothies and juices in, and it makes up for the fact that she has turned her nose up at every other meal. I really can't wait for the day that she will be as excited about food as I am!

Breakfast-Oatmeal with apples, coconut milk, cardamom, and cinnamon, melon
Snack-Brown rice cake with walnut butter, barley tea
Lunch-Sprouted wheat tortilla pizza with tofu ricotta, basil, mushrooms, and olives
Snack-Seed crackers with hummus, banana, green smoothie
Dinner-Split pea soup, brown rice
Dessert-Cinnamon-espresso chocolate chip cookies from Chloe's Kitchen. (mama & papa)

first haircut

It had to happen, because we were entering mullet territory, and frankly, after lopping off a cluster of dreadlocks, professional help was much needed. The idea of my little one getting her first haircut filled my heart with the dichotomy of bitter and sweet. She is growing up. A mere two weeks until her second birthday, and I swear she is vastly bigger and wiser every morning.

She did so well--still as a statue, and so very serious--she sat patiently, gripping a toy that our lovely hairdresser gave her, tightly in her hands. Because Julie doesn't watch TV, the episode of Sesame Street that was on in front of her had her mesmerized. Her first haircut was painless, and over quickly after a sprinkling of bright pink glitter on her curls. One of many milestones that pulls on this mama's heartstrings...

Jul 12, 2014


"A portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2014."

On a weekend cafe date. She generally ends up covered in cracker crumbs, as she is here.

Jul 11, 2014


"A portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2014."

She recently started climbing the structures at the playground, tentatively, but with such pride. I love this more than anything--to see how proud she is of herself when she accomplishes something new.

Jul 4, 2014

10 things i'm grateful for

1. These cookies. The very best vegan chocolate chip cookies I have ever had in my life. For those of you who don't know her yet, Chloe Coscarelli is a vegan rockstar!

2. My new like (not love yet, but baby steps are good!) of exercise. It's foreign, it's brand new, and it's pretty wonderful to actually look forward to taking care of my body.

3. When Julie takes a two hour nap all by her self. Amazing!

4. Gel pens. Quite possibly the nerdiest thing I've ever admitted to, but they make writing a pleasure. Good journalling, I'm convinced, comes down to the perfect pen...

5. There is a brand new camera on it's way to me. I can't wait, I can't wait, I can't wait! The art of photography is something my Dad passed down to me--he's always been quite the photography enthusiast. I'm so grateful that he supports this passion of mine, and that we can bond over this. Shared artistic bonds are the best!

6. I got a flat tire the other day, and on the heels of my other car accident, any car mishaps make me incredibly nervous. But I'm grateful to my sweet husband who stayed on the phone with me, during a busy workday, and kept me calm. And I'm thankful for the nicest AAA man who came to change my tire. He had this peaceful presence that put both me and Julie (who was exhausted and hungry) at ease. There are angels everywhere, I'm convinced.

7. I get all frazzled when we have guests, and we have to undertake a massive cleaning/overthrow of the apartment. But then, we are left with sparkling floors, and space for energy to flow, and we always end up being so thankful that our guests came to visit :-)

8. That moment when the sun has just began to rise, and I am the only one awake, with both of my loves sleeping peacefully on either side of me.

9. When I realized that my little one is big enough to eat out--not just by me bringing all of her food packed up in a billion little containers--but off the menu of most places. Luxury used to look very different to me, but these days, this eating out at restaurants might just be at the top of that list.

10. Julie rode the slides all by herself today. She climbed the stairs, pushed herself off at the top, and slid down with the proudest look on her face. Before becoming a parent, I never would have understood the bittersweetness of such an accomplishment, or the pride I would share with my husband when recounting the moment to him.


"A portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2014."

I'm not sure there's anything she likes more than to visit with flowers. She strokes them gently, sniffing each one, while exclaiming her approval--"Mmmmm!" It's the sweetest thing.

Jun 23, 2014

little adventures-to the train yard

This past weekend moved at a slower pace--the kind of rhythm that lends itself to song after song request from little one, as she pipes in with newly learned lyrics, endless reading sessions with Daddy, the floor covered in impressive stacks of books from sunrise to sunset, and leisurely trips to taco stands and parks. In short, my ideal kind of weekend. We had the time to really see each other; to linger in extended cuddles, and to shower one another with a billion kisses. As our toddler grows at the speed of light (so it seems!), it makes me happy when we are able to consciously slow down, and be truly present.

We decided to go on a little family trip to a train museum, and it was amazing! Although it's basically an old train yard of sorts, the sense of history that these old trains emit is palpable. One of the old train cars is open to the public to explore. It's just an empty train car with clouded windows, and old sun-stained wood floors, creaking under the combined weight of our steps, but the air is thick with something haunting and unnameable. Strolling by these retired giants, we felt awed and wistful all at once. Back in their heyday, they must have been just beautiful to see, and exciting as heck to ride. Julie was in toddler paradise--she who loves any sort of vehicle, be it a crane, bulldozer, bus, or train---and could scarcely contain herself. Her favorite part was the ride around the park in a miniature train. Her little hands clung tight to the sides of the train car, hair whipping wildly in the wind, grinning madly, as she exclaimed over and over and over again--"This is so much fun, isn't it?!" It really was.

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