Bald is Beautiful

I’ve been hinting at something special going on in our house for a while now, and I’m finally ready to spill the beans.

Back in March, Little Cutie found out about the amazing St. Baldrick’s Foundation, and their work raising funds for pediatric cancer research.

{Note: While not suitable for very young children, we felt this was a very appropriate video for The Cuties, ages 9 & 11, to better understand the impact of pediatric cancer and fundraising efforts}.

Ever big-hearted, Little Cutie was empowered by the idea that she could help and that this was something she could do as a “just a kid.”

And so she proposed shaving her head to raise money.

We talked about it with her, and as a family at length, explaining what people might say or think when they see her without hair.  But she was even-keeled, strong in spirit, and clear of purpose.

And so we supported her 100%.

She wrote the loveliest of letters and the husband and I forwarded it off to everyone we knew.  She talked about it to people in person, to kids at school and they went home and talked to their parents, and friends stopped me in the neighborhood and around town to talk about the plan and lend their support.

And the response was overwhelming.

Amazingly overwhelming.

See, most St. Baldrick’s events in America are big productions in bars or shopping malls with lots of participants, and professional advertising.  Not our little One Girl Wonder in Tokyo.  Our small community and Little Cutie of the Big Heart ~ you know what we all made happen?

$12,142.00 raised for pediatric cancer research!!!

And that, my dear readers, deserves a celebration, don’t you think?

A celebration of our family and friends and their love and support.

A celebration of those we love who have fought cancer and survived and are still in our lives and we are all the more blessed.

A celebration of those we loved who lost their battles with cancer so we could remember them once more.

A celebration of a room filled with children of all ages, who came to hoot and holler and cheer on a friend as she did something different.

And a celebration of our Little Cutie, who gave something way more than just her hair today.

The response to this post has been incredible.  So much so we’d like to share the link to Little Cutie’s fundraising page if you are interested in donating to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.  



{Before the big shave, she donated several ponytails to Pantene’s Beautiful Lengths, like she did last year ~  No need to waste all that hair, right?!!!}










A very special thank you to Roberto Perozzi for his hair expertise and to my girlfriend Stephanie for her fantastic photography and for allowing us to be “in the moment.”

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Washi Laptop

My problem continues.

My washi tape problem, that is.

But Big Cutie was working on a project and I just couldn’t help myself.


And lately it seems that despite having a work laptop, a laptop of his own and an iPad, my husband is always commandeering my laptop.  So it occurred to me that if I made it as girly as humanly possible perhaps it could be mine and all mine!


Is this seriously cute or what?

It reminds me of grosgrain ribbon from Pappagallo back in the Dark Ages when I was Big Cutie’s age and everything I adored came with polka dots and stripes and whales and alligators {OK, nothing has actually changed in 30 years I guess}.

Now all of my electronics belong in The Official Preppy Handbook and perfectly coordinate.

preppyelectronicsAll I did was place my washi tape with tails hanging off and then used my x-acto knife slid gently against the edge of the computer to cut flush.

If I ever tire of it, it comes right off and I can go back to the plain silver or completely change my design!

The only problem I see is that it’s in no way stopping my husband from using this computer.  Clearly in our house filled with three females, and a sea of pink, he is completely confidant in his masculinity!


Linked to:

I Should Be Mopping the Floor, Craft-o-Maniac, Monday Funday Party, A Peek into My Paradise, Home Stories A to Z

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Kids Have Strokes, Babies Have Strokes, Even Unborn Babies Have Strokes…


In fact, for infants under one month, strokes happen once in every 2,800 live births.  And for kids ages 1 to 18, they occur in 11 out of every 100,000 children.

And Big Cutie is one of those survivors.

May is National Pediatric Stroke Awareness Month, so I want to talk about this a bit.

{You can read our complete stroke story here. You can learn more about pediatric strokes and the Children’s Hemiplegia and Stroke Association here}

When I first heard that very scary word stroke, and had to learn to navigate a world of doctors, therapists, and braces, I focused on all the things Big Cutie might not be able to do.

But not any more.

Because Big Cutie is amazing.


From the time she was fitted for her first leg brace and could take her first steps, if she could figure out how to do it, she was willing to try it!


When she was much younger we used to call her “The 30 Minute Girl.”  Originally we thought she was shy and needed a bit of time to hang back with Mommy before entering the fray.  Later, we figured out that she was simply surveying the situation, figuring out how she could best participate, and then would join in, full force.



In fact, Big Cutie now forces ME to try new and adventurous activities because otherwise, I’d be the only family member left out!



Whether it’s in the air, ziplining or in the water, swimming, she’s got a big smile on her face!


She’s even gone high-tech in her adaptive device, so she can be on the move more.


Big Cutie is the best example I know that you don’t have to finish first to be a winner in life.

Is she cool, or what?


CHASA creates a special montage of Pediatric Stroke Survivors every year in honor of Pediatric Stroke Awareness Month.  Check it out and see if there’s anyone you might recognize around the 6:00 minute mark!

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Why I’ve Been MIA

I’ve got Blogger Guilt for not writing in over a week.

It’s not you, it’s me, I swear.

We’ve simply entered that end of the school year craze where the calendar is beginning to resemble a rainbow of appointments, social events, and school functions.  I’m doing my best to keep my head above water and have fun while doing it!

Since we last chatted, here’s what I’ve been up to ~

Threw a small dinner party for work people

As always, it’s a challenge sometimes to work with Western recipes in an Asian country.  After a year and a half, I’ve become accustomed to getting out my little kitchen scale and looking up how to convert grams to ounces or cups, but I still stumble sometimes in the purchasing department.  For one recipe I needed dried tarragon.  After trips to three different markets, I realized that tarragon is only sold in large pieces in Japan as opposed to a fine powder.  Clearly, that was not ideal for a salad dressing.  In a last-minute attempt to not have to re-plan the menu, I bought a small mortar and pestle, which worked brilliantly, and had the added bonus of bringing oohs an aahs from The Cuties!


Spent an afternoon with a local framer

Oh Tokyo is spoiling me rotten.  Instead of loading up my art and heading to Michael’s or a neighborhood framing shop, a lovely man came to my apartment with a suitcase filled with frame and mat samples.  Two girlfriends joined me, and we drank tea, helped each other and placed our orders.  Simply, divine.


Scheduled my first appointments for Big Cutie’s Bat Mitzvah

We officially have a date on the calendar and are very excited!  Big Cutie has all sorts of ideas about what she wants for her party and I am so looking forward to planning things with her.  I’m really thrilled she wants to have an active role in her big day.  The challenge for me, however, is trying to explain to the Japanese what exactly it is I’m scheduling…..I’m having a lot of conversations that run like this, “it’s sort of like a wedding ~ without a groom ~ and oh yeah, the ‘bride’ is only 13.”  I imagine after I leave they are talking for hours about the crazy American lady!

Attended Middle School Parent Orientation

How the HECK do I have a child going into MIDDLE SCHOOL??!!!!  Like an impending birthday isn’t making me hyper-focused on gray hairs as it is, sitting in an auditorium listening to information on lockers, changing classes, laptops and dances – DANCES, people! – sure is.  Big Cutie, of course, is SO excited about it, and why shouldn’t she be?  It’s all bigger and better in her world.  Me?  I just found myself counting the years ’til she heads off to college and had to sit down and compose myself {7 in case you’re wondering}.


Surviving the Husband’s Week+ Business Trip

I know most of my Expat friends have husbands who travel all the time, but I’m very blessed and mine does not.  I’m also VERY out of practice to having him gone, and we all miss him terribly, but we’re entering the home stretch and will have him home before we know it.  Which is critical for two reasons:  most importantly because we love and miss him, and a close second because the Apple TV has been out for more than 48 hours and I’ve been unable to fix it.  As the Person in Charge of All Things Electronic, this falls under his purview, so I am extra-looking forward to his return!


So that’s my story {and I’m sticking to it}.

I hope life is calm, cool and collected in your worlds!

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Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah!

This summer my Cuties are going to sleep away camp for the first time.

For a month.

Everyone is over the top excited, but the Mama in me is rather sad at the prospect of not hearing about their day each evening at the dinner table.  So they’ve promised to write to me on a semi-regular basis {I’ll let you know how that plays out!}.

To best facilitate the whole “I promise to write you every other day thing” I made up a special box for each of them to take to camp.

letter box

{For the record: while I considered many things while naming The Cuties, I never thought about potential alliteration for summer camp paraphernalia, and this is merely a coincidence, I swear!}

Because we do not have Michael’s or Target in Japan, finding an appropriate box that didn’t cost ¥5000 was quite the challenge.  I finally found these at Uematsu, a proper art supply store for a very reasonable price and can now think of at least a half-dozen other ways to use them so I will be headed back for more!

Here’s what I included inside each box {from left to right}:


*address labels with my summer address and their Daddy’s when he has to be back in Tokyo working, as well as return address labels with the camp address {can you tell I don’t want there to be any excuses not to write?!}

*Air Mail stationery for letters to Japan

*Personalized notepads from camp {if you subscribe to their newsletter right now you can receive 15% off your order!}

*Flat notecards and envelopes.  These are the perfect size for 9 & 11 year olds. {My cards are a little older from my stash I’ve bought during Boatman Gellar’s incredible online tent sales, however their designs continue to be adorable, so I’m sure you’ll find something you like!}

*Stickers for decorating envelopes.  {I’m pretty sure I decorated my letters home from camp over thirty years ago with Mrs. Grossman’s stickers, too.  Does that make me or the stickers vintage?}

*washi tape for sealing envelopes, and because pretty much my philosophy in life since moving to Tokyo is you can never be without washi tape.

*Colorful pens for writing home! {I’ve written about how much I love the erasable pens easily found here in Japan, but last summer I discovered that the ink faded when left out in the heat of the sun, and I didn’t want to chance an envelope not making its way to me, so I avoided using these in this instance!}

*Japanese stationery sets.  For someone like me who loves to buy new stationery all the time, I love that most stationery sets in Japan only come in packs of five; it allows me to justify buying more!


So The Cuties will be ready to go when we head to the States and I send them on their merry way.  All I have to do now is add stamps.

And I haven’t forgotten the grownups, of course!

I’m gathering up my own things and plan to shop a bit in America, however I want to leave things set for my husband.  The Cuties’ camp director has graciously said that he can send emails to them and they’ll be permitted to write back due to the distance issue, however he’d also like to send some “real mail” their way as well.

So I made this up to leave in his office for him:

dads file

He’s got labels for each girl, stamps to mail things from Tokyo to camp, and a bunch of cute cards from Japan.

One project down, twenty-seven more to go before we pack to head to summer camp!

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There’s a Little Less Pink and Green in the World

The lovely Lilly Pulitzer Rousseau passed away today.

For so many of us Lilly Lovers it began watching our mothers or grandmothers emulate this beautiful fashion icon, but not me.


My love of Lilly began with my Grandfather.

Ever-dapper, ever-colorful, he embodied the Lilly life the way Lilly herself wanted people to.  And when he passed away and I went to clean out his closet I couldn’t help but smile at the stacks of sherbet-colored cashmere sweaters and golf pants.


But what really caught my eye and made me grin the most were the sea of Lilly Original sport coats in amazing shades of apricot, fuchsia, mint green and more.  All lined in her signature prints, they were a burst of extra happy when you snuck a peek at the bold lions or lavender seahorses dancing inside.


I wore Lilly through both of my pregnancies and The Cuties’ childhoods will forever be defined by Lilly.  Every special occasion, vacation and most treasured photographs have a Lilly touch somewhere within.


A special thanks to Lilly for making all our days pink, green, happy and bright!


I know you’re somewhere sipping drinks with umbrellas, wearing something fabulous and throwing one helluva party!


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If You Give A Room a Rug….

You know the book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie?

Where every little action has the consequence of requiring another action?

Welcome to my life.

So we moved into the new apartment.  And were fortunate enough to now have both a Playroom and a spare bedroom that we’ve designated Craft Room Central.

In the old apartment, we had a cute Ikea rug in our spare room.


But that clearly needed to move to the new Craft Room Central to serve its life mission of protecting ridiculously light-colored carpet in a rental apartment (because any new rug would come from the furniture rental shop, thus defeating the point of being the great protector from messes if I had to protect the rug protecting the carpet – see the madness, here?).

And so it was moved.


And a new rug was procured from said furniture rental facility.


And the silly man with whom I live thought all was right in my world until I tried to explain to him that the new rug and the old sofa pillows looked terrible together.  And he promptly gave me the same sad and confused puppy dog eyes our Newfoundland used to give me when I’d make him wait for dinner.


But not to worry!

As always, I have the deepest and most ridiculous craft stash at my beck and call, and so once, I again, I present you a project for which nothing was purchased!

I printed templates out of card stock on my Silhouette and cut them out of felt {I know that I can have the Silhouette do this for me, but I didn’t have the proper materials on hand, and as usual I wanted instant gratification, and certainly didn’t want to have wait for an overseas care package}.


I then pinned my letters and symbols to my pillow pieces and sewed them down with the machine in a simple, short straight stitch.  I love how appliqued felt looks; reminds me a little bit of trapunto.


Then I sewed up the pillow covers right over the old pillows and was good to go!


There were plenty of LOLs and OMGs from The Cuties.  These definitely got my tween girlies’ seal of approval.



And that, my friends, is the story of how if you give me a new apartment, I’ll need a new rug….

….and all new pillows.

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