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Warm Up With A Hearty Meal From The Alps

Warm Up With A Hearty Meal From The Alps

There’s nothing quite as comforting as a hearty meal in wintertime. Through Feb. 28, cafe and bar BeBu on the first floor of Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills is bringing delicious comfort food from the alpine regions of Switzerland to Tokyo. Available from 5 p.m. to […]

Warm Up With A Hearty Meal From The Alps

Warm Up With A Hearty Meal From The Alps

There’s nothing quite as comforting as a hearty meal in wintertime. Through Feb. 28, cafe and bar BeBu on the first floor of Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills is bringing delicious comfort food from the alpine regions of Switzerland to Tokyo. Available from 5 p.m. to […]

Warm Up With A Hearty Meal From The Alps

Warm Up With A Hearty Meal From The Alps

There’s nothing quite as comforting as a hearty meal in wintertime. Through Feb. 28, cafe and bar BeBu on the first floor of Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills is bringing delicious comfort food from the alpine regions of Switzerland to Tokyo.

Available from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. (last order is at 8:30 p.m.), the Swiss Alpine Party Plan (¥5,500 per person) features an array of filling dishes, including roasted venison and oven-baked potatoes covered in bubbling raclette cheese; Waldorf salad with walnuts, blue cheese, apple, celery and sour cream mayonnaise dressing; sliced corned beef with sweet dill pickles and horseradish cream; potato rosti (fritters) with chive sour cream; pan-seared sea perch with sauce gribiche (mayonnaise-based egg sauce); baked macaroni pasta with grated emmental cheese, crispy onion, and bacon; and a Swiss tart of nuts and dried fruit with soft serve ice cream for dessert.

For an extra ¥1,000 per person, guests can enjoy two hours of free-flowing draft beer, house wines and a selection of house spirits, mixers and soft drinks.

White day brings sweet and savory delights

To celebrate White Day — the March counterpart to Valentine’s Day — the Yokohama Bay Hotel Tokyu will offer charming, photogenic sweets lovingly prepared by patissiers for guests and their loved ones.

From March 4 to 14, the Somerhouse lounge on the hotel’s second floor will serve its popular White Day strawberry mille-feuille (¥3,600 for take-out; ¥3,960 for eating in). The mille-feuille, containing custard cream and strawberries with just the right amount of sweetness, can be savored as guests gaze out at a beautiful view of Minato Mirai.

Even after White Day is over, there is more to look forward to at the Somerhouse lounge. From March 15 until April 14, the hotel’s popular Sakura Afternoon Tea will be served. The midday treat offers guests a chance to enjoy an assortment of both the savory and sweet, together with 17 free-flowing varieties of tea and coffee.

The first level of the three-tiered stand includes almond jelly and a salted sakura cherry blossom, strawberry and raspberry cream tart; while the second has sakura tea and dark cherry scones; and the third offers assorted sandwiches, as well as a bamboo shoot and broad bean quiche.

Cherry blossom treats welcome springtime

Conrad Osaka is celebrating the coming of spring with a sakura cherry blossom extravaganza at three of its restaurants and bars.

Through Apr. 15 at the 40 Sky Bar & Lounge on the 40th floor, guests can partake in the Sakura Spiral Afternoon Tea (¥5,500), featuring 15 varieties of coffee and tea as well as five savory dishes prepared with seasonal ingredients.

From Mar. 1 to Apr. 15, Restaurant Kura will prepare a special hanami (cherry blossom viewing) bento (¥5,200) perfect for cherry blossom viewing, as well as a 
teppanyaki (iron grill cooking) sakura dinner course (¥21,000). Guests can feast on the dinner course prepared with lavish seasonal ingredients while enjoying the dazzling night skyline from high above.

The C: Grill will also serve its own dinner course (¥12,500) with a variety of seasonal dishes that includes Spanish mackerel prepared in sakura oil and served with asparagus, botan shrimp and more.

On Mar. 22, the Atrium Lounge on the 38th floor will host a one-night-only masquerade sakura party with a casual buffet and free-flowing rose Champagne and rose sparkling wine, as well as entertainment from a magician, musicians and a DJ.

All the Difference in The World

All the Difference in The World

  Every Sunday morning I take a light jog around a park near my home.  There’s a lake located in one corner of the park.  Each time I jog by this lake, I see the same elderly woman sitting at the water’s edge with a […]

How to Ship Real Flowers

How to Ship Real Flowers

A backyard cutting garden can produce large amounts of beautiful flowers every year, and proud gardeners may want to share blooms with family and friends–even if they live far away. You can ship fresh flowers by mail and have them arrive intact on the other side of the country–if […]

The Surprise Blessings of Thank-You Notes

The Surprise Blessings of Thank-You Notes

Writing a thank you note

When you have to write one, you may be stumped. But then you’ll discover that expressing gratitude is infectious.

Did your mother make you write thank-you notes too? Did you labor over them, scratching your head, wondering what in the world you were going to say? Do you still wonder about how to write a thank-you note?

Seems like I should be writing this after Christmas. That’s when the thank-you note ordeal took place in our house. We couldn’t get out of the house to play with our new toys until we wrote at least one thank-you note to Aunt Mary May and Uncle Alex or Auntie Eleanor or someone else who wasn’t there when we opened that present up under the tree.

That was the rule: You had to write a thank-you note to the people you couldn’t thank in person. Even if you didn’t like the present. Even if the shirt you got was the wrong color (and shirts are so boring anyway) or the book was one you never wanted to read.

You had to show that you were grateful. Somehow.

All these years later, I can say I’m grateful for The Ordeal of the Thank-You Notes or maybe I should call it The Lesson of the Thank-You Notes. Because learning how to be grateful and how to express it is one of the best lessons of life. (Thanks, Mom.)

Every week I have to write at least one thank-you note if not more. And often when I do it I think, “I’m not sure what I’ll say.”

But thankfulness is infectious, like a cold or the flu. You put some of it down on paper, and you start discovering more of it all over. It might feel stiff and artificial to write it out at first. But not for long.

Christmas might be a ways off but Thanksgiving is around the corner, a day when we put gratitude on the calendar, a celebration of thankfulness for all that we have and all that we are. It’s the ultimate Thank-You Note Experience.

“In everything give thanks,” wrote Paul in his first letter to the Thessalonians. In everything. And nothing beats writing it down and sharing your gratitude because that’s just like sharing it with God.

For that, I give thanks.

Damaged Souls Still Have Worth

Damaged Souls Still Have Worth

“A shop owner placed a sign above his door that said: ‘Puppies For Sale.’ Signs like this always have a way of attracting young children, and to no surprise, a boy saw the sign and approached the owner; ‘How much are you going to sell […]

Holiday Vegetable Side Dishes

Holiday Vegetable Side Dishes

Give your vegetables the shine they deserve with these holiday side dishes. Try your hand at a creamed kale recipe from Tyler Florence or roasted squash with crispy bulgur crumbs from F&W’s Kay Chun. We’ve also got options for lemony fingerling potatoes, honey-glazed roasted root […]

How to Make an Origami Kusudama Flower

How to Make an Origami Kusudama Flower

When learning how to fold origami flowers, you’ll definitely want to add the kusudama flower to your list of projects. This pretty flower is relatively simple to fold, but sure to impress all of your friends.

Many novice paper folders make the mistake of assuming kusudama refers to a specific species of flower. The Japanese word “kusudama” can be translated as “medicine ball.” Kusudama origami is origami made of several identically folded units that are glued together or sewn together to make a spherical shape. Kusudama is often considered a precursor to the modern genre of modular origami.

In a kusudama flower, each sheet of paper is folded to form one petal. Then all of the petals are glued together.

Children ages six and up should be able to fold the kusudama petal with a bit of practice, but will likely require adult assistance to make the completed flower.

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    Select Your Paper

    kusudama flower

     

    Dana Hinders

    The kusudama flower is made with six separate sheets of square paper. You can use origami paper, scrapbook paper, or calendar papers cut to the size you wish. Bigger paper results in bigger petals, which gives you a more dramatic looking flower. Mix and match patterns for an artistic effect or make all of the petals the same solid color if you want your flower to look as realistic as possible.

    If you’re folding this model with a child, use large 6-inch by 6-inch squares to make the project easiest for tiny hands to work with. You can also make a kusudama flower with money.

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    Form a Paper Triangle

    kusudama flower

     

    Dana Hinders

    Place the paper in front of you with the back side facing up. Fold it diagonally to make a triangle. In origami, this is sometimes called a shawl fold, diaper fold, or triangle fold. It is a simple base that is used to develop many different types of projects.

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    Make a Square

    kusudama flower

     

    Dana Hinders

    Fold the left and right corners up to the middle to make a square. Remember to make crisp folds to ensure the nicest looking origami kusudama flower. When you’re finished, your project should look like the photo to the left. In origami, this shape is called a helmet base.

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    Fold the Corners Down

    kusudama flower

     

    Dana Hinders

    Fold the left and right corners down to meet the edge of the paper so your paper looks like the project shown to the left.

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    Flatten the Flaps

    kusudama flower

     

     Dana Hinders

    Flatten the flaps you created in the previous step. In origami, this is called a squash fold. Flattening without wrinkling the paper takes a bit of practice, but the squash fold is one of the most important origami folds to know. It is used in everything from origami flowers to origami cards.

    Fold the top triangles down so your project looks like the photo to the left.

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    Create Your Kusudama Flower Petals

    kusudama flower

     

    Dana Hinders

    Fold the left corner in so it meets the first side crease. Repeat with the right corner. Carefully glue your flower petal together. Repeat until you have a total of six flower petals. Compare the flower petals when you are finished to make sure they are all exactly the same size and shape.

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    Complete Your Origami Kusudama Flower

    kusudama flower

     

    Dana Hinders

    Glue the petals together to form your kusudama origami flower. For best results, use a glue stick or liquid craft glue and let each connection dry before continuing. If you’re having trouble, use paper clips on the middle of the petals to hold the flower together until all the glue is dry.

    If you’d like to add a little extra embellishment to your kusudama flower, consider attaching a button, scrapbook brad, or rhinestone to the center. If you make a wire loop and thread your button through, you can use the excess wire to attach your flower to the bow on a beautifully wrapped package.

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    Creating a Kusudama Ball

    A hanging origami kusudama ball folded from all white paper looks quite elegant.

     

    Flickr / Sana Lee

    If desired, you can fold 12 of the flowers and glue them together to make one large origami kusudama ​ball.

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    Making an Origami Bouquet

    Origami bouquet

     

    Flickr/Mary Amanda Thompson.

    A single origami kusudama flower is pretty on its own, but kusudama flowers can also be added to origami bouquets to create pretty flower arrangements for weddings and other special occasions.

Today I Learned To Never Judge A Book By Its Cover

Today I Learned To Never Judge A Book By Its Cover

I am a 27 year old trying to go back to college after a long break from any formal schooling. I am taking a college algebra class and struggling to keep up. I sit behind a young man who upon first glance looks like a […]