Travel

things to do in tokyo, cook tokyo, travel to tokyo, tokyo for kids

If you’re looking for a list of the most popular tourist attractions, the top temples, or info. on the major amusement parks, museums and zoos to take your kids to in Tokyo, this is not for you.  Yes, there is a Tokyo Disneyland, Legoland, museum of nature and science, and Ueno Zoo but there are also similar sights elsewhere.  If you’re looking for the wild, the wacky and the only-in-Tokyo experiences, you’ve come to the right place!  Here are 5 must-see spots to take your kids to while in Tokyo that will leave you craving more of the colorful, crazy, and quirky “kawaii” that makes Tokyo the most memorable place to travel to.

  1. Maid Cafe

    Most typically found in the Akihabara district of Tokyo, these maid cafes promise to treat you as master as they welcome you into their girly, frilly world of cuteness.    maidWith a diverse mix of families celebrating a birthday, giggling girls coming in for an after-school treat, to tourists and the random old man, the room is filled with a curious audience entranced by the spell these girls cast.  These happy-go-lucky maids dressed in stereotypical maid costumes only seen during Halloween in the States, dance, sing, play toys and games, pose for photos and encourage you to singalong and cast a spell onto your food.  What?  Yes.  Form your hands into a heart and in your most adorable voice, repeat after me…”“moe, moe, kyun!”DSC_8468tokyo themed cafe, at home maid cafe I, as an American tourist did not understand.  But I didn’t care.  And neither did my 4 year old who was just as entranced as I was.  She had so much fun she even exclaimed that she changed her mind.  She didn’t want to be a doctor anymore.  She wanted to be a waitress!  Great.  Just great.  We left in bliss anyways. For more on Maid Cafes click here.

  2. Animal themed Cafe

    If dining with your family has become monotonous, don’t fret!  ‘Cuz in Tokyo you can choose to dine with an animal of your choice!  There are plenty of cat cafes, dog cafes, bunny cafes and even owl cafes to suit your fancy!  We chose the exotic-sounding owl cafe and weren’t disappointed.japan things to do, japan themed cafe, kyoto owl cafe, owls, owlHow is it that in the States, we were never allowed to touch owls?? Apparently they’re super friendly and enjoy being petted?! We got such a kick out of this place and couldn’t believe how many different owls there were..ones I didn’t even know existed.  It was surreal.  Every few steps, we met a wildly different owl. Check out this one that looked wooden!DSC_0351We got to pet (with the back of our hands) about 15 different owls that day.  How cool is that?  Juliet just learned about owls at school too and was super psyched.  Hoot Hoot!  What an amazing learning experience for the kids to learn fun facts about owls hands on. DSC_0356

  3. Monster Cafe

    Better than Xanax (I would imagine).  ‘Cuz how can anyone be sad in a room that looked like a rainbow just exploded there?  I think if Lisa Frank, 80’s rainbow sticker creator had a restaurant it would look like this. things to do in japan, travel to tokyo with kids, cool things to do with kids in japan, kawaii japan A game of I spy in here could include unicorns, bunnies, and gigantic mushroom sightings that will have you feeling like you’re hallucinating in this trippy place.  cool things to see in tokyo, cool things to do in tokyo, places to eat tokyo, tokyo for kids, japan with kids, monster restaurantAnd don’t worry, while the name of the restaurant may sound scary, there is nothing scary about this place.  It’s more of a dream than a nightmare!  I would love to know what sort of dreams little J had after experiencing this place…DSC_8790Address: YM square building 4F, 4-31-10, Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo. Opening Hours: 11.30am-4.30pm and 6pm-10.30pm daily.

  4. Robot Restaurant

    “Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto” as the song goes, this place (more like a cafe with parade style entertainment) is the definition of wacky.  And it’s WONDERFUL!  robot restaurant review, things to do with kids in tokyo, things to do with kids japanIt’s so hard to find the words to describe how much I enjoyed this weird, highly Instagram-able wonderland. things to do japan, things to do tokyo, themed restaurants, themed cafes japan It’s burning man on a sugar high! Think dazzling lights, estatic costumed performers, beaming laser lights and Transformer-like robots coming at you…”roboto roboto” their main song will be singing in your head for days!  It’s sensory overload in the most over-the-top fashion and you will wonder how you’ll ever go back to normal life again..things to do tokyo, travel to japan with kids, robot cafe, themed japanese cafes, themed restaurants japanI’m uploading some insider videos of this place and all our Japan adventures on our Youtube channel soon so subscribe to see all the wild details.  TIP:  secure reservations beforehand.  get the biggest discount from the Metro Magazine at the airport when you land or click here.  And if your child scares easily from loud noises or large mechanical creatures stay away.

  5. Alice In Wonderland

    Where else can you find not 1 but 5 (yes 5!) Alice in Wonderland themed restaurants in one city?  Tokyo, this is why we love you!  aliceinDiamond Dining (where these pictures are sourced from) owns Alice in a Labyrnith, Alice in Fantasy Book, Alice in Magical Land, Alice in an Old Castle, and Alice in a Dancing Land.  alicerestauranThese super cute meals and fantastical scenes are bound to make your child squeal in delight while making the momarazzi in us all marvel at all the amazing photo opps. alice in wonderland restaurant japanThe Japanese are so amazing at inspiring us moms to try creating food art at home.   themed restaurants japan, alice in wonderland restaurant in japan, cute japanese cafes, themed cafes in japan

     

     

    So what do you think?  Which of these 5 hot spots would you most want to try? What would YOUR kids most enjoy?

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

{ 4 comments }

travel tips for blue lagoon

Icelandic Air gave us a free stopover from our European vacation and my husband can’t resist a good deal so we took advantage, spent 3 days in Iceland, and hit its famous Blue Lagoon.  Even though we hardly saw any kids there, much less toddlers like Juliet (who is 3), we found it to be a once-in-a-lifetime, kid-friendly (and fun) spa experience for Juliet.  Here are some handy tips and things you’ll need to know before you take your kid(s) to Iceland’s blue lagoon:

iceland with kids

 It won’t be too cold.  Before trying it out myself, I couldn’t fathom how one would shed their coat and wintery layers for a swimsuit in 40 degree weather much less bring their kids into such extreme conditions but I also didn’t know that the water would be 94-102 degrees or that there was a special indoor spot from which you could swim to the outdoor area fully immersed in the geothermal heat.  We actually only discovered this indoor/outdoor tunnel after our break and found it made a world of difference when transitioning out of the towel. So take advantage of that indoor pool and look for the underpass into the outside world!

blue lagoon with kids

2.  Get hands on!  Even the most manly man won’t be able to resist the pure, childish joy of dunking his hands into the gooey mess.  This is one time when you can encourage messiness.  It’s kind of like finger painting but you get to paint faces and bodies and what kid wouldn’t love that?!  Everyone gets to dig their hands into a tub of this white goop in order to apply their own masks or apply them onto someone else.  This tactile experience is one the kids really get into plus it is hilarious to see all the white-masked faces hanging out around you!  Juliet was fascinated by all the white faced swimmers and couldn’t wait to try her hand at it.  Having her apply my silica mud mask was a mother’s day treat unlike any other and such a unique interactive spa experience for us both.

DSC_48503.  Photography.  This place is so exotic, that you’ll be kicking yourself if you lost yourself in the tranquility of it all so much so that you didn’t fully capture how epic this spa was.  Either prepare yourself with an underwater camera or iphone cover (they even rent iphone covers on-site if you need) or take turns being the out-of-water photographer like we did. DON’T be one of those people who bring their $10,000 SLR INTO the pool with them and cause everyone to stress out about the chance of it getting wet.  DO find the Blue Lagoon staff who will take a group photo for you with their iPad, and immediately send it to your email.  We did that and ended up loving those family photos as our favorite ones from the day! (see below)

blue lagoon in iceland, tips for blue lagoon, children at the blue lagoonAlso most people don’t know this but there are 2 terrific photo opps that you shouldn’t miss.  Veer to the left of the main entrance, and right outside it, you’ll find an untouched area of the lagoon, separate from where the guests are allowed.  Take the trail to the end for a mystical view and photo.  Also, know that there is a rooftop viewing area -don’t miss that!

tips for traveling to blue lagoon

Photo from inhabitat.com

4.  What to bring. In addition to your bathing suit and flip flops you’ll want to bring (if you can) your own towel, cover-up (the venue charges for both), and sunglasses to block the intense brightness.  The lagoon will supply (and require) that any child 7 or under wear these whether or not they can swim.  Be prepared to be chased down if your child is caught without them on in the pool.  For us it was nice to know we wouldn’t have to worry about her safety.  For kids older than 7 though they should be warned that the bottom of the pool is uneven and may drop to deeper depths without warning.  Most places are so shallow you have to crouch down to keep underwater but there are areas where shorter people may need to rely on their swimming and treading skills.

greeter_photo_1462708494_d619e9ddde5da17f63753c0e7f3e201b4.  Hair Care.   While the minerals may be touted for its healing and anti-aging properties, it sucks for your hair!  Your hair is likely to feel like straw for days so unless you want to feel like a scarecrow, either keep your hair out of the water or apply leave-in conditioner in your hair before entering AND post soak, use clarifying shampoo before regular shampoo and conditioner and then brush in leave-in conditioner.  It sounds like a lot of steps but trust me you’ll need them!    I learned the hard way by just jumping in without any pre- or special post treatment and my hair felt so damaged I ended up having to research what the heck happened to my hair post lagoon which is how I learned these tips!  I did make sure to also bring a baseball cap and hair elastic.  When you have a wet wiggly toddler to dry and dress, the last thing you want to worry about is styling your hair in a crowded locker room!  Though if you have patient kids who will sit put during a hair styling session, the  locker rooms do have hair dryers in addition to the provided soap, shampoo and conditioner.blue lagoon tips, bring your child to blue lagoon Below is a great video showcasing all the details.

5.  Eating.  We made and then cancelled our restaurant reservations because we wanted to spend our limited time (literally) soaking up this amazing experience.  But if you have the time (and money as it is NOT cheap), you can enjoy a gourmet Icelandic meal prepared by Iceland’s top rated chef. There is also a large, ground-floor cafe of sorts where you can purchase pre-preared meals ( We bought the sushi platter and the cheese and cracker platter) along with an assortment of beverages for a quick eat.  The views are outstanding and remind you of the other-worldly beauty that you are surrounded by.  You could also enjoy your own snacks at one of the outdoor seating areas though that seating is more limited and not insulated from the cold.  Additionally, the bar that you can swim up to offers alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks as well as the popular Icelandic treat, Skyr mixed into a smoothie which our toddler loved!

www.bluelagoon.com_2016-06-02_15-09-57

6.  Easy Airport Access.  Being that the Blue Lagoon is about 45 minutes outside of Reykjavik (the capital and city center where you’re likely to have booked your hotel) and about 20 minutes away from the airport, I highly suggest you shuttle yourself to/from the airport in order to avoid an extra cab fee.  There is really no other reason to be in that area other than to visit the Blue Lagoon.  In fact the entire area will make you wonder whether you’ve landed on the moon.  There is nothing but lava rock for as far as the eye can see.  Conveniently, there are shuttle transfers available to the Lagoon from both locations and the Blue Lagoon has special luggage storage service for an extra cost.  Just make sure to have packed a separate bag with all your swim essentials so you’re not left rummaging through your luggage upon arrival.

7.  Kids 2-13 are FREE.  As if you needed another reason to visit with your kids, kids 2-13 are free.  They do not recommend kids under 2 to participate which is why the age range starts at 2 though I don’t see why they wouldn’t be able to so long as the adult is holding them… Teenagers 14-15 are half off and anyone older is charged at the regular rate (you’ll have to check the website as prices vary depending on the time of year you go).

www.bluelagoon.com_2016-06-02_15-14-12

Iceland’s Blue Lagoon for us will be forever remembered as a a surreal first-time spa   experience for Juliet. I hope that you won’t hesitate in bringing your kids and found this post helpful when planning.  Leave comments with what you’re most excited about.  Bon Voyage!

 

 

For more information, visit www.bluelagoon.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

{ 1 comment }

5 dresses + 1 tutu+  2 vests + 2 shirts+ 1 jacket+ 3 shoes = 23 outfits!  See for yourself!  It’s all about mixing it up with different accessories and layering in different ways.  Here is what I packed for my 2 year old toddler’s first trip to Italy this Spring.

how to pack light

My mom gave Juliet this cute Ralph Lauren dress which I was so excited about because it perfectly matched her little blue bow shoes from Gymboree.  Here it is styled with Madeline (the doll) as the muse.  And below, is another way the dress was worn by Juliet while on the trip.

fanny pack

I found the adorable fanny pack at a local Italian store called Accessorize and let Juliet choose which snacks to carry in it.  Isn’t it just the cutest fanny pack you’ve ever seen??

vintage dress

This blue dress is a vintage find from Lishyloo and styled two ways with different layers.  It’s topped with a Gap raincoat on the left (which I’m selling by the way), and worn over a tutu on the right.  Below she wears the dress without any layers and no socks for the 3rd look.

vintage clothes for kids

Going along with the red, blue, yellow color theme, this vintage dress is styled 2 different ways below and is also inspired by Juliet’s doll, Madeline.  With vintage clothes, it’s always best to style with modern accessories and shoes to avoid looking too costume-y.

how to pack for kids

This long – sleeved dress, also another Lishyloo vintage find, can be worn on colder days or night and is seen layered with a fur vest for extra warmth on the left, without it on the right.

how to pack for a toddler

And here is Juliet wearing the dress accessorized the 3rd way.

1 dress 3 ways

1 denim vest worn 3 ways.  In the picture on the left, it’s worn over a white tutu dress and topped with a faux collar/tie that I bought off of Mabel’s Etsy store.  On the right, it’s paired with the tutu skirt and a simple white blouse that I swapped at the last Swappies event.

packing light

On our second day in Rome, she wore it with the tutu dress and a yellow bow in her hair. toddler in rome

And here is another vest outfit with a mini gondola hat that I couldn’t resist buying when there.  It was kinda love at first sight.

italian vacation with toddlerThis white tutu dress with the sequin detailing on the top is so versatile.  I find that I can style it numerous ways.  In addition to the above examples, see below.

1 dress 4 ways

We ended up buying a lace dress in Venice under which I had Juliet wear this white dress because of how see through the dress was.  It acted like a slip.  The shoes were bought in Italy at the Zara there.

venice

The red tutu that we packed was also styled 2 more different ways – shown below.   You can see how the same pieces can look so fresh and new when paired with different items.

italy outfits for blog-006

Here it is worn in Italy another way.

Venice with baby

One of my tips when trying to pack light for a trip is to pick the shoes first (pick ones that can match lots of outfits!) Then work your outfits under the strict rule that they have to go with those shoes.  For our 16 day trip, each of us packed just 3 shoes.  Pack accessories and layers to change up your basics and you’ll look like you’re wearing a new outfit each day!

 

 

{ 0 comments }

Last year, I celebrated my birthday by playing with dolphins in the Bahamas with my husband.  This year, I had to work.  I found myself flying halfway across the world to run a major PR event and product launch.  And I spent my birthday on a 14 hour -turned 18hour flight (with delays) to Tokyo…not exactly how I imagined celebrating.

But this birthday was extra special for me, no matter where I ended up celebrating.  Because this birthday, I knew that I have a little one on the way.  Yes! I am expecting the birth of my first child!

It sort of explains the absence in my writing.  Not only have I been dealing with the lack of real closets in my new apartment the renovation planning and a new job, I have been dealing with an ever -growing belly – something I have trouble figuring out how to dress.  Perhaps this blog will grow into a pregnancy fashion blog for the meantime.  For now, I’m just trying to catch up on my sleep from the jet lag and pregnancy fatigue.  Hopefully, I’ll feel more fabulous when I wake up 🙂

Stay tuned for a Fab Freebie:  Goody Bag Giveaway!

{ 2 comments }

Tonight, I’m spending my night dreaming of my impending move back into Manhattan – some say where I belong.

This lapsed photography video from Mindrelic beautifully portrays NYC’s fast-paced, exciting lifestyle.  I heart NY.

{ 1 comment }

Mindrelic – Manhattan in motion from Mindrelic on Vimeo.

Things I love about NY:

  • the freedom to be who you want to be (where else can you live out every dream, dress/act/speak/live in any weird way and still be so accepted, still be so anonymous, still find your niche?)
  • endless selection (in restaurants, in people, in things to do, in shopping)
  • the eye candy (the beautiful people, the fashions, the cool hotels/lounges, the Parks, the museums, the Christmas windows)
  • the silly surprises (organized pillow fights in Union Square, Halloween doggie parades, the Easter bunny ice skating at Rockefeller Center, dancers in the subway train, Hello Kitty in Times Square)
  • the feeling you get walking down the streets the feeling of excitement, power, opportunity, romance, wonderment, glamour and possibility.

I heart New York.  What do YOU most love about NYC?

{ 0 comments }

umbrella

This photo reminded me of the parasol parade that I witnessed during my trip to Thailand and so I wanted to share some travel photos from last month.

In Chiang Mai, we were lucky enough to watch strolling beauty pageant contestants march in the Parasol parade.

The updos were so pretty.  here are some close-ups!

Here is a shot of the parade walkers.

And here are some of the pageant contestants biking by!

The whole neighborhood was a feast for the eyes.

Don’t you just love the color explosion?

I was estatic to be surrounded by so much color and creativity.  Everywhere I looked, I found so many exotic, interesting finds.

I was so tempted to bring back a custom-painted parasol when I saw this catalog of images.  But really, when would I ever use it in NYC?

What would you have had painted?

 

 

{ 1 comment }

One of my favorite moments from the SATC2 movie was when the Arab women disrobed their black abayas and revealed their shared love for fashion.  Apparently, fashion, like love is an international language.   And in the Middle East, Manolo Blahnik, Gucci and Versace roll off their Middle Easterner’s tongues just as easily as they do on the set of SATC!

So much of the movie reminded me of my recent trip to Dubai during Dubai Fashion Week (okay maybe not the $20,000 a night hotel) but witnessing the lavish lifestyles, riding and balancing on camels, whipping through the endless sand dunes in a dune buggy, shopping through street markets all brought back fabulous memories.

Much like the movie SATC2, my trip to Dubai was focused on the fashion.  I was lucky enough to have been invited through a friend to attend all of Dubai Fashion Week’s runway shows, sit front row and enjoy the VIP experience.  Here I’ll share some photos that I took during Dubai Fashion Week ’08.

As you can see, abayas are pretty standard black cloaks.  They can look a little scary at first if you’re not used to them.  Personally, I couldn’t get over how it looked like everyone was seemingly floating around town (men wear all white, women wear all black). 

The exotic runway shows that featured abayas oftentimes felt as if you were seeing the same thing over and over but upon closer inspection it was all in the details (check out the trims and embellishment).  I learned to appreciate how the runways were really pushing the envelope as far as moving forward from the traditional, look. And I had to try one on for size…

You’ll notice that the runway shows often featured Eastern European models as locals are too conservative to model and have their bodies out on display.  The below pictures showcase some of the Arab fashions one would wear underneath the abaya. (Can someone say “I Dream of Jeannie?”) You can see why Dubai Fashion Week still stands out in my memory.  The experience was unlike any other fashion show I had ever seen…

Whereas less is more in the States, more is definitely more in the Middle East!

Turbans and head scarves are still very much part of the Middle East fashion as evidenced on the runways (and on SATC2)

turbanI think one of the reasons SATC2 has received such negative reviews is because many couldn’t relate to the Middle East setting, missed NY and therefore didn’t leave with the same thrill.  The Middle East may be a glamourous escape but a girl can only take so many head scarves, harem pants and maxi dresses before she starts longing for Carrie’s silly NY tutu.  The 2nd movie definitely lacked in inspirational fashions if only because they were a bit too exotic.  I found that Vogue’s photo shoot featuring their imagined scenes between Mr. Big and Carrie resulted in more awe-inspiring fashion moments .  See the pictures below (photos taken by Annie Leibovitz) and let me know your thoughts!

Related Posts with Thumbnails

{ 2 comments }