{ POWER COUPLE }: blogger Kate Bitner, Nomad in Nihon.. Coming atcha from Japan!

{ Kate Bitner of Nomad in Nihon // Champagne at Shannon's }

Words cannot explain how thrilled I am for this post. And I know you will fall in love with her too.

Kate Bitner runs one of the most phenomenal blogs on the planet : Nomad in Nihon

I actually had the absolute pleasure to meet her in San Francisco. In fact, both her & her husband, David, used to be neighbors to my boyfriend. We’d always run into each other around The Marina in San Francisco, and we both would be hard to miss since both Erik & David are ten feet tall.

Shortly after we got introduced, we found out that they were actually relocating to Tokyo for work. I haven’t shared my full blown love letter to Japan here yet, but one thing to know about me is that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Japan and Tokyo is one of the most magical places in the world. It was truly one of the first places I’ve ever been where I felt immediately at peace, and I am planning to go once a year. I love Tokyo so much, that I even considered relocating there for a bit…. Hey, you never know! 😉

When I go through Kate’s blog, and stalk her on Instagram {which you should too since she seriously has the most incredible feed}, I can really sense that said peace.

Since Kate has moved, her and I have become e-penpals, and it makes my day whenever I have a new email from her. Her stories are so interesting and her personality / voice truly shines in her writing. She breaks down her travel with all the insider tips, especially for those unfamiliar with Asia. Anyone with upcoming travels to the Far East, I strongly urge you to bookmark her blog. You will get some major pro-tips and some not miss places.

I find her and David’s story so inspiring because it is a relationship that has such an incredible foundation, that distance is nothing to them. No matter what city, state, or even country. She also has a  wandering gypsy vibe to her, and really takes in every place she travels to. Seriously, if you want to have the most wanderlustful desires, head over to her blog. Her photography is absolutely stunning, and she has the most wonderful eye, and she has traveled to some places I never knew existed.

She also recently had the most intimate wedding ever which she recapped their reception , their ceremony , & her dress { !!! obsessed !!! }. It all  was absolutely spectacular, and they truly made it about celebrating their union. You can just sense how special that day was from the photos alone, and how in love with each other they are. And I can’t blame David, I love Kate too, and soon, so will you! PS – major inspo for any of you planning weddings right now!

Her blog is one of my personal favourites, as well as her style. Kate was working in fashion before she relocated, and her style is just completely out of this world. For travel & fashion inspiration, Kate is your lady!

Now without further ado…

Meet the Nomad in Nihon, Mrs. Kate Bitner

{ Kate Bitner of Nomad in Nihon // Champagne at Shannon's }

fleur16  Introduce yourself, and introduce your significant other in your own words.

Hi there! I’m Kate, a thirty-something wife, blogger and bohemian soul. My partner in all things is David, a spreadsheet wizard (seriously, it should be his job title!) with a penchant for maps, ice cream and anything involving athletic competition. We currently live in Tokyo, where David was recruited last year for an international role in his financial advisory firm. { << lol’ed HARD at the spreadsheet wizard, I know the feeling!! }

fleur16 Describe what it means to be a Power Couple to you.

In my opinion, any couple that empowers each other is a “power couple.” David is my biggest supporter; he’s always there to help give me the strength and confidence I need to achieve my goals. Our relationship has relied heavily on this kind of mutual support from the very beginning!

Our first two years together were spent in a long distance relationship between Los Angeles and NYC, while David was embarking on a career change that required a relocation. I had to look past my own selfish desires to be close to him and understand that the change was something that David really needed. Those years apart were hard, but looking back I think they were pivotal to our success as a couple.

{ Kate Bitner of Nomad in Nihon // Champagne at Shannon's }

fleur16 What do you admire most about your significant other and their career path and/or their outside pursuits?

I really admire David for his ambition and drive. It’s one of the first things I noticed about him, as we met while he was in the midst of working his way through the three levels of CFA certification. It’s a title that involved months and months of studying (3 years in a row!), on top of holding down a demanding job that required nights and weekends in the office.

Whenever David commits to something – work-related or not – he’s all in. { <<< notice something in common with another power couple?! #ALLIN }

fleur16 What quality in your significant other attracts you most to them?

I’m an introverted person, so I think what initially drew me to David (aside from his looks, let’s be honest) was his magnetic personality. The dude has charisma; people are just drawn to him. He can hold down a conversation with anyone – no matter their age, interests or background. I suppose I’ve always been a little envious of this! He has this certain energy that I love being around.

{ Kate Bitner of Nomad in Nihon // Champagne at Shannon's }

fleur16 What inspires you, and who is your biggest role model?

I am most inspired by travel and exploration. Seeing and experiencing a new place makes me feel totally alive. Tokyo is a constant, never-ending source of inspiration for me. My Instagram feed is another go-to spot for creative inspiration! { <<< not even kidding, Kate’s instais one that inspires me constantly }

Most of the accounts I follow are artists or creatives of some kind, from stylists and photographers to woodworkers and macrame artists. Seeing snippets of their work and life always gets me inspired. The other thing that never fails to get me going is a good run! When I run in the morning, I just feel ready to attack the day.

My biggest role model is my mother. The strength she has shown in the face of great challenge has been really inspirational to me. She’s always done her own thing, regardless of what anyone else thinks. And although I chose to ignore her advice in my teenage years and early 20’s, she’s always, always right.

fleur16 Do you think a work/life balance exists? Regardless your answer, how do you manage it?

Unless you have the luxury of working part-time, it’s impossible to achieve a 50/50 balance of work and life. For those who work full-time, I think the better question is: how can you manage work so that you’re able to show up for life? You won’t always be able to predict when work will be demanding.

For us, the key has always been about setting clear priorities and getting creative with our work schedules.

fleur169. What is your advice to other power couples on how to balance work/love?

Squeeze in little moments together whenever you can!

Something as simple as calling your partner for a few minutes mid-workday can be really meaningful. David has made a habit of calling me most days when he breaks for lunch, and I always look forward to seeing his name pop up on my phone.

 

{ Kate Bitner of Nomad in Nihon // Champagne at Shannon's }

fleur16 How did you know that your partner was “the one”?

When I found out that our birthdates made us astrological soulmates. Kidding (but it’s true)! I knew David was different from the first night we met – our connection was electric. But I suppose it was his unwavering commitment to making our relationship work during a 2-year, 3,000-mile separation that convinced me he was it.

fleur16 Let’s talk little things. What little things does your significant other do, that you just love?

Picking up donuts and coffee for us while I sleep in. Talking up my blog to strangers { <<< love! }. Bringing home my favorite candy when I’ve had a bad day. Always volunteering to wash the dishes. Letting me have the window seat every time. Texting me declarations of love at random.

{ Kate Bitner of Nomad in Nihon // Champagne at Shannon's }

fleur16 What is the most memorable dining experience you have ever had together?

A couple months after we’d arrived in Japan, David and I splurged on a weekend at a luxury ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) as a birthday celebration.

Part of our stay included a 9-course kaiseki meal that was served in our own private dining room. Our room attendant would explain each course in detail before quietly slipping out; instinctively reappearing with the next course as soon as we were finished. All of it was almost too beautiful to eat!

The whole experience was full of discovery – to me that meal embodied the reason we chose to move to Japan.

fleur16 What was your favorite vacation together and why?

There are SO many! I actually posed this question to David to answer because I simply couldn’t make up my mind. He didn’t even hesitate before replying, “Banff.”

We visited Banff in March of 2014, but this requires a little backstory!

My mother is Canadian and so I’ve spent a lot of time in Canada – nearly every summer of my life up to my college years. My family has a lake cottage outside of Toronto, and I’ve also visited Montreal and Vancouver. I’d been dying to see Alberta, so one day I proposed Banff as a vacation destination to David. He looked at me with a puzzled expression and asked, “What’s Banff?” He had no idea where it was, which didn’t surprise me! I feel like Americans don’t take advantage of their proximity to Canada. It’s a seriously beautiful country – go visit! Once I showed David a few pictures of Banff, he was on board.

We were super lucky and had a close friend who was working for Fairmont Hotels at the time, and she hooked us up with a discounted rate at the Fairmont Banff Springs (aka, the “Castle in the Rockies”). It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and easily the most picturesque place we’ve ever stayed. When we arrived, the hotel upgraded us for free to one of their nicest rooms!

Banff has an other-worldly beauty to it that just can’t be described – you need to see it for yourself. We skied the majestic Canadian Rockies, explored a canyon of ice waterfalls and – my favorite – learned to command a team of sled dogs! It felt like we were vacationing in a storybook. { <<< adding to my list ASAP! }

{ Kate Bitner of Nomad in Nihon // Champagne at Shannon's }
{ Kate Bitner of Nomad in Nihon // Champagne at Shannon's }

fleur16 Describe the perfect date night.

A cozy cabin in the middle of nowhere, a hot tub under the stars and a great bottle of wine.

fleur16 Share a special recipe that has significance to you two.

This one is pretty special – it was served at our wedding! We rented out the Big Sur Bakery for our reception dinner, and one of the dishes served was this delicious salad with butter lettuce, fennel, herbs, Meyer lemon dressing and shaved Pecorino. It’s straight from the pages of the restaurant’s beautiful cookbook.

Butter Lettuce with Fennel, Herbs, Meyer Lemon Dressing, & Shaved Pecorino

Ingredients:

1/2 fennel bulb
2 heads butter lettuce
1/4 cup fresh tarragon leaves
2 tablespoons minced shallots
2 tablespoons minced chives
2 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup Meyer lemon dressing (recipe to follow)
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 ounces Pecorino, thinly shaved with a vegetable peeler (about 1/2 cup)
12 to 16 pieces candied Meyer lemon zest (recipe to follow)

Directions: Serves 4

    Using a mandoline, carefully slice the fennel into paper-thin shavings. Tear the butter lettuce leaves from the cores, and put them in a large mixing bowl. Add the tarragon, shallots, chives, parsley, and fennel, and toss. Gently dress the salad with just enough Meyer lemon dressing to coat the leaves. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the salad to a platter, top it with the shaved Pecorino, and garnish it with the candied lemon zest. Serve immediately.

Meyer Lemon Dressing

Ingredients:

        1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tablespoons golden (or white) balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice
Grated zest of 1 Meyer lemon
3/4 cup rice bran oil or canola oil

    Directions: Serves 4

Pour the orange juice into a small saucepan and reduce it over medium-high heat until syrupy, 5-7 minutes – you should be left with about 1 tablespoon. Put the reduced orange juice, vinegar, mustard, salt, lemon juice, and lemon zest into a blender. With the blender running, add the oil in a slow, steady stream, blending until the dressing is thick and emulsified. Transfer the dressing to a plastic container or glass jar and refrigerate until ready to use.

Melyer Lemon Dressing

Ingredients:

4 Meyer lemons
1 1/2 cups sugar

Directions: Makes about 1 cup

Peel off the outer yellow skin of the lemons with a vegetable peeler, trying to get as little pith as possible. Julienne this zest into long, thin strips and place them in a small saucepan. Add just enough cold water to cover them. Bring to a boil, then immediately remove the pan from the heat and strain off the water (you’re blanching the zest to remove its bitterness). Add the sugar and 1 1/2 cups fresh water to the zest and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the zest becomes translucent and can be cut easily with a fork, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer the zest and its syrup to a glass jar or plastic container, cover, and keep in a warm part of the kitchen until needed. If you keep it in its sugar syrup, it’ll last for weeks.

Kate Bitner - Nomad in Nihon 8
{ Kate Bitner of Nomad in Nihon // Champagne at Shannon's }
fleur16 Follow Kate on Instagram // Facebook // BlogLovin – & check her phenomenal blog out, Nomad in Nihon.

Photos via Evynn Levalley

 

about essellesse

essellesse is a lazy luxury lifestyle platform by Shannon Silver focusing on everything that’s important to living your best life – great food, wine, travel, vintage style, fitness and skincare. essellesse evokes a style of lazy luxury that’s fun, intimate, and easy breezy.