Grandparent’s Weekend

My son’s school had Grandparent’s Day this past Friday, so I called up my parents and begged for one of them to come. My father, newly “retired’ (he is still kind of working though..) agreed to fly across the country to make a 2 hour appearance (along with Ken’s dad – Ken’s mom was out of town) for his beloved grandson.  Not only do I love my father so much because he is *my* father and the smartest, sweetest, grumpiest, most active, and fun 71 year old; but also because he is a devoted and loving grandfather to his 5 grandchildren (2 of them are my kids). He truly loves them and looks forward to every opportunity to spend time with them….like the whole summer when we move into his house in Oregon! As expected, my upbeat and energizer bunny father, was up for anything and partook in all our adventures and explorations. Take a look at what we did!

 

My dad was the Junior Chess Player of Poland (and my uncle wrote a book about chess)....and I have no idea how to play chess....

My dad was a Junior Chess Champion of Poland (and my uncle wrote a book about chess)….and I have no idea how to play

The kids love reading with their Tata. I distinctly remember my childhood with my father reading to me every single night.

The kids love reading with their Tata. I distinctly remember my childhood with my father reading to me every single night.

One day after school, we went up to the Roof at the Met to see the view (and the Cornelia Parker house).

One day after school, we went up to the Roof at the Met to see the view (and the Cornelia Parker house).

Beautiful Spring Day.

Beautiful Spring Day.

The view!

The view!

Tunnel!

Tunnel!

The next day after school, we walked across Central Park for Tata-Cruzzie special time at the Natural History Museum. The walk itself was an adventure with all the trees, flowers, tourists, and people watching.

The next day after school, we walked across Central Park for Tata-Cruzzie special time at the Natural History Museum. The walk itself was an adventure with all the trees, flowers, tourists, and people watching.

And of course, ice cream time too.

And of course, ice cream time too.

When the kids were in school last week, Tata and I would walk around the city looking at different buildings. This one: Lincoln Center.

When the kids were in school last week, Tata and I would walk around the city looking at different buildings. This one: Lincoln Center.

One dinner at Noodle Town in China Town: my brothers and Ken's favorite chinese restaurant. (I woke up swollen the next morning from all the MSG)

One dinner at Noodle Town in China Town: my brother and Ken’s favorite Chinese restaurant. (I woke up swollen the next morning from all the MSG)

A dinner at Red Rooster to reminisce Ken's 40th birthday...

A dinner at Red Rooster to reminisce Ken’s 40th birthday

Cruzzie, Mr. Cuddly and affectionate, always wanted to hold Tata's hand.

Cruzzie, Mr. Cuddly and affectionate, always wanted to hold Tata’s hand.

The High Line! A total zoo and chaos since it was the first beautiful day in the week (and a weekend), but it is such a special and unique place.

The High Line! A total zoo on Saturday since it was the first beautiful day in the week (and a weekend), but it is such a special and unique place.

Four of my loves.

Four of my loves.

Thanks for coming across the country for a 2 hour commitment with your grandson.

Thanks for coming across the country for a 2 hour commitment with your grandson.

 

As always, we loved every minute with Tata. Thanks so much for making the trip — and next time we see you, it will be for the summer in Eugene!

Anika Yael Natori, aka, The Josie Girl

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Mother’s Day Gift Guide 2016

If you want to give your mother something that will make her feel special and loved for Mother’s Day, I highly suggest you MOZIE ON DOWN TO www.natori.com, stat.  Because honestly, where *else* would you go to get your mother a present for Mother’s Day? And even better, the site is offering 20% off orders of $200 or more (excluding bras).  Here are my top 5 Mother’s Day gifts from Natori.

natori-2016-Apr-3b

ANNNNNND 20% off? Thank you, Universe.

 

 

1. Cotton Voile Lace Gown

 

Cotton oile

Cotton voile

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More / Shape Women’s Half Marathon

This past weekend, I laced up my running shoes and ran my first half marathon in two years. Yes, I have run a lot of marathons since 2014, but a half marathon is totally different….and it hasn’t helped that I’ve been nursing an injury for the last 6 months (GROAN). But I did it. And in a fast time for me! And it was all part of a great event celebrating women. Enjoy the pics!

 

Post race, the little girl deserves the medal.

Post race, the little girl deserves the medal.

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To-Do-Spring Wish List NYC 2016

It seems like 2016 just started; and yet, school is about to end. I can’t believe I only have 6 weeks to squeeze in everything I want to do in Spring in NYC. Better start…..yesterday! Here is my list. (For last year’s list, go here).

 

1. Go see Hamilton (again).

 

Yowsers, I can't stop raving about it.

Yowsers, I can’t stop raving about it.

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Black Bean Flourless Brownies

Moist, delicious, and oh-so-healthy! Store in fridge.

 

Yup, you read it correctly, say WHAAATTTT? Black Bean Flourless Brownies? Black beans in a brownie????? With or without rice? Just joking (about the rice), and yessers, I am serious about the black beans in the brownies. I was intrigued by the recipe from A Clean Bake, so I made the recipe, found myself interested in how weird they were, and then realized I had eaten more than my share #oops. So here is the recipe: (Note, when I made it, I must have been overly tired because I literally doubled the amount of black beans #gassy and forgot baking powder and salt…. I think that is what happens when I try to rush/bake between kid activities and my tutoring gig. Mind you, even though I forgot all that and put way too many beans in, everything was delicious!)

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Glossier

I have been a big fan of Emily Weiss and Into The Gloss since the blog was founded in 2010. That said, when she created her own skincare / makeup line, I was reluctant to buy into the fad. Finally, two weeks ago, I caved into the Millenium skin care line, with its pretty pale pink packaging and snarky descriptions….and I couldn’t be happier that I did. I now understand the hype and popularity — it is that good. The brand, as described perfectly by Weiss herself is ” simple and effective but not too precious.”

 

Lip stain / tint / perfection.

Lip stain / tint / perfection.

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“How To Be” Kids Book

Last week, I had a hard time communicating with my 6 year old son about good behavior and his treatment towards me and friends, post-school. During school, Cruz is an angel (so I’m told); incredibly well behaved, sweet, loving, empathetic, and caring. But the moment I pick him up – whether it is due to exhaustion, the pressures of school, or the fact that he doesn’t eat much lunch  – he often crashes and throws a fit with me. Not only is it trying for me, but I find it difficult to communicate with him about how he should act. So, last week in NYC when the rain was out of control, I found myself seeking solace in a bookstore, searching for new books. And there it was, “How to Be; Six Simple Rules for Being The Best Kid You Can Be”

 

Bright, red, flashy. HELLO book of all books.

Bright, red, flashy. HELLO book of all books.

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Thai Cabbage Slaw

The perfect crunch, taste, and salad. I can't wait to try more of Mark Bittman's concoctions.

My obsession with Mark Bittman’s Kitchen Matrix Cookbook continues. I can’t speak highly enough about it and EVERYONE must get it for their kitchen STAT. It makes meal-planning easy, and spices up our family dinner repertoire. My most recent find (there seems to be a new one every week!) is the thai cabbage slaw — DELISH what what!!!

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Hill House Home Monogrammed Pillows

I love bedding — Natori bedding and Roberta Roller Rabbit are my two favorites, and recently I came across Hill House Home and fell instantly in love. Hill House Home has sheets, robes, duvets, and pillowcases. The pillowcases, which you can monogram, are the items that won me over.

 

I love the font.

I love the font.

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Puerto Rico 2016 Highlights

After our wonderful vacation in Mexico with my parents, we headed to Puerto Rico with the Natori Seniors…YUP #hardlife and YUP #travelwithparents. We had a luxurious, lavish, relaxing, and fun 5 days (just like last year. Same vacation, different year). Take a look at the pictures….wish I was back there NOW! NYC is flipping cold and un-Spring like.

 

Traveling to Mexico to Puerto Rico is not so much fun, but what is really unfun is a 4.5 hour layover in Dallas. So we had fun by taking the airport monorail for a good 45 minutes (circle after circle after circle)

Bucerias, Mexico to Puerto Rico isn’t exactly a direct flight.  We had 4 hour layover in Dallas, so we killed time (at the kids’ request) by taking the airport monorail in circles for 45 minutes.  #KillingTime

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Mexico 2016 Highlights

Mama and Toosh in our hungarian embroidered shirts.

 

 

Like last year, we spent the first portion of Spring Break in Bucerias, Mexico at my uncle’s beach house. My mother, born and raised in Mexico City, still has two brothers that live in Mexico. And fortunately for us, one of them has a beautiful beach house in Bucerias, a sleepy-non-tourist town north of Puerto Vallarta, on the west coast of Mexico. Here are the highlights from our ten day vacation with Nana and Tata!

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Hungarian Embroidered Shirts – Muzungu Sisters

Nothing better than a mother-daughter-matching outfit…  a HUNGARIAN EMBROIDERED mother-daughter-matching outfit!

 

From my instagram (@ynatori), rocking my Hungarian shirt in Mexico.

From my instagram (@ynatori), rocking my Hungarian shirt in Mexico last week. We were vacationing with my parents in Bucerias. (Truth be told, I thought it was a Mexican shirt and therefore, very #meta of me to be a 1/2 Mexican wearing a Mexican shirt in Mexico. ALAS, le sigh, reality is that I was 1/2 Mexican in Mexico rocking a Hungarian shirt….doesn’t ring the same type of bell… but I still like the shirts.).

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Mexican Spice Tajin

Last week when I was in Mexico (actually we left this morning at 4 am, #triste), I discovered Tajin and instantly became hooked. It tasted so good; that I had to put it on anything and everything. Truth be told, I was a little scared of looking at the ingredients because it was so addictive and good that I was convinced it had MSG. Reluctantly, I checked, and NO MSG, and instead, all natural ingredients (big sigh of relief).

 

Tajin. Vive la Mexico.

Tajin. Vive la Mexico.

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Salted Almond Butter Freezer Fudge

Add salt.

 

I am a devout nut-butter eater and like devouring nut butters in ANY form. So when I came across this Salted Almond Butter Freezer Fudge recipe, I instantly ran to the kitchen to make it. I love love them, and I so shared them with a fellow friend / parent from Cruzzie’s school. Later that day, I received three text messages from three other moms, requesting the recipe (friend #1 shared with friends #2-4). They are loved by all!  Enjoy!

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Make Up Artist: Oscar Caballero

There is only one person I really trust to give me make up advice, and that is Oscar Caballero. I first met him 4 years ago at Barney’s in the makeup department where he works for Natura Bisse.  He also works independently as a make-up artist.  From day one, there was just an instant feeling of comfort and trust, and I went to him for advice on skincare and makeup. Since then, he has done my makeup countless times, as well as my mother-in-law’s.  He is also a friend.  Enjoy this interview… ladies… here are some great tips from an expert!

 

Oscar! Applying makeup to Miss Honduras.

Oscar! Applying makeup to Miss Honduras.

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Hu Kitchen Granola

Recently, the Upper East Side has become more hip with good restaurants and stores (not that it makes the UES hip or cool… but it’s moving in the right direction….). My favorite addition is Hu Kitchen. Back in the day, I would take the subway downtown to Union Square, just to go to Hu Kitchen and get my hands on some cashew cream mash (think frozen yogurt, but not).  Now that there is a location close-by, I go there weekly to get my fix of granola, crack bars, raw brownies, and drinks. As a granola snob, I can safely attest that their granola is TO DIE FOR.  INCREDIBLE. And made with healthy, pure and raw ingredients!

 

Paleo Granola!

Paleo Granola! Say what??? SOLD SOLD SOLD.

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Josie Natori Wireless Spectrum Day Bra

As a loyal fan of the Natori Feathers Bra, I rarely deviate. The Feathers bra fits perfectly, feels great, and looks good — so there has never been a need to get anything else! But recently, I decided to try on the Josie Natori Spectrum Day bra — a wireless soft unlined bra — that has been receiving rave reviews. Love! So if anyone ever wants a change from Feathers (because we all know that that is the #1 bra currently out)…I highly recommend this bra!

 

No wires! Very pretty.

No wires! And very pretty.

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Fiddler Feature: Heather Cole

Readers know that for his 40th Birthday party, Ken put on a concert at Red Rooster with his guitar teacher on bass and a bunch of other musicians that he cobbled together through friends, Facebook, and random interactions.  Heather Cole was the fiddler, and she was great- Ken checked her out when she was busking in Grand Central. I love listening to street musicians, but I’ve always wondered what the experience is like on the other side.  The perfect opportunity for a Josie Girl interview!

 

Meet Heather Cole!

Meet Heather Cole!  Pictures from Ken’s 40th.

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Mark Bittman’s Kitchen Matrix

My mother is one of those people that always knows the bohemian cool, beautifully crafted, hip food products, way before anyone else. I am not saying she is a New Yorker fashionista (she is not), but she is very much in the know with all things West Coast cool and East Coast significant. When she visited us two weeks ago for Ken’s 40th birthday party, she gifted me a cookbook (she has more than 300 cookbooks at home — no joke) which is sooooooooo cool that I can’t stop reading it! Mark Bittman was a New York Times food columnist who created a book with a matrix of possibilities. It is unbelievable — everyone must have it for their kitchen! It also makes a perfect hostess gift for a friend. Take a look!

 

Kitchen matrix. How clever, imaginative, and smart.

Kitchen matrix. How clever, imaginative, and smart.

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Currently Loving March 2016

I can’t believe how quickly the year has flown by. I am not sure if it is age, but time moves more quickly than 60 minutes per hour….and so here we are in MARCH and Spring Break is right around the corner (#GodBless).  Here is a simple and easy list of what I am currently loving.

 

1. Jonas Blue’s Remix of Fast Car

 

My kids are so sick of me listening to this song because I play it for them at least two dozen times a day. NOT KIDDING. I also have randomly sent out the link to friends telling them to listen to it. I can’t get enough of the beat, the song, the nostalgia of Tracy Chapman.

 

Of the million views, I think I have listened to it over 500,000 times. NO JOKE. Last week, I ran 6 miles with this song on repeat. (#OCD)

Of the 2 million views, I think I have listened to it over 500,000 times. NO JOKE. Last week, I ran 6 miles with this song on repeat. (#OCD)

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