Happy Monday! We are in Seattle with my brother, his family, my sisters and parents. Basically my whole side of the family under one roof. Couldn’t be happier. Our cross-country travel was mostly without incident, unlike 2 years ago. Regardless, Ken likes making fun of me when I travel (I can’t help myself).
So, exciting news!
I am so excited to share that I have been asked to be a contributor to Martha Stewart’s website! The site reached out to me and asked me to contribute posts as part of their effort to cultivate more original content. My profile is here and first post on celebrating the holidays is here.
As someone who does a million things at the same time and tries to excel at everything, Martha is a role model and a true Josie Girl! I couldn’t be more excited or flattered about being asked to contribute. Please stay tuned!
As for today’s post, get your heart beating and pumping! Here is my workout list for the end of December and beginning of January! Enjoy!
Holiday-2014 Workout Playlist
Delirious [Boneless] featuring Kid Ink (Steve Aoki, Chris Lake & Tujamo )
Lovers on the Sand (David Guetta)
Prayer in C (Robin Schulz)
Blank Space (Taylor Swift)
Tuesday (I LOVE MAKONNEN)
I Don’t F&&K With You (Big Sean)
You and Me (Disclousure)
High You Are (What So Not)
Outside [featuring Elie Goulding] (Calvin Harris)
Heart Beat (Mat Kearney)
Like Home (Nicky Romero, NERVO)
Love Now [featuring All About She] (Calvin Harris)
Safe travels and Happy Holidays to all. Have a great week!
This past weekend, we had our dear friend Katie Kaiser from Stanford visit. In addition to being a great friend, she is one of the most phenomenal cooks I have ever encountered — as I still remember all her dinner parties during Business School and the meals she put together. So I asked her if we could cook together so I could learn some of her tips, skills, and recipes. POT OF GOLD! We cooked up a storm and she taught me so much — stay tuned for her various recipes that will be featured on the blog, Thank you, Kaiser! We love you! And so here is one of her recipes, delicious Vegan Spinach Dip!
If you live in NYC, then you are more likely to be in touch with certain fashion trends. What does that mean? It means that the common person (like myself) knows about who wore what earrings to what fancy gathering, who is the spokesperson for what company etc….Like Jennifer Lawrence is the spokesman for Dior. And therefore, in the Dior advertisements, she wears certain Dior earrings, wears these earrings at various events, and represents Dior. AND MAN, does she look good! And THOSE EARRINGS!!!! Hot damn, those earrings.
The earrings — front and back pearls, small and big.
For those of you who have been reading the blog for a long time (first, huge THANK YOU!), then you have already seen this post. But I can’t help myself and need to include it again because these holiday treats are SO VERY DELICIOUS and addictive. And if you are new to the blog (welcome, and thank you!), enjoy the very best cookie / goodie / chocolate heaven / salty-sweet-thang. Hands down, the best holiday treat. And because you will not be able to stop at just one cookie (or ten of them), better get started on your holiday workout.
Confession: The past week I have not been holiday shopping, running, sleeping, or socializing. Instead, I have been listening to “Serial” from start to end in 4 days time. Some of you may know what I am talking about — the story line, the who, the what, the details. Others, may think I am referring to “cereal” and not understanding my mish-mash-grammar (not the first time). So what is it, for those of you not on the band wagon? Serial is a podcast from WBEZ Chicago. It is a spin off from “This American Life” about a real true story murder mystery of a reporter piecing back together a murder and trial in Baltimore, Maryland from 1999. I first read about it on many different blogs, then the NYTimes, and then I wanted to fit in, so I did it. I downloaded the podcast and I just sat and listened. To say I was hooked is a lie — I was engrossed and obsessed. I started on a Friday and finished on a Tuesday — all 10 episodes that were available then (they come out each Thursday). And LORD, is it GOOD!!!!
Now that it is the second week of December (heart palpitations….so much to do! gasp!), I am running trying to whittle down my growing to-do list….so since I am in the listing, bullet type of writing, here are my current loves!
1) My mother-in-law’s jewelry
I have an insanely generous mother-in-law who not only GIVES me presents but lends me her own jewelry from her personal jewelry collection. I am one lucky duck wearing these drop dead diamonds galore (and my husband is lucky, too, since he doesn’t feel the need to get me my own jewelry).
I was lent some pretty spectacular jewels by my mother-in-law to celebrate her award at the ACC (Asian Cultural Council) several weeks ago. It was a cinderella moment…..and I made sure to return them before my children lost them! (Has happened before – temporarily….nerve wracking!)
I have a love-hate relationship with Legos. I love that they entertain my son and daughter for hours and simultaneously increase creativity, problem solving, and imagination. But…..I hate the clutter, the tiny pieces, the fact that they are everywhere everywhere in our little home. So last month, I decided to tackle a huge project and *organize* our lego problem. After three trips to The Container Store, hours of sorting, trial and error work, a massive headache, and pulling out my hair, I finally came up with a system! A system that works and is effective. I won the lottery; worth the stress!
Lego mess = my current reality.
Best Granola Ever. I am addicted and obsessed with granola and this is HANDS DOWN MY FAVORITE brand. No other type of granola comes close to this heavenly bowl of goodness! For the past several years (at least 5 years, or even more!), my dear mother in Eugene, Oregon, has been sending me boxes of this granola from the bin in our local grocery store (which is ten times better than any Whole Foods) to New York City. I never knew that it was sold elsewhere! Until I found it in a random Korean Deli Store in Upper Manhattan. It was startling, exhilarating, and life changing! Grizzlie’s Granola — Aunt Maple’s Crunchy Granola — the best of the best.
Heaven in a bag
Thanks to everyone for all your encouragement and support in regards to Ken becoming a rock star for the day…..Still feeling buzzed and pumped by the experience. Seriously, I am in love with the guys of OAR….and now I can’t stop listening to Peace. On repeat. Ten million times in the last 3 days. Call me obsessed. Watch out, Babers, you have COMPETITION. Anywho, back to reality. That reality, is socks. Yep, socks.
My mother’s go-to-present for everyone in the family is socks. Handmade knitted socks, skiing socks, everyday socks, fancy socks, socks, socks, socks, socks. As a result, I am fond of socks. I can never have too many and am always on the lookout for the new, best, prettiest, cutest sock (odd, quirky, and so me). So it was a perfect coincidence when I stumbled upon a sock store in Paris in October (was that really 2 months ago??). And not just any sock store — but a hip, high-end, and luxurious store. Tabio, is considered the hot and trendy sock. The sock is actually made in Japan by a crafts person. They come in all shapes and colors: ultra trendy, thigh highs, as well as models in cashmere, angora, lace, super soft wool. To view the various sock options, go here.
One of the pairs of socks that I purchased. Of course, it looks avant garde, tie dye, and artsy. It is the perfect thickness and height (not too high, not too low…Goldilocks a la socks).
Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! The highlight of the long weekend…or month of November….or 2014, was this past Saturday when Ken had the opportunity to perform during the sound check with his all-time-favorite-band, Of A Revolution (O.A.R.). It was the equivalent of PR’ing his marathon. Not only was it a rush for Ken, but for me, too. And I am a self-acclaimed Miss Sour Puss who *HATES* jam bands, dislikes guitar and saxophone solos, and despises fratty crowds. And yet, OAR was unbelievable. CRAZY GOOD, FUN, AWESOME, and now I am a huge fan. HUGE OMG HUGE! Count me in as the newest member of #OARgroupie. And having the good fortune of watching Ken experience a lifetime dream was pretty awesome, too. I love my Babers and watching my Babers be happy, makes me happy (transitive property).
Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! We are in New York and had dinner with Ken’s family, minus my mother-in-law, who is in the Philippines. We are laying low this weekend in New York, outside of a fun event tomorrow night (more on that next week).
Around Thanksgiving, I always think about the following story that I shared with you a couple years ago. A true story of tragedy, inspiration, and determination involving one of our amazing friends, Laura Wales Holliday, who survived, and another friend, James Hsu, who didn’t. The story is re-copied below and the link to the original post is here. Have a great Thanksgiving weekend with your loved ones.
Laura — pretty as can be. Always a smile on her face and a twinkle in her eye.
I am a huge fan of slip-on comfortable shoes that are hip and easy to walk in. And these Zara Leopard shoes check off the boxes. These flat leather ankle boots are made out of natural cowhide with elastic side panels and white rubber soles. They are quick to slip on, flat to run a marathon with, and a la mode en ce moment. I imagine that my Parisian Girl Crushes are wearing them now, too.
One of my all time favorite gifts is the “Birthday Interview Book.” This tiny little book is a simple way of keeping track of your child’s favorite items each year. Every year, on his birthday, we ask Cruzzie the same 20 questions (favorite color, song, friend, meal, etc…) and record it in the little keepsake book. We will start the same tradition with Toosh this May when she turns 3. It is a fun (and smart) way of collecting information about your child as they grow up (tear — not too fast, kids!). And the kids love to answer and record the questions as well! To purchase, go here. It is the perfect gift for your child (or a friend!).
Tiny, little blue book with powerful, meaningful keepsakes.
Now that it is officially cold (FML) in NYC, I am craving warm, hot, filling, comfort food. So what could be better than apple steel cut oatmeal made in the slow cooker? The perfect go-to breakfast to keep you warm and satisfied.
Since Natori doesn’t make kids’ undies (TEAR!), the kids are forced to wear a different brand. I know, the horror! If only Natori made underwear for kids, we would all be set for life! Thankfully, Petit Bateau, a French company, makes the perfect substitute. Almost as good as Natori undies for grown ups….
The boxer briefs for boys. Love the packaging, style, and colors.
Paris has so much to offer….food, clothing, chocolate, beauty products, you name it. On our recent trip, I visited (thanks to a friend’s recommendation) the most insanely beautiful and luxurious fragrance and skincare boutique, Buly 1803. Originally founded in 1803 by Frenchman Jean-Vincent Bully, who was known for his signature perfumes and scented vinegars, it was reopened in April 2014 by Victoire and Ramdane Touhami on the quaint Rue Bonaporte in St Germain de Près. It maintains an old vibe with some new, modern flair (they took out the second ‘l’ in Buly to make it similar, but different). This place is incredible — old school, antique, and classic, but with new skin care concoctions that draw on the virtues of natural ingredients. All of the products are made without parabens, phenoxyethanol or silicone! What is not to love?
Happy Sunday! Sorry for the delayed Friday food post, but lots going on, including the great Josie Fragrance/Fashion event at Bloomingdale’s yesterday!
Mom with Josie Girls and the Josie Fragrance at Bloomingdale’s
As the Josie girl, I love everything Josie. The prints, the material, the vibe, the lifestyle, and especially the new fragrance. Launched this past Summer, the fragrance is effortless, confident, and light. Just the right amount of subtle sweetness paired with crisp. The scent is a vibrant accord of crisp Asian Pear and Bergamot (LOVE!), followed by Sampaguita (the national flower of the Philippines), Freesia, and Wild Orchid. The perfect harmony of smells. And now, what is even more amazing is that the fragrance comes in a rollerball! Perfect for your purse, a stocking stuffer, or travel. Cha-ching.
After a feud with Fresh Direct last week (where I promised that I would never use their site again! And I am holding to that promise!), I suddenly found myself in a bind. Seriously — without Fresh Direct, how was I going to do a million things and be efficient / organized / get my food if I didn’t use them? I love grocery shopping – love – but most weeks I unfortunately don’t have the extra time to go myself or with the family. Below is my email to Fresh Direct…
Even though I am done with marathon training (well, for NYC 2014…not forever….I am hooked), I still am hungry all the time. Especially for chocolates. Specifically, French chocolates. Recommended by a friend on our recent trip to Paris, we stopped by Jacques Genin, a well known French chocolate and caramel maker in the Marais. And let me tell you, it is worth the hype. At first, I thought that all high-end chocolate tastes the same — good, delicious, and decadent. But once I polished off the box of Jacques Genin’s, I realized that it was HIS chocolate that was oh-s0-flipping-good. He opened up his own chocolate store / tea house in the Marais neighborhood in 2008. It is beautiful and chic — an Hermes version of chocolate.
Oh my god, Parisians are stylish. Every lady I saw on our recent 3 day trip to Paris, appeared to be the most chic, beautiful, elegant, and hip person ever. It didn’t matter if they had a pretty face or skin, but their clothes and the way they carried themselves was so a la mode and fashionable. Instead of looking at the buildings or monuments, my eyes were always focused on the people. Hands down, the best people watching city in the world. In any case, it came down to the Parisian styles. AND DAMN, those ladies know how to look good! They are truly my fashion icons. I don’t want to be like Gwyneth Paltrow, instead I want to be like the average Parisian woman.
French chicness. I want to be the girl with the rolled jeans, top bun, striped shirt, and bag. She is cute — just her BACK alone is cute.
Geez louise, holy moly, what an amazing day! The conditions were extremely difficult: cold weather, damp, and 20 – 40 MPH winds. Nonetheless, Ken and I finished the NYC Marathon and *both* made our goals: Ken broke 4 hours (3:58) in his first marathon ever and I ran in 3:38 which qualified me for the 2016 Boston Marathon. It was an incredible, emotional, and gratifying day. We both worked so hard — physical training and fundraising, which required time and energy, and we are so pleased that we raised $13,525 for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in memory of our family member Joanna. More later (I am tired!) but here are some pics.
Welcome to 4:45 AM Sunday morning at our house. Getting ready for our 6 AM bus to Staten Island. This was my actual running day attire — but it took until mile 13 to get to this point — I layered so many shirts, gloves, hat, jackets, and discarded them slowly.
After another night of no sleep (hello, jet-lag), I managed to pop in to the TCS New York Marathon Expo. I know, I know, I know….we had no choice to attend (we had to personally be the ones to pick up our number, no task rabbit messenger service for the marathon), but in addition to being a check off on my to-do-list, it also sparked some energy and fireworks into my veins. WE ARE RUNNING THE NEW YORK CITY MARATHON IN TWO HOLY CRAP DAYS!
Big grin (better than sore muscles)
Sorry for the silence on my end. It has been a whirl-wind week with Parent Nights, kindergarten applications, marathon tapering, and a trip to Paris. YEP, a trip to Paris. I think Ken and I are the only people in the world who live in NYC who are planning to run the NYC marathon (this weekend), who decide to leave the weekend before for a quick adventure to Paris. Nothing says “rest” and “don’t do anything out of the ordinary” more than a 3 day trip 5-days-till-marathon with 7 hour per day walks and rose wine. But hey, you only live once. Crossing my fingers that this fun and beautiful trip will not hinder my marathon experience or expectations. Perhaps wishful thinking, but I am happy we did it. And since you haven’t seen enough pictures of Paris recently on the blog (here and here and here and here and here), here are some more. Enjoy!
Eiffel Tower — haven’t seen you in 4 months. Still as beautiful as ever.
One of the best aspects of running the marathon is the ability to eat more than normal. HELLLOOOO carbs, HELLLOOOO sweets, HELLLOOOO doughnuts!
Bag and Babers