Casey 2 Cook – TV Chef

Today we go behind the scenes with a TV chef (one of my favorite types of TV). Casey (aka, Casey2Cook) is a successful chef who won a season of Cooks vs. Cons! (BTW, that is my biggest nightmare — being quick and fast in the kitchen). Such an inspiration and I learned so much from the interview. Thanks so much, Casey! And FYI, her partner Steven is Natori’s E-Commerce Shipping manager!

 

Talented and beautiful, too! Thanks, Casey for this interview and inspiration for all of us.

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How did you start cooking? What inspired you to become a chef?

 

As long as I can remember I always wanted to be in the kitchen. Helping my Mother or Grandmother making dinner… stir the sauce, cut the peppers. It always made me happy to know that I was aiding in preparing a meal for someone to enjoy.

 

Mango salsa.

 

What is your favorite dish to cook?

 

I love cooking everything! Literally, any and everything. If I had to choose a favorite it would have to be my Nacho Mac and Cheese!

 

Mac and cheese.

 

Is there a specific cuisine you like the most?

 

I am really into Spanish/Italian fusions. I grew up eating Italian food and I always loved the flavors of Spanish cuisine so the mix of the two, Perfection!

 

Ricotta mascarpone stuffed shells with sautéed garlic spinach

 

What are your top 5 go-to ingredients?

 

My top five ingredients have to be: 1. Garlic 2. Cilantro 3. Butter 4. Paprika 5. Black Pepper

 

A little of those ingredients add much flavor, and helps create this masterpiece: Refried Bean Ravioli Huevos Rancheros!

 

Congratulations on your win on Cooks Vs. Cons — for people who are not familiar, what was the format of the cooking show?

 

Thank you! It was super fun… Cooks Vs Cons is a competition show on the Food Network. The basis of the show is taking two professional cooks and putting them against two home cooks and seeing if the judges can spot the con! Great concept.

 

Casey on TV

 

Do you think that the show was a good test of everyone’s skills?

 

The show was a great test of skill! I mean, any time you have a clock racing against you it helps to step up your game!

 

Casey on the fair right, with the judges of Cooks vs Cons.

 

What is next for you? Did the show help you move forward? What do you want to do now with your career?

 

I have been spending a lot of time building my social media presence on Instagram (@Casey2Cook) and Facebook etc. I love speaking with my followers and being able to help them with questions and tutorials on cooking. After the show I received so much love and it has been a great experience. Hoping to go back and compete again, maybe on Chopped! Thank would be fun!

 

Examples of Casey’s instagram photos.  Check out the amazing lunchbox inspiration!

 

Being creative and efficient in a kitchen is not my skill set, any advice on how to become a better cook (for us beginners)?

 

Hire me to teach you! Haha.. I do in home private classes! I would also recommend watching videos online and PRACTICE! Practicing is the biggest thing.. You won’t learn to build flavor profiles or knife skills without practicing. Just like anything else it takes time to build that up, but once you do it is like riding a bike! You’ll never forget.

 

Smores parfait, yes please! I want to make this at home!

 

You have completed a lot of different jobs in the kitchen working with top chefs.  What is your favorite job as a chef (and why)?

 

I have had my hands in every aspect of the culinary world, pun intended. From a line chef to a private chef, blogger to recipe developer.. Catering a 200 person dinner to just cooking at home for my family! I have to say my favorite has to be what I am doing now. I miss the stress and excitement of the restaurant life, but I love that I can teach people how to cook on a personal level.. I love that I can share my recipes and have people all around the world make them! Such an awesome feeling to have someone reach out and message me that their kid is eating veggies for the first time because they love my recipe!

 

Avocado Toast with a remix: egg and KIWI.

 

What are your favorite restaurants in NYC and why?

 

I love RIDER in Brooklyn. The Executive Chef and Owner is my mentor and his food is just out of this world delicious! I also love to go to food festivals around the city or just duck into random hole in the wall places. Sometimes you find the most amazing food just by taking a chance!

 

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Thank you so much, Casey! I love your instagram and can’t wait to learn more from you! To look at her website, go here. Facebook, here. Instagram, here. Pinterest, here. And twitter, here. Happy cooking!

Anika Yael Natori, aka, The Josie Girl

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Josie Natori RTW Spring 2018 Fashion Presentation BTS

This past Tuesday, my mother-in-law had her Josie Natori Ready to Wear Spring 2018 Fashion Presentation. It was a low-key event with great press and turn out. Every Fashion presentation takes a lot of effort, organization, and design. Enjoy these behind the scene photos!

 

Great view for the photo shoot.

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Bathroom Shark Painting

One of my friends, Scarlett Baily, is a talented artist based in Mexico City. She is young, fun, stylish, and oh-so-cool, painting mainly caricatures of people and animals for different events and companies. Scarlett also has painted two portraits for us that are my favorite two pieces of art in our house — they make me so happy and give such a fun flair to the playroom. So when she texted me this summer that she was coming to NYC, I came up with the idea of having her paint a shark in the kids’ bathroom. You see, Cruzzie is obsessed with sharks and loves everything about them. They are his go-to stuffed animals, his favorite books.. and he can basically name every shark in existence. So I wanted something special in the kids’ bathroom to reflect his love for the animal (and yes, first child’s love is overlooked by second kid’s interests. oops). Here they are, I love the final Sharkie! It is so different, special, and unique. It brightens up the bathroom and looks fresh and young!

 

Mr. Sharkie!

Mr. Sharkie!

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Kids in School

While the transition from summer to fall (and from Oregon to a New York State of Mind) is always a whirlwind, it has been especially so this year. While Cruzzie started 2nd grade, Tusia started Kindergarten, which feels really symbolic. It seems like yesterday the kids were born, and WAM BAM, all of a sudden they are in elementary school. To say it is a wild ride is an understatement. I can’t believe how much they have grown (and therefore how old I *am*).

 

Cruzzie started 2nd grade on Wednesday. He has a uniform of coat and tie, but can wear anything. So of course, I bought him a NEON orange shirt, bright shorts, and a fun tie. Why not make a uniform full of pizazz and color?

Cruzzie started 2nd grade on Wednesday. He has a uniform of coat and tie, but can wear anything. So of course, I bought him a NEON orange shirt, bright shorts, and a fun tie. Why not make a uniform full of pizazz and color?

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Crap Eyewear

Yes I realize that summer is now over so sunglasses are less important. BUT, big but, there is always a time and place to wear sunglasses. I found a pair of sunglasses in June, and they immediately became my favorite pair. They are cheap (although not GAP cheap), good looking enough, durable, and snazzy (super important adjective). And they have the best name, Crap Eyewear. I know, right? The line was born in reaction to the expensive eyewear market, but the glasses are fashion forward and… affordable! Win-win.

Here I am in ny crap eyewear.

Here I am in my Crap Eyewear.

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Currently Loving September 2017

Happy September, happy back to real life! I hope everyone settles in to the fall with ease and peace despite the craze and chaos it tends to bring. I know that I am trying to take one day at a time; better yet, hour to hour. I am not sure how summer disappeared as fast as it did, but I’m happy we created fond and wonderful memories that will forever be in our hearts! That said, here is what I am currently loving!

 

1. Slides. Yes, I know, shower slides from the 1990s are finally back in. I have been a fan of them the past two summers and have worn them non-stop. I love that they are easy, and go with everything. Although not practical for urban daily city life, I plan on wearing them once again NEXT summer, too. Thank god they are finally in fashion — last year I got a lot of weird looks.

 

Shower slides.

Shower slides. With no shower.

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Wine in a Can – Union Wine / Underwood

My love of Oregon runs deep; as I am a sucker for anything that comes from Oregon or looks like it is FROM Oregon. So I am giddy that Union Wine (an Oregon company) is now sold all over the country. Union Wine (Underwood) has been selling wine in a can for quite some time and has always been my go-to-dinner-party-gift, but now they sell SPARKLING WINE and RIESLING in a can, and I can’t control my happiness. Last week when visiting my sister in Portland, I visited a grocery store (truly, my favorite hobby) and I came across these new cans and I am sold. Pretty! And you can order them online, here.

 

I think these are the prettiest cans I have ever seen. SO SO pretty and feminine and fun.

I think these are the prettiest cans I have ever seen. SO SO pretty and feminine and fun.

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End of Summer 2017

To us, summer is ending. We return to NYC tomorrow night after 2 plus months in Oregon, and as usual, the time flew by and summer disappeared in a *snap*. We had the best time doing a lot of nothing except for exploring Oregon and California, spending time together as a family, and taking advantage of the beautiful nature. It is fun to look back at the goals I set for myself at the beginning of the summer as I accomplished ABSOLUTELY NONE OF THEM. It is almost funny, um, well sort of funny. Literally, NONE OF THEM. Take a look. Maybe looking at my failing my goals will make you feel good about yourselves!

 

First off, thank you to my parents for always being so generous, loving, and wonderful. They hosted many of my friends (and their families) and always let their house feel like my house. I can't thank them enough -- forever grateful for them.

First off, thank you to my parents for always being so generous, loving, and wonderful. They hosted many of my friends (and their families) and always let their house feel like my house. I can’t thank them enough — forever grateful for them. They are the reason I am who I am, and I couldn’t love them anymore (even if my mom wears socks with her birkenstocks and my dad’s fancy shoes are New Balances).

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Inside Natori: Talia, Josie Designer

Over here at the Josie Girl Blog, we thought it would be fun to have employees from The Natori Company share how they incorporate the House of Natori into their every day wardrobes. So first up is the super cool, super young, super HIP designer of the contemporary Josie collection, Talia. She has been with Natori for a couple of years, and has brought a great new energy and direction to Josie, under the tutelage of my mother in law Josie Natori. So here she is… thank you, Talia!

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Hi Everyone! This is Talia (the Josie designer) taking over for the Josie Girl! This past weekend I enjoyed some much needed time in the ‘country’ with my husband, sister, and brother in law. We rented the cutest little cottage in Barryville, New York- just a short 2 hour drive from the city. The cottage was surrounded by lush greenery, fresh air and best of all decorated with an eclectic charm!

 

The perfect cottage with a red door.

The perfect cottage with a red door. And the matching flowers and pillows on the lounge chair. Nice coordination.

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Stanford Vacation

After spending the weekend in Costanoa, we continued our California vacation by spending a couple of days around Stanford University. As readers of the blog know, Ken and I started dating at graduate school at Stanford (although Ken and my brother were best friends and roommates at Amherst for undergraduate). It was extra special to be there with the kids and show them the various places that had an impact on our life (i.e. dating –> love –> marriage –> life –> kids). Not only did we go to Stanford, but my father did as well for graduate school (right after marrying my mother), so this place is special to the whole family, and not just me and Ken. Take a look at the pictures (and I promise this will be our last post on our vacations, as we return to NYC so soon).

 

My squad at the hotel.

My (good looking) squad at the hotel.

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Costanoa

Greetings from beautiful Northern California!  We just had an amazing weekend catching up with our Stanford friends in Costanoa. Part camping, part hotel; basically high-end roughing it. Not camping, but pretending to camp.

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Our bungalow, aka a yurt. This little shelter is made up of plastic walls. Like a tent, but actually a little cottage.

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Generation UCan

A good friend of mine who happens to be a kick ass triathelete, ultra-maranother, and marathoner (slacker), turned me on to Generation UCan for fuel during my training runs and marathons. This friend is so fast and knowledgeable that whenever *she* tells you to do something, you do it.

 

This friend gave me a care package for one of my recent marathons, and it had everything a marathoner would want or need; water bottles, sleeves, gu blocks, and lots of UCan packages. As always, such a sweet and loving friend, thank you!

This friend gave me a care package for one of my recent marathons, and it had everything a marathoner would want or need; water bottles, sleeves, gu blocks, and lots of UCan packages. As always, such a sweet and loving friend, thank you!

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Poetry Boxes

One of the reasons I love my hometown is that it feels so 1960s. Like a happy hippy commune. Nothing is upscale, fancy, or pretentious. Everything has a super “love makes the world go round” “kumbaya” type of vibe. Case in point:  Eugene has ‘poetry boxes’ dispersed throughout the town. They perfectly describe Eugene — random mailboxes in town with poems to share with the community (what is NOT to love about this).

 

Two blocks from my parents house is this mailbox with the poetry. They change it once a month.

Two blocks from my parents house is this mailbox with poetry. They change it once a month.

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Korean Skincare 101

One of my college classmates is obsessed with Korean skincare. Since her skin looks amazing, I thought we would all benefit from a 101 tutorial. Thank you, Bridget Humphrey!!!

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If you want your skin to look amazing, bright, and blemish free, you should start using Korean skincare asap.  I stumbled upon this insight haphazardly. My friend mentioned how Korean skincare products are considered the best in the world. I was hesitant once I learned there were 10 steps involved with Korean skincare. But despite the hard labor involved, I thought I’d try it. (I desperately wanted my skin to be wrinkle free and bright.) And because the products are generally not expensive, I decided to be brave and take the plunge.

 

Once I started my skincare routine (years ago now), I never looked back. People started to notice the difference in how my skin looked, and I was hooked. I began loving and enjoying the 10 step process.

 

Here’s a quick and easy tutorial. KBeauty 101:

 

 

  • Step #1: Oil Cleanser
  • * You need this step to really loosen up the dirt and makeup on your face.
  • * I love the THE FACE SHOP Rice Water Cleansing Oil – $9, because rice is great for anti-aging (and this cleanser smells great)

 

screen-shot-2017-07-31-at-12-16-26-pm

 

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African Printed Overalls – Royal Native

My only purchase of the summer has been not *one* but *two* pairs of African printed overalls from Royal Native. They are so fun, vibrant, unique, and different.  I ordered one pair and loved them so much, that I immediately ordered a second. If they weren’t all currently sold out, I would order a third pair (a girl can’t have too many crazy pairs of overalls, can she?)

 

The yellow overalls. They are described as "THE SEXY TOMBOY piece de resistance in your wardrobe," and I couldn't agree more.

The yellow overalls. They are described as “THE SEXY TOMBOY piece de resistance in your wardrobe,” and I couldn’t agree more.

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Natori- 40th Anniversary Celebration

Guest blog post from The Josie Guy!  Here he is….

 

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This year marks the 40th Anniversary of The Natori Company, the fashion brand my mother started 40 years ago, the company I joined 10 years ago.  Fashion… is not easy.  Trends change, patterns shift, things go wrong… it’s hard.  And having seen how much effort and love my mother and our employees have put into making Natori thrive made this Tuesday all the more special.

 

Natori. 40th Annuversary Celebration at The Prince George Ballroom

Natori Dragon, greeting guests as they entered.

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Kidolences – Helping Kids Grieve

In my past life as a teacher, I became good friends with our school counselor, Emily McClatchey. Her warmth, humor, listening skills, and supportive nurturing care instantly led us to be friends. Although we now are both in different places and careers, we have managed to stay in touch (thank you, Facebook!), so when I read about her new business, Kidolences, I knew I had to interview her. Kidolences is a care box for a kid suffering loss: divorce, death of a pet, death of a family member, saying goodbye to a binkie, etc… In each of the carefully curated boxes, there are items that help the kids cope and learn about their loss and feelings that surround it. To learn more about kidolences, go here.  To shop a box, go here. And to learn even MORE, read on. Thank you, Emily! You are an inspiration!

 

Dr. Emily McClatchey.

Dr. Emily McClatchey.

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Crater Lake, Oregon

Last week, we jumped into the car and drove to Crater Lake. Although I had gone as a child, I didn’t remember my experience and the trip had been on my to-do-list for several years. This year, I was determined to make it happen, and despite the long car ride (Thanks Pups for being our driver), it was INCREDIBLE. A MUST SEE. A MUST GO TO. A MUST A MUST A MUST.

 

On our drive South, we stopped at Watson Falls, for a quick hike and lunch pit stop. Oregon always blows me away with its natural beauty and divine power. We were all mesmerized with the water, the green, and Mother Earth.

On our drive South, we stopped at Watson Falls, for a quick hike and lunch pit stop. Oregon always blows me away with its natural beauty and divine power. We were all mesmerized with the water, the green, and Mother Earth.

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Interview with Dr. Whitney Bowe

Dermatologist to the stars/TV personality Dr. Whitney Bowe is a dear friend of mine who happens to also be on the of the most beautiful and smart people I know. She has the looks (the bowe-glow), the charm (no one more charismatic and charming ), and the smarts (she graduated Summa Cum Laude from Yale and then was awarded a full scholarship to study medicine at the University of Pennsylvania where she graduated top of her class). Luckily, I was able to interview her on Summer Skin — this is a must read! Thanks, Whit, I love you!

 

Dr. Bowe and her dewy glow.

Dr. Bowe and her dewy glow.

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Sonoma 2017

We returned Sunday night from our Third Annual Sonoma Trip with a small group of our Stanford friends. It continues to be a wonderful tradition and something we look forward to each summer. If you have never been to wine country in CA before, I highly suggest doing it– beautiful vineyard views, hot dry weather, delicious farm-to-table-food, and of course… amazing local wine. Can life be any better? Thank you to our wonderful friends and hosts, Kimmers and Joe. Enjoy the photos — I want to go back now!

 

On our friend's property (100 acres!), they have many different houses / cabins spread out. We took over a cabin close to the main house and it was oh so cute (and yes, all four of us Natoris slept in the same bed for three nights!)

The guest house we stayed at on our friend’s property. We took over a cabin close to the main house and it was oh so cute (and all four of us Natoris slept in the same bed for three nights!)

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Hostess / Thank You Gift

This past weekend, we went on our annual mini-reunion with close friends from business school to Sonoma. It is a tradition I love and look forward to each summer. We had a jam-packed weekend (see the blog on Wednesday for a recap) full of lots of laughter, adventure, and hang out time. Coming to Sonoma from Oregon, I decided to bring the hosts a little bag full of Oregon goodies. I want to give myself a pat on the back because it is cute, well thought through, and useful. Thank you, thankyouverymuch. (Thank you, Kimmers!) Here are the details.

 

A Eugene little tote bag, stuffed with all small goodies.

A Eugene little tote bag, stuffed with all small goodies. You can never have too many of these tote bags — especially if it has an extra special strap, like this one.

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Raspberry Crisp

This summer, we have gone to lots of local Oregon farms to pick our own fruit. The best trip was to the raspberry farm, when we came home with 9 pounds.  I wanted to make a raspberry crisp but couldn’t find a recipe anywhere, so I improvised and made my own! It was so good that I made not one, not two, but THREE!  This recipe is low sugar, tart, but oh-so-good.

 

First, you pick.

 

Toosh is officially my picking partner and could stay all day picking the fruit. She never wants to leave when we decide we are done.

Toosh is officially my picking partner.  She never wants to leave.

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