Boston Marathon 2018

On Monday, I proved to myself that not only was “Boston Strong” but that “I was strong.” In the middle of freezing rain, super windy conditions, and low temperatures (mid 30s), I ran and completed my first Boston Marathon. It was not at all pretty, fun, or wonderful. It was actually quite the opposite; horrible, gruesome, difficult, and treacherous. Boston is considered the most prestigious of all world marathons with everyone having to time qualify to run, and I was super excited to attempt the master of all races. Due to the weather conditions, I knew that it was going to be difficult to run my hardest. So instead of racing, I focused on perseverance and completion.

 

Expo picking up my number.

 

And that is what I did. I put my head down, put one foot in front of the other, and did the race. It was by far the most difficult physical and mental battle I have ever completed. It was cold, freezing, lonely, isolating, terrible. But I didn’t want to give up — I couldn’t give up — not because I needed to prove anything to anyone, but I needed to show myself that *I* was strong. That even without the crowd support (very few supporters were out compared to normal) or a running partner / friend, that I could do it. Just me, myself and I. Even when I felt cold / weak / sad / lonely, I was working through it and putting one foot in front of the other.

 

Race morning, before the race started. It was 2 hours of sitting in the rain.

 

But MAN, was it hard. I didn’t have a watch, was sopping wet from the beginning of the race, freezing and shaking the entire time, no music, no knowledge of my time or pace. I wore a poncho at the start because I needed to trap air in because I couldn’t stop shaking. And as it turns out, I wore the poncho the entire race. YEP, a trailing plastic cape that was basically a parachute holding air in making me slower. But to me, it kept me warm, so I couldn’t get rid of it. The rain was pounding THE ENTIRE race. I ran through puddle after puddle. Both feet were sloshing from mile 0 until the end. I had gloves on (with heating packets — thank god), but they were so cold that I had trouble getting my fuel (GU) out of my waist belt and in to my mouth. Basically, imagine the worst case possible to run a marathon, and that is what it was. HORRIFIC.

 

At mile 26, I was so excited to see Ken and my friend, Gigs, cheer me on. Seeing them was a light at the end of the tunnel, and I knew I was almost done.

 

And yet, I finished. And I couldn’t be more proud of myself. Not a humble brag or trying to show off, but I proved to myself that against all odds, alone, cold, and miserable — that I had the heart, the grit, and the energy to make it to the end. The end was not fun because I collapsed and couldn’t stop shivering and sobbing. I was so upset and sad at how cold I was and couldn’t talk. I kept on asking volunteers where the family meet up area was, but no one could understand me because my teeth were chattering, I was sobbing and my words weren’t coming out correctly.

 

My favorite post marathon calories: champagne and nachos.

 

I completed the marathon in a 3:35. Not my fastest time, but I am super proud of it. It felt like I was running but not moving. And although my parents keep telling me to retire from marathon running (this was my 10th marathon in 5 years), I love the challenge of it. It pushes me, makes me work hard, dig deep, and forces me to give it all that I can. So, I am not retiring — signed up already for Chicago 2018, NYC 2018, and will sign up for Boston 2019 as soon as it opens (qualified). Thank you for all your support, and letting me share my craziness.

 

Driving back home sipping on some bubbles.

 

…..and now time to rest before the training begins again!

Anika Yael Natori, aka, The Josie Girl

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Grapefruit Beer

I haven’t drunk a beer since college when I would chug them, so I was pleasantly surprised to try a grapefruit beer and actually like it. Love it, to be honest. It is girlie, refreshing, and tastes like grapefruit soda with a hint of beer. So you lose a little edge but still hydrate — win win!

 

I have actually had two different kinds of grapefruit beer: from a can (as pictured) or from a bottle. Equally good and crisp!

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Doctor Rogers Restore Healing Balm

For the past two solid years, a good friend of mine has been telling me about Doctor Rogers Restore Healing Balm and how it was THE NEXT BEST THING. Unfortunately, I kept forgetting about it (#blonde and #BeautyAddict) until this past weekend when she gifted it to me. And now, I am wondering HOW IN THE WORLD DID I FORGET AND NOT REMEMBER THIS LITTLE MIRACLE IN A TUBE? It is so good, so memorable, so powerful, and a must have. This little miracle tube, created by a Seattle based dermatologist (Dr. Rogers) is incredibly soothing and healing for dry, damaged skin, lips and nails. It not only has lots of hydration powers and protection, but it is also made with high quality ingredients (non-petroleum and all-natural), making it a must.

 

Heaven tube placed on a heavenly flower….

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To-Do-Spring Wish List NYC 2018

Despite the fact that it still feels like winter in New York, it actually *is* Spring. Since I love planning new adventures and outings each season, here is what I am currently hoping to do this Spring in New York! Take a look!

 

1. See Hamilton again….because it has been two years since I first (and last) saw this magical performance.

 

I had the opportunity to see the original cast in April 2016 and it was truly one of the highlights of my year. I am still listening to the music nonstop and can’t wait to go back….

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Theo Chocolate Tour

Over Spring Break in Seattle, we had the privilege of visiting Theo Chocolate Factory and going on a tour (my beloved Gwyneth is the one who told me about it). It was fun, tasty, interesting, and a unique experience. Definitely worth going to — but probably best to do it AFTER lunch and not before. Cough, cough, we were the idiots who went with five kids at 10:30 am and ate ten chocolate bars before lunch.

 

Classic beautiful warehouse (an old brewery) in which the factory is housed.

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Currently Loving April 2018

So here we are in April. It snowed here in NYC on Monday. I thought April was SPRING for GOD SAKES? In any case, need to stay positive, so here is what I am currently loving for April 2018! Take a look.

 

1. Amy’s Andy Dandy Candy

 

It is made with organic chocolate, so it’s healthy, right???? Yeah right, but somehow, it makes it taste better, like the organic chocolate is better for your body and your body knows that. And if you are going to indulge, then might as well indulge in some organic chocolate (or that is my rationale….)

 

Creamy or Crunchy? OR BOTH?

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Fresh Deodorant

It’s almost DEJA VU because I write so much about deodorant (read here and here). That said, I haven’t found the perfect deodorant (total Goldilocks over here….). I use natural deodorant (almost exclusively Agent Nateur) but there are times that I need to use stronger stuff (like Secret… GASP) so I don’t sweat (and then smell).  Recently, when I was at a local boutique in Seattle, the salesperson told me that there are times she has to use a sorta natural deodorant — natural because it is alcohol free, but only sorta because it has aluminum in it. She says Fresh Sugar Deodorant is better than Secret, but worse than Agent Nateur, and is the perfect deodorant for those special situations. SO HAPPY.

 

Fresh sugar. Apparently, Sugar is a natural humectant that helps attract and seal in moisture. Who knew?

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Cleo Wade

One of my favorite instagram stars / poets / activists is Cleo Wade. Not only is she super-model-gorgeous, but she is also articulate, poetic, and inspirational. I feel a connection to everything that she writes and posts — so much that I just want to hug her.  Since I basically stalk her, I knew that her book was coming out in March and pre-ordered it. I read it for inspiration, sage wise advice, and comfort. It is the equivalent of a hot cup of tea with honey, just soothing and loving.

 

Heart Talk. And yep, it does talk to your heart.

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Bainbridge Island, Washington

Happy Spring Break all!  Greetings from Seattle.  After a week skiing in Big Sky, Montana, we are now in Seattle, mixing some of Ken’s work obligations with a visit to my brother’s.  My parents came to Seattle via Eugene.  As always, it is great to be with the family.

 

While here, Ken also wanted to show the kids and me his grandparents’ old house on Bainbridge Island, where his father and uncle grew up and where he used to spend his summers as a young child, escaping the concrete jungle of New York.

 

 

To get from Seattle to Bainbridge, we took the ferry, which was Ken’s favorite part about spending his childhood summers in the PNW. The kids (with cousin Alagna in the middle) had a blast.

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Royce’ Chocolate

In the past month, we have been gifted Royce’ Chocolate by two different couples. I had never heard about it before and now I am a fan. Made in Japan, this chocolate is unique, beautiful, and delicious. Definitely different than a normal chocolate bar — more special and rich, making it a great hostess gift.

 

This one is one of their specialties: Ghana bitter.

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Muji Pens

This might seem like the most random and odd post, but I swear, it is not. Nothing on this blog is sponsored, paid for, or advertised; everything I post is about something I believe in, experience, and truly support. Recently, the greatest addition to my life is MUJI pens. YUP, yep yep. Who knew a simple pen could be such a game changer, but these pens are truly that — a reason to smile. I had no idea that something so small could make such a difference, but they truly do (and I am not being over-dramatic).

 

Not sure what makes me happier — flowers or pens? BOTH. Love them both.

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Angel-ed Eggs

As discussed last week, one of my favorite new cookbooks is The Wellness Mama Cookbook. This week, I took on my first recipe: “Angel-ed Eggs” — avocado deviled eggs. Although I love deviled eggs, I have actually never made them myself…so I loved this take on deviled eggs with a healthy angle of avocado in them (good fat). They were super easy to make and uber delicious:

 

And who doesn’t love green?

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Visayan Forum Foundation- The Center of Hope

Here is Ken with an important guest blog post:


 

After our recent trip to India, the Josie Girl went home and I moved on to Manila, to work out of our factory for a week.  While there, I also had the privilege of visiting the Visayan Forum Foundation, a charity we are now happily supporting.  Visayan has for 25 years been innovating solutions to end human, and particularly child trafficking in the Philippines.  In addition to fighting to shut down and prosecute trafficking organizations and individuals, Visayan has also been helping rehabilitate, train, and educate rescued victims of trafficking.  My visit to their rehabilitation home, the Center of Hope, was beyond overwhelming.

 

The Center of Hope is located in the Philippines, just outside of Manila. The outside of the Center is protected, and beautifully painted, representing hope, rehabilitation, and a bright future.

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Delhi Street Food Tour

On the last day of our recent trip to India, I left early, but Ken had time to kill as he had an evening flight to Manila. Friends we made at the wedding invited Ken on a street food tour in Old Delhi. While “street food” and “Delhi” and “right before an international flight” may seem like a terrible combo, Ken enjoyed the day, and for the most part, emerged unscathed (depending on your definition of unscathed.) Enjoy the pictures!

 

The tour was conducted by Delhi Food Walks and it was legit. The guide was a Delhi resident who was trained in culinary school, and he took the group from street vendor to street vendor, explaining the food and negotiating along the way. This was the meeting point. Legit Old Delhi.

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Upstate Plant Based Dye Kit

Readers of the blog know that I love tie dye, especially when it is done Upstate. I not only own a dozen pieces from Upstate, but they also did a collaboration with Natori that is to-dye-for (get it?). I am a huge fan, so when they recently came out with dye kits for you to do at home, I knew I needed to get one.

 

The kit. Plant-based dye kit in rose. Safe, easy, clean, and super duper fun.

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Sabyasachi Indian Designer

While in India for a friend’s wedding, I had the privilege of wearing the most beautiful Sabyasachi sari. Before our trip, a friend lent it to me saying that it was by “the biggest Indian designer” and that everyone would know what it was one when they saw it. TRUTH! As soon as I was dressed for the night of the ceremony, everyone approached me asking how an ignorant white American girl got her hands on one. Literally, everyone knew.

 

The sari is a three piece ordeal: a top (bra like), a skirt, and then the wrap over it all.

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Favorite New Cookbooks March 2018

Happy March! It feels like it was just January.  Time has flown (probably because of my recent travels to Italy and India) but in any case, here we are!  I was just gifted three new cookbooks by two dear friends and I love them all so much (both the friends and the cookbooks) that I wanted to share.

 

I am officially my mom: a collector of cookbooks.  I have more cookbooks than real actual books! And I love it……

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Taj Mahal 2018

As I mentioned on Monday, after our full two days in Rajasthan, we went on a pilgrimage to see the Taj Mahal. It was quite the trek — a full 5 hour drive from Rajasthan, and then 4 hours back to Delhi, but when in Rome…. How could we not see the Taj Mahal? Although it was an incredibly long day (on no sleep as the wedding was the night before), it was pure magic.

 

It was quite the racket to even get IN to the Taj Mahal. First of all, we had to be dropped off by our car 2 kilometers away and walk to the gates. We had not eaten a thing that day (we left before breakfast and street food was not happening for us), so the walk felt like miles and miles……but once we got through the ticket purchasing, the security, and all the lines, we saw this. MAGIC.

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Indian Wedding – Part 2 – The Details

Hello! I am back from a whirlwind 4 day trip to India. Currently, I don’t know the difference between up and down, India vs. USA, where I am, and what time zone I am in, but HEY, all worth it. It was a *once in a lifetime* trip and I am so glad that I went and experienced it all. I am sure I am going to have a serious whoop-a$$-kicking-week with work / kids / life / reality, but all worth it….YOLO (you only live once). Here are some pictures of my trip — sorry in advance for the number — I couldn’t help myself!

 

We arrived at 12 am Monday night — basically Tuesday morning. And had to wake up and drive 5 hours to the wedding site, which was located in Rajasthan. This is a picture of us on the roadside on our way to the wedding. We saw monkeys on the side of the freeway and couldn’t pass up the photo opportunity.

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Indian Wedding – Part 1

Hello from India!  Ken and I have had a whirlwind week, flying to India to celebrate the wedding of our friends.  For a number of reasons, (spotty wi-fi, severe jet lag, a packed schedule, #DelhiBelly), I won’t be able to post in detail until I get back to New York on Saturday (solo.. eeks… Ken is meeting with potential suppliers here and then flying on to Manila), but here are some quick pics of our wedding outfits in the meantime.. Enjoy!

 

There were a lot of parties. This was the first party on Day 1. Some people were in Indian outfits, others were in dresses. I decided to wear a top and skirt that looked both Indian and American — I love the color and the fit.

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Instagram Follows: Jill Wagner @JillMarjeanWagner

Greetings from India!  Ken and I are at a friend’s YOLO wedding in Rajasthan, four hours north of Delhi.  We are having a blast (more to come), but in the meantime, check out the below interview with one of my favorite accounts to follow on Insta- @JillMarjeanWagner .  Think awesome travel photos and engaging/hysterical comments/questions.  Definitely worth the follow!  Check out more on Jill below (including a bunch of things we have in common)… enjoy!

 

 

 

How did you decide to start your IG account? Is it mostly a product of your love of travel?

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Currently Loving February 2018

My favorite month of birthdays and Valentine’s Day! Here is what I am currently loving in this love month:

 

1. Natori Magnolia PJ

 

I can’t wait to get my hands on this silky, frilly, and oh-so-beautiful pajama set. It is perfection. And no, you can never have too many sets of pajamas. Especially if they are Natori pajamas.

 

Floral flirty fun.

 

2. Light pink tape dispenser

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French Girl Lip Polish

One of my new favorite beauty products is a recent gift from a dear friend — and I can’t get enough of it! This little bottle for your lips is addicting. It exfoliates your lips and removes dead skin, while at the same time hydrating them, making them kissable and soft. Such a difference maker. Plus, who doesn’t want to be a FRENCH GIRL?

 

French Girl Lip Polish — yes please, polish up the puckers.

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February 2018 Playlist

Don’t you love having a soundtrack to your life??? I sure do. I listen to music every waking minute — literally, music is blaring from 6 am until we go to sleep…..Not one of Ken’s favorite qualities about me — actually, a daily argument (I love music. LOUD music). This has been my go-to-playlist for the past couple of weeks….not music for running to, but music for everyday life duties (cooking, writing, eating, etc….).  Enjoy!

 

Central Park is incredibly beautiful in the snow — but even MORE so when you have good music to listen to as you walk.

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