Governors Island

I have found my new favorite place: Governors Island. What is it? I had no idea before 3 weeks ago when a friend mentioned to me that she went with her family. Since Ken has been traveling due to work, I decided to take the kids to Governors Island for Mother’s Day. It was such a huge hit that we went back this weekend.

 

Governors Island.

Governors Island.

 

Governors Island is a 172-acre island in Upper New York Bay, approximately 800 yards from the southern tip of Manhattan Island and separated from Brooklyn by Buttermilk Channel. You take a ferry from Manhattan (10 South Street, right next to the Staten Island Ferry downtown) or from Brooklyn. The ferry leaves every hour on the hour, starting at 10 am, and the first several trips in the morning are free.

 

This is 10 South street, downtown Manhattan.

This is 10 South street, downtown Manhattan.

Outside the ferry terminal, there are citibike kiosks.

Citibike kiosks outside the terminal

 

Once you get to the island, it is car-free. A family’s dream come true. There is so much to do, as it was recently renovated. My suggestion is to go early, plan a picnic, bring scooters and bikes, and stay the whole day. It is not a 1-2 hour trip, more like a 4-5 hour one.

 

Even the 7 minute ferry ride is fun.

Even the 7 minute ferry ride is fun. (I guess we are easy to please, but honestly, great views of the city!)

Me and Toosh....eating Cape Cod Potato Chips and sitting on the boat.

Me and Toosh….eating Cape Cod Potato Chips and sitting on the boat.

 

There are the slides, hammocks, ropes, hills, terrain to run on, lots of green grass, incredible Statue of Liberty Island views, breeze, and the sense of relief that you are not in the city.

 

Resting on a swing. This was from the first time we went without a scooter or a bike. LESSON LEARNED -- bring bike (or rent) or scooter.

Resting on a swing. This was from the first time we went without a scooter or a bike. LESSON LEARNED — bring a bike (or rent) or scooter.

Fast curvy slides.

Fast curvy slides.

Fun for all ages. The slide park is designed for 5-14 year olds...not necessarily for babies.

Fun for all ages. The slide park is designed for 5-14 year olds…not necessarily for babies.

Ropes to climb on.

Ropes to climb on.

 

There is also so much history. And also, lots of food trucks. Basically, lots to do, eat, explore, and see. A must do — but hurry, it is only open May 1- October 1. And although I love Governors Island, also don’t tell TOO many people… it can be our little secret.

 

Food trucks. This part of the island actually reminds me of Europe.

Food trucks. This part of the island actually reminds me of Europe.

Views.

Views.

And get this — bikes are allowed (you can bring your own on the ferry, rent a Citi bike outside the ferry, rent bikes on the island), but now on weekdays, you can borrow a bike for free for an hour between 10am and noon every weekday. Ride like a baller without the cost!

 

Picnic area.

Picnic area.

You see Statue of Liberty from all directions and angles.

View of the Statue of Liberty.

The Hills.

The Hills.

 

Yesterday we ran into a good friend exploring with her daughter, and a classmate of my son’s! So the word is out — this place is a must see.

Anika Yael Natori, aka, The Josie Girl

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Broken Tart Cakes

In one of those cant-sleep-instagram-frenzy-rabbit-holes, I came across a bakery in Brooklyn with the most beautiful cakes; Broken Tart. I knew the minute I saw the cakes that (a) I needed to follow Broken Tart on instagram (b) I had to have a cake for Tusia’s 5th birthday party. The cakes are not only beautiful, magical, whimsical, and unique, but they are tasty and delicious. The perfect duo (pretty AND yummy).

 

The cake arrives in the perfect package.

The cake arrived in the perfect package. Who says not to judge a book by its cover?

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Interview with Maisonette

Maisonette, founded by Sylvana Ward Durrett and Luisana Mendoza Roccia, two (beautiful) alums from Vogue, is the new (online) hot destination to buy anything KID. Everything on their site is perfectly curated and tasteful… it makes you want Sylvana and Luisana to be your new BFFs. They are certainly smart, creative, fashionable, gorgeous tastemakers, and their website offers the best of the best of children’s brands — think Net-a-porter for kids. I had the opportunity to interview them, so take a look.

 

Sylvana

Sylvana and Luisana, and their kids.

 

How did you come up with the idea for an e-commerce kids site? What was the inspiration?

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Happy Birthday, Josie Natori!

Today is a special day… the 70th birthday of my fabulous and wonderful mother-in-law, Josie Natori! I used to think that 70 meant old age, but she makes 70 look chic, young, energetic, and fashionable — more than anyone else I know. My mother in law is incredibly talented, bright, smart, with-it, creative, accomplished, successful, caring, and wonderful. Here is a look at her throughout the decades — and happy birthday to such a lovely lady, I love you.

 

Here is the beautiful Josie Natori as a young girl. I love her bangs!

Here is the beautiful Josie Natori as a young girl. I love her bangs!

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Peanut Butter Pretzel Truffles

Thanks to Instagram, I saw a recipe for a peanut butter pretzel truffle from Minimalist Baker and knew I had to make it. The recipe is simple, easy, and a huge win.

 

How good does this look?

How good does this look?

 

Ingredients:

* 1/2 cup pitted medjool  dates, soaked in warm water for 10 minutes then drained

* 1/2 cup salted natural peanut butter

* 3/4 cup raw almonds

* 1/2 cup mini pretzels

* 1.25 cup chocolate chips

* 1 tsp coconut oil

 

Directions:

 

Before and after dipped. I DIP YOU DIP WE DIP

Before and after dipped. I DIP YOU DIP WE DIP

 

* Place almonds in the food processor and process until you reach the consistency of a meal.

 

* Then add in pretzels and  soaked dates in the food processor and process until small bits remain and/or it forms into a ball.

 

* Next, add the peanut butter and mix until well combined. You don”t have to do this in a food processor, and can really just mix it in with a spoon.

 

* Once you have a dough that’s easy to form into balls, scoop out 1 Tablespoon amounts and roll/carefully form into balls. Set on parchment paper and place in freezer to chill.

 

*  In a double boiler, melt the chocolate and add the coconut oil (which helps thin out the chocolate).

 

* Remove truffles from freezer and, one at a time, dip them into the melted chocolate. Transfer back onto parchment paper and place in to the freezer.

 

* Store them in the freezer until you eat them (or else they will melt — they will still be delicious, but they will melt).

 

They will not last long, mainly because you will eat them because they are so good.

They will not last long, mainly because you will want to eat them right away.

 

Happy weekend! Spring here we are, thank goodness!

Anika Yael Natori, aka, The Josie Girl

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Kid Clothing

I have a range of favorite kid clothing: from beautiful-fancy-pants-super-expensive Bonpoint, to cheap-and-trendy Zara. In addition to those retailers, here are some more obscure brands for kids clothes that I currently love and shop. (And sorry in advance for the photos….although I think my kids are super cute, they are not models, so no judgements).

 

Chaser

 

Hip, California cool style. What is not to love? Fun summer clothing for the kids.

 

This shirt is currently Cruzzie's favorite shirt. It is super soft and comfortable with a good message.

This shirt is currently Cruzzie’s favorite. It is super soft and comfortable with a good message.

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Ilary Perfume

The other day, I was walking down the street with a good friend and was entranced by her smell. It was divine, amazing, luscious, and beautiful, and I knew I needed to know more about the scent ASAP! Luckily, she put me in touch with the creator of the perfume who happens to be a good friend of hers. This incredible scent, ILARY, is created by Hillary. Hillary currently lives in Chicago with her husband and 2 young sons. and is busy building her perfume empire. I had the opportunity to interview her about her company. Take a look! And Thank you Hillary!

 

ILARY

 

How did you start your own perfume?

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Interview with Lucie Ayres- Interiors 22

I recently posted tips from our friend Lucie Ayres of 22 Interiors on how to make a great master bedroom. Read below for more insight into her interior decorating and her business.  Thanks Lucie!

 

When and how did you decide to become a designer?

 

I’ve wanted to be a designer ever since I was a little girl and rearranged the furniture in my room constantly.

 

Lucie at age 8.

Lucie at age 8.

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Zara Candle

As mentioned Friday, I have a newfound love for Zara Home. When in Paris a couple of weeks ago, I bought a simple candle that made me happy. Most candles these days seem to cost 40 dollars plus, so when I found this pretty (and beautiful smelling) candle for 17 euros, I knew I had to buy it.

 

Pink and green box.

Pink and green box. Tuberose smell — sweet and perfect. (Minorly crushed in my carry-on… apologies)

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Zara Home

I love Zara — both the adult and kids’ clothes are my go tos for shopping. And now, I am in love with Zara Home. Although there are no stores currently in the United States, Zara Home is all over Europe and online. Think home decor at Zara prices — a win win for everyone! They have a terrific selection of linens, bedding, tabletop, accessories, and more. Recently, on my quick trip to Paris, I went in and oohed and ahhed at the selection (and prices).

 

Zara Home.

Zara Home.

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Currently Loving April 2017

The beginning of April was a complete whirlwind — the night we traveled back from our Spring Break (Puerto Rico, Florida, and Oregon!), we moved into our new apartment. Then, that Friday, it was the Passover Seder at my daughter’s preschool which I have been co-chairing for the past four years (a huge event for 400 plus people). That night, I flew to Paris to run the Paris Marathon. Call me a complete NUT CASE, because all of that on its own is stressful.  Put it together, it is insane. Anyways, now I am back and readjusting to life…….and here is what I am currently loving!

 

1. Flying Tiger Flower Pens

 

For those of you who do not know Flying Tiger, you need to. It is a Danish store, similar to Ikea, but for home goods and gadgets. It has everything and anything, at super cheap prices. Luckily for me, it is a block away from my son’s school, so I always find myself in there when I am early for pick up. It is great for party favors, silly gifts, and your own home. Check it out!

 

This pen cost ONE DOLLAR. Isn't it beautiful?

This pen cost ONE DOLLAR. Isn’t it beautiful?

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Paris Food 2017

Although the US has great healthy options (salads, smoothies, greens, etc…), Paris ultimately has my favorite food, which we enjoyed last week at the Paris Marathon. We had great luck with the restaurants we chose and couldn’t have been happier (well, our stomachs are a little bigger, but C’EST LA VIE!).

 

Sunday Brunch: Our favorite, Cafe Charlot. Not many restaurants are open on Sundays (and Mondays), but this is a classic French bistro where all the cool kids go to brunch for seven hours. We ate and drank for hours on end. The food is delicious, the sun was shining, life was (is) good.

 

This burger was the best thing I have ever eaten. And this was AFTER my huge caesar salad with smoked salmon. The waiter looked at my crazy when I ordered two main courses, but hey, you only run a marathon every so often, so when in Rome......

This burger was the best thing I have ever eaten. And this was AFTER my huge caesar salad with smoked salmon. The waiter looked at me crazy when I ordered two main courses, but hey, you only run a marathon every so often.

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Paris Marathon 2017

I just returned from a quick trip to Paris where I completed by 4th Paris Marathon (7th marathon total). It was great fun — both the trip itself and the run, and now I am looking forward to not traveling, not doing long runs, and staying put….. at least for the next couple of months (I have already planned my next two marathons…). Here are pictures of the weekend! (And what day is it today?)

 

Crazy as it was, we landed at 2 pm on Saturday. Which meant, the only thing we could do that day was go to the Expo to pick up our bibs and get settled for the race next morning. YUP. The race at 8:20 am the next morning! Here is my feast that morning pre-race.

We landed at 2 pm on Saturday, 16 hours before race time. So the only thing we could do that day was go to the Expo to pick up our bibs and get settled for the race next morning. YUP. The race at 8:20 am the next morning! Here is our feast pre-race.

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Minor History Clutch

Greetings from Paris!  More to come after I recover, but I ran the Paris Marathon again yesterday – as beautiful and rewarding as ever.  Excited to share pics and the experience (different than the past ones here, here and here) later this week.  But for now….

 

One of my absolute favorite recent presents is a clutch / carry-everything-holder from Minor History. It literally holds everything and is the perfect size, color, and leather texture. A perfect small bag!

 

Flat like an envelope.

Flat like an envelope.

For sizing purposes, here it is in comparison to my hand.

For sizing purposes, here it is in comparison to my hand.

You can also fold it over and use it as a clutch.

You can also fold it over and use it as a clutch.

It holds cosmetics, other little carry holders, glasses, everything and anything.

It holds cosmetics, other little carry holders, glasses, everything and anything.

 

This roomy zipper clutch is the perfect addition to my bag wardrobe. And it is also a great gift!  Au revoir..

Anika Yael Natori, aka, The Josie Girl

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Spring Break 2017 Sunriver

We are now full swing back to reality with school, tutoring, responsibilities, etc…so it seems hard to think that we were just in Oregon a couple of days ago — it seems like an eternity. I already miss my parents, the fresh air, the fir trees, the crisp delicious water, and everything Oregon. Here are some pictures of our week skiing in Sunriver, Oregon. Enjoy!

 

Ken is the downhill teacher. He did an amazing job each day spending half the day with one kid, and then the other half with the other kid. They made huge improvements!

Ken is the downhill teacher. He did an amazing job each day spending half the day with one kid, and then the other half with the other kid. They made huge improvements!

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22 INTERIORS – Guide to the Perfect Bedroom

We are so fortunate to have a lot of great friends, many of whom are incredibly talented in their field. One of these peeps is Lucie Ayres, a dear friend of Ken’s from his junior year study abroad program in Prague. Lucie is an interior designer for her company 22 Interiors based in Los Angeles. She has a beautiful eye, incredible taste, and great style. If you ever need a designer, I highly recommend her. And even if you want some inspiration, subscribe to her blog and follow her on instagram. In the meantime, here she is for a guide to the perfect bedroom!!!! Thank you, Lucie!  Take it away!

 

The perfect bedroom, styled by 22 Interiors. Photo

The perfect bedroom, styled by 22 Interiors.

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Rawmantic Chocolate

Happy Friday! Before I post an indulging (yet delicious) food item, I want everyone to read the article written by our good friend, Sasha Blair-Goldensohn. Eight years ago, Sasha was hit by a tree in Central Park, and is wheelchair bound. His op-ed in the NYTimes from Wednesday is an eye opener, so please do so. I also highly recommend watching the video that accompanies it. Thanks in advance for reading it.

____

 

I am constantly on the search for a “healthy” dessert.  While I am well aware of the effects of sugar …..I still love nibbling on something sweet at the end of my meals. Call it an addiction, or a vice, but it is a habit that I can’t stop. So these raw chocolate energy bars are perfect. Raw chocolate, sweet, nutty, gooey, and great.

 

Romantic rawmantic.

Romantic rawmantic, yes, handcrafted with love.

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Spring Break 2017 Week 1

Spring Break!  We were fortunate enough to spend our first week in the sun, first in Puerto Rico with my in-laws, and then in Florida (just me and the kids). Lots of sunshine, beach, pool, french fries, chicken fingers, and sunscreen. Here are some pictures to recap our week! Enjoy (and thanks for letting me indulge).

 

Love the combination of beach and then pool. And of course, minutes soaking up the Vitamin D on the ground.

We stayed at Dorado Beach for the fourth straight year.  Good combo of kids activities and things for my in-laws to do.  Love the combination of beach and then pool. And of course, minutes soaking up the Vitamin D on the ground.

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Renovation Post #5

OK, so this is the LAST renovation post because SOON, OH SO SOON, there will be a REVEAL POST which shows the apartment. So here are the latest photos of what is going on. Yes, still not liveable, still not a lot of lighting (and 3/4 of our belongings are still packed), so there is a lot to do. But here are the latest pics!

 

One wall in Cruzzie's room is this whole world map -- it is where eventually his bunkbed will go.

One wall in Cruzzie’s room is this whole world map — it is where eventually his bunkbed will go.

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Roasted Kale / Brussels / Broccoli

OK, this is the easiest recipe EVER, but it is so good that I have been re-creating it  (or some variation) for the past several weeks. Lunch, snack, dinner, WHATEVER…. I have even eaten it for breakfast! What is it? Basically, roasted veggie with pine nuts, goat cheese, olive oil and salt. I know, glamorous and sophisticated recipe, right?

 

So green, so good.

So green, so good.

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