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..  we have lots in common. (Note: all photos pulled from her account)

 

 

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

 

I always thought I was terrible at photography.  The only photo I had on Instagram was a selfie from a student who stole my phone  that is captioned “Favorite Student.”  Then I was in Barcelona and took a picture that looked ok, so I posted it.  Then I just kept going.  I was traveling alone and having people like and comment on my pictures made me feel like they were sharing a little piece of the journey with me and I wanted that to continue. I’m not really a natural introvert so it helped me adjust to being alone so much.  Then I started getting addicted…

 

 

 

Your pictures are amazing. What do you shoot with? Any tips/tricks/secrets you can share with our readers?

 

I shoot with an iPhone 7 because I’m too intimidated to learn how to use a camera for real.  And I don’t want to carry it.  I’m not really in the position to give tips, but for me the most important things are finding the right lighting and taking 300 pictures of everything from a million angles so at least one looks good.  I use the edit app in Instagram.

 

 

I love how your posts are a combo of pretty pictures and thought-provoking questions (that your followers love responding to…) How did this come about? Are the comments mostly constructive or do you have to go through and delete some?

 

I’m actually more into writing the captions than taking photos.  I used to do surveys on Facebook every day and they got a pretty big response.  I don’t have time to be addicted to two social media platforms and I chose Instagram. I love hearing from people around the world and a lot of the responses are very funny. The weirdos really shine in the DMs, not the comments.  A lot of people seem to get confused and think that they logged into Tinder.

 

 

Last year, you posted from every state in the US. How did this project come about? Was it easier/harder than you expected?

 

There are three reasons that I did the 50 state challenge. The first is that I was very depressed and needed to funnel it into a creative outlet.  The second is that I realized after the 2016 election that I had been living in an urban, liberal bubble and I had no idea what was going on in the rest of the country. The third is that my tourist visa for the EU expired and people on my Instagram were saying, “We’ll miss your pictures!”  That irritated me, because there are a lot of cool things in the U.S. too and I wanted to capture that.

 

It wasn’t hard, but I did get tired and discouraged a few times.  Once in a while I would think, “You are doing this for no reason.”  But I didn’t really have anything better going on, so I kept going.

 

 

What is your favorite way to travel? Do you have a steady group of travel buddies?

 

I’m a pretty unstructured traveler. I kind of just show up places and see what’s there.  I travel alone probably 90 percent of the time. I don’t know anyone else with my flexibility level, so I usually travel alone.

 

 

You’re half-Mexican. I’m half-Mexican. We’re both blond. Everyone gets taken aback when I tell them I’m half-Mexican… you?

 

It’s a pretty good addition to any game of “Two Truths and a Lie.” My backstory is that my ancestors were Mormon polygamists on the lam. Polygamy was keeping Utah from becoming a state in the 1800s, so they started a colony in Chihuahua. Most of them left Mexico because of the Mexican Revolution, but my family liked it and came back when it was over. My dad actually grew up in Mexico City and became a U.S. citizen when he married my mother.  For the record, I don’t have two mothers and I’m not personally down with polygamy.  I don’t mind watching the reality shows once in a while though.

 

 

How do you find new followers/expand your presence?

 

There are a lot of different methods and I’m always trying to think of more.  I usually tag my photos with feature accounts for wherever I took the picture and I get features fairly often. I got a lot of followers when I was in Tarragona, Spain when I was first starting and most of them still follow me.  I also got a decent influx after I had a feature on the Southern Living Magazine account.  I stopped making political jokes after that.  There are travel Instagram groups where you can post your account to get followers and every Friday the Instagram Reddit page has something similar.  When I first started to grow, I engaged like a maniac.  I got banned twice for liking too many photos in an hour when I was on Spanish trains.  It’s all kind of a weird experiment.  I know way too much about Instagram for a non-teen.

 

 

Any fun travel plans in 2018? What’s on your travel bucket list?

 

I’m in Mexico right now getting a problem in my spine fixed, because doing it here is saving me a ton of money.  I don’t know how long that will take.  I will be in the States for a few months over the summer, so I might hit some more National Parks.  Then I will probably go to Indonesia and Malaysia to visit friends.  Three things on my bucket list are the Northern Lights, Jerusalem and South Africa.  I also want to go to San Cristobal de las Casas here in Mexico.  My dad and I tried to go when we were road tripping a few years ago and protestors had shut down the highway.  I read a book about it in college and it’s always been a goal.

 

____

Thanks so much, Jill! Your spontaneity, sense of adventure, and your beautiful photographs are inspiring!

Anika Yael Natori, aka, The Josie Girl

Blog Home Page

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

 

All of a sudden, I am completely feeling the millennial pink phenomenon and want everything and anything in blush pink. It is subtle, feminine, pretty, and plain old FUN. So when at the Container Store recently stocking up on bins for my daughter’s markers, I saw this tape dispenser and absolutely had to buy it. How could I not?

 

Blush. I not only love the color, but I love the word “blush.” Doesn’t it describe so much in five little letters?

 

3. Ganesh

 

The other day while at lunch with friends, I noticed that I had a new friend seated next to me… Ganesh. It was at that moment that I decided that I was going to start collecting Ganeshes. Not sure where I will put them, but I do feel that they need to be a part of my life going forward.

 

I am specifically in love with this Ganesh statue. How beautiful? In the entry way?

 

4. Tequila Testing

 

Last weekend, I celebrated my birthday with one of my best friends, whose birthday is the day after mine. The couple knows my love of tequila, so we had a bug tequila taste test. Although I am partial to Casa Dragones, I was introduced to Clase Azul and instantly fell in love. It is a sweet and smooth drinking tequila in a beautiful bottle. So it makes a great present (and a great drink).

 

Can’t go wrong.

 

5. Clean Desk

 

I love our playroom, which is also supposed to be the homework room for the kids. Although they do draw and play a lot in the playroom, the desk is not used for homework and is never clean (even though I am OCD and like everything put away at all times). So when I do see a clean desk, I breathe a sign of RELIEF and HAPPINESS. CLEAN DESK = HAPPINESS.

 

Clean desk with messy bulletin board.

 

_____

So that is what I am loving this month. Do share with me what you are enjoying and smitten over. Have a great weekend!

Anika Yael Natori, aka, The Josie Girl

Blog Home Page

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

Go-To-Kale Salad

One of my biffles is an amazing cook — even though she claims she hates cooking. She can easily throw together a five course meal for her family where *everything* tastes divine. Although she likes to experiment and try new recipes, she also has a set of ‘go-to’ recipes that she makes throughout the week. This is her go-to-kale salad. It is so good that this past week, I made it THREE times. So easy, and so delicious!

 

Ingredients:

 

 

Continue Reading

Our Laundry Room

As I mentioned in Monday’s post about the Domino article, my favorite room in our apartment is actually our laundry room. Why? Because it is whimsical, unexpected, different, and light. It is definitely not your typical laundry room — and I always love marching to my own beat. At first, it was intended to be the way we enter the apartment (there is a backdoor entrance from the service elevator), but we continue to enter from the main door, and are totally fine with it.

 

Does this officially make me a housewife if the laundry room is my favorite?

Continue Reading

Domino Magazine Spread

Our apartment was recently featured in Domino Magazine in an interview with our interior designer, Ali Tick. We are so thrilled with it and love the fact that we will always have these images of our “forever home.” As you may know, we went through a major renovation for 8 months, during which we put together our dream interiors and designs. We love our home — so so much — as it truly represents us…  comfortable, clean, modern, and cheerful. To take a look at the full article, go here. Thanks to Domino and thanks to Ali for working with us on so many different projects (remember this in Lonny years ago?) and thanks to you all for letting me indulge in sharing this article! Thank you! (All photos by Cody Guilfoyle for Domino)

 

This is our “formal” living room. I love the colors and the chairs.

Continue Reading

Chana Masala

Ken recently read the book Eat to Live, and as a result, has been a little insane so far in 2018.  I have never seen him eat so many vegetables and beans (and so little meat and dairy).  Not sure what’s in the book, but it has really made a change in his diet, and he is enjoying it too.  In the spirit of vegan bean dishes, we decided to make Chana Masala the other night.  It was both of our first times making Indian, which was fun, if not without its challenges.  But we put together a tasty (and healthy) meal.

 

Ingredients

Continue Reading

Leblum Flowers

I love having fresh flowers in our apartment. I range from buying them at the corner bodega to having a florist put together nice bouquets. The problem is that although the corner bodega flowers are cheap and don’t last long, and the florist flowers are always gorgeous but way too expensive. So, when I found out about Leblum, I flipped!

 

Nothing makes me happier than flowers. Even more than chocolate. Or TV. Or a new gorgeous outfit.

Continue Reading

Firenze 2018

I just returned from an incredible four day trip to Florence (Firenze), Italy with a big group of girlfriends. As you can imagine, there was never a dull moment with lots of food, wine, no sleep, and lots of activity. The trip was incredibly planned and I thoroughly enjoyed my first trip to this beautiful city.

 

We stayed at the most beautiful place. This is the view from one of the apartment’s kitchens. DUOMO. Stunning.

Continue Reading

Beauty Counter Facial Oil

A friend of mine recently threw a trunk show with her friend that represents the beauty brand, Beauty Counter. To help support my friend (and therefore her friend), I attended and bought a couple of products, and I am totally in love!  My favorite hands down is the  Facial Oil …  I used an entire bottle in less than a month.  It is my go to for morning moisturizer, morning runs (if cold outside, I like to run with a lot of moisturizer on my skin), and nighttime. So now I am on my second bottle (and bought two more so I have extra stock #hoarder).

 

My newest skin obsession….love the smell, the feel, the glow it gives my face, and the moisture — a must have. Brightening and vitamin C facial oil.

Little but powerful.

Smooth, soothing, and oh so good.

 

The oil is a citrus scent but not overly strong, just the perfect amount of smell. It is lightweight, silky, and truly gives your face a nice glow (who doesn’t want to be glowy and dewey?) I highly suggest buying and using it all year round.  Try it!

Anika Yael Natori, aka, The Josie Girl

Blog Home Page

Christine and The Queens

I have the tendency to fall head over heels in love with a certain song and then listen to it on repeat at least 1,000 times. It KILLS my husband. KILLS. And yet, I can’t help myself. So last weekend, I was introduced to a French singer, Christine and The Queens, and the ENTIRE album is incredible. There are a couple of songs that are *mind-blowingly good* but in general, the whole album is remarkable.

 

Continue Reading

Sunday NYC Brunch- Bubby’s, Meatpacking District

As I am in Italy on a fun girls trip (more later), here is Ken with a quick guest blog post from his solo weekend with the kids:

________________

 

Most people think of the Meatpacking District as a trendy neighborhood in Manhattan with shopping, night clubs, and buzz.  It is also our favorite neighborhood to have early Sunday brunch (actually breakfast), as it is completely empty, has really easy street parking, and sets you up for a bunch of post-breakfast activities.  Our old stomp was Pastis (mostly known for being trendy, not for being a kids-friendly brunch place).  But since that closed down, our new Sunday morning brunch spot is Bubby’s on Gansevoort.  Easy, empty, delicious, and well-located.

 

Parking isn’t allowed in the neighborhood until Sunday 6 AM.  So early Sunday morning parking is a breeze.

Continue Reading

Sriracha Salmon

Spice, zest, tart, and sweet — the perfect bite. And with good salmon, it is truly perfection. This sriracha salmon recipe is from Gwyneth Paltrow and is a must make. Although I have had the cookbook for years, I had never made the salmon until this week. And in six days, I made it twice. OOPS. But so good. Make it, trust me.

 

Ingredients:

 

Continue Reading

Boho Bandeau

This past weekend, I had two friends from Oregon come and visit. They brought a bunch of gifts to help remind me of home. My favorite is the Boho Bandeau — a rainbow tie dye running buff — that is so Oregon, so me, and so practical. I love it! SO SO much.

 

 

Me and the wonderful Eugene friends wearing my Buff gift! The buff is the rainbow ear muff / headband / multipurpose WONDER piece of fabric.

Continue Reading

Currently Loving January 2018

Maybe it’s because my kids didn’t go back to school until January 8th, but it feels CRAZY and BIZARRE that here we are in MID JANUARY. How in the world did that happen? I can’t believe how fast time flies these days. So here is what I am currently loving January 2018! And as always, do share with me (as so many of you do) what are you are currently loving.

 

1. Super Soul Sunday Podcast

 

 

Turned on to me by my biffle, I have not been able to do anything BESIDES listen to Oprah and her podcasts. They are perfect while I wait at the doctors office, walk the 30 blocks to school pick up, or just listen to as I prepare meals. In any case, each episode has been inspiring with huge takeaways. I cannot recommend them enough and am so thankful that Amy told me that they changed her life (they are changing my life — dramatic or not). A must listen to.

Continue Reading

Green Goddess Dressing

A new year and a new dedication to eating green! I love having homemade salad dressing in the fridge as an easy snack, and this recipe from Gwyneth Paltrow is one that I make frequently — so delicious and easy. A must make and a must eat!

 

Ingredients:

 

The only difficult part of this recipe is buying all 0f the ingredients for it.

Continue Reading

Onepiece Onesies!

While we have thawed out a little bit the last two days, it was FRIGID in NYC for the days and weeks before. To top it off, our heat hasn’t been working that well in our apartment. Double whammy. Thankfully, we have these incredible onesies from Norwegian company Onepiece to keep us warm and happy. They were given to us by our dear friends for a 40th birthday celebration last March. They were so great for that special weekend and I can’t wait to wear them the rest of the winter!

 

Never ever have I met a jumpsuit I didn’t love.

Continue Reading

Carrie Pinkstaff Calendars

One of the random things I love about the New Year is having new calendars. I am still old school and carry around a calendar planner in my purse (along with an electronic copy on my phone / computer). I also have a pretty calendar displayed on my desk. For the past 2 years, my “pretty desk” calendar has been created and illustrated by the childhood best friend of my sister, Carrie Pinkstaff.

 

Carrie groups the months by seasons and has pretty, whimsical and fun pictures to go along. Last year, the seasons had a floral theme.

Continue Reading

New Years Goals 2018

2017 was somewhat of a rocky year with a lot of growing pains; on the national/political side to the smaller, less important personal side as well; physically, mentally, and emotionally. I am thankful for so much and grateful for everything, but it was challenging year in many ways. So now that we are in 2018, I am looking forward to continuing to grow, to feel, and to experience, but with a more positive and calm approach. Here are my goals for 2018! (and here are last year’s goals, which are very similar if not the same…) It is the year of love: loving myself, loving people, being in love, and channeling love, and doing things I love!

 

Love the smiles.

 

1. Be more gentle and kind to myself. Too often, I expect myself to be super woman and when I fall short it makes me feel worse.  This year, I am going to try my best, do the best, and be my best, but also be okay and loving even when I don’t.

 

2. Drink more tequila. As much as I love hot water with lemon, tequila is way more fun.

Continue Reading

Sunriver December 2017

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a great finish to 2017 and a strong start to the New Year….I was happily in bed and asleep by 10:30 NYE after a fun dinner out with family and friends. I am still trying to create my goals for 2018, but in the meantime, here are some pictures of our adventure out west last week in Sunriver, OR with my parents, and brother’s family.   It is truly a great family friendly place for everyone to experience the beauty and nature of Oregon. We never get tired of it, even when going twice a year (this year in March and again in December). Enjoy the photos of beautiful Oregon!

 

Once again, Ken was the one who went downhill skiing with the kids. I only went one day (Christmas Day) and although it is fun, nothing compares to cross country skiing. So Ken is the downhill guy, and I am the cross country gal. yin and yang.

Continue Reading

Holiday Traditions

As hard as I try, the holiday celebrations in our family are far from instagram-worthy. Most of my friends put on the most incredible Christmas with holiday cheer, traditions, beauty, and fanfare. But for whatever reason, (maybe it is because I am Jewish and did not celebrate Christmas growing up), I always fall short. Simply put, I am #BadAtXmas. I was never told about how Santa operates, the magic of Elf-on-a-shelf, the music, the outfits, the sugar-cookie-creation; all of it is a different language and I don’t know how to speak it. I am the first to admit that I need a private tutor to help me understand HOW CHRISTMAS WORKS.

 

My kids are also at the age now where they ask about it… why our presents are under the tree in early December, why we open presents well before the 25th (we generally leave town as soon as Winter Break starts), why we don’t have stockings, why there is no Christmas Dinner…we just have never had a “normal” Christmas, and I am having tremendous Mom Guilt. I have to remind myself that I do a lot of things well — like their predictable and constantly well performed bedtime routine, or the fact that I never forget them at school. But holiday traditions are something I need to work on — perhaps a goal for 2018?

 

As a mixed religion family, we celebrate both Hannukah and Christmas. That said, Hannukah in the Jewish Tradition is not a big ordeal: it is simply lighting of the candles, a prayer, gift exchange, and maybe some latkas and dreidel playing. So we do that and it is fun and all, but there is nothing BIG and HUGE that makes it that memorable and exciting. For Christmas, we are always together as a family somewhere that is not home. We do have a Christmas Tree in our home in NYC, but we don’t have the same traditions and customs that most of my friends do.

 

So with all of that said, I always breathe a sigh of relief when Christmas and the holidays are over. Once it has passed, I no longer fear my failure as a mom and can concentrate on the things I am better at. So, for those of you who are good at holidays, what and how do you do it? And is it fake it till you make it? Or is it genuine and real? Or do I just embrace the fact that “this” is something I am not good at, and learn from my weaknesses?

 

Lighting of the candle.  With the Christmas tree in the background.

Another night lighting.

The smile.

 

I hope everyone has a great week and finishes up 2017 in a strong and loving way.

Anika Yael Natori, aka, The Josie Girl

Blog Home Page

Tony’s Chocolonely

I love chocolate almost as much as I love my kids (I joke, I joke….eeks!). And this chocolate, Tony’s Chocolonely, is the best chocolate in the whole wide world. It tastes like gold (if gold tasted good) — just so rich and pure and holy chocolateness. And to top it off, it is from the coolest place in the world, YUP, Oregon. But of course, right? If I were you, I would buy as much of this chocolate as possible and give it out to people as their Holiday presents — it is that good.

 

My favorite three bars: Milk, Milk Caramel Sea Salt, and Dark Almond Sea Salt.

Continue Reading