Natori Cherry Blossom Convertible Bra

I never thought it would happen…For the past decade, I have only worn Natori Feathers Bra and swear by it 110%. But recently when scrolling through instagram, I saw a Natori ad pop up advertising a new bra….so like any good shopper, I was intrigued and clicked on it to find out more information. And just like that, I ordered the bra (with a little help from some friends) and now, I HAVE MY NEWEST FAVORITE BRA EVER. I never thought it would be possible that I would find a bra that I liked as much as Feathers Bra, but believe it or not, I am now madly in love with the Cherry Blossom bra.

 

First of all, the bra is pretty.

 

Let’s face it, like most people, I love beautiful things. Although I am a huge fan of comfort and practicality, I also want my wardrobe to be beautiful. And the Cherry Blossom Bra is not only practical and extremely comfortable, but it is beautiful, too. The lace is gorgeous and I feel lady like and put together, while also wearing a bra that gives a natural shape.

 

Lined, wireless bra perfection.

Cherry blossom lace gives the name of the bra….

And one of the other exciting characteristics about the bra is the J-hook (it slides so will fit at any height), which makes the bra perfect for racer back tanks.

 

I love the versatility of the bra, the comfort, and the beauty — trifecta perfection!

 

The J-hook in use.

The advertisement that sold me on instagram! I love this image and the bra!

 

I am definitely going to wear this bra more frequently as I love it so much. Thank you, Natori, for showing yet again that you are the best bras EVER.

Anika Yael Natori, aka, The Josie Girl

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Chicago Marathon 2018

Here we are again, another marathon. It was an especially important one as it was the first one that my whole family traveled to watch.  I also atrained really hard, hoping fora personal best. And it turns off that despite my lack of confidence and the bad weather going in to the race, I ended up with my fastest time ever, 3:19:47. I am still on cloud 9 (and also very sore) and just so happy and proud. Take a look at all the pictures from the whirlwind 34 hours in Chicago!

 

We left NYC on a 9 o’clock flight Saturday morning. I was so happy to have the whole family together as I tend to be a basket case before a marathon. Traveling alone with just my thoughts is never a good idea…..

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Pickled Red Onions

My new favorite ingredient to add to salads / bowls / anything / everything ….pickled onions! They are sweet, tangy, and not too pungent. And super easy to make!

 

Ingredients:

 

 

* 2 red onions, thinly sliced

* 1 cup of apple cider vinegar

* 4 tablespoons of honey

* 2 teaspoons of salt

* a jar with a lid

 

Directions:

 

* Combine the vinegar, honey and salt in jar and shake

 

SLURP

 

* Add the onion and make sure it is fully submerged in the liquid

 

Pretty food tastes better. And nice shiny new red manicure also makes photos look better.

 

* Let the onion sit in the jar for up to an hour. Once done, you can store in the fridge for several weeks and add the onion to all!

 

My dinner. Pickled onions with roasted kale, brussels sprouts, baked sweet potato, cabbage salad, and leftover steak. What made it amazing was… SHOCKER the pickled red onion.

 

I am definitely going to make this again as it was a game changer for an extra oomph to any dish!

Anika Yael Natori, aka, The Josie Girl

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To Do Fall 2018

Almost October, so that means there is only 1 and a half months before it becomes Winter in NYC. Fall is a very short lived season and there is so much to do between now and then! Here is what I want to do this Fall:

 

We still have green leaves on the trees, but sooner rather than later, the colors will change and then the Park will be orange / yellow hues…

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Brooklyn Crab

Back in the early 2010’s, we used to spend our weekends driving out to Red Hook (in Brooklyn) to grocery shop at Fairway, gaze at the Statue of Liberty, eat cookies at Baked, and pretend like we lived in the outer boroughs/suburbs. We were religious about this weekend ritual and tried to keep it up as long as we could. But then Fresh Direct (and a second child) came along, which made it impossible to drive 30 minutes just to grocery shop. This past weekend, we decided to go back. And now I can’t wait to go back and make it a monthly ritual — Red Hook is a special and unique neighborhood and I just love it so much. The highlight was our brunch at Brooklyn Crab. I want to have a big blow out party there. The food is delicious, the views are great, and it just screams FUN PARTY.

 

Looks like you are on the coast of Maine, but NOPE, in Brooklyn!

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Haven’s Kitchen Sauces

Now that I am back to NYC, I am all about fast, easy dinners. I like simple, delicious, and healthy meals that do not require much thought but are still tasty and good for you. So when I came across Haven’s Kitchen Sauces on Fresh Direct, I jumped especially because my friend Katie Carey, happens to be the brains and beauty behind these delicious sauces! Can you believe how small this world is? TINY! And can you believe how amazing these sauces are? INCREDIBLE.

 

So good. So good. So good. Worth repeating and eating more and more and more of them.

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Reuseable Straws

Many cities across the States have started to ban plastic straws. In a lot of places on the West Coast, restaurants and bars do not serve drinks with plastic stirs or straws, and soon we will see this happen across the East Coast as well.

 

In general, plastic straws are wasteful garbage. And therefore people are searching for alternatives. Paper straws get soggy and wet, metal straws distort the taste of the drink, and therefore silicone straws are becoming more and more popular.

 

Plastic straw alternative.

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Sweet Noodle Kugel

Today is Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year (Shana Tova!) Since I have the tendency to be bad at holidays (across all of our religions), this year, I decided I want to be more festive, and threw together a last minute holiday dinner with friends (4 Jewish-Catholic/Christian families… go figure!). One of the main traditional Jewish dishes is Noodle Kugel, something that is very Jewish but not something I ever grew up eating. I was looking for recipes on the internet when I decided to contact one of my old-time friends who I met when we were on a Teen Tour of Israel together. And sure enough, Heidi-ho got in contact with her mother (who just happens to be a chef!) and immediately sent over her go-to Sweet Noodle Kugel. Although it has been decades since I last saw Patty Padawer (can we talk about the awesomeness of her name), I remember her delicious food fondly. Talk about helpful — she saved the day — thank you SO much, Patty!

 

Not just any kugel, special and easy sweet kugel.

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Run Fast Cook Fast Eat Slow

My favorite cookbook (Run Fast Eat Slow) now has a sequel and I couldn’t be happier! I am so excited to get back in to the kitchen and cook / bake / create some of the recipes from the new Run Fast Cook Fast Eat Slow.

 

So excited!! Shalene Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky and their second cookbook! Some of my all time favorite recipes are from their first cookbook, so I am super happy to find new favorites in this one, too.

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Interview with Dr. Heather Rogers

I wrote about my obsession with Doctor Rogers RESTORE Healing Balm earlier this Spring — and it is true — I am fully addicted and can’t live without it. Therefore, it is quite an honor to interview Dr. Heather Rogers, the creator of RESTORE and a renowned dermatologist in Seattle. This is a must read for information on the balm, good skincare, and tips on how to live a healthy life! Thank you so much, Dr. Rogers!

 

And of course, as a talented doctor and entrepreneur she is also STRIKINGLY beautiful!

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Currently Loving August 2018

August feels like one big Sunday to me — I love it, and yet I also dread the reality that real life is around the corner. Even though I try to take one day at a time and live in the moment, I suffer from worrying about what is going to happen in 2-3 weeks time…..I know, great habit of mine. I am trying to make more of an effort in enjoying all the little things around me; weather, nature, freedom, space, and all the below. Enjoy!

 

1. Hazelnut Butter

 

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Oregon Coast 2018

Oregon has everything:  mountains, rivers, ocean, hills, valleys, lakes, etc. One minute you can be in the Willamette Valley, and the next, in the Cascade Mountains or on the Pacific Ocean. The kids and I just had an amazing weekend at our friends’ (Sara and Colin) family’s retro cabin on the Oregon Coast. Located 60 miles from Eugene, it was the perfect getaway full of outdoor adventure, fresh air, beautiful scenery, and good old fashion fun. Thank you so much, Sara!!!! Truly the best.

 

Oregon Coast is unlike any where else. It has dunes, sand, shrubs, rivers, lakes, etc…One of a kind.

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Overnight Train

When we were mapping out our summer travels, I knew that at one point, I wanted to take the kids on an overnight sleeper train adventure. Luckily, we had planned to go on our annual trip to Sonoma, so I knew that the magical train dream would be able to happen. It was perfect timing as my best friend from college, Bridget, had been visiting us in Eugene, and we were both aiming to get to California at the same time. So the five of us — me, Bridget, my two kids and her daughter — all went on the adventure together. And it was exactly that: an adventure. Not a mode of transportation to get us from Point A to Point B, or a luxurious beautiful hotel, but a memorable and fun experience. It was so much fun that I hope to make it an annual tradition — there was something about it that was nostalgic, peaceful, romantic, and comforting.

 

The five of us. And yes, Bridget and I are wearing matching outfits. Why would we NOT wear matching outfits?

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Aperol Spritz Slushee

My (and everyone else’s) summer drink, the Aperol Spritz, has been consumed in many different ways.  But I think I have found my favorite… the slushee.   I may never drink anything else again: this slushee is the most incredible, light, fruity, delicious, buzzing, refreshing, oh-so-good drink. It is truly perfection.

 

It is even better than it looks. SERIOUSLY, so good.

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Random Thought

This is totally random and not my normal post, but, well, I am random and not completely normal. So it all seems fitting 🙂 Just a simple message to say that it is important to reach out to friends even if you feel like you know what is going on. Often times, what appears on social media (or say, in a blog), is just a fraction of reality. Social media is a great tool because it gives you a glimpse into your friends’ lives and whereabouts, but it is not actual communication with a friend. Writing an email, making a phone call, sending a text, making IRL plans –> that makes the biggest difference. Connecting and communicating with friends and loved ones is a two way street and oh so important.  Don’t forget to check in on your strong friends. A great article on this is here. And this applies to family, friends, mentors, colleagues, or inspirations. I know this is something that I need to continue to work on, but I also know that when I do hear from loved ones, it means the world to me.  A simple 2 minute effort goes along way. Happy Wednesday!

 

Me and the kiddos.

 

Anika Yael Natori, aka, The Josie Girl

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Summer 2018 Orcas Island

We just finished up a full week in Orcas Island (a part of the San Juan Islands) with my family. It was a super fun filled week of hiking, biking, swimming in lakes, swimming in the ocean, swimming in the pool, roasting marshmallows, and breathing in the super fresh air. Orcas Island is an incredibly hilly island (made my runs extremely challenging….) but with ridiculous beautiful views and scenery. I can’t wait to return again and hope to make it an annual trip. Enjoy the pictures!

 

We rented a house in Rosario, one mile away from Moran State Park. This meant great access to hikes, trails, lakes, and views. At the top of Mount Constitution, there were breathtaking views of the other San Juan Islands, the Cascade Mountains, and all the lush greenery. HEAVEN, truly heaven.

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Summer 2018 Greece

In late June, we were fortunate to spend a week of vacation with my inlaws in Greece, my first trip there in 20+ years. As the kids and I had just come off a week of cultural visits (in Paris), we used our time in Greece to rest and relax. Despite the fact that Greece is full of a rich history, we were located in a remote part of the mainland of Greece and didn’t travel outside of the resort (except for one day where we were on a boat). We fell in love with Greece — the resort was absolutely DIVINE and I hope that we will be returning again soon. And of course, next time, we will have to check out more cultural sites as well as many of the islands.

 

Everything about the hotel was perfection. Absolutely perfect. This is where we ate breakfast every morning overlooking the ocean and mountains.

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Kindle

Hi (or Yassou) from Greece! We have spent the past week R and R’ing with my inlaws on vacation. It has been incredible to do nothing but rest, recuperate, relax, walk, eat, and be together as a family. Due to my heavy travel schedule this summer (combined with my ability to read a lot over the summer months), I bought a Kindle so I didn’t have to lug around heavy books in all my travels. Although I love physical books, I must say that I have been LOVING my Kindle. LOVE LOVE LOVE. It has been so great to have multiple books in one little device, and know that even if I run out of books during the summer travels, I can easily buy new ones. But the best part has been the fact that my son has all of a sudden had a HUGE interest in reading on it. He loves to read, kinda sorta maybe. But somehow, reading on the Kindle has created this whole new interest in reading, and he can’t seem to put it down. The only downside in this is that I then have to fight with him for it (but it’s a battle I’m happy to “lose”).

 

Cruzzie loves his lego catalogues more than anything. Since he was young, he has carted them around on car travel, restaurants or any sort of activity. He loves to read his catalogues. But ever since he discovered that he could read on my Kindle…..

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NYC Moment

For many, the end of the school year is extremely busy, hectic, time consuming, and stressful. Especially when my work involves working in schools and tutoring students, the days seem to be marathons with a long list of to-dos. So, it was especially joyful and happy when a couple months ago, I discovered a neighboring apartment that had a statue that gazed out on to the street. This statue wasn’t just any statue, but one where the owners would frequently rotate the hats that the statue was wearing.  For some reason, this was exciting and something I looked forward to every day.

 

The hat on the corner apartment of the building across the street.

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22 Interiors – Styling 101

Once again, our dear friend Lucie Ayres from 22 Interiors joins the blog for some designing and styling tips. I love her work and styling, so don’t just read the post for advice…. follow her on instagram to see her Californian digs and designs. Thanks, Lucie!

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The finishing touches are what make a room feel designed or not. One of 22 Interiors FAVORITE things to do is style bookshelves and coffee tables. We love discovering what clients already have, adding to it, and finalizing a curated look that works for them….We recently went to a client’s house to do some bookshelf and coffee table styling as part of our design service. Our client already had put some objects up on the shelves along with some books. This is what it looked like:

 

Before:

 

before

Before

Dermovia Individual Face Mask

Beauty Masks are having a moment right now. They are catchy, sweet, and functional all at the same time. Recently when at Barney’s picking out my MIL’s birthday present, I decided to buy one and try it myself. See below for more on the Dermovia Rejuvenating Collagen Lace Your Face Mask.

 

It comes in this little packaging which is perfect for traveling or a care package.

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Saturday Night Live Taping

This past weekend we had the experience of a lifetime, attending Saturday Night Live and hanging out backstage with cast member Mikey Day and his partner Paula, who is a friend of Ken’s from college. Paula and Mikey are incredibly friendly, interesting, funny, and grounded. So when they invited us to attend the dress rehearsal, hang out in the dressing room during the show, and then go to the after party (!!!!), we jumped at the opportunity… especially Ken, who is the show’s biggest groupie. We had SO MUCH FUN.

 

We had tickets for the dress rehearsal which required us to be there at 6:30. There was a lot of security to go through before it actually started at 8 pm.  The dress rehearsal lasted 2 hours and has more skits than the live taping.  They are militant about not allowing pictures. 🙁

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HICKIES No Tie Elastics

Through the retail world, we recently met the owner and creator of HICKIES No Tie Elastics. And I am now a huge fan! I love how fun, colorful and easy they are to use and assemble. What are no tie laces? Well instead of laces, you place HICKIES laces in the shoelace eyelets. And voila, no tie, easy to slip on, shoes! You can get creative and have different designs, tightness and looks. There is a huge assortment of colors and looks of the HICKIES to match all your different shoes and needs. They are not just for kids, but adults, too.

 

Playful laces.

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The Perfect Hard Boiled Egg

I have never been good at making the perfect hard boiled egg, so thanks to my good friend Katie Kaiser, I now know how to make them. Thanks Katie for the guest blog post!

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I’ve developed this method over the years combining tips and tricks I’ve read or heard about from various sources. The trick is four simple principles:

* Eggs that are room temperature and not too fresh

* Baking soda in the water – it somehow helps separate the internal lining of the shell from the boiled white of the egg

* EXACT timing in two segments (on heat and off)

* Ice bath immediately after boiling

 

All you need are eggs and baking soda. But here is the first tip: if the eggs are too fresh, they will be harder to peel. Eggs about a week old are usually perfect. You also want them room temperature.

 

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