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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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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Renovation Post #4

Drum roll……This is our last official night living with my inlaws.  Spring break starts tomorrow and when we return, we will be in OUR NEW APARTMENT! We have been living in temporary digs since June 2016, so the return home will be that much better and sweeter. Our home! Here are some pictures of the current state of our apartment…not everything is done, like wallpaper, and lights, etc…but that will take place in the next two weeks (or so we hope!).

 

This is our future dining room and living room. I love the new floors (they are the same floors just sanded down and stained light vs the original dark color).

This is our future dining room and living room. I love the new floors (they are the same floors just sanded down and stained light vs the original dark color).

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Quickfire Interview with Jennifer Maanavi – Founder of Physique 57

Holy moley, speaking to Jennifer Maanavi is like speaking to a legend! She is the founder of Physique 57, the boutique barre class that helped change the fitness scene in New York, and now, globally. She is not just smart, beautiful and fit, but she is also incredibly thoughtful, sweet, and incredibly friendly. Take a look at the quickfire interview, and thank you so much, Jennifer!

 

Jennifer.

Jennifer.

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Currently Loving February 2017

Here we are in the final stretch of February…a little odd because we are just in the middle of February, but because of the short month, it is near the end (#MathTeacher). Here is what I am currently loving this month.

 

1. Katy Perry ‘Chained to the Rhythm’

 

I first heard this song at the Grammy’s where she performed live with Skip Marley, and it instantly got stuck in my head. Now, we play it on repeat and everyone in the family dances along.

 

Katy Perry.

Katy Perry. What is not to love about this song? Everything about it — the lyrics, the beat, the tune, everything just makes me so happy and makes me want to dance, dance, dance to the distortion.

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Letters to My Baby

For personal family reasons, I have had a difficult past week with lots of tears shed and feelings of despair and sadness. Many friends went above and beyond and have been an incredible support. Thank you for listening, thank you for the wine, thank you for the lunch, thank you for check ins and calls, and thank you for being my shoulder to lean on. It means the world to me, so thank you.

 

It is also during these times that I miss my parents the most. Growing up, whenever I got upset (either by throwing a temper tantrum or having my feelings hurt), my father would type up letters with some big moral and place them on my pillowcase. My father (the smartest man in the world) is also incredibly sensitive, wise, articulate, and thoughtful. It was during those hard times that I looked forward to his letters the most. Especially right now, I so wish I had these letters and could relate them to my feelings.

 

So when I came across this book “Letters to My Baby” it tugged at my heart strings and I had to buy it. Not that they are similar to my father’s typed up letters, but they are a great keepsake and something a child can have forever. Write now, read later, treasure forever. They are little paper time capsules that contain 12 letters where a parent can write to their child. Each letter has a different prompt for the parent to write about, and then you date, seal and keep the letters for your child. I love this idea.

 

Vintage Air Mail look in a great little booklet.

Vintage Air Mail look in a great little booklet.

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August Morgan Napkins

I just bought the most clever napkins ever, introduced to me by my bestie Amy at a brunch she threw.  Yet, they are presents not for myself (currently, we do not have our own home, so there’s no need to hoard napkins quite yet) but to have in my stash of presents for friends. These witty and creative napkins by August Morgan are the perfect hostess gift, pick-me-up present, or even a birthday present (who said napkins for your birthday are not the best!). You can buy the napkins as mix and match which makes it even more fun.

 

A set of four comes in a little nifty box with a ribbon to close it with.

A set of four comes in a little nifty box with a ribbon to close it with.

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February 2017 Links Around The Web

With a blink of an eye, we are now 1/12th done with the calendar year! My oh my, and what a whirlwind it has been. Here are some good links and reads around the world wide web.

 

This is a picture of my handsome father in 1961. Born in Poland as a Jew, he was kicked out in 1969 and Sweden granted citizenship to refugees like him. In 1974, he immigrated to the United States where he went to Stanford University for another graduate degree. Thank you, Sweden, for accepting my father and welcoming him into your arms. And America, let's continue to welcome people of every religion, race, and background. We are all children of immigrants.

This is a picture of my handsome father in 1961. Born in Poland as a Jew, he was kicked out in 1969 and Sweden granted him citizenship, along with other refugees. In 1974, he immigrated to the United States where he went to Stanford University for another graduate degree. Thank you, Sweden, for accepting my father and welcoming him into your arms. And America, let’s continue to welcome people of every religion, race, and background. We are all children of immigrants.

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Pamela Gold: Post #3

As the (still?) New Year is a time of reflection and improvement, I sought out my ever so wise friend, Pamela Gold, to answer all my dying questions. Forever a source of knowledge, she was the perfect person to ask a series of  neurotic and panicked questions! Thank you, Pamela! You are the best! And yes, her answers are novels because she has so much to share always. It is a lot of information all at once, so if I were you, read it now, save some for later, but READ IT. It is worth the length and time it takes to read it. (NO PICTURES BECAUSE THE WORDS ARE WHAT IS IMPORTANT).

 

Peaceful images.

Peaceful images for peaceful thoughts.

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Elm Street Books

This past Fall, I discovered a small independent bookstore in New Canaan that I fell in love with — Elm Street Books. Not only does it have a great selection of books, but the employees are incredibly knowledgeable and give great recommendations. Last weekend, I went in with three needs: books my emerging reader son can read on his own, books that I can read to BOTH my kids, and books for myself. Two different employees helped me out and all of their selections have been spot on perfect. Here is what they recommended! Thank you, Elm Street Books! We will be back!

 

Elm Street: Walked out with a new bag filled with books -- nothing better.

Elm Street: Walked out with a new bag filled with books — nothing better.

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Of Thee I Sing

For the holidays, Cruzzie was gifted President Obama’s children’s book “Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters.” (I’m not sure how iI missed this for so long… it was published in 2010.)  The book is thoughtful, educational, emotional, and beautiful. The first time I read it to my kids, I cried (yes, I am prone to crying, but still — this book is powerful). When you read the book, you can hear President Obama’s voice — and what an awe inspiring and powerful speaker he is (can we talk about his farewell address? We were in tears. How I will miss him!). This book is a must have for everyone –it is also a perfect gift.

 

This book seems very fitting for today....it is President Obama's last week as President. It is also a good reminder of how many strong people have shaped our history, and hopefully we will be able to be strong and determined moving forward.

This book is very timely It is also a good reminder of how many strong people have shaped our history.

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Pangulasian, El Nido, Palawan

Hands down, the highlight of our 2016 trip to the Philippines was our visit to Pangulasian, El Nido, Palawan. To say the resort, scenery, environment, location, food, service, experience was amazing is an understatement. I will go out on a ledge to say that it was the most beautiful and breathtaking vacation I have ever been on. It was so incredible that I would fly across the world again tomorrow to spend more time there.

 

To get to the resort, we had to fly from Manila to El Nido, then take a van to a boat. The boat was a tiny speed boat that took 20-30 minutes to get us there. Worth every travel minute to get to this paradise.

To get to the resort, we had to fly from Manila to El Nido, then take a van to a boat. The boat was a tiny speed boat that took 20-30 minutes to get us there. Worth every travel minute to get to this paradise.

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New Years Goals 2017

Happy New Year! For whatever reason, this year, I felt ambitious and decided to come up with 17 resolutions (goals / to do list / aspirations) for 2017 rather than just 5 or 10. (I think I had time to think about it for 24 hours when traveling back from Asia on Friday!) Here they are:

 

Heading into 2017

Heading into 2017.. a dock in Palawan in The Philippines (more on our vacation to come!)

 

1. Give myself more credit. I am hard on myself and rarely acknowledge (and applaud) my own accomplishments and successes.

 

2. Accept (and love) my body for the way it is. Be kind to myself.

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Kidzania

As we are halfway around the world with Ken’s family, The Josie Guy is helping me with some blog posts this week.  Fair trade.  Here he is:

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As discussed in the Josie Girl’s Punta Fuego post, we have been rotating between stints in Manila and out.  One of the highlights (outside of family) of being in Manila has been Kidzania.  What is Kidzania?  In short, it is a huge indoor pretend city that allows kids to role-play by conducting adult activities.  There are currently more than 20 locations around the world and it is on its way to the States.

 

screen-shot-2016-12-25-at-2-22-46-am

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Punta Fuego, Philippines

Our holiday trip to the Philippines has been a mix of time spent in metro Manila where most of Ken’s family lives, and time spent out of Manila, which is more know for beautiful beaches, nature, and tourism.  (Fortunately, Typhoon Nina didn’t do as much damage to Manila as some had forecast).  Our first getaway was to gorgeous Punta Fuego, where we went with Ken’s 11 cousins (on his mom’s side of the family), 4 kids (including our two), and 2 of 3 spouses (including me).  Enjoy the pics!

 

 

Punta Fuego

Club Punta Fuego has an amazing infinity pool. Toosh enjoyed her lounge time.

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Happy Holidays! – 2016

Hi all-

 

Wishing you and your loved ones the happiest of holidays as we wrap up an interesting year.

 

Thank you for reading the blog and for all of your support.

 

Hi there

Hi there- the front of our holiday card

 

Our laughing munchkins

Our laughing munchkins

 

We are still on the other side of the world with Ken’s extended family in the Philippines.  Wishing you the best.

Anika Yael Natori, aka, The Josie Girl

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We Made It! – Philippines

Greetings!

I will let Ken’s Instagram post speak:screen-shot-2016-12-18-at-4-25-20-pm

Yep.  2 hours of delay on the snowy JFK tarmac, 16.5 hours to Hong Kong, an hour layover, another 2 hour flight to Manila, and two hours through customs and to Ken’s family’s house later, we are in Manila for a family reunion extravaganza for his mother’s side of the family.  It is 5:30 AM Manila time now and the kids have been up for 2 and 4 hours respectively, but we are excited that we made it without dramatic incident (though we are still waiting on the kids bag to come… hopefully later today).

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Holiday Card Display

One of my best friends happens to be one of the most organized people I have ever met. She literally has a folder for everything, a labeled box for anything, AND she has a genius way of organizing holiday cards — by hole punching them and putting them on a ring. No clutter, no loose mail, and everything is all in one place. So I did as all fans do and copied her.  It sounds so silly, but it’s been a game changer! It might be an overstatement to say it has changed my life, but I kinda feel like it has. #Dramatic

 

You simply punch a hole in the corner and put it on the key ring. So easy (and cheap). And it feels so clean and organized. A game changer!

You simply punch a hole in the corner and put it on the key ring. So easy (and cheap). And it feels so clean and organized.

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Thanksgiving 2016- Breitenbush Hot Springs

We just returned from the Best / West Coast where we spent a whirlwind holiday weekend outside in nature with my side of the family. It is best summed up by Ken’s instagram post:

 

#Truth

#YesBingeBeforeCleanse

My parents have spent the past 20 Thanksgivings at Breitenbush Hot Springs, at the base of Oregon’s Cascade Mountains.  So instead of indulging in food, turkey, booze, and football, we spent Thanksgiving off the grid in natural hot springs, rain, lush forests, and togetherness (vegetarian togetherness). My brother and his family have gone the past seven years, so this year, we decided to make the trek out to Oregon. It was quite the haul, but it was a special and joyous time for the cousins and all of us to be together.

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Renovation Post #2

In August, I posted about our renovation and how lucky we are to be able to combine two apartments together to form our dream home. So here we are, now in November, and while we are progressing, the end doesn’t seem much closer (still living with my in-laws). IT WILL ALL BE WORTH IT, but man, it can be difficult not having my own home or space. My in laws are incredibly generous with their home, yet, it is still not our own…..

ZEN -- my in law's apartment is ZEN, of course, until you see our side and mess and chaos and craziness.

ZEN — my in law’s apartment is ZEN, of course, until you see our mess and chaos and craziness.

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