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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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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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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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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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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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.

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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

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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Currently Loving December 2017

With a snap of a finger, lightning speed, here we are in December. Mid December, in fact. Not sure how time flies as fast as it does, but, it does. So without further ado, here is what I am currently loving this month! Enjoy!

 

Holiday Card Display

 

GENIUS.

 

I like how it is mid December, and we have already received 100 cards. Mind you, I also sent out my cards on the 1st of December, so just like me, most of our friends like to be early….. This holiday card ring hack has changed my life — it literally makes me so happy every day to have the cards OUT, without cluttering up the house!

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