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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Salmon Fritters with Eggs

Here is Ken with a guest blog post:

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As much as I love Thanksgiving, I think I love Thanksgiving leftovers more.  I don’t get the chance to cook much due to our schedules (nor do I get time to guest post on my wife’s blog), but the four day weekend allowed for some time to do both.

 

Every year, in addition to turkey, my family goes big on the poached salmon… and there are always tons of leftovers that we never know what to do with.  It may be an Asian thing, but I get a weird sense of satisfaction from eating leftovers, and moreover, finding creative ways to make dishes from leftovers.  With that, check out this post-Thanksgiving breakfast we enjoyed:  salmon fritters with fried eggs:

 

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Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Welcome back to reality of school / work / routine / the busy life before the holidays…..I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving. I had a great long weekend with my family and enjoyed every minute — so much to be thankful and grateful for. Although it was super low key and we didn’t do anything too out of the ordinary, each day we did something fun and exciting (more on that later). We were quite active, spent a lot of time outdoors, visited best friends, and had an overall great holiday. One of the highlights was the Macy’s Day Parade on Thanksgiving morning. We are good friends with the Macy’s Executive Chairman and so this time around, we were treated like true VIPs and celebrities (we had a detective escort us to our seats)! The one and only time that this will happen to us — and we loved every minute!

 

It was super cold Thanksgiving morning, and we knew that we were going to be sitting for several hours.  We had vests, double layered pants, and long underwear UNDER our jackets. Thank goodness, because we were still cold.

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Sunny with an A

As I get older, my network of awesome and talented women keeps expanding (one of the many upsides of getting older).  One of my newest mom friends, Sana, happens to be nice, smart, sweet, inclusive, open, interesting, beautiful, and inspiring. And not only is Sana a great person, but she is also the founder of kid’s pajama company, Sunny with an A.  I recently bought a pair for Tusia, and she literally will not take them off — they are amazingly soft, perfectly thought out, and super colorful. Take a look at the interview below, and thank you, Sana! (And mom, it may be time to start doing kids!)

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Sunny, indeed.

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Man Repeller Announcement

I used to read a lot of blogs (and a lot of magazines), but as the blogs have become more commercial and less authentic (and the magazines have become thinner and flimsier), I stopped. Now, I only check two blogs daily and after that, I like to get off my computer and get my daily inspiration of fashion / food / entertainment by talking to people and being on the New York streets — there is a lot out there by just looking around. Last week, I randomly visited a-previously-loved-blog (but now never frequented), Man Repeller.  And I found a post that brought me to tears. It was real, emotional, sensitive and raw.

 

Leandra Medine, the founder of Man Repeller, had been very vocal about her struggle with infertility over the past years. And as someone who struggled to get pregnant (I did 5 rounds of IVF), I felt for her. (More from me on the topic here). Those years of trying to get pregnant were some of my (and our) hardest, and I always empathize with anyone going through those emotional, mental, and physical struggles — so incredibly painful. Although I do not know Leandra personally (we have worked out next to each other several times in a workout class), there was always something so honest and true in her posts about her struggle.

 

She announced that she is now pregnant with twin girls in a beautiful, authentic and real post. She expresses her gratitude and appreciation and love of being pregnant, while understanding and giving hope to everyone who is struggling/has struggled with infertility. I value her words, articulation, position, and message. So please, read her post HERE. And thank you, Leandra, for being sensitive, emotional, empathetic, and real. I wish you all the best in your pregnancy.

 

Circa 2009 hiking Spencer’s Butte in Oregon. Such a baby expecting a baby.

 

Thank you for reading and understanding that everyone is going through their own sh$t.  We all need to treat each other with love and kindness. Have a great week!

Anika Yael Natori, aka, The Josie Girl

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NYC Marathon- Congrats!

(Guest post from the Josie Girl’s husband)-

 

Congrats to the Josie Girl for ROCKING the NYC Marathon yesterday, finishing in a personal best 3:26 just 4 weeks after running Chicago.  She is recovering this morning and will have a full recap later this week.  Go Mama!  Congrats to all of the runners out there, especially Shalane Flanagan, the first American woman to win in 40 years.

 

More to come from the JG later this week..

 

Josie Natori X Moda Operandi

While my mother-in-law made her name in sleepwear and bras/underwear, Natori has truly become a lifestyle brand with its establishment in a number of other collections, most notably in Ready-to-Wear.  Since she established RTW 8 years ago, the collection has evolved every year, and has reached a new high point with its Spring ’18 trunk show on Moda Operandi.

 

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Currently Loving October 2017

One more day left of October, so not too late for “Currently Loving” for the month! Here they are! Here is what I am currently loving in October 2017!

 

1. Busy Philipps

 

Her name is Busy. Her daughters names are Birdie and Cricket — now do you wonder why I want her to be my BFF?

 

I don’t know her from tv or movies, but I somehow landed on her instagram account (isn’t that how everything works these days….everything leads back to instagram…) and became obsessed with her instagram stories. She is genuine, authentic, beautiful, and oh so funny. I love her taste in music, clothes, and random thoughts. You must watch her on her stories — too funny. I also am determined to become friends with her…anyone have a connection? Sign me up please!

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Sotte le Stelle

Last weekend, we went on a family adventure to Queens to visit the Queens Museum. As we decided we wanted to have dinner on the way back, I researched hip but kid-friendly restaurants for an early dinner. We landed on Sotte le Stelle, which had rave reviews on Eater as the #3 hot spot in Queens.  And… pizza.  The new restaurant was DELICIOUS.

 

The restaurant only has 30 seats and is super small and cute. All of the waiters and staff are Italian, and super nice and friendly.

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