David Monn: The Art of Celebrating

On Monday, I attended a book party launch for party planner extraordinaire, David Monn and his new book “The Art of Celebrating.” David is not only a good family friend, but also planned our wedding (almost 10 years ago!). He is the master of style, elegance, luxury, and entertaining. Everything he creates is regal, beautiful, and thoughtful.

 

David Monn's book.

David’s book.

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Currently Loving November 2016

Sorry for not doing my typical three posts last week. Truth be told, I was a little (or a lot) paralyzed by the election results and just couldn’t function.  I have been experiencing the grief cycle, and finally feel able to be a little more positive… I hope that feeling lasts more than an hour. In the meantime, here is what I am currently loving this November:

 

1. My number 1 podcast, How I Built This

 

A good listen

I go through phases with  different podcasts, but “How I Built This” is the one that I listen to every single week. And can’t wait for the following week’s edition.

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Top 10 Posts on the JGB

Many of you readers are old timers who have been a part of this process since the very beginning (Thank you so much, loyal friends and family!). Others are new to the Josie Girl Blog, so thank you for signing up, clicking on the link, and just simply reading the posts. I really love sharing my family, life, and thoughts with you all — and I hope some resonate with you as well. Since many of you readers are new, I wanted to share with you 10 of the most read posts over the past 5 years. Enjoy!

 

Five years ago....when I was a little younger, less stressed, more energy, and healthier....but wouldn't trade my sleepless nights or wrinkles for anything!

Five years ago….when I was a little younger, less stressed, more energy, and healthier….but wouldn’t trade my sleepless nights or wrinkles for anything!

 

1. Tsunami Survivor

The story of our good friend Laura Wales.  A MUST READ story about tragedy, circumstance, and perseverance.

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Beef Pork Sticks

Since I got a heads about a new butcher in the neighborhood, I have (oddly) spent a lot of time browsing their website and visiting their store. Located on 76th and 3rd avenue in NYC, they are exactly what I have been looking for: high quality meat from local farms. They have beautiful honeys, jams, yogurts, and spices… along with raw meat and cured beef sticks and beef jerky.

 

Simple sausage.

Simple sausage. Beef and pork raised right.

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Glimpse Guides – Travel with Kids

Introduced by a good friend, I had the privilege of meeting Jordan Rhodes, the creator of the website Glimpse Guides. The website shares Jordan’s travel finds, reports on current fashion for children and adults, and provides a wide variety of travel tips for families. It is a great resource when booking trips with kids. (She also featured my tips on traveling in Paris… take a look here). As a mother of two (with the third on the way!), Jordan manages to visit, write, and post inspirational and helpful content — thank you so much!

 

Jordan (pregnant with her third child) and her husband this past Fall in Scotland.

Jordan (pregnant with her third child) and her husband this past Fall in Skibo Castle in Scotland. Her family loves Scotland as there are so many outdoor activities for all ages, and the beautiful, remote landscape is unrivaled.

 

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Honey Harvesting

All my California friends are doing the bee thing — meaning, they have bees and they harvest honey for fun. DON’T YOU LOVE CALIFORNIA? I swear I am going to be the first Manhattanite mother with a bee farm — really, seriously, I am doing it. Get ready, Natori Family, here come the bees! I am learning from my dear friends out west — and thankfully, my good friend, Katie, agreed to do a post on how to harvest honey — so fascinating (nature is insane, right?) — take a look!

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As summer comes to a close and fall ushers in, we did our honey harvest recently to capture sweetness to carry us through the winter. Beekeeping seems intimidating from afar, but once you get into it, you see that the hard working honey bees mind their own “bzzz-ness” for the most part and the honey harvesting process is fun, easy and satisfying…truly, five simple steps!

 

The first step is pulling frames full of honey from the hive. We only take only half of the frames and leave the rest of the honey filled frames for the bees to feed themselves over the winter. Paul uses smoke to calm the bees while he does his work.

 

Paul and his bees.

Paul and his bees.

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Healthy-ish Desserts

I love dessert. Almost as much as I love my family. But I don’t like to eat too much sugar because I get jittery, emotional, and always have a sugar crash. So, when I don’t have time to bake my own health(ier) dessert, than I go to my local stores to purchase healthy-ish desserts. Here they are:

 

Yes, they are packaged food and store bought. But I like to think that they are healthier than a snickers bar, and made with higher quality ingredients in a more thoughtful process. But yes, you are so right, it is always HEALTHIER and better to make your own food at home, where you know exactly what is going into the food. But, YOLO (you only live once), so sometimes it is nice to just grab and go.

Yes, they are packaged food and store bought. But I like to think that they are healthier than a snickers bar, and made with higher quality ingredients in a more thoughtful process. But yes, you are so right, it is always HEALTHIER and better to make your own food at home, where you know exactly what is going into the food. But, YOLO (you only live once), so sometimes it is nice to just grab and go.

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Currently Loving October 2016

Can’t believe it’s the beginning of October! Here is what I am currently loving.

 

1.  Starboy by The Weekend and Daft Punk

 

I can't help my tween music taste, but really, The Weekend and Daft Punk together is the best duo ever. Kinda like if Coldplay were to jam out with Justin Bieber, I might die out of happiness. This song is everything. And helps me move.

I can’t help my tween music taste, but really, The Weekend and Daft Punk together is the best duo ever. Kinda like if Coldplay were to jam out with Justin Bieber. This song is everything. And helps me move.

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Scrumptious Banana Bread

The other morning when I was at my good friend’s house, she had just pulled banana bread out of the oven (how she makes banana bread while dealing with two kids on a school morning amazes me to no end!). She offered a piece, and although I had already eaten breakfast, I couldn’t say no. And HOLY crap, this was the best banana bread ever. Thankfully, she sent me the recipe and here it is!

 

This is how I bake....6:30 am on a Sunday morning, in my pajamas, totally disheveled, with my little baking partner (my 4 year old), with flour all over myself. But at least I am wearing FEATHERS undies.

This is how I bake….6:30 am on a Sunday morning, in my pajamas, totally disheveled, with my little baking partner (my 4 year old), and flour all over myself. But at least I am wearing FEATHERS undies. (I promise you this photo was not staged — Ken took  a photo of me because he said it looked ridiculous with the hand print).

 

Ingredients:

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Chameleon Cold Brew Coffee

I am a big believer in having quick-easy-access to coffee. Sure, I love my morning hot coffee in the morning (but not if I have to make it — thank you, Babers, for prepping the coffee maker every night). But after my first (of two) cups of coffee, I want something quick and effortless. I am also a coffee snob which makes it that much more difficult. Thanks to Chameleon Cold Brew Coffee, I get everything I want just by opening up my fridge.

 

Big jugs of coffee.

Big jugs of coffee. Actually they are coffee concentrates, so they can be diluted. It depends on how jacked up on coffee you want to be.

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Food Truck Wedding

My sister got married this weekend in an amazing wedding in Portland, OR (yes, we just relocated the family back from the West Coast the weekend prior… lots of travel!)  It was beautiful, heart warming, emotional, and fun. I am so #blessed (#sorrynotsorry) that I love my family as much as I do — my sisters, brother, and parents (obviously, my husband and kids too)– so much that I just want to be with them all the time (which makes my re-entry to NYC all that much more difficult).  Outside of the event and family, the highlight of the wedding was my sister’s WEDDING FOOD! BEST WEDDING FOOD EVER EVER EVER.  And not just any food, it was FOOD TRUCKS. Yep, food trucks at a wedding. And it was AWESOME. There were three food trucks for the main meal, and one food truck for dessert #Winning.

 

hawaiian

Hawaiian Cuisine? Yes please! This truck was from 808 Grinds and served an assortment of meats, rices, and sides. My favorite dish was the Fried Chicken.

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Around The Web September 2016

Sorry for all the personal posts recently! Seems like there has been a lot of traveling and exploring, and therefore lots of pictures and stories to share with you all. So here is a break from my personal life (thank god, right?) and links to things around the web that I find interesting!

 

My cool kid in the gorgeous state of Oregon.

My cool kid in the gorgeous state of Oregon.

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Napa Weekend

On our final weekend on the West Coast (Best Coast), we went to Napa to celebrate our best friends’ joint 40th birthdays. It seems like there were a lot of California trips this summer (there were), but this one topped them all.  Just like we did 10 years prior for our friends’ wedding, we stayed at The Carneros Inn. Over the weekend, we had an incredible (INCREDIBLE) dinner at Ad Hoc, one of Thomas Keller’s restaurants, brunch at The Fremont Diner, and the party at The Barn at Cornerstone. Not only was it hog heaven food wise, but the weather, the company, and the experiences were all top notch. I already miss the ease of flying from Eugene to San Francisco, and all our West Coast friends….

 

White farm flowers.

White farm flowers.

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Blueberry Hazelnut Crisp

With a flat of blueberries in our house from our local CSA, I went on a hunt to find the best blueberry pie recipe. That said, searching “best blueberry pie” on the internet does not necessarily lead to the best blueberry pie, especially when I add words such as “low sugar” or “healthy.” So instead, I went the old fashioned route and asked a friend for a recipe. Needless to say, this much more experienced baker (read ‘older’) instantly emailed me her go-to-blueberry crisp recipe. So I made it (but of course, with some minor adjustments) and IT IS SO DELICIOUS.

 

The result.

The result.

 

Ingredients for Crumb Crust and Topping:

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My Eugene Summer Routine 2016

I love my summers with my parents in Eugene.  It couldn’t be any different than our routine in New York, and I love the change of pace both for me and for our family.  Not very glamorous or fashionable or social; but very nature-centered, kids focused, with lots of fresh air. Take a look.

 

I wake up very early and do my morning workout before the kids eat breakfast. I just get up, and do it. Then, after the kids are fed and dressed, I take Cruzzie to camp (in the car). From there, Tusia and I start our day of Tusia-Mama Camp (the oh so exciting camp) which means:

 

Trips to the grocery store...who knew that they could be so exciting?

Trips to the grocery store…who knew that they could be so exciting? And who knew I needed to go most days? (Her cousin Nadia is pictured – Toosh is hiding behind the grocery cart).

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Cookbooks – Summer 2016

Everything about my biffle‘s house is blog worthy. It is like walking into a perfectly curated store that carries only the best of the best. Literally, every nook and cranny could be photographed and written about as her taste and style is impeccable (I will take one of each, please). She is also a phenomenal cook who meal plans for her family with healthy, simple, and varied recipes. Here are her top cookbooks of Summer 2016. And perhaps if we have the same cookbooks, then we have the same dinners?

 

Screen Shot 2016-07-18 at 12.36.39 AM

cookbooks

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Ice Cream Flower Pots

One of my dearest friends from Ken’s Stanford Business School class, Katie, is someone I have always looked up to. Not only is she brilliant (obviously), fun (best dancer ever), smiley, honest, and real, but she also has the best homemaker skills of anyone I know. Yes –  totally sounds sexist, but when I met her when I was 25 years old, I didn’t know anyone who sewed their own curtains, made their own scalloped potatoes for dinner parties, and hosted lavish, extravagant sit down dinners with all homemade dishes.  So I am thrilled to have Katie guest blog today on “Ice Cream Flower Pots.” Thanks so much, Katie. Love you dearly.

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My mom first made these “ice cream flower pots” for my 10th birthday party which was a joint party with my dear friend Carrie who had a birthday the same week as mine.  We themed the party “Pink and Purple” so all our friends wore everything pink and purple, as did our moms and my older sister who was the “helper”. The party was afternoon backyard games and a BBQ at Carrie’s house, and then a slumber party at my house.  The ten or so girls in attendance are still some of my closest friends, and to this day, everyone remembers the “ice cream flower pots” that thrilled us all when they were revealed as dessert.  They embody the creative and festive flair that my mom was known for bringing to everything she did.  She passed away 6 years ago and I miss her every day, but making treats like this on a lovely summer day for the ones I love makes her feel close in my heart again.

 

Beautiful flowers....but wait, it's a delicious dessert!

Beautiful flowers….but wait, it’s a delicious dessert!

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My Sister’s Bridal Luncheon

Last Friday, my sister Courtney and I hosted a Bridal Luncheon to celebrate our baby sister, Galen, and her upcoming wedding. The lunch took place at Olympia Provisions in Portland. Located in a hip / up and coming industrial area of Northwest Portland, the restaurant (which also is known for its meat sold nation wide) was the perfect venue. The lunch was super special with a great group of girls, delicious food, bubbling sparkling wine,  and a glowing bride-to-be.

 

Truly, a la Portlandia.

Truly, a la Portlandia; garage, brick, burlap, and meat.

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Flower Crown Party

Earlier this month in California, my sista-from-another-mister, hosted a Flower Crown Gathering (yes, I feel the need for it to be capitalized) at her home in the Bay Area. As always, Amy pulled it together like Martha Stewart and made everything look so beautiful and perfect. The party consisted of a couple of friends, delicious home-made appetizers, free flowing drinks, and a class on flower crown making led by florist and designer Sarah Padilla.

Another proud flower crown made by yours truly.

Another proud flower crown made by yours truly.

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Sonoma 2016

Just returned heavier and happier from another great California trip with the family.  We started the week in Yosemite and ended in beautiful Sonoma.  Invited by close friends from Stanford, we spent last weekend with several other families to enjoy nature and beauty in wine country, on a ridiculously beautiful ranch filled with plums, pears, apples, peaches, berries, vegetables, bees, hiking, pool, tennis, and MORE. Every step I took, I was reminded of the movie Parent Trap (top 5 movies for me, and yes, the one with Lindsay Lohan). To take a look at our California Dreaming, see below.

 

picnic

ATV picnic. I love how California can be so high class and cowboy at the same time.

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Roasted Broccoli

Hi all-

 

Sorry about the hiatus.  I had the below post scheduled for Friday, but it didn’t seem right to post anything given all of the craziness going on.

 

Particularly coming from a mixed-race marriage/family, I wish I had something intelligent / insightful / constructive to say.  But all I feel is sadness and helplessness.  It feels like we are in a bad movie right now, and my fear is it’s only going to get worse.

 

The only thing I know I can do is to hug my kids and talk to them about race and everything that is going on. And to pray for all of the families and friends directly affected.

 

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Last month, while spending a weekend with dear friends, I was served (lucky me) the most scrumptious broccoli I have ever eaten in my life. I didn’t care that there was anything else being served, the broccoli was TO-DIE-FOR. It was a grilled broccoli recipe from Barefoot Contessa. Here it is.

 

A green forest

A green forest

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