I am constantly on the search for several things: the best granola, natural deodorant, lipstick, and cookie (who needs anything else?). For each, I always think I have found “the best,” until my next new discovery. But honestly, I just found the best new natural deodorant, and I don’t think I will ever say that again… because THIS ONE, is seriously… The. Best. Natural. Deodorant. Ever.
Don’t judge a book by its cover, but COME ON, this packaging is gorgeous. Seriously, I felt bad recycling the box!
Almond and peanut free! Sugar free! Gluten free! Baking free! SOLD. And even better — they taste divine.
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.
My new favorite green salad dressing — better than green goddess as it has no dairy or mayo. A must try! Super easy and delicious. A great way to start the new year — fresh and green.
* 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
* 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
* 1 cup fresh parsley leaves
* 1/4 cup olive oil
* 1 tablespoon white vinegar
* 1 teaspoon salt
* juice of 1/4 a lemon
We are officially five months into our home renovation project, and slowly, it is taking more form and becoming more like a real home! The lights are now in (not the light fixtures, but the electrical outlets and lights on the ceiling), the walls are in place, and the stairs connect the floors!!! Mind you, it is far from done, but I now have a better sense of what it is really going to look like, and I can’t contain my excitement. Take a look at the newest pictures:
The new entry way!
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.
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.. 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.
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:
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.
I will let Ken’s Instagram post speak:
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).
I love chocolate cookies, but even more, I love ginger cookies. So when I stumbled upon ginger-molasses-healthy cookies on goop, I knew I had to make them. Shockingly, I followed every single ingredient and step, but they miserably failed (turned into liquid and melted all together). So, the next day, I altered the recipe, and now they are perfection. Sweet, chewy, not not overly sugar-y, spicy, and peppery. NOTE: You must refrigerate the cookies for at least 12 hours, so you have to think ahead in terms of timing.
End result: spicy perfection. I am giving myself a high five because the second time around, they were absolutely perfect.
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.
If you find yourself having some time (HA! During this time of the year, NEVER!), here are some interesting reads from around the web. Enjoy!
Things I google and then sreenshot
47 ways how to feel alive and be happy.
My newest social media go-to is Instagram Stories. For those not very tuned into social media, it is a new-ish feature on Instagram that is similar to Snapchat, and allows you to post pictures and videos throughout your day. The plus is that the pictures expire after 24 hours, so there is less pressure to make your posts “perfect”, and more of an ability to let you be more impulsive. It allows you to give people a glimpse into your life, without having the posts permanently associated with your name. It is fun and easy, colorful and playful. You can add filters, colors, and text.
Silly-ness. I like taking pictures that are cute but not AMAZING and then adding some pizzazz and flair with colors and texts. Basically, I love pretending I am a 15 year old girl.
David Monn, the style guru and event planner extraordinaire, is good friends with my mother-in-law, as well as our own wedding planner (from almost 10 years ago!). Glamorous, chic, and stylish as ever, he was nice enough to sit down for a quickfire interview. Take a look!
David Monn, and his dog, Sammy. What a handsome pair!
Since it is now cold in NYC, I only wear sweaters. I have a variety of solid every-day sweaters, but there are days when I crave a sweater with more pizzazz and color. Thankfully, I came across a Donna Wilson sweater which is fun, poppy, colorful, and comfortable.
A contemporary version of a Fair Isle sweater. I love the description: ‘Into the Woods’ is inspired by walks in the forest, thoughts on what it would be like to have a pet llama, and plans for a trip to the Arctic Circle.
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:
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.
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 mess and chaos and craziness.
Yesterday, my schedule was all mixed up. I got cancelled on by my hair dresser, so instead of getting my hair done (trust me, I was super annoyed), I studied calculus, listened to Hamilton Mixtape, and found my new favorite food: Poke bowls from Pokeworks!
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.
I did it! Two days later …..and the obsession and high continue. Here is my recap of the New York Marathon 2016.
Breakfast. Oatmeal, coffee, and flowers (thanks Laura, for so much more than just these flowers!) And yes, I ate the oatmeal as Breakfast #1 before the day began.
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!
1. Tsunami Survivor
The story of our good friend Laura Wales. A MUST READ story about tragedy, circumstance, and perseverance.
I have been a big fan of Roberta Roller Rabbit since my son was born seven years ago. The kids and I love the prints, the softness, and the ease of the pajamas. Additionally, all our master bedroom bedding is from RRR as well. I had the opportunity to interview Roberta Freymann, Founder and President of the company, along with her team at Roberta Roller Rabbit, so please read on for more on the company!
My kids almost exclusively wear Roberta Roller Rabbit pajamas. Here, in this sunset picture in Mexico, Cruzzie is wearing one of his many pairs.
I am a sucker for paper / stationary / gift stores. Whenever I go in to a paper store for a specific item, I leave with four additional items that I decide I can’t live without. So recently, when I needed thank you cards (because my whole life is in storage due to our renovation), I walked out with so much more. And my most exciting purchase was Calendar Stickers. Yes, yes, I know, most people use phones and computers for their calendar and organization system, as do I, but I ALSO use an old school pen and paper calendar as well. I know, OLD SCHOOL. I am also totally obsessive and get the same moleskin calendar every year. These calendar stickers are playful, fun, and serve as the perfect accessories to brighten up my calendar. LOVE LOVE LOVE.
Two different editions with two different sets of stickers — both that I needed and wanted.
There is a new neighbor in my hood, a nail art salon, Valley Nails. YEP, who knew, nail art! I mean, I guess I did, but I had never experienced it.
Welcome to the block!
It was everything that I expected it to be — a treat for a special occasion, such as a wedding (my excuse to get them done) or Halloween. A little pizazz and jazz to spice up a simple manicure. It felt fancy and fun, and I will definitely return to get more nail art before my next special event.
Halloween nails. I love these, but would never have the patience to sit there for that long, or actually be able to carry off this look.
First of all, thank you so much to your comments, emails, texts, and love for the 5th year of the JGB. I am blushing and so appreciate it all– thank you so much, and most of all, thank you for reading and letting me be in your life! On to today’s post…
I spend half my life in fitness clothes — or at least, a big chunk of my morning — and therefore, like to be dressed in high performance (makes you run faster, right?) and cute (makes you hotter, right?) gear. So when I came across the fitness clothing site, Evolve Fit Wear, I was incredibly happy. AND THEN WHEN I FOUND OUT that the owner and creator of Evolve, Kyla Smith, is a blog follower (#humbled), I jumped at the opportunity to interview her. I love digging into people’s business and seeing what makes them tick and operate. Kyla is a strong entrepreneur who created an e-commerce fitness website from scratch. Take a look — what an inspiration!
Kyla — can you handle the cuteness? I want her whole look. Puppy included.