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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Onda Beauty

As a devoted regular of Taryn Toomey and her class, I have met a group of tremendously talented and incredible women. One of them, is Larissa, who just started Onda, a store that sells natural beauty products. She has incredible taste and has curated the best assortment of products currently on the market. She is incredibly thoughtful, knowledgeable, and is a walking encyclopedia on every item — Enjoy!

 

Larissa: a beauty inside and out!

Larissa: a beauty inside and out!

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Upper SweetsideNYC Ilana

Honestly, nothing makes me happier than homemade baked goods, creative touches, and a hard working and inspiring mother. And Ilana, the founder and creator of Upper SweetsideNYC is all that. Ilana has created her own business of custom cakes, cupcakes & cookies for kids bdays and special occasions. Not only are the baked goods beautiful, but they are delicious too. Ilana is a fellow mother at my kids’ preschool, and through our morning chit chats and social media, I discovered her incredible talent. Ilana is a true example of a strong, empowered, and passionate woman who dreamed and created her own destiny! Here is an interview: — thank you!

 

One of the beautiful cakes created by Ilana!

One of the beautiful cakes created by Ilana!

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Favorite Fragrance Oil Scents

For the past several weeks, I have been on a fragrance scent kick. Essential oil blends that smell divine versus perfumes full of harsh chemicals and overpowering smells. Here are my top three fragrance oil scents — I honestly can’t get enough of them.

 

Big little small; all divine.

Big little small; all uplifting, clean and bright scents.

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Natural Deodorant: Agent Nateur

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! (But I am not a hoarder, and what would one do with a deodorant box anyways!)

Don’t judge a book by its cover, but COME ON, this packaging is gorgeous. Seriously, I felt bad recycling the box!

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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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Allbirds Shoes

Before the holidays, one of my best friends introduced me to the most amazing wool shoes. She and her husband both have them in multiple colors. Made from New Zealand merino wool, they are lightweight, breathable, fashionable, chic, comfortable, (and warm)! (Links: women and men.) Not only are they good looking but they are a good price point ($95) for a shoe you will wear everyday!

 

Wool and good looking!!

Wool and good looking!! (These are a men’s pair I got for Ken.. I am buying a pair soon!)

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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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Renovation Post #3

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!

The new entry way!

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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.

 

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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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Healthy Molasses Cookies

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.

End result: spicy perfection. I am giving myself a high five because the second time around, they were absolutely perfect.

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Quickfire Interview with David Monn

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!

David Monn, and his dog, Sammy. What a handsome pair!

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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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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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Roberta Roller Rabbit

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.

My kids almost exclusively wear Roberta Roller Rabbit pajamas. Here, in this sunset picture in Mexico, Cruzzie is wearing one of his many pairs.

 

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Valley Nails

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!

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.

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.

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Evolve Fit Wear

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 cutness? I want her whole look. Puppy included.

Kyla — can you handle the cuteness? I want her whole look. Puppy included.

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The Josie Girl Blog- 5 Years!

Hi.  This is Ken.  The Josie Girl’s Husband.

 

I am hijacking the blog today to let you know that today is the 5 Year Anniversary of the Josie Girl Blog, which all started with this post here.

 

I am incredibly proud of my wife (Yael if you call her by her middle name, Anika if you call her by her first) for having the commitment, creativity, and discipline to put forth such great content over the last 5 years.  Since her “go-to” toast is lists, I wanted to share the Top Five Things you didn’t know about The Josie Girl / writing a blog:

 

1)      She is the anti-blogger.  Working in the industry, I can safely say writing good content is only 20% of being a mainstream blogger.  The other 80% is promoting yourself, through social media, networking, etc.  While The Josie Girl loves the 20%, she refuses to do the 80%.  She is the shyest blogger ever.  Her Instagram is private.  Her Twitter is run by the company (outed).  And she literally has never shared a single one of her posts on Facebook (and won’t let me do it either).  The vast majority of her friends don’t know about her secret blogger life, and she wants to keep it that way.  (NOTE: If you are a loyal reader, please recruit your friends!)

 

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Me and wifey

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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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