Track + Field Olympic Trials

Olympic Trials

The Olympic Trials for Track and Field.

With school out for the summer, I am in Oregon for the next two months with my parents and the kids, and Ken is going to be back and forth from New York.  New York has the Yankees, Mets, Knicks, Rangers, Islanders, Jets, and Giants.  Eugene, Oregon has the Track and Field Olympic Trials!  Eugene is actually known for its track (nickname: Tracktown, USA). It is the home of Prefontaine and is where Nike was born.

Even if you don’t love track (I do), watching Olympic Trials is pretty cool. Hundreds of athletes from around the U.S. come here after training for years.  What transpires at Hayward Field determines if all of the blood, sweat, tears, and sacrifice are worth it.  Lots of emotion, suspense, drama, and great track and field.  Enjoy the pics!

Hayward Field. Big crowd. Despite the rain.

Anatomy of a successful Pole Vault: Part 1

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Aviator Nation

I am a sucker for hooded sweatshirts. Like shoes for some people, I can never have too many hooded sweatshirts! I literally have too many hooded sweatshirts to count (you can take the girl out of Eugene, but you can’t take the Eugene out of the girl!). And if I did count, it would be too embarrassing to share. The past several years, my favorite brand of sweatshirts has been from a company called “Aviator Nation.”

Aviator Nation. Aviator Nation's name comes from the creator's favorite type of sunglasses -- aviators. She wanted the feel of the company to be very OP (remember that company???) -- truly a Californian inspiration.

Aviator Nation is a California based company that is oh-so-California. Kinda like the word, hella. It just blasts off the message that it is a California born and bred company. Which is probably why I am obsessed with it. I am a California (and Oregon) type of girl. Basically, Aviator Nation has taken vintage t-shirt and sweatshirt reproduction to the next level. The look and feel of the clothes is retro and worn in. The moment you see the sweatshirt, it is your new, favorite, broken-in, and ultimate dreamy lounge wear. And not only is the material super soft and comfortable, but the looks and colors are so rad (hella rad, to be exact) and bright, that they bring me happiness whenever I wear them.

zip up hoodie

A zip up hoodie. Classic and wearable daily! (And of course, love the no pants look -- must be a west coast thing).

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Spring Wish List Part 2

For some reason, now more than ever, I dream of spring clothes. Probably because I have been wearing the same 4 maternity pants and tops day in and day out.  Regardless, my urge to shop is O.O.C. *out of control*.

Yes, I know I’m not going to be able to shop right after birth, because I have to lose the weight, which will take time.  As they say, 9 months on, 9 months off. So the reality of me buying any spring or summer clothes is slim. Plus, I am going to be in Eugene, Oregon all summer with my parents, and who needs to wear anything besides running shorts and birkenstocks there? I for sure don’t.

But here are the items that I would want to get if (1) I was my normal size (2) I wasn’t about to  spend a summer never leaving the house — a dream come true — in Oregon. So here it is! Part 2 of my Spring Wish list! (to see Part 1, click here.)

By Malene Birger Gaidig Eyelet Babydoll Cami

Eyelit cami

Easy breesy, white, summery, billowy, and goes with anything.

By Malene Birger Askilio leopard-print wool scarf

hot pink

Hot pink AND leopard = too cool for school.

 

Josie Natori Kubai Scarf Top

Original top that makes it easy to put together a complete look. There are a bunch of similar drapey tops in the collection and they all look great!

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Box Intimates

Box

Long post today, which will eventually discuss a great new product I love.  But first, an intro of the product’s founder and my dear friend.

Who is Irene and What is Box?

Meet Irene.

Irene Kim

Honestly, don't you want to pick her up and put her in your pocket ? She is the cutest lady in the world. Period. The end.

Irene started off as Ken’s friend, not mine. Back in 2004, Ken was on Wall Street and worked at Lehman Brothers, and Irene became one of his closest work friends. He purposely did not introduce me to her because he knew that we would instantly become joined at the hip and just gab like silly girls. But finally, we met, and Ken was right.

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Spring Reading List

I used to pride myself on the fact that I was a book-worm and read all the time. Now, it is far from the truth, as I just don’t have the time anymore…. or the ability to focus on small black and white letters on a page. It is not that I don’t try to read, I do. I swear, but with my son, American Idol, US magazine, people.com, there are too many distractions at night….yes, I am blonde.

Here are my Spring Reading List books, because starting yesterday, I am making a commitment to read more. (These books are in no particular order).

1. By Invitation Only: How We Built Gilt and Changed the Way Millions Shop (Alexis Maybank and Alexandra Wilkis Wilson)

Invitation Only

2. Forgotten Country (Catherine Chung)

Forgotten Country

3. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail (Cheryl Strayed)

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Spring To-Do Wish List in NYC

Nothing is better than New York in the Springtime (well besides the Pacific Northwest in the summer….). The trees bloom, flowers blossom, birds chirp, people shed off their layers, and the energy is vibrant. There is magic in the air and in the streets and you don’t seem to notice the cars honking, the pollution, the garbage, or the negative people; everything just seems to glisten and glow. This Spring, I have a lot to accomplish on my to-do list of activities, because before you know it, mid-May will be here, and I will have a little Baby Girl in one arm, a Toddler Boy in the other, and it will be nearly impossible to move off the couch. So even though I am a waddling whale, I want to take advantage of the city in the spring and knock off some of my wish list activities STAT. Here are some of them:

High Line Kids Earth Day

highline

This Earth Day, Sunday, April 22nd between 2 – 4 pm, the High Line will celebrate with live music, a giant communal mural, face painting, wildflower seed balls you can grow at home, and the Children’s Workyard Kit. Families will be able to dance, draw on a 15-foot mural, and partake in planting wildflower seeds in a garden. Kids will also be able to build vehicles, forts, creatures, structures, and machines from custom-designed wood planks, nuts, and bolts by Cas Holman. What seems better than that? I know that the past two summers, I have thoroughly enjoyed taking the little boy down to the High Line, playing and splashing barefoot in the water, eating popsicles, and being a part of a New York City moment. So for Earth day, 2012, I am so excited about heading down there and being a part of this celebration.

highline

Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge

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Foam Roller

I know it is a pie-in-the-sky goal, but I plan on running the New York Marathon this coming November. (Yes, I am due in early/mid/late May. Big dreams, but I am going to MAKE IT HAPPEN!) So, in order to prepare myself, I just started stretching and rolling more. My thought process is that the roller will help me get used to stretching NOW so that come July/August when I start hard core running, I will be more flexible and less likely to get injured, and training will be “easy”…. Makes sense, right?

Foam roller

Foam Roller. If it were bright magenta or turquoise, one could easily mistake it for a pool toy.

We have had a foam roller stashed away in the hall closet for at least 2 years. And yet until last week, I had never actually used it. I always *wanted* to, but somehow, never got around to it. Last week, however, I decided to buck up and become a woman and use it. And let me tell you, it KILLS. Like you want to scream and holler and hit someone because it is so painful. From all my various activities, my muscles are so tense and tight that this little sucker of foam kicks my tush.

The pain!

AHHH! The pain!!! Hello, tush!

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Antigua Food

As we just returned from our babymoon on Tuesday and the food was memorable and delicious, here are some of the highlights of the yummy-ness we experienced on our President’s Day weekend holiday….

Ken's breakfast

Some people get normal breakfasts, but not Ken. Ken *always* likes to experience the local cuisine and eat whatever they suggest. Breakfasts are usually his time to experiment and explore new foods. This is salted fish with Antiguan chop. And yep, he ate it for breakfast. Oatmeal or salted fish? Easy choice for Ken!

Antigua Jam

The hotel makes their own organic jam with local fruits. I am not sure exactly what type of fruit jams they were, but in any case, they were delicious and I could not stop eating them....

Pastry basket

I am a sucker for all pastry baskets.

Coffee and juice

Each morning they had a "special juice" -- on this particular day it was papaya and pineapple. So tasty -- it was like drinking a papaya whole. And the lattes were a special treat as well.

Last weekend was a relaxing and terrific time, but we are truly looking forward to our normal family weekend routine here in NYC. Soccer class, Brooklyn Aquarium, Central Park visits, grocery shopping, cuddling, relaxing, and being together as a family. Until Friday!

— Anika Yael Natori, aka The Josie Girl.

Antigua

For better or worse, we decided to leave our little pot of gold behind and take a weekend trip with just the two of us. We debated back and forth whether or not to go as we had never really left our Monkey behind — especially for 4 days. After lots of debates, tears, emotions, and anxiety, we both realized that this was our only chance to get away just the two of us before the storm hits (a.k.a. second baby), and so Antigua it was. Although we both missed our King Cruz more than anything, it was an incredible chance to be together and simply do n.o.t.h.i.n.g. I can’t remember the last time that I slept as much as I did, or just stared off into the distance without any real concerns…..not that we didn’t skype with Cruzzie 4 times a day and get 4 texts a day with information on how he ate, slept, etc…. but I was able to let go (a little) and just focus on us. As hard as it was, it was an absolute blast…and it’s not going to happen again for another 5 years….

Steve Jobs

Ken was engrossed with his book "Steve Jobs" the entire time. He found it inspirational, motivating, and captivating. I, too, read a great book -- "The Marriage Plot."

Resort

At our resort, each room was a little hut. It was a small and secluded area with only 25 rooms, so it was incredibly quiet, peaceful, and relaxing.

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Tonique

Hands down, the best secret in town is an intense, crazy, and fun exercise class called Tonique. Currently held at Complete Body Gym (19th Street between 5th and 6th avenue), this insane workout is the work and dream of Sylwia. Sylwia is one of the people you want to hate — incredibly beautiful, perfect rockin’ body, sweet as can be, smart, and dedicated — and you can’t dislike her for a second. She is just the nicest, most loving, devoted, and charming person out there (they do exist). She honestly created this program to inspire and empower women. She wants women to feel confident and fabulous through fitness.

Sylwia

Sylwia truly is a renaissance woman. A thinker, a mother, a wife, a dreamer, a writer, and more! AND LOOKING EVER SO FABULOUS AND CHIC at the same time. Who knew that this was possible?

Sylwia’s Tonique program has inspired people across the country through DVDs, webisodes, and its inspirational website.

DVDs

She sells DVDs and ipod workouts on her website. They are awesome — especially if you don’t live in NYC. And they make you sweat! At home — in your living room!

Luckily, for those of us who live in NYC, she offers a class three times a week. And this class kicks your A$$. I mean, seriously, your tush gets worked so hard that you can’t move it later that day — let alone later that week. Tonique is a class that I hate but love at the same time. The workout is so intense and so all-body, that your muscles get the craziest workout. They literally wobble and shake. And then you have to look at Sylwia, with her sculpted and perfect body….

Rockin Ab work

Uh yeah, check out those ABS. I didn’t know stomach muscles could look like that…

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Blackberry Farm Granola

Deciding where to spend money and where not to spend money can be a challenge.  Everyone is different, and has certain things they are willing to pay up for, and other things they aren’t.  For example, I love furniture and art as much as the next person, but we definitely won’t spend much money on either.  However, one thing that I am willing to pay up for is…. granola! (Yes, Ken realizes this is a great trade for our finances).

Granola

Heaven. Delicious straight out of the container... or in a bowl with milk of kefir.

Blackberry Farm is an amazing luxury resort in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee.  The resort is a true farm, and features amazing fresh produce and dairy products, and all of the outdoor activities you can imagine.  It is a true mental and physical getaway.

Blackberry Farm

We were invited there once as guests by investors in the farm and had an amazing experience (we were very thankful for the invitation… BF is not cheap!).  The farm-to-table food and surroundings were out of this world. Even though I am lactose intolerant, I will never forget how delicious the fresh yogurt and cheese were. Farm-to-table makes such a difference!

The beautiful nature.

In addition to all of the great dairy and meat, their homemade granola was out of this world.  So much so, that when I am looking for a pick me up, I go here and order granola.

1 pound bag

The granola is also available in a one pound bag -- but why bother ordering a smaller quantity when it is so easy to gobble up. The more the merrier!

Is $28 per 2 lb container (plus shipping) ridiculous?  Completely.  Is it worth it?  It may not be for some, but it is for me as an occasional special treat, as I love me some fresh, organic granola.  And in the big scheme of things, paying up for granola is definitely cheaper than paying up for more expensive things!

Have a great weekend!

Anika Yael Natori, aka The Josie Girl

Flywheel

ShoesI love working out. I feel like I need to sweat in order to have a “complete” day. I am a gym rat that loves doing my workout routine but also love trying out new methods, ideas, classes, and fad workouts. Spinning classes are my current obsession. I used to love Soul Cycle because it was closest to my apartment — but to tell you the truth, the climate, people and atmosphere were so toxic that I stopped going. I loved the workout, but hated the scene — and let me tell you, the Upper East Soul Cycle was a SCENE. Gossip Girl central. SO many complaints that it was not worth the awesome workout.Gossip Girl

And then, Flywheel opened up nearby. Just as good of a workout at Soul Cycle, with less of a cult like feel, less attitude, and less of a mob scene.  It’s also easier to get into classes (getting into a Soul Cycle class was like getting into Harvard!) and closer to home!

FlywheelNothing makes me sweat as much as Flywheel. I leave drenched and refreshed. I always feel like I can climb another mountain after the class, or just sit on my tush all day, and either way, I will be happy as a clam. Classes are 45 minutes long, and push you to the next step. It is a full body workout, with cycling (obviously), and a ten minute combination arm sequence towards the end of the class. Every part of your body gets worked. Although classes are not cheap ($30), they give you shoes, water, and a towel in your little cubby.

Water and towels. Getting ready to sweat!

The bikes are set up in a stadium style, so everyone can see the teacher easily. The room is dark, the music is pumping, and man, is it awesome!

Stadium cycling.

There are three locations in Manhattan (Upper West Side, Upper East Side, and Flatiron) as well as locations around the tri-state area. My personal favorite teachers are Natalie C., and Chris T. I try to go once or twice a week, as I love to spice up my normal workout routine with a fun spin class.

Lobby

The Flywheel lobby

One of the reasons that I love Flywheel so much is that the teachers tells you what torque (power) and RPM (revolutions per minute) to be at — so you know how hard to push yourself and what your goal is. The teacher sets the goal but you can obviously push yourself harder or take it easy depending on how you feel.

Torque and RPM

 

Sweaty me after class

I took (i.e. forced) my husband to a class on Christmas Eve morning, and he hated it. Despised it. Was grumpy for the rest of the day. He loves working out, but likes doing so on his own and doesn’t “like people screaming at him telling him what to do.” So, it is definitely not for everyone — but for those who do like to get pushed in a workout, sweat a lot, and listen to loud music, than this class is definitely for you.

Until next time!

— AYN, aka the Josie Girl.

Oregon Holiday Recap

Happy New Year’s from the Big Apple! Ken, Cruzzie, and I just arrived back home from our Oregon holiday trip visiting my family in my hometown of Eugene, Oregon.  For a medium-sized college town (go Ducks!), Eugene has a lot to offer, so I wanted to share some highlights of our visit. (By the way, the Oregon football team plays in the Rose Bowl TODAY! Not that I care that much about football, but I am an avid supporter of anything from Eugene).

Oregon Wines
While most people think of Sonoma and Napa when it comes to West Coast wines, The Willamette Valley (where Eugene is) has become a growing hotspot for wine enthusiasts.  The climate and environment are perfect for growing grapes, and the region has become famous for its pinots in particular (especially because they are more affordable than their California counterparts).  Some of the most popular pinots include:

King Estate

King Estate

King Estate

Broadley Vineyards

Broadley Vineyards

Broadley Vineyards

Cristom Winery

Cristo

Cristom

St. Innocent Winery

St. Innocent

St. Innocent Wine

The below bottle is what we had on New Year’s Eve.  It was amazing, and only $14.95/bottle!  It is an exclusive for our local wine store, Sundance, which you can visit online here. Or you can call 541-687-9463 and ask for Randy.

EUG

EUG Pinot Noir -- made by the Sundance Wine Cellars

Sundance ships around the country, depending on your state’s local liquor laws.  Enjoy!  And next time you are ordering wine at a restaurant, look for Oregon wines.  They are delicious… and reasonably priced!!

Wandering Goat Coffee
Oregon is also known for its coffee houses and roasted beans. Wandering Goat — a local and fabulous coffee shop has the most delicious (you guessed it) coffee. This small local joint roasts their own coffee right next door and serves sustainably-grown coffee drinks and homemade baked goods.

Wandering Goat

Inside Wandering Goat Coffee Shop

They also sell their coffee beans in local stores and online here too. Or if you are lucky like I am, your mother sends you pounds of coffee from Wandering Goat in frequent care packages (yes, she still does that, and yes, I love it).

COFFEE!

Perfection.

I have a feeling that Wandering Goat is the next Stumptown Coffee — just a local, low key, laid back, down-to-earth coffee joint that all of a sudden explodes and becomes HUGE.

Spencer’s Butte
By far, one of my favorite activities in Eugene is the quick hike up Spencer’s Butte. Located right in Eugene, a 10 minute drive from my parents’ house, it is the perfect workout in the perfect natural environment. In the summertime when I am off from teaching and visiting my parents, I like to hike the Butte every day.

Spencer's Butte

Here we are this past Summer on the Butte.

Tata and Cruzzie

My father carrying King Cruz. Hiking backpack is KEY!

The Butte is even great in the wintertime, despite the rain, mud, and not-so-perfect conditions. We had the opportunity to go up the Butte only once this trip, but it was for sure one of the highlights. The views on top of the mountain were breathtaking and a great reminder of why I love Oregon as much as I do. The lush green, the mountain ranges, the sounds of the wind and animals, and the crisp smell of the fresh air are all extremely calming and relaxing.

Ewok

Ewok Forest, kind of.

Fog

Ken and Cruzzie admiring the view from half-way up the mountain. We had no backpack on this trip, so Ken was a super hero and carried him the ENTIRE time. He has HUGE muscles.

View

Mountain ranges, clouds, Oregon beauties.

Café Yumm – Yumm sauce
Surprisingly, a bazillion different healthy products are produced in Eugene and sold nationally – most of the products these days can be found in any grocery store. Examples include: Toby’s Tofu Pate (delicious), Emerald Valley Salsa (can’t get enough), So Delicious Coconut products (just getting big now), Nancy’s yogurt (a family staple), and many more…

Yumm sauce

Yumm sauce. YUMMMMMMMMMMM.

Yumm sauce is a hippy-dippy-healthy-unexplainable-sauce that is made in Eugene and sold in many grocery stores and online. The sauce comes in three flavors (original, garlic, and chipotle) and is a great addition to dishes – it adds some pizzazz and spice, and is great if you are a sauce person. We love having it on the side for squash, rice and beans, fish and meat. Give it a shot!

Cafe Yumm

Eugene has several Cafe Yumms around town. One is super close to my parents and is actually walking distance.

Family Time
Family time in Oregon is priceless.  I might be one of the few people who loves spending as much time as possible with my parents and siblings, but I can’t get enough of them. Each minute is sacred and special, and I feel so lucky to have them in our lives. Until the next time together…..I will miss them greatly!

Family shot

One of the family dinners chez home. My mother is such an unbelievably good cook that you never have to go out to eat. She is like a healthy-experimental-no-recipe-Julia-Child. (Ignore me stuffing my face).

Cousins

Cousins -- Tweedle-dee and Tweedle-dum.

Until Wednesday, Have a great first week of 2012!