Sonoma 2017

We returned Sunday night from our Third Annual Sonoma Trip with a small group of our Stanford friends. It continues to be a wonderful tradition and something we look forward to each summer. If you have never been to wine country in CA before, I highly suggest doing it– beautiful vineyard views, hot dry weather, delicious farm-to-table-food, and of course… amazing local wine. Can life be any better? Thank you to our wonderful friends and hosts, Kimmers and Joe. Enjoy the photos — I want to go back now!

 

On our friend's property (100 acres!), they have many different houses / cabins spread out. We took over a cabin close to the main house and it was oh so cute (and yes, all four of us Natoris slept in the same bed for three nights!)

The guest house we stayed at on our friend’s property. We took over a cabin close to the main house and it was oh so cute (and all four of us Natoris slept in the same bed for three nights!)

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Ellenos Greek Yogurt

Last week when I was at the grocery store (my favorite hobby –> grocery shopping), I came across a new-t0-me product, Ellenos Greek Yogurt. It looked delicious and I liked the packaging, so I decided to buy one to try. At checkout, the clerk said to me “This stuff is crack. I have never done crack, but this stuff is what I imagine crack to be like, and once you start, you cannot stop.” I giggled and moved on.

 

Well what do you know, this stuff REALLY IS CRACK AND I CANT STOP EATING IT.  Addictive, rich, amazing, delicious, and smooth. Currently, it is only sold at Whole Foods and random locations on the West Coast, but mark my word, this stuff will soon be sold everywhere in the United States — guaranteed. It is unlike any other yogurt I have ever tasted and really feels like a dessert more than anything.

 

Why buy one flavor when you can buy four?

Why buy one flavor when you can buy four?

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Sore Muscle Healer

For whatever reason, my body always feels sore. Maybe it is because I am getting older…..or maybe it’s because I run marathons…. but my body more frequently has aches and pains. I have used a variety of remedies:  epsom salt baths, resting and massage, tiger balm etc….but I have finally found my go-to cure in this healing lotion.

 

A mixture of ingredients

A mixture of ingredients in the extra strength reliving body spray.

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Josie Enchanted Garden PJ Set

I am not joking when I say that my new favorite pajamas are the Josie Enchanted Garden PJ set. They are perfection. Great for cold weather, hot weather, alone, surrounded by other people, cute, flirty, fun, and oh so comfortable. Terrific to lay around the house while looking put together, chic, and fashionable in your pajamas.

 

They come in two different color ways: one in

They come in two different color ways: one in hibiscus and one in coral.

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Fiddler Feature: Heather Cole

Readers know that for his 40th Birthday party, Ken put on a concert at Red Rooster with his guitar teacher on bass and a bunch of other musicians that he cobbled together through friends, Facebook, and random interactions.  Heather Cole was the fiddler, and she was great- Ken checked her out when she was busking in Grand Central. I love listening to street musicians, but I’ve always wondered what the experience is like on the other side.  The perfect opportunity for a Josie Girl interview!

 

Meet Heather Cole!

Meet Heather Cole!  Pictures from Ken’s 40th.

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Mexico – Spring Break

Hola, amigos! The kids and I had a great time with my parents in Mexico (Bucerias, outside of Puerto Vallarta) last week, and are now on part deux of vacation with my beloved husband and his parents in Puerto Rico. One spanish speaking place to the next, (but Pacific Ocean to Atlantic Ocean)! As I am still on vacation mode (= no downtime away from kids, and when kids are in bed, I collapse), instead of a full post, here are 5 photos that give you a good feel of Mexico. Enjoy the brightness, color, and look!

 

Day 1 Yellow wall.

Day 1 Yellow wall.

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Happy T’giving!

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!  We are in New York and had dinner with Ken’s family, minus my mother-in-law, who is in the Philippines.  We are laying low this weekend in New York, outside of a fun event tomorrow night (more on that next week).

 

Around Thanksgiving, I always think about the following story that I shared with you a couple years ago.  A true story of tragedy, inspiration, and determination involving one of our amazing friends, Laura Wales Holliday, who survived, and another friend, James Hsu, who didn’t. The story is re-copied below and the link to the original post is here.  Have a great Thanksgiving weekend with your loved ones.

Laura

Laura — pretty as can be. Always a smile on her face and a twinkle in her eye.

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Paris Highlights

AHHH Pareeh……How I really love thee. If I could, I would move there in a heartbeat. I have had the privilege of spending a lot of time there in my life time — as a child in the summers with my dear and lovely French family (I went to a French immersion school, and lived with an exchange family for the summers) to my adult life with the Natoris and their beautiful apartment. It is unlike any city and I am in love. Here are the highlights of my trip this past weekend for the Paris Marathon! A whirlwind trip, that will forever be remembered!

 

The Marathon

 

Obviously, the main reason I went to Paris, but just one of the many activities I did over the weekend. The route was incredibly scenic and beautiful!

 

Place de la Concorde.

Place de la Concorde

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Hurricane Sandy

As many of you know, a good part of the Northeast was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy from Monday into Tuesday.  Unlike last year, when Hurricane Irene turned out to be a lot milder than people were anticipating, Sandy caused some serious problems.  We were incredibly fortunate that we escaped without harm (and with power), but we were definitely in the minority.

You have probably seen the sheer destruction pictures on the internet. Here are some subtle pics from our neighborhood the morning after:

Park Avenue looking downtown. Usually you can't stand in the middle of the street and take a picture at 8 AM on a Tuesday.

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Thanksgiving Traditions

As I mentioned before, I am a granola, hippy dippy, nature obsessed, fashion loving girl. I am a princess who actually likes to camp and not shower (I actually hate showering). So, it should come as no surprise that my family’s tradition for Thanksgiving has been to retreat to a holistic, vegan spa in the middle of the Oregon wilderness. My parents have gone to Breitenbush (yes, that’s it’s real name) for the past 15 years.

 

Starting 8 years ago when we started dating at graduate school, Ken and I began spending Thanksgiving with his family in New York. While it has been a treat, I of course always missed my family.

 

Last year, we decided to brave the travel nightmare (two flights, a three hour drive, snow, chains and chaos) to be with my family to celebrate Thanksgiving.

 

Ken loves traditional Thanksgiving more than anything. He loves watching football, gorging himself with food, and living the all-American Thanksgiving. So to say that Breitenbush was a new experience would be the understatement of the year. Vegan. No television (i.e., no football). Vegan. No computers. Vegan.  No cell phone service. Vegan. No lying on the couch. Vegan. Completely off the grid (for four days, mind you). And did I mention naked hot springs?

Cabin

One of the cabins for the guests. It is literally a room with two twin beds, a desk, and another room connected to a toilet. It is like camping out, except with a toilet.

 

Despite the no-turkey-and-no-football, everyone had a great experience and loved being together. It reemphasized the fact that no matter where we are, the important thing is that you are with friends and family, people you love and cherish. Home is not where the house is, but where your family is. It was a fun four day trip of hiking in the snow, playing in the main lodge near a fire, eating delicious and healthy vegan food, practicing yoga and meditation every morning, and laughing together in our individual little rustic huts. Breitenbush is beyond rustic — it is basic and simple. But when you are with the people you love the most, you really don’t need much else.

 

bridge

It is a hike from the cabin to the main shelter where meals are served and activities take place.

Family photo

The three of us on one of our daily hikes last Thanksgiving. The nature is out of this world — rolling river, green trees, wildlife. A very different world from Manhattan.

Tata and Cruzzie

My father with his beloved grandson (I can’t believe how much he has changed over the last year!)

This year, we will be on our own. Both sets of parents will be away: Ken’s parents will be in the Philippines, and my parents will be in Brietenbush with my brother and his family. We would love to be with either set of parents, but we decided to avoid extensive travel, so we will be getting some sun instead.  I am sure that there will be no naked hot springs and no vegan meals, but as much fun as I know we will have this year, I am sure we will miss it.

 

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Fall Shoes

Just back from the gym, and off to teach soon, but below is my list of things that I need to get done in these precious few minutes:

* organize my closet!

* flip through this month’s Lucky

* finish reading my book

* go through epicurious.com and plan easy recipes

* catch up with friends over the phone

* update facebook with new pictures

How many of these will I actually get done?  Probably none because all I feel like doing right now is dreaming of the shoes I want for the fall! There are just so many shoes that I want right now (and no, the below is definitely not my shoe closet!)

 

Shoes!

Isabel Marant Flats

Like everyone else in the world, I am obsessed with her and any of her items. These shoes just look so simple, easy and stylish. But the price…..

Isabel Marant HOT boots

Isabel Marant Dicker Boots (no link)

So hip….

Isabel Marant Dicker Boots

J. Crew/Lanvin ballet flats

If I had a million dollars (If I had a million dollars – uh oh now I have that song in my head), I would definitely splurge and get the Lanvin version of this two toned ballet slipper. But the J. Crew pair looks almost as nice and the price can’t be beat.

Jcrew Ballet Flats

Belle Sigerson Morrison asymmetric-strap suede pumps

Super cute classic black pumps but with some flair.

Belle

Brogues with a twist (no link)

The perfect brogue is the great go to shoe when you rush out of the house. I love the simplicity of this version. Just a little something added to make it extra special.

Brogues

Miu Miu suede pumps

These look super comfortable (for a heel) and could add pop color to any outfit!

Miu Miu Suede Pumps

Uh-oh, just as I thought. I start dreaming about shoes instead of being productive and then my time is up. Gotta run!

Until Friday.

-AYN, a.k.a., The Josie Girl