Spring Break 2017 Sunriver

We are now full swing back to reality with school, tutoring, responsibilities, etc…so it seems hard to think that we were just in Oregon a couple of days ago — it seems like an eternity. I already miss my parents, the fresh air, the fir trees, the crisp delicious water, and everything Oregon. Here are some pictures of our week skiing in Sunriver, Oregon. Enjoy!


Ken is the downhill teacher. He did an amazing job each day spending half the day with one kid, and then the other half with the other kid. They made huge improvements!

Ken is the downhill teacher. He did an amazing job each day spending half the day with one kid, and then the other half with the other kid. They made huge improvements!

Continue Reading

Spring Break 2017 Week 1

Spring Break!  We were fortunate enough to spend our first week in the sun, first in Puerto Rico with my in-laws, and then in Florida (just me and the kids). Lots of sunshine, beach, pool, french fries, chicken fingers, and sunscreen. Here are some pictures to recap our week! Enjoy (and thanks for letting me indulge).


Love the combination of beach and then pool. And of course, minutes soaking up the Vitamin D on the ground.

We stayed at Dorado Beach for the fourth straight year.  Good combo of kids activities and things for my in-laws to do.  Love the combination of beach and then pool. And of course, minutes soaking up the Vitamin D on the ground.

Continue Reading

Renovation Post #5

OK, so this is the LAST renovation post because SOON, OH SO SOON, there will be a REVEAL POST which shows the apartment. So here are the latest photos of what is going on. Yes, still not liveable, still not a lot of lighting (and 3/4 of our belongings are still packed), so there is a lot to do. But here are the latest pics!


One wall in Cruzzie's room is this whole world map -- it is where eventually his bunkbed will go.

One wall in Cruzzie’s room is this whole world map — it is where eventually his bunkbed will go.

Continue Reading

Val D’Isere

We just returned from a special 40th birthday party of a very dear friend in the French Alps. It was a weekend of snow, ski, rose, fondue, meat, relaxation, and lots of fun. An incredible experience that we will never forget.


Val D'Isere is located in the French Alps, a three hour drive from Geneva. We landed early morning in Geneva, took a bus to our chalet, got fitted for skis, and went straight to the mountain. No wasted time on this trip!

Val D’Isere is located in the French Alps, a three hour drive from Geneva. We landed early morning in Geneva, took a bus to our chalet, got fitted for skis, and went straight to the mountain. No wasted time!

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

Park City, Utah

It feels like a million years ago that we were on vacation with our dear friends in Deer Valley / Park City, Utah. In reality, it was just a week ago (another trip to the West Coast this weekend for my sister’s wedding sure makes time confusing). Deer Valley was the perfect ending to a fabulous summer, filled with lots of activities and simple family fun with great friends. Here is a recap of our trip with recommendations.. Deer Valley is a PERFECT summer getaway (particularly at the end of the summer after Utah schools start up… everything was empty which was perfect!)




Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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).

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.



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

Continue Reading

Mother’s Day in Paris

Bonjour! Hello from NYC after a whirlwind trip celebrating Mother’s Day with my special mother-in-law Josie Natori! As most of you know, I have a deep profound love for Paris and feel that it is my second home (Cruzzie corrected me and said “third’ — after NYC and Oregon, so true true). As it had been over a year since I had last been there, I was dying to get there. So my mother-in-law and I (just the two of us), jumped on a plane and went there for the long weekend. And what a special and wonderful treat it was. I am currently cross-eyed from no sleep (Jet Lag and I don’t mix), and we #ShoppedTillWeDropped, but it was so special and fun; a weekend to always remember. Take a look.


The view from the apartment. There is just something so special and glamorous of the buildings there. #BuildingEnvy

The view from the apartment. There is just something so special and glamorous about the buildings there. #BuildingEnvy

Continue Reading

Grandparent’s Weekend

My son’s school had Grandparent’s Day this past Friday, so I called up my parents and begged for one of them to come. My father, newly “retired’ (he is still kind of working though..) agreed to fly across the country to make a 2 hour appearance (along with Ken’s dad – Ken’s mom was out of town) for his beloved grandson.  Not only do I love my father so much because he is *my* father and the smartest, sweetest, grumpiest, most active, and fun 71 year old; but also because he is a devoted and loving grandfather to his 5 grandchildren (2 of them are my kids). He truly loves them and looks forward to every opportunity to spend time with them….like the whole summer when we move into his house in Oregon! As expected, my upbeat and energizer bunny father, was up for anything and partook in all our adventures and explorations. Take a look at what we did!


My dad was the Junior Chess Player of Poland (and my uncle wrote a book about chess)....and I have no idea how to play chess....

My dad was a Junior Chess Champion of Poland (and my uncle wrote a book about chess)….and I have no idea how to play

Continue Reading

To-Do-Spring Wish List NYC 2016

It seems like 2016 just started; and yet, school is about to end. I can’t believe I only have 6 weeks to squeeze in everything I want to do in Spring in NYC. Better start…..yesterday! Here is my list. (For last year’s list, go here).


1. Go see Hamilton (again).


Yowsers, I can't stop raving about it.

Yowsers, I can’t stop raving about it.

Continue Reading

Puerto Rico 2016 Highlights

After our wonderful vacation in Mexico with my parents, we headed to Puerto Rico with the Natori Seniors…YUP #hardlife and YUP #travelwithparents. We had a luxurious, lavish, relaxing, and fun 5 days (just like last year. Same vacation, different year). Take a look at the pictures….wish I was back there NOW! NYC is flipping cold and un-Spring like.


Traveling to Mexico to Puerto Rico is not so much fun, but what is really unfun is a 4.5 hour layover in Dallas. So we had fun by taking the airport monorail for a good 45 minutes (circle after circle after circle)

Bucerias, Mexico to Puerto Rico isn’t exactly a direct flight.  We had 4 hour layover in Dallas, so we killed time (at the kids’ request) by taking the airport monorail in circles for 45 minutes.  #KillingTime

Continue Reading

Mexico 2016 Highlights

Mama and Toosh in our hungarian embroidered shirts.



Like last year, we spent the first portion of Spring Break in Bucerias, Mexico at my uncle’s beach house. My mother, born and raised in Mexico City, still has two brothers that live in Mexico. And fortunately for us, one of them has a beautiful beach house in Bucerias, a sleepy-non-tourist town north of Puerto Vallarta, on the west coast of Mexico. Here are the highlights from our ten day vacation with Nana and Tata!

Continue Reading

Ken’s 40th Birthday!

Happy boy


My husband Ken is one of the most caring, down-to-earth, and fun people I know, on top of being extremely brave, courageous, and committed. For his 40th birthday, he threw a concert (similar to his 38th year birthday recital) but instead of doing it solo, he cobbled together a full band (frequent readers know he started taking guitar lessons 3.5 years ago when he won an O.A.R. Sound Check at a silent auction). So, with a lot of work, practice, and dedication, he had a fabulous 40th birthday party last weekend.  I am so proud of him for putting himself out there and taking risks. Here are the photos (most of them are taken by Cynthia Delconte, our wedding photographer!) Enjoy!

Continue Reading

Why Teach? This Is Why…

In my previous life, I was a math teacher. I taught for ten years; in a public high school in the Bay Area, a public high school in New York City, and then a private middle school. Each school had its strengths and difficulties, but I was drawn to teach, not just because of my love of the subject matter, but because of my love for the students. Many students were my first children; people that I cared for, worried about, cried over, and loved.


Graduating from Stanford with my MA in 2003.

Graduating from Stanford with my MA in 2004. I thought graduate school was hard, but nothing is as hard as your first year teaching.

Continue Reading

Must Read Book: When Breath Becomes Air

Everyone is talking about it…. so call me generic or mainstream, but I can’t stop raving and oohing and crying about When Breath Becomes Air. I am obsessed: I have ordered four copies and given them to friends. I figure out a way to bring it up in every conversation. I think about it. I want to re-read it with a highlighter and underline the important lines. It is heart-wrenching, gut-punching, soul-defining good.


Fresh Air.

Fresh Air.

Continue Reading

Special Plate and Announcement

DRUM ROLLLLLLLLLLL…….my hubba hubba husband is now El Capitan of The Natori Company (also know as President). For some readers, you might think OBVI, he is the son, so of course, he is President. But that is not the case. Ken never thought he was going to work for his mother and set out to make a name for himself. He was a TV and radio broadcaster at Bloomberg for 5 years (Ken Natori, What’s the story?), then went to Stanford Business School (near-perfect GMAT scores), worked at Lehman Brothers for several years (left before the crash), and then joined the family business in 2007. I am proud of my husband for working hard, committing to what he believes in, being a diligent and thoughtful worker, and at the same time as being the smartest person I have ever met (other than my brother and father —  they all tie for first place). So now, a new era of new life for the Natori business, and I am proud and in awe of my husband’s dedication, drive, and talents. So to celebrate, I got him this plate (this is not a joke).


YUP, "You are special today" BEST GIFT EVER.

YUP, “You are special today” BEST GIFT EVER.

Continue Reading

Sunriver Christmas 2015

Happy 2016 and back to reality! We are back to the routine (school, work, pressure, paying attention to time, the hustle and bustle of the city, oh me oh my!), which makes me even more nostalgic of last week’s Sunriver vacation with my family. Although my dad claims that there is “family” and “vacation” and no such thing as “family vacation,” I happen to disagree. We had the best time with my brother, sister-in-law, parents, nieces and nephew; and loved every minute of our time with them. Here are some pictures to enjoy!


SNOW! And lots of it! Unlike the 70 degree Christmas in NYC, the west coast was hammered with cold temperatures and lots of show -- perfect for a ski vacation!

SNOW! And lots of it! Unlike the 70 degree Christmas in NYC, the West Coast was hammered with cold temperatures and lots of snow — perfect for a ski vacation!

Continue Reading

Christmas 2015

A short and sweet, simple Merry Christmas to you and yours. As you read this, we are somewhere on an airplane traveling from Florida to Sunriver, Oregon to spend a week in the snow with my side of the family.


Happy everything!

Happy everything! And yes, those sweaters are hand knit art work created by my mother. Next on her list of projects, a matching sweater for me! I can’t wait.

Happy happy!!!

Happy happy!!!


Although most people take the week off from posting on the world wide web, I will be doing regular posts (#JosieGirlNeverStops), so please stop on by! Thanks so much for all your continuous support and viewership (#ForeverGrateful) and have a very Merry Holiday.

Anika Yael Natori, aka, The Josie Girl

Blog Home Page

Christmas Celebration 2015

Hello from (grey and cold) Florida! We had an early Christmas celebration this past Friday night since we were all headed in different directions (Florida then Oregon for us Natori Juniors, the Philippines for the Natori Seniors, and New Jersey for my sister, Courtney). Take a look. And listen to this because it is amazing!


Santa visited us (thankfully, I remembered that he was expected to bring presents to the kids -- so darted out to the closest toy store to get MORE presents for the kids, as we celebrated "Christmas' in the morning as our family of four). This Santa, although wearing latex gloves and a little creepy, was BY FAR the best santa that we have seen compared to years past. No flask, no chain smoker, no creepiness.

Santa visited us (the four of us actually celebrated Christmas that morning…. so I had to run out and get more presents for Santa to deliver to the kids!). This Santa, although wearing latex gloves, was BY FAR the best Santa that we have had compared to years past. No flask, no chain smoker, no creepiness.

Continue Reading

NYC Sunday Brunch: The Standard Grill

Although it currently feels like Spring in New York, Christmastime is in the air!; bells, fir trees, red, green, tourists,  presents, ribbons, gingerbread, candy canes. We had a terrific Sunday morning last weekend, and I highly recommend recreating it for some family fun.


Anything with these two is fun and festive....except when they are poking each other, in each other's faces, whining, complaining, crying, and hitting. #TheJoy

Anything with these two is fun and festive….except when they are poking each other’s faces, whining, complaining, crying, and hitting. #TheJoy

Continue Reading