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.

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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

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Josie Natori’s Beauty Routine

The minute my mother-in-law walks in the door, people stare at her. She carries herself regally, impeccably dressed, and is constantly glamorous and beautiful. In the 12 years (!) that I have known her, I have constantly been in awe of her beauty, grace, and class. So, I decided to ask her questions on how she takes care of herself (with the unrealistic hopes that it would give me the tools and hints on how to be as beautiful as she is). Take a look at her answers!

JCN and me at the CFDA's

JCN and me before the CFDA’s

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Thanksgiving 2015

It is rare to find friends that are family; people you love unconditionally and can be completely comfortable with in any setting. Luckily, we have found our New York non-family family, so it was an extra special treat to be invited to spend Thanksgiving with them in Aspen, Colorado. HOLY COW was it amazing, perfect, and incredible. Take a look at our pictures (#humblebrag #sorryimnotsorry)!

 

The kids get along swimmingly. Best friends for life.

The kids get along swimmingly. Best friends for life.

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Halloween / NYC Marathon 2015

One of my favorite events in the Big Apple is the New York City Marathon. There is a buzz, energy, and pride that fills the city air. I cry, I smile, I weep, and I am just so happy for all the runners and finishers! And this year, it fell the day after Halloween, making it a BIG weekend for kids and adults. A memorable, fun, and inspiring weekend.

 

Snow Fairy Princess and Hipster Batman brother.

Snow Fairy Princess and Hipster Batman brother. (Neither of the shoes are an official part of their costume).

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Chicago Marathon 2015: The Race

Not that any of you asked, but for the 0.5% of the people that are interested in the running aspect of my recent marathon, here it goes! (I am an over-sharer, not an under-sharer). Marathons are HARD MOTHERS, like flipping H-A-R-D. Not only is it a physical exercise, but it is also a mental / emotional / spiritual challenge. Somehow, you have to dig down into your body and make it happen — and like I said before, it is only you yourself that can make it happen….so the race recap, begins!

 

I am SOOOO beyond heinous in this picture, but I think it is a good image of what a marathon feels like. My eye is half closed, my body hurts, I am trying to smile but I can't. I AM A HOT MESS. But proud of it.

I am SOOOO beyond heinous in this picture ( I AM A ONE EYED MONSTER!), but I think it is a good image of what a marathon feels like (this is post marathon — notice my medal). My eye is half closed, my body hurts, I am trying to smile but I can’t. I AM A HOT MESS. But proud of it.

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Chicago Marathon 2015

I was fortunate enough to run the Chicago Marathon  this past Sunday, and man oh man, what a rush, joy, privilege and honor it was! Sorry for so many marathon posts (YUP, fully addicted #cantstopwontstop), but here is the recap from my weekend. First and foremost, huge shout out to two special people that made this weekend possible: Michelle, my dear friend I met on the course at the Paris Marathon this past April, who hosted me and was so generous and giving; and my bestie in the whole wide world, Amy, who flew across the country to support me and my crazy habit. Thank you thank you thank you thank you. I love you! And of course, also another thank you to my running-widow-husband who allows me to disappear and do what I love… thank you!

 

My bib. And a ticket for a free beer after the race (didn't use it). Notice, I was in the slowest wave and it mentally handicapped me for a little bit. That said, I managed (I dug deep) to get through it and overcome that setback.

My bib. And a ticket for a free beer after the race (didn’t use it). Notice, I was in the slowest wave which  mentally handicapped me for a little bit. That said, I managed to get through it and overcome.

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Summertime in Sunriver

Fall is in full swing and I am (incredibly) nostalgic about sunshine, bathing suits, vacation, less scheduled time, and popsicles. So throwback (#MondayMemories — such a thing, HA!) to August when we traveled with our best friends (who don’t like the internet) and all our kids to one of my favorite places to travel: Sunriver, Oregon. Growing up, we would go there twice a year for family vacations; always to ski. Winter ski trip and Spring ski trip. Only once did I go to Sunriver in the summer, when I was invited in middle school with a friends’ family. Our trip this summer did not disappoint and we thoroughly enjoyed each and every minute — activities, relaxation, and quality time all together.

 

An ice cream cone a day keeps the doctor away. A crowd favorite, ice cream (and candy) from good 'ol Goodies!

An ice cream a day keeps the doctor away. A crowd favorite, ice cream (and candy) from good ‘ol Goody’s!

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Why I Run

To be completely honest, not too many people are supportive of my running habit. My parents think I am bonkers; my husband, although supportive, bears the brunt of the time commitment on the weekends; strangers tell me to ‘rest my body’; my kids think every time I run I am gone for half the day; my joints here and there scream STOP; my quads are ginormous and horse-like; and my nerves pre-race / pre-long run bring insomnia and anxiety. But I can’t stop. I love it. There is something about running that brings me a sense of freedom, escape, meditation, nature, beauty, relaxation and peace. Every time I step outside to run and I look out at the sky, I just release a sigh of relief and think, “Thank goodness! Here I am again!”

 

Yesterday!

Yesterday during an 18m race in Central Park! I am the one with the crazy face in the middle. I can’t even tell you how excited I was to see my family!

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Typical Summer Meal

Here is a sample meal from my mother. And yes, she is a creative genius in the kitchen — she rarely looks at recipes and constantly uses her imagination to combine the freshest ingredients she finds. The key is organic and fresh veggies!

 

Tomato, Cucumber, Parsley, Anchovy salad. Fresh veggies from the CSA. True perfection.

Tomato, Cucumber, Parsley, Anchovy salad. Fresh veggies from the CSA. True perfection.

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Seattle, August 2015

I am not a good driver….as (1) I don’t like the actual driving, (2) I get sleepy easily, (3) my mind wanders off, (I don’t text when driving and I am safe!), and (4) I usually end up driving super slow in the left lane…..but I was more than happy to drive the kids up to Seattle last week to see their cousins before our summer ends. Here are some pictures from our wonderful time together in the Pacific Northwest’s biggest city!

Sailing at Sunset. We had the opportunity to do that 2/3 of the nights we were there. SO FUN and so relaxing.

Cruzzie and his cousin, Alagna, sailing at sunset. We had the opportunity to do that 2/3 of the nights we were there. SO FUN and so relaxing.

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Some of the Reasons I Love Eugene…

For new readers of the blog (thanks The New Potato!), I live in New York with my husband Ken and two kids.  But I “summer” in my hometown of Eugene, Oregon with my parents, and Ken comes back and forth.  New York and Eugene couldn’t be more different, and I have come to love the contrast, and appreciate the positives (and negatives) of both.  Here are some of the reasons I love Eugene, my first and always true home… (I bleed tie dye)…

 

And I am trying my hardest to make tie-dye a big part of my kids' life, too.

And I am trying my hardest to make tie-dye a big part of my kids’ life, too.

Bike Rides

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Bicycle Training

How do you teach your child how to ride a bike? CALL YOUR FATHER! (not joking). YUP, as with everything, kids take direction from other people more than their parents (next thing you know, there will be “bike riding consultants” for children in NYC….if there aren’t already…).  So happy that my papa taught C how to ride a bike in three days!

 

bike rider

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Beginning of Summer…

Here we are, Oregon Summer 2015! I arrived just a little over 24 hours ago from New York and it feels like I never left. I must say that I have had a hard time adjusting the first week….I always want to make a plan and have a hard time not having a “busy schedule”. That said, after a week in Eugene, I get the hang of doing nothing and get to be way more mellow and relaxed (all of it disappears the moment that I land in NYC). Totally jet-lagged, exhausted, and tired, here is a quick look at some photos of my first 24 hours in Eugene.

 

A walk to a flat area (we live in a steep hill in every direction) where Tata (my father) could teach Cruzzie how to ride a bike.

A walk to a flat area (we live in a steep hill in every direction) where Tata (my father) was able to teach Cruzzie how to ride a bike. (and yes, That’s Life!)

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Summer 2015 To-Do List

Since summer’s now here (well, kind of. Yes my kids are out of school but I am still in NYC…), I put together my personal to-do list for the season, filled with things I’d love to accomplish before Labor Day. Lots to do in just a small amount of time.

 

1. Drink rose and gobble up oysters at Grand Banks on Pier 25 in NYC. Doesn’t it look ridiculous? Unreal, oh-my-god-I-want-to-go-now.

 

The restaurant is on a BOAT! But not this type of boat. And definitely not this captain.

The restaurant is on a BOAT! But not this type of boat. And definitely not this captain.

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Happy 3rd Birthday, Toosh!

A trip down memory lane…..Three years ago (to the date), I gave birth to my little baby girl, Zoe Esther (also known as ‘Tusia” or ‘Toosh”) Natori. Maybe it is from watching videos like this or this or reading about when she was 1 but DAMN, being a mother is such an emotional and rewarding job. And with Tusia’s birthday today, I can’t seem to hide my tears. I tear because I never knew that this type of love was possible; that she is no longer a baby; that we are now in a new phase of our life; the concern of future hardships; the pride I beam for who she has become; the curiosity of her mind. I carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart). “Tusia Na-ta-tori” as she calls herself is my little princess, and I love her up to the sky, down again, around the world, and back again. Happy 3rd birthday, Toosh! I love you.

 

Big girl Toosh celebrating her birthday and mother's day yesterday eating a "Hello Kitty" sorbet and relaxing in Central Park.

Big girl Toosh celebrating her birthday and Mother’s Day yesterday eating a “Hello Kitty” sorbet and relaxing in Central Park.

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Dolce and Gabbana: This is My Family

A few weeks ago, fashion designers Dolce and Gabbana made some pretty controversial comments. In addition to opposing same-sex marriage, they also made critical comments about IVF, suggesting the procedure and other forms of fertility treatments created “synthetic babies.” While this blog has been a great outlet for me to share my ideas on fashion, food, fitness, parenthood, and more, I have tried to keep it free of any bigger picture discussions about politics or social issues. Until now.

 

IVF, and fertility treatments in general, are something that strike incredibly close to home for me, and for Ken. Without fertility treatments, we wouldn’t have any children. IVF gave me (us) the two most important gifts in our life. So Dolce and Gabbana… your comments were more than a little offensive and hurtful.

 

Ken and I first started trying to have kids in the Spring of 2008. As I hadn’t had a regular cycle in years, I was already skeptical of my ability to get pregnant. On a startling phone call from my OBGYN, I was told that if I wanted to have children, I immediately needed to see a specialist. And so seconds later, I placed the call.

 

My non synthetic baby.

My non synthetic baby.

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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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Seattle 2014

We just arrived in Florida after a solid week of lounging / eating / lounging / eating / lounging / eating at my brother’s house in Seattle. My brother, who happens to not just be my brother but also Ken’s best friend from college, along with his wife, 3 kids, cat and dog hosted the 4 of us, my parents, sister and mother-in-law all in their home. Gracious, open, and welcoming as always, we had the best time with them all. Thank you so much, Proskurowski-Rob family for taking us in to your beautiful home and letting us bounce off your walls for the week. And thank you to my parents, who like always, fed, spoiled, and took care of us all. Although I am wider than last week, I am more refilled with love from those closest to me. We love you so much and miss you all, already! Here are pictures to recap our vacation in Seattle.

 

Space!!! Needle! Space Needle!

Space!!! Needle! Space Needle!

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And I am back…..

Sorry for the silence on my end. It has been a whirl-wind week with Parent Nights, kindergarten applications, marathon tapering, and a trip to Paris. YEP, a trip to Paris. I think Ken and I are the only people in the world who live in NYC who are planning to run the NYC marathon (this weekend), who decide to leave the weekend before for a quick adventure to Paris. Nothing says “rest” and “don’t do anything out of the ordinary” more than a 3 day trip 5-days-till-marathon with 7 hour per day walks and rose wine. But hey, you only live once. Crossing my fingers that this fun and beautiful trip will not hinder my marathon experience or expectations. Perhaps wishful thinking, but I am happy we did it. And since you haven’t seen enough pictures of Paris recently on the blog (here and here and here and here and here), here are some more. Enjoy!

Eiffel Tour -- haven't seen you in 3 months. Still as beautiful as ever.

Eiffel Tower — haven’t seen you in 4 months. Still as beautiful as ever.

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Barrington Blue Foot Stool

This past Spring, we spruced up our Living Room in our NYC apartment and made it more hippy, laid back, colorful, and low key. We wanted a relaxed and fun feel, without breaking the bank. So, this footstool was the perfect touch. The bright embroidered suzani footstool, handmade in Los Angeles by Barrington Blue, adds a pop of color, touch of vibrancy, and special oomph. I love it — makes me so happy. Not only is this stool a great buy, but everything on the Barrington Blue website is gorgeous and a must have.

 

A foot stool. A PINK foot stool.

A foot stool. A PINK foot stool.

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Shark Party!

Per request, here are photos of my son’s 5th birthday party! (JK no one asked to see them, so thank you for letting me share them with you!) My son, who turns 5 in nine days (who is counting?) celebrated his birthday with friends from school this past weekend up in Pound Ridge. Dedicated to sharks and the ocean (perhaps he will take after my brother), the party was shark centric. Here are the pictures!

 

Eeks, there is a shark in the grass!

Eeks, there is a shark in the grass!

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