Currently Loving April 2021

What a year! I still think it is January 2021……but I guess not. Here is what I am currently loving this month.

 

1. Empire of Pain

 

Best pick me up present. Minute I got it, couldn’t stop thinking about it! Not very far along in it yet, but such a good read. Thick, but fascinating.

 

2. Emmit Fenn’s Moving On

 

I love Emmit Fenn — easy to listen to when doing things around the house OR on a run. Seems to go with everything.

 

3. Younger: Season 7

 

So cheesy, but so mindless and fun. I love it oh so and just am sad that it is the final season.

 

4. Roasted Veggie Salsa

 

In a virtual cooking class with Kate, I made a Mexican inspired dinner and one component was a roasted salsa and it was AMAAAAZING — I dipped everything and anything in it. SO GOOD.

 

5. Lycette Needlepoint Store

 

My new favorite needlepoint store to buy canvas from — a huge and great selection!

 

6. Stance 1/4 length Running Socks

 

Totally obscure, but for my upcoming ultra trail marathon, I have been searching high and low for the perfect socks. I need 1/4 length to make sure that rocks and dirt don’t easily get in to my shoes, but I also need them to be light and not thick. After so much research and trial and error, these are the ones I found and love.

 

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So that is what I am currently loving this month! Do share what you love!

Anika Yael Natori, aka, The Josie Girl

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Virtual Cooking Classes

For the past several months, I have been taking virtual private cooking classes and they have changed. my. life. Through a kids’ cooking program, I became acquainted with Kate and loved her so much that I poached her from the program, and hired her to teach me how to cook. It has been absolutely incredible. Not only do I work with her on a weekly basis, but she does classes with both my kids — for special occasions here and there and in the past on a weekly basis. Kate offers cooking classes and baking classes and they are ABSOLUTELY incredible.

 

This is Kate. SHE IS AMAZING. Personable, super friendly, knowledgeable, patient, funny. I love her. If she lived in NYC, she would be my friend.

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De La Heart Lymphatic Drainage Tool

When I was complaining to a friend about my constant body aches, she told me that I needed to get a“De La Heart” lymphatic drainage tool. This tool aids in DIY massage and using it for just a couple minutes per day helps with body aches, and eliminates excess fluid and toxins in the body. I purchased it immediately and absolutely love it!

 

This tool is made of 100% pine wood. It is light, easy to travel with, and is very inexpensive. It is absolutely worth it — especially if your muscles get tight or achy.

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Fancy Egg Salad

Adapted from the NYTimes recipe, here is an egg salad. It is SO delicious — yes, decadent; not vegan: yes rich — and OH SO GOOD! You must try!

 

Ingredients:

 

 

* 4 hard boiled eggs

* 1 crispy slice of bacon

* 1 minced shallot

* sprouts or parsley

* mayonnaise (very personal how much)

* salt and pepper

 

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Absolute Bagels

This past Friday, while sifting through magazines and food websites, I decided it was time to try “the best bagel” in Manhattan. So after researching some of “the best bagels,” I decided that we would try out “Absolute Bagels” on the Upper West Side (108th and Broadway). I liked it because it seemed gritty, authentic, unique, and off the beaten path. I like bagels — don’t necessarily love them — but holy smokes, these bagels were AMAZING and I cannot wait to return. Absolute Bagels has been run by a Thai couple for the past 27 years and although a typical bagel shop with all the different cream cheese offerings, they also have thai iced tea. Perfect random touch. It did not disappoint.

 

A huge line outside — mostly Columbia University students — but a mish mash of people. The lady in front of us waited in line for ONE bagel.

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Recent Attacks Against Asian Americans

Yesterday, while walking NYC, I turned to my 11 year old son and asked if he enjoyed being home from Spring Break or if he would rather still be in Florida. Without hesitation, he said he was so happy to be home because he saw people that looked like him and much preferred that than feeling different when in Palm Beach. He explained that when we were in Florida, he only saw three other people that looked like him — his sister, his dad, and the mailman. I could not help but get choked up with pangs in my heart that he felt this way. And of COURSE he felt this way. With all the recent attacks against Asian Americans in the United States, and even more so in our hometown of New York City, my kids are very aware of what is going on. They know that they are Asian and they don’t yet understand why anyone would hate them because of their different shaped eyes…

 

My boy. And his almond eyes.

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Natur Shampoo and Conditioner Bars

A dear friend recently launched Natur Shampoo and Conditioner Bars. These bars are non toxic, super luxe, high performing hair care in a bar format. This means that there is no plastic, less waste, no preservatives, no chemicals, a more minimalist shower experience and a healthier way to wash your hair. I am not just saying I love these products because I want to support a friend (which of course, I want to in ADDITION), but these shampoo and conditioner bars are really transformative and top notch. They will change your shower, your hair, and your approach to plastic.

 

Simple and chic boxes.

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Movies / TV Shows

In the past month, I have had a lot of screen time (even more than normal pandemic increased screen time). Here are the movies and shows that I have enjoyed watching.

 

1. The Blind Side

 

A MUST WATCH WITH THE KIDS! I saw this movie ages ago (when it came out) but we watched it as a family this past week and it was hands down a winner for all of us. A must watch.

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Anita Gelato

My favorite addition to the Upper East Side is the Israeli Gelato place, Anita Gelato. Everything about Anita is perfection; the atmosphere, the service, the packaging, and most of all, the gelato. It is unlike anything I have ever tasted and crave it regardless of the cold temperatures. It is truly AMAZING.

 

Look how gorgeous!

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Currently Loving March 2021

This hasn’t necessarily been the easiest month of my life: stitches, emergency room trips, COVID, isolation, cold weather temperatures, and the winter blues. But, I think I see the other side of all of this (a huge improvement from a week ago), and here is what I am currently loving this month.

 

1. Promising Young Lady

 

A twisted thriller. Uncomfortable and hard to watch, but loved it nonetheless.

 

2. Ted Lasso

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Biggie Footstool

Since May, I have been utterly and totally obsessed with needlepointing. I cannot stop and love it so much. I find it meditative and calming….both the process as well as the finished product. Recently, I finished the canvas of Notorious BIG and sent it to an amazing upholster who made it in to a footstool. I love it SO very much that I wanted to share with you all!

 

Biggie

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You Are Loved Bracelets

In one of my online middle of the night scrolls, I discovered You are Loved — a Swiss designer creating fun, easy, and beautiful bracelets. I love them so much and now they are my go-to-present and just ordered a slew more to put in my gift closet (I always like having gifts on hand). They are the perfect addition to any outfit as they are bright and cheery.

 

Three beads on fabric. So simple, yet genius.

Cute packaging.

How they arrive.

I love all the little touches.

On my wrist.

With my watch.

 

To buy, go here. To follow on social media, go here. I love them because they are simple, inexpensive, but add some fun and flair to any look. Happy Monday!

Anika Yael Natori, aka, The Josie Girl

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hydroMATE Water Bottle

After reading about hydroMATE water bottles in the NYTimes in the article “The Water Bottle That Won’t Leave You Alone” I bought one to use. I have always struggled with consuming a lot of water and instead, turn to La Croix, which is not necessarily a good addiction. It has been one of my goals for many years; TO DRINK MORE WATER. And this hydroMATE is actually helping me. In the week that I have owned the inspiring/annoying bottle, I have completed the goal every. single. day.

 

This bottle is BIG. It is half a gallon but feels even bigger.

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Di Fara Pizza Brooklyn

This past weekend, in an attempt to have an adventure and do something off electronics, we looked up “best pizza in Brooklyn” (in our 5 borough food scavenger hunt) and discovered Di Fara. So we hopped in the car, drove to a predominantly Hassidic Jewish neighborhood and got some pizza. And yes, it was the BEST PIZZA EVER and I am so glad that we went on this adventure. It was absolutely incredible.

 

Just a window. Incredible.

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Currently Loving February 2021

February is a bizarre month — it is the shortest, feels the longest, yet is gone before I know it. So here is what I am loving this month (before it is March — hip hip hooray, Spring, we cannot wait!)

 

1. In & Of Itself

 

Identity is an illusion. I don’t want to say much because it is best to go in to this movie / documentary / performance blind. It is absolutely incredible, 100% worth watching, and afterwards, read this and this. Available on hulu. Powerful.

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Dumpling Galaxy

As mentioned a couple weeks ago when we ventured to Arthur Avenue in the Bronx to eat Italian Food, we visited Queens several times to try out the “Best Dumplings in the City.” I am not a big chinese food or dumpling fan, but these dumplings from Dumpling Galaxy live up to their name and are absolutely incredible. I loved them so much that a week later, I went solo to get some for the family to eat for the Chinese New Year — they are absolutely incredible.

 

Right now, Dumpling Galaxy is shut down and only serving at a pop up store — a window next to a Chinese Food Market. Dumpling Galaxy is located in Flushing (past the airport) and only locals are there shopping and eating. When we were there, dozens of people ordered dumplings and the flow was nonstop!

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Davocado Guy

One of the perks of living in New York is the random things you can order to your doorstep — the most recent discovery was an avocado dude. You literally order online and he delivers avocados (and limes) straight to your door. They are not just any avocados but the most perfectly ripe and delicious avocado. Since 2014, Davocado Guy has been delivering avocados to restaurants in the NYC area — and in 2019, they expanded to home delivery of avocados to everyone, not just restaurants.

 

The perfect avocado. You can select which ripeness you want: ripe, semi, and green.

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Birthday Treat

Earlier this week, I celebrated my 42nd birthday, and randomly the highlight was shoveling snow with a homeless man. The actual day was one of the best birthdays I have had in a long time — probably because I had zero expectations of a COVID birthday and so everything was so much better, lighter, and happier than other days (and birthdays). But honestly, my 90 minute shoveling experience was the best. OK, so let me explain.

Yes, I shoveled a track.

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Current Beauty Favorites

Remember last week when I mentioned my dear friend who is ALWAYS in the know of beauty and skincare products? Well she amazingly offered to write up her CURRENT beauty favorites! I am so so so excited to share them with you — and thank you so much, Alicia! May we all have your incredible glowing skin, chic taste in everything, and style — you are one of a kind — love you oh so much!

 

1. Hermes Lipstick

 

Hermes lipstick- love it! I am more of a matte lipstick person so I love all the matte ones. Love the colors, great pinks and number 11 is the best natural color. Love the texture, design, and fragrance. They do everything so perfectly!

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Arthur Avenue

This past weekend, we decided to drive to the Bronx to the world famous, Arthur Avenue. Arthur Avenue is considered the “Little Italy of NY,” yet if you talk to any New Yorker about Arthur Avenue in the Bronx either people have no idea what you are talking about or have passionate feelings about this neighborhood famous for all the Italian cuisine. Truth is, that most New Yorkers have not been to it, including my native New Yorker husband. But with nothing to do over the weekend (thank you, COVID, thank you Winter weather), we decided to take an adventure up to the Bronx to try out some food. We are so glad we did this and CANNOT wait to return — it had so much energy, kind locals, and ridiculously tasty food.

Arthur Avenue in the Bronx.

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Mark’s Off Madison

If you know me well, you know that Fred’s at Barney’s was my go-to restaurant for 11 plus years. It is where we had every Sunday dinner, multiple meals throughout the week, and even many special occasions such as Marathon parties, birthday parties, and special moments. It was our kitchen. We knew the entire wait staff and loved everything about it — it felt like home. So we were extremely sad when Barney’s shut down PRE Covid. It felt like we lost a part of our family and didn’t know what other restaurants to go to. Sure enough, a month later, the music died, and all restaurants were shut down to Covid…..but here we are, back in NYC, restaurants are reopened (currently only outdoor dining) and the chef from Fred’s, opened up his own restaurant “Mark’s Off Madison.” It is located downtown on 26th street and Madison, with Mark as the chef, and many of the same wait staff as at Fred’s. It felt like going home — we were so happy to see so many of the same waiters and think often of the others that we don’t know their whereabouts (Lorraine, Aggie, Jose, Gian Franco, and so many more — we miss you and hope you are all safe and healthy). Fred’s was a special place to us and so going to Mark’s Off Madison felt special, too.

 

It is NOT warm. Right now, in NYC, there is only outdoor dining, but that didn’t stop us from trying and seeing our old friends.

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Augustinus Bader Skin Care Products

I first heard about Augustinus Bader skin care products from a dear friend that knows EVERYTHING about skincare. Anything she ever recommends, I always have to try out, because she is the queen of beauty. The moment I tried it, I was hooked. I am a devoted Augustinus Bader fan and will forever use their “the cream” on my face. Since I started using their face moisturizer (for over 3 years), they have since come out with many more products. Each of them are as good as the next. I am a huge fan of their new lip balm (feels like satin for your lips) and their body cream (heaven — it’s expensive, so I rotate with GOOPgenes butter).

 

My favorite trio: body cream, the cream, and lip balm. Luxuriously hydrating and effective.

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Pom Pom

My favorite blog contributor (and dear friend), Katie, is here to take it away! Katie always has gems, treasures and stories to share with us, and we are all so lucky to have her contribute to this blog. I always learn so much from her — bits and pieces I never knew I needed to know — thank you so much, Katie! Read more to find out all about pomegranates! Promise you will learn so much!

 

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Our Friend

Over the extremely cold weekend, I plopped myself on the couch mid day and watched the newly released movie “Our Friend.” I was intrigued by the movie with its stellar cast (Dakota Johnson, Casey Affleck, Jason Segel), but had no idea that it would be such a realistic, beautiful and highly emotional movie. I sobbed — hysterical tears, and then spent the rest of the evening researching the movie and the real life characters. I loved it and highly recommend it. Warning — for those of you with cancer or who have a friend or family member with cancer, it might be extremely triggering. The movie is a true story based on a young mother dying of cancer and her husband and best friend’s life taking care of her.

 

The best friend, Dane, and the daughters.

 

It is based off of the husband’s essay he wrote for The Esquire Magazine in 2015. “It was a routine death in every sense. It was ordinary. Common. The only remarkable element was Dane. I had married into this situation, but how had he gotten here? Love is not a big-enough word. He stood and faced the reality of death for my sake. He is my friend.”—Matthew Teague, “The Friend.” The movie shows how pure and special the friendship Dane has with both Matthew and Nicole — and we should all hope to have a friend like Dane in our life. Or to be a friend like Dane — someone truly kind, selfless, and supportive.

 

Stellar performances from all actors. And more important, a realistic and heartbreaking account of death, being sick, and the love and care from others.

 

I absolutely loved this movie and want to watch it again. It is that good. It is raw, honest, and beautiful. To read the review, go here. To read the actual essay (extremely beautiful and a MUST READ after you watch the movie) go here, and to read more about where Matthew and Dane are now, go here. You can watch “Our Friend” on demand for a fee of $20, and it is worth every cent.

Anika Yael Natori, aka, The Josie Girl

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