Currently Loving January 2021

Over half way done with January 2021! Here is what I am currently loving right now!

 

1. Lost Frequencies & Zonderling: Crazy

 

I love this song. It is upbeat, fun, feel good. And I also love the video. It just makes you want to dance!!!! Or look at beautiful people dance (as seen in the video).

 

2. Bridgerton

 

Yes, everyone knows about Bridgerton, but I would be sad not to mention that, I too, fell deeply in love with this show and watched it in a week…..mix of Gossip Girl and The Crown. Beautifully done.

 

3. Health Ade Booch Pop

 

Favorite afternoon drink pick me up.

 

4. Surgical Suit for Dog

 

Our baby Stevie got spayed last week, and due to her incision, was given a cone around her head. It DID NOT WORK. And I am apparently late to the party of dog things and had no idea about surgical suits….and it has been a LIFE CHANGER. So I need you all to know — if your dog is getting spayed, SO LONG CONE, HELLO SURGICAL SUIT. Thanks to friends and my beloved sister in law (a vet) who told me about this — game changer.

 

5. Needlepoint Luggage Tags

 

Aren’t these to die for? Vintage needlepoint luggage tags! I am currently working on the JFK one and it makes me so happy.

 

 

Happy Mid January! We made is this far…..we can do this! (oh and please share with me what you are currently loving – I LOVE hearing from you)

Anika Yael Natori, aka, The Josie Girl

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The White Moustache Date Yogurt

I am fully 100% addicted to The White Moustache Date yogurt. It is unlike anything I have ever tried and I will climb mountains, swim across oceans, run hundreds of miles — anything — to get to this yogurt.  Made in Hudson Valley, NY, this yogurt is made with love, care, and exceptional quality ingredients — you can tell both in the cost of the jar ($6.50 per jar) and taste. It is far superior to generic brand yogurt bought in the grocery store — and is worth every penny.

 

I always am in shock when I spent $20 on three jars of yogurt — but then when I taste it, I am so happy. It is worth it.

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Royal Native Sweatpant Overalls

I am a huge supporter and lover of anything and everything Royal Native. I have several pairs of their fun African print overalls, pants, shorts, and even a jacket. In the Spring and Summer, I almost exclusively wear Royal Native as it is just so easy, comfortable, colorful and happy. So when they came out with Sweatpant overalls, I knew I needed a pair. They scream 2021 — an elevated, more sophisticated version of 2020, but still 2020. Still sweatpants, but make them fashion.

 

Hillary, of Royal Native, sporting them in green. (and isn’t she the cutest?)

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Faux Ivy Leaves Decor

For the holidays, my 8 year old daughter — a plant lover — asked for faux ivy leaves to decorate her room. As someone who loves plants too, but can’t keep them alive, agreed that it would be a nice addition to her room. So, one of her Hannukah- Christmas gifts, was several packs of faux ivy leaves. She was beyond giddy (it’s the smaller things that matter) and so excited to put them up.

 

They come in a pack of 12. I didn’t know how long or what to expect (and even when online they give me measurements, I can never make sense of them)….so of course, I over bought and bought 4 packs. We only used 1.5 for this project….

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Shearling Slippers

The best gift to myself this holiday season was a pair of Jenni Kayne Shearling Slippers. Although I am madly in LOVE with my Natori cheetah slippers I posted last month, they are more for warm and hot evenings, rather than cold winter nights. So when walking up Madison Avenue en route to my daughter’s school in December, I couldn’t help but pop in to the Jenni Kayne store and buy these luxurious and cozy slippers. Yes, they are an investment, but I have lived in them since I bought them — so they are worth the splurge if you count cost per wear. They are like walking on a cloud — warm, fuzzy, and soft.

 

Couldn’t help but include the slippers with a picture of Stevie! Both so cuddly and cute!

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2021 Goals / Resolutions / Hopes / Dreams

Happy 2021! What a year 2020 was….so much and yet so little happened, all at the same time. And here we are in a New Year…I didn’t MEAN to take two weeks off from writing blog posts, it just actually happened. And it was the most time I have ever been silent on this blog since I started way back when. Maybe it was the wear and tear of 2020, but I just felt like I had little value to add. My days felt repetitive and mundane, and there was little creative juice or positivity flowing in my blood. But now, I am back! And what a way to push myself with writing out my goals / intentions / dreams / resolutions / hopes / wants for the New Year. Here they are…..

 

Wav(ing) goodbye to 2020.

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Favorite Candles

I know people think that candles are an impersonal gift, but I personally love them and can never have too many. To me, they are the PERFECT gift. A little token of love that keeps on giving! Every time I light a candle, I remember where / who / what and think back to a memory with the given smell. I also have a cabinet of candles, as you never know when you need a last minute gift. So, here is my list of favorite candles!

 

1. D.S. & Durga Big Sur After Rain

 

One of my favorite scents — have it as soap, hand sanitizer, and as candles. It is light and refreshing and I never get sick of it.

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Currently Loving December 2020

Here we are, the last month of 2020 — and only a little more than a dozen days left. What a crazy and wild year it has been…..so on the bright side, here is what I am loving this month!

 

1. Mini Adventures with the Family

 

The past two weekends, we have had NOTHING to do …. as there is NOTHING *TO* do. So we have done mini adventures — walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, exploring a new mural, looking at views of the city, going on drives. All these little adventures seem like nothing, but they are enjoyable, create memories, help us see the world, and most importantly *allow us to get out of the house*. If anyone has other mini adventures in the tristate area, please share! Love to hear ideas!

 

2. Glossier Blue Eyeliner

 

I have never worn blue eyeliner before, but I bought this….and especially since I wear a mask most of the day, it is fun to do something unique and different to my eyes. A good pick me up!

 

3. Considering a Post Pandemic Future

 

A good article….what are you looking forward to post pandemic? Interesting to think about…

 

4. Lime Juicer

 

HANDS down, my best COVID purchase. This might seem like any juicer, but it’s not. It gets more juice than any other juicer and is clean, easy, and not expensive. And worth every cent.

 

5. Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies

 

These cookies remind me of Christmas and I made them for the first time recently. Love them and brings back so many childhood memories.

 

6. Murder on Middle Beach

 

A mini series that I thoroughly enjoyed. After watching “The Undoing” and “The Queen’s Gambit,” this was a good one to follow….now I need a new TV series to watch!

 

7. 33 Life Lessons

 

A great article to flip through.

 

What are you enjoying this month? Do share! I hope you have a great week….final countdown here we comeeeeee……

Anika Yael Natori, aka, The Josie Girl

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Homemade Coasters

Recently, I have been on a needlepoint kick. I can’t stop! I can sit there for hours, just needlepointing. It is relaxing, at the same time as being stressful. But in the end, I love the enjoyment of creating something from scratch. In the past two months, I have thoroughly enjoyed making a series of “duds” and “dudes,” and then making them in to coasters. I made each bit of them by hand — they look it, too — but I secretly love the organic, roughness of it. You can tell that someone made them, and I love that part of it. So now, we have fun and wacky new coasters for our home — I just need to have a party (thanks, COVID!)

 

This is my little nook, where I spent a big portion of the day…..

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Flower District

Since fresh flowers are one of the things that bring me joy, I decided that this year, I would make my way down to the Flower District in NYC (28th Street, between 6th and 7th Avenues) on a weekly basis. Ever since I made that commitment (to myself), I have gone every. single. Monday. Literally, rain or shine, I figure out a way to pack it in to my schedule. I have walked there, taken cabs, or most often, I run there. I love this adventure so much — not just because I get the freshest of fresh flowers at a great cost, but also, because I get to meet new people and see the city. I now have a guy at my flower shop and he knows I come every week, so he always tells me what is the freshest and even gives me discounts. These small little interactions, and the fresh blooms, are what keep me going — pandemic, gloomy weather, remote learning, feelings of isolation, nothing to do — it’s the little things that make the big difference.

 

This past Monday, it was SOOOO rainy and dark. But, nothing stopped me.

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Hair of the Dog Mobile Spa

Our new puppy, Stevie, needed a haircut for the first time last week, so I was introduced to the mobile spa, Hair of the Dog, by a fellow dog owner. This female owned small business is literally an RV that comes to YOU and does the trim / nails / teeth in the RV in front of the apartment. Not only is it super convenient, but the employees are extremely kind. We will definitely return to them for Stevie’s next haircut. And I highly recommend this company if you (a) live in NYC (b) want to support small businesses and (c) want a great experience for your animal.

 

They text you when they are five minutes away and they parked half a block from us.

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GOOPGENES body butter

Truth be told, Instagram first sold me GOOPGENES body butter. I couldn’t believe that I was actually buying a GOOP product sold to me on social media…..but I did it. And hot damn, I am glad I did. I used up the first container in a month — I couldn’t stop lathering my body with the rich, luxurious cream. I felt my skin soaking up the nutrients of the cream and it was so hydrating — so, now, I am an absolute believer in this body butter.

 

GOOP GENES.

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Winter Running Gear

It is that time of the year where it is cold, dreary, and rainy or snowy or cloudy. Yet, despite the weather, as a runner, I am outside no matter what. Many people ask what I wear when I run in the cold weather, so here are my top gear choices for Winter Running!

 

This is me after my long run (15 miles) when it was 28 degrees out. I would rather sweat a lot than be cold, so yes, I overdressed and LOOK AT MY SWEAT. It felt so good. The sweat is my whole shirt — even in the cold!

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Bread and Butter

If you know me well, you know that I love bread and butter more than anything. Not any bread and butter, but really, really good bread, and really, really good butter (deep). The salty fatty kind that just adds so much flavor. I could eat bread and butter for every meal. I know, very European. And SOOOOOOO my parents. My parents are the type that walk to the bakery everyday to get a fresh loaf of bread. I cannot remember a time in my life where there wasn’t a fresh loaf in the bread drawer. Of course, there is always a variety too — raisin bread, rye bread, ancient oat bread, you name it — we all have our favorites. So when I recently discovered 123Dough in Pound Ridge, I fell in love, and also felt like I had become my parents….nothing tastes better than a slice of bread (I like thin slices, I don’t like too thick) with some French Butter.

 

Look how cute 123 Dough is. It literally just has bread and some condiments — but the bread is fresh, organic, and oh so delicious.

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Natori Esteem Full Brief

Yes, I am writing about undies that are basically like the ones from Bridget Jones Diary, but full briefs are having a comeback! And these ones are aaaaaaahhhhhhhmazing. Truth be told, I wouldn’t have tried them had it not been recommended to me by a friend who is a stylist — and she told me that out of all the undies she has tried, these are the best out there right now! Since I trust all her style advice, I got these, and they do not disappoint.

 

YES, Bridget Jones! Thank you!!!

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Made Worn Tees

I recently discovered Made Worn tees and now I CANNOT STOP. Yes, they are expensive, yes you can find them in every store around the country — but for good reason. These tees are TO DIE FOR. Created by Blain Halvorson, this clothing line creates the most perfectly weathered, faded, and vintage look you have all been dying to wear (I know I have). It’s like discovering a vintage shirt in a store, except for it’s not vintage! And it’s even a better fit and look. I honestly can’t get enough — and these are perfect gifts for your music loving family and friends.

 

My new uniform — a fun tee shirt, cardigan, and jeans. Comfortable but easy and a little bit stylish.

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Fall 2020 Running Playlist

Like all of you, I have been on pins and needles waiting for the election results….I have not been productive and not sure what I have done, but the days have FLOWN by….and so here we are at the end of the week. So it seems like a great time to have a fluffy post of songs I am currently loving, rather than a heavy and heartfelt post on how I feel the country is divided and my fears for the future….so here it is: Fall 2020 Running Playlist. Get outside and enjoy these tracks.

 

Early morning runs.

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Currently Loving November 2020

Although it is just the beginning of the month, here is what I am currently loving (I need to be positive, especially with the big election this Tuesday and all the unknowns afterwards)

 

1. Armchair Expert with Matthew McConaughey

 

SUCH a good listen. I listened to it when I was driving and was laughing out loud like best friends with this duo. So much fun, so good.

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Mah-Ze-Dhar Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

I have been a fan of Mah-Ze-Dhar bakery since I was introduced by a friend in 2013. A lot has changed since then, including a new brick-and-mortar store downtown in NYC and one in DC, as well as some new delicious baked good products. Recently, I received their newsletter and was intrigued by their chocolate chip cookie dough — you freeze this huge log of dough that is over 24 cookies, and then bake them as you need. I instantly bought it because I looooove chocolate chip cookies. I froze it for a rainy day (or in this case, a grey and slow Sunday) and then wam bam thank you ma’am, cut, baked, and voila! So easy, and so delicious!

 

Directions — so simple.

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Revisiting The List: A List Of Things I Miss, Don’t Miss, Won’t Miss, and Won’t Forget

We are now seven months in to the pandemic and life continues to be different and unsettled. I never expected the COVID-19 pandemic to still be the center of our lives, and yet….here we are. It is interesting to revisit the list I made on May 8 (almost 5 months ago) of things I miss, don’t miss, won’t miss and won’t forget. So many still ring true. Here is the original list, but updated for October 2020.

 

Pretty, NYC

 

WHAT I MISS

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Carrot Ginger Dressing

My kids take a really amazing (virtual) cooking class after school one day a week, where they cook dinner for the family. Although I am heavily involved in every aspect of the class, we all enjoy it thoroughly. I learn SO much and love all the food we have made thus far. This past week, we made ramen AND a carrot ginger dressing to go over iceberg lettuce. I loved the carrot ginger dressing so much that I basically drank it like water…..and am already on the second batch!

 

Ingredients:

 

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Woodley + Lowe

I am excited to share with you a conversation with friends that recently started a new direct-to-consumer-retail company, Woodley + Lowe. It is a loungewear fashion company directed for the younger generation that is smart, interesting, as well as comfy, cozy, and fashionable. It is just the beginning! Check out the questions and answers with the founders and check out Woodley + Lowe!

 

Who is your target customer? Who are they? Where do they live? What do they like to do?

 

Basic but not so basic.

 

This question turned out to be harder to answer than you might expect.  I know, from a business and marketing perspective, having a very specific image of your “target customer” is important, but so much of what our brand is about is accepting that our fans don’t fit just one “type”.  She might be athletic, she might be artsy, she might be social, she might be shy—she might even be all of the above.  (We even recognize that, while we use the she/her pronouns, we would love to see non-binary or cis-male fans in our clothes as well!). That said, generally speaking, she’s high school or college aged, passionate, authentic, and connected to her community.  She’s tired of having to choose between inexpensive fast-fashion that doesn’t last and popular women’s brands that are too expensive or don’t quite fit her style.  She’s looking for a brand that speaks specifically to her, and not her mom or her younger sister.

 

What makes you different / sets you apart from competitors?

Size chart. Looks like a complex scientific graph.

 

 

Our biggest differentiator is our approach to size.  We were frustrated with the “one size fits all” approach and message of other brands, and we wanted to create something that addressed more sizes and shapes.  Especially for teen girls, who are growing in all different ways and rates, we wanted to create a brand that everyone in a friend group could wear.  Having more sizes presented a challenge from a cost and logistics perspective, but it was really important to us.  We currently cover sizes from about 12/14 kids’ to size 10 women’s.  Our A-B-C-D-E system (and pants come in 2 lengths for each size) gives us the ability to add where we see demand—which brings me to our other differentiator….

 

We are all about listening to our fans and delivering what they want and need.  We want them to collaborate and co-create with us.  That’s why we’ve incorporated a lot of space on our website for photos of real girls in our clothes.  We love to see how they style them—everyone has a different take.  We also love to poll our followers on Instagram about new colors and designs they want to see.  It’s a win-win: they get to be involved in what we deliver, and we build an enthusiastic fan base.

 

What are your key items and what makes them special?

Current selection of items.

 

We wanted to launch with a really tight assortment—we’ll have 12 different styles to start—so picking one favorite is hard!  The key driver of our brand are the comfortable fabrics we selected across all pieces.  We feel really good about our Sweats category.  We began developing it even before that’s what everyone was living in.  Our Cozy Cloud Fleece, which is the base for all of it, is the softest blend of cotton, rayon, and recycled poly.  It literally feels like wearing a cloud (but warmer and dryer.) Once you put on our Comfy Crush Hoodie and Dream Joggers, you won’t want to take them off.

 

But we wanted to be more than just another Sweats brand.  We’re also really excited about our Elevated Essentials.  We used the same comfort-driven approach to create a few pieces for when you need something a little nicer than the just-off-the-couch look.  For example, we have a ruffled mini skirt and cropped rugby made from a soft and smooth modal fleece.  One of our Ambassadors joked “I could sleep in this and save time in the morning before school!”  Lastly, we’re rounding out our collection of essentials with a few Base Body Wear pieces: a bralette, a cami with built-in shelf bra, and, of course, some leggings.  Once again, we went for the comfort approach, so our fabric is not too tech-y, but equally wearable all day in class or out for a run.

 

Color palette — what’s the background on it and how did you decide?

Soft, pastel color palette.

 

Our color palette came about by polling our fans.  We found that what they really wanted were clothes in colors that they loved and make them feel good, and not necessarily tied to seasons.  So our launch collection is heavy on pastels, even though we knew we were launching for fall, because that’s what everyone was gravitating to.  Then we added some more neutral colors to help ground it—olive, vanilla, and our marine blue (which is like denim), and threw in orchid as a pop color.  We’re excited to get more active with our community in getting their feedback on colors, through our Instagram account and on Pinterest as well.

What is the meaning of your name? And how you started.

Logo

 

Just like much of our other decision making, our name came about through polls.  Before we even launched Woodley + Lowe, we set up an Instagram group of about 150 high school girls (mostly in NY, but some across the country), to help us with branding and other initial design decisions.  We brainstormed a number of different words and names that reminded us of high school/college (for example, Woodley is the road that my high school is on in Washington, DC), and then we polled our Instagram group.  Turns out they loved the idea of pairing two names together, and we did too.  It’s come to represent to us, as a brand, the yin and yang of everyone’s personality—sometimes you’re playful, sometimes you’re serious; some days you might want to dress up and go out with your friends, and other days you just want to sit in bed and watch Netflix.

 

What’s next with your collection? What can we see in the future?

What’s to come

 

We’re already well into development of our Spring drops.  Even though our pieces are meant to be worn year round, we know it’s important to infuse some newness. We’ll definitely carry over what we expect to be the most popular styles, and add some fun colors.  We’re also excited about some more summery pieces that have a kind of retro-summer-camp vibe. Mainly, we’re just excited to continue growing our collection of comfortable essentials to endlessly mix & match with each other or your other favorite pieces.

 

Where are the clothes created and made?

Fashion.

All our clothes are designed in NY and hand made in LA.  To be honest, being new to the fashion industry, I never really stopped to think about what really went into that.  Now I realize, when I see something cut a little off, or a label that’s not quite centered, I think about the fact that there was a real person cutting this fabric and sitting down to a sewing machine, and I find that really endearing.  It also helped me understand the prices that many good fashion brands charge, as it forced me to think about the fact that someone who is skilled at this craft took time to hand make what I’m wearing, and that person’s time and skill is worth something.

 

Ambassadors — tell me about them!

 

Ambassadors

 

We took a different marketing approach than most other direct-to-consumer start ups, who seemed to turn on a website with cool branding and then pour a bunch of money into Facebook and Instagram ads and watch people come to their site.  But we think the Gen Z consumer is savvier, and most of their purchase decisions come from “what are my friends wearing.”  So we decided to create an Ambassador program—real girls, not paid influencers—to sing our praises to their friends.  Ambassadors can apply through our website, and they’ll be emailed a few questions to answer about themselves.  We accept anyone who’s interested, as long as they’re 14 and older.  (If we get to a point where, logistically, we can’t handle the numbers, we may institute a waiting list, but everyone will eventually be accepted!) In exchange, they get a discount code and other perks, and we ask them to refer friends to shop and send us pictures for our website and social media.  So far we’ve loved getting to know this enthusiastic group!

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Thank you, Woodley + Lowe! I am inspired by female entrepreneurs that have a mission and accomplish what they set out to do! I can’t wait to get my hands on one of your hoodies!

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