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.

It is easy to carry (even though it is so big that you want it one place).

Straw. My favorite part of this bottle is the straw as it is so easy to drink from!

Tracker — keeps me going! GOALS!

Up close and personal.

 

I know it sounds cheesy to say that a water bottle has helped me achieve my goals, but….it really has. This bottle is making a huge difference in my water consumption (not sure how drinking water has helped me thus far, but I am open to waiting and seeing how being hydrated is a good thing!) and I am so very happy with this purchase. If you struggle with drinking enough water, I highly highly recommend getting hydroMATE! I bought it for Ken’s birthday and he said he is so excited for this! Who knew a water bottle could bring so much joy?

Anika Yael Natori, aka, The Josie Girl

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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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Lewis Miller Design Flower Flash

One of my favorite accounts to follow on instagram is NYC based florist, Lewis Miller. He puts together beautiful floral arrangements with a great sense of style and eye — but mostly, I love him for his flower flashes he creates in the city. Initially, Lewis started these flashes as an experiment to reconnect himself with the craft, but then quickly saw the beautiful shared experience with New Yorkers and what joy and beauty it brought to everyone. So they became his gift to New Yorkers — with his goal to create “a positive, emotional response through flowers, and that seeing people’s reactions to the flashes emphasizes the basic goodness in all people and prioritizes compassion.”

 

Yesterday, I saw on my insta feed, that he had done his first 2021 installation at Hudson Yards. So, immediately, ran down there to see it. He wrote that he wanted something fun and playful for the kids of the city — and that it is. Different, fun, and beautiful.

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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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