Glamping on Governors Island

In celebration of my 5th grade son’s last day of school, we went to Governors Island with some of his besties and their moms. Governors Island has always been one of my favorite places — an easy afternoon IN the city, but OUT of the city. It is an 172 acre island in the heart of New York Harbor, located only 800 yards from Lower Manhattan. In recent years, we have visited dozens of times but have only been there for a couple of hours each time. Basically, there is not much to do but walk, scoot, look, eat, and hang out (but what else do you really need?) This time around, I thought ahead and booked us for an overnight stay, glamping at Collective Retreats.

 

Private boat to Collective Retreats (The company / hotel where we glamped). The complimentary water taxi runs from 430 pm to 10 pm, which is crucial since the public ferry stops service at 6 pm. The water taxi only holds up to 6 people, so it was just us on the ride. They made it a scenic ride and took us to the Statue of Liberty and other spectacular views of the city.

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Mushroom Coffee

Recently, some friends raved so much about their daily mushroom coffee, that they dropped a bag off at our house. These friends claim that this mushroom coffee changed their life — that they are more focused, energized, and don’t have any mid-day crash or over caffeinated jitters. A little skeptical, I have been drinking this mushroom coffee, Four Sigmatic Mushroom Coffee with Lion’s Mane, the past couple mornings. It is true — a little bit of this coffee goes a long way.

 

Mushroom coffee — coffee with mushroom but doesn’t TASTE like mushroom! THINK!

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Rollerskating

For those of you who know me well, I have been rollerskating for over 2.5 years and am absolutely head over heels in love with it. It changed my life — the challenge of learning something new, putting in hard work and seeing the improvement… not to mention the simple joy of doing something that I loved. Biweekly, I have lessons (even throughout the pandemic — over zoom and or in person), and they just make me so happy. Not only is it a form of exercise, but dancing, listening to music, ahhhhh, it is so great! All this to say, it is now funny to see how en vogue it is. NYTimes ran an article this past weekend, New Yorkers Are Crazy About Rollerskating (Again), as more and more rinks and skating get-togethers have emerged.

 

The day of my actual 40th birthday, just the four of us went to a rollerskating rink. Made me so happy!

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Frozen Key Lime Pie

Hands down my favorite dessert is key lime pie –(remember last year when I ordered 13 pounds of key lime pies by accident). And so I decided to start off the week on a sweet note by making key lime pie — but not just any key lime pie, but FROZEN key lime pie. The recipe is from Barefoot Contessa and is so stinking easy that I hope I dont start making it every week just to have in the kitchen…..

 

(Pre frozen — I couldn’t stop myself, it is that good)

 

Ingredients:

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Little Island

Last Friday, Little Island, New York’s newest Park opened up to the public. It was received with excitement, buzz, and energy. I had the opportunity to run down there and see it on opening day and it did not disappoint. It is unusual, beautiful, and a great green space.

 

This park, Little Island, is funded primarily by The Diller – von Furstenberg Family Foundation. It is a great addition to the Hudson River on Manhattan’s West Side, and is interesting to visit as a walk, or more of a destination to sit and hang out.

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Cauliflower Bites

OH MY GOD, stop whatever you are doing, and run and get these cauliflower bites. They are like cheetos or pirate bootie, but cauliflower. So even better. I tried them and couldn’t stop thinking about them, so had to go to every Juice Press in the city (or what felt like every store), and get them. The store clerks told me that they can never keep them in stock because everyone loves them so much. And sure enough, when I found them, I bought every package they had, because they are THAT good. Yes, would love to try to dehydrate cauliflower myself and make them even more healthy, but until then, I will eat these packages. Check them out!

 

Cauliflower bites white cheddar.

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In Fiore Baume Pour Le Corps

Hands down, one of my favorite birthday gifts is from my sister-from-another-mister who lives-on0-the-opposite-coast-but-knows-me-so-well. She sent the most luxurious, luxe, incredible body balm for the body, and every time I use it, I feel like I went to the spa. This body balm, In Fiore Tangier is absolutely the silkiest, most incredible hydrating balm. I am in love. And if you get it for yourself, you too, will be in seventh heaven. It is not inexpensive, but it is really a special and beautiful gift (to yourself or to someone else)!

 

Beautiful bottle. It helps that it is also beautiful.

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Spring 2021 To Do

NYC has had some rough moments this past year — the cold, COVID, an increase in crime — it’s been through a lot. So many of my friends are moving away and it feels like the end of an era. For good or bad, we are staying in NYC and there is so much to love and do. Here is a list of things that I want to do for Spring 2021!

 

1. The Rooftop at the Met

 

The Met rooftop is one of my favorite places to visit. I used to be able to sneak in a sandwich, but due to COVID, no food is up on the roof. Nevertheless, the Blue Big Bird flying in the sky is a fun sculpture to look at and enjoy the beautiful NYC skyline.

 

2. New York Botanical Garden: Kusama exhibit

 

Open through the end of October, this KUSAMA exhibit is a must see. Beautiful polka dots surrounded by all the beautiful nature — a must.

 

3. Scoot / Walk around Governors Island

 

Governors Island just reopened on May 1st and I cannot wait to return. It is always one of my favorite places to visit on a sunny weekend. Scoot, walk, and take in all the views and fresh air!

 

4. Eat at Via Carota

 

I’ve only eaten once at Via Carota many, many years ago. But the memory of this green salad still is with me. I am dying to try to go down to the West Village and eat not just this salad, but all the other many delicious dishes.

 

 

5. Take a Dog Leash Making Class

 

This weaving class is a hit with my kids, and I am now so excited to take a class myself. A dog leash making class!!!!

 

6. Visit Coney Island

 

I have no idea why I am dying to go (but every year I put this on my list of things to do for Spring), but I want to go and be super cheesey and eat hot dogs and go on the rollercoaster.

 

7. Watch a movie at the Paris Theatre

 

I love this movie theatre so much — it is classy, retro, beautiful, and you don’t see rats there…..

 

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I also want to organize my photos, purge kids’ clothing, organize my linen closet, and figure out summer plans….what do you want to do this Spring?

Anika Yael Natori, aka, The Josie Girl

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Trail Running Gear Guide

The biggest run of my life — both mentally and physically — takes place next Thursday. It is not just any run, but a trail ultramarathon in the Grand Canyon — from South Rim down to base, to top of North Rim, down to base and back again to South Rim. If all goes well — and there are a lot of IFS, ANDS, and BUTS — the run will be 43 miles long. It is not on flat surface or on streets, but on trails. So I have had to learn (and buy) a lot of gear for this new adventure. Though trial and error, and recommendations from people I trust, here is what I have that I love.

 

My upcoming run. EEKS.

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Shoah Through the Eyes of a Child

As the daughter of a Holocaust survivor, I have always been fascinated by and interested in World War II. From a very young age, I would question my father on any and every experience he remembered from growing up as a Polish Jew in the mid 1940s. Although he was born in 1944 at the very end of the war, his entire life was dictated by his religion. So as a young girl, I would ask questions to him, and to my uncle — nine years older than my father.

 

My uncle, Wlodek, on the left. My father, Andrzej, on the right.

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Interview with Virtual Cooking Teacher

Last week, I wrote about virtual cooking chef / teacher, Kate, and the classes she offers online. I love her so much and her background is so fascinating that I wanted to share more about her with you! (And don’t you just love reading and finding out more about people — people are so fascinating!)  Read below to find out the questions and answer session with Kate! And thank you, Kate!!! (Please note: all pictures are taken from Kate’s instagram page).

 

Kate! Don’t you love her already?

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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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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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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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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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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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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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