Currently Loving September 2021

Here we are in mid September and here is what I am currently loving!

 

1. Harriman State Park

 

Last week, we had a day off from school and a parent organized a hike to Harriman State Park — which is about an hour away from NYC. It was a great day filled with beautiful nature. It made me miss the ease of Oregon nature and hikes, but I am thankful to have been introduced to Harriman State Park and can’t wait to return.

 

2. Dahlias

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Spinach Hummus

One of my favorite parts of spending the summer in Oregon is being surrounded by all the local, organic, small-batch, hippie foods. I have my all time favorites that have been around forever (Toby’s Tofu Pate), but each summer, I fall in love with some new favorites. This summer, I am head over heels with this spinach hummus by King Harvest. BEYOND DELICIOUS, TASTY, UNBELIEVABLY GOOD. It is die for — and you must find it and buy it….and even if it is not sold in your grocery store, try to replicate it and make it home.

 

King Harvest.

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Needlepoint Pointers

If you are a needlepointer (or interested in needlepointing), then this post is for YOU! In the past 16 months of my new found hobby, I have done a lot of research (and trial and error) on what works and doesn’t work. And because I am a sharer, here are various tips / pointers on websites, threads, anything and everything needlepoint that has worked for ME! (And if you have any favorites, please share with me, too!)

 

My most recent project!

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Water Kefir

I realize that Monday’s post was on a drink (hibiscus tea) but now I have to tell you all about water kefir — my newest obsession! And yes, apparently I am on a drink kick! And makes sense because it has been over 100 degrees the past week in Oregon….yes, I have been melting! In any case, I have always had a love hate relationship with kombucha. I love it, but it has made me (violently) sick and so I had to quit for a decade. I have successfully only had good batches in the past year, but I still am weary about it. That said, I always love looking at the drink aisle in the hippy dippy grocery stores because they always have the best products. And lo and behold, that is how I first found out about water kefir — a probiotic water. It is similar to kombucha, as they are both fermented and probiotic rich. But they taste slightly different and as of now, I am preferring water kefir.

 

This was one of the brands that I love — made in Oregon, great flavor of ginger and lime. Fizzy, delicious, and hydrating.

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Favorite Tokyo Olympic Moments

I already miss the Olympics and they just ended yesterday!!!! Usually, I am tied to the Olympics and watch every single moment they are on TV. However, this Olympic Games, the time difference made it a little more tricky and I wasn’t as in to it as normal. That said, I still love the stories, the dreams, the challenges, and the grit. Here are my favorite Tokyo Olympic Game moments. And yes, they are track and field heavy because (a) I am a runner and (b) the Track and Field Olympic trials have been held in my hometown for the past five consecutive games!

 

1. Women’s Marathon

 

Talk about grit, heart, and determination! Molly Seidel ran her third marathon ever and won a bronze medal. Super inspiring!!!

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Custom Needlepoint Canvas DNS by Design

As many of you know, since April 2020, I have become an avid needlepointer. I spend a lot of time planning a project, working on it, and finishing it. I love (and hate!) the process of it, but I absolutely love having a final product — especially when I am proud of the work. I have spent hours upon hours searching for canvases that strike a chord with me, but more often than not, I am left uninspired and wanting more. I absolutely loved making my Notorious BIG footstool, as well as my Tupac pillow, and I wanted to find something in the same genre — cool, hip, unique, exotic, and colorful. Unfortunately, after my own search,  I never found anything. Thankfully, a friend told me to contact Denise, of DNS by Design, who can custom paint any canvases, any size, any photo. And boy, did I luck out in finding her! What a gem!!!!

 

The final product of my Biggie stool.

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July Favorite Podcasts

This past month I have listened to a plethora of podcasts. Here are my favorite episodes this month. They are all MUST listen to and all have major take aways.

 

1. Ten Percent Happier: Self Compassion Ain’t Always Soft, Kristin Neff

 

A must listen to. I started Kristin Neff’s book and I can’t wait to read it all. So much to learn.

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Jackson Hole

As I mentioned in Monday’s post, we went to Jackson last week and had a great fun-filled time. There was never a dull moment and had so much to do that we could have stayed the entire summer! Everyone we met in Jackson was so incredibly nice and welcoming. My favorite run-in was with an old student’s parents from NYC that I taught way back when and they moved to Jackson 5 years ago. They sent several emails with hikes and trail runs and activities. And of course, another favorite meet up was with our bestie’s grandma who spends her summer there. So in many ways, this random small town felt familiar and welcoming.

 

We literally arrived at the airport and went straight on a hike in the Grand Teton National Park. Recommended to us by a friend, this hike didn’t disappoint. We wore our swimsuits and once we arrived at the top, there was a great lake and we went swimming.

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Summer 2021 Running Playlist

Sorry for the silence last week — I didn’t anticipate going rogue on the blog, but we were in Jackson for a family trip and had less down time than I thought. But here I am! Back at it! And more on Jackson on Wednesday — lots to recap! In the meantime, here is my Summer 2021 Running Playlist. Lots of fast, high beat, power mode songs!

 

Teton Village on my run last week. So beautiful.

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Currently Loving July 2021

Mid July, here we are. Second half of the year, here, too! Here is what I am currently loving this month:

 

1. Martha Stewart’s Blueberry Crisp Recipe

 

We went blueberry picking this week and picked over 12 pounds of blueberry. So I decided to make a blueberry crisp (and follow a recipe!) I made two of these crisps (used 6 pounds of blueberries) and found this recipe perfect — not too sweet, but light and refreshing.

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Summer Activities in Vail

I just spent the week in Beaver Creek (near Vail, CO) with some dear friends from Graduate School and had the best time. My friend planned the most perfect time and everyday we had a super fun activity. So if you are going to Vail area during the summer months, or just want to see some highlights of our time, take a look!

 

GOGA — Goat Yoga

 

Goat yoga is basically yoga with goats walking all over your mats and the smell of pee and poo, but it was also really relaxing, a great stretch, and calming to be around the goats.

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Golden Diner

This past weekend, on our final NYC day before heading out west for the summer, we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge (our favorite activity) and then had lunch at the Golden Diner. I have read about Golden Diner for many years as it serves classic NY diner dishes that are influenced by the neighborhood, Chinatown. Everything had an Asian spin to it — even the tuna melt.

 

First, the Brooklyn Bridge! And yes, we have a million of these pictures, but I love them….

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Knitting Projects

As many of you know, over the past 12 months, I have become an avid needlepointer. It started as a hobby during COVID lock-down, and now I can’t stop. I love the process (well, actually, sometimes I hate it, but can’t stop) as well as having something tangible when I’m done. It is no surprise that I have the tendency to love creating something with textiles, as my mother has been knitting my entire life. She taught herself during college, and since then, she has a million projects at a time. Mother like daughter, she never sits without a project, and is constantly knitting. She is always running late because she can’t put her knitting down, and I now fully understand why. As a proud daughter, I wanted to share with you all her most recent projects because they are SO different. They are not a sweater or a hat or a scarf, rather they are PILLOWS and a BLANKET. Yes, she knitted pillows! And a blanket!

 

The pillows! Aren’t they divine???

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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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