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.

Cold, refreshing.

Family photo — the first time the four of us have been together in a month.

The next day, we went to Yellowstone. It was a lot of driving (2.5 hours each way), but we knew we had to do it if we were so close by. This was a bison we saw.

We went to two main stops (and one hike) on the lower loop. We saw Old Faithful (totally anticlimatic, but a must see nonetheless)

Grand Pristmatic. My favorite part of Yellowstone.

My favorite hike was at Phelps Lake which my old student’s parents told me about. It was in a specific parking lot (Rockefeller Park) in Teton National Park. We hiked 2.5 miles to a jumping rock where many people jumped off.

Ken and Cruzzie jumped off. I did not. I almost did. But then I chickened out.

The hike back .

Immediately after our hike, we went to the Ropes Course which the kids LOVED. They loved it so much that they requested to return everyday…..(but we didn’t have enough time to do so)

We had dinner at The Bird, which is mainly a locals restaurant. It was burger and fries and so delicious and the nicest people! Everyone asked us where we were from (in a nice way) and engaged in conversations. We loved it.

…and then the Rodeo! A must do in Jackson! Especially for us, as our besties uncle was one of the main riders in the rodeo. It was so fun to see him!

Fish out of water.

Here he is! Super famous to us!

And again! And look at the beautiful sky. It was a truly special and unique night.

My favorite photo.

Ken and Cruzzie mountain biked and had so much fun.

Tusia and I hiked up the face of Jackson Hole mountain on a trail called “Wildflower Trail.” It was covered in wildflowers and extremely gorgeous (and difficult terrain!)

Look at the wildflowers!

We had the opportunity to paddle board on Jenny Lake in Teton Park one evening. It was so peaceful — no one was there (except bears) and the views were grand.

I love the juxtaposition of the water and the mountains — so much to do both on the water and in the mountains.

Sunset.

We also went rafting down the Snake River, which was mellow and tame. Tusia and I have rafted three times this summer!

This was the kids during the rafting trip, which meant not that many rapids and not much to see (other than 6 bald eagles!)

We went down the Alpine Sled which was so fun! We also did this in Vail and years ago at Deer Valley.

We ate a lot of good food, including Mexican food at a super hip place called “Hatch.”

Hammocks on the final night.

 

All in all a great and busy trip to Jackson. We can’t wait to explore more and go on even more hikes and adventures in this beautiful state! Thanks for letting me share these photos with you all! Happy last week of August!

Anika Yael Natori, aka, The Josie Girl

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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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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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