Chicago Marathon 2023 Recap

I know not all of you are runners, so this post might not be that interesting to you, but just for my own records, wanted to put it out there to the universe. Also — if you ever want to run a marathon — you should. I love it so much — it is a journey and a process — bot the training and the race itself. This past Sunday, not only did my son turn 14 (!!!) but I ran my 21st marathon at my favorite marathon, the Chicago Marathon. It was a great day — perfectly chilly weather and a happy outcome.

 

As always, I left on Saturday morning for Chicago, and went straight to the expo to pick up my bib. I hate expos — they are so nerve wracking and stressful, and I much prefer to not discuss my race with strangers…I was in and out as fast as I could be, and asked someone to take this photo. I always get a little sad when I am at expos alone — it is usually something you share with others, but alas, I traveled to the race alone and on this rare weekend, my friends that I normally stay with, weren’t there.

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Great Gift

The other day I co-hosted a small group of friends for a class that taught us to arrange flowers — (which by the way, I HIGHLY recommend — super fun), and one of the guests gave us the most genius present — a wine cooler sleeve! I have not even heard of it but am so in love with it that I am now going to give it as a present for wherever I go!

 

Before I share photos of the wine sleeve, here are some of the photos of the flower class. Look at the blush selection of colors of the flowers. LOVE.

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Currently Loving September 2023

Here is what I am loving this month! And as always, please email / text / call / message me with everything and anything you love — I truly love hearing the little snippets of joy that you enjoy, too!

 

1. Manet x Degas Exhibition at The Met

 

One of the beauties of NYC is the access to all the museums. As I walk by the Met every single day to get to my daughter’s school, I became a member, and love popping in just for a quick look. On Thursday, on a whim, I stopped by the newly opened “Manet x Degas” — there was no line (I went an hour before closing) and IT WAS AMAZING. I loved every single thing about the exhibition and learned so much! I had no idea that Manet and Degas were friends and the similarities and differences between the two. I stayed for an hour, and will go back to soak it all in again. I highly recommend. And great to go when no line!

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Volunteer with NYC Parks

This past weekend was the most rainy and depressing weekend in NYC in a long time. There was not a minute of sunshine and it absolutely poured rain for 99.9 percent of the time. That said, we had committed to volunteer with NYC Parks doing a park cleanup on 114th Street at Thomas Jefferson Park and we did not want to cancel just because it was raining. Despite the bad weather, the four of us had a great afternoon and loved giving back to the parks. I hope to do this more often — they need all the help that they can get.

 

It poured the entire time. We planted 200 plus bulbs that will produce purple flowers in the early Spring.

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Long Island City

This past weekend, we were in the city with no plans on Saturday night. Although I love nothing more than a night in, we decided to go on a field trip to Long Island City, where I had not been in years. And HOLY COW — it is SOOOOOOOOOOO different and a city in itself (hence the name). It was super easy to get to in the car (just over the 59th street bridge) and fun to explore a new part of our backyard. I can’t wait to go back there and eat at different restaurants, see the sights, and experience a different part of our eclectic city.

 

Trip over the bridge with the iconic sign “Silver Cup”

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The Retrievals – Podcast

It has been a good long while since I have listened to a series on a podcast — 2014(!!!) with Serial.  So when a friend told me that I had to listen to The Retrievals and I finally found a big chunk of time (urgent care waiting to be seen after a stray cat bit me), I started. And once you start, you cannot stop.

 

SO GOOD.

 

The series is composed of 5 episodes produced from Serial Production and The New York Times. It is the story of dozens of women who went to Yale Fertility Center for their egg retrievals (egg freezing or IVF), and endured incredible pain, as a result of their nurse swapping their pain medicine with saline water to feed her own drug addiction. It is an incredible series with all sides looked at and examined.

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Things to do this Sept / Oct

I know school just started, but man, how is it already mid month??? Here is a list of things I want to do in the next couple of weeks!

 

1. Visit Picasso in Fontainebleu at the MoMa

 

I love going to museums — especially when it is just for one exhibit and then leave. I am excited for this exhibit which comes at the start of October.

 

2. See Manet / Degas at the Met

 

A friend saw this in Paris this past summer and said it was one of the best exhibits she has seen. I can’t wait to go — end of this month!

 

3. Eat at the Golden Steamer

 

I have heard great things about this chinese bakery, and it just opened up another location, so will definitely be checking it out! Steamed buns! Moon cakes!

 

4. Watch Jaja’s African Hair Braiding on Broadway

 

I love everything that Manhattan Theatre Club puts on, and this is looks great. I hope to go during the time it is on Broadway!

 

5. Read a book

 

This list looks great — I really, really need to get back on track and start reading more! I want to — I just need to focus more!

 

6. Make something at the Brooklyn Craft Company

 

There is a HUGE list of different types of classes, and I cannot wait to try one out!

 

7. Relax at the World Spa

 

This place looks unbelievable. I want to go STAT.

 

8. Watch Taylor Swift Eras Tour Movie

 

I mean, who is NOT excited for this?????

___

What do you want to do in the next couple of months? Do share!

Anika Yael Natori, aka, The Josie Girl

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Currently Loving August 2023

I realize that August is practically over, but wanted to squeeze in with some of the things I love right now!

 

1. Taylor Swift Maroon

 

can NOT stop. This is one of my absolute favorite songs right now. Must listen to. Taylor did not perform this at her concert, but because I have been on a deep Taylor Swift dive, I am listening and loving them all.

 

2.  Nike

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Lavender Sachets

Yesterday, after my long run, we had a lull in what activity we were going to do. I was not highly motivated to get the kids on a bike or take a hike (and they surely didn’t want to do it unless I encouraged them to do so), so my mom asked if we could drive out to the McKenzie River Highway and pick up some lavender buds to make some lavender sachets. So although I hate to drive, we have been LOVING listening to Taylor Swift in the car, so we jumped in to the car and went on our adventure. We went to get the lavender buds in order to make homemade lavender sachets (thank you, Mama for the great idea for the afternoon!).

 

Gorgeous fields of lavender.

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The Oregon Coast

The Oregon Coast is one of the most majestic and unique places to visit. It is not tropical or very warm, but it is a scenic escape from inland. On very hot days in Eugene, we love to go to the Oregon coast where it will easily be 30 degrees colder. Also, when it is smokey in Eugene (which unfortunately it has been the past week due to the wildfires), the coast is a nice relief with the wind and little to no smoke. If you ever go to Oregon, I highly suggest visiting the coastline and seeing all the natural beauty the state has to offer.

 

One of my favorite places to visit on the coast is inland at a friend’s cabin. Her house is on a lake (which is 1/2 mile away from the ocean). You can canoe and kayak and play on the tunes — but you are on a lake.

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Taylor Swift Crafts

As I mentioned before, I was lucky enough to attend the Taylor Swift concert in late July in Seattle — and ever since then, I have become totally and utterly obsessed. Dare I say it, I am on the road to become a die hard Swiftie. Everything targeted at me on my instagram reels is Taylor, I have read every article about her, etc….I am (gasp) obsessed. And that means I have listened to hours upon hours of her songs — I can NOT stop. All that said, my biffle from undergrad is at a whole OTHER level of Swiftie-hood. She knows every word to every song, has gone to one show in North America and already has tickets for Europe, etc…She lives and breathes Taylor Swift. She is *also* an incredible artist — INCREDIBLE — unbelievable. If you ever give her an art assignment, she rocks it and blows it out of the park (like my 25th birthday party invitation, my Master’s Thesis cover –yes, very true, the alley mural). She is THE person you call when you need anything (art related or not) and is the most loyal and unbelievable friend. Lucky to have her in my corner and have the opportunity to see all her beautiful artwork. All that to say — she created the most unbelievable unique pieces for her Taylor Swift concert that I have to show you all! Talk about inspiration!!!! It is insanely beautiful.

 

This is Bridget on the left and her daughter Olive. Bridget embroidered the jean jacket with all Taylor’s albums and then made shoes with all the flowers that Taylor mentions in songs. Yes, Bridget went DEEP.

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Summer 2023 Running Playlist

I have so many new playlists this summer that I find it almost overwhelming to choose which one to listen to! Recently, one of Ken’s best friends from boarding school and I decided to share music with one another, and it has been so fun building these playlists.

 

On my run last Friday when I picked up Cruzzie from camp, I spent most of the time taking pictures of all the beauty I was surrounded by.

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Taylor Swift 7/22/23

Yes, it happened. I went to a Taylor Swift concert. And it was better than I ever imagined — and I can NOT wait to go again sometime soon (world tour 2024, here I come!). I went in excited but not knowing much, and came out a total Swiftie. I am 100% more obsessed than I thought would be possible. Taylor Swift is incredible — talented, musical, beautiful, genuine, authentic, and a total rockstar. I love her so much — a new love!

 

We were incredibly fortunate to have been given access to tickets last minute through a friend of Ken’s (who happens to be the founder of the record company TS is under). They were incredible seats and we feel very very fortunate. All that said, we decided to drive up instead of fly. What should have been a 5 hour drive ended up being 6.5 hours. NOT FUN. But we did see a lot of other cars that were driving to the concert….

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Biologique Recherche Headquarters

Introduced to Biologique Recherche skincare products over a decade ago, my favorite thing to do in Paris, is to go get a facial at the Headquarters of Biologique Recherche. The headquarters is located at the base of the Champs Elysees in Paris, (just so happens to be 2 blocks away from my in-laws apartment, so easy to get to). It is a peaceful, serene getaway — not only to pamper oneself with a facial, but the prices for the services AND the products are a fraction of what they are in the USA. So I love to go there and stock up!

 

This is what you see from the street — just a doorway.

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Paris Recommendations 2023

I know everyone has their list of favorite places in Paris and what’s the best thing to do, but here is my current list of favorite activities I did this past month while in Paris.

 

Restaurants:

Creatures

 

This restaurant was recommended to me by a french friend — and it was perfect in every way. VEGETABLES, ONLY FRENCH, ROOF TOP, BEAUTIFUL. I loved every second.

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Summer Games

Hello! Or should I say Bonjour! I am so sorry for the lack of posts in the past two weeks — it has been a whirlwind of 10 days of sightseeing and being a tourist in Paris, and am now finally in Provence with a slower pace of life. So much to write on all different subjects (the best Parisian restaurants, French beauty products, must do’s in Paris, etc…) but as I ease my way back into connecting with the internet, and with the posts, I thought it would be best to write a post on Games! We picked these two games up in Paris and we LOVE them so much that we cannot stop playing them. I highly suggest getting them for all your summer fun — they are quick, easy to learn, and fun for every age group.

 

When we were in Paris on a rainy weekend, we ended up at my exchange sister’s home for a snack, which turned into dinner and games. It was so much fun as I have a long long history with Elsa, my french sister, who I love very much. And it was so fun to be with her husband (sadly her kids and parents were not there), but we had a great time. AND LEARNED these games!

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Currently Loving June 2023 #1

HOLY CRAP IT IS JUNE AND I AM IN DISBELIEF AND SO BEHIND IN EVERYTHING WITH LIFE. Including blog posts. Apologies, here I am! It is one thing after another and next week, I have to take my dog to Oregon and the week after, I leave NYC for the summer. Gulp. Lots to do. So without further ado, here is what I am currently loving!

 

1. Emmy Squared Pizza

 

Detroit style pizza — crusty, scrumptious, cheesy, and ever so delicious. Highly recommend.

 

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Board Night

Inspired by a Tik-Tok trend, my daughter with her friends planned a “board night.” Basically, a fancy rebranding of a “potluck,’ The girls with their partners created “boards” with different themes — dessert, movie, candy, drinks, savory dip, sweet dip, and sushi. Then, they all came together to assemble the boards and have dinner together. It was a perfect way to celebrate the end of school — truly a great night.

 

Girls getting together and putting their boards together.

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Warhol at The Brant Foundation

I absolutely love the Brant Foundation in the East Village. Years back, they featured Brant’s collection of Basquiat, and it was so amazing that I went back 3 or 4 times (with my girlfriends, kids, my brother, etc…). The space of the foundation itself is magical and beautiful, and the artwork itself is incredible. So, this past weekend, I went with my son and his brother-from-another-mother (aka his best friend), and we visited the newest exhibition, Andy Warhol. This collection contains over 100 pieces of artwork — all but one personally owned by Peter Brant. The only piece of art not owned by Brant is this huge Mao silkscreen on loan by The Met (and Brant donated it to the Met years ago). This exhibit is open to the public until July 31st and I HIGHLY recommend going. Plus, there are so many fun and different restaurants nearby, that you can make it an extra special outing!

 

You start on the top floor (4th) and then walk down the stairs to the rest of the floors.

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Currently Loving May 2023 #1

May in NYC started off gray and rainy, but over the weekend, the weather improved and it is GLORIOUS outside. Nothing better than NYC in the sunshine (without humidity) and not overly hot (very rare). I am loving a lot this month, so broke up this one post into two — so stay tuned for later in the week for the second portion of everything I am loving this month!.

 

1. Amber Waves Farm

 

Amber Waves Farm. A friend who is heavily involved in a Hamptons Farm, Amber Farms, had people over to her house for food, cocktails, and a tulip making class with tulips grown locally at the Amber Waves Farm. It was incredibly informative (I learned so much) and also so much fun. And the flowers — holy smokes, so gorgeous.

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Currently Loving April 2023

I feel like we just got back from Spring Break, and now it is almost May. How does that happen? Literally time flies after the last school break and wooooooshhhh almost summer. Here is what I am currently loving this month.

 

1. Poems in Central Park

 

I love walking and strolling around Central Park on a beautiful weekend day and seeing so many different sights, people, performers, sounds. There is SOOOO much to look at. You don’t need to go to a Broadway show!!! Last weekend, I especially liked this woman who was writing poems for people. “Custom Poems on Demand.”

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Sarah Sze: Timelapse

Thanks to a college friend (the head curator of Storm King), I was invited on a private tour of the new exhibit at the Guggenheim: Sarah Sze Timelapse. It was a wonderful hour spent listening to the head curator of the exhibit, Kyung An, and learning SO much (apparently I am the last one to know about Sarah Sze!!!!) It is an interesting exhibit but made incredibly worthwhile with the descriptions and explanations of each work and the thought process behind it.

 

It starts at the bottom of the rotunda and then restarts on the 6th floor (there is another exhibit in between — but Sarah Sze is the main feature).

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School Assembly on Holocaust

For the first time in my uncle’s life, he recounted his Holocaust stories publicly this past week. Every year for the past 24 years at my daughter’s school, there is an Upper School assembly for Holocaust Survivors to share their stories. After a discussion with a faculty member of the school on my father’s family’s history, a call was placed in early March, inviting my uncle to speak to the school. Even with such short notice, Dr. Wlodek Proskurowski (my uncle), at the age of 87, decided it was time for him to speak so flew from Los Angeles (where he lives) to NYC. And what a memorable event, it was!

 

My uncle is in incredible health – and at the age of 87 is very physically and mentally active. He hikes every week with the Sierra Club, and is very involved with the Plato Club of LA.

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