Skating at Bryant Park

This past weekend, we found ourselves with zero plans. We originally were scheduled to go up to Pound Ridge for a cozy and relaxed weekend, but after a change of orthodontist appointments on Saturday and Ken needing to go on a business trip on Sunday afternoon, we decided to stay put in the city. This gave us an opportunity to be a tourist in our own city — and I am so glad we explored! We discovered Ice Skating at Bryant Park which was a great family activity. Unlike other rinks in the city, admission is FREE (rentals cost money, but if you have your own skates, then it is FREE!) and it opens up at 8 am! We drove downtown for breakfast and on our way back uptown, parked right in front of the ice skating rink to do some laps!

 

Bryant Park Winter Wonder Land — lots of shops, food, people watching, ice skating — truly, a winter wonderland.

You wait in line to get a wristband — even if you have skates.

MIDDLE OF THE CITY! On 42nd street — bananas!

I asked what their busy time was and they said ALL DAY EVERYDAY, but especially at night. I can imagine that it is quite beautiful in the evening with the building lights…..

The rink is outside, but there is an indoor space to put on your skates.

Beautiful urban setting.

I waited inside while they skated #PartyPooper

It was cold!

The skaters waiting while the zamboni cleared the ice (only 15 minutes versus other rinks that are 30 minutes).

 

I highly recommend this (free) activity for a family outing in New York. The rink is open from now until March 1st between the hours of 8 am – 10 pm and you can reserve your time slot online!

Anika Yael Natori, aka, The Josie Girl

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Currently Loving November 2019

Mid way through November dot dot dot…..which means only 1.5 more months until 2020. I have no idea, absolutely NO CLUE, how that happened. Seems like the days and weeks (and months and years) are just flying by…..In the meantime, here is a quick reflection at what I am currently loving this month. Of course, there is so much to love — family, friends, health, and connection — but here are the little tid bits and extras that I am loving.

 

1. Glossier mascara

 

I realize that I do lots of posts on mascara, but I can’t help not…..this mascara is the perfect inexpensive, non gloopy, not dramatic, everyday mascara.

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Corn Bread

This past weekend (sadly) felt like Winter….so time to hibernate and cook. And that is exactly what we did. On Saturday night, we made chili, veggies and CORN BREAD. Years ago at our annual Sonoma trip, one of our friends made the most delicious and moist corn bread you have ever tasted. So that was the recipe I used — and it was just as good as I remember. Thank you, Katie Daly! Mind you — it is NOT healthy, but it is #WorthIt.

 

Ingredients:

 

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The Magician at the NoMad

Recently, I heard a lot of chatter about the Magician at the NoMad hotel and how amazing the performance was. So, since I am on a big kick of entertainment-is-better-than-dinners-out, we went with some friends on Friday night. To say HOLY SMOKES is an understatement. It was absolutely incredible and a must see. HOLY SMOKES! Amazing, ridiculous, smart, and oh so magical. It was unclear what to expect, but I knew that the Magician, Dan White, is widely respected, and therefore, I was hopeful for a good show. And indeed, it was a good show. And has left me thinking about it since the performance. Regardless of how Dan makes the magic happen, he is a genius and oh so smart.

 

Not only brilliant, but also funny, charismatic and compelling. A+ performer. Would go again in a heartbeat.

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Storm King 2019

Every year, I like to make a trip up to Storm King Art Center. A 500 acre open air museum in the Hudson Valley, it is beautifully landscaped with large-scale incredible sculptures. Everything about the property is breathtaking and it is truly a fun adventure with family and friends. This year, we were lucky enough to be invited to an intimate Harvest Party which included a private tour, blue grass band, picturesque snacks and cocktails (thanks to a college friend I was reacquainted with this summer who just happens to be the Senior Curator for Storm King). It was an incredible way to learn more about the museum and its works of art. Thank you, Nora!

 

The foliage! The leaves! The colors! It was the *perfect* day

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Currently Loving October 2019

More than half way done with the month and almost to Halloween! Here is what I am currently loving this October! Take a look.

 

1. Freestyle Love Supreme

 

 

I went last night to see this incredible improv, hip hop, audience interactive show. AND HOLY SMOKES, as soon as I got home, I was searching tickets for future dates. If you are in New York City before January 5th, this is a MUST SEE. Absolute, bold italic highlighted 42 font size must go see.

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Natori Luxe Shangri-La Notch PJ

It is official. I am old and now like to wear pajamas around the house…obviously, Natori pajamas. Soon, I will like robes (haven’t graduated to that stage yet in my life). And I say this in a sincerely  —  these Natori Luxe Shangri-La Notch pajamas are luxuriously soft, feminine, practical, and absolute perfect. FTW.

 

Classic with a twist of lace.

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ImmuneSchein Ginger Elixir

A friend recently gifted me ImmuneSchein ginger elixirs gift pack and I can’t get enough. These elixirs can be added to hot water, sparkling water, or any beverage to create your own special drink. I typically have a hard time drinking the recommended amount of water every dat (always my New Year’s Resolution), so adding these elixirs to my water is the perfect way to consume more.

 

little potions

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Sister’s Fruit Company

While in my happy place this summer (the grocery stores of Oregon), I bought some apple (and pear) chips that turned out to be the most delicious snacks I have ever eaten. Sister’s Fruit Company. Made by a small family company in Oregon, these all natural fruit chips are made out of USDA Grade A Pacific Northwest fruit, that are sliced and dried in an all natural process. The chips just have a touch of pure cane sugar but are not overly sweet. You can eat them on cereal or oatmeal, but I tend to eat them just straight out of the bag. The kids are also huge fans and we can polish off a bag in one sitting. Mainly sold on the west coast, you can also buy online (thank you, internet).

 

All of the flavors are good — you can’t go wrong! Except for once you start, you cannot stop.

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Quick Living Room Refresh: Lucie Ayres

Back to the swing of things and back to my favorite interior designer friend and guest blog extraordinaire, Lucie Ayres! Take it away, Lucie and thanks so much! A Fall refresh for your living room!

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Every time the kids go back to school, I a) feel normal again and b) feel like the living room needs to be refreshed (and de-toy-ified).  Whether or not you have children, it’s always nice to change things up for a new season. Fall + Winter translate into more time spent indoors, so let’s make the indoor areas you value feel fantastic.

 

A few ideas/things that I like to do-

 

1 – General “Kondo method” time 

At this point in early Fall, I realize we all need a bit of a clean out. The question of “does this spark joy?” is a good one.  In my living room there are too many toys that don’t spark joy for me, but do so for my kids. Luckily I found these amazing storage ottomans which hold all those joy sparking toys and don’t create an eye sore. Or if you are lucky to have built in storage – put those things away (I also encourage the children (“gently force”) to look through their toys and donate the ones they are no longer playing with).

 

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Westman Atelier Mascara

I am a tough critic with mascara — so when I say I am IN LOVE with Westman Atelier, please do not take it lightly. I AM IN LOVE WITH THIS MASCARA. It is the most incredible, luxurious, and out of this world mascara and I have never encountered *any* mascara that compares. Westman Atelier mascara, hands down, the best mascara and best money I have spent in a very long time. This mascara is far from inexpensive ($62) but it makes a huge difference.

 

Looks like a baton. YES, it’s large and luxurious but oh so worth it.

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To Do Fall 2019

SUMMER DON’T GO, but since you are, in fact, *gasp* gone, here is what I want to do this Fall…some repeats to last year, but as a lover of lists (and planning), I like setting goals for the season. Here they are:

 

1. Be more current and attend more live concerts.

 

Live concerts….so much fun to go to. And I don’t go often enough.  We are going to see O.A.R. in Port Chester in November, but otherwise need to get live music on our calendar.

 

2. See more theatre.

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Currently Loving End of Summer 2019

Here we are, another season has flown by, and now onto the new same old (a la Alanis, isn’t it ironic?). Tomorrow, we go in to our same old routine but now, a summer under our wings with new experiences and thoughts….so, that said, here is what I am currently loving.

 

1. Lizzo Tiny Desk Concert

 

MAD CRUSH

 

All summer, I was obsessed with Lizzo. I listened to all her songs, read her interviews, and fell madly in love with her. So now, I can’t wait to see her in September at Radio City Hall. She is one flipping incredible musician and loving and personable person — I want to meet her and become friends with her. You need to listen to her interview on Fresh Air and watch the Tiny Desk Concert linked above. Wildly talented.

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Ume Onigiri House

The local community pool in Eugene, Oregon (Amazon Pool) is unlike any other public pool. Sure, there is a random mixture of people (Olympic athletes, White Trash, professors, and a mish mash of kids),  incredible views and greenery, and endless options of fun (high dive, platform dive, loopty-loop slide, tunnel slide, obstacle course, water sprays, sandbox, you name it). But it is the snack grill that is my ultimate favorite. It is not your typical pool snacks — no corn dogs or french fries — but rather hippy dippy Asian cuisine served at Ume Onigiri House. Kombucha, of course, and even better their dumplings and onigiri. Even though Ken is half-Japanese, I had never tried an onigiri until this summer. AND MAN, how I love it. Seriously, if you ever go to a restaurant and see it on the menu, get it. It is essentially a rice ball filled with various fillings — teriyaki chicken is my kids go to, but I have had the kimchi and teriyaki tofu and they are DELICIOUS.

 

Placing the order. Each onigiri costs $2.50 — A STEAL OF A DEAL! That alone makes it amazing.

The kids love it so much that they can barely wait to eat it.

It comes with homemade pickles, spinach, and the rice balls.

Tusia loves to mix hers up…making it a mixture of rice and chicken.

Cruzzie loves the dumplings.

Dumpling dude.

A portrait of feet and onigiri.

Another day, another onigiri dinner.

Basically, twice a week at swim lessons, the kids would eat onigiri for their dinner.

Perfection.

 

So yes, I understand that Ume Grill is unique to Eugene, but wherever you are, go find ONIGIRI. So good and so healthy, too. The perfect little meal.

Anika Yael Natori, aka, The Josie Girl

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CSA Chickens

There is SO much I love about my hometown, Eugene, Oregon, but one of the things I love most is the quality of the food. We get two deliveries of CSA vegetables per week (Turnip the Beet and Wintergreen Farm — my parents have been members of both farms for over 20 years!!!) as well as fresh chickens and eggs from Havurah Farms every other week. You literally don’t have to go to the grocery store except for pantry and freezer items. And the chickens?!?!?! MAN they are good. Who knew chickens could taste THAT good. They come from Havurah Farms and are pasture raised and non-gmo fed. Also, kosher, organic and killed young. You can literally taste the difference.

 

Every other Monday, my parents go to someone’s house for pickup. You get your chickens and eggs, check off your name, and then you are on your way. Old school, honor code. The chickens are killed the morning you pick them up.

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Dehydrated Peaches

Earlier this week, we went peach picking (one of my favorite pastimes in Oregon….  fun, beautiful, and super inexpensive. WIN WIN all around). In 20 minutes, we gathered 35 pounds of delicious and perfect peaches. As much as I love peaches, that is a WHOLE lot of peaches to eat….especially since they go bad very quickly. So within minutes, I made two crisps (a little bit of oatmeal, a little bit of butter, a little bit of sugar and VOILA).  But there was still 30 plus pounds left….so we decided to dehydrate them and they are oh so good.

 

Me and my partner in crime. She weighs just slightly more than the peaches.

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Whitagram App

There are a lot of filters and apps to make photographs better, whether it is to have for your own personal photo collection or to post on social media. Currently, I have seen a lot of people using “Whitagram” which leaves a very artsy and clean white frame around photographs. I recently downloaded the app and used it on some pictures.  I love the look. Download it on the app store on your iphone and use it on any photo in your library. PLEASE NOTE: It is hard to really tell what the end result looks like with the pictures here — as the blog post is a white background and the frames around the photos are white, it is hard to really picture what I am talking about. But trust me, it looks good and chic.

 

SUPER easy to use.

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Cilantro Jalapeno Vegan Pesto

The other day, my mom made the most incredible pesto — the typical basil, pine nut, parmesan combination. It was so delicious, I found excuses to eat it (chip, carrot, spoon, you name it). But because everyone KNOWS how to make pesto, I decided to find a more creative (and cost effective) vegan pesto. Instead of pine nuts and parmesan, hellloooo cashews. Instead of basil, welcome cilantro and jalapeno. It is green, healthy, and has just a minor kick to it (next time, I want to add more jalapeno). Enjoy!

 

Ingredients:

 

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Que Water Bottle

Goodbye plastic bottles (be gone!), hello collapsible water bottle! Who knew that a single tiny little bottle could bring so much joy? This lightweight bottle is perfect for traveling or everyday. You just smoooosh it and it is half the original size. No more lugging around heavy glass bottles or bulky bottles. This is the perfect solution for everyday on the move. Que bottles.

 

BIG — fill it up with water!

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Root Beer Float

OK, this might be the stupidest and most obvious post ever (or genius, depending on who you ask), but I recently became reacquainted with root beer floats, and I CANNOT GET ENOUGH. Seriously, two ingredients lead to the most refreshing and delicious snack slash dinner. It truly tastes like heaven, especially if you use high quality ice cream and root beer.

 

TWO — just two — ingredients!

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Bonton Girls Heart Swimsuit

I have a thing for fancy little kid’s bathing suits….I think it is because my kids wear swimsuits all summer long, so investing in a cute suit is worth it if you break it down by cost per wear. As a result, when I came across this swimsuit in Paris from Bonton, I knew that I had to get it. Right now, you can find this suit (on sale) here and here.

 

I love the ruffles, the look, the colors, the hearts.

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Paris June 2019 Highlights

Bonjour! My apologies for the slow posts these past two weeks — it was quite difficult to get on the internet to do any posts especially because I had a major computer issue a…..turns out, all is okay with my computer but the head of the charger died — who knew that that was a thing? In any case, I am now back in the USA *with* a working computer, so back to normal post schedules. I wanted to first share with you all some of the pictures and highlights of my time in Paris with the kids — we did go to the South of France for an amazing trip as well, and I will post those later. In the meantime, enjoy these photos!

 

In the Tuileries, one of our favorite activities is the trampoline park. It is an old school little hut with a man that got to know us because we went so often. Everyday when we would get there he would say hello and when we would leave, he would say “See you tomorrow.”

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