hydroMATE Water Bottle

After reading about hydroMATE water bottles in the NYTimes in the article “The Water Bottle That Won’t Leave You Alone” I bought one to use. I have always struggled with consuming a lot of water and instead, turn to La Croix, which is not necessarily a good addiction. It has been one of my goals for many years; TO DRINK MORE WATER. And this hydroMATE is actually helping me. In the week that I have owned the inspiring/annoying bottle, I have completed the goal every. single. day.

 

This bottle is BIG. It is half a gallon but feels even bigger.

It is easy to carry (even though it is so big that you want it one place).

Straw. My favorite part of this bottle is the straw as it is so easy to drink from!

Tracker — keeps me going! GOALS!

Up close and personal.

 

I know it sounds cheesy to say that a water bottle has helped me achieve my goals, but….it really has. This bottle is making a huge difference in my water consumption (not sure how drinking water has helped me thus far, but I am open to waiting and seeing how being hydrated is a good thing!) and I am so very happy with this purchase. If you struggle with drinking enough water, I highly highly recommend getting hydroMATE! I bought it for Ken’s birthday and he said he is so excited for this! Who knew a water bottle could bring so much joy?

Anika Yael Natori, aka, The Josie Girl

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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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Arthur Avenue

This past weekend, we decided to drive to the Bronx to the world famous, Arthur Avenue. Arthur Avenue is considered the “Little Italy of NY,” yet if you talk to any New Yorker about Arthur Avenue in the Bronx either people have no idea what you are talking about or have passionate feelings about this neighborhood famous for all the Italian cuisine. Truth is, that most New Yorkers have not been to it, including my native New Yorker husband. But with nothing to do over the weekend (thank you, COVID, thank you Winter weather), we decided to take an adventure up to the Bronx to try out some food. We are so glad we did this and CANNOT wait to return — it had so much energy, kind locals, and ridiculously tasty food.

Arthur Avenue in the Bronx.

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Mark’s Off Madison

If you know me well, you know that Fred’s at Barney’s was my go-to restaurant for 11 plus years. It is where we had every Sunday dinner, multiple meals throughout the week, and even many special occasions such as Marathon parties, birthday parties, and special moments. It was our kitchen. We knew the entire wait staff and loved everything about it — it felt like home. So we were extremely sad when Barney’s shut down PRE Covid. It felt like we lost a part of our family and didn’t know what other restaurants to go to. Sure enough, a month later, the music died, and all restaurants were shut down to Covid…..but here we are, back in NYC, restaurants are reopened (currently only outdoor dining) and the chef from Fred’s, opened up his own restaurant “Mark’s Off Madison.” It is located downtown on 26th street and Madison, with Mark as the chef, and many of the same wait staff as at Fred’s. It felt like going home — we were so happy to see so many of the same waiters and think often of the others that we don’t know their whereabouts (Lorraine, Aggie, Jose, Gian Franco, and so many more — we miss you and hope you are all safe and healthy). Fred’s was a special place to us and so going to Mark’s Off Madison felt special, too.

 

It is NOT warm. Right now, in NYC, there is only outdoor dining, but that didn’t stop us from trying and seeing our old friends.

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2021 Goals / Resolutions / Hopes / Dreams

Happy 2021! What a year 2020 was….so much and yet so little happened, all at the same time. And here we are in a New Year…I didn’t MEAN to take two weeks off from writing blog posts, it just actually happened. And it was the most time I have ever been silent on this blog since I started way back when. Maybe it was the wear and tear of 2020, but I just felt like I had little value to add. My days felt repetitive and mundane, and there was little creative juice or positivity flowing in my blood. But now, I am back! And what a way to push myself with writing out my goals / intentions / dreams / resolutions / hopes / wants for the New Year. Here they are…..

 

Wav(ing) goodbye to 2020.

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Favorite Candles

I know people think that candles are an impersonal gift, but I personally love them and can never have too many. To me, they are the PERFECT gift. A little token of love that keeps on giving! Every time I light a candle, I remember where / who / what and think back to a memory with the given smell. I also have a cabinet of candles, as you never know when you need a last minute gift. So, here is my list of favorite candles!

 

1. D.S. & Durga Big Sur After Rain

 

One of my favorite scents — have it as soap, hand sanitizer, and as candles. It is light and refreshing and I never get sick of it.

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Currently Loving December 2020

Here we are, the last month of 2020 — and only a little more than a dozen days left. What a crazy and wild year it has been…..so on the bright side, here is what I am loving this month!

 

1. Mini Adventures with the Family

 

The past two weekends, we have had NOTHING to do …. as there is NOTHING *TO* do. So we have done mini adventures — walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, exploring a new mural, looking at views of the city, going on drives. All these little adventures seem like nothing, but they are enjoyable, create memories, help us see the world, and most importantly *allow us to get out of the house*. If anyone has other mini adventures in the tristate area, please share! Love to hear ideas!

 

2. Glossier Blue Eyeliner

 

I have never worn blue eyeliner before, but I bought this….and especially since I wear a mask most of the day, it is fun to do something unique and different to my eyes. A good pick me up!

 

3. Considering a Post Pandemic Future

 

A good article….what are you looking forward to post pandemic? Interesting to think about…

 

4. Lime Juicer

 

HANDS down, my best COVID purchase. This might seem like any juicer, but it’s not. It gets more juice than any other juicer and is clean, easy, and not expensive. And worth every cent.

 

5. Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies

 

These cookies remind me of Christmas and I made them for the first time recently. Love them and brings back so many childhood memories.

 

6. Murder on Middle Beach

 

A mini series that I thoroughly enjoyed. After watching “The Undoing” and “The Queen’s Gambit,” this was a good one to follow….now I need a new TV series to watch!

 

7. 33 Life Lessons

 

A great article to flip through.

 

What are you enjoying this month? Do share! I hope you have a great week….final countdown here we comeeeeee……

Anika Yael Natori, aka, The Josie Girl

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Hair of the Dog Mobile Spa

Our new puppy, Stevie, needed a haircut for the first time last week, so I was introduced to the mobile spa, Hair of the Dog, by a fellow dog owner. This female owned small business is literally an RV that comes to YOU and does the trim / nails / teeth in the RV in front of the apartment. Not only is it super convenient, but the employees are extremely kind. We will definitely return to them for Stevie’s next haircut. And I highly recommend this company if you (a) live in NYC (b) want to support small businesses and (c) want a great experience for your animal.

 

They text you when they are five minutes away and they parked half a block from us.

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Bread and Butter

If you know me well, you know that I love bread and butter more than anything. Not any bread and butter, but really, really good bread, and really, really good butter (deep). The salty fatty kind that just adds so much flavor. I could eat bread and butter for every meal. I know, very European. And SOOOOOOO my parents. My parents are the type that walk to the bakery everyday to get a fresh loaf of bread. I cannot remember a time in my life where there wasn’t a fresh loaf in the bread drawer. Of course, there is always a variety too — raisin bread, rye bread, ancient oat bread, you name it — we all have our favorites. So when I recently discovered 123Dough in Pound Ridge, I fell in love, and also felt like I had become my parents….nothing tastes better than a slice of bread (I like thin slices, I don’t like too thick) with some French Butter.

 

Look how cute 123 Dough is. It literally just has bread and some condiments — but the bread is fresh, organic, and oh so delicious.

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Natori Esteem Full Brief

Yes, I am writing about undies that are basically like the ones from Bridget Jones Diary, but full briefs are having a comeback! And these ones are aaaaaaahhhhhhhmazing. Truth be told, I wouldn’t have tried them had it not been recommended to me by a friend who is a stylist — and she told me that out of all the undies she has tried, these are the best out there right now! Since I trust all her style advice, I got these, and they do not disappoint.

 

YES, Bridget Jones! Thank you!!!

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Revisiting The List: A List Of Things I Miss, Don’t Miss, Won’t Miss, and Won’t Forget

We are now seven months in to the pandemic and life continues to be different and unsettled. I never expected the COVID-19 pandemic to still be the center of our lives, and yet….here we are. It is interesting to revisit the list I made on May 8 (almost 5 months ago) of things I miss, don’t miss, won’t miss and won’t forget. So many still ring true. Here is the original list, but updated for October 2020.

 

Pretty, NYC

 

WHAT I MISS

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Pumpkin Bread

I am a sucker for pumpkin spice (yep, I am one of those ladies who love pumpkin spice lattes and anything pumpkin flavored) so after seeing many posts and reviews about the pumpkin bread from Smitten Kitchen, I decided to make some of my own — and it did NOT disappoint. So delicious and yummy, and so easy to make. I will definitely make this throughout the fall and winter seasons and highly recommend that you all do the same, as well!

 

Ingredients:

 

 

* 1 15-ounce can (1 3/4 cups) pumpkin puree

* 1/2 cup  neutral cooking oil or melted butter

* 3 large eggs

* 1 2/3 cups granulated sugar

* 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

* 3/4 teaspoon baking soda

* 3/4 teaspoon fine sea or table salt

* 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

* Heaped 1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg

* Heaped 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

* Two pinches of ground cloves

* 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

 

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Asian Cucumber Salad

Crunchy, refreshing, tasty, light, and nutty. So good, so good. The salad is great on its own, or combined with other Asian flavors. The creator of this salad, my-sister-from-another-mister, likes to add this with her miso salmon, rice, and scallions. I love it alone or with anything. And even better — it takes only a couple of minutes to make!

 

Mini cucumbers are delicious plain, but even better with this sesame asian dressing.

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Fashionable Disposable Masks

I am all over the place with masks — some months I love cloth masks and some months, disposable masks. Current state — I am all about disposable masks. Maybe it is because in NYC, we are constantly wearing masks 24-7, so I want something I can wear and then never see it again…but I don’t love the basic blue disposable masks because they are *TOO* basic. So when a friend introduced me to al-shield disposable masks, it was the perfect combination. They are perfect – a little bit of fashion, but disposable. I don’t feel bad if I lose them (which happens way too often) and I can stuff them in many different pockets and jackets so I never am left without one.

 

Dots and flowers — how cute and fun are they?

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Must Listen to Podcasts

Every Wednesday, I drive several hours to visit my sister-from-another-mister for the day. Despite my distaste in driving, I absolutely love and cherish our time together and wouldn’t miss this time in the world. Therefore, I have begun to embrace the time spent in the car. During these hours in the car, I have renewed my love of podcasts and cry / laugh / feel while listening to them. Here are my recent podcasts I have listened to and have *thoroughly* enjoyed. It is never too late to listen to them, they are all so good.

 

Truly family. I feel so fortunate that our family members are all bonded and glued together and the love is deep. There have been moments when all four of us are on separate calls with each of them — all at the same time. So my weekly drives to visit are essential, a no brainer, and worth every second.

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Best Hand Sanitizer

I know you all have probably read a bazillion reviews on hand sanitizer (because I have) but on the off chance you have NOT or don’t know about it, then this post is doing it’s job. DS & DURGA “Big Sur After Rain” Hand sanitizer is the best best best best and there is absolutely NO COMPETITION. It smells delicious, does the work, is a sleek bottle, and even makes you want to use more.

 

I have always loved the Big Sur After Rain candle — so it was the reason why I tried the sanitizer in the first place. Well, that, and because it got great write ups in the NYTimes.

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Currently Loving September 2020

It sure feels like Fall in New York! Chilly, brisk, windy — aka no longer summer. I always think of the “You’ve Got Mail” quote “Don’t you love New York in the fall? It makes me wanna buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address.” There is something fairy-tale like about NYC in the fall…so here is what I am currently loving September 2020.

 

1. RBG

 

Super Diva — YES!

 

Doesn’t your heart hurt with the news of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing this past Friday night? What a legend, a role model, an inspiration, truly a super hero. I can’t stop reading all her quotes and feel sickened and sad by America’s loss. If you haven’t watched the documentary, RBG, available on Hulu, now is the time to do.

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Stevie Nicks Natori

Last Thursday, we welcomed the newest member of the Natori Family, Stevie Nicks Natori. Our little 11 week old Cavapoochon pup is so cute and a warm, cuddly, wonderful fun addition to the family. She is also SO MUCH FLIPPING WORK AND OMG I AM SO SICK OF RIDING UP AND DOWN THE ELEVATOR but I know, I know, it will all be worth it. Here are some pictures of her — because puppy pictures make everyone smile, right????

 

First night with Stevie. And Ken pre haircut.

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Blossr Flowers

Sadly, one of my favorite flower companies in New York City is no longer in business. The Groh, which was hands down, my favorite flower place that delivered fresh flowers to my apartment every Monday, has shut down, a victim of the effects of COVID on the economy. I know it sounds silly — but The Groh was phenomenal. Everything about it — it was set up to be a middle man, so instead of me trekking down to the flower district, The Groh would go, and then bundle them up and deliver them to my house. It was waaaaaaay cheaper than a typical florist, and waaaaaay easier than me doing the leg work (yes, spoiled). I loved it so much and miss it already. So after hours searching for some kind of replacement for my Monday joy, I came across Blossr. It is a minimalist flower delivery service that sends flowers on (and only on) Friday. There are not many options, but man, are they gorgeous. I love them so much and I can’t wait to use them again.

 

Pink Anthuriums. Don’t they look fake???? So gorgeous and unusual.

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Summer in Oregon

As Summer comes to a close and we get ready to go back to NYC (in just a little less than a week), I can’t help but look at all the thousands of photos from picturesque Oregon. Although we do the same thing everyday — run, hike, bike, explore, repeat, I am ever so thankful that we get to do it in such a beautiful state. If you have never visited Oregon before, put it on your states of places to visit. It is truly beautiful — lush forests, vibrant greens, rivers, creeks, Ocean, dunes, sand, hills, mountains. ExplOREGON and adOREGON. Truly. Here are some pictures:

 

Fall Creek. A little slice of heaven that the kids like to explore, and never anyone there.

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Dried Apples

As an activity, we went apple picking and brought home 18 pounds of apples — not very much in comparison to the 40 pounds of peaches from a couple weeks ago — but still enough that I knew I had to do something with them before they rotted. I know, seems backwards, buy to get rid of ??? Right, like as soon as I bought the apples, first thought was HOW AM I GOING TO GET RID OF THEM? The best trick is to make dried apples — so super duper easy — but it requires time — almost 12 hours in a low heat oven. A lot of time.

 

The apple of my eye, holding an apple.

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