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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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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Fox Box

After my Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim run, I was sent a box from a dear friend congratulating me on my run. Not only was I deeply touched by her thoughtfulness and generosity, but I fell instantly in love with the present she sent. It was three items that were SO me and SO right up my alley. It was a personalized gift from Fox Box, a company that allows you to gift thematic, expertly curated options or allows you to build the perfect gift box for any occasion.

 

Some options of the ready to ship boxes. So many great options!

 

My box was perfectly packaged and beautiful.

Wrapped and chic.

My three items — so perfect! Apple Cider Vinegar, Bath salts, and a first aid kid! So perfect for post ultra marathon!

 

The already built boxes are perfect for any occasion — graduation, get well, nightstand, housewarming, SOOOO many. They are so beautifully packaged and the items inside are top quality, chic, and feel personal and special. And you can build your box to be even more specific to the occasion and friendship. I am equally pleased to have such a caring and generous friend as well as to have been introduced to this company, Fox Box! Check it out!!!!

Anika Yael Natori, aka, The Josie Girl

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Currently Loving May 2021

It is that time of the year where I can NOT believe that school is weeks away from being over. It has certainly been an unusual year, but nonetheless, a good year. Now I am in panic mode of organizing summer and figuring out all the logistics. In the meantime, here is what I am currently loving.

 

1. NormaTec Recovery Boots

 

These compressions boots saved me during my preparation for the Rim to Rim to Rim. I wouldn’t have been able to do the number of long runs without these boots. They reduce inflammation, increase circulation, and decreases muscle fatigue. They work MAGIC! Not cheap, but oh so worth it.

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Rim to Rim to Rim

Last Thursday, May 6th, 2021, three friends and I set out to run the Rim to Rim to Rim – a trail run in the Grand Canyon from one side of the canyon (South Rim) to the other (North Rim) and back again. It was over 42 miles and a huge obstacle to undertake. After months of training and planning, we successfully completed the journey. It was a one of a kind experience and I am still in disbelief that we actually did it! Unlike other marathons, this was a self assisted ultramarathon, meaning it was only us on the trail (although we ran in to two groups of 2 guys doing the same thing that we were doing). It was also more risky than a marathon, not just because of the heat and the longer distance, but because once you go in to the canyon, you cannot be rescued. Our half way point – the North Kaibab trailhead is closed in Winter months – which means that once we got there, the only way back was to do the full 21 miles all over again.

 

A map of the Grand Canyon. The route that we took was from South Kaibab Trailhead to the North Kaibab and back the same route. Other people opt to go down or up the Bright Angel Trail as it is more gradual, shady, and has more water sources — but it is also 4 miles longer.

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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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De La Heart Lymphatic Drainage Tool

When I was complaining to a friend about my constant body aches, she told me that I needed to get a“De La Heart” lymphatic drainage tool. This tool aids in DIY massage and using it for just a couple minutes per day helps with body aches, and eliminates excess fluid and toxins in the body. I purchased it immediately and absolutely love it!

 

This tool is made of 100% pine wood. It is light, easy to travel with, and is very inexpensive. It is absolutely worth it — especially if your muscles get tight or achy.

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Currently Loving March 2021

This hasn’t necessarily been the easiest month of my life: stitches, emergency room trips, COVID, isolation, cold weather temperatures, and the winter blues. But, I think I see the other side of all of this (a huge improvement from a week ago), and here is what I am currently loving this month.

 

1. Promising Young Lady

 

A twisted thriller. Uncomfortable and hard to watch, but loved it nonetheless.

 

2. Ted Lasso

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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.

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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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Birthday Treat

Earlier this week, I celebrated my 42nd birthday, and randomly the highlight was shoveling snow with a homeless man. The actual day was one of the best birthdays I have had in a long time — probably because I had zero expectations of a COVID birthday and so everything was so much better, lighter, and happier than other days (and birthdays). But honestly, my 90 minute shoveling experience was the best. OK, so let me explain.

Yes, I shoveled a track.

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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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Winter Running Gear

It is that time of the year where it is cold, dreary, and rainy or snowy or cloudy. Yet, despite the weather, as a runner, I am outside no matter what. Many people ask what I wear when I run in the cold weather, so here are my top gear choices for Winter Running!

 

This is me after my long run (15 miles) when it was 28 degrees out. I would rather sweat a lot than be cold, so yes, I overdressed and LOOK AT MY SWEAT. It felt so good. The sweat is my whole shirt — even in the cold!

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Fall 2020 Running Playlist

Like all of you, I have been on pins and needles waiting for the election results….I have not been productive and not sure what I have done, but the days have FLOWN by….and so here we are at the end of the week. So it seems like a great time to have a fluffy post of songs I am currently loving, rather than a heavy and heartfelt post on how I feel the country is divided and my fears for the future….so here it is: Fall 2020 Running Playlist. Get outside and enjoy these tracks.

 

Early morning runs.

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Woodley + Lowe

I am excited to share with you a conversation with friends that recently started a new direct-to-consumer-retail company, Woodley + Lowe. It is a loungewear fashion company directed for the younger generation that is smart, interesting, as well as comfy, cozy, and fashionable. It is just the beginning! Check out the questions and answers with the founders and check out Woodley + Lowe!

 

Who is your target customer? Who are they? Where do they live? What do they like to do?

 

Basic but not so basic.

 

This question turned out to be harder to answer than you might expect.  I know, from a business and marketing perspective, having a very specific image of your “target customer” is important, but so much of what our brand is about is accepting that our fans don’t fit just one “type”.  She might be athletic, she might be artsy, she might be social, she might be shy—she might even be all of the above.  (We even recognize that, while we use the she/her pronouns, we would love to see non-binary or cis-male fans in our clothes as well!). That said, generally speaking, she’s high school or college aged, passionate, authentic, and connected to her community.  She’s tired of having to choose between inexpensive fast-fashion that doesn’t last and popular women’s brands that are too expensive or don’t quite fit her style.  She’s looking for a brand that speaks specifically to her, and not her mom or her younger sister.

 

What makes you different / sets you apart from competitors?

Size chart. Looks like a complex scientific graph.

 

 

Our biggest differentiator is our approach to size.  We were frustrated with the “one size fits all” approach and message of other brands, and we wanted to create something that addressed more sizes and shapes.  Especially for teen girls, who are growing in all different ways and rates, we wanted to create a brand that everyone in a friend group could wear.  Having more sizes presented a challenge from a cost and logistics perspective, but it was really important to us.  We currently cover sizes from about 12/14 kids’ to size 10 women’s.  Our A-B-C-D-E system (and pants come in 2 lengths for each size) gives us the ability to add where we see demand—which brings me to our other differentiator….

 

We are all about listening to our fans and delivering what they want and need.  We want them to collaborate and co-create with us.  That’s why we’ve incorporated a lot of space on our website for photos of real girls in our clothes.  We love to see how they style them—everyone has a different take.  We also love to poll our followers on Instagram about new colors and designs they want to see.  It’s a win-win: they get to be involved in what we deliver, and we build an enthusiastic fan base.

 

What are your key items and what makes them special?

Current selection of items.

 

We wanted to launch with a really tight assortment—we’ll have 12 different styles to start—so picking one favorite is hard!  The key driver of our brand are the comfortable fabrics we selected across all pieces.  We feel really good about our Sweats category.  We began developing it even before that’s what everyone was living in.  Our Cozy Cloud Fleece, which is the base for all of it, is the softest blend of cotton, rayon, and recycled poly.  It literally feels like wearing a cloud (but warmer and dryer.) Once you put on our Comfy Crush Hoodie and Dream Joggers, you won’t want to take them off.

 

But we wanted to be more than just another Sweats brand.  We’re also really excited about our Elevated Essentials.  We used the same comfort-driven approach to create a few pieces for when you need something a little nicer than the just-off-the-couch look.  For example, we have a ruffled mini skirt and cropped rugby made from a soft and smooth modal fleece.  One of our Ambassadors joked “I could sleep in this and save time in the morning before school!”  Lastly, we’re rounding out our collection of essentials with a few Base Body Wear pieces: a bralette, a cami with built-in shelf bra, and, of course, some leggings.  Once again, we went for the comfort approach, so our fabric is not too tech-y, but equally wearable all day in class or out for a run.

 

Color palette — what’s the background on it and how did you decide?

Soft, pastel color palette.

 

Our color palette came about by polling our fans.  We found that what they really wanted were clothes in colors that they loved and make them feel good, and not necessarily tied to seasons.  So our launch collection is heavy on pastels, even though we knew we were launching for fall, because that’s what everyone was gravitating to.  Then we added some more neutral colors to help ground it—olive, vanilla, and our marine blue (which is like denim), and threw in orchid as a pop color.  We’re excited to get more active with our community in getting their feedback on colors, through our Instagram account and on Pinterest as well.

What is the meaning of your name? And how you started.

Logo

 

Just like much of our other decision making, our name came about through polls.  Before we even launched Woodley + Lowe, we set up an Instagram group of about 150 high school girls (mostly in NY, but some across the country), to help us with branding and other initial design decisions.  We brainstormed a number of different words and names that reminded us of high school/college (for example, Woodley is the road that my high school is on in Washington, DC), and then we polled our Instagram group.  Turns out they loved the idea of pairing two names together, and we did too.  It’s come to represent to us, as a brand, the yin and yang of everyone’s personality—sometimes you’re playful, sometimes you’re serious; some days you might want to dress up and go out with your friends, and other days you just want to sit in bed and watch Netflix.

 

What’s next with your collection? What can we see in the future?

What’s to come

 

We’re already well into development of our Spring drops.  Even though our pieces are meant to be worn year round, we know it’s important to infuse some newness. We’ll definitely carry over what we expect to be the most popular styles, and add some fun colors.  We’re also excited about some more summery pieces that have a kind of retro-summer-camp vibe. Mainly, we’re just excited to continue growing our collection of comfortable essentials to endlessly mix & match with each other or your other favorite pieces.

 

Where are the clothes created and made?

Fashion.

All our clothes are designed in NY and hand made in LA.  To be honest, being new to the fashion industry, I never really stopped to think about what really went into that.  Now I realize, when I see something cut a little off, or a label that’s not quite centered, I think about the fact that there was a real person cutting this fabric and sitting down to a sewing machine, and I find that really endearing.  It also helped me understand the prices that many good fashion brands charge, as it forced me to think about the fact that someone who is skilled at this craft took time to hand make what I’m wearing, and that person’s time and skill is worth something.

 

Ambassadors — tell me about them!

 

Ambassadors

 

We took a different marketing approach than most other direct-to-consumer start ups, who seemed to turn on a website with cool branding and then pour a bunch of money into Facebook and Instagram ads and watch people come to their site.  But we think the Gen Z consumer is savvier, and most of their purchase decisions come from “what are my friends wearing.”  So we decided to create an Ambassador program—real girls, not paid influencers—to sing our praises to their friends.  Ambassadors can apply through our website, and they’ll be emailed a few questions to answer about themselves.  We accept anyone who’s interested, as long as they’re 14 and older.  (If we get to a point where, logistically, we can’t handle the numbers, we may institute a waiting list, but everyone will eventually be accepted!) In exchange, they get a discount code and other perks, and we ask them to refer friends to shop and send us pictures for our website and social media.  So far we’ve loved getting to know this enthusiastic group!

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Thank you, Woodley + Lowe! I am inspired by female entrepreneurs that have a mission and accomplish what they set out to do! I can’t wait to get my hands on one of your hoodies!

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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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Running Signs

I spend a lot of time in Oregon on designated runner’s trails, which have lots of signs (other than keep 6 feet away and maintain social distancing) that are little inspirational quotes. Throughout my summers in Oregon, I always smile and laugh when I see them. To some they are just words, but to me, they are motivation and inspiration. No matter how silly or short they are, just knowing someone out there is cheering us on, makes all the difference.

 

I love this quote. It definitely brought an extra bounce to my run that day I read it for the first time.

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My First Ultramarathon

This past Saturday, I did something I never thought I would do — I ran a 50K (31 miles). It wasn’t just any ultra — it was an unofficial one. Originally, I had signed up with a childhood friend, CJ, to run the Mt Hood 50K at the beginning of July. But due to COVID, it was canceled. We both decided that even though it was no longer happening, that the two of us would run together creating our own date and route. So for the past several months, I have been training for this ultra. Most ultras happen on trails, hills, mountains, and are flipping hard. And this proved to be true. It was incredibly hard and challenging — all the trails, hills, and long distance — but thankfully I had CJ who is a veteran ultramarathoner (who runs 100K, 50 miles, 50Ks all the time), to help me through it all.

 

The route. 31 miles in Eugene covers a lot of territory. We did 3 major loops — each ending at the “aid station” aka my parent’s home. Which is where we had our food, refill of water, and bathroom. These stops lasted 2-5 minutes and were crucial. There is no way I could have done it without refilling my water and fuel.

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COVID Running Playlist

Although I am not currently training for a marathon, I am running as if I were. Not at the same high intensity, but as my only form of exercise, I am running everyday, a lot……I can’t wait to start back at my training to give me some variation in speed / miles / direction….but for now, it is just a lot of miles for a lot of days….so here is my COVID running playlist. Enjoy!

 

Sometimes I run along the ocean, sometimes on a path, it’s not a lot of variation but MAN is it pretty!

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