HI! HELLO! HOWDY! Happy New Year! Back in action over here at josiegirlblog.com and ready to post on my regular schedule! I hope you had a great break and feel rested and ready for a new YEAR! Nothing better than starting the year off with some great books — so here are the books I want to read this winter (or year, TBH). Take a look! Most of these books (1-9) were recommended to me by a friend who works at Penguin Random House as a publisher…..
1. The Book of Unknown Americans
Thanks to friend and interior designer, Lucie Ayres, for the guest post! Always love hearing slash reading what she has to say! Take a look!
Want to know a secret? An interior designer’s hardest job is finding good art for our clients. It is a process that can take months or even years. Often more than one person is involved in the decision making which is what makes it extra challenging.
So, when I saw Christy Schnabel’s Bike Path images, I was floored. Not only are the colors of the photographs so beautiful – but the characters and details are just perfect. I said we must collaborate! Our clients (and friends and family, I mean almost everyone) are always searching for stunning, unexpected art and photography pieces that can be rendered on a large scale and convey a strong sense of place.
To me, Christy’s work celebrates the diversity of Los Angeles in a simple, joyful, and strikingly original way – with the artist’s punk-rock spirit and sense of humor shining through – using one of the city’s most iconic locations as a backdrop. Several of our clients, including one of LA’s premiere fitness chains, have become fans and collectors of Christy’s work.
We had a launch event at her house where we framed and hung about 45 pieces and the feedback was tremendous – people engaged and discussed who these characters could be. The breakout stars from the show were the athletic California woman and the young girl walker below. Both embody a clear female confidence with a good dose of intrigue.
Bikini Girl Star
I am jumping back on the 1990s velour track suit look and I couldn’t be happier! But this time around, it is not Juicy Couture, but instead New York City designer, Suzie Kondi. The track suits come in a selection of color and I want them all. Not only that, but they also come in kid’s sizes, too, so you can match your daughter. It’s as if my dream came true — matching, velour, track suit, comfortable, and rainbow colors.
YUP. We are living the dream.
Recently, I read about a $20 yogurt all over the internet — and of course, I was intrigued. This is not just any yogurt, but a special probiotic yogurt — more of a supplement. The Coconut Cult is full of probiotics and delicious, made in small batches with 800 billion highly active probiotics into every quart! That is a whole lot of probiotics; which is so good for you and your gut! This yogurt is unlike any other yogurt and you don’t eat it normally (with granola, berries, etc). Rather, you eat just 1-2 spoonfuls per day. It’s like medicine — but tasty and delicious! People are obsessed and rave about how it has changed their digestive system, sleep, headaches, and the way they feel…..I have yet to see a difference (Week 1….) but I am enjoying the sweet and creamy taste. It is like dessert but oh so healthy!
Delicious (and cute packaging, too)….
I am a grazer and am constantly snacking and eat nonstop. My new favorite go-to snack is Zesty Z popcorn. It is flavored popcorn with the perfect amount of flavor and zest. Kind of like a healthy cheeto, but not cheese…but once you start, you cannot stop!
Big bag! Big flavor! It is air-popped Mediterranean Popcorn and comes in three different flavors — my favorite being thyme and herbs. The popcorn has 47 calories per cup, 1g sugar, 2g of protein, and is both gluten free and Non-GMO. So it’s a healthy option for snacking and tastes delicious too!
I have always loved Uniqlo as the qualities and prices are unbeatable. And even more specifically, I love any of their Heattech products — they truly make such a difference and keep your body warm. Seems impossible that a tiny piece of clothing can actually keep you warm, but it works. Trust me. And all of a sudden, this Fall, I have been drawn to turtlenecks (a new thing for me) and you cannot beat the Uniqlo turtlenecks. They are actually magic. They are thin, weightless, inexpensive ($19), look great, and keep you so warm! I wear my striped ones all the time, so much that I just ordered two new ones (a yellow and a black one).
I love it as a base layer (under a sweater) or as the main top! Can’t go wrong. For sizing — I wear an XS and feel like it is the perfect fit. They are so good looking and can you believe that they cost 20 bucks. 20 BUCKS!!!!
I know it might be #oversharing, but last December, I picked up a new hobby of roller dancing and it has made such an impact on my life. I know it sounds so cheesy, but it is really true, and something I want to share with you all. When I look back on the past 12 months, what strikes me the most is how much joy, laughter and fun roller skating (specifically roller dancing) has brought me. Since January, I have consistently roller skated at least twice a week and I have loved every minute. When in NYC, I take lessons in my dining room (god bless my husband and his patience) and in the summer in Oregon and California, I would skate on the streets. There is something so freeing, liberating, joyful, and fun about it all. I have absolutely loved picking up a new hobby and seeing my weekly improvements, listening to music loud and dancing to it, working out (it is so hard),
Me and my teacher.
It is now cold on the East Coast and yet that is not stopping me from running outside (LA Marathon 2020, here I come!). I find it even more important to have a good playlist to help motivate on those cold and chilly runs. Here is the current playlist! Enjoy!
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.
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.
If you live in NYC, you have to RUN right now to Nami Nori, the newest Japanese restaurant in the West Village. Only one month old, it was created by three ex-employees from Masa (whose tasting menu costs $595 per person!!!!). This new restaurant is casual elegant with accessible prices specializing in Temaki (hand rolls). Absolutely everything about this restaurant is perfection: the zen Japanese vibe, the appetizers, the temaki, the desserts, the staff, everything! So if you live in NYC, make a reservation and GO! And if you don’t live in NYC, it is an excuse to come in to the city and eat!
The appetizers: FRIES, spicy tuna on crispy rice, shishito peppers, and nori chips (oh my god, the best).
Zara kids FTW again! After realizing that my daughter had no clothes that fit her (thank you growth spurt), I went online to purchase replacements. I fell in love with the paperbag corduroy pants so ordered her two pairs. She loved them the minute she saw them, which is a huge success because she never likes anything I buy….and they were *so* good that I decided I need to buy a pair for myself. I couldn’t find them in the women’s section, so opted for the biggest kids’ size and they fit great! So comfortable and perfect for Fall and Winter! I have already worn them twice …..
Paperbag pants with elastic waist. Pockets in front and back.
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.
Although it is currently glorious and spectacularly perfect Fall weather in NYC, I know that soon enough, it will be raining and snowing and freezing cold…..and since I am a planner and like to be prepared for Plan A, B, and C (yes, I am OCD) , I bought rain booties for those future rainy days. And I love them so much that I kinda (sorta) want to wear them on non rainy days! They are the perfect Chelsea bootie look, but rubbery and waterproof. Madewell made (them) well! Check out these Madewell rainbooties!
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
While running family errands this past weekend, we stopped in at Eataly’s rooftop for lunch. Ken and I had been there during early summer years ago and loved the ambiance, decor, and food so much. Newly decorated for Autumn, it was the perfect place to grab a bite to eat in a beautiful setting. The rooftop restaurant, Serra on the roof, serves Italian cuisine and drinks. The food is simple and great, but the DECOR, my god, it is so beautiful! My daughter (who didn’t love her lunch) was so in awe of the space that she kept saying she wanted to have her birthday party there.
Three of my favorite things all combined together: socks, embroidery and MUJI! In recent months, a new MUJI opened nearby, which is the store that carries my all time favorite pens and umbrellas. So naturally, I went to pop in and see what other goodies they carry. Of course, I became even more excited when I found out that they have an embroidery station on site. This embroidery service allows customers to choose from over 300 embroidered designs and letters to add to any of the brand’s clothing or textile items. I chose socks — and as geeky as it sounds — I couldn’t be happier. But you could pick anything! Backpacks, fannypacks, jackets, bags, shirts, anything and everything. SO FUN!
Colors, font, pictures — so many options to choose from! I went with just my name. A little pop of humor and fun to my everyday outfit.
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.
Marathon #14 in the books! Over the weekend, I completed (and set a personal best time) in the Chicago Marathon. It is one of my favorite weekends of the year, as I stay with a dear friend that I met in the Paris Marathon while running. For those of you who have read the blog for many years, this is a repetitive story, but it always reminds me that you can find a great friend in a stranger and to be kind, loving, and open to everyone. I feel incredibly fortunate to have Michelle in my life and to share this special weekend on a yearly basis with her. It was so great to just be with her and her family. And the race is just an excuse to visit them, and something to train for. One thing for sure, is I love the journey of training! Sign me up for the next one (actually, I am already signed up for LA Marathon March 8th).
Straight from the airport to the expo to get my number. The pants I am wearing are my favorite jeans but let me tell you — THEY ARE NOT PHOTOGENIC. They are so cool in person. But in a picture, they scream BIG THIGHS and MOM JEANS.
I am currently tapering (Chicago marathon is this Sunday!) and so I am not doing my normal workouts which means I have even MORE time on my hands…..so baking healthy concoctions it is! Healthy and delicious energy balls!
Aren’t they pretty?
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.
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.
I can’t get enough of African prints — especially my shorts, pants, and overalls made by Royal Native. Although I have been thoroughly obsessed with African wax prints since late 1990s when I studied abroad in college in Cameroon, my love has become even more pronounced since I found Royal Native. Her clothing is a modern look made with the African print and it is truly perfection. Not exaggerating at all, I own 6 shorts, 3 overalls, and 5 pairs of her pants….and I want more. They are that good. AND NOW, I am a proud owner of a pouch. I am using it for everything and even a night time clutch! Versatile, practical, beautiful, and easy.
Look at it! Doesn’t it scream HAPPY????
One of the items on my Fall To Do List was to see more live concerts, and this week I did! I convinced my biffle from Oakland (California) to fly out to come see Lizzo with me at Radio City Hall, an iconic venue for an unbelievable performer. For those of you who don’t know Lizzo (which means you are behind on reading my blog posts :)), she is a must listen to and must watch in person. She is a true musician and incredibly talented. She also is relatable, fun, warm, and interactive (future friend?). 100% Goddess.
As I get older, I realize I love shows, but I want them not too long and not too short. And this was a perfect amount of time. #Goldilocks
End of September, a new season, and back into the swing of things….Summer is in the past and seems like decades ago…but here is my random list of what I am currently loving!
Jouer Lip Enhancer