There are a handful of items that I miss from NYC when I am out west for the summer. Obviously, I miss my husband, my friends, and my gym classes. But the only other thing I really, deeply, truly miss is my raw oatmeal from Juice Press.
Although I love to cook, I get stuck in my own routine of cooking only a handful of meals. I am bored of my own repertoire, so I can only imagine what my meat-potato-husband thinks of my crunchy-green-leaf-dominated limited offerings. But I think I have found a solution: Blue Apron to the rescue!
Blue Apron is a service that sends you the ingredients and recipes of three delicious meals a week. You pick meat/fish versus vegetarian, they prepare the recipes and the portions, send you the fresh ingredients and deliver it to your door. Ridiculously awesome. All you have to do is COOK the food, and VOILA, an amazing-wholesome-fresh meal for you and your family to eat!
The weekly subscription (that you can cancel at any point — or skip for a week or 9) can be delivered to most states in the Northeast (Santa Claus year round!) They deliver to: CT, DC, DE, IL, IN, KY, MA, ME, MD, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, TN, VA, VT, WV and in some parts of AL, AR, GA, IA, MI, MO, MS, NC, SC, WI. Basically, half the United States. Brilliant. The food comes tightly packaged in a box with ice to keep the ingredients fresh and intact. Then, you place the items in the fridge, plan out the weekly meals, and relax.
Through wonderful friends, Ali and I were introduced to Mah-Ze-Dahr Bakery and the woman behind it, Umber. Both the baked goods and Umber are such inspirations that I think about them all the time. Not only is her food incredibly delicious, scrumptious, and heavenly, but Umber is also such an elegant, eloquent, composed, intelligent, and beautiful person. Umber ‘s success, happiness, and talent shine through, immediately wanting us to become friends with her. Both Ali and I fell head over heels for Mah-Ze-Dahr AND Umber!
Mah-Ze-Dahr is a bakery created by Umber and is a Tom Colicchio Discovery brand. Umber, taught at a young age that food is a language on its own, studied genetics and business. She spent much of her career in finance on Wall Street, and then moved to help luxury brands, chefs, and restaurateurs expand their concepts globally. She also started the bakery (the perfect combination of her talents — business, science, and culture!) with Colicchio, the chef/owner of Craft restaurants (as well as a Top Chef judge).
In Urdu, the word mazedar describes the taste essence of food, its flavor and magic that make it delicious. As Umber describes, it is the “Je-ne-sais-quoi” that describes something wonderful. It is something that one cannot describe but wants to experience over and over again. And the items from Mah-Ze-Dahr are exactly that.
It is with a heavy heart that we say goodbye to Annabel Tollman who passed away Thursday night in her sleep from a blood clot. She was only 36. Annabel was an amazing stylist and worked with Natori for many years, styling both runway shows and photo shoots. Her passion, energy, and charisma showed in her work and approach to life. What a tragedy to say goodbye to such a young and talented woman. She will be greatly missed.
Below is an interview I did with her in April, 2012. She was creative, passionate, and inspirational. She will be greatly missed.
This past season, Natori has had the opportunity and privilege to work with celebrity stylist Annabel Tollman for fashion presentations and shoots. Annabel has amazing experience, style, and a viewpoint that blows everyone away. A native of England, she has made her mark in the fashion community by dressing high profile celebrities such as Scarlett Johansson, Mariah Carey, and my all time favorite, the Olsen Twins. I had the honor of asking the lovely Annabel questions, and here are her responses.
Tell us your journey- how did you become a stylist?
I studied Fashion at Central St. Martins and specialized in Communication and Promotion – I was supposed to become a journalist, but after many solitary days spent at home writing (wearing my pajamas and with only the occasional messenger for a chat) I was interning and started assisting a stylist and discovered that whizzing about in her convertible and going on shoots with cool interesting people was much more interesting. Now of course I long for days spent at home in pajamas (albeit silk with a matching kimono). Soon after that I met Tyler Brule, who asked me if I wanted to come and work on his launch venture, which was Wallpaper. I worked for Tyler during the rest of college and went straight back when I graduated.
Who were your mentors along the way?
True story: On Saturday night, a friend brought me a loaf of babka (jewish sweet bread) form a new bakery (Breads Bakery). By Sunday, I had eaten the entire gift (with the help of my husband) and was so in need of the another loaf that I traveled 46 blocks to get my fix on Monday. Yep, a babka junkie. Because OH MY GOD, this sweet delicious amazing ridiculous cake slash bread is to-die-for. I literally had one hour free of time between a work commitment and my kids waking up from nap, but I had to HAD TO go get another loaf.
This heavenly piece of cake is from Breads Bakery, an Israeli bakery in Union Square that opened in February 2013. Israeli (Danish trained) Uri Scheft is a seasoned baker with a store in Tel Aviv and now in NYC. The bakery carries a variety of savory breads, cookies, rugelachs, and most importantly, babka.
This babka is worth the calories and the travel time. You want (and will) eat every crumb. The babka is made with cultured butter from France, and then a mixture of Nutella and Belgian dark-chocolate chips. This sounds amazing, right? But then it is topped off with sugar syrup that gives it a rich, crisp crust with a moist, soft inside. Holy crap, that good (thank god I am not diabetic). The babka lasts several days, and tastes good defrosted (so if you stock up like me and want to hoard them, they still taste good!) During checkout, my first question to the cashier was whether or not they deliver (answer: not currently).
Everything about Breads Bakery looks and smells delicious. They are dedicated to producing artisanal, handmade breads using traditional baking techniques (and many made with whole grains). Being in the bakery makes me want to run away and become a baker. But since that is not going to happen, the next best thing is eating a loaf of babka every week.
This past Saturday, we attended the grand opening of Everything But Water on 80th and Madison (1060 Madison Avenue). I prefer shopping for most items (especially swimwear) at small boutiques, so this was a no brainer event for me. PLUS, my mother-in-law, Josie Natori was doing a personal appearance that made the event even more fun (combination of work and play). Check out the pics below of the fun event, and some great new swim items. Enjoy!
Located in the heart of the East Village, the John Derian Dry Good store is a pot of gold. The moment you walk in, you feel pure happiness, comforted by the luxurious, beautiful, colorful, and happy home goods. The cozy home accessories shop is filled from head to toe with handmade beautiful knicknacks. You will want to buy everything in the store, even if you don’t have pans for your new loot. I wish that the store was my home.
John Derian Company was started in 1989 by John Derian himself. He makes beautiful decoupage plates, paperweights, platters, bowls, trays, dishes, lamps, coasters, and much much more. His whole collection is handmade in his studio by artisans. He also sells linens, stationary, plates, lighting, and furniture from an assortment of collections (prints by Hugo Guinness, vintage Pakistani quilts, Moroccan lanterns and leather poufs, for example).
I love anything with coconuts. Coconut water, coconut lotion, sunscreen with a coconut smell, coconut flakes…you get the point. I am nuts for coco-nuts. And the most recent coconut obsession is creamy coconut “mylk” from Organic Avenue.
Organic Avenue is a NYC based boutique that sells organic (shocker) juices, salads, wraps, and anything else healthy and wholesome. It also features beautiful (and sustainable) packaging, catchy phrases, and delicious drinks and snacks. You walk into the store, and you want to buy everything because it all looks so healthy and delicious. And the coconut mylk is no exception.
Some recent studies have suggested that coconut mylk has a number of medical benefits, including hyperlipidemic balancing. Amazing! And let me tell you, nothing tastes richer, better, complete than this Organic Avenue Coconut Mylk after a long run.
And of course, it is also a good match with Clearly Coconut Water ,which is also delicious and is a good source of hydration PRE run.
Who knew that an ice cream NOT made from dairy could be so delicious ? Hallelujah! Another alternative for vegans and the lactose-intolerant. Thanks to Raw Ice Cream Company, vegans and rawists now have a sweet treat to consume. And let me tell you: even if you are NOT vegan, you are *STILL* going to love Raw Ice Cream. It is just that awesome.
Founded in 2007, Raw Ice Cream Company is based out of Long Beach, New York. Their ice cream is vegan and entirely free of soy, rice, dairy or preservatives of any kind.The ingredient list is unbelievably pure and real: homemade coconut milk, raw cashews, agave nectar, cacao powder, whole vanilla bean, sea salt, and raw cocoa butter. That is it. Who knew it could be so simple? NO PROCESSED SUGAR AND NO ANIMAL FAT!
Yeah, sure, some people might complain that this ice cream has cashews and cashews are nuts with fat. But it is *good* fat. The fat that comes from cashews helps lower cholesterol, decrease blood pressure, and cleanse your arteries. So, ladies, this fat is good for you and crucial in your diet. So, don’t just eat a spoonful of this ice cream, eat the whole tub!
Currently, they offer 8 different flavors of ice cream: chocolate, vanilla, chocolate hazelnut, chocolate cookie, chocolate fudge, vanilla fudge swirl, mint, and mint chip.
If you are like me, you love going on dates with your significant other *BUT* you get stuck in a routine of the same dates… the same restaurants, venues, rituals. Fun, but not always pushing the envelope.
Now, there is a company, How About We for Couples that helps gives activities, ideas, and DEALS on various dates!
HowAboutWe for Couples is all about helping couples stay happy, connected, and in love. Members receive a date book with one-of-a-kind dates. After selecting a date, the service takes care of everything else.
How fun and original? I love the ideas presented — some are over the top, others are simple and easy.
I love bracelets. Simple, classy, shiny, bright, and low maintenance. You also can never have too many. I wear mine all the time and never take them off (literally) as they are a perfect touch to every outfit and event (including working out and bedtime). I am especially found of my new bracelet (thank you, Christmakkuh elf, Ken), the gold Maggie Bracelet from Castor and Pollux.
I love Etsy. And I love pop-up shops. So while I was on a three hour day-date with my better half last weekend in SoHo (best three hours EVER), I couldn’t have been more excited to stumble across the ETSY HOLIDAY SHOP!
For those of you unfamiliar with Etsy, it is a website that allows local artisans and merchants to sell handmade or vintage items to a broad community. It is a great one-stop shop for anything homemade, and it is a terrific place to find unique gifts. The holiday store does a great job of bringing that web concept to brick-and-mortar. As described on the site, “Imagine a magical place where you can shop directly from the collections of guest curators, meet the artists and collectors of the marketplace in person, learn to make something with your own two hands, and enlist the help of a whole squad of Etsy experts for your gift list. It’s Etsy in real life!” So true, and so magical. But unfortunately, the shop is closing this Saturday (December 8th)…. so go now!
Readers of the blog know that foodwise, I am a huge supporter of everything wholesome, organic, farm-to-table, etc. You are what you eat! While this belief mostly affects the food we buy for our home, it also affects our restaurant choices.
Located 30 miles north of New York City, the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture opened in the Spring of 2004, and from it derived a four season working farm and educational center. Blue Hill at Stone Barns features farm-to-table food directly from the Stone Barns farm, and other local farms around the Hudson Valley. The restaurant won the New Best Restaurant award from the James Beard Foundation.
Below are the highlights. Enjoy the pics! (We didn’t want to be “those people”, so we didn’t use flash. Apologies if anything came out dark!)
There is no menu, per se. You choose between three options. A 5 course tasting menu, an 8 course tasting menu, and a 10 course tasting menu. And you have the option of adding cheese as an additional course to the 5 or 8 course menus (it is included in the 10 course menus). Due to time/nanny constraints (not to mention cost), we went with the 5 course menu.
There is nothing more beautiful than a fresh, crisp orchid in the house. Problem is, orchids from florists tend to be expensive – easily between $100 and $200. And if you are anything like me, no matter how well you try to care for the orchid, their life expectancy is a month, 6 weeks at best. So, if you live in New York, the flower district on West 28th street is the best deal in town! Not only are there beautiful fresh flowers for you to choose from (all event planners go to 28th street to get their flowers for events), but they sell the most affordable and beautiful orchids in the city! AND THEY DELIVER!
Although most of the stores in the flower district deliver, it also makes for a fun early morning adventure to see all the colorful flowers, holiday plants, and New York Flavor.
Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! We are in New York for the whole weekend for the first time ever (traveling with two kids over the busiest weekend of the year? No, thank you.) Thanks to my sister who works at Macy’s, we got tickets to the Thanksgiving Day Parade. Fun family adventure, and everyone (especially Cruzzie) had a blast. Enjoy the pics!
First things first, best of luck with everyone preparing for Hurricane Sandy. Hopefully this won’t be too bad, but the news is definitely doing a good job of scaring the life out of me and everyone else. My initial disaster pans were to go to the gym twice today, get a mani/pedi, and make cornbread, but it is becoming more clear that we could be in for some serious conditions. Good luck, everyone. Separately, we were supposed to announce the winner of last Monday’s giveaway today, but the Natori offices are closed, so we will need to wait until everything reopens. Sorry about that!
On to today’s post. As soon as I had a child of my own, I became obsessed with finding the right family photographer. I searched for someone whose aesthetic was clear, simple, modern, original, and clean. Davina to the rescue! Since we first met her in September 2011, we have hired her time and time again to take photos of the family. We have two walls dedicated to her portraits. I love everything about Davina; her quality work, her easy and laid back demeanor, her frames, and of course, the photographs themselves.
Being a native West Coaster with a Mexican mother, Mexican food = comfort for me. For some, mashed potatoes or macaroni and cheese makes them feel at home. For me, it is burritos, tacos, salsa, and cilantro. It is like cuddling up with a cashmere blanket in front of a fire. Unfortunately, New York has NO GOOD REASONABLY PRICED MEXICAN FOOD. I am against going to a Mexican restaurant and paying more than 10 dollars for beans and tortillas. I mean, really, how do the high end Mexican restaurants survive????
(I realize many of you may be reading to find out about today’s giveaway… coming at the end of the post!)
So, I was totally and utterly excited when I tumbled across this article that mentioned Tortilleria Nixtamal as one of the BEST restaurants in NYC. Not the best hole in the wall, not one of the cheapest eats, but one of the best restaurants in general. SOLD.
The menu itself is phenomenal.
Jonesing for a Levain Cookie? Need help organizing your kitchen cabinets? Want to sell maternity clothes on ebay? Or create a system for 17,000 digital photos? Do you have a million things to do, but lack the TIME or ENERGY or DESIRE to do them? Well, then, if you are like me, TaskRabbit is the perfect solution! I first heard about TaskRabbit when a friend mentioned that she found someone to write all her wedding thank you notes for 50 dollars (GENIUS!!!!). IT BLEW ME AWAY!
TaskRabbit, is a company based in San Francisco (aren’t they all from there? Thank you, Stanford Grads) and is basically eBay for odd jobs. Essentially, you have an errand (or a bzillion) you need to run, so you go on TaskRabbit.com, post the task and post the amount you’d be willing to pay for it (or let people send their bids in). Once it’s up there, a band of carefully vetted TaskRabbits bid on the task. And you pick and choose who does the task with the agreed price. (To see where TaskRabbit operates, click here.)
It’s not often you can find somewhere in Manhattan to eat that is a) trendy, b) kid-friendly, c) guaranteed not to have a wait, d) guaranteed to have a parking spot DIRECTLY in front of the restaurant. We have struck gold!
One of our favorite Sunday morning activities is to drive downtown to Pastis to eat a delicious and quick breakfast right at 9AM. Located in the heart of the meatpacking district, Pastis is a favorite for locals and tourists alike. At one point, it was super trendy and truly the place to be. Although now less of a hot destination, Pastis continues to serve delicious French bistro food, and is great for an early morning treat with the family. And because it is no longer the “it” place, you can wear pajamas or workout clothes and not feel like a complete dork. Like I do. Check out the menu here.
While Ken doesn’t necessarily tout the fact that he is a born and bred New Yorker (far from it), he does take pride in his ability to successfully navigate the city and its surroundings. Tourist traps and ripoffs? He identifies and avoids them. Local roads, highways, short cuts, and parking spots? He knows them (and will be happy to tell you about it). Hidden gems off the beaten track? He loves them. So it is somewhat ironic that we decided to celebrate Cruz’s third birthday by taking the family on the symbol of all things tourist: the New York City sightseeing Double Decker Bus.
Cruz loves all things transportation. And we love Cruz. So we decided to bite our lips and make his dreams come true.
This past month after summer break at home, I returned to my life in NYC of work, kids, school, city life, friends, and responsibilities. Although it was hard to leave my world of paradise and simplicity on the West Coast, I made the decision to bring more Oregon to NYC. Although it sounded impossible, I wanted to simplify, slow down, and not have to worry about much other than myself and my family. One of these shifts included making a conscious effort to embrace all that New York City offers. I researched some adventures off the beaten path to explore together with the kiddos and completed some of them. These little adventures have been unbelievable and have helped me set the right tone for the New Year ahead. Shana Tova, everyone!
Here are three adventures that I found to be extremely kid friendly, easy, interesting, and adventurous. New York is so big and too often, we all get trapped in our own lives, and stuck in the same routine and neighborhood. I highly recommend these afternoon trips solo, with friends, with kids, or on a date.
1. Tram to Roosevelt Island
With only a metro card and a quarter, you can take the tram from 60th street and 2nd avenue to Roosevelt Island. Once you get there, you can take a bus (for 25 cents) all around the island. The highlight of the trip was seeing the view of Manhattan and the East River from up high.
Nothing better than starting the work week with a big party! Yesterday, I had the privilege of attending the Spring/Summer 2013 Josie Natori Ready-to-wear Fashion Show. And HOLY COW, the collection was absolutely exquisite. So beautiful that I am already jotting down the outfits that I need. Not only were the pieces well thought out, detailed, beautiful, wearable, flattering, and unique, but the whole scenery of the show was absolutely breath-taking. The models were situated like paintings in an art exhibit — the white backdrop highlighted the divine collection of clothes. Ladies, come Spring 2013, you better HAUL your tushes to the stores.
It’s my favorite time of year for sports in New York! Tennis has always been my favorite, so one of the biggest upsides of living here is being able to go to the U.S. Open. My father is here for two weeks and he has literally been to Flushing almost every day. For us, Friday night was the highlight. Enjoy the pics!
Added treat: we got to see Andy Roddick play right after he announced that this U.S. Open would be his last tournament. The electricity in the crowd was amazing. He was clearly moved by it and played great.
Summer is almost over, which means back to New York. I am so sad to leave behind the outdoors, open air, greenery, family, and lack of schedule in Oregon….And yet, there are many things that I am looking forward to upon my return (besides, obviously, being fully reunited with my husband!)
* Drink champagne on the Roof garden at the Met overlooking Central Park
Hours: Through late fall, weather permitting: Friday and Saturday: 10:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m.; Martini Bar: 5:30–8:00 p.m.; Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: 10:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m.; Closed Mondays
Location: 83rd and 5th Ave, Fifth floor via the elevator in the European Sculpture and Decorative Arts galleries
Details: Self-service, light fare and cocktails in an informal, outdoor setting with panoramic views of Manhattan. Children are welcome.
* Hotdogs and popcorn at a Brooklyn Cyclones Game
Location: MCU Park, 1904 Surf Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11224 (Coney Island)
* Indulge in Italian food at L&B Spumoni Garden
Hours: 11 am to Midnight, daily.
Location: 2725 86th Street, Brooklyn, NY, 11223 (Bensonhurst)
Details: Italian feast!
There are some people I meet that just blow me away. They have a magical power that exudes everything from intelligence to kindness to sincerity to happiness. A woman named Dr. Jana Klauer is one of those people who inspires me on a daily basis.
When I am older, I would love more than anything to look like Dr. Klauer. A close family friend of the Natoris, Dr. Klauer is strikingly beautiful. Walking down the street, you stop in your tracks when you get a glimpse of her. She is beyond beautiful — long, lean, blonde, thin, elegant, and toned. And yet, it is also her inner beauty that shines through — as her happiness and positive outlook penetrates her whole being. She even walks with perfect posture and always has a genuine smile on her face.
Dr. Klauer is more than just beautiful and happy; she is also brilliant. Dr. Klauer is a graduate of Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Dr. Klauer also trained at Mount Sinai in internal medicine and physical medicine and rehabilitation. She holds a master’s degree in Clinical Nutrition from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Dr. Klauer is a New York Times bestselling author of “How The Rich Get Thin” and “The Park Avenue Nutritionist Plan” She is frequently quoted in top fashion and fitness magazines, and was profiled in full articles in Newsweek and The New York Times. She is frequently sought out as an expert on nutrition by national television and radio and media. She should be an inspiration to all of us Josie Girls!