Holiday Traditions

As hard as I try, the holiday celebrations in our family are far from instagram-worthy. Most of my friends put on the most incredible Christmas with holiday cheer, traditions, beauty, and fanfare. But for whatever reason, (maybe it is because I am Jewish and did not celebrate Christmas growing up), I always fall short. Simply put, I am #BadAtXmas. I was never told about how Santa operates, the magic of Elf-on-a-shelf, the music, the outfits, the sugar-cookie-creation; all of it is a different language and I don’t know how to speak it. I am the first to admit that I need a private tutor to help me understand HOW CHRISTMAS WORKS.


My kids are also at the age now where they ask about it… why our presents are under the tree in early December, why we open presents well before the 25th (we generally leave town as soon as Winter Break starts), why we don’t have stockings, why there is no Christmas Dinner…we just have never had a “normal” Christmas, and I am having tremendous Mom Guilt. I have to remind myself that I do a lot of things well — like their predictable and constantly well performed bedtime routine, or the fact that I never forget them at school. But holiday traditions are something I need to work on — perhaps a goal for 2018?


As a mixed religion family, we celebrate both Hannukah and Christmas. That said, Hannukah in the Jewish Tradition is not a big ordeal: it is simply lighting of the candles, a prayer, gift exchange, and maybe some latkas and dreidel playing. So we do that and it is fun and all, but there is nothing BIG and HUGE that makes it that memorable and exciting. For Christmas, we are always together as a family somewhere that is not home. We do have a Christmas Tree in our home in NYC, but we don’t have the same traditions and customs that most of my friends do.


So with all of that said, I always breathe a sigh of relief when Christmas and the holidays are over. Once it has passed, I no longer fear my failure as a mom and can concentrate on the things I am better at. So, for those of you who are good at holidays, what and how do you do it? And is it fake it till you make it? Or is it genuine and real? Or do I just embrace the fact that “this” is something I am not good at, and learn from my weaknesses?


Lighting of the candle.  With the Christmas tree in the background.

Another night lighting.

The smile.


I hope everyone has a great week and finishes up 2017 in a strong and loving way.

Anika Yael Natori, aka, The Josie Girl

Blog Home Page

Wedding Weekend #Harrasic

Last weekend, Ken and I had the good fortune of attending an incredibly special wedding in Quogue (on Long Island in NY).  The ceremony, venue, atmosphere… everything… was perfect.  Enjoy the pictures… you’ll meet a number of people who have contributed great content to the blog over the years!


Lynn Rasic - the beautiful bride

The beautiful bride, Lynn Rasic, one of Ken’s good friends from growing up. She and her husband Mike are very dear to us, even though we just lost them to San Diego. #Jealous. Lynn used to be the head of external affairs for the 9/11 Memorial, which led to this post.

Continue Reading

Ken’s 40th Birthday!

Happy boy


My husband Ken is one of the most caring, down-to-earth, and fun people I know, on top of being extremely brave, courageous, and committed. For his 40th birthday, he threw a concert (similar to his 38th year birthday recital) but instead of doing it solo, he cobbled together a full band (frequent readers know he started taking guitar lessons 3.5 years ago when he won an O.A.R. Sound Check at a silent auction). So, with a lot of work, practice, and dedication, he had a fabulous 40th birthday party last weekend.  I am so proud of him for putting himself out there and taking risks. Here are the photos (most of them are taken by Cynthia Delconte, our wedding photographer!) Enjoy!

Continue Reading

Special Plate and Announcement

DRUM ROLLLLLLLLLLL…….my hubba hubba husband is now El Capitan of The Natori Company (also know as President). For some readers, you might think OBVI, he is the son, so of course, he is President. But that is not the case. Ken never thought he was going to work for his mother and set out to make a name for himself. He was a TV and radio broadcaster at Bloomberg for 5 years (Ken Natori, What’s the story?), then went to Stanford Business School (near-perfect GMAT scores), worked at Lehman Brothers for several years (left before the crash), and then joined the family business in 2007. I am proud of my husband for working hard, committing to what he believes in, being a diligent and thoughtful worker, and at the same time as being the smartest person I have ever met (other than my brother and father —  they all tie for first place). So now, a new era of new life for the Natori business, and I am proud and in awe of my husband’s dedication, drive, and talents. So to celebrate, I got him this plate (this is not a joke).


YUP, "You are special today" BEST GIFT EVER.

YUP, “You are special today” BEST GIFT EVER.

Continue Reading

5 Years!

This past Saturday, Ken and I celebrated our 5th year wedding anniversary. It is so wild to me that we (a) have been married for 5 years (2) have two kids and (3) are now officially a family of four. Time has flown by so quickly, and yet so much and so little has changed (is that possible?). It seems like only yesterday, I cried over wedding details, we danced all night long, and we basked in the glory of being newlyweds on our honeymoon. Our wedding planning was far from stress-free, but in the end, it was one of the best days of my life.

Ultimately, I married my soulmate, Ken Natori. Sure, marriage (and life) are not always smooth sailing — everything takes work.  But Ken is my everything and I love him so dearly. Not only for what he has given me (children, marriage, love, stability, a family, everything), but for who he is and the life that we have together. I am so truly happy that we are together and look forward to continuing our journey together as a married couple. Without him, I would not be who I am.

Here are some of my favorite pictures of our wedding. Flashback to June 16th, 2007.


My papa. At first, I wanted both parents to walk down the aisle with me, but then I realized that people would not be able to get a good enough look at my dress if I was flanked by both parents on my sides. I love how strong and poised my father is. Always a soldier. I also really like how my good friend Irene is in the corner of the picture waving (pretty black dress lady). My beautiful dress was designed by my mother-in-law, Josie Natori!


ZOOOOM! Isn't my papa guapo? One of my favorite parts of my wedding ensemble was the veil. I loved the lace at the bottom as it added a sense of soft surprise.

Continue Reading

Afternoon Tea Baby Shower

This past weekend, I was blessed to have the opportunity to celebrate the upcoming Baby Girl Natori. Although having a baby shower for a second child is a little unconventional, it was great to get together with girlfriends and toast the little munchkin nonetheless. There have been a lot of challenges and struggles surrounding this second pregnancy, so it was absolutely wonderful to focus on the positive surrounded by those closest to me. I had a warm fuzzy feeling the whole time and I am so thankful to my fabulous mother-in-law for throwing together such a sophisticated and chic afternoon tea party (would you imagine anything else?) Thank you for everyone who was able to attend! Meant the world to me!

pink invite

Pink, flowery, bright, cheery, feminine, AWESOMENESS.

entry way

The entry way. With pink cherry blossoms.

tea cups

Tea cups surrounded by pink roses.

Continue Reading