Central Park Music

One of the ways that my husband, Ken, has dealt with the restrictions of life due to COVID, has been playing music outside in Central Park. Once a month over the summer, Ken would organize to gather in Central Park with 1 or 2 musician friends (one being my best friend from childhood, David) and jam out together. He would text a couple of friends that he was going and if they wanted to swing by and bring their own wine and food, or just to drop by.  As I was out in Oregon during these “performances,” I never had the privilege of attending the concerts, but it was clear how much happiness, joy, and life it gave Ken. He lived for these evenings as it renewed a sense of hope in him — cheesy as it sounds, it gave him life. The small interactions with strangers, outside (and safe) encounters with friends, and the music itself, made a huge difference to him. So last week, he put together a last minute park gathering and I finally was able to attend.

 

Ken has “a spot.” It is where he always gathers to play music. It is near Sheep’s Meadow and The Mall. Not too far away from our home, but still a delightful walk nonetheless.

 

SO many random strangers stopped by to listen — to hear the music with their young children, to request songs, to borrow the guitar and play their own tune (yes, this really happened. Ken panicked about COVID afterwards), and to take photographs of the magic. An aspiring photographer asked Ken if it was okay to take pictures of him, and then promptly sent them to him. These are the photos of Ken taken by Playing Reverie. It was truly an I LOVE NYC moment — where friends, strangers, loved ones — all came together to celebrate LIFE.

 

Jamming with his hankerchief (Ken’s preferred “mask”)

 

Truth be told, I always get a little nervous and anxious watching Ken perform his guitar. He is not a professional musician, but plays for the fun and challenge of it. It was such a great evening watching him play as it was clear, it just makes him so happy. It is kinda like my rollerskating. It brings joy to his life.

 

Central Park.

 

I brought Cruzzie with me — Tusia had art class — and didn’t bring any food. But it didn’t matter. I came for the experience and memories. Central Park — and all the random performers and watchers — is my favorite place in the world.

 

Violinist Heather. Glowing and radiating happiness.

 

It was such a carefree, unexpected, and fun evening and I am in awe of Ken for being brave to perform in public, and doing something new and different. The small unexpected interactions with strangers (like these beautiful photographs taken by a true stranger) and the random conversations are the most memorable, and such a great way to connect to this beloved city we all love so much. I hope that Ken gets enough courage to play again before Winter and broadcasts to more friends (he doesn’t tell a lot of people and is always last minute in the planning). My take away: find something new to bring you joy and happiness and push yourself to step out of your comfort zone.

Anika Yael Natori, aka, The Josie Girl

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The Last Great American Dynasty

My newest obsession, thanks to my sister-from-another-mister, is “The Last Great American Dynasty” song in Taylor Swift’s newest album, Folklore. It is a song that no matter how many times I listen to it (I am annoying and have listened to it on repeat since I first heard it — in attempt to learn every lyric), I still get goose bumps. GOOSE BUMPS!!! Yup. It is an incredibly gorgeous song with an even richer story behind the words. Taylor Swift created this soothing, sappy, happy, and beautiful song during Quarantine (the whole album!) based on her home in Rhode Island. It is the story of the previous owner, Rebekah Harkness, the heiress with a wild life story who owned Taylor Swift’s home, who lived a big grand life and was unapologetic. She sees herself in Rebekah and sings about it.

 

Taylor singing away….

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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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Lizzo Concert

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

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Summer 2019 Running Playlist

Yes, I run a lot, but it is during the Summer months that I do my hardest training and running. My light schedule, the perfect Oregon weather, and upcoming Fall marathon makes these months the perfect time to run hard. Here is my summer 2019 running playlist:

 

Running in Oregon is ideal: beautiful non humid weather and incredible views on every twist and turn. Yesterday, on my long run, I had the privilege of running along the Willamette River….

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Currently Loving April 2019

AHHHHH April….Spring, but in terms of the school year, feels like almost Summer. From April to June, it feels like a sprint to the finish line of the year: so much going on with recitals, meetings, wrapping it up. Often times, I forget how to breathe during this time. So, I need to remember to be in the present and here is what I am currently loving!

 

1. Eat Clean, Play Dirty Cookbook

 

If I eat like the authors do I become beautiful like them????

 

One of my besties gifted me this cookbook last week and I cannot wait to make all of the recipes, which are uber healthy, vegan, plant based. A great way to start off the Spring – Summer in a healthy detox way. I especially want to try the breakfast recipes and the salad dressings — they all look so good.

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Winter 2019 Running Playlist

I am currently back on the marathon track — training for Boston Marathon 2019 in April….I must say that it is much harder to find motivation and inspiration to run in the freezing cold in the dead of winter….which is why having the right playlist is THAT much more important. Here are the tunes that I am currently loving to run to.

 

One of the things I love most about running is I get to be a part of my surroundings. This past weekend, I had a 15 miler and ran the whole perimeter of Manhattan — I love seeing the views, the people, the energy, the natural beauty, my island, everything and anything.

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Fall 2018 Running Playlist

Is November Fall or Winter? Officially it is Fall, but with Christmas decorations in stores and freezing temperatures, it kind of feels like Winter.  Now that my two Fall marathons are done, I am resting and recuperating before starting to train for my April 2019 Boston marathon. That said, you always need good music for runs or workouts or inspiration! Here you go.

 

Last week in Central Park, I took this picture on a walk. Every day when I am in the park, I am thankful for its insane beauty and colors.

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Summer 2018 Running Playlist

Summer has officially started and tonight I leave for a European adventure.  And yes, another summer, another marathon training season! Here is my newest playlist for running and training!

 

Summer running means hydrating and drinking a lot of water. On long runs, I always carry a water bottle and then whenever I find a refilling station, I fill my bottle up. Thank you, NYC!

 

Summer 2018 Running Playlist

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February 2018 Playlist

Don’t you love having a soundtrack to your life??? I sure do. I listen to music every waking minute — literally, music is blaring from 6 am until we go to sleep…..Not one of Ken’s favorite qualities about me — actually, a daily argument (I love music. LOUD music). This has been my go-to-playlist for the past couple of weeks….not music for running to, but music for everyday life duties (cooking, writing, eating, etc….).  Enjoy!

 

Central Park is incredibly beautiful in the snow — but even MORE so when you have good music to listen to as you walk.

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Christine and The Queens

I have the tendency to fall head over heels in love with a certain song and then listen to it on repeat at least 1,000 times. It KILLS my husband. KILLS. And yet, I can’t help myself. So last weekend, I was introduced to a French singer, Christine and The Queens, and the ENTIRE album is incredible. There are a couple of songs that are *mind-blowingly good* but in general, the whole album is remarkable.

 

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Tiny Animal Speakers – Oprah

I am guilty of loving the Oprah magazine…..a loyal reader for more than a decade! This past issue, she featured little animal speakers that connect via bluetooth to your phone. I decided to get them for the kids for the holidays, but of course had to check them out myself. And it is magic! Such a tiny little animal that makes such a good loud sound!

 

Look how cute!

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November 2017 Chill Playlist

Most of my playlists are for when I run, but here is what I like to listen to during the day when I am working on my computer (writing blogs), cooking food, getting dressed, etc…  It’s a whole different feeling than my running playlists, but there is still a lot of teeny bopper pop and electronic. I love what I love! Enjoy!

 

I also like to listen to music when my legs are up the wall….

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Currently Loving October 2017

One more day left of October, so not too late for “Currently Loving” for the month! Here they are! Here is what I am currently loving in October 2017!

 

1. Busy Philipps

 

Her name is Busy. Her daughters names are Birdie and Cricket — now do you wonder why I want her to be my BFF?

 

I don’t know her from tv or movies, but I somehow landed on her instagram account (isn’t that how everything works these days….everything leads back to instagram…) and became obsessed with her instagram stories. She is genuine, authentic, beautiful, and oh so funny. I love her taste in music, clothes, and random thoughts. You must watch her on her stories — too funny. I also am determined to become friends with her…anyone have a connection? Sign me up please!

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September 2017 Running Playlist

Since my next marathon is 11 days away (but who is counting?), I am compiling motivational songs to help my runs and overall energy. Here is my latest running playlist. Enjoy!

 

Me running, or pretending to run. Looks like I am on Mars, but I am in Utah. We just returned from a short belated 10th Anniversary celebration.  Stay tuned for full details!

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Currently Loving September 2017

Happy September, happy back to real life! I hope everyone settles in to the fall with ease and peace despite the craze and chaos it tends to bring. I know that I am trying to take one day at a time; better yet, hour to hour. I am not sure how summer disappeared as fast as it did, but I’m happy we created fond and wonderful memories that will forever be in our hearts! That said, here is what I am currently loving!

 

1. Slides. Yes, I know, shower slides from the 1990s are finally back in. I have been a fan of them the past two summers and have worn them non-stop. I love that they are easy, and go with everything. Although not practical for urban daily city life, I plan on wearing them once again NEXT summer, too. Thank god they are finally in fashion — last year I got a lot of weird looks.

 

Shower slides.

Shower slides. With no shower.

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Currently Loving October 2016

Can’t believe it’s the beginning of October! Here is what I am currently loving.

 

1.  Starboy by The Weekend and Daft Punk

 

I can't help my tween music taste, but really, The Weekend and Daft Punk together is the best duo ever. Kinda like if Coldplay were to jam out with Justin Bieber, I might die out of happiness. This song is everything. And helps me move.

I can’t help my tween music taste, but really, The Weekend and Daft Punk together is the best duo ever. Kinda like if Coldplay were to jam out with Justin Bieber. This song is everything. And helps me move.

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September 2016 Work Out Playlist

One of Ken’s pet peeves is listening to me LISTEN to music to add to my playlists. Yes, it is a lot of stops and starts, but I need to in order to find good workout music! Since I am yet again running the NYC marathon and doing lots of long training runs, I am fired up for my newest running playlist.  Sorry, Babers! And yes, a reminder on why I run.

 

Hiking this summer. Yes, hiking is not running, and there is no ipod or music involved in hiking, but it is the closest photo I have of running.

Hiking this summer. Yes, hiking is not running, and there is no ipod or music involved in hiking, but it is the closest thing I have to a recent running photo

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More Than Me – Katie Meyler / Natori

This past week, the Natori team had the pleasure of hosting an event for More Than Me, an incredible organization founded by Katie Meyler whose mission is to provide education for young girls in Liberia. Guests gathered together at the Josie Natori Boutique for live music (provided by Ken and fiddler Heather Cole), drinks, and shopping, with a portion of sales donated to the More Than Me organization.

 

IMG_5102

Ken and Katie have been friends for awhile and it was really moving to see them team up for a greater cause.

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Fiddler Feature: Heather Cole

Readers know that for his 40th Birthday party, Ken put on a concert at Red Rooster with his guitar teacher on bass and a bunch of other musicians that he cobbled together through friends, Facebook, and random interactions.  Heather Cole was the fiddler, and she was great- Ken checked her out when she was busking in Grand Central. I love listening to street musicians, but I’ve always wondered what the experience is like on the other side.  The perfect opportunity for a Josie Girl interview!

 

Meet Heather Cole!

Meet Heather Cole!  Pictures from Ken’s 40th.

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