Archives for July 2011

Thrifting for Treasure: Vintage Coach Bag

Ever since I moved to Minneapolis, I’ve been dying to check out the local thrift stores! Of course I googled the nearest ones to Loring Park. And ended up with quiet a few results. The first store I decided to check out is called Steeple People Surplus Store, which is located on the corner of W Franklin and S Lyndale Ave. Turns out it is an outreach project of Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church (HAUMC). The store opened its doors in 1979. Which makes the store vintage on it’s own 🙂

The store immediately reminded me of Housing Works in NYC. The atmosphere, the items for sale, it’s all so warm and welcoming. I was going to the thrift store because I needed a new cross body bag. Marshalls didn’t have anything that I liked, and Macy’s was too expensive. I was 100% confident I would find something at SPSS. And I did! A vintage COACH bag, for $10! How cool is that? I didn’t even know it was coach, until I looked inside. The outside of the bag is pretty worn off, but that adds to the vintage feel. And it matched my Urban Outfitters Dress perfectly, so I had to have it.

Please don’t mind my facial expressions or my McDonald’s T-shirt 🙂

I also got this cool macrame hand-made clutch. I showed it to my mom on Skype today, and she knew it was macrame right away! She’s got the eye of the professional indeed!

What thrifted treasures did you find this week?

Have a great weekend and Happy Thrifting 🙂


My Ratatouille Experience

I’ve wanted to make ratatouille for a while, and for some reason I thought it was going to be a heavy meal loaded with calories. Oh how wrong I was. I followed the recipe which states that there are only 273 cal per serving. (check it out here) Now let me tell you, even though there was a Farmer’s Market on Nicolette Mall today, I failed to find egg plant anywhere! Mushrooms were also crossed off the list, since Sam doesn’t like them, and I am not a fan of parsley. Honestly, what I ended up with was pretty far off from the original recipe, but I am pretty happy with it, and it tastes good!

My cousin also asked me to take pictures, and since my camera broke the night before I left for the States, I am using the camera on my phone! Better than nothing, right?

1. Sauteing garlic (love the smell! give this post a 5 star if you like the smell of garlic!)


2. Slicing and laying out the zucchini

3. Onions on top! They did make me cry!

4. That green pepper only cost me 25 cents 🙂

5. Tomatoes are my absolute favorites!

6. Off into the oven it goes!

7. Done and DONE!

Love you all,


PS. There is parmesan in between every layer, just so you know!

PPS. I have this wonderfully amazing post coming up on my wedding rings! (Yes, wedding rings, I got two!) When? Next Wednesday! So stay tuned, that skinny size 4 1/2 finger of mine is getting pampered!



It’s the small things in life…

This morning while walking with Sam to work in the rain we were trying to find an entrance to the skywalk which is closer to our house, and taking a turn on w 14th street, we passed by this:

And if you read Russian, you will understand why I got so excited. So this afternoon, after I came back from the Mall of America, I decided to check the Russian pharmacy out!

And I can’t explain how happy I was to discover that they don’t only carry meds, but Russian chocolate, canned fish (shproty and seledka), a lot of herbs that I use for making tea, essential oils, tar soap(!), Russian toothpaste and shampoos

Of course everything is ridiculously overpriced 🙂 But at least the owner is nice and speaks English, which is perfect for Sam, because the store in St. Louis park is not very English-speakers friendly!

The other highlight of my day was going to the Mall of America with Kara, and even though schmucks from the Apple store didn’t want to give me a new charger for my Mac for free (I have one word for you and it’s not blog appropriate!), so much for getting Apple Care, we were able to get her a stunning bridesmaids dress from Macy’s!

What made your day today?

Our Wedding Website

I am so excited about this, now that the wedding is only 19 days away! You all are more than welcome to check out our wedding website. I have added more info and some fun facts about us! The link is here

I really recommend that all engaged couples get a free web-site like this, it’s an easy and fun way to tell people about yourselves, and your wedding! I can personally say that I enjoyed putting this together for Sam and I. And let me let you in on a little secret: I love registering for gifts 🙂

Have a great day everyone! Sending you lots of love 🙂

So Take Me Down To The River…

I just wanted to share a bit of Minneapolis with you! I hope you all fall in love with this city as much as I did 🙂

Here is a little bit of Grace Potter for you to enjoy!

Love and Lace Flowers,




Suspended for Suspenders

I have finally watched Wall Street today, something that I’ve promised Sam a long long time ago. I never thought a girl like me would be interested in such a movie. Who wants to see Charlie Sheen on the screen these days anyways? I don’t find him handsome, not then, and especially not now. Is he a good actor? Maybe. That is not up to me to judge though.



I was excited to watch this movie for two reasons:

1. Views of NYC circa 1985-87

2. 80’s fashion

New York City views never get old, and having lived there for a year, I am definitely in love with it.

Now when it comes to fashion there are so many things that stand out. Of course, the suspenders! I absolutely love them! Don’t you?

Sam has already asked me to get him some 🙂 Moreover, we went to Men’s Warehouse today and the associate who helped us, rocked a pair of suspenders pretty well. I even complimented him on it!

Then there is Daryl Hannah, an actress who played Darien Taylor. And she rocks pretty much anything, from a wet-suit to the most ridiculous veil/hat ever! You can even forgive her for being in an on-screen relationship with Charlie Sheen, which also happened 20 years ago, so she didn’t know any better! Of course her taste in art and house decor will now seem outdated, but some outfits should be paid attention to!

The white dress she is wearing in the last photo is to die for!

Hope you all had a nice weekend! I can’t wait to see what the upcoming week brings! Hopefully it brings hangers, so that I can finish unpacking!



The dress, Amy Winehouse and 24 oz of Parmesan

I have finally gotten around to checking out my dress. I was kind of concerned whether it would fit, or look exactly like on the website. But White House Black Market has exceeded all of my expectations! I am so so grateful! I would’ve posted pictures, but I don’t want Sam to see it! And he doesn’t want to see it until the wedding day either. So now it’s hanging at his parent’s house, in what used to be Sam’s old room, ironic isn’t it?

This morning I also heard the news about Amy Winehouse, I blogged about her a couple months ago in my post about “Good role model, bad role model…” You can re-read it here, if you’d like

I didn’t want to believe it at first, thought that maybe the newspapers website was hacked, just like last week. But no, and I heard DJs talking about how she died at 27 along with Kurt Cobain and someone else, I can’t remember who. So what’s up with that age? Is there anything special about number 27? Here is what I found on-line posted by Chris More (

  • Amy Winehouse, died on July 23rd, 2011 at age 27.
  • J.D. Salinger died on January 27, 2010. He wrote The Catcher in the Rye, which has 26 chapters and it is believed this missing chapter was number 27.
  • Joseph Merrick aka “The Elephant Man”. He died strangely of suffocation at the age of 27. born: august 5, 1862 died: April 11, 1890
  • The First Blood Shed for the Revolution – The first casualty associated with the start of the American Revolutionary War was a man named Crispus Attucks, who died alongside several associates during the infamous “Boston Massacre.” Attucks was 27 years old and a natural born leader, according to his friends. He was also an escaped slave.
  • Kurt Cobain – April 5, 1994 – 27 – heroin OD/shotgun to the head
  • Masaccio – June, 1428 – 27 – poisoned?
  • Jimi Hendrix – September 18, 1970 – 27 – vomit inhalation from drugs
  • Janice Joplin – October of 1970 – 27 – drug overdose
  • Jim Morrison – July 3, 1971 – 27 – heart failure
  • Brian Jones – 3rd of July, 1969 – 27 – drowning
  • Thuy Trang – September 3rd 2001 – 27 – car crash
  • Jeremy Ward – May 25, 2003 – 27 – Drug Overdose
  • Keiko – December 12, 2003 – 27 – pneumonia
  • Jean-Michel Basquiat – 08/12/1988 – 27 – drug overdose
  • Ron “Pigpen” McKernan – 03/08/1973 – 27 – liver failure
  • Kristen Pfaff – 06/16/1994 – 27 – drug overdose
  • Freaky Tah/Raymon Rogers – 03/28/1999 – 27 – murder
  • Robert Johnson – August 16, 1938 – 27 – poisoned
  • Highest Death Toll From An Airplane Disaster – The worst ever air disaster took place on March 27, 1977, when two Boeing 747s, operated by Pan-Am and KLM, collided on the runway at Tenerife, Canary Islands, killing 583 people
  • 11/20/2003 – Istanbul explosions kill 27 and target British Consulate and HSBC Bank – These are the worst two attacks of their kind in the history of Turkey.
  • Teen idol Jonathan Brandis dies at 27 from an attempted suicide the day before.
  • Bob Hope died on July 27th at the age of 100
  • Ada Byron, Lady Lovelace, known as the world’s first computer programmer lived from December 10, 1815 – November 27, 1852.
  • Al Wilson of Canned Heat died at 27 from Suicide
  • Wallace Yohn from Chase died in an Airplane Crash at the age of 27
There is more about the mystery behind number 27 here 
And last, but not least, we got to go to Costco, thanks to my future mother in law who agreed to take us! They have a pretty sweet deal on flowers, so that’s where my wedding flowers will be coming from (rather inexpensive, so if you are trying to save money, that’s one of the great ways to do so, I found it in one of my books!). Needless to say, we also got a whole bunch of food, which will last us a while, so I am all excited about that! I feel like it’s been an extremely productive day, and I am even more excited for tomorrow.


The Zhenya, or There and Not Back

I know this is going to seem weird, that I blogged about my first day in America before blogging about my trip here. But sometimes I just like doing things backwards. And it’s probably the jetleg kicking in as well!

My mom and I left Vladimir at about 3 am on Wednesday morning, the cab driver was super fast, we got to Sheremetyevo in under 3 hours! There were a couple times when I really questioned our driver, and whether he had cut out his license out of a cereal box or not! Once at Sheremetyevo I checked my bags, and after spending a little bit more time with my mom, I went to the passports control. It didn’t take a lot of time, and I soon found myself catching up on the latest episode of Chelsea Lately.

That’s when I saw one of the Russian TV hosts, Vladimir Pozner. He’s been on TV well for forever! I remember watching him when I was about 6 or 7, because the cartoons were on, right after his talk-show. He was very nicely dressed and so tan! I was going to go get his autograph, but Chelsea Lately was more important, and I couldn’t find him afterwards, talk about missed opportunities here.

Terminal D was a very pleasant surprise, nice and clean, free wireless, a cafe called “Mama Russia”. I was hanging out by one of the outlets, watching the Kardashians and Jerseylicious and charging my Mac at the same time, which was further away from the gate. When I finally came up to the gate I saw that they have put the blue tape all around it and before you could get on the plane they checked your documents again.

And this is when the fun began. So apparently I was chosen by a computer for an additional search. I mean the girl looked through everything. Made me turn on all of my electronics. Had me take sips of my water. I also had a deodorant in my suitcase, I asked her if she wanted me to apply it. Then I said that it was okay for her to be searching my stuff, she was only doing her job, and that was probably the one way for her to make money. She also asked me if I was going for work. I said I was immigrating, getting married and all. After the search was over she wished me “happiness in marriage” and off I went, waiting in the gate area with other passengers. Other than me they also searched one other girl. I guess the computer was determined to only have the airport employees to search 2 people on the flight that day!

The good thing was – I got two seats to myself, which meant 2 blankets, 2 pillows, but no 2 meals, which weren’t good anyways. Sorry Aeroflot, food sucked!

Once I got States side, everything was a breeze, especially after I DIDN’T forget to pull out my New York State driver’s license.

Coming to Minneapolis, I also got 2 seats to myself! And arriving here was like coming home! I finally got to see the apartment that Sam wouldn’t show me on Skype, keeping it a surprise. I love every square inch of it! Already thinking about decorating it, but don’t want to buy everything just yet, with the wedding coming up I know I will be able to register for a lot of things.

Tomorrow I get to see my dress! I’ve never been more excited. Also, Sam and I have started premarital counseling!

First Day in America, 4th Time Around!

You know how it’s always important that everything gets a good start? I think I got a pretty good one today. It was my first day in America today, well first day on this trip, and it’s the 4th one and hopefully the last one. After yesterdays events I don’t know when I am going to have enough courage to get on an international flight again. The only downside is jet-leg, I woke up at 4.30 am, and now it’s 8 pm and I am sleepwalking. I am also making dinner. I guess I can be pretty proud of myself for combining the two! Who would’ve thought!

I was finally able to dig into my YouTube giveaway! Loving all the bags and necklaces! I remember blogging about it a while back. But if you’ve missed that post or forgot, that was when I won a Ted Baker purse and some other stuff!

I was also able to go through the clothes that I left with Sam last fall! Trust me, those feel like brand new clothes now! You know the trick that works with the kids when you take away their toy and hide it, and then give it back to them a couple months later and they play with it like it’s new? Yeah, I totally fell for that!

There were many other great things today. Our neighborhood is amazing! I wish you all could come and visit! It’s so green, and there are flowers everywhere. I also forgot about the bunnies. There were no bunnies roaming the streets of NYC, so I forgot all about them! I love watching the animals here, even if it’s just squirrels!

Some other things that I did today included:

– walking Sam to work

– teaching my ESL lessons

– unpacking and organizing the walk-in closet/storage room

– talking to my mom and cousin

– shopping at the farmer’s marker

– shopping at Marshalls

– shopping at Target

– going out for a drink

– writing an even bigger shopping list/to-do list for the weekend

I am so so excited tomorrow is FRIDAY!

I am also planning on writing about my trip here, all the fun and not so fun stuff. And now Sam and I are off to eating some delicious chicken that I made!





PS. My camera broke, so for future shots I am going to have to use my phone, the quality isn’t great, but at least I’ll be able to show where I live 🙂


Dear Russia…

I am leaving Russia to move to Minnesota today. So I wrote a good-bye note to my country!

Dear Russia,

You are beautiful! I really thank you for teaching me how to appreciate your style. I will never forget the lady asking for 9 ruble ice-cream at a small store on a hot summer day. The gray December clouds heavy with snow will always be imprinted into my memory. The slushy, muddy, garbage filled spring streets will be something I am going to tell my friends about. 

You’ve been nice to me, Russia. I was able to get free education and health care. I made a lot of friends here. Ironically almost half of them were American, but friends are friends and it’s better to have a hundred friends than a hundred rubles, right?

You are a work in progress. Just like all the rest of us. I think Subways and Dunkin Dounuts are a great improvement! I really enjoy my turkey sandwiches you know!

I’ve tried to leave you many times before, but kept coming back. Now I am leaving for good. So I want to wish you something, Russia!

I want to wish you confidence. You need to learn to love yourself, and the people who live here will learn to love themselves and love you too! 

You need to learn to be more open, don’t try to act like you are better than others, you are not. We all have our good sides, and our bad sides. 

Please learn to trust. No strong relationship can be build without trust.

Learn to forgive and forget. That is one of the best life’s lessons we all know about, and even though we’ve heard it a million times, just like you did, it’s still hard not to follow the old “an eye for an eye”.

Don’t forget God. There is nothing out there, more important than Our Heavenly Father. He will guide you in all your ways.

One day I will return, and I beg you, please don’t disappoint me, Russia. And please, let me return! Even if it’s for a short while!



PS. The pictures that I have attached in this post were taken by a good friend of mine Artyom Kosogorov! They were taken in Russia!