Archives for August 2011

Once Upon a Time…

So we all know the story of “Little Red Riding Hood” (in Russia she is known as “Little Red Hat”). A couple days ago Sarah Jessica Parker, dressed as Little Red Riding Hood appeared on a red carpet in Moscow, she even wore a cape!

The shoes were a KILLER!

I mean what other better color to wear in Moscow, Russia, but RED? Did she wear her RED cape in RED square? I am sure she did a good job promoting her new movie – I Don’t Know How She Does It – in a country which has seen more RED in 70 years than the whole world in centuries.

No one said it was too late to dress up at 46! I can now proudly say that I wore a LRRH during a Halloween party on ’08! And no one wrote about me anywhere in the papers:

But back to Parker though! She did have several changes of a dress. And you can see the Kremlin in the background 🙂 All of you Russia lovers should thank me for pointing that out!


So which one of her outfits do you like the most?



PS. As lame as I am going to sound, I absolutely love SJP and am now going to read the Vogue issue with her on the cover!

PPS. I do kinda wish I was in Russia to see SJP at the premiere, but at the same time I lived in Manhattan for a year, and never saw her 🙂


Today’s DIY: White Bridal Fabric Necklace

Fabric Necklaces are in, so why not wear one on your BIG day? I have created a necklace that you can wear in the summertime or at a summer wedding. It’s asymmetry and the many different ways how you can wear it and add on to it make it even more appealing.

PS. It’s all handmade too 🙂

1. Find fabric or lace or tulle that you are going to use for the main part of your necklace – which means you are going to add on to it, sew things on, braid it, knot it, etc – wherever your imagination takes you.

2. Choose the pieces that you are going to add on to the necklace:

3. Add on as many or as few decorating items as you want

I added a ruffled ribbon with lace and some pearly beads as the main centerpiece.

And this is how it looks on a person (aka me – couldn’t make Sam wear it 😉 )

Happy DIYing everyone, and sorry for the picture quality 🙂

Love you all,




PS. Here is a cute cat picture for you!


Thrifting for Treasure 3 – Home Edition

Hey everyone and happy Monday! Here on Being Zhenya I enjoy every day of the week! Why? Because every day has something amazing and new to bring, plus every day includes amazing finds and discoveries. Today I found 10% sulfur at our local CVS – there is definitely a good side to living very close to a hispanic neighborhood. I will tell you more about it in one of my upcoming blog posts. Today’s is all about thrifting (AGAIN 🙂 )

When thrifting for treasure, you mustn’t forget that treasure can also be something you can use to decorate your home, not just clothes and purses. So I wanted to quickly show you some things that I have thrifted over the past month and that I use to decorate our apartment.

My latest find are these 4 paintings, which I got for 2 dollars at the Salvation Army – they would’ve cost me 4 dollars, but it was a blue tag sale day, so I got 50% off.

Whoever donated those – THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart! I also apologize for the quality of these pictures, but Sam and I have been talking, and we are going to try and get a new camera around Christmas – since I also have some ideas on what kind of photography related posts I want to do around Minneapolis! Shhhhhh! It’s a secret.

The next pieces all came from SPSS (Steeple People on S.Lyndale)

These are embroidered potted plants. Since I hate real potted plants, I went for the embroidered version. The one on the left is Cyclamen and the one on the right is Azalea. And I don’t ever need to water these! How awesome is that!

Do you remember the Tea Pot Song, the one that was short and stout? Well my $1 Salvation Army tea pot is quiet elegant:

And last but not least, my coffee tin – I wish coffee came in such tins now. Can’t even put this next to a modern day plastic coffee jar/tin/whateverintheworlditis.

I know these are not major purchases, but they serve their decorating purposes well! Also, Sam won’t let me get a coffee table! So please leave comments under this post, and let me know if you want me to have a coffee table or not!

Love you all,

Homemade Face Toner

Yay, I am back with a new DIY. And today’s DIY is a beauty/health project. Don’t you love those? I do! I am always looking for some homemade recipes to try out, and the best thing is – you already have most of the ingredients!

Today I am going to share a recipe of a homemade rosewater, glycerin, witch hazel and rosemary toner. Here’s what you’ll need:

– a bottle (made out of dark glass, or any bottle that doesn’t let the sun rays through, or just keep this toner in a dark place 🙂 )

– a measuring cup! (love my PYREX one!)

– 1/2 cup Witch hazel

– 1 cup Rose Water with Glycerin (if you only have rose water, you will need 2 tbsp of glycerin)

– 10 drops of rosemary oil (The benefits of rosemary oil are: Rosemary oil has anti-fungal and antibacterial properties. When applied on the skin, it rejuvenates the skin condition by improving blood circulation and fortifying the blood capillaries present in the skin. It can fight inflammation and skin irritations and is useful in treating acne, dermatitis, eczema and other skin diseases. Regular massaging with rosemary oil can make your skin smooth and glowing).

I chose rosemary oil for two main reasons:

1. That is the only essential oil that I currently have 🙂

2. I firmly believe that it helps with acne!

Now here is what you do!

Step 1: Prepare your bottle (mine came from Marshall’s and it actually came with water 🙂 ) – make sure it’s clean and the lid goes on well.

Step 2: Measure 1 cup of Rose water and pour into the bottle:

Step 3: Measure 1/2 cup Witch hazel and pour into the bottle:

Step 3: Now add the rosemary oil (or any other essential oil of your choice – as long as it benefits your skin!)

And you are done! Enjoy your amazing home made face toner. And let me know how it works on your skin!

Feeling Fat

This is one of the reasons why I don’t like Saturdays, there is nothing to do. I have ESL lessons even on Sundays, and it kinda brightens up my day, and creates a bit more of a schedule.

This morning Sam and I watched Pirates of Silicone Valley:

and I was pleasantly surprised by that movie. I was also pleasantly surprised with myself with not falling asleep on it. Maybe it was the early morning, or the fact that I woke up at 6.20 am telling Sam that we forgot to set the alarm and that I don’t want him to be late for work. That’s when he told me: It’s Saturday, babe…




At around 11am we went for a walk around      the North Loop Neighborhood (aka Warehouse District) of Minneapolis. I promised to show Sam all the fun looking lofts.


On the way back I was starving, literally starving. And when I am starving, I get super cranky and start complaining. I think I am worse than a hungry man! I eventually made it home, and this is where hell broke loose.

I ate a chicken sandwich, 2 tomatoes, a granola bar and some trail mix. Not counting the multiple glasses of lemonade.

Later I decided to make a cake, Sam’s been asking me for one, and I was dying to try some of the new pans we’ve got as wedding gifts.

After a long consideration we decided to make carrot cake.

I made too much batter, and it all started overflowing in the oven, then the frosting wouldn’t turn out, and finally, the smell of butter made me so sick, I couldn’t stay in the apartment any longer. So I went outside for a walk, and someone was having their wedding reception in Loring Park, and it looked like so much fun…

I know today is just not my day, and most of you will probably tell me to go and shut my 117 lb mouth up, but I am feeling extremely fat and ugly today. So I am gonna go work out, and then finish my book. Thank God there is still some motivation left around!


Looking for…

I remember back when I was in High School, one of the older girls at church had a sweatshirt which said – Looking for you… It was some cheesy looking piece of clothing, which she got at a thrift store, and when I asked her about the print, she just said: “Too bad it doesn’t say – Looking for you Jesus”.

From all the Jesus’ talk that I remember, he is pretty easy to find. Please don’t get me wrong, I am not making fun of Christianity or God, I just know that finding Jesus is relatively easy, it’s knowing Jesus that becomes hard. But I am not going to preach to you today.

When you come to think of it, we are always looking for something in our lives:

– a job,

– a good deal,

– someone to spend the rest of the life with,

– someone to spend the night with (people are all different, you know 😉 ),

– the perfect outfit,

– a way out (of anything),

– a way in

– a good book to read,

The list can go on and on.

My list is probably going to be different from yours, but there will be only slight differences. So come to think of it – we are all out here, looking for same stuff, and what if the “bank” of “stuff that needs to be found” runs out? What do you do then? Thank God there is!

But in all seriousness of the matter, what are some things that you are looking for today?




PS. Remember, there are some guys out there who still haven’t found what they were looking for 😉

Becoming more Feminine

I know I am already feminine, I wear dresses and heels, and put on make-up every day, but today while I was at SPSS on South Lyndale Ave, I decided that I need more girlyness in my life.

So how do I do that?

1. First of all – I am not going to wear T-shirts anymore, the kind that looks like this:

I actually wore the exact same shirt today, lol! These shirts are only going to be left in my closet for one reason – to work out! Even when you go to sleep – wear some sexy pajamas.

2. No baggy, loose pants or boyfriend jeans.

I have a pair of loose Ralf Lauren shorts size 4 which I freecycled back in NYC, and my husband hates them. Today he told me that my butt looks big in them 🙂 That’s his way of telling me to get rid of those shorts.

Mine are the same style, but navy blue. My advice is to simply wear pants that fit! Also a tip – Boyfriend jeans look good on girls with flat butts (seriously) – if you have curves – don’t be afraid to show them!

3. Accessorize!

Scarves, necklaces, earrings, and bracelets are going to be your best friend. And remember Coco Chanel’s famous quote – “take one thing off before leaving the house”!

4. Say good bye to ugly shoes (flip-flops from Old Navy or other cheap stores – leave those for the beach). FYI – UGGS are ugly too, in fact I think UGG is a derivative from UGLY. Besides they don’t support the arch of your foot, and that’s not good!

5. Make-up is your best friend, and the older you get, the more helpful it becomes:)

Also check out these YouTube gurus, especially their make-up tutorials, pay attention to the before and then after 🙂 

6. Make sure you take time to groom yourself – hair, skin and body need to be in top shape! I do know some girly girls who let themselves go, and then they become fat and ugly, and all the cuteness is gone. I am sorry, but it’s true. So invest some money into regular hair cuts, skin care products and good tennis shoes.

And remember – investing money into beauty procedures isn’t just the celebrities’ prerogative – you can do it too, and you can do it on a budget! There are plenty of beauty recipes on a budget!

I hope you all have a fabulous night, tomorrow I am going to blog about staying fit without going to the gym – and some foods that keep me skinny!

Russian Dolls

In Russia every woman is a doll.

Zhenya H

Have you seen that show? It’s on Lifetime! I first heard about it a bout a year and a half ago. One of my friends told me they had castings for a Russian version of Jersey Shore. That was when she told me to get on that show too. Now who is the crazy one?

My husband and I have watched the first episode together, once the second one came around, he couldn’t take it anymore, it gave him a headache. So now I am on my own!

2 episodes later I can definitely tell you that Russian Dolls are nothing like Jersey Shore, we, ladies and gentlemen, have been hit with another Real Housewives, it’s just they have a Russian accent.

The scene where one of the older women goes shopping for jewelry, after her husband just gave her $25,000 and she asks him – What can you buy nowadays for $25,000? is just like when one of the housewives (Teresa Giudice) goes jewelry shopping in Atlantic City. And, honey, back to your question about 25 quid – I have a lot of answers to that!

The one exciting thing about the show are the three young girls ( only because I can relate to them more, since we are closer in age)

Unfortunately that is the only thing that makes them relatable for me. At least one of them knows how to cook borscht!

One of my Russian friends told me earlier today that she has no desire to be associated with those women from the show. And the funny thing is – once you tell people you are Russian – they ask you one of the two questions (or sometimes both) – Are you a mail order bride? and Have you seen Russian Dolls?

I simply want to tell you, that not all Russian women are like the ones in the show. And not all Russian women are mail order brides either. We are not gold-diggers, or poorly educated blondes, who are looking for a sugar daddy. We just want a fresh start, and the possibilities, we would’ve never had in Russia. And if you see me in the street and start speaking Russian to me, I will probably reply back in Russian. I do say “Zdravstvyite” to the local jewish grandma’s after all.

So watch Russian Dolls, don’t watch it – it’s up to you, just remember – it’s TV and it’s all entertainment! So have FUN!



PS. And remember – this is what a real Russian Doll looks like 😉

Also, there are some pretty awesome Russian Doll necklaces available on the Internet and even at Target. I couldn’t find the exact picture of the one they sell there, but it looks something like this



My Wedding DIYs

This will probably be the last post about my wedding. And I am sure a lot of you will let out a sigh of relief, because “How much longer do we have to sit here and listen to you blabbering?”

Anyways, this is going to be a tip that I read in “Priceless Weddings Under $5,000”. And the tip is going to be about flowers!

I know every bride wants her wedding to be a place where flowers come to die. As sarcastic as I may sound now, this was a true fact about me as well. I wanted flowers, loads of them, and I knew I couldn’t afford to pay more than $200 dollars for them. So off to Costco I went. (If there is a Sam’s Club in your area that works too) Now, Sam and I don’t have membership, but his parents do, so we convinced his mom to take us a couple weeks before the wedding, so that we could buy some food and also scout for the flowers. In Minnesota Costco carries bunches of roses (24 count) for $16.99. Needless to say I got the woman’s phone number (because there is a separate person who is in charge of the flowers!) and called her a week before the wedding to place an order for 7 bunches of red roses. We came to pick them up on Saturday morning, and I also got a bunch of ivory ones.  So there we go 8 x 16.99 plus tax came around to about – $140! And there we go – I didn’t go over budget or anything. Now I made my own bouquet, and the center pieces. Here are some pics of what I managed to put together the night before the wedding:

Now for the center pieces:

I got the smaller bowl-like vases at my favorite Salvation Army (Yes, the one in Warehouse District) and they were all either 99 cents or 50 cents. The vase fillers came from Family Dollar – clear ones were 60 cents a bag and red ones were a dollar a bag – I got 2 bags of each. Ribbon cots 50 cents and came from Michael’s, I used 2 spools.

Now about the pearly while inserts I used in the girls’ bouquets. I made them all by myself. Here is what you need:

1. Beads – I used Crystazzi from Michael’s – there is a ton in the pack for only $3.99 and I knew I would use them for my future craft projects.

2. Then I used floral wire in silver – I think it was $1.99 from Michael’s

3. All you got to do is cut the wire into pieces (about 10-12 inches long – or depending on the hight of your bouquet), pull it through the bead and wrap it around a few times. Now the wire will either give you blisters, or you are gonna end up scratching yourself a few times. So I suggest either truing to be very careful, or making these a week before the wedding – so that your hands have time to heal! And you are done!

Now for the bouquets I also used floral tape (3 spools for $1.99 and wide ribbon – 2 spools – one red and one ivory – $2.99 and pins – the ones I am now reusing in my sewing projects 🙂 )

So here you have it – I have told you all about my DIYs for the wedding. I can honestly say that from all the wedding experience that I had, I can’t help but agree with my friend Bri – Always, I repeat ALWAYS, hire a good photographer!

Styling a Thrift find (which isn’t your size)

Imagine this – You walk into a thrift store, and maybe after only 5 minutes, or possible a very long 2 hours – you discover IT! The thrift find of your life (or more like a week – if you thrift shop every week like me). But it’s too big, or too long, or too wide. So what do you do? I mean it’s a find you can’t miss. Not for the whole world.

That’s what happened to me and the ivory 100% wool coat that I found at our local Sal Val for $3.99 I have to admit, I almost left it hanging there, since it’s a Large and I am a Small, sometimes an Extra-Small. So you see my dilemma, right? In the end I just couldn’t let it pass. So here is what I did:

I went through all my other clothes in my head (yes, that’s possible, especially after moving from Russia, and only being able to bring 2 suitcases. I do still have some clothes in New Jersey, but I won’t be getting those until September) and realized that I can totally pull this outfit off. Let me show you the ways:

1. Heel it and Wear a bulky sweater underneath

I know it’s hard to tell (and again I apologize for the camera phone shoot) but I am wearing 2.5 inch heels that are successfully sinking into the carpet. You don’t necessarily need to wear heels if you are tall, but I am 5’6” and this coat was dying for some heels. The other thing – bulky sweaters are your best friend, it does get cold in the winter, you know (especially if you live in Minne- SNOW-ta).

2. Belt it

I got lucky – my waist line matched the waist line of the coat, so viola – a brown belt and off I go!

3. Scarves are your best friend!

This coat was like a perfect canvas I could play and mess with, if you find a coat or a jacket of a dark color, then obviously go for a light scarf to create the contrast. Be creative and don’t be afraid to stand out. Remember – there will be only compliments!



PS. I would especially like to thank my husband for stepping up and taking all these pictures. Honey, you are the best!