Archives for November 2011

Decisions, decisions: Christmas Tree Alternatives

WARNING: If you are going to read this, you better be ready to suggest which one of these wonderful alternatives I should bring to life!

Sam and I have decided not to have a Christmas tree this year.

A: the plastic ones are bad for the environment, and take up too much room when you store them.

B: I don’t want to spend hours picking out tree needles out of my wooden floors.

Now guess which reason was mine and which one was Sam’s! Now no tree doesn’t mean no Christmas, it simply means more space and less fuss. Plus Jesus wasn’t born under a Christmas tree, but a Christmas star instead. This is where my religious side is kicking in, so before I say something that will require an “Amen” as a reply, let’s check out our alternatives:

1. Wall Tree

Not necessarily a flower, but a definite space saver!

 Plus this tree is really easy to personalize! Definitely an option!

2. The Cardboard Tree

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and make a Christmas tree out of some old box!

 Too bad this option only has 4 sides to offer!

3. It doesn’t look like a tree unless you take a closer look Christmas tree

 Now you see it, now you don’t! Did the owner intentionally turned his shelves into a tree, or does he need some bookends for Christmas?

4. Anything that can be decorated and has a cone-ish shape kind of tree

Think tripods, think ladders, think wigwams!

  If we keep the list going, I’ll be willing to turn my IKEA drying rack into a tree! It has the perfect “branches” too!

5. Bouquet Christmas tree

I think this one is the number one favorite of them all, easy and simple! Plus I already have a vase!

6. Sewn Christmas Tree

These trees aren’t prickly at all 🙂

I remember actually sewing a tree back when I was in highschool. I stole an idea from one of the Russian designers who was on TV that day. Too bad I don’t have a picture of that masterpiece to share on here!

7. Crochet Christmas Tree

Sewing isn’t the only art form that I mastered, crochet Christmas trees should make a come back this season!

  8. Let’s pluck a pillow Christmas Tree

Thank you Martha Stewart for this fab idea!

9. For Beer lovers

I knew I should’ve bought beer in bottles!

10. Why get a Christmas Tree when you can be a Christmas Tree!

 Merry Upcoming Christmas Charlie Browns, love you all!



Breaking the Rules, Boiling Borsch(t)

I often get asked for my borsch(t) recipe, why? Maybe because I have a horrible habit of posting everything on Facebook. But maybe because it is good, and other people want to join in on the Eastern European goodness.

We are going to start with some water, chicken broth cube and chicken:


   While the chicken is boiling, let’s take care of the vegetables! Get your peeler and knife ready 🙂

 Onions and Carrots first, because they need to be fried!

 Fried in oil, of course!

  Then come the potatoes:

  The cabbage and the beets (the beets are also supposed to be grated, I just forgot to take a picture!)

   Now it’s time to take the chicken back out and cut it up ! Did you think I was going to leave it like that?

  It’s time to throw it all in! Beets usually cook the fastest, so put them in last!

 So that’s where they keep the color:

  You are also going to want to use some of these:

 But remember: Balsamic Vinegar goes in after borsch(t) has cooled off. Can’t put it into a boiling hot pot!


I know I will 🙂

And so will Sam!



“You Know You Want It”

This will probably be no news to my fashion blogger friends out there, but the famous Eric Daman had a book published back in 2009, called “You know You want it”. He is a costume designer for Gossip Girl, probably the most popular show on CW, maybe on TV in general.

I have randomly discovered his book during my last visit to the library, and I can tell you one thing – this is New York!

The way the book is written, the way the pictures and the drawings are done – that is so me! And probably you, if you are reading this blog!

From the foreword by Leighton Meester, to the word play in every chapter, and to the whole idea that most women are wearing wrong bra sizes their whole life (this book is a must read just for that reason alone!), this book is drenched in the spirit of NYC through and through. And if you love that city as much as I do, you will follow my advice and read this book.

Forget Lauren Conrad and her Style, or all the Harper’s Bazaar and Elle I’ve recommended before – this is a number one read if you are building your first stylish wardrobe. If you are on your way to putting together a closet full of outfits that reflect your personality and add an intriguing twist to it, take notes, underline, post-it on post-its!

My favorite quotes from the book:

“24K Carrot, Saucy Apple, Sexy Stringbean, Perfect Pear” – this is what the author calls the 4 most common body types! Doesn’t that make you love your type so much more?

“Odds are your signature piece won’t be something that you go and find so much as something that has found you” – so true, a lot of times your perfect necklace or scarf will be simply sitting at a store, or a flea market, or maybe even in your mom’s closet, until one day, when it’s time, you discover it, and it, in return, discovers you!

“Be cruel to be kind” – and he is referring to cleaning and organizing your closet here, enough said! (KAT! hint hint :P)

“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening” – and even though this one is not the original Eric quote, but a Chanel one, it’s always important to remind yourselves of that. Sometimes all it takes is just opening your eyes. My friend Kat, mentioned above, who is a hair stylist at the Rizzieri salon in NJ, goes to the ocean every chance she gets, I am pretty sure she doesn’t go tanning, but to draw the inspiration from it!

And for all of you out there dying to peek inside this amazing book, here are my fav pages!


      Have fun with the book!





What’s in a Backpack?

Growing up in Russia, I remember that there was one group of people in our city who could immediately be recognized by their backpacks. They all attended Calvary Chapel Vladimir, and wore either Jansports or EastPacks everywhere they went. A lot of times the backpacks were decorated with buttons that said something like – I love Jesus, or WWJD?, anyways, today, as my husband and I were getting ready to go grocery shopping, I pulled out my almost brand new Adidas backpack, that came from Marshall’s and felt like I was going to high school. See, I never wore a backpack when I was in college, so high school was the most recent memory I could dig out of my brain. Anyways, I started thinking about the designer and high end backpacks out there. From leather to see through plastic. What’s in a backpack?


 Coach Poppy Collection


 Marc by Marc Jacobs


 Vintage Versace

So if the first image that popped in your head when I said the word “backpack” was a picture of Dora the Explorer, think again! These celebs were spotted wearing them!


I’ve been trying to thrift a backpack that I could use as a substitute for a purse, but so far, have been failing. Someday 🙂

 What do you carry or would carry in your backpack if you have/had one?



Winter 2012 Trends and Inspirations

Trying to avoid the ugly Thanksgiving and Christmas sweaters, remembering the importance of eating healthy and working out, not to regret all the gravy and stuffing January,1, 2012. I decided to share some winter 2012 fashion inspirations! Hopefully these will inspire you to be more Glamorous, Gorgeous and Goddess-like!

Color Yellow:

And in reality all bold, bright colors are in again! And guess what? That yellow piece will be probably perfect for spring!


Remember my interview with Emily Sandberg? She is one of the most androgynous models out there. Want to be like her? You don’t have to steal your man’s jackets for that. A lot of designers are offering pieces specifically for women.

 But the most androgynous look comes from:

 Yes, Katherine Hepburn!

Mix, you don’t have to match:

The trend will last us through spring, so make sure you know how to mix ‘n’ match right!

Know your crafty side:

Another trend that’s lasting us through spring and most likely summer 2012 – crochet pieces.



Skirts, dresses, everything maxi! If you are body conscious, remember – it’s always better to leave your house wearing a maxi skirt, than a pair of PJ’s!


Think 40’s and 50’s:


Print it up:

I know some of you are afraid of prints, and solid colors is as far as you are willing to go. But I am begging you to get out of your comfort zone, try something fun on, and go join, but not the circus – a tribe instead!


Have a great weekend everyone!



Over, over, overrated

This is a top 5 list of the most overrated celebrities out there, including movie stars, reality stars and singers. They were individually handpicked by me, and will hopefully entertain you this Friday nigh.

5. Megan Fox. Even the Transformers can’t transform that!

4. Snooki. Before or after the POOF, who cares? This reality TV celebrity isn’t only associated with the duck phone and orange skin now, but with the entire State of NJ :/

 And think about it, this girl almost died of anorexia, was she worried her boobs shrunk one size?

3. Kim Kardashian. I am pretty sure that by now the entire state of Minnesota hates her. And the Midori ads are all down!

2. Taylor Swift. The perfume, the Covergirl ads, the whole Romeo and Juliet reenactment. She should hook up with Mr.Bieber, they would make a perfect couple.

Surprisingly enough, her POOF is sometimes bigger than Snooki’s! What’s up with that? I know that for a lot of you she is a real role model, some perfect person, you can’t get enough of. But one can’t keep up the “perfect” profile forever!

1. Kristen Stewart. I am pretty sure I am going to get slaughtered by you, for putting the Twilight’s main heroin on the list, and moreover making her a number 1. But how can you be a fan of this?

At the same time I have nothing against Dunkin, the best place ever, and they should open one in Minneapolis already! Target’s gingerbread house is just not enough!

Alright maybe this is an old one, but this? You gotta be kidding me! The girl can’t act!

The title for the above picture is – You found Kristen Stewart, now can you find her hair?

Anyways, I hope you didn’t take this too seriously, neither did I! The peanut butter chocolate chip cookies are all done, tomorrow we are going back into the FASHION ZONE!



Anna! Now spell it backwards!

Anna Kurnikova, a pro tennis player, gone the Biggest Loser trainer, now gone. In spite of all the negative opinions about her in the media, there was a very good article in the Women’s Health magazine, which also placed Kurnikova on it’s cover.

Flat abs or no flat abs, I will always like her. Is it the fact that she is Russian? Maybe. Or is it because of all her charity work, or tennis achievements, or great looks?

See my thought here is – you get a beautiful Russian tennis player on the BL, who also has a hot accent (we all know how everyone in the US falls for accents! Don’t even argue me on this one), is pulling the same numbers as Jillian, never had a weight problem, actually achieved something in life, went through a ton of difficulties, including injuries, and people get jealous. A lot of people are saying she was harsh. Well how else do you expect her to act around 300lb people? And weight loss is tough, even motivation to work out isn’t always there. I am under 120 lb, and I have to kick myself every week, to go run a few miles!

So to all of you haters out there calling Anna “nightmare” and “brash”, stick it up you know where, and go work out – it increases endorphins, that make you happy, you know!

And Anna will always be gorgeous, and one of my favorites! I mean who doesn’t want a hot Russian role model?




DIY Yarn Wrapped Christmas Wreath with Crochet Snowflakes

This is one of the easiest projects I’ve ever done. The only hard part are the snowflakes, but you don’t have to crochet them if you don’t want to! You can use Christmas ornaments instead.

Anyways, all you need for this project is a wreath base (I got mine for 50c at a thrift store), some yarn (mine was free off of Freecycle) and some ornaments – I used pinecones and hand made crochet snowflakes – I will include the snowflakes tutorial. And if any of you are wondering if I went and collected those pine cones myself – No, I didn’t, they also cost me 50c at that same notorious thrift store 😉

Start by picking yarn and the wreath base. This is going to be the most boring part of the whole process, because you are going to be wrappin’ and wrappin’ and wrappin’ 😉





I only did one layer of yarn, I’ve seen people who’ve done way more, I guess some people have way WAY more patience than me!

Now you can decorate! And that’s the best part! I added some pine cones:

 Then made these snowflakes:

Here are some crochet schemes, if you want to make your own! They are pretty much self-explanatory, don’t let the Russian confuse you!


 Once the snowflakes are ready, attach them to the wreath, add a ribbon to hang it, and ENJOY THE HOLIDAY SEASON!








Outfit Musings

As I lay there in bed awake at 3am, I found myself creating different possible outfits for the upcoming week. Holidays are coming up, so a girl needs to look her best, esp. when going out.

I will post my looks once I wear them, don’t want to spoil it for you all. But I found some similar outfits on line, so you can get an idea of what I am going to look like this winter!

Maxi Skirts and Sweaters:


Hats and scarves:

Happy Monday,


PS. Did I tell you I am in love with bacon now? Also tomorrow – a BeingZhenya special – Christmas wreath DIY, so don’t forget to check back tomorrow!


Winterizing your Hair

This is going to be a post about different hair treatments, some of which I’ve tried, some of which I haven’t. But as long as you are a hair freak like me, meaning you love your hair and taking care of it – this post is for you!

My number one favorite product is the Coconut oil. It comes in many different sizes and forms (brands and amounts), and serves it’s purpose really well. It’s also very versatile, I’ve heard people put it on popcorn, and fry with it, but I wouldn’t go to such extremes, I usually put it on the ends and keep it in for at least 30 minutes, then I was it off. The danger of coconut oil is – if applied to your roots in lavish amounts, it’ll take forever to wash out. So be careful and don’t over-coconut yourself!

My second favorite is the Henna-Placenta treatment, that’s been on sale at Walgreens for 99c all last week. So I went and got 3 packets, one of which I’ve almost used up. The trick with this treatment is to make it last. One packet is good for 3 treatments (at least that’s how it works for me, and I have medium length fine hair). But you are going to need a shower cap for this treatment. Make sure you save yourself some money – go buy a 15 pack of shower caps at the Dollar Store. Whoever decided to charge $3 for a shower cap was a cruel, cruel person!

I love this treatment here – it’s a deep conditioning mask that I brought from Russia, smells like a pear, works like a charm. Why is there an ostrich on the jar? Well it contains emu oil. I know this can’t be found in the US, but if you are ever in Russia go buy it, come back to me and I will tell you how to use it!

Moroccan oil is another thing that’s been extremely popular lately. My friend Lena tried this oil treatment and said that it was perfect, didn’t make hair greasy or anything. And it’s a leave-in treatment too! Gotta love those. BTW this line is on sale at Walgreens this week! It’s a buy one get one free! So I highly recommend making a trip to your local Walgreens, but check out the Weekly Ad first, to make sure that you have the same deal in your city, like we do in Minneapolis. Don’t want to send you to a Walgreens for nothing!

Back in the day when I was living in NJ and my hair was a hell of a lot different colors, I was desperate to try anything, even hair mayonnaise. And even though this treatment wasn’t for my type of hair, it still worked pretty well! I did get weird looks from the cashier when buying it though! Oh well, what wouldn’t you do for your own hair?


Now moving on to the treatments that I didn’t like. L’Oreal Ever Sleek was so sleek, my hair got stuck together and looked greasy 30 minutes after the shower. I can’t speak for the shampoos and conditioners, but the leave-in didn’t work for my fine hair at all. So I kissed that one Good-bye! Good thing it was only a sample.

    Another not so great treatment is the Garnier mask for color-treated hair. It’s only benefit – is the good smell! That’s all.





Now, we all know Organic is supposed to work wonders! WRONG! This Burt’s Bees treatment was the worst one I’ve ever tried. Again, the smell was the only appealing feature. But if I used everything that smelled good, I don’t know who I’d be!



And now the products that fall into the “MEH” category:

Some other helpful tips, other than deep-conditioning, would be:

– cut back on the blowdryer, straightener and curling iron,

– wear hats/scarves or both 😉

– don’t go outside with wet hair (my husband is guilty of that!)

– it’s also important to eat healthy and drink a lot of water, but you already knew that, right?

Happy Thanksgiving week! I am too excited for the upcoming Christmas, and the holiday season in general, hope you are too!