$$$ It’s all about the money, or is it? $$$

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Today’s post is probably not going to be something you usually see on my blog! I am sure by now some of you have the impression that I am a girl who spends all of her paychecks thrifting! And I can see where this can come from! I’ve been posting a lot of hauls and outfits lately! Let’s be honest, I do sometimes get carried away at a thrift store, and I need to watch my budget, but most of the time it really is not that much compared to a grand scheme of things, or let’s say a recent study by InStyle magazine that says – An average woman spends about $15,000 on makeup during her lifetime, and that’s not including skincare!

Before Sam and I got married, I lived on the East Coast nannying for some families. I wasn’t making a lot of money, in fact I was barely making anything (I never thought of myself or my family as rich or poor, I knew I had enough, and I think that attitude helped me a lot in life) through the Cultural Care Au Pair program, but I had my ways! When I moved to New York, I learned about Freecycle.org, and almost all of my clothes, books and health care products came from there! I also went to monthly swap meet ups organized by GrowNYC, where I would bring all the stuff I didn’t want, and go home with something I liked. Sam had a hard time believing I had all that clothes, without spending as much as a couple bucks on the subway ride, but I had my savings account to speak for me!

I was an Au Pair for 2 years, making under $200 a week, this is the time when Sam and I were in a long distant relationship. So even though I didn’t get to see him that often, I spent a lot of money flying to Minnesota almost every other month! But by the time we got engaged I had saved up over $12,000. Then I went to Russia for 10 months, where I was able to work from home and add on to the savings.

Now that we are looking into buying our first house, having saved enough for a downpayment, I reflect on where I came from and can’t express how thankful I am for everything I’ve been given!

I was born in a small town 3 hours east of Moscow. My mother was a civil engineer, my dad was a college drop out. My grandfather was a retired military man, a former KGB agent as I discovered later in life, my grandmother was a pediatrician, and if you ask me, the biggest workaholic I’ve ever known! We never had much! When I was in 6th or 7th grade I wore the same pair of jeans, the same turtleneck and the same sweater my mother knitted for me to school every day! And I couldn’t care less, until one of my friends, who was a year older than me came up and asked why I was wearing the same clothes everyday. To this point I am still grateful for that comment! This is when thrifting and hand-made clothing came into my life! My mom went above and beyond herself knitting and sewing outfits for me! Going to fabric stores was exciting! Going to thrift stores was an adventure!

By the time I was in 9th grade I was getting constant compliments on my outfits from peers and even teachers, even though I had the same pair of jeans as one of the guys in class! But that’s when unisex was in, so I didn’t care! I also never said no to hand-me-downs, and even though I didn’t have older siblings, I had plenty of friends and knew enough Missionaries who always left clothes behind!

College came around, and I made sure I got good grades to get a monthly stipend through the University. Yes, I got paid to go to school! This is probably going to fall into the “Only in Russia…” category. This was also the time when more and more thrift stores popped up all over our town, and they often had great sales, that I couldn’t resist!

Thrifting is what helped me continually save up money for my trips to Europe and the States, and now that I live here, it’s becoming my meal ticket! Finding a great thrift store takes time, so today I am going to share some of my favorite locations here in the Twin Cities, and the best times to shop there!

Salvation Army in the Warehouse district900 N 4th St, Minneapolis, MN  – every day is a 50% off a certain color, so stop by often! Plus they offer 50% off clothing during most major holidays! I am not even going to mention the Target overstock located in the basement – you have to see it for yourselves!

Steeple People on Lyndale and Franklin – 2004 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis, MN – I blogged about it before, and I will do it again – they have great vintage selection, beautiful artwork and prints, great household section, etc., etc. The only downside is – they only take cash or check!

Goodwill in Hopkins1025 Hill St, Hopkins, MN – This was my go-to Goodwill when I used to babysit for a family in St.Louis Park! And I always referred to it as the Hopkins Goodwill, or Goodwill on Excelsior Blvd. Now why this particular Goodwill? – It’s cheaper, it has more vintage and authentic items, it’s been good to me! Generous if you want to put it this way! I can always find something that I like there! Now why am I not mentioning the Goodwill in Minnetonka, or Goodwill in Roseville, you may ask? The Minnetonka Goodwill will always be famous in my book for the Xanax pills I found in a pocket of one of the sweaters bought there! And Goodwill in Roseville is too good for me to be sharing it with you, but now I did, and now you know!

Savers – I am yet to find a Savers that I don’t like! Seriously, they need a Savers in every state and county! They never overprice vintage items, and the only pieces of clothing that can be pricey are the brand new ones, with original tags still attached. And don’t forget to sign up for a Super Savers Club Card, they will send you emails with special promotions and coupons!

So here you have it, the story of my life that revolves around thrifting! And I couldn’t be happier! After all, it’s not all about the money!

Happy Thursday everyone! And don’t forget to stop by tomorrow for a DIY friday fashion and style project and an important BeingZhenya announcement!

XO,

Z

PS. Please keep in mind that my husband and I don’t have any student loans to pay off, our monthly expenses are limited down to rent, groceries, gas and car payments, plus the occasional going out and thrifting shopping sprees!

In the next post on money related subject, we’ll talk about freebies and the best websites where you can get them!

 

Making fun of the 90’s, because 90’s were FUN

Presented below is a visual list of items that were popular in the 90’s, needless to say – I am glad they stayed in the 90’s! And if you grew up in Eastern Europe, you have to recognize some of these!

The hideous hair ties

I don’t even have the courage to call it a scrunchie, this is a hideous cut out of a clown’s wig, at least that’s what it seems like to me today, but back in the day these were extremely popular. Perfect for Gay Pride, don’t you think?

Titanic Leo was everywhere, and so was Kate

 on T-shirts and Buttons

 Leggings were also popular

 Plus there were fuzzy sweaters and plastic headbands

 There was a ton of other stuff, and no I am not nostalgic, I just like making fun of the 90s, because 90s were FUN!

   

How I’ve been Killed softly…

Now before you read todays post, I highly recommend that you watch the entire (40 min long) presentation/speech by Jean Kilbourne!

I have posted many times about the importance of staying fit, it’s the way I’ve been raised, and it’s the influence of oh so many episodes of The Biggest Loser that I’ve watched. I have also emphasized the importance of eating healthy, of bringing all sorts of vegetables and fruits into your diet, if you don’t believe me – ask my husband. I also have covered a subject as sensitive as violence against women, based on a story of a high school friend of mine. But after watching this I couldn’t help but wonder – Have I also been killed? And killed softly?

I am going to have to say yes to this, admit that I, too, have been influenced by the ads, commercials, the many many TV shows, movies and everything that comes in between.

Growing up in Russia you’d think I was only exposed to the images of healthy looking peasant women, popping babies left and right:

You’re so wrong, I grew up reading Cool Girl, OOOPS! and YES! (if I remember all these titles correctly), an Eastern European version of Teen Vogue and Seventeen:

When we got our first VCR all we had were work out tapes. My mother was extremely obsessed with her self-image, she worked out at the gym 3 times a week after work, I was in 8th grade then. Needless to say I got hooked onto the Cindy Crawford workout videos, as a matter of fact up to this day, her workouts remain some of my favorite ones. Thanks to those workouts I always ran track in high school and college, nothing wrong with being athletic!

I was 16 when I got my first highlights. I was never happy with my hair color, I always thought it was dull and flat. How crazy is it to realize that this was 9 years ago! I haven’t dyed my hair since 2009 and I couldn’t be happier. But yet again, I am thinking of getting high lights this spring (Blake Lively obsession, unhealthy, right?)

Now I have always been anti Botox, Implants and all the other body “alterations”. I remember watching an episode from one of the earlier seasons of Nip/Tuck where a surgeon put the implant in the wrong way, so he then had to take it out, and there is blood and silicone and mess everywhere. I am a B cup and always will be, so I am pretty happy with what I’ve got!

Moving on to the subject of violence – I think some women should stop dressing slutty. I remember the SLUT walk Sam and I came across once walking around Minneapolis. No won’t mean no when you are dressed like a hooker. Growing up at a church we were taught one golden rule that applied to clothes – Would you wear it if you were going to go hang out with Jesus? And by hanging out I don’t mean death or anything, just a usual stroll in the park with the Lord. I am pretty sure Jesus would’ve been proud of my fashion sense, I am 25 and finally know how to dress myself!

Now how did this documentary affected me personally? Well they say step 1 is acknowledgement, and then what? Am I going to stop dressing up, using make up, reading Vogue and trying to achieve the unachievable? NO! Call me stupid, call me anything you want, but when we are walking the streets of Minneapolis my husband is proud he is married to me, everyday he tells me how pretty and sexy I am, and that’s what matters the most. I am sure a lot of you are getting madder at me by the second, especially now that I brought my husband up, but you can tell this same thing to yourself! You don’t need a guy to approve of you! When I lived in Manhattan my hair was two different colors for crying out loud! Yes, I can always say I was trying to pull off the ombre look, but who will I be kidding?

Anyways, it’s everyone’s personal choice whether to be affected by it all, or not, and it all depends on the way you’ve been raised, and what values have been implanted into your brain, because trust me, I never leave the house, unless I think that Jesus would’ve been proud of my outfit 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

xoxo,

Z

Something Old

I thought I’d share some old fam pictures with you today. They are nothing special, just a few black and white shots I threw together. Hope you enjoy them!

1. Camping, Soviet Style!

2. Glamour, Soviet Style. The bottom picture was taken in Red Square!

3. My mom and uncle when they were little. Check out my grandma’s outfits!

4. My grandparents when they were young. I wish I could say they were my favorite people in the world. Alas!

5. Wedding, Soviet Style. Now these are not my parents, but I thought it would be fun to post some pics of a married couple somewhere out in the field!

6. These are some pics of my mom when she was younger. Please keep the comments that I look like her to yourself. I hate being told that! Thank you!

7. Fun, Soviet Style. Murder, She Wrote. Collective Farming. Mexican Style New Years Party. The pic on the bottom left is one of my mom and our cat. We had him for over 15 years. I think I was in 2nd grade when he died. The pic on the bottom left is of my mom’s friend from High School. This is what the Soviet Uniform looked like! A lot of girls still wear it for their High School graduation. I didn’t wear it, it’s the ugliest thing in my opinion!

8. This pic was taken Jan.1 1984, about 2,5 years before I was born. I love my mom’s hat and mittens!