Grandpa

My grandpa passed away. Дед умер (Grandpa died), was the first thing my mom told me over Skype on Sunday afternoon. I couldn’t hear her well, and went looking for the headphones. She was wearing all black, almost like a prophecy.

When Grandma passed away over 2 years ago, at least I was there. But I knew the drill. The police comes, then the ambulance. Then the agent from the funeral home. They take the body away almost immediately. Put it on a thick plastic sheet, almost dragging it down the stairs… to the car, then to morgue.

Now it’s different, now I am thousands of miles away, with an expired passport, without $1400 to spare on a plane ticket…

And even though his Alzheimer’s got the best of him, a few weeks ago after one of his spasm, he was asking for me. He said: А где наша Женя? (Where is our Zhenya?)

He was so proud of Sam and me for buying the house. I know he kept asking my mom to show him pictures again and again. Of our little house…

We were never orthodox, he was in the KGB, atheist and all, but I know he was baptized and one of the first things I told sam I wanted to do, was go light a candle… I wish I knew how to do it… I am going to learn

While walking around the neighborhood, these words came to me:

And when September comes around,

With clouds and colors and the rain.

I’ll go to St Mary’s to the icons

And light a candle in your name.

I am not much of a poet, nor have I been much of a Christian lately, but I promise to do that, every year…

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Where God Guides…

Here is someone I want you to meet. And no it’s not another Etsy maven, or a fashionista from down the street, they are my friends Christiana and Phil Brande, and their Baby B (who is yet to B born 🙂 get it? )

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They are 9 short days away from departing the US and heading over to Prague, to teach at the Christian School there. See, they are raising money for their trip, and believe that God will provide, because they are following his calling!

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They are beautiful people who spent over 10 years living and spreading God’s word and love in Russia (my home country), that’s where Christiana and I met, when I was 14 or 15. I was a part of the group from the Wesleyan church that went to a camp for orphans organized by a team from the States. And she has an absolutely calming peaceful presence, but radiates happiness at the same time! And after talking to them today, I felt so inspired and encouraged, and once again amazed by how Great our God is! And how big our small world is!

I don’t know when I am going to see them again, but I will definitely be following their blog and you should to! And if God puts it on your heart to donate to their ministry then bless your heart!

Xx,

Z

{27 Dresses} Dress 6: On the Boat Again

 

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer: I am participating in a Verizon Wireless blogger program, and received the device and 6 months of service for free, in exchange for my honest opinion. For more information, please click on the Verizon Voices Icon!

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Some of you were wondering whether I received a boat for my birthday last week, well not really 😉 The boat actually belongs to my father-in-law, and back in the day Sam and he spent a lot of time building it! And now sailing has become one of my favorite summer pass-times! And this time I made sure I packed my new Samsung Galaxy Camera I received from Verizon Wireless back in May!

When it came to picking out my sailing outfit, I went for one of my favorite DKNY dresses from Macy’s (yay for fitting into juniors size!), and my thrifted (Goodwill) white rim sunnies! I also braided my hair, because once you get out on St.Croix it gets really windy and the hair blows all over the place, in your face included!

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I also wanted to share some scenic photos, enjoy and let me know what you think about sailing and any other kinds of on the water activities!

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Another cool thing I was going to talk to you about is this new app I’ve been using called Mavatar. It’s an iPad app that let’s you shop and create wish boards, but at the same time applies coupons and any promotions going on in the store at the time! The creators of this app focus on higher end stores and brands (Nieman Marcus, Bloomington’s, Nordstrom) with a good mix of Macy’s, Gap, and Banana Republic in between! It’s especially nice to see Bloomingdales and Nieman’s featured on here, because they closed both of these stores in Minneapolis! (*SIGH*)

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The “main” page of the app (every category breaks down into more when you tap it)

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And this is where you can see how many coupons/discounts/promotions are available

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And an example of a “Wishlist”!

So here you have it online shoppers – a great way to shop and save at the same time! Now that’s what I call smartshopping!

Let inspiration guide you today~

Xo,

Z

It Can Wait Pledge! Take It With Me!

Disclosure: I am participating in the Verizon Style Voices program and have been provided with a wireless device and six months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the product.

The subject of texting/calling/emailing when driving has been on my mind a lot lately. Rememeber the days when it was just texting? Now it’s emailing, facebooking, tweeting, instagramming… the list goes on and on! For people hooked on Social Networks like me, it’s a dangerous territory! And even though you might miss an important tweet, or text, nothing is as important as your life!

It all started with a book I read called Left Neglected by Lisa Genova. The first half of the book was a horror story to me, a horror story I couldn’t put down! I am not going to spoil it for anybody who hasn’t read it, but I think it should be on everyone’s Goodreads ASAP!

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My husband and I carpool to work, and neither one of us are on our phones. The time in the car is almost sacred, that’s when we talk, when we share our plans for the day in the morning, and discuss what happened in the evening! One thing we do before we get into the car though is check the traffic, and unfortunately we often end up seeing car accidents. And every time it breaks my heart.

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Now I am not going to be the goody two shoes and tell you that I’ve never texted while driving, or talked on my phone. I am human and guilty of that too! But the older I get, the more responsible I become, and today I want to share a pledge I have recently taken, called It Can Wait!

But let me show you these facts first:

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So please take this pledge with me today. I would love to know if you did, so don’t forget to comment and remember that TOGETHER WE CAN DRIVE SAFE!!

Xo,

Z

 

You are Diamond!

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Today my husband’s grandparents are celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary! How awesome is that? 60 years with the same person! Sam also has his Grandpa’s wedding band, which is more meaningful to us than any words can describe!

So Happy 60th Wedding Anniversary Bob and Betty, and may the 5 o’clock gins continue for many many more years!

We love you,

Sam and Zhenya!

PS. The photo was taken on their wedding day (May 15, 1953), and is a curtesy of my mother in law!

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

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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!

 

Nothing New: Furniture

Hey everyone, I hope you all had an amazing week and a Happy Easter 🙂 I know a lot of my friends and readers in Europe will be celebrating later this spring, so get ready for the Easter Bunny to hop overseas!

Today’s blog post is about furniture, and since some of you know my minor (*COUGH* yeah, right) obsession with Freecycle.org, the post is going to be about “not so new”, but beautiful, vintage and FREE furniture!

I finally got tired of not having a coffee table in our living room, and wrote a Wanted post on Freecycle, and here is what I got:

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The lady who gave it to me was so nice, she even delivered it to my apartment building! I am serious! I was shocked too! Trust me! Most of the time it’s your responsibility to go and pick something up off of freecycle, but this time I guess I got lucky! It’s a wooden table, definitely vintage! I looked under it, and it said Massachusets! I am such a sucker for vintage furniture! It’s so beautiful and elegant, that Ikea and Target simply become a blasphemy!

I’ve acquired another piece of furniture this week – a night stand/end table, thanks to my mother-in-law! Since our bed is so high, very few nightstands work with it! I have been looking for a tall nightstand for months, because that corner between the bed and wall started to feel more and more empty with every day that went by. So Sandra, dropped off this beauty last Tuesday, and it fit right in!

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I love it, don’t you? I immediately took Sam’s old green lamp out of storage, and placed it on the table:

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Now it reminds me of a short story by a Russian writer Alexander Green, called the Green Lamp, which I am planning on translating and posting on here this week! I love Russian literature, makes me feel nostalgic, but at the same time appreciate my background and culture!

An oldie, but a definitely goodie is my console table, which has been recently featured in my “Early Stages of Hoarding” post, and is another great freecycle find, that I got from a woman, who said her husband was a hoarder (Oh-oh!)

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Some other items that I have freecycled include (but are not limited to 😉 )

– books

– clothes

– vintage

– kitchen appliances

– arts and crafts supplies,

and the list goes on!

It really is a great source, but don’t forget that it’s not all about getting, it’s all about GIVING!

Xo,

Z

HELP! Early stages of hoarding?

I think I have a problem!

Seriously! Look at these pictures:

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– Earth to dining room table…

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– Husband’s desk

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– Our living room carpet looks like this 6 days out of the week…

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– Console table…

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– Crafts central

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– Random piles of stuff all over the bedroom floor

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– Closet space

And I know exactly what it is – I am lazy, I don’t like to clean, I don’t like to pick up, for some reason I want to save every scrap of paper, every ribbon, every magazine.

I keep telling myself that once we move into a house, it’ll get better, but who am I kidding – it won’t.

But nothing motivates me, I guess I am just a slob. And it’s the availability and accessibility of products here. I can go to a store, spend some money, get more stuff, but it won’t solve the clutter solution!

I have recently started an Etsy store, and one of the main reasons was to downsize my vintage collection. And yes, I have made some sales, but what’s 1-2 purses compared to a walk-in closet full of supplies, patterns, coats?

Yes, let’s talk about coats. I have an obsession with coats, I think I have about 10 of them! That’s the problem thrifters have – you walk into Savers or Goodwill and see an awesome coat say for $30, and of course you want to pick it up, because in your head you are already putting together outfits, and creating InstaCollages! And at this point you don’t realize that you have another dozen coats waiting to be worn, photographed, pinned, instagrammed, facebooked, etc.

Maybe I just need to vent, but I also function better, when more people know about my issue. I don’t need anyone to hold me accountable, I need to publicly tell everyone that modern day social networks are giving me an ADD, and that my real life is starting to go god knows where!

It’s a 1 bedroom apartment for crying out loud, how difficult could it be to clean?

So here you have it, I fessed up, and am now going to go and vigorously clean the apartment, making several trips to the dumpster!

Have a great day everyone,

Z

Palmolive Fresh Infusions First Impression/Первые впечатления от средства для мытья посуды Palmolive Fresh Infusions

It’s this time again! Review time that is. I received another product through my Influenster membership, and this time it was Palmolive Fresh Infusions Dish Soap.

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We don’t have a dish washer in the apartment, so everything has to be washed by hand, and if you know what it’s like, you know that it’s nothing but pain. I have never met a person who enjoys doing dishes.

Since we first moved here, we were dedicated Dawn users. Our first bottle lasted us about a year (I kid you not!) and the Palmolive that we received as a mocking move in gift from the rental company lasted only about a month, and of course I thought, never again!

Until I got this box! The quality of the soap is great, it washes dishes wonderfully, foams up well, looks nice standing there by the sink 🙂 Yes, that’s important too!

I didn’t like the dispenser though, and the scent wasn’t as strong as I was hoping for. Out of the the three scents: Lime Basil, Lemon Thyme, and Ginger White Tea, Lime Basil is the strongest.

I also got several coupons for this product, though I think I am pretty set with dish soaps until 2015 or something like that 🙂

The soap retails for about $2.60 and is available at Wal-Mart and Target.

Overall it leaves the dishes clean, fights tough stains and grease, and next time I need to buy dish soap, I will definitely consider it!

Happy dish washing to you!

Z

И снова настало время для обзора. В этот раз мне прислали средство для мытья посуды от Palmolive. Прислали его бесплатно через сайт Influenster.

Так как в нашей квартире нет посудомоечной машины, всю посуду мы моем руками, а вы сами знаете, как это! За всю свою жизнь мне еще не довелось встретить человека, который обожает это делать.

Когда мы въехали в эту квартиру полтора года назад, мы пользовались только Dawn, и первая бутылка у нас простояла около года, а средство Palmolive, которое нам подарила компания, владеющая домом, закончилось за месяц!

Я зареклась никода не покупать Palmolive, пока не получила эти средства на обзор. Новое средство оказалось отличным, хорошо пенится, отмывает грязь, экономно расходуется, и хорошо смотрится на раковине (что тоже важно!).

Мне не очень понравился дозатор, и запахи оказались не такими сильными, как я ожидала. Из трех, которые мне прислали: Белый чай и Имбирь, Лайм и Базилик, Лимон и Тимьян, второй оказался самым сильным.

В коробке также были купоны на скидку в $1.50, но мне кажется что средств для мытья посуды мне теперь хватит до 2015 года!

Одна бутылка средства Palmolive стоит около $2.60 и купить его можно или в Target, или в Wal-Mart.

В итоге хочется также отметить, что посуду это средство моет хорошо, и если когда-нибудь мне понадобится купить новое, то это вариант!

Хорошего вам мытья посуды!

Женя

2012 in Outfits

Happy 2013! Here is to more subscribers, readers, followers, and quality posts, and to a 365 times better year!

Feel free to click on the month to be taken to the original post!

I do have to come clean, I didn’t have any outfits for January and February, so I substituted them with a couple outfits from March and April 🙂

January 2012

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February 2012

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March 2012

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April 2012

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May 2012

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June 2012

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July 2012

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August 2012

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September 2012

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October 2012

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November 2012

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December 2012

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And don’t forget that:

 

 

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Happy 2013!

Z