Going Herbal

I am all for healthy lifestyle, healthy food, healthy (organic/natural skin or body care), I have recently watched this video on YouTube

And decided to try and give up tea and coffee, and everything else that has caffeine. That requires making my own herbal tea, because it’s a pain in you know what to buy in Russia. Second, it’s cheaper to buy herbs at the drugstore and make it myself.

I quickly googled herbal tea recipes, obviously Google came up with over 1,200,000 results, all I had to do was scan those recipes to learn what I needed to buy. I already had chamomile and sage. I came home with 6 new boxes, from dandelion to peppermint, and decided to try one of the recipes out.

Since I am not drinking coffee this week, I had no regret pouring the leftovers from my french press down the drain. And started making my tea.

For this recipe I used:

1 tbs peppermint

1 tbs chamomile

And water! Genius, I know! I also use rose hips syrup or honey instead of sugar!

PS. Why French Press and not a regular tea pot? My personal preference, besides it’s glass, so you can see all the herbs “swimming” inside!

Also – lemon juice is something you definitely want to buy when going herbal!

I miss American honey that comes in a plastic teddy bear 🙁 BOO!

The list of herbs that I bought: Dandelion, Rose Hips, Juniper, Peppermint, Yarrow

Happy Drinking

Well, you know what I mean!


LIVESTRONG Zhenya – It’s over!

Well over is not exactly the right word! My daily posts are over, but I am keeping my profile on www.livestrong.com , for my own personal record, you can check it out if you want too!

Some results, some numbers…

I lost 4 pounds in a week, just by tracking my calories down, working out, eating right.

I can finally say that I’ve had 64 oz of water every day during this period of time.

I worked out for at least 10 minutes a day, plus walking – walking is a GREAT exercise!

I am now one of those people who reads all the ingredients and counts the calories when buying food at the supermarket.

I have finally gotten used to drinking a glass of water before every meal!

Thank you for checking out on my journey with me (it was short but good). I might blog about it in the future, just to keep you updated, tell you how I am doing. Don’t forget my FAV FAV FAV YouTube Channel, wonderful workouts, videos in Russian and English


Live Strong,


Essential Oils, Essential in My Life

Today I wanted to talk a little about essential oils, and how to use them in your everyday life. When you say essential oils, a lot of people think – Aromatherapy. And yes, those oils are used first and foremost in this area of body care. But being the freak of nature that I am, I can’t last through a massage session. Ask my best friend, she will tell you all about my giggles and twitches!


How do I use essential oils in aromatherapy? I simply add them to the water that I pour into my humidifier, so it turns into an air refreshner as well! I use peppermint or tea tree oils to increase productivity (I work from home, and we all know how lazy one can sometimes get), lemon when I want to freshen up the air in the room, and lavender when I want to sleep well at night.

This is a very safe and easy way to use essential oils, and you only need a few drops of whatever oil you choose. So for the frugal person inside of all of us – Essential oils last a very long time, definitely worth the buck. I just wanted to brag that in Russia Essential Oils are a lot a lot cheaper than in the US, so if you get a chance, or if you know someone, ask them to bring you oils from there.

How do I use Essential Oils in body care? Those of you who know me, know about my frugal side, and the fact that I don’t like spending extra, unless I have to. In my personal opinion mouthwashes are a waste of money, unless you buy in bulk, which I don’t do. Now I have nothing against the American Mouthwashes (Crest and Act will always be my favorites), but in Russia mouthwash is extremely overpriced, and honestly – not worth it! So I created my own. I saved a bottle from one of the mouthwashes, you could also use a glass jar, or a plastic water bottle (but those bottles can’t be used for over 2 weeks, so be careful!), poured some water into it (can be tap if you have clean water, or filtered, water from the fridge is good!) and added 7 drops of tea tree oil and peppermint oil. The best mouthwash I’ve used in years, cheap too. A great option for those of you living in countries, where good brands aren’t available. I even got my mom hooked on it 🙂 !

A lot of people say that Orange Essential Oil helps fight cellulite, but I haven’t tried it, so I don’t know. In my opinion the two things that fight cellulite the best are: Workouts and Healthy Food!

How do I use Essential oils in Hair care? I have recently come across some great articles on www.livestrong.com A great resource for everyone, who wants to make their life healthier and use natural products. I followed some of their advice on hair care. First one was about adding lavender oil to your shampoo or conditioner. You will need about 30 drops per bottle. I use a very big Nexxus bottle, I believe it’s 14 oz, and I have less than 1/4 left, so I used about 15 drops or so. Why lavender oil? It triggers hair growth. And I am trying to outgrow my hair for the wedding! Rosemary oil is also used for that exact same purpose. I will share a recipe that I use for my hair, a little modified from the one I read on www.livestrong.com. You will need one cup Apple Cider Vinegar, 30 drops of rosemary oil and cold water. I poured all the ingredients into a spray bottle (you can buy one or save one from a hair care treatment, or whatever you have that has a little sprayer on top) apple cider vinegar and rosemary oil first, and the rest of the bottle – filled with water. I use it every night on my roots. Spraying and rubbing in every night before bed! The mix works magically, love love love it! But the smell, oh the smell… Don’t worry it washes away just fine. Just remember – you have to do it religiously!

And finally Skin Care! I had a lot of skin problems. “My skin looks like @#$% !” was my usual expression. The problem is – I had both black heads and under skin acne or cysts. Those weren’t only ugly, but also extremely painful. The essential oils I used to treat my cysts in particular were – tea tree oil and rosemary oil. Rosemary worked better! Way better! I used Atlantic Cedar oil to treat blackheads. It worked alright, but I am not the fan of the smell!

Important Facts to Remember:

It’s important to remember never to use pure oil directly on your skin (I wouldn’t break this rule, but I have used pure Rosemary oil on my face, and the result was outstanding. I wouldn’t use pure oils on my scalp or along the hairline.)

– Make sure you close the bottles tightly, keep them away from direct sunlight, and heat.

– Be careful when you buy essential oils, they need to come in glass jars, not plastic bottles!

– Always read the instructions!

LIVESTRONG Zhenya – Day 6

Day 6 of my LIVESTRONG Zhenya project went well, I think I got the whole healthy eating under. I did, however, have 2 chocolates, which I know wasn’t the best decision.

My bathroom floor finally got installed, and after the workers left I spent about an hour cleaning everything up, then I went grocery shopping, and also did some ABS exercises before I went to bed.

I also made a milkshake (frozen strawberries, a banana, yogurt, milk, water and sugar sub). Love it, lasts forever too:)

I also witnessed the most touching moment in several months, I witnessed my Grandpa crying over my Grandma, which made me cry as well. It was both sad and amazing at the same time, this was also the very first time I saw my Grandfather cry. (He is a former KGB agent, they don’t cry often, do they?)

I also learned about a new facial soap to try, it contains seaweed (I used to work with a girl who said SEEDweed), mud, and green tea. Supposingly, it clears up your skin better than the birch bark soap I’ve been using, but smells better! So now I am on my quest to find it! Will keep you posted!

Last night I made my first video for YouTube, it’s about my Love and Lace Flowers project, I will be adding a new video approximately once a week. And will definitely keep you posted!

Live Strong,


LIVESTRONG Zhenya – Day 5

As we are coming to an end on my LIVESTRONG Zhenya project, I wanted to reassure you, that I am going to continue eating healthy, working out, and using my homemade remedies (for skin, hair, etc.). I probably won’t be blogging about them everyday. This past week I felt like I was extremely overloading my blog with 3-4 daily posts. I will leave you a link to my www.livestrong.com profile, and you will be able to follow me there!

Today was great, I got a lot of exercise in. That’s all because I went to the mall to buy a new skin lotion. I ended up purchasing Lumene, so if anyone has any thoughts on this particular brand, let me know. In Russia Lumene is sold in Sephora-like stores, not in CVS (just an FYI). Then I went to my shoe guy to pick up a pair of shoes I recently gave him to repair, but he forgot to do one part, so my shoes are held hostage there until tomorrow. That’s okay, I have plenty of other pairs.

Food wise – salad, yogurt, beans and rice, some bananas and oranges, and my fav cream cheese dessert! Yum!

I also did a 20 minute workout for legs and butt! And here I am at 2 AM blogging!

Good news to share – my bathroom tiles are in, I gave myself a salary raise, and mom is coming tomorrow!

I have also started a new project called Love and Lace Flowers (more about the policy tomorrow!)

Live strong,


LIVESTRONG Zhenya – Day 4

I am extremely tired, had 6 consecutive ESL lessons. For those of you who are curious about my job – you can read my confessions here


Let me just add, that I heard enough “shoeses” and “newses” and “feets” for the day!

My day started off with some cottage cheese for breakfast and watching The September Issue – a documentary on how the sept. issue of Vogue is made. Highly recommended movie if you love fashion. I fell in love with Grace! She is my new hero, sorry Larry-Boy!

I managed to fit in this killer abs workout in the AM today:

I had a wrap and an orange for lunch (just like last night, because these shells go bad really fast!)

Then it was time to work, and I didn’t have time for a good dinner, so I had a banana, a tomato, and an open cheese sandwich! And lots and lots of coffee!

I went over my calorie limit by 11, so I am off to do a workout for arms! Wish me luck!

Love and lace flowers!


LIVESTRONG Zhenya – Day 3

So last night, I ended up working till 11.30 pm, so there was no time for dinner or for a planned workout, all I wanted to do was finish my coffee and watch Chelsea Lately.

Today was extremely difficult, I don’t know what it was, maybe the stress, maybe the fact that I didn’t get my bathroom tiles in place 🙁 anyways I really wanted to eat, or I should say snack! I also went to the grocery store and bought a lot of milk, some kefir, and cottage cheese. So excited to be eating those tomorrow. And believe it or not, I became one of those people who now read nutrition value at the grocery store, all it took was 2.5 days.

What did I eat today? Strawberry yogurt for breakfast. Salad, toast and apple for lunch, a pomegranate and some prunes (don’t even dare to say anything!) for snack and a wrap for dinner. I created my own wrap, it consisted of a shell, beef, salad from lunch (there is salad left for tomorrow!), cheese and sour cream. That’s all I had. After I finished my wrap I drank 2 glasses of water, and then I was told that I drink like a horse.

Now about the workout. I did Callanetics today. Here is some info for you, if you don’t know what it is:

” Callan Pinckney started an exercise revolution in the 1980’s with her introduction of The Callanetics Exercise Method. This very personalized and unique form of exercise utilizes precise positioning to isolate specific muscle groups and then by using tiny yet powerful movements which cause the muscles to work even deeper requiring more muscle fibers to be recruited. More muscle fibers recruited means quicker toning and results you can feel in one hour and see in as little as two! Each muscle group is warmed, worked and then stretched to ensure total body health increasing strength, flexibility and endurance.”

I can’t say I extremely enjoyed it. Definitely not going to do it tomorrow.

Love and lace flowers,


Funeral, my family style

It was a surprisingly sunny and nice day, and I was surrounded by my favorite pine trees. After we said our “Good-byes” and my grandpa was more interested in the funeral after ours, my family got involved into a heated discussion over the fence, the table, and the bench that we’ve decided to put around Grandma’s grave.

The cemetery workers immediately showed us what kind of fences, tables, and benches could be done, my mom made some adjustments to the picked fence, said she wanted balls on top of the posts instead of triangles. We left knowing that by the time it’s time to honor 9th day, everything but the headstone will be there.  (The headstone is something people usually get after one year).

On the way back we checked out the muslim part of the cemetery, my friend Erin said how different the Russian cemetery is from an American one, we got home, set the table and started taking pictures!

Now table talk at my family is always fun! But first the pics! Here is my cousin and I with our Grandpa.

Here is everyone except for Erin, who was kind enough to take the picture (my aunt and uncle, mom, grandma’s sister,grandpa, cousin and me).

Then we took one of just us, the girls (Katya, Erin and me)

You can also see two pictures of my brothers behind us! I’m glad they made the picture.

The food was very good. I made all the salads (the most common dressing in Russia is mayo, so 3 out of 4 salads had that, one had just oil). There was borsch, seledka, goulash, buckwheat, 4 different kinds of salad, sardines, and other foods.

There was some traditional memorial dinner food, you are supposed to eat pancakes with honey before the meal, and Kut’ya (sweet rice with raisins). You are also not supposed to use forks, but my family gave up on that pretty fast.

We spent some time remembering Grandma, and then listened to the amazing stories my family members had to tell.

My great grandpa Misha was a chain smoker, he used to grow his own tobacco (that’s before Belomor appeared – the most popular Soviet cigarette brand). He would make a long cigarette (also known as a goat’s leg) out of dried out tobacco and a piece of newspaper. Mind it, he grew the tobacco, dried it, mashed it up – basically had his own manufacturing at home. Once he mixed up the seeds and instead of planting tobacco, planted some beautiful flowers instead! Imagine how Happy he must have been! And in spite of all that smoking he lived till the age of 94.

My Grandma’s sister lost her husband to cancer several years ago. Her whole family used to live in Somalia in Africa back in the late 60’s. She has 3 kids, and there is a big age difference between the oldest and the youngest boys. So when the older boy was already an adult, the younger boy was still in elementary or middle school. Now Oleg (that’s the name of the older boy) got two turkeys as a gift (they were real gobble-gobbles, just like the ones you can find on a farm in the Midwest). So when the little son would misbehave, his parents always scared him with this line – If you are going to continue misbehaving, we are going to send you to Oleg to take care of the turkeys. Let me tell you, that line worked like no other!

We also heard the story of how my Grandpa saw a UFO, and how when my uncle was little he used to lift up my Grandma’s Sister’s skirt when she came to babysit, and how my Grandpa would spank my uncle with the belt for bad grades, but he himself got a “C” for Russian and Literature…

My point is, funerals are a celebration of life, life lived, life loved, and even though life lost, life, that would be remembered forever.

Whenever we would have company, my grandma would always make Napoleon, and her close friend in Kiev, followed her recipe, and changed the name of the cake to Tamara (my Grandma’s name). So every time she had company, she would make a cake, called after my Grandma.

Rest in Peace Grandma, you will always be in our hearts!

Death and All His Friends

My grandmother died today, after battling cancer for the past two years, Death came at 6.45 AM. It all went by really fast, the cops came, the funeral home agent came, the body was taken away when it was still warm, an hour and a half later. The funeral is this Tuesday at 1PM.



I wanted to make this post a tribute to all of us who’ve lost, love and hugs go out to all of you!

Don’t ever forget the ones you loved…

They are now angels…

And this one, especially for my grandma!

You can shed tears that she is gone,
or you can smile because she has lived.
You can close your eyes and pray that she’ll come back,
or you can open your eyes and see all she’s left.
Your heart can be empty because you can’t see her,
or you can be full of the love you shared.
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday,
or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.
You can remember her only that she is gone,
or you can cherish her memory and let it live on.
You can cry and close your mind,
be empty and turn your back.
Or you can do what she’d want:
smile, open your eyes, love and go on.

David Harkins, British poet and painter

Never knock on Death’s door: ring the bell and run away! Death really hates that!


Ancient Egyptians believed that upon death
they would be asked two questions
and their answers would determine
whether they could continue their journey in the afterlife.
The first question was, “Did you bring joy?”
The second was, “Did you find joy?”
-Leo Buscaglia


Life is a great sunrise.
I do not see why death should not be an even greater one.
-Vladimir Nobokov


Love is stronger than death even though
it can’t stop death from happening,
but no matter how hard death tries it can’t separate people from love.
It can’t take away our memories either.
In the end, life is stronger than death.

There is no death! What seems so is transition;
this life of mortal breath
is but a suburb of the life elysian,
whose portal we call Death.
-Henry W. Longfellow

10 Things to do This Spring!

I love spring! Wait… I LOVE SPRING!!!!

This was better! And I am extremely excited that tomorrow is the first day of spring! And even though it snowed like crazy here in Russia yesterday, my hopes are up, and I know that “the Spring is a Coming”!

Now this spring I have decided to challenge myself to do these 10 things, and you are more than welcome to do them with me, because it’s going to be FUN!

1. Create Spring Art!

I came across this beautiful watercolor pastel of Cherry Blossom trees in Central Park, painted by a Brooklyn artist. And I was so inspired and moved by it, that I decided to create some spring art of my own!

You can learn more about the artist here http://mosleyart.blogspot.com

2. Wear florals, or bright colors!

I have noticed that lately I’ve been wearing a lot of blacks and grays, and decided to brighten up my life and my outfits this season. I found a great inspiration on www.fashionfame.com

Love the parrots!

3. Hear the birds singing!

I wake up to birds, there are two trees outside my window, that seem to attract the most annoying kinds of birds – crows and jackdaws. But I found this amazing video and you can hear the birds singing no matter where in the midst of the busy city jungle you are!

4. Eat Healthy!

Am I the only person in the world who didn’t know about all the amazing resources www.livestrong.com has to offer? I found some great homemade hair care recipes yesterday, that I have mentioned in my previous post. But there is also a giant section on healthy eating, recipes included! So let’s all eat healthier this spring!

5. Do Some Yoga!

Whether you choose to follow the lifestyle of a yogi, or simply do some exercises to become more fit, you won’t regret it. I have already mentioned Namaste Yoga by Kate Potter. My new favorite is Yoga with Rodne Yee! If you are a Mac lover like me, check out some great Yoga Apps that are out there! And remember – stay motivated!

6. Begin your day with Laughter!

I learned this from Sam, he always checks what I call “his” websites with some comics, funnies, or humor! There is a great blog here on WordPress, that makes me laugh so hard, esp. the latest post on Easter Bunnies, make sure to check it out! http://ske​tchybunnie​s.com/

Some other websites that I like are:




And don’t forget about the many many videos on YouTube of Kathy Griffin, Dane Cook, and other great comedians out there!

7. Believe!

Believe in God, believe in yourself, believe in others! Believe that you can, that you have the strength, the ability! Believe in opportunities, chances, fate! Believe in good, love, hope!

8. Take up a New Hobby!

One of my friends and fellow bloggers has recently started making her own soap, you can check it out here!


There are millions other hobbies out there! My mom does quilling! Here is a link to her website! I know that it’s all in Russian, but you can still see the works and how they are made!


Check out this link with a list of hobbies!


9. Plant an Herb Garden!

I always felt iffy towards house plants, but I love herbs, they smell great, and make food taste so much better! I am planning on planting a small herb garden and put on my kitchen windowsill! (Pictures coming soon!) I also believe that working with your hands, planting, gardening (which I don’t think I will be doing anytime soon) is good for your body, health and mind! And the smells of fresh herbs are also known to be great mood enhancers!

10. Redecorate your house, room, wall, table, shelf, ANYTHING for SPRING!

I found this amazing blog, that has some great redecorating ideas, the picture above shows a craft room, but there are other ideas there as well


I am planning on redecorating my TV stand, and maybe my desk! I am tired of the old dark brown color, and want to make it more vivid and exciting! (Pictures and DIYs to come!)

I hope you all enjoyed these ideas, and will be willing to give some of them a shot! Make sure to get back to me and tell me what changes you’ve made and whether you found this post helpful!