Just Say Ommm, Be Happy and Go Shopping






A couple weeks ago I attended one of the Minnesota bloggers meet-up events, which was a yoga class lead by Katie of ย Strawberry Halls Forever. It was an amazing experience, not only because I got to meet other bloggers in the area, but also because it was my very first yoga class!


I have been doing yoga for over 4 years now, but never in a group! I am a loner (read cheapskate ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) when it comes to working out. I love my work out DVDs and videos I find on YouTube (check out Fitness Blender – it’s one of the best resources out there!)

Now I got into yoga by accident, and let me explain how it happened! Back in my good old nannying days when I lived on the Upper West Side everyone and everything breathed and talked yoga! You see I was always more of a runner, and I loved my strength training as well! Remember Cindy Crawford’s videos from the 1990’s? Those were my go-to workouts for many years! My mom got me into them back when I was in 8th grade! And I still do them 2-3 times a week, though I’ve switched over to Jillian Michaels since then! But let’s return to the UWS though… I was really into FIT.TV and since the family I worked for had Warner Cable, I took advantage of it every day! I got into Gilad’s workouts, and Namaste Yoga by Kate Potter was on right after! So I gave it a shot and FELL IN LOVE! And have been doing it ever since! I tried other workouts by other instructors, but Kate Potter won me over!

And even though I’ve been doing yoga all by myself for a long time, I feel like it’s one of those experiences you need to live through as a group, so one of my goals this summer is to find a yoga class to join, so if you know of a good one in Minneapolis and western suburbs area, please let me know!


Another thing that I’ve come to realize is that I don’t really have any good yoga clothes, and to me being fashionable at yoga is much more important than when I go for a run. So as I was looking for cute yoga clothes, I came across C9 brand at Target!


They have very affordable and stylish work out clothes, designed specifically for yogis ๐Ÿ™‚ And if you watch their website close enough, you can get coupons and discounts on C9 brand pretty often!


Show style and strength in this yoga top by C9 by Champion, exclusive to Target!

3312Bust a (yoga) move in these stylish, snazzy pants from C9 by Champion, a Target-exclusive line of fitness.


Love yoga? Or just love comfy, stylish yoga pants that keep you covered no matter what? Whatever your yoga pants-wearing style, C9 by Champion at Target has you covered!


What gives you peace and strength? Whatever motivates you, C9 by Champion apparel has you covered!
I am definitely going to Target to get myself some cute and colorful yoga tops and comfy stretchy pants (don’t worry, those will be worn to yoga classes alone ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) Where do you shop for yoga clothes and what type/style of yoga would you recommend?
At Target Influencer Network, we support ethical blogging and strict adherence to the FTC guidelines pertaining to free samples and gifts. Participants in our programs are expected to do the same. For more information, visit:ย http://www.ftc.gov/os/2013/03/130312dotcomdisclosures.pdf

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


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, MNย ย – 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!



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!


The joy of Barefoot living?

So the other day I ended up in a quiet comic situation. I was walking down Nicollet Mall Downtown Minneapolis, when my shoe broke. I am talking about my ALDO sandal/flip-flop in white. It’s almost broken before, back when I was in Russia, the strap that went around my toe started ripping off, back then I just super glued it. This time it was all way more serious, the strap that goes in between my toes fell off. I was right by the Y when it all happened. And my first thought was to call Sam and tell him to meet me there. But the benches by the Y is where a lot of homeless people stick around… So I kept walking. Adding insult to my shoe injury was some kid (teenager) who was trying to recruit people to sign up to donate for some charity, and called me a “sir”. Dear America, please teach your children about genders.

Lucky for me, Target was only a few blocks away and I got some gold colored sandals on clearance there. There are always has good deals there, and some of the clothes are super cute, I just don’t think they survive the washer/dryer torture very well.

It wasn’t the first time I walked around barefoot. A couple weeks ago Sam and I were going to our first pre-marital counseling session, and I had a few very painful blisters, so I took the flip-flops off, and on I went. The only important rule that you need to remember when walking barefoot – watch out for glass and other sharp objects. I remember back a couple years ago when I was still an Au Pair, I went to meet my second family, it rained really hard and it was safer to walk around barefoot, than slip and fall in my shoes. If I walked around barefoot in Manhattan, I can do it anywhere ๐Ÿ™‚ (Maybe not in Russia ๐Ÿ™‚

Then I remembered the bare walking shoes:

Those were (and probably still are) a huge hit. I once met a woman at the dog run by AMNH, who told me all about the benefits of those shoes. I don’t know whether I will ever have the guts to wear those, because they don’t make that great of a fashion statement, and I will always prefer my heels and wedges.

But there are people out there who go all the way – they walk barefoot, drive their cars barefoot, and do everything else barefoot (I imagine!). I once met a guy in NYC who did all that (in November!). He goes barefoot, but he only several times a year.

Maybe one day I will be willing to do the barefoot thing, but I will have to move somewhere warmer than Minnesota ๐Ÿ™‚

Here are some charities that provide shoes to people for whom barefooting isn’t an option:

1. Soles for Souls


2. Tom’s


3. Shoes to Share


Of course there are many many other ones. I know that a lot of charity organizations donate shoes every once in a while. Interestingly enough, when we in the Western world want to take our shoes off and go barefoot, the rest of the world wants to put some shoes on!

He is checking out some weird books!

That’s what the librarian is going to say if she looks at my fiance’s record:

– Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella

– Mini Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella

and The Lies that Chelsea Handler told me – requested

He will be notified once that last one is ready to be picked up too!

I hate using other people’s things, especially library cards. I really don’t want them to know what I read. Because I usually read God knows what. At least I strayed away from the HP series. Now Sophie Kinsella and I have a long lasting relationship. Ever since I started nannying for the G family in New Jersey, she’s been there for me. Then I moved to NYC and had to deal with the K family. Sophie was there for me no matter what. Yes, sometimes her name was Madeline Wickham, but she was good nevertheless.

She makes me feel good about myself, and my minor shopping addiction. I love shopping, especially for hair products. And those of you who know me, also know about the hair struggles I’ve been through! Anyways, my point is – Reading is Sexy and go check out your local library, mine has birch trees out front ๐Ÿ™‚

What are you reading this week?