Feathers Unruffled {A Home Decor Post}

I don’t normally post about home decor, unless it’s DIY, but this time I just wanted to share how something random, bought on a whim,, transformed my living room and made that one small part of it (aka my console table) complete.

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I got these feathers a week ago at the Minnesota State Fair. They were only a $1 each at the International Bazaar (which does by the way have a Russian booth!) and I couldn’t simply pass by.

So after spending all afternoon wandering around the Fair Grounds with these feathers sticking out, I was amazed they actually made it home that night.

To be honest, I wasn’t going to put them in a vase. I did have a different spot for them in mind, but they never made it there!

Instead they were dropped off on the console table that I freecycled a couple years ago, next to these two frames, one being a cross stitch by my dear friend Tamara, reminding me where, when and who I married ๐Ÿ˜‰ And the other is a picture version of the latter.

Once I sat down and actually looked over where the feathers were, I knew that it’s where they belonged.

So then the vase hunting began. From Target to TJ Maxx, to Marshall’s to finally – BINGO – a thrift store (this time it was Salvation Army) during a Labor Day sale, this beauty ended up costing me only $3.50 plus tax!

Ding Ding Ding we have a winner thought I…

Now to find the lamps…

Xx,

Z

PS. Check out these salt and pepper shakers Sam’s friend Blake brought me from England:

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One of them is a London Guard and the other is The British Gentleman! Can you guess which one is which? LOL

 

 

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

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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, 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!

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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

– 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

Happy Easter Outfit of the Day!!!

Christ is risen! I hope you all are having a great day celebrating with your families and ย loved ones! Sam and I recently got back from a church service, and I thought I’d share my outfit with you!

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Suede Boots – Mexx – bought in Russia

Skirt – thrifted, refashioned, with a vintage slip underneath – Goodwill Outlet, Steeple People

Top – The Limited – freecycled in NYC

Coat – Bitten by SJ Parker, from Steve & Barry’s (for those who remember that store!) NYC

Bag – Vintage Coach crossbody – Salvation Army

Scarf – thrifted in NYC

Necklace – thrifted in NYC

Have a blessed day!

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

How Small Shoulder Pads Make A Big Difference (When Removed)

Here is the best thing about freecycling clothes – you never know what you are going to get!
I recently ended up with a lot of polka dots items! Here are 3 of them:

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I took out little post it notes and wrote how I wanted to refashion those items. One of them being a shirt (that I turn into a blazer in todays post – it was so easy, you are going to fall off your chairs ๐Ÿ™‚ )and then the other tfolk polka dots surprises are pants, both of which will get refashioned sometime soon, hopefully this weekend!

The first thing I wanted to do was get rid of the shoulder pads, because they werent rocking my boat!

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Then I rolled up the sleeves! Since this is a 100% polyester Chaus top, I can’t imagine anyone wearing this as a shirt! Maybe in the winter, but you would still sweat buckets! The tricky thing with polyester though is that when rolled up it doesn’t necessarily hold the intended shape, so I suggest you make a couple stitches and hold that rolled up fold in place, or you can jut safety pin it, if you are like me ๐Ÿ™‚ I told you it was going to be easy! And perfect with skinnies:

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Sorry for being MIA – I had training at work – free food and beauty products ๐Ÿ™‚ ah – life is good ๐Ÿ™‚
Have an awesome weekend everyone!
Xo,
Zhenya

TAG: My Weird Beauty Habits

Hey everyone, how are you? Out of all the possible posts that I can do today, I decided to do this one, and the fact that it’s 4 am and I am awake, speaks for itself! So please forgive me if this post gets a little bit weird, and my mind starts drifting away.

Alright, weird beauty habit number one: I usually wake up in the middle of the night, right around 3.30 am, like today and go get a drink of water, then of course I go check out my face in the mirror, because I want to see if the beauty sleep is working. Does it work when interrupted though? I guess not, anyways that’s when I put more moisturizer on my face, because I feel like my skin is too dry, and for good measure I put some moisturizer around my eyes too! This is what I currently use for my middle of the night beauty routine:

 

 

 

Weird beauty habit number two is more like a confession – I love samples, and small travel sizes of, well of everything! I have about 6 small containers in addition to full size products on my cabinet, some of it is Estee Lauder, some of it is Bobbi Brown, I don’t care what it is, as long as it’s coming in a cute packaging and preferably free ๐Ÿ™‚ I am also a sucker for shampoo and conditioner combos. I think I have enough to last me through the next three months without having to buy anything full size, which I am planning on doing. And just yesterday I sat down behind this exact computer, went on my favorite Sweet Free Stuff and got 3 more shampoo/conditioner combos mailed to me. I also love Aveda samples, that come in those cute little boxes – best thing ever! I think I’ll go get some of those tomorrow!

 

My weird beauty habit number three started at work one day, when I was complaining that my hair was too greasy and I needed to go get some dry shampoo. That’s when I was told that Beautiful body powder from Estee Lauder works just like that and even better. So that’s what I’ve been using ever since. Now if you ever come see me at work and notice pink powder on my clothes, know that it’s my wonderful hair emergency go to!

 

And this is what I use at home:

 

Which leads to weird beauty habit number four: I love freecycling beauty products. That’s where Wind Song Body powder in the picture above came from, it was also brand new, and if anyone wants to know it’s $25 on ebay, I just checked ๐Ÿ™‚ And yes freecycle is a hit or miss, but a lot of times it’s the latter. I got a huge box of body washes, lotions, etc. about a month ago. Love it, won’t need to buy a body wash or a body spray for the next two years now! Here is a tip though – always check for expiration date, and if there isn’t one – then smell it, if it smells funny, recycle it. I love recycling my old skin care/make up/beauty packages at the Origins counter, they have bins there, so check your local stores!

 

And my fifth and last weird beauty habit that I can think of for today is actually a weird beauty routine that I do when I work out! Here is what I do:

– Put apple cider vinegar mixed with water and lavender or rosemary essential oils on my hair roots, and scalp,

– then I put coconut oil on my ends, which of course means I am putting coconut oil all over my hair ๐Ÿ˜‰

– pull it all in a bun, go run 2 miles or so,

– all this while doing laundry!

Yup I am that good at multitasking ๐Ÿ™‚

(There is a very small workout room in our building right next to the laundry room, so I am kind of killing two birds with one stone, three depending on how you look at it ๐Ÿ™‚ )

 

Okay now that you’ve read this post, you’ve all been tagged, so write your own post like that, or simply leave me a comment, I am dying to hear what everyone’s weird beauty habits are ๐Ÿ™‚

And don’t do what I do, don’t write a blog at 4 am ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s already 4.40 now, I got side tracked looking up stuff on freecycle ๐Ÿ™‚

Lots of love,

Zhenya

Marina Outfit of the Day

Here is to sailing, and having two days off in a row and to figuring out what I want to do with my life (more on that later ๐Ÿ™‚ )

We went sailing today, and since I am not a very good planner, I didn’t charge my phone, and didn’t take any pictures for you from the sail boat, it’s not like Sam would’ve let me bring the phone on the boat anyways.

But I got my outfit pictures for you, and the whole look cost me about $30. Let’s put it this way: the only thing that I bought that was brand new, were the jeans! Shoes came from Goodwill outlet, and the shirt came off of Freecycle (love that website!)

 

 

I also did a super easy make-up look, let me know if you want a tutorial on that ๐Ÿ™‚ I kid you not, the Clarisonic is working wonders, and I left the house wearing only a tinted moisturizer today! And eye make up of course!

Anyways, I hope you had a good weekend!

xo,

Zhenya

T-shirt Refashion: Part 1

Here is a T-shirt, that I freecycled last week:

 

Please note that I have nothing to do with the church, I do view it as one of the main Minneapolis landmarks, and it’s definitely nice living in the neighborhood around it! I do support their ministry through Steeple People though, it is one of my favorite thrift stores in the area after all!

Now this shirt has a lot going on: stains, holes, etc. So I took my scissors and some supplies:

 

 

 

 

 

… and ended up with this ๐Ÿ™‚

Now let me explain why I am making this a 2 parter, it’s already past midnight, I’ve been working on this for the past two hours, so I am kind of tired, and also missing some ingredients to finish this refashion. Please stay tuned for Part 2, it’s coming up tomorrow ๐Ÿ™‚

xo,

Z

DIY Denim Ideas

I freecycled about 4 pairs of old jeans, all of them being too big for me, but there are so many awesome DIY projects that I am dying to try, I created a board on Pinterest just for that:

Here is my board:

Some of the projects were taken off of Russian websites, and the tutorials are in Russian as well. But I am dying to try and make that tube dress and an owl toy!

Which project would you want me to try and do first? Let me know!

xo,

Z

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