State Fair – Minnesota Style

At MN State Fair you can see the Miracle of Birth Centre,

where, chicks are hatched:

Minnesota State Fair is a place of signs! This one tells us to MOO:

And this one is pretty self-explanatory:

This sign will take you to a place where they sell amazing things from all over the world, and BLOODY MARYs:

Now this sign was my FAVORITE of them all:

You also get to see a lot of people at the fair:

Some of them are weird, like the French Fry Fairy:

And some are made out of BUTTER!

Some still live like they are in the 70’s!

And some like to take the HIGH way ๐Ÿ˜‰

Now we all know that everything (well almost everything) at the fair comes on a stick! So here is some LOVE for you:

Have a fabulous Labor Day Weekend!


Getting ready for a SWAP!

I really really miss Stop-‘n’-Swap events that I used to go to in New York City. But luckily for me, there is a Swap coming up here in Minneapolis. I found out about this event through the Swapaholics website, which you can also check out and find a Swap near you –ย

So I decided to spend my afternoon getting ready for the Swap, which isn’t happening until September, 11 – See I am getting ready in advance! This is also a good reason to clean out my closet, and organize it! Talk about not being able to kill two birds with 1 stone! Zhenya can do it all ๐Ÿ™‚

Here are some pictures for you:

The Closet – Before Any Damage was done ๐Ÿ˜‰

2. The shelf is empty – Where did the stuff go?

3. It’s on the FLOOR!

4. My husband’s stuff is on the floor too!

5. Look what I found – a Russia shirt!

6. And some shirt that still has a TAG on it!

7. And this scary black thing, that looked like a sleeve. I didn’t know what to do with it, so I put it on my HEAD!

8. Look at how neat the shelves look now! I am so proud! Going to keep them like that!

9. And the SWAP pile is neat and ready to go!

If you are in the Minneapolis/St.Paul area come to the SWAP (I am not hosting the event, but I am extremely interested in as many people showing up, as possible!) Here is the info:

MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota – September 11, 2011 11am to 7pm
Hack Factory 3119 E. 26th Street

Admission: $5.00
See you there!

Thrifting for Treasure 3 – Home Edition

Hey everyone and happy Monday! Here on Being Zhenya I enjoy every day of the week! Why? Because every day has something amazing and new to bring, plus every day includes amazing finds and discoveries. Today I found 10% sulfur at our local CVS – there is definitely a good side to living very close to a hispanic neighborhood. I will tell you more about it in one of my upcoming blog posts. Today’s is all about thrifting (AGAIN ๐Ÿ™‚ )

When thrifting for treasure, you mustn’t forget that treasure can also be something you can use to decorate your home, not just clothes and purses. So I wanted to quickly show you some things that I have thrifted over the past month and that I use to decorate our apartment.

My latest find are these 4 paintings, which I got for 2 dollars at the Salvation Army – they would’ve cost me 4 dollars, but it was a blue tag sale day, so I got 50% off.

Whoever donated those – THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart! I also apologize for the quality of these pictures, but Sam and I have been talking, and we are going to try and get a new camera around Christmas – since I also have some ideas on what kind of photography related posts I want to do around Minneapolis! Shhhhhh! It’s a secret.

The next pieces all came from SPSS (Steeple People on S.Lyndale)

These are embroidered potted plants. Since I hate real potted plants, I went for the embroidered version. The one on the left is Cyclamen and the one on the right is Azalea. And I don’t ever need to water these! How awesome is that!

Do you remember the Tea Pot Song, the one that was short and stout? Well my $1 Salvation Army tea pot is quiet elegant:

And last but not least, my coffee tin – I wish coffee came in such tins now. Can’t even put this next to a modern day plastic coffee jar/tin/whateverintheworlditis.

I know these are not major purchases, but they serve their decorating purposes well! Also, Sam won’t let me get a coffee table! So please leave comments under this post, and let me know if you want me to have a coffee table or not!

Love you all,

Styling a Thrift find (which isn’t your size)

Imagine this – You walk into a thrift store, and maybe after only 5 minutes, or possible a very long 2 hours – you discover IT! The thrift find of your life (or more like a week – if you thrift shop every week like me). But it’s too big, or too long, or too wide. So what do you do? I mean it’s a find you can’t miss. Not for the whole world.

That’s what happened to me and the ivory 100% wool coat that I found at our local Sal Val for $3.99 I have to admit, I almost left it hanging there, since it’s a Large and I am a Small, sometimes an Extra-Small. So you see my dilemma, right? In the end I just couldn’t let it pass. So here is what I did:

I went through all my other clothes in my head (yes, that’s possible, especially after moving from Russia, and only being able to bring 2 suitcases. I do still have some clothes in New Jersey, but I won’t be getting those until September) and realized that I can totally pull this outfit off. Let me show you the ways:

1. Heel it and Wear a bulky sweater underneath

I know it’s hard to tell (and again I apologize for the camera phone shoot) but I am wearing 2.5 inch heels that are successfully sinking into the carpet. You don’t necessarily need to wear heels if you are tall, but I am 5’6” and this coat was dying for some heels. The other thing – bulky sweaters are your best friend, it does get cold in the winter, you know (especially if you live in Minne- SNOW-ta).

2. Belt it

I got lucky – my waist line matched the waist line of the coat, so viola – a brown belt and off I go!

3. Scarves are your best friend!

This coat was like a perfect canvas I could play and mess with, if you find a coat or a jacket of a dark color, then obviously go for a light scarf to create the contrast. Be creative and don’t be afraid to stand out. Remember – there will be only compliments!



PS. I would especially like to thank my husband for stepping up and taking all these pictures. Honey, you are the best!


Thrifting for Treasure 2

This is a long overdue post about my last weeks trip to Salvation Army in the Warehouse district of Minneapolis. I love that place, what more can I say. Why? Let me show you below!

Here is my $1 Etra clutch (leather too ๐Ÿ™‚ )

ย I absolutely love how it opens up in a diamond shape! Diamonds are a girl’s best friend you know, even if they are just shapes!

Up next is another vintage COACH bag (oh yeah! I lucked out again!) That baby only cost me $4.99

This next item will be a subject of an upcoming post (most likely this week), so stay tuned. It’s 100% wool ivory coat, from Nordstrom, with original tags attached, as well as a spare button! This amazing find was only $3.99 – Welcome to Minnesota, what else can I say ?!

And finally my silk vintage skirt (with pockets) which I wore to our rehearsal dinner, and which cost me only $1.99

This skirt will also be featured in one of my upcoming posts! So stay tuned!

What cool thrift finds did you get last week?

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!

My Cake Tasting Experience

I think I was excited about the cake tasting as much as my dress. As silly as it may sound, that’s what mattered to me the most. I really want the guests to remember our wedding cake.

When the question of the wedding cake rose, there was only one option – Buttercream – a famous bakery in the Twin Cities, that also has a branch in Stillwater. But we decided not to go with them, because another name came up – Fresh Fields, located in Stillwater. Yesterday I went to a cake tasting there, and let me tell you – I was full until this morning! What they did is baked 4 little cakes for us to try and choose from (and when Rachel brought them out on a silver tray, I knew that I was definitely going to order with Fresh Fields). Call me a sucker, but those little cakes were so good, we still have some in the fridge that we are saving for dessert.

I also learned a lot from Rachel, the chef and the cake artist, about the place. They have 2 cake artists at Fresh Fields – her and a French guy. Rachel herself moved up from Denver, CO. So we both found something to talk about, being “Not from Minnesota”. All the fillings/mousses are home made, they don’t use mixes or anything – which is definitely a plus.

Now about the flavors. I was sent a list of flavors, fillings and icings, which I mixed and matched and ended up with these 4:

White/Strawberry mousse/Vanilla Buttercream
Chocolate/Vanilla Buttercream/Chocolate Ganache
Marble/White Chocolate mousse/rolled fondant
Red Velvet/Chocolate Ganache/Vanilla Buttercream

Now I am not going to tell you which one or ones (!) we got. You can vote on the choices hereยย 


Hope you are having a great day! Sending all my love to you ๐Ÿ™‚


PS. Cake pictures are also to come, but after the wedding! ๐Ÿ™‚




My Ratatouille Experience

I’ve wanted to make ratatouille for a while, and for some reason I thought it was going to be a heavy meal loaded with calories. Oh how wrong I was. I followed the recipe which states that there are only 273 cal per serving. (check it out here)ย Now let me tell you, even though there was a Farmer’s Market on Nicolette Mall today, I failed to find egg plant anywhere! Mushrooms were also crossed off the list, since Sam doesn’t like them, and I am not a fan of parsley. Honestly, what I ended up with was pretty far off from the original recipe, but I am pretty happy with it, and it tastes good!

My cousin also asked me to take pictures, and since my camera broke the night before I left for the States, I am using the camera on my phone! Better than nothing, right?

1. Sauteing garlic (love the smell! give this post a 5 star if you like the smell of garlic!)


2. Slicing and laying out the zucchini

3. Onions on top! They did make me cry!

4. That green pepper only cost me 25 cents ๐Ÿ™‚

5. Tomatoes are my absolute favorites!

6. Off into the oven it goes!

7. Done and DONE!

Love you all,


PS. There is parmesan in between every layer, just so you know!

PPS. I have this wonderfully amazing post coming up on my wedding rings! (Yes, wedding rings, I got two!) When? Next Wednesday! So stay tuned, that skinny size 4 1/2 finger of mine is getting pampered!



So Take Me Down To The River…

I just wanted to share a bit of Minneapolis with you! I hope you all fall in love with this city as much as I did ๐Ÿ™‚

Here is a little bit of Grace Potter for you to enjoy!

Love and Lace Flowers,




Bridal Shower, Russian Style

If I have referred to this as a bachelorette party before, please forgive me! This definitely was a bridal shower. It all happened in a park, and the second I sat down I was attacked by a mosquito size of a bird. If you think mosquitos are big in Minnesota (state bird, and all that), come to Russia in the summer, and experience for yourself. I came prepared though, and had enough bug repellent to share with the other girls! As well as sunscreen! Because no one wants to get a melanoma at a bridal shower!

The shower included:

1. Presenting the bride with 9 pairs of underwear:

Underwear pictures won’t be posted, for privacy reasons! Who knows maybe this blog is read by children!

2. Presenting her with a recipe book (I blogged about those in my yesterday’s post!)

3. Playing some games

4. Eating

5. Taking pictures

6. Picking dandelions

7. Dressing up

Overall I had a great time, I did come pre gamed though (that half a beer really did the trick!) Another interesting thing we did, was a chain of questions. You basically sit in a circle and ask the person on your left a question, which has to be marriage related (interestingly enough, not every one in the group was married), once the person answers that question, she can ask the next one! It was so obvious who is having marriage issues, I won’t even go there! To all men out there who say women are complicated – women are easy, you just gotta LISTEN! Another game we played was passing around a toy bomb, and saying the first marriage related thing that came to mind. Needless to say, that exercise too helps reveal the ones having prejudices and issues with marriage.

For questions, answers, or more leave comments

PS. For all my lovely readers out there – I stepped over myself and ate my very first celery stick today!