Sunday, April 15, 2018

Portland: Lan Su Chinese Garden

"It’s 16th century China, and you’re standing in the entry courtyard of the private home and garden of a wealthy family. The garden around you is their spiritual utopia, a peaceful and soothing place designed to help them escape the problems of everyday life and discover their true selves by connecting with nature." This description you'll find at the website of the Lan Su Garden in Portland, Oregon. And a very similar description you'll hear when you take a guided tour (free with your tickets to the garden). I've only visited this magical place twice, once in the middle of Winter when the persimmon tree was covered with bright "lanterns" - its fruit. And another time just two weeks ago, in early Spring, when magnolia, camellia and many other trees and bushes, the names of which I don't even know, offered their splendid blooms.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Lucid Dream

Yesterday, I took my family to listen to a lecture by one of the leading thinkers of our time, bestselling author Deepak Chopra. I have just finished his free 21-day meditation course which he offers in collaboration with Oprah Winfrey, and this was my second time meditating with them. (If you're interested, you can find more information and sign up for a newsletter HERE.) I really enjoyed this experience, so when I learned that Deepak would be in my American hometown Tacoma, I bought three tickets for my whole family to attend. (His next events would be in Zurich, Switzerland; Hamburg, Germany; Prague, Czech Republic; Eugene, Oregon; Paris, France; London, UK; Amsterdam, Netherlands and São Paulo, Brazil - an impressive international list.) It was a week night, so of course everyone was tired - really, it's hard to make it after a long day and in the middle of a busy week, and Anya even fell asleep a couple of times during the lecture, but at the end we all were happy that we made it - we felt uplifted, energized, and in the long run we all benefited from this event.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Portland: Bread and Bridges

Eats and paths, what can be more essential than that? Especially when it comes to travel. In today's post, I'm taking you on a little getaway to Portland, Oregon, where we spent a couple of days of our family Spring break. We will explore some Portland paths (a.k.a. Bridges) as well as learn about local eats (a.k.a. Bread), and my hope is that we will discover some of the elements that make Portland Portland. Of course, it's only a brief glance, and I hope it'll be interesting to those of you who have never been there and might plan a trip in the future. With Portland being only 2.5 hours from our home, it's surprising that we don't visit more often. Justin and I were there last time 5 years ago during my parents' stay, and for Anya it was her first trip. 

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Modish Matrons #22: No Matter the Weather

Happy Easter and welcome to Modish Matrons, 
the party where my dear friends TINA und BEATE and myself get together to celebrate style and creativity! Each month, one of us offers a theme, and April was Tina's turn. "No Matter the Weather," said Tina, leaving it wide open to interpretations. "Hmm," said I and scratched my head trying to find a focus for my outfit.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Searching for Sakura


There are a few ways I approach weekends. Sometimes, I plan way ahead - for instance, I formed the habit to plan a coming theater/concert season, so I study what local theaters and concert halls offer in advance, mark my calendar, so I won't miss plays and other events that interest me, and start reserving tickets. From time to time, I revisit my list of events throughout the season and see whether something else catches my attention. I started doing it years ago, and for that Justin calls me our family's cultural ambassador. 

Friday, March 23, 2018

Contrasts and Variety

We did this photo shoot last weekend at the University of Washington in Tacoma. It's a beautiful campus nestled in the hills of Tacoma right in the heart of the city, from where you can see Commencement Bay and the Port of Tacoma, and take a short walk to the three museums across the street - Washington State History Museum, Museum of Glass and Tacoma Art Museum.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Another Day, Another Dress

Another spring day, another floral dress. I think the only time I showed this dress on the blog was over a year ago, in the FEBRUARY 2017 post. In real life, I wore it multiple times, and especially often recently. Its cheerful pattern and bold colors have the ability to lift up my mood, and the versatile style makes it a good choice for various occasions. 

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Spring Again

Spring! And Earth is like a child
who has learned many poems by heart.
For the trouble of that long learning
she wins the prize.

Her teacher was strict. We loved the white
of the old man's beard. Now we can ask her
the many names of green, of blue,
and she knows them, she knows them!

Earth, school is out now. You're free
to play with the children. We'll catch you,
joyous Earth. The happiest will catch you!

All that the teacher taught her—the many thoughts
pressed now into roots and long
tough stems: she sings! She sings!

Rainer Maria Rilke (translated by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy)

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Phenomenal Woman & Local Food

Happy International Women's Day,
my lovely international women friends!
Wishing each and all of you lots of happiness and joy this day and always!
Being a woman is awesome! I think each and every woman is phenomenal, 
and we all are here to discover that phenomenal woman within ourselves!

Monday, March 5, 2018

Love Can Still Win

City, just as nature, is full of surprises. Take this little hand painted message which Justin spotted on a bush with bright red berries during our photo session. "Love can still win." Who wrote it? Who was the addressee? Was it a personal message or a social statement? I don't know the answers to these questions, but just like the artist who put thought and effort into this, I too want to believe that Love can still win, if we let it, no matter the situation.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Monday, February 26, 2018

Outshine the Sun

No worries, Pacific Northwest! 
When sun is hidden behind the clouds, I will come to the rescue. 

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Welcoming Sun and Blini Recipe

Happy Maslenitsa!

Today (Sunday) is the last day of a week-long celebration of MASLENITSA - an ancient Eastern Slavic folk holiday which, as I understand, is the only pagan holiday approved by the Russian Orthodox Church and included in the church calendar - it is always the week before the Great Lent (40 day long, before the Orthodox Paskha). Maslenitsa is believed to be the oldest surviving Slavic holiday and celebrates the end of long Winter. In Russian, the name comes from the word "maslo" (масло) which means butter, in English we could call it Pancake Festival because the most important tradition is to bake blini - pancakes or crepes every day of the week. The deeper meaning of it is celebrating the Sun and the arrival of Spring.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Reset Button

14 days without a new photo shoot is all I can handle! Thank goodness for good health, no rain (though I missed many sunny days that we had while I was sick), and of course for Justin who is good with the camera. 
I am happy! I am celebrating all of the above!

Monday, February 12, 2018

6 Romantic Outfit Ideas

While I am still on the mend and have no new outfits to share, I thought I'd look into In The Writer's Closet for romantic date outfit ideas - surely, in almost 4.5 years of blogging I came up with some! They are not necessarily traditional in a Valentine's Day sense, but the beauty of getting to know myself during the years experimenting with my personal style is that I can wear what I feel like, depending on my mood and nothing else. If my mood flows towards the traditionally romantic colors and shapes, I go with it, and if it doesn't, then I don't - as simple as that. So in this post I invite you to see my picks and maybe look into your closet in a new light and discover what kind of unexpected romantic outfits you can create with your clothes. When we don't have any preconceived notion in our heads, we realize that our sense of what is romantic can be quite broad, and it changes from day to day. If we follow our current mood and trust that inner sense of what feels romantic right now, we can come up with fresh outfits and surprise both our romantic partner and also ourselves. 

Monday, February 5, 2018

Two Magic Ingredients

Inspiration comes from all sorts of sources, sometimes unexpected ones. I don't know what you thought when you first saw this outfit on me, but I know what two little girls in a movie theater thought when they whispered to each other and giggled, looking at me wearing this very outfit. And what do you know, they read me as an open book!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Modish Matrons #20: Simply Red

Hello, my dear friends and readers, and welcome to the month of February with MODISH MATRONS! This time, Beate of the Little Railroad Keeper's House offered a theme, and we played with the title for a while, until we came up with Simply Red, remembering the music band (back in the early 1990s, I was a huge fan of MTV, exotic to post-Soviet Russia, and Simply Red was one of the most memorable groups then). Anyway, the idea behind the theme was wearing lots of red at once, and if Beate wouldn't have emphasized it from the beginning, I'd probably settle on one, maximum two red items. But since her thought was to play with red in abundance, I took all the red things out of my closet to see what combinations could work, and came up with this one. I must say I love the result and once again I'm thankful to my style buddies for ideas that help me grow!

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Winter Woollies and Movies

Another rainy week in Seattle (Tacoma too), and another woolly, cozy, but still feminine outfit, that I wore on one of these drizzly days. On the bright side, Patti of Not Dead Yet Style has picked one of my recent outfits among others in her post FIVE FAB INSTAGRAMS OF THE WEEK, IN LEOPARD, RED AND BLACK - I feel so honored! 

Monday, January 22, 2018

Phantom Thread: Movie and Life

I usually try to mix things up in my blog and show you outfits that differ from each other, partly because it's visually more interesting to you, as readers, but also because it's just a natural way of things here in the real writer's closet - I enjoy variety and wear very different styles. So it feels a little awkward to show you the same jacket twice in a row, but I voted for it, and my thoughts were A) this outfit is different enough from the previous one (only the outer jacket is on repeat, everything else isn't), and B) I happened to be at the inner place right now when I enjoy repeating outfits, and I also want to blog, so bear with me.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Inspired by Vintage

If you remember the recent NOVEMBER 2017 post, you might think that this plaid skirt looks somewhat familiar, and you won't be wrong. I have been wearing my old skirt for 3 years and find it very versatile and perfect for the cold season, which led me to an idea to look for another skirt in similar lines, but perhaps in different colors. While the colors of this skirt are rather similar, I do not mind it at all - I love green and rust. The design of this skirt made it irresistible for me, but it will be revealed a bit later.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Cool as a Cucumber

In this new faux leather jacket, I feel like Special Agent Cooper - cool as a cucumber. Being so taken with pattern mixing for the most part, I haven't done much color blocking lately, which is where I started my style experiments back in 2013. I didn't know that term back then, I just saw it done by some fabulous style bloggers, and I liked it and wanted to learn how to do it on my own. I ended up doing a lot of it over the past few years! But time flies, and our interests change, or at least move around - there are always new (twin) peaks to conquer, right? So I haven't color-blocked in a while and felt a bit rusty. But this jacket, guys! It reminded me of a biker jacket I used to wear in the 1990s. It was made of the fabric that looked like crushed velvet, but thick and practically indestructible, and it had similarly cool details and vibe about it. It wasn't such an intense color though, but a beautiful deep gray - I wore it non-stop, with everything. Years passed, and I tried a few moto jackets, but nothing really grabbed me before I found this one. Thank you, my new red jacket, for bringing me back to my (style) roots!

Monday, January 1, 2018

Modish Matrons #19: Warm in Knits

Happy Brand-New 2018, everybody!
Let's make it what we want it to be, shall we?
Tina, Beate and I are having a good start here at our once-a-month get-together, 
and you are cordially invited to join us!