March 29, 2013


Those of my friends that are on Gregorian calendar are celebrating Easter this weekend. Ours is not for another month plus some, but it is not possible to not feel the spirit of the holiday in the air already. Our traditions are slightly different, but egg decoration is very much in my blood, literally. We usually make our eggs right before the Easter, and we try to maintain the spirit and tradition of pysanky, but I stumbled upon so many different beautiful eggs this year, we may try something new for ourselves too.

Pinterest is overflowing with ideas. Here are a few of my favorites:

white marker eggs 
golden dipped eggs ( i think i'll try this one! in my version of it) 
famous pysanky eggs ( a video how-to)
newspaper eggs
pantone eggs ( cute!)
nyc subway eggs ( love!)

For pictured above eggs, more decoration ideas and Easter basket fun go here.

have a fabulous weekend and


March 26, 2013


My most recent pinterest feed was filled with beautiful things. Whether it is my pregnant state that is putting me in this beauty-thirsting mood or not, but I have thoroughly enjoyed these inspiring pins. I hope you like them too. 


March 25, 2013


anti-morning sickness life-savers

If you are one of the lucky ones who does not get morning sickness during pregnancy, count your very lucky stars. Genetic or not, but it seems that all women on my side of the family do not have it easy, and neither has it ever been a smooth ride for me. From my personal experience , it does not matter whether it is a natural approach only, medication help or hypnosis/relaxation , I still get sick, often to the day the baby is born.

Each pregnancy is very different, but I found that these "anti-morning sickness life-savers" have helped me every time to keep my head above the water.

 * ginger - lemon tea 
 You can buy the ready-made packets, I personally found that fresh ginger root + a slice of lemon infused with boiling water do a much better trick for me. I also do mine in a thermos early morning, so I have access to it whenever I feel like throughout the day and don't have to bother making it at that "very it" moment. A little more about ginger tea in pregnancy.

*raspberry leaf - mint infusion 
This one also can be bought it already measured packets or bulk. Mine is bulk simply because I use so much of it + fresh mint. I do not like sweet taste and much prefer raspberry leaf natural soothing and slightly tangy taste, but should you wish to sweeten it, adding a spoonful of honey to HOT beverage will make it taste delicious. I also make a large batch of this infusion in the morning, and keep some in the fringe and some with me in my water-bottle. This is my "water", literally. Play with proportions - I like mine less strong then more, but everyone is different. More on raspberry leaf tea benefits here.

* grapefruit 
The ultimate life-saver when nothing else stays in. Lot's of benefits and helps with very much needed proper digestion. Here are a few ways to can eat it, if you need ideas.

*green juice
This is my daily "must". I found that it makes me feel a wee-bit better and nausea somewhat more manageable. If it's one of those "nothing-stays-in" days, I at lest feel better knowing that a good portion of nutrition got to my system and the baby ( since juices absorb much faster)  before it ... you know.. evacuated itself. My juice is a savory combo of cucumber, spinach, parsley, celery and cayenne. But you really need to find what works for you - some ideas here.

* mineral water with wheatgrass ice cubes
An OB recommended me sparkling water with my first pregnancy and I still praise his name every time. Do make sure it is natural - not artificially carbonated. Not only natural is full of minerals,  artificial carbonation also makes things only worse ( go figure)  Through experimenting I found "my" brand of water. Trader Joe's is my friend for that - it's the cheapest there. I add 1-2 cubes of wheatgrass juice: makes it taste better for me + additional nutrition. You can buy cubes pre-made at a health food store, or make your own - it's super easy and takes about a week for grass to grow. Just soak wheat, seed in a pot and watch it grow. If you make your own, grow a bunch at the same time, because the wheat grass won't give you much juice. 2-3 cookie sheets of grass will give your about 12-16 oz of juice.

* rose oil
Ridiculously expensive, but the PURE scent of rose helps. I'm sure google has the answer why, but I'm just happy with the results.  This one works for me.

*eco-dent tooth powder
The ultimate absolute must. I think many can relate to gagging on your toothpaste. I found this powder on absolute accident in desperation and has not looked back since. Worked magic for me - I am actually looking forward to brushing my teeth and the ultra-clean feeling it leaves my mouth with.


please, share! 

March 22, 2013


It's FRIDAY! This week has been so full of work, events, etc, it seem to have lasted forever. Yay to the weekend, and (hopefully) nice weather, right? 
According to the instagram, we have been strolling a lot ( which is true).
More of the insta's include: 

* feeding friends after dinner ( what dinner is there without a tea party, right?) 
* practicing the sword skills and winning a battle from a BOY who is 5 years older ( she won't get lost in life, that's for sure) 
* strolling and snoozing in the rain. i only wished it could be me there snoozing. 
* testing every car there was at a toy store...
*... and then making sure that the running skills are still intact ( they ARE) 
*strapping in the friends ( note: it's a cat and a mouse, and they are FRIENDS!) to take for a walk, because she didn't want to sit that day
* apparently, no shoes and feet up promote deeper thinking ( i may try that one myself) 
* i cannot listen to my music anymore. Tchaikovsky is her choice of listen.
* ...and when she get's bored on the top, the bottom seat entertains her more. the truth is we were practicing for the upcoming baby. the other part of the truth - i now have to fight to put her on top. apparently, she obviously favors the bottom seat.
* some friends love i stumbled upon in the nursery. arranged by the occupant of the nursery herself. 
* just Vasilisa shopping. she has some seriously great day job, right?

ps: for many of you that inquired, the stroller is the newest Stokke Crusi with in a sibling seat configuration. we honestly love it.


March 20, 2013


coat : jcrew  ( old) . top : emersonfry ( love it) . jeans : jbrand ( old, similar jbrand or emersonfry mick pant) . bag : steve madden. shoes: converse

^^ the belly in hiding. no coat buttons anymore ^^ 

The spring is here, the sun is out, and we are making the most of it! Every season has its charm, but there is something about having the nature awaken and every little bird celebrating it. Take a walk outside today, if you can, even if for just a few minutes!


March 18, 2013


Have you ever seen a Guinness Record set or broken?   Last weekend we randomly wandered into our local Whole Foods for some cheese and groceries to only find out that in 20 minutes our store, among 400 others nation wide were preparing to break the Guinness Record for having most Parmesan cheese wheels cracked open at the same time. Apparently, the story behind it was that Whole Foods held the record to the past several years, until Canada beat them by just a couple of wheels. Naturally, we made ourselves ( and luckily a camera) comfortable. It's not like you stumble on a new Guinness Record every day, you know.

And here is the photo-story of the Parmagedon ( as WF called it) :

^^ all set and ready with a 100lb Parmesan wheel, just waiting for the last minute countdown ^^

^^ amazingly delicious Parm itselt, though not freshly cracked yet ^^

^^ last few seconds and the cutting begins. cheese had to be cracked open in 15 minutes to go on a record. apparently, it was not as easy as one may think ^^

^^ first stabs to get into the heart of it ^^ 

^^ it's a team effort ( and some power to keep the table from tipping over) ^^

^^ and it's done! our store did it in 5 minutes! that's what team work can do for you. and some serious skill ^^

^^ delicious fresh Parmesan. it is absolutely true that once you taste fresh parm, there is no going back ^^

^^ making new friends with the team. although, they are like a family to us already. can you guess , we love cheese just a little? ^^

^^ the team that made it happen - we love them so! ^^

^^ and the beauty itself ...^^

Some fun facts about Parmesan we learned : 

 * Under Italian law, only cheese produced in the provinces of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, Bologna, and Mantova may be labelled “Parmigiano-Reggiano”.

 * The only additive allowed in real parmesan is salt which is absorbed by the cheese in the first 20 days of curing.

 *  Parmigiano-Reggiano is considered at its best when it is aged 24-30 months. It is still soft and crumbly, yet there are tiny crunchy spots from the crystallized salt.

 * The milk used to make real parmigiano-reggiano is whole milk from a morning milking that is mixed with the naturally skimmed milk from the previous evening’s milking (the sitting milk separates itself, resulting in a part-skim mix).

 * True parma is first tested at 12 months of age by a certified inspector. Cheese wheels are inspected with only a hammer and the inspector’s ear. They can ‘hear’ whether the cheese has undesirable cracks within its wheel.

 * The average parma wheel weighs 84 lbs.

 * Parmigiano-Reggiano is one of the greatest sources of pride for Italians, going back 800 years! Each wheel is considered an expression of the cheese maker’s dedication to not only his history as a cheese conneisseur but the history of the region in which the cheese comes from.

  * Parmigiano-Reggiano is wonderful eaten in small chunks, as thin slivers, and of course, grated.

  * You don’t ever want to freeze your parmigiano-reggiano. Freezing it can destroy the subtle nuances in its flavor.

   * Because of the long, careful aging process, the milk proteins in parmigiano-reggiano are broken down making it one of the easiest milk products for humans to digest.

   * In Italy, it is common for the head of a wheel of Parmesan cheese to be used as a “serving pot.” The head is hollowed out and then filled with steaming pasta.

    * At the Parmigiano-Reggiano festival in Modena, Italy, a wheel of Parmesan cheese often sells for around 490 euros.

    * In 2008 Italy spent $65 million dollars to bail out the Parmigiano Reggiano and Grana Padano cheese industries.
    * Parmigiano-Reggiano is made only from April 1 to November 11, with milk from cows that have been eating fresh grasses. Most of the cream is skimmed from the milk which is then cooked in copper pots, pressed in cheesecloth lined molds, then salted in brine and allowed to mature.  Parmigiano-Reggiano is the highest quality parmesan from the Parma region.

    * The name "Grana" comes from the ancient Latin word for grainy. These cheeses both contain crunchy white specks, which are actually the result of
naturally occurring free amino acids that  crystallize during aging. These crystals give Grana Padano and Parmigiano-Reggiano their distinctive, slightly
crunchy texture. They also make these cheeses easier to digest and an excellent source of energy.

    * It takes 160 gallons of premium quality, part-skim, unpasteurized cow's milk to make one 80-pound wheel of cheese.
As a result, each pound contains the concentrated nutrients of two gallons of milk.

    * "Grana" and "Regg" are excellent sources of protein,  calcium, phosphorus, vitamins A, B2, B6, B12, E, D and K, pantothenic acid, biotin, magnesium, zinc,
copper, potassium, sodium and cobalt.  In fact, these cheeses contain 18 of the body's 21 required amino acids and  contain almost 40% more nutrition
than beef.

    * A mere two-ounces of Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano satisfies 60% of an adult's daily calcium requirements.
Because they are made from part-skim milk, Parmigiano-Reggiano and Grana Padano are very low in fat and cholesterol compared to almost any other
natural cheese.

    * Compared to proteins found in meat, which take four hours to assimilate, Parmigiano-Reggiano and Grana Padano are digested in 45  minutes.  Athletes
include these cheeses in their post-workout diet because  eating them is a quick way to replenish lost nutrients.
    * Because of its healthy properties, many families in Italy sprinkle grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and Grana Padano on their baby's food.

March 13, 2013


Beauty secrets


How about some beauty secrets?

After a friend commented on my good looking manicure while being a mom, I thought it would be a great topic to share. My absolute mani secret is gel nail polish.

Every woman wants to look great, but not everyone has time. When we add the word "mom" into the equation, multiply the lack of personal time by 100. A specialist at a local salon suggested that I try their newest Gel polish. She told me how great it is, wonderful, non-damaging, etc. I refused - I simply confused it with the gel nails  ( which is a completely different thing, as I discovered later).
Long story short - a year or so ago I gave in and tried the magic "shellac" ( another name, though brand was not shellac), and I never went back to regular polish since. And here is why.

Gel polish lasts at least two weeks.
Think : no chips, no mess, perfect looking "just barely out of salon" nails.  Since I am busy just like everyone else, I hardly ever change it until it starts falling off 3-4 weeks into it ( as I figured, then I don't have to even use time to remove the polish - once one nail loosens, they ALL are loose and a dab of acetone ( or remover ) makes then pop off in 30 sec)

It's non- damaging to the nails ( at least not any more then regular polish is)

I can use just the base and top coat without color in between, and use regular polish on top.
This is an awesome feature that I discovered by experimenting, and love it - should I wish to change colors , say every few days or so, just for fun - the regular polish lasts longer on top of gel topcoat ( though not as long as gel polish does), and as long as you use a NON-acetone based polish remover, you are cool to switch regular polish as much as you wish. I think this is very awesome.

Buy your own kit, 
unless, of course, you are not opposed to cashing out a good amount every 3 weeks or so. Although, to be honest, even if the price of a gel mani is 3 times more then one of the regular manicure, it also last 3 times longer, so in the long run you are not spending any more then you would , should you be the one who maintains nails weekly. I am not. For me, buying the at home kit was the best thing I've done. Initially a cost of 2 gel manicures, and I have saved hundreds by doing it all at home. Sure, crooked at first, while you are getting the hang of it, but I promise , you learn to be a pro very fast. Combined with a few other tools that one needs to have for a regular nail upkeep, which many have already on hand, and your nails looks perfect every day. For free.
* that said, I do recommend that you go to a salon at least once to see HOW it is done, and then mimic it at home. gel polish is different from the usual one - it's thicker, and seeing how the tech did it helped me personally a lot *

Here are a few thoughts on what I would have done differently.
ONE: I bought a regular UV lamp because it could cure 2 hands at the same time and was 2/3 of a price of the LED lamp ( here or here)  that could cure only one hand at a time. THE TRUTH: it's near to impossible ( at least for me when doing my own nails) to have two hands ready without messing one up. I typically end up curing at least the first coat of color on nails of one hand after another, and although 2 minutes per hand does not seem as a huge thing, I cannot tell you how many times I since wished I had an LED lamp that takes only 30 secs. 10-15 minute manicure is not that much, but 3-4 minutes would be so much better, right?!

TWO: You don't need to cash out on remover and cleanser, unless you want to. Plane acetone is 1/5 of the price and works twice as fast as a remover. Rubbing alcohol costs pennies and is the best cleanser ( gel nails will be sticky at the end and need a little rub. as i mentioned above, i highly recommend you go to a salon for the first time, if possible).

THREE: if possible, buy a kit of colors. I didn't want to spend much then, but I do wish I bought a set of color polishes over buying them one by one. Although Amazon offers GREAT prices, a set would still be even cheaper, and who doesn't want to save more, right?

Here is the process of application, if you cannot go to a salon: 

*clean and prep the nails by buffing them and shaping. the smoother the nail, the longer the polish lasts. a girl at the salon recommended washing your hands with soap prior to color application. i noticed if I do that, the polish stays on for a looooong time without peeling.

* apply the PH bond

* apply the foundation and cure under the light . this one I apply to both hands and cure for about 15-20 seconds under the UV light. If you buy LED lamp, read the instructions on the bottle - it tells you the time.

* apply the first coat of color and cure under the light. this one I apply and cure one hand at a time, with UV lamp for 2 minutes per hand ( it has a setting on it, so no timer needed :))

* apply the second coat if you want to. this one I do two hands at once - somehow second coat is easier to not mess up. curing for 2 minutes ( both hands at the same time)

* apply the top coat and cure for 2 minutes ( this one too I do 2 hands at the same time)

*rub off the sticky nails ( they are supposed to be sticky) with a cotton ball soaked in alcohol ( or cleanser).

*enjoy your perfect looking nails for nearly a month!

Seems like a lot to do , but it really is not. The only extra step you have is to rub your nails with alcohol cotton ball at the end, everything else is just regular nail color application + curing.

*if you wish to remove gel polish, use a nail file or a buffer to break the surface of the top coat, soak cotton balls in acetone or remover, apply to the nail and wrap in tin foil, plastic, or whatever else to secure it to the nails. this is the best and fastest removing technique that I have seen. leave for 10-15 minutes until you see the polish flaking off. Rub off with the nail file or a buffer and treat nails as usual.

* using a cuticle oil is a great idea always for the health of the nails.
*ps: there are many different brands of gel nail polish. i have tried shellac and harmony gelish, and both work equally well. my preference is harmony gelish - it is thinner and feels more like regular polish.

Here is to beauty secrets!


March 12, 2013


jeans : mother. sweater : h&m . jacket : h&m. flats : dv by dolce vita. bag: steve madden. scarf: nordstrom (old) 

It's been a long while since the last style post, so how about one The Belly style? 
Pregnancy is always a "fun" time to style - not only your body changes, but your prospective on your personal appearance changes too, at least for me. I have also noticed that apart from usual "preggers" things ( like early popped belly and such), my bones are coming looser waaaaay sooner then what I expected it to be, so flats galore it is for me at this time.

Here are my current Belly Style life savers : 
stretchy jeans
looser tops 
elastic belts ( h&m belts are AWESOME! 1/2 the price of bella-band, and keeps your jeans up better!)
bright flats ( if no heels, at least fun flats make up for it, right? )  
Genius? Not at all. I am finding though that simple colors with a pop of something bright does it for me this time. And as awesome "pre-maternity, during and after" clothing is, wearing something that is non-preggers still makes me happy, even the 5th time around.

March 06, 2013


Let's talk about parenting today. 
 A few recent occurrences made me think a little deeper into this subject, raising a few questions in my mind. 

Question 1 : what is parenting? 

I don't know if there is a straight forward, one-fits-all answer. To me , parenting is a communication form with the child , where an adult is an authoritative statute acting in and for the benefit of the child. Now that I wrote that I think it sounds like a Wikipedia definition, but let's take a practical application to it.

Imagine this situation ( I am a visual person and this is a real life example from last week) :

Pediatrician's office. A child , let's call her Jane,  about 3 years old is throwing the toys all over the place. Their turn seems to be upcoming. 

The mother : "Jane, please, pick up all the toys".
Jane : " Nope. I don't want to".
The mother, begging: " Jane, pleeeeeease, pick up the toys..."
Jane : " I said NO!" stumping her foot. 
 The mother with the sigh : "Ok then, I will pick them up"... 
and with a face expression that reads "my-life-is-so-hard-these-toddlers-are-unbearable" goes on to pick up the toys.

 To some it may seem as an absurd and obvious situation, to others , it may look like a typical something out of their day, some may even think , reading this " this is why I don't want to have kids".  Unfortunately, this "stencil" of a situation is something that I see rather often, but what is more worrisome to observe is the reaction of the surroundings. When the mother went to pick up those toys, she has received many sympathetic and understanding looks , if not all.  Mine was the one of the amusement.  

I am failing to see how a child ruling over the parent in even little things will listen to parent in a situation of an importance, and more so - an emergency. A parent - according to self-made definition - is a person of much love, fun, source of happiness, but authority nonetheless, whose statements are not to be questioned. That, in my opinion, is created, by, again, lots of love, kindness, but supported by unwavering firmness. The "keep calm, carry on" must have been created with the thoughts of parenting in mind, because it fits perfectly.

I am genuinely curious of your opinions on "Bringing up Bebe" Pamela Druckerman , if you have read or heard of it. I thought that her statements were simply common-sense parenting, but the more I come in contact with different parents, the more I am seeing WHY she wrote the book. 

I would love to talk more about parenting.

Do you think the above mentioned example is ok?  How much freedom is too much? How would you act in a similar situation? What do you see as a definition of a parenting?


March 01, 2013



although in US it's not officially until march 22, where i grew up the first day of spring was marked on march 1st and i cannot help myself but live with that tradition. so, according to me, today is the first day of spring! and you BET we are going to celebrate this super nice weather ( thank you groundhog!) with a nice super long walk in the park during nap time ( walk for me , nap for little ones, thanks to our comfy stroller ) , a picnic after school ( yay for short school days in fridays!) and , probably, a kite flying - wind permitting.

i glanced over my ipod recently played list ( in last 2 days) and laughed. here is the mix: 
black keys - el camino
beattles - random favorites
aram khachaturian's spartacus ( love, love, love it! a must listen if you haven't yet!)
bon iver
carla bruni
debussy favorites
edith piaf
imagine dragons
francoise hardy
london phylharmonic orchestra
karen ann
and a few random melodies adapted for a ballet class. 
random? absolutely. but somehow all together it's what my current mood is sending requests for. 


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