Thursday, April 30, 2015

Comeback

With the horrific winter weather this year, I completely abandoned dressing up nicely for work. All I have been focused on was staying warm and being comfortable. The other I decided to go through the old posts on my blog, and I got a little disappointed after seeing just how much more effort I used to put into my appearance. I have always been pretty low maintenance, but I would at least try to create interesting outfits and wear heels on almost daily basis. This has not been the case for the past couple of months. And so, inspired by my own self from the past, I decided that it is time to come back and set out an outfit that has been hanging in my closet and waiting for the 'right' day to be worn. What can I say - it felt nice to look nice again. 




Sunday, April 26, 2015

Shofuso Japanese House and Garden

Every time I go to Philadelphia to visit my parents, we try to plan something fun to do. Lately we have been focused on trying to see different things in Philadelphia, learn something new about its history and culture. It's a shame that in my four years of college (which is located in Philadelphia), I had not gotten the chance to explore the city. But as they say: "Better late than never." This weekend, my mom suggested that we visit a Japanese garden that is located in Philadelphia's Fairmont Park. The suggestion was approved by everyone and on Saturday noon, once I arrived to the Greyhound bus station, we made our way to the place. Fifteen minutes later we arrived to this hidden garden. Shofuso Japanese House and Garden is a tiny place but it is definitely worth seeing. The scenery of the small territory of this garden is absolutely breathtaking. It is a perfect stop for photographers and nature-lovers. We truly enjoyed taking in the beauty of nature and capturing those moments in our photographs. The proof is below - please see for yourselves.










Saturday, April 11, 2015

Citizenship

Yesterday was one of the most important days for me - I got sworn in being a citizen of the United States of America! Just like that, after years and years (almost nine years to be exact) of paperwork, my journey of a permanent resident ended and my journey of a U.S. citizen began. Before I go into how happy I am to hold this new status, I would like to thank all the people who helped on throughout my journey. It is amazing how many people were placed into my life to help me during different times and phases. Thank you very much, everyone! I would not have gotten to where I am without your support and help!

The day of my ceremony was full of excitement, planned events and surprises. Early in the morning, my roommate and I got breakfast at our favorite cafe in Brooklyn and headed over to the US Eastern District Court in Brooklyn where the ceremony was held.
{Me taking my last steps as a permanent resident}

Once we got to the venue, we were separated, as friends and family were not allowed into the room with the people getting sworn in. 

The preparation for the ceremony took a very long time (around 3.5 hours) and once all the paperwork was straightened out, the main door of the Courtroom opened and in came the friends and family. I saw the familiar faces of my boss and my roommate and at that moment everything became just more real. About 20 minutes after, the Courtroom was filled with about 200 new U.S. citizens.




In the evening, I was supposed to meet up with my team to have a little celebration. To my huge surprise, the whole company was awaiting for me at the bar to congratulate me with becoming a citizen! Flowers, food and drinks were included. 

{Please note my American flag t-shirt, bought specifically for this occasion}



Thank you very much to everyone for making this day so special!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Red Dress

What can be better than a fabulous night on the town with your loved ones?! Last weekend my mom and stepdad came to New York to celebrate my stepdad’s birthday. The arrangements could not have been better – a hotel room in Midtown close to Central Park, a great agenda for Saturday night/Sunday morning and of course the fact that we were together again.

In the past few months, my choice of outfits has centered on the fact that it is freezing in New York City. This winter yet again proved to me that I am not good with cold weather. In addition to constantly being uncomfortable in my out body no matter how warm I dress and constantly feeling sad and discouraged mostly for that reason, at the end of the day (or rather in the mornings, when I wake up in my freezing room) I just stopped caring about what I wear and how I look – I just want to be warm. This time, however, regardless of the weather, this occasion called for a fancy outfit. I opted for red.

I never really wore red before. Even though it is my favorite color, I always felt like it’s a color that attracts too much attention which I had always tried to avoid. But this time was different. This time I put on a bright red dress without hesitation and I felt amazing wearing it. I keep talking about all the changes within me and I think this confirms them once again. This may seem like a minor, unimportant occurrence, but it does mean a lot to me.






Dress: Express

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Music

Just like writing and drawing, music has become a huge part of my life to help me get through certain times and events. Last winter, when I was going through a very difficult time of my life, I came across a song posted on Facebook by a friend of mine. Out of curiosity I clicked on the link and listen to it. The song was by a metal band I had never heard before and was heavier than anything I had listened to. Prior to that, I only listened to pop and dance music; no rock, no metal, as the Russian in me thought that those genres were only for ‘crazy, weird Americans’. In my mind, metal and rock music was all about abuse, cruelty, drugs, screaming and yelling out lyrics that no one could understand. And there I was, listening to a metal song filled with beautiful, meaningful lyrics and a full range of instrumental, symphonic tunes (I later learned that the band was indeed a ‘symphonic metal’ band). Looking back at that accidental occurrence, I can say that it was a true life changer. All the worries, pain and sadness of the last winter were accompanied by the songs of the same and other similar bands. All of a sudden, I could relate to the lyrics and feel that someone, somewhere is or was going through something similar.

Since the last winter, the range of my favorite bands has definitely grown; however, the direction of my music preferences remained the same. What surprised me the most in the beginning stages of my new musical preferences, was that I started meeting more and more interesting people with the same taste in music. Coming from my home country, where a little deviation from social standards (in this case, the standard being pop music) pretty much makes you a freak, this was a huge revelation. I am happy I entered this world of incredible musical talent, as it is mostly the rock/metal bands that try to keep their creations as close to live performances as possible (meaning, the majority of them are opposed to using the so-called ‘Pro Tools’ focusing on playing the real instruments).

This year I decided to focus on attending live concerts at every opportunity I get. To date, I already saw two great performances (one of which was dubbed an ‘unusual choice’ by my cousin in Russia), and I am definitely planning on seeing more. If going to the concerts makes me incredibly happy and inspired, why not try to continue the trend?