Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Embrace The Sad Moments

I wrote this little piece a while ago and I wanted to have it here on my blog:

Life is not all 'rainbows' and 'butterflies'. There are sad moments in life that people should embrace more. Everyone tries to hide from their sadness; I accept it. It is a part of life and it makes me appreciate the happy moments much more. 

Saturday, February 6, 2016


I dyed my hair, again. But at least I didn't go from dark from blonde again this time. Just touched up my color, so you will see that in the first few pictures my hair is lighter that in the last few, as some of them I took in the morning, and some of them I took after I got home. But here's my grunge-style outfit from Friday. 

Real versus Fake

In the world where success and self-worth are measured by the number of 'likes' on social media, it is becoming more and more difficult to see people's true selves. I used to wonder: "Is there something seriously wrong with me?" I mean, all these people on Instagram and Facebook seem to have their lives in order, and here I am, going up and down, being extremely happy one minute, falling apart the next minute. So what the heck is wrong with me?!

A few days ago I was feeling down so I confided my feelings in my friend. To my surprise, he told me that he would have never ever thought that I was feeling that way. "By the photographs that you post, you seem like the happiest, most put-together person." There was my proof first-hand – what you see on social media is a bunch of lives full of pretense. We are all guilty of it… well, those of us consumed by social media. 

Recently, I started paying more attention to how these social media ‘games’ make me feel. I started noticing that after receiving a number of compliments for a selfie that I posted, instead of feeling great and flattered, more and more I started to feel like a liar. "This is not the real me," - I started explaining to some of my friends, "I don't look like that in real life." I made a decision to stop posting so much of my person things on Facebook and Instagram (my New Year’s resolution for 2016). As I thought about it more, I realized that before posting something I need to think about my intentions for a post. Am I trying to "impress" someone? Am I trying to obtain someone's reassurance? Or am I simply posting something because I feel like having it as a part of my 'online diary', no other intentions in mind? If the case is the latter one - it is safe to post; if, however, the case falls under the first or second questions, then we have a problem.

Social media has been slowly but surely becoming the evil of today's society. Don't get me wrong, I still love my social media sites; however, have you been following any fitness or fashion 'models' on Instagram lately? All their posts are these pictures of perfection - perfect outfits, perfect lighting, perfect shape and form. But how many of them don't have sponsors behind those 'perfect photos'? Exactly. So how can we compare ourselves to these fictional characters? We can’t and we shouldn’t. It is a dangerous game, as before you know it you end being a victim of trying to be perfect, when in fact, perfection does not exist, and even more importantly, perfection should not be anyone's ultimate goal. Be unique, be spontaneous, be imperfect, be yourself.

The other day I came home from work feeling extremely tired and sad. I don’t remember what exactly made me feel that way, but all of sudden I started thinking about how some people in this world are mistreated and undervalued, and that made me very upset. There are so many beautiful people in this world, people with beautiful personalities, beautiful stories, beautiful intentions, etc., and all we focus on are the appearances. It’s sickening how shallow we are sometimes. That day, I decided that it’s time to start getting down to the core of who we are, who I am. After I took a shower and took all of my makeup off, I got my camera out and took a few selfies. But not the pretty kind, the kind that exposed my state of mind at the time. There I was, with no cover-up. My skin was breaking out pretty bad that day; but with all that, these are some of my favorite selfies I ever took because they are real. Because they show the sadness in my eyes at the moment they were taken. Because months and years later, when I look at these photos, I will not need to read a post to understand how I was feeling at that moment. Because they show that my life is not perfect.

PS: ironically, I did not post these ‘real’ pictures on social media…

Pretty and 'dolled-up'

Real, feeling 'down'

Monday, February 1, 2016

Gift from Russia

There are certain things that carry special meaning to us. I'm sure pretty much everyone brings something back from their vacations and trips, something to remember those events by. While it makes sense to bring something back, I never really understood the value of souvenirs that people bring for other people from their trips. I always felt like bringing people gifts from my trips was useless - those trips are my experiences and those gifts are my reminders of the good times; they would mean something to me, but to others they would mean absolutely nothing. 

This concept changes, though, when we talk about the gifts or souvenirs picked out specifically for us by people we care about. When I went to Russia last time, I met up with one of my mom's closest friends, Olga. Olga has always been a good friend of our family and a role model to me. On the day we met up, we had a nice lunch, caught up about everything that was going on in our lives, and then went for a walk along Krasnaya Street, the main street of my home city in Russia. Trying to escape the cold (it was October, but the weather was very cold that day), we stopped by a little boutique that was selling nice, expensive clothes. Before I went on this trip, I made a rule for myself not to buy any clothes in Russia, since their prices on clothes are absolutely ridiculous. And here we were - me and Olga, me trying not to look at the items and their prices, and Olga trying to convince me to try something on so she could buy it for me. "I just want you to bring something back with you, something that will remind you of me and of your trip to Russia." It was mostly silly at the moment, and we were both laughing. Finally, I gave in and let Olga buy this highly overpriced (but very cute) sweater I am wearing here. 

Today, I wore this sweater to work and every time I would catch my reflection in the mirror, it would remind me of that day, of that trip, of my overall life in Russia a few years ago. It makes me happy and it makes me sad - happy to recall the precious moments from my 'previous life', sad to realize that those moments can never be brought back. It's funny how little things like this have such power to bring back so many memories and so many mixed emotions. But at the end of the day, life goes on, people grow up, places change, and we have to adjust to all the new things that come into our lives. And if we ever want to be reminded of what it used to be like, we always have those gifts, those souvenirs. 

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Weekend Home

Finally, the weekend we all have been waiting for has arrived. By 'all' I mean myself and my parents, as we have patiently waited for the weather to calm down so I could take a trip from New York to Philadelphia. I was originally planning my visit for the previous weekend, but out of nowhere, a snowstorm decided to ruin my plans. So the trip was postponed to the next weekend, and on Saturday morning of that next weekend I was on my way to see my parents. 

Our plans for this weekend were absolutely amazing - lunch at a newly found Italian restaurant, followed by staying in, watching TV, talking, drinking and eating more food. What could be better? As usually, this weekend home was a breath of fresh air for me, a nice getaway from the chaotic New York life. I love living in New York, but every once in a while, it is nice, and sometimes necessary, to go away for a weekend, relax, spend some time with the family, talk about what is important in life, and then return with a newly gained motivation and drive. This weekend gave me exactly that. And so, with a re-established goal of focusing on myself (e.g. self-love, confidence, etc.), I came back ready to begin the new week. How wonderful it is to have a home that makes you feel better every time you go back!