Sunday, May 29, 2016

Lancaster Trip

This weekend, I went to Lancaster again to see my friends. As usually, the trip was full of positive emotions, great food and tons of coffee (thank goodness they are as into coffee and me).

The weekend began with lunch at my favorite cafe in Lititz, PA - Tomato Pie Cafe. 

Then we took a walk through the pretty streets of Lititz and stopped by Cafe Chocolate for some coffee

Next stop was trails somewhere in Lancaster, it was such a beautiful day for hiking!

And then dinner at Belvedere Restaurant

Next day began with coffee again

Weird picture, but I had to have a picture taken in front of the brick wall =)

And for lunch, one of my favorite places - Iron Hill Brewery

Until the next time, Lancaster!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Blue Dress

It's finally nice enough outside to wear a dress, so here it is

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Have I Changed?

It's getting closer and closer to my four year New York anniversary - in about half a month, it'll be four years since I moved to this amazing city (yes, I still absolutely think it is amazing). This morning, I keep going through the memories of when I just moved here, those first few days of living on my own in this crazy busy city. Was I scared? Was I naive? Did I have regrets about my decision to move here? Scared and naive - maybe; but regrets? Never. Of course I have been through a few phases of "I have to move out and try something else," but you know you're in the right place when the idea of leaving it makes your eye tear up. And that is how I still feel about New York. 

Today once I got to work, I opened my blog and started looking at the posts from June of 2012, the month and year when I moved here. And boy have things changed! At a first glance, I look almost the same, except for the hair color - I was blonde back then. I was also skinnier, but that's a totally different story. But as I looked closer, as I tried to remember my feelings and emotions from back then, I realized that I did change, maybe not as much on the outside, but definitely on the inside. As I started comparing myself today to myself four years ago, I realized that I am not scared anymore. I definitely know more now than I knew before, and what's important is now I know what to do with this knowledge. I can see through things and it feels good to know exactly what's going on and to choose how to react in certain situations. I was naive, I was wearing pink-colored glasses and hoping for the brightest future without any hurdles, troubles, mistakes. And now I know that there is no such thing. And there shouldn't be. How would you expect to learn, to grow, to become a better person if you never make mistakes or deal with any problems? It is still a learning process, but I am starting to welcome changes, to take on bigger challenges and to live my life day by day, instead of hoping for the bright future. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Sweet 26

I think I mentioned before that I am absolutely obsessed with my birthdays. For some reason, since I was a child I put a lot of thought and planning into each and every of my birthdays. Every year, I try to do something special, as it truly is the day to feel special. This year my birthday fell on a Tuesday. Without much hesitation I decided this day is definitely worth taking a day-off for, so I requested that Tuesday and the next Wednesday off. 

This year I did not actually have any crazy plans (like going to Mexico last year, or ending up at a crazy dance party the year before). This year the focus was on spending quality time by myself, pampering myself throughout the day, and then going out for dinner with my friends from work. 

So I slept in (I did the best I could, but I think I still got up before 8AM), and as soon as I woke, I opened my birthday gift from my parents/myself (we shared the cost).

Next, I had a lazy breakfast at Gratitude Cafe (of course)

After I came home from breakfast, I got ready and headed out to Manhattan. PS - since this is my birthday post, I get to post a ton of selfies.

In Manhattan, I took a walk in Central Park. The weather was pretty gray that day, but I still enjoyed the sereneness and grandeur of the Park. 

Unfortunately, this is the only picture of my outfit and it's absolutely horrendous. Happens...

After my walk in the park, I had a nice lunch at Le Pain Quotidien on Upper West Side.

Followed by a mani/pedi appointment.

And finally, it was time for dinner. We went to a new place - OoviƱa , which has now become one of our favorite hangout spots.

After dinner I headed home, happy and very content with my birthday celebration. And just as I thought that the day was over, my roommate (the best roommate in the world) showed up with two small bottles of champaign! 

May all our lives be filled with pleasant surprises. May we have the wisdom to stay open to new challenges, new opportunities and new rewards. May we have the strength to stay true to who we are.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Early Birthday Celebration

This year my birthday celebrations began a few days prior to the actual birthday. In Russia, there is a whole theory of how you cannot celebrate your birthday earlier since "you have not been born yet." But I've noticed that in the U.S. no one cares about these things, so I decided to side with the latter. Since my birthday fell on Tuesday, I went to Philadelphia the weekend before to celebrate with my parents. We were planning to go to this French restaurant in Philadelphia - Parc Restaurant. Once we got there and saw how crowded it was (and the wait was over an hour) we took a different course and headed towards our other favorite place on Philadelphia - Greek restaurant Estia. I spoke about this in the last post, but sometimes it is so important to just go with the flow instead of planning things. When we got to Estia, instantly we all realized that this place should have been our first choice. It's a very nice place which does not fail to make you feel special. I could not have hoped for a better outcome.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Business Trip

This is what I do in the hotel rooms on my business trips. This one was not that eventful, as it was in New Jersey, but it was still nice to get away for a day. 

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Unexpected Surprises

I like planning. I plan so many thing that I get annoyed with my own self for not letting things just be. And when I plan things, I usually end up disappointed because things rarely happen the way I want them to and unexpected surprises always find their way into our lives. When things suddenly happen in a way you would not have imagined, you have to adjust. I feel sometimes like the themes of our lives can be summed up in that one word - "adjust." As much as we try to foresee certain things, we can never predict what is going to happen. So let's stop planning our every move and take changes as they come. 

This Saturday I spent in Coney Island/Brighton Beach. The weather was very gloomy, but it actually suited the mood. Sometimes it is nice to embrace the sadness and wallow in it for a day or so (as long as you don't stay in it for a very long time). So that's what I did - I enjoyed my weird mood, I got it out of my system and I was on the way to feeling better eventually.