Saturday, March 25, 2017

Restaurant Astoria

Oh how much I love Russian restaurants in the United States! The grand interior decor, the abundance of food, the live music, the dancing... Parties at Russian restaurants are always absolutely amazing. The funny thing is there are pretty much no restaurants like this back in Russia, but here we very much enjoy visiting these fine establishments.

Today we were celebrating my stepdad's 60th birthday at restaurant Astoria, located in Northeast Philly. It was a blast! It was so wondering to dress up and go to a beautiful party with the family and closest family friends. 









Friday, March 24, 2017

Short Hair (This Time I Care)

By now you should know just how much I love changing up my hair. By changing my hair, I sort of always mark a new start, a new beginning of something, I feel like a new person. Typically this involves dying my hair a new color - damaging but easily reversible (in case I don't like the color). However, this time around I went for a more drastic and more lasting change. I wanted a new haircut, so 40 minutes and 10 inches off my hair later, I was looking like a new person with a new, short cut. Why did I do it? Maybe I just wanted a fresh, stylish haircut. Or maybe I had an extremely tough couple of weeks and was going through a mini meltdown...

I am trying to come up with a perfectly plausible explanation of what brought on this change and I am really struggling. I have always associated my long hair with something that made me more attractive, more feminine, and just more "me". I am fully aware that my long hair was never in a good condition, especially given all the damage I had done by constantly changing my hair color, but regardless long hair was my security blanket. I remember when I was a child, I cut my hair short and I absolutely hated it. That time I swore that I would never cut it short again. And I haven't until now. 

This time, I just needed a change that was bigger and more meaningful than simply changing the color of my hair. I knew that I would like myself with this short haircut much less than I like myself with long hair. But in a way I wanted to do it for that reason, as if I finally wanted to take my mind off of what I thought made me more attractive and instead start focusing on what is inside. It's like I wanted to be more unnoticeable in a way, to just hide in my thoughts and to finally be sympathetic towards myself and the people around me. Chopping off those inches of hair was a good way to let go of some prejudices I had about what makes me me. It's not the length of my hair, it's not the size of my clothes, it's not the amount of makeup I put on; it's the lessons I learn and the information I acquire, it's the struggles I go through and the goals I achive, it's the kind thoughts I have towards the people around me, and it's the learning of having those kind thoughts towards myself.







Sunday, March 19, 2017

A Mess

That weird, hopeless feeling is back. It’s back all over again. I don’t know what happened but this whole weekend has been tough for me. I would start the day in a great mood, incredibly inspired and grateful, and then as the sun set, so did my mood. It may be the fact that my birthday is getting closer. All of sudden, the thought of me turning twenty seven gives me anxiety. I know it may sound silly to some people because twenty seven is still young. I know it is, don’t get me wrong. I also know that a lot of twenty-somethings go through this. But the fact that I understand all this does not make it easier emotionally to go through these moods. It’s just, all of a sudden I feel like my life is slipping away, and I don’t know in which direction to go. Maybe it is due to some recent complications at work, maybe it’s due to the lack of a relationship, maybe it is because I miss my family. Regardless of what it is, it gives me lots and lots of anxiety. Anxiety and hopelessness. 

What brought this on, you may question? Well, it’s silly, but it started with me watching the show Gilmore Girls. For those of you who don’t know it, it is a story of a mother and a daughter, their lives, their struggles, and their close-knit relationship that helps them get through those struggles. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? It’s pretty much a story about me and my mom. I was watching the latest series that just came out on Netflix, and something about it made me feel very vulnerable. It’s interesting, in some ways the show made me feel better because it showed a character in her thirties going through what I am going through now so that gave me some comfort that I do have time, but in other ways, it pointed out certain things of my life that are difficult to admit and accept. 

It shows the daughter who is now thirty-two and is struggling with not having her life together. She, a graduate of Yale and a wonderful journalist, cannot find her place in life. She jumps from job to job, her relationships are not working out, she really struggles with the realization that she, an overachiever, a straight-A student, a nice, kind person loved by so many people, does not have her life under control. It is extremely hard for her to accept that as she is used to accomplishing things she takes on. 

It shows the mom, who goes through struggles of her own. She now lives with the man she loves, but there is just something missing. She cannot point out what it is, so she goes away for a bit to think and try to figure out what is causing her distress. And it finally comes to her. She has been strong and holding it together for way too long, and finally she lets herself be weak. 

It shows the grandma who just lost her husband and is trying to learn how to live a completely different life, a life without a man who was by her side for all these years. I think this was the most difficult part about the show, this was the last straw. It all looked too familiar, maybe a bit exaggerated (it is a movie after all), but still very familiar. Me feeling lost and hopeless. My mom having had been strong for so long and finally trying to let herself be vulnerable and allow herself to be loved. My grandma learning to live without the husband she had spent the majority of her life with. And us all learning to live without a man who was the head of the family, the biggest supporter when you least expected it, the strongest person I knew who was taken away from us by a cruel illness. It’s tough, after years and years it’s still very, very tough. 

It's silly that a Netflix show brought out all these emotions, but it did make me a complete mess. It also made me realize that I miss doing the one thing that always used to make me happy, the thing that’s been with me through the good times and the bad, the thing that lets me be my most honest self - writing. I completely abandoned my favorite hobby. I have been jumping from hobby to hobby, trying to figure out what I’m good at, trying to decide what to focus on. I have had various phases - the drawing phase, the painting phase, the guitar phase, the photography phase (which is actually another activity I still love doing, but that’s for a different post…). They all came and went, but writing stuck with me for years, since the day I opened my blog, even way before that actually. Yes, I feel extremely sad right now, but I also feel like I’ve regained a part of me that I lost somewhere in all this chaos that we call life. 


Monday, March 13, 2017

Being Casual

Being casual because I am tired of this cold (I also put away the majority of my warmer clothes).





Wednesday, March 8, 2017

March 8th

March 8th, the International Women's Day, is a holiday that is very largely celebrated in Russia. I am so glad it is finally catching on here more and more.

Happy International Women's Day, ladies!






Friday, March 3, 2017

TGIF

Well it's finally Friday, and we're going out! This time, my roommate and I met up after work on Stone Street and went to this amazing Mexican restaurant - Mad Dog and Beans. Of course, margaritas were in order.




Thursday, March 2, 2017

New Orange Top

Here is a new top I recently ordered. I liked it because it's not one of those typical, plain tops I usually wear; this one has got some interesting detail to it.






Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Red Blouse

In addition to a wonderful opportunity to see my family back home, this trip to Russia also opened my eyes on some things I forgot about. Things like dressing up and looking nice for work. I do love America for its focus on comfort. Here, if you don't feel like dressing up and looking nice all the time, you really don't have to, and no one will judge you. While it is absolutely great as it takes off some pressure, it is also forcing us to be a bit too comfortable sometimes. 

People in Russia don't view 'comfort' as an option. They do not care if they have to wear a pair of heels that hurt all day - as long as it looks good, they'll go for it! While it may be crazy sometimes, it is also a great way of living because it's forcing you to get out of bed a bit earlier, put some extra effort into looking nicer and then feeling better about yourself for the rest of the day. It's this "fake it till you make it" mentality, but it does work in a lot of cases.

So here, I just got back from Russia and I decided to go back to the way I used to be, when dressing up for work was not even a question...