Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Happy New Year! + New Video

 

A very Happy New Year to each and all of you!
It's my most favorite holiday of all. It's something about childhood - in my home country, it is THE holiday which is widely celebrated as the biggest event of the year. Most of our traditions have pretty much the same flair as Christmas here - no big surprise there, our New Year celebration takes roots from both ancient winter celebrations and Christmas. It's the connection with childhood, that's what makes it so special - brightly decorated tree, lights everywhere, special treats and beloved people by our side. And always, always a feeling of magic and dreaming big dreams. I'll probably spend tomorrow preparing a couple of traditional Russian salads - one with salty herring! sounds yucky doesn't it? ;) - nevertheless, it is one of my most favorite treats. I'll probably watch some favorite Russian winter movies. Then I'll dress up, say thanks to 2015 and welcome the New Year.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Mannik Recipe


Mannik (манник, pronounced MAHN-nik), a Russian semolina cake, is one of my favorite childhood treats and also a favorite of Anya and Justin. I'll write up my basic recipe first, and offer a few additional ideas to make this simple (yet tasty!) cake even more interesting.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Colorful Coastal Christmas


Merry Christmas, my friends and readers!

This year, we decided to take a mini-break and escape to the beautiful Oregon Coast. On the plus side, at least for us geeks and nerds, it is practically deserted this time of year. If you're a party person, the Oregon Coast is definitely not the place to be right now. On the not-so-plus side, winter on the coast means high winds, heavy rain and the possibility of floods. I'm not used to such strong winds, they almost knocked me off my feet, though locals take their dogs for a walk on the beach just as if it was just another sunny day. We also took walks trying to catch breaks in the weather. In general, I wanted to stay warm and cozy, but still look and feel festive and just a bit glamorous. 

Saturday, December 19, 2015

It's a Secret


I guess I am rather an impulse buyer rather than a planner. The idea of finding an unexpected treasure - that's what excites me. Though in this wide open field I from time to time form an attachment to a certain kind of a item I'd like to add to my collection. It's not really a plan, but somewhere on the back of my mind I have a vague dream of what would be nice to find.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Gentle Hues


As many of you these days, we are busy with all sorts of holiday preparations and festive events. Yesterday, Anya had a concert in her school. Justin and I were impressed. Her school has a few choirs, groups, bands and an orchestra - a strong music department with talented teachers who undeniably are on fire to do something really amazing with and for kids. Anya is in two choirs - a girl's choir and a mixed choir of girls and boys of 7th and 8th grade. When I was a kid, we had subjects like art or music only once a week. She has 2 hours of choir every day of school! The kids were fantastic, singing and playing not so trivial pieces in beautiful arrangements, skillfully done, with lots of heart. 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Luxuries of Winter

 

One of the unexpected developments for me this Fall/Winter was finding this faux fur coat and falling in love with it. So I'm from Siberia, right? How much do you think I wore fur coats (genuine fur, like sheepskin or nutria coats, and mink and fox hats) in my life? That's right, much. At some point, you just get tired of the whole thing. I did not have any fur coat ever since I left my homeland, which was almost 14 years back. But somehow I loved this coat so much, and even though I was afraid it would be heavy and bulky like those I used to see when I was a kid, I decided to give it a try. The coat did not disappoint, it is everything I wanted it to be - soft, lightweight, cozy, warm, with pockets, a pure joy to wear! I wear it all the time, with everything - dresses, skirts, pants, denim. I'm often complimented and asked where I got it (see the info at the end of the post if you're interested). It sure is a keeper in my closet. And with it, many luxuries of winter returned to my life as well. I found myself enjoying knit hats and scarves, leather gloves, tall boots - all the things I was so eager to discount once I moved to a much milder climate.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

City of Dreams. Part I


Earlier this Autumn, in September, we made a trip to one of our most favorite destinations around the Sound - Port Townsend. The town is located on the very northeastern tip of the Olympic Peninsula and is surrounded by the waters of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Admiralty Inlet, by a harbor called Port Townsend Bay. The bay was named by Captain Vancouver, the famous English explorer whose name you can see all over the map both of the US and Canada - we've got Vancouver Island and Vancouver City in Canada, a town in Washington, plus mountains in Alaska and even New Zealand. George Vancouver originally named the bay Port Townshend after his friend Marquis of Townshend. 

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Yes


Thank you for your warmest welcoming, my dear friends - I savor every single word. I'm so happy to write again, to share with you again. It is definitely some of the happiest times for me, the time I spend writing. I rarely know what I'll write when I sit down to write. And when I think I know, I am rarely right about it. So mostly I just go with it. There is nothing around me, not a thing, not a noise, not a person exists at this moment. It's only my being tapping into something huge, amazing, wonderful and truly miraculous, and I become a vessel for that magical energy to just run through me. There are very few things in this life that I love more than that. To know that what I have to say and how I say it brings joy to others as well, makes it even more special. So I thank you from all my heart! 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Hello Again!


You knew this day would come, didn't you?
I am so happy to be here again and greet you all, dear friends and readers!
I received so, so many warm, wonderful words from you - please know that I was very touched by your kindness and the interest you expressed in my blog. I must say that it was overwhelming, in the most positive way. Thank you!!
I don't know what happened. For the first few weeks of non-blogging, I felt happy and content with my life. I got really busy with other projects, worked on publishing my books, and of course spent lots of time with my family. Justin and I had our little trips, and since taking photos and writing about our discoveries was a huge part of our life for many years, regardless of blogging, we have never stopped doing it. But I missed sharing little style and shopping stories with you, and lately, literally in the last few days, I started really missing my blog. Maybe I just needed a nice long break to feel refreshed? All I know is this (and Justin really helped me to come to this conclusion). Life is too short to regret our decisions. Ultimately, nothing in life is completely irreversible, we can change our mind about pretty much anything, and if something that helps us feel better is missing from our life, then it's OK to re-decide. I don't know (and I can't know, can I?) where it's all going, but for now, writing my blog makes me feel happy. I am all for feeling happy. I know that you are too. So hello again! :)

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Good Bye!

Drawing by my daughter Anna (then 7 y.o.), computer graphics by my brother Andrei Lialin

Hello my friends,

This will be the last post in my blog - I feel that it run its course and it's time for me to move on. I'll probably have another web presence in the future, and quite possibly another blog as I do enjoy this form very much. I don't know yet, I'll see how it goes. I want to thank you for a wonderful, joyful journey together! I'm wishing you all the best both in your creative endeavors and your life which is, to me, the ultimate form of art. Imagine, believe and create!

With love,
Natalia

***


Monday, October 12, 2015

Fall's First Steps


Fall was not at its peak yet when we took these photos last week, but there already were stretches of colorful trees here and there, and with temperatures in low 60s and a heavy storm we had last Saturday, we'd better hurry up to photograph Autumnal foliage before it's gone. Fall does not only bring bright vivid foliage though. It offers misty sky, gray water, rust of fallen leaves and  subtle shades of grass. Clear blue sky and thick fog. Nature has it all. Life has it all. Why choose?

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Inspiring, Exhausting, Wonderful


One of our most favorite weekends of the year - the writer's conference. We'll have another full day tomorrow. Inspiring, informative, refreshing, reassuring, stirring up so much all at once... If you are passionate about writing and attended a similar event, you know exactly what I mean.  All in all, it's wonderful and exhausting - another reason to wear energizing colors!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Autumn Sunshine


Spontaneous mini photo session in the last rays of sun. It felt very joyous and energizing to wear this monochromatic outfit today. I remember even as a kid I was naturally drawn to yellow, but Mom said very few people look good in yellow, and I would shy away from yellow for years. I do think that lemon yellow is not my best, but this rich golden mustardy yellow, a bit toxic, yet very warm, sure feels like me. 

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Sharing is Fun!


I wore this outfit a couple of weeks ago when we visited Edmonds, an adorable town north of Seattle. I LOVE this dress! It is very comfortable and easy to wear, and such a classic, lovely style. Accessorized differently, I can wear it in the 1940s, 1970s, 1980s styles... so many possibilities!

I've been buried with work these days, please don't take my lack of commenting personally. I love you all and will visit as soon as I can. May I also remind you that our wonderful tradition of a monthly short story is continuing and blossoming, and you still have a chance to link a story for the September link-up HERE. We have two stories so far, both are brilliant if I may say so myself - we are definitely growing as writers, both of my link-ups do wonders in that sense. I hope that you, readers, will find your way to this little gem of a creative writing celebration, because the other side of writing (as any art, really) is sharing it with like-minded people - there is no fun in keeping it all to ourselves.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Write and Link #5: As Leaves Turned Yellow

Rowan Leaves and Hole by Andy Goldsworthy (born 1956) (source)

Hello everybody and welcome to the 5th monthly creative writing link-up!
If you are new to my blog, here is what this is all about. 
This is a unique link-up on the web - a celebration of creative writing for everyone who loves it, writers and readers alike. 
Every month, we are given a phrase that participating writers are free to interpret and incorporate in a short story (1000 words or so). The phrase for September is "As leaves turned yellow...". After the writing is completed, at the end of the month, we share our stories with each other and readers who are interested. Anyone is welcome to join in. You can find all writers participants and their stories under the label WRITE AND LINK. I usually open the link-up on the 26th of every month and close on the 1st of the following month, when it's time to start working on the next month's story, the phrase for which I provide at the end of the same post. If you have not had a chance to write a story in September yet, then you still have time till October 1st - so do write and link your story here! I hope that we all have more energy as Autumn begins for both creating stories and supporting each other with a kind word. Here is to a new dynamic Write and Link #5!

Sincerely,
Natalia

The phrase for October writing:
"Do you believe in magic?"


Friday, September 18, 2015

Indian for Two


Here is what happens when two sickies get tired of being housebound, and a new Indian restaurant has just opened in the neighborhood.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Oh Boy!


I'm getting into hats! 
This one was found at a music shop on Bainbridge Island, 100% cotton, made in the US, by a company called New York Hat Co - read about their hats and interesting history. The name of this canvas cap is Spitfire - how appropriate for me, natural + fierce, yep, that pretty much sums me up in just two words. They also offer lovely fedoras and other kinds of hats, caps and beanies - great selection and quite reasonable prices. Do check them out, you might also find a hat that reflects your personality.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Impossible Until It's Not


Cough, cough... it seems we are coming down with something here In the Writer's Closet. It's a good thing that I have plenty of photo shoots in store - I can still write and post, despite the illness.
Justin, Anya and I went to such an amazing performance last weekend that I simply wanted to let everyone who is local know - DO NOT MISS IT! The performance is by Hi-Liners, a unique youth theater located in Burien, WA. It's a truly amazing collective - both kids and educators are incredibly creative and talented, and what matters most, passionate about what they are doing.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Last Days of Summer


Thank you all for your kind words and wishes! You are my favorite, lots of love to you all! :)
We had a great summer this year - I hear it was the hottest on the record, and certainly an extremely dry one too, with many forest fires and burn bans lasting all summer long. To me it was much hotter than I prefer, but not nearly as hot as summers are in many parts of the world, including my homeland (which not many people realize about Siberia - 100 F and humid is quite common there). Here, temps did not go as high as 100, the hottest days I remember were in mid to high 90s, but it was consistently in the 80s for probably the whole three months, which is much more hot days than I care for (just how many days I can spend on the beach? certainly not 90 in a row). I admit I feel exhausted by the heat, and lots of things I would like to do I put on hold until the heat is over, but I still managed to do lots this summer, including daily writing and, oddly enough, lots of cooking experiments. This is still by far the most wonderful place to live, of all the places I've lived or visited, and if this was our hottest summer ever, I'm game. On to my outfit now. 

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Where You Belong


I believe that dreams are necessary to life. To my life, they certainly are - they are the map which tells my soul what direction to move. 

I love the place where we live, I really do. It's beautiful and peaceful, not overly populated, easy access to everything we like or need. But one day, I want to live in this town where citizens cherish old buildings (such as this 1930s shopping center and first "talking pictures" Historic Lynwood theatre) and don't destroy them, clearing the space for a brand new mall. Where citizens nourish arts, culture and education. Where new daring beginnings don't vanish into thin air, unnoticed by both town leaders and community members. Where on every square foot you feel with every fiber of your being just how special this place is to people who live there, how much people care. I will take walks on these streets, buy vegetables from the local farmers, taste wine in the local wineries and write my heartwarming stories with little action and big heart. I will smile and laugh a lot and not feel lonely anymore. Some day I will arrive there and not hurry back. I recognize it by the longing in my heart every time I visit, the way you know when you found your soulmate - you know that this is your home. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Deception Without Deceit


Sometimes, vacation means staying at home and having no particular plans in mind, freely combining the things that people usually do on vacations, such as sleeping in, eating out, shopping and sightseeing, and things that were put aside in the everyday routine, such as cleaning up closets and such. So it's really not such a bad thing, a so-called stay-cation - one can unplug his brain and just live spontaneously for a change. No plans, no big preparations, no passports or room reservations needed. One day of our stay-cation, we filled the tank of our Outback with gas and took off to discover one of the most beautiful state parks in Washington, Deception Pass park.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Take Them Into Fall


Speaking of clothes that do not have any chance to get into a donation bag, I think you will be pleased to know that these two beauties (you could see them in the posts Magic and Dream Dress & Dinner Theater) fall into my "definitely keeping" category. Both made from the same fabric (100% cotton), with a cotton voile full lining, they are radically different styles (1950s and 1970s), but both very much loved. They were gifts from the unique women's clothing company eShakti, and I wrote about them on a couple of occasions HERE and HERE. Today, I received an early bird special offer from eShakti which I am happy to share with you, my friends and readers. 

WRITERSCLOSETFALL15

The coupon code is valid through August 31, 2015 and allows you to enjoy 15% off the new Fall arrivals which, as always with eShakti, you can customize in both style and size! Do check them out - I know that a couple of dresses stole my heart.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

What the Bleep They Were Thinking?


Breaking news!
A Russian-speaking, English-writing, American-based blogger also known as In The Writer's Closet was spotted earlier this afternoon at the back entrance of a Goodwill store in the suburbs of Seattle. What was she doing at the back entrance of Goodwill? Special report! Exclusively for our readers! Stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Write and Link #4: Because Everyone Knows...

Cows over Vitebsk by Marc Chagall. 1966 (source)

Hello dear friends and readers,
I'm inviting you to join our 4th WRITE AND LINK, the unique link-up party for creative writers. If you're a writer, feel free to write a story (1000 words is only a guideline, it can be shorter or longer) in which you incorporate the phrase of the month. For our August stories, it is "...Because everyone knows..." Let your imagination go wild, unleash your creativity, write from your very heart - then post it in your blog and link back to this post. WRITE AND LINK is a once a month link up and stays open for about a week, till September 1st, so you still have time to write your story. If you're a reader, you have a truly unique chance to see how stories are born, literally from nothingness, into a complete piece of art, in only about a month. You have a unique chance to see how different writers interpret the same phrase and what it brings out of them. Please support your friends and fellow bloggers by reading and leaving a comment, we all feel a bit wobbly in the beginning of a new creative journey and we do appreciate your support very much!

As I mentioned last month, I separated my creative writing from my style/travel/life impressions/thoughts blog, and am happy that I did so. So you will find my story in the link below, along with other writers' links. A few bloggers also created special blogs for their creative writing, because our creativity deserves a special place, in the world or in our virtual home. If you're new to In the Writer's Closet, or somehow missed when I announced the launch of my daily prompts, please make sure to check out Rise and Write which is a daily writing sketches link-up on my creativity blog - Out of the Writer's Closet. We're completing our first month of daily writings now. I'm pondering new ideas for writing challenges, but we'll see what the future brings.

Happy writing and reading everyone!

A phrase for September stories:
"As leaves turned yellow..."


Sunday, August 23, 2015

A Place to Listen to Silence


When I wrote about our discovery of beautiful waterfalls and an abandoned brewery near Olympia back in early March (I also wrote about that place in the later post Days Passed), I mentioned that the same day, February 28th, we also made another discovery. Today the Real Adventure Man and I are taking you to that other place. There are not too many places near a big city where you can literally hear the silence, and this is one of them. I am talking about the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge founded in 1974 to protect the Nisqually River estuary in South Puget Sound.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Red Skirt


I ordered a skirt online, as I do often with my clothes shopping, simply because there is more selection and I can find better deals. But there is a downside to online shopping too - you can't always be sure whether you'll like the item "in person". There is always a chance that the fabric is not quite what you expected, or the fit is wrong, or the color looks different in reality. So when the skirt I ordered arrived at my local store, I knew it might not be what I envisioned - and it was not. The fit was not ideal on me, and the fabric seemed too thin for the style. Then I decided to not simply return it (which is always an option in our stores), but exchange it for a skirt that caught my eye earlier, but for whatever reason I was hesitant to buy it. I tried the other skirt on, and...

Monday, August 10, 2015

Blue, White, Red & Polka Dot


I showed this dress a couple of times before (in a Winter mixed patterns outfit here, and with pearls last Summer here), but this time I wanted to play with the classical combination of blue, white and red. You know what's funny? Even though this color combination is popular and beloved by many, I have done it... for the first time! They say there is a first time for everything.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Set Sail


Justin surprised me with a proposal to take a ferry, visit our favorite town, have a nice dinner and go back home late. Not that it was something unusual for us, we have little trips to places we love quite frequently, but it was in the middle of the work week, in the evening, and that made it unusual. So my outfit also had to be unusual - maybe not for some women who are 100% confident in their bodies (do such women even exist?), but for me. I'm braver when I'm with him. I knew this dress would be out of my comfort zone - I wore it before, what can I say, the looks from men I get when I wear it, are much more favorable than the looks from women. I understand. I also used to be so freakishly self-conscious about my shape, even when really, there was absolutely nothing to freak out about, that I know exactly what's going on in those women's heads. Don't worry, ladies. I don't consider myself so perfectly perfect that I can wear dresses like this one. But the difference between your and my outlook on such dresses and my shape is that I'm not looking for anyone's approval. Not anymore. I know who I am, I know what I want, I know that if I never do things that make me just a little bit uncomfortable, I will never grow. I'm not saying I never worry about what others think of me. It's probably nearly impossible to never ever think such thoughts. But I don't let those thoughts stop me. If I like something, if it seems like fun, if I want to try it and see how it feels - then I'm game, with or without approval. 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Kimono, Kimono


Truth be told, I don't know what I am wearing here. I found this piece at Goodwill earlier this Summer when I took Anya thrift shopping in a neighboring town. It's just so rare that I find something that fits me at a thrift shop (of the things I like, I mean), that I was absolutely thrilled to find something as unique as this dress is. Dress? It could be a tunic, a robe, a part of a stage costume, or a nightgown for all I know. I used to have a short kimono kind of robe many years ago, a gift for my birthday from my girlfriends, that I loved and wore for years. The style of this dress reminds me of that little robe. The label is in Korean (I guess), so I can't say where it is made, what it is made of or what the heck it even is. But I love it and I wore it as a kimono dress when I went to the movies with Justin last night. It's a funky and artsy little old movie theater where they show funky and artsy kinds of movies, and I thought that this is such a funky and artsy piece of clothing that it would fit perfectly for the occasion. 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Out of the Writer's Closet


Listen, guys, I started this post countless times and did not like the way it went and just hesitated to post. But I guess I'll just come and say what's real right now. I often find myself indifferent to fashion/style during hot weather, and this summer is unusually hot for our region (and for me, a mild weather kind of girl). I sort of lost interest in all that. But I am super busy exploring other areas of creativity, and have been busy cooking (I know, it sounds like a paradox, because it's hot in the kitchen too), or reading about cooking, or writing about cooking, or watching cooking shows (plenty on You-tube), and also very much into creative writing, particularly writing fiction. On the top of that I am starting a new creative writing link-up, dedicated to daily writing sketches. 

Getting out of the closet as a writer is a huge deal. Being raised in a culture that pretty much considers only one way of doing things the "right" way and getting a fancy university education studying all sorts of great writers of the world can be challenging, intimidating and can be big road blocks to get over. Think of it like this: imagine finding your own voice in styling, getting out there in front of other brilliant stylish women and telling them - this is me, this is who I am, love it or leave it. It takes guts, courage, and everything you can think of in this context. But we do it just because it's as important as breathing to us. Can you imagine wearing only sweatpants and dull T-shirts for the rest of your life? I thought so. No more than that can I imagine keeping myself from my desire to write and share. For your and my own convenience I decided to only publish fiction on my other blog (Write and Link will still use In the Writer's Closet as its home base). If you are interested, you can follow my other blog, Out of the Writer's Closet, and read all the details about daily sketches, or writing exercises, HERE. And if you're not, oh well, then you'll probably need to be patient and just wait until the style bug bites me again - I know it will, perhaps when it'll cool down here (though I have one or two summer dresses in mind, and might post them some time soon). In any case, thank you for everything, for all your kind and encouraging comments, I do appreciate them very, very much! And here are a couple of latest outfits when I did at least some attempt to bow to Style.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Write and Link #3: It Was One of Those Endless Summer Days

Bathing of a Red Horse by K. Petrov-Vodkin (1878-1939). 1912 (source)

It's time for Write and Link again! This link-up is all about creative writing, short fiction in particular, and is open to anyone who is a writer, loves to write and wants to get their creative juices going. The rules are very simple - please incorporate the offered opening phrase into your story, keep the story on the short side (1000 words is only a guideline, your story can be shorter or longer...as long as it's not a novel) and link back to this post. Сlick on the tab at the left top of the page to read all the creative stories we wrote in the past couple of months. We appreciate readers and comments very much!

UPDATE: I've decided to post all of my fiction (in both English and Russian) on my other blog, Out of the Writer's Closet - and posted my new story, The Essence, HERE. I cannot, unfortunately, redo my previous Write and Link stories simply because those link-ups are closed by now, but this is how I will do things in the future, so my stories will appear as links to this post, with all the other stories and writers. I think this is a more straightforward way to go for this link-up. My story is on the longer side this time (it is in two parts, all together about 2600 words), but I think it is worth it. I can't wait to see what you want to share. Happy writing and reading everyone! 

Oh, and let me know if you'd like to support our little writing group by adding the WRITE AND LINK badge to your blog - I can email you the badge and instructions how to add it to your Blogger site. 


The opening phrase for August stories:
"...Because everyone knows..."

  

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Talking Dress


It was a beautiful Summer evening. He came back from work at the usual time.
"Are you hungry?" said she. 
"I am," said he.
"How about I warm up dinner for you, and then we go for a nice stroll?" said she.
They loved going for a walk along the shores of the Sound, overlooking the hill where they lived.
"OK. Let's go for a walk first then," said he.
She went to their bedroom to change, as he waited for her in the living room.
"Are you ready for a walk?" said she as she came out.
"Would you like to take me out to dinner?" said the dress.
"WOW! Yes, yes, I would love to take you out to dinner!" said he.
"Let's go for a walk then?" said she.
"Yes, yes! I just must take you out to dinner!" said he.
The dress talked for her, and she let it.
:)
~The End~

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Magic


Doesn't this fabric look familiar? No, it's not déjà vu or a magic trick - I do have a dress made of this same material (which you might have seen in this post). I loved that dress so much that when eShakti generously offered me a gift card in return for writing about their new web-site, I used that card toward purchasing this gorgeous maxi dress, made from the same beautiful shiny cotton. Similarly to my first eShakti dress, it also is fully lined, has pockets, and is made specifically to my measurements (custom sizing is the best!). I did not choose options to change details or the length because I love this dress just the way it is. It fits me like a glove, saves me in the heat of Summer when I want to be dressed up (and many of my fancy dresses are made of polyester), and I receive a lot of compliments on it. 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Night Owl in the Early Bird World


I don't know what association you'll have looking at this outfit, but to me it's African. I have not tried to create this with Africa in mind, but I do admire African bright and bold prints, and when I put this together, it said African to me. Hot and bright sun, blue sky and blue sea, brown earth, tribal prints, chunky jewelry, linen, metal, glass and leather - very rich, very expressive, very organic - and anything but shy.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Hair

 

It's official. All this getting up early in the morning and doing things on a schedule is not my cup of tea. End of bulletin.
Now on to fun and informal bits.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Stripes, Meet Stripes


Once upon a time, there was a stripy shirt living in a closet. She had an adventure or two - you might have read about them here. But most of the time, she led a pretty quiet life, thinking every now and then that maybe there is a more exciting closet for her to live in. She'd think that, sigh quietly and just continue to hang in there, I mean, literally. And then one sunny day a stripy skirt moved in the closet. 

Sunday, July 5, 2015

A Little Love


Our mind gets used to worrying. Almost at any situation, more or less difficult, our first reaction is typically to start worrying. We defend our right to worry by thinking that it shows how much we care. We dignify worrying as something essentially gracious - we are better people if we worry, and if we don't, then there is something wrong with us - we are cold, we are indifferent, we are ignorant. We must worry. That's the first sign of a decent person - someone who is awake. We even worry when we are happy - what if this happiness will be destroyed? Better start worrying about it now, so we don't feel like fools later.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Heat


Such an unusually hot Summer we have this year - I just have to document it. The thick hot air brings back memories of a few years living in the Midwest, only both the heat and the humidity were even stronger back there, most of the time, from May till October... You'll probably be surprised, but a typical July in Siberia where I am from, is also hot and sticky, and from time to time we have Summers where the temperature is 90s F and even 100s F for full three months. I am a mild weather person, but a week or two of hot sunny days feels good to me. I love how heat gets into my skin, granted - as long as there is an air conditioner to come home to and the house doesn't feel like sauna. Yesterday was lovely. I spent it with Justin running some errands and enjoying a walk by the sea after all. It almost felt like a vacation in some southern country, partly because of my outfit.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Jill: Glamorous Soul Searcher


I am delighted to bring you a new post in my Interview series and introduce you to Jill of the wonderful blog Grownup Glamour. Jill lives in exotic Tasmania - the island South of Australia, and the coldest Australian state (doesn't this description make you think twice regarding what you know about geography?). I find her style bold, unexpected and truly one-of-a-kind, and her attitude towards life as exceptional as her sense of fashion. In my own search for the understanding of the roots of creativity, I asked Jill a few questions about style and about life. What makes this unique woman who she is? 

Your outfits often remind me of the arts of sculpture and architecture. Black and white, your favorite color palette, only reinforces this impression. What place do architecture and sculpture have in your life? Have you ever studied them? Do you have favorite artists and architects?

I guess I have always been interested in architecture and sculpture and the way shape, colour and form are involved in our everyday. I have never studied these art forms on a formal basis, but I take great pleasure in observing them at every opportunity. I do not have any particular favourite artists or architects as my interest ranges from historical to ultra-modern in both art and architecture. I am continually discovering new areas of interest.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Hello, Ocean

 

I am fond of Summer - but not fond of heat. When the local weather guys issued the hot weather warning (which in this part of the world means the temperature will be close to 90 F), I knew I wanted to escape the hot house, and I heard the ocean call. The temperature in the valley was indeed pretty high - the highest our car thermometer showed as we were moving towards the ocean, was 97 F. (It's always cooler by the sea where we live.) On the shores of the Pacific, which is only a couple of hours South-West from our home, it was sunny and mild, in the 70s, and not too crowded - a perfect little get away.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Write and Link #2: When Suddenly I Saw

Gypsy by Konstantin Makovsky (1839-1915). Oil, date unknown (source)

It's Write and Link time! I chose a painting to go with my story - it does not illustrate characters or anything like it, but I thought it would go well with the mood. About 1100 words this time. The link to join in is at the very end of the post. I can't wait to read your stories!



The opening phrase for the July stories:
"It was one of those endless Summer days..."



Monday, June 22, 2015

The Best


You guys! Thank you for your such wonderful, heartfelt comments on my book publishing news. You guys are simply the best! Of course, I am very thrilled, and as you can imagine, my mind is quite preoccupied these days. I left the "book thoughts" only for a little while to enjoy the Father's Day weekend with Justin, the World Greatest Dad ("and Husband", added Anya), and we had such a wonderful, relaxing weekend. Other than that and Anya starting a month long theater camp (read: I started a month long driving there and back, twice a day camp), I am focused on my writing. I tend to be extremely focused when I work on something that matters to me a lot, so no wonder, blogging takes a back seat for a while. I don't know how frequently I will be able to comment, please do not take it personally - and know that I treasure you VERY MUCH. :)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Oh Summer!


Oh Summer! 
Days are endless, nights short, sunsets and sunrises - amazing. 
No school, no tests, no uniforms. Cooking. Grilling. Farmer's markets (we've just been to the one that recently opened in our neighborhood). Red wine. And white wine too. Sun. Hot sand. I want to soak in as much sun and warmth as possible. But I also want to work, more than ever. These Summer days, I received an unexpected offer to publish a book. After being shortly in a state of disbelief and doubts, I reminded myself that life is what we make out of it. I can sit here in my room worrying that my writing is not good enough, not mature enough yet and decline the offer... or I can just dive in, do the best I can and see what happens. Guess what I am choosing. 

Monday, June 8, 2015

What Matters Most


When we lose something that matters to us a lot in life, it is the hardest experience to go through. And I don't know which is harder - to let go of what isn't working because of some external challenges that you have no control over, or to let go of something that you treasure, but which stopped working for you because of your own inner process of growth and change. You know that it is in your own power to push the stop button. You know that you need to start moving in a different direction, your destination point is not ahead of you any more, and you need to get off this train. You did not get on the train by mistake or by some willful life force - it was your own decision and even desire to take this ride, and for a while it was a wonderful ride. But then you started noticing the signs that it isn't going to get you where you ultimately want to be, and it gets harder and harder to ignore those signs. No matter how much you enjoyed the ride, no matter how much you invested in it, you know - it just isn't working for you any longer. It is an extremely difficult decision to make. It takes all your inner strength and courage. The weight of the fear of the unknown along with the sense of responsibility for your own life and for those lives which inevitably will be touched by this decision of yours, are simply overwhelming, and sometimes it freezes you for a few months, or maybe a few years even. It's hard to make this decision. It's hard to let go.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Wild Traditionalist


With all my love of experimentation, change and finding new ways, I do not wish to deny the beauty of traditional things. Take dresses for an example. What could be a more traditional item of clothing that defines femininity? I'm not a fashion historian by any means, but I don't seem to see a more obvious answer - I think it's pretty much dresses. And I admit that they fascinate me. It's dresses that I always open first when I enter my favorite online stores (brick and mortar stores do not have as wide a selection of them as online stores). So that way, I am very, very traditional - I adore dresses. But even a conservative sheath or shift dress can be done with an unexpected twist - like this one. Isn't this design just wild? I could just stare at it - a fascinating cacophony of a design!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Domino


This week is a bit hectic here, In the Writer's Closet, but I'm full of outfit ideas. I love it when one of my activities inspires another, and vice versa. One of my recent outfits actually inspired a character in my new story (pretty much all my stories start with a character, it almost feels like a character appears, introduce himself/herself to me and tell me their story). This outfit, on the other hand, was inspired by the piece of writing I'm working on now - all in its own time, but I will reveal that hopefully pretty soon.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Friday, May 29, 2015

Two Closets Met!


We did it! We finally did it, after almost a year of back-and-forth-ing, beautiful Joni of Artful Closet and I met! (Joni's wonderful post about it HERE.)
Two closets met - artist's and writer's ones!
We met yesterday, on a sunny and warm Thursday afternoon, in a small local coffee shop in Burien where Joni grew up. Burien is very special to me too because it's the very first place where Justin and I decided to live on the water, we just couldn't help but fall in love with Puget Sound. Plus, our daughter takes acting classes in Burien, and she's crazy about them and never wants to quit. Now you know - Burien is a special place for us all.