Monday, December 29, 2014

Blue Sky, Blue Skirt, New Chapter

Blue sky is not a very frequent guest here in Seattle during our rainy season, and blue color is not a very frequent guest in my closet. It might sound strange, but I have never been a big fan of blue. Though lately, in the last couple of years, I find myself much more drawn to blue, and especially to the sky blue hue like this thrifted skirt from Goodwill.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Vintage? This Way Please

A few days ago, I stopped by my local Goodwill just because we were in the neighborhood and I have not checked them out for a long while, and guess what happened... They had just restocked their dresses rack, and I found so many beautiful dresses in perfect or nearly perfect condition from the 1980s and I think from the 1970s and even earlier, though I am definitely no expert and can't say whether a couple of dresses were originally 1970s or they were made from vintage fabric recently. It's hard to tell when you are clueless. There were also a couple of modern dresses (one was a designer label for a department store), really pretty! The problem is... I don't fit any of them. I love them, but I can't wear them. On the other hand, I could not leave them behind either. It is extremely rare that I find any vintage clothes, and since it came in the form of a beautiful mini-collection, literally falling into my laps, gosh I just couldn't leave them. I had a little money and decided to buy those of them I especially liked. I was surprised that Anna expressed interest in one dress (the oldest of the bunch, with tons of wonderful details). I don't know what I'll end up doing - I'm contemplating selling them on one of the marketplace sites - I used to sell on ebay a little, though it was ages ago. We'll see.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Moments of Late Fall 2014 & Winter Solstice

Middle: 1. If You Let It (also see Versatile). 2. Rare Guests. 3. Brr.

I like to look back and see the mosaic I created with my days and in this case with my outfits in a certain period of time. I started this series as a once a month post, but lately do it in bigger chunks of time, say twice a season. So here I gathered a few outfits from early November till late December, right up to Winter Solstice which took place this past Sunday, December 21 this year. Here in America people consider this day the beginning of Winter. Back in Russia, we would always celebrate the beginning of a new season on the first of the month - March 1 for Spring, June 1 for Summer, September 1 for Fall and December 1 for Winter. There really is no right or wrong way to do it. What do you consider the beginning of a new season, personally and culturally? Do share!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Retro in Tacoma

At first, I got disappointed. The big snow storm in the mountain area meant that we had to cancel a long awaited trip simply because it was not safe (the pass got closed later that day). Snow in mountains often means rain here by the sea, so for our fun family day (or family fun day, if you will) we needed to find places to visit without getting wet. Justin offered a trip to a conservatory and car museum, both are in downtown Tacoma which is only 15 minutes away from home. Hooray! 

Warning: many photos in this post. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Theater Twists

 Justin and I experienced a couple of theater twists this past week. We visited two small local theaters - Rosebud Children's & Community Theater Conservatory in Federal Way and Heavier Than Air Family Theatre in Kent/Auburn area. In case you are in the South King County area and don't know what's going on here - do check them out! They both do a great job, each in their own way, both performing/entertaining and educating by offering summer programs for children. Our daughter took a one month long Summer camp at Rosebud two years ago and landed a few small roles in Oz! the musical, which was her first experience acting. They had three performances if I remember it right, and she enjoyed every minute of it. (She takes an improv class this year from another local theater group. The class is taught by a very gifted actor and teacher, and Anna really loves it. I'll tell you more about it in one of my future posts.) I've never taken any acting classes myself and I don't believe that I've ever been in a play, but raising my daughter and working with other children showed me how extremely important it is to a child to act, to pretend, and not only being not judged for it, but quite opposite - being praised. And I sincerely think that adults would benefit from it too. 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Something Old, Something New

I adore the mixes which come together over time. Take this outfit - the white jeans and utility boots are recent purchases, but the chunky sweater is my old favorite from 7 or 8 years ago. I added my most favorite vintage clip-ons ($5 find) and a vintage carpet bag ($9 find) - and voila, a cozy, casually chic, trendy outfit (I at this point truly enjoy some current trends!), with a bit of whimsy and its own strong character.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Of Kangaroos, Mushrooms and Acceptance

What to tell you about this outfit? Hmm, let's see. The dress is something new to me, "outside of my comfort zone" would be the correct description. Only outside of that zone actually feels quite comfortable to me - it's inside of the zone which gets uncomfortable, to tell the truth. And I am not only talking fashion here. Just think of it. We stretch outside of our so-called comfort zone when we feel uncomfortable staying inside of the zone. It's that very discomfort of staying inside of the the circle (or a box, if you will) we got used to which makes us move outside of the "comfort zone". So really, the "comfort zone" becomes a discomfort zone, and vice versa - a new territory, a "discomfort zone" becomes the more comfortable and desirable place to be. 'Nuf philosophy, it's a style blog after all, isn't it? I laid my eyes on this dress the minute I saw it on the web. I had my doubts about the lines ("Won't I look like a kangaroo in it?" I asked myself), the price was biting, so I waited for quite a while. But I found myself coming back to this design over and over again - some part of me knew it was the dress for me. So I used the opportunity of a Black Friday sale and from the comfort of my sofa, the dress was ordered. When I received it and put it on... I knew I found my new favorite.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Rays of Sun

I would like to share one of the happy days we spent traveling with my parents. We visited the gorgeous Whatcom Falls north of Seattle (a couple of hours drive from where we live) near Bellingham, a lovely and very friendly college town only a few miles south of the Canadian border. It was a mild and drizzly day, one of many such days the Pacific Northwest has in store for us this winter. All the greenery which surrounds us year round benefits from the wet climate. And I benefit from the greenery, so I won't complain too much about rain. But I think it's no coincidence that I am drawn to bright, vivid colors most of the time. They bring sunshine to our gray days. And I bring sunshine to our gray days. Not just with my smile and heart... but with my head, neck, arms and of course those golden rays of sun - my legs! I think I was particularly inspired by ever colorful Monica of Senora Allnut (not one dull outfit in her blog!) this time. And I couldn't help but thinking of Beate and her hikes as we took an easy hike admiring the abundant nature - the waterfalls and rain forest. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


It's cold outside, the snow seem to be stuck to our yard (hopefully, not for long). But it did not stop Anna and me from going to another little community theater this past weekend. Theater is on my mind lately. I just can't help it. I want to see them all. This time, we went to the Lakewood Playhouse which is about half an hour from our home, to watch Little Women - an American classic, based on the novel by Louisa May Alcott. 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Rare Guests

Snow is a rare guest here in the Puget Sound area - it's usually us Seattleites who go on special trips to visit the snow which is only a couple of hours away in either the Cascades on the East side or the Olympic mountains on the West. It is the mountains which hug us from both East and West that protect us from the extreme weather conditions. It's not common to have  snow on the ground here by the sea, but we usually have a day or two every year when we get the white dust in our yard. My parents though don't recall any snow when they stayed with us during the winter two years ago. You'd think that being from Siberia, we must love snow and miss it, yes? Nope, not in this household at least. But I have to admit it looks really pretty, it changes everything and adds light to dark months.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Mama & Papa Play Dress Up

These photos were taken on one of the first few days after my parents' arrival. I offered my Mom to try on a few of my dresses and skirts. She zeroed in on this one - you can tell that she feels good wearing it, even though she ideally would need at least one size smaller.

Monday, November 24, 2014

If You Let It

Anna and I went to see Mary Poppins, the wonderful heart warming musical presented by the Village Theatre in Issaquah (for Seattle folks - their other stage is in Everett). I'll tell a bit more about it in a sec, but first I wanted to say that I tried to wear black and white this past weekend to join Sacramento and Monica and Share-in-Style which is always great fun, I even prepared an outfit (hopefully will be able to wear it tomorrow), but this dress put a spell on me - I just couldn't resist it and wore it again. But Anna saved the day without even realizing it, by putting together this black and white outfit. Do you recognize the dress she has on? That's right, I have a skirt which I showed many times on my blog (last time I wore it for another "Julie Andrews musical", oddly enough - read HERE about my outing to see Sound of Music). When I bought this skirt, Anna liked it so much that I ordered one for her too. I love how she wears it as a dress here - very creative! Her sense of style started blossoming pretty early on. At the age of 9, she was already putting together stylish and truly unique outfits, constantly being praised by grown up fashionistas. 

Saturday, November 22, 2014


As soon as I saw this dress at the Lands' End web site, I was taken. It is the type of garment I would wear in pretty much any given period of my life - while studying at university in my teens and early 20s, later while working at a museum, a publishing house, and an advertising agency, and later still while staying at home raising my little one and taking care of my own small business (writing articles for a newspaper and poetry just for myself when the little one was asleep), and later yet while working as a community leader, storyteller and educator, and finally now when I spend my days writing, exploring and learning ... at any given point, if only I had a chance to find this dress, it would suit my taste and my personality. It has a vintage vibe about it which I adore (hello 1960s, my old time favorite). And I think it has this rare quality which I always treasure - a quiet beauty which stands out.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Adventures in Music and Deserted City

“Beethoven tells you what it's like to be Beethoven and Mozart tells you what it's like to be human.
 Bach tells you what it's like to be the universe.”

"Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art."
- Claude Debussy

"I'm an adventurer. I like invention, I like discovery."
- Karlheinz Stockhausen

“One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, 
if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words.”

On October 25, Justin and I visited the Tacoma Symphony. It was a new season grand opening, and it was the first season with a new music director, Sara Ioannides. I wrote about the concert we listened to a year ago when the orchestra was still in the process of interviewing candidates for the music director position HERE in English and HERE, in more details, in Russian. You can also see more of Justin's photographs of the historic Pantages Theater in Tacoma which is considered to be the most beautiful of all Pantages theaters and the oldest one still in operation, and is a part of the Broadway Center for the Performing Arts, the largest one between Seattle and Portland, Oregon.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Love and Airplanes

Thank you so much for your kind comments on my experimental post featuring my poem and Justin's more artistic photography (words), my dear blogging friends! I am looking for different ways to expand and would like to experiment more with my posts, and I truly appreciate that you are so open to new ways. I write very little poetry actually, and only when "it comes". If I don't write down what comes immediately, I forget it, and then it's gone forever. But in this case, I just started typing and soon the poem was born. I edited just a little. It's my first poem in English, to the best of my recollection. I did translate a few things from Russian to English, but I don't think I actually wrote poetry in English before. So, it was an experiment in more than one way for me. And I would like you to know that even though no, we writers don't write for other people - we write simply because we love writing, and in some cases more than that, we cannot not write like we cannot not breathe or not eat, it's something so essential to us that we will write even if nobody reads (and trust me when I say it - the vast majority of what we write, we do not show anybody, endless, endless pages of diaries, sketches, drafts, etc.). Words are our air, our food, our biggest love, our deepest connection to the very essence of being. But! We are very, very thankful when someone reads and appreciates what we write and have guts to make public. As Shawna likes to say, stories are meant to be shared. It is so true! So... thank you! :)

Saturday, November 15, 2014


words can hurt
they can put
a cold spell
on a heart
the heart to death
let me forget those words

words can heal
they can reach 
the tiniest spot
in your heart
put their roots
deep down inside
grow like a child
grows in a mother's womb

words can explode in you like a bomb
they can be gentle
they can be strong
they can become 
the last words one ever hears
with his heart, not his ears

listen to silence
look inwards 
for words that heal
that give love
like a mother gives her child a meal

quiet words, 
plain, not fancy at all
as simple as seeds 
but when they reach soil, not a wall
they grow into beautiful things

that's where it begins
kind simple words that fall 
into a longing soul
like dry seeds fall
into longing soil

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Cold Spell

It's been so cold and windy that I hear branches knocking the windows all day long, and when I leave the basement door opened while doing laundry downstairs, it seems the house cools down in seconds. I managed to catch cold, and we are expecting the dearest visitors on earth to come tomorrow. I still can't believe that it's actually going to happen so soon and run like mad all day trying to clean up our usual mess not to present them with an unrealistic picture of our home, but to show them the care and respect they deserve. Last weekend was nice and mild though, a bit damp by water, so my "wearable blanket" helped to stay cozy. Do you wear blankets? I do.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Family Day in Seattle

"As soon as I saw you, I knew a grand adventure was about to happen.” 
― A.A. MilneWinnie-the-Pooh

Another fun cultural family event. You know that I dedicate this year to exploring a myriad of little cultural organizations in the greater Seattle area. I was familiar with a few of them, but most of them stay hidden until you start diggin'. So I started. I was asked before how I even get the information I get (and gladly share with others). That's all 'cause I love diggin'. Do you have some diggin' to do? Call Natasha. Did you want me to dig up some dirt? Stop calling right now. I only dig for fun shiny stuff. For instance, I dug out over 60 theaters in the area. I bet there are some more left!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Moments of Early Fall 2014


1st (upper) row: 1. Olive Overalls. 2. Reorganized. 3. Everyday Wonder
2nd row from the top: 1. Between. 2. In Love. 3. Dress, Play, Explore
3rd row from the top: 1. One, Two, Three (the third outfit) 2. Steampunk...ish. 3. One Dark Ooky Night
4th (lower) row: 1&2. October Babies.  3. You're Gonna Hear Her Roar

I picked a few (not all) of the outfits I showed on the blog from mid-September through the end of October. I enjoy seeing a bunch of my outfit photos together because I can see how my preferences evolve. For instance, I can see here that lately I embrace what I used to love in my 20s - simple shapes, layers and elegance as in timelessness, but on a new level which only the last year of style exploration and me-exploration allowed me to get to. Bright colors, bold patterns, and such details as embroidery add a whimsical, rich and unique, individual feel to the outfits which I assemble from what's available on sale in a few shops that I like and occasional thrifting trips to Goodwill and such. And I have to say that I am surprised, but given that I don't design or make my own clothes, and don't have finances to buy designer labels, it's all pretty much inexpensive mass market stuff, available to anyone, but I have yet to meet a woman who dresses like me. 

Friday, October 31, 2014

You're Gonna Hear Her Roar

She is not Dumbo, the little elephant anymore, Anna's very first Halloween costume, her big love at the age of 2 years old. You're sure gonna hear her roar! But as I went through her Halloween photos, I got a feeling that the theme was building right up to this year when she made her own version of the Queen of the Jungle, inspired by Katy Perry's fun video. Maybe you'll catch it too.

Monday, October 27, 2014

One Dark Ooky Night


This was a couple of weeks ago. I planned this outfit for visiting Seattle (the Advanced Style movie was showing), but changed my mind at the last minute and went to a little local theater instead. (I wrote about our exploring local art groups HERE.)  It was The Addams Family, a musical which was just recently released for small theater groups, and the Paradise Theatre in Gig Harbor (an adorable maritime village located on the Key peninsula just half an hour from us) jumped to the chance to make a Northwest premier. We happened to catch the last performance in mid-October, and it felt like an early Halloween.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

October Babies

I've decided to go a bit crazy and post two more outfits today. What? Again?? Yes, again. But you would never guess why I combined these two outfits into one post. Because the photos of both of them are awfully dark! Not especially artistic of me to post lower than usual quality photos, but I happened to like these outfits and I rarely repeat the same outfits a few days in a row (I repeat, but mostly something casual "throw on and forget about it" type of clothes). Well these were special, and I hardly will do them again soon and definitely will not dress up just to retake the photos, so here you go.

Monday, October 20, 2014

In The Seaside Cottage

I'm inviting you to my house today. There will be nothing about outfits in this post. Instead, there will be plenty photos of my home which were taken within the last two or three years (though none of them are recent). We live in a rental cottage, a cozy old little house which even though it could use some renovations, definitely is a charming little place. It's probably no more than 1000 square feet all together, not counting the garage and basement which we use for laundry facility and storage. If you like your home nicely organized, tidied up and spotlessly clean, minimalistic or decorated like it came right out of a magazine, you cannot count on me. But if you like cozy homes with character and a spontaneous spirit, and don't mind some mess along the way, then you might enjoy my little tour. I also will supply you with links to a few of my personal favorite places to shop for home decor around Puget Sound. So get comfortable, and I'll pour you a glass of red and offer you something cozy to eat like shepherd's pie tonight (same as in the photo above taken 2 years ago). Come in, friends!


Monday, October 13, 2014

Steampunk... ish

I'm not planning to attend a Halloween party this year, but if I were, I'd come up with a steampunk-ish costume. I can't say I'm a fan, but I find the visual elements of the subculture very interesting and inspiring. What's not to love? The subtle muted color palette, the layering, the textures, both the historical and fantasy influences, the whimsical detailed accessories stimulate imagination and make me want to incorporate at least some of these elements into my everyday style. I first heard of steampunk subculture only a few months back when a friend told Justin and I about a festival in Port Townsend which we consider visiting next year. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

One, Two, Three

Sometimes we photograph my outfits, but I don't have enough time to post them, and some of them remain in my backlog forever - I just lose enthusiasm about them. Does it happen to you? To avoid that problem this time, I decided to show three of my outfits from last week in one post. I'll just add it to the series of posts labeled "2-in-1". So here you go, three outfits from three different days.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Dress, Play, Explore

Hello lovely friends, and thank you so much for your wonderful comments on my previous In Love post! You are truly the most amazing, and I want you to know that I'm not just saying that. I enjoy interaction with people, all sorts of people. I like to get to know people and I find almost anyone I talk to interesting. And I am pretty much always just me, the way I am here with you - open, warm and sincere. But not all the interactions, especially with groups, are as wonderful, warm and rewarding as my communication with you guys, individually or as a group. Such warm, sincere and continuous support, is an extremely rare thing! You are amazing. I want you to know that. :) 
And now, let's talk about style.

Sunday, September 28, 2014


You probably know that English is considered to have the most words of all comparable languages. Depending how you count the English vocabulary, there are 250 000 to 750 000 words (short explanations HERE and HERE). I learned English and became a bilingual person as an adult. “Bilinguals are those who use two or more languages (or dialects) in their everyday lives”. This is my favorite definition of bilingualism by Professor Fransois Grosjean. What I love about this definition - it is inclusive, not exclusive. It does not matter as much how well you know another language (or dialect). It does not matter if you use it conversationally or you only write or read in it. What matters is that you use it in your everyday life. More than half the people in the world are bilingual, by this definition. And to me as a linguist, bilingual person who is raising a bilingual child, and someone who worked with dozens and dozens of bilingual children and families for a few years, this really makes sense on a deep level. My bilingual brain works in somewhat whimsical ways, and I don't always know when I think in Russian and when in English. Very often its almost like being in two languages at the same time, or somewhere in between two languages, when they intertwine, whether I think, write or speak. The concepts which I either learn or simply use more often in English will creep in the form of English or Russianized English words when I think/speak/write in Russian. And vice versa - for some concepts I learned in Russian it is not easy for me to find English equivalent words. English has so many words that it probably does not really need other new ones - yet the new words keep getting created all the time, English is a quite "open-minded" language that way (which one can't say about English writing, "we write Manchester, but read Liverpool"). There are so many synonyms in English, so many ways to express just one meaning, and at the same time many words that can express a very precise nuance which, being translated into other languages, sometimes require a whole phrase. Yet at times, there are certain pretty significant concepts which have their own words in my native language, and seem to be overlooked in English. One of them is a classic linguistic textbook example - are you ready? There is no special word in English which means "a 24 hour period." How is it even possible in the language with at least a quarter of million words? :)

Friday, September 26, 2014

When Your Friend Is the Director of Awesome

Mr, Postman brought me a parcel from Canada this week! It came from the beautiful Vancouver Island where Shawna lives - painter, writer, author of a warm, thoughtful, genuine blog The Director of Awesome, and a dear friend, even though we have not met yet. But I know that some day we will! We are only about 300 miles apart - 7 hours by car, including a couple hour trip by ferry.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Everyday Wonder

It looks like we opened our rainy season this Monday. With some variations, our weather will be like this for the next few months. It'll get cooler, but not dramatically so. We can pretty much wear the same jackets and light coats (again, with some variations) till Spring. I know I will miss sunny days, but at the same time, this mild climate really resonates with me - I find the cooler temperature, clouds and even rain comforting and sort of... "normal" :). Last weekend was warm and sunny though, but not as hot as they predicted - in mid to high 70s a few miles south of Tacoma where we spend last Sunday. I wrote about Grandview Trail which is a part of Pierce County trail system before - HERE, HERE and HERE. It is by far one of our most favorite places to go for a walk and to enjoy the surroundings - the beautiful Puget Sound and intricate shoreline with little islands. It is always a great photo opportunity and one of many magnificent places around the Sound for watching a sunset, the only show on the planet which is guaranteed every day in every country, for everyone. Sometimes it comes in spectacular colors and shapes, other times more modestly, almost like it wants to be unnoticed - it's always different, and always free, no exceptions.

Sunday, September 21, 2014


I found myself in an organizing mood lately. 
I reorganized the labels in my blog - deleted a few which stopped being relevant and added a few which I thought would help. For instance, now I can search all my outfits by color, type of pattern (polka dot, stripes, tribal/geo) or by different feel (folk/ethnic, retro/vintage). I really like it because now I can do a quick search and see what green or gold/yellow items I have and how I styled them previously. It gives me new ideas and helps to remember.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Olive Overalls

Keeping it short and sweet this time!
These are my first ever overalls. 
Love them!
They are soft, comfy, go with many different tops - I loved to dress them up a bit with my dark floral silk blouse which I found at a consignment shop last Spring (apparently, it's this Autunm/Winter trend - great tips on thrifting for trends in Sally's post HERE).

I had doubts about overalls. I thought I might feel self-conscious wearing them... nope, not even close - I feel sexy, energetic and all over tip top! :) 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Sequins and Art of Staying Home. In Two Parts

So what do you guys do when you stay at home with the  flu? 
I think I've watched all the shows, read all the blogs, and cooked all the dishes I could think of. That's pretty much all I can manage now. We are not feverish any more and getting better, but I think Anna will stay at home one more day tomorrow, and I will go completely crackers from cabin fever and exercising Mother Theresa's talent (I have only a veeeery tiny bit of that one!). So I decided to play dress up and blog about it. Anna was my photographer. (She later also played dress-up, but - for the record - refused to be photographed.)

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Moments of Summer 2014: Details Matter



I realized that I haven't done my usual recaps for the whole three months of Summer (the last one was in June, and you can find all of them by clicking on the tag monthly moments). As both my daughter and I got a bit sicky, hence no new outfit photos or any planned outings this weekend, I though I'd reflect on details and accessories a little and make them the focus of my summer outfits recap. So, in no particular order, my outfits shown in the blog from July through mid-September (which is considered Autumn in Russia where I am from, but is still officially Summer here in the US). And let us talk about details this time. I'm very interested in what you think!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

One Year

In The Writer's Closet, apparently, shares a birthday with Leo Tolstoy - how encouraging. :) 
Yep, I posted a couple of my very first posts exactly one year ago (you can say hello HERE and HERE). Time flies! I'd like to celebrate my little blogoversary with probably the last summer dress of this year.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Foot Ferry Romance

Thank goodness it's still nice and sunny here in Seattle, and I haven't packed my summer clothes up for winter storage just yet. On the contrary, I suddenly wanted to wear something I haven't worn all summer like this little linen jacket and crinkle top (both are thrifted) with my last summer purchase - cotton pants (one of my very first outfits shown in this blog here). By the way, I realized that I only wore these pants a couple of times before, I wonder why that is. Fun print, comfy fit and cute look, what else do you need in your trousers? Go figure.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Jacket Friendly

One perk of cooler weather is that you can wear favorite jackets - old or new, or as in the case of this particular "old new" denim number, the one you bought in a thrift shop in the summer and couldn't wait for jacket friendly weather to come. I fell for the embroidery and the length of this jacket (or light coat if you will) - brand new condition with tags still attached for only $10 at Goodwill. Sooooo glad that I found it!