Thursday, December 29, 2016

In the Groove

I ordered this dress from the Chico's website, along with a couple of other things during their big sale, and let Justin wrap the box and put it under our Christmas tree with all the other gifts. So on Christmas Eve, I had a little fashion show. While "other things" did not fit me right (and were returned to the store), this dress got very enthusiastic feedback from my family the minute I showed up in it. At first I had doubts (don't ask), but now when I look at these photos, I just know it's a keeper.

Monday, December 26, 2016


Time flies in the vortex of festivities - I haven't even noticed how the whole week went by since my last post! Both Anna and Justin are on a holiday break, so we spend lots of time together. We listened to a traditional winter concert at Anya's school, went to one of the most beautifully decorated malls around Seattle, watched a street show with guaranteed "snowfall" as a climax, did some shopping, had a nice Christmas Eve dinner at home, exchanged gifts and went for a long walk on a beautiful trail along Puget Sound on Christmas Day. I like quiet family holidays, it is just my speed. And thanks to the Internet, I can always stay connected with beloved ones who live far away. 

Monday, December 19, 2016

Last Midlife Fun: Celebration!

Dear friends and readers, 
Welcome to the LAST edition of Midlife Fun! It is indeed the very last link-up of this year, but no worries - our awesome team (Tina, Beate and I) came up with a new link-up for the upcoming year ... MODISH MATRONS! We will start on the 1st of each month and stay open for the whole month, with a new theme each time, picked by one of us. So it is very much like Midlife Fun, only newer, better and funner (yes, it's the word)! 

Friday, December 9, 2016


Never give up; and never, under any circumstances, no matter what - never face the facts.
Ruth Gordon, American actress (1896-1985)

Little snow that we got last night, melted quickly by early afternoon under the typical Northwest rain. With objectively cold and wet weather and objectively short days, it is more and more challenging to find time for outdoor photo shoots. And our facing north cottage is objectively dark and quite objectively cramped for glamorous photos. Those are just plain facts, right? Right. They are discouraging, but objective, right? Right. I must face them, right? Wrong. I'm definitely not the one who stares in the face of reality. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Tulled and Bundled Up

The temperature dropped significantly within the last few days, and even though I lived in one of the coldest parts of the world for 29 years, I tend to forget how it feels when it is close to freezing. In Siberia, we start wearing hats in early Fall - from thin knitted hats to thicker woolen hats, and finally to fur hats in the Winter, which begins at the end of October where I grew up. Those fur hats, we don't give up practically till April. You might have heard the word shapka as referred to Russian style fur hats with "ears", but in Russia we call them ushanka (or formally shapka-ushanka) which has that "with ears" definition, while shaphka is just a generic word for any kind of hat. When the average temperature ranges from -25 to -30 C pretty much from late November through February, you can see how a hat is not only a style statement. I've written about it before - I got so sick of having to wear a hat for so long, that after I moved to a warmer climate, I started resenting wearing any sorts of hats for a few years. But a true Siberian girl, never leaves home without a shapka in winter time. And I forget about it every single Winter since I moved to the Pacific Northwest. These mild 50 to 60 F days for the bigger part of a year spoiled me, and now I forget that a shapka is not only a style statement!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Dear December

Hello December, 

You greet me with raindrops falling from your heavy gray sky. With cold outbursts of wind that feel prickly against my cheeks and mess up my hair. With your short, barely noticeable by a night owl light spans. With long dark evenings that remind me why since the beginning of time, people celebrate light in this darkest of all months.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016



This is, in a way, a rebirth of my last year's outfit seen HERE. That time, I wore this dress with my animal print coat (although, for some reason, I didn't take any photos of the coat that day). This time, I wanted something different, and the combination with my bouclé cream long vest came to mind. The vest was part of a Spring collection, but it's quite a heavy and fully-lined textured piece that I find wearable in all seasons (except for hot Summer days, obviously).

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Coat Craze: eShakti Review


Earlier this Fall, a review opportunity came that I could not pass. As a blogger, I receive a few offers every single day, but as you probably have noticed, I rarely write reviews or talk about free product from companies. In fact, the last time was over a year ago. While I am not a commercial blogger, I love to collaborate with brands that genuinely interest me, and when I received an email from eShakti, I got really excited.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Midlife Fun: Inspired by Art of Gustav Klimt

Hello dear friends and welcome to the 5th edition of the Midlife Fun link-up which I offer in collaboration with two fantastic bloggers from Germany Tina and Beate at the end of each month. In November, we invite you to explore the art of the famous Austrian painter Gustav Klimt (1862-1918). We encourage you to create your own outfit inspired by this wonderful master, but also feel free to join us as you are - the link-up is open till December 20th.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Airplanes First, Then Girls?


An old Soviet romantic comedy "Небесный тихоход" (Heavenly Slug, 1945) tells a story of three friends, brave pilots and convinced bachelors, who decide that their priority is their job, and they would never, ever, ever, not in a million years, or maybe just not till the end of war, fall in love. Good plan!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Artless Athlete


The queen of sports, I am not. But it does not mean that I never do any physical activities which require some sort of comfortable athletic clothing and sometimes shoes.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Magic Formula

When I look at these pictures, all I see is 100% genuine me. I am not experimenting with new styles, not stretching myself outside of my so-called comfort zone, not channeling anyone, not imitating someone else's style, not feeling inspired by a certain thing or event or a person, and definitely not copying anybody else. This is authentic Natasha. I have worn similar feel outfits (at least, they feel similar to me) since I was very young.  But only now, having observed and absorbed so much in the world of style, I can do things I couldn't do before. It is a more refined genuine version of me, who matured and got seasoned a little, that's probably the best way to put it.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Five Outfits

This past October was record high on rain here - 12 inches vs. average 2 inches of rain. November is leaning the same direction so far. To take a break from the gray and wet weather and shake things up a bit, I thought I'd look at photos from 2016 which haven't been published yet. Even though these outfits are less elaborate compared to some, they were still fun to wear - "stylish, but not too stylish", as they say in my favorite British sitcom As Time Goes By. But my outfits don't exit just by themselves. If I wore an outfit, it means I went places and did stuff. So let's see what I've been up to in these few months.

Monday, October 31, 2016

The Last Chord

Hello my friends and readers, and Happy Halloween!
I would like to finish October with the outfit that feels quintessentially Fall to me. I wore it to a walk, dinner out and a movie this past weekend. It has many remixed pieces that I've shown before, and it just makes sense to include it with all those other Autumn ensembles I've shared recently. It's like a finishing touch, the last chord in my October music piece. I have a feeling that November will be different. We'll see!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

The Mamushka!


I don't know about your part of the world, but here in the US there are basically three kinds of movie theaters. My favorite kind is the little independent movie theaters that show artistic movies, foreign movies, documentaries, and indies. Another kind of theaters show current movies, and with the latest addition of comfortable recliners, they became more welcoming to me, especially when they show classic old movies, or (rarely) something of my interest (Woody Allen, for one).

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Is It a Sofa? Is It a Bird?

This outfit is very me. The big and bright yellow poncho made of a thick heavy fabric with rich texture that reminds one of the late 1960s/1970s upholstery fabrics is most definitely not everyone's cup of tea, but I happen to love it. It brings much needed sunshine to gloomy days - in fact, that's usually when I want to wear it the most, on gray cool days, which we have in abundance this October. To make the impact even stronger, I tend to pair this poncho with yellow pants too. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Count Holmes and Sherlock Dracula

I would like to thank our local theater community for preparing for Justin's birthday so well this year! We barely made it to the last performance of a humorous, dynamic, fast-paced Hound of Baskervilles at Lakewood Playhouse, as Tacoma Little Theatre offered the dramatic Dracula. I love theater and will watch just about anything. But Justin is a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes, and Dracula is up his alley as well, so bingo! That made my birthday present shopping really easy! Both were amazing performances, by the way, and if you're in town, I highly recommend - you'll have an unforgettable evening while supporting local arts. On to my outfit now.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Midlife Fun: Pumpkin & Squash


After staying at home without getting out for two weeks, it feels so weird to finally get out and embrace the world! All the smells, noises, color, light, air, temperature...A-MA-ZING! I'm feeling a little drunk with all of it! 
It's a good thing I got better just in time for MIDLIFE FUN too! This month, we celebrate pumpkins and squash which to me express the true spirit of Autumn - its beauty, coziness and abundance. Pumpkins are technically a kind of squash, and our theme could be simply "squash", but "pumpkin" is such a great word, it would't be right to leave it out. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

50 Years of Happiness

October is rich with birthdays in my family - Justin's as well as my nephew's birthday are tomorrow, Mom's and two of her sisters (twins) on the 24th, and then my Dad is not very far away on November 1st. But this year, we also celebrate my parents's Golden Wedding Anniversary. Almost exactly 50 years ago, on October 15th 1966, Misha Lialin and Nadia Shadrina, who first met in the 6th grade and then hadn't seen each other for many years (so many that my future Dad did not even recognized my future Mom) became a family. They were beautiful, young, head to toes in love, and poor as church mice, my future parents. There was no white dress, no wedding rings and no photographs. Just a small civil ceremony with a couple of witnesses, as was required. But on that day, a new life began for the two of them - and, a couple of years later, for my brother Andrei, and in 5 more years for me.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Call Me Quirky

This was not a planned photo session, but I am so glad we took a few pictures when I met Justin for a lunch date and some errands in town on Friday.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Playful in a Park


Parks are for playing! Whether you play sports, enjoy time with your family and friends, or go for a walk, it's all about joy. We've been experiencing rainy weather here for the past few days, but there was some glorious sunshine too, and we took advantage of a sunny day to play in a local park and enjoy Autumn leafage this past Sunday.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Sheena: Color, Pattern, Globe

My dear friends and readers, 
I am delighted to introduce you to Sheena of I Am She Global who I am sure will brighten your day with her unique mosaic of playful outfits, inspired by world cultures, bold colors and patterns. I find Sheena's approach to style refreshingly lighthearted, and her thoughts on unleashing one's creativity encouraging and uplifting. I hope you'll enjoy this post as much as I did composing it.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Finding New Harmony

So, about those different stories. They absolutely don't have to come from brand new pieces - neither in art nor in life. Sometimes, a great inspiration comes from doing old things in a new way. We don't have to get a new vocation or even hobby every single time when, in an otherwise enjoyable activity, we suddenly feel a bit stuck in a rut. And wouldn't it be just a bit unwise if we got rid of an old friend or our hubby every single time we felt a bit stuck in a rut? And while you can, of course, change the country you live in or the continent you're on, what to do with the planet when you feel just a bit annoyed with some things that are going on there? Stop the earth, I want to get off?  Now, that puts things into perspective. If you genuinely love what you have (or, in case of our planet, you objectively don't have too many options), working with it, making it meaningful and enjoyable time and time again, is also a great creative challenge - both in art and in life.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Tell a Different Story

My taste in fashion, as well as my taste in life, is very eclectic, and after a few whimsical and retro inspired styles, I got hungry for some cool casual modern.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Midlife Fun: Pattern Mix

It is time for Midlife Fun link-up again! Please join Tina, Beate and me. You are welcome to link up your posts any time between now and October 25. Yes, we are open for the whole month!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Turning the Corner

I have a feeling that I turned the corner with my style - and with my life as well. The three years of my blog that I celebrated recently (HERE), are also three years of me. Only now I can see clearly how much inner work had been done. Only now I can see what a courageous decision I've made three years ago regarding what direction to take my life. These three years were years of solitude, even hermitage, and reinvention. At times, it felt incredibly hard, dark, lonely and vulnerable - to the point when I doubted my own decision. At my darkest moments, I was afraid that I was becoming someone I would never want to be - a disappointed, bitter, maybe even cynical loner with sad eyes who enjoys poking their wounds to make sure they never stop hurting, so they always have a reason to hide and not live their dream. But even in my darkest times, when I looked deep inside me, I knew that choosing light is the only way to go, and that there is no way back for me. I might look back from time to time, to sort of reestablish where I am in my journey. But I never ever go back, no matter how scary the unknown in front of me seems. It wasn't the first time I've done it, and I don't have any reason to believe it will be the last one. It seems that this is what it means to be Natasha Lialina on this planet - to discover and rediscover, to create and recreate, to invent and reinvent her own life. 

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Labyrinth: Created for Dreamers

A week ago, Justin and I went to see Labyrinth (1986), a fantastically wonderful fairy tale which celebrated its 30 year anniversary this year. Justin had already watched it before, loved it and even, apparently, owned it on DVD. I, on the other hand, watched it for the first time! Can you believe it? I can't! Me, who is all about fairy tales, magic, innocence, humor and romance - who writes stories not very different from Labyrinth herself, has never even watched this gem of a fairy tale! 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Anna: Connecting the Disconnected

Dear friends and readers, I am excited to start the new year of my blogging life with a new round of interviews, and introduce you to Anna. If you, like me, weren't familiar with Anna's blog Melodic, Thrifty & Chic, then you are definitely in for a treat. And if you know this whimsical, one of a kind blogger from the US, then you still are in for a treat - I think you'll find our conversation with Anna fun and stimulating. 
Anna, thank you for playing along and making your wonderful contribution to the symphony of unique voices reflecting on style as a creative process. 

Sunday, September 11, 2016

3 Years!

Hello my lovely friends and readers from around the world,
Even though it's a little late, I decided to still mention my blogaversary.
On September 9th, In The Writer's Closet turned 3 years old! 
To celebrate, I picked 9 outfits from the past 3 years (three for each year), 
which were some kind of milestones on my style journey. 

~ 1 ~
So, let's begin with this burnt orange wool coat (photo above, original post Magical, February 9, 2014). I don't think I had such a vibrant coat before I purchased this one. Here, I'm wearing it with a faux fur collar from a sweater poncho that I have. I noticed a year later or so, one of big internet retailers came out with a version of a burnt orange coat with an over-sized fur collar. And even though I loved their version, I did not buy it - why should I if I invented my own a year earlier? ;) I love all the rich textures I combined in this outfit, and the fact that it has a 1960s vibe, one of my favorite periods in fashion. It was one of the most enchanting posts photographically too - Justin captured the snow on Bainbridge Island, a rare vision in the Pacific Northwest.

Sunday, September 4, 2016


Justin and I visited an art exhibition at the Tacoma Art Museum this weekend. It was dedicated to the Northwest, presenting both local and visiting artists, and this weekend was the last chance to see it at TAM. We loved it! I shared some of the paintings that moved me on my FB page, so if you are interested, just search for my name. Here, I am going to share the art that Justin and I created together at the museum that very same day.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

A Stroll by the Lake

It's official. I'm in love. And I'm in love with this dress. 
If I had to reduce my entire closet to only one dress, this would be it!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Midlife Fun: Rock That Vintage!

Hello my friends and readers, and welcome to the 2nd Midlife Fun link-up. We are all about vintage this time! Feel free to add your posts showing you wearing any vintage item of clothing or accessory, or join as you are!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

A Focused Bohemian

For many years, I have had a soft spot for all sorts of jackets, blazers and coats. My latest coats-infused madness aside (there will be time for spilling the beans in the Fall), I think I still can share some great jackets like this one, even in the heat of the Summer.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Gypsy, or Channeling My Inner Vix


Ideas for an outfit come from all sorts of places. Sometimes, a certain piece of clothing inspires to create the whole look around it. Sometimes, a piece of jewelry demands the whole ensemble to be dedicated to it. Sometimes, it's a place that I'm going to, or a particular event. And sometimes, it's my dear fellow bloggers. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Pizza and Romance + Announcement

These days, we often forget to bring our camera when we go out, or if we manage to bring the camera, then we forget the memory card, so there are no fresh outfit pictures. But there are the photos from late July which I haven't shared yet. It was a warm day with a cooler evening, as usually happens here in the Pacific Northwest, and Justin took me by surprise when he offered to spend it on Bainbridge Island which we both love. 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Summer Vacation Capsule Wardrobe. Part 2: Dressy


What kind of fanciness do you really want on your relaxing Summer vacation by the seaside? I would think, pretty much everyone agrees that as little fanciness as possible. And even though I love dressing up and casual everyday style isn't what tickles me the most,  and even though ideas of fantastically festive outfits were burning inside me, I still decided to choose more relaxing, more quiet outfits even when I wanted to look a little dressed-up. All I wanted - the old world charm, which is mostly in certain silhouettes and details. So here, in the 2nd (and final) part of my Summer Vacation capsule wardrobe posts, I will show my 3 fancy-ish vacation outfits created mostly from the same pieces I used for my casual outfits.
(Part 1 HERE.)

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Summer Vacation Capsule Wardrobe. Part 1: Casual

It's been a while since we took a long vacation. By "long" I mean anything more than 3 days, really. We often take day trips, and a few times a year, 2-day or 3-day trips, but staying in a hotel more than that feels quite generous and even extravagant. We felt like we all needed a nice long break and a change of scenery, so one day, practically on a whim, we found ourselves booking a suite in one of our favorite destinations - Seaside, Oregon. We got lucky because in the middle of the peak season, less than 2 weeks ahead, we got the loveliest 1-bedroom suite on the 4th floor, overlooking river and ocean.  It had a full size kitchen, so a couple of times I prepared home meals, which saved us some money. We also had a washer and dryer in the room, which we used only once, but theoretically, we did not need to bring much clothes with us at all. We opted out of the daily cleaning service which also saved us some bucks. All in all, it's a wonderful option for a family. The hotel has a swimming pool and hot tub, offers free breakfast every morning and free happy hour every evening (wine and beer for adults, snack and drinks for kids). If you're looking for a place to stay in Seaside, OR, I can heartily recommend Rivertide Suites - check them out. And no, it isn't a sponsored post.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Midsummer Midlife Fun: Shorts

A short while ago, I showed you my first in probably a good 10 years pair of shorts (here). I admitted in that post that shorts were never my favorite garment, not even back when I was very young and yes, in better physical shape. But one thing that aging unmistakably changes for me is my level of self-acceptance.  I think like many of us, I was way, I mean waaaaay too hard on myself when I was younger. So many things don't seem to be such a big of a deal to me anymore. Now I wear jumpsuitsoverallsrompersculottes and even shorts. I don't do it to rebel or seek for approval of anyone, or for any such reasons. I do it for one reason only, and it is to drop my own inner barriers, which is all that ever matters, really. And it feels liberating!

Today, I invited two of my dear blogging friends to join me in a fun collaborative link-up (or blog hop) where each of us would wear shorts to inspire women to feel free to wear either what used to intimidate them, or what they rejected as age (or size) "inappropriate". It can be anything really, as each of us has her own inner taboos. We wanted to show that we middle-aged women (or those approaching middle age), some delightfully plump, some having troubles accepting one or the other part of our changing bodies, not only can look good wearing those "taboo" garments, but truly feel wonderful wearing them! We invite you to join us! Let us all have a good time, middle age or not, shorts or not. Feel free to simply be yourself and enjoy it. The link-up is open for one week. Anyone is welcome to participate. Link your new or old posts, visit each other and have the best time!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

There's a First Time for Everything + Fun Announcement

Hello my friends,
Before I go on sharing some photos from early Spring that I did not get to share with you yet (also, a fun announcement at the end of this post!), let me tell you what happened yesterday. It was a wonderful day - first of all, it is always joy to visit with Erica (my hair stylist), and this time it was even more fun because I took Anya with me. After the salon, I took Anya shopping for clothes for her, and as we were marching to the food court of our outlet mall, a woman came to me and said,
"I just wanted to tell you that I love your blog!"
What? That has never happened to me before! In almost 3 years of writing this blog, I have not met a reader, with the exception of my wonderful fellow bloggers (which is fantastic, though a little different). Meeting my blog reader Susan was a wonderful feeling, and she was so lovely to say that she feels that I write from the heart. Thank you so much! You've really made my day, and I will always treasure that. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Monday, July 11, 2016

Valaam: Rare Treasure of Russia

On my random trips to thrift shops and antique malls, I from time to time stumble on some really unexpected treasures, like a genuine antique XIX century Russian brass samovar (I wrote about it on my FB page a short while ago) or this beautiful Russian Orthodox icon. I don't pretend to be an expert on any of these things - samovars, icons or antiques for that matter. But I am an enthusiastic learner and even more enthusiastic appreciator of such things. So if they are within my budget, I happily offer them my home and try to find out their story. 

Friday, July 8, 2016

Old World Charm with a Twist

This summer is much milder than we anticipated. I mean, compared to last year and the year before that, it's really very mild with temperatures in mid 60s to mid 70s, most days. I don't mind - I like weather like this, as long as we have some sunny days here and there, which we do. Besides, this summer started unexpectedly in late March, and during April and May we had some very hot days. I was so happy to find a few linen (or rather linen blend) items earlier this year, like this adorable set - a top and shorts. Yes, shorts. I am pretty sure this is the first time you see me in shorts, as I haven't worn them in years. They were never my most favorite item of clothing, somehow. I remember sewing two or three pairs of shorts when I was a teen and loved playing tennis ("You play beautifully, Natasha, but incorrectly," my instructor used to say). I probably had shorts for the first few years in America too, just because they are so common here, and my first few summers in the Midwest were really hot. After that, for at least 10 years, I don't think I wore shorts. 
So here is my take on this popular summer outfit - I could not resist this charming ensemble, could I? 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Cottage by the Sea & Gifts from Elle

It may seem that I planned this photo session carefully, but I didn't - and I love when it all comes together spontaneously, as it did today. Anya and I had errands in town, and after all I wanted to go to a park and asked what was her pick. Out of three beach parks near our home, she picked Browns Point Lighthouse Park. At first, I thought we'd just take photos by the Sound, but then I realized that this charming cottage garden by the lighthouse keeper's house is an absolute dream and perfection as a backdrop for my outfit today. 

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Flirt with the Wind, Twirl till You're Dizzy + Video


So do you remember I said that I decided to not buy any new things any more? OK, that was a bunch of nonsense. Forget it. I take it back. I think I am not ready to not buy any new things at all, but I agree to slowing down a little. On to the outfit.