Sunday, December 24, 2017

Solstice, Christmas, New Year!

Merry Christmas!
And if you don't celebrate it, then Happy Solstice (better late then never) and New Year!
I hope each of you gather with the most amazing people in your life and simply share the joy and love you have for each other. Life is so precious, it's worth celebrating at every and any possibility!
So let us have fun and ceLEbRaTE!!!

I challenged my talented photographer to take these pictures in a garage on one of the coldest and darkest nights we experience this Winter. We did not know how pictures would turn out, but we quite like the result. I like the juxtaposition of fancy outfit with tough industrial background. And I love the way portraits remind me of Rembrandt's paintings (dark and moody).

One of my favorite ways to celebrate is attending performances, which we do a lot during the holiday season, and I'd like to tell you about the most remarkable ones. On December 20th, we went to Tacoma for one of the most unique performances around here. PUGET SOUND REVELS is a local group of talented musicians who put together a Winter Solstice show (and other shows throughout the year) for 25 years already. We first heard about it 3 years ago, and I wrote about that performance HERE. This year, the music took us to Galicia, the northwest region of Spain (similar to the position of Washington State in the USA), and we got to travel the long, beautiful and challenging Camino de Santiago! Wahoo!

On our journey, we learned about authentic music and musical instruments, singing and dancing, costumes and tradition. All of it and the audience participation made this evening so incredibly charming and unforgettable! We loved it so much that we bought their CDs and danced a Galician folk dance at home! I wore what in my imagination is reminiscent of Spanish costumes (not at all what farmers of Galicia wore, of course), completed with scallop shell vintage earrings - a traditional symbol of Camino. Puget Sound Revels is a part of a nationwide movement, and you can see the whole list of cities with sister organizations and performances HERE.

At the age of 4, our daughter brought pencils and notebooks everywhere she went. She used to use every free minute to draw pictures, and she made little books of her own stories then. Now, at 14, she writes music as well as stories, she dances, sings...and sometimes she reads while she walks. :) 

The city looks so dressed up for the holidays. No wonder people around the world celebrate on the darkest days of a year. The everlasting continuum of darkness and light. Goodbye old life. Hello new one!

The performance took place at the Rialto Theater (built in 1918 as a movie theater). We were not allowed to take photos during the performance, but Justin took photos of the bright and beautiful theater interior. You can see pictures and videos of past performances on the website here: PHOTOS and VIDEOS. I hope that they will repeat EASTERN EUROPE soon - I'd love to see their interpretation of some of my home culture. Megan Oberfield, the music director, was Anya's music teacher in 4th and 5th grades. You should hear her singing, she's got the voice of an angel!

That's probably the last holiday performance I'm going to write about this year. The rest of the year we will spend quietly, enjoying the company of each other and tasty homemade meals. Some shopping, long walks and possibly a museum trip are on the list too, and I haven't been to banya in ages - but we must celebrate New Year clean, mustn't we? (Don't worry if you don't get it - it's a purely Russian joke!) 


My cheery turtleneck - thrifted (recent Goodwill find)
Velvet jacket - thrifted a few years back
Lace skirt - Who What Wear x Target
Boots (perfect for pilgrims) - Kenneth Cole Reaction
Earrings, brooch, purse - vintage
Fur coat and frog ring - Lane Bryant (old)

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  1. thank you for this post and all the festive greetings!!
    you look perfectly elegant and ready for celebration in this glorious ensemble! loooove all the shiny details! and justin did a fabulous job behind the camera!
    "little" anya looks the perfect student ;-) she´s so cute - don´t tell her, i know that teenagers do not like to be called cute....
    wish you happy celebrations at your cosy home and gemütliche days - would like to join you at the banya!
    hugest hugses! xxxxxx

    1. Happy holidays, my dear!!! You know, I suddenly realized why evening attire is often black... in the dark, you won't see much color anyway, but the sparkles are visible even at night! :))) Since that realization, I stopped resenting black ebening dresses or even LBD - they are totally valid in my eyes now!

      The student is so tired after the semester and finals, she even fell asleep during the 1st act! Thank you for your kind words, we love you too, our dear Beate!

      Of all blogging friends, you might understand the joke at the end if you had a chance to watch Ирония судьбы или С легким паром (it might be shown in DDR). here with English subtitles
      It is THE New Year movie for Russians! Classic with brilliant actors, though I am not sure non-Soviet people can get the cultural background etc.

      Love you!

    2. thank you for the link - want to watch the movie in the evening - but i´m very curios now!!

      coco chanel invented the LBD in the 20s - you know it i guess - but it took until the 60s that it took foot by the masses - evening dresses were pale or jewel colors but mostly in shiny fabric like satin...... or full of sparkles like in the 20´s..... the high time of the LBD were the early 90s - we fashion students wore it 24/7......
      me since then totally not - but lately i feel a craving for the LBD ;-)

    3. I don't really know much about fashion, period. I just feel my way through it, and maybe I heard of a few facts and names, but that's about it. So I really appreciate your fashion expertise and little history lessons! They are fascinating! And even though I studied languages and literature in the 90s, I too wore LBDs!!! One was made by me, sort of a long turtleneck made of jersey, in the early 90s. Another one in the late 90s was made by a dressmaker. I loved them both and wore them a lot!

  2. The photographs taken in that garage worked out surprisingly well! I'm loving your suptuous festive outfit, and that skirt is just divine. The city looks wonderful dressed up for the holidays with all those lights! Even Antwerp does, although at the moment I am glad I'm away for it all for a while. Waiting for suitable weather to go on long walks too! Have a wonderful holiday, my dear friend. Hugest of hugs from Belgium! xxx

    1. Merry Christmas!!! Happy holidays!!! I wish I could travel to Belgium to see all the wonderful decorations and have a cup of tea with you (and some thrift shopping of course)! I am so glad you were able to get away! I will visit (virtually, for now ;) soon! Lots of love, my dear Ann!

  3. I like this departure in style. Well done to you creative pair!
    Merry Christmas to you all and may your celebrations be magical and filled with love.
    See you clean in the New Year!
    xo Jazzy Jack

    1. :))) Well now I just MUST go to banya!

      Merry Christmas and happy holiday season, my dearest friend! We are taking it easy here, but a little miracle happened - we got snow right at Christmas Eve!!! So pretty and magical. We went for a walk! :)


  4. A little late but Merry Christmas to you and you family. I must admit to being a little envious of a Winter Christmas , the Christmas lights twinkle brighter on a darker night and your theatre productions so wonderful. You look perfect for the evening . Enjoy you holiday season Natalia. xx

    1. Happy New Year, dearest Jill! May it be full of wonderful things that bring joy to your heart! Maybe even a little snow for (the next) Xmas!

  5. Wyglądasz pięknie i bardzo świątecznie:))śliczna spódnica:)))jak zawsze zachwycam się Twoją torebką:))))Pozdrawiam serdecznie:)))

    1. Поздравляю с Новым годом, дорогая Реня!
      Счастья в новом году!

  6. Natalia I wish you all the best and a happy new year for you and your wonderful family.
    You look satisfied in your face. I love the last picture ;)
    Fabulous style my dear friend and Justin did a very good job! Great pictures.
    Huge hug and much love, Tina

    1. I felt happy that evening - sometimes the anticipation brings even more joy than the event itself (though it was both that particular time)! Lots of love, dear!

  7. Attending a nice performance is such a lovely festive tradition. While I lived in Split, I always attended a New Year symphony concert in the city's theater.

    Listening to Puget Sound Riven sounds like an amazing experience. It is always great to hear authentic music. Looks like you guys had a nice time.

    Reading while walking? I must admit that I do that sometimes as well. Your daughter is not the only one:):).

    I really like your black and red outfit. That red lace skirt is so pretty. The industrial background is interesting and it works quite well as a background for this lovely look. I do like the animal print coat as well. Dark tones, Rembrandt background- what is there not to like?

    I wish you a happy and blessed New Year. Do Russians traditionally celebrate New Year with the family? I think so. Here there is no traditional way to celebrate it, some celebrate with the family, some out with friends. I will definitely celebrate it at home.

    All the best to you and your family in new 2018!

    1. Happy New Year, Ivana! In my family, it's a family holiday, but there are people who go out with friends too. It's the biggest holiday in Russia, that's for sure.
      Lots of love!

  8. I hope you, Justin and Anya had a wonderful Xmas.
    Your boots are incredible and I love the fabulously opulent polo neck! xxx

    1. Thanks Vix! It was a great find, a bit small in size, but since it's stretchy, it works. :) Happy New Year full of new explorations!

  9. Dearest Natalia,
    I love the artistry of each photo here, as always, it reflects your personality, and soul, if I can use that word in this context.
    I adore your red lace skirt, the bits of embroidery in the back of your boots, the layering of velvet over shimmer, and the shots of lovely places you have been, including the ceilings!
    The frog ring and the photograph is outstanding.

    I wish you a year that is abundant in family time, and all things precious.
    Is Russian New Year's January 6th? Do you celebrate that or both?
    Anya is a beauty, like her mother. Hugs to them and Justin, too.
    Much love
    xoxo, Elle

    1. Thank you, Elle! Such a beautiful, poetic comment... Wishing you a very happy New Year!
      Russian Orthodox celebrate Xmas on January 7th. Then some people celebrate Old New Year on January 14th. To Russians, the celebrations have JUST begun... while I'm feeling pretty exhausted with all the holidays here by now. :)))

  10. ohhh, I love when you dress up so appropriately for an event, not only elegantly, but also thematically!, you look really gorgeous in your lace skirt and rich velvet jacket, with all those golden accessories enhancing the deep colors, and your cute booties too!, love your ring and those earrings (so appropriate!)
    And it's pretty interesting to know that some music from the celtic Galicia is being played around the world, and so lovely that you enjoyed it. It's a moving music and very evocative!. I think you could even dream on woods and see and old stones!
    Love to read your post!

    1. Thank you, Monica! I love your comment! I was not familiar with Calicia at all, and bagpipes surprised both Justin and me. Now it all makes sense of course, celtic roots! The music was lots of fun, we thoroughly enjoyed the performance. Being an empath, I was totally there and couldn't stop tears (of joy) for the first few minutes.
      Happy New Year, dear friend!