Monday, February 11, 2019

The Great Frost of 2019 and The Book Awards Finalist 2018

We are in the midst of a big snowstorm here in the Pacific Northwest which is so very unusual for this part of the world. We got the first snow a few days ago, then a large new portion last Friday, more on Sunday, and even much more on Monday! Snow here pretty much always causes delaying and cancelling activities: schools and offices get closed or open for fewer hours, and those who can opt for working from home on snow days to watch their kids who are out of school, as well as simply to avoid unpredictable driving situations. Needless to say, snow is the biggest topic of conversation these days, and even I (being from Siberia and knowing possibly everything there is to know about snow) find snow irresistible and take photos and videos of snow which amuses my friends and family back home. While I can't really surprise my folks with the snow, it is surprising around here, especially in such amounts - last time, I believe, we got so much snow during The Great Snow of 2012, and before that The Great Drifts of 2008. (Do you love The Vicar of Dibley as much as I love it?) With the snow, arrived wind and colder temperatures, and all together it of course brings back some memories.

But I thought that snowfall is a particularly good reason to get a new photo session and a perfect occasion to honor my fake fur coat (shown in DECEMBER 2018). I thought I'd play with the 1960s lines of this cobalt blue coat and wear it with my genuine 1960s carpet bag and stylized velvet boots with clear heels (these are strictly fashion boots, there is nothing practical about them). 

It was getting darker, and a new snowfall started as we were getting ready to leave (hence the very last couple of pictures)... I picked a location which is unusual for me. It is the grounds of the Methodist Church built in 1961 - unfortunately, I did not find the information about the architects, but I do admire their vision. The building and landscape around it is reminiscent of a Japanese house and garden, the simple lines of which were a major influence for architects back then, as I understand. Only now when I read a little bit about the history of this church (HERE), I realized that I intuitively (not consciously)  picked the environment of the same era as my outfit! 

It happens often with me - things come together without any detailed planning, and it goes not only for my photo sessions. I do believe that if we stay out of our own way, life gets so much easier. This time, we were just driving back home trying to find a spot for photos before the snowfall, and I remembered about the church where our friends neighbors invited Anya to a virtually free Bible camp one summer, when we were so broke we couldn't pay for tuition anyway, so we took the opportunity. It wasn't the first or last time when our friends helped us in tough times, and we always remember their remarkable kindness. It's not always possible to pay back to those who helped us, but it is always a good idea to pay forward so to speak - to pass your kindness onto someone who needs it most: a person or a group of people whom you can help.

On another note, I am so happy to share great news with you! If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you were the first to know that my book ANYA AND HER WINGS is a finalist in THE WISHING SHELF BOOK AWARDS 2018! It is a fantastic indie book award organized by a popular children's book author from London, UK, in which children themselves evaluate the books by criteria: Editing, Theme, Style, Cover, and Illustrations. You can check out the whole list of FINALISTS 2018 HERE to see what British students as well as two groups of adult readers from London, UK and Stockholm, Sweden enjoyed reading. The winners will be announced later this Spring, but Andrei and I are so honored that our work is loved BY KIDS THEMSELVES!!! That's our audience, and really, their opinion is what matters most. 

I was also honored to learn that my dear blogging friend IVANA selected our books for her list of BEST BOOKS & FAV WRITERS OF 2018! I was thrilled to know that her niece and nephew love my books, and just recently she told me that she used ANYA AND HER WINGS in curriculum teaching her students at school in Bosnia and Herzegovina where she lives, and one of her pupils borrowed it to read at home. Many of you know Ivana as a stylish young woman, kind supportive friend, and talented hobby artist - I showcased her portraits of me on numerous occasions (see images on the right panel of my blog). But Ivana also truly is a passionate reader and expert on literature, and I value her support very much! She writes in-depth book reviews and shares her recommendations on her BOOK BLOG and INSTAGRAM

Back to our snowy days. I know I told you that I don't miss snow, and it is true - I don't. Yet when it rarely snows here, I feel happy. As soon as it was time to head back home, we were showered with snow, and just like it was long ago, in my childhood, it felt like magic. Mr. Toucan agreed!

Faux fur coat - Eloquii
Wool beret - ModCloth
Boots - Ashley Stewart (old)
Purse - vintage
Dress - Melissa McCarthy (last shown in SEPT 2018)
Necklace - Talbots (old)
Mr Toucan - brooch by Chico's (shown in JULY 2018)

Linking with Patti's Visible Monday


  1. so fabulous pictures of you on the snowy landscape!, you look adorable, your blue coat is stunning (and looks warm!) and the tucan brooch is amazing!. Lovely background indeed!
    Glad to read good news about your books and so delightful that children have voted for them!, that's pretty rewarding!.
    We haven't had snow in the city, but there's some snow on the nearby mountains and sky resort (yes, there's a sky resort a few kilometres away). Wind is quite chilly!

  2. Natalia how wonderful these news about your book(s). Congratulaion!
    You look amazing in your Snowstyle. I am really glad to be in Thailand. This winter is hard. But you look happy about snow :)
    A very huge hug Tina

  3. You look beautiful in that blue coat and it's lovely to see you enjoy the snow. Congrats on the success of your books. I agree about the paying the kindness forward. It's unbelievable how generosity can touch you sometimes when you really need it.

  4. congratulations!!!!!
    beeing among the finalists is indeed very gorgeous! and how great that ivana is using your books successful at school.
    ***happy dances here***
    you look very mad man in this ensemble - the backdrop does the rest. you know i´m a big fan of your "if we stay out of our own way, life gets so much easier"-mantra - things that belong together will come together - the universe is wise.
    on to the snow!! :-DDDDD
    its a teeny tiny snow on your pics - no one around here would bat an eyelid about it - but on the palm tree it makes a greeeeaaaat impression ;-DDDD
    but i totally understand your happiness about!! <3 <3 <3
    much love! xxxxxxx

  5. First of all, congratulations again on making it on the finalists list of the book awards. I am keeping my fingers crossed! The snow really is a wonderful backdrop for outfit photos, especially when you're wearing these fabulous colours. I love, love, love the cobalt blue coat, and I love it even more with the splashes of red created by your beret and Mr. Toucan! It does look quite magical. I'm very much taken with the style of the Methodist Church as well. And it's from 1961, which is the year I was born ;-) Hugest of hugs xxx

  6. Congratulations! That's absolutely brilliant news and to be chosen as a finalist by the children themselves? You couldn't ask for better judges!!
    Your coat is gorgeous, you look so snug and stylish in those snowy conditions. xxx

  7. Congrats on the book award finale! How wonderful that the book was chosen by the children themselves. Their opinion is the most important one after all, because the book is written for them. So happy to hear that the kids in England enjoy it. Thank you for using my photograph of Superseal! It is nice I got the chance to use Anya and Her Wings with my extracurricular classes at school. With regular English classes the focus is more on grammar and I have to follow our handbooks, but with extracurricular classes I'm free to organize them as I want which is as you can imagine quite fun.

    The snow looks so lovely. Even we had a few snowy days this winter and snow is not typical for our region. I remember the snow in 2012, it was quite a year, if I remember well it even snowed in Jerusalem in 2012 which is incredible when you think about it, isn't it?

    Your outfit is absolutely adorable. I really like the coat, its colours stand out against the snow perfectly. The red beret is simply perfect. The boots are beautiful even if not very practical. Such a lovely outfit altogether. Have a great week!

  8. Natalia,
    How beautiful you look in this cerulean blue with the snow behind you. It is like the stark white was made just to accent your beauty. I love the pink too, so bright it suits your personality. Congratulations on being the finalist for the book award!
    The weather this season.. is surprising and not .