Sunday, April 14, 2019

April Showers, Fridays for Future and My Contribution to the World

Thank you so much for your wonderful comments on my previous posts!!! They brought so much joy to my heart, and I mean it. I do miss interacting with you guys, and I feel like I am very much behind each of your real life series. I lurked at your blogs a few times in the past few months and have every intention to catch up some day, though it is still challenging at this point. I thought that my workload would be lighter in April, but boy I was wrong! After finishing with one gig, I continued keeping myself busy with new ones, and after family time, trying to keep the house in at least a tiny bit reasonable state of chaos, and time to rest and recharge, there is very little time for blogging and fashion. But it isn't a bad thing, and even rare style and blog encounters can still provide fun as well as a break from other activities and responsibilities.

Umbrellas are my favorite accessory this time of year - though, in our wet climate, it's a useful accessory year-round. In this post, I combined two somewhat similarly built outfits, both worn on multiple occasions (with variations), and also shared some of the latest life happenings with you. The jumpsuit (or overalls? what would be the right terminology in this case?) is from Target, by Universal Thread, last Fall collection. I really enjoy wearing it! It is easy to dress it up and down with shoes and accessories for many different moods and occasions. It also combines well with all sorts of tops, from simple T-shirts and turtlenecks to button-down shirts and blouses. This pink blouse is thrifted (you can see its watercolor polka dot design in my JANUARY 2018 and DECEMBER 2017 posts). The matching cherry blossom umbrella is from our trip to Washington DC last May and will always remind me of our visiting the Smithsonian (my post about it HERE). The wool peacoat is old and great quality (shown with teal velvet pants in DECEMBER 2013, with lilac skirt in DECEMBER 2015, with orange and denim in FEBRUARY 2016).

The yellow stripy blouse is also thrifted, and when I bought it, I thought it was yellow, white and BLACK, only to discover later that the stripes are yellow, white and really dark NAVY BLUE. Either way is fine with me, but blue makes it more connected to Spring fashion. I am wearing jeans more often than usual this month. These wide legged high waisted denim trousers are from Eloquii (previous season), shown in DECEMBER 2018. My textured long vest is a few years old, and has a unique story. It is from a Lane Bryant collection (one of America's oldest plus size companies) made in collaboration with the students of Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, California. I often wore it with dresses, but probably for the first time with jeans (which was probably the original intention, given the famous California relaxed casual vibe...but I tend to make my outfits a little formal and a bit too much rather than casual and minimalistic). Previous outfits with this vest: floral in SEPTEMBER 2017, sweater dress in NOVEMBER 2016 and polka dot in in NOVEMBER 2016, 1960s inspired in JUNE 2016

I believe everything but the denim jumpsuit and this thrifted yellow blouse you've seen many, many times on my blog. It's true - I have a lot of clothes, and it is very difficult for me to get rid of things even if I don't wear/use them frequently. I get attached to things emotionally. I adore Marie Kondo (if you've seen her series on Netflix, you'd probably agree with me that she looks like a real-life fairy), and I think she is a genius organizer, but I absolutely suck at her method. I think that her principals are brilliant and can be used by anyone, and I would love to have this adorable fairy to come to my messy home and help me to organize it. But the whole "getting rid of stuff" philosophy is not for everyone, and is definitely not my cup of tea - I love my stuff.

What else April showers brought to my life, other than fashion and flowers of course? Gorgeous and enormous rainbows, as you can see from Anya's photo below, as well as new friendships and activities for her, such as a peaceful protest in front of Seattle City Hall. It was started, as I learned, in August 2018 by Greta Thunberg, then a 15 year old student from Sweden, and spread quickly throughout the world. There are strikes now in 125 countries on ALL continents. Students in different cities and countries come to their governments every Friday to raise the society's awareness, to educate and remind us, adults, about the reality of the climate change and the state of the planet that we leave to our children. Our children ask us, adults, to take better care of the Earth, because there is no plan(et) B. It bring tears to my eyes to just write about it... Our daughter teaches us a lot. She is very passionate about environmentalism, and thanks to her, we as a family started paying much closer attention to how much plastic we use, find the ways to reduce the amount of single use plastic, reuse and recycle whenever it is possible. I feel personally responsible for contributing to the state of our planet, even if my contribution came from the lack of awareness rather than bad intentions (as most of us!). I admire and feel so proud of these young people, and I fully support their peaceful, quiet and safe approach. We all have to learn to deal with difficult situations and our hard feelings about them peacefully and kindly, without blaming, shaming and pointing fingers. It is not easy. But the negative approach doesn't work, and I am so proud of the young generation for looking for and finding better ways to educate, to advocate, to bring the awareness forward. To me, these kids are inspiring, not only for dealing with the hot topic of climate change, but for giving such a great example we can learn from regarding any life challenges. They call their school strikes FRIDAYS FOR FUTURE, and Greta at her 16 been already recognized and awarded for her peaceful initiative. 

As for me, April was the beginning of my newly re-introduced educational program for Russian-speaking families. I probably mentioned before that for years my main form of creativity was expressed in educational ideas and creating a community. Oddly enough, in my early years I used to think of myself strictly as linguistically gifted, and spent most of my time working with texts rather than people. So it came as a surprise to me, when suddenly in my early to mid 30s, I discovered my passion working with people, and not just that, but creating a community where there was none. So since 2009, I work with families with young children, offering a wide variety of classes, events and programs based on my own educational ideas. Some of the activities, I lead in collaboration with others (groups, organizations or individuals), while others I do on my own. Some of my programs are free for the public, for others I charge. For my volunteer work, I received prestigious awards, such as the Washington State PTA Golden Acorn and Federal Way School District Award. This month, I started taking small groups for educational walks where everyone, from little ones to their parents, learn something about the world around us, about the surroundings, nature, history, traditions, arts and culture. I was honored to take my first group on a nature trail the other day, where we had such a wonderful time observing, exploring and learning. I am thrilled with the exceptional feedback I got, but as it is with anything else in life, our time together was a symbiosis, a mutual exchange - I learned from you as much as you learned from me, and received as much positive energy, and for that my heart is full of gratitude. 

I wholeheartedly agree with the phrase Be the Change. When you see a lack of something and this lack bothers you, that is a strong sign that there is something in you capable of changing that particular situation. Do not waste your energy on complaining and blaming others for not providing you with what you want or need. Instead, look into yourself and find out how you can contribute to the change for the better - and then start creating! Be prepared that it won't be easy. There will be ups and downs. There will be missteps and regrets. But do not be discouraged - take a break and learn to look at them as learning experiences rather than mistakes or misfortune. There will be challenges, disappointments and even pain. And I had to learn myself: if it is something that really matters to you, not to your ego, but to your true self - then you are on the right way, and the pain can actually be your blessing and your guide! Nothing of a true significance can be easy. But then, only that which really matters to us, is worth doing. Everything else, on the large scale of things, is more or less a distraction. It is a hard lesson to learn, but such an important one. 

We need to stop blaming others and stop finding excuses for ourselves. Instead, we need to challenge ourselves to create what we are craving and what doesn't exist yet.

It is the most vulnerable thing and takes a lot of courage. But we need to do it for ourselves, for our children, for our communities, for our planet. Each of us has unique talents (some are still hidden and undiscovered!) which we can contribute to the world. I firmly believe that it is a purpose of our life to discover our talents and our own creative freedom, and that it is the biggest gift we can give to the world. And so the change begins...

This is all for now, my dear friends. 
Till next time and new adventures in life and style!

Photos of my outfits by Anya and Justin.
Photos from my educational walks and the protest in Seattle are provided by the participants.

Keep in touch via INSTAGRAM!
My style profile is a bit sleepy lately, but I am reasonably active on my author's page.

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  1. I do love to see you looking so fabulous in both outfits!, love your overalls and those wide legged pants actually rock! And love how you wore your denim with those vintage shirts, in pink and in yellow, adding your personal touch and style!, love matching umbrellas and cool accessories!. I think that your striped shirt and matchy umbrela is something fabulous (and matching the car in the background is so Fabulous! mwahaha, love it)
    And I always enjoy so much to read on your life and activities. So inspiring, so interesting, so moving! (love that Anya is also involved in the Fridays for Future movement, so fab!). And you totally rock!

  2. So lovely to catch up on what you've been doing! Such a busy bee, but the most important thing is that you're passionate about what you're doing. Even if blogging has been temporarily (I hope!) put on the back burner ... We have our own Youth for Climate movement here in Belgium, they usually demonstrate on a Thursday, and have been joined by Greta once or twice! You must be so proud of Anya being involved! I'm loving both of your outfit, proving that even though you haven't been around much, you certainly haven't lost your fabulous sense of style! Like Monica, I immediately noticed the matching yellow car! Hugest of hugs xxx

  3. What a wonderful post Natalia. You look stunnig in both outfits while you tell all these things. Greta is a good role model for her generation. Great Anya advocate. Wonderful to see your pics about Fridays for Future.
    I wish you a little bit more time for you and familiy... and blogging :) Do what you love to do, it is so important.
    A very huge hug and much love Tina

  4. in germany this is an OVERALL - what americans call "overall" is a "latzhose" here :-D
    but anyway its name - the thing is fabulous and very flattering. love how you match your umbrellas to the tops! both looks are gorgeous casual chic - perfect for a hard working girl :-D
    i´m in awe about your activities! going out&about with the young families to plant awareness for the environment into the people is such a great work. its never to early to learn - i remember very early memories about my grandparents taking me to the woods and teaching me about trees, mushrooms, animals and all and how to behave environmental friendly - in the spirit of the pre-war wandervogel movement.
    i guess my awareness and sustainability root in my early days with the grandparents.....
    so good that the teenagers ring the bell - its a big movement here too!
    wonderful post - my dear!!!
    love!! <3<3<3 xxxxxxx

  5. We struck / striked over here too even though they aren't at school! I took the kids over to see what a demonstration looked like. Aiden was especially moved by it. I was moved by the moment when the University students arrived chanting to support the school kids.
    You are such a busy passionate creative bee. Go Natalia!
    Xo Jazzy Jack

  6. It's very inspiring what your daughter and other adolescents are doing, raising awareness about the ecology like that. I agree with you in that we can learn so much from children and young ones. They have a lot to teach us. I would say that children & teenagers often have their heart in the right place when it comes to the environment.

    It is so inspiring to read about your work. I know that foreign language teaching often isn't (statistically speaking) developed or present in the English speaking countries, English being the global language so it is even more amazing you were able to make such progress and work on different projects. I didn't know you have had such prestige awards for your work. I have one award for volunteer work with kids with special needs, I think I got it from city of Split.

    These are both great outfits. The striped shirt you wore with the jeans is fabulous. It is even better that some of the stripes turned out to be navy blue because that makes them match the blue in the jeans. I find myself reaching more and more for navy blue, it matches pastels and other lighter shades better than black. The outfit with a pink shirt and a denim jumpsuit is perfect too. I would say jumpsuit because to my mind overalls always has those buttons, I'm not entirely sure what is the ideal name for it would be but I do like it.