Saturday, January 24, 2015

Stash tea haul

I am LOVING the tea situation in the United States. The grocery store alone has a vast selection of different brands and blends; add in the possibilities available on the internet and the choice is infinite!

Recently I've been noticing a number of little tea shops downtown that sell their own loose leaf teas. Browsing in The Spice & Tea Exchange (a national chain of franchises) last week, I overheard 2 girls chatting in Russian while checking out the black teas. They laughed when I told them that if they were shopping here, it must truly be очень хороший чай, very good tea.

Oregon is also the home of the Stash Tea Company.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


Ukraine celebrated Epiphany a few days ago, which reminded me of these videos from last year's celebration at the Kharkiv park known as Sarzhin Yar. It was the second year in a row that I stayed home to sleep in and D got up early and went to the park with his colleagues.

Crowds and a glimpse of people dunking themselves in ice cold water:

A quick wander past the vendors and those waiting for their bottle(s) of water to be blessed by a priest:

This older man isn't showing any hesitation:

Three dips into the water on this day are supposed to cleanse you of the past year and prepare you for the new one:

Floating around somewhere out there on the internet is a video of D taking his turn in the pool. He described the process as excitement, doubt, and finally elation. Based on what the temperature usually is on January 19th, I think I'll stick permanently with a cozy bed for all future Epiphanies, but D will probably be back at it if we return to Ukraine- he tried to do it this year in our bathtub!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Mini NYE recap

This year we celebrated New Year's Eve with D's family, so it was a night full of my favorite thing: champagne-fueled, animated conversations in a foreign language!

Here are six photos from that night-

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Winter waterfall

For the ultimate in creepy beautiful...

Drive to the forest.
Make sure it's good and green...
... the kind of place where an elf or ogre might appear if your back is turned too long.

Wait for dusk to fall heavily upon the land, wiping out the sky.

Orient yourself. Look around for a bridge perhaps straight out of Middle Earth, or an entire galaxy of water plummeting onto rocks of ice.


Saturday, January 10, 2015

Virtual matryoshka haul (and more)

I love the matryoshka (aka Russian nesting doll). Put a matryoshka on anything and I will probably buy it. That's what lead me to a very thorough scouring of the internet last night. Behold, the results!

Well, first behold these fun salt and pepper shakers from a friend.

Stickers. Stamps. Fabric. A chalkboard matryoshka. Post-its. Doesn't even matter that I have neither a Kindle Fire nor a Samsung Galaxy S4 mini nor a child, these two covers (here and here) and nursery art prints are adorable. And holy matryoshka- there are even cookies!

But as everyone knows, you get on the internet to do one quick thing and three hours later, you're still planted in front of the computer. That's how I found loads of other neat stuff on Etsy.

Very cool: the ultimate Ukraine necklace.

I would so get this decal... if I had a car to put it on.

Jewelry for fans of Dostoevsky.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

9 new things I tried this fall

1. Making blini for the first time in our (now not so) new apartment.

It's official: wherever one goes, whatever the local ingredients available for toppings are, blinis are still the best snack food ever!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Kharkiv's White New Year

A friend sent these pictures after a heavy snowfall ("сильный снегопад и метель") on December 29th. Looks like Kharkiv was the place to be this/last year for a postcard-worthy holiday photo!