New Site

IMG_0471.2.krIMG_0465.kr

A few days ago marked my 2 year anniversary with WordPress and as I’m hard-pressed to have a hobby for so long, I decided it was time to invest in what has become a rewarding and constant project, a catalog of everything I’ve learned and all the directions I’ve gone off in.

Which is why I’m moving all operations to my new site – which has all the old posts but a new domain name and layout.

Have a great weekend and I hope you like what I’ve done with my new site!

 

Advertisements

Elderflower Gin & Tonic : Fake Vacation?

Gin Collage.jpgTo kick off my second weekend in the city, I thought I’d share my new obsession – gin and tonics. This was my aunt’s favorite drink back when I was first loosed upon the world of legal 18+ European partying the summer of my senior year (I had a Sex on the Beach and lots of Peach/Singapore/whatever Slings) and I have been amazed by it since. So minimalist, so good and you can eyeball the measurements. So perfect for this stressful summer.

While we’re on the note of being overly influenced by my German maternal aunt, she also put elderflower into everything -mint lemonade, champagne (which is technically a Hugo and was totally the IT drink in Europe in 2013…) –  so it’s always been associated with that hip euro vacation when I thought I was an adult.

This article suggested you spice (sweeten?) it up with syrupy tonics (and lo and behold they recommended Jack Rudy’s Elderflower Tonic) so here is my first step towards preparing for that bar/winery/speakeasy I will one day own.

Combine, in a highball glass or a mug or a bucket, in this order:

2+ oz. gin (the possibilities in your Brooklyn wine & spirits store are endless – Back River Gin and Bluecoat are nice and we have yet to try the fancy vintage-looking California gin)

.75 oz. Elderflower Tonic (or any other tonic, be fancy, be free, it’s summer and you’ll sweat off the hard alcohol calories)

as much or as little ice as you want

-5 oz. tonic water

Enjoy! And let me know what other tasty combinations you come up with!

On Leaving

IMG_9383.2.krIMG_9351.2.kr

“You get a strange feeling when you’re about to leave a place, like you’ll not only miss the people you love but you’ll miss the person you are now at this time and this place, because you’ll never be this way again.”   – Azar Nafisi

Currently freezing in New Hampshire after a whirlwind week of moving out and going to Mexico and coming back to start classes. I often wonder why I am so addicted to leaving – there’s not a place I’ve been to (for more than a few days) that I did not want to leave by the end. I think it’s because I’m forced to acknowledge reality while I’m physically in a place, but when I leave my natural optimism only remembers the good things and that place at that time and me at that time become a perfect dream. And so we are perfectly reborn over and over when we leave.

In other news, I’m very excited to share my trip to Mexico with you!

Happy Monday!

 

Blue Bottled

IMG_9299.krIMG_9294.krIMG_9295.kr

This was from a week back, braving the cold to go out with my lovely friend Erica. I think this post encapsulates why I love photography so much, especially natural light photography – I never stop learning. There’s always something new to explore and some new angle to look at the thing you see every day, some new technique to try. It never stops evolving (if you call me a nerd who loves school you would be correct) and that’s why I love it.

Anyway, in addition to the semi-regular philosophic musings, there’s a NYC café guide here somewhere, namely Blue Bottle Coffee (the one in Williamsburg), one of those quintessentially cool, hardwood-floors-and-ceilings-and-tables-and-gleaming-coffee-equipment joints that also happens to be a chain but doesn’t feel like one. I’ve only tried the latte (my drink of choice between the months of September – May) and it was delicious and also warm which is all I was going for. They have a few tiny bites as edible options as well as granola and oatmeal and you have to fight for table space because it is always packed. Luckily I have a huge bag and as a Russian I rarely smile at strangers. 🙂

The Details: Zesty Appetizer

IMG_9308.2.kr

A little update from my Valentine’s Day (really just a Sunday brunch followed by a movie which happened to coincide with the 14th). I really don’t get what the big deal is about VDay. There shouldn’t be a specific day for showing love and it’s kind of divulged into a commercialized enterprise which also includes people in relationships posting about how great they are to people who are single (and not-so-secretly call in Single Awareness Day).  Hated it when I was single and my opinion hasn’t changed.

But this carmelized grapefruit topped with mint was an unexpected treat from Egg Restaurant, the Southern-style brunch place in the Kingdom of Brunch, a.k.a Williamsburg (recall  Allswell). As a Southerner my boyfriend said it was good food, but not authentic so there you go, but the chicken and bacon sausage was delicious (if so, so bad for you – but no worries, they have kale). Clawing away at the grapefruit with the ridged spoon was its own adventure and so rewarding when  I cleaned it out from the inside. Would recommend (the grapefruit though, didn’t quite get the grits…)

A(r)t Home

IMG_9256.2.krWhile I am the first to ooh and aah over a beautiful image, I also have begun to suffer from the feeling of duality that often accompanies those photos. Don’t get me wrong – I want to have a life as curated as a flat lay, in all white and black and neutral tones with matching latte art and on-demand lighting to match my Insta “feel” but, you know, I get bored when it’s all the same (good-bye solid branding strategy) and unfortunately, I also don’t live like this. Beautiful things are beautiful things and I appreciate all the photographers, bloggers and Instagrammers out there who make me think I should redecorate my life, but I think that’s precisely why it’s harder to glorify every day moments when all of a sudden they just won’t do.

Hence this photo. I secretly hate having my photo taken because I’m so picky when I take photos of others and I know how it all can go wrong, but I felt I had to suffer through a brief moment and take an un-posed photo of a moment I felt was gorgeous – me not on my phone, reading my favorite things and my hair, for once, was behaving. It just kind of struck me, how cozy I was and so un-Instagrammable.

That being said, since I promised to never take myself seriously, please expect more artful arrangements of latte art (tomorrow is Thursday, coffee day at my fave Café Integral) and faded photos of streets. But back to being philosophical and serious, this could be a new series, thoughts?

PSA: I am reading philosophical musings on travel, so you can bet this mood and the photos, will continue. At least until I finish.

NYC Survival Guide: 5 Tips for the Winter

It’s cold and the winds are vicious, but there’s rarely any snow (unless it’s a freak storm, hello Winter Storm Jonas) so your average expat from other regions is hard pressed to find the justification for suffering in the city. So here’s how I, a Siberian who goes to school in New Hampshire but was raised in the South, am dealing with a New York Winter:

1. Power Through the Reading List

IMG_8709.kr

I know you have one. I have one, separated into: Books I should read but never do (to be an educated intellectual equipped for cocktail parties, pictured above…ok I read some), books I want to read, and magazines. Now that I’m off campus working in New York, I have all this free time to read and I sometimes use it to my advantage (still poring over Suitcase Magazine and Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels). Reading is my lazy person’s excuse for being lazy because…ahem…technically I’m being mentally productive.

2. Stay (Become?) Active

IMG_9247.kr

I know I just had a whole blog speech about reading, but quite naturally we all want to hibernate in the winter and eat wonderful, warm, bread-y things (I wear over-sized sweaters and parkas…no one can tell until spring). I am also monumentally lazy, but last winter, when I had to go to the gym daily to practice for fencing (winter is the official fencing season…we wear so many layers we might as well compete in the cold) I felt energized and not as sluggish as during most of my winters. Depending on where you are, there’s a gym or a yoga studio on every street corner so you don’t even have to freeze to death before you get there. If you push yourself to go a few times, set up a routine, it’ll get that much easier to go. (Also I’m going to Mexico in March…and the thought of wearing a bikini terrifies me into a proper gym routine.)

3. Parks & Rec

IMG_8723.krIMG_8763.kr

Not the TV show, although that’s another great way to never go outside unless absolutely necessary. New York has so many wonderful parks – Central Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Washington Square, the Highline, the list goes on – that it would be a shame not to grab a moment’s peace. Which btw, looking at the color green has been scientifically proven to help alleviate eye pain and even improve vision (after hours of staring at computer screens) and going outside to get even 5 minutes of (clouded) sunshine helps alleviate SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder – so you can come right back to hiding in your apartment, staying warm.

4. Coffee (Surprise!)

BasicCoffee Collage

…or a warm drink of choice. As an anemic with low blood pressure, I have to have coffee to kick start my circulation and get myself up in the morning, but it’s also been proven to lower the risk for stroke, depression, Alzheimer’s, liver cancer and other illnesses. Grab a drink and walk around a park until it’s all gone and you’re cold again (or just stay inside the cafe…you can congratulate yourself on the fact that you made it out today). Plus, imagine the Instagram opportunities – but choose wisely, not all latte art is created equal. I recommend Birch Coffee (they got my name right!) and Cafe Integral (friendly staff and inside an amazing boutique, American Two Shot)

5. Get Away

IMG_9201.krIMG_9203.kr

Because sometimes surviving a winter in New York means leaving for a place with more snow (jokes, Winter Storm Jonas), a beach, or at least some change of scenery (Jersey? Mass? Upstate NY? The possibilities are endless). On MLK-day weekend I took off to visit family in Maine and it was a restful break. Sometimes I need the space and the greenery that NY cannot provide…but we love it anyway.

Then there’s a whole slew of tips on homemade wellness for the winter, complete with Theraflu and Ricola and long underwear, but that doesn’t make for great pictures!

Enjoy the winter!

Other Smiles

IMG_9007.krAngst CollageIMG_8985IMG_8986IMG_8987.krDanMonkey CollageIMG_9029.krIMG_9033.krCar CollageIMG_9027.krIMG_9015.kr

Happy New Year!

While I’m still imbued with hope and good intentions and philosophically lethargic after the holidays of non-stop socializing and eating (le detox from Juice Generation, order up), I figured I would wax poetic about photography and my New Year’s Resolutions.

Don’t get me wrong – I love smiles and happiness and a lovely smile on a lovely person is great. But I also don’t agree with all the heat bloggers were getting way back when for not smiling in photos. Who’s to say smiles are the only real way to show joy? I, for example, always feel fake when forced to pull back and bare my teeth just to make the other person secure in the thought that I am happy. My RBF is a perfect expression of my relaxed contentedness without the extra muscle exertion. Gorgeous smiles are wonderful, but I can’t help but feel that nowadays so many smiles are on-demand anytime we snap a picture or interact even. So here is a little photo study of other facial expressions that relay things a bit more complicated than joy, as shown by my baby brother, who is suddenly not such a baby anymore. Took the photos in, you guessed it, my favorite park, back when it was Christmas Day and nearly 70 (oh how I miss you now, tropical Christmas).

As for New Year’s Resolutions, aside from the realistic portrayal of people as discussed above, I recently read the life-changing magic of tidying up and it was truly transformative (and you should get it ASAP). As a hoarder with complex commitment issues, I’ve long wanted to clean up my room, de-clutter my life and so on, and this book was a great catalyst. As soon as I finished it (in a day) I threw out two bags of toiletries and makeup and several bags of just tops (those I donated, they were perfectly good clothes) and I’m still not done (just wait until I get my hands on my dorm room). Marie Kondo says to visualize your ideal life – I can’t wait until mine looks like a design magazine (or at least a west elm catalog).

Goldilocks and Baby Blues

StreetsofSoho CollageIMG_8859.krWeekendinNYC CollageIMG_8856.ktIMG_8862.krIMG_8879.krThe first two photos are of amazing, light-brushed trees in SoHo, with so much good food and shopping around the corner. I recommend Baz Bagel for inventive bagels and an unfussy, charming NYC diner experience. The next 3 are of more playful light photos, this time at brunch in Allswell in  Williamsburg (I had the avocado toast and the latte and it was delicious) and then there’s the photo of Jake in Central Park, followed by more Central Park shenanigans. I’ll just say skating in NY anywhere is a robbery, they charge such outrageous prices for everything. But I, as always, was too content to melt away in a stream of snaps (except not really, it was freezing no matter what I wore).

Happy Tuesday!