10 Things I Learned During Renovation 

There is a saying that you can only start the renovation, but you can never finish one. Well, in out case this saying proved to be wrong, because few days ago we have officially finished renovating our kitchen and bathrooms. And I am gladly sharing with you all what I learned during these 2 weeks.


1. Even if you think your kitchen is small, there are at least 10 trash bags you will fill with things you found when emptying the cabinets.

2. “7-10 business days” term given to you by furniture consultant when you are still shopping for cabinets magically becomes 4 weeks once you paid the money.

3. Even if there wasn’t a snowflake during 3 months of winter, you will get a snowstorm in the middle of March, the day your appliances were scheduled for delivery, delaying it and messing up your renovation schedule.

4. After 5 days of eating out there is not a restaurant in the world that would beat the homemade soup. You wake up and dream of homemade omelette. Too bad you have another 5 days to eat out. Tough life.

5. It takes 3 days for your cat to get used to the sound of drill so that she wouldn’t even wake up when the drilling starts.

6. You can put your makeup on in the car, when all your mirrors are off the walls. On that same note you can double down on your swimming pool and gym time because these places have shower too.

7. Even if you planned the renovation carefully, multiply your budget by at least 25%. Trust me. This is just how it is.

8. You will never be able to buy everything after just one visit to construction store. Not after two either. Not after nine. I’m not joking. You will also be doing a lot of returns and exchanges.

9. If you feel like you are tired from making choices and decisions and are ready to go with “whatever, I don’t give a damn” – leave the store and come back another day rested and ready to choose and decide.

10. Putting things back in will take three times longer than taking them out.

On a brighter note, the result is completely worth it.

But I’m still stuck at number 10.

Advertisements

Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors

Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors exhibition hosted by Hirshhorn Museum  is definitely the event of the spring in Washington D.C.  We could not miss the chance to visit it too.


Hirshhorn is a Smithsonian’s Museum, which means there’s is a free entry. However, in this case I’d much rather pay for the tickets than go through the ordeal of getting my free pass.  Generally, there are two ways to get in – you either get a timed pass online or you come in the morning and line up for the same-day walk up timed pass. Or you could also donate money (the smallest donation suggestion I saw was $250, but someone told me you could do $50) and become a member and visit as often as you like whenever you want to.

The only problem with the online passes is Continue reading

Grace’s Mandarin If You Love Chinese Food

I stopped eating Chinese food 10 years ago, after my vacation in China. Not because I had a bad experience, but because I had such a great food experience, that after that eating  broccoli and pieces of something that might have been chicken, beef or a shoe sole, covered in soy sauce, didn’t seem appetizing at all. And unfortunately this is what most of the Chinese food outside of China tastes like.

One of my memorable dinners in Changchun was at one of the city’s top 3 restaurants, where you could pick the lobster or the fish from the aquarium and they would cook it for you right away. Yeah, this type of restaurant, with marble tables and chairs looking like emperor’s throne. It was also where I first tried glass noodles, frogs’ legs and some of the cuisine’s finest sauces. My other memorable dinner was in Beijing, where we found a hall-in-the-wall type of place, with sticky tables and personnel wearing stained aprons and not speaking a word of English. Up to the day I remember how delicious their Beijing duck and sweet aubergines were.beijing_modern_city_920x500

However, yesterday I finally broke my 10 years long Chinese food fast and didn’t regret it one bit. Before seeing Sting at MGM National Harbor last night we had a dinner date with my husband at Grace’s Mandarin. I can say with absolute confidence that it was the best Chinese food I ever have had outside of China. Continue reading

New York Gems: Chelsea Market

One thing I am always trying to do when I am traveling is to visit the local market.

Even if they are flooded with tourists, nothing shows you local life better than these markets. Oh, the crispiest of the breads at the market near St. Placid metro station in Paris! Oh, the juiciest of the shrimps and octopuses at San Miguel Market in Madrid! Oh, the delicious pasta at San Lorenzo Market in Florence! I could go on and on…

Not only food, of course. All kinds of arts and crafts, local clothes and fake Louis Vuitton purses,  old ladies buying milk and cheese and bargaining with the sellers, all the tourist buzz – there is just something to the markets that gives you a real taste of the city.

Before I first came to New York, I’ve never even thought that there might a market there – for me New York was a city of skyscrapers and market just didn’t fit into the picture. But now Chelsea Market is one of my favorite places to visit whenever I am in Manhattan. It’s definitely more touristic than a farmers’ market somewhere in the Southern France, but it is definitely a place to not be missed when you are in Big Apple.chelsea market Continue reading

Kinda First Day Of Spring

The European part of my Facebook and Instagram feed is celebrating the first day of spring by posting pictures of the flowers of all forms and declaring the new life full of new hopes. My American colleagues looked at me as if I were cuckoo when I congratulated them with the first day of spring few years ago on March 1, because spring in America comes on March 22, so this year I made no mistake.

grumpy

This winter was so weird. In December I was sick, in January I was tired and February hit me with some news I am mad about and  still very reluctant to accept. There was no snow except for one day, and cherries started blooming in mid-February only to be followed by the temperatures dropping to freezing point. The news on TV were like a bad circus, all books I started to read were kind of weird and I was forcing my way through because I don’t like to leave stuff unfinished. I stopped loving the food I used to love, and the most weird thing – I didn’t feel any inspiration to travel anywhere (though still went to New York, Philadelphia, Atlantic City and Annapolis just in a matter of month), so almost no travel plans are made for 2017 as of yet. To top it all off, I dropped my phone on the carpeted floor yesterday and shattered the screen into million pieces – something dropping it on the ground or on the tile floor could never accomplish. Yay.

Not to say that there weren’t any good things to this winter, but I’m a grumpy cat today.

I’m using today to cautiously hope for a spring that will be better and brighter. And if it isn’t, I always have an American first day of spring in just 3 weeks from today.

After all, there are should be some perks to being an immigrant.