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.

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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.

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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.

TV January 2017

t seems it was January for as long as I can remember. It started on a very high note with me passing the big exam for my professional certification I was studying for for couple months and a few days later I passed the re-certification for the one I did few years ago.  Very content, relieved and proud, I decided it was time to relax a bit.

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Next thing I knew I was glued to the TV. I think I spent more time in front of the screen for the past month than I did in past 5 years. And among my other accomplishments for January are: Continue reading

Flip-flops In Winter? Why Not?

If there is one thing I am still struggling to understand about the Americans, it’s their relationship with the weather. Or rather, the connection between their clothes and the temperatures outside.

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Before I came to the US, I used to determine how cold  or warm it was outside just by looking out of the window. People bundled up in scarves – damn cold, I am not going anywhere. Wearing jackets – I need a warm coat. Wearing t-shirts – I might grab a lighter jacket, just in case.But here in the US it is a wrong way to decide on what to wear. Continue reading

2016 Is Soon To Become A History…

Before I knew it, December happened again…

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Since I stopped going to Ukraine for New Year – and last time it happened was 2010, I feel like I’m missing out on what used to be the biggest holiday of my childhood. Neither Finns nor Americans are making such a big deal about the year changing. Not that they don’t celebrate, not at all, but the scale is not nearly the same as back in Ukraine where people start making plans for New Year night already in September.

However, the smell of the Christmas tree, cooking the traditional dishes and watching the Ukrainian TV (this one day a year when I do it) are kinda getting me in the mood. And as a part of the mood, here is my 2016 summary.

2016  for me wasn’t the most horrible year ever, since my family and my friends are all alive and healthy (more or less, rather more than less), and for this I am very grateful. Still, it wasn’t the most pleasant year and I am happy it is almost over.

The most memorable part of 2016: travels. There were familiar places (Canada, Oahu, New York, Miami, Paris, Lisbon, London) and new places (Big Island, Faro, Florence and Venice). Each of our trips was everything we could wish for emotions and experiences wise – and I am ever so grateful for this. Continue reading

Christmas 2016

I almost missed the Christmas hassle this year – thank you, gentleman across the aisle on a plane from London, who was coughing his lungs out the entire flight.  My to-do list for December was 3 feet long and what’s more important, I had tons of inspiration to actually do all of that.

Well, next time I’m thinking I need some time off work, I’ll be more specific as to my physical well-being, as this has officially been the longest-playing virus in my life. During 2 weeks of being sick I went through all 5 stages during this time – denial (no, I am not getting sick, it’s just the dry air that makes my throat sore), anger (I hate this guy on the plane), bargaining (if I have another Day-quill, I can probably go out), depression (that’s it, no Christmas for me this year) and acceptance (so what if it’s the case?) – and then I figured out I needed to see the doctor, and the doctor figured out I needed antibiotics, and after 3 days I figured out I am feeling much better and there is still time to jump on that last wagon of the Christmas hassle. A lot of figuring out involved.

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In just  5 days I can proudly say that I am 95% done with my Christmas shopping – just 2 gifts left, all of the packages have been wrapped and shipped worldwide, all of the cards are signed and mailed, stockings are up over the fireplace, window lights are out there,  Christmas tree is up too – and it’s been cold enough to start the fireplace season, so it adds to the atmosphere. Still have to catch up on hot cocoa with marshmallows, but that is only because I’ve eaten a bag of marshmallows I bought  for this cause even before I could think of hot cocoa. Continue reading