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Bluemont Vineyards Or 951 Feet Above The Sea Level

By now I have almost surrendered to the fact that this winter won’t be white in Virginia.

Since we cannot enjoy winter activities this year, we decided to completely ignore the fact that it is still February and it’s still quite chilly outside, and headed to one of our favorite wineries just an hour drive from home.

Before I moved to Virginia, I had no idea the state is so big on wine, but soon I learned that there are over 280 wineries in the area, which means there is always a new place for you to go if you are love wine touring. I’m not a big wine connoisseur, and I pick wineries to go based on the scenery and food they serve,  and my husband, who knows a lot about wine and can tell zinfandel from cabernet-franc without looking at the bottle, puts a further filter on it Continue reading

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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

West End Girls, East End Boys

If only I could spend as many days in London as I have pictures in my phone after the trip…:)

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It was my third time in London. The previous two happened over 6 years ago, when I was living in a small (relatively small) Finnish town – before I ever visited Paris or New York or San Francisco or Honolulu  – so you can imagine how much I had my mind blown after seeing what London had to offer.  I’m even embarrassed now to remember how excited I was to see  Victoria’s Secret shops or how I was making my friend who I was visiting go to every single Starbucks we saw or how confused I was in the tube looking for the correct line.

Weather was  great. London rain is overrated, if you ask me. We were there for  5 days in November and didn’t see a drop of it. However, I completely forgot what it felt to be outside for longer than 15 minutes when the temperatures are in the high 40’s/8-9 C. You need layers and layers of clothes. You also need a big scarf, a hat and gloves. Unless you are local. In this case you can go just wearing ballerinas, ripped jeans and short leather jacket. At least, this is what the majority of the women I saw looked like. I was freezing just looking at them and wrapped in the scarf tighter.

Food is good in England.  Don’t argue with me on that one, I am a foodie and I am peculiar when it comes to that part of the deal.  The only place where I didn’t like the food was the place I used to love during my previous visits. Yes, Patisserie Valerie, I am looking at you. Those Eggs Benedict were a disgrace. Warm apple tart was ok though. The rest of the food experience was very good. Duck Shepard’s Pie and steak tartare at Balthazar. Coffee and pastries at Arro Coffee. Steaks and grilled porcini mushrooms at Zelman Meats. Fish and chips – yes, fish and chips – at some no name place on our way to the tube. Continue reading