The Siberian American

Friday, July 22, 2016

Toss or Keep? A Guide to Makeup Shelf Life

Hey everyone! While I'm recovering from surgery, I asked several blog friends to guest post for me. I have to say, y'all are in for a treat with these wonderful guest posts! Today, I have Ashley from A Cute Angle with a guide to makeup shelf life! I have to admit I'm the worst at remembering to throw my makeup away, so I will definitely be pinning this post for future use. Thanks, Ashley!

How long have your makeup products crowded your bathroom drawer and your makeup bag? Once you open makeup products they are on a time clock. They only last for so long before being contaminated with bacteria that's harmful to your skin.

Here are some rules to follow on what to toss when:


You’ve got two to three months with your mascara wand once it's opened. Once the mascara has gotten thick, or starts to flake, it means its had too much contact with air, and there could be bacteria lurking inside the tube. To prevent this, never pump your mascara. When pulling the applicator out of the tube, twist it around slowly to build up the product.


Liquid liner is in the same category as mascara - toss it after three months to avoid a potential eye infection and never, ever share!  Pencil eyeliners can have a longer shelf life, but you need to sharpen them regularly. Bacteria can linger and could cause irritation. Spray alcohol on the tip before sharpening and do at least three rotations to remove germs.


Once opened, you’ve got 6 months to a year. Check that the consistency still looks the same and apply it using a brush or sponge. If unopened, it can last a couple of years, so don’t be afraid to stock pile your favorite!


You can get away with keeping your lipsticks for two years without spoiling. If you keep them stored in a dark, cool place they can be kept longer. Once they start smelling rancid or looking fuzzy you’ll know it’s time to throw them away.


Provided they are powders, they have the longest shelf life of any product. If you wet them, it's different story. Wetting them creates a breeding ground for bacteria which can cause eye infections. They’ll have to be tossed around the six month mark.


If they are good quality and you take care of them properly, your brushes should last for life.  Wash after every use with a brush cleaner and lay them out flat on a tissue to completely dry before storing away. You can also use baby shampoo or this DIY tutorial for brush cleaning.

Follow these tips for a healthier you!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Surgery Day Thoughts: Life is Beautiful

After spending almost all of 2016 in pain, I can’t believe the day to have my surgery is finally here. I don’t think anyone ever really looks forward to surgery, but I am definitely ready to get past this pain and move on with my life.

During these last few weeks, I have had a hard time leaving the house, but I have tried to spend at least a short time outside each day. A few days ago, I was able to go on a short walk and came across a stunning church. As a sat on a bench outside the church with gorgeous sunlight poking through the trees, it hit me: life is so beautiful.

There is so much ugly in this world, but beauty is everywhere. Beauty is a cup of English breakfast tea in the morning. It’s the birds chirping outside my window when I can’t get out of bed. It’s in a book I can’t help but keep reading through the night. Beauty is in all the family and friends (that includes you, blog friends!) who have supported me during one of the hardest times in my life. It’s in the tree-lined streets where I take my walks. Life can be hard, but it is so, so beautiful.

Thank you so much for your support as I go through this today. I had hoped to answer all the sweet comments and emails I received before the surgery, but the last few weeks have made it difficult. Just know that I have read and appreciate every single comment. I appreciate so much that y’all have stuck with me when I had trouble reading other blogs and answering comments on mine. I will try to post an update on the blog or social media as soon as I can.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Health Update: A Surgery Date

Note: If you’re new here and don’t know what’s going on with my health, read this first.

I’m not going to lie: I’ve had a harder and harder time keeping up with blogging lately. My pain keeps getting worse, and I just don’t have the energy to put together a travel post these days. Thankfully, my spirits are still high, and I’m doing even better now that I finally have a surgery date.

I am so thankful for the doctor who will be doing my surgery. She’s a gynecological oncologist, so she does complicated surgeries often. I was also impressed with how well both she and her PA knew my case before I even talked to them. She spent over an hour with me, which is hard for a doctor to do.

It was rough to hear that she thinks the endometrioma has grown since my MRI. It was already at 18 centimeters, and my doctor thinks it’s likely over 20 centimeters at this point. For that reason, (and because of my constant pain) she wanted to do surgery as fast as possible. I will be having surgery exactly a week from today—Wednesday, July 20. I will be in the hospital for at least three days following the surgery. My total recovery should be about six weeks.

It’s crazy that out of the 52 weeks in the year, my surgery will fall on Christopher’s and my “Super Week.” For those that don’t know, Christopher and I were born two days apart, and our anniversary is two days after my birthday. His birthday is July 21, mine is July 23, and our anniversary is July 25. My goal is to be discharged on my birthday! In all seriousness, I don’t really care that the surgery will fall on our Super Week. My friend Chelsea once told me holidays are when you say they are, and I really embraced that during intern year. We will have to postpone our celebrations this year, but we will have another thing to celebrate: being done with surgery!

In general, I have been able to stay positive, but my time at the doctor’s office was tough. It’s hard to hear just how complicated my surgery will be and that my doctor can’t prepare as well as usual due to my endometriosis. It’s even harder to sign what the doctor called the “scary paper” that says she can remove a number of organs, if necessary. I know it's done for liability purposes, but that doesn't make it any easier. I’m an optimist, but even I found myself going down the hole of everything that could go wrong.

That said, I have faith. I have faith in God that he will heal me, and I will come out of this trial in my life stronger than ever. I have faith in my doctor, who has done this procedure many times and is both competent and kind. And I have faith in myself. This has been the hardest year of my life, but I am ready to move past it. I am not willing to let this experience define me.

I want to thank y’all for your encouragement throughout this process. Your messages and emails have meant so much to me. I’m obviously not sure what my recovery will look like, but I will try to keep y’all as updated as I can.

PS-I have asked a few blog friends to guest post for me during my recovery, but if anyone else is interested, I would be happy to have you! I have no idea how many people to line up due to the nature of my recovery process, so I thought I’d put a request on here too.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Eight Books I Read in June

I thought I hadn’t read much since my last book post with our move and everything else going on, but I just looked it up, and I still read nine books. I also did Erin and Dani’s Read My Books Challenge. I couldn’t read books off my bookshelf since we moved in the middle of the month, so instead, I alternated between NetGalley books that have been on my shelf forever and Kindle books I bought months (sometimes years) ago and hadn’t gotten to read yet.

I had a hard time narrowing down which books to share with y’all this month because although I’ve read several good books, I haven’t read many lately that have blown me away. I’m not sure if this has more to do with my mindset lately than the books themselves, so I’m including some of my three-star books in the mix again this month.

The Good Girl by Mary Kubica
I don't know what's with me and popular reads lately, but I keep feeling like they don't live up to the hype. My problem with The Good Girl is it felt super slow and lacked suspense. When the questions were finally answered, it felt rushed. As far as the big "twist" at the end, for some reason I had started suspecting that in the middle of the book, so I wasn't surprised. It was a decent read, but I really wanted it to be more fast-paced.

One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid
(c/o NetGalley)
Taylor Jenkins Reid is an incredible writer. In One True Loves, she tells a raw, heart-wrenching story of Emma, a woman who became a widow at a young age and was finally able to move on three years later, only to find out her husband hadn't died. The author took me on a rollercoaster of emotions as she told the story from the beginning of Emma's love story when she first met Jesse to finding out his helicopter had crashed and the healing process afterwards. It's a beautiful story of growth and courage and was masterfully done. I will definitely be reading more Taylor Jenkins Reid books in the future.

The Wife, The Maid, and The Mistress: A Novel by Ariel Lawhon
I had never heard of Judge Joseph Crater before I read this book, so it was interesting to read a fictional account of how he went missing. I really liked Stella, the wife, Ritzi, the mistress, and Maria, the maid, but the story really seemed to drag in parts. The facts of what everyone knew did slowly come together, and the author's guess of what happened to Crater was interesting, but I had a hard time getting to the end of the book. Overall, it is a decent read about a historical topic, but it's not a book I will go out of my way to recommend.

While You Were Mine by Ann Howard Creel
(c/o NetGalley)
I really liked While You Were Mine at the beginning, but it lost me a bit in the middle. The romance was seriously lacking and so was the historical component (it's set just after World War II). At the end of the book, I felt like I didn't know much about Gwen and John. Even so, I don't regret reading it, but it's not a book I would recommend.

The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan 
This book was such a guilty pleasure! I like the royal family, though I didn't know much about Kate and William's love story (I knew they met at St. Andrews, and it took him a while to propose). Of course, I had to look up more of their story while I read The Royal We, and this novel does loosely follow the same timeline. I really thought this book was fun. As much as I liked Bex and Prince Nick, I thought the supporting characters really made this story. It was longer than I expected, but I didn't really mind. I was in the mood for this kind of novel, and I'm glad I read it.

Miller’s Valley by Anne Quindlen
(c/o NetGalley)
This book surprised me. It started off slow, and I wasn't sure I was going to like it. It didn't really pick up its pace, but I grew to like Mimi and her life in the tiny town of Miller's Valley. That said, it took me quite a while to get through less than 300 pages. I'm not sure I would go out of my way to recommend it to people, unless they are in the mood for a slow, reflective novel.

Rosalia’s Bittersweet Pastry Shop by Rosanna Chiofalo
(c/o NetGalley)
From the description, I thought this was a lighter read than it was (I do recognize that the word “bittersweet” is in the title), but I did enjoy Rosalia's story and all the different pastries mentioned. I did think it was a bit repetitive, and I didn't enjoy the author's writing style. Like I mentioned, I was in the mood for a light read, so I thought most of this book was really depressing, but if you go in realizing it is sad, it is a decent read.

All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda
(c/o NetGalley)
In this thriller, Nicolette Farrell returns to Cooley Ridge ten years after her best friend goes missing to sell her father's house. Within days of her arrival, her ex-boyfriend's current girlfriend, Annaleise Carter, disappears. This book is told in reverse, from Day 15 to Day 1, and it actually works. My biggest concern with this book is I didn't actually feel the suspense, and one of the big reveals was super obvious (the other one wasn't). Still, I thought it was a clever way to tell the story and worth reading just for that!

Favorite reads in June: One True Loves and The Royal We

Linking up with Steph & Jana.

I love book suggestions. What have you read lately?

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Life Update: Last Weeks in Chicago and First Weeks in Texas

June was a crazy month with our last few weeks in Chicago and our move to Texas, but we still managed to have some fun.

Our last weeks in Chicago were all about food. We had a lot to celebrate, and I wanted to try as many places as possible before we left. Our first new restaurant was Bavette’s, an amazing French steakhouse where I had one of the best steaks I’ve ever had and a really delicious crab cake.

The biggest event in June was Christopher finishing intern year! I wrote about it here, but I am so proud of how hard he worked in Chicago. To celebrate, we went to Café Ba-Ba-Reeba for some amazing tapas and peach sangria!

I absolutely loved celebrating the end of our time in Chicago with the Wendella Fireworks Cruise. The fireworks were amazing, and I always love seeing the stunning Chicago skyline from Lake Michigan.

On our last full weekend in Chicago, we stopped by one of my favorite festivals in the city—Printer’s Row Lit Fest. I love looking through all the booths filled with books. Last year, we bought several Coca Cola ads and old Chicago advertisements that I can’t wait to put up in our new place.

We also met up with friends for dinner at Eleven City Diner, one of my favorite casual restaurants in the city. I decided to try something different from my usual brisket sandwich and got the patty melt. It was super delicious, though the brisket sandwich is still my favorite thing there.

Our last week was filled with lots of moving logistics, but we still managed to eat well! Of course, we had to have some stuffed pizza from Giordano’s (although Giordano’s is considered one of the big three deep dish pizza places in Chicago, their pizza is technically stuffed, not deep dish), which was amazing, as always. We also went to one of the most unique places we tried in Chicago-a Peruvian restaurant called Tanta. I hadn’t tried Peruvian food before, but everything we had was seriously delicious.

On the Friday of our last week in Chicago, I managed to walk to Lake Michigan to say “see you later” to my beloved lake. We also stopped by to pick up food from Wildberry, a fantastic brunch place in the city. My parents arrived later in the day, and we met up with some of their friends at Taverna 750, which had great drinks and even better food.

On my last day in Chicago, I went up to our roof to take some photos of the gorgeous view. Then, Chris and I headed to Greek Islands, a nice Greek restaurant in Greektown. Chicago sent me off with a gorgeous sunset!

With my dad at the wheel, we made the drive from Chicago to Texas in 13 hours. It was a long day, but it was worth it to do it all at once to get the chance to relax for the next few days. Thankfully, I had a pretty good health day until we reached Oklahoma. For those who have driven through Oklahoma, you know the roads are terrible. It’s noticeable as soon as you cross the border from Missouri to Oklahoma, and the roads are fine again as soon as you hit Texas.

I spent the week catching up with my mom until Christopher showed up on Thursday night. Then, we visited some of our close friends in the area. My best friend also stopped by on a day I wasn’t feeling well and asked me to be her matron of honor. I can’t wait for her wedding in November 2017. A few days later, I met her up for lunch and to wish her well in her new adventure on Long Island!

Our last week in June was all about moving in to our new place. It’s been hard for me to feel like I can’t do much during our move, but I am so thankful for our families, who helped us out so much! My in-laws even found this place for us since we couldn’t fly home. I am loving our new neighborhood. Once it gets cool enough to walk (and once I’m recovered from surgery), there is a fun park to walk Skyler and plenty of restaurants and shops to walk to nearby.

I have really enjoyed catching up with family and friends these past few weeks. On the last day in June, I met up with my former boss (who is a great friend!) for a great lunch at a sushi place capped off with some pie from Emporium Pies.

Phew. That was a long update. Tell me what’s going on in your life!

Linking up with Kristen and Gretchen