The Siberian American: December 2014

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Year in Review: October, November, and December

Happy New Year’s Eve, everyone! I am still on our Caribbean cruise, but I wanted to share the last three months before the start of 2015.

The highlight of October was the fall foliage cruise we went on to celebrate our five year anniversary. We had a blast exploring Boston before the cruise and visiting the ports of Portland, Maine, Bar Harbor, Maine, Saint Johns, New Brunswick, and Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Honestly, November was a tough month. Chris was gone nearly the entire month for interviews, and I confessed that it was hard to be apart for two weeks straight. Thanksgiving was amazing, though. Since all of my extended family is in Russia, we have spent Christmas and Thanksgiving with a group of Russian friends that might as well be family. Growing up, I had three close Russian friends. Everyone called us the Red Army. I got to see two of them for Thanksgiving, and we had a blast catching up with each other.
We had so much fun in December! Chris still had a lot of interviews, but I got to see him every weekend. We went to Baylor’s last football game of the year and got to see ESPN College GameDay on campus. We had several Christmas parties and went to a beautiful winter wedding. We capped off December by celebrating Christmas with friends and family…and now we are on a Caribbean cruise to bring in 2015!

Here’s to 2015!

Monday, December 29, 2014

December 2014 PopSugar Must Have Box Review

Hello, friends! I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. I am on a Caribbean cruise this week, but I wanted to share my December PopSugar box. This box is exactly why I love subscription boxes—I probably wouldn’t have bought any of these items individually, but I love everything in it.
Sparklepop Sydney Necklace ($42): This is such a fun necklace. I love the sparkle, and the length is great. It is a nice piece to wear alone or to layer with other necklaces. I will definitely get a lot of use out of it.

Canvas Dauville Platinum Bowl ($29): This bowl is an item that I probably wouldn’t buy, but I really love it. I am going to use it for some of my earrings.

SPUN by Subtle Luxury Speckled Metallic Scarf ($62): The scarf is my favorite item in this PopSugar box. I love that it is lightweight, and the sparkle is so pretty.

Smashbox Be Legendary Long-Wear Lip Lacquer ($24): I love Smashbox items, and I really liked this lip lacquer. It lasted a long time, and it’s a nice color.

Williams-Sonoma Cupcake Mix in Vanilla Bean ($14.95): I love to make cupcakes, and I will definitely use this soon! I think the packaging is really cute and would make a good gift.

Knot & Bow Gift Tags ($4): These are so cute. I love that they are blue, so I can use them throughout the year.

The total value of this box was $175.95 this month. I have now had the PopSugar Must Have Box for a year, and this is one is my favorite box so far!

What is your favorite item in this box?

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Year in Review: July, August, and September

It’s been fun to think back on my year so today I am linking up again to share July, August, and September.

July is always my favorite month of the year because it include my hubby’s birthday, my birthday, and our anniversary….all in the same week. I can’t believe I haven’t mentioned it on my blog before, but Chris and I were born two days apart (less than that if you account for the huge time difference!). His birthday is July 21, my birthday is July 23, and our anniversary is July 25. We actually hadn’t planned for our wedding to be the same week as our birthdays. The original plan was to get married in June, but July 25 was the date that worked out. Anyways, this year was fun because we both turned 25 and celebrated our five year anniversary. We love giving each other traditional gifts for our anniversary, and this year we enjoyed coming up with unique ways to give each other wood. Though it can be exhausting to have so many big days in one week (we call it our “super week”), we always have a great time celebrating each other.
August was my best friend’s birthday, and we celebrated by going to a winery. It was also the month that I started this blog. I had been reading blogs for years and finally decided to take the plunge. I am so glad I did! I was also excited about the start of college football and wrote why I thought it was the best time of the year.

In September, we started narrowing down the hubby’s residency options. It was the first time that it felt like medical school was almost over. He applied to residency in the middle of the month, and the interview offers started rolling in the next day. It was so exciting to see all of the schools that wanted to interview him. He has worked so hard, and I am incredibly proud! Here's an update on the interview process.

Merry Christmas, friends! 
I will be taking the rest of the week off to spend times with friends and family. We will be cruising next week, but I will have a few scheduled posts up (If it takes me a while to respond, that's why). I hope everyone has a wonderful, relaxing week, and I will see you in the new year!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Three Months from Match Day: Residency Update

Other than mentioning the interviews in my Friday Favorites, I haven’t talked about the residency process in a while. I can’t believe we are so close to finding out where we’re headed! Although I am doing better at living in the present (the holiday season has really helped with that), I am still eager to know if we are moving.
Here’s a quick explanation of the process:
Chris is specializing in radiology, which means he has to do a year of internal medicine (or surgery) before he starts his radiology residency. He has to interview for both internal medicine and radiology programs right now, and we will find out his placement for both on March 20. He still has a whole month of interviews in January, and he will have a total of 32 interviews by the time he is done.

Once the interview process is over, we will rank the programs, and the programs will rank Chris. On March 20, we will receive an envelope with one radiology and one internal medicine program on it….and that’s where we’re headed. Most residencies start on June 15 so we will have less than two months to move (if we need to).

Current thoughts: 
Though it is still hard for us not to have a lot of control over the process (since the schools ranking Chris is what will matter in the end), Chris and I feel pretty good about our top five choices. The top five choices are really different from each other in location and size, and there is still a chance that these will change since Chris has some interesting options coming up in January. I wish I could break them down and talk about similarities and differences, but I can’t write about it.

Right now I am in a weird position where I am so ready to know so I can start planning, but I want time to go slowly because life will be even crazier once we do know. Here’s to the next three months—I am sure they will pass quickly, and before I know it, I will be writing a post about where we’re going.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Friday Favorites: It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It’s the last Friday before Christmas! It’s so crazy to me that Christmas is only six days away. How is this year almost over? Anyways, I am so excited for next week and all the fun it will bring!

Here are my Friday favorites this week:

/ / One:
After today, I only have two work days until I am off till January 5! Like I mentioned last week, this is such a huge blessing, and I am so excited for time with friends and family.

/ / Two:
Like me, Chris is now done with interviews until January! January will be his last month of interviews, and I can’t even tell y’all how happy we both are about that! March 20 doesn’t seem so far away anymore.

/ / Three:
We leave for our New Year’s Eve cruise on December 28! I can’t wait to relax, spend time with Chris and his family, and enjoy that beautiful Caribbean water.

/ / Four:
I finished reading Keeper of the Light by Diane Chamberlain this week. I have loved all of the books I have read by Diane Chamberlain so far because of her complex characters and interesting plots filled with suspense (there is usually a big secret that comes out at the end).

The Amazon blurb for Keeper of the Light says: Dr. Olivia Simon is on duty in the emergency room of North Carolina's Outer Banks Hospital when a gunshot victim is brought in. Midway through the desperate effort to save the young woman's life, Olivia realizes who she is—Annie O'Neill. The woman Olivia's husband, Paul, is in love with. When Annie dies on the operating table, she leaves behind three other victims. Alec O'Neill, who thought he had the perfect marriage. Paul, whose fixation on Annie is unshakable. And Olivia, who is desperate to understand the woman who destroyed her marriage. Now they are left with unanswered questions about who Annie really was. And about the secrets she kept hidden so well. It was so good. I loved Olivia and Alec and thought those characters were well developed. I usually figure out secrets, but the secret at the end of this book was really surprising. Now I am reading the second book in the trilogy, Kiss River.

/ / Five:
Remember my what to wear for New Year’s Eve post? I ended up getting this dress and this dress. I figured that I can always wear the one I don’t pick for New Year’s Eve on a formal night on the cruise.

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! 

Linking up with LaurenAmandaKarli, and Amy.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Year in Review: April, May, and June

I am linking up again today to share the next three months of 2014. Chris was in the thick of his third year of medical school (the hardest year) so it was a lot of long hours and sleepless nights. Here are the fun things we did in April, May, and June:

During the hubby’s Spring Break, we went to Vegas! Vegas is our choice for a fun, quick vacation. We get a lot of flack for it from friends and family, but there is so much more to do than just to drink and gamble. During our April trip, we went to Le Reve, ate at our favorite Vegas restaurants (post on Vegas restaurants coming soon!), and watched the Bellagio fountains out of our hotel room every night. We also visited the Valley of Fire State Park, which was so beautiful. It was a nice, relaxing trip before Chris started 12 weeks of internal medicine. After those 12 weeks, I am so glad Chris isn’t going into internal medicine (and I am not looking forward to the year he has to do of internal medicine).
May is a month of birthdays for us—Both of my hubby’s parents and my mom. We really enjoyed celebrating with our families.

My younger brother graduated from high school! He has grown into such a great young man, and I am so proud of him. I can’t wait to see what he will accomplish in the future. At the end of June, Chris finished his third year of medical school, and we rejoiced! He started fourth year the next day, but it really felt like there was now a light at the end of the tunnel.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Fall Foliage Cruise: Saint John and Saint Andrews, New Brunswick

After two busy days exploring Maine, we wanted to take it easy. As soon as the Brilliance of the Seas docked in Saint John, we took a bus to the beautiful St. Andrews by-the-Sea. The drive takes about an hour, but the fall foliage on the way was some of the best I saw during our cruise.
St. Andrews by-the-Sea is known for its colonial houses. After the American Revolution, loyalists moved their houses to Canada, and a group of loyalists decided to settle in Saint Andrews. We did a self-guided walking tour of the colonial houses before exploring the shops in the cute downtown area.
Then, we walked over to the pier to see the tide. Saint John has the highest tides in the world, with a rise of 28.5 feet. Though the tide in Saint Andrews does not have as big of a difference, it is still high. We were there at low tide, and it was strange to see boats sitting in mud. It was so relaxing to walk around the seaside village with my love.
Once we were back in Saint John, we went to go see the Reversing Falls, where the tides force the water to change direction. Honestly, I wasn’t sure I wanted to visit the falls (which are really rapids), but I ended up enjoying our visit. We couldn’t stop in Saint John without seeing part of the city so Chris and I spent the rest of the day exploring. We stopped by the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception to see the beautiful architecture and walked around the Market Square.
We had such a fun day exploring the Bay of Fundy area. It was great to see another Canadian province, and I can’t wait to explore more of Canada in the future.

Want to catch up on our fall foliage cruise? 

Friday, December 12, 2014

Friday Favorites: The Countdown to Christmas

Woohoo, we made it to another Friday, friends! Work has been crazy this week with a bunch of last-minute projects so I am especially excited to spend time with friends and family this weekend.

Here are my Friday favorites this week:

/ / One:
 Next week is my last full week of work until January 5. The reason it has been so busy lately is we have a lot to get done before eight glorious paid days off. The best part is that everyone in the office is off at once so we won’t have to play catch up when we get back, and this time is a gift that isn’t included in our allotted vacation days.  I don’t talk about my job much on here, but I am so thankful I am where I am right now. I love my job and my coworkers, and I am going to be a wreck if we have to move for residency.

/ / Two:
To go along with the work theme, today is our work Christmas party! I love any excuse to dress up, and my hubby got home last night so he could go with me today!
/ / Three:
Speaking of the hubby, I thought I would throw in a little residency interview update: At this point, we are so ready to be done with interviews. Chris has two more next week, and then he will be done until January. We are excited about some of the interviews he has had so far and are feeling good about our options. I wish I could say more, but I can’t. If you are curious, e-mail me, and I’ll give you details!

/ / Four:
Tomorrow we are going to a friend’s wedding. I really love winter weddings, and I can’t wait to spend time with my hubby and his family.

/ / Five:
Our apartment is now overflowing with boxes! I love this time of year, especially putting together presents for friends and family!

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! 

Linking up with LaurenAmandaKarli, and Amy.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

What to Wear: New Year’s Eve Dresses

I mentioned yesterday that New Year’s Eve is a huge holiday for Russians, and we love to celebrate in style. For me, New Year’s Eve is all about taking risks and wearing dresses I wouldn’t normally wear. Today I wanted to share some of my favorite dress options for New Year’s Eve.

If you’re going somewhere where a fancy dress would be out of place, you can still have fun with your outfit. I love bright colors and fun patterns for New Year’s Eve.
I love wearing lace in the winter, especially for special occasions. New Year’s Eve lace dresses can be both fun and classy.
If you don’t want to go full-on sequins for New Year’s Eve, metallic dresses are a great choice. These dresses sparkle but are usually more subtle than sequin dresses.
Sequin dresses are my favorite choice for New Year’s Eve. This year, I have been leaning towards navy sequins, but I am also considering black and gold options.
Where are you celebrating New Year’s Eve this year? What are you planning on wearing?

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Year in Review: January, February, and March

I am linking up today for the Review Extravaganza to share some of my favorite events from the first quarter of the year. Honestly, I am so glad I am blogging now because I had a hard time remembering what I did each month. It doesn’t help that my iPhoto Library decided to crash on me a month ago so I don’t have my photos separated by months anymore. That being said, I picked one major event that happened each month and am going to roll with it.

We celebrated New Year’s Eve Russian style at a party with my family. New Year’s Eve is the biggest holiday of the year in Russia. Russians couldn’t celebrate Christmas during the Soviet Union so New Year’s Eve became huge. There is even a version of Santa Claus that comes on New Year’s Eve named Father Frost. My parents love New Year’s parties, and we usually do it big (once, they organized a party in a clubhouse where 400 people showed up). This year, we went to a party at one of their friends’ houses, and it was so much fun. The party included dancing, a massive amount of food, contests, and many, many toasts. I am slightly disappointed we are missing it this year, but we are going on a cruise so I can’t complain too much!
In February, my younger brother turned 18. That still blows my mind. There is nothing like having a younger brother to make you feel like an old fart.

March brought another Russian party with International Women’s Day. International Women’s Day is popular in many places in Europe (and other places in the world). It is similar to Valentine’s Day, except men purchase gifts for all the women in their lives—wife, daughter, mom, grandma, and even teachers they respect. It’s a fun tradition, and my mom usually likes to host a girls’ night for her Russian ladies. We also got a little snow! It usually just ices here so it was fun to take the dog out and play.