The Siberian American: March 2015

Monday, March 30, 2015

Why Living in the UK is Awesome

Hey everyone! I am still exploring the California Coast, so today I am excited to have a great travel blogger sharing about life in the United Kingdom. I love reading about Jamie's adventures in the UK and all over Europe. If y'all haven't read her blog before, you're in for a treat!

 Hello Siberian American readers! I’m Jamie from Gunters Abroad! Over at Gunters Abroad I chronicle mine and my husband’s adventures while living in the UK. We have become obsessed with travelling Europe and checking out incredible places. While I could gush about some of our specific travels, (which include places literally all over Europe) I want to bring the focus to our host country, the United Kingdom, and tell you just a few reasons why living here is AWESOME.

Why Living in the UK is Awesome (in no particular order)


The birthplace of Golf. The Holy Grail. I cannot describe to you how amazing it is to step onto a Scottish golf course and play. Never mind that there are 14th century castle ruins off in the distance. Surreal experience no matter how bad you play that day! And of course, the best places aren’t just in Scotland. Whether you are playing in England around a castle, or even hopping a plane to the mainland with your clubs, you will not be disappointed at the options offered to you!

You may have dreamt of living the princess life as a little girl and falling in love with Prince Charming. And here in the UK, you can relive those dreams! Castles are literally everywhere and we go and seek them out whenever possible. My favourite castles are the ones that are ruins to be honest. It gives them an eerie feel and you can just imagine the ghost of a knight popping out at any moment! And learning the history behind each castle is just incredibly intriguing.

My favourite castles include: Alnwick Castle, Tantallon Castle (pictured above) and Arundel Castle (below) just to name a few. And those are just the ones in England. Super. Awesome.

One of my favourite bits of living in the UK…..the language. While there are some obvious differences in our words (I have a whole list here), I still am amazed on a regular basis by some of the phrases that I hear! And while it is funny to hear silly phrases, I am finding that I am adopting a lot of the slang which should make for an interesting challenge when we return to the States one day. A few of my adopted terms include: ‘Brill’, “cheeky’, ‘cheers’, ‘chuffed’, ‘knackered’, ‘dodgy’….wow, as I’m typing, I realize I could on and on!! Anyway, point being is that it is seriously fun to figure out what someone is trying to say sometimes! And my British friends and I will swap accents for the night which is the perfect game for our pub nights!

Food glorious food’ (hello Oliver) While you might have heard that British food is bland, I’m here to rebuke this statement. British food is amazing. Whether its pub grub or Sunday roast, the freshness in British food is amazing. They really strive to locally source their ingredients and it makes a world of difference. While I do miss my favorites, like a good round of chips and salsa, a good steak and ale pie will suffice for now.

And the BEER. Goodness, how will I ever drink a run of the mill beer again in the States?! I’ve actually learned a lot about drinking while living in the UK. And it is totally normal to go for a pint on your lunch break. America’s got it all wrong my friends.

European Travel obviously
Now this is what my blog mostly revolves around….our travels. We love to visit new places, eat their food, drink their drinks and learn a little bit about the history and culture along the way. We have been to so many places that I would have never dreamed of being able to visit while living in the States. We just returned from our second trip to Prague which is our favourite European city. It is simply a fairytale city! And while Prague is our favourite, places like the Greek islands and Amsterdam run in a close second. Or skiing the Alps….that’s another good one.

See? Living in the UK is pretty sweet I tell you! So come along and see what else we are getting up to over at Gunters Abroad! Take a look over on my travels page and get lost in some wanderlust for the day instead of working, you know you want to! Thanks for having me on Olya! 

Come find Gunters Abroad at: 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Three Ways to Wear a Denim Jacket This Spring

I always look forward to Claire from Fashion+Feathers' fun fashion posts! Her outfits are both beautiful and practical. I am so excited to have her on the blog today sharing three ways to wear a denim jacket this spring! Take it away, Claire!

What up people?! I'm Claire and I blog over at Fashion + Feathers. While Olya is off gallivanting in California {that's my dream trip, by the way} I thought it would be fun to say hello! My go-to blogging topic is fashion {obvious, right?} but I also like to throw an easy recipe in the rotation or an occasional DIY project.

I recently opened an Etsy shop {The Studio} where I sell some gold foil prints, a graphic tee and a phone case. You should check that out.

My favorite thing that I blog is the two ways to wear series. Because if it doesn't serve multiple functions in my closet, it probably isn't in there. Today, I'm doing you one better - here's three ways to wear the denim jacket this Spring!
blog_denim jacket collage
Around this time last year, my friend Katrina was wearing her denim jacket all the time so I decided I needed one, too. You know, one of those impromptu purchases and I had to have the jacket that night. So I found it at JC Penney's for $50. Gulp. For a teacher and a self-proclaimed deal finder, that's a lot of money. I stood in the store and thought of so many different outfits I could wear it with. That, and the fact that I loved the wash - not too light, not too dark.

So I grabbed it - not sure whether to feel guilty or excited. When the cashier scanned it, it came up 50% off. #score

But I had no idea I would wear it as much as I do. And for Spring? It's absolutely perfect because you can literally throw it on over whatever you want! Here are some of my favorite looks.

romper + denim jacket
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I loved wearing this romper last summer and you'll find me throwing it on all the time, this summer too! {Side note, it is not warm enough for this outfit in North Carolina yet. But if we're talking Spring, I knew I had to bring at least one pair of shorts into the look. You're welcome for freezing my butt off!}

white denim + blouse + denim jacket
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I'm such a big fan of white denim with basically anything. It's the perfect fresh look for Spring and I love pairing the denim jacket with it.

maxi skirt + denim jacket
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This maxi skirt is technically a halter-top maxi dress - but I like to put a black shirt over it so I can wear it to work and fun places like that. I'm seriously obsessed with the large print on this skirt. Well, that and I basically only wear neutrals.

The moral of this story is, even if the jacket had been $50, it would have been worth it. I wear it to work, to church, out with friends, when I run errands. I wear it in all seasons and with all types of clothes. In other words, what did I wear before I had this thing? #noidea

S H O P the L O O K

What's your go-to look for Spring?

If you want to come hang out over at Fashion + Feathers, you can follow me on bloglovin, instagram, Facebook, or twitter.
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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Top Five Things to Do in Washington, D.C. Erica Style

Hey everyone, today I am heading off to California for a week, and while I am gone I have four great guest posts for you! Today, I have Erica from Looking for the Stars sharing her top five things to do in Washington, D.C. I haven't been to our nation's capital, but I have always wanted to go! I can't wait to use Erica's list when we visit!

 First of all I would like to say a big thank you to Olya for the honor of guest posting here. Since Olya is big into travel she suggested that I share about some of my favorite things to do in Washington, D.C ~ Our Nation's Capital! After going to school in Northern Virginia and being super close to DC for three years and then the last almost four years, I think I'm pretty qualified.  

Here are my Top 5 Things to Do in Washington, D.C.

5. The Botanical Gardens
If you want to see some beautiful flowers and interesting plants then this is the place to go. It is a HUGE structured green house right near the Capital Building. It's basically a big jungle and it is awesome!
 photo Olya1_zpsqlaw1ofy.jpg
{full post here}

 4.  National Cherry Blossom Festival Around this time every year the Cherry Blossom trees are in full bloom. They are absolutely beautiful!  Each year, the National Cherry Blossom Festival celebrates spring in Washington, DC, the gift of the cherry blossom trees, and the enduring friendship between the people of the United States and Japan. The Festival produces and coordinates daily events featuring diverse and creative programming promoting traditional and contemporary arts and culture, natural beauty, and community 
 Looking to the Stars Cherry Blossom Festival photo Olya2_zpss3jurkoz.jpg Looking to the Stars Jefferson Memorial photo Olya3_zpsojxvoqo7.jpg
The Cherry Blossom Trees wrap around the tidal basin which then put you at the Jefferson Memorial! {full post here}

 3. Tour of the White House This was probably one of the coolest things to do. However, it's tricky to get in the White House. Usually you need to write your Governor at least three weeks in advance. I was lucky enough to know someone that worked at the White House and my family and I were given a private tour. Looking to the Stars White House Press Room photo Olya4_zpsyreytbuf.jpg
The White House Press Room...It looks a lot different on House of Cards and Scandal! Looking to the Stars West Wing photo Olya5_zps7nvogy89.jpg
Entrance to the West Wing with the Presidential Seal above the door. {full post here}

 2. The National American History Museum This is definitely one of favorite places. There is so much to see in this museum. Above all, my most favorite thing was the Ruby Slippers from The Wizard of Oz.  photo Olya6_zpsm64a7tbe.jpg
My next favorite thing about the National American History Museum was seeing Julia Child's Kitchen. It's her ACTUAL kitchen from real life. It was so amazing to see. I loved it. Did you know that the movie Julie & Julia is what got me started in blogging? I started my first blog, Diaries of a Bookworm, right after I saw that movie. That blog didn't really go anywhere, but Looking to the Stars is here and here to stay!  photo Olya7_zpsgrs92p2w.jpg
{first post here | second post here}

1. Monument Tour at Night This is what I recommend the most to do! Seeing the monuments during the day is one thing, but at night it's totally different and so beautiful.
  photo Olya8_zpska1ddmsf.jpg Looking to the Stars Lincoln Memorial photo Olya9_zpsktkkvroj.jpg
 The Lincoln Memorial is my favorite, because Abe is my favorite president! {full post here}

 I hope you enjoyed my Washington, D.C. extravaganza and thank you for reading along. Thanks again to Olya for giving me the chance to reach her readers and I hope you choose to follow along with me at Looking to the Stars

 All material © Erica Musyt

Monday, March 23, 2015

Match Day Results: We Are Moving To…

Friday was one of the longest and hardest days I have had in a long time. We had been waiting to find out for so long, had discussed and prayed about so many different scenarios, that when we got the result, and it was nothing close to any of the scenarios, we were shocked.

Honestly, part of me did not want to post today. I had imagined writing this post so many times before Match Day, and I thought I would be oozing with excitement. Over the past few days, the initial shock has turned into feeling overwhelmed. That being said, we know God has a plan for our future, and this is all a part of His plan.

Our hope had been to stay in Dallas for another year, which would have given us time to figure out a possible move and allow me to stay at my job while Chris was doing his intern year. Instead, we are moving to Chicago in two months for one year…and then moving back to Dallas for radiology residency.

I’m sure you can tell by now that these weren’t our top choices, but we are really looking forward to being in Dallas for residency. Even though it wasn’t our top choice, match is very regional (every single person picked for our top choice was from that state), so we knew it wasn’t likely. Chris is excited to be working for a top program in brand new hospitals. Plus, we will be close to both of our families, which is huge for us.

As thankful as we are to stay in Dallas for residency, when we opened the envelope on Friday, we barely glanced at the residency destination. Moving to Chicago for a year was a huge shock for us. Now that we have had time to process it, we are excited for the adventure. Even so, I am heartbroken to leave my job when we will be moving back to Dallas just a year later. I have no idea what I am going to do in Chicago for a year (because I don’t feel good about applying for jobs knowing I could only work there for a year). We have to figure out where we are living as soon as possible…and how much we are going to bring with us since we will be back.

On the other hand, I am excited to explore a new city and the area around it. I can’t wait to try new restaurants, and I am already coming up with road trips we could go on the few occasions Chris isn’t working 100 hours a week.

I am so thankful for our trip to California so we can take time to celebrate Christopher’s upcoming graduation before the madness starts! Thank you so much for your support during the Match Day process, friends, and I can’t wait to share our moving progress.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Friday Favorites: It’s Match Day!

Happy Friday, friends! And more importantly for Chris and me—Happy Match Day! Today, at 11 a.m., we finally get that pretty little envelope that says where we are headed for residency. We have been waiting for this moment since September when he submitted his applications, so it is crazy that it is finally here!

I tried to think of five favorites today, but my brain is currently Match Day mush, so my list looked like this:

One. Match Day. 
Two. Match Day. 
Three. Match Day. 
Four. Match Day. 
Five. Match Day.

I am so nervous and excited that other thoughts are hard to come by. We are going to spend this weekend processing and on Monday, I will share more about Match Day and where we’re headed.

Thank you so much for your support during this crazy time in our lives! I know many of you are eager to find out where we’re headed, so if you leave me a comment, I will e-mail you back with the location.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Linking up with AmandaKarli, and the High Five for Friday girls.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Currently: March 2015

I have been wanting to do one of these currently posts for a while, and I thought today would be a good time to do it. I have some new readers (hi everyone!), and honestly, my brain is mush with Match Day coming up, so I thought it would be fun for y’all to get to know me a little better.

Friday can’t come soon enough. I have been in a mood to plan lately, so I can’t wait to know where we’re headed.

Chris and I made a lemon shrimp pasta with vodka sauce tonight. It is one of our favorite go-to meals—easy to make and so delicious!

Excited and nervous. Nervous and excited. Multiply that by about a thousand, and that’s me right now.

I just finished Hausfrau, and it was so sad and draining. It feels like all the books I’ve read recently are sad, so if you have any happy book suggestions, send them my way!

The first play-in game for March Madness. I love college basketball, and March Madness is one of my favorite times of the year. Sic ‘em Bears!

All things spring! I have been shopping for dresses for our California trip and am obsessing over all the pretty spring colors.

Thankful for: 
My sweet husband! I am so proud of how hard he has worked in medical school and can’t wait to see him fulfill his dream of becoming a doctor!

For our number one choice on Friday! Only two more days to go!

Monday, March 16, 2015

New Year’s Caribbean Cruise: Belize River Cruise

After our New Year’s Eve celebrations the night before, our 6 a.m. wakeup call for our all-day shore excursion in Belize came way too early. Even so, I was excited to go on a river cruise and visit the Lamanai Mayan Ruins.

The tender to Belize City from our ship was long (about 25 minutes), but our excursion was through the boat, so we were on one of the first tenders of the day. (I have heard others complaining about not being able to get on an early tender if your excursion is not through the ship, so we kept that in mind).
We jumped off our tender boat and got straight on a bus headed to the river. On the bus, our guide shared facts about Belize, such as its education system, places to visit, and biggest exports. I was surprised to hear that Belize has a large Mennonite community that is a huge factor in the country’s economy.
After over an hour on the bus, we were eager to get on the boat. When I first read the description for the river cruise, I thought it would be a leisurely boat ride to the ruins. It turned out to be a 25-mile speedboat ride with many narrow passages, with our boat tilting to the left or right just to squeeze through the passage.
Our boat driver was entertaining but also prided himself on being the wildest of the group. He loved taking fast corners and passing as many boats as possible. The other drivers knew this about him, so they let him pass as quickly as possible. I was seated in the middle seat with nothing to hold on to, so I kept flying up in the air when he turned a corner. On the way back, he got there so much faster than the other drivers, so he decided it would be fun to do donuts…and I literally thought I was going to fall out of the boat. I think I would have had more fun if I had expected a speedboat ride because I usually enjoy speedboats, but I thought it was going to be a calm ride. No wonder they had me sign a waiver!
Although most of the time we were going way too fast to take photos, the scenery on the river cruise was beautiful. The area was extremely lush with gorgeous trees and flowers. Our boat driver did stop a few times to point out birds and plants, but it would have been more interesting if we had time to admire the landscape. The devil's gut cactus on one of the trees really stood out to me.
We took the river cruise because it was the fastest way to get to the Lamanai Mayan Ruins, which deserve their own post because they ended up being one of the highlights of the cruise.

Catch up on our New Year's Caribbean Cruise: