The Siberian American: June 2015

Monday, June 29, 2015

Quick Trip: 24 Hours in San Juan, Puerto Rico

It has been too long since I have added to my Quick Trip series, and the weather lately has me dreaming of the beautiful water in the Caribbean. A little while before I started this blog, we went on my favorite Caribbean cruise (Alaska still wins the title of best cruise), which started and ended in beautiful San Juan, Puerto Rico. I wish we had more than 24 hours to explore the city, and it is definitely on my list of places I would love to visit again!

What to do: 
We packed as much as we could into our short time in San Juan. First on the list was to visit the Castillo de San Felipe de Morro. It was designed to guard to protect the entrance to San Juan Bay when it was a Spanish colonial city and was later used by the United States during World War I and World War II. Though learning the history of the fort is great, the best part of visiting the fort was the views! I could sit out there and stare at the ocean forever.

We spent a large chunk of our day wandering around Old San Juan. It was such a cute area with fun, colorful buildings. Of course, we had to stop by the San Juan Cathedral, a beautiful cathedral and the resting place of Ponce de Leon, a Spanish explorer who searched for the Fountain of Youth.

If you have more time: Next time we’re in San Juan, I would love to visit the El Yunque Rain Forest.

Where to eat:
Chris keeps telling me we need to go back to San Juan just so we can eat at Ropa Vieja Grill. It had great Cuban and Puerto Rican food. I loved the mofongo filled with flank steak, and all the meat we tried was amazing.

Where to stay:
We stayed at the La Concha Resort and loved everything about it! From the nice, comfortable rooms to the beautiful views, it was the perfect place to relax. My only regret is that we only had one night before the start of our cruise. La Concha (and San Juan), we will be back!

Have you been to San Juan? What's your favorite place to visit in the Caribbean? 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Friday Favorites: First Week of Intern Year

Hey, friends! It’s been a while since I did a Friday favorites post, so I wanted to join in on the fun today. Here are my favorites this week:

/ / One:
Chris officially started intern year this week! After all these years and the last few months of preparing for our move and his new job, it’s crazy that he is officially working as a doctor. He spent the last two weeks in orientation, so he was definitely ready to work.

/ / Two:
Speaking of residency, Chris gets one day off a week, so I am trying to plan fun activities in Chicago. This week his day off is Sunday, and I’m really hoping to make it to the beach.

/ / Three:
I have really enjoyed participating in the Literary Ladies Reading Challenge so far! Now that I have more time to myself, I love using it to read. So far, I have read three out of the ten books for the challenge.


/ / Four:
Now that we have lived in Chicago for almost a month (what?!), I’m starting to put together a bucket list for our year here. If you have been to Chicago and have suggestions, send them my way!

/ / Five:
Chris gets vacation in two-week blocks. One block is in September, and the other block is in June to help us move back to Dallas. I am hoping to plan a fun road trip for us. My ambitious idea is to drive from Chicago to Quebec City, stopping in Toronto, Montreal, and Niagara Falls, with a day in Maine on the way back. I’m worried this might be too much for Chris since I want it to be relaxing, so other ideas of places to visit are appreciated!

Thank you for participating in my brain dump today, friends. I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! 

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

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Wish List: Summer Dresses With Apparel Candy

Now that it is officially summer, all I want to wear is light, summery dresses all day long. When Apparel Candy contacted me to do a wish list, I was so excited to find some new looks for the summer! Apparel Candy specializes in wholesale clothing, which means that their prices are pick-me-up-off-the-floor cheap! Honestly, I had a hard time not buying every single one of their wholesale dresses. My Chicago summer posts might be featuring way too much Apparel Candy in the future if I’m not careful!

One / / 

Unit Price: $9
I love how I could wear this dress to a wedding or out on a fun night in Chicago. For only $9, I might have to buy the cream version too.

/ / Two

Unit Price: $8
I love the pattern of this one! I have been eager to get on a boat on Lake Michigan, and I think this dress would be perfect for that adventure.

Three / /

Unit Price: $8
I used to hate wearing orange, but lately, I have been all about the bright colors! The neckline makes this dress even more fun.

/ / Four

Unit Price: $7.50
In the summer, I’m all about stripes, and it sometimes gets chilly by the lake, so I really need to get my hands on this adorable dress!

Five / /

Unit Price: $8.50
I just love the colors and style of this dress. It’s perfect for an afternoon exploring Chicago parks with my love.

The best part of Apparel Candy is you can buy the dresses in bulk. As a bridesmaid, I know I would love spending almost nothing while stilling looking great at a summer wedding!
What do you think of my wish list? Which dress is your favorite?
This post is sponsored by Apparel Candy, but all opinions are my own.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Guest Post: Olya's Favorite Summer Reads

Hey, friends! It's a book-filled week here on the blog! Today, I am over at See You In A Porridge sharing my favorite summer reads while Kristin is exploring Europe! I have disabled my comments on this post and will be answering on her page. Have a great day!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Literary Ladies Summer Book Reading Challenge

I have never done a blog book challenge before, but I thought it would be fun to participate in the one put on by the Literary Ladies. Due to my NetGalley fiasco, I tried to make as many of these NetGalley reads as I could. The challenge starts today and runs until September 21. If you would like to participate, click here for more information.


1. A YA book
Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon (c/o NetGalley)

2. Non US Author
Don’t Get Me Wrong by Marianne Kavanagh (c/o NetGalley) (She's from the UK)

3. A book that was recommended by a blogger (or instagrammer / you-tuber / goodreads-er)
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins…basically recommended by every blogger

4. A book that has been on your TBR list for a year or more
I’ve had Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman on my GoodReads to read shelf since February 2, 2013. It’s about time that I read it!

5. A book with a kickbutt female character
Circling the Sun by Paula McLain (c/o NetGalley) This novel is about Beryl Markham, the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean from east to west. That sounds kick butt to me!

6. A book that is or will be a movie (or TV show)
Still Alice by Lisa Genova

7. A book written by a comedian or celebrity – or even a memoir if neither of those are your jam.
Bossypants by Tina Fey

8. A book with a one word title.
Alive by Scott Sigler (c/o NetGalley)

9. A suspenseful book – a mystery, a thriller, a book about revenge!
Somebody I Used to Know by David Bell (c/o NetGalley)

10. A book about summer, with summer in the title, or in any way related to summer because this is a summer challenge!
That Chesapeake Summer by Mariah Stewart (c/o NetGalley)

Have you read any of the books I picked?

Friday, June 19, 2015

Skyler Says: Natural Balance Dental Chews and Kong Squeezz Bone Toy

Hello there, Mama’s blog friends. It’s Sky Sky the Princess, back to share more amazing treats from my friends at Chewy! Thank you, Chewy, for spoiling me (we all know I deserve it)!

Now, guys, I have a teensy-weensy problem now that I am a little older—Mama tells me my breath stinks sometimes. As a princess, I always need to look my best, so I am always up for fixing the problem. Sadly, most dental chews just don’t taste yummy! The Natural Balance Dental Chews Pumpkin & Chicken Meal Formula with Papaya Dog Treats are the best tasting dental chews I’ve ever tried.

They are the perfect size for me, and I love tossing them up in the air before I eat them. The best part is Mama says my breath smells great after I eat them. Mama told me she also loves that it reduces plaque and tartar. That means I can have the whole bag, right Mama?

After snack time, Mama gave me a fun bone! I loved the Kong Squeezz Bone Dog Toy right away. It has a great squeaker, and Mama told me to tell you she thinks it’s a durable toy for dogs that like to chew.

It’s time for me to head to the dog park, but first I want to thank Chewy again for these great treats!

Disclosure: sent Skyler these items to review. No further compensation was received, and all opinions are our own.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

My Favorite Russian Superstitions

Russian culture is a huge part of my life. Even though I grew up in Texas, we were part of a large Russian community, and I have always loved Russian traditions. Each country has its own set of superstitions, so today I wanted to share a few of the ones I have heard often from Russians.

Note: I have been a bit hesitant to post these because I didn’t want it to look like I was making fun of Russian culture. Just like walking under a ladder or breaking a mirror, these superstitions have been passed down over the years. 

I have heard this one a million times, and it has always made me giggle. My friends and I used to sit on benches outside of church in the winter, and Russian grandmas would always make us leave because they didn’t want us to freeze our eggs.

I think this one came from chivalry—men are supposed to pour wine glasses for women. But if men aren’t around, women are still not supposed to pour their own glasses of wine. At girls’ night, we pour wine for each other.

Hair is supposed to be flushed down the toilet and never thrown away in a trashcan. I love this superstition because it’s so quirky.

Do you have any favorite superstitions? Are you interested in more Russian culture posts?

Monday, June 15, 2015

California Road Trip: La Jolla Cove

After seeing all those gorgeous ocean views on our Old Town Trolley Tour, I knew I wanted to spend more time by the water. With its beautiful sandstone cliffs and adorable sea lions, La Jolla Cove was the perfect place to relax.

There were sea lions everywhere. I was surprised to see how close they got to us. One of them was a huge show-off, flapping his flippers and showing us his belly.

A beautiful park, filled with many interesting trees shaped by the wind, surrounded the area. There is a sidewalk along the cliff for nice views of the ocean. I loved sitting on a park bench and looking out on the ocean. Honestly, I would have been happy to sit there all day.

 Catch up on our California Road Trip: