The Siberian American: July 2015

Friday, July 31, 2015

Sunset Dinner Cruise on Lake Michigan

When my in laws were in town, we took a sunset cruise with Odyssey Cruises on Lake Michigan to celebrate the beginning of our super week. We were pleasantly surprised by the entire experience—the inside of the boat was beautiful, and the food was good. The details were nice—from our birthday desserts to the cookie lollipops they gave us as we left the ship.

My favorite part was being on the water and watching the sun set over the beautiful Chicago skyline. Now I’m trying to convince Chris to do a fireworks cruise during the Navy Pier summer fireworks.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

July 2015 PopSugar Must Have Box

Hey, friends! I’m slowly recovering from our week and weekend of celebrations and decided to give myself Monday off from blogging. We have been able to go on so many fun Chicago adventures lately, and I am so excited to share them with y’all. Today, I wanted to share my latest PopSugar box. The items were more useful than fun this time, but I still thought it was a good haul.

Henri Bendel Signature Stripe Canvas Dopp Kit ($28): I have a bunch of makeup travel bags, but this one is so cute! I’m a sucker for anything with stripes.

Sorial Card Case ($28): I have never used a card case before, but I think this one is cute. It would work well with the Sorial wallet on a chain I received in November.

Supergoop! Defense Refresh Setting Mist SPF 50 ($28): I love the Urban Decay Setting Spray, so I am excited to see how this one compares. I’m not in love with the rosemary scent, but I love that it’s SPF 50.

POP Silver Portable Sonic Toothbrush ($20): I love that this electric toothbrush is the perfect size for traveling!

Yes to Blueberries Cleansing Facial Towelettes ($5.99): Extra cleansing wipes never hurt! I love using cleansing wipes to remove my makeup.

Hallmark Signature Cards: I received three beautiful cards from Hallmark. They are seriously so gorgeous, and I can’t wait to use them.

The Good Bean Fruit and No Nut Bar ($1.99): I love getting bars in my PopSugar boxes because they are great snacks for Chris at the hospital.

I came up with a total of $126.94 for this box. I liked that it was full of practical items that I will use often!

What do you think of the July 2015 PopSugar Must Have Box? What is your favorite item in the box? 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Friday Favorites: Super Week Edition

Hey there, friends! Thank you so much for your sweet comments on our birthdays and anniversary. It’s been a fun week. Since I was a bit of a downer in my Wednesday confessions, I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite things from this week today.

/ / One:
We celebrated Christopher’s birthday at RPM Italian. It was seriously so good. I am usually not big at dining out at Italian restaurants because I feel like I can make most of the dishes at home for much cheaper, but the dishes at RPM Italian were so unique—I had spicy crab squid ink spaghetti, and it was insanely delicious. If you’re ever in Chicago, eat here.

/ / Two:
My hubby wins the hubby of the year award because he got me a new MacBook Pro for my birthday! I haven’t mentioned it, but blogging has been really difficult the past few months because my MacBook Pro was on its last legs with literally no disk space left. There were times when I was editing a photo in Photoshop, and it would randomly shut down. I’m so thankful he saved up money to get me a new one!

/ / Three:
Saturday is our sixth anniversary! I honestly couldn’t have asked for a better six years with the love of my life. Here’s to many, many more, my love! Christopher and I like to do traditional anniversary gifts, and this year it's candy, which is really fun! Here’s a short version of our love story.

/ / Four:
Since Christopher is currently working nights (boo), he gets weekends off (yay). We have several fun ideas for this weekend, but it all depends on if it’s going to rain. One thing we really want to do is go to the Pierogi Fest in Whiting, Indiana. It looks hilariously entertaining, and we are all about pierogis in this household!

/ / Five:
My birthday is also Skyler’s “gotcha” day. We had started the application process for her two weeks before my birthday, and it happened to be that my birthday was the first day we could pick her up! I can’t believe it has been four years since I got the best present ever!

To celebrate, I let Sky try the Rocco & Roxie Supply Co. Gourmet Beef Jerky Dog Treats provided by our friends at Chewy! She was a big fan. She is usually a one (or two) treat a day kind of dog (she often hides her treats for later if she’s not hungry), but I’m pretty sure she would have devoured the entire bag if I let her! I’m sure it has something to do with the fact that they were slow cooked for 15 hours. I love that they’re high in protein, low in calories, and don’t contain fillers like corn, wheat, and soy.

Disclosure: sent me the Rocco & Roxie Supply Co. Gourmet Beef Jerky Dog Treats to review. No further compensation was received, and all opinions are my own. 

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! 

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

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Cheers to 26

Today, I turn 26. I loved being 25. It was an exciting year for us: Christopher finally graduated medical school, and we went on some great trips—our fall foliage cruise, New Year’s Caribbean cruise, and California road trip.

This year was also really difficult—Christopher traveled all over the country from October to February, and we spent months wondering where we would be living. The initial results were shocking, and we had to adjust to many changes in a short time.

The biggest lesson I learned this year is to let go. I am a huge planner, so it was difficult to have no control over my life. At first I occupied the waiting time by looking up neighborhoods in our top five choices, but eventually, I had to just stop. All of the what ifs were driving me crazy. Honestly, once I started viewing this move as a big adventure, things got so much easier. Though I miss my friends, my family, and my job, I quickly fell in love with Chicago and truly feel like this is where we’re supposed to be this year.

So cheers to 26! I can’t wait to see what adventures this year will bring.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Super Week Confessions

This week is what Chris and I call our “super week,” easily the busiest week every year. Chris and I were born two days apart (even less if you count the massive time difference!). His birthday was yesterday (July 21), and mine is tomorrow (July 23). Our wedding anniversary is two days after my birthday (July 25). We hadn’t actually planned to get married that week (the original date was in June), but it worked out that July 25 was the only date we could get all the vendors we wanted. I thought it would be fun to share some confessions on this crazy week:

Yesterday was my first time on the computer since Friday morning. My in laws were in town this weekend, and I have been showing off our beautiful city! We did so much in three days, and I got to check off quite a few things off my Chicago to-do list. I have missed reading and commenting on all of your lovely blogs though!

I had meant to write a sweet post for Christopher’s birthday yesterday, but we went on a dinner cruise to celebrate our birthdays and anniversary with my in laws, so I ran out of time. #wifefail

Chris starts two weeks straight of night float today, which means he works from 5 p.m. to 7 a.m. every day. Honestly, I am super bummed night float fell on my birthday, but that’s the life of a resident wife. The silver lining is he gets weekends off when he is on night float, so we get to celebrate our anniversary together!

I feel so bad complaining about Christopher’s schedule since he’s the one who has to work the crazy hours, but sometimes, it’s just hard. Like yesterday when I booked a reservation for 6 p.m. for Christopher's birthday...and had to cancel it because he got held up at work. Thankfully, this time his night schedule is just 10 nights.

When we were 20 (yes, we got married young), the idea of super week was so exciting, but now it is a bit exhausting to celebrate so much at once!

Speaking of age, I can’t believe I’m turning 26 tomorrow. If I get some time to do it, I’ll write a few birthday thoughts tomorrow.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Our One Year in Chicago To-Do List: Get Out of Town

We love doing day trips and weekend trips, so I have a long list of places I want to visit while we’re living in the Midwest. Here’s the abridged version:

Get Out of Town

Door Country, Wisconsin

Galena, Illinois

Traverse City, Michigan

Mackinac Island, Michigan

Indiana Dunes

Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

Starved Rock State Park (Oglesby, Illinois)

Charlevoix, Michigan

Stratford, Ontario

Milwaukee, Wisconsin 

Check out this post for my list of tourist attractions we want to do while in Chicago and this one for a list of all the food we want to try!

Do you think I left something off my list? I would love more suggestions!

Friday, July 17, 2015

My Current Summer Obsessions + Kate Spade Giveaway

This post contains affiliate links. If you click on them, I get a teeny tiny commission. 

With the move to Chicago and doing freelance work, I sometimes feel like I’m on summer vacation. If the weather ever cooperates (it’s 66 today!), I am looking forward to days lounging on our pool deck with my laptop! Before that time comes, I thought it would be fun to put together a list of things I have been obsessing over this summer.

Light dresses
Of course, I have to start off my list with dresses. Even with my windy Chicago problems, I love fun, light dresses in the summer and always have a list in my head of ones I want to buy. Currently, I love this petite shirred dress from LOFT, and I just bought this super cute (and cheap!) pleated dress.

Colorful pants 
I used to stay away from bright colors, but this summer I’m all about colorful pants. I bought these pants in five colors (mint, teal, bright blue, hot pink, and orange), and I will keep buying colors as they come out! It is so hard for me to find pants that fit, and these are so comfortable.

Chambray shirts
I am so glad chambray is popular this summer because I love the look, especially with my colorful pants. Plus, the material is so light, which makes it perfect for hot summer days. My chambray shirt is sold out, but I also love this one from Loft, and I purchased both of these colors.

Coola Sunscreen Spray 
I am picky about scents, but the COOLA citrus mimosa spray is fantastic. It doesn’t feel sticky, and it’s infused with anti-aging antioxidants, which couldn’t hurt. I also really like the COOLA fresh mango moisturizer.

A big hat 
If I’m headed to the pool or the beach, I love wearing big hats, but they are annoying to carry around when I’m not wearing them. I recently received the Cappelli Straworld Pack A Hat, a fun, white floppy hat that solves this problem by being able to fold into a miniature wristlet bag. I love that once I’m done wearing it, it easily folds into the bag until I need it again. Plus, the bag is big enough that I can fit my favorite sunscreen and lip gloss with the hat.

The best part is the Pack A Hat was made with specifically selected material to give it an SPF 50+ rating. Most of my other hats are hard to pack because they take up so much room in my suitcase, so I can’t wait to bring the Pack A Hat on my next beach vacation!

A complimentary Pack A Hat was provided to me in exchange for this review. All opinions are my own. 

With the summer heating up, so should your wardrobe! I've teamed up with some lovely ladies to give you a chance to win $175 to Kate Spade. Enter in the Rafflecopter below!

What are your current summer obsessions?

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Our One Year in Chicago To-Do List: It's All About the Food

If someone told me a few years ago I would have made a list solely dedicated to food, I would have laughed. My idea of a good meal was chicken tenders. Thankfully, that has changed, and Chicago has amazing food. Here are some of the places I want to try while we’re here. For a list of the tourist attractions we want to do while we're in Chicago, check out this post.

It’s All About the Food

The four most popular deep-dish pizza places (Lou Malnati’s, Giordano’s Gino’s East, and Pizzeria Uno)

The Girl & the Goat (I’m a little skeptical about this one because I’m not sure there is anything on that menu I’ll actually eat.)

The Signature Room (This one is known for its view.)

Au Cheval (Food Network and quite a few other places have rated it as the best burger in the country.)


Wildberry Pancakes and Café

Eleven City Dinner

The Bongo Room

The Purple Pig

MK The Restaurant

Shaw's Crab House

Mike Ditka's Restaurant

Portillo's (To try a Chicago-style hot dog or a chocolate cake shake)

90 Miles Cuban Cafe (Cuban food featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives)


Glazed and Infused

Russian Tea Time (When I’m missing Russian food)


Have you been to Chicago? Do you think I left something off my list? I would love more suggestions! 

Monday, July 13, 2015

Our Taste of Chicago Eating Adventure

Lately, I’ve been all about food. I knew I wanted to go to Taste of Chicago if Chris had a day off during the festival, and luckily, Thursday was his day off this week. I loved that Thursday was our “weekend” so that we didn't have to deal with the crowds on Saturday and Sunday.

As soon as we walked in, we bought three sets of 12 tickets (it costs $8.50 for a set of 12 tickets) since we knew we wanted to try as much food as possible. People warned us that the food was overpriced, but after years of going to the Texas State Fair, we expected the prices to be higher.

The Taste of Chicago features 37 restaurants (including several pop-up restaurants that rotate) that all feature several large portions and two “taste of” items, mini portions to help you not get stuffed with the first thing you try.
Nothing says food festival to me like corn on the cob with butter, so I went straight to the O’Briens Restaurant booth for Celtic corn on the cob. I loved all the seasoning they put on it and would have gone for seconds if there weren’t so many other places to try.
My plan had been to get a lobster roll from Luke’s Lobster, but it was a small roll for a bunch of tickets, so I decided I would pig out on dessert instead. I headed to La Mexicana to get a taste of a strawberry mini paleta while Chris went for the corn fritters at Lawrence’s Fish & Shrimp. He ate them so quickly I didn’t manage to get a photo, so I think it’s safe to say he loved them.
It was time for Chris to pick his “meal,” so he opted for the taste of sautéed goat and plantain from Vee-Vee’s African Restaurant and the taste of slow roasted Cuban pork tamale from Dia de los Tamales, which were both winners. Meanwhile, I was on the hunt for more dessert and decided to get the lemon sorbetto at Mariano’s, which I loved so much I decided to go back and get another one.
At that point I was stuffed, so Chris got the rest of our tickets for his desserts. He tried the key lime cheesecake from Eli’s Cheesecake Co. (which I really liked because the key lime taste wasn’t overwhelming), and he finished off our extravaganza with a scoop of peach cobbler gelato from caffe gelato (which he liked but wished the peach flavor stood out more).
Before leaving the festival, Chris wanted to try the free samples of Spam entrees, so we took photos with the Spam mascot and stood in line for Spam fries and Spam coconut bites. I didn’t try them, but Chris really liked the Spam fries.

Taste of Chicago also included live music, a fashion section, and cooking demonstrations. It was fun to try food from areas of the city we don’t visit as often.
Linking up with Biana for Weekending since this was our weekend.