The Siberian American: August 2016

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Let’s Have a Coffee Date (Vol.2)

I have so many random things I want to share with y’all, so I figured it’s time for another coffee date. Let’s grab a cup of coffee (or a fruity tea because that’s what I’ve been drinking lately) and chat!

If we were having coffee together, I would tell you I am so excited Christopher’s vacation got approved. I don’t think either one of us has needed a vacation so badly in our lives. That includes last year during intern year. We are planning on doing a road trip to Nashville, Gatlinburg, and Asheville in October, and I seriously can’t wait.

I would tell you I am so ready for all things fall! I can’t stop browsing fall fashion online, and Texas weather has been teasing us with slightly cooler temperatures lately. It’s crazy that the first weekend of the State Fair of Texas is less than a month away!

I would mention that it’s been so strange (but wonderful) to have Christopher home more often these last few months. He comes home earlier than intern year, has no nights, and doesn’t have to work weekends until the beginning of October. His program eases them into nights and weekends (and his second and third year of radiology residency are known as extremely hard years with at least two months of nights each), and it has been nice to feel like a “normal” couple and go out on double dates on the weekends. He does have to study for two to three hours every night, but I don’t mind because it gives me time to blog!

I would hate to complain, but if you asked how I was doing, I would share it’s frustrating that my current pain is worse than what I felt before I had surgery. I seriously can’t wait until Friday and really hope the pain will go away once the stent is out.

I would ask if you play fantasy football and tell you I’m in two leagues this year: one with 20 teams, and one with 10 teams. I am drafting for both this week and am excited for this season to get started.

I would tell you I have had a great reading month in August and am so excited to share my latest reads blog post soon. Of course, I would also ask if you’ve read any good books lately because I love adding more reads to my list.

I'm also super glad this is a virtual coffee date because I went to get my hair cut on Tuesday, and it's the worst haircut I've ever gotten in my life. Let's just say the front is almost two inches longer than the back. I made an appointment at another salon to get it fixed, so I guess I will be wearing my hair in a ponytail until Tuesday at 6 p.m.

Now it’s your turn! What would you tell me?

Monday, August 29, 2016

The Best Weekend I’ve Had in a Long Time

It’s crazy to me that I’m writing a post about the best weekend I’ve had in a long time when everything we did almost didn’t happen. On Friday night I had some of the worst pain I’ve endured throughout this whole experience. I basically did not sleep. If our plans didn’t involve tickets purchased in advance, I probably would have cancelled, but I am so glad I didn’t.

My in-laws called us last week asking if we wanted to go to A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder with them. Chris and I had never heard of the musical, but it looked funny, so we were eager to go. It was one of the funniest musicals I’ve ever seen. The plot was quirky but hilarious, and it’s been quite a while since I’ve laughed out loud that much. Plus, it was at the Winspear Opera House, which is one of my favorite venues in Dallas.

After the show, two of my childhood Russian friends came over. One of them doesn’t live in Texas, so it was great to catch up. Plus, they brought Sprinkles cupcakes, which I will never turn down!

On Sunday, Chris and I went out for sushi with our best friend from college, who moved to a Dallas suburb while we were living in Chicago. Chris and I love going out for sushi together but haven’t been able to go since we moved back to Texas. It was so fun to find out the latest news from him and to eat some delicious sushi.

One of the things I’ve learned throughout the last few months is sometimes, it’s better to power through. I used to be quick to cancel plans if I wasn’t feeling well, but if I did that these days, I would never go anywhere. There have been times when I’ve pushed myself over my limit, but even those times have been worth it. I can’t wait until Friday when I will hopefully get even more pain relief and won’t have to agree to plans when I’m in pain!

Linking up with Biana for Weekending

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Two Year Blogiversary: Why I Started Blogging (And Why I Don’t Want to Stop!)

On this date two years ago, I decided to take the plunge and finally become a blogger. I had been reading blogs for years at that point and knew I wanted to blog, but it was so hard to take that first step. I had doubts I’m sure are common among new bloggers. Would anyone actually read my blog? Do I really want to put myself out there on the internet?

When I started blogging, Chris and I were going through a major season of transition. He had just started his last year of medical school and had picked one of the more competitive specialties, so we had to prepare to move anywhere. Our whole life was full of applications and interviews all over the country, and I felt the need to document it all. I was so thankful for the blogging world for the support, especially when I announced we were moving to Chicago.

Blogging helped me get through intern year. I loved having a space where I could share our Chicago adventures and to have a creative outlet while Chris worked long hours.

One of my favorite things about blogging has always been the community and the wonderful friends you make, but I don’t think I realized how special that is until I got sick this year. I’m not going to lie: there were times this year that I really wanted to quit. It was hard to blog when getting out of bed felt like a huge accomplishment, but I was so thankful for all the comments and emails I received, and blogging really kept me going during those difficult months.

It’s crazy to think how much has happened in the last two years, and I am grateful I have this blog as a way to remember. Two years ago, I had no idea how much I would love blogging. I love the people, getting to write, and the opportunity to be creative.

So thank you, blog friends, for making blogging so fun! I hope to blog with y’all for many more years.

Monday, August 22, 2016

What Is the Best Deep Dish Pizza Place in Chicago?

A few months after moving to Chicago, I started getting emails asking me for restaurant suggestions, and deep dish pizza was always on top of the list! I made it my mission to try the “big three” deep dish pizza, so I could report back to y’all. It’s the kind of research I really don’t mind!

Gino’s East

What I Thought:
I know a lot of people like Gino’s East, but it was by far my least favorite of the three. The tomato to cheese ratio was off. They did have some great appetizers, though. We enjoyed the Bavarian soft pretzels and the cheesy pizza bread.

Go Here If:
You want a lot of toppings on your deep dish pizza. Gino’s East has the largest list of topping options. Also, Gino’s East has started to build franchises outside of the Midwest. There are even several in Texas!


What I Thought:
I love Giordano’s, but I always throw in a caveat when I recommend it: it is not “traditional” Chicago deep dish pizza. It’s actually a stuffed deep dish pizza, which just might make it even more delicious. I definitely miss having pepperoni stuffed deep dish pizza whenever I want it.

Go Here If:
You don’t care if you are eating traditional deep dish pizza and just want some delicious food!

Lou Malnati’s

What I Thought:
Lou Malnati’s wins the deep dish battle hands down for me thanks to its Buttercrust™. I’m one of those people who doesn’t usually eat the crust of the pizza, and I absolutely love Lou Malnati’s Buttercrust™. Plus, Lou Malnati’s brother Rudy Malnati is said to have invented deep dish pizza, so this is as authentic as it gets! You won’t find a lot of options for toppings, but it doesn’t matter because the choices they have are all great. Plus, Lou Malnati’s makes one of the best tiramisus I’ve ever had in my life. I may or may not have asked Chris to pick it up on his way home from work several times during our year in Chicago.

Go Here If:
You want the best! Just be prepared to wait. Since deep dish pizza takes 45 minutes to cook, you can order your pizza while you wait, and they will start cooking it for you before you get a table!

Have you been to Chicago? What is your favorite deep dish pizza place?

Friday, August 19, 2016

Health Update: A Minor Setback

I almost didn’t want to write on the blog today because I’m pretty upset about how yesterday went, but I figured it’s all part of the story. Yesterday, I headed to the urologist hopeful I would be getting my stent out. Because of the stent, I have been dealing with major lower back pain lately. On Sunday, it got so bad I almost blacked out during a walk.

My appointment was at 3:15 p.m., and the doctor didn’t see me till 5 p.m. As a wife of a resident, I understand doctors getting behind schedule (especially if they are called into a surgery), but it was still a little unpleasant. Then the doctor proceeded to tell me he doesn’t think it’s time to take my stent out just yet and that he wants to wait two more weeks. At that point, I’m wondering why I just waited almost two hours (and paid a $50 copay) just to be told I can’t get the stent removed yet. Couldn’t I have gotten that kind of information just as easily in a phone call?

The doctor did confirm to me the pain I have been experiencing is because of the stent, so it’s a bummer that I have to deal with it for two more weeks. The one silver lining is that I get to have the procedure done on September 2 under conscious sedation, so I don’t have to experience the pain of the procedure.

I am trying to remain positive, and I’m truly glad I only have two weeks left to deal with this pain, but I have to admit I’m super disappointed I have to wait even longer before I can really move forward. Here’s hoping the next two weeks pass as quickly as possible!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Lake Michigan Circle Tour: Big Sable Point Lighthouse in Ludington, Michigan

I don’t usually like to pick favorites, but if I had to choose, I would pick the Big Sable Point Light as my favorite lighthouse on our Lake Michigan Circle Tour. I just love the red roof of the house combined with the black and white light. It also probably had to do with the perfect weather we had that day, compared to the rainy and windy weather we experienced when we visited South Haven, Holland, and Grand Haven.

Built in 1867, the Big Sable Point Lighthouse stands at 112 feet tall and is one of the tallest lighthouses in Michigan. In 1949, it became the last lighthouse on the Great Lakes to get electricity. The easiest way to get to the Big Sable Point Lighthouse is with an easy two-mile hike on mostly paved roads.

The Big Sable Point Light was also Christopher’s favorite lighthouse because he got to go to the top. Since we had Skyler with us, one of us had to stay with her, and I knew he wanted to go to the top more than I did. It costs $5 and you have to go up 130 winding steps, but the view of Lake Michigan from the top are worth it! Of course, I had Chris take several photos so we could share with y’all. I had fun walking by the lake with Skyler and taking photos of Chris on top of the lighthouse.

Catch up on our Lake Michigan Circle Tour Road Trip:

Friday, August 12, 2016

Friday Favorites: Random Post-Surgery Updates

Happy Friday, friends! I haven’t done a Friday favorites post since July 1 (what?!), so I thought it’s about time I share some random life updates.

I’m feeling better and stronger every day. I still have a hard time getting out of the house (the Texas heat is awful for recovery), but I am going to try to go out to eat with friends twice this weekend and see how I do! I am definitely getting to the point where I am tired of being in the house and am ready for new adventures. Now I just need my body to catch up to that!

After everything that has gone on in 2016 so far, Chris and I are in serious need of a vacation. We can’t go on a big trip this year because of surgery costs, but we are hoping to do a fun road trip in October. You all know how much I love fall color, and I really want a trip that includes hiking since I haven’t been able to move much this year, so the current idea is to drive to the Smoky Mountains. (If anyone has been to Gatlinburg or anywhere close by, I’d love to hear from you!) We are still in the early planning stages (and a lot of it depends on if Chris can switch a weekend with someone else in his program), but I’m excited to start thinking about vacation again.

Does anyone else crave seafood in the summer? Poor Chris has had to take over kitchen duties while I recover (though my mom did come every day for the first two weeks to cook and clean for us, and we received a lot of restaurant gift cards from friends), and our favorite recipe lately is this honey garlic shrimp. It’s super easy to make and seriously delicious.

If I have to stay at home, at least it’s during the Olympics. I’ve loved being able to see the daytime coverage, and I’ve been live streaming the gymnastics coverage. I always cheer for the United States first and Russia second, so it’s been exciting to watch them win the gold and silver medals!

I rarely talk about books as I’m reading them since I do a book post every month, but y’all, Swear on This Life by Renee Carlino is so good. It’s one of those books where I want to stop everything I’m doing and read it until I’m finished. I obviously don’t know how it ends yet, but I know Kristen liked it, so I bet it’s great.

I also wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone who guest posted for me while I was recovering! I’m so thankful for all the great posts they wrote. In case you missed one, here they are:

Island Exploring: What to Do in Nantucket

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

Hope y'all have a wonderful weekend! 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Island Exploring: What to Do in Nantucket

Hey, friends! I am almost ready to come back to this space of mine (I've missed y'all so much!), but first I have one more treat. Audrey Louise at Life at Louise is sharing what to do in Nantucket. I really looked forward to her post because it's an area of the country I would love to explore! I will definitely be pinning her guide to use in the future. Thank you so much for sharing it with us, Audrey Louise!

I am so excited to spend some time here in Olya's world with her lovely readers while she recovers from her surgery. (A quick prayer & good vibes to you, Miss Olya!) Since she is the Travel/Food/Fun Queen I decided to steer things in an adventurous direction and take notes from my most recent vacation! Earlier this month I traveled to the Cape Cod region with my husband & my parents for a week-long vacation. While we were there we took a ferry ride across the Nantucket Sound (Atlantic Ocean) to Nantucket.

Before we were engaged or married, nearly six years ago, my husband Kyle and I attended a wedding on the island of Nantucket for his childhood friend (whose family just happens to have a summer home there). If it weren't for that wedding, I doubt we'd ever have looked at Nantucket as an agreeable vacation destination. I know islands can seem boring or intimidating (or ritzy), but Nantucket is a wonderful place to visit (or stay) if you find yourself along the upper East Coast! The small size (only 14 miles wide!) is what adds to the friendly, laid back nature of this little community.


Here are some must-see and must-do things while on Nantucket!

Rent a bike! If you take the ferry to the island you will encounter three bike shops within minutes of stepping onto the pier. Bike rentals typically cost about $30 for the entire day & you receive a bike & basket, helmet, bike lock, and map of the island. You can get anywhere on the island via bike! During our trips to the island we rent bikes as our main source of transportation.

Get some ice cream at The Juice Bar. K and I were so excited to return to our favorite shop on the island- the local ice cream shop! After our 18 mile bike ride (I'm still sore thinking about it) ice cream was a necessity. We have a particular fondness for their cookies & cream and cake batter flavors!


A trip to the 'tucket isn't complete without taking in some lighthouses. Here's a funny story... During our first trip to the island K and I biked to a small beach to check out the ocean and the lighthouse there. We sat on the rocks for a half hour and walked back up the beach hand-in-hand until a man stopped us and excitedly asked if we'd just gotten engaged! We hadn't and we awkwardly told him so. He apologized and said that tons of men bring their girlfriends to that lighthouse to propose.


The Whaling Museum. In the middle of town, just across from The Juice Bar, is the Nantucket Whaling Museum. To be totally honest, K and I have tried to go during our trips to the island but we've never actually been there! (So much to do, so little time!) We've heard wonderful things about it so you'll have to report back to me once you've gone. It's on our to-do list!

Go sailing or whaling! During our last trip to the Cape we went whale watching out of Provincetown, MA and it was an insane experience. Seeing an animal in the wild- especially one as large and majestic as a whale- is so incredible! I believe that taking a tour out of a mainland city is much less expensive than taking one from Nantucket but regardless this is something you should do!

Check out the shopping and food. For only being 47 square miles of land (and a lot of that being beaches, homes, and foliage), the island has a ton of shops and restaurants. Ranging from beach casual to country club formal, there are so many food options. Nantucket is accessible via ferry or plane- neither of which is too agonizing or expensive. I know we'll be heading back as soon as we can; I hope I've sparked a little interest in you, too!


A huge thanks to Olya for inviting me into her corner of the internet today! Hoping you feel 100% soon, girl! I hope to see the rest of you over at Life as Louise in the near future! Let's chat about travel!


Monday, August 8, 2016

Six Books I Read in July

I honestly thought I would read even more than usual in July since I would be recovering from surgery. What I didn’t know was that I would be so exhausted after surgery I would turn on my Kindle and couldn’t even finish a page. Now that I am getting better, I have been able to read a bit more. I ended up reading seven books since the last book post, but one of them isn’t worth mentioning. I’m excited about sharing this post with y’all because there are several books I think would be perfect for end of summer reads!

A Fine Imitation by Amber Brock
I received a copy of this book through Blogging for Books, but all opinions are my own.
I was surprised by how much I liked this book. Alternating between Vera's senior year at university in the 1910s and her socialite life in the 1920s, A Fine Imitation really portrays why there is more to life than money. Even though she has everything she could possibly want, Vera is terribly lonely until she meets Emil Hallan, the artist invited to paint a mural in the pool room of her building. As they begin to get to know each other, Vera begins to question whether her life of privilege is worth being miserable. It's written well, and both timelines were woven together beautifully at the end.

The Singles Game by Lauren Weisberger
(c/o NetGalley)
If you are looking for a fun book to read by the beach or the pool this summer, pick up The Singles Game! After a crushing injury at Wimbledon, tennis star Charlotte Silver decides to make drastic changes to win at all costs. Not only is Charlie a good character, but all the supporting characters are great, too. I loved the behind-the-scenes look at the world of professional tennis and what it takes to be a professional athlete.

The Mermaid Girl by Erika Swyler
(c/o NetGalley)
This short story is a prequel to The Book of Speculation (one of the best books I read in 2015), but I think it makes more sense if you read The Book of Speculation first. It was nice to get to know Paulina a bit more and read about a younger Simon. Erika Swyler is an amazing writer-the imagery in this is absolutely beautiful.

Time After Time by Hannah McKinnon
(c/o NetGalley)
From the description, I was worried this book would be depressing, but it turned out to be light and fun! Hayley is going through a hard time at work and with her family life, so she begins to wonder what her life would have been like if she had married one of her other boyfriends. She falls asleep wishing for a new life and wakes up in an alternate reality. I honestly that the premise would be a bit cheesy, but it was done well. If you're looking for a fun read this summer, this book is worth picking up!

The Imperial Wife by Irina Reyn
(c/o NetGalley)
This book disappointed me. I don't usually read books related to Russia, but I picked this one up because I thought it would be interesting to learn more about Catherine the Great. However, most of this book was about what it's like to be a Russian immigrant and Tanya's marriage falling apart because she's a strong woman. Both the past and present chapters felt underdeveloped. The present came together a little more at the end, but the ending was unsatisfying. The book did make me want to research more about Catherine the Great, though!

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley
(c/o NetGalley)
A plane crashes off of Martha's Vineyard with nine people dead and two survivors. This novel focuses on all 11 people on board, digging into their past lives to discover what happened to the plane. It read more as a philosophical novel than a thriller to me. I never felt the suspense, and the book felt really slow at times. The ending also fell a little flat for me. If you're looking for a thriller, I would probably pass on this book.

Favorite reads in July: A Fine Imitation, The Singles Game, and Time After Time.

Linking up with Steph & Jana.

I love book suggestions. What have you read lately?

Friday, August 5, 2016

Miami Wynwood Walls

Have you read the Verbal Gold Blog yet? I love that it is a collaboration by Ady and and nine other girls all over the country. Today, she is sharing a fun post about the Miami Wynwood walls!

The Miami Wynwood Walls are nothing short of amazing! I took a stroll through the streets and found some preeeeetty walls! #blogphotoheaven You go through some sketchy areas to get there and I definitely wouldn't recommend wandering these streets alone at dark but these blocks have some amazing bars, juice bars, and restaurants! There is even graffiti on the street! #TinyNinjas
Everywhere I go stilettos are flying out of the sky
The last boom box picture above is my favorite! I love Bob Marley on the back wall too! This wall art can be seen from the highway and took me forever to find. I clearly spent the better half of a day there since it got dark on me. Well worth it though! Have you ever been to Miami's Wynwood Walls? Don't forget we're on snap chat and insta and basically everything out there @VerbalGoldBlog so holler at your girls. hah.

READ NEXT: Guide to Miami