The Siberian American: September 2016

Friday, September 30, 2016

Review: Irresistible Me Diamond Hair Straightener

I received a free Irresistible Me Hair Styler to review, but all opinions are my own.

My hair is usually long, thick, and the kind of wavy that forces me to do something with it every day. After my disastrous haircut a few weeks ago, I have struggled with how to style it. When Irresistible Me reached out to me and asked me to pick a product from their line, I knew I wanted to go with the Diamond Hair Styler.

The first thing I noticed when I got the flat iron was the beautiful design of the packaging. I couldn’t wait to open it up!

I have had a lot of hair straighteners in my life, and the Diamond Hair Styler surprised me with how lightweight it was. I love that I can take it with me on a trip, and it won’t add any weight to my luggage.

When I straighten my hair (or curl it with a straightener), I want to be done as fast as possible, and this flat iron is perfect for that. It takes only 15 seconds to heat up, has a long cord that swivels to make life easier, and I only have to run it through my hair once to straighten it.

I also love that the buttons are on the inside of the flat iron, so I don’t accidently change the settings while using it. The 30-minute auto shut off is great to have when I get distracted and start doing something else.

The best part of the straightener is how it makes my hair look and feel. The frizz is completely gone, and my hair is insanely silky. I keep wanting to run my hands through my hair all the time. (Anyone else do that? No? I’m just a weirdo.) My hair even looked great on the second and third day, too!

Click here to buy the flat iron. It costs $149, but right now it’s 30 percent off!

Do you straighten your hair, or curl your hair with a straightener? What’s your favorite brand?

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Currently: September 2016

I decided to move the post I planned for today to next week because the lighting in my house is horrible today, so I thought I would do a currently post since it’s been a long time since I’ve done one.

Our trip to Tennessee and North Carolina! I’m so ready to spend a week exploring such a beautiful part of the country.

Excited Texas has had its first dose of fall! On Monday, it was in the 60s, and yesterday it was in the 70s. I’m not hopeful it will last, but I am hoping we won’t hit 100 again!

I just finished one of the worst books I’ve read this year, so I need to start something good today. I’m thinking of reading Dark Matter by Blake Crouch since so many of you have liked it!

I am so excited all the fall shows are back! We haven’t watched any yet, but I know we have Quantico and The Blacklist on our DVR.

Lipsense. I had been invited to several Facebook groups and didn’t really expect to buy any, but I tried some at the conference this weekend and fell in love. I pretty much want all the colors now!

All the chips and salsa. I can’t get enough of Tex-Mex since we moved back. We definitely missed it.

About my health. That same area where it hurt when I had my stent in has started to hurt again, which makes me nervous. I’m not ready to press the panic button yet. I’m hoping it’s just my body adjusting to life without the stent.

Well, I left the vendor fair with a Lipsense starter kit (a gloss, a color, and Oops remover), and yesterday, I purchased four more colors and another gloss. (Yay for Mercari and getting things cheaper. If you don’t use it yet, it’s a great online marketplace! I like it better than Poshmark. Also, if you use the code DUSVZT, we both get $2 in credits!) I also got the dress from Lularoe I had mentioned on Snapchat. I seriously went from not buying anything for months to wanting to buy all the things. I’ve been wanting a few new tops for our trip, too, but I’m trying to be good.

Monday, September 26, 2016

A Weekend with Doctors’ Wives

For many reasons, intern year was hard. We were adjusting to a new city and residency at the same time. I was also getting used to working from home for the first time and missing hanging out with my coworkers. A few months into the year, I started looking for support and found Lives of Doctors’ Wives. It’s hard to describe what that group meant to me last year. It was a safe place to commiserate with others who know what you’re going through and to get advice on everything from maintaining a healthy relationship during residency to the perfect recipe to bring to Thanksgiving. In some ways, it reminds me a lot of the blogging community.

One of the reasons I wanted to go to the conference this weekend was to meet the wonderful girls behind the group. As many of us know as bloggers, you feel like you know people you have interacted with online, so it was a blast meeting them in real life!

On Friday, I wrote about about how going to the conference was out of my comfort zone, and I won’t lie—that first day was tough for me. A lot of people came with people they knew from their city or have already met people at the conference from previous years. But everyone was super welcoming, and we had a lot to talk about since we had medicine in common.

I know some of y’all might be curious what exactly you do at a conference for doctors’ wives. The biggest part of the conference was fellowship, so we had several activities centered around that: craft night, 80’s karaoke night, and late-night board games. There were also lots of speakers focused on major parts of our lives: how to stress less, how to better our marriages, financial planning, estate planning, and student loans. We also had a great vendor fair and several fun classes, such as a photography class. The best part of the conference was a two-hour panel put on by four wives full of amazing insight. I seriously could have had listened to those ladies talk forever.

Today, I am exhausted in the best way. I met so many amazing women and learned more than I could have ever expected. I am so glad I was able to get past my initial awkwardness and have a great time!

Linking up with Biana for Weekending!     

Friday, September 23, 2016

Getting Out of My Comfort Zone

Moving back to Texas has its advantages. I grew up in a suburb of Dallas, and we lived in Dallas and a different suburb while Christopher was in medical school. We also have friends and family who all mostly live an hour away from us. After living in Chicago for a year, our time in Dallas so far has felt comfortable.

Still, now that I am healthier, I have been trying to branch out. Most of the friends we have made in the past live in the suburbs, and if you know Dallas traffic, you know meeting up during the week is nearly impossible. Now that Chris is starting to work more nights and weekends again, I decided to reach out to some of the other doctors’ wives in the area and planned a get together.

Even though I was the one who planned the get together, I was so nervous. I’m super introverted at first when I don’t know anyone. It turned out way better than I expected. We already had a huge thing in common, and the conversation flowed easily. I stayed longer than I planned to that day and have spent time with them since then.

This weekend, I am doing something I never thought I would do in a million years. By the time you read this, I am going to be at a conference for doctors’ wives where I don’t know a single person. A bunch of people there are already friends, and the whole purpose of the conference is to make friends who know what you are going through. I feel like I’m the new kid in school again trying to get included in a circle.

All week I’ve been wondering what I was thinking when I signed up for it and coming up with ways to get out of it, but I’m going to go. I’m going to make friends, and I’m going to have fun. Here’s to getting out of my comfort zone!

If you want to know what a doctors' wives conference looks like, follow me on SnapChat! (SiberianOlya)

Do you ever struggle with getting out of your comfort zone? 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Nine Years

Nine years ago yesterday, I was having one of the biggest and most confusing conversations of my life. Our “defining the relationship” conversation started at around 11 p.m. and lasted till 3 a.m.

Freshman formal
It was all my fault. I didn’t come right out and say What are we? Instead, I began this long, convoluted story of how our college friends recently became official and asked Chris what he thought of that. I was so nervous to just come out and say it. Chris and I had both dated our best friends our senior year in high school, and the relationships had ended badly. We had gotten super close over the last month (you can read more about that here) and were both afraid to mess it up.

It’s the best risk we’ve ever taken. Before I met Christopher, I hadn’t even wanted a relationship, but I could quickly tell that this relationship was different from any I had been a part of in the past.

We said I love you quickly. We didn’t want to wait to get married until after college when we knew we were ready for marriage. (Such a bummer, though, because it meant we got married before Pinterest. ;)) One of these days, I will share about our wedding (I wanted to on our anniversary this year, but it turned out to be close to my surgery), but we got married the summer after our sophomore year in college.

Nine years ago, I had no idea what an adventure we were starting. If you had asked me then what I thought my life would be like today, the answer would be extremely different from reality. My life isn’t what I expected. It’s so much better, all thanks to that conversation nine years ago.

PS-I'm over on Ashley's blog today sharing five things you must do in one of my favorite cities in the world, Prague!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Lake Michigan Circle Tour: One of the Most Photographed Lighthouses in the United States?

On our way from Arcadia Inspiration Point to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, we saw a sign for the Point Betsie Light, and Chris decided to take a detour. In all the research I did before the trip, Point Betsie never came up as a suggestion, so we were surprised when we saw a sign for the lighthouse.

I was even more surprised to see the sign that called Point Betsie Lighthouse “one of the most photographed lighthouses in America,” mainly because of the location. I would have thought the lighthouses on the East Coast would be more photographed because they are easier to access (The Portland Head Light, which we saw on our fall foliage cruise, is thought to be the most photographed lighthouse in the world).

I could see why people would come to Northern Michigan to photograph the Point Betsie Lighthouse. It’s truly stunning. Right next to it is a small beach, which provides the best angles for photos.

Point Betsie Light began service in 1859, and a light saving station was built in 1875. It was the last manned lighthouse on Lake Michigan, becoming automated in 1983. The lighthouse is private property, but it is available for tours on certain days from May to October. You can even stay at the Keeper’s Quarters for a unique experience with a gorgeous view.

I could have spent hours watching the waves crash with the lighthouse in the background. Even on a trip where we saw so many amazing sights, the small detours are sometimes just as fun.

Catch up on our Lake Michigan Circle Tour Road Trip:

Friday, September 16, 2016

Five Reasons I Love Fall

Like most of my blogger friends, I am obsessed with all things fall! I can’t help but feel giddy when the season is approaching, even when Texas hasn’t decided to get with the program yet (It’s currently 93 with a “real feel” of 98. That is not OK.) I could make a list of 100 things I love about fall, but for your sake (and mine), I decided to stick to five for this post.

The chill in the air

In The Great Gatsby, Jordan says “Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.” I know that feeling so well. That first chill in the air feels like a renewal. A new beginning. It’s one of the best feelings in the world.

Fall color

Hi, my name is Olya, and I am obsessed with fall color. We went on a fall color cruise for our fifth wedding anniversary, and everyone called us “the young couple” because we were the youngest there by about 30 years (there was actually a few more people our age, and they sat us all together at dinner). I didn’t care because I got to eat lobster rolls and see these amazing colors at Acadia National Park. Last year, I planned day trips on Christopher’s days off to see fall color. (If you are in the Midwest, I recommend both Lake Geneva, Wisconsin and Starved Rock State Park in Utica, Illinois.) This year, we are going on a road trip in October to the Smoky Mountains and Blue Ridge Mountains. I think fall color is magical, and I hope that never changes.

Apple cider

Here’s where we probably have a difference of opinions. Apple cider is by far my favorite fall drink. Give me a back porch, a good book, and some apple cider to drink, and I’m the happiest girl in the world. I’m not a huge coffee drinker (crazy, I know), so I can’t get behind the pumpkin spice latte. I must admit I do love a white peppermint mocha during the holidays, though.


I think fall is the best season for clothes! You get to wear light sweaters, plaid, boots, and cute cardigans without having to cover everything up with a jacket all the time.

Texas State Fair

For me, The Texas State Fair and fall go hand in hand. I love everything about it, especially the crazy food. I’ve been to many fairs and festivals and think nothing else compares. I missed it when we couldn’t go last year, so I am really looking forward to going this year. If you are ever planning a trip to Dallas, try to make it during the state fair!

What's your favorite thing about fall? 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Confessions: What Is Normal?

I was planning on finishing up a travel post for today, but I woke up with a migraine and didn’t feel well enough to put together the photos for it. Let’s just ignore the fact that I’m still halfway through sharing about our California road trip…which we took in March 2015. Life has just been so crazy since then. Here’s hoping it slows down a bit!

I’m having trouble figuring out what my new “normal” is. This week was the first time in months where I haven’t felt bad every day (though I have had a few rough days that got me worried. I’m hoping it’s just the healing process.), and I am slowly starting to freelance again, but it’s been hard to get back into my regular routine. I think that’s partially because the last time I felt “normal” I was in Chicago, and life looked a lot different than it does now. Anyways, now that I’m doing better, people keep asking me if I’m planning to keep freelancing or find a job, and I just don’t know yet. I know I would miss freelancing if I quit, but I do miss the people interaction of an office setting.

After having to have two haircuts in the past two weeks, I pretty much want to avoid haircuts for the foreseeable future. My hair is so much shorter than I wanted it to be since I needed to lose length to get my terrible haircut fixed. Most people would probably still consider it long, but I’m usually pretty low maintenance with my hair, and at this length, I feel like I’m constantly having to style it.

Is it strange that I have never reread a book? I just feel like there are so many books in this world I want to read. I’ve actually been considering rereading the Harry Potter series, though, since it’s been almost 10 years since I read the last book.

I finally got a Snapchat. I thought it would be a fun way to document our adventures in Tennessee next month. Follow me (SiberianOlya), and I will follow back! Also, be prepared for lots of snaps of my dog.

I have a striped shirts problem. I bought new clothes for the first time in forever (pretty proud of myself for that! Haha.), and it was five striped shirts. I keep telling myself to diversify my wardrobe, but then I see all the striped things, and I can’t help it.

I also must confess that I’m pretty sure every time I’ve done a confessions post I haven’t linked up with anyone, and I likely won’t today. I just like to do them every once in a while to share all the random things in my head. I also haven't done one in over a year, so I figured it was time!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Ten Books I Liked in August

August was by far the best reading month I’ve had all year. I’m super excited to share most of these reads with y’all. All of the reads were NetGalley and probably will be for some time. Let’s just say my NetGalley list is so out of hand that I’m embarrassed to share how many books are currently on my shelf. I’m not complaining, though, if the books are good, and I don’t have to spend a ton of money to support my book habit.

All Is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker
(c/o NetGalley)

Trigger warning: Rape (with some graphic content).

Jenny Kramer is brutally raped at a party. A few hours later, she is given a controversial drug that erases her memory of the assault. However, she still has emotional memory of the assault and finds it hard to function. This novel is told from the perspective of Jenny's psychiatrist as they work together to piece back her memory. It started out a bit slow (and bit repetitive at times) but turned into a great psychological thriller. I loved the way it was told, and the last 30 percent of the book was so good I read way past my bedtime. If you like psychological thrillers (and can handle a little graphic content), this one is definitely worth a read!

Swear on This Life: A Novel by Renee Carlino
(c/o NetGalley)

Wow. It's been a long time since I've felt this emotional while reading a book. I knew Renee Carlino could write after reading Before We Were Strangers, but this book is a million times better. The story captivated me from the first page. Emiline, a creative writing professor living in San Diego and struggling with her own writing, is recommended a debut novel from J.Colby. From the first page, Emiline realizes the novel is written about her by the boy who was everything to her growing up...who she hasn't seen in 12 years. The past and present is intertwined perfectly with a book within a book format. As you read the book with Emiline, you get to see Emiline and Jase's love develop, and you truly feel all the pain Emiline experienced growing up. The book absolutely consumed me-I could think of nothing else until I finished. It's not perfect. There were several things that bothered me, and the ending felt a bit rushed, but it's five stars for me based on how emotionally invested I got and how much I want to tell everyone I know about it.

Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris
(c/o NetGalley)

I struggled with how to review this thriller. On one hand, it kept me up reading late into the night. On the other hand, it didn't feel very suspenseful to me. You find out what's going on early in the book, so the rest of it is Grace's reaction and what she plans to do about it. I honestly think most people will like it more than I did. For some reason, I just felt like something was missing.

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly
(c/o NetGalley)

Even though I've read a lot of World War II historical fiction (and non-fiction), I feel like every time I pick up a WWII book, I learn something new. I had never heard of Caroline Ferriday and barely knew anything about the Ravensbrück "Rabbits." The thing that stands out to me about this book is a decent chunk of the story occurs after the war is over. It was interesting (and heartbreaking) to read a book that truly showed how difficult it was to glue a life back together after such unimaginable trauma. If you are a fan of WWII historical fiction, I think Lilac Girls is worth a read.

With Love from the Inside by Angela Pisel
(c/o NetGalley)

This is a story of Grace, who is on death row after being accused of killing her infant son, and Sophie, her daughter, who believed her mother was guilty until she discovers evidence that changes everything. It's a unique premise that's both beautiful and heartbreaking.

It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover
(c/o NetGalley)

I have always wanted to read a Colleen Hoover book. In fact, I have several of her books that have been hanging out on my Kindle for years waiting to be read. After reading It Ends with Us, I think I need to move them up higher on my list. I went into this book not knowing much about it. I thought it was just a love story. It's not just a love story. It's beautiful, heartbreaking, raw, and truly eye-opening. Even before I got to the Author's Note, I could tell the author had experience with the topic from the way it was written. I started this book blindly, and I don't want to give anything away because I think that's the best way to read it. You go into it not knowing anything and come out shaken by this powerful read.

Side note: This won't bother most people, but I get annoyed when authors make one of their characters a doctor and then don't do their research. In the first chapter of the book, Ryle moved to Boston two months prior for his neurosurgery residency. A few chapters later, it says he's almost done with residency. A neurosurgery residency lasts seven years. Then, when he buys Lily expensive things, he says it's OK because he's a doctor. Residents usually make somewhere between 40-60k a year (with the higher amount occurring towards the end of their residency). OK, rant over. I just really hate when books misrepresent what residency is like.

The Last One by Alexandra Olivia
(c/o NetGalley)

I liked the idea of this book: a survival reality show during which a post-apocylptic event happens and one of the contestants has a hard time determining facts from fiction. I know you have to suspend your beliefs a bit in dystopian fiction, but I had a hard time believing it would take the main character that long to figure out that everything that happened wasn't part of the show. I also really didn't like the ending. Overall, it was still a decent read. I'm just not sure that it's memorable.

How to Party with an Infant by Kau Hart Hemmings
(c/o NetGalley)

I was pretty disappointed in How to Party with an Infant. It started out well with Mele's story, but I think there were so many characters that you couldn't really get attached to any of them. Also since I'm not a mom yet, I don't think I could relate to the story really well. It was a quick read, but I thought it would be funnier and that I would like the characters more.

Collecting the Dead by Spencer Kope
(c/o NetGalley)

This is the first book in a new series, but it can be read as a stand alone novel. It's about FBI tracker Magnus "Steps" Craig, who has a special ability to see others' imprints at places they have been (he calls it shine). In this first book, he tracks down a serial killer by following his shine. This is a fast-paced thriller with great characters. I loved both Steps and his partner, Jimmy. I will definitely be picking up the next book in this series!

Mystic Summer by Hannah McKinnon
(c/o NetGalley)

Mystic Summer is a great summer read about a woman figuring out what's important in life after she gets laid off from her job. Mystic, Connecticut sounds like such a gorgeous summer destination (of course I had to Google it!) and was the perfect setting for the story. I really liked both Maggie and Cameron and felt for all the changes in their lives since they first dated. It's not amazing literature, but it would work well for a fun beach read!

Favorite reads in August: Swear on This Life, It Ends with Us, Lilac Girls, and All Is Not Forgotten

Linking up with Steph & Jana.

I love book suggestions. What have you read lately?

Friday, September 9, 2016

Five Places in Europe I Would Love to Visit Again

I started writing out lists of places I wanted to travel on the blog earlier this year when I was sick and needed some wanderlust to keep me going. Now that I’m feeling much better, my wanderlust is even stronger. I’ve talked about five places I want to visit in Europe and my top five European travel memories (I even shared some of our crazy European travel stories), but I have never made a list of places in Europe I would love to visit again.

Capri, Italy
Capri stole my heart the second I got off the ferry. There’s nothing better than gorgeous water, amazing lemon drinks, and breathtaking views at every corner. My only regret is we only spent a day there. The friends we were traveling with wanted to see more of Naples (which turned out to be one of my least favorite cities in Europe).

I feel like Switzerland and I need a do-over. I liked the scenery we saw from the train more than the actual places we visited (Zurich, Interlaken, Grindelwald, and Bern). I think the cost of everything made it difficult to enjoy, too. I think I would love Zermatt and Lucerne, so those are high on my list.

Annecy, France
Annecy is another place where I felt like we didn’t get to spend enough time there. This gorgeous city is nestled in the French Alps. I loved the stunning views of the Lake Annecy set across the backdrop of the mountains. There was so much left for us to explore in that area, so I would love to go back.

Bavaria, Germany
Our days in Munich and at Neuschwanstein Castle were some of my favorite. Still, I feel like we barely scratched the surface of everything Bavaria has to offer. I would love to visit Nuremberg, Bamberg, and Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Driving the Romantic Road and seeing adorable villages sounds like a dream.

Austria also fell victim to lack of time and bad weather for us. Most of my memories of Salzburg are literally foggy (as in, there was a horrible fog most of the time we were there), and I feel like one and half days wasn’t nearly enough to explore Vienna. I would also love to visit Graz, Innsbruck, Hallstatt, and Linz.

As much as we love Europe, we aren’t sure when we will be able to travel there again. Chris gets three weeks off a year, but there are so many rules about when he can take vacation that it basically means he can only take off five days at a time (he will start working weekends soon so they will count as days he would need to take). Our rule has always been that we need two weeks there to make Europe worth it due to the cost and length of the flight. So, we’ll see! I’m crossing my fingers we can make it work at some point, but for now I can keep dreaming! (I promise I'm not complaining-just explaining why long trips are hard these days!)

Check out some of my other travel lists: 

Have you been to Europe? What are some places you would love to visit again?

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

Hope y'all have a wonderful weekend!