Forget Part One, I combined everything into one huge list. There are many things I like and this list will introduce you to some of those things. You'll get to know me on a different level! These are in no particular order simply because many would tie for first, second, and third place. Comments welcome!
Simply no better place to get your groceries! If only they were closer to my house, I would make them rich and would shop there three times a week for the freshest groceries. Check out my review as well.
See the full review, "I should pitch a tent in this place!".
Nothing like homemade bread, especially in the fall and winter seasons. We have stopped buying bread back in June of 2009 and I have lost count of the loaves I have made. I usually make two each week, no bread-maker! If you want to give me one, please do!
See the full review, "Nothing like bread fresh out of the oven!".
Oh the inspiration, the unbeatable prices, simple design, the fun never stops. The best furniture store for us, the average folks, who can't afford $3,000 couches, $2,000 rugs, and haute designer accessories.
See the full review, "Affordable European furniture and a design inspiration".
I learned to swim in the US in my early teenage years and since then I enjoyed swimming for recreation throughout my youth. I am ashamed to say that this past summer I didn't even get to swim once! Last summer while I was pregnant it happened once. That's what happens when you have babies, the priorities kind of change. I mostly prefer freshwater swimming in lakes as I am not a fan of salty ocean water or chlorinated pool (both make my skin and hair really dry).
I have to admit I have an unhealthy addiction to strollers. I have an unquenchable thirst to find 'the one'. My baby is only 9 month old and I have already tried three strollers (two of them were hand-me-downs). When I splurged on one, I only learned that it isn't the perfect one. My quest continues and maybe you'll get to read about all my stroller encounters on Lunch!
I just love to get rid of things (ties in well with my fourth job above). Although if you would come to my house you would probably think I still have a long way to go. In case you didn't know, babies come with clutter - lots of it. Of course we can choose how much clutter we have, but it just seems to come out of nowhere and accumulates with lightning speed. Also, before any Interior Design can be done in a space, it has to be decluttered.
It started with coloring books, then group art classes at a young age, then private art lessons. Oh, and the countless museums my mom brought me to. At first I hated going to museums, but the older I became the more I enjoyed it. I have a deeply rooted love for art.
I am not religious. I actually think that religion hinders people from seeing and knowing God. I also don't believe there can be 'many truths'. To me, the Bible makes complete sense of this messed up world. It helps understand things for what they are in the spiritual and physical realms. I also believe that Jesus is the Messiah and the Son of God. Something that is so much a part of me that it must be on this list and I don't care if it will make you think less of me.
Having my daughter watch daddy paint was a great experience. No strong odor, durable color, it was just great not to have to move out of the house while we paint. I will not use any other paint again! Yeay for no toxic off-gassing!
See the full review, "Paint that is safe for babies, pets, and the Earth.".
Blogging gives me an outlet to share things I am passionate about, no matter if it is an idea, information, a product, or an experience. It also connects me to a community of people I would not otherwise meet in life. After my blog took off though I thought it would be helpful for the household finances to compensation for it as well (considering I spend so much time on it). On EcoBabyz I love to share great ideas and products on raising kids in an Eco-friendly manner. AnV Design is where I share my passion for sustainable home, interiors, and architecture.
I can't function without enough sleep and I like to sleep late. Thankfully my husband works second shift and I work from home on my own terms (in the office just two days a week when I get up at 7:30 am). That way I get to sleep in 5 days a week! Granted we go to bed past midnight though.
My love for photography comes from my photo obsessed mother. When we first got a 35 mm camera (a point and shoot) in the early 90s she went crazy taking photos, now with digital you can't stop her since there is no limit to how many you can take! I took two black and white photography classes and learned to develop film, I really enjoyed it. Some people say I have a good eye. Occasionally I shoot friends' and relatives' weddings as a 'second' photographer. There are a couple of photos I took if you look in my profile albums.
I grew up on organic food because there was nothing else. Then I moved to the US (and simultaneously pesticides and the use of genetic engineering also trickled into Russia). It was odd to see all fruits and vegetables available at the supermarket out of season. The first thing my family noticed when we moved is that the tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes, and other staple vegetables did not taste the same as the ones we ate back home.I didn't think much of it until little by little I started learning about persticides and genetically modified organisms. Aside from taste there are also numerous studies that show organically grown food has about 40-60% more nutrients. I don't buy everything organic, but Trader Joe's makes it a lot more affordable to do that. I try to stick with The List.
I love camping! The longest camping trip for me was three weeks in Moldova while volunteering as a counselor in children's camps. Three weeks is pushing it, I'll admit, but I am up for one any time. Of course having a baby changes things, but hopefully we can resume camping trips next summer when she is a little older. I also prefer camping in the wild rather than convenient camping sites - a completely different experience. I am really low maintenance, with all the things on the market today that make camping convenient it is not an issue (solar shower anyone?).
I really dislike being in one state for more that a few months at a time. Even if it just a drive up to the mountains, I need a change of scenery. Of course, if I had the money to spend I would take a lot more trips out of the country - I am dreaming of Italy, France, Spain, Denmark, etc... So far I have only been to Russia, Latvia, Canada, Moldova, Belarus, Ukraine, Germany, many US states and about 6 or seven Caribbean islands. Most of that travel was before I turned 22 (thanks to my parents). Haven't been traveling much lately except to Russia two years ago as a volunteer and road trips to nearby states.
If your kitchen is not equipped with Cutco knives, don't even ask me to help you cook! :) Just kidding. But seriously, I don't know what I would do without these, they make preparing food sooo much easier. Whenever I am visiting relatives or friends and I cut something with their knives, I gain more appreciation for Cutco. There are a few brands out there that are comparable, but these have worked great for us. After 3+ years of everyday use, still like new. I am lucky my husband tried selling them as a bachelor so he had a display set stashed.
I am very much an outdoorsy girl. I hate being stuck indoors for a long time. Being outside is great, but being in the wilderness is what I love even more. Give me mountains, lakes, rivers, and streams, you will see a different side of me. I always wanted to live somewhere in the wild, but then I think I would be very lonely, even with a family - I have a social side too. Loving the outdoors also makes me crave some of my favorite outdoor sports such as skiing, mountain climbing, and canoeing. I do feel though as if I am talking about my past because with a baby I haven't done any of these for a while.
I have a thing for cookbooks. I like the ones with step by step photos because I am a visual person. I have many, though I wish I actually used them! I wish I had time to prepare more dishes that are out of the norm. I use a cookbook about once a month.
You would think that as an outdoorsy girl I could care less. I have a bit of an obsession though, it is fed by a rich lady who wears my size and 'donates' once-worn shoes from her collection regularly. There is no way I could buy all the ones I like. I am not big on high heels, but I like boots, fur lined boots :) And flats, cute flats (even though I am 5'2"!)
Maybe it is a bit of nostalgia. I grew up with wooden toys. For some reason I can't stand all the bright plastic stuff. Now with a baby of my own I would really love to buy her all wooden toys, but frankly I haven't bought her anything because finances are tight and all her toys are hand-me-downs. I just love the variety of educational wooden toys out there, most of them a lot safer than the toxic junk (sorry, I had to say it). As long as they use non-toxic paint, stain, and/or sealant, of course.
I am not really a film buff, but I do enjoy a good Russian movie. Actually most good movies I know are Russian. You would have to have a Russian soul to understand why though and to appreciate Russian humor and cinematography. There was a time in the 90s and early in the millenium when a lot of dumb and pointless movies came out of Russia, they've picked up though and I have seen a lot of breathtaking, epic motion pictures such as Siberian Barber and Turkish Gambit. I also enjoy the old Soviet movies - for those you really have to be Russian to 'get it', otherwise you would just find them silly.
If you haven't heard, recent medical research suggests that Vitamin D deficiencies might just be the primary cause of people contracting the flu, viruses, colds, and many diseases. Since the most common source of Vitamin D is the sun, it is no wonder that people in Northern climates get sick more, slathering on sunscreen makes it even worse. Did you know that the Public Health Agency of Canada now suggests Vitamin D instead of the flu shot? Not just for seasonal flu, but to prevent contracting the H1N1!
See the full review, "The next best thing if you can't get much sun!".
I just love villages, no matter what country. It is like going back in time. But of course I most appreciate Russian villages, that is where I spent every summer until I was 11 years old. For me, I would much rather vacation in a Russian village than at a tropical island. I love everything about it, the cows grazing, picking wild strawberries and blueberries. Fresh bread from a local bakery. The banya (Russian sauna) steamy and ready to wash all your cares away. Little wooden huts and homes heated with huge stoves. Of course all this looses its charm if you actually live there!
I am a woman, a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a cousin, a friend, a Christ follower, an Interior Designer, a blog author, a cook, an artist, an eco-conscious consumer, a nature lover, … more