30 October 2013

Lately...

Hello Everyone!

I feel like a total blog loser because I have not had a "real" post in ages. I admire so many bloggers who come up with the most creative and thoughtful posts, practically every day, and I just never find the time or the energy to write anything cool.

Here's a sweet song to makeup for my lack of updates:


Anyway, so I feel like this fall has just been insane. I have felt so overwhelmed by work, but I know it will pay off. Ben and I have just been hitting the pavement like no other to save up for upcoming holidays and our summer of AMERICA! It's exhausting, but there's just too many opportunities here to not take advantage of. So, I'll sleep when I'm dead, I guess.

Hmmm... I dyed my hair the color of wine, but I'm kinda over it already. I used to really like dark, dark browns and reds, because I'm quite fair-skinned, but after my ombre-d summer, I think I prefer lighter colors. My plan is to wait a month and then go see my Armenian hair guy who gave me the best fucking hair cut of my life over the summer (really-I've never had a hair cut like this and it cost like, $15). Yup.

Oh! I do have kinda exciting news-Ben and I will be working with Smilebooth this weekend. Our friend in LA contacted us last night because he works for them and they are having a party in Moscow this weekend and need a translator. I don't know how much help I'll be, but gosh darnnit, I will tag along like my life depends on it (someone has to translate the hipster lingo for Ben, ya know). If we do actually get to go to any swanky parties, I'll try to bring my camera along and take some pics for y'all.

Also, today begins our Halloween celebrations at school that I will definitely take pictures of (I think I decorated my room very cutely with the help of my toddler babies). It makes me kind of sad that Russian children don't celebrate Halloween, which is probably a silly thing to feel sad about, but c'mon Halloween is the bomb. Ben and I made brownies for our kids and I'll be showing Wallace and Gromit and the Curse of the Were Rabbit to the little ones and Hocus Pocus to my teens. And I'll dress as a witch or something.

Aaaaand, here are some pics from my most recent Halloweens because I think old Halloween pictures are fun to look through. There's not many times I miss both of my colleges, but Halloween always makes me nostalgic for the insane parties I went to during my university years. Sigh.

There was a guy in this picture too, but I cut him out because he was a creepy jerk. Oh, 18 year-old fairy Lisa-- you have so much to learn. 
This year I was too cool to care about Halloween, but I actually really liked this costume. It was really low maintenance, but I did attempt false eyelashes but accidentally removed all my real ones at the end of the night.  
Look at Ben staring at me! We had been hanging out for a couple weeks at this point and we were still trying to be sneaky. I think I was a Freudian slip this year because I had forgotten to think of a costume. 

Ooop- alien again. How gross is it that I drank mixed drinks from water bottles like that? For like, years. 
And then last year. My BFF Shane (right) and I bought blood capsules and that was pretty much as much effort as we put into our costumes. In my lack-of-creativity-defense, all three of us had gone to EOTO's Lotus Halloween show the night before and we had seriously gone all out for that show... but I do not have any pictures from it. Whoops.

Actually, funny store about those blood capsules: so they're just corn syrup dyed red and I was at my brother's apartment getting ready and I had just bitten a few of them (to get the blood dripping out your mouth effect) when his roommate came into the bathroom and totally freaked out. He kept asking if I was okay and what was happening and I was trying to explain "No, this a thing," and he was shouting, "What's a thing?! What's happening?!" It was pretty funny. 
So yeah, there's some Halloween flashbacks for ya. I know there a couple years missing in here, but it's probably for the best. I hope all of you have a super fun Halloween and don't get too sick from eating tons of candy! xoxo

23 October 2013

American Goodies Haul!

So, I missed Ben like crazy. I did. BUT! Him coming home also meant STUFF FROM AMERICA coming back too!!! After we had a rom-com movie hug in our doorway, Ben brought me into the kitchen to show me this:


he also proudly declared that one of my presents was the fact that he unpacked his suitcase all by himself. 


Ben flew back with AirFrance and stopped in Paris for about an hour. He brought back two chocolate croissants--our first real French pastries. Unfortunately, they tasted like airport pastries, but the gesture was so sweet. 


My administrator saw me putting on Chapstick the other day and told me that the smell reminded her of her childhood (she spent a few years in America with her family as a child) and I had Ben bring her back a pack. She walked on Cloud Nine all day. 


I like chocolate and caramel. 


Oh! And magazines! Do you have any idea how painful it is to stand in line forever at a grocery store and not be able to read the magazines on display? It's one of those secret worst-parts about living abroad (in my opinion). My mom sent Ben a few magazines for me (as well as a billion Clinique samples-score!) and Ben picked up the TIME Texas for me because I have a weird fascination with Texas. 


Ben brought back four of these. They do not sell these in Russia. I'm so excited to see what he has in store for us. 


aaaaand my Cheech and Chong shirt that I had left at Ben's parents all those months ago. It was a Christmas gift from my brother. 



Our lunch this afternoon (there were healthy grilled cheeses being made on the stove too!). 

Oh man. Have I missed salt and vinegar chips and chocolate and caramel and candy and magazines and free make-up samples. My mom sent Ben and I little Halloween goodie bags and it reminded me how many options there are in America. There were so many candy bars I had forgotten even existed because all they have here is a Russian brand called Picnic or something, Snickers, Kit Kats, M&M's, "skittles", and maybe one or two more candy brands--everything else is stuff you'd find in your grandmother's house. My teeth are just aching from the sugar. I'm sure we'll have gone through this whole stash within two weeks--if we're lucky. 

But anyway, like I said earlier, I'm so glad Ben is back. Thank you to everyone who sent your love to him in comments or emails :) it was so sweet. He's doing really well and I'm really grateful he got the chance to go home and find some peace with his family. And now we're just catching up on TV shows and getting back into our groove.

Hope all of you are having a good hump day! Ben and I are going out with friends in the center on Saturday and I am very much looking forward to it. For some reason I feel like after our insane summer, we haven't been going out as much. I want to make sure we get some good nights in before, ya know, that Russian winter really comes in. I think we got a couple more months in us ; )

18 October 2013

Ben, Lately, Books


You guys, I miss Ben. 

He left yesterday and everything just feels so weird. Work was weird. His substitute was weird. Walking was weird. Eating was weird. Sleeping was not so weird because I had many glasses of wine and watched many episodes of Girls. 

When we were in college (and a bit after) we spent some time apart during holidays and what not and that was okay. Maybe like a week or two here and there. But this time it felt so much more dramatic. When he left, I felt like my heart was going to explode or something. I don't know what it is. I'm not so anxious about being in Moscow by myself--we spend a good amount of time apart here and I'm fine with walking/taking buses/trains/buying food, etc. alone. Maybe it's the time difference or something that makes it feel much more dramatic. I don't know. It was just hard watching him leave and knowing I needed to be chill about it so he could focus himself on the very important thing he was going home for. 

Still. It hurts. He wrote me a small letter before he left and I've been reading it like, every hour or so. I just love him, guys. 

Anyway, enough about that. I recently bought my first foundation (!!) which was pretty exciting. I've never really worn much make-up, but for the past few months my skin has been looking--dull? I've attributed it with getting older, which is kind of a depressing thought. SO I got onto YouTube (which has the most amazing makeup tutorials I have never been able to duplicate) and did some research and settled on the YSL Le Touche Eclat Foundation which feels like I'm rubbing unicorn feathers onto my face. Really. I still feel really out-of-place with it because, like I said, I've never worn any "skin" makeup. Just blush and mascara kind of stuff. But, I'm trying it. We'll see how that goes. 

The people above us are playing a piano right now? They usually fight a lot and they have a baby that wakes me up all the fucking time, so I spend a lot of time really disliking them. But this piano is nice. I do look forward to the day when I no longer have to have apartment neighbors. I feel like everyone prepares you for weird roommates and what not, but nobody ever talks about how insane apartment neighbors can be. Maybe it's just me? I feel like I've heard some pretty weird stuff through thin walls. 

I feel like I'm rambling. I haven't been writing for myself at all recently. I miss the structure of school. I remember my mentor and writing professor warning us that one day we would leave his classroom and feel lost without deadlines and assignments. I also remember sitting there in my small desk, applying my cherry Chapstick and thinking not me! I'll always be a writer. Which is of course not to say that I don't still think of myself as a writer--I do. I have a couple ideas in my head, I just need some motivation. Aye. 

So, I finished World War Z on audiobook. It was okay. Three things kind of bothered me about it: 
1. It was all set in the future and everyone was recalling their part in this apocalyptic zombie war--which is fine, except there were very little stakes. They would tell these crazy stories, but I never worried about anyone because I knew they would obviously live because here they were, 15 years later telling a reporter about it. 
2. It wasn't scary enough! The writer clearly wanted his interviews to sound like real interviews--and they do (the audiobook is really amazing--every character is voiced by a new person, so it's very rich). But they don't indulge! There are so many, "Yeah... he didn't end well" and you're like HOW?! DID A ZOMBIE EAT HIS HEAD?! DID HE ACCIDENTLY DRIVE A CAR OFF A CLIFF BECAUSE HE WAS BEING CHASED BY AN ANGRY MOB OF FLESH-EATING MUTANTS? THIS IS A ZOMBIE BOOK FOR SLICK'S SAKE! TELL MEEEEEE!
3. There were hardly any women in this book. There were about 25 male characters telling there stories and TWO females. I don't usually care too much about that stuff, but around the seventh male speaker I began to feel really uncomfortable. Where are the women? This is the 21st century--you're really only going to include men? It just felt very imbalanced. And kind of pissed me off, to be honest. And like I said, I'm not someone who nit-picks (did I spell that right?) things like this, looking for sexism, but it just got to me. I don't know. Has anyone else read that book?

I did just start a new audiobook (I don't know if I mentioned this, but I walk for about two hours everyday, hence all these audiobooks) called Gone Girl per my very well-read mother's suggestion and I love it. I'm only about three hours in (???), but it's a very juicy story. And actually, pretty well written. Some of the descriptions are a little corny, but I have been really enjoying the story. And I love the mystery element attached. I can't say that I recommend it yet (I'll let you all know how I liked it when I finish), but I have pretty high hopes for this one. 

Okay. I'm done with my rambles. I hope you all have a good weekend and enjoy some awesome foliage. Cheers!

14 October 2013

Some Words on What We've Been up to...

Hello lovely blog readers,

This is just a quick entry about what we've been up to here in Moscow. I felt bad for not updating this blog in awhile, but life has been pretty hectic here. We had a pretty intense work week that wrapped up with some very sad news from home for Ben. I hesitate to say too much on this blog, as it is his business and not my story to tell, but he has experienced a loss and will be going home this up coming weekend.

I wish I had happier news to share, but that's just our life right now. I think I'm going to attempt to make a cake recipe my friend Sam sent me, so stay tuned for that... adventure.

And again, I'm sorry for the lack of writing and sad news on this blog. I hope that Ben's trip back home fills him with love and peace and he comes back to Russia feeling a little bit more whole. It's always hard to lose someone, but I think times like these make us really feel the distance.

I hope everyone else had a good weekend and I'll be back soon.

Cheers,

Lisa

04 October 2013

Watch: Sick Daze pt 3

So... I got the flu again. Really, I feel like I should make this a full time job or something. Or at least start my own television show.

I'm so bummed though, truthfully. It's only the second week of school and those tiny Russian babies have just bombarded me with their school germs. Oh well. Ben went out to Le Pain Quotidien to grab me some baked goods for lunch, so I suppose that will ease my misery. I'm also trying to be extra good this time around because our company is having their annual boat party and I do not want to miss it. The boat goes down the Moscow River and I really want one last chance to see all my summer colleagues before winter sets in (because it is. Fast).

Anyway, I put together a little playlist of films for you because sick days are for lying in bed and watching movies. So here's what's been playing in our tiny flat:



Ben and I are not even done with this film yet (it's about three hours long I believe and we sadly have not had three hours of free time in awhile), but it's great. So I'm recommending it to you! It's called Mr. Nobody and it's kind of science-fictiony, sort of whimsical, but very cool. It stars Jared Leto as a man who is recalling his past from a futuristic society and all the versions of his life he's dreamed up. There's a little bit of quantum physics at play within the script, though I'm not sure what the outcome will be. I recommend it to lovers of The Fountain or movies of that sort. It's quite mind-bending and cool. 



Okay, Ben and I watched this film a couple weeks ago and that night I had a totally weird nightmare/freak dream about it. It's not that this film is necessarily disturbing or scary, it's just chilling and the ending (as well as a few other scenes) really leave your imagination in charge... which is unnerving. It's written by this chick Brit Marling who I actually like a lot--she also wrote that movie I recommend awhile ago called Another Earth. She strikes me as a very young writer who hasn't yet hit her stride, but is getting close. If you like cult movies and twist endings, I recommend this flick.


And I know that this film, World War Z, has been out for some time (how did I miss that? Oh yeah, livin' in Russia), but if Ben and I do have to miss the boat party because my white blood cells (it's the white ones right?) are takin' their sweet time, than this is what we're going to watching. I've been listening to the audiobook that this film is based off, World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War and it is so good! I walk for about two hours every day and I was getting really tired of just listening to music, so I asked my friends for some book recommendations to listen to as I walked. I just wanted something entertaining, and I'm really glad I went with this book first! I've never really listened to books on tape before, but I'm definitely hooked. I heard the movie is nothing like it, which I can see from the trailer, but zombie movies are always cool. 

So there you have it. Some movies for your (hopefully) healthy weekend. It's already begun hailing pretty frequently here in Moscow and my fall jackets didn't even make it outdoors for a week before I was back in my full winter gear. Oh, Russia. You and your weather. 

If you have any movie recommendations, let me know! Cheers!

01 October 2013

lately










1. Salted caramel apple hand pies with this recipe. They were auh-mazing. We added them to our list of goods that will go in our future bakery. 
2. We rearranged our apartment. Ben finally convinced me to move into the living room (I was against it because it meant sleeping on a pull out couch which just didn't appeal to me but did in fact turn out to be ridiculously comfortable). I'm so much happier in here. It really feels like our space. I'm looking forward to the next nine months in here. 
3. Huge IKEA haul. New duvet, shower curtain, cocktail glasses, dinner plates, CANDLES. Ben picked out the shower curtain: a sad buffalo in the rain. 
4. The end of Breaking Bad. Such a satisfying finale (though Ben doesn't think so which makes me think he might be a sociopath). 
5. Talking.
6. Soviet fall. 

Not Pictured
1. So Ben and I decided something: we're going back to America for the summer!!! I'm so happy. So excited to be back with our friends and family, in our country, in our childhood homes. Our rough plan right now is stay with my parents, travel down to Mexico for a summer holiday, and then spend some time on the east coast. We have quite a few people we want to see along the way, so stops will need to be made. But I'm so happy. After the summer, well... we're thinking South America. Nothing is set in stone and we'll keep the whole world open, but if we can find the right job for us in South America, we're taking it. It's good to have this much figured out. Baby steps.
2. School has started for us. My schedule is much more hectic than it was last year. My classes are also significantly larger which has been a bit challenging. But it's been great seeing my old students and I even thought to myself earlier today how much I really love being a teacher.
3. Ben and I have a date to watch this film later tonight. We're taking a bit of a break from dramatic TV shows until we recover from Breaking Bad. But when we are over the hurricane that was that show, we're back in with the pulse pumping Homeland.
4. Ben and I had another dinner party the other night with our friends who just came back from a summer in Armenia, their homeland. They're the sweetest people in the world (they took us to that castle when we first arrived in Moscow) and Ben and I had so much fun cooking for them. They were especially excited about our "American Breakfast" in the morning (pancakes and  scrambled eggs). I'm so grateful for all the people we've met here in Russia and the lifelong friendships we've made. And for an apartment with a spare bedroom.
5. And on that note, here is a song our sweet friends showed us. I hope it lifts up your day. : )


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