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Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a safe and happy New Years Eve.Β  When I returned home from work yesterday, Stas surprised me with a gorgeous bouquet of orchids. We’ve had quite the exciting year together – getting married, honeymooning in New Zealand. It’s exciting to think about what 2010 has in store for us πŸ™‚

My New Years orchids from Stas

We celebrated our evening with friends – eating, drinking, laughing, and reflecting a bit on where we were at the turn of the last decade (I was only a junior in high school!).

The table was well-stocked with Russian zakuski (Russian snacks):

the full table

There was cow tongue with horseradish:

cow tongue

two types of mushrooms:

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Three variations of Olivier (my version, Oleg’s version, and a vegetarian version)… Recipe to come:

Olivier

And of course, there was champagne at midnight:

Happy New Year!

I hope you all had a safe and happy New Years Eve πŸ™‚

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Stas and I had our engagement shoot in June. It was shot by the very talented Jeff Newcum, who also did our wedding photography.

We chose to do the shoot in Boston for several reasons: (1) Stas works there, so it was convenient, and (2) since our wedding was going to have more of a romantic, garden feel, we wanted our engagement shoots to be different – urban and colorful.

We started at the “gateway” to Chinatown:

Then we found a red wall nearby:

… and a small park:

Next, we headed towards the park and stopped to pose along the way:

And we finally arrived at the park…

I never get tired of looking at these pictures – I love them so much!

Some couples may choose to skip on a professional engagement shoot, because it’s an extra cost – and weddings are NOT cheap! But I highly recommend it. The day of the wedding, you’re going to have so much going on that you’re not going to have time to step away from and take a lot of shots like this. AND you’ll be able to use the shots in Save-the-Dates, Thank You Cards, Invitations, reception decor, etc.!!!

Wedding pictures coming soon πŸ™‚

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Shortly after my zebra nails started chipping, I did this:

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leopard nail design using Konad

Again, I used my Konad nail stamping kit, purchased here.

I’m happy with how they came out – and even though I can never get enough leopard print, I think I like the zebra more!

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another view of my leopard nails

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On Saturday, July 11, my mom and bridesmaids threw me a bridal shower. I woke up at 5am that day, filled with excitement and anticipation. I knew it would be a great day, but everything blew me away – it was above and beyond anything I could’ve imagined!

My Maid of Honor, Amy (best friends since 6th grade!) and her roomate, Elspeth, picked me up at 9:45am. Before arriving at the shower, Elspeth dropped us off at The Spa at Capron Falls for pedicures. It felt soooooo good to be pampered, and it was fun to spend some alone time with Amy.

Elspeth picked us up around 12:45 and it was off to the shower at my parents’ house!

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the bride-to-be (me)

(I was excited about my dress – it was 50% off at Karen Millen – a new favorite store. I found it surprisingly difficult to find an all-white dress)

The yard looked great – there was a band playing Beatles songs and an hors d’oeuvre table by the pool.

the band

the band

hors d'oeuvre table (later the dessert table)

hors d'oeuvre table (later the dessert table)

In another area, there was a gift table large white tent with tables set up. The tables had beautiful centerpieces designed and made by my sister, Erica:

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the centerpieces

The shower was catered by Peppercorns and they did an amazing job. We had a delicious hors d’oeuvre table with fresh fruits, veggies, pita chips, all sorts of dips, and lots and lots of CHEESE! (I love cheese!!!)

Lunch was a chicken salad, fresh breadsticks, and shrimp over seaweed salad (another one of my favorites).

Dessert was a “Venetian dessert table”, with cheesecake, macaroons, mini-tarts, etc. I had my very first macaron (not to be confused with ‘macaroons’) and it was sooooo good.

The most uncomfortable part of the day was opening presents. I love getting presents (who doesn’t?!), but I don’t like being stared at as I open them – and I had quite a large audience.

Here’s my Maid of Honor, very focused on my ribbon bouquet (she brought it home to work on it – I can’t wait to see what she comes up with!)

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me and my Maid of Honor

(For anyone unfamiliar with this, it is a tradition to save all of the ribbons and bows from the wedding shower and create a bouquet to use at the wedding rehearsal.)

We recieved so many great gifts – our entire set of dishes, glasses, cookware, bakeware, knives, kitchen gadgets. I had quite the time on Sunday re-arranging our kitchen to fit everything. One of the best parts is that we now have enough plates to start using the dishwasher! And we can have dinner parties without mis-matched plates!

The favors were handmade soaps – also designed by my sister:

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the favors

Have you noticed the bird theme? My future new last name means ‘bullfinch’ in Russian, so it’s one of the wedding themes.

My final surprise of the day was one of the best… look who showed up to bring me home :

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Stas!

Yes, that’s the handsome groom-to-be πŸ™‚ He cut his day of skydiving short just to come pick me up and drive me back to our house!

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cheers to a perfect day!

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And now, a random post:

Lately, I love doing my nails… I do them at least twice a week.

I also love watching makeup/beauty tutorials on YouTube.

… and that is where I learned about the awesomeness that is Konad Stamping Nail Art. I immediately bought some and now I’m hooked!

Here is my latest design:

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my nails

After I did mine, Stas wanted in on the zebra action…

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Stas' thumb

(only his thumb is painted)

I realize that some people may find this to be incredibly tacky, but I don’t care – I love it and I think it’s so much fun!

I bought my Konad products here. (Use coupon code ‘sayanythingbrooke’ to get 25% off)

I first learned about Konad on this YouTube channel. (Check out this video to see some of the different designs).

(see my leopard nails here!)

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Stas hates to cook. And he’s a lucky man because he very rarely has to πŸ™‚

Yesterday, I went to the salon to have my hair colored. It was a 1pm appointment that went until 5pm (yes, 4 hours) – so Stas was on his own for lunch. Much to his dismay, there weren’t any hot dogs in the freezer to boil or leftovers to re-heat!

So what did Chef Stas whip up? Take a look…

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brains? or an omelette?

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the finished (non-folded) omelette

This is how Stas describes his creation:

Chef Stas’ Omelette

5 eggs
some whole milk
butter (“a lot of it”)
salt

1. Crack 5 eggs into a bowl, add milk, and “go crazy” with a hand mixer.
2. Melt butter in a pan over medium heat. Pour egg mixture in. Cover and cook “until it’s done”.
3. Sprinkle with salt and serve.

serves 1

I wonder what he would’ve cooked if we had no eggs in the fridge πŸ™‚

Stas lived on his own for about 7 years before I moved in… this meant that he cooked for himself for 7 whole years. Who knew?! I’d never guess it judging by the lost puppy-dog look on his face when I ask him to prepare his lunch or dinner…

But I wouldn’t have it any other way – I love cooking for Stas. I make him breakfast whenever I can, I pack his lunch every day, and I have dinner waiting for him every night. I feel that a woman should take care of her man like that – it’s how I was raised and it’s how our kids will be raised.

And as much as I take care of him, I get taken care of in returnΒ  (and then some!) I’m a lucky girl!

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Our Bunny is Too Cute…

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How can you resist this little guy?!

This is Tykovka, our bunny. If you’ve read the “About Me” page of this blog, then you’ve already met him. He likes to be really loud in the middle of the night – jumping back and forth in his cage, treating his hay ball like a punching bag, and sometimes flipping his plastic carrier over. It’s extremely annoying, but then something happens in the morning – he gets really sleepy and flops onto his side, rolling over like a cat or a dog, and he’s just WAY TOO CUTE – there’s no way anyone could hold a grudge against him πŸ™‚

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(Tykovka wants you to excuse the fur-ball in his carrier… he hasn’t done his spring cleaning yet.)

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