Stephanie’s summer wedding, Washington, DC 2014

23 Oct

It was very early in the morning when we met with Stephanie to get her ready for such an important day, but looking at these happy faces you would never guess what time the bride had to wake up to be all glammed up! Loving the photos that Stephanie shared, photographed by Exclamation Imagery Hair and makeup by Alina Karaman

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Maggie & Steve’s May 31st Wedding

5 Jun

May 31, 2014. What a beautiful day it was! Not too hot, clean air and a little breeze – all you need for a perfect wedding day! We met Maggie again, and all her wonderful friends, what a great day it was! Please enjoy the photos, by A.J.Dunlap Photography Hair and makeup by Makeup and Hair by Alina G Karaman (makeup – Alina Karaman, hair – Joy Greene)

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DIY Elsa dress from Frozen – easy

2 Jun

Elsa dress complete

I had to come up with Elsa dress for my daughter’s birthday. There was none left at any stores I went to, but she gave me no chance in replacing it with some other option. So I had to browse some ideas, and took this one with some changes.

I am very lazy in hiding edges and doing very detailed work when it comes to projects like these, so I tried to simplify the process as much as possible. My designer friends, be easy on me please

It took me a while in Jo-Anne fabrics to figure out what I need; not having much knowledge about measurements I was left with some fabric leftovers. The whole dress costed about $25-30 in materials. Priceless in memories it created

Materials needed:DSC_4239

-plain white t-shirt, or with lace sleeves (ours from Target, $7), or with long sleeves (short sleeves are better for summer);

-stretchy jersey that will go over the t-shirt – 1 1/2 yards;

-lace for waist;

-ribbon for waist;

-2 buttons;scheme 1

-tulle – as much as you want. The more – the bigger the skirt. We had 3 pieces about 1 1/2 yards each

Top part process:

1. Lay out the jersey over the t-shirt and with pen draw the front – where you will be cutting it. Draw the heart shape (add 1/2 inch above the actual shape because you needfront stitched to hide the edges).

2. Cut out the front and hand stitch it to the t-shirt. I worked with one piece of fabric, the back piece is not a separate piece. Too much work to cut it all separately

3. Stitch the sides of the fabric to the sides of t-shirt

4. After the front and sides are attached, turn the t-shirt, and cut the back where you need it, leaving 1/2 inch to hide the edge.

5. After this is done, you can stitch it with machine. I don’t have one, the machine part was done by my mother in law when the whole dress was stitched by hand. Jersey needs to be stitched using ziback piecegzag

I did not cut the jersey part that was longer then t-shirt. In our case, it was kind of an under-skirt, because tulle is see-through. If your child won’t be wearing pants underneath, you need to create under-skirt. We didn’t have time for that.

Skirt part process:

1. Stitch ribbon to the lace.

2. Put on the ready top part on you child and make 3 dots – 2 on hips, one – where you want the lace to come together when you create a V part is ready

3. Stitch tulle to the lace and ribbon. The more tulle you will use, the puffier the skirt will be.

4. Stitch ready skirt to the top, following the marks you’ve made.

In our case, the tulle came in short pieces 1 1/2 yard each, but it wasn’t an issue. Skirt had openings, but wearing pants underneath was a great idea. And having party outside we needed them in any ways.

lace and ribbon placement5. Add buttons  to the center of heart shape and v-shapeskirt

The whole dress took me about 3 hrs to hand stitch, and about 1 hr for my mother in law to titch it on the machine. I’m sure for individuals with experience it is a faster task


Did I mention we made the cape too?dress ready




Jar recycling project continues – little jar for cosmetics

10 Aug

Jar recycling project continues - little jar for cosmetics

Yesterday I’ve decided to clean up my 4 most used on everyday basis purses, and in each one I had at least one lip gloss and one lipstick. Combining all together, I came up with the bunch I didn’t know where to store. Makeup artist cannot have too many…

So I took a small jar, glue, twine, and found this cute ribbon at the house.

The idea came from this blog post, and there you can find instructions.
It’s very easy, takes 10-20 min, depending on the size of the jar

I’ve got the glue from Michaels, twine – in home depot.

I made some more jars previously for flowers, and more – as a gift to my friends that just got a town house. Everyone seem to like them!



Vegan Oatmeal Pancakes

9 Aug

Vegan Oatmeal Pancakes

For the breakfast or snack time!

Here is my favorite recipe for vegan pancakes so far. Frozen waffles are now replaced with them and I’m feeling very happy about the fact that I’m cutting out processed foods as much as possible.

As usual, it is from my favorite cooking magazine Vegetarian Times, some clever women Mary Shore won $500 suggesting this recipe! I know why now.

I substituted ingredients as I usually do, so here is the upgrated version

3/4 cup coconut milk (soy milk in the original)
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp agave nectar (or maple syrup)
2 tsp grape seed oil (or canola oil)
1/2 cup steel cut oats
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt (optional)

Mix together milk, vinegar, agave nectar, oil, oats.
Let it sit for 5-10 min
Add other ingredients
Cook on the pan (spray oil on it before each pancake).
Suppose to make 8 pancakes, I come up with 7. When I prepare half of the recipe, it is 3.
They suggest dividing the mix with 1/4 of the cup. I do, but still don’t come up with 4 or 8…

196 cal per 2 pancakes, nice!

Add some honey, coconut yogurt or strawberry preserves on the top.

I love it!


Losing 24 lbs and trying to maintain it – my annoying way that you might not like…

9 Aug

Loosing 24 lbs and trying to maintain it - my annoying way that you might not like...

I’ve started my “lose weight” journey on March 18th, that’s when the Christian Orthodox lent started. Last year I’ve lost 7 lbs following it, not even paying attention on how that happened.

This year I started to feel that I need to loose some extras, not because I was fat or anything, but because I wasn’t feeling comfortable in my skin.

I exercised 2-3 times a week, and ate healthy food. You wouldn’t see me eating fast food or drinking soda. So the point was not on fitness or quality of food, but the quantity of it. Obviously.

Being on lent basically means being vegan. I did it last year and felt amazing, but fell off the wagon when I went to visit my homeland. They don’t have many food options back to Ukraine for vegans. And forget about greens! I wasn’t eating meat of course (not eating it since the end of 2011), but started to consume a lot of dairy again. Lost a little bit there still, because there was a lot of walking, but gained it back in US quickly.

So what worked for me – calories counting plus vegan lifestyle (I don’t want to call it diet, hate that word).

It is hard, and very annoying, but it pays off. You can really eat what you like, as long as you stay within your calories budget. But if you’re on 1500 a day, like I was during the “loosing phase”, you won’t have many options if you eat dairy, for example. One piece of cheese is 100+. And it’s so small! I better eat cup of cherries or an apple.

So the point it to find food that is big in volume, but is low on calories. And what can it be? Vegetables of course.

I have this magazine Vegetarian Times, and when I see something that has 250 calories per serving, and the serving is 1-1 1/2 cups, it means I’m already cooking it!

While doing that, I keep exercising, and I can do so much more now. I can lift more weights, I can do more intense cardio. And guess what? The day when I exercise I can eat more! So I try to exercise at least 3 days a week, the goal is 4. Because really, I’m pretty much always hungry and always excited when I know I can have that extra meal.

So I’ve lost 24 lbs (plus minus, but I’m below my goal weight, and don’t want to loose any more), and on 1700 a day now. When I exercise, it’s about 2000-2100 a day. That’s what my BMR is.

I went from size 29-28 jeans to 26-27. From size 8 dress to 6. From size M to S. I have troubles finding clothes that fit from my closet and still figuring out what to wear on many cases. I’ve got new ones but I have this fear that I’ll buy it all and next summer won’t be able to fit in them

I hope I can maintain it. If I gain it back, don’t throw stones in me please:) Keeping my old closet just in case;)


How to Meet Russian and Ukrainian Women

8 Aug

How to Meet Russian and Ukrainian Women

I am an Ukrainian women and I find this post hilarious!
Click on the photo to read this.

The tips that made me smile and I agree with:

“…they will be less likely to have an open face and to smile and say “How are you?” to any stranger who passes by”

“If you take her out to eat, you should know what to order” – not the case now, but it used to be

“Learn not to take things literally. Russians love saying the opposite of what they mean (irony)”

“If you’re in America, many Ukrainian immigrants from the capital city of Kiev will actually consider themselves Russian because the country was still considered to be a part of the USSR when they lived there and because they grew up speaking the Russian language. Before 1991, Russian was the language spoken in schools, used in newspapers, and in every day life in Kiev, but now, Ukrainian is used in schools, advertisements, and some television shows, though many city people still speak Russian at home.”

“Learn to love black bread”

“Before you leave for a journey, you must sit down for a minute to reflect on the trip ahead.”

“Don’t ever wish her a happy birthday before her actually birthday because—believe it or not—it’s bad luck.”