Monday, March 2, 2015

Thankful

I want to thank every one who commented on my previous post about my Nana and reached out to me. I was in New York for two weeks and most of my time there was spent in the nursing home. It was a very hard trip both emotionally and physically. It was very hard to see my Nana so uncomfortable and in pain.  My Nana is still on hospice care for now and I am grateful at least to have had a chance to see her one last time. (It sounds depressing, I know, but I am sure that the next time I go back home it will not be for a happy reason.)

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Saying Goodbye

I apologize in advance for how rambling and not making sense this post may be. I am still trying to make sense of it all.


I am an only child and an only grandchild. Since 2002, I have had only one grandparent, my Nana. My mom's mother. She is one of the most incredible women I have ever known and has always been my biggest supporter and friend. I get more of myself from her than I do from my mother. If you look at pictures of my Nana from when she was my age, we are practically identical. My Nana has had many health problems in her life. Diabetes, thyroid disease, heart surgeries, bad knees- you name it, she's got it. My Nana unfortunately also has Alzheimer's and Dementia. Over the last decade, she has been on a steady decline and it has been incredibly heartbreaking to watch. First she would forget random things, then people, etc. She always knew who my mother and I were. Several years ago, she got up in the middle of the night to make herself a cup of tea, turned the stove on, forgot what she was doing and didn't light it, and just went to bed with the gas on. Thank G-d one of her neighbors smelled it and called security who were able to unlock her door and check on her and turn the stove off! At that moment, our lives changed in a big way. We could no longer say "oh grandma's just forgetful." Slowly things began to get worse. She could no longer communicate with people (she could not tell Russian and English apart and would get frustrated and start screaming when people did not understand what she was trying to tell them), then she started mumbling all together. Then she slowly started forgetting me. This was the most heartbreaking thing. When Terry and I got married, we knew we had to get married in Manhattan so that it would be a short cab ride from her apartment. No matter what, I needed my Nana there with me on my big day. After our ceremony, I went over to talk to her where she was sitting with her sister and aide and some family friends. As I'm standing there in my wedding dress, she tells me that it's time for me to grow up and settle down and get married. I wanted to both laugh and cry at the same time.

She has gone through a steady stream of home health aides and eventually required someone to be with her 24/7. After she fell and was hospitalized, she was admitted to a nursing home. Within the last year or so, the decline has only gotten worse. She stopped recognizing my mother. She could not get any visitors because any "new face" made her hysterical and she would scream and it would upset her and mess up her whole routine. She could no longer talk or move or feed herself. The last few times I went to New York to visit my family, I didn't even get to see her. The last time I saw her, my visit upset her so much and made her uncomfortable because she did not understand why this stranger woman was in her room or showing her pictures. I understand it's not her, it's the disease, but yea, it hurts. A whole lot.

My Nana used to be fluent in 3 languages. She is the woman who took me to McDonald's the first day it opened in the U.S.S.R.. The one who would pick me up at the school bus stop in elementary school and who would go to parents' days and school fairs when my parents couldn't make it. The one who took me on a trip to Vermont and to the Ben & Jerry's factory. The woman who I spent all my summers with back in Russia and who would take me to the bazaars in Uzbekistan for watermelon daily. The woman who saved up for years of her life just so she could buy me my wedding dress.

Even though she is still alive, for the past 1-2 years, my Nana has pretty much been in a vegetative state. Earlier this week, she came down with a bad infection and was rushed to the ER. She has been on strong IV antibiotics and fluids and constant care, but it is not enough. She is being transferred to hospice care tomorrow and I have an early morning flight to New York so I can say goodbye to her. The doctors are giving her a few days to two weeks at most. I can't think about this without starting to well up. The doctors think that she has meningitis which is doubly difficult for me to deal with. One of my college roommates passed away from meningitis, so I feel like I am being forced to relive the worst week of my life.

My mother has started making funeral arrangements, and everything is pretty much set (down to what outfit I will be wearing- thanks mom) other than the date. I hate having to do this. It feels so awful and wrong. The way people have been talking about her, it seems like she is already dead and she is still here. I want more time with my Nana but I know that even if she survives this, I will never get my Nana back. I want her to not be in pain anymore and to get to see my grandpa again.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Happiness is a new pair of bunny slippers

Fuzzy bunny slippers are one of my guilty pleasures in life. I have owned several pairs in my lifetime and gave them to my bridesmaids as part of their gifts. (I even wore a pair myself at my wedding during the reception. Few things in life are more comfortable than bunny slippers.)
When the company that sold my beloved Muffy and Fluffy (yes, I name things- I'm a chronic namer) went out of business, I was saddened because mine were starting to look a little bit ragged. So when a representative from BunnySlippers.com contacted me asking if I would do a review of a pair of their bunny slippers, I was so excited. New apartment means new slippers.

They arrived and they looked just as cute as my previous pairs.
 They are super soft and it kind of feels like I'm walking on one of those memory foam mats. (I love those things so much and if it was socially acceptable and physically possible to do so, I totally would carpet my entire house in them.) They have the cutest little ears that have wires in them which makes them slightly bendy. No real function here other than just to look so.darn.cute.
Please tell me you see those adorable little cottontails.
For size reference, I am a size 6 and the size small fit me great.

Bunnyslippers.com has plenty of other slippers to choose from if bunny slippers aren't your thing. I think that these Flamingo slippers are super fun (Madame- these seem right up your alley!) and so are the lobster slippers. 

For fans of Monty Python, they even have Killer Rabbit slippers!

Thank you to BunnySlippers.com for the adorable new bunny slippers and be sure to check them out for gifts for yourself or someone else.


FTC Disclaimer: I received the bunny slippers for review and received no other financial compensation. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Cheers to New Beginnings

T and I moved last week to a place of our very own. This was insanely exciting and stressful at the same time. It was the first place that we were able to pick out together and we had been looking for an apartment for a while. Everything just seemed to be a little bit off. We were lucky when we found the complex we are living in now because everything just seemed to work out. (Also, one of the residents had a huge inflatable Santa Snoopy on the balcony that seemed to welcome us when we came in. That didn't hurt at all!)
I know it's not much at the moment, but here is our door! The door hanger has little LED lights in it that just don't photograph well at all. It was a combination thank you and goodbye gift from a sweet colleague in Germany that I miss a lot and I am so glad I was finally able to display it!

We got a slight discount on our rent for taking a third floor apartment, which seemed like a really great idea until it was time to move! At least it's a built in workout/fitbit booster. Speaking of which, the complex has a gym which is pretty close to the building we're in, so I have actually started going to the gym during the day. I'm just as shocked as you are by this. Let's see how long this lasts.

Our apartment itself is brand new and really nice but right now, it just feels so empty. We haven't received our items from our house in Germany yet, so we don't really have the things that make a house a home yet. Our household goods come tomorrow (G-d willing they will all be in one piece!) and I may hug my couch out of happiness. When we lived in Germany, most of our furniture either belonged to our landlord or was old hand me downs from Terry's bachelor days that was in such bad shape that it wouldn't even survive the move, so we got rid of most of it before we moved. The only things we have coming are our couch, wine table, hall table, and a couple of bookshelves. Currently, we are using a card table and folding chairs until we can get something permanent. (You know you're jealous!) I am excited to get new furniture and decorate the place, but I know that it will take a while.

I will leave you with pictures of my two favorite parts of the apartment right now- our built in desk that matches the kitchen and the kitchen itself. Seriously, look at all that space! Do y'all remember what my tiny kitchen looked like in Germany? I cannot wait to get my stand mixer and put it out on the counter now that I actually have enough space to keep my mixer in the kitchen itself.
I am just in love with this chair that I got at Target!
 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

New York, New York, it's a wonderful town

The Bronx is up
And the Battery's down
Yes I am one of those sappy girls who is still obsessed with her wedding and looking at pictures 3 years later. And yet we still don't actually have a wedding album. I should probably get on that. But we got married in Battery Park City so this picture totally works.
 
So if you follow me on instagram or twitter, by now you've probably seen that I am heading back home to New York on Friday! I have not been back home since late June-early July and was feeling incredibly homesick. My brother-in-law had a Southwest credit that was expiring so he gifted it to me. To say I am excited is an understatement. I cannot wait. Even if my flights are ridiculously early in the morning and even if it is insanely cold in New York. At least I'll be home and will get to see my family and friends.

I am an only child so my mother has been going slightly crazy herself. She has taken the entire day off on Wednesday and has arranged a full day of mother-daughter bonding for us including hot stone massages and facials, shopping, dinner at an Italian restaurant I've been wanting to go to, and seeing Les Mis on Broadway. If no one hears from me after Wednesday night, just assume that my mother has me locked up somewhere and is not letting me leave. But I'm sure I will be a very well-fed hostage.

Other things I am looking forward to next week:
*Seeing my best friend for her 30th birthday (the timing of the trip could seriously not have been any better!)
*chestnut macarons at Laduree (My absolute favorite flavor and they are only available from late fall to winter. I already called to confirm that both locations in the city have them.)

*Shake Shack burgers (this is really kind of an obvious one here)
*brunch with a sorority sister I have not seen in forever at our usual spot
*enjoying the thrill that is public transportation (seriously I miss the freedom that comes with having an unlimited ride Metrocard in my wallet)
*shopping
*catching up with friends (I have plans for most every night that I am in New York!)

See you soon!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Always Starting Over*

I know, I know. My last post said that I was back to blogging, but as usual, life got in the way. Terry spent a month in New York City interviewing for a position. After multiple interviews, he was given the position. Only to find out that two days later that the person who made him the offer was not able to make the offer that she did, and the position got rescinded. To say we were crushed is an understatement. We both love New York and were really looking forward to making a life for ourselves there. Quite frankly, I never imagined myself living anywhere other than New York, so it was a bitter pill to swallow. While Terry was gone, I was experiencing some horrific back pain that is still going on. I did several weeks of physical therapy and had multiple injections done without much success, and am very reliant on pain medication for me to be functional. This is the other reason I have not blogged in months. I was feeling very down and negative for a long time and did not want all that negativity out there publicly.

Thankfully things have been looking up for us. Terry was offered a job at Fort Bragg here in North Carolina about a month ago and he has been really happy there. We are in the process of looking for an apartment and are hoping to move out within the next month or so. Apartment searching in North Carolina is extremely different from apartment searching in New York City. In New York, you have to decide what your maximum budget is and then either triple that, go down in size, take a roommate, or live about an hour from where you'd like. In North Carolina (at least in the areas we've been looking), it seems like you have to decide what is most important to you- a tennis court or a basketball court. Don't even bother worrying about a pool. All the apartment complexes have them. Along with fitness centers. Some of the places we've been looking at are nicer than hotels we've stayed in. One has complimentary yoga classes two times a week. Another one has a sand volleyball court. And they all have valet trash included. Which is something I had never heard of until I started searching for a place here, but it is basically I never knew I always wanted. (Another way in which North Carolina and New York are different in terms of real estate- in New York if you tell a leasing agent you would really rather not pay more than $2,000/month for a one bedroom, (s)he asks if you don't mind living out by the airport. In North Carolina if you say the same thing, the person thinks you're being sarcastic.

So there in a nutshell is our life. Hopefully I will be able to pick up this blog again. It has been with me through so much and I don't want to kill it off just yet.

*The title of this post is a song from the Broadway musical If/Then starring Idina Menzel. Terry and I saw it with my mother on July 4th and her performance of the song quite literally gave me goosebumps. If you are going to be in NY (or live there) and are looking to see a show, I highly recommend this one. Here is a shortened version of the song here at the Tony Awards:

Friday, June 13, 2014

Cruciani Meets Baublebar

When I was back home in New York in October, I stumbled upon the Cruciani pop-up shop in Columbus Circle. I was enthralled by all of the fun, colorful, macrame bracelets. I bought one of the bracelets in a gorgeous, dusty pink. It looked so good stacked with my other bracelets that I regretted not getting more in other colors. I wanted to return but did not have time before flying out to Germany.
Cruciani is an Italian company and did not have a huge U.S. presence at the time, so when Terry and I were in Rome, I knew that I wanted to make it over to their shop. Sadly, that once again was not an option since the store was far away from all of the other places that we went to on our short four day trip.

Imagine my delight when I got an email from Baublebar, another company I love, saying that they had partnered with Cruciani for an online shop! I already have quite a few pieces from Baublebar so this was a match made in heaven for me.

The Cruciani C Clover Bracelets are just $16 and come in 5 different colors (Blue, Turquoise, Pink, White, and Yellow).

The Cruciani C Mars Bracelets are probably my favorites because they look like little pearls. They are just $18 and also come in 5 colors, the green and pink ones being my favorite.


The two tone Cruciani C Youstar Bracelet is also gorgeous with a fun color accent ($18, two color options).
These would be so fun to stack together for a multicolored look or with other bracelets. They're great to throw in a camp care package or as part of a gift for a friend.

If you are not a member of Baublebar, join through my link and receive $15 off your first purchase (applies to regular-priced items only, no discounted items). And be sure to subscribe to their newsletter since they randomly mark down certain items as Buried Baubles on Mondays and Fridays.

Do you like Cruciani bracelets? Which ones are your favorites?