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Way Back When…

Happy Earth Day! {2014}

Happy Earth Day! I hope everyone is enjoying the sweet sounds/sights/smells of nature regardless of the weather.

Earth Day

Today is the perfect time to take a few extra minutes out of your day to sit back and reflect on the impact your daily actions and habits are making on the planet. What do you do to help keep Earth healthy and beautiful?

I realize that my habits aren’t exactly life-changing, nor do they always benefit the planet. On the positive side I almost always recycle, buy local/sustainable and organic foods, rarely drive, and don’t litter. On the other hand, I can’t help but label myself as ignorant. It’s so easy to take our surroundings for granted, most of us do it daily. I can’t remember the last time I met someone who was clearly stressed about the shortage of clean water or depletion of natural resources. I was passionate about these shattering problems once upon a time, but life and ignorance eventually intervened.

The reality is that we can’t all fight against Earth’s destruction even if we wanted. I guess the best we can do is live our lives with awareness of our actions and the resulting consequences. I personally think that every small effort counts!

Take care of Earth, it’s the only planet we’ve got! (for now…)

♥ Irina

Frames From The Weekend 4/18/2014 – 4/20/2014

It’s MARATHON MONDAY!!! Don’t pretend like you’re not as excited as I am for the Boston Marathon. My secret plan is to live stream the race so I can at least listen to the commentary on elite runners. Unfortunately, the conference call I’m stuck on all morning is going to make this plan quite challenging…

FFTW Spring

On another note, did everyone enjoy this weekend? I couldn’t help but feel a bit homesick yesterday as my mom told me about the celebrations back home. Luckily, I had not one but two visitors passing through town from Chicago. It all balances out in the end, right?

Friday

{Friday: Let’s just call this my Russian night. It included a tasty dinner of borsht and infused shots at Mari Vanna to celebrate a friend’s birthday, followed by a night out in Meatpacking. One of my old college friends was also in town for the weekend so my sidekick and I met up with him and pulled him along for our debauchery.}

Saturday

{Saturday: I bummed around my apartment all morning and then met up with my visitor friend for a quick lunch before his flight home. The weather was beautiful and I absolutely could not let the day pass by without taking advantage. I decided to have a mini touristy day for a few hours and ended up walking the High Line, stopping in for froyo at Yogurtland (best frozen yogurt I’ve had so far), buying way too much candy from FAO Schwarz (gummies, chocolate-covered raisins, whoppers, twizzlers, lemonheads, more chocolate), and eating the entire candy bag while enjoying the sights and sounds of Central Park. It was such an incredible day! I ended my evening in bed with popcorn and a movie, ‘Spirit of the Marathon‘, on Netflix. Two things – I realized I no longer have a taste for candy (so much sadness about this), and I’m dying to run a major marathon now after watching ‘Spirit of the Marathon’.}

Sunday

{Sunday: It was another calm and gorgeous day! I enjoyed a lazy breakfast at home and then went out for a 5 mile run around Central Park. I know I say this every single weekend but oh my gosh I am so in love with Central Park! The cherry blossoms were in full bloom and the park was bustling with people. Obsessed. I’ve been taking it easy with my running and making an effort to try new techniques, the main ones being running with a metronome and focusing on my posture/body mechanics. Recovery meals = sardine sandwich (don’t rule it out before trying!) and an epic salad with a perfect soft-boiled egg. I rounded out my evening at Starbucks for some tea with another friend who happened to be in town.}

Who else is excited for the Boston Marathon?

Do you still enjoy candy?

Have you seen ‘Spirit of the Marathon’? What are some other great running movies worth watching?

How did you celebrate Easter? If not applicable, what was the highlight of your weekend?

♥ Irina

Weekly Sandwich Showcase

As the weather warms up and summer approaches (eventually…), most of us naturally start leaning towards lighter meals. Some of us are still hoping to shed those extra winter layers (and pounds), and good breakfast choices can make all the difference between success and struggle.

Weekly Sandwich Showcase - Bfast Turkey & Egg

I personally love the combination of eggs, deli meat, and avocado…always avocado. This sandwich is the ideal mix of protein, carbs, and fats to keep me fueled all day. I find that filling up on the first meal of the day naturally encourages my body to crave lighter foods as the day progresses and comes to a close.

Sandwich Anatomy- Bfast Turkey & Egg

Breakfast sandwiches…try one tomorrow and thank me later.

♥ Irina

How To Meet People in a New City

This post has been a long time in the making. If you’ve been following along long enough you’re probably aware of my big move from Chicago to NYC last June. It was a true leap of faith in all senses, especially because I knew all of three people in the city and wasn’t close to any of them. I’ve never been the type of person whose days revolve around a social calendar, but after a few months of conquering the city solo I started to feel lonely without close friendships.

I felt lost and misguided for the first six months after my move, so when 2014 rolled around I knew I wanted to focus on building my life here in New York. Last month, March 1st to be exact, I decided to take matters into my own hands and make strides towards what I truly wanted needed. And guess what…it worked! Frankly, I’m shocked at how quickly my efforts paid off but I’m grateful for the wonderful friends I’ve made these past two months.

Here are the tips I’ve compiled that significantly helped me meet people in this new-to-me city. Feel free to add on and share your own secrets!

How to Meet People

1.) Give yourself time to adjust, but go at your own paceEveryone has different levels of comfort, so allow yourself proper time to first feel comfortable in the new city. Being uncomfortable with your surroundings definitely reflects in all your actions. You will be closed off and too reserved, and people you meet will pick up on this. Upon first moving, take time to get to know your new city. Go exploring, figure out areas that you feel happiest in, and don’t fear doing all this alone! There is no pressure or set timeframe to make friends, so take all the days/weeks/months you need but don’t fall fully back into a comfort zone. Patience is critical!

2.) Join local groups and communitiesCommon interests are the best foundation for any relationship. Use the internet to find safe events/groups, and don’t be afraid to attend solo! I can tell you from personal experience that you absolutely will not be the only one attending without a sidekick. The true saving grace for me was joining Meetup.com and attending events. It’s very popular, safe, easy to navigate, and is full of options (cooking classes, book clubs, running groups, etc). It was through a female-only meet-up event that I met two of my closest friends here. Be fearless, but more importantly be smart when choosing and attending events. Safety first, always.

3.) Say “yes” moreThis is such a simple yet extremely powerful concept. Take advantage of all meet-ups and invites that come your way, as long as your gut instinct isn’t raising any red flags (remember, safety first!). It sounds counterintuitive but this isn’t the time to be overly picky, especially when it comes time to making new friends. Make it a serious habit to always get someone’s contact information (with appropriate details to remember who they are) and stay in touch! Time will tell who you do and don’t mesh well with, so give everyone a chance at first. In the end just be smart when meeting up with people you recently met, and always trust your intuition.

4.) Leave your comfort zoneIt can be mentally challenging for many to spend time with new people at events, but it’s very important to get accustomed to this feeling. You obviously won’t meet anyone by hiding out at home. During the first few months of life in the new location your mantra should be to put on a brave face and just do it (whatever “it” may be). Go out alone, attend events solo (seriously), and seek out social opportunities…you’ll grow braver and gain confidence. It will change and mature you for the better.

5.) Don’t push yourself too hard, and don’t be too tough on yourselfAfter a life-changing event like a relocation to a new city, the key is to not overwhelm yourself with added pressures. Work on your social goals at a comfortable pace with just enough uncomfortableness mixed in to avoid ruts. Nothing is worse than burning yourself out too quickly and then having to waste precious time hiding out to recover (especially if you’re an introvert). More importantly, you don’t want to end up hating your new hometown due to anxiety. Take your time and be gentle on yourself (see #1). And finally, don’t you dare let yourself feel guilty about staying in to recuperate when needed!

6.) Focus on making friends first (and dating later)Being far away from family and friends, nothing is more important than establishing a solid support network. Friends can ease a broken heart, improve a crappy day, and cure loneliness. By all means start dating all you want but make a heavier effort to build lasting friendships. Boys (or girls) come and go, but friends are forever. I can’t imagine having to go through a dating-inflicted heartbreak without having friends nearby to comfort me.

7.) Maintain new friendships - Friendships, especially new ones, are about mutual efforts from all parties involved. One-sided friendships always sizzle away quickly, so take extra strides to actually spend time with those you meet. Much like with relationships, only time will tell whether a friendship is worth developing and pursuing. Agree to lunch dates and shopping adventures, respond to texts and phone calls, and initiate invitations!

8.) Be 100% yourselfAvoid building relationships based on a fake version of who you truly are. This doesn’t mean you should stop striving to be a better version of you. Just make sure to show strangers your true persona so both of you won’t waste time working on a friendship built on lies. Share your interests and passions with integrity and authentic bonds will follow suit. Honesty is key! People catch on to frauds quickly anyway…

I’ve always been fairly social despite my introverted nature, but moving to a new location with basically zero friendships was something I had never encountered. It took me months (8.5 to be exact) before I felt confident and comfortable enough to start focusing on my social life. To each their own!

I hope these tips help those who find themselves in a similar situation. You’ll grow in ways you never thought possible and gain confidence in the process. After all, plunging into the unknown is the best way to expose the true person you are below all those outer layers.

What are some of your tips to meet people? Share!

♥ Irina