Was I really just on vacation a few days ago? My wonderful two-week extravaganza already sadly seems to be a thing of the past as regular work life starts taking over again. I hate it, but I’m trying to hold on to those dear memories of vacation for as long as possible. It’s these memories that will get me through this tough work week. Anyway, I have to post-pone my vacation recaps until next week because the 900 photos I took don’t fit on my computer. This weekend I’ll be installing a larger hard drive that will have the capacity to easily hold these beautiful photos.

(sneak peak)

For now I’ll skip the grumbling and complaining about being back at work and hop forward to the thoughts that are getting me through each day. The main motivator? A three-day weekend thanks to Labor Day! I am ecstatic about it.

Here are some things that I plan on accomplishing this weekend:

*  Clean out my closet  this task has been on my to-do list for ages and for some reason I thought about it quite often while in Russia…it needs to be done
*  Make Trawffles  oh how I missed my lovely little chocolates with scrumptious fillings!
*  Bake  not sure what is on the menu but I suspect cookies…
*  Run run run  an 8k race is looming in the near future (September 16th) and I need to get my miles back up
*  Spend time with my sis  it was her birthday on the 25th and we weren’t able to celebrate because she was in Italy while my parents and I were flying back from Russia. A celebration/gift exchange in Evanston will be happening ASAP!
*  Get a haircut  my hair is crying from the split ends that are slowly crawling up each hair strand
*  Manicure  I spent much of my 9.5 hour flight back peeling off my no-chip mani, so it’s time for another one before my beautiful long nails get chewed off
*  Have lunch/dinner with an old friend  he’s finally back in town and I’m dying to see him…he’s an old childhood friend and we go waaaay back
*  Write vacation recap posts  these will take a while so I suspect a few dedicated hours will be needed. Installing the new hard-drive will be part of this task as well

And that’s what I have lined up for the three-day weekend. I kind of suck at accomplishing things on my to-do lists, but the promise of a third day in the weekend leaves me hopeful and determined. T-minus 32 hours until I head home!

In other news, the past two days have been uneventful as usual. Jetlag has not been too much of an issue, and for some lucky reason it’s become A LOT easier to wake up in the mornings. I just hope that lasts!

The transition back to work life has been rougher than expected. I honestly thought that the two-week break would cause me to return refreshed and in a happier mental state. But of course, a wave of sadness swept over the moment I stepped back into the building. The sadness only worsened when vacation memories floated to mind – I miss my time with the family so much! Ok enough before I start crying again.

(I brought this cute tissue pack back from Russia, how appropriate right? Just looking at it makes me want to cry but at least I have the tissues to catch my tears! What a sick cycle.)

In happier news, I brought Russian candy and a pryanik for my co-workers and they loved both!

The pryanik is only made in Tulsa, a small town 2 hours outside of Moscow and coincidentally where my aunt/uncle/cousin live.

I ate an exorbitant amount of sugar/desserts/sweets while in Russia and my body is begging for a temporary break from it. So far, the sugar addiction I thought I developed hasn’t yet prevailed. Instead, my entire body has been loving wholesome foods again!



(topped with organic raspberries and almond butter… YES)

Massive salads:

(Chickpea Veggie Sandwich from Potbelly’s)

A guilty-pleasure TV show has made the transition to the real world easier as well:

I die for this show but was secretly slightly disappointed with yesterday’s finale. Also, can I please have Spencer’s entire wardrobe?

My final dreamy thought is this: why can’t life just be one big vacation? Ok so maybe “vacation” is too extreme, but I do believe that if you do what you love, it will not feel like work.

A thought-provoking question for you: can fulfilling work actually not feel like work?

Any Pretty Little Liars fans out there? What did you think of the summer finale? Were you surprised?

♥ Irina

I’m gonna go ahead and get my mandatory complaining in about the crazy heatwave we’ve been having here. People are serious – it’s intense! Anyway, it looks like triple-digit temps won’t be seen again for a bit. At least I’m hoping because tomorrow is my long run day.

My Friday night began exactly as I wanted it to – I had a date with the Pretty Little Liars.

Is anyone else secretly obsessed with this show? I have no idea why I love it but it keeps me coming back for more! For those who watch – which girl’s fashion do you like most? I would have to choose Spencer’s wardrobe. It’s classy and sexy and I would easily trade all my clothes for hers.

I whipped up some pasta with veggies for dinner using spaghetti that my sister rejected and handed off to me.

Luckily, I was a fan.

 Anyway, I crashed grandma-style at 11pm and awoke naturally this morning at 8am.

Onesie buckwheat pancake made an appearance yet again!

The day rushed by with a trip to the farmer’s market, Trader Joe’s, and Whole Foods in preparation for tonight’s impromptu barbecue. I also stopped by Sports Authority to use a $10 coupon I received in my Shamrock Shuffle swag bag…

…and bought an amazing Under Armour sports bra! And some body glide.

I’ve been on the hunt for a great sports bra and my choice ultimately came down between the Armour Bra and the Lululemon Ta Ta Tamer. While I still want the Ta Ta Tamer, my size is nowhere to be found (not even online) so I may just keep the Armour Bra. We’ll see!

It’s pricey and certainly an investment, but I 100% believe a great sports bra is worth it.

Alright, it’s time to do some grilling. Have a great weekend!

Are you a fan of Pretty Little Liars? What shows are your guilty pleasures?

How much are you willing to invest in a great sports bra?

♥ Irina