Iceland (part 3)

About three years ago in my dreams and meditations I stared to have visions of black and white images appearing on a screen, as though I am watching myself in a movie. Sometimes they appear so fast as though someone is rewinding the tape back or forward. It feels as though I enter an alternative reality, so mystical yet so real. In one of those dreams I saw myself walking in the white beautiful gown on the black rocky beach.

In my metaphysical and spiritual studies I’ve been reading and discovering a lot about how Universe works and how reality is created. Some say that we are creators of our own reality, that we attract it with our thoughts. But I wonder how these thoughts come to our minds in the first place. Who am “I” when I dream these images? Am I the one who came up with the image and then went to create it? Or this image already existed in some non-linear time of another realm and the veil was unveiled for me to see it? It’s very hard for the human mind to understand this concept, it just doesn’t have that capacity. I don’t think human mind creates anything, though mine been so thirsty for answers. Many world known scientists and artists in history – Leonardo Da Vinci, Albert Einstein, Mendeleev, Copernicus, Van Gogh, Tesla – admitted that they’ve dreamed their discoveries, that they “came” to them when they were not thinking, when they were dreaming. I believe they plain and simple channeled them from a different realm where there’s no linear time, where everything in Creation (what we call past, present and future) happens at the same time.

So when I came to the Black Sand beach in Iceland, I knew in some deep part of my being that I’ve already been there before. The sensations were vague, but unwavering. I felt the presence of my spirit guides and I felt I was in my dream I watched before, being whisked off into another dimension. My senses were amplified though I felt absolutely no cold as the gusting freezing winds were blowing off my body. I knew that the pictures my husband was taking of me would transcend this mystical realm. I knew at that moment that something extraordinary was being created, orchestrated by the Universe, with us playing as its actors in the beautiful unreal scenery of the black rocks standing there for eons of years and the sound of wind and ocean waves crashing the shore of black lava sand mixed with snow. All I could feel at that moment was love, grace and magic of Divine living through me. And I smiled because I knew that someone was dreaming me right now.

Iceland (part 2)

Our flight to Iceland was canceled last Friday because of the storm in New York and rescheduled to the following day. As we were driving back home from JFK I was sitting in the taxi wondering why did it happen. I stopped being disappointed or angry at those type of things (i.e. traffics, missed trains, canceled appointments) some time ago. I believe in bigger picture and synchronicity of events in my life. I know that absolutely everything happens for a reason and I am always exactly were I am supposed to be. As we were driving in the taxi I got a thought to google “Iceland vortex” as I believe this country has those special energy places and mystical cosmic portals. The name Snaefellsjokull with this description came up: “For quite a lot of locals the symbolic Snaefellsjokull mountain is a mecca for purity and inspiration. Indeed, some say the glacier is one of the seven most important cosmic centers on the earth. Even the uninitiated often feel “something” in the vicinity of Snaefellsjokull”
I felt instantaneously that I had to reschedule my flight back and go to that place. So on the last day of our trip we went on the road early in the morning to drive almost 3 hours each way to the most western point of Iceland. There were no civilization in sight for hours, just an open vast landscape with snow covered mountains, frozen rivers, some farms, few abandoned houses and those majestic Icelandic horses. And then we saw IT. The glacier mountain overlooking the Greenland sea and the two huge stones. The legend says that volcano erupted and some of the land went under water, leaving these two to stay behind. From the road they looked like pillars of the gate to some other realm. Two trolls, maybe a couple representing masculine and feminine, one actually looking like Sphinx from the water. Maybe this place is part of the lost civilization of Atlantis. I really don’t know. But what I felt for sure that it was a special place where one can tap into their own higher dimensional selves. Everything appeared in a different hue, I was mesmerized. I didn’t even need to sit down to meditate, I just instantly felt a heightened reality. I believe it will take some time for me to realize and unpack all the gifts this pure land has given me. For now I am just going to keep it in my heart and share its beauty through my eyes.

Iceland (part 1)

My husband and I took a short 5 hour red-eye flight from New York and arrived to Reykjavík at 6am. We rented a car and got on the road to Golden circle, which is the 5-6 round trip to see beautiful parks, waterfalls, glaziers, hot springs for those who don’t plan to circle around the whole Iceland.

Places to see:
I know one way to explore Iceland is on the tour bus, that way you don’t need to worry about driving and with the tour guide you may see and learn more about key Icelandic attractions and history of the island. We, on the other hand, would like to travel solo, as we often go on the paths less traveled and visited by tourists, stop for pictures and just feel the essence of the country, rather than learn facts about it, that are just another mental concepts that would be forgotten in a short time.
So as we started our journey on the Golden Circle, Iceland welcomed us with the beautiful sunrise (in winter the days in Iceland are very short, 10am sunrise /
4pm sunset, in the beginning of March the sunrise was at 8:30am). So all our morning drives started at 7am and were absolutely stunning, the sunrise and the vast open landscape left us in awe. On the Golden Circle we stopped by Thingvellir park, Gullfos waterfall, Geysir, Skogafoss waterfall and a Blue Lagoon the following day. And all these places were beautiful in their own unique way.
Restaurants to visit:
In all restaurants we’ve been to the food was amazing, even their bread with butter is to die for. Iceland doesn’t produce much, therefore prices on products are high. When I travel I always try local delicatessens. In Iceland we tried smoked shark, shrimp bisque soup, cod with potatoes topped with cheese, whale stake and smoked puffin (a local bird) for my husband, as I don’t eat meat.
Our top choices:
1. Three Frakkar – awesome seafood, plus a place to try whale and puffin
2. Kol – a trendy place of European and Scandinavian fusion
3. Mika – family own super tasty restaurant on the Golden circle, great place to stop by for lunch.
4. Glo – great vegetarian place offers variety of poke bowls and vegan juices
Place to stay:
We stayed at Grand Hotel Reykjavik which was super great (this is not sponsored, I recommend from the heart). The hotel is not in the center, but only 5 min drive from the center and all major highways, which is super convenient since we were on the road every day, and parking is free. The hotel offered an outstanding breakfast, included in the night rate, which is a huge benefit, because as I said food is expensive in Iceland. Service and decor is outstanding, lobby had an awesome bar with a fire place and a great selection of travel books. Their spa had infra-red sauna and hot tubs – perfect place to wrap up a day, relax, reflect and take it all in.
Few travel tips:
1. If you want to see the Aurora Borealis (northern lights) which was one the main reasons we went there, you have to go in the winter (Nov-March). We got lucky seeing it on a clear night just 10 min off Reykjavik by the light house.
2. Come as early as you can to Blue lagoon to avoid tourists. Don’t wet your hair there, as you’ll need to wash it many times and condition it afterwards to remove all that salt.
3. Icelandic horses are very friendly, you can see them right off the road if you want to stop and pet them and take pictures. They are truly magical creatures.
4. There are no rest areas in Iceland, keep in mind you may drive for hours with no bathroom or food in sight.
5. It can be very windy and it happens sporadically, be careful when you open the car door, it can blow it off or at least damage it.
6. Layer layer layer your outfits, I had thermo sets or leggings under each outfit, one or two pairs of warm socks, adhesive heat pads, hats and gloves (See my Amazon Store) Two very smart buys I did before going to Iceland were these watetproof boots and the snow suit. Can’t rave enough.
Hope you liked following my journey and all these tips are helpful, if you’ll decide to visit this beautiful country.

Good Vibes from Tulum

Tulum is the of the most spiritually abundant beach towns I’ve ever experienced in Mexico. It is a perfect place to practice yoga and meditation, while taking in the sights, scents and sounds of the Caribbean ocean. To get around town you can walk or rent a bike or a vintage VWs. We’ve rented a car in Cancun airport (for $10 a day at Hertz!) and drove to Tulum for about hour and a half.

Whether you want to deepen your yoga practice or just enjoy pristine beach and catch some good vibes, Tulum is the place to visit. People are young in heart, happy and relaxed, food is healthy and delicious, water is warm and healing. Everywhere you turn, there’s a reminder that life is beautiful and all we need is love. Tulum is an invitation to enjoy life and the present moment.

Now about fashion – to go with the scene everyone is dressed in easy going flowy dresses and colorful kaftans over one-piece swimsuits.

There are so many boutique hotels, yoga retreats, spas, open air restaurants, vegan food cafes, and beach clubs to try out. Here’s the short list of my favorite places:

Boutique hotels/ Beach Clubs:
  1. Be Tulum – is my favorite place in Tulum. You can enjoy good vibes, live music and delicious food while taking a swim in the ocean or a pool, and staying late into the night. This place is adults only and offers an overnight accommodations, as well as walk-ins for the day at the beach ($100 min spend per couple for food and drink) or club at night.
  2. Nomade Tulum – a neighbor to Be Tulum, a hotel and spa with the similar look and fee. Here’s their mission written on their website, I couldn’t describe it better:  “Nomade Spirit… to be in never ending movement, walking this planet, expanding the horizons and landscapes… transforming ourselves to be free from thoughts and judgments.”
  3. Casa Malca – a luxury resort for dreamers who appreciate art, design and creativity. Casa Malca is a former estate to Colombian drug dealer Pablo Escobar, which was turned into a hotel with luxury amenities and decorated with contemporary art.
  4. Casa Violetta – another beach club, restaurant, a yoga retreat, all in one. It’s a beautiful, simple, bright and serene place that you can’t help but fall in love with. Their food is delicious and views are breathtaking.

All these places are great to stay at with a nice company of friends or girlfriends, or just your loved one (that I prefer) or even alone (which can also be great and rewarding). These are the places where you can really nourish yourself with high quality vegan food and juices, meditate on the beach,  think about life and write a postcard to a friend (or a blog post to your followers ;), all while enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of the ocean.

All these beach clubs I mentioned above have amazing restaurants, but here are few more places where we had an great experience, to add to the list:

  1. Hartwood is the best restaurant in town, everyone wants to get there, make sure to make reservations ahead of time via email, if you want to take park of this gastronomic experience. If you don’t get it there’s a place right next to it that also has the same vibe, open kitchen and swings at the bar, you won’t miss it.
  2. Raw Love offers the most amazing vegan acai bowls, juices and vegan deserts.
  3. MatchaMama is a cute, must stop by, juice bar that offers matcha and kombucha drinks, smooties and vegan ice-cream.

PS Also check out my other posts about Tulum from my visit in February 2016 (Ruins and Cenotes)

Lookback to 2017

It’s the first weekend of 2018, it’s freezing cold outside after a snow storm that hit New York. I am sitting at my kitchen table, aka my office desk, thinking and dreaming about places I’d like to visit and a new content I want to create this year. There are so many dreams and ideas swirling in my mind, teasing me and exciting me.

But before this year takes over I’d like to look back and reflect on 2017 and share the things I’ve learned from my experiences and realizations that got me to where I am today.

The turning of the year is usually a great time when we make resolutions – to lose weight, to achieve our next goal (bigger house, better paid job), to be better with our finances, or to be more present with our kids, just to name a few. A few years ago I was making the same resolution lists, writing and re-writing them, only to realize, that for the most part, they don’t work at all or work for a limited time.  Why? Because the root of all our dissatisfaction and frustration comes from self-judgement. We constantly compare ourselves to others, we blame ourselves for not being smart enough or pretty enough, we hate growing older and getting out of shape in our bodies. And it all comes from not knowing who we really are and not realizing that the only thing that is real is the present moment, available for us to enjoy, if we stop complaining and comparing. Unfortunately, in our culture we are taught to compete and not be comfortable with where we are and always strive for more, only “more” is always defined by material things.

But what I know now is what we all are seeking for is the connection to our true authentic Selves, our souls and for finding the meaning to our lives.

So as we are entering this new year, I would like to invite you to practice few things from my, not 2018, but Lifetime resolution list:

  1. Forgive yourself for “not making it”, for “not being there”, for “not being good enough”. You are exactly where you need to be at the present moment.
  2. Spend alone time with yourself : meditate, sit in silence, walk in the park, listen to a soft music, read an inspiring book, take a shower in complete darkness, wake up with the sunset, end the day with the gratitude.  All these things helped me to protect my heart and connect with myself, and I do most of them each day.
  3. Start listening to your body. Everyone knows that sleep, exercise and healthy eating is key to healthy life. But the key that I uncovered that loving your body with all its imperfections is the key. Feeding it with the most nutrient rich food, detoxifying and giving your digestive system breaks with weekly fasting, relaxing with meditation, and just filling yourself with positive thoughts.
  4. Engage in creative process, whatever it is for you- writing, painting, composing, singing, dancing, cooking, taking photographs. When we emerge into creative process, we inevitably connect to something larger than us, that can bring new insights, unfold our soul, heal us and shift our prescriptive.
  5. Live life with no expectations. Someone recently asked me what my expectations are with my blog and what my plans are to attract followers and brand collaborations and I replayed that I have absolutely none and that I want to surprise myself and trust that Life take me places.
  6. Stop blaming others – parents, spouses, coworkers, government, situations, traffics, bad weather, rude strangers on the street. Remember that our reality is the reflection of our inner world. So all the people and situations in our lives are attracted by our thought patterns from our conscious and subconscious mind. So unless we look within and change, we will keep attracting the same situations.
  7. Stand by your own personal truth. People will always give you advice on what they think is right. They will put doubts into what you can and can not do. They do it from their level of awareness, which may not always align with yours. Always follow your own intuition.
  8. Let go of any attachment to things, people and outcome. Life is constantly changing and moving, don’t let things get hold of you.
  9. Express gratitude. I forgot when it was last time I asked for anything in my prayer. The only prayer I know and say these days is Thank you.
  10. Love yourself as it is the most significant relationship of your life.

Thank you for reading and I hope you resonate with what I shared with you.

If you want to read the books that expanded my consciousness, changed my perception and made me connect with myself, please check out my Amazon page.

Love and light your way.

Baby, it’s cold outside

It was frigid cold in New York this weekend which I noticed every year happens on Russian Christmas. We went to my parents yesterday to celebrate. If it was not for this family tradition, I would not step out of the house this weekend because I realized I don’t have any really warm sweaters, undergarments or snow boots. I do have a nice fur coat that I am excited to were few times a year.

So today I spent looking to buy snow boots and warm clothing, in advance of me going to some cold places this year 😉

So I am sharing what I found and some of it bought to try out:

1. Snow boots

2. Warm coats

3. Sweaters and Vests

4. Body warmers, accessories and my other wellness items are on my Amazon page HERE

 

Best of 2017

As this year draws to its end, I want to thank it for all the gifts it brought me, for my kids, for my husband who is my soul mate, travel companion and photographer who is documenting my journey, for my family and friends, for all the people who entered and stayed in my life, and for all the places I’ve visited and traveled to, especially Machu Picchu in Peru, my beloved Italy with my husband and kids, and to wrap up this year to Tulum, Mexico.

This year has been monumental in many regards. It’s been a year of rapid deepening into spiritual connection and expansion. It further revealed to me who I really am and what I meant to do in my life, which nothing more than to share the beauty and wisdom of this beautiful Life. It taught me that what I think and do manifests itself into coming back into my life. I want to share more of that side of me next year. Style and fashion will always be part of me, it’s the easiest and most natural thing I can do in my life. I do however want to focus more next year on inner beauty and wellness, and want everyone to feel good about themselves and manifest their dreams to reality.

Cheers to this great year and more to come in 2018!

After Christmas sale

This is my favorite time of the year to shop for myself. When all the presents are gifted, it’s time to treat myself to something new and not feel guilty about it because of excellent deals.

My shopping list – click the direct links:

  1. Club Monaco wool or cashmere coats (especially in light colors, I am really into winter white lately)
  2. Self-Portrait dresses
  3. Saks 5th Ave designer shoes
  4. Asos White collection
  5. Pixie Market sweaters and tops
  6. Sephora makeup (especially highlighters from Tarte)
  7. Suede OTK boots : Stuart Weitzman are the best, so when it’s on sale (here as well), I grab it. I also just got these Steve Madden in beige and I am in love.
  8. Yoox for kids (Armani, Monalisa, Miss Grant and other italian brands at great prices) Shopping for kids is like shopping for myself.

To shop this look I wore for Christmas: White Fur (similar) / Skirt / Shoes