23 February 2014

Moscow Nights: Valentine's Day

Hey guys! So awhile ago I might have mentioned that my friend Sam and I came up with a blog series and here is the first installment! We'll be documenting some of our dates with our main men and showing y'all what we did on our blogs. So make sure to check out her Valentine's Day post too!

So last year, I think Ben and I skipped Valentine's Day because we were still interns making like, $300 a month and we couldn't even afford to buy the nice kind of ramen from the super market. But we made each each other cards and bought each other something small because I really love Valentine's Day, I do. My friend Savannah wrote a great defense of the holiday over on her blog and I couldn't agree with her more. I think Valentine's Day is very commercialized and what not, and that is a western thing. I've been in Russia for a year and I can say that no body does holidays like Walgreens. 

However, at it's heart, Valentine's Day is a holiday about showing people you love them, and what's more honest than that? Did you know Saint Valentine was a total badass and held secret weddings during a time when the Romans wouldn't let so-and-so get married for some nonsense reason? He was a total crusader for love, and if there is one thing I have believed in, it's love. So yeah, I stand behind a holiday filled with flowers and love notes and candy because though everyday should be filled with telling people how much they mean to you, sometimes we forget. Sometimes it's nice to have a day to give extra love and feel extra love. 

So this is my (second) Valentine's Day with Ben in Russia and my third with him in general (here's a picture of our first--Ben made me a chocolate cake in the lounge of our dorm building)

Ben brought my roses... I didn't even realize I was the kind of girl that loved getting flowers until I was the girl who got flowers. They are still so beautiful, strong and red. 

To get ready, I lit my (second) favorite Bath and Body Work's candle Autumn Snow and listened to Lorde's new album (who I wasn't really impressed with after her single "Royal" but read the most pretentious interview of my life with her in Rolling Stone and decided to give her album a listen-it's nothing earth-shattering, but it's good daydreaming music). I used my Clinique Mascara, Chanel eyeshadow in Mystic eyes, and Chanel Vitalumiere foundation in pale as f***. 

Because it was Valentine's Day, I painted my nails red and substituted this LUSH coeur chocolate massage bar for perfume. I actually used to use this when I was a 15 and the sweet, soft honey chocolate scent sent me straight back to the red halls of my high school. I used to experiment a lot with different kinds of perfumes and lotions (mostly terrible Victoria's Secret concoctions), but this scent was just always a win. It's so comforting and sweet--I use it sometimes when I can't sleep and want to feel wrapped up into something.

Our new neighborhood.

"No personal security in the dining hall and the bar."

You know you are at a nice restaurant when the security guards are required to stand outside.

I got Ben the Bleu de Chanel cologne he'd been eyeing since last Valentine's Day when we were so poor and I had to pull him away from the Chanel counter saying "I know, everything Chanel does it perfect". Ben (of course) found out a few days before about my surprise, so I had to up the ante a bit and got him a Givenchy cologne as well that he had told me was his second favorite. 

And that one is named after Neo from the Matrix, so I mean, how could I not? Neoooooo...

Black truffel raviolli something. 

I accidentally discovered black truffels when one of my very generous students took me out to a beautiful lunch here a few weeks back. I was so overwhelmed by the seafood-centered menu (I'm from the Midwest, gosh darn-it! I don't know anything about fish!) that I ordered the only thing I could recognize: some parmesan pasta with black truffles. I wasn't sure what truffles were but I figured at least I could get through them in that generic dish. 

Oh my god. 

Life. Changing. It was literally the greatest thing I had ever eaten. I ate it all up like a wolf coming off a diet and have been craving truffles ever since. Obviously this is an unfortunate thing to have discovered because it's quite the luxury. I've been noticing some truffle oils in the store and I plan on looking up some recipes and I hope to capture the fantastic taste of these dishes, but I'm not sure anything can compare. Let me know in the comments if any of you have any truffle substitute ideas! Ugh, and so good. If you ever get the chance to order something with truffles on it do it. Really, it's a birthday party for your taste buds. 

Ben had the black truffle veal with pureed (mashed) potatoes. I didn't try it because I have emotional issues with potatoes. 

So that was our Valentine's Day! Ben also bought me a really lovely skirt and shirt combo from Zara (that he picked out by himself!) which I wore out to dinner. 

We really had a great time. There's something so needed about going out to dinner alone. We eat together every night, but sometimes we forget to really talk. After a long day at work, when were cooking together and catching up on our TV shows (we're really into House of Cards right now), we sometimes forget to just sit back, drink a bit too much, and enjoy each other's company. 

I hope you all had a great Valentine's Day and make sure to check out Sam's blog and her Valentine's Day Date too!

10 February 2014


1. French Onion Soup Grilled Cheese Sandwich, recipe found here.
2. Selfie
3. SmartWool
4. Watching the Olympic opening ceremony from our living room in Russia 
5. Reading Rolling Stone for the first time since I went to college and my parents stopped paying for my subscription. But I got a job now, so I can buy them myself now ;)
7. Ben making pesto 
8. Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Serum... no joke, this stuff has been saving my skin against the cold and grime of the city. If you have literally any problems with your skin, I highly recommend this stuff.
9. Little living room. 

Not Pictured
1. Snuggling on the couch with Mr. Ben currently. He's reading an article about minimum wage and we're watching the Katy Perry movie which is actually really sweet and inspiring. If you like Katy Perry. But who seriously doesn't like Katy Perry?
2. Really liking the fact that I don't have a boss and live in the city center. 
3.  Finished listening to Dark Places by Gillian Flynn on audible (which you can get a free audiobook from if you'd like!) and I really enjoyed it. I would definitely say Gone Girl is still my favorite (I'm listening to her third book Sharp Objects right now, so I'll let you know how that goes too), but Dark Places was cree-pee! I really couldn't figure out the story until it finally unfolded at the end, so that was equal parts frustrating as well as exciting, but I will say that the reveal at the end was more sad than scary. It still was a scary mystery, but it was just achingly sad at the same time. Just things going wrong all over the place. 
Sorry if that's a vague review, I just know I hate when people tell me too much. I recommend it to people who like mysteries and anyone who liked Gone Girl. It's still very well-written and really enjoyable. 
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