Girl Meets Bulgaria

Musings of an American expat in Bulgaria (with detours in Utah and Alaska)


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Beauty Favorites

Over the past few years I have become very interested in makeup and beauty products. I can almost entirely blame this change in myself (the girl who didn’t wear a lick of makeup until she was about 20-years-old) on the YouTube “beauty community.” Essentially, this community is group of women (and some teen girls) who make videos on beauty-related topics. I stumbled upon a few “gurus” several years back and I have been addicted ever since. It’s a guilty pleasure that I don’t see myself giving up anytime soon!

Typical video topics include: makeup tutorials, shopping hauls, empties (products they have used up), monthly favorites, blog-like tags, and celebrity-inspired looks.

Because of the huge success of many beauty gurus (Michelle Phan, the original YouTube beauty guru, is now a millionaire because of her video sponsorship’s and partnership with YouTube), every 13-year-old with a camera and some makeup now plops themselves in down and talks about beauty, and more power to them!

One afternoon a few weeks back I was lovingly playing with my makeup and decided to do a post on my favorite beauty products. It’s a far cry from actually making a YouTube beauty video, but I don’t see that ever happening!

This list isn’t comprehensive as the vast majority of what I own is back in Utah, but these are the things I love the most and chose to haul over the Atlantic with me.

I like reading blog posts like these because it helps me discover new products and hear people’s opinions.

Alrighty. Here we go!

Eyes:

Beauty Favorites-EyeshadowBeauty Favorites-Eyeshadow

As a redhead, I have to be a bit more careful when it come to the makeup colors I wear. I’m a fairly conservative person when it comes to this stuff anyway, so I am ALL about the neutrals!  It’s rather sick how much eyeshadow I have, but I can’t seem to help myself!

-Too Faced Natural Eye Palette

-Wet ‘n’ Wild trio in Walking on Eggshells

-Maybelline Color Tattoo (cream shadow) in Bad to the Bronze

-Urban Decay Naked Palette (I bought Naked 2 online awhile back and can’t wait to get home and use it!)

 

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Birchbox: A Review

I have a confession…

I’m a makeup junky.

It’s definitely no secret to my friends and family.

I can’t really pinpoint when it all started. I know it certainly wasn’t in my younger days. I didn’t wear a bit of makeup (aside from some mascara on my pale red lashes here and there) in High school. I can’t even say that I wore much during my first few years of college.

I really started wearing makeup daily when I first came up to Alaska in 2008. I don’t know what made me make it a part of my daily routine, but I started and have not stopped since.

Now, I stalk Sephora. Fantasize about MAC. Watch endless tutorial videos on You Tube. It’s slightly pathetic.

I’m not fanatical, mind you. I often go months without a single purchase. But then I go wild and spend far more than I would like to admit in one visit to the mall or session of online shopping.

I don’t use the vast majority of what I own. Crazy, I know. I wear makeup daily, but with my busy schedule and propensity to wake up 15 minutes before I have to head to work, lately I wear little more than some concealer, eyebrow pencil, and mascara.

Where am I going with all of this?

Well, in the past year my makeup shopping has actually became a bit of a problem. I don’t often spend money on myself for things like clothes, but makeup is another story.

One girl definitely does not need 20+ lip glosses, 100+ eyeshadows, 8 “backup” mascaras…You get my drift.

I think my makeup wake up call came when I found that my stash comprised an entire makeup case, large makeup bag, and overflow into a cardboard box.

It’s sure fun to look at (My Pretties!!), but not fun to add up the costs.

Essentially, I think the hoarder collector in me got a bit out of hand.

So, in an effort to curtail my spending but still get my “fix” now and then, I signed up for a monthly subscription to Birchbox.

Birchbox is a monthly  subscription which offers deluxe beauty and cosmetic samples, all packaged in a cute little box, for only $10 per month (including shipping).

Each box is themed and features 5-6 products. Most are sample size, but a few full size products are included every so often.

I got my first box back in March and have been enjoying them ever since.

Sure, some of the products have been duds; but overall, I have loved the samples I’ve gotten in my boxes. And the products definitely add up to more than $10.00, even being sample sizes.

And best of all, I haven’t spent a dime on any other cosmetics or beauty products since getting my first box.

Oh, and who doesn’t love getting mail each month? It’s especially nice up here in Alaska.

Since Birchbox exploded in popularity, many other “beauty boxes” have hit the market. I did some research before signing up for Birchbox and it seemed like the company had mostly positive reviews and was more established than some of the newer companies.

Here’s what I got in my June box…

June’s “Jet Set” box included:

  • Comodynes | Self-Tanning wipes – Sadly, not something a pale redhead such as myself can use.
  • Eyeko | Fat Eye Stick (eye shadow stick) – I like cream shadows, but this one is in black (not my color), so I’ll probably give it to a friend.
  • Likewise | Facial Moisturizer – Smells good and has SPF 50. I’m all over it!
  • theBalm cosmetics | Stainiac lip and cheek stain – Only tried on my lips so far, but I like it.
  • tili | Travel bag – This cute, reusable bag is designed to hold liquids in a carry-on while traveling. I’ll definitely use it.
  • John Varvatos Star USA | Men’s cologne –  Haven’t sprayed it. Giving it to my hubby.

I was more jazzed about the products in last month’s box, but I can’t say that I am disappointed with June’s box. There are a few things I can’t use myself, but I am sure I can give them away.

Overall I am happy with Birchbox and the 4 boxes I have received thus far. I think it’s well worth the $10 monthly fee, especially considering shipping is included (even to Alaska!).

If you are interested in joining Birchbox, email me at whitney(at)girlmeetsbulgaria(dot)com and I can refer you.

Or simply click here.

With each referral I get points that I can spend towards full size products, and ya’ll know I need more makeup! 😉

There is a waiting list right now to sign up. I was only on the list for a about 3 weeks when I signed up in March. So hopefully it is still moving that quickly.

I’ll have to cancel my subscription when I head back to Bulgaria, but that’s fine. I’m sure I’ll find something else to spend my money on! 😉

Are you subscribed to Birchbox or any of the other monthly beauty boxes? If so, what do you think?

W.

*All opinions are my own. I was not compensated in any way to write this review.

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Major Life Choice: Bangs or No Bangs?

That’s right…

I consider the decision on whether or not to get bangs a highly important choice in my life at the moment.

I have it rough. I know.

I have a hair appointment coming up next week and I’m beginning to feel the pressure to decide what I want done.

It’s the same story nearly every time I get my hair cut (which is usually only once or twice per year): should I get bangs?

The past few times I have gone in I have come close. But I chickened out right at the end and had my stylist do long, side-swept bangs. Yeah, they’re technically bangs, but wussy bangs, in my opinion!

When I say bangs, I am talking about those full on, straight across, dramatic bangs ala Zooey Deschanel and Emma Stone (who happens to have my dream hair resting on her adorable head).

Granted, Emma's are a little side-swept, but very dramatic

Problem is, those lovely ladies don’t have an uber round face, like I do. Bleh.

In addition to the do-these-bangs-make-my-face-look-even-fatter conundrum, I worry about the time and upkeep that bangs require.

I feel that I should stop here and tell you a little bit about my hair: I love my color (red) and, other than highlights, have never colored it; it’s incredibly thick, naturally curly, and super frizzy.

My straightener is my best friend!

Much to my husband’s chagrin, I am a pony tail girl. Sure, I wear my hair down quite a bit (only after using said straightener or scrunching curls), but I tend to spend little time on my hair in general.

I know that if I get bangs, unless I want to sport headbands everyday, I’m going to have to put some work into doing my hair.

I have a few days to decide if I have it in me.

Oh, and to ogle more celeb photos.

W.


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Flowers at the Lodge

The end of the summer season in Alaska is quickly approaching and these days it feels like I am trying to get things done that I have wanted to do since I got here in May. I only have a few more weeks in Denali, so time is ticking!

Taking photos of the beautiful flowers planted around the lodge property was definitely high on my list. The landscaper does an amazing job and takes a lot of pride in what he does. He’s so good he has even been profiled in some magazines!

As the weather turns colder and the daylight hours lessen, the once vibrant flowers are starting to fade and die. I knew that if I wanted to get some half-decent photos I had to get on it before they start ripping out all the planters in the next few weeks.

So, on my day off on Friday, after my glacier landing flight (more on that in the next post!), I walked around property for a few minutes and snapped a few photos.

Not only did I want to take pictures of pretty flowers (who doesn’t?), I also wanted to document my favorites. I would love to plant similar planters and seeing how I have no idea what the names of the different plants are, I can always go back and do some research based off some photos!

Anywho, enjoy!

 

My new computer desktop background