Girl Meets Bulgaria

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


Recent Buys {That I LOVE!}


Admittedly, I have had a wee little shopping problem lately. I think do that when I get stressed. Thankfully, its slowed way down (I kind of had no choice).

*Vince, if you are reading this, I promise it’s not as bad as it looks! I love you! ♥

I did get some great stuff though, and thought I’d share:

  • This cute and quite useful hard-plastic cup from Wal-Mart (AKA Satan’s Five & Dime). They are quite the rage and I see why. You get that “fountain” beverage feel even when you are, like me, drinking water (I rarely drink soda). I tend to reuse plastic water bottles, which as it turns out, isn’t all that healthy what with the chemicals and leaching of the chemicals (it’s all very scientific). So this cup is perfect (and BPA free!). It’s also insulated and keeps my ice water icier for longer! Oh, and the polka dots? So cute!

  • Essie fingernail polish in Turquoise and Caicos (THE perfect match for “Tiffany Blue”) and Eternal Optimist (a pretty, rosy pink). At $8 per bottle, it’s spendy, but is probably the best nail polish I have ever used. It’s all I can do to not go out and pick up a few more bottles!

I LOVE Tiffany Blue

  • An adorable bow necklace from Target (on sale!). I didn’t have any rose gold in my jewelry collection, so I was happy to snag the last one they had.


The next few items were a complete splurge and totally frivolous. I have been watching far too many Youtube beauty “Guru” videos and suddenly I am a makeup junky. That’s how I roll. I tend to see something interesting or creative and have to do it myself. This can be seen in the copious amounts of scrapbooking supplies, yarn, how-to books, beads, etc. spread across my room (and in boxes in the basement). I usually start off strong but lose interest quickly (something I am trying to work on). But I figured spending some money on makeup isn’t a huge deal, I do wear it daily after all.

Anywho… On to the purchases:

  • Urban Decay Naked Eyeshadow Palette.  I LOVE the eyeshadow colors in this set. As a fair-skinned redhead, neutrals are my friend. I was SO happy to get one of these. As it turns out, they are like the Tickle-me-Elmo (insert any hard-to-find product here!) of eyeshadows. They are sold out everywhere! There are huge waiting lists and I even heard girls wait outside stores for the doors to open the morning after a shipment comes in. I am a sap for things like this and simply had to have one largely because everyone else had to have one. After stalking for a week or so, they showed up one morning and I pounced (the story is a lot longer and entails Sephora’s website crashing, buying them from Amazon who then sold out and cancelled my order, then finally getting them again from Sephora. My friend A. suffered along with me). I wore a few of the colors today and they are pretty. Probably not worth all the hype (and money), but I am still glad I got one.
  • Too Faced Natural Eye Palette. I picked this one up when I thought I wasn’t going to be able to get the Naked palette. Looks like I am set for eyeshadow for the rest of my life!
  • Not going to detail each thing, but I got a bunch of stuff from the ELF cosmetics website (it’s also sold at Target). It’s super cheap – both in price and quality. An entire 12-piece brush set was only $5. The tiny little hairs that fall out and onto my face reflect the price. A few of the things are good, but I probably won’t repurchase many of the items.
  • To hold all my new goodies (and the other stuff I already own and never use), I got a Caboodle makeup case. I think I had one of these as a little girl so it was probably nostalgia that caused me to overlook the tweeny look of the thing. I mean purple is my favorite color, but wow.

Makes me feel 12 again!

Lastly, the thing I am most excited about…

  • A UNIVERSAL VOLTAGE GHD straightener and hair dryer (with a cute bonus heat-proof bag). I think I may have mentioned it before, but I was super sad to find out that I would not be able to bring my CHI straightening iron to Bulgaria. Apparently, using a voltage converter with high-end appliances causes them to die (read:explode). I have extremely thick and frizzy hair, so a straightener is a must. The kit was expensive, but I got a great deal at Costco. The straightener alone sells for $205 on GHD’s website. I tested it out and it’s amazing! I love my CHI but this GHD beats it hands down.

So, what exactly does this post prove? Well,  clearly that I like to make up words (WordPress is yelling at me for “icier,” “spendy,” and “tweeny”) and also spend money that I don’t have!

I like to think that all these things were necessary purchases for my move… That will make me feel better when I get my credit card bills, right? 😉

And I am suddenly wondering why I am writing a post about my shopping habits. Maybe it’s my own version of a “haul” video (again, I have got to lay off the YouTube beauty videos).

Talk to ya’ll soon (with a better and more meaningful topic. I hope).



Apparently, when I feel sorry for myself…

…I shop.

I’ve pretty much been in bed since Monday (refer to my previous post to find out why).

But yesterday I couldn’t stand it anymore and I had to get outside.

I took a quick trip to Pictureline to look for a camera bag. Bad idea. In less than 10 minutes I spent $220. I just couldn’t help myself! Oh, and I didn’t even get a camera bag. The salesman was extremely helpful and nice, he even complimented my engagement ring.

I bought this little baby:


Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 lens



I also picked up a filter for it and for my 18-200mm lens (I feel better now that the glass is somewhat protected).

It was an expensive 10 minutes.

Anyway, I got home and went to put the filters on my lenses. The 52mm fit my new lens just fine, but I must have been high (or just sick to my stomach and in a rush to get home, more likely) and bought the wrong size for my 18-200mm lens.

I had already cut the stickers on the sides of the filter packaging when I realized it was the wrong size. I immediately looked up Pictureline’s return policy: NO returns/exchanges on opened merchandise. CRAP!

I called the store and told them what happened. The guy said it would be fine and to just bring it back today, which I did.

The clerk asked me if I had opened it, I admitted I had, but explained that I hadn’t taken it out. She was really nice about it and let me exchange it for the right size (thus saving me from spending $50 on something I couldn’t use). Weirdly, she also complimented my engagement ring (I am beginning to think they are trained to do that), while wearing a HUGE diamond herself. Hmmm.

Luckily, I got out of there without spending a dime more. I actually have a $10.00 store credit as the filter I needed was cheaper.

(I must stop and HIGHLY recommend Pictureline. They’ve been fantastic. I will definitely be going back.)

So after my shopping spree, I had the awesome job of telling V. what I had done. He was pretty cool about it, but I could tell he isn’t all that pleased with my spending habits. I have an awful feeling he is going to crack the whip when I move to BG!

The only reason why I had the money in the first place (or rather, will have the money) is because I did my taxes a few nights ago and I’m getting a refund. Yes, I spent some before I even got it. Eek.

I am happy to say, however, that with the rest of my refund I am paying off TWO credit cards! It feels fantastic to say that.

Isn’t all this riveting? Maybe I need to decide what is and isn’t post-worthy, but after spending nearly 5 days straight in bed, this is about as exciting as it gets!









Cougar Town necklace and other jewelry projects

I am finally getting around to posting my jewelry pics.

I made all this stuff ages ago, but I couldn’t find my camera at the time to take pictures.

I have made jewelry for years and I usually draw ideas from jewelry pieces I see on TV, movies, or in my day-to-day life. A few months ago I saw an episode of “Cougar Town” on TV. I instantly fell in love with the necklace that Courtney Cox’s character wears in nearly every episode (the long one with the little discs). I went online to try to find/buy it. Ha! Well, I found it alright, too bad it costs $3500!


As time went on, the necklace became more and more popular and now it’s easy to find knock-offs, especially on Etsy. Still, I wasn’t willing to pay the $75+ that people were charging for it, so I bought all the supplies (the little circles took me forever to find) and got to it. I also made the gold leaf necklace she wears and I’m thinking about making a replica of her turtle necklace. Basically what I am saying is that the show stinks, but seeing her jewelry alone makes it worth watching!

It was easy to make and so far, the gold-plating is holding up well. In addition to the 44″ circle necklace and the leaf necklace, I made a necklace with organic-shaped circles, two bracelets, and a pair of earrings.


Here is a not-so-flattering pic of me wearing the leaf and circle necklaces:


All together, I probably spent $20 on the supplies, and I still have lots left for future projects.

I even gave some supplies to my pal A. and she made the necklace too!

If you are interested in where I got the stuff needed to make the necklace, check out these Etsy shops (again, the gold discs were tricky to find, but with some work searching, it can be done!):

I have other pieces in the works, so I’ll post those soon as well.



It’s About Time

Well, I finally did it!

My Nikon D90 is in the mail.

I did so much research I thought I was going to go crazy. But I finally just went for it and I am so excited I could barely sleep last night. I am definitely like a kid on Christmas Eve.

I already have a list of lenses and accessories I want to get down the line. Just wish I had the $ to get them all now!

Can’t wait to get my hands on my D90 and get down to business learning the ins-and-outs of a DSLR.




Due to a combination of factors, I stopped blogging for a little bit.

But I’m back now!

Another Thanksgiving has come and gone. December is here with a vengeance in Utah. We have tons of snow and tons of idiotic drivers to go along with it.

I worked what is hopefully my last University of Utah Football game. I was out in below-freezing temps for over 8 hours (BOO!). We won, and against BYU (our biggest rival) no less. I am praying that this time next year I will be freezing my butt of in Bulgaria as opposed to freezing my butt off in Utah!

I have been a crafting maniac the past few weeks. I do this. I have these spurts of creative energy every few months. Sadly, it usually peters out and I end up with half-finished projects. However, I am happy to say that this time around that doesn’t seem to be the case.

I {finally} got my jewelry supplies from Etsy and made my “Cougar Town” necklaces. In addition to those I also made a few matching bracelets and some earrings.

My slightly ambitious plan is to make all my Christmas gifts this year. Don’t know how well that is working out as I have already purchased a few items for some people.

I recently got the knitting bug again and have been stalking ravelry day and night. I think I finally came to the conclusion that I prefer knitting over crochet. Which kind of sucks as I have an almost-finished blanket for V. that has been sitting for 2 years now.

Anywho, I ordered some wool yarn in very specific colors for a very special project (more on that in a future post). While waiting for that yarn to arrive, I am making some awesome cotton dish cloths to take with me when I move to Bulgaria. Already accessorizing my future kitchen, is that weird? My aunt has had them since I can remember and they are always the ones I reach for when I am cleaning up the all too often baking messes Annalee and I make in her kitchen.

Finally, today is the opening day for applications for Princess Tours in Alaska. I am going to be applying soon and it’s a bit of a surreal experience. I worked in Denali in 2008 (where I met V.) and have always wanted to go back. It’s still not a done deal. I have to be hired (not super worried about that) and V. has to get his work visa (super worried about that).  Fingers crossed we will find ourselves in beautiful Denali, Alaska this upcoming summer.

That about wraps up the past few weeks of my life.

Captivating, wasn’t it? 😉



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Kindle Envy

My 25th (gasp!) birthday is coming up next month and I have been thinking about what I may want as a present.

Kindle 3G

I’m not a kid anymore (HUGE revelation, right!), so obviously I don’t get lots of gifts (nor do I expect any). However, my Mom and other family members usually, and very generously, give me some cash.

More and more I have mulled over the idea of getting a Kindle. At first the thought of not having an actual book turned me off. I love the smell, the weight, the texture of the paper. I really thought that there was no way a flat, cold, plastic, rectangle could match the allure of a good old-fashioned hard back.

Now, after hearing only great things about the Kindle (e-readers in general, but particularly Amazon’s Kindle), I am almost convinced that I need one.

With the big move overseas rapidly approaching, I am thinking more and more about the things that I will want to pack and take with me. I have hundreds of books in my room and hundreds more in boxes in my basement. Obviously I can’t and don’t want to pack a bunch of book to Bulgaria. But I still want to be able to read when and where I want to. And because I don’t know yet where I will be living-Sofia has bookstores with English language books, however the smaller villages probably won’t-I think the Kindle is a great idea. Plus, most books downloads are $9.99 or less, you really can’t beat that!

Today I was comparing the two models I am considering, the Kindle Wi-Fi and the Kindle 3G. I would love to go with the cheaper model (the $139 Wi-Fi version), but the $189 version boasts free 3G and global wireless coverage.

Another great thing about the Kindle (and other e-readers) is that I can download over 1 million, out-of-copyright, pre 1923 titles for FREE! How awesome would it be to have access to all of Jane Austen’s works in one place?

Ok, so I think I have officially talked myself into one! Guess I’ll have to wait until next month to what the Birthday Fairies bring me!




There is just something about them. The creamy, lined pages, the simplicity, the history. Ah, the good ole’ Moleskine notebook. Hemingway used one. So did Van Gogh. How then can they not be essential? 😉

Moleskine Variety

I’ve been wanting to buy a Moleskin for quite some time. They are overly hyped, expensive (for nothing more than some paper bound in cardboard) and trendy, I know, but I couldn’t resist. I am not a huge journaling fan, rather, I LOVE making lists of all kinds. Whether it’s a list of to-dos, blogs or websites I stumble across or just some random thoughts; I simply adore lists!

I like them because they are thin and simple. No gaudy decoration on the cover. No annoying metal spiral getting in the way. Just paper. They practically beg for creative alterations. The possibilities seem endless. In fact, after buying mine (a pack of 3 to be precise) I wanted to see what others out there in the blogosphere/interweb were doing with their own Moleskines–as mine seem destined for forgettable lists. Among the many ideas I found:

  • sketch book
  • wallet
  • photo album
  • travel journal
  • dream journal

Check out flikr for some amazing ways people make their Moleskines uniquely their own.

I am going to make it a point not to let mine gather dust. Lists can be creative too, right?

One final thing. The Blog Stuff White People Like lists Moleskines at #122 on their list (of stuff white people like-obviously). I’m white. I like them. Oh, and I do consider myself creative. And 5 phone numbers and a grocery list is the perfect starting point for a novel, just ask Stephenie Meyer (that was my lame attempt a dig at S.M. and her writing skills, or lack thereof).