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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Scenes from Vienna’s Naschmarkt

Whew! Another holiday season has come and gone. I’m happy to be home in Sofia and back to day-to-day life; which includes sharing my adventures and experiences with you all!

I hope your holidays were wonderful and you were able to celebrate with those you love most.

Vince and I were so happy to have my mom come from Utah to visit us here in Bulgaria. She is officially our first visitor from the states and definitely not our last (a friend is actually coming in just a few weeks!). We kicked off her visit by spending 3 jam-packed days in Vienna to get into the Christmas spirit. It’s a lovely city and we had a great time wandering the Christmas Markets, window shopping, eating good food, and exploring such an iconic European destination so rich in history and culture.

And Christmas is definitely the perfect time to visit. The city practically oozes festive charm.

Right across from our hostel in the 6th District was an open-air market called the Naschmarkt.

Naschmarkt, ViennaVintage glass ornaments and drawer pullsChristmas centerpieces

The large market was filled to the brim with food and drink carts, tables of antiques, gifts, flowers, clothing, and Christmas goodies. We had to wander through multiple times as it was set up right next to the metro station closest to where we were staying. It was all I could do to not go home with dozens of vintage trinkets and Christmas decorations. Alas, we were on a budget and I was too overwhelmed by the vast selection anyway.

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The Hobbit, Shopping, and a Visit to Sofia’s Christmas Market

I spend a lot of time indoors by myself these days, so when the weekends roll around I am more than ready to head out into the city for some fun.

This week was even more solitary than usual as Vince was out of town on business for a few days and then had to work on Saturday to make up for a day off awhile back (I will never understand this weird Bulgarian obligation to make up days off. How is it a day off if it has to be made up?). Anyway, by yesterday (Sunday) morning, I was dying to get outside and do something. Anything! 

On the agenda: shopping, The Hobbit, a visit to Sofia’s Christmas Market, and dinner.

Giant Christmas Tree in downtown SofiaMy mom is flying into Sofia on Friday to spend Christmas with us, so we had to go out and buy an extra pillow and a few other things. We hit up The Mall (yep, one of the malls in Sofia is named The Mall–clever or lazy? I can’t decide.) because we could do all our shopping and see the movie in one place. I usually avoid malls like the plague this time of year, but we braved the packed parking lots and masses of people to get what we needed at Carrefour.

After dropping everything off at our car, we headed back into the mall to the movie theater. I am a huge LOTR fan, so I knew I had to see The Hobbit on the big screen. I usually hate seeing movies in 3D, but apparently it was the only way they were showing the movie, so we donned our attractive glasses and settled in. I didn’t tell Vince that it was a 3-hour movie until it was too late for him to back out. He wasn’t too happy about the length but he ended up really enjoying the film. I did too.

Gandalf--The Hobbit

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Another Journey, Another Packing Adventure

I moved most of my stuff to Bulgaria last December; so this time around my packing list is shorter but also a bit more specific.

(Oh, but I will still obsess over it and put off actually packing until the absolute last minute!)

I generally know now what I can and cannot find in BG. I also know what things make good gifts for my family.

There’s no reason for me to stock up on many of the things that I did last time around. I am set on Ziplocs, clothes, kitchen ware, and toiletries. Let me tell you, I am extremely thankful not to be lugging over another heavy pizza stone and Tupperware!

What things are making it into my suitcase and that dreaded 50 lb. limit? Well let’s see…

  • Another case of tampons. Sorry, BG, I’m still not into scented, non-applicator feminine products!
  • A couple of bottles of the world’s best hot sauce: Chohula. I love it. My MIL LOVES it (and used up the bottle I brought in just a few days).
  • Three (YES, 3!) vegetable peelers. I took one over in December and apparently it’s a big hit. I have requests from my in-laws, by brother-in-law, and his gf for one. Easy-peasy gifts if you ask me!
  • Instant oatmeal packets. These were a big hit too. Vince inhaled them before I could even have more than a bowl or two. I know oatmeal is available in BG, but I haven’t seen the instant packets anywhere and I find them convenient as I rarely eat breakfast and usually just go for something quick when I do.
  • Maple syrup. Yet another request from the hubs. He can’t get enough of the stuff.
  • Crochet supplies. I am in the middle of two afghans at the moment and I hope to fit all the yarn and needles in my suitcases so that I can finish them over the long winter ahead. If I had endless amounts of room and no weight limit, I’d also bring along my jewelry-making supplies, my paper crafting stuff, and supplies to make martenitsi–too bad that’s NEVER going to happen!

I think living in Sofia will make things a lot easier. There are larger grocery and department store chains there, including a Debenhams opening at the end of the month in yet another new mall, Bulgaria Mall. And there’s always good ol’ IKEA. I’m sure that we’ll be able to find everything we need.

W.

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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 Sephora.com 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).

W.