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Month: October 2015

German Barbecue Sauce is Subpar

German Barbecue Sauce is Subpar

Another Lidl America Week has come and gone, and I almost felt like I was becoming desensitized to it, until I saw this new offering.

Barbecue Fish
What?

I first saw the Cheese & Onion fish filets and thought, well that’s a bit odd, but then I saw the Barbecue variety. What are these shenanigans? Maybe it’s a regional thing, but I’ve never seen someone pair a breaded fish filet with barbecue sauce before. But it has the Statue of Liberty on it, so it must be American! (Just like these Peanut Cheetos)

This also has reminded me that I have been unable to find a decent barbecue sauce since moving to Germany. “Decent barbecue sauce” is pretty hard to define, as standards vary regionally, but my personal preference is for the dark, thick, and smokey variety. Well that’s not at all what you find here. Everything is like watery ketchup with spices thrown in. Granted, we’ve avoided the expensive imported stuff, because we’re cheap, but you would think we’d be able to find something German made that works. Even the Heinz version sold here, which I thought would be a bit more “American” is a bit of a letdown.

I was really hopeful that living in the land of delicious pork steaks everywhere, I’d be able to find decent condiments for said delicious pork steaks.  Maybe I just need to learn how to make my own. Is that a complicated process? I honestly have no idea. I don’t really cook at all. Though now that we have a fancy table grill, I should probably look into making fancy barbecue that we can enjoy even in the winter.

I will happily take recommendations from fellow expats for good barbecue sauce – or even a recipe, and I promise that I will not put it on fish. That’s just gross.

Christmas Wish List

Christmas Wish List

Halloween is this weekend, which means that the stores in Germany are almost completely  converted to Christmas mode. Halloween isn’t a huge holiday here, and there is no big holiday in November, like Thanksgiving, to hold back the Christmas creeping. This means that whenever I go into a store, I get surrounding by Christmas products! And, even in the US, beauty YouTubers have started reviewing Christmas gift packages from various brands. I think this is as good of a time as any to start getting my Christmas wish list together. This way I can also gather feedback before purchasing or dropping massive hints to Mr. Faultier. If there is something on my list that you know is not nearly as good as it looks, please let me know.

1. NYX – Butt Naked – Underneath It All Palette

NYX Butt Naked Underneath It All Palette
Source: NYX

Emilynoel83 reviewed this palette in her $25 & Under Makeup Kits: Hits & Misses! video and I desperately want it now.  The shadows look wonderful and I love the colors. Unfortunately I don’t think I can get this palette in Germany. I checked the Douglas website, which is the only store I know of that carries NYX here, and I could only find the original Butt Naked palettes. Maybe it will show up here before Christmas? One can only hope.

2. Anastasia Beverly Hills Self-Made Palette

Anastasia Beverly Hills Self-Made Palette
Source: Anastasia Beverly Hills

I have not read any reviews of this yet, so if you’ve tried it out, please let me know what you think. I’ve been sucked in by the colors Isla, Deep Purple, and Pink Champagne specifically. My only problem is that I can’t find any German stores that stock Anastasia Beverly Hills, so I would have to order with international shipping. I clearly need to do a better job getting acquainted with German brands so I don’t have to face this dilemma.

3. Too Faced Melted Kisses & Sweet Cheeks

Too Faced Melted Kissed and Sweet Cheeks
Source: Too Faced

This is another product that I spotted on an Emilynoel83 review. I was just telling Mr. Faultier yesterday that I need more “natural” lipsticks. He agreed, but I’m pretty sure he doesn’t want to enable me further. But Christmas is always a great excuse! I also really loved the look of the cooler toned blushes in this pack, something I am also lacking. Unfortunately, after looking through their website, it seems like I can’t even get it shipped here! And Sephora France doesn’t seem to have this set in stock. Definitely need to turn my search to different brands.

4. MAC Lipstick

MAC Lipstick
Source: MAC

Is it bad that I want a MAC Lipstick for the sake of having a MAC Lipstick? Probably. The lipsticks just seem so iconic and classic, but they cost 20€ (approx. $22) here! I’ve always meant to pick one up when I’m in the US and they’re a bit cheaper – I think $16 (approx. 15€). Shades I love: Ruby Woo, Crème Cup, Heroine, and Chatterbox. So, a red, a nude, a purple, and a pink. That would make a very nice set if I could afford it. If anyone knows of good dupes of those four, maybe that would be a better way to go!

5. Miss Dior Eau de Parfum by Dior

Dior Miss Dior Eau de Parfum
Source: Dior

I tried this on recently and was surprised at how much I liked it. I have a vague memory of trying it a few months ago and not liking it, but maybe with the change in the weather it smells nicer to me. I smelled both the Eau de Parfum and the Le Parfum, but I think the Le Parfum was too heavy. I gave myself a generous spray of the Eau de Parfum and received a compliment several hours later when Mr. Faultier came home from work, so I think that was definitely a win. I’m not the best at describing fragrances, but it feels warm and mature, without venturing into “old lady” territory. It’s a bit floral, but not as much as my Bulgari Mon Jasmin Noir Eau de Parfum, which I talked about in my Perk-Up Products post.

That’s what I have on my list so far. What’s on your Christmas wish list?

 

*Disclaimer: None of the links in this post are affiliate links.

We’re Renovating

We’re Renovating

Last year when we moved into our apartment, we were very ambitious. We wanted to get everything done right then so we wouldn’t worry about it later. But as the work went on, we realized that it might be good to put a few things on the back burner – mostly our guest room.

So for the past year, our “guest room” has mostly just been a storage room while we haphazardly collected furniture here and there from relatives. Finally, though, we have started on the renovations. And by “we” I mean mostly my husband, my mother-in-law and her husband. I’m really not good with the whole home maintenance thing. I pick out the wallpaper and make coffee.

Picking out the wallpaper meant that we go to go to Roller, an inexpensive furniture chain here in Germany. We unfortunately went about half an hour before close, so I didn’t get to take as many pictures as I wanted. Though, we will probably have to go back later for a few things we were unable to pick up.

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I neglected to get pictures before Mr. Faultier started ripping down the wallpaper, but here is a glimpse of what the room looked like near the beginning of the process.

I actually kind of liked this wallpaper when we first looked at the apartment, but the more I looked at it, the more I started to hate it.
I actually kind of liked this wallpaper when we first looked at the apartment, but the more I looked at it, the more I started to hate it.

Now we have a wall and a quarter wallpapered and the daybed completely assembled (minus mattresses, we still need to buy mattresses).

I'm in a bit of an interior design rut. We have accent walls everywhere...
I’m in a bit of an interior design rut. We have accent walls everywhere…

We got the daybed from one of Mr. Faultier’s friends and I’m really excited about it, which is probably a weird thing to be excited about. I have a feeling that I wanted one as a teen/child and never got, maybe that’s why?

We’ve still got a desk and a wardrobe hanging out in the garage, but that will come up when we’re done with the wallpaper. Hopefully more posts will be coming with our progress!

Garnier Micellar Water – Empties Review

Garnier Micellar Water – Empties Review

I love watching “Empties” videos on Youtube, but I am too impatient to wait until I have a box of empty bottles to show off. Also, I don’t think my husband would enjoy it if I was purposefully keeping trash around our apartment.

The first item up for review is the Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water (or Mizellen Reinigungswasser if you speak German). I bought it because I heard that micellar waters were quite gentle on the skin and that’s what I need. For some people this is a downside, because it doesn’t give you a deeply cleansed feeling. I’ve tried the cleanser, toner, moisturizer dance before and my skin absolutely hates it, even if I skip the toner. What works best for me is just getting any dirt/makeup off twice a day and doing a slightly deeper clean followed a medicated moisturizer every other day.

I bought the regular one, which is labeled for normal or sensitive skin on the German bottle. I had considered getting the one for dry skin, but at that time I wasn’t dealing with extra dryness. I may test out that one when I repurchase (I still have a bit of the normal one in a travel bottle, so it isn’t technically empty yet) and see how it performs in the fall and winter. My skin doesn’t get very oily, but I don’t think I would have wanted extra moisture over the summer.

The English bottle claims that it “removes make-up – cleanses – soothes” while my German bottle says it “1. effectively removes makeup, 2. cleanses, 3. refreshes”.  I definitely find it more refreshing than soothing, so maybe the Germans are on to something. The German website phrases it a bit differently, going with “cleanses effectively” instead of “effectively removes makeup.” I’m sure there is a difference in nuance there, but I’m not sure what it is. Perhaps they were trying to get away from calling it a makeup remover?

I’ve found that this works quite well at removing everyday foundation and most eyeshadow, but it’s not going to get off all of your eyeliner and mascara, especially if they are waterproof. I prefer using a two-phase eye makeup remover, and I’ve been trying out some of the cheaper drugstore options. I don’t have one I swear by yet, but I can tell you that the essence one (can’t find it on the UK site for some reason, so here’s the German one) burned my eyes a little, so I only use that one to remove stubborn swatches.

This is a skincare staple for me, but as a note, everyone’s skin is quite different and there is a lot of trial and error involved in finding the right products.  I would classify my skin as normal, swinging a bit dry or a bit oily depending on the weather. I do get a little bit of acne now, and I would classify it as part hormonal and part irritation based. There is only so much, I feel, that topical products can do for hormonal acne, but I think this micellar water has helped reduce irritation-caused blemishes for me. Your results may very.

 

*Disclaimer: None of the links in this post are affiliate links.

Pumpkin Spice Eye Look

Pumpkin Spice Eye Look

I’ve got a serious pumpkin spice problem, which isn’t easy, because pumpkin spice products have not yet saturated the market here in Germany. So here I am trying to find to work in my stereotypical obsession. Well, actually, I just wanted a catchy name for this warm, orange-y autumnal look, and pumpkin spice seemed to fit the bill. Though, if anyone knows where I can get a pumpkin spice latte outside of Starbucks here, then I will be eternally grateful.

Products I Used

Pumpkin Spice Eye Products
e.l.f. Shadow Lock Eyelid Primer in Sheer, NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in Milk, ARTDECO Eyeshadow in 235 sweet apricotKiko Eyeshadow in 124 Pearly Dark Dove Gray, esssence I love nude eyeshadow in 03 crème brûlée, essence long lasting eye pencil in 20 lucky lead, Rimmel Scandaleyes Kohl Kajal in Nude, Maybelline Volum’ Express The Rocket Waterproof Mascara

Step 1 – Apply a Base

Pumpkin Spice Base

First I applied the e.l.f. Shadow Lock Eyelid Primer in Sheer all over my eyelid and up to my eyebrow. Then I applied the NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in Milk over the eyelid, blending with my finger so that there were no harsh edges. I added another layer right above the lash line to create a slight gradient. I enjoy using this pencil, as I know a lot of others do, as a base. It really helps my eyeshadows stick and it makes the colors show up even brighter. I personally enjoy very bright, light looks on the eyelid, but if that isn’t your thing, you could skip the white base and just use a primer or switch to a base that matches your skin tone more closely to get a less intense look.

Step 2 – Get Colorful

Pumpkin Spice Shadow - Step 2

I took the ARTDECO Eyeshadow in 235 sweet apricot and started applying it in the inner corner, and sweeping out almost until the inner corner, but leaving the inner corner bare. I concentrated most of the color on the outer corner. This shadow is a gorgeous orange-coral with a golden-orange duochrome effect. I think this make is a wonderful color to use year round. The coral tone is perfect for spring and summer, while the orange sheen helps to pull it into cooler months.

Step 3 – Brighten

Pumpkin Spice Shadow Step 3

I then applied the esssence I love nude eyeshadow in 03 crème brûlée in the same manner as the ARTDECO shadow, but working in the opposite direction – starting in the inner corner and avoiding the outer corner. These shadows blended very well together. I have found, however, that if you are using shadows that don’t blend as well, gently patting light layers of each color over each other works better than trying to sweep them together. Didn’t need to do much of that with these shades, however.

Steps 4 & 5 – Deepen the Crease and Highlight

Pumpkin Spice Shadow Steps 4 and 5

Using a fluffy brush, I swept a bit of the Kiko Eyeshadow in 124 Pearly Dark Dove Gray into the crease. Even though it is called gray, it is definitely more of a cool brown. This is another shadow that blends really easily, but as always, light layers are always easier to work with. If you want a more dramatic look, you could take an even darker brown and deepen the outer half of the crease, but I wanted to keep the whole look fairly soft. I used crème brûlée as my highlight, and just placed a little right underneath my eyebrow.

Steps 6 & 7 – Eyeliner and Mascara

Pumpkin Spice Eyeliner and Mascara Steps 6 and 7

Keeping with my desire for a softer look, I went with my essence long lasting eye pencil in 20 lucky lead instead of a black. I used it to line my upper waterline and above the lash line just on the outer third of the eye. I didn’t want to cover up too much of the eyeshadow with liner, so I kept the line fairly thin. To brighten my eyes, I used the Rimmel Scandaleyes Kohl Kajal in Nude. For extra brightening, you could use Milk instead, but I find that it can be a little too harsh on me. I then applied Maybelline Volum’ Express The Rocket Waterproof Mascara on the top and bottom lashes.

Step 8 – Finish the Rest of Your Face!

Pumpkin Spice Full Face Step 8

I don’t want to go into too much detail on the rest of my face makeup in this post, otherwise it would go on forever. It’s also just meant to be an eye tutorial. However, I did want to share what blush and lipstick I went with to give myself a monochromatic look. Sticking with the orange-coral theme, I used the Catrice Defining Blush in 020 Rose Royce. If you have darker skin than I do, this may not show up very well as it really light. However, the Defining Blush in 025 Pink feat. Coral is similar in tone, but a bit darker and more pigmented, so it may make a decent alternative. For lipstick, I used the misslyn lipstick in 79 Setting Sun – which looks quite dark on their website, but definitely is not.

Pumpkin Spice Blush and Lipstick
misslyn Lipstick in 79 Setting Sun, Catrice Defining Blush in 020 Rose Royce

If you are a pumpkin spice boycotter, you can also change up the colors, but follow the same process. I frequently use the same technique with greens and purples, and I think it’s a good way to work in colors that would be overwhelming otherwise.

 

*Disclaimer: None of the links in this post are affiliate links.

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