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Month: February 2016

More Public Transportation Tips

More Public Transportation Tips

I’ve talked a bit about using public transportation here in Germany and some tips on public transportation etiquette, but now I have some more tips! These are primarily based on my personal experience and things that annoy me. I try to follow my own advice, and I think that if everyone kept some of these tips in mind, travel on trains, trams, and buses would be much more pleasant.

Wear Headphones and Keep Music at a Reasonable Volume

While I appreciate the people who have the self-awareness to not carry around Bluetooth speakers and treat the whole train to their private techno party, when you turn up your headphones all the way, you have a similar effect. Please turn down your music. Your fellow passengers and your eardrums thank you.

This is not how headphones are meant to be used. (Photo by Foundry)
This is not how headphones are meant to be used. (Photo by Foundry)

Please Keep Your Arms and Legs in Your Area

You may not be on a roller coaster, but it is considerate to keep your limbs out of the aisle so people can pass without tripping. If you must spread out, it would be really appreciated if you kept and eye on the aisle to move out of the way when people need to pass. This also applies to bags or luggage. The aisle isn’t your storage space. It’s for people to move around.

Look at these considerate people keeping the aisle clear. (Photo by cegoh)
Look at these considerate people keeping the aisle clear. (Photo by cegoh)

Be Careful With Food and Drink

Commutes can be long and you often require sustenance, but try not to make a mess. And if you do, try to clean up after yourself to the best of your ability. If you spill coffee all over your seat on the bus, please put something on top of it, like a piece of paper or napkin if you have one, so people have some sort of warning before they get your latte all over their butt when they try to sit down. This last example is specific for a reason. Advice for the rule-abidMing, always check your seat before sitting down.

Indoor Voices

I assume you don’t want everyone to know your business, and most people don’t even want to know your business, but if you talk quite loudly, you’ll be hard to ignore. It’s like bringing on the aforementioned Bluetooth speaker, but instead of a techno dance party, everyone knows that you woke up in a strange apartment and was surprised to see the Alps when you looked out the window. This example is also specific for a reason. I can only assume that man’s experience was rather disconcerting..

"I woke up and I saw the Alps!" - apparently a sign of a crazy night. (Photo by klausdie)
“I woke up and I saw the Alps!” – apparently a sign of a crazy night. (Photo by klausdie)

For the Love of God, Let People OFF the Train First

I mentioned this in my other etiquette post, but I think I cannot say it enough. The train will not leave with the doors open. You will not miss the train somehow if patiently let the people off first. In fact, when you stand in their way, they can’t leave and you can’t get on – which holds everything up. This also applies to buses, trams, and subways. Keep it orderly. Off then on.

Now this is not an exhaustive list of tips, but something I’ve noticed is that a bit of self-awareness goes a long way. Think of how you would feel if someone else was doing what you are, and if that would bother you, don’t do it yourself.


Photo used in header by WikiImages

Soft Valentine’s Day Eye Look – Naked 3 Palette

Soft Valentine’s Day Eye Look – Naked 3 Palette

Valentine’s Day is coming up, which means that people who are not me are preparing for romantic weekends. Mr. Faultier and I don’t do anything, because we’re too lazy. But I still like fancy makeup, so I put together a pretty, soft Valentine’s look using the Naked 3 palette.

Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette
Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette
Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette
Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette – for this look, I used Limit, Buzz, Nooner, and Factory

For those who aren’t into $50+ eyeshadow palette (mine was a gift from Mr. Faultier), there are some great looking dupes out there from Makeup Revolution and Coastal Scents. I have not personally tried these, but I’ve seen enough good reviews to feel comfortable recommending them. In addition, it seems that every drugstore line has a rosey-nude palette out, so even if you don’t have the Naked 3 palette, this looks should be fairly easy to recreate using something similar.

Step 1 – Prime the eyes

Valentine's Day Eyeshadow Base

For this look, I just did what I usually do for stronger eye looks. I started with an eyeshadow base all over the lid and up to the brow bone. Right now, I’m trying out the essence i love stage eyeshadow base. I’m still on the fence about it, as it seems a bit orange-y. Then I applied my NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in Milk across the the lash line and blended upwards on the lid.

NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in Milk, essence i love stage eyeshadow base
NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in Milk, essence i love stage eyeshadow base

Step 2: Begin with the shadow

Valentine's Day Lid

I started by applying Limit in the crease with my Real Techniques deluxe crease brush. I did take a picture of just this step, but you couldn’t really see anything, which was pretty much the point. Limit is a pale, matte, dusty pink, and works well for me as a transition shade. I applied it just to help the other shadows blend in a bit more smoothly.

Next, I took a flat eyeshadow brush and applied Buzz, a medium metallic pink, all over the lid. This is where the NYX Jumbo Eye pencil comes in handy, as it has a slightly tacky finish. While not as bad as Dust, Buzz has a tendency to fall out quite a bit, but using a tacky base and patting motions with the brush can help to minimize it. I had thought about using Burnout here instead, because it’s easier to work with, but I like how pink Buzz is and wanted a bit more shine.

Step 3: Deepen the crease

 Valentine's Day Crease

I used a small crease brush to sweep Nooner into the crease. Nooner is one of my go-to crease shades. It’s a matte, dusky pink like Limit, but a few shades deeper. It’s soft, easy to blend, and helps to define the crease softly.

Step 4: Line the eye

Valentine's Day Liner

To keep with the soft theme, I choose to use one of the shadows as a liner. I picked Factory, which is a rosey-bronze. If you want something less subtle, you could use Darkside or even Blackheart instead. I used an angled liner brush to take Factory all the way across the top lid, pulling it out a bit into a diffused wing. I also lined the outer two thirds of the lower lash line with it, connecting the outer edge of the lower lash line with the wing. Using eyeshadow as eyeliner is great for us lazy people, as it’s really easy to blend out mistakes.

Step 5: Mascara

Valentine's Day Mascara

I finally gave in and repurchased my favorite mascara, Maybelline Volum’ Express The Rocket Waterproof, but for this step, use whichever mascara you like the effect of the most – or even go crazy and add some fake lashes! If you get weepy at romance, I would advise waterproof, though. It is Valentine’s Day. Pro-Tip: Don’t stab yourself in the eye with the mascara wand like I did.

Maybelline Volum' Express The Rocket Waterproof
Maybelline Volum’ Express The Rocket Waterproof Mascara

Step 6: Finish your face!

Finished Valentine's Day Look

I wanted to focus this tutorial on the eyes, but I will briefly go over what I used to finish this look.

For my base, I just went with my standard routine for medium to full-coverage. Though, I am still testing out the NYX Photo-Loving Primer – will it show up in a future favorites? Still don’t know.

Valentine's Day Face Products
NYX Photo-Loving Primer in Clear, Manhattan Wake Up Concealer in 1 Naturelle (for blemishes), NYX HD Photogenic Concealer Wand in Porcelain (for under the eye), essence all about matt! powder, Manhattan Endless Perfection Make Up in 56 Light Porcelain

For the brows, I used the same products mentioned in my January Favorites post for a nice, natural look.

essence lash & brow clear gel mascara, Catrice Velvet Matt Eyeshadow in 030 Jump up and Brown... (discontinued)
essence lash & brow gel mascara, Catrice Velvet Matt Eyeshadow in 030 Jump up and Brown… (discontinued)

And for my lips and cheeks, I wanted to keep things light and glowy.

p2 Satin
p2 satin touch highligher in satin beam 020, Catrice Defining Blush in 080 Sunrose Avenue, e.l.f. Matte Lip Color in Natural

You could go with something deeper on the lips, but I would advise something nude – unless your date is into lipstick all over their face!

What are your Valentine’s Day plans? Do you have a fancy date? Or are you going to sit around your home in your PJs, like I am?

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

Never Pay Full Price For Pizza

Never Pay Full Price For Pizza

Mr. Faultier refuses to pay full price for pizza or any other delivery service. This is probably not a surprise for anyone who knows him.

In the US, if you want to order a pizza online – we don’t do phone orders, because that requires too much social interaction – you have to go to the website of the pizza place itself and place your order. Maybe you can luck out with deals, or scour the web for coupon codes, but you are at the mercy of the company you want to order from.

In Germany, third-party websites like, Lieferheld, and Lieferando allow you to order from participating stores in your area through their websites and apps. And if you create an account and download their apps, they will regularly send you coupons for a few Euros off your next order. This is why my phone has 3 pizza apps.

They won’t send you coupons all the time, but it’s often enough to get our delivery fix. and Lieferheld send out more coupons than Lieferando, but we discovered recently that Lieferheld won’t let you stack coupons, but will. This means that you can hold on to your coupons for a little while and see if they send you another one before the first expires and you can get double the savings.

Om nom nom! (Photo: czhanny)
Om nom nom! (Photo: czhanny)

We aren’t a full-price family, so this works pretty well for us. If you’re in Germany for awhile, get those pizza apps, and get all the coupons!

Photo used in header: Hans

6 Tips for Surviving Homesickness as an Expat

6 Tips for Surviving Homesickness as an Expat

Today we have a guest post by Alex Johnson from Currency UK.

You’ve spent months planning and preparing for the big move abroad. You’ve applied for visas, found a new home and schools for the kids, started learning the language and spent hours on expat forums and blogs.


Finally, you step off the plane and leap into your new life. But there’s one thing that threatens to get in the way: homesickness.

Homesickness is a very common affliction. Almost every expat experiences a twinge of nostalgia for the comforts of home. It’s very likely you’ll miss family and friends, but you might also miss your favourite foods, TV shows or familiar faces at the gym.

In its mildest form homesickness is nothing to worry about and often passes quickly. But for some people, especially very young or sensitive children, it can be severe and quite disruptive.

Fortunately, homesickness can be easily managed with a little self-care and awareness. We’ve put together some tips to help. Think of it as an expat survival kit:

1: Mentally Prepare Yourself

It’s important to prepare yourself for the reality of homesickness before you even leave home. Know that even the most unsentimental individual or hardened traveller will likely experience it.

Assume that you will – at some point – feel homesick. Then if (or more likely, when) it hits, you won’t feel blindsided.

Pack things that remind you of home; photos, letters from loved ones, a cosy blanket, favorite snack foods, magazines, perhaps a newspaper from the day you left. When you need a little pick-me-up, these items will guarantee some smiles.

personal-260577_12802 : Stay in Touch

Is there anyone in the Western world not yet on Facebook? Social media has made the world feel like a smaller, better connected place and it’s great for combating homesickness.

If you don’t already have an account, sign up before you leave – it’s a really easy way to keep in constant contact with friends and family all over the world. Twitter and Instagram are wonderful for this too.

Make a plan to call home once a week. Schedule Skype dates with loved ones; it’s free if you call another Skype user so you don’t have to worry about rocketing phone bills. Video chat is a blessing; there’s nothing quite like seeing a friendly face – even if it is on a screen.

3: Book Flights Home

If money and time permits, fly home when you can. Homesickness often strikes when we’re missing out – on birthdays, Christmas or other special occasions – so make these a priority for returning to familiar soil.

If you’re moving to the other side of the world you may only be able to fly home once or twice a year. Consider booking these flights well in advance, it gives you something to look forward to and will help keep homesickness at bay.

4: Don’t Wallow

tourists-793814_1920While you’re sat on the sofa looking at old photographs of your friends back home you’re missing out on great experiences in your new country.

Allow yourself a little time to feel homesick, but don’t wallow in your grief – it will only make you feel worse. Force yourself to get up, get dressed and get out. Join the local gym, take a class (bonus points for language classes – you might meet fellow expats), check out the tourist spots, go to the local bar… just do something fun.

5: Make New Friends

This is probably one of the most daunting prospects of moving abroad. But having a network of friends in your new country will help you integrate and settle much quicker. You’re going to have to put yourself out there.

The best way to meet new people abroad is at expat clubs. There are hundreds of these clubs all over the world; here is a list of some of them.

If there isn’t a club in your local area, start one. There’s bound to fellow expats looking for a badminton partner or someone to sample the local wine with.

If you want to befriend some locals, try joining an amateur sports team or signing up for yoga. Baby and toddler groups, the school playground, restaurants and cafes are also great places to meet people. Be friendly and open – people respond well to a smiley face.

6: Create a Routine

Moving abroad is an exercise in change. You’ll notice differences in almost every area of your life. Your working hours, eating habits and social life may change. The way you shop, do chores and run errands (like seeing the doctor or getting a haircut) might differ. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

If you can settle into a routine, you’ll soon feel much more comfortable. Especially important is a set routine for sleeping and eating. Try to go to bed and wake at the same time every day (at least during the work week) and have set times for meals. This will be particularly helpful if you have children.

Work and school will determine how you spend much of your day, but plan some activities for the evening and weekends. According to Ryan Rivera, writing for the Go Overseas blog, “Research shows that those that feel they’re in more control suffer from less homesickness stress.”

It’s natural – and healthy – to feel a little homesick, but it shouldn’t ruin the experience of a lifetime. Following our tips above will help reduce the impact of homesickness and ensure your move abroad is a smooth one. For more advice on integrating into a new community, read this post.


January Favorites

January Favorites

January is finally over, and we’re finally into February – which is mercifully the shortest month in the year. Here it is so cold and gloomy, I’m just praying for Spring to arrive early. I’m ready to bust out some bright colors and stop bundling up so much.

But there were some bright spots this winter, including some new favorites for this month!

Maybelline Dream Pure 8-in-1 BB Cream

Maybelline Dream Pure 8-in-1 BB Cream in Light
Maybelline Dream Pure 8-in-1 BB Cream in Light

I recently dug out this BB Cream back when I was working on my foundation failure post. I’m not sure exactly why, but I had classified this one in my head as a non-match. But when I pulled it out to swatch it for the post, I realized, it was a match. I don’t know if something changed about it or my skin, but it works quite nicely now. It also contains 2% salicylic acid, which can help reduce blemishes. I’ve notice that my skin is a bit happier when I use it. It only provides light coverage, but I’ve been happy with it for something quick and light for daily wear. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be available on Maybelline’s German website anymore, so I’m not sure I will be able to pick up a replacement when I’m done with it. If anyone has recommendations for BB creams with salicylic acid, please leave them in the comments!

essence longlasting lipstick – 23 velvet matt

essence longlasting lipstick in 23 velvet matt
essence longlasting lipstick in 23 velvet matt (German site, UK site)

I found this in a special essence display called “try it. love it!” But, this display doesn’t appear to be available everywhere yet. This lipstick is listed as coming on sale on February 15th on the UK essence website, so it will be available! (Unlike everything I buy on clearance that is going away forever.) I highly suggest picking it up if you are looking for a nice natural/nude pink color. It’s got enough color to not wash me out, but it also is fairly light. The formula isn’t super long-lasting (sorry, essence), but it’s decent for the price, which I believe was under 3€. It is also more of a semi-matte, rather than a true matte, and is quite comfortable to wear. This will probably live in my work bag alone with my Revlon Colorburst Balm Stain.

Real Techniques Deluxe Crease Brush

Real Techniques deluxe crease brush from the starter set
Real Techniques deluxe crease brush from the starter set

I already raved a bit about this brush when I got it, but it makes its way onto this list because it has totally lived up to my initial expectations. I use this brush almost daily to blend out shadow in the crease, and it just works so well. That’s pretty much all I have to say about it. It just blends out shadows so well. The rest of the starter set is great, too, if you’re looking for some solid eyeshadow brushes that don’t cost a fortune.

essence lash and brow gel mascara & Catrice Velvet Matt Eyeshadow in 030 Jump up and Brown…

essence lash and brow gel mascara & Catrice Velvet Matt Eyeshadow in 030 Jump up and Brown...
essence lash and brow gel mascara & Catrice Velvet Matt Eyeshadow in 030 Jump up and Brown… (discontinued)

I’m hoping that whatever Catrice replaces the Velvet Matt Eyeshadows with is really good, because it’s a shame that they’re gone now – even though I got mine for 50% off. When I was playing around with them, I realize that Jump up and Brown… looked like it might work well as a soft eyebrow powder.

Catrice Velvet Matt Eyeshadow in 030 Jump up and Brown...
Catrice Velvet Matt Eyeshadow in 030 Jump up and Brown… (discontinued)

If you have it, you might give it a try. It works well as one of those universally flattering taupe colors, but you have to watch out for fallout when you use it in your brows. I don’t notice much when I apply it to my eyelids, but if I’m not careful when putting it in my brows, it can end up on my face. That’s why you see the clear gel paired with it here. I found that my clear gel mascara from essence does a good job of keeping the color in place and keeping my eyebrows from looking powdery. It’s a great combo, even though you can already see how the eyeshadow is discoloring the mascara in the picture above. I haven’t noticed a change in performance, and pretty much any colored product I use on my brows before apply the mascara transfers in.

Those were my favorite for January! Do you have any suggestions I should try this month? Leave them below!


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

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