Beauty Tips for Girls Coming to Espana

So it’s been awhile, am I right? I’m much better at instagramming pictures than I am blogging. Anyways, today I was thinking about all the beauty struggles I’ve gone through in Spain and I wanted to write a post for future auxiliares or girls living in Spain with some tips. Some of the tips might seem obvious to people who have been living in Spain, but I mean, just the fact that Spain doesn’t have Walgreens or CVS’s that are open 24 hours a day was enough to throw me for a loop in the beginning. So here was go:

click for source

1. Shampoo/conditioner/normal products can be found at your local grocery store. Check there for things before going to Corte Ingles or a beauty specific store (perfumerias) because it’s cheaper.

2. Buy your hair dye in the USA and bring it over. The hair dyes over here are different. For example, I love Garnier hair dye products, but in Spain they have a different line of products that aren’t semi-permanent and are just completely different.

3. Don’t get blonde highlights over here. They don’t understand toning. I had yellow hair when I got my hair highlighted here because they didn’t tone it. Thankfully, I met an American girl who does hair over here, so she’s been doing my hair and understands how to do natural blonde highlights, not yellow brassy ones.

4. If you can’t find it, go to Corte Ingles or Sephora. 

5. You are going to have to try new brands. I love Jergans natural glow lotion, but they don’t carry it here. So, I just decided to try a different brand and it was fine.

6. Pay attention during tv commercials and read spanish beauty magazines. Just watching tv and seeing commercials, I learn about products. Off the topic of beauty, I’ve been DYING for greek yogurt similar to Chobani. I was watching TV the other day and there was a commercial for yogurt with 2x the protein in different flavors called Dani (made by Danon), but I was like YES FINALLY THE AMERICAN VERSION OF GREEK YOGURT. Next thing I knew, I was in Eroski and there it was! Don’t make the rookie mistake of thinking “Griego” yogurt is American greek yogurt, because it definitely is not. It’s gross and runny and pretty bad for you.

7. Bring powder deodorant and dry shampoo from the USA. Also, the only face wash choice I have over here is Clean & Clear, and there’s barely a selection. I haven’t seen Neutrogena or Cetaphil products (my go to at home) anywhere, so if you are really particular about your face products, I suggest bringing them from the USA. 

8. Buy a straightener over here. When I first came over and was backpacking, I remember being super excited to be in Ireland and was getting ready to go out for the first night in Europe, so I needed to straighten my hair. Well, I plugged it in (with a plug adaptor) and started straightening my hair. Next thing I know, there is black smoke and it smells like my hair is burning. Thankfully, it was just the straightener and I didn’t end up like this girl…

But my wand does work over here! I use a plug adaptor with it, but for some reason it does. The brand is hot tools.

9. Primark and Chinos can have great beauty tools. I got some great eye shadow brushes, loofa and nail stuff from Primark and it’s super cheap. But I mean, you can’t buy foundation or mascara there and expect a good result.

10. Take advantage of the cheap waxing here. A brazilian wax is 14 euros. Enough said. 

Hope this helps for any chicas coming to Spain soon! :) Ask me if you have any other questions. I didn’t want to write too long of a post, but I could probably write 4x as much as a did here about beauty in Spain!

How To Learn Spanish Without A Textbook

When I moved to Spain, my spanish was awful. I’m not exaggerating when I say I didn’t even know how to say “nice to meet you” in a conversation (I had learned it but I didn’t remember). I had taken 3 years (6 months each year, so really 1.5 years) of Spanish in highschool and then a semester in college, but to be honest, it was all kind of a joke. I remember learning bits and pieces, like a few animals (perro, gato), a few irregular verbs (tengo, quiero) and the present tense (hablo, hablas, habla). Y ya esta. That was it.

So getting to Spain was a mild shock for me. Everybody always told me, “ohhh just by living in Spain, you’ll learn spanish. It’ll just take about 3 months.” Well, everyone was lying. Three months into living here and I felt like my Spanish wasn’t improving like I expected. Being an english teacher here means I spend my days speaking english. I have a group of fellow auxiliares and we all speak english together (LOVE YOU GUYS!). My roommate lived in the US for a year and has perfect english. I felt like I was living in an english speaking bubble in Spain and something needed to change! 

Once February rolled around, I was sick of myself not learning as much spanish as I liked. So I decided to make a few small changes that have really made a big difference these past 2 months. And the best part–I’m not sitting somewhere reading a textbook for hours! So here’s the changes I made:

1. Listen to all my music in spanish. ME ENCANTA LA MUSICA DE SHAKIRA!!! Her songs in spanish, in my opinion, are so much better than her english versions. She clearly writes the songs in spanish first, and then “translates” it to english. The translations over to english sometimes actually change the meanings of the songs (a little), and I’ve really enjoyed understanding her spanish versions of songs. Gitana (Gypsy) is one of my favorite songs in spanish, but in english, I don’t like it as much. My first song I learned in spanish was La Tortura…HIGHLY RECOMMEND. 

Anyways, first I listen to the song a few times and try to understand it. Then I listen to it while reading the LETRAS (lyrics). Any words/phrases I don’t understand, I translate and write. After I’m finished learning a song, it gets added to my running playlist and basically drilled into my head. Today, I learned the spanish version of Let It Go. In spanish it’s called Libre Soy which means I am free, so a little different than the english version, but still really fun to learn and a great song.

2. Read magazines in spanish. In my magazines, sometimes I use a pen and write translations and new words in them while reading. But reading magazines has always been fun for me, so I’ve enjoyed reading cosmo each month. And now, I know a lot of the makeup/beauty terminology in spanish which comes in handy when I find myself aimlessly wandering through Sephora and the beauty sections of stores here. Jajaja I’m such a girly-girl.

3. Listen to my students when they talk. With my young students, I learn so much!!! Since they’re only 4-6 years old, their vocabulary is very basic anyways and they aren’t speaking in slang (like my highschoolers) all the time. I teach 2 brothers, twice a week, and the older one is really good at english. I’ll explain something, and I let him translate to his brother if his brother doesn’t understand. At this point, I can obviously translate it too, but when I hear him translate it, it helps me know that he understands what I’m saying as well. Anyways, just listening to my younger students talk, especially when I teach vocabulary, has also helped me!

4. Talk. To. Everyone. Who. Will. Listen. But. Not. Abuelos. Basically, when I go places, I talk to people. I talk to people working there, ask questions, etc. At the grocery store I go to, I made a friend who works there and we always talk when I buy my groceries. Some abuelos (grandparents aka older people) are okay to talk to, but here in Pais Vasco (not sure how it is in the rest of Spain), I find the abuelos a little cynical and not very patient. So, I try to avoid speaking with them just to avoid both of us the struggle and headache.

Probably what abuelos are thinking when I try to talk to them… it says “in my times, the bathroom was for shit and not for taking pictures” hahaha. source

5. Watch tv/movies in spanish. So I’m not in full immersion with only watching tv/movies in spanish yet. I mean, I just started watching Pretty Little Liars on Netflix again, so I just can’t completely immerse myself yet. Maybe after I finish season 4 and find out who A is (judges self), I’ll only watch spanish tv/movies. Anyways, I’ve found it a lot more helpful to watch American movies that I’ve already seen, in spanish. Because I already know the plot line. I also always use sub titles and sit with my computer in front of me with google translate and any word I don’t know, I translate. At the end of the movie, I save the list of words on my computer and review the new vocabulary later!

6. Challenge yourself. The thing about being a native english speaker is, it is the universal language. A lot of people know english and will speak it to you. Here in Bilbao, less people know english than more international cities in Spain, but still a lot of people speak it. With that, I found myself being lazy. If someone knew english, I would just speak english. So I decided to start challenging myself. I told my roommate that we can only speak in english on the weekends, so the weeks, I only speak spanish. I also started speaking spanish with my coworkers, even if we are talking about lesson plans in english. I also actively listen everywhere I go, instead of passively being there. What I mean is when people talk on the metro, I try to listen to their conversations and understand what they’re saying.

Challenge yourself! source

Challenge yourself! source

But like all things in life, nothing worth having comes easily. And learning languages in no exception. It takes WORK to learn a new language. It’s not just going to happen overnight. But, in my opinion, the best way to learn something is to make it feel like you aren’t learning! I’ve made a few changes in things I already enjoy doing, like listening to music, talking to people, watching movies, and lately, I’ve been noticing the changes in my spanish. Now that I’m a teacher, I always tell my students LEARNING IS FUN, and the way I’m learning spanish has been great–sin libros aburrido.

**

How did you learn a second language? What is your favorite way to learn? 

Why Girls Should Be More Like Andi from The Bachelor

I wish I could be doing a WIAW post right now, but in short, my eating was awful yesterday. To give you an insight, this was my lunch, at 3pm, after teaching english all morning and skipping real lunch at 11:45 to teach a private lesson.

Sad excuse for a lunch, but I mean, it was really good? (Click for source)

The struggle was so real yesterday. SO REAL! But alas, I came home and iTunes had (finally) uploaded the latest episode of The Bachelor. The MOST SHOCKING episode yet.

My response every time I hear Chris Harrison say it is the most shocking episode of The Bachelor yet (click for source)

In my “About Me” on this blog, it says I have a passion for travel, life and health & wellness. There is one passion I have been hiding (from people who don’t know me personally) that I am ready to come clean about. I have a passion for The Bachelor. Yes, I know it is trashy reality television at its finest, but watch an episode and try to tell me it didn’t keep you entertained. I’ve seen every episode since the very first season. If I didn’t live in Spain right now, I would be live tweeting The Bachelor on Mondays and probably have lost about 50 twitter followers in the process.

This used to be me on Bachelor Mondays in the states (click for source)

Anyways, to recap, basically what happened this week is it is Fantasy Suite dates (where The Bachelor, Juan Pablo, and each remaining woman get the chance to spend the night together in the Fantasy Suite date and get to know each other better without the cameras). After deciding to “forgo their individual rooms” and spend the night in the fantasy suite date, the show cuts to the next morning when Andi says that the Fantasy Suite “turned into a nightmare for her.” QUE FUERTE! She explains she realized that Juan Pablo was basically just a really conceited and self centered person, as he never once asked her about herself, only talked about himself and kept name dropping. He even talked to her about his other overnight date with Clare. VENGA JUAN PABLO, VENGAAAA.

PREACH! (click for source)

In short, she had her Aha Moment. Lucky for her, she was on a TV show and the decision was easy. She decided to leave. And while I do love the drama of The Bachelor, I did really enjoy the message behind this episode. I think a lot of times, we have Aha Moments in life about a lot of things: careers, goals, interests, relationships, etc. But sometimes we don’t act on them. I personally think the hardest time to act on an Aha Moment is when you are in a relationship and I have so much respect for Andi for speaking her mind. I will admit that I’ve definitely stayed in relationships (or kept talking to somebody) even after I had my own Aha Moment just because I still had strong feelings for them. But, like Andi, I’ve learned that people will eventually show their true colors and if it feels like they aren’t asking about you or don’t know much about you, it’s because they really don’t care.

It’s ironic how this is one of my favorite scenes from The Bachelor ever, as it has no romance, no fancy date, no Arie kisses, no adorable elephant riding into the sunset or no tear-jerking proposal. While it doesn’t have the usual storylines I’m used to seeing, this scene has love. Self love. It takes someone who truly knows, respects and, most importantly, loves themselves to do what Andi did. I hope that after seeing this episode, that is what women take from it. Not that Andi is dumb for leaving the hot, latino Juan Pablo; but that she is smart, empowered and inspirational for doing what she did, and to always respect and love yourself first. 

LOVE YOURSELF FIRST, LADIES! (click for source)

**

Thoughts on The Bachelor this season? Have you ever changed your life or made a big decision after having an Aha Moment?

A Day In Tuscany

click for source

click for source

When it rains in Bilbao, I always let my mind wander. Today, my mind has been in one place, and one place only: Tuscany.

Picture 80

During my Eurotrip last May and June, I spent a little over a week in Italy, visiting Venice, Florence, Cinque Terre and Rome. We stayed in Florence for a few nights and decided to do a day trip to the Tuscan vineyards. BEST DECISION EVER.

View of Florence from Tuscany

View of Florence from Tuscany

We made a last minute decision and booked a day trip through Tuscany Bike Tours.

I remember taking this picture with our helmets on to prove that we rode bikes....lol

I remember taking this picture with our helmets on to prove that we rode bikes….lol

I remember sitting in our hostel in Venice (the city we visited before Florence) and just deciding to book a tour. For booking small tours or day trips, I would always recommend to wait until you are in Europe or in the specific city before you book them. Lots of hostels offer day tours or have a wall of brochures for every day tour imaginable, that you probably wouldn’t find through a google search. We booked day tours for the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland, Stonehenge in Great Britain and Tuscany in Italy while we were in Europe. I know this might seem like a bad idea, but trust me, when you travel plans change and you want to have flexibility without feeling like you HAVE to go on a certain tour because you dropped 80 euros for it. For other tips on planning a Eurotrip, check out my blog post: How To Plan Your First Eurotrip.

Picture 81

Anyways, the Tuscany Bike Tour included shuttle to/from Florence, bike/helmet rental, guided tour through vineyards, villas and olive groves of Tuscany, tour of a wine cellar, tasting of Tuscan wine and Tuscan olive oil, meal at a family run restaurant near the vineyard, which was amazing.

Wine cellar

Wine cellar

The guys who led the tour were awesome and I would recommend this day trip to anyone who likes wine, exploring, vineyards, pretty scenery, riding bikes and TUSCANY!

Classic Italy

Classic Italy

My favorite part of the tour was tasting the wine and getting a nice buzz during the day then riding through the hills of Tuscany.

Olive groves

Olive groves

Visiting the old castle and wine cellars weren’t bad either.

Picture 87

Basically, if you are in Italy, anywhere near Tuscany, GO. If you are thinking about traveling to Italy, add Tuscany to your list. It was one of my trip highlights and my favorite thing I did while I was in Italy. Tuscany is one of those naturally beautiful places. It doesn’t have the fanciest architecture or big cathedrals everywhere, it has rolling hills of vineyards and olive groves. And to me, the natural beauty and simplicity of Tuscany is prettier than a lot of cities I’ve visited in Europe.

**

Have you been to Tuscany? Do you prefer places with more natural beauty or more architecture? 

What I’m Loving This Week

Hey it’s the weekend! Yay! 

So here’s a few things I’m loving this week:

1. That I’m currently in Salamanca for a sexy valentines day weekend with my lover Taylor (okay, it’s actually a girls weekend). Follow my Instagram or Twitter (both @wanderlustkait) for live updates on the trip if you want! I always update those while I’m traveling with pictures! 

2. That two of my adorable younger students thought American money had penguins in the middle after I taught a lesson about shopping and we used this as money:

Picture 34

3. This mug. It doesn’t need words. It didn’t need an Instagram filter. It’s that cute.

Wait did I just post a picture of a mug? #postgradproblems

Wait, did I just post a picture of a mug? #postgradproblems

4. The fact that I feel the need to post a selfie on this blog to show you how big the cute mug is, by comparing it to the size of my face. I JUST WANTED EVERYONE TO KNOW IT WAS AN OVERSIZED ROUND MUG AND THAT’S WHY IT’S CUTE. This picture was taken after a workout, so please don’t judge my lack of makeup or hair.

But really, don't judge my hair.

But really, don’t judge my hair.

5. Discovering pink quinoa (will post recipe soon!). Food is always better pink, AMIRIGHT

Picture 39

6. Cosmo Magazine. Also, that it came with a free BB cream. I’m excited to try it out! I love trying new make up, but I will say, I’m a die hard for Aveda face products.

Picture 37

7. Strawberries. They are everywhere in the supermarkets and super cheap. Nommmssss.

HELLO VITAMIN C AND ANTIOXIDANTS!

HELLO VITAMIN C AND ANTIOXIDANTS!

8. That I saw this view while walking home from work the other night. I love old architecture by new buildings. This building is the Iberdrola Tower and is a famous building in Bilbao. It is actually the only high-rise in the city. Bilbao doesn’t have a skyline full of buildings, so this building really stands out, especially at night when you walk along the Nervión river (the river that runs from the Bay of Biscay through Bilbao). The Basques love to talk about it too, as it’s only two years old and a new addition to Bilbao.

Picture 38

9. That this happened: I taught Valentine’s day puns this week in class (shout out to Jenny for giving me the idea!). This one went over realllllly well with a group of 9 year old boys:

Picture 33

Bad judgement on my part…. “KEITLANNN, what are buns?” -student *clicks to next slide to avoid talking about this with a group of 9 year old boys* “NO GO BACK PLEASE, ohhhh jajajjajaja I know what are buns” -student *whispers to friends in spanish what buns are, everyone laughs*

10. This song.

And that’s it! How are you guys? What are some things you’re loving this week? 

How To Battle Homesickness Abroad

Picture 23

Hi lovies!

Happy Friday! I’m currently on my way to Salamanca for the weekend, but I wanted to share this blog post (side note: follow my Instagram or Twitter (both @wanderlustkait) for updates during my Salamanca trip! I always post pictures while I’m traveling!). So I wrote a post a few months ago about The Spain Struggle and cultural adaptation, so this is kind of Part II in the series. Now that I’ve had my fair share of culture adaptation and homesickness, I think I’ve finally figured out the key to beating it. I’m going to be completely honest when I say coming back to Spain after spending the holidays in the USA was harder than the first time I left. The travel itself was easier because I knew what to expect when I got here, but leaving my family, friends and Ohio was just a lot harder the second time around. Now I’ve been back for about a month and a half and while it might be that I have readjusted to the culture, I think there is one thing I’m doing a lot different than when I arrived in Spain in September that is making all the difference.

Instead of missing things about home, I am making Bilbao my home.

It’s as simple as that. Instead of missing everything about the USA, I am embracing more things about Spain. I also am beginning to realize that a lot of the things I was missing, I just needed to look a little harder for. For example, my little sister, Emily. It turns out she was living a few pisos down and I just wasn’t looking hard enough. JUST KIDDING. But little things like peanut butter, a yoga mat, a cafe that has to-go soy lattes, indulging in watching #TheBachelor, etc (so many #whitegirlproblems necessities). So if you’re abroad, lonely, homesick and reading this, here’s some simple instructions to get you started. First, leave you house. Go out and get something that reminds you of home. Anything. A book, music, a coffee, a candle, a food. Second, start building your own home in your current city. For me, investing in things that make me feel more at home, are actually turning Bilbao into more of a home for me. And lately, despite all the rain, Bilbao has been growing on me (I can’t believe I just said that!).

I think it’s important for people to remember that when you move abroad, you don’t have to lose yourself. I know all those pinterest quotes are like “LEAVE YOUR IDENTITY BEHIND AND JUST LOSE YOURSELF IN THE TREES AND GRASS OF EVERY CONTINENT AND BECOME ONE WITH THE WIND AND NEVER LOOK BACK” or something, but in all honestly, I think that’s far from the truth (And yes, I’ve probably pinned every single one of those quotes, in case you were wondering). I think the key to battling homesickness is bringing elements of home to you. And I’ve found, the more home I bring to me, the less I feel like I need it, and the more I can truly embrace living in Spain. 

**Note: A close second for the key to battling homesickness was giving someone a hug. Not even kidding. Hug it out. It helps. 

**

Have you ever been homesick while being abroad (or just away from home)? What do you think helps battle homesickness the most? 

My Other Passion

So obviously, if you’re reading this (all five of you), you know that traveling is one of my passions. But I’ve always had another passion in my life: nutrition, health & wellness (okay that’s three things, but you get it). I studied nutrition and psychology in college, and even wrote a thesis about nutrition in school lunch rooms my senior year. Lately, I’ve been missing nutrition, so to make up for missing it, I’ve been reincorporating it into my life in different ways than I did when I studied in college. I’m sure my five readers right now are wondering, “How??”. By cooking with whole foods, exploring new recipes, exercising more, lifting heavy things (me, weightlifting? I know…), reading (small) books about wellness (in spanish), etc.

So what does this mean? Well, I’ve been posting a lot of pictures on my Instagram lately of things I’m cooking and have received a good response (aka lots of HEARTS…love you guys muah, besos!), so now I want to start blogging about nutrition, health & wellness as well as travel.

I’m sure other people who live in Spain or have moved abroad can relate to me when I say eating healthy abroad can be a challenge. It can be challenging for a multitude of reasons and I found it especially challenging my first few months here. The grocery stores here don’t have the same foods and it’s all in a different language. You don’t think it will be a problem until you’re in the grocery store and you realize you have no idea what “flour” is in spanish and there are a bunch of bags that look like they could contain flour, but to your knowledge, you could be buying a bag of something completely different. Or even when you know the word, but the translation isn’t correct. For example, the other day I was looking for cocoa powder (cacao en polvo) and the lady took me to  Cola Coa, which is basically Nesquick and also what all the ninos here live off (literally all the ninos have blood type: Cola Coa). I explained that it was for cakes (posteria) but she just had no idea what I was talking about.

One food that I have missed in Spain is Kashi products. In college, I lived off Kashi granola bars, but here they don’t have a wide selection and the ingredient list on them is LONG. Ingredient lists shouldn’t be long. The general rule for ingredient lists is, the longer they are, the more processed and unhealthy they are. So, after months of missing my beloved Kashi TLC Trail Mix granola bars, I decided to try making my own….So here it is, my first recipe on wanderlustkait!! Ahh!!

Picture 17

Ingredients: 1/2 c honey, 1/2 c peanut butter, 1 c museli with dried fruit/nuts
[Spain readers: I got the peanut butter and museli at Lidl (2.5 euros). You can also buy peanut butter at Corte Ingles Supermercado (4.5 euros), but it’s more expensive]

Picture 19

Prep time: 5 minutes | Ready in: 30 minutes

Picture 20

Directions:

  1. Microwave peanut butter and honey in a bowl for 20 seconds
  2. Mix peanut butter and honey to make a uniform consistency
  3. Mix in museli
  4. In a pan or square shaped tupperware that is greased (you can use cooking spray, or if you live in Spain and haven’t found it, I just put a little oil on a paper towel and spread it in a tupperware), add the mixture
  5. Flatten the mixture with a spoon so that when you cut it, it will look like granola bars
  6. Place pan or tupperware in freezer for 30 minutes
  7. Cut & enjoy!

**Note: I stored these in the fridge after freezing them first

Nutrition facts: 6 servings, 1 serving contains:
266 kCal | 10.8g fat | 40.5 g carbohydrates | 3 g dietary fiber | 6.8 g protein
**Note: you could cut them smaller to lesson calories, etc.

Picture 18

Thoughts: They turned out really well and definitely hit the craving I had for a good, granola bar. They were really sweet!! So, if you have a sweet tooth, these are for you. I think next time, I might try less honey and more nut butter. The crunchiness of the museli and dried fruit/nuts reminded me of the Kashi TLC Bar, but the honey and peanut butter base gave the bar a softness that reminded me of a Cliff Bar. So I would say these are a mix between Kashi TLC Trail Mix Bars and Cliff Peanut Butter Crunch Bars. The nutrition facts are similar to cliff bars. I ate one of these before doing a long run and it fueled me well for the run. The sugar carbohydrates from honey are simple carbohydrates and available quickly for energy, which makes these good for a pre workout snack. They would be good for breakfast on the go as well! 

I’m excited to make different variations of granola bars now that I have a basic recipe. I hope you enjoyed my first nutrition/food post! If you make this recipe, let me know how it turns out and your thoughts!

**

What is your favorite kind of granola bar? What is your go-to breakfast on the go food?