Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Summer Beauty Haul Giveaway

It's been a while since I've had a giveaway on this blog, but get excited because I'm participating in a few over the next few weeks! First up, the summer beauty haul giveaway!

Birchbox Unveiling (July 2014)

July 2014

This month's Birchbox theme was Power Up in partnership with Women's Health. They put together some great tips on how to engage in healthier habits and are even hosting a contest to win a trip to New York! But now, time for the fun part--my box.

Sunday, July 20, 2014


Let's #ShareBeauty. I'm not talking about eyeshadow palettes and makeup tips--I'm talking about stories.

I love traveling and experimenting with makeup and beauty products, but it wasn't always that way. Well, I've always loved traveling--but I didn't cultivate an interest in beauty, makeup, and skincare until I spent last summer in France.

French women really do have this certain je ne sais quoi about them. Their makeup is simple yet chic, and they all have flawless skin. Before France, the most I ever did to my skin was put on my nightly acne medications and slather on some lotion if my skin felt dry. I never conditioned my hair, either--it took too much time. (I hate showering, and I always want to be out of the shower as quickly as possible.) Now, I have an elaborate skincare routine (I just bought this Kiehl's set and can't wait to start using it!), wear sunscreen on a daily basis, and care about anti-aging prevention. I condition my hair, use argan oil in it, and wear heat protector. And I don't even think about leaving the house without wearing lipstick or lip stain.

It doesn't take a lot of makeup to make me feel beautiful--just glowing skin (thanks to my skincare routine), shiny hair, and a dash of red lipstick. And I can't wait to see how this interest grows as I prepare to spend the upcoming year in France!

Similar to how my time in France inspired my beauty routine, the girl in this video uses her skills to inspire an entire city. Take a look:

What makes you feel beautiful? I'd love to read your responses in the comments below!

Also, don't forget to enter the #ShareBeautyContest! This contest is presented by Regency Beauty Institute and Refinery 29, and you could win a beauty treatment valued at $2000. Click here to see contest details and learn how you can enter!

Full disclosure: This post was sponsored by Regency Beauty Institute, but all content and opinions are my own.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

AH, the Nordstrom Sale began yesterday (well, at least for us plebeians without a Nordstrom card)!

Today, my mom and I set out to find some great new pieces for fall. I think we succeeded! Here's what I got: 

(Side note: I got the Caslon tunic in dark grey, the BP cardigan in black, and the Halogen wallet in dark grey.)

I also opened up a Nordstrom debit-card account, so I'm officially a Nordstrom card holder! This means that I earn points on purchases, am eligible for rewards, and get early access to the Anniversary Sale as long as I have the card. And since I spent over $100 on the day I opened it (today), I'll receive a $20 Nordstrom gift card!

I'm definitely the most excited about the Kiehl's Powerful Wrinkle Reducing Set. It comes with a full-sized Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate, Powerful Wrinkle Reducing Cream, and Powerful Wrinkle Reducing Eye Cream, as well as deluxe samples of the Midnight Recovery Concentrate and Ultra Facial Cleanser, in a cute Kiehl's-themed makeup bag. And the gifts with purchase were just wonderful--a full-sized Ultra Facial Cleanser ($19 value), a Nordstrom makeup bag, and samples galore! After all that, I'd say that I received about $200 worth of products for the $105 that I paid.

Also, these leggings are the best ever. Lululemon style and fabric with a Gap price. Go buy them!

Here are some of my other picks from the sale that I'm not letting myself buy (would I rather have a necklace or a train ticket to Monaco?):

Did you shop at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale? Let me know what you got!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

A Bilingual Blog?

For a while now, I've been seriously thinking about writing this blog in both English and French (in a style similar to The Cherry Blossom Girl), as I write about France so much and will be moving there this fall. Before making such a big adjustment, though, I wanted my lovely readers' opinions! Please vote honestly, and I'll close the poll one week from today (July 24). Thank you so much in advance!

Should Wanderlust in the Midwest become an English/French bilingual blog?
pollcode.com free polls 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Best Multi-Use Beauty Products for Travel

Luggage space and weight are precious when traveling--I'd know this, as I had to pay about $100 in overweight fees when coming home from France last year. (Note to self: just buy a second suitcase while in France.) So when I saw this article on the Birchbox website, I knew I had to do a spin-off featuring my favorites! While I do plan on packing most of my makeup (I'll be gone for almost a year, after all), here are my favorites for shorter trips that are double--or even triple--duty.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Twenty Questions

I'm a little bored, so what better than playing 20 questions? I found this on Erica's blog, Work Love Laugh, and thought I'd give it a shot.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Next Stop: Châteauroux

After three months of waiting, I finally received my city assignment within Région Centre: Châteauroux!

The purple dot represents Paris, and the red dot represents Châteauroux.

Châteauroux is a medium-sized town with a population of about 46,000, and it's smack dab in the middle of France. It's located toward the south of Centre and in the department of Indre.

c/o Les Annuaires

Admittedly, it wasn't my first-choice city (I spent last summer in Tours), but it looks so quaint! Here's what I'm most excited about:
  • If my housing situation goes as planned, I'll only have to pay 185 € ($251) per month in rent (with my own bedroom!), and I'll be next door to a twice-weekly outdoor market. Less money for rent = way more money for traveling--especially if I get a government rent subsidy!
  • All of the public transportation is free!
  • Paris is only two hours away and only 30 € ($40) for a round trip. Toulouse is farther but the same price (depending on when you book).
  • Similarly, I can go to Tours or Orléans or anywhere else in the region for under 20 € ($27) per round trip.
  • There's a university, meaning tons of students and good nightlife.
  • The city has multiple outdoor markets--my favorite!
  • My mom and I followed the city's official Twitter and Instagram accounts and they immediately followed us back. :) They do #followforfollow if you're interested!

Unfortunately, I'm having trouble finding good photos of Châteauroux on the Internet, but I've rounded up some of my favorites (i.e., the prettiest photos that weren't copyrighted--thanks, Wikipedia!) in the slideshow below. And if you'd like more information about this city, you can visit the office of tourism's English-version website. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Guest Post on Cashmere Kangaroo

My friend Alex over at Cashmere Kangaroo is in the middle of her big move to Hawaii (!!), so I did a guest post about my top five cities in France besides Paris.

Curious about what they are? Go to her blog and check them out!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

How to Snag Cheap Air Travel

I'm reviving this guest post I did for Shane at Whispering Sweet Nothings, as I thought my readers would enjoy seeing how I travel so cheaply. Enjoy!

Every year, I make sure I travel. In past years, I've been to Philadelphia, Dallas, Boston, and even Marrakech, and this year I went to Austin, TX. Of course, airfare is ridiculously expensive, and my university-student budget doesn't have much room for such a luxury.

But if you spend enough time on the Internet, you can travel for almost nothing. With the help of Swagbucks, e-Miles, e-Rewards, and airline dining and shopping rewards programs, I pay less than $100 out of pocket for domestic round-trip airfare. Lucky for you, I'm going to teach you how it's done!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Best French Drugstore Beauty Brands

I leave on a one-way ticket to Paris in two-and-a-half months (September 22!), but it seems like it's forever away.

Believe it or not, I've only very recently gotten into beauty and skincare. I was in France exactly a year ago, yet I didn't even set foot into a French pharmacy, where all of the great skincare and haircare products are sold. (FYI--French pharmacies are nothing like here. They sell some skincare, haircare, and OTC products and they fill prescriptions. Nothing like CVS or Walgreen's.)

You can buy all of these brands in the U.S. (just click on the photo!), but they're significantly cheaper in France, which is why I'm waiting. I'll give a couple of examples for each brand. So here are the brands about which I'm most excited!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

July Wish List

This month, I really just want lots of skincare products. Line reducer and body butter? Yes please! Let's not forget to accessorize...can you tell I have grad school on my mind? Also, the candle smells just like the ocean (i.e., best scent ever) and it only costs $11.95. I might just have to buy it!