8 American Stores that Ship Internationally, Where to Shop as an Expat

 

Ah, shopping. It is certainly one of my favorite past times. I love walking around a mall, seeing all the window displays (especially around the holidays) and finding new trends. Living in Germany has changed my passion for shopping for clothes because it took me a while to find stores that fit my style here and, honestly, most things are too expensive for what you get.

Of course, there are stores like H&M and Zara, but I’ve always found these stores don’t fit me the best. I walk in, have a huge pile of clothes and then none of them fit. It became so frustrating that I just stopped going and pretty much stopped shopping all together. I decided that I would pretty much save shopping for when I go back to the States, save for a sweater here and there when I was desperate.

Then, as I was browsing the Nordstrom website for some Christmas presents, I found that there was a pop-up that recognized that I was in Germany and directed me to the German page where the prices were displayed in Euros and that international shipping was possible. Queue my hooray face!! I do my best not to online shop too frequently but when I do want something, I’ve discovered a whole new world of online, American stores that do international shipping and sometimes for free!

Missing the conveniences of home are the hardest part of living abroad and I wish I had a “cheat sheet” like this to show me that some of my favorite stores would ship to me internationally. I have taken advantage of some and definitely perused all of them. If you live abroad, I hope this helps bring a piece of home to your doorstep.

Gap // All Gap, Inc. brands (Athleta, Banana Republic, Gap and Old Navy) ship internationally. All the tariffs and duties are included in the shipping price and the goods are insured, so if you run into a problem, you’re covered. I haven’t shopped at Athleta, but now that I know it’s an option to ship here, I think it’s time to invest in some new work out pieces!

J.Crew // Preppy pieces aren’t super popular in Germany, maybe in England, but definitely not here. I would describe my style as classic & preppy with a twist and J.Crew has been a staple store for the longest time. You can get express, international shipping, but it will definitely cost you! The good news is that everything is paid for upfront and you will get everything in 11 days.

Madewell // My friends swear by Madewell denim and I have a dress that I love from there. When I want to invest in a new jean jacket, which should be soon, I will definitely be browsing this store. Plus, there’s free shipping on orders 250 Euro and more.

Nordstrom // Is there anything quite like the Nordstrom shoe department? I think not. I love Nordstrom for everything, work out clothes, shoes, purses, jewelry, jeans, tops, sweaters, everything! I especially love the return policy, which is very similar for international orders. They don’t, however, offer free international shipping, but most orders arrive within 5 – 13 days of your order.

Neiman Marcus // Admittedly, I’ve only shopped here once, but this store has quality pieces that will last forever. And if it’s ever time to invest in some great shoes or purse, I know where to go! Shipping costs are extra, but everything is payed for up front. You won’t have to go visit the Zoll (customs) to pay for taxes or any other fees. You can even pay in your desired currency!

Lululemon // And the winner for international shopping goes to Lululemon because standard shipping is free and arrives in 3 – 5 days! Is there anything better than that? BRB, I’m going to go buy some new running crops.

Saks Fifth Avenue // Right after I graduated high school, my mom and I were in downtown Cincinnati and I really needed to go to the bathroom. Per usual. We ducked into Saks, went to the bathroom and I found the most perfect pair of Kate Spade black pumps. The perfect ones. On sale for $100. Ever since, I’ve stalked their sales and found some really good deals. And now I still do it just in case I find a great price for a great brand.

thred up // I have seen thred up all over other blogs and am really intrigued by the store. It’s all online and offers pre-loved clothes from top brands. The prices are incredible and you can sort by your size and store. I haven’t bit the bullet yet and shopped here but I’ve only heard great things. You might have to pay for some custom taxes and there’s no free shipping, but it probably doesn’t matter because there are skirts and dresses for like $40 from top brands like Banana Republic, J. Crew and Ann Taylor.

Happy Shopping!

Where do you like to shop online? What’s one store that would devastate you if they didn’t ship to your house?

American Clothing Stores that Ship Internationally, Where to Shop as an Expat

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Learning German Update

 

It’s been quite a while since I did an update on what it’s like to learn German. Last week I finished my A2 book, which feels like such an accomplishment. For reference, foreign language levels go from A1 – C2 or beginner to fluent. My goal for our time living in Germany is to complete B1 because that’s the level where you can have conversations, can legally work and can legally stay in Germany as a foreigner.

I’ve been upping my studying game recently and wanted to share some tips that have really worked for me. If you’ve ever learned another language, I would love to hear what tips you have. Leave me a comment below.

I now have three different notebooks surrounding German studying. I have one for grammar, one for vocabulary and one for homework and exercises. I really like the vocabulary notebook instead of notecards because it doesn’t take up as much space and it’s easier to flip through while watching tv or taking a coffee break at work. I did like flash cards in the beginning because I was at home all the time, but now that I’m working and on the go a lot more, I like being able to grab the notebook and being able to flip through it when I have a second.

Finding online worksheets, especially for pronouns and other grammar topics, has definitely helped. I found several websites that offer free or donation-based worksheets for all sorts of different topics and the sites also have the answers. (I love this site). I write out the full worksheet into my notebook and then write my answers. It takes longer but writing the words and sentences helps my comprehension. Pronouns are the hardest part of German for me and I really need the practice. There’s also a lot of information on Pinterest, which I never would have thought. Practice makes perfect, right?

Speaking more with coworkers and friends. Vinn and I try to speak German as much as possible at home. Admittedly, we could do this a lot more but sometimes at the end of a long day, the last thing we want to do is keep our brains turned on and thinking in German. Speaking is the quickest way to learn to a language, I’ve learned. Once I got over the fear of sounding stupid, my German knowledge actually grew.

 

If  you could learn a new language, what language would you pick? If you have learned another language, what tips do you have?

 

Learning German isn't Easy, Here are some tips that have helped me

 

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American Household Products I Miss

 

In today’s edition of things I miss from America, I’m sharing all of the household products that I prefer in the USA compared to Germany. The products in Germany are healthier and not as toxic as the products in America because the European standards for products are higher but there are some things that I like better from the States.

I would also categorize myself as a neat freak/control freak/perfectionist, so not having some of these has been a big adjustment. If you know of any products that are similar to these that are available in Germany, I’d love to hear them!

*This post contains affiliate links.*

Clorox Wipes

I used to wipe down our bathroom and kitchen countertops every single day with Clorox wipes. They are so easy and quick to use that make cleaning not as much of a chore. I love the convenience of the wipes, too, because you only need one thing. You don’t have to spray anything, then use a paper towel. It’s super lazy but keeps the countertops clean during the week until I deep clean. Germany doesn’t love wipes in general because it produces a lot of waste, which is true, but sometimes I wish I had them for quick cleaning.

Shark Vacuum

I am just going to say it, I hate my vacuum here in Germany. We bought it from another expat couple who was moving back to America, which is so nice, but there isn’t a big enough surface area to pick up all the dust and crumbs off the floor. I loved our Shark vacuum that we actually received as a wedding present and I miss it so much. It is seriously the best vacuum around because it is super lightweight, has lots of attachments to get into corners, easily transitions from carpet to hardwoods and does a fantastic job in a short period of time.

Anthropologie Candles

This one isn’t necessarily a household product but I really miss those big candles that just smell amazing. The candles here aren’t as potent, if you will, and don’t last as long. I used to light candles every single night in the States and I’ve gotten away from that habit here. There’s no Anthropologie or Bath and Body Works and I have yet to find some comparable candles.

Queen Sheets 

Queen size mattresses just aren’t a thing in Europe. We brought our mattress with us and thank goodness we did. It’s a pillow top and the most comfortable thing in the world. The problem is that we can’t buy queen sheets anywhere. We brought one pair with us thinking we could just buy another pair once we moved, but we haven’t yet! We haven’t really run into a problem, it’s just that I have to wash them and put them back on in the same day. New queen sheets are definitely on my list of things to buy when we go back to the States for Christmas.

Ziplock Baggies

The plastic here in Germany isn’t the same when it comes to baggies. I have found some here but only in quart size, which are way too big for every day use. I wish I could just go to Costco and get the lifetime supply of Ziplock sandwich baggies. I definitely use more containers here, which I suppose is a good thing, but sometimes I just want some baggies!

Tin Foil 

Last but not least, I miss tin foil. Tin foil exists but it’s not as thick and definitely not Reynolds Wrap. It almost feels waxy here, not as sturdy and not as popular. I can’t really explain the differences but I just don’t seem to like the tin foil here. The box isn’t as nice either and it is super difficult to cut the foil. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve cut myself from trying to rip the foil off the “cutter.”

These products are trivial and don’t make or break having a good or bad day, but sometimes I really wish I could swing by Target and grab everything on this list in one fell swoop. Oh, that would be so nice. But, it’s an experience and I’m adjusting.

What are your favorite household products?

 

Living abroad is amazing, but I miss some household products from the USA

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Watching American TV Abroad

 

Admittedly, I love TV. I have an addiction to the Real Housewives of most cities and have seen the majority of the seasons at least once. We cut cable in Michigan about a year before we moved to Germany but we had Netflix and Hulu. I was able to watch the majority of shows I wanted to watch and didn’t really miss cable.

Add in an international move and I immediately started to miss cable and tv in general. We decided not to get German cable in an effort to save money. Of course, we are traveling quite a bit and not spending all of our time inside watching tv, but there are definitely Sundays spent on the couch relaxing and nights after work where binge watching something is all my brain can handle.

So, how do we watch American tv while living in Germany?

*This post contains affiliate links.*

It’s simple: Netflix and iTunes.

Netflix is the easiest option because 1) it is still paid via our US bank account and 2) I didn’t have to do anything to update our account, our Apple TV just knows we are in Germany based on our IP address. Netflix also works in other countries the same way. The only issue is that many shows on US Netflix are not available on German Netflix. Germany requires steep taxes for movie and tv production companies, so many shows do not want to pay. There’s no 30 Rock or Parks and Recreation, which is a big bummer, but we have other shows that we probably wouldn’t have watched, like Suits. Netflix also has lots of German shows, too, so it helps with learning German, too.

iTunes is really how I watch the majority of my tv and that’s because it’s how I can watch my housewives shows. Shout out to my dad for Apple Family Plan! I really don’t think I could have survived without it. It’s a taste of home and the perfect background noise. I just started rematching season 3 and 4 of New Jersey and, man, did I forget how awesome these seasons were!

I have some friends who also watch things on Amazon but I have no experience with that. My sister has Amazon Prime and she absolutely loves it. Not sure if it makes sense to have Netflix, Hulu and Amazon, but we will cross that bridge when we get to it once we move back.

Other people we know have a VPN that allows them to watch cable from an American tv. Here’s an article on how to set up a VPN but I find it too complicated and don’t want to put in the effort to figure this out. It seems like a lot of work to just watch This is Us. 

I’d love to know what you are watching now. Leave me a comment down below! 

 

How to watch your favorite American tv shows in Germany

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When The World Sucks

 

The news has been terrible lately. Terribly sad. Terribly upsetting. Terribly confusing. I can’t believe a lot of the news stories I’m reading about the Las Vegas shooting, about the unrest in Barcelona and how Americans don’t seem to be pulling together, but rather ripping each other apart. No matter your political affiliation, I think (hope) we can all agree that the state of the world is not positive and things need to change. And they should change sooner rather than later.

But I, like others, feel stuck and don’t know what to do. Sure, I could look up my Congress representative (which state do I look up if I’m living in Germany, I don’t know) or sign a petition, but that doesn’t seem like enough. I honestly don’t know what to do. I just know that I should continue to live my best life, to make changes at home for a better future, to keep a smile on my face and to focus on the positive things. I do believe that we should focus on the things we can change, like our attitudes, our opinions, our willingness to change and what news we read or watch.

Sometimes when the world sucks, I find myself leaning into silly things that make me happy, like the housewives, funny memes, entertainment stories and long walks with the dog listening to a silly podcast.

 

I hope this blog helps bring some sunshine to your day because that’s what I want it to be. But I just wanted to share some thoughts on the horrific news about Las Vegas. My thoughts and prayers are with those affected.

What do you do when the world seems to come crashing down?

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