Friday, August 8, 2014

The Hauling Begins: Barcelona and shopping in Spain

In case you haven't noticed, I've been in Spain recently.  In case you also haven't noticed, I like to shop.  So when I combine the two together, surely some magic has to happen.

I actually wasn't planning on buying too much, but of course things never go as planned.  While wandering through all these streets, I came upon so many nice stores and found some unexpected items that I absolutely love.

The first, and probably most treasured purchase of this trip was this black bag from a small boutique in Barcelona.  It was pretty much love at first sight with the large slouchy, but also slightly structured shape, and brown handles.  And although it is not real leather, it is still a soft buttery material.  I have been looking for a new tote bag for awhile, but did not expect to find it while I was in Barcelona at all, so I'm pretty happy with this purchase...but that's not even the best part.

It's actually three bags.  Yep.  There's a smaller bag inside that can be used as a shoulder bag (and also has become an essential for me), and there's also an even smaller wristlet/coin purse.  All for 40 Euros.  There was no way I wasn't buying this.

I'm really impressed with the quality, and I can fit my laptop (14'') plus everything I else I need for the day and I usually still have tons of space left.  I have been using it like crazy since it's really the only bag I have right now.  

This is just the beginning.  Read after the jump for more shopping!

Next are these beauties:

 What is a trip to Spain without some espadrilles?
One of the most famous "local" shops in Barcelona has to be La Manual Asparagata.  The owner still hand makes all the espadrilles, and there are so many different varieties to what he makes!  I knew before I even left the US that I wanted to get a pair, especially since they seem to be popping up in every store I see.  I was tempted to get a pair before I even left, but couldn't stomach paying the $30-50 that I've been seeing around.

Instead, I only paid €11 for these basic espadrilles, and was treated with amazing customer service as I was picking them out.  Although not everyone in the shop speaks English, I was able to get by with knowing my size and color.  The woman helping me was extremely attentive, finding different colors for me and giving me multiple sizes to try until I found the perfect one.

One thing I should note - it gets really crazy in there.  It's not a very large shop, and the first time I stopped by, it was so crowded that I got overwhelmed and left. I returned a couple days later in the evening, and there were much less people around.  The people working in the shop will not pay any attention to you until your number is called, but once they're ready, they really only focus on you.

It was just a really pleasant experience.  Even if it has become a little saturated with tourists, it feels good knowing that the owner still makes all the shoes by hand and doesn't try to jack up the prices to ridiculous amounts.  I ended up getting a pair in this dark pink for myself and also a pair for my mom!

And because I couldn't resist stopping by Zara and H&M to check out their sales....

I couldn't actually find much stuff in Zara that 1) fit me well and 2) still wasn't overpriced in my opinion.  Instead, I found some great basics that were miraculously dirt cheap.

This top was 4, a complete steal for a basic top that I've been wearing the heck out of it.  First of all, I was drawn in by the color.  It looks like a basic grey in the pictures, but it actually has some warm mauve tone to it that makes me think of it as more a concrete or taupe shade. Then I fell in love with the silhouette - it has spaghetti straps and is backless with the exception of a horizontal strap in the back.  The material is also incredibly soft, light, and comfortable so even though it's not tottallly appropriate for everyday wear unless I have a bandeau (which I don't right now), I've still been making it work.  I've worn it to the beach with a bikini and underneath other loose airy tops.  It's so light that it barely feels like I'm wearing anything, and I'm obsessed with anything backless right now.

 These pants were the real steal.  I was kind of stumbling around Zara, unimpressed with most of their offerings, and unable to find my size in the few things I did like, when I happened upon these pair of pants: 

....for 5,99.  It was a size large, but since I tend to size up on these jogger type pants anyway, I decided to try them on.  They are indeed a liiitle too large in the waist, but the legs provide the perfect look that I want. It's not really a big issue, but I may add a tighter elastic in the waistband, or see if I can add a drawstring into it as well.  

I could hardly believe that they were as cheap as they were, but I tried to buy them anyway.  When the cashier went to rang them up, I kept this ominous error beep, and I started thinking "...Oh no, they're gonna actually be like €60 or something..."  She tried to explain what was happening to me, but I didn't understand how fast she was speaking (in Catalan), so I thought at first that it was the wrong price.  Then she realized that my face was totally blank, realizing I didn't really understand, so she finally went to find someone that could speak English to me.  It took a few minutes.  Leaving me thinking I should just bail and give up altogether...but finally another associate appeared and explained to me in English ---- that these were final sale.  I almost laughed with relief.  And happily purchased them anyway, because I knew that there was no way I was going to return these.

What I love the most is the subtle leather detailing on the trim.  It adds something a little interesting outside of a pair of plain black joggers.

 On the theme of strappy black tops, I also stumbled on this for3 (!!!!) at H&M.  I love the delicate straps, as well as the print of the top.  Since the smaller sizes were out of stock, I ended up with a size 10 when I'm usually a 6 or 8 at H&M, but I'm loving the looser oversized look.  When it's so hot out, I can't bear to have anything to close to my skin otherwise I just feel a little trapped.

I also stopped by a store called Undiz, which is mainly a lingerie store.  They were having a huge sale, and I also found this bikini, which I fell in love with right away.  Somehow, I always stray to the same colors - blue or coral, but I've always wanted a black bikini.  I was drawn to this one because of the string detailing on the chest which adds a little something to a simple black bikini, but also adds an interesting tanline.... 

Lastly, since I'm back in the land of Kiko Cosmetics, I could hardly wait to get to a store...but I knew that I didn't want to buy a ton of things and then need to travel with it to Germany so I just picked up these little things (Don't worry, a HUGE beauty haul will be coming up)!

First off is another pack of the Nail Polish Remover pads.  I brought one that was nearly finished with me, and I really like how convenient these are, so they were a necessity.

But the two beautifully packaged items were part of Kiko's Limited Edition Collection called Boulevard Rock.  It looks like most of their items were denim themed, which was adorable!  I've seen a few denim themed collections (MAC), and haven't been terribly impressed with their design, but Kiko made a colorful and fun themed collection with more than just shades of blue.  Since they were phasing it all out, everything was on sale.

I walked away with a blush and a lip and cheek tint.  The blush was reduced to 6 from 11,90, and the lip and cheek tint was reduced to 3 Euro from I believe 6,90.  

I was totally drawn to this blush for being a deep rosy neutral color, which i actually have none of in my collection.

And the lip and cheek tints look like items that will be great for on the go.  Since I always wear a cream blush, I wanted a color that would work on both my cheeks and lips, and this definitely fits the bill!

Swatches will be up with my eventual Kiko collective haul (Yes, I have that much)!

And while that was all the shopping I did in Barcelona, I picked up just a few more things in Tossa de Mar.  Among them were a couple of beautiful prints, but they are nicely protected and wrapped up so I'll wait till I'm back home to show you all those.  

First off, in another boutique, I fell in love with this shirt:

I've been looking for a shirt exactly like this - slightly cropped, loose and airy, with a nice v-neck.  However, it's even cooler with the leather strap detailing, and I am obsessed with this bright blue color. It was 13,90...definitely reasonable for this shirt.  I actually walked by this shop multiple times before I even went in, and every time I walked by, this shirt jumped out at me in the store.  I finally couldn't resist anymore and went in. 

Next, from another boutique selling many lacy dresses and shirts, I found this beautiful scarf.  It's unlike anything I usually wear with it's bright colors and design, but I could see it adding some much needed color to my wardrobe.  It's made of a light material, but is large enough to work as an extra layer or blanket when I'm traveling, which is what I was looking for.  This was 12...a little bit higher than I would usually pay for a scarf, but I've already gotten a lot of use out of it so I'm very pleased with this!

Lastly, I had heard about a jewelry shop before I went.  I'm pretty picky about my jewelry, but decided to check it out anyway...and left with this:

The owners specialize in making silver jewelry, and the jewelry is definitely unique.  Not all of it is my style, but I do have to say that it was all stunning and very well priced!  My earrings were only around €5, and most pieces ranged around 15 Euro.  Not bad at all for some handmade silver jewelry!

So that's all of it...for Spain.  Paris and Germany are another story (mostly beauty related, so look forward to that!)  I knew Spain was going to be the bulk of my "touristy" shopping, and I am so happy with all of my purchases!  

Stay tuned for more travel posts (even though my time here is ending...eek!), and then a whole new set of products to review!


  1. I'm heading to Barcelona at the end of this month...this post just made me verrry excited, especially for Kiko cosmetics, eeeek! Looking forward to seeing more of your travel posts for tips!

    Sinéad xo ♥ fabuleuse, toujours ♥

    1. Enjoy!! Barcelona is definitely one of my favorite cities to travel to. There's so much to do and it is absolutely beautiful!