Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Beautiful Blogger Award & 7 Random Things About Me

I was tagged by gorgeous Fetching Fashionista Justine to do this fun little "get to you know your weird quirks" post. I have so many, that I thought it would be fun to share just a few of them (I'll save the rest of them for another post!)

ETA: I realized Justine actually gave me one of the "Beautiful Blogger" Awards. I didn't realize that at first so thank you again Justine!


1. I was born in Slovakia (the former Czechoslovakia) and my family escaped communism when I was 3 years old (and when I say escaped, I totally mean that in the absolute truest sense of the word.) I lived in Canada until I was 23, and moved to the US after that. I like to think of myself as a citizen of all lands! (Except, I'm not really a US citizen...yet)

2. I watch every awful and cheesy TV show and reality show. One Tree Hill? absolutely; Jersey Shore? bring it on!; Southern Belles Louisville? it's on my DVR; Rock of Love? One of my faves.We switched to AT&T U-Verse just so we could record 4 shows at once. I love TV and I'm not afraid to say it!

3. I'm seven years younger than my husband (see Justine- I'm even more jail bait!)

4. I can speak 3 languages- English (obviously), French (I completed a French immersion program from grades 4 through 12) and my native language, Slovak. I don't ever get to practice my French, sadly, but I do still have a great grasp of Slovak. I secretly want to teach it to our future children so my husband won't know what we are saying. (tee hee hee)

5. I didn't get my dog until I was 22. I had to beg for years and years (and years) and my parents never let me get one (I was allowed to have fish and a hampster once-which they hated.) It took a divorce and more guilt-trip begging to finally convince my mom to let me have a dog. Now she has two of her own dogs (go figure!)

6. I don't like sushi. I had one bad experience, and it was all over for me. When people say they like sushi, I secretly think they only like it because it's trendy, even though in the back of my mind I know that's not true. Oh and once, I tried home-made sushi (obviously not made by me) and I thought it tasted like sewage (and that's not even the bad experience I'm referring to.)

7. I am the worst worrier ever. I worry about absolutely everything. I constantly picture the worst case scenario in every situation and plot out what I would do if it were to happen. I think it's a defense mechanism, but who really knows?

I nominate these fellow bloggers:
9 to 5 chic

Saltwater Dreams
Kelsey Lately
Lover's Knot
Rock that Look
Emily Loves
Idle Banter

Oh, and to make me feel better about my weirdness, please share your quirky traits with me in the comments below!

xoxo,

Veronika.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

New Year, New Look?

This post is difficult to write for me, because I always pride myself on trying to maintain my apperance to the best of my abilities, and I realized that an area where I totally failed is my hair.

Yes, that's right, I'm admitting it. A couple of posts ago, a few commenters mentioned that my hair was looking a little "bottom heavy" (I had never heard that expression before, but I knew what they meant.) One of them commented "maybe it's time for a change." Well, they were right, it is.

Typically, I take criticisms with a grain of salt, but this one really got to me because as much as I wanted to deny it, I knew it was true.

For the last few months, every time I've blown out my hair, I've noticed that my ends are pouffy, frizzy, frazzled. I have more split ends than I can count. My hair, despite all of my efforts just ends up "hanging there." It's long, it's heavy, it's blah. Sure, I wanted long hair, but the price I'm paying for it just doesn't seem worth it.

Now, before I delve further into this, I want to relay to my lovely readers that this isn't at all my hairdresser's fault. He is brilliant but I limit him when it comes to cutting because I am so afraid to lose my length that I've spent over three years growing (my hair is like the slowest growing hair ever.) My micro-trims just aren't cutting it anymore, no pun intended.

I still want to have long hair, but I need to do something...more layers, a little more of my ends snipped off, the front pieces cut shorter...I need SOMETHING that is going to get my hair out of this rut.

I'm going too wait until after my vacation to make the cut. I just feel like since I'll be exposing my hair to so much sun and salt water etc, that it probably isn't the best idea to do it before I leave for vacation.

So I have almost a month to find pictures of haircuts and styles I like.

Here are a few I like right now:

I love the way her hair is styled and how the front layers are shorter. I've tried side bangs before and they just don't work for me, but these just look like face-framing layers.

No matter how many times or which hairdresser I've ever been too, none can seem to cut my hair exactly like Carrie's (above), minus the bangs. I absolutely love how bouncy and shapely her hair looks.
I love Jennifer Garner's hair in this pic. It just looks really full and bouncy. I like the way it's parted too.Cheryl Cole is definitely one of my favorite hair inspirations. It looks like she's got a bunch of layers through her hair and some shorter face-framing layers. Like I said before, I grew my face framing layers out so long, that they don't really frame anymore, they just hang. Ugh.


Here's another one of Cheryl. I just like how full and bouncy her hair is and how much volume she has. I also like it when you can tell where layers start and end. I feel like my hair just all blends together into one big curtain right now.


No hair post is complete without a picture of VS model Alessandra Ambrosio. I love her soft curls here. You can tell she's got some pretty layers through her hair.


This look is a little more polished, but I like how much volume she has and how smooth her hair looks. I'd want to keep mine a bit longer than that though.

Sigh. Blake Lively. I love this pic from her Marie Claire photo shoot. Her hair just looks perfect and voluminous and has texture to it. Maybe I just don't have enough texture going on or I need to try different products. I would love it if I could make my hair look like this. Love.

Ladies, if you have any suggestions for me, I'm open. If you have any styles you think would suit me, please post a link in the comments below (nothing short though, I don't want to go into shock!)

My hair is definitely my security blanket...but it might be time to let go and just have an actual style to my hair. I also want to start styling it wavy again, I miss that sometimes.

I always feel bad because people tell me how much they like my hair...but trust me, it doesn't always look great! I've gotten lazy in maintaining it, and its lost its shape, luster and volume.

Thanks for listening to my rant. All thoughts and opinions welcome (unless they involve a serious chop!)

xoxo,

Veronika.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Trend Report: Lingerie-Inspired Swimwear

Women's Wear Daily wrote about a new trend today (which actually started at least a year ago, but I digress): Swimwear that is very lingerie-esque.

My lovely followers know that I've been quite bathing suit crazy lately because of my vacation (which is just 20 short days away!)
I've always loved swimwear (even as an awkwardly skinny, flat-chested teen.) There is something so awesome about finding the perfect pink girly bikini.

I check out the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue every year, and I noticed this trend a LONG time ago. I personally like this trend. Bathing suits can be boring, and I think adding things like bows, lace and other fun details makes the bathing suit less blah/plain.

Don't get me wrong, I don't want to actually look like I'm wearing lingerie, but I think lingerie-inspired swimwear is pretty.
I recently purchased a few suits at Target from the Rodarte line, and one of them has pretty girly ruffles, and the other has black lace detailing (click link for photos).

I still think they look like swimwear, but some people don't like the lingerie inspired swimwear looks. I don't really see the difference, I guess. It all covers the same amount of skin (in many cases, swimwear covers more!)


Beach Bunny Swimwear is a (super pricey) line that really takes lingerie inspired swimwear to the next level. They've been featured in SI too. Here are some of their looks:

What do you think? Is it too much or do you find these suits to be cute? Here are some more lingerie-inspired looks from SI (past issues):


So ladies, is this swimwear appealing to you, or do you like more basic looks? I love fun prints and bold looks for swimwear, so you can probably tell I'm thrilled that swimwear has gone in this direction. I can't tell you how sick I am of solid color triangle top bikinis with side-tie bottoms- so classic, yet kinda boring (I do own some suits like this, but most are patterned)

xoxo,

Veronika.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Best of 2009-Holy Grail Products I Couldn't Live Without!


I got this idea from Carolina Bella over at In My Shoes who got it from Emily at Beauty Broadcast. I definitely have some of my "best of" to share for 2009, so without further ado, here they are:

Best Liquid Foundation:
I don't use liquid, so I can't comment on this one, sorry ladies! (I promise I'll try one soon)...BUT my fave powder foundation is my HOLY GRAIL wouldtotallydiewithoutit MAC StudioFix Powder (I wear C3, for reference)

Best Bronzer:
NARS Laguna- I can't rave enough about this one- it gives the perfect color, the perfect glow and the packaging is great too. I love that this bronzer works on a lot of different skin tones, and that although it has a slight shimmer to it, it isn't detectable on the skin.

Best Blush:
Bobbi Brown blush in "peony" is my most-used at the moment. It is a bright pink that gives cheeks a super-healthy looking flush

Best Concealer:
MAC Studio Finish Concealer (the one in the pot.) If you need concealer, please please please go out and buy this one. I've used it for so many years, and I've never strayed because the coverage is SO incredible. Ladies with skin redness or acne- this is the concealer for you!

Overall Favorite Eye Shadow Brand:
MAC- my fave colors are: satin taupe, retrospeck, honesty and brun
Honorable Mention: Urban Decay and Too Faced

Best Single Product Eyeshadow:
Urban Decay "Midnight Cowboy Rides Again"- this sparkly gold/platinum eyeshadow isn't for everyone, but I absolutely love it.

Best Eyeliner:
MAC Fluidline Gel Liners (I use "dipdown" and "blacktrack")

Best Mascara:
DiorShow Black Waterproof
L'oreal Voluminous Carbon Black Waterproof (drugstore)

Best Lip Gloss:
There are so many to list here...I don't always wear actual colored gloss, but when I do here are my faves- MAC Dazzleglass in "Baby Sparks" and MAC Dazzleglass Creme in "My Favorite Pink"

Best Lipstick:
I really don't wear lipstick that often, but when I do I use MAC's "Colorcrafted" or NARS' "Roman Holiday"...I like PINK...anything pink!

Outstanding Brush:
The Sigma Brush Kit (entire set)- I love their SS150 powder brush

Best Packaging:
NARS and MAC

Best Hair Product:
I know I just started using this (literally today) but I can already tell I absolutely love Pureology's "Nanoworks" shampoo. I also really love Garnier XXL thickening mousse.

MVP (Most Valuable Product):
Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisturizer for Sensitive Skin- I've tried many formulas over the years (cetaphil and clinique, to name a few) and this is the best, non greasy, not irritating moisturizer. I apply it in the morning after washing my face.

Runners up: La Roche Posay Effaclar A.I. Targeted Breakout Corrector and Proactiv's Refining Mask

What are YOUR Best of 2009 products? Rave about your faves in the comments below! To my fellow bloggers- I TAG you all to do this post! <3

xoxo,

Veronika.

Massive Post-Christmas Haul: I Went a Little Overboard...BUT...

I saved so much money.

Even my husband remarked how proud he was of me as he as he lovingly carried my shopping bags (bless his heart.)

I hardly ever buy anything at full price. I wait and wait until my most coveted (and sometimes pricey) items are 40-50% off of their original price. Why, you ask? Because shopping is more fulfilling when you get a deal, of course! Plus, a "recessionista" still has to be stylish- but at a reduced cost.

Luckily, most retailers have recognized the dwindling economy's impact on consumer purchases, and has responded with sales like never before (up to 75% off at some stores!)

The one splurge I did make today was on Pureology's "Nanoworks" shampoo, so I'll just get that out of the way right now because I feel guilty even typing this. I really felt my hair needed a change, and I heard this is one of the best shampoos, so I am going to give it a try despite its alarming price tag. It's concentrated, so I won't have to use a lot...and because I'm an "every three days" washer, I don't use much anyways.

Ok, so here we go. Let's haul away!

Let's start with Ann Taylor. Today they had a 40% off of your entire purchase promotion, which is always tempting. I bought one item, a black, long-sleeved top with ruffles (surprise, surprise) on the neckline. The top was originally $70.00 (I would have never paid that for it) and it was on sale for $29.99 plus 40% off. Now that's more like it! As much as the top looks loose on the hanger, it fits quite nicely and conforms to the body. I don't really own many long-sleeved shirts, so this will be a nice addition to my closet for those chillier days.


I've been coveting J. Crew's
Victoria ruffle tissue cami for quite some time now, and I was delighted to find the color "light flamingo" on sale for $29.99 today. It was originally $39.50 and I was reluctant to buy it at that price. The other colors were not on sale, but luckily I fell in love with this pretty bright pink top (and some of my readers will be happy to see a pop of color in my wardrobe.)

*Sigh* those ruffles pretty much make my heart melt. For reference, I purchased a size small, but I also tried on the extra small and it fit nicely. Because it's cotton, I got the small for length and shrinkage.

Though the line was 15 people long at Express, I endured it to purchase this pretty cropped cardigan with lace detailing. I had admired this cardigan for the last couple of months, but never allowed myself to purchase it at it's regular $69.50 price tag. Today, it was 50% off. Vindication at it's finest! I love the three quarter sleeves and the unexpected feminine touch the lace gives to an otherwise simple cardigan. I acually own another Express cardgian that's all black, and I wear it all the time. The quality is great and they wash and dry wonderfully (and they don't shrink!)

Now, onto the massive part of the haul. I don't know if you've ever been to a store called "PH8," but if you haven't you should really give it a chance. I remember it opening several months ago and passing it by because, to be honest, the stuff in the window display looked really really tacky. My husband actually encouraged me to go in there today because everything in the store was 50% off (not sure if he regrets it now or not!)

Reluctantly, I entered the store, and an employee told me that they store is actually bebe's sports store, re-branded. Interesting. I found bebe's workout clothes to be too flashy for my tastes, but what I was seeing in this store was a bunch of great merchandise (some of which reminded me of things from my beloved Lulu Lemon, for half the price.)

I went on a wild rampage through the store, excitedly gathering workout tops, sports bras and jackets galore. I couldn't believe how many amazing things I found! The prices are on the higher end for workout wear...but at 50% off, the price was right for me!

Let's move on to the first item. If this looks familiar to you, it might be because Lulu Lemon used to make a front-closure V-Neck bra that looks idential to this one, only they discontinued it (to my shock and disbelief...how could they!?) I am happy to report that this bra is almost identical to the LuluLemon one, and costs less too. For reference, I bought a size small, which shocked me since I wear a 34D at Victoria's Secret. The size medium was too big around my ribcage and extra fabric was poking out at the sides. The sports bras fit large in this store, so go a size down from normal. This bra retails for $34.50 and I got it 50% off.

Another made-in-heaven bra is this black and white striped one I got:

Isn't is marvelous? It fits like a glove and looks amazing on. Again, I got a size small. I especially love the detailing on the back. Hello Unique! It will look so cute poking out of a yoga or pilates top. This bra retails for $ 29.00 and I got it for 50% off.

Now, onto this gorgeous workout top. Just look at it. So pretty and the pop of pink makes it fun too! I got this in a size large, because the medium fit awesome, but this one was a little longer and overall felt more comfy on, but I could have gone either way. Being 5'10, sometimes I get the larger size when there isn't a huge discrepancy to take into account shrinking and length. This top retails for $44.00 and I got it for 50% off.
My second top purchase was this simple black one with a zipper at the front. It fits nicely and has a pretty, but hard to see mesh/netting detail at the neckline. It retails for $49.00 and I got it for 50% off. It's a size medium.

I also got a pair of stretchy cotton pants there that I won't post a pic of because I couldn't for the life of me take a good one of them, but they retailed for $59.00 and I got them 50% off. I always have to be careful with cotton because of shrinking (they are they perfect length right now) so I'll always hang dry them. On a side note, I was really proud of myself for buying these pants, because they are a more fitted pant than I usually buy. I get self-conscious about my thighs in workout pants, but I guess I've been working hard lately because I thought I looked great in these (and trust me, I never ever say that about fitted stretchy pants.)

Ok, now onto the 2 awesome jackets I got. I would wear these on a colder day to run errands, and to and from the gym and pilates classes.

The first is a black zip-up jacket with a high collar. I fell in love with it when I tried it on. It doesn't look like much in the picture (kind of blah, to be honest) but on, it fits like a glove in all the right places. It's fitted at the waist and flares just slightly at the hips. The perfect coat. It retails for $98.00 and I got it for 50% off.

I also got a fun, thin, military-style zip-up jacket that my husband picked out (love him!) We were at the checkout and he mentioned I might like it. I quickly threw-on his choice, and loved it. It's just a really casual jacket...plus is was on sale for $19.99 PLUS and additional 50% off. I was sold. I can see myself wearing this jacket for sports, to the gym, on errands, with jeans etc. It is super thin, which is perfect for our Texas climate.

Again, doesn't look too special on the hanger, but fits very nicely. I got a size small in both jackets, by the way. Here's another closer-up shot:

So...I think I'm pretty much set for gym clothes for a long time! I'll admit it, I like to look cute at the gym. It motivates me more to have cute gym clothes that look nice on my body. Sure, I've gone to the gym in a baggy tee and sweatpants before, but a great outfit makes me want to work even harder!

Whilst at the Galleria, I paid a quick visit to Charlotte Russe, where I became immediately enamoured with this gorgeous top:

Need I say more? It pretty much combines all of my loves into one top: black and white, polka-dots and rosettes. It was $19.99 and not on sale...but I felt that was a fair price for this darling little top. I can already imagine it tucked neatly into a black pencil skirt with a pretty cardi overtop. Here's a close-up (
oh, and those gorgeous rosettes continue on the back of the top too-priceless!)

And, because I just can't seem to let a good deal pass me by at the checkout, I got this pretty charcoal nightie (on sale for $9.00). I sleep in these types of nighties every night, so I felt that was a fair price to pay.

My husband and I also stopped by one of those sungalsses mall kiosks (I k
now, I know) to buy some new sunnies for our vacation. I'll either lose or break at least one pair, so I always have to buy a few pairs to take on vacation so I'm not stuck making squinty eyes for the entire trip. Here are the ones I got:

I think the white ones will be a fun alternative to my usual black (gotta be mysterious y'all!)

These totally aren't new, but they were too cute not to share. I got them before Christmas from amazon.com (but I believe Target sells them). I saw them on the blog The Look 4 Less. Juicy Couture makes a pricier version of them (like $70.00 pricey!), which was such a turn off (I mean, they are slippers!!!) The ones I got were about $12.99, if I recall correctly. So girly. Love.

Something else I wanted to share with you all are these absolutely adorable pins my mother-in-law bought me for Christmas (from Chico's of all places!)

She said they "reminded her of me." I'd say that's a very true assessment! I love them. They have a strong magnet to keep them on. I think they would look great on dresses, attached to a belt, a shirt etc. The possibilities are endless.

Some of you may have heard me ranting about Neutrogena discontinuing my beloved face wash- but I was able to find some at Ulta and Target. Ladies, if you love this face wash like I do, stock up now!

And (if you're still reading this longer than long post) I wanted to post a picture of the wonderful Flip cam my wonderful husband bought me for Christmas. I might make some videos for the blog. Would you be intrested in seeing some videos that go along with my blog posts? Let me know in the comments below.

As always, thank you so much for reading, and, if you've made it to this point, extra love for you!

xoxo,

Veronika.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

A New Year: Make Better, Not Make-Over

Elle Magazine's January issue featured an entire section about "making better" (instead of the dreaded "making-over".)

I thought this was a really positive message- because after all, most women want to be true to who they are when making improvements, not made-over into someone they hardly recognize.

I admittedly got sucked-in by the ads promoting
Elle Magazine's new "Make Better" Workout DVD Collection (available on amazon.com)

EDIT: Umm... I just went to Elle.com and noticed you can get ALL THREE DVD's for $44.95 and I paid $29.99 for just one on Amazon.com (I'm going to return the Amazon one because I ordered all 3 instead- way better deal and now I'll have 3 different workouts.) I hate when stuff like this happens, but I wanted to warn my readers so you too can get the better deal! (Oddly, Elle Magazine promotes getting the DVD's on Amazon in their ads...wtf?)


Brooklyn Decker is one of my favorite models, so when I saw the previews online, I just had to buy the video. I purchased the "Elle Beauty Sculpt" DVD, because I like to learn new moves I can use at the gym. I also like having the option of working out at home for the days where I don't feel like leaving the house, but don't want to feel like a lazy slob!

I got the "Beauty Sculpt" DVD, pictured above- it should arrive by the 31st!

I will let you ladies know how good the videos are when I start them. I previewed Jillian Michael's "30 Day Shred" today too, and that looks like a good workout as well.

For some strange reason, my superhuman memory fails me when it comes to workout moves (yet I strangely remember plot lines from old Babystitters Club and Sweet Valley High books I read in 7th grade). That's why I like to have videos- they remind me and teach me the right moves that actually get results.

I remember Jessica Simpson was supposed to come out with a workout video when she was all toned for her role in "Dukes of Hazard" and I was disappointed that it was never released (she seems to be gaining lately so I guess she stopped her super intense workouts anyways.) Luckily, she is one of those women that looks good at any weight.

Do you ever use workout videos, or do you prefer going to the gym? Personally, I like to switch it up and keep things fresh, so a combination of group classes at my gym, gym workouts, home workouts and pilates classes at a seperate studio work for me.

And, because I just can't imagine leaving this post without some more pictures of the gorgeous Brooklyn Decker...here you go!



isn't she just stunning? *sigh*

and...her body is pretty darn good fitness inspiration, don't you think?

I could post 20 more pictures...but this has already gotten out of hand!

xoxo,

Veronika.

P.S. who is YOUR fitness inspiration? actor, model, friend, family member? Let me know in the comments below!
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