A Different Kind of Saturday

Happy Saturday everyone!  On Friday morning I was listening to the news as I was getting ready for work and KPRC said that a local organization was looking for volunteers to pack boxes for Somalia.

I immediately thought, "yup, that's what I'm doing Saturday" which was a surprise to me since I don't really have any regular volunteer commitments at this time.  But the images of famine we've all seen on the news lately are enough to motivate anyone to want to help...it's just devastating to see those kids and families struggling like that.

I think we are all very fortunate to live the lives that we do---to have jobs to go to, a home to live in and food to eat everyday. I don't want to get too sappy here...but you know what I mean. We are all very lucky.

The organization I worked with is called Helping Hand for Relief and Development, a global humanitarian relief and development organization that responds to human sufferings in emergency and disaster situations around the world. In addition to their emergency relief efforts in natural or man-made disasters, they also work on long term relief and development programs.

We worked for several hours in a warehouse and I was first on oatmeal and granola bar duty and then I helped with other things like water, beans, fruit cups, etc.


After the truck was all packed up, we broke down all of the cardboard boxes so they could be recycled.  If you don't have the time to volunteer on a regular basis, I definitely recommend doing something like this where you can just sign up to help out for a day.

Switching topics now...
After volunteering, I stopped off at Ulta to return my "No More Waity Katie" nail polish (thank goodness I kept the receipt).  I ended up exchanging it for Butter London's "Teddy Girl" which seems to get great reviews. I also picked up Benefit's "They're Real" mascara after hearing Tiffany D raving about it.  I ended up returning the Maybelline Falsies flared mascara without even having used it after so many of you told me it was not good in the comments section of my blog yesterday. Thanks for the heads-up ladies!

Hope everyone enjoys the rest of their weekend!

xoxo,

Veronika.

Friday Evening Bloggin': Target Trip & Loving Kate Middleton

Two days in a row of blogging---I'm well on my way to breaking records here, people! (insert sarcasm here).

Today after work I stopped at Target because my co-worker was wearing the CUTEST Xhiliration dress from there and I just had to have it. It's a little short in the smaller sizes so I got a large and will belt it for optimum fit (plus, the large happened to be the only one left in the store, so it was meant to be) I love it when my co-workers come in wearing an great outfit and they tell me it's from Target. Three of us actually own a bunch of the exact same pieces so we always joke that all three of us should wear the same outfit to work one day, you know, just to be dorks.

Anyway, here is the dress:

I actually love the loose top, but the waist does need to be cinched a bit.  I have just the belt for it!  I wore a simple dress I got for about $14 at American Eagle when I was in Austin a month ago (below):
As you can see, I managed to make the dressing room look like a disaster.  Next up, I bought some Maybelline Falsies mascara (waterproof, of course). I'm not sure why, but I've heard some people rave about it and my curiosity got the better of me.  Have YOU tried it?

File this next item under "lately I've been loving..." It's Orly's "Frisky" nail polish that I mentioned in my first-ever haul video (watch it here).  Emily from Cupcakes & Cashmere inspired me to get it and I have to say the formula is amazing. Two coats is all you need for perfect, opaque coverage. The ONLY weird part is taking it off.  It took me a lot of remover/cotton rounds to take it off because it kind of spread the color onto my skin a little...it didn't "melt away seamlessly" like most polishes do (hey, no one's perfect, right?) I'm assuming because of the pigmentation of that color, it's a little "thicker" and thus makes it a little more difficult to remove. I now want to try a ton of other Orly polishes since Butter London's "No More Waity Katie" failed me in ways I don't even want to get into (okay, so maybe I will...horrible application, not a great color, worst nail polish to take off ever in my life...etc)

So, here's "Frisky." LOVE.

Now, you may be reading this wondering "what's Veronika up to on a Friday night?" Well ladies, the truth is, I'm hanging out with Kate Middleton

Because really, what the heck could be better than 80 pages of Middleton goodness?  I picked this up at Target because it was calling my name and I wanted to look at pretty pictures of Kate and this mag definitely delivers.  Here's some of the content so you get an idea of what this special fashion edition People magazine is all about:
HATS!!! DRESSES!!!! AMAZING HAIR!!!


Oh Kate, you make Fridays great. Now, more importantly, what are you up to on this lovely Friday night?

xoxo,

Veronika.

iPhone Snaps Part II

Hello ladies! This was a tough week for me. I took my first real sick day in over a year. I stayed home from work on Monday because I thought I was dying.  I literally texted my husband "I think I'm dying."  I had a throat infection that turned into a sinus infection and the pressure in my head was so intense that I thought my brain was going to explode.  Plus, the Mucinex I was taking for the congestion made my stomach feel like it was being stabbed...from the inside.

I've been on antibiotics since Saturday and I finally feel "back to normal" today. I had gone back to work Tuesday but didn't have a lot of energy.  Today was the first day I felt like I could work out again (and I did). Don't you just hate getting sick? Especially in the summer? 

This post is another iPhone photo post because I realized I had so many shots that I had never put on the blog before. The first category is...

Things I didn't buy:
 
This maxi dress from A'Gaci. I loved the print, but the fit was really off. It made my waist and hips look larger because of how the fabric laid. Not flattering, sadly.


This Jessica Simpson brand dress from Nordstrom. I didn't love the way it fit.
Once again, the print was so pretty!


This sundress from American Eagle. It was on sale and cute...but I just thought I had too many dresses like it.

This striped top from Banana Republic. Eh, just didn't love it.
Next up, outfits I wore, but never posted:
 (This is my most recent)
Dress- Target
Cardigan- Express
Flats- J. Crew
 Dress- Banana Republic
Belt- was my grandmother's
Cardigan- Zara
Shoes- Max Studio @ Zappos.com
Dress-  Tucker for Target
Shoes- Cynthia Vincent for Target
Belt- Papaya
Cardigan- Zara

Randoms/I'm Obsessed With:
This duvet set I saw at Macy's in early June. How beautiful is that? It was pricey but on sale at the time...I passed on it but now I'm giving it a second look!


My Marc by Marc Jacobs sunglasses. I have just loved these all summer.
HUGE, but awesome.
(From Neiman Marcus)

And lastly, the cuteness that is Lulu (and my H):


Thank you so much for your patience as I get back to regular blogging! I have some of my best friends from Canada coming to visit next week, so it will be busy busy!

xoxo,
Veronika.

Recent Outfits: iPhone Snaps!

Oh hello!  It's me, the worst blogger ever crazy busy blogger girl. I have been MIA but in my absence I've snapped some iPhone pics of my recent outfits so I'd have at least something fashion-related to post.

Here we go!
 
Dress- Banana Republic Outlet (the one I scored for $13.97!!!)
Belt- J. Crew
Shoes- Max Studio @ Zappos.com
Cardigan- Zara
Bag- Tory Burch "Reva" clutch


Dress- Target
Cardigan- Armani Exchange
Flats- J. Crew
Belt- I just tied a fabric belt that came on a Target dress into a bow


Dress- Banana Republic (yes, I wear it ALL the time!)
Belt- J.Crew
Cardigan- Express
Shoes- Ivanka Trump @ Macy's


 Tops- Lululemon Cool Racerback underneath a Zara lace top
Blazer- Express
Jeans- GAP "Always Skinny"
Shoes- Max Studio @ Zappos.com


Dress- Forever 21
Shoes- Cynthia Vincent for Target wedges
Belt- Came on a dress from Papaya


Top- Zara
Skirt- Banana Republic
Belt- J.Crew
Shoes- Kate Spade

As you can see, I wear a lot of the same pieces over and over. I think that's a great thing because it means I've invested in items I really love.  Better worn than sitting in my closet :)

Wishing everyone a FANTASTIC weekend and major thanks for your patience as I try to get back to regular blogging.

xoxo,

Veronika.

Sunday Night Bloggin'

I have been a bad blogger lately, I know.  The month of August is just going to be crazy, so I'm putting that out there now. 

I'm still trying to blog a few days a week but between everything being so busy at home and at work it hasn't left me much time to post as often.  I promise in September things will get back to normal.

I had wanted to film another video this weekend, but we were so busy that I didn't get a chance to. My mother in law is also going to give me their tripod so I can film videos in a location that has better lighting, so yay for that!

I'll leave you tonight with a funny photo.  My H and I were cleaning out our storage closet this weekend and I decided that cleaning in my veil would be fun.  So I threw it on for a few minutes and pranced around as happy as can be.

Then, I took my dress out of the sheet it was wrapped in and decided to let it air out for a bit in our master closet.  I still love it so much.

I also wanted to mention my latest GalTime article, since it's all about where I like to shop for home decor.  Check it out, here!

I'm taking off now to take a much-needed shower and paint my nails (I usually paint them on Sunday evening).

Oh and another sad update, my Hana hairdryer broke and I sadly had to order a new hairdryer :(  I was pretty upset about it because I really loved it and it was life-changing for me. I ordered an Elchim. They are made in Italy and my old hairdresser who actually now lives in Italy has been using them forever. I'll report back on whether or not it's good.  I still like and recommend the Hana dryer...I think mine was just a lemon.

xoxo,

Veronika.

Apothica.com $50 Gift Card Giveaway!

Hello ladies!  I am super-thrilled to bring you this awesome giveaway, by my blog sponsor, Apothica.com!  See that pretty little box to the right of my blog with the pretty "Too Faced" makeup picture?  That's my awesome sponsor who has been on my blog for several months now.

Apothica.com is an online beauty boutique, which carries the finest selection of skin care, body care, aromatherapy, and cosmetic products--- including the most natural, organic products available.

They carry several of my favorite brands, including Too Faced, Smashbox, Deborah Lippmann (the "happy birthday" glitter nailpolish is on my wish list!), Yves Saint Laurent (their Touche Eclat! is my holy grail under-eye concealer/highlighter!) and my BELOVED Bobbi Brown (the brand that makes my "I would die if they ever discontinued it" peony blush that I wear nearly 365 days a year!)

So, when Apothica asked me to host a giveaway for a gift card to their site, of course I jumped on the chance to have one of you lucky ladies win a little beauty spree (and, if you need advice on which products to pick, I'm happy to help!)

Before I get to the giveaway, I want to share a little love for Too Faced.  I have purchased several Too Faced products before---but their eye shadow palettes are really taking the cake in their product line!  They are beautiful and the colors are so perfect for creating any look---from smokey eyes, to the sultry winged-out liner look, to a pop of color on the lower lash line.  I am just loving these kits! They carry a Natural Eye Kit, Romantic Eye Kit and a Soft & Sexy Eye Kit.  I recently got to experience a taste of all three kits with a promo kit I got that features a few colors from each kit:


How pretty are those colors!?  They are pigmented and have just the right amount of shimmer.  For daytime, I love to use the color "Like a Virgin" on my lower lash line.  It's kind of a brownish/gray color and it gives soft definition---a lovely alternative to liner (you ladies know I've been lining my lower lashes with eye shadow for a long time now, so it's fun to try new shades).

Alright, now to the giveaway!  Here are the rules. PLEASE READ THESE CAREFULLY:

You have 3 ways to enter (and there are 3 bonuses too!  so potentially you can enter 6 times!!!)---each way gives you ONE entry---but please tell me all of the ways you've entered in ONE comment.

This way, I will know to count your entry as 1, 2 or 3 entries based on what you tell me in your comment!  (for example, if you did the Facebook, Twitter AND blog option, please tell me that in ONE comment and I will count it as 3 entries---and don't forget to leave your email address with your comment!)


Here are your entry options!

Option 1: Facebook
1. Visit Apothica.com
2. Write on Apothica’s Facebook wall about what you think of Apothica
Bonus: Opt in to Apothica’s Newsletter

Option 2: Twitter
1. Visit Apothica.com
2. Tweet about Apothica on your own Twitter Account
Bonus: Retweet Apothica’s tweet about this giveaway

Option 3: Blog

1. Visit Apothica.com
2. Write something on your blog about what you think of Apothica
Bonus: Write about the brand I highlighted (Too Faced) and link it to Apothica

PLEASE LEAVE ME AN EMAIL ADDRESS IN YOUR COMMENT SO I CAN CONTACT YOU IF YOU WIN. ENTRIES WITHOUT AN EMAIL ADDRESS WILL BE DISQUALIFIED.

More Details...
1) Apothica will contact the winner to verify information is correct
2) After verification, Apothica will email the a code for the gift card to be used at SkinCareRx.com, Apothica.com, and SkinBotanica.com
3) The contest is open internationally, but Apothica does not ship to all countries
* Please save SkinCareRx as a contact in your email box so that emails don't go to your Spam/Junk Mail folder

Good luck with your entries! I will use random.org to select a winner in one week (the contest closes Friday, August 19th at midnight! CST) BIG THANKS to Apothica for being such a great sponsor and for having me host this contest!

xoxo,

Veronika.

Motivation Mondays: Stephanie from Life Shiny Side Up

For the last few weeks, I've been getting back on track with my "Motivation Mondays" feature and I have a great one to share with you ladies today!

Meet Stephanie from the blog LifeShinySideUp! She's sweet and funny. We had a mutual friend and started to chat via email and then one day while I was shopping at Lululemon I got to meet her awesome self in person!


Name, Age, Occupation
Stephanie, 27, Assistant Manager at lululemon Houston Galleria / blogger at my personal blog www.lifeshinysideup.com

You are a great example of someone who is living a healthy lifestyle---tell us more about your workout routine and what you do to stay in shape. 
Why thank you!  I don't think I can confidently say I have a work out routine.  Routines and myself don't work well together.  I pretty much live by the rule "sweat once a day".  Living in Houston, that can be done by stepping out my front door, obvi, but I try to make sure I do one active thing per day, whether it's an actual workout or riding my bike to get coffee or groceries with my man.  My absolute fave workouts right now are most any yoga (obviously...and I have a few favorite studios if anyone is interested!), Crossfit, Running (I am running the Houston Marathon on January 15th), Define Body & Mind, and Hardcore Pilates.


Has working at Lululemon motivated you even more to reach your fitness goals? 
Definitely.  I have coworkers who help me set goals personally, professionally, and for health and fitness, and they hold me to them.  I have big goals for my marathon and for crossfit, and I probably never would have thought about trying for them without my friends at work.  Anyone can go to goaltender.lululemon.com and learn how to set goals for yourself.  It's pretty rad.

Tell us about what you eat on a typical day. What are your favorite healthy dishes? 
I eat breakfast with the hottest man alive, who happens to be my husband, every morning.  Sometimes workouts will get in the way, but for the most part we eat together every morning, and if we don't I always ALWAYS eat breakfast at some point.  But, I think sitting down and spending time eating your meal can make a huge difference in terms of how much you eat, what you eat, etc.  We usually have some protein like eggs or bacon (buy the center cut bacon- it's actually quite good for you) and tons of fruit.  With coffee.  Of course.  Lunch is always always on the go for me these days, so I have to really plan and pack my lunch, or I would be eating out every day.  Not a fan of that.  I plan all of our dinners a week in advance.  I usually do it on a free day when I have time to really think about what would be best for us to eat- we love Pioneer Woman's meatballs (we use turkey), any Asian food that we make like this, lettuce wraps, chili...we love us some chili.  We also recently discovered spaghetti squash and have subbed it for pasta ever since.  It's the most miraculous vegetable on the planet.


Devin and I really really love to cook, so it makes it easy for us to "get involved" in what we are eating.  Luckily, we go to the grocery store and want to get the same things- it's never a fight about getting junk food, etc.  The one thing I struggle with is that because he is a very active cyclist and tries to stay lean but doesn't want to lose weight, I have to make enough food with enough calories to feed his metabolism, but something that isn't going to put weight on me.  Usually my solution is to bake.  I have willpower.  He will eat the plate of cookies before they cool off.

What do you like to indulge in? (Any sweets or salty foods that you eat in moderation?)  I hope you're sitting down and comfortable; this list could be long.  I have a serious serious problem with chips and salsa.  I crave it, and if it is in my house, I will eat it.  My mom and I make our own salsa, and I LOVE it.   Typically when I bake, I can have 1-2 and be done for the rest of that batch's life (see previous answer; it's not that long), but there are some things like rice krispy treats, no bake PB and chocolate oatmeal cookies, and Baked's Sunday Night Cake that I could eat the entire pan of.  But, one of the best parts of being active 5-6 times a week AND being 100% okay with the way I am, I will indulge when I want to indulge, but I do that knowing that it really is every now and then.  I like burgers.  I like to get a burger whenever I can.  I like to eat the WHOLE burger with sweet potato fries (shout out Cedar Creek, Lola's, and Ruggles Green).

What is your beauty routine like? Any favorite hair, makeup or skincare products you'd like to share? 
My coworkers would laugh at this question.  I go to work with a full face of make up (I think) and they say things like "I just think it's so great you don't have to wear makeup".  Yeah.  But really, I have a lot of freckles, and they show through anything.  I was also a tomboy growing up and never got into all of this sort of stuff, so I don't have much of a beauty routine.  I love John Freida products because they work on my fine hair.  I like Sebastian's Matte Putty (Shout out Jodi at Satori Heights Salon for makin' me love my hair every. single. time.) because it doesn't make my hair look greasy, and I have some dry shampoo that I like for days I'm in a hurry and don't have time to wash and do my hair.

Where do you like to shop for clothes? 
Francesca's, Nordstrom, J Crew, and my all time favorite- Target.
    


What are your absolute "must-haves" from Lululemon? 
I live in these clothes.  Literally.  I go home from work and put on different lululemon.  I travel and I pack 99% lululemon.  It's nuts.  But!  I do have some faves.  For running, especially in a super hot place i.e. the Bayou City, I have to have some speed shorts and a silverescent sleeveless tech with my favorite bra, the 50 rep.  The speed shorts are made of a super lightweight Swift wicking material that keeps me cool, dries fast, and the waistband, made of luxtreme is inherently wicking providing compression (to keep the shorts on!).  All of our run shorts and crops have tons of little pockets for gels, keys, ID, etc.  I have never EVER worn running shorts more comfortable than these.  And for anyone who crossfits, this short is a must-have with room in the leg to do a full squat.  The Silverescent fabric has silver woven in making the sleeveless tech anti-stink and x-static.  I love that it doesn't cling to me when I run, and it dries super fast, but mostly that I can throw it in the hamper, leave it for days, wash it and know it won't have that gross work out sweaty mcsweaterson stank.  The 50 rep bra is a higher-support bra with a powermesh panel in the back for breathability and support.  It also has a coolmax liner for the high sweat zones.  I also have a thing for our run crops, like the run: for your life.  This crop is also made from luxtreme, so I love feeling the compression on my muscles for the duration of my run, but not feeling like my legs cant breathe, since the fabric wicks my sweat.  They also have a circle mesh panel on the back of the knees for extra air flow.  Love those crops and I would totally wear them in the summer.  Believe it.  And, I dig our socks especially for long runs because they have arch support built in.

For yoga, Define, pilates, etc.  I am a Wunder Under junkie.  They are the best thing that has ever happened to me.  They are a tight-fitting crop made from Luon- a wicking fabric with a 4 way stretch, so it moves with me.  I love to pick these up when we have funky colors and patterns, which is pretty much always, and I can dress them up with boots and a tunic if I want to wear them out.  Up top, I love me some Cool Racerbacks, Circuit Tanks, and I throw on a Define jacket when it's cool inside.

And obviously, I cannot live with out one of these and my mat (called The Mat- it's non-slip, so when I go to hot yoga and make it rain, I don't need a towel).

Do you have a favorite motivational quote? 
"Today is my someday"

If you could travel to one place, all expenses paid, for 2 weeks---where would you choose to go and why? 
We sponsor 4 kiddos through Compassion International, and I would absolutely go visit all of them in their villages and meet them face to face. It's something I'm dying to do, but it's big time pricey and difficult to coordinate. Second place goes to Australia- it's on our list of places to go, we both love love LOVE the beach, and I want to feed a koala.  All good reasons, if I say so myself.

What accomplishment are you most proud of and why? 
Walking into my job that I hated for 4 years one Monday morning, finally having the guts to give my 2 weeks notice without a single idea for what I would do after my last day, and getting the most amazing job ever within 2 weeks.

Thanks for motivating us this Monday, Stephanie!  If you have questions for Stephanie, ask them in the comments below or head over to her blog.
xoxo,

Veronika.
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