We Quit the Gym.

Remember that episode of Friends where Ross and Chandler try to quit the gym? Then the attractive woman comes out and they just keep repeating "we're quitting the gym!"

Well, my experience was nothing like that---but we did it---both H and I quit our bootcamp classes. I know that sounds crazy since last year we were going to class about 5 days a week, but it just wasn't fitting with our lives and schedules anymore. The only class we can really go to is the 6:30 evening class and we felt too restricted to only be able to workout at that time of day.

H and I decided that the money we were spending on bootcamp (it was a lot!) was not really justified since we basically stopped going completely for the last few months. I think we've probably gone to five or six classes in the last four months.

We've both been busy with work and other obligations and we also felt guilty coming home all the time and leaving right away to go to the gym after our dog was home alone all day already.  It was kind os hectic to get home, change right away and then drive all the way to class again We would have very little time to come home, make dinner and relax.

I think once you do something for a long time, you get eager to try something new (that's probably why I've stuck with taking Bar Method classes about twice a week).  I'm ready for new challenges for my body and I wanted to look forward to working out again. Once any workout I'm doing becomes like a chore and I'm no longer excited to go all the time, I know it's time to move on.

I'm now trying to motivate myself to work out at home. There are plenty of amazing at-home workouts I could do (I have at least 10 workout DVDs) and YouTube had its own offerings like the incredible workouts at BodyRockTV and by the girls at ToneitUp (and bonus---theyre free!)

I really have no excuses---we have two spare bedrooms I could use and my laptop can play workout videos anywhere in our home. Since I've worked out with a personal trainer and done bootcamp classes, I am also more confident in all of the moves and won't feel so lost like I used to at the gym.

So tell me---if you work out at home---how do you plan your workouts and how often do you work out? 

I will of course still be taking Bar Method classes twice a week but I'd like to work out another two days during the week and maybe once on the weekend.

...aaaaannndd I'd also like to have this amazing dancer's body! (source)
I may look into more local classes to see if anything else strikes my fancy and we are still looking into getting bicycles for a little cardio action.
Please leave your tips for working out at home in the comments below!


My Entire Nail Polish Collection! (video)

Just thought I'd share this video for anyone who doesn't subscribe to my channel. Hope you enjoy it!

What are YOUR favorite nail polishes? Let me know in the comments below :)



Weekend Shopping: 20% off at Ulta & Chanel Sunglasses

Thank goodness it's Saturday!  Today H and I ventured out to my optometrist's office because my Chanel sunglasses came in (style # 5171 in tortoise---they are the ones with the bows on the sides)  and I went in to try them on to make sure I liked the style/fit.  I'll have them next week when my prescription lenses are ready :)
I picked up some items at Ulta this weekend for 20% off.  Here's what I got:

L'Oreal Magic Lumi concealer/corrector
L'Oreal Balm in Pink Satin (#118)
OPI nail polish in "Mod About You"
Mario Badescu Buffering Lotion fr cystic acne
Neutrogena Acne Stress Control Power Foam Wash
Salon Graffix invisible dry shampoo
Batiste Original Dry Shampoo
Redken GUTS 10 volumizing foam spray

If you have the time, you can view my video here:

Have a wonderful weekend!



A Whole Lotta Heart- Catbird NYC Rose Gold Heart Ring

My friend Brianne (during a 3-hour long FaceTime chat) told me about New York boutique catbird and it was love at first site visit. I showed my H some of the lovely pieces on the site---I was most enamoured with the rose gold heart ring. It was dainty and perfect.

H told me not to buy it because it leaves him nothing to get me for special occassions. Last night, this showed up on my dresser. Thank you, lovely husband. It made my week.

I'm a lucky gal.  Here are some other pieces I love from the site:


Wishing everyone the happiest weekend!



Keeping it Simple

Do you ever have days at work where you know you don't have any meetings and won't be leaving the office? Today, that was my day---a true blessing because I got to get a lot of work done by being glued to my desk. Speaking of being glued to your desk, here's a list of compelling reasons you should totally NOT do it.

In other news, I think I finally figured out why my photos weren't working---it was the chandelier light.  I shot today with hardly any light and the photos turned out way better than when I turn on my chandelier. Noted.

I dressed more casually today but kept it simple---a black cotton dress paired with a blazer.

 Blazer- Express
Dress- Target
Stella & Dot, c/o Katie
Belt- J.Crew
Boots- Nine West
Tights- Target



Review: Suave Professionals’ NEW Keratin Infusion Dry Shampoo

I felt like a pretty lucky gal when Suave contacted me about a new product line they were launching. They said they had read my rave review about their dry shampoo (the one that smells like lemony-goodness) and they wanted to send me a product from their new line that they think I'd love.

A few weeks later, I came home to find a special shiny surprise on my doorstep. I opened a box full of metallic gold strips and inside of that box was a bottle of Suave's new keratin dry shampoo (I love pretty packaging, it always makes everything feel more special!)

I was intrigued. Was it different than the lemon-scented one I already use (and love)? I waited a few days to try it out so that I could use it on hair that really needed dry shampoo.

At first, I was surprised by the scent. It was not at all like the lemony scent of the original---but it grew on me and now I quite enjoy it. It is fresh smelling and not at all overwhelming. I also noticed that it does not deposit white residue onto your roots (which can be rubbed out of course, but for ladies with super dark hair this is a great benefit).

Overall, I am happy with this dry shampoo and have been putting it into the rotation. Here is what Suave says about the dry shampoo:
This refreshing dry shampoo formulated with KERALOCK TECHNOLOGY contains keratin and absorbs oils to help clean your hair so it's refreshed, smooth and manageable between regular washes.
Contains keratin & absorbs oils to:
  • Refresh hair
  • Extend your blowout
  • Revive volume
I have not tried other products from Suave’s keratin line, but I am curious about Color Care Lower Sulfate Shampoo and Conditioner.

This dry shampoo and other products from the line should be available in stores now.  Part of the reason I waited to post my review is so that if you wanted to try it, you wouldn’t have to wait months to do so.

Have you tried any products from Suave’s keratin line or do you plan to?  Let me know in the comments below!



FTC Disclaimer: Suave sent me this product for consideration. I was not compensated to write this review and all opinions are based on my own experience using the product.

Veronika's Blushing---on Facebook!

After reading a post on J's Everyday Fashion, I decided it was time to make a Facebook page for my blog to connect more with you all.

You can "like" my Facebook page here (only if you want to, of course!) and...if you're feeling mighty, let me know if you have any advice about what you'd like to see on my Facebook page.

Hope everyone had a great weekend!



Weekend Shopping...

Have you ever had something on your wish list for years?  For me, it was the Tory Burch "Reva" flats.  For some reason, I could never bring myself to get them because of the cost (about $200). Oddly, it never bothered me to spend $200 on a few items during a shopping trip, but I could never push myself to get the flats even though I had coveted them for a long time.

I finally bit the bullet this weekend and I'm so happy to finally own them!  Check out the video below for the flats and a few other purchases:




Pretty Paisley

If you watched last week's haul video on my YouTube channel, you'll remember the paisley tunic I scored at Zara for $29.99. I absolutely love this piece---it is SO comfortable and perfect for a laid-back Friday at work.  This tunic could work as a dress on someone much shorter than I am!

Here's how I styled it:

and without the infinity scarf...
Tunic- Zara
Jeans- GAP "Always Skinny"
Flats- J.Crew
Scarf- Forever 21
Bag- Asos.com

Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend! No big plans for me, just going to relax and get some much-needed sleep!



Stella & Dot Giveaway Winners!

I know I always say this---but thank you so much for your patience if you entered my Stella & Dot giveaway. I have been really busy at work lately so I've just now had a chance to sit down and finish counting all of the entries.

This giveaway has been my most popular giveaway ever---with 387 entries total!  WOW!  I am so glad you all loved ths giveaway and big thanks to Katie who is generously sending out all of these fabulous prizes!

Here is how I picked the winners:

  • Counted all entries (you could enter up to three different ways)
  • Eliminated entires that did not have an email address and/or were just normal comments and not contest entries
  • Used random.org to generate four winning comments
I'm going to list the prizes now and list the winner for each prize. I drew for the prizes in the order they were posted in the original post.

Here are the winners and prizes they won:

A Stella & Dot Key Pouch OR Jewelry Roll

winner- comment # 40

Jan 8, 2012 03:27 PM
I like Katie's Facebook page and followed her on Twitter. My favorite piece I saw on her website is the Claire necklace. My email is Kelly dot Zastocki at gmail dot com

A Stella & Dot Metallic Clutch OR Jewelry Roll
winner- comment # 89

MarsJan 8, 2012 05:57 PM
I followed Katie on Twitter, I checked her website and I love so many things...the eternity band rings, stackable rings, luna wrap barclet and foundation bracelet. My email is marsnkev@gmail.com that would make 3 entries total. Thnks for doing this giveaway!!

A Stella & Dot Selection from the Existing Line
winner- comment # 10


Anonymous  Jan 8, 2012 02:17 PM
I followed Katie on twitter and on facebook. I checked out the website and I'm in love with the signature clover necklace. It would be great to wear dressed up and day to day. Thank you for the chance to win.
email: g_kardon@yahoo.com
I follow you on yt, twitter, and facebook!

A Stella & Dot Selection from the New Line
winner- comment # 48

TinaVJan 8, 2012 03:47 PM
I followed Katie on Twitter, I checked out her website and my favorite piece is the "Olivia Pearl and Ribbon Neclace" necklace and I also liked her Facebook page (3 entries total). My email address is tina_venerus@hotmail.com

I am going to email all of the winners and connect you with Katie to claim your prizes. Major thanks to everyone who entered. I am going to be doing more giveaways soon---I may even do one on my YouTube channel to thank all of my new subscribers...stay tuned!



Mixing Business with Watercolor

I had an event at work today so I wanted to look professional and not too trendy.  I chose my beloved J. Crew No. 2 pencil skirt and paired it with an item in my closet that has been ignored for the past year: my black blazer.

I don't know why I don't wear it more often because it really is a lovely piece. After wearing it today, I'm convinced more blazers are in my future.

I also added a new top I got at Zara that reminds me of a beautiful watercolor painting. It has 3/4 sleeves which you can't see in these photos---but here is the top in a fitting room photo I took this weekend:

...and here it is with today's outfit:

Skirt- J.Crew; Top- Zara; Blazer- Express; Shoes- Kate Spade



How I Edit My Blog Photos: Windows Live Gallery Rave!

It used to take me forever to edit my blog photos.  Not because I was editing out blemishes or slimming my hips (sadly, my skills are not even remotely advanced enough for that)...but because I was spending time loading photos into Photoshop and then cropping and color correcting them all manually.

Funny side note:When I first started my blog, I was "accused" of editing my photos (like changing my skin texture, etc) and I was actually flattered that someone thought I had the skills to do that.  Thank you for believing in me!

I know that doesn't sound like a lot, but editing my photos was a huge time-suck for me.  I think Photoshop is great for people who do more extensive editing or use it professionally, but for me, time saving is key since I work full time in addition to blogging.

I became part of the Windows Champions program last year and as part of that program I am testing out their Windows 7 software.  The program I have been the most impressed with is Windows Live Photo Gallery.  I am literally obsessed with it and use it exclusively to edit my photos.  It's fast, easy to use and the results are awesome.

Windows Live Gallery has pre-set options for color correction and exposure and you can instantly transform your images to different tones of black and white or sepia simply by rolling your mouse over that option. 

The other thing I love about the program is that all I have to do is open it and my entire "My Pictures" folder is already there and accessible, with all of my photos in chronological order.  I simply select a file from that gallery to work on it.

I took some screen shots to illustrate just how easy it is to make adjustments to an image. The pre-set options make it simple to choose which ones make the photo look best. I also like that you get a preview of the exposure or color selection just by scrolling over the options and you never have to commit---you can just roll over another selection if you don't like the one you chose.

Here's what your Windows Live Gallery looks like when you open the program.  It shows all of your photos according to date and you just select the one you want to work on.

Once I've selected my photo, I'll adjust the exposure first. I usually need to brighten them up because of the lighting I have to work with when I take my outfit photos in the morning isn't always ideal (the picture below is an old fitting room photo, taken on an iPhone in poor fitting room lighting).

After I adjust my exposure, I'll usually crop my photo (though, you can really either start by cropping r crop at the very end). When you select crop, a box/grid will show up over your photo and you just drag it to where you want your photo cropped.

Then, I adjust the color, using the pre-set options in my toolbar.

You can also use the tools on the right to make a photo black and white or sepia.

So basically, what this post is saying is that I am in love. With Windows Live Gallery. It makes my life easier and I actually find myself looking forward to blogging more often because as I mentioned before, it's a huge time-saver. I also love that it makes my photos look more dramatic and overall more polished.

Some of the options even allow your photos to have a little bit of a vintage vibe to them---like these:

I use a lot of photography apps like CrossProcess, Instagram, etc and I love that I can get a similar look using Windows Live Gallery when I edit photos taken with my Canon Rebel T2i.

What program do you use to edit your photos?  Have you ever used Live Gallery?  Let me know in the comments below!


FTC Disclaimer:  I am part of the Windows Champions program.  As part of this program I was provided with a laptop and Windows 7 software for my personal use.  I'm writing about this particular program because it's awesome and has changed the way I edit my photos.  As always, my opinions are honest and based on my experiences with a product.  I am not being compensated to write this.

Casual Cool

I get a lot of requests to share my more casual outfits---outfits I wear to shop, run errands or on casual Friday.

I wore this outfit on Friday. Very simple and oh-so-comfortable. I was thrilled to wear my cognac boots for the second time this winter. It just hasn't been cold enough here to wear them more often. I do recommend investing in a pair if you don't already own any. Cognac-colored boots are incredibly versatile and are a staple in any wardrobe.

Jacket- Lululemon
Jeans- GAP "Always Skinny"
Infinity Scarf- Forever 21
Boots- Nine West



Curls, Without the Heat.

Last week, I showed you how to revive second, third (or fourth!) day curls using Bumble & Bumble's Texture lotion.  This week, I'm taking it to a whole new level and sharing with you the growingly popular "heat free" way to curl your hair.

I haven't had my hair curled with rags since I was a kid, but one of my internet friends, Kathy, was kind enough to share her method with me---and I'll include a few other methods I plan to try below as well!

Here's Kathy's Step-by-Step How-To on "Rag Curls"

Step 1:Cut up an old t-shirt into 1-2inch wide strips. They don't have to be even, but they should be all about the same size. Make the strips as long as you can. If they're too short (you run out while you're twisting them up) you can tie two together.

Step 2:The hair should be nearly dry. It can't be completely dry, nor should it be too damp. Take a section of hair. For this tutorial I did my whole head in 4 sections for somewhat loose curls, other nights I have done 6 sections. Remember: the larger the section, the more straight hair you'll have at the top of each curl, so if you want curls to start at your scalp, make more sections---and if your hair is a little too wet, larger sections won't dry completely overnight, so go small.

Step 3:
Smooth out the section of hair and wrap it tightly around the rag. I hold the other end of the rag in my teeth to keep it from pulling out. Then, wrap the rag back up the hair in the same direction that you wrapped the hair. (If you go the opposite way, it untwists the hair, so you'll know if you're doing it wrong.)

Step 4:When you get to the top, take the other end of the rag out of your mouth and tie the two ends together in a knot.

Step 5:Start the next section. Twist it in the same direction as the first (i.e. all counter clockwise or all clockwise.) Continue all over your head. When you get done, it will look like this.

I usually do this right before bed and sleep on it. But it will make your hair at least wavy within a couple hours. 

Step 6:
In the morning, begin by undoing the last knot that you tied. Take the rags out in the opposite order that you put them in. Unravel the rag, then gently pull the rag straight down. The ringlet will loosen and release the rag.

Step 7:
Separate a small section of hair from the ringlet and twist it around your finger to shape a curl. Repeat for the entire ringlet. Continue to undo the ringlets and shape curls. Finger comb curls to relax and separate them. Style as desired.

The final result: pretty curls without the heat and damage!

Thank you Kathy for sharing this great tutorial!  Here are my other favorite no-heat methods to achieve curls:

You can also read Andi's blog post about no-heat curls here.



CultureMap's Fashion On Sale Winner!

Using random.org, the winning comment was comment #3:

Jan 9, 2012 07:30 PM

iyah_dmd at yahoo.com

Congratulations! You have won two tickets to the event! I have emailed the winner and when she sends me her information she will be put on the list to attend CultureMap's Fashion on Sale event.

Please email me ASAP to claim the tickets!

Thank you to everyone who entered!


Going Faux (Fur)

Today was a more casual day where I knew I wouldn't be leaving the office so I tried to be a little more relaxed by wearing a simple cotton henley and a vest with faux fur...and I threw in a polka-dot skirt into the mix...you know, just for fun!

I wanted to say a big thank you to everyone who left comments and tips about my new lens---I'm going to watch the DVD I bought when I first got it to learn how to change the settings.  Obviously my goal is to have the best photos I can for you all!

Top- Target; Vest- Charlotte Russe; Skirt- Forever 21; Shoes- Kate Spade; Tights- Target; Initial Necklace- overstock.com
Don't forget to enter my Stella & Dot Giveaway and if you're in Houston my "Fashion On Sale" tickets giveaway!


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