Last-Minute Gift Ideas That Will Arrive in Time For Christmas!

If you're still looking for a gift for someone special on your list…I'm sharing a few ideas in this post that will get here in time for Christmas. 

For all of you Amazon Prime members with free 2-day shipping, here are some of my gift picks for yourself or anyone on your list!
My in-laws got us this after we had Harper and it's a life-saver. It works so well, weighs next to nothing and the middle detaches so you can use it as a portable dust-buster as well. I really can't rave enough about it and it get used constantly on our middle floor, which had hardwood floors. 

 I haven't played this before, but have heard a lot of people rave about it. It's touted as "a party game for horrible people" which means it's probably lots of fun, and slightly inappropriate. I bought us a set for Christmas.

We own a panini maker---but how fun is this? I love egg mcmuffins, and making my own every morning sounds delicious!

I love sonicare toothbrushes and have used them for probably about a decade. Kevin's died this year so I got him a new one recently. They're so fantastic- brushing will never feel the same again!
Quick and easy meal ideas? yes please.

We used to use our dropcamp to see what Lulu did while we were at work (yes, really, but don't worry, it was short-lived). Now, we keep it at our front door for extra security. You can login to it remotely at any time and you could also use it as a baby monitor if you wanted to. It runs on your WiFi.

vinturi essential wine aerator:

Kevin has this and loves it and it's also an amazon bestseller, so it must be good. For the wine lover in your life…even if it's you :)

I love drinking tea and I recently got this kettle for myself. I love that it's clear glass and you can see the water boil. It's quick and looks nice on your countertop. It replaced another one I've owned for years when it finally gave out.
Daniel Wellington watches are beautiful and high quality--- and if you order before December 18 at 12:00 CET delivery is guranteed by Dec. 24th (and they have free worldwide shipping). Use the code holiday_veronikasblushing for 15% off of your order!
my favorite ladie's styles:

Happy Shopping!

H-E-B Holiday Beauty Picks!

Last week, H-E-B sent me a package of goodies with products perfect for the holidays--- or, anytime, really! 

But before we get to all of the fun beauty items, I wanted to share that I'm part of a Twitter party H-E-B is hosting tomorrow, Wed. Dec. 17 at 7 p.m. CST! You can follow me @veronabrit. There will be giveaways with beauty prize packs and gift cards, too! You can follow the chat by using the hastag #HEBbeauty and you can follow H-E-B here.
One of my favorite H-E-B holiday beauty picks was this Hollywood Fashion Secrets package that comes with 10 fashion and beauty essentials. This would be perfect for travel or just to keep in your purse. It has everything you need for any fashion emergency and it comes in a super slim pink zip case. This kit would also make a great gift, because it's something every woman needs and will actually use.
The next items were this NYX eyeshadow palette and HEB brand eyeshadow brush. The palette is full of beautiful, shimmery neutrals that can go from day to night. I like to use the darker colors as a liner on my upper and lower lash line as well. The shimmer works for anytime of year, but is especially pretty around the holidays. There are a couple of matte shades in there too, perfect for blending.
I love this NYX cream blush in "natural." It's so pretty and gives a perfect flush to the cheeks--- just like if you were to spend a little time outside in chilly weather. I don't wear makeup setting spray on the regular, but I knew I'd have a particularly long day at work today so I sprayed a little on this morning before leaving the house and I do think it helps makeup look fresher a little longer. The NYX eye pencil arrived in a gorgeous forest green. I have some olive green in my eyes, so anything green really makes them pop. I like to use a flat eyeshadow brush to apply the liner because it's a "chubby" style pencil and I prefer a thinner line.
Nothing says holidays more than glitter. I currently have a gorgeous red glitter shellac on my toes, but I love this silver glitter Orchid polish and I think it would look amazing for a glitter accent nail. I usually do glitter accent nails during the holidays because it's not something I would wear for work on the regular and it's always a fun, festive change.

The Revlon photo-ready eye art pen is all kinds of awesome. On one side you'll find a metallic cream shadow and on the other a glitter liner. I personally found that the results looked best when I layered the glitter liner over my regular black or brown liner. That really made it pop.
Lastly, I received these faux Ardell lashes. I've used Ardell lashes a ton in the past but haven't had an opportunity to break these out yet. From my experience with the brand for many, many years, I have only good things to say about these lashes. I like that these are the "natural" ones because super thick false lashes don't appeal to me as much.
I hope you'll join me on Twitter tomorrow night! 

FTC disclaimer: H-E-B provided these items for review, as well as a gift card. All opinions are my own.

Our Weekend...

Hello and Happy Sunday! We took Harper to see Santa for this first time this year and as you can tell, it went just as we expected it would. I kind of love the photo anyway! It's funny because when we were waiting in line, she kept going to sneak glances of Santa with other kids and she didn't seem phased by him then. Enter her actually having to sit on his lap, and, well, you get this:
Luckily we had some fun company to visit Santa. Harper went first and when Liv saw her cry, she cried too, so the chances of her doing well with Santa were slim to none. Sorry, friend!

If you're local, Memorial City Mall allows you to reserve a time slot online for photos with Santa. We still had to wait a bit--- but not the hour (or more) people without a reservation wait. If you have a toddler, this is a lifesaver, because we all know how good they are at waiting patiently while surrounded by massive, colorful structures, lots of people, and all kinds of things they shouldn't touch. 
(note my quick , blurred hands trying to divert from this action, lol)

After our emotionally-charged visit with Santa, we all had lunch at Panera and headed home for nap time. Later in the day we joined our friends and their daughter for some playtime at the Children's Museum. Harper has been teething like crazy (molars) and has been miserable on and off all week :( She was so happy at the tot spot, running around and playing in a new environment, which gave us two glorious hours without a meltdown. Hallelujah, this play date was a life-saver.
harper's top- baby gap  |  bow by willowcrowns  |  shoes- mini melissa 
Sunday we decided to head to the zoo in the morning with some friends. Between travel and the holidays I realized we hadn't been in two months so it was fun to see the animals again and of course, to visit the petting zoo.

Harper and Margot with the massive Christmas bear
harper's shirt- zara  |  harper's pants- old navy  |  bow- happinessliveshere, ℅ | shoes- nordstrom

During Harper's nap after the zoo, Kev and I cleaned our main floor and did a bajillion loads of laundry. I'm talking full-on cleaning the fronts of our kitchen cabinets, washing all of our floors, even washing all of our couch pillow cases. It felt like Spring cleaning!

Hope y'all had a great weekend!

Atlantis Resort- Paradise Island Review

When we were picking a vacation destination for a family trip earlier this year, I was looking into options and saw that a friend of mine had traveled to Atlantis recently with her husband and toddler son. I checked out the website and there were a ton of attractions that appealed to me--- water slides, aquariums with tens of thousands of fish and other aquatic species, a splash pad for kids, lots of excursions and experiences, etc...not to mention the gorgeous beach and abundant pools! I figured if we had bad weather, we would have other things we could do at the resort.

I promised a full review about our experience at Atlantis Resort on ParadiseIsland in the Bahamas and I don't even know where to begin! We had a wonderful trip and we were lucky to have both Kevin’s parents and my mom and her husband with us. It was fun to enjoy the trip together as a family and also allowed us to have a few date nights and time to do the water slides and other attractions while Harper napped.

Though our trip was fantastic, there are definitely a few things about the trip that were disappointing. 

I’ll start with the good first:

  • Our hotel (we stayed in the Coral Towers) was super close to the beach and our room was nice. It wasn’t super fancy or anything, but it was a nice room and we had a partial ocean view. We also had a great crib for Harper in the room and we were able to get a fridge as well.
  • The aquariums were amazing. Truly a wonderful variety of fish and aquatic species. We even got to see them feed a massive stingray! We enjoyed exploring the aquariums both at night and one day while it rained. They’re just so well-kept and beautiful and great for kids who are just so captivated by all of the fish swimming around.
  • The rapid lazy river was AWESOME. Kevin and I went during Harper’s daily afternoon nap (my FIL and MIL would nap too, so they offered to stayed with her) and it was SO fun. The other lazy river barely moved (I would skip it if you go, we literally had to paddle through it) but the rapid one is a wild ride. We even filmed it on our GoPro.
  • The water slides were SO fun. We went down several and the shark one is a very cool experience. You go down in a double tube and it’s pitch black twists and turns until you get to the shark part and then you’re in this long and large tunnel where you float slowly towards the end and you can watch the sharks swim above and around you.
  • The beaches, water and sand couldn’t have been more perfect. There were comfy lounge chairs, as many towels as you liked, etc. I prefer being at the beach over the pool, personally, but on some of the bad weather days we had, the beaches were closed and so we did spend some time at the pool before another rainstorm hit. The pools were also great, no complaints there. They had life vests for kids in varying sizes to use for free, which was a huge bonus.
  • The food was great at the restaurants--- we loved Carmine’s, Marketplace and the diner. Atlantis is quite pricey for food, but knew that before we got there, so there was no sticker shock. The food was delicious at the restaurants. If you ever go to Marketplace, get the terryaki from the hibachi grill--- trust me on that one!
  • Our hotel had a Starbucks, and we soon realized that it was cheaper (and better) to do breakfast and lunch there. Not only did they have the normal Starbucks drink menu, but they also offered breakfast sandwiches and pastries, fresh fruit, yogurt and fantastic lunches such as wraps, sandwiches, cheese and fruit platters, etc. It was so much better the the (mostly fried) food offered at the beach/pool restaurants that were open. We ate at those too, but we realized that SB had tastier and healthier choices so Kevin would often go and grab it for us so we could eat it pool or beach side.
  • The grounds are massive--- thank goodness we brought our stroller! Though it can be quite a lot of walking, the grounds are well-maintained and the size of the resort allows the many, many activities and attractions to be there.
  • The dolphin cay was an incredible experience for me. It was a childhood dream for me to swim with dolphins but I didn’t get to do it on our family trips. My mom volunteered to book the excursion for me because she always knew it was a dream of mine. I did the deep water experience and it was unbelievable. We did some training and then we got into the water and had lots of fun with the dolphins including swimming alongside them. It was a special moment.
  • You can snorkel on the grounds in the “ruins of Atlantis,” which is nice to have. Kevin and I had intended to do the boat excursion to snorkel in the ocean, but on the days we tried to book it, there were not enough people to go, and then the weather was too rough to do the ocean snorkel. I wish we could have done it, especially with the gorgeous water there, but there’s always our next vacation.
  • The cleaning staff and library staff were wonderful--- everyone was so friendly, kind and cheerful.
  • The maintenance staff was very responsive- we had an issue with our sink and shower and we also asked for a non-slip bath mat and those requests were all addressed immediately.
  • Everything can be charged to your room card, which is very convenient
  • There are a lot of shops there--- mostly high end/luxury, but still fun to window shop as you walk to dinner.
  • I loved the holiday decor they were starting to put up during our trip--- very grand Christmas trees!
  • Children under 2 eat free at most restaurants
Okay, now to the bad:
  • We (thankfully) did not purchase the meal plan before our trip, but it was pushed by the resort when booking. After talking with my friend that went, she recommended not getting and now I know why. Half of the restaurants were closed when we were there. The resort was very quiet as it wasn’t the busy season, so I guess they don’t keep them all open, but we were not made aware of this as we booked out trip and started to make plans of where we wanted to eat.
  • The Casino, which also houses two upscale restaurants including Olive’s and Nobu reeked of smoke. There are no doors on either entry/exit to the casino (nor the restaurants), so the smoke filters into the Royal Towers. I couldn’t imagine how people were eating at either restaurant because the thought of eating a super pricey dinner while practically choking on cigarette and cigar smoke sounds like about the worst dining experience ever. Also, all of the people with kids had to walk through the casino to get to certain restaurants which really angered me. There is a door that can take you to an outdoor balcony to go through some of the casino--- however, you still have to enter the smokey casino to get to that balcony. It is basically incredibly poorly configured and everyone who spends time there reeks of smoke. I actually heard a lot of people complaining about it while we were there. I get that smoking in casinos is par for the course, but they should have it contained, with the proper air filtration systems in place to allow for containment.
  • The smaller restaurants/fast food type places near the beach and pools served mostly fried foods (cheeseburgers, hot dogs, fried fish, French fries, etc). There were salads available, but they didn’t look appetizing. Once again, thank goodness for the great options at SB.
  • We were promised a certain block of rooms when we booked, and they had us all booked on different floors of the hotel. We explained that we wanted our rooms to be close together and they remedied that, but it was still a little bit frustrating. The resort was virtually empty for a resort of that size and they were in off-season, so honoring our request from the start wouldn't have been an issue.
  • For a luxury/fancy resort, you would expect there to be more entertainment. They had some music in the harbor area at night, but it wasn't for long and there weren't any shows/performances, etc like we've experienced at other resorts. At nighttime, things were kind of dead. We walked the grounds one evening and we barely saw anyone else. It was nice to have a little time to just relax and walk around leisurely, but it would have been great to have some kind of entertainment every night (note that there are some shows they offer, but the tickets can be steep--- Bill Cosby was scheduled to be there when we were there, but the show was cancelled in light of the recent allegations against him). I also didn't see any of the bars and clubs open. Like I said, it was just kind of dead. The only thing that was busy was the casino on days that is rained a lot.
  • WiFi cost $25/ day. For how much you pay for the room already, it seems like they should just work that cost into the room. My FIL purchased it one day we were there, but the rest of the days we didn't have it. Each guest was allowed 20 minutes of free WiFi but it had to be used at the library, which was inconvenient.
There were definitely more positives than negatives and we enjoyed our trip a lot! I'm not sure we would go back because we'd like to travel to other areas and try new resorts, but I think if you can, it's worth it to experience Atlantis.

We had perfect weather for our first three days of the trip and it all went downhill from there, but like I said, we made the best of it. I felt even worse for the people coming in as we were leaving because the forecast was showing rain and storms for the next two weeks. We were lucky to get the sunny days we did. 

On the days there were storms, we would wake up early, get in some pool time while it was still somewhat warm and cloudy and then go in for lunch or naptime when it started to pour again. We also walked the grounds to see all of the aquariums, took Harper to the library where there were kids' toys and books (apparently the library was the place to be---we made lots of friends with parents with kids around Harper's age). We tried to go to the movie theater as well, but we missed when they were playing Frozen and then they didn't have movies running all day, just three times a day.

Here are some more photos from our trip!

on the beach right by our hotel...

swimsuit by waidcreations

 On the splash pad waterside...

 watching the stingrays being fed...

 Hope you enjoyed my post and that it was helpful to you if you're planning a trip there! Please feel free to leave me any questions in the comments :)

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