Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy Birthday to My Blog + A Reflection of 2014

Who’s ready for 2015?  Can you believe it is almost here?  This year has flown by and it was such a fun ride.  Also, last week marked the one year anniversary of my blog!  I was so busy with the holidays and baby stuff that I almost forgot about it!  

Happy Birthday to Erika's Style Diary!

Thinking back to last January, I never could have imagined how this year would have turned out for me.  I had so many expectations of how 2014 was going to be and it’s funny how things don’t work out exactly as you planned, but it turns out better than you could have expected.  Here were some of my expectations/goals for 2014 and what really happened.  Intermixed are some of my favorite posts from 2014.  Click on the picture to see the original post.

Expectation 1: Complete physical therapy for my knee and play football again and wear high heels.

Reality: I completed physical therapy in April, making a full recovery from my ACL tear.  I was able to play sports and wear heels again.  One of the reasons I started this blog was to occupy my time during the recovery since I was missing sports.  I was able to play football for one season too (we even won the championship in our league).  So this was one of the few expectations that came out just about as planned.  The only unexpected part was that I only got to play that one season of football.

Expectation 2: I would blog 2-3 times per week, mostly sharing outfit ideas and inspirations, but also a few personal things now and then.

Reality: For the most part I think I did do about an average of 2 posts per week, minus a few weeks here and there (especially lately) where I didn’t do any.  I think it would’ve been a little easier to keep up with if I wasn’t pregnant.  Pregnancy can be exhausting and who wants to think about their next blog post when curling up on the couch with ice cream sounds a thousand times better?  Hehe…

Expectation 3: Grow my blog audience and become kind of popular. 

Reality: I know that you can’t get success overnight, especially with all of the thousands upon thousands of blogs that are out there.  It’s tough to make yourself stand out.  I didn’t work on that nearly as much as I wanted to.  BUT, I made a lot of new blogger friends.  Blogging is such a fun community and I have found it really supportive and welcoming.  I wouldn’t trade my new blogging friendships for all the success in the world. :)

Expectation 4: I was obsessed with getting a pair of Christian Louboutin shoes. Red is my favorite color and I love the pop of red on the bottom of those shoes.  I had a plan in place.  I was going to be super frugal and put aside about $100 per month for 6 months and then purchase a pair and it was going to be awesome.

Reality: I was doing great for about 2 months but then I found out I was pregnant!  I could no longer justify getting a pair of expensive shoes when I knew that I would have lots of upcoming baby expenses.  Sometimes women’s’ feet increase a shoe size during pregnancy too (so far so good that has not been the case for me) and I didn’t want to risk an investment on a pair of shoes that I might not be able to wear in a year.  So I scrapped the plan for now, but I think I may try again in a few years.

Expectation 5: Continue to eat healthy and stay in shape.

Reality: I got pregnant! :)  Haha.  It wasn't planned, but Marty and I couldn't be happier.  Sure, I may not be working out as much as I want, but I will have time for that after baby girl comes.  I'm still eating healthy, but allowing myself more indulgences than before.  Baby girl is making me crave it (I can blame it on the baby for now, right?)

Gosh, it was hard to pick out my favorite posts from 2014, there were so many outfits that I loved.  It makes me miss my old wardrobe so much and I can't wait to get back to my normal size and wear those clothes again!  I miss my long hair too.  I'm working on growing it out again.  FYI, I keep an album on my Facebook page of all the outfits that I've featured on the blog, in case you ever want to see them all in one place.

Here are some of my goals for 2015.  It will be fun to come back to this post at the end of next year and see how they turned out.

1. Have a baby! Enjoy how my life is going to change and try not to stress about the unknown.

2. Continue to blog and understand that it may be inconsistent since I'll probably have less time, but still try to fit it in as much as I can.  My goal will be to post an average of about once a week.  Hopefully I can do more, but I'm setting my expectations low as I don't know what life will be like after baby. :)

3. After getting cleared by the doctor, make time to work out and take care of myself, so I can get back to my normal size and wear all my fun clothes again!

4. Be more thrifty.  I started checking out second hand shops last spring and made some amazing finds. (Thanks to my awesome blogger friends for encouraging this!)  I can't wait to see what treasures I find during 2015.

So here's to 2015 ~ I wish you all the best for the new year!

xo, Erika

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

#MonthlyMani: Winter Wonderland

Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year, especially when it comes to all of the fun holiday things that you can paint on your nails!  I decided to do snowflakes for this one.

I used 3 nail polishes for this design.  I love the skinny brushes from Kiss.  They make it easier to do designs that require more precise lines.

First I started with this gorgeous blue base color.  I've had this color forever and it always seems to be the perfect shade for winter themed nails.

Next, I started the intricate snowflake pattern.  First, I painted a simple star design.  

Then I added a mini zigzag between the star lines, creating diamonds.  

Finally, I added 2 more lines at the end of each star point to create a "fork" for the tips of the snowflake.

They look a little messy up close, but from just a little ways away they look much better. :)  I added a couple half snowflakes on my middle and pinky nails and then silver lines on my pointer and ring nails.

PS ~ This post is going live a little late because today is my birthday! Between my baby shower, birthing class and my birthday, I had too many activities going on the past few days, but I finally found some time to do my nails. :)

Check out the rest of the gang's awesome winter nails:
Kristi from Delightfully Kristi
Piniel from Pins-Place
Jacki and Lesli from Sistas from Cali
Marlena from Here, Pretty Kitty
Natalie from Being Mrs. Olson

Also, check out this link for some other cool nail art ideas for the holidays!  I think I'm going to try one of the Christmas tree designs next.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Pregnancy Update: Weeks 31 - 33

I am finally down to single digit weeks left.  It is unreal.  Everything is still going along pretty well.  Her kicks have gotten more powerful and her feet are right where my muscle tear is on my right side; and wouldn't you know, that seems to be her favorite place to kick. :(  Usually it's not too bad but every once in a while she will do a hard kick that catches me off-guard and it hurts!

We had another ultrasound between 31 and 32 weeks.  It is crazy how much bigger she looks and with all the added fat her face is starting to look more like a baby face and not a skeleton.  The growth looked good, but the doc is still having me get one more ultrasound this week just to make sure.  I shouldn't complain that I've had to get so many ultrasounds because it's awesome to see her so often, but it's annoying to schedule the appointments and take the extra time for them.  And I think it's fairly obvious from my stomach that she is still growing, haha.

I finally got a prenatal massage over Thanksgiving weekend.  It was awesome!  I noticed the next day that my legs were almost back to normal with no signs of swelling too!  The swelling has been minimal, so it wasn't a drastic difference, but it was still nice to see them looking better.

I mentioned in my last post that I was looking for a doula.  I found one and I am so excited about it.  She comes highly recommended and her specialty is massage (hallelujah!).  I had never heard of a doula before becoming pregnant.  I remember reading an article about pregnancy after I had just found out I was expecting and it mentioned something about a doula.  It wasn't much information and my curiosity took over and I googled it.  At first I thought it sounded like some weird thing a hippie would use at birth (no offense to hippies, but you get my drift, ha), but the more I read about doulas, the less skeptical I became.  I tucked that info away in the back of my mind as something to look into later in the pregnancy.  Then I began hearing about doulas randomly through friends of friends, when they'd mention how awesome they were on Facebook and how they couldn't imagine giving birth without one.  I kept hearing more and more positive things about them that finally I knew that I wanted a doula to help me survive labor.  Plus, they are great with helping the spouse know what to do to help his wife during labor, and I think my hubby could benefit from that. :)  I will definitely be sharing my opinion on how it goes with the doula when everything is done.

The last couple of days I think I have experienced some Braxton Hicks contractions.  They can start occurring as early as 30 weeks (and sometimes earlier) and are believed to help your body practice for the real thing.  They don't hurt and it feels like my stomach is tightening during them.  I thought it was the baby moving the first few times I felt them, but then it dawned on me that it was BH contractions.  It really is no big deal though, at least right now since they have only happened a couple times a day.  I heard that they occur more often as you get closer to your due date and can get really annoying.  We shall see.

One last thing to mention is that I think baby girl has finally moved to the head down position.  For the entire pregnancy she has been laying in a transverse position (left to right instead of up and down, if that makes sense) and so I would feel her kicks and arm movements on the sides of my belly.  It was also the reason the ultrasound technicians were having a hard time getting accurate measurements on her growth.  The last couple of days she has been pushing hard on my right side and it was very uncomfortable, especially with the muscle tear on that side.  I thought it felt like she might be turning but I wasn't sure.  Then yesterday morning I noticed the movements were more at the top and bottom of my belly instead of the sides and my belly was less wide (kinda weird).  It's great because I felt like she was getting too big to be laying transverse and that my belly wouldn't stretch out that wide any more!  Haha.  I will be able to confirm her position at the ultrasound this Friday.  I just hope she is head down and not breach, but I'm pretty sure she is because I have felt hiccups in the lower part of my belly.

Wow, this post turned into a novel!  I will save the rest for the next post. :)  Also, the next post will contain pictures of the nursery!  It's not quite done yet, but it's coming together quite nicely and I can't wait to share.  That gives you something to look forward to in the next pregnancy post!

Past Pregnancy Posts:
Weeks 29 and 30

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Monday, December 1, 2014

Some of My Favorite Things: Cyber Monday Deals

Happy Cyber Monday!  Haha.  Also, Happy December!  I can't believe it's already here and that there are only 24 days left until Christmas!

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  Did any of you brave the crowds and go shopping on Black Friday?  I apologize that I didn't get a post out about the BF deals.  I was in the country with my family and didn't get a chance to get it written up before I left.  So I will make up for it with my fave deals for Cyber Monday.  From what I've heard, it's one of the least productive days at work.  I wonder if that is still true since the crazy deals seem to go all week long rather than just on Black Friday and Cyber Monday nowadays.  I did end up purchasing a couple items online for myself on Saturday - a pretty dress for my work Christmas party and a maternity swim suit so I can get back to swimming.  I didn't do any Christmas shopping over the weekend, but I will probably get some of that done today.  I actually have most of it done already. :)  It definitely helps that my hubby and I are only doing small gifts this year since the baby stuff has been so expensive.

Anyways, here are some awesome deals going on at some of my fave stores!  Happy shopping!

The Limited ~ 50% off everything (use code THANKS)

Banana Republic ~ 40% off (use code CYBER)

Ann Taylor ~ 50% off (use code CYBER50)

White House Black Market ~ 30% off (use code 19959)

Here are some other great deals that are going on today:
Juicy Couture ~ 60% off (use code EATSLEEPSHOP)
LOFT ~ 505 off (use code MONDAY)
Express ~ 50% off (no code needed)
GAP ~ 40% off (use code CYBER)
Bauble Bar ~ 20% off (with code CYBER20) or play their game to get an even better discount
Steve Madden ~ 35% off (use code CYBER)
Kate Spade ~ 30% off (use code CYBER30)
ASOS ~ 30% off (use code ILOVEMONDAYS)