Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Reflections and Looking Ahead to 2015

Recently on Instagram I was tagged to share my highlights from 2014. I considered doing this but soon realized that I have far too many good things to highlight in one square picture. Despite sickness, a death in the family or any other bad things that may have happened, I was truly blessed this year and continue to be blessed. 

I was able to finish my Forty Before Forty list (I'll recap in a minute), had a milestone birthday,  we were able to do home improvement projects like new carpeting and a new front porch deck and we adopted a puppy. Let's not even mention that my husband and I both have work, my son is doing phenomenal in school and we finally got that puppy potty-trained. Now if we could only get her to stop being nosy and getting everything out and eating it! We have a roof over our heads and a car to drive. While life is most certainly not perfect, we continue to live and be blessed. 

I tried to blog about most of my Forty Before Forty list, but I'll recap all of the activities I completed in case if any of you would like some ideas! I completed most this year, but I did do a few last year like running a 5 K, starting a book club and starting my blog. They were completed only one year ago! 

Forty Before Forty

1. Start a book club- hard to believe this next year, it will actually be two years! 
2. Start a blog- one year blogiversary was in October!
3. Run a 5K- and by run, I mean run not walk! 
4. Try a new exercise class- kickboxing! 
5. Make strawberry jam- yum! 
6. Sing karaoke- boy, that was a fun night! 
7. Drink a shot of tequila- and that was the same fun night as above...
8. Fly a kite- I cannot remember the last time if ever I did this and it was fun! 
9. Pick fruit- I picked the strawberries that I used to make the jam
10. Have crepes- I've had them once before but it was a while ago and this time it was with my family
11. Do the color run- what a blast! 
12. Archery- this was such a great time and I would like to do this again! 
13. Shooting range- I would try this again- I was a little scared when shooting but it wasn't awful
14. Horseback riding- I did not like this at all...
15. Ziplining- super scary but I did it! 
16. Have macarons- I love Macarons and it was great when I ate the ones I made! 
17. Cooking class- made macarons above in this class! 
18. Visit my moms grave in Ohio- first time I was there since she passed- it was last year around this time and I wrote all about it 
19. Jewelry organization- might seem like a small thing, but bars are hung and all of the necklaces are put away! I've got a tray for jewelry that doesn't hang, a hand to store rings and a bracelet holder. I'm proud of this accomplishment! 
20. Finish coin collection of state quarters- I've been collecting these for a while and finally got around to finishing my collection
21. Make a snowman
22. Made snow angels 
23. Make a turkey - nope I've never done this before! 
24. High Tea- this was a fun time with friends in a tearoom in Plymouth 
25. Volunteer with Dress for Success- I've been wanting to do this for a few years and finally got the opportunity to start doing this- it's such a great way to give back and I love it! 
26. New haircut/hairstyle- I'm loving the shorter "do"! 
27. Mow the grass- nope never did this either! My dad always said if we went out mowed it, we would have to continue to do it so I never tried. 
28. Paint a new painting- I actually did a couple! 
29. Fishing-I did this last summer when we went camping- it wasn't my favorite but I didn't hate it
30. Outdoor movie- this was fun! 
31. New glasses- I'm loving my more "nerdy" look! 
32. Visit a Presidential museum- I went to the one here in Ann Arbor for Gerald Ford- very interesting! 
33. Throw a party- I did this for my birthday- I love planning parties and wish I could do it more often! 
34. Shaved ice- my favorite! Nothing is as good as the place in Hawaii, but I was able to enjoy one around here
35. Rock climbing- this was a fun thing that I tried at the last minute- I wish I would have worn different pants with more stretch which would have made it easier to climb! 
36. Go to the beach. One of my favorite things to do! 
37. Tour a lighthouse- we were able to visit one in West Michigan and go all the way to the top! 
38. Drive a boat- umm okay- I was scared to death but I did it! Fun with friends at the lake! 
39. Reach a certain number of followers on Instagram and my blog- while this might not mean anything to other people, I have personal goals and I am happy to report that they were met! 
40. Collaborate with companies for my blog- another personal goal and I was able to do several already this year! I'm looking forward to 2015 and working together with more vendors and bloggers! 

There were many more items on my list that I wanted to do but I'll save those for the bucket list or for more activities in 2015! 2014 was a busy year considering almost all of these were done this year! I was definitely out of my comfort zone for several of these, but it taught me to loosen up a little and take a risk every once in a while! 

Looking ahead to 2015 my word for the year will be "networking" or "collaboration". I need to do more of this in my professional life as well as my personal life. I've got a couple of goals to accomplish at work and I need to get better about networking and working together with other members of our team since we work remotely. 

As far as for personal, networking and collaboration will be for the blog and for my IG account. I love networking with people and sharing my goals and visions, but I will be getting better about initiating things and being proactive rather than reactive. I want to work together with more vendors as well as bloggers and do more collaborations in the upcoming year. I'm starting January out with a trip to Raleigh to meet some fellow IGers and bloggers and I am so excited! 

I also have other goals in networking like being more active in church and meeting some new people. It's hard to really get to know people if they aren't in your small group so I'll try to either volunteer more or maybe do a Bible study or something to get more involved. 

I'm not one to make resolutions because I'll be the first to tell you that I will fail at them. However, I do believe in constant self-improvement. This year I did the 2014 Closet Remix Challenge. While it fell off towards the end off the year, I learned a lot about what I like and what I need. I've also been cleaning out the closet while I've been off work this week and listing tons of stuff on Poshmark. I learned what styles look good on me and purchased more of those items. I'll be starting back up again tomorrow making sure I am writing in my journal again how much I am spending. 

Of course, diet and exercise is always on my list of things to improve. I think it's really on most everyone's list and this is definitely an area I could do much better in if I tried. I need to go back to weekly trips to get plenty of produce, drink my water and do my exercises. I feel so much better when I do these things too! 

Another thing that I have been wanting to try for quite some time is doing an International dinner once a month. We will pick a different country each month and make recipes and learn more about the country. My family's on board so I can't wait to start that this year! If anyone has great recipes to share, please pass them along! 

I also want to get better about posting our book club selections each month so you all can join us! I'll be honest that a lot of times I just forget to post the book! I've read them all and I enjoy them so I'll try to remember to share them with you all as well! 

So there you have it! 2014 was a great year and I am looking forward to a fabulous 2015! Thank you to all of you who have been reading and following along with me! I truly appreciate all of the comments, the love and support that I get from you all! 

Cheers to a great year! 


Sunday, December 28, 2014

2014 Sunday Style: Top Ten

Well I have been busy all weekend listing stuff on Poshmark- my user name is sandaef14 if you're interested...anyways, I thought it would be fun to do a top ten of my favorite posts for 2014.   I started the Sunday Style posts to encourage people as they go about their daily lives and give them ideas of things to wear to church, brunch or for recreation. 

Here are my top ten pics for the year:

10. Sunday Style: Pinterest-Inspired- This was a fun post during the summer- we went to Greenfield Village for the afternoon for Motor Muster and I was able to pose by some cool cars. The second picture is the pin that inspired this outfit. I've been looking to Pinterest more and more for motivation and inspiration! 
P.S. You can follow me on Pinterest too- sandaef14. 

9. Sunday Style: Little Black Wrap Dress (Four Ways!)- this post is one of my favorites for a couple of reasons. When I first started blogging, I wanted to show women how they could stretch their budget and wear one item multiple ways. This post is no exception and I showed how to wear this dress for work, out to dinner and casual. I also love a great black dress because it is slimming but the wrap is doubly slimming! This dress was on sale when I bought it at Old Navy and I thrifted the orange clutch. 

8. Sunday Style: Classic Shirtdress- I bought this Land's End navy shirtdress years ago. I didn't wear it that much before but I found a couple of different ways to wear it this year! This was my favorite with the striped wedges and floral clutch. 

7. Sunday Style: Born in the Wrong Era- I love this dress! This was something I said I pictured my mom wearing! I love the bow and I thought these shoes went perfectly with it! Such a fun shoot that day too! 

6. Sunday Style: Holiday Style on a Budget- This was a more recent post but I loved that everything I wore came from Target! It just goes to show you that you don't have to spend a million to look like a million! 

5. Sunday Style: Skirting the Issue- I love everything about this outfit! I love the pattern-mixing, the floral skirt, the faux leather jacket and the shoes! This was definitely a fun fall outfit! 

4. Sunday Style: Fall Florals- I loved the location where we shot this photo and thought it was the perfect background for this post! This dress is so cute and I loved it with the jean jacket over top! 

3. Sunday Style: High Tea with Lemon- I showcased this dress that I wore to tea with friends. This was one of the items on my Forty Before Forty list and I thought this dress was so perfect for it! 

2. Sunday Style: Pinterest-Inspired- It's no coincidence that this outfit was also a favorite of mine and was inspired by Pinterest. This is also one of my highest liked photos on Instagram! I took this outfit and recreated it cheaper and worn by a real woman. 

1. Sunday Style: Ladylike in eShakti- My favorite pick and my most liked photo on Instagram! This dress is absolutely perfect and I loved being able to showcase a look for the holidays. I have since ordered a couple other dresses from them as I love the custom option and knowing this dress was made just for me! 

Those are my picks for 2014 Sunday Style! I hope you enjoyed them as much as I did! It has been so much fun this year posting on Sundays and I'm looking forward to being back at it in 2015! 

Thanks for reading and following along with me! Happy Sunday!


Friday, December 26, 2014

December 2014 Week Three Recap

December proved to be a challenging month as always. I got sick during all of the holiday hustle and bustle but still managed to somehow push through it. There were too many fun activities to do last week and I couldn't let it get me down! I don't have as many outfits to share but given the fact I was so sick, I'm glad I was up to posting to any! 

Here we go! 

Monday- no outfit post! 

Tuesday- I had this post ready to go for this day featuring this beautiful dress from Dainty Jewell's so it was perfect timing! This dress is so beautiful! From the pattern to the shape, it is truly gorgeous! 

Dress- Dainty Jewell's (recent- online)
Belt- Target (last year)
Shoes- DSW (summer)
Pearl necklace- JCrew Factory (last year)

I also hosted my annual Ugly Christmas Cookie Party on Tuesday so I used a sweatshirt that was my mom's and glammed it up a bit with a gold sequin skirt- not my best look, but it worked. I'm still looking for the picture when we originally wore these! 

Wednesday- no outfit during the day but I did wear my fabulous party dress to go out at night to see the play Wicked! I wore glasses and tights so you know I didn't feel well...never mind the garage door background because of the rain this week! 

Dress- eShakti (fall-online)
Shoes- Kohl's (last year)

Thursday- I was finally feeling up to getting around and putting together an outfit. I managed this one but I was so comfy! 

Sweater- Loft (last year)
Shirt- JCrew Factory (summer)
Jeans- Lane Bryant (old)
Boots- DSW (old)

Friday- Glorious Friday! It was my son's holiday party in the afternoon at his school. I thought I would dress up a little in a holiday-ish outfit so the plaid pants and glitter shoes came out again! 

Sweatshirt- Kohl's (last year)
Shirt- Old Navy (old)
Pants- Old Navy (fall)
Shoes- JCrew Factory (recent)

Saturday- no outfit post (again!)

Sunday- A skier sweater and green pants made for a happy Sunday! And of course, glitter shoes! Check out my latest Sunday Style post for all of the details and more pics! 

Sweater- JCrew Factory (recent)
Pants- Eloquii (recent)
Shoes- JCrew Factory (recent)

There you have it! Last week's recap! I'm looking forward to sharing the rest of my holiday looks with you for the last week of the month! 

Thanks for reading and following along with me! I hope you all had a Merry Christmas! 


Monday, December 22, 2014

Gray, Mint and Ice

I never thought I would wear gray jeans-let alone gray jeans like this- with a vest and heels. It's safe to say that over the last couple of years I have gotten so much braver with my outfit choices. 

This outfit has been in my mind for a while. I just had to get everything to complete it- which takes time since I can't just go out and buy everything the minute my heart desires it. 

I'm still loving the faux fur trend and I hope it stays around for a while. I'm also surprisingly loving the gray neutral this year. I decided to break it up with a mint sweater and I'm really loving the pastels together! 

Ice? Where does that come in? Maybe I'm the only one but when I look at this necklace, it reminds me of the movie "How To Lose A Guy In Ten Days".  Remember the lady at the end doing the commercial for the diamonds? This necklace reminds me of that and I'm not upset about it...

I'm also loving these shoes and can't get enough of them. I find myself staring at them- I guess that's okay, right? 

Here are some pictures of today's gray, mint and ice:

Jeans and sweater- Old Navy (recent)
Faux fur vest- Target (recent)
Glitter Heels- J Crew Factory (recent)
Necklace- Viva La Jewels (recent)

Thanks for reading and following long with me! 


Sunday, December 21, 2014

Sunday Style: Casual Holiday Style

This week is Christmas already! I've had a lot of fun this past month dressing up for the holiday! I wasn't feeling well last week so I missed a week but, so far, I have showed you all a few looks including dressing from day to night, dressing on a budget and now a more casual look. 

I say casual but everyone always tells me that I am dressed up. I don't like to be underdressed or overdressed but given my choice between the two, I would rather be overdressed. When I say casual, I'm thinking more of a business casual look as opposed to wearing a dress for the holidays. 

I did dress this look up today with my glitter heels. They are amazing. I want to wear them every day though that is extremely impractical! This look is more of a causal look with pants but I'm loving the layers and especially the green! 

Here are some pictures from today's look:

Sweater and heels- JCrew Factory (recent)
Pants- Eloquii (recent)
Shirt- Joe Fresh via JCPenney (old)
Purse- Jordana Paige (recent- click on link on blog!)
Pearl necklace- JCrew Factory (old)

It's the final countdown! Go get your Christmas shopping done and cookies baked! 

Thanks for reading and following along with me! Happy Sunday! 


Friday, December 19, 2014

Eleven Years

I write a fashion and style blog. I write about fun things like tulle skirts and glitter shoes and dressing for your body type. I write about new products and lovely things like handbags and faux fur. I don't write about death and illness. Yet here I am again sitting here writing a post on death and heartache. 

I wasn't going to do this again this year. I wasn't going to take up space writing about the anniversary of my mother's death. Yet here I am once again writing feverishly to put all of my thoughts down on paper. 

I don't like to focus on death- I like to focus on living life. And yet when I begin to feel sad or start to focus on death, it comes back to focusing on life. Let me explain.

Eleven years ago today my mom took her last breath on earth and her first breath in Heaven. I remember it so vividly and I hope I never forget it. I won't tell the story again but I will say that every time you leave your loved ones, make sure you tell them how much you love them because it could be the last time you see them. I remember doing just that the day before she passed. I remember giving her a hug and kiss and I remember her telling me that she was ready to go, she just wasn't ready to leave all of us. 

Death passed over into life. She is in Heaven today and I know I will see her again someday. I remember how she lived her life to the fullest even with illness and pain. She was full of corny jokes and sayings and weird actions but you know, she's your mom. It's weird now that I'm a mom, I see she really wasn't all that bad...I find myself becoming like her in some ways but yet having enough discretion to remember things I didn't like and try not to pass those on to my son. You parents all know what I'm talking about! 

I will admit that when I did my Forty Before Forty, I was thinking ahead. My mom died when she was only 51- I need to get things done! I'm not afraid to live but I do want to have that same fearlessness and zest for life that I saw in my mom- even in the bad times. I don't want to live with regrets or "I wish I would have"s. 

It's funny that the older we get, the younger everyone else seems! I can't believe they are forty! Wow! I feel old! That's not that old... These are are things I hear myself saying from time to time but the goal is to live life to the fullest. 

People say it will get easier over time. I can assure you that it does. Time doesn't heal all wounds but when you allow yourself to grieve and mourn properly, you realize that time has passed. Each year gets easier. I don't ever want to forget her memory or her legacy. We talk about my mom all the time to my son and I revel in the fact that he looks like her. It makes my heart swell with love and admiration. 

I realize that I've gone through things to help other people who are in the same situation as mine. Losing a loved one is hard- losing a mother is life-changing. I still wish I would have asked so many questions of her and gotten more information on things I didn't know I would need to know now! 

While time may have passed by, memories last a lifetime. It's weird that sometimes I still have dreams about her clear as day! I know she's watching down on us from Heaven and I know she would love the way I share her story with all of you. Writing is a way that I can remember things and grieve while hopefully helping someone else who has a burden that is hard to bear this time of year. 

Eleven years!  Today we celebrate her life-not her death. We celebrate the impact that she had on so many of us here on earth and we now celebrate her life in Heaven. We love and miss you, Mom. 

To all of my family and friends having a difficult time this season, may peace be with you during this time and may you feel comfort and joy.


Thursday, December 18, 2014

December 2014 Week Two Recap

This past week was all about plaid! I joined a style challenge that had us wearing plaid all week so each day was a different plaid. I also found different ways to mix and match some things that I already had in my closet so this was a win-win! 

Monday- I actually wrote a post last week about this outfit called Diary of a Mad Plaid Woman- check it out! I talk about my love affair with plaid and mixing and matching prints. I really loved this outfit and the scarf is so soft and colorful! 

Vest- Land's End (last year)
Scarf- Express (recent)
Gingham shirt- JCrew Factory (summer)
Sweater- Banana Republic (last year)
Jeans- Eloquii (summer)
Pearl bracelet- Loft (summer)
Blue stone bracelet- JCrew Factory (summer)

Tuesday- Um, green pants? Green pants! I'm in love! Even though my husband said that it looked like I stole this outfit from a leprechaun...oh he's so funny! I'm wearing this warm faux fur snood again from Target and some glittery shoes. This was a fun day! 

Jacket and faux fur- Target (recent)
Tee- Loft (old)
Pants- Eloquii (recent)
Shoes- Old Navy (recent)

Wednesday- I wore the horse sweatshirt again but dressed it up wearing a plaid skirt with tights and boots. Hanna wanted to get in on the action and stopped for a picture with me while we were outside. 

Sweatshirt- JCrew Factory (fall)
Chambray shirt- Old Navy (old)
Skirt- Joe Fresh via JC Penney (last year)
Boots- DSW (old)
Necklace- JCrew Factory (fall)

Thursday- I love wearing my clothes multiple ways and this dress is no exception. I layered the dress with a plaid shirt underneath and belted it with a leopard belt. Super easy and functional! 

Dress- New York and Company (last year)
Shirt- JCrew Factory (last year)
Belt- Target (old)
Shoes- JCrew Factory (last year)

Friday- Oh Glorious Friday! Last week I just couldn't wait for the weekend! It was a tough week and I was starting to get sick...I gave myself a high-five that we made it! 

Striped tee- Loft (old)
Jeans- JC Penney (old)
Scarf- eBay (recent)
Boots- Old Navy (recent)

Saturday- Last day of the challenge and it was stepping in plaid- naturally I had to wear the fun plaid flats! Side note: the cashier in Kohl's asked me if my sweater had Liza Minelli on it...

Sweater- J Crew Factory (last year)
Jeans- Lane Bryant (old)
Flats- J Crew Factory (recent)

I hope you all had fun last week playing along with style challenges or just dressing up for the holidays! I am having so much fun seek everyone's great holiday looks on Instagram too! Have a great holiday look? Tag me on Instagram and I might feature it on here too! 

Thanks for reading and following along with me! 


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Style Spotlight: Dainty Jewell's

I am thrilled for the opportunity to review this company that I found on Instagram! For someone like me who is more of a modest fashion blogger, I am always interested in finding new brands to try and review with my readers and followers. I love to spread the word and share my thoughts with all of you!

Dainty Jewell's is a company that was founded by a sixteen year old girl who wanted to design beautiful and modest apparel. I love that it has a vintage flair to it and the patterns and shapes are both flattering and exquisite. You can tell the love that is put into each design by the beautiful craftsmanship of each item. 

I am wearing a dress called the Lauren and I will admit that I was in love as soon as I saw it. The pattern and colors on this dress are amazing! So much attention to detail right down to the tiny gold buttons on the sleeves! I added a gold glitter belt and clutch today and some bow pumps but this dress is so classic that it can be worn multiple ways. The pattern is so simple yet so elegant and will easily be a staple in my closet for years to come. 

Here are a few pictures of the Lauren dress that I am wearing:

Dainty Jewell's has a variety of items to choose from on their website. They have an array of dresses and skirts, bridesmaids dresses and plus sizes too. They have a wide presence on social media too so you can keep up with them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 

I think you'll love this store as much as I do and we are partnering together to offer you a discount code for extra 10% off using the code CURVYGIRLONTHERUN10 through December 20th! I hope you'll take advantage of the discount and check out their fabulous pieces! 

Thanks for reading and following along with me!