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If 2020 was a dumpster fire, 2021 is an abandoned nuclear reactor

My word of the year for 2021 is Fun.

When I look forward to what this year has in store for me, I anticipate much of the same of what 2020 brought me — stressors from fertility to finances, challenges both personal and professional, hardships both pandemic and political. I don’t believe that the clock striking midnight means immediate change, or an automatic reset. The things that made the past year unilaterally difficult, still exist.

So why Fun? In the midst of what I know will be ongoing challenges, I want to find the joy, the celebration, the pleasure... the FUN. I set my intention now to exist in a heightened state of enjoyment, regardless of circumstances. I pledge to find the fun even in the lowest moments. I vow to let myself enjoy what is good, and to make good what is hard.🎈2021: if it’s not fun, we’re not doing it!


One of the intentions I set for myself in late 2020 was “recommit to my hotness.”

I know that’s a weird way of putting it, but that phrasing resonated with me. One thing that isolation took away from me was the enjoyment of my body. I stopped dressing up, stopped playing with hair and makeup, stopped experimenting with my look. I slipped into sweatpants and stayed there. Something that I had previously delighted in, vanished. While I don’t believe that you have to look good to have value, I do find that when I’m enjoying decorating my body, I am enjoying life more.

Look good, feel good, you might say. So, in recommitting to my hotness, I’m affirming to myself that yeah, I look hot, this is fun, and my body is for me to enjoy. What I mean to say is this: wearing this dress I rented from Nuuly and taking photos near this never-used nuclear power plant brought me a ton of joy and made me feel good. More of that in 2021, please.


While I haven't made formal resolutions or set any goals, here are a few things, besides having fun and being hot, from both business and life that I'd love to see happen in 2021.

1. Get vaccinated.
2. See my sisters and parents and nieces and in-laws.
3. Have a big brand photoshoot with at least ten women in a rainbow of velvets.
4. Expand our size range to XXS-10X, and introduce new "custom" sizes to the range.
5. Listen to more books.
6. Improve the fit of the high rise undies, especially for sizes 3X and up.
7. Get knocked up by science.
8. Find a workout I enjoy.
9. Steady the business ship and don't rock the boat!
10. Be a better ally to marginalized groups, and represent myself better as a member of the queer community.
XO,
Annika

So, You're About to Start Working from Home

In light of the spread of Covid-19, I'm social distancing. Are you? Self isolation isn't very challenging for me, because as someone who has run her own business, and worked from home for the better part of the last six years, having a lot of alone time has become routine for me. I understand, however, that many people are about to enter the WFH world for the first time this workweek. Here are some simple tips from someone who has been there, done that. 

I hope you'll find these tips helpful as you navigate using your home as a place for work, rest, and fun. 



TIPS FROM SOMEONE WHO WORKS FROM HOME:
  • Wake up at the same time everyday.
  • Shower and get dressed like you’re going in to work. More comfortable pants are great, but I find that if I'm too comfortable, I'm not as productive.
  • Make and eat breakfast in a space where you don’t work.
  • Go outside before you begin work. I used to drive to Starbucks every day to have some outside time and human interaction, now I’ll stick to just walking the dog.
  • Don’t work in your bedroom if you can avoid it. You want your bedroom to signal “sleep” (and/or “sex”), not “work” to your brain. The more time to spend working in the bedroom, the less relaxing this room may become when it's time to shut off work.
  • I prefer to “eat the frog” aka, do the hardest or most time consuming or most dreaded task first. I find that if I do simple “warm up tasks” first I end up doing a lot of dinky little things all day rather than getting any meaningful work done.
  • Keep water and snacks in your work space, but try to eat lunch away from your desk and not look a screen while you eat.
  • Walk for a few minutes during your lunch break. If your work requires you to primarily sit, this is a great opportunity to get some movement in.
  • Keep written to do lists. If being at home triggers you to remember the chores you need to do, write them down and complete them when your workday is over. Make a running list of your work tasks, so that if you don’t complete them today, you know where to begin the next day.
  • Don’t multitask. Home stuff and work stuff don’t need to be done at the same time. It can be tempting to run laundry or do chores because the mess is right in front of you, but try to make work time for work.
  • Stretch, walk around, drink your water. You might find that the isolation of working from home means less physical movement because you’re not talking to co-workers, walking to meetings, etc.
  • Create a group chat with your coworkers so that you don’t miss out on the social aspect of work. I have a Facebook messenger group chat with four other women in business that has been going on for something like six years. These girls make working alone a lot less lonely!
  • When you’re done for the day, tidy up your workspace, or put away work things. You don’t want to feel like work is just looming over you because you can visually see it while you’re doing other home stuff.
  • Create boundaries. Living where you work can mean that you are always available to work. Let colleagues and clients know that you won’t be answering calls and emails on weekends, or after 5pm, for example.
  • Mentally commute home. Try to shut off and distance yourself from work at the end of the day so you can enjoy being home and be fresh in the morning!

Enjoy the coziness of home, but don’t let it devolve info laziness, while at the same time not letting work stress ramp up home life. Striking this balance is difficult, but with a little practice it can become second nature.

Take care of yourself. Wash your hands. Stay home.
XO,
Annika


Hey Mavens! Studio Reveal

I'm excited to take you inside my studio today! When we bought our home, I put in the offer (and it was accepted!) while Alex was out of town. I had always envisioned that this space would be Alex's office/recording studio space. But when he saw the home for the first time -- yes, after we had already bought it! -- he decided he'd like an upstairs workspace off our kitchen, and that this basement build-out off our garage would be perfect for me. I didn't fight him on it.



This space is an obvious after-thought to the overall design of the home. My guess is that it was built out of a raw space in the '00s. It had laminate floors, a drop ceiling, a boring blue shade, lots of weird bump-outs, and a door that lead to a "kill room" of epic creepy proportions. I'm grateful for the addition of a powder room, floor-to-ceiling windows, and plenty of outlets. All this space really needed was a dose of my personality and that's exactly what I did!





When I set out to makeover this space, I knew the first thing that had to go was the drop ceiling. I think it's heinous, and I'd rather look at pretty much anything else than this office-cubicle evoking material. When Alex was away on one of his business trips, I took it upon myself to pull it down. I didn't get very far before I exhausted myself, and spotting a scary looking live wire. Alex wasn't too pleased when he saw this scene, but he did help me finish pulling down the mess, and by installing a sputnik inspired light fixture as a way of capping off the exposed wire. I actually love this raw ceiling! I think it looks very anthropologie and industrial chic. It also gained me about eighteen extra inches of headroom, and makes the space feel so much lighter!




I also knew I wanted a fun paint job to go with the banana bathroom, which I had already updated. I had contemplated painting boobs on the walls, but ended up option for fried eggs, which, incidentally, is what my mom always called boobs when we were growing up. My thinking behind this was that there would be less of a chance of me having to paint over eggs when trying to resell the house. Probably will have to paint them over anyway, but they make me feel so happy!




Another favorite feature of this studio makeover was the addition of the counter-height desk along the back wall. This room had odd block-like bump-outs that served no purpose and looked super weird. Alex used them as the basis for the desk he built in for me. I use half of it as an office desk for my computer, label printer, and notebooks, and the other end stores my elastics and creates a perfect elastic-cutting station.




A comfortable couch for Bucket, a row of sewing machines, and a healthy sized cutting table crated from two saw horses and a large piece of laminated MDF, round out this creative space. It's not perfect, but it's perfect for me!! 





Let me know what you think! Would you ever paint bananas or eggs on your walls? Do you havbe a dedicated creative space in your home? I'd love to hear about it. Thanks for reading.

Alllllll the links:

Singer Sewing Machine -- total workhorse and super fast!
Brother Serger -- great price for a serger, works like a charm!
Sewing Machine Tables -- the drawers are great for storing notions
Saw Horses -- use for legs of the cutting table
Gold Towel Bar -- used to hang patterns from

XO,
Annika

Living for Leopard

This post contains affiliate links. If you click on or purchase something from the links below, I may receive a small commission -- but seriously, it's like 5 cents.

If you had told me a year ago that leopard would be the biggest trend to come out of 2019 and lead us into a new decade, I would have politely told you, no thank you. What can I say? This print got to me? I am now able to dress head-to-toe in this beautiful, fun neutral. And believe me, I might. Here are some pulls from my very own personal wardrobe that I can totally vouch for.

1. This leopard Sophie sweater blazer from j crew is about to go into heavy rotation. I own about five or six Sophies in different colors, and this one is by far my favorite.

2. I loved this leopard tee shirt from Amazon so much, I got one for every woman in my family.

3. I can't say enough good things about these ultra soft and comfy leopard leggings, also from amazon. They don't roll. They are perfect for workouts, but I also wear them with ankle boots in real life. There's like a million pockets on them. They're so perfect, I also got them in the grey-black colorway.

4. This list could be complete without some leopard lingerie from my own brand, Hey Mavens! When I found this perfect leopard print fabric in this dreamy stretch cotton, I knew it was bound to be stitched up into a wrap bralette and high rise undie... but they're also available in a triangle bra and matching thong.

5. This leopard fold over clutch from Daisy Faye Designs is a date night must! This particular print is both modern and classic, and this clutch is a major catch all for everything you need for going out, and also slips nicely into a tote for easy purse-to-purse transfer.

6. Life just wouldn't be complete with out these Leopard Regan Boots from Madewell. With enough of a heel to be substantial, but still low enough to be comfortable, these boots are a stunning addition to any outfit -- skirt or pants!

If you love leopard as much as I do, then you'll go crazy for these items, I promise. 

XO,
Annika

A Rainbow in the Making

In October of 2019, in honor of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, I released a rainbow collection for my brand, Hey Mavens! I have been openly sharing about my story of loss, and infertility, and through that openness, I've connected with so many beautiful women from across the country who have their own stories to tell.



--- content warning: the following post contains content about pregnancy, loss, and infertility ---

Fall in Flannel












Fall is my favorite season, and in fall, flannel is a must! I designed this fall flannel cape vest to be swingy and playful -- check out how I styled last years' flannel cape vest -- but I'm kind of digging wearing it belted!! Adding a thin leather belt around this full, cozy, lush flannel gives it a custom, fashion-y vibe.

I went with an all black blank canvas for the rest of my outfit, with a pop of these over-the-knee burgundy boots so I could let the plaid in this look shine. High rise black jeans and a comfy bodysuit made the perfect backdrop for this fall outfit.


       
         
       
     


XO,
Annika

Favorite Fall Tees



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