December 30, 2016

3 Things #7: For the Perfect NYE Outfit


1. Sparkles

Somehow, someway glitter, metallics, and sparkles have become the official uniform of New Years Eve celebrations everywhere. And thank God for that because who doesn't want to feel like a million bucks on one of the biggest nights out of the year. Try a few different options and pick what works best. I personally like to keep it casual, so a top or great pair of leggings with some shine would be perfect for me.


shoes nye

2. Killer Shoes

NYE is absolutely the time to bring out your best heels that probably hurt so you never wear them (check out this post to find something to help with that). This NYE, I'm really feeling anything velour, suede, or textured for that matter. Using a smooth texture will offset the rough, sparkled texture of the rest of your outfit.

accessories nye

3. Fun Accessories

Go wild! This is the time to pull out all the stops. And tacky NYE paraphernalia is a must if you want to have fun. Find a sparkly 2017 crown and coordinate it with your duds. Swap out your phone case for something more festive. My only real suggestion here is to keep your bag small. If your going out to a restaurant, bar, or a party, everywhere is going to be crowded. The last thing you want to forget is where you left your bag or who is bumping into it.

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December 28, 2016

Review: Sole Patches Comfort Pads for Feet

Let’s talk about our guiltiest and most expensive pleasure…shoes. The gorgeous arch of a brand new pair of heels that force you to channel your inner Devil Wears Prada goddess. It gives me chills just thinking of it!



I’ve had a pretty big obsession with beautiful and fun shoes since high school, probably. Many times, I end up biting off more than I can chew in the sense that the heel height is probably too high for me, they aren’t the most comfortable shoes, or even stuffing my feet into a smaller shoe because it was the last size and they are just SO PRETTY! This has unfortunately made it so I can only wear my favorite shoes for short periods of time during the day, or to a party and otherwise, have to leave them in boxes in my closet as part of the décor.



Enter Sole Patches…I’ve tried dozens and dozens of shoe comfort products and usually none of them worked enough to be worth the hassle. Then came this new product, Sole Patches, these cushy round adhesive pads that do all sorts of miracle work. They are moisture repelling, odor repelling, antimicrobial, and shock-absorbing (that’s a mouthful)! I couldn’t wait to try these with my heels at work, since most days, I barely make it to lunch in my pretty heels.




Day 1
The Shoe: Sam Edelman Ocie Pointed Toe Pumps
Size: 7

After opening the Sole Patches packaging, I pulled out two little round flower disk type foam things. They were soft and I was pretty excited to see if these would stick. The directions say to make sure your feet are clean and dry when you apply these directly to your foot, as I’d imagine moisture would make it difficult for them to stick. I decided just to add my patches to the balls of my feet, as that’s where the most pain from my shoes centers around. But it says you can use them anywhere you find discomfort. I did feel like the pads were slightly too large for my tiny feet, but they were easy to trim to fit if needed. I absolutely noticed a difference in the comfort of my shoes. They usually feel like I’m walking on wood, and today it felt a bit more bouncy. I also loved that my patches helped my feet from slipping a bit, since one of my feet is slightly smaller than the other, I usually have to size up in my shoes. 



Day 2
The Shoe: Tommy Hilfiger Peep-Toe Wedges
Size: 6 ½

Second set of Sole Patches were this time applied directly to my shoe. I decided to try cutting them and putting them on the backing of the shoe, since that’s usually wear I get the most pain with these. Since the instructions never mentioned anything about trimming the patches, I wasn’t sure how this was going to work but it was surprisingly really comfortable! It definitely cut down on the blistered I received on my heels. I also enjoyed that it gave me a little bit more of some padding in the back of the looser shoe (because I have two slightly different sized feet.)



Day 3
The Shoe: Fergalicious Punch Booties
Size: 6 ½

This was a tricky day, I decided to put the pads on the bottom of my heels for my booties, as that’s where the pressure of the shoe heel usually hits me. Since the pads are kind of big, it was hard to put a sock over these and then get into my shoe. It made things a little bit too snug for me. I could start to feel my feet hurting everywhere because of how tight it was on my foot. I then tried by putting the pads directly into the shoe. It was a little better, but I ended up taking the pad off half way through the day. 


Overall Review

I liked Sole Patches. They are really helpful to have handy for a fun night out and would help reduce stress on your foot in a pair of uncomfortable heels. I definitely found that they were much more helpful putting directly into your shoe instead of on your foot. I don’t know if they are something I could use on a daily basis, but definitely a product I plan to keep handy in my desk drawer. You never know when your feet will need a little extra love after a long day at work.

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**Thank you to Sole Patches for sponsoring this post! I received products in this review free for the purposes of review. The opinions, as always, are "solely" my own. Get it.... ☺



December 27, 2016

A Look Back on 2016 + Goals for the New Year











As I go through my mental year-end assessment of how the year went and what my goals for the next will be, I had every intention of sharing all about the Shit Show that was 2016. I literally made a list of the good things and bad things that happened; things I would have changed; things I wish I would have said or done. I fully expected this list to prove right my suspicions of how bad our year was. Instead, what I found is how much I had grown and changed in the last year.

I won’t deny, this year had certainly been filled with extraordinarily high volumes of doctor and hospital visits between my husband, myself and Cooper. We unfortunately became the “Murphy’s Law” family, that all started with us spending 11 days in the NICU when my son was born. It was hands down, the hardest 11 days of my entire life, only to find out lately my son had a medical condition he would need to be on medication to treat, possibly forever.

Then there was an injury my husband had which required surgery. And of course, my own medical woes this year. It has really just not been our year to catch a break. But what really made me stop and reassess was remembering what all of the good (and bad) things have done for me and my family this year. I’ve seen a huge change in our dynamic and growth.

For starters, having Cooper was absolutely the most incredible thing I’ve ever done in my entire life. He is where my world begins and ends and I can’t imagine how I ever loved anything before having him. Instead of focusing on his medical issues, I’ve learned to see that he is in fact a relatively healthy boy. And a fighter! For a baby who was 4 weeks early, he has already completely caught up on his growth charts, and in some aspects larger than average, and is developing exactly the way a little boy his age should. He is so smart, happy, goofy, and a GOOD SLEEPER (super important)! We are so lucky to have such an amazing kid.

With having a baby, my husband and I’s relationship changed. Sure, we don’t get as much alone time anymore which sucks, but I believe we have a much more mature relationship than we did before. I’ve watch my husband become a much more understanding person when it comes to handling my anxiety issues. I’ve seen him grow into this fun, amazing and caring father. And I’ve seen him appreciate me in a whole new light. As do I. We’ve taken on a bigger and better roles as partners than we had before.

And myself. While having a new baby at home definitely heightened my anxiety a little bit, I’ve learned that I am resilient and strong. I had a baby. A freakin’ baby! And not only did I have a baby, but I did it naturally without drugs (but if you use them, that’s totally cool…not mommy shaming here), and in under 3 hours from my water breaking! I made it emotionally through 11 days in the NICU with my son. I made it through taking care of a newborn while my husband works second shift. I got laid off from my job and got a better job the exact same day with more pay, and a better boss. I went back to work a month early, so that I could provide for my family. I planned an entire wedding by myself while starting said job and caring for a baby all in the same year. I am a strong ass momma. I’ve grown to realize, I don’t give myself enough credit.

I tend to tell myself I am weak and can’t handle the stress. But if I can get through all that we went through this year, why would I ever think I can’t handle anything else that life throws at us? I have such a great support system between my husband, my mother, my in-laws and siblings, my friends. They would never let anything bad happen to any of us. I can make anything I want to work.


So I am going into 2017 with a clear mind, a more positive attitude and some goals.

1. Become better at budgeting and saving money.
2. Make a stronger effort to have quality alone time with Tim.
3. Make a better effort to cut out time for myself and friends.
4. Get pregnant with our second child.
5. Take a breath and relax more.

It's been real, 2016. But see ya later!


December 21, 2016

I'm Back!




Hello, hello gals and guys! I am so happy to be back to writing and posting. Well, not officially yet but I will be starting up my regular posting starting the day after Christmas!

 Long story short, I’ve had a medical issue going on for about four months that has been giving me mood swings and heightened anxiety, which in turn made a lot of other things going on seem much worse than they were.

Regardless, I am back to posting and couldn't be happier. And things are changing slightly around here. So today, I'm just going through some housekeeping items.


THE LINE UP

Mondays
Parenting and Beauty posts

Tuesdays
Monthly & Quarterly Series
(Monthly Favorites, Instagram Round Ups, DIY Projects, etc.)

Wednesdays
Style Posts & Product Reviews

Fridays
3 Things Series



A BLOGGER'S PLEA

I am reaching out to my readers and asking everyone to make sure they are following me, either by clicking the 'Follow' button in the side bar using your Google account, or Subscribing by E-mail (also in the sidebar). The more I know about my readers, the more I can post interesting content that you'll actually want to read. Plus, I'd love to connect with everyone! :)

If you currently follow by liking my Facebook page or following on BlogLovin', please be sure to subscribe with your e-mail so you can get an update as soon as new content is posted. I don't always share my posts to Facebook or Instagram, so this is the best way for you to stay in the know.


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I've been spending my nights prepping some great posts and can't wait to get them to you next week. I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and Holiday season! :)

December 20, 2016

REPOST: 6 Things You’ll Miss After Becoming A Mom

Sharing some of my favorite posts that both I and you loved! Top Knots & Sweatpants: 6 Things You’ll Miss After Becoming A Mom: Wearing most jewelry. I only get to wear jewelry when I am at work, or without Cooper because he just yanks on everything. Most of the time...

December 1, 2016

You Win, Stress



I've mentioned briefly on my blog that I've been dealing with anxiety for most of my life. With that also tends to come depression, which I'm beginning to think has been creeping up on me.

I promised when I started this blog to be true to who I was, and share my REAL life. Not a facade made to act as a pretty shiny wrapper on a broken package. So today, I'm opening up to tell you all that I am at my breaking point.

This last year, I have dealt with a lot of stress and demons I didn't realize still bothered me. I'm starting to realize I can no longer ignore the elephants in the room. After my son was born, he was in the NICU for 11 days. And it was the 11 most stressful days of my life. We were extremely fortunate enough for him not to have any serious issues and were able to take home a happy and healthy little boy. Following our delivery and NICU stay, I was faced with double the amount of doctor's appointments than you'd normally have for an infant, as he also was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. This included regular endocrinologist visits and blood draws on a tiny baby. 

On top of all this, after being on maternity leave for 4 weeks, I then received a phone call from my job to find out I was being laid off. Never in my life had I ever been fired or lost a job. I panicked and didn't know what was happening. To put the icing on the cake, I had a terrible and unstable relationship with my father which began to cause a strain with extended family.

Being home  alone on maternity leave didn't help me. I had no one to talk to and I was extremely lonely. It was winter, so leaving the house with a new baby was not wise. I could feel myself shutting off from things.

This should of been the time that I decided to tell my doctor that I had been feeling down and out, and that I thought I may have postpartum depression. But instead, I decided to bury it and push through it. I had to for my son and for my husband. For my family. 

I was fortunate enough to find another job with a former employer of mine, and I decided to go back to work after only 8 weeks of maternity leave. I was so excited to start work again, and in a better job! How great! And it is great. I love my job. What I didn't anticipate was how difficult it was going to be to juggle a new baby, working, going back to school, and taking care of myself.

Over the past couple months, my stress has increased dramatically. Having anxiety with stress is a recipe for disaster. I find myself sad more times than I'm happy, and I find myself getting short tempered with the people who are just trying to help. I've come to point that I am telling people I am one bad day away from a break down. And this is my light bulb. I can't continue doing this. So today, I have decided to take a step back and I will be taking care of myself for a little while. With that, I need to take a step back from Top Knots & Sweatpants until I can find a better balance. My hope is to resume writing and posting by the end of January, but for now...I need to just focus on become myself again. I need to do this for me, for my husband and for Cooper. They don't deserve to have someone not present. 

I hope all can understand, and I hope to come back and continue to share my story and reviews with everyone. Until then, I thank all my readers for being such a kind and supportive group of people.


November 30, 2016

3 Things #6: To Help Get Over Your Ex




Today’s series post was actually inspired by an old friend of mine, Melanie, who has just started a new blog exploring her journey as a newly single girl. If you haven’t discovered it yet, you need to go check out Everything Happens for a Riesling


1. Time Alone.

I’m serious…Usually when you break up with someone, you feel like you want to just surround yourself with other people so you can forget about how much it’s actually bothering you. But then while you’re surrounded by the people and the music, you’re going to have these moments. These out of body experiences…where you look around, the sounds are muted, and you wonder how you got here. And it sucks. Don’t do this! Now is the time to take advantage of the quiet, step away from the noise and rediscover who you are as an “I” instead of a “We”. Stay home, watch some movies, read, go shopping alone. Just give yourself some space from everyone for a short while. Figure out what it is YOU love to do again.

2. A Finger.

To block your ex on everything! This might sound petty or immature, but it’s not. Until you are strong enough and responsible enough to not want to text, call or contact your ex without weeping and flirting, you need to stay away. It will also speed up the healing process if you’re not hearing from him/her every day. You need a clean break away.

3. A Break-Up Playlist.

Again, sounds petty, but it’s extremely therapeutic. Music has a way of evoking emotion within us that we didn’t realize we had. And you need to bring that out and go through your stages of grief. If you want to speed up the process, create a great break-up playlist including sad songs, angry songs, songs that remind you of good times, and songs that empower you. Some of my favorites to get you started are:

Fight Song by Rachel Platten
Peter Pan by Kelsea Ballerini
Different for Girls by Dierks Bentley
Church Bells by Carrie Underwood (who doesn’t love a good ‘kill your husband’ song)


What are some things that have helped you get over your break ups?


November 28, 2016

Mom Bra-blems




Okay moms. It’s time to get down to the nitty gritty and talk about the one thing we all hate shopping for post-partum…bras.

If you’re anything like me, you couldn’t believe how huge your lady friends were right after delivering your bundle of joy. And you may have lived in nursing bras for quite some time afterwards. But you know that as soon as you put those breast feeding days behind you, the girls tend to take on a whole new shape of their own. Your perky breasts now resemble pancakes, and none of your pre-baby bras fit anymore, both around your chest or in the cups.

Let’s talk about common bra-blems you’ve most likely had, are having, or are going to have post-partum.



1. Slipping straps.

This is a huge one for me. I can never get my straps to stay up, probably from the terrible posture I now have from carrying the weight of my baby belly. 

2. Gaping cups.

Before Cooper, I was a nice full C-cup and totally proud of it. My ladies were awake at all hours and filled out my clothing perfectly. Since breast feeding, they have been completely deflated. This has left a big gaping space of air in my bras. No more perky push-ups. Just Frumpy McFrump mom.

3. Back band riding up.

All. The. Time! This is my pet peeve. I’m constantly pulling the back of my bra down and adjusting it. A lot of this is usually due to me tightening the straps too much because they are slipping, so in turn, the back pulls up on me.



After dealing with these annoying problems for 8 months (I stopped breast feeding after 2 months), I’ve decided it is time to invest in some really good bras. Let me tell you…I’ve tried the cheaper route. Purchasing those cheap no name bras from some big box store. I promise you, DON’T WASTE YOUR MONEY! These bras become misshapen so fast, you’ll end up spending more after having to  buy new ones again shortly after.

On the same token, I try to stay away from the flashy, “pretty” lingerie (except for special occasions, of course) because it will cost you an arm and a leg, and you won’t get the support you really need. That's not to say that supportive can't be pretty. You will just need to find the balance. Look for companies that specialize in providing supportive and great quality bras. One of my new favorites is Third Love because they have both super functional and really pretty lacey bras that fit AMAZING! What I really like is they allow a free 30-Day Trial for their classic bras using their Fit Finder. Once you find the right fit, you’re guaranteed to be hooked, so use code: TLNOVBB15 to save 15% off your first purchase.

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** Thank you, Third Love for supplying my readers with the generous coupon and photos! All opinions about products mentioned in this post are my own. 



November 23, 2016

Thanksgiving Hiatus

Good afternoon loyal readers!

I wanted to let you know there will be NO POSTS on Thursday or Friday. Family time is super precious in our house, as it is rare we all get to be together, so I am very strict with no blog posting during that time.

If you want to keep up to date and follow along with our first Thanksgiving hosting, follow me on Instagram or Snapchat (@erinnicole401) !!


Happy Thanksgiving!

3 Things #5: To Survive Black Friday



1. A Game Plan

Do not...I repeat...Do NOT go into Black Friday shopping without a plan and a list of items you need. Black Friday is not the day to browse the aisles. Make sure you are sifting through all your sale flyers and finding out where all the best deals are.  Try using THIS website to see who has which sales going on. Develop a plan on where you will stop and around what time. Go in for what you need and get out as fast as you can! Your survival depends on it.




2. Coffee/Breakfast

There is no time to stop for coffee or food while you are shopping. Time is of the essence on Black Friday, and if you are a true Black Friday shopper, you are probably starting at midnight and going for the next 6-8 hours. You need to fuel up. Bring snacks in a backpack or purse, and make some eggs and coffee before you leave the house. Otherwise you aren't going to make it for any of the deals you came there for. They will be GONE!


black friday shopping



3. Comfortable Clothing

Black Friday is not the time to sport your new 4" heels, and there isn't even any room for jeans during sales like this. Comfort is KEY to maneuvering through those crowded aisles, and getting to that 75% Off 60" Flatscreen before that crazy lady who is able to club you. Opt for your most comfortable sneakers, and some athletic clothing. Plus, it's friggen the middle of the night. Who the hell are you trying to impress? Honestly!



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November 22, 2016

Holiday Wish List

It's my favorite time of year! Time to create my Christmas wish list. I get asked by husband and relatives all the time what I want this year. And most of the time I really don't know. But this year, my Christmas list is kind of....peculiar.




1. Fawn Design Diaper Bag

This super stylish diaper bag that I've been dying for! It can be worn as a shoulder strap or a backpack and has TONS of pockets! This is a diaper bag I would not mind carrying around. I'm dying for the Cognac or Burgundy colors. (insert heart eyes)


2. Gift Cards

One of the easiest gifts that people hate giving because there is no "thought" behind it. I disagree. I think there is a ton of thought behind it. It makes things much easier when I am ready to purchase something I REALLY want instead of another lotion and body wash gift set.




3. Planner paper and tab dividers



All good planner girls want planner goodies. I have recently begun experimenting with bullet journaling in my Filofax, and need a bunch of blank paper for it. I really would like to use dividers for my other sections as well. Stay tuned...I'll post a bullet journaling review after trying it for a little while.
American Standard toilet | www.lowes.com


4. A new toilet

Okay. Even I'll admit this one is a bit weird. With an old house, comes old stuff. Our toilet is on it's last leg and about to "shit the bed", pun totally intended. Every time I flush it I cringe, praying that today is not the day it decides to snap in half. There are some pretty fancy toilets out there, and who knew these things cost hundreds of dollars! Check out this crazy self-cleaning toilet. Technology has really gotten scary.




5. A cute apron

I don't really understand why I want this. I guess it would just make me more excited about cooking meals if I had some cute accessories.



6. Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1"

Normally, I'm not a huge fan of Android products. I've tried the phones, liked them enough but still always gravitated back to my iPhone. However, Blogger is no longer supported in a Safari browser or an iPhone app. Having a tablet that I can work on for my blog will make getting great posts to my readers much faster, as I will be able to write on the fly.


November 21, 2016

First Holiday As A Family





Hello all you wonderful people! Last night we got our first snow of the season, which I couldn’t believe! Just a dusting but it still really made the holidays feel so close and real.

This is the first year we will be hosting the holidays as a new family. Last year, I was REALLY pregnant and just didn’t feel like taking part in much of the holiday season. I was tired and uncomfortable and couldn’t see my feet. This year, I have the cutest little boy to enjoy it with and make his first Christmas memorable. I think it’s definitely put me in the spirit much earlier than normal.

One of the hardest parts of hosting holidays…the cleaning! We are taking the attitude of divide and conquer this year. I have been scrambling to clean up our dining room, and I ended up convincing my husband to get an artificial tree this year. I know…gasp!! We really would love to have a real tree, but with us never being home at the same time, having two cats, and everything else we need to do to host, I don’t feel like cleaning up after a tree, and remembering to water it. For those who don’t know, I don’t exactly have a green thumb. I forget to water plants all the time! I did put the tree up last night only to arrange my dining room around the tree for the holidays, but we won’t be decorating until after Thanksgiving. 

I did, however start decorating the rest of the house in “holiday” décor. I’m sticking with my plaid and fur pillows, stringing some twinkle lights around and keeping out big cozy blankets. Yesterday, I couldn’t help but have my Yankee Candle warmer on with a Mistletoe scent cup. My whole house smelled like Christmas. It was amazing.


Any tips for surviving my first holiday season as the hostess?