Wednesday, April 27, 2011

April Inspiration: Anika of By Anika

This, my friends, is Anika.

Sweet and funny, with a sassy fashion sense and a positive outlook on life, she has quickly become one of my favorite bloggers. With all of her amazing qualities, it was no question that she'd be next on my list of people to introduce to you!

Most of the time, I edit interviews and add my own interjections. But I'm sitting here reading what she wrote to me and I truly don't know how to do that without taking away some of her incredible personality! I'll let her tell her own story, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I have. Thank you, Anika, for sharing with us!

I was born in Oslo, Norway, and moved with my parents to Paris when I was six months old. My father is a diplomat, and I grew up as a petite fille Francaise, with long curly locks and lovely dresses (nothing has changed in that department).

My father's side of the family is English/Scottish/French, and I am one proud Campbell. I have been told that I have a Campbell-esque nose, but, I will have you know that my nose actually resembles that of the founding father of the Norwegian Constitution (who I am a descendant of). I know this because as a teenager I went to visit the house that served as the first Norwegian house of parliament, and when one of my classmates very helpfully shared my link to the history of the place, our tour guide promptly replied that she should had seen the resemblance between us instantly (I mean, I may be curvy, but is my double chin that I owe to Ben & Jerry's Brownie Chocolate ice cream also mannish?!) and continued the tour with dragging me around to pose in profile below every painting of my ancestor. I digress, but as you can understand this left a lasting impression on me.

Anyway, thanks to having several mother tongues and having moved about ten times so far in my life I feel European, not Norwegian. I may not look like a foreigner, but in many ways I feel like a stranger here. I don't ski (I can if properly motivated, but there are so few shoe stores at the bottom of skiing slopes, you know?), I talk to strangers in the street (in a completely decent way, you understand) and I am always overdressed. I speak five languages, and in my daily life with my Bosnian husband I mix English, Norwegian and Bosnian, often mid-sentence. I identify as a TCC (Third Culture Child) because I am fusing my various cultures into one very personal one, but on some level we all do this, no? I gravitate to other people who also come from a mixed background and who have had to actively define and embrace themselves. I've been told that I have an alternative group of friends, but in that case I am alternative too. My friends are from all walks of life, and they all share a warm heart and a wicked sense of humor.

I met my husband Alexandro at a party eleven years ago. The moment I met him I knew I would be changed forever, that my life would be intertwined with his. It was a case of a spiritual love that was so strong that when we said goodbye after our second meeting I knew I would marry him. Alex is Bosnian and he is the warmest, strongest, kindest and funniest man I know. Like me, Alex is all about sharing with others, and we share a passion for working with children as educators. I feel very blessed and enriched that Alex is in my life, and I know that in him I have a friend and partner for life. Thanks to him I know how to swear in Bosnian (I speak the language fluently-ish), which is handy to no end, I tell you.

I began blogging a little over a year ago. I was nervous doing it, especially because I am curvy (Rococo is a very nice style, no?). As I was setting up my blog, I had a gut feeling that I was beginning a new chapter in my life that would help me follow my dreams. Little did I know that I would also connect with an amazing community of bloggers, who enrich my life each and every day. What started out as a creative outlet has become a way of life; blogging has become a part of my identity.

When I first started my blog I named it Generous Style, "generous" playing on both my size and my personality, but it didn't really feel right. I wanted something that was even more personal, more me, and when I learned that Anika means sweet face it clicked. I was shy about naming my blog Sweetfaced Style though, worrying that it might seem self-absorbed and conceited, but then I decided to trust that my readers would be able to see me and know that I am not a self-absorbed person. As my confidence in myself and my fashion grew I bought my own domain, tamed and renamed my blog By Anika. I decided to start a fashion blog because I am very passionate about fashion, and honestly feel that I have something to offer with my designs. I have been playing around with my fashion for years, sewing my own clothes, and starting the blog seemed like the next step.

When I first started blogging I got a few negative comments about my size that were hurtful. I got busy with spreading some serious love into the blogosphere, running an ongoing series where I feature lovely bloggers. I am very proud of my series, and happy to report that so far nearly 70 bloggers have taken part. I have received some criticism because I don't only feature plus-sized bloggers, and I probably have lost some readers over this, but I am okay with that. After I posted my manifesto I began calling it as it is. I am a self worth activist.

My blog is about loving ourselves just the way we are. I personally know the pain of not loving myself, of being so ashamed of myself, inside and out that accepting others harming me and also harming myself felt like what I deserved. I choose to be honest about my struggles; I know that I have no reason to be ashamed, and I know that I am not alone on my voyage towards self-love. I am determined that my readers should feel good about themselves reading my posts.

I am very sorry to report that I use the camera on my cell phone [for posts], but very happy to report that Alex usually gets the lovely task of capturing my outfits while exercising some deep breathing techniques when I get slightly bossy. My style is Bold Eclectic Chic with sass and soul –- designed By Anika.


  1. great post! thats awful that you got mean comments in the begnning, you have a great body!

    <3 steffy
    Steffys Pros and Cons

  2. I only discovered Anika when I joined the FTF Community about a month ago, and she's quickly become one of my favorite bloggers. Anika, you are such a beautiful person, inside and out!

  3. What a romantic love story Anika has! I adore her!

  4. She seems like such an awesome person to hang out with. I just began following her not too long ago. Can't wait to get to know her more.

    ps: i love rococo.

  5. I love Anika so much and this is by far the best feature of her. Perhaps the first. But by no means the last. Thank you for sharing her. I remember when she first arrived on the scene. She was outgoing and strong, and super sweet. Immediately a community formed around her, and now I can not imagine my life without her in it. She is great! She is beautiful! She is..Anika.
    the Citizen Rosebud

  6. Anika is a ray of sunshine, casting her love light in the shadows and bringing us all up in the process! Thanks for honoring her in this way and introducing her to an ever larger audience!!!

  7. The lovely Anika! I love how intimate this feature is (nice work)! She has always shown me her greatness through her blogging, as if I feel I already know her...meeting her in person one day will only validate what I already know (that she is such an incredible person, witty & sweet with a heart of soul-gold)! I love this lady!.

  8. Best post I've read all week! This is just lovely. I adored reading how Anika describes herself. You can just hear the self-confidence and SASS in her voice, even through the PC. I love it. She brightens up the darkest days with her smile and is a wonderfully example of how to take charge of your life and actually LIVE it to the fullest.

    Loving this series of yours - thanks for doing this and thanks for featuring Anika this month!

  9. i love this girl already and we have never met.

  10. I am new to Anika's blog, but from what I've seen so far and from this amazing profile on her, I can see she is so full of life and a definite inspiration to others. Such a special girl! Man, who would comment negatively? Want to punch them! Glad to know more of her, great post!

  11. Wow did I ever enjoy that! What a delightful, educational and super inspirational look into such a beautiful person. Anika is amazing, and I feel lucky to have connected with her. Thank you for featuring her, Stephanie. I thoroughly enjoyed this. (I cant say that enough!!)

  12. Anika is such a lovely person- inside and out- I think I found her blog through bella or vahni... one of the two. Love her style - and that you let her write this all on her own- she's such a great writer, and I loved reading her story.

  13. Oh, yay! Y'all know I adore Anika! Thanks, Steph for shining your spotlight on her! She's not just sweet, but fascinating. The U.N. in a single woman!

  14. I love Anika so much. I am so glad that she is getting all the love she so rightfully deserve.

  15. Anika is one of my absolute favorite bloggers! Anika's kindness, beauty, and brilliance make the world a better place. What a great feature, Stephanie. Thank you!

  16. What a lovely post! Anika is not only sweet faced but sweet spirited. I love her to pieces. Daily I just wish I could hug her. She continually makes me smile.
    Good job, Steph, on this feature. You chose an awesome person to spotlight.

  17. I'm genuinely over the moon about this post. Anika is...well, she's just everything, isn't she? She's the very depth of human emotion, the highest of highs and the most determinedly honest person I've ever known. And it's beautiful honesty, which is all the more mind-blowing. There's that saying, "The truth isn't always pretty" and yet it is with Anika. Her sincerity just grabs you the first moment you visit her blog. And she's all like, "Hey, we're fabulous and the world's a beautiful place so let's dance and enjoy it." And it is, suddenly, and I love her for bringing her razzle dazzle into my life because I don't know where I'd be without it.

  18. Darling Stephanie, thank you again a million times for featuring me. I truly loved writing the answers, I felt as though I was mid-conversation with you. We would have such great and fun talks, I just know it. And one day we WILL!

    Thank you so much to everyone who commented here, I am blown away, nothing less.

    Lots of hugs and kisses to you all. xxxxx


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