here's to 2011

 2011 was a good year. I am blessed because there have been hard years, years that have felt unfair and 2011 was none of those things.

In 2011...

I started blogging here

I opened my Etsy shop

I went to Blog Sugar and met wonderful people.

I visited my best friend and we planted succulents

I started taking photos of what I wore (and tried to ignore the stares from passing neighbors)

I documented why I love my doggy (and why he drives me crazy)

I came to terms with my freckles

I wrote a letter to my teenage self

My husband wrote the sweetest anniversary post

I rocked red lipstick, and encouraged you guys to rock it too.

And I felt utterly thankful that I have readers and blog friends who leave me little love notes and support. Thank you, thank you and here's to another year of Rouge & Whimsy!


five things friday resolution-style

I don't usually do New Years resolutions. It's not because I'm against them, really, it's more because I'm not good at following through.

And I hate not following through with something.

I don't make resolutions because I don't want to fail.

But life is about failure and getting back up. It's about growing. We aren't called to be stagnant but to grow and change and learn.

So I made a few resolutions -- nothing big, nothing scary -- just five things that I would like to work on.

1. thankfulness. I am beyond blessed, I really am, and there is no reason to make this a part of my daily life.

2. prayer. what i found on pinterest sums it up. I usually pray as an after-thought to my planning and dissecting and discussing. That should change.

3. house stuffs. there are some rooms I want to paint, some things that need to be fixed, some general projects that I would love to make a reality.

4. saving money. The husband and I aren't necessarily bad at this, but I know we could get better.

5. biz. I have an idea for my etsy shop & indie biz future and I need to make the time and effort to follow through. I promise full disclosure later. :)

what are you planning for next year? i'd love to hear it.

xo, erika



I am not good at interruptions.

I have ideas, i have a set schedule and when each box does not get checked off the list-- when something disrupts the perfectly placed plans I've made, it frustrates me.
and I realized recently that this is no way to live.

Last week I had things to do. I was sewing scarves for Christmas presents and I was woefully behind. Luckily the husband was at a basketball game and I was home with a few hours stretching ahead of me-- no interruptions, no distractions. Just me, the sewing machine, and the puppy.

Until my phone rang. A friend was locked out of her house, her husband was 20 miles north and not answering his phone. Could she please come over?

Inside I grimaced. But cheerfully I responded.

She was over shortly and we made mint tea and curled up on the couch by the Christmas tree.

Her husband didn't get back for a few hours and my sewing time was displaced by heart-to-heart talks, fried eggs with toast, more tea and some late-night TV.

If it was an interruption, it was now a welcome one. And when she left I realized that too often my life is so scheduled and sometimes a distraction, a blip in my daily life is necessary.

When I think back a few years from now, I will not remember the next day as I finished up the scarves in a little bit of hurry, but I will remember watching "Murder, She Wrote" reruns on Lifetime with a friend until 11 on a weekday night.

how do you handle interruptions? are you a strict scheduler like I am? (I confess, I may be a teensy bit Type-A) :)

xo, erika


hello again.

 top: banana republic outlet   belt: mama's from the 80s  skirt: Gap   tights: ??  boots: Macys

Plaid and mustard yellow.

It's not out-there crazy but a little more out-there than I may have done a year ago. I really like this look actually and really like plaid in general-- especially on my husband. (he may or may not have gotten some plaid shirts for Christmas) :)

I took a bit of a break from blogging the past week or so.

It was good for me.

As much as I honestly, truly, really-really love to blog, love to write, love to search for inspiration for my next post, the holidays had me running around and blogging just didn't quite fit in. It was like me attempting to jam a puzzle piece into the wrong spot.

People were in town, there were parties, gifts to be made, gifts to be wrapped and then family to see and celebrations to be had.

But I'm back now. So hi. :)

I have decided, however, to be a little more lax in my blogging this month (the husband is silently cheering while reading this) just because I think I should. I hope you all forgive me.

But in the meantime, yes, my Christmas was wonderful because I read... a lot... and slept and ate even more. I am still full actually.

And I am so thankful for wonderful family and friends, a warm home, beautiful memories that I made, and so much more. 

How was your holiday?

xo, erika


merry christmas

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned....

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:2, 9:6


what i wore to the nutcracker

The husband surprised me with tickets to the Pacific Northwest Ballet's Nutcracker for Christmas.

He picked me up from work and we went to dinner first at a little French-Cajun restaurant. On our way to the restaurant we passed a small park near the ballet that has a colored light display, a perfect place for a quick photo op.

Dinner was perfect, the ballet was wonderful and the best part was spending time together with the husband (and maybe having an excuse to dress up a bit.)

I wore the Boogie Woogie from Shabby Apple that was my bridesmaid dress for my cousin's wedding. I love when you can rewear something like that.

me: dress- shabby apple    cardi-   old navy   tights- ?   shoes: macys  

husband:   coat- JCPenney    khakis- Gap    shoes- sperry topsiders

Have you ever gone to the Nutcracker? I hadn't been in years but it totally exceeded my expectations!
xo, erika


guest post: Jen from Rellas Bellas

Hi readers. :) Are you guys ready for Christmas? I'm not sure I can respond to that question myself quite yet... but I do have tomorrow off for some sewing and wrapping time.

If you still need one more adorable gift idea, I have the answer for you! My dear blog friend Jen has an adorable idea for sundae box... check it out below!
Hello lovely Rouge & Whimsy readers, I am so excited to guest post for the fantastic Erika. I have been so lucky to have met Erika in real life! Eeek! We met in Seattle at a Mariners game and again at BlogSugar 11! I found a fun yet simple gift idea to give to a friend who has kiddos. Scratch that, this gift would be good for anyone who likes ice cream!

A sundae fundae box! (of course I found this great idea via pinterest. That site is a gold mine and a time sucker all rolled into one!)  Here is the what I pinned under my DIY gift board:

I went to target and spent about $10 to get all the supplies:

 -4 tubs of Christmas sprinkles {found in the dollar bin}
 -A box of waffle bowls {I didn’t get waffle cones, you could do either or both}
 -A few boxes of fun candy {found in the Christmas section, on sale for $1}
 -A jar of hot fudge {If I was making multiple Sundae Fundae boxes I would have made my own hot fudge but budget wise it was cheaper to buy a single jar}

This Christmas I am obsessed with the lime green and bright red color combo so I grabbed my red and white bakers twine, some lime green and Christmas themed bags and went to work.

Tada, all of my ingredients are now dressed up in festive attire. I also found some random holiday themed labels in a craft folder so I added those to add a little extra whimsy. 

Next up I wrapped a boot box in wrapping paper {perfect sundae fundae fun box} 

After an interesting wrap job {wrapping the box proved a bit harder than I anticipated} I added all my sundae supplies and viola! 

I know my friend’s kiddos will absolutely love this little box of fun! I also think this would be a fun and thoughtful house/apartment warming gift for anyone who loves ice cream. All this talk about ice cream is making me hungry, freezer here I come!

 Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!

Isn't this an adorable idea? I love it a lot... and yes, I could definitely go for some ice cream too!

Connect with Jenelle on her blog, twitter and shop


hello lovelies (and giveaway)

lets get to know to some of the beauties that grace the right side-bar of my screen...

 Beth from Dot in the City

Dot in the City is about making an 89 year old house into a home. Beth shares real-life renovation stories, recipes and re-purposes on purpose.

connect with Beth here:  
Laura from Along for the Ride
Along For the Ride isn't just the name of my handmade shop and my blog, but it's how I see my walk with the Lord. I am along for the ride He has planned for me, and what a glorious ride it is!

connect with Laura here: 
use whimsy15 for 20% off in Laura's shop

Stephanie from Luxe Boulevard
Luxe Boulevard is a place for me to express my creative whimsy. I love to be able to gather with other women who enjoy sharing their creative geniuses and simply being a girl. My shop centers around custom bridal accessories from bouquets to jewelry.

connect with Stephanie here:
use ROUGE15 for 15% off in Stephanie's shop

Paige from Artsy Anthropology

Hi! My name is Paige, I am currently a graduate student at LSU in Baton Rouge... a stressful occupation. I have found crafting as a welcome escape from homework, tests and thesis writing. I love all kinds of crafts, always have - I am pretty sure I was painting and drawing before I was walking. Come by my blog to learn more, share and make new friends!

connect with Paige here:
use ROUGEANDWHIMSY for 25% off in Paige's shop

Tori of The Editorial

Hello everyone! I'm Tori from The EdiTORIal! I'm a southern gal that spends her days blogging, studying, and blogging some more! I'm so excited for the cool segments I've just started on my blog: Busting Fashion Myths & Hometown Girls. Hop on over and check them out!
connect with Tori here:
blog  facebook  twitter 

Caroline of Cotton Lane

Hi Friends! My name is Caroline and I am the crazy person behind the shop Cotton Lane and the author of the blog, Good Times Never Seem Sew Good. When I'm not blogging about my life a as a newly wed, DIYs, fashion (sort of), and other tidbits, I am either busy creating fresh goodies for my handmade shop or working non stop at a local fabric store. Are you tired yet? :)
connect with Caroline here:
blog  facebook  twitter  shop
use ERIKA10 for 10% off in Caroline's shop

Megan of Moonbeam Wishes

Hello! My name is Ms. Megan and I blog over at Moonbeamwishes. A few things I love:: wearing pretty dresses  curling up with a good book, watching movies, listening to records, drinking tea or hot chocolate, thrifting, sending snail mail and creating embroidery hoop wall art.

connect with Megan here:

Chelsea of Sunny with a Chance of Sprinkles

My name's Chelsea and I blog over at Sunny with a Chance of Sprinkles. Sunny's my little corner of the internet where I gush about my daughter Alea, write about the trials and tribulations of being a nursing student and mother, and even post the occasional DIY or recipe post. I do hope you'll stop by!

connect with Chelsea here:
blog   facebook  twitter

Megan of And Here's to You, Mrs. Robinson

My name is Megan Robinson and I am a wife, mommy, recent college graduate {boo-yah!}, Oreo connoisseur, #1 Arizona lover, and obsessor of all things sparkly! I blog over at {And here's to you, Mrs. Robinson} and I love it! I like to talk about everything from my sweet husband & chubby baby (toddler?) boy, to marriage, love and honest everyday struggles! So please come over and share a little bit of the bloggity-blog world with me!
 connect with Megan here:
blog  facebook   twitter  bloglovin'

Carina of A Punk, A Pumpkin and A Peanut

Hello! I'm Carina: mama to a punk, a pumpkin and a peanut. My blog is a happy little space filled with craftiness, gratitude for all the goodness in our lives, fun adventures, adoption, faith and a handful of other little lovelies. Stop by and say hello! 
connect with Carina here:
blog  facebook   twitter   shop
use rouge15 for 15% in Carina's shop

and now for the part I know you all have been waiting for...
an early Christmas present giveaway.
one winner will snag...

a frayed braided fabric necklace in black and turquoise from Carina's shop Lovely Little Whimsy:

$25 credit to Paige's shop Artsy Anthropology

a fuchsia rose necklace with drop crystal necklace from Stephanie's shop Luxe Boulevard

and a large blog ad on Chelsea's blog Sunny With a Chance of Sprinkles!

whoo-hoo! so how do you win all these goodies?

mandatory entry:
must be a follower of my blog (Rouge & Whimsy) via GFC or Bloglovin' and share me a favorite holiday tradition

extra entries:
 follow any of Carina, Paige, Stephanie or Chelsea's blog (one entry for each!!)

tweet about this giveaway, using @rougeandwhimsy so I know that you did it!
if you're lacking in the twitter-creativity department, try this one:
 an early Christmas to me with a @rougeandwhimsy giveaway! http://rougeandwhimsy.blogspot.com/2011/12/hello-lovelies-and-giveaway.html
share this giveaway on facebook (share the link in the comments)

now whatcha waiting for! go enter :)

xo, erika

my 5 last-minute gift ideas

I don't mean to stress you out but Christmas is this upcoming weekend.

And if you're like me, you're juggling work, life and a million other things and perhaps shopping is something that got a little bit waysided.

Rather than braving the crowds at the mall (one of my least favorite things) try a few of these unique ideas for a heartfelt gift.

1. an activity
Rather than give more stuff, make your gift an activity! Go to a movie, a new restaurant or the museum. Sometimes time spent together is better anyway.

 2. food
When I was in college, my brother filled a bag with some of my favorite foods and treats-- things I would never buy for myself: chocolate, wine, satsumas, fancy tea and coffee. Honestly sometimes this is just a thoughtful as something you don't eat. And if you make it -- double points!

3. framed art and photos
if it's too late to get something from Etsy -- make your own art by editing photos you've taken. Don't worry about needing photoshop -- Picasa is a great tool for free. 


4. service
My love language is service, meaning that I feel most loved when people do something for me. If someone gave me the gift of cleaning my house, cooking dinner for me for a week or anything else like that -- I would be over the moon. This is not a cop-out gift -- honestly.

5. use your talents
Are you a great writer? Could you write them a story or a poem? Or are you just amazing at working out and could offer yourself as a personal trainer for the new year? Are you a great cook? What about teaching them cooking classes? Get creative with your gift using the talents you already have.

Do you have any good last-minute gift ideas? I just baked a TON of cookies...
xo, erika


five things friday & some good internet links

Oh this week was one of those weeks. Not like last week... but still one of those weeks where Tuesday felt like Thursday.

But I'm feeling thankful for my husband, my lovely family and the promise of days off for Christmas next week!

Five good things this week:

1. Packaging up some Etsy orders and hitting up the post office

2. Small group with my girls -- hot chocolate sipping and talking in front of the Christmas tree

3. My best friend is going to be home in Seattle on Saturday! I can't wait to spend time with her.

4. Sunday night I watched Home Alone 2 with the husband and my brother. Perfect evening.

5. My silly doggy who ate an entire celery stalk that I dropped while cooking dinner. He honestly will eat anything.

Good things I read this week:

- great post on store-bought vs. handmade on JustLove.lyThings

- dreams & goals on GussySews

- this series about how Beth met her husband. looove it.  maybe i should do one?

- this butternut squash soup I made this week. sooo good.

- I am obsessed with handmade Ryan Gosling. It just speaks to me...

- have you seen the paper mama's 50 days of DIYs? They're amazing, and I'm not just saying that because I contributed to one of them.

And if you are the praying sort, please please pray for my friend's mom. She's in the hospital and may need a heart transplant. It's very sudden and has been very hard.

Aisle to Aloha


a Christmas carol

In college, I had a roommate who changed her ringtone to Frosty the Snowman the day after Halloween.

It drove me a little bit nuts because sometimes Christmas music is cheesy and grating. It's repetitive and if you've ever worked retail during the holidays you know what I mean.

So for years I resisted the Christmas mixes on Pandora, the all Christmas music radio stations and  the Starbucks Christmas cds available for purchase along with your latte.

But I've found myself slipping with a few beautiful songs that are so perfect for Christmas but so different from Frosty the Snowman. I could almost listen to them all year round.

Grab a mug of hot chocolate or a cup of coffee and enjoy some of my favorites.

This song is a bittersweet reminder of the darkness that so many face in the midst of winter.

this song gives me chills

love Rachel Yamagata's voice here

She & Him Christmas = perfection

What are your favorite Christmas songs? Do you like the old cheesy standbys or the newer stuff?
xo, erika


Cold Hands Warm Hearts Swap

At work today we were talking about the post office and the trials and tribulations that sometimes occur there.

But I had to admit to my coworkers wholeheartedly that I still love snail mail -- I really do love sending mail and receiving mail. (This may be partially why I have a handmade shop-- I love mailing things to people!)

So when there was a swap hosted by some of my favorites sandy and ilene, I knew I had to join because honestly, it meant more mail in the mailbox.

I was also really excited to get paired up with Kelly from The Pretty Bee because I was pretty sure I had recently hearted everything in her jewelry shop Linkel Designs. (seriously, go check her shop now.)

Kelly really spoiled me with her swap gift:

First off, hello pretty packaging.

And sweet Christmas card

And oh my goodness the cutest bird ornament ever!

honestly, I don't think he gets packed away with the rest of the decorations.

And so many other goodies-- including my navy gloves (which I've worn every day since), candies, candles, lotion...

and of course my new cute ring from Kelly's shop.

love, love, love it.

anyone else participate in the swap? or any other snail mail lovers out there?

xo, erika

p.s. it's wednesday! that means all downhill to Friday from here!
p.p.s. my shiny red nails are shellac. It was a fun girl-time splurge that I highly recommend. :)

finding my style

 cardigan: TJ Mazz   scarf: market at local church   top/leggings: F21   booties: Wanted shoes
(my shoe purchase was inspired by the lovely Moorea Seal)

I remember when I suddenly realized that what I was wearing mattered to some people.

It was fourth grade and my mom had just sewed me these horse print leggings. I loved horses and I loved leggings; it was the perfect combination.

When I got to school wearing my new duds one of my classmates asked me what I was wearing.

"It looks like little kid pajamas!" he said.

My heart sank and I told my mom when I got home that I wasn't going to wear those pants again.

Fast-forward to junior high where my style was whatever everyone was wearing. I didn't like back-to-school shopping because we went shopping before school started. How was I supposed to know what everyone else was wearing if we went before school started?

One year everyone had Old Navy tech vests. Does anyone remember those? I didn't have one but I knew I needed to have one. And when I saved up to finally get my tech vest, the one I got was wrong. It was different from everyone else's. It was all wrong.

In high school I started branching out a little bit. I added ribbons to some skirts, I cut a few t-shirts. I was becoming a little comfortable with who I was and what I decided I liked.

The outfit I'm wearing in the photos I would never have wore a few years ago. Not necessarily because leggings weren't really "in" a few years ago, but because I'm wearing what I like and what I feel comfortable in. It's a good feeling.

but I kinda wish I still had those horse leggings. 

xo, erika

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