10/31/12

late nights



I only realized recently that I legitimately work two jobs.
I have my day job.
And I have my night job-- my blog and my little etsy shop.

As my etsy shop grows, I find myself with a few more late nights. In the office, me and my Janome sewing machine, the cutting mat, a stack of pretty fabric and maybe a cup of tea.

And music. Always music to keep me motivated and moving.

I'm sharing some of my current favorites late night tunes. It's a random mix-- but I hope you enjoy it.

if you can't see the player, click here for the mix.

xo, erika

 p.s. don't forget about linking up with Beth & I for Friday Finds & Favorites on Friday.

10/30/12

what i wore: closet challenge

shirt: thrifted // sweater: old navy // belt: my mom's // jeans: gap // shoes: wanted booties (last year)


This sweater, for whatever reason, is one of those things you have hanging in your closet. It's 3/4 sleeve, which is awkward, it's a loose-weave knit, which would you think meant summer wear but the green color screams fall and for whatever reason, I rarely, if ever, wear it.


But it's a perfectly good sweater and inspired by Jen's Closet Challenge, I decided it needed to get some use.

I read Jen's post about her challenge to wear everything in her closet last week. (As she lives in Arizona, it's a little bit more feasible, while there are some things I legitimately can't wear right now.)


But her whole point was that many of us have items in our closet that we bought, only to rarely wear. Like I posted Monday, I'm trying to be more conscious about what I buy and that means being more conscious about what is in my closet.

And speaking of Monday's post-- the biggest challenge is issued to me. By posting it, I'm holding myself accountable to my decision to try to be better about what I buy and why I buy it. It doesn't mean that you won't ever see an item from Target on here again... it just means, that I don't want to be buying things just because it's cheap.

I'll get off my soapbox now. But it's kind of freeing to say what you think and I'm grateful for the opportunity to do so.

So back to where I started... are there things in your closet that you never wear? Why not? There's something else staring at me right now-- a dress I haven't worn in years but I don't want to throw it out. I decided it's getting some action next week.

xo, erika

linking up to the pleated poppy


10/29/12

nutella banana bread

What's better than plain ol' banana bread?
Banana bread with nutella swirled in it.


I already love bananas with nutella, so combining them into a bread (well, it's almost like a cake, let's be honest here) seems like a no brainer.

nutella banana bread (recipe adapted from here)

ingredients:
2 cups flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
3 mashed ripe bananas
1/3 cup  milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 cup melted nutella  (melt it in a bowl in teh microwave for about 30 seconds so its softened.)

directions:
- preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray loaf pan with cooking spray and dust with flour
- in a medium bowl, mix flour baking soda and salt
- in a large bowl, mix butter and sugar until light and fluffy with electric beater
- add milk, eggs and banana. Mix well.
- add flour slowly, mixing slowly until the mixture is just blended. (do not overmix.)
- spoon a few spoonfuls of batter into the pan
- using a spatula, swirl some nutella into the batter
- pour more batter into the pan, and swirl some more nutella into the batter. alternate until the batter and nutella are gone.
- bake for 50 to 60 minutes. a knife should come out clean when stuck in the top of the bread. Cool the bread in the pan for a 5 minutes, and then remove the bread from the pan and continue to cool it on a wire rack.



enjoy!

xo, erika

p.s.you could probably make the recipe healthier by swapping out applesauce for the butter but if you're already swirling nutella into the bread, I thought why bother with all that stuff. ;)

thoughts on what I wear.


I hate offending people.
I hate it if people don't like me and I often think people don't like me.
I don't say this because I'm looking for attention, I say it because it's true. This is why I have avoided talking about bigger issues in blogland. But I've decided today to write on something that has been on my mind (and heart) for awhile.

It's about clothes.

I like clothes. I love putting together outfits. I like shopping and I have for a really long time. But lately, I have been trying to think about what I buy.

You see, fashion has become indispensable. Places like Forever21 and Target sell cute clothes for nearly nothing, making it so we can buy the latest thing without thought. Then we can toss it out when it's no longer in style a month later. Clothing (and the people who make it) no longer really matter at all. This has created an attitude in me where I can just buy something on a whim. It's no longer a big deal, I no longer save up, I no longer think about the purchase-- I just buy it because it's cheap, because it's cute.

 And I don't want to do that anymore.

I don't want to buy things without thinking. I want to think about who made that cute shirt so cheaply and I want to think about why I'm even buying it in the first place.

In this, I'm not trying to tell anyone that shopping at Forever 21 or Target is wrong. I do it, too; I've done it too. But I don't want to fall into that trap as easily anymore.

Lately, I'm trying to edit what I buy. I go to thrift stores first and see if I can find what I'm looking for there first. If I can't, maybe I should think about if I actually need it, if I'll actually wear it a month from now, or if it will be something that I'll get rid of in six months.

I'm also trying to look at my closet. I know that I have lots of things in there that I never or hardly wear. Things that maybe with a little bit of altering, a little bit of re-accessorizing, could be cute. (To get better at this, I'm linking up with Jen for her Closet Challenge on Wednesday.)

My heart is telling me to try to do a better job of thinking about what's in my closet. Your heart may not be telling you the same thing, and that's completely fine.

 As a indie shop owner myself, I can see how hard it is to compete against the cheap retailers of the world. Sure, you like my clutch -- but maybe you could find it cheaper elsewhere.

But if I really want to believe in my business, then I need to live in a way that shows it. Those handmade earrings on Etsy I'm eyeing -- I could try to find them at Target, but I want think about my purchase, and who I would rather support. Sure-- Target is easier and it's just as cute, but what is better? 

Thank you for getting through this post and let me reiterate, this is just what's on my heart lately and what your heart may be telling you could be completely different.

xo, erika

10/25/12

friday finds & favorites #10


So I don't actually know what number friday finds and favorites this is but I thought 10 was a good number.

This week I can't get enough of fall here and all its colors -- clearly as much as my silly pup.

I've also been super blessed to have not one but two Google + chats with people to talk shop stuff and I just leave so inspired and grateful for this community that helps each other. (Also, video chat is the only thing I use Google+ for... anyone else?)

other stuff I love:

imaginary fashion bloggers -- super adorable and creative blog

 
thankful block by bubblewrappd (perfect for thanksgiving)


- have you ever heard of the vitamin string quartet? They play (awesome) classical versions of contemporary songs

- I also love my immersion blender. I think I mentioned that last week, but seriously. Best $13 I've spend this year. end of story. 

- I don't wear brooches, but I would so totally wear this one.

- being honest on blogs. I feel like people are just putting it out there. It's pretty cool.

what do you guys love this week? link up your post (not your whole blog) and link back here to me or Beth at Dot in the City somewhere in your post!



xo, erika

10/24/12

bubble necklace giveaway


It's Thursday and it's allllmost Friday, so just to make things a teensy bit better, how about a giveaway for $20 toward a cute etsy shop?

Diana of Blue Bird Bride makes those coveted statement bubble necklaces that I know that you all want.

She says that that she'll admit to stumbling onto Etsy while at her day job.

"I have always wanted to be my own boss and have been told countless time that I should put my creativity to work! I grew up without being able to keep up with the latest trends and now have the opportunity to make beautiful items at a price that doesn't keep them out of reach."


She's generously offering $20 toward her shop and you should know that right now if you buy a bubble pendant necklace, you get a statement necklace free!

I'm personally admiring this necklace and these bangles. :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

xo, erika 
p.s. you have one more day to enter to get $20 toward Julie Ann Art's card shop. go get 'em.

p.p.s. tomorrow come link up your favorites from online & real life for friday finds + favorites :)

10/23/12

messy buns or top knots

top: old navy (similar) // belt: thrifted // jeans + shoes: urban outfitters (here + similar)

you should know...

- I'm not sure why messy buns are now called top knots but I like it because it makes me sound more fancy when I'm wearing them in my dirty hair.

- I love these orange shoes, but honestly they don't fit super great because one of my feet is legitimately bigger than the other. And it's a problem. 

- I crack my knuckles all the time. I'm sorry if that already makes you not want to be my friend.

- I crack my back too. Sorry. 

- I rarely follow recipes to a T. Unless I'm baking. Otherwise I'm one of those "throw this in, taste this, add this" kind of cooks. 

- Speaking of cooking, I accidentally burn myself at least twice a month cooking and/or baking. Not sure why. I am a tad accident prone, actually.

- My car window won't go up right now so we pulled a ghetto and covered it with black plastic. Gettin' looks at the fabric store fo' shore.

- I usually fall asleep in 5 minutes. If I don't, I lie in bed thinking up new designs for my etsy shop. Nerd status? I think so. 

- I am feeling very blessed by people who encourage me to go to God and to go a little easier on myself. 

- I read a lot of blogs (blog obsessed over here) but I don't comment very often. I'm sorry for that but it doesn't mean I don't like you, because I do like you and I like what you're doing, but it's hard to comment from a phone on the bus or during a work lunch break. I'm trying to be better. 

what should I know about you right now? 

xo, erika
 

10/22/12

(easy + cheap) DIY dog costume


To be honest, I only made this costume for one reason and one reason only. 
Entertainment's sake. 

Two years ago, I made my little monster a monster costume for a Halloween dog contest and honestly it was one of the those things that made me laugh so hard whenever he wore it. 
Unfortunately, the monster costume is a little tight, so I decided to make a new costume for about $2 in about a half hour.

If you too, decide that you little furry one needs a costume, I promise it's pretty easy. (And honestly could probably work for infants as well.) 

needed:
1 boys t-shirt (0.99 cents at Goodwill)
felt (I chose dark gray and white, 0.25 cents a sheet at Joann Fabrics.)
scrap cardboard
scissors
glue gun
optional: sewing machine or thread and needle

1. Pick out a t-shirt that will fit your dog and cut off the sleeves and the stomach area. Keep the sleeves for later.  2. Cut out various felt shapes. I chose to sew fins by cutting out two fin shapes, sewing along the edges and then turning them inside out. 3. If you want your fin shape to stand upright, you can place a piece of cardboard in it. 4. Hot glue the pieces to the shirt. 

headpiece: (optional)
1. stretch the sleeve as much as you can; you can cut a little slit at the back to make the sleeve fit even better. 2. cut out holes for the dogs' ears. 3. I attached a felt triangle with white triangle teeth at the top of the sleeve for the sharks' head. 

Find your dog and get him dressed! I am not responsible for any upset animals, but I will take full responsibility for you laughing hysterically at your dog. 
The best thing about my dog is while he HATES having the costume put on him, but once he's wearing it, he could care less.

We actually played fetch with him last night while he was wearing the shark costume. It may have been the best thing ever.
Do you dress up your animals? Am I super weird/mean for doing this?  Maybe don't answer that. :)
xo, erika

10/21/12

fall photoshoot


I've worked with Caitlin Donovan Photography before to do product photos and was so pleased with the results.

We met last Saturday to do a shoot of my fall and winter line and out of nowhere, the weather turned really stormy and our preferred location was out of the question.

So instead we headed to my favorite University of Washington library for the shoot. The bright book stacks and aisles were a perfect backdrop.

If you're in the Seattle area, I highly recommend Caitlin for photography; she's so fun to work with and does a great job! Check out her tumblr (and cute photos of her adorable puppy).

xo, erika

p.s. love wristlets? I just added three new colors to the shop, including a version in polka dots and leather!


10/19/12

friday finds + favorites: spinny dresses and fall


 my favorites this week.

- I bought the dress above at Target on a whim. It was only $11 and I couldn't pass it up. Plus, it came with the pink belt. So like two purchases in one?

- I've been on a cooking and baking kick. Pumpkin bread, soups, and next week I promise a recipe for pumpkin cookies. And speaking of soup, I need to make all three of these soup recipes.


- I'm obsessing over polka dots, hence my latest item in the shop, the polka dotted clutch!

-  do you need a giggle? this lamb video is the cutest thing ever. I need a pet lamb.

- have you seen gina's new great gatsby line of accessories? i love the photo shoot she did.

- Jen has this closet challenge where you wear everything in your closet... I love this idea. The only thing is, now that it's getting cold, I'll have to be really creative about wearing my summer stuff.

- I'm reading the book Cold Tangerines and it's so beautiful and has just challenged me to really focus on the little moments that make up each day. Life isn't just about the big things, the huge experiences, but the tiny things like hot coffee, texts from friends, crunching leaves and new pairs of socks. I'm hoping you, too, can find joy in these little moments.


you know what I also love this week?

It's FRIDAY. And you know how I feel about that.

also, bringing back the link-up party (because I'm crazy like that.) Share your favorites from the week-- either online or off-- the linkup will go on here and on Beth's blog Dot in the City. Please link up to your post, not your entire blog, and be sure to link back to either of us somewhere in your post. Thanks!

Rouge & Whimsy



xo, erika



10/18/12

julie ann art giveaway!

So last week I talked about my love for snail mail. 

My love is multiplied for funny snail mail cards and I think that Julie hits the nail on the head with her line of cards. 



I've bought several of her cards (this one, this one and this one) and everyone I gave them to absolutely loves them. I can not say enough about this girl's creativity. Hallmark, step aside. You're too old school to play.

let's meet Julie. :)



Hi there! My name is Julie. I'm a small business owner who has a weakness for anything turquoise and all puppies ever. I have an Etsy shop filled with cheeky, hand-drawn greeting cards that will make you laugh. I also blog over at Julie Ann ArtMy blog has become my creative outlet, where I can not only document all of my ideas, inspirations, and handmade projects, but share them with other crafty nerds like myself! 


How did you get started in the handmade world? 
In March 2008, a friend of mine told me about Etsy. It immediately sparked my interest because I had always enjoying making things, but never imaged selling them. I started selling on Etsy for fun, with no real intention of making a living on it. Little did I know, how inspiring it would be, having fans who enjoy your work and want to see more of it. I got addicted, caught the Etsy bug, and never looked back.


what are your dreams for your handmade shop/blog?

Well, I recently took the leap from a stable job to self employment. This was a huge decision for me and it is definitely too soon to know if it will work out for the rest of my life. My dream would be to continue pursuing my own business full-time, while making a comfortable living. 


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I admire Julie on so many levels-- for her shop, her blog and her drive to make her dreams a reality. She is generously giving away $20 credit to her shop. (and I really wish I could win.) The $20 would be perfect for the holidays-- I know she has quite a few holiday cards up her sleeve. :)



xo, erika 



10/16/12

black, brown, and navy

earrings: laonato (I love these have not taken them off since I bought them) // necklace: belleza mia // tee: h&m // flannel: target via thrift shop // skirt: anthropologie // socks: ?? // boots: star ling via ebay

Once upon a time I cared so much about what others thought of what I wore. 

Today I still struggle with worrying about what others think, but I am far more confident in what I wear. 

Yes, I still decide what to wear at night, but it's really because I can barely get myself out the door in the morning, much less find something without a stain on it to wear. 

And this outfit is something I would never have worn in high school simply because it doesn't match. I'm wearing two shades of brown, a black t-shirt and the flannel top I'm wearing? It has navy blue in it.

Maybe it's not completely good to mix navy, black and brown, but I think it works. And I think it's okay sometimes to break the rules and decide you don't care what others think.


Deep thoughts all started by a thrifted flannel shirt.


xo, erika

p.s. linking up with pleated poppy

10/15/12

the best pumpkin bread ever. really.


Back when the husband and I were dating in college, sometimes he would come back from visiting his parents with a few baked goods from his mom.

Sometimes one of the baked goods was pumpkin bread.


And when I say it is the best pumpkin bread ever, I really am not exagerating. There was one fateful day when the husband came over to my house and my college roommates, no joke, chased him to the kitchen, clamoring to get a piece. Really. This happened.

It happened because the pumpkin bread is truly the best ever.

It only took me 7ish years to make it on my own. And I'm sharing it with you.

pumpkin bread recipe: (note this makes three loaves. While that may seem excessive, it really isn't.)
3 cups canned pumpkin puree
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
4 cups white sugar
6 eggs
4 3/4 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp ground cloves

1. heat the oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour three loaf pans
2. in a large bowl, mix together the pumpkin, oil, sugar and eggs.
3. in another bowl, combine flour through cloves. Stir gradually into pumpkin mixture until well blended.
4. pour into prepared pans and cook for an hour. the loaves should spring back when lightly pressed.
5. remove the loaves after cooling for 5 minutes and wrap with foil. (this keeps them soft!)

If you're planning on frosting the bread, it should be completely cool-- ideally cooled overnight. Unwrap the loaves and slice the bread and then frost.

cream cheese frosting:
1 cube of butter (1/2 cup)
8 oz of cream cheeese
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Soften the butter and cheese-- my mother-in-law suggests leaving them out of the refrigerator over night) and then beat them together with a mixer.  Add the powdered sugar gradually while beating with the mixer.


While the bread is delicious, what really makes it is the enormously unhealthy and delicious cream cheese frosting you top it with. My husband adamantly believes this is the best part. The dogs, clearly agree.

left: my parents' dog Bridget (we're dogsitting), our monster, and our neighbors' dog Oly who happened to be over at the time as well.

xo, erika

10/14/12

makeup

I've always liked makeup.
My mom first let me wear it in 7th grade after months of begging.

And I wore that blue glittery eyeshadow with pride.

Luckily, I've come  along way since then in figuring out what works.

(Blue eyeshadow, not so much.)

Here's a few of my daily favorites:


1. Garnier BB Cream: I just started wearing bb cream this summer. Super sheer and feel-good coverage. I love love love it. ($12 at drugstores)
2. elf golden bronzer: I always love a little bronze-y color on my cheeks. This has a highligter shade included. ($4- 6 Target)
3. One by One Covergirl mascara: this girl has light, wimpy little lashes so I'm all about the big stuff. This and LashBlast by Maybelline is are my favs. ($8-10 drugstores.)
4. Revlon Colorstay liquid eye pen: This is like a felt pen for your eyes. Super easy to apply and I love the deep black color. I usually wear black eyeliner just on my top lids in a slightly cat-eye shape. ($8-10 drugstores.)
5. Blush/Bronzer brush: I've only recently gotten into brushes. Turns out having the right tools makes even your drugstore makeup go on better.
6. Concealer brush: I just bought this concealer brush and I don't know what took me so long. it's awesome for getting exact coverage.
7. eye shadow brush: again, using a good brush, this one is Sonia Kashuk, makes everything better.
8. Benefit Big Beautiful Eyes: this is my one splurge but I've bought it several years in a row. The colors are neutral-- not too shimmery, not too dark and it comes with a concealer that works great for undereye shadows. Also, it lasts forever. ($32 and worth every penny department stores, Sephora.)
9. Sonia Kashuk beautifying blush in sunset: As a redhead, I look better in peachy-orangey shades. This one is particularly nice. ($12 Target)
10. Sonia Kashuk all covered up concealer in porcelain: a wonderful thing for covering zits (yes I still get 'em all the time, what's up with that) and you apply with a concealer brush or fingertip. ($10-12 Target)

What are your favorite makeup items? Do you shop drugstore or department store?

xo, erika



10/12/12

roasted sweet potato quinoa soup

oh dang it's soup weather.


And I love soup. Always always have. Easy to cook and relatively affordable.

 Expect a lot of soup recipes 'round here in the next few months.

This one is husband-approved and healthy. Double-win.

Roasted Sweet Potato Soup with Quinoa (altered from recipe found here)
ingredients:
2 medium sweet potatoes
1/2 white onion, diced
2 carrots, sliced
2 teaspoons cumin
2 stalks of celery, sliced
1 large garlic clove, diced
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 cup cooked quinoa
3 cups chicken or veggie broth
1/4 cup water
optional: 2 teaspoons tapatio sauce
optional: 4 strips of bacon, crumbled

1. Peel and dice your sweet potatoes and place them and the carrots on a cooking sheet. Drizzle with 1 table spoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Set aside.
2. Heat remaining olive oil in large pot on medium high. Add sliced onion and cook until translucent.
3. Add diced garlic, cumin and celery. Stir while cooking for 1 minute.
4. Add roasted carrots and potatoes. Cook for 4 minutes.
5. Add broth and water. Bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute. Reduce heat and cook on medium low until carrots and potatoes are tender.
6. Using an immersion blender or in batches using a blender, puree the soup. The husband doesn't like perfectly smooth soups, so I usually leave a few chunks. Feel free to do the same.
7. Stir in quinoa and tapatio sauce.
8. Top with crumbled bacon.

Serve with parmesan cheese toast. Delish.


xo, erika



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