the list. february

I think we make such grand plans at the beginning of each year, but so few of them stick. I'd rather begin each month fresh-- and that's what this link-up is about: starting each month looking at where we've been and where we want to go. 

>> january was a month of refreshing. I took time from the shop, read a lot of books and let myself be. Even with the shop reopened, I want to be better at taking time for me. I want to be more proactive in spending quiet time-- by myself, time to reflect, time to pray and time to listen.

>> go easy on myself. About once a month I freak out. My house is too messy! My shop isn't doing well! I should be more organized! What am I doing with my life!?! Does anyone else do this? I need to learn to let somethings go... especially my house. It's not going to be perfect, and I need to accept that. 

>> I'm ready to push myself this month. I have more ideas than I ever have before and I want to start preparing for spring and summer craft shows. I am ready to be more organized too.

>> I also want to sew more for me. I say this all the time, but I have some tutorials/patterns that I really really want to try out. This month I'm going to make it happen.

things I loved from January: this outfit // where i find inspiration // my obsession with asian cooking

Share your list! Every first Friday of the month Beth and I  will be sharing our favorite things from the past month and what we're looking forward to in the new month. It doesn't have to be fancy, it doesn't have to be long, it can just be what the link-up is: a list.

When you link up, please link a relevant post and link back to Beth or I somewhere on your blog. And be sure to come see what others are sharing as well. :)

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want to hang out?

Okay, maybe not hang out in the REAL life sense, but how about in internet life? I have spaces available for sponsorship and I (and the corgi monster) would love to help you with your blog or small business! You can see my rates and stats here and email me at rougeandwhimsy [at] gmail [dot] com with questions.

xo, erika


gluten-free salted caramel brownies

My mother-in-law is a spectacular cook. Spectacular. And she loves to bake and cook loads of goodies every time the husband and I trek down to visit his parents.
However, many of the things she bakes, she can't eat because she has celiac disease. She's been diagnosed for over 10 years and it's just now getting to the point where it's easier to find find gluten-free recipes and foods. I recently have attempted baking for her-- a way to return the favor-- and recently whipped up a batch of these brownies.

I really wish that gluten-free automatically meant healthier but unfortunately, in baked goods, that's kind of a misconception. Some gluten-free recipes actually have more unhealthy things in them to make up for the lack of gluten. So yeah, these brownies? Not good for you. Sorry 'bout that. (But you should totally eat 'em anyway.)

ingredients:  (recipe altered from here)
8 tbs unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup gluten-free flour (I use Bob's Red Mill brand.)
1/3 cup caramel sauce (try to find a brand that doesn't have high-fructose corn syrup in it)
1/2 tsp coarse sea salt

- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Line an 8x8 baking dish with foil & spray liberally with cooking spray
- Melt butter and add to mixing bowl. Stir in cocoa powder, sugar, eggs and vanilla.
- Add flour mix and stir until just combined.
- Pour half of the mix into the baking pan. Carefully spread the caramel sauce evenly over the batter then add the last half of the batter over, trying to avoid mixing the two. (My trick: I microwaved the caramel and poured it over the batter and then after spreading it, I let it cool for a few minutes before I topped it with the remaining brownie batter.)
- Bake for 25 minutes. Immediately after removing the brownies from the oven, sprinkle with the coarse sea salt.

Don't want to make them gluten-free? Just make brownies from a box and just add caramel and top with sea salt. Delicious. You'll eat nearly the whole pan in one night.

xo, erika


I took these photos at Goodwill

 button-up: nordstrom // sweater: madewell // pants: anthro // shoes: thrifted

Can we talk about how the husband puts up with me?

Like the other night when I just vented emotional garbage at him-- spilling things that didn't even make sense. He just nodded and said the right things. (Thank you honey!)

Or, like when I force the husband to take outfit photos of me. Usually it's when he's doing something else but I need the photos taken right then. (It'll just take five minutes!)

Or the times that I force him to go to Goodwill with me-- just for a few minutes-- and it ends up being much longer.  (Sorry honey! I haven't been down this aisle!)

Or how about the time he took these outfit photos ... at a Goodwill. I think he gets double points here.

xo, erika

linking up to style elixir + pleated poppy


finding inspiration.

When I took a month off from the shop, at first I let myself relax. I told myself that there was no pressure to create something right away. I gave myself a few days, and then I allowed myself to start thinking about my shop-- what I liked, what I didn't like, and what new things I imagined that I would have. I knew that I wanted some vastly different items-- more leather and a crossbody bag. I knew that I wanted the bags to continue to look modern but still with handmade touches. The goal was figuring out exactly what that would look like.

I don't know that there's any one way to find inspiration or stay creative, but I wanted to share a few things that worked for me. 

1. look for inspiration outside of your product. 
I make it a point to never search for bags or clutches that would be similar to mine on etsy. I do not want my inspiration to come from something I see and then tweaking it. I think too often people see something that someone makes and think "I could make that," and then with some tweaks, decide to sell it. That might be fine for some people or fine for something you make for yourself, but I do not want my handmade business built on that. I want it to be my own, something I can stand behind and say "this was my idea. this came from my head."

When I was planning my spring line, I bought a lot of fashion magazines. I ripped out pages of outfits and deciphered what about each outfit I liked. Then I designed the handbag using those elements.

2. ask yourself questions.
What gets you excited? What do you love? List everything from foods to activities to colors and work from there. Write or create from what you love.

3. who is buying/reading/enjoying the product/blog/idea you have? 
I have in my mind the very specific person who buys my rouge & whimsy bags. Just a few tidbits: she wears lipstick (occasionally), is attracted to classic pieces, but doesn't mind partaking in a trend or two. When I make a bag, I think about that person. Will she like what I'm making? Would she want to buy it? If I answer "yes," I know I'm on the right track.  If you blog, who reads your blog? What does s/he like to read? What are they looking for?

4. take breaks. 
If you feel like you're in a rut, embrace it and go do something else! I like to go on runs to clear my mind. I also love to cook and in being creative in the kitchen, experimenting with Asian cooking, I felt like I was in some way stimulating another creative part of my brain. I also read novels, and took quiet time and prayed. These things, for me, were helpful.

5. play around.
When I come up with ideas, I like to experiment a bit with it. I make prototypes, I match fabrics and see if what's in my head really works out. Sometimes it doesn't, and sometimes it does. But getting there and experimenting is part of the process! 
are there ways that you find inspiration and stay creative? 
xo, erika


on a shop kick

It turns out the best thing for my shop was taking a month off.

I have had so much fun designing new items for the shop and really pushing myself to learn new things and try new designs.

One of the newest designs is a new crossbody bag in 100 percent leather. I think I say this each time I make new designs, but I am truly in love with it and really proud of the finished product. I wish that Etsy allowed customers to feel the leather, because it's honestly so soft and gorgeous in person.

I also made two leather clutches-- they're simple, but again, they're all leather so they're really soft and fun.

  gold leather-- my new obsession.

I hope you love these new shop items as much as I do. See all of them here.

kiss slavery goodbye

peony -- Radiant Cosmetics
First off, I like lipstick. It's a new love, developed in the past year or so, but I love how it brightens my face and gives me a little burst of confidence -- especially during drab winter months.

I also like things that give back, which is why Radiant's lipsticks are my new favorite. Radiant Cosmetics gives 20 percent back of its profits to fight sex trafficking, and in the month of January, they are also donating one lipstick for every lipstick purchased to a survivor or current victim of sex trafficking.

According to Radiant, approximately 27 million people are enslaved worldwide. Unfortunately, one of the biggest hubs for sex trafficking is my home city of Seattle. It ranks third in terms of sex trafficking -- not prostitution-- but sex trafficking--  and in Seattle, a huge portion of it is underage girls engaged in prostitution; this site says at least 300,000 girls in the city alone. 

I work downtown and I live by a highway that's well known for its crime and prostituion. The statistics hit home for me and I hope in someway that in my lipstick purchase, I'm helping the people who share the same city as me.

xo, erika


new link-up: the list

I love lists. I think a lot of people like lists. There's something satisfactory about categorizing items: things to do, things I like, things I want to do, things I wish I knew, things I loved about last week... 

And what better time to share our lists than at the beginning of each month? Consider it a mini New Years-- but without the confetti. (or with the confetti, if you happen to have some lying around.)

Every first Friday of the month we will be sharing our favorite things from the past month and what we're looking forward to in the new month. It doesn't have to be fancy, it doesn't have to be long, it can just be what the link-up is: a list. 

We'd love to see you join us next Friday, February 1st! 

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happy friday friends!

xo, erika


red letter cards giveaway

One of the best things about the blog/handmade world is connecting with and learning from others. I love finding new-to-me shops and blogs that inspire me and the Red Letter Paper Company is one such shop. I first saw the Red Paper Company when I stumbled across the clever "not sent from my iPhone" card.

(see it here)

Being someone who is guilty of constantly texting from her iPhone (instead of just picking up the dang phone to call), I thought it was perfect. 

I talked to Stephanie, the owner behind The Red Letter Paper Company, about her inspiration and dreams for her small biz.

How did you get started?
It started because my husband and I could never find Christmas cards that didn't look like something my grandmother would pick out. We were young and urban, and we wanted clean, modern design that still held the true meaning of Christmas. And a lot less glitter. I have a background in publication design, which can sometimes be very templated, so I figured cards could be a creative outlet for me and a service to other people looking for the same thing.

How do you stay inspired?
I don't know if I stay inspired as much as I get inspired in spurts. I'll go through really prolific periods, and then some dry spells. But when I feel that way, I try to recreate the conditions when I feel most creative and inspired. I look for inspiration in my audience, what they're into, what I'm into, and then take on the challenge of making things like iPhones and coffee fit with a corresponding scripture verse on the back of the card.

(found here)

What's your dream for your company?
I made a phone call today and as soon as I said "Red Letter Paper Company," the person on the other end said, "Oh! The modern Christian cards!" That's what I want. For people to know my brand, love my products, and ultimately buy them because they fill a need or they just can't resist. I'd love to see them in Christian bookstores and church bookstores and even regular card shops.

What are you doing when you're not working?
When I'm not making cards, I'm usually still on the computer, catching up on Twitter or Facebook. If I'm not on the computer, I'm probably watching television. After eight years of the night shift in newspaperland, I still revel in the fact that I can watch shows when everyone else watches them. The only problem is I pretty much missed the first seasons of all the good stuff, so my current favorite show is Family Feud. Exciting, I know.

What's something few people know about you?
I'm allergic to bananas. I know it sounds ridiculous, but it's the truth. I'm not a huge fan anyway so it's not a big deal, but it rules out a lot of smoothies, and, unfortunately, banana pudding.


I love what Stephanie says about keeping inspired through (inevitable) creative dry spells.

Stephanie has a host of great cards for Valentines Day --  and you can win them both to give away!


wear what you want

top: Banana Republic outlet // skirt: thrifted // tights: Nordstrom Rack // booties: Wanted shoes last year

If I had a blog in junior high, I am sure it would be full of angst and all that junior high stuff, but I think it would also be pretty unoriginal.

As a young teenager -- 13, 14, 15 -- I was more concerned with fitting in than nearly anything else. I hated going back to school shopping before school started because I was afraid I would buy things that no one else had. (heaven forbid!) I preferred to do a little bit of shopping, then scope out the trends the first day or two (and my trends, I mean what my classmate were wearing in my suburban junior high) and then convince my mother to head back to mall. (Thank you Mom for putting up with that.)
I was completely brand conscious. I had to have a sparkly hisbiscus shirt from Roxy. And I had to have jeans from Mudd (remember those?). If I posted outfits on a blog back then-- guaranteed it would look nearly identical to the outfits posted by the classmates I so envied.

I'm not sure when I decided that I was going to dress for myself. And I'm not sure when I really began to own it. Yes, I do care what others think, it's something I constantly struggle with, but for the most part, I dress for me-- what makes me feel good. And that includes pairing thrifted, pleated maroon skirts with a plaid button-up. I'm not sure what my 13-year-old self would say to me if she saw this look, but I know would I would tell her: don't get so caught up in it all. Wear (and be) what you want.

xo, erika

p.s. linking up to the pleated poppy and style elixir


recipe: baked grapefruit

First of all I love grapefruit. I love the scent*, the taste and even the intricacy of removing those little juicy wedges from the peel.

Not everyone has the same sort of affection toward grapefruit that I do, which is why a lot of people bake their grapefruits.

Baking citrus fruits kind of goes against everything I'm used to, but I'll try nearly any food once, so this past weekend I baked a grapefruit half.

Verdict? Delicious. And you, even if you don't like grapefruit, should try it this way.

1 grapefruit
2-3 tsp of honey (or more depending on how sweet you like things)
cinnamon and nutmeg to taste

preheat the oven to 375 degrees
cut a grapefruit in half and using a knife, cut along the edges of the peel and next to each section.
put the honey in the center of the grapefruit, adding more for a sweeter taste.
sprinkle cinnamon and nutmeg over the wedges.
bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the edges begin to brown.


xo, erika

* i actually wear a grapefruit-based perfume. It's called pamplemousse and it's sold by a local seattle shop on etsy.


spring line: parte un

I took nearly a month off and put my shop on vacation. Like I mentioned, I burned myself out a bit before Christmas, so it has been lovely to turn off the sewing machine and focus on other things besides the shop.

With that said, I couldn't stay away too long! I have some great new items for the shop, and will slowly be adding them in the next week or so. But the first additions are up and ready for purchase.

After some requests, I made a line of ipad cases. The cases are designed to hold a standard Apple iPad, but will also hold a tablet, ereader, kindle or whatever other fancy electronic device you may have! It has a thick fleece padding to keep your technology safe (but I don't suggest throwing the case around to try and prove me wrong.) ;)

I've been playing around with florals, and besides using one for the ipad, I also bought a really spring-y print for a foldover clutch. It's really cheerful and might be the thing to get you through the rest of the winter.

Thanks for your support! You can see all the new items in the rouge and whimsy shop!

oh, and of course I couldn't leave you without a discount-- use "because" for 10 percent off.

xo, erika


things I like this week

It's pretty straightforward post. I'm sharing a bunch of things I liked this week:

Photo by rougeandwhimsy

>> I like my city. Every day this week I've been blessed with crazy awesome sunsets from the day job's office window. All of the employees (including me) scramble to take photos of the view. Seattle, you done good. (shameless plug: for some of those views, you should follow me on Instagram.)

>> I like my husband scraping my car this a.m.

>> I like seeing a grown man read Twilight in paperback on the bus. (I know, should have snapped a photo.)

>> I like drooling over this gorgeous blog with stunning food photography (do not read on an empty stomach)

>> I like this great tutorial for a easy DIY photo reflector and I made one this week

>> I like playing Cards Against Humanity. The husband, another couple, and I played the non-PC game for three hours. (feel free to judge me)

>> I like hanging out here.

>> I like watching The Bachelor and reading Danielle's recaps of the ridiculousness. (feel free to judge me, again.)

>> I like you guys.

the end.

xo, erika


recipe: hot toddy

You know how in historical novels, like ones set in the 1800s, they always offer whiskey to people who don't feel well?

Ok, maybe you don't read as much historical fiction than I do but I always wondered what was up with giving hard alcohol to sick people.

You see, if I drink, I'm going to go for beer or wine. I really don't do cocktails. Except when I don't feel well.

I just recently started making myself hot toddies because those it turns out people in historical novels were onto something. This year has been the year of colds and sometimes when I'm super stuffed up and feeling crummy, a hot toddy really hits the spot. I don't know if it's the little bit of alcohol or all the spices in the hot tea, or a combination, but for whatever reason, it works.

you need:
hot tea (I love spiced black tea for this-- try Bigelow's Constant Comment)
lemon slices
3 - 4 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick or 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
honey to taste
optional: 1.5 fluid ounces whiskey, bourbon or dark rum (you could likely make this without the alcohol and it would still be delicious)

liberally coat the bottom of a mug with honey. add your tea bag and hot water, the juice from one lemon wedge, plus another one or two for garnish, and spices. let steep for 5 minutes. remove the tea bag and add your choice of alcohol. stir well.

sip (perhaps while reading a historic novel?)

xo, erika


hats off

 hat: Nordstrom // coat: Old Navy // jeans: Paige  // booties: Wanted shoes // lipstick: Volcanic by L'Oreal // corgi: my own

I couldn't resist the cheesy title but honestly I have been searching for the hat for quite some time. I found some online but committing to buying one never happened. (and then they would be out of stock. womp, womp.)

So I stuck it on my Christmas list, but I think most people felt hesitant about taking on the burden of buying a "floppy-but-not-too-floppy, felt/wool hat."

Rightfully so, as it was an incredibly vague description of what I wanted. Yet when I found this one at Nordstrom, I knew it was the one. (Especially as it was on sale and I had a gift card.)

I love it when it works out like that.

 xo, erika

linking up to pleated poppy
and linking here to style elixir


thai lemongrass chicken coconut soup


Really we would have to say Thai-inspired, because despite my trips to the Asian grocery store for ingredients, I doubt this is as authentic as it could be.

But despite authenticity, I have to say-- this soup is pretty darn good and pretty easy to make. Two things that make a meal worth making.

Lemongrass chicken and coconut soup with rice

I know that not everyone has access to an Asian grocery store, hence some of these things can be replaced or omitted.
3 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 thai chili pepper (serrano pepper works too)
4 slices of fresh, peeled ginger root (Ground ginger may work, but fresh is best)
10 kaffir lime leaves OR thai basil leaves (if you can't find these, try normal basil leaves)
3 stalks lemongrass, white part only
1 can of light unsweetened coconut milk (13 oz)
2 cups cooked chicken
2 tbs fish sauce (this doesn't smell great, but it's key in thai cooking)
1 tsp sugar
2 limes
salt & pepper to taste
green onion, cilantro for garnish

Dice pepper-- removing the seeds will make it less spicy.
Peel ginger root, slice four thin pieces
Tear the lime/basil leaves
Press the side of your knife against the lemongrass to "bruise" it.
Add pepper through lemongrass to the broth in a pot and simmer the mixture for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, you can discard the leaves, lemongrass and ginger, but keeping them in is fine-- just don't eat them.

Add chicken, coconut milk, fish sauce, sugar and the juice from the two limes.

Sprinkle in salt and pepper.

Garnish with the diced green onion and cilantro.

Serve over rice in a bowl.


xo, erika

Add the coconut milk, 

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