I'm just popping in-- how British of me to say-- to dump some photos. Turns out I've taken about 100 a day and I think if I'm going to share them all (ha- just kidding) then I better start now.

Look at you, London and your funny red busses.
Can you tell we're freezing here?
Oh yeah... it snowed. We were walking around and woefully unprepared.

 Paris! And sunshine, no snow, thank the Lord.
Caffeine keeps us going. (Well caffeine keeps me going-- the husband is having a beer, clearly.)

In Seattle there's a Starbucks on every corner... In Paris, there's a boulangerie (bakery) on every corner. Guess which I prefer? (oh, they serve coffee, too.)
 If you're lucky, the boulangerie will also be a patisserie (pastry shop) and you will press your nose against the glass in glee.
And then you'll go eat whatever you bought in front of the Eiffel Tower.

This is just a snippet of our trip, but so far, so good with only a few slight snags. We're about halfway done, but I'm not ready to go home yet. The only things I miss is my bed-- which is more comfortable than the ones we're sleeping in, toilet seat covers... and my money not going as far as it does in the states. Oh, one more thing -- a warmer coat. I'm missing that also.

xo, erika

shabby apple giveaway

Spring calls for warmer weather (well sometimes-- we can all hope, right?) But it also calls for the excuse to drag every pastel and spring-y item out of your closet--- or perhaps pick up a few new spring things. I'm thinking dresses and skirts.

merry-go-round green gingham skirt

To help you put together that spring wardrobe, Shabby Apple is giving away $50!

If you haven't heard of Shabby Apple, you should probably go over and get familiar with this vintage-inspired dress shop. I love, love the classic pieces that they sell-- and many of them are made in the good ol' USA and they donate proceeds to Accion, a non-profit organization with the mission of giving people the financial tools they need to work their way out of poverty.

Shabby Apple is giving away $50 to one rouge & whimsy reader-- good for anything in the shop -- but I personally would love any of these items... 
clockwise: black & white polka dot dress // white polka dot dress // stripes & aqua dress

Want to win? It's simple! Go like Shabby Apple on Facebook and come back tell me you did. Win an additional entry by sharing your favorite item from Shabby Apple. This contest is just open to those with U.S. mailing addresses.

good luck!


how to sew a hi-low skirt from sew caroline

Hi Rouge & Whimsy readers! My name is Caroline and I am the author behind the creative lifestyle blog SewCaroline.com. I live in Fort Worth, Texas with my husband and our oh-so-adorable puppy. I  am a self-taught seamstress who loves to bend the rules of sewing. During the day I works for a locally owned fabric boutique teaching kiddos and adults to sew. Not being taught traditionally, I strives to show my students (and blog readers!) that the process of sewing can be done more than one way. I had the ultimate pleasure of meeting Erika in Seattle a few weeks ago and I can 100% say that she is as precious in real life as she is on this blog!
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I am here today to share with you a spin off of one of the previous tutorials I've written on my blog. Do you love trends? I do. And maxi skirts are NO exception. I would wear one every day except for the fact that it might be weird and my husband hates them.. so I limit myself to ohhhh, once a week ;)

About a year ago I wrote THIS tutorial on how to sew a maxi skirt in 10 minutes. Really. Its true. Once you get the hang of it, it will literally take you 10 minutes to sew one up! Today, I'm changing things around a bit and going to show you how to make one of those ever-popular "high-low" skirts. You know the ones that are "high" in the front and "low" in the back? Yep.
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SO, let's get started.

First, I want you to head over and start by using the 10 Minute Maxi Skirt tutorial. BEFORE you get to the step where you put the elastic in the casing, STOP and click back over here.

You'll need to measure up from your ankle (or where you want your lowest point) to your knee (or where you want your highest point to be). For reference, mine was about 20".

Lay your skirt out flat on top of your rotary mat (you can use scissors too!) and put the seam in the middle (NOT ON EITHER SIDE.. you'll want the seam on this skirt to be a side-seam-- other wise you'll see it!).

On one side of your skirt, measure up the amount you calculated from your ankle-knee. Mark it with a pin.

Now starting on the other end cut at an angle all the way up to the point you marked. You'll be cutting away a large triangle.
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Now you'll have a high-low hem. But, you probably don't want the "low" hem to be pointy, so just round that out a bit with your scissors.
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Hop back over to the 10 Minute Maxi Skirt tutorial and finish your skirt. It really is THAT simple.

Wanna see it styled?? Click over here and see how I've worn it! :)



guest post: statement necklace diy

Hi Rouge & Whimsy readers! I'm Kim and I blog over at Oh, Sweet Joy! While Erika is off gallivanting in Europe, I'm happy to share one of my favorite tutorials with you! 

Statement necklaces are my favorite accessory of the moment. I love how they can instantly transform a plain or solid top into something fabulous. Today, I'll show you how to make three necklace styles from the simplest of materials!

What you'll need:
an old t-shirt or 1/4 yard of jersey knit fabric
wooden beads (three sizes) 
(optional) paint and/or spraypaint
needle with a thick "eye"

1. Cut your coral t-shirt or jersey knit fabric into two long strips, no more than an inch wide. 
2. Spray-paint your wooden beads yellow. 
3. Thread one "string" through the eye of the needle and string your beads on in the following order: 
two small, two medium, three large, two medium, two small
Repeat on the other strip of fabric and once you have finished, tie a knot on each side of the beads.
4. Place the two pieces together how you want them to hang & tie the strips together just above the knots. 
5. Place around your neck and tie with a bow!

1. Cut your bright aqua jersey knit into one long strip, no more than an inch wide. You can trim it down later if you'd like it to be thinner.
2. Leaving the beads natural for a bold contrast, thread your "string" through the eye of the needle and string your beads on in the following order: 
two small, two medium, three large, two medium, two small
3. Tie a knot on either side of the beads so they don't move around. 
4. Place around your neck and tie with a bow!

1. Cut your printed jersey knit into two long strips, no more than an inch wide. 
2. Put a bit of dark brown paint into a bowl and water it down. Roll the beads around in it until they're covered and let them dry. 
3. Thread one "string" through the eye of the needle and string your beads on in the following order: 
one small, two medium, three large, two medium, one small
Repeat on the other strip of fabric with the following order:
two small, five medium, two small

and once you have finished, tie a knot on each side of the beads.
4. Place the "strand" with the larger beads on the bottom and give it more "slack." 
5. Without tying the pieces together as we did in the first option, place around your neck and tie with a bow!


I already had the jersey knit//t-shirts, paint, and spray-paint  on hand, but this project cost about $12 for the beads and I still have beads left over to make more! Just make sure to take a coupon with you to Joann or Hobby Lobby for the beads. 

Have fun & come find me here:



recipe: (slightly healthy) chocolate chip cookies

I'm usually skeptical of lower fat things-- especially desserts-- for two reasons: one) if it's not homemade, lower fat usually means more preservatives or additives or two) low-fat desserts usually don't taste very good.

But these are different-- no weird additives and definitely delicious. (The husband didn't even know there was whole wheat in them.)

I wish I could take credit for these, but they're from my favorite cooking magazine Cooking Light.

The trick? Use less butter but brown it to enhance the flavor.

(slightly healthier) chocolate chip cookies
6 tbs unsalted butter
2 tbs coconut oil, softened (or canola oil)
1 1/4 cup white flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup white sugar
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
2 cups chocolate chips

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Heat butter in a saucepan over medium heat until the butter browns, about 5 minutes. Be careful not to overcook or scorch the butter. Remove from heat and add coconut oil
- Combine dry ingredients-- through salt-- in a large bowl and whisk together
- Beat sugars and butter together until smooth, add eggs and beat until just mixed.
- stir in dry ingredients, careful not to over mix.
- add in chocolate chips
- drop batter on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper two inches apart
- bake for 10 to 12 minutes

the perfect treat for your weekend!

xo, erika


how to sew a padded ereader pouch

I gave in to a kindle.

It wasn't that I was ever that against ereaders, I just never really felt like I needed one. But to be honest, lugging the books I read every day to work and back, especially when I was reading Pillars of the Earth, which hits about 900 pages, can be a pain.

I also have been afraid that if I bought a kindle, I would give in to my book obsession even more-- tempted to buy books just as soon as they came out-- with one click from the ereader-- rather than wait to get it from the library.

But when I got an Amazon gift card from work for passing a health screening, I decided to bite the bullet.

And yes I love it.

Of course, my new kindle needed a new case. And if you have a kindle or ereader or just want to sew a little padded case, I put together a visual tutorial:


have questions? ask me in the comments!

Also, please note that the tabs are not required for a zippered pouch; I think they make it look a bit more finished.

And another addition-- I added about 6 inches in total to the width, and 3 inches to the height. You want it much wider than you think you need because the zipper will take about an inch or two off of room and you'll want to be able to take the ereader in and out with ease.


business wear

 cardigan: old navy // tee, skirt: h&m // necklace: nordstrom rack // tights: nordstrom // shoes: thrifted

This is my take on business wear. Mostly because I'm wearing a pencil skirt. There's something about pencil skirts that instantly make me feel a little more dressed up. Sometimes I wish I had more excuses to wear business wear, but at my job, jeans are the norm-- even for the CEO.

I'll be honest I'm stressing out a little bit over packing for Europe. I decided that I don't want to look overly American or casual, and of course my Seattle wardrobe doesn't really translate into the effortless French or British chic. I confess I've been reading a lot of French fashion blogs (I love this one and this one.)

Any tips for me? I decided I am bringing the pencil skirt. :)

xo, erika


your questions answered (part one-- personal)

top: nordstrom rack // sweater: ann taylor loft // pants: gap // boots: macys

Awhile ago, like two weeks ago (maybe?) I asked you to ask me the random, burning or not-so-burning questions and I'm excited to answer them here. I decided to split them up so I'm answering the more personal ones now and will tackle the blog/shop ones in another post!

q: where/how did you meet your husband?

a: This is a whole 'nother post (one I should write), but quick synopsis: I was a college freshman, he was a college sophomore and he had a class with one of my housemates. He was over at our house studying with her, and she called me over to meet him. We started talking and he started coming over to "study" more... and then we dated my four years of college (minus a short breakup) and got married after I graduated. 

just baby college kids -- August 2006

q: If you could anywhere, where would you go? (besides your upcoming trip to Europe)

a: I love France, you all know I do (especially the Loire Valley & Dordogne region). But honestly I would love to go to Africa and specifically the Middle East. I know its not the safest place right now, but I just really want to see the Holy Lands to try and understand that culture -- how different it is from mine! --  even the smallest bit.

q: I'd love to hear more about your thoughts on books you're reading.

a: I've confessed before I'm a book addict. I read a lot. I think maybe I should talk more about the books I'm currently reading but a few recent reads:

- Gone Girl: I read it just because everyone has. I didn't love it because a) I don't like books where I can't relate on some level with the characters and b) the ending was disappointing
- Dancing on Broken Glass: It was okay. A tear-jerker and interesting look at mental illness.
- The Shoemaker's Wife: Gorgeous descriptions but it seemed to drag at the end.

some of my favorite books: Pillars of the Earth series. Paris in Love. Blue Like Jazz. Half-Broke Horses. Unbroken

q: I'm a runner...well beginner sorta kinda...so I'd love to hear more about your running schedule sometime!

a: I'm beginner as well! But my schedule consists of running 4 to 5 days a week. I usually take Sundays off and Mondays and/or Fridays. I do a medium-length run (4 to 5 miles) once a week, like Tuesday or Thursday (sometimes both days) and shorter runs, anywhere from 1 to 3 miles the rest of the week. On Saturday I do my long run, which I have been increasing by a little bit each week. (I just did 7, which was nuts!)

Honestly, what works for me is consistency. The more I run, the easier it becomes. I run during lunch breaks during the week and if I'm doing a short run, I try to offset it with some weights or other workouts.

q: If I came to Seattle, what top 5 things must I do?

a: This could be a long, long post about my must-dos in Seattle, but here's my top five:
- take a ferry to see san juan islands: stunning gorgeous islands just outside of Seattle.
- ballard: my all-time favorite Seattle neighborhood filled with fun shops, bars and cafes.
- pike place market: iconic!
- kayaking in the arboretum to Lake Washington and Lake Union to go past the houseboats.
- international district: amazing asian grocery stores, cafes and culture (go to Uwajimaya!)

q: If you could dye your [beautiful] hair any color in the world, what would it be?

a: True story, I've only started to like my red hair in the past five or six years. Growing up I wanted brown hair (and smooth skin-- no freckles!) I don't know that I would ever dye my hair except to add more red (I never would have said that 10 years ago!) Maybe some coppery highlights? I'm afraid if I ever dye it the original color won't come back!

q: what's your favorite band?

a: I have an eclectic music taste (indie and country anyone?) but I absolutely love Florence and the Machine. Her red hair, her music, just everything. I also really love Head and the Heart (and lived with one of the bandmembers in college). And Mumford & Sons... I could go on :)

q: what's your fave tv show of all time?

a: I don't know that I have a favorite-- I watch TV, but usually just as a background while I'm sewing :) But I did like the first two seasons of Downton Abbey and I do love watching The Bachelor while drinking wine and dissecting the insanity of it with my girlfriends.

thanks for your questions... I enjoyed answering them. Part two will be next week!

xo, erika


featured shop: print & pillage

hi all.
Happy friday. I so very much love introducing you to new shops, and today's is a fun shop print & pillage. I asked shop owner Jay a few questions about starting her small biz.


Hi everybody! I'm Jay, owner and jack of all trades behind Print & Pillage. Along with my husband (who's the numbers person in this relationship) and my best friend Ali who pitches in to help me, we're a small paper goods and custom stationery shop as well as design studio based out of Minnesota.

What led you to open a shop on Etsy?

The whole idea behind Print & Pillage came out of my last year of college, when I desperately was trying to find something to do with my life that would allow me to continue working on the two passions I had pursued for four years-- Illustration and Printmaking. I have also always been a big believer that while images are worth a thousand words, together they become magic. I think in this time of emails and text messages, we forget how special a personalized note can be, even if it's written on a post-it note! So Print and Pillaye came out of my love for art, my (bordering on unhealthy) obsession with paper and my desire to bring a little special memory to someone. 
How you stay inspired/ find inspiration? 
I have no problem staying inspired, but for that I need to not think too much about the things I work on when I am not working on them. When I was in school, art quickly consumed my life so that even when I wasn't in the studio, that's all I could think about! being back in the studio painting. It's exhausting. So my inspiration comes from everywhere except my work space: movies, plays, photographs, good books and music -- but they also come from all of those small moments in my life. A day spent with friends, the anticipation of spring (can't wait for spring!); my husband saying something so funny my stomach hurts from laughing, or just from a quiet Saturday morning sitting on the floor with my cat and a nice cup of tea. I take what's outside, digest it for a bit, and then bring it into my little corner of my home where I can then focus on work uninterrupted. Also, it seems like my best ideas always come to me when I'm in the shower! not sure why, but there you have it. 
 thank you card // print & pillage

What's your advice for other who want to start a creative endeavor? 

Just do it. Write the book you want to write, or paint the painting you want to paint, tackle that giant pile of yarn you've been waiting to turn into a scarf. Sometimes the best things come out of just jumping in head first and dealing with all the hurdles as they come. I spent two years just planning, and it was very easy to caught up in planning because then it didn't feel like procrastinating (and we all know there's no guilt associated with not doing "it" if we're "planning ahead" for it, right?), but the truth was that it was justified procrastination on my dreams at its best. So now, any time someone tells me they want to do something, I tell them to just go for it.

What are your dreams for the shop? 

I'm a big dreamer. I think my mother had a lot to do with that. When she said that I could do anything, I truly believed her, and still do. I am currently working on the shop's website (I hope to have it launched within the next few months!) and my hope is that within the next year P&P grows enough that I can hire an accountant! I will do the math if I have to, but I think that's best left to the professionals, and being able to hire someone to help with other tasks would give me more time to work on creating the actual paintings. My darling husband gives his time freely to help my dreams along, but an accountant would be nice. Eventually, though, a brick and mortar store (or two, or ten!) would be the long term goal. That last one's a big lofty dream, though, but I think my one and only dream is to grow Print & Pillage as big as it can grow while still maintaining the values from which it was built. As of right now, there's a lot of changes coming up to the shop, a lot of inventory in the works (and a sneak peak in one of these images) and they're very exciting! 
 you're such a fox card // print & pillage


Thanks Jay!
You can see Jay's shop Print & Pillage here and connect with her on her blog // facebook // twitter 
And use the coupon code 'rougeandwhimsy15' for a 15% discount in the shop.

enjoy your weekend, all. I know I will. :)

xo, erika

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