In my threeish (?!) years of blogging, this is the longest blog break I've taken -- or rather the longest inconsistent stretch of blogging I've had.

It's not that I'm not inspired or struggling through something horrific. I'm just tired. Tired and busy. When I fall into bed at night, I cannot make myself type or edit photos. And the weekends -- usually prime catch-up/blog time -- have been completely full. I haven't even been home.

Despite the busyness, I am grateful. I am grateful for opportunities and traveling and good, good things even if it pushes blogging to the back burner.

The thing is, I really, really like blogging. I blogged before I had the shop, and I've always been a writer, and a reader, and I really hope that I will always continue to write and make time to write. I love the process of blogging -- I love brainstorming and coming up with blog post ideas -- editing photos and clicking away on my ancient laptop -- as well as the community that blogging can bring. 

scarf: c/o She Does Justice (incredible handmade company that gives back!)
hammered brass circle earrings: c/o pleated poppy boutique
tee: Target
cardigan: Old Navy
jeans: Gap
shoes: Keds

xo, erika


5 elements of a good blog design + giveaway

oh hey. remember me? I'm still here-- I just got overwhelmed (a bit) with life and had to let the daily posting go. but I'm back today to share a super great post & giveaway from Brittany Douglas, who has a phenomenal blog and design shop! (want to see how great she is? I love this recent post from her.)

5 Elements of a Good Blog Design

1 // Unique header
The header is the first thing people see when they visit your blog, so it needs to stand out! If you're not comfortable designing one yourself, there are lots of designers who would love to help.

2 // Simple navigation
About & contact pages are usually some of the first people visit when they find a new blog - are yours easy to find? Keep your menu up near the header for easy visibility, but don't clutter this area with too many page links. 

3 // Clear readability 
This includes your post & pictures! Make sure your content can be easily read (both your font & font size contribute to this) and your pictures can be easily seen. No one wants to squint!

4 // Easy to connect
You don't have to be on every social site, but make sure you clearly link to the one's you are a part of. So much of the discussion happens off the blog!

5 // Reflects you
This is the most important one. Because your design can be beautiful, but if it doesn't reflect you, it hasn't served it's purpose. A blog is your space on the web, and the design needs to reflect you and what you love.

Brittany is offering $50 in credit to her design shop as well as a copy of her e-book "Blog Design Essentials: Where to Start."

enter using the rafflecopter below & connect with Brittany on twitter, instagram, facebook  and her blog!


photo dump (or what I did this weekend)

This weekend was wedding weekend. 

On Friday my friends and I packed up and headed over the pass to Eastern Washington to be in a dear friend's wedding. Our lose of transportation? A mini van. 

The setting was gorgeous, the wedding was picturesque and two days with friends who make you laugh until you cry is always good for the soul. 

xo, erika

linking up to blair for life lately!


if I wasn't doing this

 (it's always a mess)

Some days, or rather some nights, when it's late and my neck is cramping from sewing, I wonder what I'm doing.

I really question it. Honestly.

I love, love my little handmade shop and I'm really trying to grow it, but sometimes it's hard and when I turn down something, or attempt to get through the next day on not enough sleep, I ask myself, is this worth it? Am I insane? This is the question that pops through my head late at night.

I think it is worth it. I am choosing believe it is. This is my dream-- to make this shop work. And right now it means I'm balancing a lot. I'm not trying to complain; I'm just trying to be honest.

But what I've also realized is that if I didn't have this shop, I would be filling my time with other things because I'm not the kind of person that's good at not having something to do.

We can talk about if that's a coping method, or perhaps it's me not learning to be content with what I have or whatever psychological truth you believe about me but the honestly, I think I'm just a creative, sometimes crazy, always-busy person and I think God designed me this way. And being that creative crazy person -- I have to have my hands dirty creating and my mind busy dreaming.

When it's hard and I'm tired, I try to remind myself that.

I also rest on the fact that a lot of things are hard: raising children is hard, getting through med school is hard, being married is hard... but just because something is hard doesn't mean it isn't good.

Right now I am reminding myself this, that the hard stuff can be such good stuff. I am learning to honor God with this little shop and with each thing I make, I thank Him for this opportunity to create with my hands. And I am praying that He can get me through the hard stuff and help me see the good.

xo, erika


diy: watercolor stationery

I came across the most lovely diy on the most lovely blog the wander years, and it was one of those diys that you tuck away for something special.

That something special is a bridal shower I'm co-hosting with my mom for a dear friend. (Technically I'm the matron of honor but I really, really don't want to be a matron. So I asked if I could be a best lady instead and my gracious friend agreed.)

I copied the wander years diy nearly to a tee. I bought some gorgeous creamy cardstock and after printing the invites, I dipped one edge into a bowl of food coloring and water.

To get the lovely blue-green color, I used 1/4 cup of water, 2 substantial drops of blue and 2 substantial drops of green.

I held the edge of the paper just in the bowl for about 5 seconds, using my fingertip to soften the edges so that the color blended upward.

I'm so pleased with the results and can't wait to try this for thank you cards and a whole host of other stationery needs. :)

xo, erika


diy banquette seat with Ikea Expedit

The husband is probably not going to want to go away anymore.

This is the second time that I've embarked on a big project while the husband is gone, although this one was far less extreme. Last time I ripped up the carpet in our master bedroom; this time around, I built a banquette seat for our kitchen table.

I don't know why I get the itch to do home projects when the husband is gone. We could chalk it up to my absolute love of surprising people. That and watching far too much "While You Were Out" on TLC back in the day.

So the husband took off this weekend to see the University of Washington play in Chicago and I was at home with free time on my hands. And obviously I fill my free time with projects. (This may not be normal.)

I've been wanting a bench/banquette seat for my kitchen for awhile. We live in a pretty small and older house (thank you, expensive Seattle real estate market) but we have people over quite a bit. We try and fit enough chairs around our table, but it's not the best use of space. When I saw some projects on Pinterest where people used an Ikea Expedit bookcase as a banquette around their tables, I knew it was the solution.

Also, our old and small house does not come with a ton of storage -- especially in the kitchen. I don't have a pantry or really much cupboard/drawer space at all and creating a banquette with storage underneath solved a bit of that problem as well.

I bought two Expedit bookcases -- a longer one and shorter one -- and installed it (thanks Mom and Dad for coming over for dinner and Ikea assembly). I also bought drawers and a cupboard addition at Ikea designed for the Expedit, which helped me maximize my storage even more.

I then purchased thick foam from Joanns. They'll cut it lengthwise, but they won't trim the width, so using an electric knife, I trimmed the foam width from 24 inches to 15 inches.

Rather than sew a cushion cover, I chose to simply wrap the foam like a present, using duct tape on the back. It may have been a slacker move, but you can't tell I used duct table, and from what I can tell, the fabric is staying nicely.

I am really pleased with the finished product and cannot get over how perfectly the Expedit fits in my little kitchen corner.

And the husband loves it, too.  Whether he liked the surprise or not, I'm not as sure. I don't know that he's as keen on them as I am. ;)

xo, erika


seventies style

There are a few items of clothing in my closet that I feel strongly about and one of them is my pair of high-waisted trouser jeans.

I love the way they look and they're such a great change from a world of skinny jeans. They're so flattering and give the illusion of long, long legs. I honestly and fully believe that they're something every woman should have. 

The other thing I love about them is their subtle or perhaps not so subtle '70s vibe. In this outfit, at least, the '70s vibe is not subtle-- it's full-on embraced with my crochet tank and sunglasses. In this outfit I feel I could even join Charlies' Angels and kick a few butts. I always did want to be a spy.

xo, erika
wear: jeans: Gap similar tank: Nordstrom (last year) shoes: Blowfish (a few years ago-- similar) sunglasses: Target
linking up to style elixirfashion & faith

endless summer

You know it's fall when Sunday afternoon is overtaken by a gloriously intense thunderstorm, complete with window-shaking booms, flashes of lightning and driving rain.

What's incredible, however, is that only a few days ago it was 91 degrees in Seattl: a perfect day to squeeze in last bits of summer.

My family, and a few friends (who are practically family) crammed into our boat for a evening ride on Lake Washington. It was too choppy for wakeboarding, so instead we inner-tubed. (And as much as I love inner-tubing, my body does not love it quite as much.)

It was on the boat, with the sun setting into the water and just the faintest nip in the air-- and people I love around me-- that I just couldn't help but think how precious that very moment was. And I wanted to hold as tight as I could to it, enjoying just every second of it.

I'm not good at doing that -- celebrating tiny moments -- and so I was incredibly thankful for that reminder, sitting on the boat, bare shoulders to the sun, that life can be so good.

 (my mom & me)
 (not-so-little brother)
 (if you inner-tube ith us, we may make you perform some tube olympics.)

are you doing anything to soak up the last bits of summer?

xo, erika

linking up with blair for life lately


loving right now.

camo. I never ever ever ever thought I would want anything camouflage. The me of two years ago is shaking her head -- but I can't apologize. I'm digging the camo look and may have to get these Target flats for a pop of the trend, but I'm also loving camo in pants. Check them out from Urban Outfitters, Gap (on sale!) and Banana Republic. I love how Andrea of For the Love of styles her camo jeans and this post is also a dressier (who knew!?) version of camo pants.

lyft. Do you know what I don't love? Driving the husband to the airport at 4 a.m. I did that yesterday and it was rough. You know what I should have done? Had him take Lyft. It's cheaper than a taxi and it means I can stay in bed. Lyft is starting in cities across the country -- and just launched in Seattle! If you're in the Northwest, you can use SOCIALSEA for $20 off your first ride! (hey husband-- next time, that's what we're doing, ok?) Also, another thing I love: the fact that Lyft drivers attach bright pink furry mustaches to the front of their vehicles.

getting home inspiration. I am pinning up a storm lately-- and it is mainly home decor. Now that the ginormous home painting project is winding down, I have my eye on some interior projects. Maybe, just maybe, one of them will get done this weekend! Stay tuned & follow me on pinterest. :)

Besides the above mentioned items, I also have to say that Seattle is killing it in the post-summer weather. 85 degrees every day? So good.

What are you loving right now? And would you ever wear camo pants?

happy weekend, friends!

xo, erika

p.s. voting was extended! may i have a vote from you? 

 Martha Stewart - American Made 2013 - Nominee Badge


still running + why I believe in exercise

After I ran my half marathon in late June, I took a bit of a break. I still ran, but not as often. I was busy and running was no longer something I had to do as I wasn't training for anything.

Weeks later, however, I realized, that I need to run. It's not because I felt like I was getting lazy or wanted my body to look a certain way, but rather I need to run for my mental state. When I don't run, I am not my best self, to the point that even the husband notices.

Doctors advise at least 20 minutes of cardio activity at a minimum of three times a week. They advise this for your heart and physical body's health, but I would argue that even more so, people need it for mental health. Even the Mayo Clinic recognizes exercise as a healthy way to deal with anxiety and depression.

To be honest there are days when exercising, and running, is the very last thing I want to do. I dread lacing my tennis shoes; I take forever to get myself out the door. But once I'm there, feet pounding the pavement, I feel the tensions of the day release.  And I've never regretted working out once I've finished.

I don't know if running is for you. Maybe you like biking or swimming or kick-boxing. But find something that you like -- or even just kind of like-- and stick to it. It takes awhile to get used to exercise --  people say it takes 40 days for a habit to form -- so you're going to hate exercising for awhile and even maybe for a long time. But it's worth it, I really believe so. At the very least, I know it's worth it for me.

 xo, erika

shrimp basil panzella with tomatoes and spinach


You know why I like Italian food? It's because they have dishes like panzella, which is pretty much a fancy word for bread salad.

And what's not to like about bread salad? Not much, in my opinion.

Also, panzella, despite its gourmet and fancy name, is super easy to make. Delicious, contains bread and is easy to make. Clearly this is a meal that the husband and I will be having much more often.

Shrimp Basil Panzella with Tomatoes and Spinach (adapted from Cooking Light)
1/2 loaf of French bread
5 cups of tomato wedges (about 4 to 5 large)
1/2 pound shrimp (most sustainable shrimp is wild-caught Oregon pink shrimp)
2 tbs olive oil
1 tsp red pepper
2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp sea salt, divided
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
juice of 1/2 lemon
handful of basil leaves
handful of spinach

Cube the bread and toast on a cookie sheet for 10 to 15 minutes at 400 degrees until toasty and brown, flipping once half way through.

Slice tomatoes and sprinkle with 1 tsp sea salt; place in large bowl and set aside.

Heat a pan over medium heat. Add oil and garlic cloves and cook until fragrant (about 5 minutes)

Turn heat down and add shrimp, black pepper, red pepper and remaining sea salt. Cook until shrimp are down, about 2 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Stir in lemon juice and add shrimp, bread and basil to tomatoes. Mix gently and let sit for 5 minutes.

Serve over fresh spinach leaves.


xo, erika

p.s. last week to vote!
 Martha Stewart - American Made 2013 - Nominee Badge


date night + a sneak peek

For awhile the husband and I stopped having a regular date night and weren't really going on dates at all, but somehow, without ever verbalizing it, we've started doing little dates again.

Usually they're Saturday night. The husband has to work all day and he always tells me that he loves to have something to look forward to. Two weeks ago, we met for dinner at The Yard, this past weekend, we tried out a new place that just opened up near us -- another local bar/restaurant within walking distance of our house.

It's easy to make excuses to not have date night. It is more expensive than staying in but I've decided that it's worth it. Sure, we could be saving a few bucks by making dinner at home, but I've decided spending money on dinner and drinks is a good investment in us.

Also -- do you like the clutch? I'm finishing up my fall line and decided I needed to take one of the clutches for a test drive. I'm hoping to get everything up in the next week or so and on my brand-new website! Get excited; I am. :)


xo, erika

earrings: fresh tangerine (similar)
cardigan: old navy (similar)
tank: target
necklace: milk & crown
jeans: paige via nordstrom
flats: target
clutch: rouge & whimsy *coming soon*

linking up to life lately at wild and precious and style elixir 

p.s. last week to vote!
 Martha Stewart - American Made 2013 - Nominee Badge
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