rain wear & a giveaway

Ok. Ok.

I admit it.

It rains in Seattle. Not all the time, but it is gray a lot with clouds that threaten a drizzle or a sprinkle or a shower.

So having a raincoat is something pretty necessary.

The other thing? Raincoats aren't usually super cute. They're more function than style which is why I was super excited to try out a new raincoat from Rain Caper.  It's a one size fit all and comes in a variety of colors; I chose this black and white geometric, which is actually a tiny print of cats and dogs. Even better, the rain caper can be zipped into a pouch. It's perfect for stashing in a bag and I already have mine stashed in a purse for the next raindrops.

They're priced very reasonably but are even a better deal with the discount code "whimsy," which will give you 25% off through the end of January 2014!

I'm also excited to partner with Rain Caper to offer you one of your very own! Enter using the rafflecopter entry form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

coat: c/o raincaper
jeans: Joe's Jeans
booties: DSW

linking up to style elixir.


a little roadtrip (quite a bit ago)

if you didn't blog about it, did it happen? 

I kid, I kid. But honestly, this is a post a long time coming.

Right before Thanksgiving the husband and I took a little road trip down to Portland. We stayed with his best friend, we went to a Portland Trailblazers game, ate FAR too much and I saw some amazing ladies at the PNW Blogger meetup.

But the big thing was that we were able to test drive a brand-new Mitsubishi Outlander Sport on the way down.

The husband and I are not big car people. I mean, we would like to drive really nice cars, but we're perfectly fine with the ones we happen to have. I drive a 2000 Ford Focus (whom is unforunately named Brian) and Evan drives a 1998 Camry (named Susan, of course. Side note: do any of you name cars?) For a long time we only relied on my car; Susan is a newer addition to our family. Neither of us drive a ton -- we live two miles from my husband's job and I get to work by bus.

Both of our vehicles are reliable but they are a no-frills-type of car. The husband's ride doesn't even have a CD player. I have a keyless entry but it only works half the time. The husband's stereo buttons are falling off. My rear windows don't go down. Needless to say, no one stares with jealousy when we roll by in our cars.

So when the husband and I drove the Outlander Sport to Portland -- it's about a three hour trip from Seattle -- we felt like we were high rollers. Serious high rollers. For one thing, the Mitsubishi not only has a keyless entry, but a keyless start. You just hit a button and if the key is in your pocket, the car starts.

The stereo not only comes with a CD player, but it can BURN CDs to its stereo. It also has Sirius radio, which, if you didn't know, has about a bajillion stations. You can also play an iPod and connect your smart phone to talk on the phone. If you drive a newer car, this may be nothing new, but for us, we felt a little bit like we had wandered into the future.

The car is an SUV so it has great storage and room, but when you drive it, you don't feel like you're about to mow someone over. And -- despite its SUV status, the car gets great gas mileage-- 27 to 29 on the freeway -- which believe it or not, is comparable to my Ford Focus.

The only bad part about test driving the car? Returning it. And then having to go back to our regular cars. I keep trying to start my car by the push of a button, but it's just not working.

Do you guys drive nice cars? Or are you rumbling along in an ol' reliable?

xo, erika

Thank you so much to STI, who let me test drive a Mitsubishi Outlander Sport! I had five days with the car to try it out, and as always, my opinions of the experience are my own. 



I entered the season with so many expectations, ideas and plans. I was going to have a Christmas craft party! I was going to DIY like all my gifts. We would light an advent candle and have a Christmas devotion every night! We would go on romantic, Christmas dates. It would be so festive!

And yet, here I am, feeling like my expectations fell through and I am not prepared for the holiday. Rather, I am exhausted, messy and emotional. Not what I expected or wanted this season to be, at all.

Yet, I know that God never wanted the season to be about the perfect or expected. Two-thousand-plus years ago when the Messiah was expected, people thought He was going to come in a storm of glory-- as a warrior, a King robed and ready to take over Rome's rule.

Instead, His coming was seemingly imperfect. He was born to a young mother, in a barn. And she likely did not feel prepared. She probably felt exhausted, messy and emotional.

And Jesus was not the expected either. He was strong, but humble and his leadership was not the take-over-Rome kind. He came as a baby in a dank stable -- not as a warrior storming the palace. This, however, was God's perfectly orchestrated plan.

So why do I, 2,000 years later, want to put Christmas lights all over the stable, and sweep away the hay, ignoring the messiness of the first Christmas?

It's ok-- or I would argue-- it's good to be a little messy this season, to feel a bit like a wreck because God entered that wreck and embraced it. He came for all and for all circumstances, not just the picture-perfect Christmas.

If you're grieving someone -- missing someone who should be around the tree with you, or feeling disillusioned or lost, this season is for you. It is not for the perfect, put-together event-- although we can enjoy those as they happen-- it is for real life, the gritty, born-in-a-barn-type bits and unexpected parts.

Merry Christmas, friends.

xo, erika


last minute gift (card) diy

I didn't mean to be a last minute shopper but this season really got away from me this year to the point where I was out Sunday, fighting lines and crowded parking lots to try and snag some last minute gifts. Not my most favorite moments, to be honest.

I always pride myself on getting creative gifts but sometimes what people really want is a gift card. Which-- for a last minute gift-- isn't too hard to get. The husband and I live within less than a mile of a Fred Meyer and a QFC (both Kroger stores) and both are stocked with gift cards.

But-- just because I got a gift card, does not mean that I can't be creative in how I give it.

If you give a shopping gift card-- Kroger stores have Gap cards, Nordstrom cards and pretty much any retail store you can think of-- how about pairing it with some shopping essentials?

I made a little shopping survival kit with some other items I just grabbed from the grocery store-- chapstick, gum, and a chocolate bar for surviving a shopping sesh.

In a word document, I made a cute little label and printed it out to glue on the bar's wrapper. I bought some colored pencils -- always good to have those on hand -- and added a bit of color to make a customized chocolate bar.

Want to make you own customized bar to go along with a gift card? You can save the pdf below and print it out at home. It will fit most large candy bars (think a king-size Hershey bar, or something fancier.) ;) (p.s. if you're reading this on a phone or through a reader, I'm not sure if you'll be able to see the pdf so you may need to click through to download.)

anyone else running around doing some last minute shopping? I may need *one* more thing.

xo, erika

disclaimer: kroger provided me with gift cards to come up with a creative & fun way to give their gift cards. My opinions & the project shared are my own.  


what i wore to lutefisk

Every family has their unusual holiday traditions. My family's involves eating jelly-like fish. 

I am only a quarter Norwegian; my dad is half. But I was raised to be really proud of my Scandinavian heritage (I'm also a quarter Swedish) and that meant that every Christmas we go to a traditional Norwegian Christmas dinner where they serve lutefisk, lefse, potatoes and meatballs.

I love the potatoes and meatballs, obviously, and the lefse is one of my favorite foods (a thin potato bread-- almost like a tortilla eaten with butter, cinnamon and sugar) but I can't get behind lutefisk-- no matter how hard my Dad tries to convince me.

Lutefisk is cod-- soaked in lye-- and then rinsed. However, lye is a corrossive, and after the cod takes its bath in the lye solution, it has the consistancy of jello-- jiggly and all. I don't mind the taste, but I cannot get over the texture-- even if I douse it with the white cream sauce or ladle the melted butter liberally over it (as most Norwegians eat it.)

But it doesn't really matter if I like lutefisk or not-- it was a big part of Christmas every year growing up, and it's still a time for my family and some lucky friends, to gather and eat. And try a bite of the lutefisk.

Do you have any Christmas traditions? Or better yet-- have you ever eaten lutefisk?

xo, erika

hat: my mom's old hat
blazer/scarf: gift
tee: target
pants: joe's jeans (similar)
booties: dsw


away from bitter

I didn't mean to not blog last week.

It wasn't a matter of writer's block; I have plenty to write about. It was a matter of time block. I didn't have space for a lot last week and unforunately blogging (and sleep) were the things to go.

I missed blogging and not being able to do something I really love, as well as feeling limited and unable to do a lot of things that I wanted to do, left me feeling bitter.

Bitterness is a horrible thing. Even the word-- that double "t"-- sounds harsh. There's no softness. Bitter is a biting ache that seeps in and stays awhile. I'm embarrassed to admit, it's something that I've been struggling with quite a bit this month.

I let myself get upset, or jealous, because the shop has been in a busy season- - almost too busy and overwhelming -- my day job has felt like a lot. And other things have piled up on my plate and while these towers of tasks seem tall, I have not worked at all to look beyond them-- to see the good things in my life.

This preoccupation with all.of.the.things on my plate paired with a deep-seated exhaustion is what makes me bitter.

I feel bitter toward myself -- that I choose to put so much on myself -- and bitter toward others who I imagine living much more carefree lives. And then I get into this spiral -- more and more bitter each busy day. And then there's this moment, where you're like-- "what is the matter with me? It's the Christmas season. I need to feel all of the joy! And drink a latte and see Christmas lights and bake cookies..." and that doesn't really help, does it. It might just make it worse.

But I'm trying to move past it-- to move my little towers of to-do lists aside and see the good in life. It's my prayer right now, that I can see past this moment where I feel overwhelmed, exhausted and undone.

There's a song that we play at church a lot. It was written by one of the church members and the chorus resonates me so clearly with me right now. It's become my anthem:

hold me close, away from the bitter
out of the cold, wash me in the river
lay me beside still water, and green pasture
and I'll find rest,
and I'll find my rest in you.

hold me close by andrew platter

xo, erika


the list: december


happy decemeber. delayed. happy december already a few days in. 

To be honest I'm not ready for December. When I was sitting down to write my goals-- my dreams -- for this month, all I could think was that I just want to survive. Already December has been tough, with a loss of a dear family member, some house issues and too much on a crowded plate. To be honest, I don't want it to be Christmas. I complained to the husband the other day "I don't have time."

I think we put so much pressure to have this very merry perfect December and Christmas, but life isn't like that is it? We get stressed, we take on too much and people get hurt or hurt others. I think, this year, that I'm okay with embracing the fact that this will not be a perfect season. I don't know that I will make perfect, homemade gifts or even have any laundry done, but that's not what's it about, is it?

So when I think about my goals for the month, I don't want to put high expectations on myself or others. I want to wrap up the shop orders (next Wednesday is the last day to order!) and simply enjoy what the season is supposed to be-- a time of reflecting on God's entrance into our messy (and very messy as these last few days have taught me) and broken world. 

what are your thoughts for this month? 

xo, erika

Every first Friday of the month Beth and I share 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. :)


gift guide for guys (and a giveaway!)

I'm excited to share some gift guides this year-- starting with sometimes the toughest to buy for-- the men in your life.

basic Everlane tees ($15) every guy could use some classic solid tees. I love the manufactoring policies of Everlane too. 

magazine subscription ($10+) it's the gift that keeps on giving. My husband loves ESPN the magazine.

reversible down vest ($78) can't go wrong with a classic like this!

unbroken ($3.99 on kindle!) I love this book (and most the guys in my life do too)

vintage blueprints ($14.99+) awesome blueprints of stadiums and iconic structures

trash amps ($45) speakers that plug in into any phone or guitar-- made from recycled cans or jars

jawbone ($129) fitness tracking band-- sync it with a host of apps and keep track of sleep, calories burned and more

wood beer carrier ($29.99) I bought one of these for the husband last year & it's a great way to bring beer or wine to friends' house.

concert or sports tickets ($20+) you can't go wrong here 

beer making kit ($45) a great guy-bonding gift

datevitation coupon book ($10+) I've made coupon books for the husband in the past and they end up being his favorite gift. 

Quick story-- last year I made Evan a coupon book for Christmas and he lost it instantly (like December 26) and ever since then, he was nagging me for a new one. I was so excited to try out Datevitation to get him a replacement. They have over 500 date ideas and you can customize the text and add photos of yourself. (Also, it comes in a really cute envelope.)

Datevitation is offering a free coupon book to one of my readers, but even if you don't win, use the coupon code ROUGEWHIMSY to get $10 off and free shipping on your order. If you want to to receive your book by Christmas, make sure you order by December 13!

enter to win a coupon date book using the rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
xo, erika


fall layers

It's not winter yet, but it sure feels like it here. It's brilliantly clear, which means it's also pretty dang cold. However, I have nothing to complain about because it gives me an excuse to layer.

While I love, love, love summer, fall and winter allow for far more creative outfits and layering. I feel like I can stretch my wardrobe farther and get more mileage out of it when the temperatures drop.

Also, I've been wearing my glasses every day for three weeks now. You wouldn't know, dear Internet friends, because I haven't posted outfit photos with them, but they have not left my face for almost a month.

This is kind of a big deal for me; I've been a staunch believer in contacts since nearly day one of the eye wear prescription. But I got this little minor eye irritation/infection and so it's been glasses for this girl for awhile.

Another thing I feel like I have to mention: the dog. I have no idea why he insists on being in every photo, but no matter how many times the husband (aka token photographer) called him, he would run back as soon as the photo snapped to be sniffing nonchalantly in the background. What can I say. #bloggerdog

happy wednesday!

xo, erika

plaid shirt: banana republic- old (similar)
cardigan: target similar
skirt: anthropologie- old
tights: target
booties: DSW
glasses: Baxter style c/o Warby Parker



a little (africa) announcement

In March, I’m going to Africa.

(When thinking about how to start this post, I decided to go the dramatic route. How did it work for you?)

But before I explain how I’m going to Africa in March, let me explain what happened when I went to Indiana in September.

I spent a September weekend at the Influence Conference in Indianapolis. It was a span of days that felt like a months’ worth of content. Even now, I feel like I’m still processing everything. 

Two things that I have continually processed:  one—Sole Hope, an incredible non-profit and two—my ability to do much of the talents I have been given. 

Sole Hope was started by Asher Collie to provide shoes for those in Africa who suffer from the chigoe flea, or jigger. The jigger is a nasty little bug that burrows into feet and creates painful sores, and can lead to complications—especially when they aren’t taken care of properly. 

Anywhere else, this wouldn’t be a problem, but many kids don’t have closed toe shoes to prevent jiggers and if they do get a jigger infection, they often don’t have access to health care. 

Sole Hope not only provides shoes and treatment for those affected by jiggers, but also provides jobs in the region. In Jinje, they have a small workspace where the shoes are constructed by Ugandans, who are paid a living wage for what they do. 

So why should this matter to me? I live in Seattle, where I have access to healthcare, clean water, higher education, great jobs, and there are lots of shoes in my closet. Africa is a world away in so many senses of the word. 

But I couldn’t help but thinking that “to whom much was given, of them much will be required.” When a tweet popped up in my timeline, asking for bloggers to go on a trip with Sole Hope, a little something told me to sign up. 

I don’t have a lot to offer; I've never done something like this before. But I am a story-teller, a (barely) decent photographer and Sole Hope was asking for people to come—bloggers—to tell the story of what they do in Africa. I thought, this is something I can do. I get paid to do this in my day job, I do this on my blog—I can write and share and help Sole Hope make an even bigger impact. 

I had long talks with the husband. And lots of prayer time and then I said yes

And now I’m going! I’m going to Africa. And I’m scared out of mind and unprepared and I am just praying that God does His work through me, because if it’s up to just me, I know I will fail. 

I need to raise money—turns out going to Africa from Seattle (!!) is expensive. I will host a fundraiser so if you want (no pressure) you can help out. 

For now—I’m not asking too much of you. I just wanted to share my crazy, awesome, cannot-believe-it- news and ask for your prayers and support.

And if you’re looking for a more tangible way to help—I would love any donations of items for a fundraiser auction. (you can email/tweet me about that, too.)

But even easier than those two options, is Sole Hope’s partnership with Cultivate Wine.

 Cultivate Wines is giving $1 for every Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook post of their image and following a few guidelines up to $100,000.

It's simple-- just include the image below, and the tags #CultivateGives and #SoleHope. 

There's a number of us going on this trip -- go say hi!

thanksgiving tacos

I wish I could be take credit for coming up with this creation, but I heard about it from my friend Leonora who ate it at Renegade Craft Fair in Brooklyn a few weekends ago. I was skeptical until she said: "turkey, cranberry and cilantro." Three really good things. And in a taco. Why not.

You probably have leftovers galore to recreate this dish, but I actually had to make some fresh cranberry sauce. (My recipe is below).

Also, I didn't have corn tacos, so I had to settle for the tortillas, which I realize makes this a Thanksgiving burrito or Thanksgiving wrap, but it doesn't really have the same ring to it as Thanksgiving taco. ;)

Thanksgiving tacos
- shredded turkey meat
- 1 tbs cranberry sauce
- handful of arugula
- couple of sprigs of fresh cilantro
- optional: jalepeno slices, goat cheese

I warmed up a tortilla and topped with the cranberry, argula, cilantro and turkey.  The peppery arugula gives it a nice kick, but I think sliced jalepenos or even some goat cheese would be delish here as well!

cranberry sauce:
I wanted a spicier sauce (as it's acting as the salsa)
- 1 cup cranberries
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp cloves
- 1 tsp grated orange zest (orange peel)

Bring sugar and water to boil, stirring constantly. Stir in cranberries and bring back to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer until all the cranberries have burst.
Stir in spices and seasoning.
Remove from heat, and let cool to room temperature. (it will thicken as it cools)
Refrigerate any leftovers.

Does a Thanksgiving taco sound crazy? Or would you be willing to try it?

xo, erika

Theme created by Andrea Mehner Designs