2/28/13

the list: march


February flew by. Really flew by.

But I'm okay with it being March.
March means lighter days.
March means (kind of) warmer days.
March means that the husband and I are going to Europe. (can.not.wait.)

I'm getting to the point where I'm like a senior in high school. I'm distracted because I know what's ahead of me and I'm having a really hard time focusing on the day-to-day without daydreaming about Paris.

February was a month for...

>> the shop. I relaunched with my new crossbody bags and I really love them. (If you're eying one, better snag it today-- I'm putting the shop on vacation by the end of the day and won't reopen until mid-April.)

>> sewing. I finally, finally took time for myself and sewed a knit dress. I love it and can't wait to sew more dresses!

>> running. I really upped how much I run and tracked my mileage with dailymile.com & a running group started by Raechel. Despite a gnarly bruised toenail and tight IT band, it's been great. 

>> cooking. apparently I'm a food blogger now and I think I'll continue that well into March... I have a food series cooking up (ha, get it) that will be fun.

How was your February and more importantly, how will your March be?

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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2/27/13

life lessons from a toilet


I know. I just used the word toilet in the headline of a post.

I've mentioned before that I struggle sometimes with our little house.

We were very very blessed to buy it when we did because homes in Seattle are (too) expensive and they're getting even more so.

And because it's an expensive city, you don't get a lot of house for what you pay and the house you usually has some issues.

Issues like teeny-tiny bathrooms with toilets that do weird things.

Of course when you own your home, you get to make the fixes to the toilets that do weird things. 

So the husband and I got to play plumber. Neither of us have ever done major plumbing-- although the husband did take apart all the pipes in our basement last spring-- but no toilet plumbing to speak of. Yet the toilet desperately needed to be fixed.

The husband banged around on it, adjusted the flapper thing, googled some information (thank God for the internet in times like this) and behold, declared it fixed.

We flushed it seven or eight times, and it was fixed. But I didn't think it was fixed enough.

Was I being difficult? Perhaps. But I didn't trust the toilet. We'd been down this path before and I knew that it was tricking me into thinking that it was going to work but in a month it would be back to its old tricks.

I told the husband that we needed to fix it, fix it. We needed to replace that thing in the toilet-- the flush valve. He said that it was fine, it worked and he had never replaced a flush valve. (well neither had I.)

However, I told him that we needed to try it. Then I watched a ton of toilet plumbing videos on YouTube and told him we were going to replace it.

It wouldn't be honest if I said it was easy-- it was a bit frustrating and due to the size of our bathroom, the husband could barely find room to fit both himself and a wrench beside the toilet. But we fixed it.

After dancing up and down in the pocket-sized bathroom and flushing the toilet a million times in celebration (look! it works!) I was struck by something profound.

Sometimes things seem alright the way they are-- like the toilet-- it seems like it works. Maybe you've made a little fix, you've tried a little something new, but I believe that we were not called to just make these halfway attempts in our lives. We are called to replace big things in our lives, to step out and try big things if we want real, lasting results. We are called to replace the flush valve, not just tinker with the flapper and call it a day.

Just some things I've been thinking about.

Now, excuse me, I'm about to go wonder at the flush of my toilet again.

Do you ever learn life lessons in weird places? 

xo, erika

p.s. recapping the month or sharing goals or the next? join beth & for the list link-up. It will be on the blog tomorrow and you can grab a button from my sidebar.

a few announcements


remember the announcements that were read during high school? I'm channeling that today. Imagine this over the intercom:

one. the last day to order something in the shop will be this Friday, March 1. I'll be closing it up after that to a) get ready for Europe! and b) begin preparation on the super-awesome, soon-to-be-revealed collaboration with Yellow Heart Art.

two. the list is returning! the monthly link-up with Beth and me will be back this Friday as well. Link up your recap of the past month & your plans/dreams/goals for the following month. See this post for more details. We'd love to have you!

three. what are you doing september 26 through the 28 this year? Perhaps you want to go to Indianapolis?

I'm excited to be a community leader at the Influence Conference going on this September. The conference is designed for bloggers and small business people who want to live their lives-- and their online lives-- through following God's call for their life.

To be honest, I've never done something like this (and I'm a bit scared/overwhelmed/intimidated) but I believe in the conference, I believe in community and I believe that the few days there will be pretty great. Join me?

Oh and number four: happy wednesday. it's all downhill from here.

xo, erika






2/25/13

lemon polenta cake


I'm not sure where I first heard of polenta, perhaps a few months after the husband and I were married and I was desperate for a new and easy dish. I whipped it together --topping it with spaghetti and italian sausage -- and a new meal was born.

Then, I heard of using polenta in a cake, and of course, being the ever-experimental cook that I am (I rarely cook things twice in a month or even two months), I decided I needed to try it.

If you're not familiar with polenta, it's a fine-grain cornmeal and it's used in a lot of Italian dishes. Mixed with ricotta, it can stand on its own, but I often top it with a sauce of some sort.

Polenta cake, is somewhat like a fancier cornbread. It's denser than most cakes and can be made a little savory, more that sweet, however I decided to go the sweet route.

The verdict? Different, but we liked it.

lemon polenta cake (recipe altered from the NY Times.)

ingredients:
- one stick of butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 1 1/2 cup flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup fine-grain polenta (corn meal works in a pinch!)
- 4 room temperature eggs
- 3/4 cup sugar
- juice & zest of 1 1/2 lemons

directions: 
-prepare a spring-form pan by greasing it and coating it in flour.
- preheat oven to 360 degrees.
- using an electric mixer, mix the four eggs and sugar in a large bowl until it's become light and fluffy. stir in lemon zest.
- in a small bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, salt and polenta
- fold in 1/3 of the dry ingredients, followed by 1/3 of the butter and stir gently. Alternate until everything is incorporated and just mixed.
- Bake in the pan for 30 to 40 minutes. Toothpick should come out clean.

While the cake cooks, create a simple syrup by heating a half cup of water and a third cup of sugar on the low until the sugar dissolves and the mixture thickens. Stir in the juice of the lemon and a half.

Remove the cake and let cool for 10 minutes. While the cake is still in the pan, pour the sugar mixture over the cake. Let stand another 10 minutes before removing the cake. Dust with powdered sugar and lemon slices if desired.

This cake is delicious with raspberry jam or another fruit compote, and whipped cream. I also recommend serving it with a cup of tea.

xo, erika

p.s. I found a gluten-free version on top with cinnamon. Check it out here!


2/24/13

i made this




jacket: hinge // knit dress: self-made // scarf: paris // belt: mom's // tights: targets // boots: ebay

Growing up my mom made all my clothes. Leggings, t-shirts, skirts and dresses. She didn't really stop making my clothes until about fifth grade when told her it wasn't cool and I'd rather go to Old Navy.


So she was the person I called when I decided I wanted to sew a knit dress.

Generally, knits are little scary-- they can bunch under the sewing machine and do weird things-- and I had never sewed with knit before-- or really used a purchased pattern. (I make my own patterns for my bags.)


So I bought a heavy knit, one that would be easiest to sew with, and drove up to my parents' house this past Saturday.

The dress pattern was a little wonky-- I actually had to add a dart to the back because it gapped weird -- but I ended up being really happy with it.

Now I just have to decide what to make next. 

xo, erika

linking up to style elixir

2/21/13

why i blog


I have always liked to write.
As a very small girl I wrote stories of bunnies.
As a little girl, I wrote stories of horses.
As a high school girl, I hoped some day to work for a magazine or start my own. Maybe publish a book.
In college I majored in journalism so I could write. Then I worked for a newspaper, where I didn't get to write at all.

And I needed to, wanted to write. So, like many I started a blog.

I filled it with silly things, daily life things, pretty things and then I got a new job where I wrote all the time.

But I kept blogging.

Sometimes people ask me if blogging and writing all day (really that's honestly my day job) and then coming home to write in my blog is hard... but it's not. It's different content, a different feel. And I'm writing from my voice, for myself, not from someone else's.

But blogging is now more than just writing. I love sharing things, I love brainstorming, creating-- I really like so much of it, to be honest.

I want to share recipes that you'll want to eat, I want to share outfits that will get you inspired to see what you can do with your closet, I want to share little things I've found-- a gorgeous necklace on Etsy, a perfect skirt at Gap and little pieces of life. I want to share deeper things-- what I've learned about life, what strikes me as true, what faith means to me, what believing in God means to me.

And in turn I love learning and hearing from others-- maybe in my comments, maybe in all the blogs I read (I read a lot of blogs).

I also blog to encourage. Life is hard, it's short and fleeting and maybe in blogging I can capture it at  its purest moment.

Do you blog? Why do you blog?

happy friday. 
xo, erika


2/20/13

small business love + giveaway with row house 14

One of the best parts of blogging is getting to introduce you to small businesses. I'm excited today to share Heidi of Row House 14 shop & blog.


Tell us about your shop!

I've always been a huge fan of snail mail. There is something about opening your mailbox and finding a piece of real mail mixed in with all of the junk. My hope is that my stationery and greeting cards will bring a smile to someone's face. My ultimate goal has always been to create something that both recipient and sender absolutely love, whether because of the design or even the quality of the product. I want to be able to make someone's day, I suppose.

How did you get into designing cards? How long have you been doing this?

I'm not quite sure exactly when this all started. I know that I've been crafting with paper for most of my life and I remember hanging out with my sister drawing. I've always made handmade cards and gifts for people and art has always been a huge part of my life. I started to learn about digital design in high school and continued to teach myself throughout college and after I graduated. After doing enough of it and getting burned out during my day job as a teacher, my fiance basically told me it was time to open an Etsy shop as a creative outlet. I'm not sure if he was sick of all the cards lying around the house and wanted to get rid of them, or if he just knew I needed that push to make that final leap.


What advice do you have for people in following their small business goals-- or any other dream of theirs?

The biggest thing for me was realizing that if I wanted to accomplish something, I just needed to do it. At one point I read an article that really spoke to me. The article talked about how too many people spend time thinking about what they want to do, but they don't actually do it. I realized I had fallen into that rut. I stopped thinking and started doing.

What's a few of your favorite products you sell?
I'm pretty proud of my zodiac birthday cards. This was by far one of my most intense projects to date. Much time was spent designing-- especially with creating the constellations. My new "Sorry I Was a Butthead" card has to be a favorite. I can't help but laugh every time I see it. My fiance and I tend to have pretty bad humor and it's just a classic card that came out of an incident between the two of us. I love making cards based on my life experiences. I'm also super happy with how my Saint Patrick's Day cards turned out for this year.

What's your goal for yourself, your shop, whatever, this next year?
My ultimate goal is to quit my teaching job. I have been incredibly fortunate and have had an amazing amount of support from so many people. My business has grown so much more than I had ever thought it would and I'm soon close to realizing that goal. Thinking about how things will be a year from now is incredibly exciting and motivating at the same time!

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Heidi is generously sharing a $15 shop credit and medium ad space on her blog! You could buy 3 of these cards... which are my current favorite:

a Rafflecopter giveaway
happy thursday!
xo, erika

 

2/19/13

wear: blue and leopard

 cardigan: old navy // top: thrifted // jeans: gap // boots: macys


You may often notice a little furry someone in my outfit photos.


The thing is, if I ever want him to pose nicely in a photo, he never wants to. He'll stand and watch me, twitching his ears if I call him.


However, if I'm trying to be at least somewhat professional, then he'll saunter over and plant himself directly in front of the camera-- or pose himself in the background, where he'll be chopping on grass or sniffing something.


I forced him to be in the photo this time. He wasn't too pleased. Luckily he gets over snuggle attacks pretty quickly.

Also, the husband and I may be crazy: We've agreed to petsit two different dogs in the next week and there will be one day where we will have three dogs in our tiny little house. I'm not sure how that will all go, but expect a lot of furry friends in my outfit photos. 


happy wednesday!


xo, erika
linking up here

2/18/13

recipe: beet avocado citrus salad

Confession: this is only like my third time eating beets. It's my first time cooking them. Growing up, we just never really had beets. The only time I ate beets as a child was at a friend's house and the beets came from a can. And anytime it's a veggie from a can, it's bound to be a bad experience.

My only real understanding of beets came from the cartoon show "Doug." (Anyone else watch that religiously?) For whatever reason the characters on that show were obsessed with beets and ate them all the time... but being that it was a cartoon show, I didn't take much stock in it.

Fast forward to adulthood and I'm basically on this food quest to cook and experiment with foods I haven't had a lot of experience with. I've gotten the hang of kale, brussels sprouts and this week, it's beets. Next week... who knows... but I'm open to suggestions! ;)

I am also on a huge salad kick and after seeing some beet salad recipes in my latest edition of Cooking Light (if you're ever looking for a great recipe magazine, I highly recommend it), I decided to try my own version. This is what I came up with, and yes, it's delicious.


ingredients.
- 2 beets, washed, peeled and cooked (you can roast them at 350 with a bit of oil until soft, or microwave them for 5-10 minutes with an inch of water in a glass bowl, rotating halfway through.)
- 1/2 grapefruit, peeled & quartered
- 1/2 avocado sliced
- 1/8 cup goat cheese, crumbled (goat cheese is great because most people with a dairy intolerance can eat it, but you can choose another soft cheese here.)
- 2 cups mixed greens
- 1 tbs all-natural french vinaigrette dressing. make your own or I love this brand.

Slice beets, grapefruit and avocado and mix with greens. Sprinkle with goat cheese. enjoy!


xo, erika

2/17/13

so i'm a runner + tips from the husband

It was somewhere between running five miles two Saturdays in a row and googling "easy half-marathons" that I suddenly realized I was a "runner."

One evening, after dinner, I turned to the husband and asked him if he ever thought this would happen.

He nodded. "I'm not surprised," he said. "Everyone who runs a little bit ends up getting bit by the running bug eventually."

So here I am with the running bug and contemplating a half-marathon-- (insane!)-- in June.

Part of how I got here is that I'm married to a guy who really knows his running stuff. I may have mentioned that he's a crazy marathon man, but he's also the shoe buyer at one of the most well-respected (and famous) running stores in the country. And he has good advice-- some advice I thought I'd share with you.

I know running isn't for everyone, but if you run or have ever thought about running, here are some tips from him. (take it away husband...)

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>> Set attainable goals.  Running is hard enough on it's own.  Don't make it harder on yourself by setting goals that are unreachable.  If you're just starting out running for the first time ever, try alternating running and walking for one minute at a time, for twenty minutes total.  Try that three times per week for a week or two and then increase the amount of time you're running and decrease the amount you're walking.

>> Get a good pair of running shoes.  Google (and preferably Yelp) running stores in your area and head there to get fitted for a pair of shoes.  A good pair of running shoes is going to cost anywhere from $100-$120.  Any store that tries to sell you shoes for $150 or above isn't worth your time.  Running shoes will generally last you 300-500 miles, but all miles count, however.  If you grocery shop, walk the dog, and get coffee while in your shoes, you can add those miles to the shoes.  Try to only run in your running shoes.  They'll last a lot longer.

>> Be consistent. The biggest reason that people don't reach their running goals is lack of consistency.  Be hard on yourself about when you're going to run.  I run first thing in the morning, and am pretty obnoxious about it (just ask Erika). I won't commit to doing anything until I've got my run in for the day.  This is just what works for me.  I know if I don't run first thing in the morning I'll create excuses throughout the day as to why I shouldn't run.  Find a time that works best for you and stick to it.

>> Running is tough.  Most runs you go on will be uncomfortable to some degree.  Even as you get faster and more fit, running is still hard at (most) times.  Embracing the pain and realizing that it's only temporary is an absolute key in achieving your running goals.  One of the most rewarding parts of running is building confidence by running through the pain and uncomfortableness of the daily grind.  Having a "stick to it" attitude and being willing to suffer (at least a little!) will pay off in the long run.
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Have running questions or need a training schedule? Ask in the comments below or tweet my husband @eriggs. :)

xo, erika

p.s. did you see the sale (and new items) in the shop

sunday shop stuff

I love a good alliteration. It's a sickness really.

I'm just popping in on this lovely gray Sunday (well, gray where I am), to show off just a few new products and to share a little sale for you.

go shopping! storenvy or etsy
and my favorite: jade leather crossbody bag

 These photos are care of Elisa of Frances and Fern photography. If you're in the Seattle area, I highly recommend her! She is fabulous, incredibly talented and a total sweetheart. facebook // site // blog

And as an FYI, I will be closing shop March 1 and won't reopen until mid-April. Thanks for your support!

xo, erika

2/14/13

shiny boots + to-do lists


shiny boots and your internet to-do list:

read: 
>> this post from Julie about the world of handmade. It's all so true.

>> social media etiquette on design*sponge -- great tips for life + biz

make:
>> this  pretty jewelry stand diy from acute designs

>> this barbecue pizza. (husband, doesn't this look delish?)

do:

>> give to this amazing cause/goal

>> enter this giveaway

>> enjoy your weekend. go on a long walk. read a book. eat something delicious.

xo, erika

2/13/13

pink, red, plum

 blouse: thrifted // cardi: target // cords: free people // oxfords: steve madden

It's Valentines Day and I'm wearing an outfit red and plum and pink. Maybe I should talk about love.

I deeply believe in love. I believe we were created to be loved and to love: to be loved by our Creator, loved by our parents, our friends-- to experience romantic love and the love we have for a child, a pet, our jobs and our passion.

But despite my deep belief in love and the ultimate source of love, I've never big on Valentines Day. I think it goes back to my teen days when I was that skinny redheaded girl, awkward and gangly and so desperate for love. When I didn't get it I proclaimed Valentines Day as cheesy and stupid in an effort to hide my hurt.

Although I've been married for three years, (and the husband and I dated nearly four years before that), I still identify with that girl who hated on Valentines Day in an effort to hide her heart.

I'm working on being less harsh against Valentines Day cheese and commercialism. Yes, it can be overdone, but in at its core it's a beautiful notion. Why shouldn't we have a holiday dedicated to showing love to those you care about.

So today call your mom. Text your brother. Kiss your cat, your dog, your fish. Tell your coworkers you like them. And just enjoy love.

And mix some pink and purple and red in your outfit.

xo, erika

p.s. don't forget to enter the sponsor giveaway!

2/12/13

last minute valentines + giveaway

Did Valentines sneak up on you too? (and basically all of February...?) If you're like me, and woefully behind on so many things, a few of my sponsors are sharing their favorite Valentines Day diys and recipes.





1. strawberry cake cookies with cream cheese frosting


shared by Hannah of Happy Days

This Valentines' Day... This year, we'll celebrate valentine's day with a casual lunch at our favorite bar & grill, then later, ice cream cake and movies once the kiddo is asleep :)

connect with her: blog // shop // twitter // instagram

coupon: save 15% including sale items with WHIMSY thru 2/28 



2. airhead heart lollipops


 shared by Lesley of By the Porchlight

This Valentines Day ... My hubby and I tend to avoid going out on the 14th because restaurants are crazy so we usually go out for a nice dinner a couple of days ahead just to spend some time together (although this year I wouldn't mind going bowling instead, haha).

connect with her: blog // facebook // pinterest // twitter




3. heart-stitched badminton racquet


shared by Megan of Moonbeam Wishes 

This Valentines Day ... I will be cooking up some sweet treats and watching a cute film or two (I'm leaning towards Valentines Day  + Moonrise Kingdom)

connect with her: blog // shop // pinterest // twitter

coupon: save 20% with WHIMSY



4. washi tape votive

shared by Beth of The Goad Abode 

This Valentines Day... We're not big on V-day and I actually have to work that night, so we'll probably just have a home cooked meal on Friday night (and I have a little handmade gift for the Mr.).

connect with her:  blog // facebook // twitter





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And I can't forget the giveaway, can I?

Win a gorgeous pair of green czech glass earrings from Hannah, $10 gift card to Target from Beth and one month of large ad space from Lesley.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
xo, erika

 
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