5/30/13

10,000 hours

 

Life takes time. Good things take time. Yet I feel like so many of us, including me, especially me, want things to be right, right at this moment. And I forget this key piece that things, good things, hard things, don't often just happen. 

Sure, there are models who are discovered in a mall, chefs whose first restaurant makes it big, a random invention that changes lives. But for most of us, life is more fits and starts, failures and small successes and long, grueling hours where we want to say forget it all. Just forget it. I will take the easier path. It is not worth it. 

I'm telling myself lately, and maybe I'm telling you, that it is worth it. Even if you're not on the cusp of some big idea, you have to put the hours in. Maybe it's just running a 5k, reconciling with someone, writing a novel, whatever it is, I don't know that it will be easy. 

But as Macklemore sings, "put those hours in and look at what you get...nothing that you can hold, but everything that it is."

some deep thoughts for a friday, right?  

how about some lighter notes:

- next week is the list link-up, where you can share the best of the previous month and the goals for the upcoming month. Rather than making New Years the only time to reflect, join Beth and I the first Friday and share your post. 

- also, if you're interesting in sponsoring, I have a July extra-large spot open and a few large spots open. If you have a small biz or an awesome blog, (which I'm sure you do,) I'd love to work with you to promote it.

happy weekend!

xo, erika

p.s. do you follow on rouge + whimsy on bloglovin' or feedly? Google reader, as you may know, is biting the dust, and I'd love to have you stick around. :)








5/29/13

just read, reading and reading next





It's no secret that I love to read.

My long commute to work-- 30 minutes to go 7 miles, arghh-- makes good time for reading and I've already devoured a few books this spring.

 

>> Fall of Giants by Ken Follet // I loved the Pillars of the Earth series by this author and this is his other series. It's about World War I and was a little too historical for me at points, but overall enjoyable. 

>> Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg // I read this for work and honestly found it fascinating. There's a lot out there against Sandberg's book as well as arguments for it. While I don't think I would ever want her life, there's a lot of truth in how women conduct themselves (either in corporate America or anywhere): apologizing too often, not asking for help or delegating, not trusting or helping other women (the mommy wars) and thinking less of their capabilities. It's these things that I'll take from her book-- not necessarily her lifestyle. (read this interview with her in Time to get an idea)

>> A Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp // I was prepared to love this book because I expected it to be in the same vein as Shauna Niequist (who I adore). I'm not sure how I feel about it; I don't love Voscamp's wordy descriptions and I have yet to be bowled over by her statements... but I'm giving it time. (I'm only a few chapters in.)


>> Business Brilliant by Lewis Schiff // Look Mom, I'm reading it! My mother bought this for me and I'm reading it and preparing to be a brilliant business-lady. Well, I'm not sure about that, but it's interesting so far. 

>> Where'd You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple // Another one from Mom, who implores me to read it because it's poignant and hilarious. I'm not so sure as I heard it really disses Seattle... and I have a hard time with anyone but me making fun of my seriously over-priced, traffic-ridden, pretentious city. ;) But anyway, I'm sure it will be a fun read. 

What are you reading lately? 

xo, erika





5/28/13

some days call for ciopinno


Some days don't call for a quick and easy meal.
Some days call for a celebratory dish-- something special. Some days call for a meal you spent a little extra at the grocery store for and something you slaved over a little bit longer.
Some days call for ciopinno.

The husband loves ciopinno but I've never made it because it always seemed really complicated and scary. Despite my Northwest upbringing, I'm still a bit scared to cook fish, just because it's so easy to overcook it into a rubber.

But on Memorial Day he was at work and I was at home wearing yoga pants, so it only seemed fair that I attempt ciopinno.

And surprisingly enough, it wasn't that hard or that expensive.


ciopinno
1/2 walla walla sweet onion, diced
2 garlic cloves
1 tbs olive oil
1 fennel bulb (the white part) rinsed and thinly sliced
2 leeks (white and pale part only), rinsed and thinly sliced
4 to 6 small red potatoes, scrubbed and roughly chopped
1 can low sodium chicken broth
1 cup of water
2 tbs red pepper
3 tbs of red wine vinegar (or dry red wine if you have it on hand)
1 lb of cleaned mussels*
12 sea scallops (half them if large)
1/2 lb skinless, boneless halibut filet

 loaf of sourdough bread

Heat the oil in a large soup pot, add diced onion and sautee until transclucent. Stir in garlic, fennel, leeks and potatoes and cook for a minute or two.

Pour in broth, water, red pepper, and red wine vinegar and bring soup to a boil. Boil for two minutes, then reduce heat and simmer a half hour or so, until potatoes are fork-tender.

Raise heat back to medium-high and stir in seafood. Cook until the mussels have opened and the seafood is cooked. Discard any mussels that have not opened.

Serve with sourdough bread.


*a note on fish sustainability. It depends on your area, but certain kinds of fish are high in mercury or are not sustainably fished. For example, farm-raised scallops are a better option than diver-caught, but wild-caught Pacific Halibut is the best sustainable choice. If you don't have access to fresh fish, frozen fish works great; just defrost before adding to the soup. 

enjoy!

xo, erika


5/27/13

weekend bliss

top: h&m forever ago // necklace: gift // skirt, belt: thrifted // shoes: bcfootwear 

I'm already mourning the loss of my three day weekend. It's the last one I'll get until Labor Day and like most of my weekends go, this one went way too fast and of course, was filled to the brim with unremarkable but such good things.

I'm also mourning the loss of sunshine here. Apparently the tease of summer was just that-- a tease-- and we're back to 50 degrees and more jeans and boots. womp, womp.

Did you have a good weekend? Was it more exciting that my extra Monday of sewing and Netflix?

xo, erika

linking up:  to the style elixir and



engagement shoot

I am not a professional or even amateur photographer so when a dear friend asked me to take her engagement photos I was a little taken aback.

"Me? Really? Ok... I better go home and google a bunch of stuff."

However, it turned out to be the best experience not only because we had gorgeous weather, but because my dear friends are a gorgeous couple and so photogenic and fun.

 They both love baseball so we did some super cute shots at the local high school baseball field.



congrats marissa + michael! I am so beyond happy for you two.

xo, erika

5/23/13

my favorites for running

It's official. I'm running a half marathon.


It's honestly something I never, ever, really honestly, never thought I could do, but here I am training to run 13.1 miles in the middle of June. My 10 mile training long run is this Saturday. I've never run 10 miles before.


The thing about running, more than anything, is how much of an accomplishment it feels. I can feel my body getting stronger and I amaze myself each time when I finish a run and I see that I've gotten just a little bit faster and feel just a little bit less out of breath.

Running has become so personal for me-- it's a personal triumph and I love what it does for me-- more than physically, but emotionally and spiritually. Running forces me to take time to think, pray, contemplate and just be: feet pounding pavement, heart throbbing in my chest, breath shuddering through my mouth.

On a practical level, I've learned a lot. I've learned that I need to have eaten before I run, and I know what kind of socks I like best. I also, unforuntately, learned that my toenails don't seem to like running as much as I do. Let's just say I won't be rocking open-toe shoes anytime soon.

Whether you're a first-time runner, a walker or whatever, here's a few of my have-to-haves for running:




>> loose top. I love this one from Adidas because I don't like to workout in anything too clingy!

>> sports bra. Champion's Shiny Seamless Sports bra is my absolute favorite. I'm not too huge on top, but this one is supportive and keeps its shape even after a lot of washes. (and it's affordable!)

>> hat. It rains here and I can run in the rain as long as it's not dripping down my face. This hat from Nike is also just great in general for keeping my hair totally out of the way.

>> running socks. Your basic cotton ones won't do-- especially if you want to avoid blisters. I love love love Asics' hydrology socks.

>> running shorts. I've tried quite a few different pairs, but I keep coming back to the Nike tempo shorts.

>> oatmeal with flax seed! I eat oatmeal nearly every day and especially on days when I run longer. It keeps me full and energized.

>> hydration. You have to drink lots of water to have a successful workout and sometimes water with a little extra kick is helpful. I love Nuun tablets because they don't have all the added sugar like other sports drinks do.

Not pictured: running shoes. Your shoes are really personal-- I currently run in Mizunos, but what you wear could be totally different. Go to a local running store -- especially one with a good return policy -- because you won't know if they work for you until you try them out. If you're in Seattle, I suggest Super Jock n Jill. (you can tell them you know me.) ;)

Just a note-- this is all of my honest opinion, but I've been able to try out a lot of different stuff thanks to the husband's job in the running industry.

Do you run or workout? Do you have some favorite gear?

xo, erika

5/22/13

ordinary days

 top: anthro // pants: anthro similar // shoes: urban outfitters

I think sometimes I feel like I don't have anything big or deep to blog about-- to share with you.

My days are strikingly ordinary and most of the time I'm in the same pattern, doing the same things each day.

But what I've realized is that the beauty is in the mundane-- these ordinary moments of every day life. Few of us are rockstars, secret agents or Presidents-- we may not save lives or sign autographs.

Most of the time, our days are routine-- we rise and stumble to the bathroom, we greet our family or coworkers, we stop for a red light, we wait for a microwave to finish reheating our coffee, we meet the eyes of someone passing us on a sidewalk.

Yet it's in these tiny moments that real life happens-- where we make big decisions and small ones, where we interact with those we love and those that drive us crazy. And it is these seconds and easy-to-forget times that are the stuff of real life-- and yes, it's all worth sharing-- on a blog or off.

I am trying to enjoy the ordinary moments of real life. I want to see God in these small seconds, in tiny interactions and decisions, not taking even the smallest act-- like me, reheating a cup of coffee for the third time, for granted.

xo, erika

5/20/13

fighting the nothing-to-wear complex

(like my messy closet?)

I've done it.
You've probably done it.
Stared at your closet one morning, flinging item after item on the bed, and telling yourself dramatically "I have nothing to wear."


Or, I have nothing to wear that looks good.


I was talking about this with a coworker the other day. There are moments where we just get sick of the items in our closet and we usually have no good reason. But how do you get out the closet rut, especially without buying new clothes?


>> find inspiration: While Pinterest has its faults, one thing it is great at is providing inspiration for outfits. Check out a few fashion boards (mine is here) and see, with a bit of creativity, you can recreate what you see on a pin with the items you already own.

>>reorganize: maybe you're like me, and your closet is slightly disorganized. Put away your winter clothes, dig out your summer clothes, check out the far reaches of your closet-- you may be missing out on something.

>> refresh: Figure out what you don't wear! Is it because it doesn't fit, doesn't look right or needs to be thrown away? If you don't wear something often, try to see if you can incorporate it better into your daily look. A denim shirt under a dress? Why not! A cardigan buttoned up and tucked in? Totally cute. Holey jeans rolled up and paired with heels? Of course.

Still stuck? Have a friend come over! Sometimes I "forget" about an item of clothing, and seeing a friend gush over it and remind me of why I bought it in the first place is helpful.

how do you fight the nothing-to-wear complex?

xo, erika

5/19/13

recipe: easy-peasy polenta



like always, the husband and I are going in a million different directions, and rarely with each other.

I don't always cook, but I usually try to have some meals planned out and ask the husband to make one or two of them during the week (he gets home from work before me.)

The kind of meals we like are: a) healthy b) fast and easy. (well, let's be honest. The husband doesn't really care how healthy they are.)

I am always on a kick to try something new, so I was excited when I discovered polenta. It's easy, it's different and if you cook it right, it's sort of healthy.


You can buy polenta premade but if you have 20 minutes to spare, you can make it from scratch for pennies.



Polenta with tomato sauce and italian sausage
polenta:
1 cup water
2 cups broth
3/4 cup polenta

Bring liquid to a boil, slowly stir in polenta and reduce heat, constantly stirring until thickened (10 to 15 minutes)

Pour onto bowls or plates and let cool.  (alternatively, you can pour it into a pan, and let chill until it becomes solid, and then fry it or bake it to make polenta squares.)
 
sauce + veggies + meat:
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 ground italian sausage (I use ground chicken sausage)
1 minced garlic
veggies-- you can use anything-- I toss in red bell pepper and zucchini, but you could also add
olives, tomatoes, mushrooms, etc
- 1 jar low sodium tomato sauce
- optional: freshly grated parm-reggiano cheese, torn fresh basil leaves


Sautee onions until translucent over medium heat in a large frypan
Add garlic, saute for a minute
Stir in italian sausage, breaking up with a spatula and cook until no longer pink
Stir in chopped veggies and sauce, stir until cooked through.


Pour over polenta and serve with grated cheese and torn basil on top and a side salad.



have a glorious start to your week!


xo, erika

5/16/13

some links on Friday

glorious, glorious Friday! I'm going to see Great Gatbsy tonight and then the entire weekend stretches before me...

What are you up to? If you have a quiet moment, you should check out a few of my favorite things from this week:
 

 oh look it's the pantsuit again!

Actually, who you should be looking at is the husband and his yellow pants. He's usually behind the camera for my outfit photos, so I'm excited that he got some airtime (or blogtime?) on Much Love Illy's "Guy Behind the Camera" series.

other stuff I loved...

>> this beautiful, honest post from a blogger I've always admired

>> I know people are switching to bloglovin',  but I've been using Feedly to read blogs and I love it.

>> these shoes. but I'm a sucker for anything Seychelles makes

>> gina honestly has the best salad recipes. this one looks amazing.

>> this is a way better take on tropical print patterns

>> love this lady's style

>> last summer I tried to make popsicles and failed... but maybe if I buy this book, it'll work?

what are you loving this week? are you going to see Great Gatsby (or have you already seen it?)

xo, erika

craft day


So Pretty! Felt

In between the day job, the handmade job and other things that life throws my way, there's not a lot of time for creating things just for me.

But I'm working hard to create room for crafting and so when I was contacted to review a new craft book-- So Pretty! Felt-- I pretty much jumped at the chance.

I love Pinterest, blogs and my kindle, but there's something magical about a physical book you can hold in your hands, flip through the pages, soak in the images and even sniff the pages, oh wait, that's that's just my mom (she loves the smell of new books-- sorry to out you Mom!)

So Pretty! Felt is not only a great book filled with great crafts, but it's a beautiful book-- one I can stack on my coffee table and flip through while relaxing on the couch.

I've played around with felt quite a bit, but many of the projects in the book were new to me and so I decided to take time Sunday afternoon to work on one--a small example of the felt table runner.


 

Due to time constraints (I know, I know...) I could only make a coaster, but I'm hoping to make a whole table runner soon. 

You can purchase So Pretty! Felt book here. And maybe, take time to craft for yourself -- or at least check out a craft book, or at least smell the pages of one. ;)

xo, erika


5/15/13

a jumpsuit story

 
jumpsuit: anthropologie // belt: target // shoes c/o BC Footwear

I've been wanting a jumpsuit for awhile but haven't really ever voiced it because it's kind of one of those polarizing things. You love them or you hate them and I've loved them ever since I saw Emily what's-her-face rock the most amazing white one on The Bachelorette. It was glamorous, elegant and I knew that it was something I wanted to try to wear some day.

Turns out finding a pantsuit is not the easiest thing-- they don't really carry them everywhere but when I was at Anthropologie for a petites event with Joy from Oh Joy! I saw one hanging on the sales rack.

And I tried it on. And I did the whole instagram should-I-buy-it post. And the sales people said I should buy it. I waffled but then after texting my mom, she said I should buy it and it was on sale...

Then when I went to check out, turns out the price was reduced even more. Then the cashier generously gave me my birthday 15 percent off... so the final tag went from $168 to $89 to $49 to $30-something... and then I dug in my purse to find the gift card I had that just happened to have $7 let on it...

So you do the math. I couldn't say no. ;)

To be honest, I'm still getting used to it. I forced myself to wear it to work and thought that everyone in downtown Seattle was staring at me and my star onesie... but I really try to encourage people to step outside their comfort zone and have fun with their style, so this was me taking my own advice.

Do you ever take risks with what you wear?

xo, erika

5/14/13

wheatberry salad i.e. not a wimpy, sad salad

 
I eat salads a lot, nearly daily. They're easy to put together and they're healthy.

But I don't eat wimpy salads of just lettuce,  some sad dressing and maybe a tomato or two.
My salads are big and beefy, sometimes quite literally, and it's a pet peeve of mine to see people eat sad little salads and call them lunch.

I am all about real food. Real food is filling and not fake. OK- I'm getting sidetracked here-- but in all reality, with how much running I'm doing to train for my half marathon, I need a salad that is chock full of protein, fiber and loads of other good stuff. And even if you're not training for something, you could probably use a salad that's filled with that kind of stuff, too.

My latest salad obsession? Wheatberries, because who doesn't like berries?

 
Wheatberries are not true berries but the wheat kernels before they are turned into flour. They're whole-wheat, but they're also super high in fiber, protein and iron. They're kind of a nutty, chewy little grain and I like them in salads, also like most other grains-- think brown rice or quinoa-- they're pretty versatile.


Wheat berry salad with strawberries, goat cheese and mixed greens
1/3 cup cooked wheat berries
2 carrots peeled in slivers
4 strawberries sliced
3 tbs crumbled goat cheese
2 generous handfuls of mixed spring greens

Cook wheat berries. I buy my wheat berries from the bulk section of my grocery store, and unforunately, they're not a quick cook. Bring 3 cups of water to boil, add 1 cup of wheat berries. Boil for a minute, and then turn the stove down to low and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour. Wheat berries will be chewy, not crunchy, when done. My tip: Make a batch on Sunday afternoon to use for the week!

The rest of the salad is easy-- combine it and all and top with your favorite dressing!

enjoy!

xo, erika

5/12/13

what i can't do, won't do

jacket: old // top: F21 // belt, bangle: thrifted // skirt: Old Navy // shoes: Born similar (on sale!)

Between all my book reading I pick up a lot of stuff, bits and pieces that I absorb, little things that go into my brain and settle there or move deep into my heart. Little facts or feelings that I chew on and mull over and digest for days, for weeks, for years.

Whether it's fiction or non-fiction, the written word has a way of getting to me and getting me. If that makes any sense at all.

I'm reading Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist, (who currently is one of my favorite authors to gush about), and there's this part of the book where she's talking about the habit that so many women have... the habit of comparison and killing yourself over trying to be good at everything.

"The three [words] together, DO EVERYTHING BETTER, are a super-charged triple threat, capturing in the three words the mania of modern life, the anti-spirit, anti-spiritual, soul-shriveling garbage that infects and compromises our lives..."

Shauna's words are speaking to the crowd over here. I try to do it all better and for what reason? For attention? To feel good about myself? Is it worth it?

"It's not hard to decide what you want your life to be about. What's hard, she said, is figuring out what you're willing to give up in order to do the things you really care about."

So Shauna writes, in answer to all of this, she came up with a list of what she would not do. It seems kind of counter-intuitive, almost anti-American, but so beautiful, because turns out, we can't do it all.

And so -- inspired by Shauna-- my list of things I can't do and won't do:

- I won't be a morning person. I won't jump out of bed, greet the day with a smile and bounce of my hair. I will be silent and likely crabby and running (literally) late to the bus.

- I won't spend a lot of time on my makeup or hair most days. Some days my hair won't be brushed or and it will be dirty, hidden in a topknot and most days my makeup will be done on the bus commute.

- My yard will not be immaculate. I will kill plants and there will be days when my lawn is more dandelions (see photo at top) than grass.

- I will not be a great baker. I will burn the bread warming in the oven and I will offer ice cream as dessert rather than homemade cookies.

- My laundry will not always be folded. I'll dig through clean (and dirty, eee) baskets to find what I want to wear that day.

- I will have dishes in the sink sometimes when people come over, there may be dog hair on my rug. And I'm going to have just get over it because it's my life and it turns out, my life is messy.

This is just the beginning, and to be honest, it's a hard beginning. I want an immaculate yard and house, and digging through the dirty laundry basket is never glamorous. Heck, I'd love to be a morning person who sips her coffee while watching the sunrise. But there are some things that have to give. And these are mine.

What are yours?

xo, erika


5/9/13

sell your stuff: influence class



Sometimes I feel like I don't talk a whole lot about my handmade biz on the blog, just like I definitely don't talk about the blog in real life.

But it's all combining on May 16 where I will talk in real life about the selling on Etsy and other online platforms.

I am no expert in this, but I have been active on Etsy for two years and just recently opened a Storenvy shop and I've definitely had my share of successes and failures that has led me to where I am today.

If you have considering selling on Etsy or elsewhere, or currently have a shop or heck just want to see how awkward I can occasionally be in person (or online, rather), I suggest you sign up! It's just $10, I'll take your questions and I'd love for lots of people to be there!

I've even made PDFs for the class, because I'm a nerd like that. I'm sharing one of them, Why Etsy before the class-- you can download it here.

Curious about what I else I'll cover?

- Etsy vs. other online platforms
- Standing out on Etsy
- Tagging and basic SEO
- product photos
- other marketing ideas

Sign up here!
xo, erika


5/8/13

guest post: oatmeal raisin cookies + video


It's Thursday and I think you all probably could use two things:
1) cookies
2) a good giggle

And I am thrilled to offer you both.


Kacie from A Collection of Passions runs an adorable blog chock full of great recipes-- I love this post on meal planning-- and she has a pretty stinkin' cute two-year-old. She and her daughter did a baking video and I highly reccommend you watch it-- especially the outtakes at the end.


You can see and download a printable version of the recipe here!

Go say hi to Kacie (and Gigi) at A Collection of Passions blog, Facebook or Twitter!

xo, erika



5/7/13

still giddy

 
dress: Primark // sunglasses: Nordstrom Rack // shoes: BC Footwear - similar // clutch: collaboration

shirt: Urban Outfitters // shorts: Gap // flip flops: Rainbows

I am so glad that I still get giddy over sunshine pouring through my windows at work, the excuse to wear a sundress with bright yellow shoes and sneaking out for happy hour early.

And I'm grateful that I still get giddy over my husband of nearly four (!!) years. 

There's a little challenge going around-- a blog every day in May activity-- and today's prompt is advice. I am not really an expert in a lot of things but when I think over the last few years, the ups and downs of my life and who I share it with, I want to share this advice for marriage:

No one is perfect for you and you will never be perfect for someone else. No one will be or should be your all, your one answer to life because people fail each other and hurt each other. End of story. But someone can be the one you want to serve and cherish and go to get burgers and beer with because you want to see them happy. Someone can be the one you fight for, even when you don't feel like it. Someone can be the one you still get giddy over.

 

We ate at a hipster-Seattle bar. Can you tell?  

Also, like the clutch? It's my collaboration piece with Yellow Heart Art and it's offered as a pre-sale for $5 less for just a few more days! Snag yours here!
xo, erika
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