10/31/13

the list: october wrapup

I don't think-- or rather, I know I'm not ready for November. I'm not ready for the darker, shorter days, I'm not ready for cold temperatures and I'm definitely not prepared for the holidays. October flew past. Here's a little recap



I shared an amazing stuffed squash recipe and wrote about learning to say no
I shared my tips about exercising and obviously had to make something pumpkin-- like pancakes!
We also finally finished painting our house!

Not pictured-- I threw a bridal shower and a bachelorette party, flew down to San Fran for Re:Make and started prepping my new shop website.

I've been thinking a lot about next month -- November-- and what I want it to look like. I've been thinking a lot about culitivating a feeling of gratefulness-- each day, being mindful of all the things I'm thankful for. I know it's an obvious theme for the month with Thanksgiving and all, but I like the idea of having one thing to focus on and work toward this month.

What about you? How was October, and more importantly, what do you hope November be? I'd love to hear.

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.

 photo TheListC_zpsdf52f360.jpg

10/29/13

squash kale pecan and apple salad

I love all squash, but my favorite is delicata squash. I love the slightly sweet taste, the green stripes on its exterior, but even more so, you don't have to peel delicata, and that in my book is a major win.

The best way to prepare delicata is to roast it and you can serve it on its own, but I love it over a warm salad.


squash, kale, pecan and apple salad
ingredients
2 delicata squash
1 bunch kale
1/2 cup pecans
1 apple, cored and diced
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
1 tbs balsalmic vinegar
1 tsp honey
salt and pepper to taste



To roast the squash:
Wash outside of squash vigorously.
Cut in half, lengthwise and remove the seeds and pulp.
Slice the delicata in thin, half-moon shapes.
Toss with 1/4 cup olive oil and place on a cookie sheet
Roast at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, then flip and roast another 15 minutes or until soft






Meanwhile, heat remaining olive oil in a pan. Add diced apples, pecans and cook on medium low until apple is slightly soft and pecan is fragrant.

Tear kale into bite size pieces and add to the pan, cooking just until the color changes to a deeper green.


Whisk honey, balsamic and a sprinkling of salt and pepper in a small bowl.


Combine squash, kale, pecans and apple. Drizzle with the balsamic dressing. Eat immediately!




xo, erika


10/28/13

what I wore on whidbey

Two truths of life:
When you find an empty field, you should take photos in it.


And if you find a cozy sweater, it's okay to wear it two or three days in a row.

xo, erika

wear: 
sweater: nordstrom (similar)
jeans: joe's jeans
booties: dsw
bangle: thrifted

linking up to style elixir








10/27/13

a hungarian feast

When I got my produce delivery box this week (I get it through a local service that sources a variety of local farms), there was an enormous cabbage in it. I wasn't quite sure what to do with it and was searching Pinterest for receipes until it dawned on me: Cabbage rolls.

One of my dearest friends is part Hungarian and makes the same cabbage rolls and goulash that her great-grandmother would make. Obviously, with a giant cabbage, it was an excuse to put together a Hungarian feast.

What made it even better is that my friend is currently house sitting in a gorgeous home that has an incredible kitchen-- we're taking a Viking range and two ovens. So obviously, the Hungarian feast prep had to happen over there, versus my tiny (yet functional and well-loved) kitchen.

 

Great-Grandma Kovacs' Cabbage Rolls
1 head of cabbage
2 tbs white vinegar
1 lb ground pork
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp salt
3 tsp pepper
3 tsp paprika
1/2 cup white rice
6 oz of tomato sauce
1 can sauerkraut

Bring a large pot of water with 2 tbs of vinegar and a pinch of salt to boil
Rinse cabbage and cut out core.
Once water is boiling, drop cabbage in and cook for a minimum of a half hour, until leaves are soft. (could be up to 45 minutes)
In a large bowl, combine pork through white rice.
Take a leaf of cabbage, chop of the hard end, and place a spoonful of the pork mixture at the end.
Roll the leaf up, like a burrito, tucking in each side.

In a large pot, cover the bottom with the can of sauerkraut. If you have left over cabbage, put this in the bottom of the pot as well.
Place each cabbage roll carefully in the pot, folded over-side down.
Pour tomato sauce over the cabbage rolls.
Pout in water, just to cover the rolls.
Cook on medium to medium low for an hour.

enjoy!

xo, erika




10/24/13

friday links

I want to share more of the good stuff I find on the big, wide internet because as much as I love instagram, I love blogs and all the work they go into more.



1. browned butter, caramel and coconut apple crumble from top with cinnamon. need i say more?
2. a beautiful 40s-inspired fashion photo shoot on the glitter guide
3. i've loved this series on marriage from little things + big stuff
4. pumpkin cranberry rolls yesssss please on girl vs dough.
5. caroline has some mad sewing skills and she just released a ebook with two skirt patterns

other good stuff...
> this post on naptime diaries about finding your style -- no more of "oh, I wish I could wear that"
> are you right-brained or left-brained? I was surprised that I'm "left-brained!" But why can I not do math...?
> some (blog) food for thought from Anna of IHOD about why she almost quits blogging each month
> I love quinoa AND granola so clearly I need to make quinoa granola, stat.

what does your weekend look like? I'll be hosting a bachelorette party over on Whidbey Island and I'm hoping it's more relaxing than frantic. :)

xo, erika

10/23/13

saying no sometimes





Sometimes what's harder than saying yes to something is saying no to something.


I am a notorious yes person. I don't want to disappoint people and I confess to caring much more than I should about what others think. I also, in the age of social media and knowing what everyone is doing at every moment, have the fear of missing out if I say no. So I say yes far too often and in doing so, run myself into the ground.


I know that I'm not alone in this. There is this tendency for all of us to do all.the.things and so we say yes to volunteering, yes to dinner, yes to a party and yes to an amazing opportunity that may end up not being that amazing because it's one more thing stacked on everything else.


It's like you carry this stack of plates and then you think, oh, just one more, a teeny cup-- I can stick that on top. Or it's the issue with grocery bags out of the car-- we always have to bring them into the house in one trip, don't we? Why can't we do it in stages? And why do we feel the need to say yes to the final teacup on our already towering stack of plates?

Recently I said no to something hard. I applied for Renegade Chicago and wasn't really expecting to get in-- I know it's a really good handmade show-- Chicago is where Renegade started-- and so I thought by applying it could be the boost my business needs.

Then I got in.

I did a dance in front of my computer. And then I started thinking about it: running numbers, figuring out all I would have to do, the logistics... panic set in. I already feel behind in so many things-- like the website I was supposed to start for the shop oh, like two months ago, the other two local shows I already committed to-- the wedding that I'm a maid of honor in in TWO weeks... it's a lot.

So I said no.

Well actually, I typed out a no response and then let it sit in my email drafts for a few days because while I knew I should say no, I really, really, really didn't want to. I wanted to do it all. I really did and still do.

But I finally sent it-- and as I did-- I felt sad, not going to lie to you all here, but I also felt a small release of pressure. My stack of plates felt lighter.

There will always be Renegade next year. There will be another opportunity, and even if there isn't, sometimes you still have to say no.

What have you said "no" to?

xo, erika

p.s. random transition here, but if there is anything you should say yes to, it's the gorgeous work by NS Pottery. I love the statement ring I got from her and wear it several times a week. :)

wear:
denim shirt: thrifted
coated jeans: Joe's Jeans via Nordstrom (similar)
ring: c/o NS Pottery
booties: Wanted Shoes last year (similar)

10/22/13

fall meal: quinoa-stuffed acorn squash


No it's not pumpkin, but yes, I still consider this an autumn-ish meal.

I am fully on team squash right now, especially roasted acorn squash. However, as far as meals go, acorn squash on its own is not too substantial. Enter quinoa, all-around super food and the perfect addition to a roasted squash.

I made this about a week ago and no joke, it's now in heavy rotation for lunches as well. I hope you enjoy it as much as I (obsessively) do.



ingredients:
1 acorn squash
1/2 cup quinoa
1 apple **
1 tsp coconut oil
2 tbs butter
2 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp allspice
pure maple syrup or balsamic vinegar (to dribble over)
salt & pepper to taste

squash:
Preheat oven to 350
Cut and de-seed the acorn squash, placing it cut side down in several inches of water in a baking dish. Bake for 45 minutes or until very soft.
Mix brown sugar, paprika and allspice together in a small bowl. 
After 45 minutes, remove from oven and turn acorn squash over. Dot the insides of the both squash halves with butter. Sprinkle brown sugar-spice mixture over butter and return the squash to the oven for another 5 to 10 minutes until the butter and sugar have caramelized.

quinoa + apple:
Cook quinoa-- bring 1/2 cup quinoa and 1 cup water to boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer for 25 minutes or until liquid has evaporated. Fluff with fork.

Core and chop apple roughly, sautee until soft in coconut oil. Stir in to quinoa.

combine:
Spoon quinoa and apple mixture into acorn squash, mixing into the butter and squash. Drizzle with just a small amount of maple syrup for a sweeter dish or balsamic vinegar, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Salt and pepper might sound weird with a sweeter dish, but I think it's a nice juxtaposition against the sweetness of the brown sugar and maple.


** if you don't want to add apple, you could go more savory with sausage stirred into the quinoa, or onions or garlic or a host of other things; the options are endless.



enjoy!

xo, erika

p.s. also. I just discovered something new and fantastic that I thought would be worth mentioning. All of my life, I thought I hated syrup. Turns out I hate the fakey syrup that is not really syrup but corn syrup with flavoring. True, actually-from-the-trees syrup is a whole different matter and I find myself putting it on everything completely Elf-style. I've mixed it with vinegar and dijon for a salad dressing, stirried into baked goods... it's crazy, I tell you. And if you're still with Mrs. Butterworth, I highly suggest ending that relationship and getting yourself a bottle of the real stuff.


10/21/13

my fall thrift list

Most thrift stores don't carry a lot of true vintage-- items from the 1970s or 1960s or even earlier. But many do carry a lot of stuff from the early and mid '90s and lucky for me, that's a bit of what we're seeing in styles right now.

This doesn't mean grab the first pair of pleated pants or floral vest you find on the rack-- instead, thrifting '90s styles means carefully searching for just the right item. These are the things that I am looking for right now on the racks of my local second-hand stores.

 



>> button-up blouse: From denim ones to plaid ones and great solids-- I love button-up blouses for the versatility they offer. They're great layered or worn just with a nice pair of jeans. (Pictured button-up blouse from Gap)

>> plaid skirts: Plaid is everywhere-- plaid pants (love, love these ones from Loft), plaid tops and plaid skirts. There are definitely some plaid or tweed skirts to be found in the depths of your local Goodwill. (Pictured plaid skirt from Madewell)

>> slouchy sweater: Slouchy, comfortable, loose-- sweaters are in and they don't have to be perfect. Snag a comfy one for a casual day at work or get a thicker cabled one for layering over your thrifted blouse. :) (Pictured sweater from Nordstrom)

>> leather skirt: Leather is everywhere this fall and I really like it in a longer skirt. Definitely don't go for a shorter leather skirt-- unless, well, I won't go there. But I've already found a few leather and suede skirts but have yet to find one in my size. Don't worry-- I'm still hunting. (Pictured skirt from DKNY via Macy's --this Karen Kane skirt also looks great.)

>> turtlenecks: People with cold necks, rejoice; the turtleneck sweater is back. There are lots of these out there and perfect for the chillier months ahead. (Pictured turtleneck from Banana Republic.)

are you a thrift-store shopper? Anything you're hunting for? I should mention that I am also constantly on the lookout for an army-style jacket and blazers.

xo, erika

affiliate links used

10/20/13

krochet kids



I first heard about Krochet Kids in college-- one of the guys that lived with my husband (he lived with 50 other guys) was starting a business with his brother. All I knew, remotely, was that they were teaching African women to crochet hats and sell them. At the time, I liked the idea, but didn't think anything of it.


Fast forward to this past Saturday when I went to a fundraising event at Two Beers Brewery in support of Krochet Kids International. The hat-making company is now a non-profit with their products sold at REI and Nordstrom. They employ 150 women in Uganda and recently expanded to Peru.


A quick background on their organization-- not only does Krochet Kids give the most vulnerable women in these communities jobs, but they pair them with mentors, they offer them classes in education, business, and finance. They have access to the Krochet Kids credit union and when they finish the program (sometime between 3 to 5 years), they are set up to be financially independent.

What's incredible is that Krochet Kids funds 80 percent of their programs with the sales they make. They started with hats but now they've expanded to incredible bags, tees and the sweatshirt I'm wearing in this post.

I really didn't plan on buying anything but after seeing the sweatshirt and and then hearing the story of the women who make it... I was sold. Now that I own it, I don't know that I'll be taking it off. It's incredibly soft and pretty dang cute, if I do say so myself.

Also, speaking of things I wear on repeat-- I bought these coated jeans at the Nordstrom anniversary sale, and again, they're something I hate to wash-- only because it means that I won't get to wear them for a bit.

wear:
sweatshirt: Krochet Kids International
jeans: Joe's Jeans via Nordstrom (check out similar ones at Old Navy, too)
boots: ebay


xo, erika

10/16/13

let's be still




The world's just spinning
A little too fast
If things don't slow down soon we might not last
So just for the moment, let's be still
- Let's Be Still, Head and The Heart (listen here)

I am not a still person. I am probably the opposite, actually.

In fact, one of things that the husband and I argue over is when I "stomp" around the house right when I get home from work. He tells me it's wrong that I enter the house in such a whirlwind of activity. He tells me he feels guilty when he sits and I'm rushing around.

I tell him that it's just the way I am. I move fast. I don't sit. He doesn't need to feel guilty. I am just an antsy person. I can't help it, I tell him. My family teases me because the thing I say most is "real fast." As in, "I'll do that real fast."

But if I am honest with myself, I know these are just excuses for bad habits: My bad habits of rushing things and rushing people as well as my bad habits of half-thought-out ideas and distracted movements.

The real reason I run for exercise? I can't handle other exercise that's slow and deliberate. (I'm looking at you, Pilates.)

Another confession. I've never made risotto because the thought of standing at the stove and stirring for 40 minutes seems downright impossible.

So when I hear a song like "Let's Be Still," it's a challenge for me. It's a rallying cry for me to be quiet and be present. I had it on, background music in my headphones, and it felt like this push-- this motion for me to rest, to be still.

I want to learn to be still so I can be present in my moments, with what is in front of me. I want to be still in front of God. I want to be still with others.

Even if it is, just for a moment.

Are you a crazed rush of activity like me? Or are you better at carving out space to be still? If you are-- please teach me your ways.

xo, erika

p.s. if you are not familiar with the band "The Head and the Heart" you very much should be. Their music is excellent and I lived with one of the bandmembers in college.






10/15/13

8 ways to create and stick to an exercise routine

Two years ago, heck, one and a half years ago, I did not exercise.

I ran occasionally, took the random exercise class (Zumba anyone?) but nothing stuck. And I was stuck. I was tired and sluggish and feeling bleh. I also, just to be brief, have struggled quite a bit with depression and anxiety over the years, and I could feel similar symptoms rising. The husband, as well as my doctor and mom, suggested I start exercising more regularly. So I did, and now here I am—for the first time in my life—with a regular exercise routine.

I am no pro, but I’ve learned a lot along the way that I want to share with you.




Pick something you “like”
I put like in quotation marks because honestly, you may never find a workout that you love. Working out is hard—that’s why they call it work! (I’m so dang clever.) But you need to find something or a few things you can tolerate—even if what you enjoy is just the high of being done. So try a lot of things—maybe you’re a swimmer or a runner or maybe you love Crossfit. Find out.

Create a schedule.
This is so necessary. If I try to just “fit” exercise in, it does NOT happen. It needs to be a full plan—something I prepare for mentally and know will happen almost no matter what. Start easy—maybe just 15 minutes once or twice a week and build from there. Be stubborn about it though-- this is your time, don't let other minor things get in the way.

Find accountability
If you’re starting a new program, it will be easy to stop. Find someone, ideally to work out with you. My husband meets his boss to run and knowing that his boss is waiting for him each morning makes it easier for him to get out of bed. If you’re starting to exercise on your own, find someone that will at least text you or ask you if you’re still on schedule!

Set goals
You need to have something to work toward. For me, it was running a half marathon—something I never thought I could do. Maybe for you it’s running a 5k or lifting a certain weight—but find something, and make it feasible, to work toward.

Go easy on yourself
While it’s great to set goals, create a schedule, etc, make sure you go on easy on yourself. There are going to be days that you miss or days where you feel terrible doing it. I had training runs leading up to my half marathon and I was convinced I should quit because it went so poorly. Luckily the husband encouraged me to go easy on myself—and it got better. So give yourself grace.

Reward yourself
What gets you going? A new pair of shoes? A pricier bottle of wine? Or going out to eat? Sleeping in? Find something that will motivate you and tell yourself once you reach a certain point in your exercise routine, reward yourself! You deserve it.

Nourish your body
This is where I think people go to either extreme. On one side, you may be tempted to have a super-rich protein shake after working out—but usually those things like exercise bars, Gatorade, etc, are only necessary after an hour-long Crossfit sesh or an 8-mile run. On the other hand, you cannot skip breakfast or just eat an apple each day for lunch and expect your workout to go well. You need to feed your body enough complex carbs (brown rice, oats), vegetables rich in vitamins (kale, spinach, carrots,) and lean proteins (quinoa, fish).  I run at noon. For breakfast (at 8 or 8:30 when I get to work) I eat a bowl of oatmeal with flax seed and cinnamon, then try and drink at least two glasses of water. This doesn't guarantee a good workout for me, but it sure helps.

Mix it up
As much as I love running and the fact that it’s kind of a one-stop-shop sort of exercise (it tones your core, legs, butt, etc), if I don’t want to get bored or if I want to become stronger, I’ll need to mix in some other workouts. I currently do “Yoga for Runners” once a week and try and mix in core workouts (planks, squats, jumping jacks, etc) as well.

All of these tips are great, but more than anything, you’re going to have to stick with it. It takes awhile to set a routine and the first couple weeks or months will be hard as you build up. But, I can really attest that it’s been worth it for me.

Questions, comments, anything? Let me know. And if you do have a question and comment, please leave your email or twitter handle or something so I can respond!
 
xo, erika

10/14/13

leopard print is a neutral

 

I started out wearing leopard flats.

I think I honestly have consistently owned leopard flats for the past 6 years. At a minimum. Turns out when I like something, I really like something -- to the point of even purchasing the exact same flats a year later. (Nordstrom, I'm still upset that you no longer sell those perfect leopard flats.)

But I remember getting those little leopard flats and thinking -- at the time-- that they were super wild and crazy flats-- leopard flats that had had faux calf hair on them!

Now I'm wearing a leopard shirt. A thrifted leopard shirt.

It's little things like this that I really love about style. I love the little things that I push myself on-- not to have the latest and greatest thing, but to push myself to be more confident-- to wear things that I really love. Like a touch of leopard print. Which, honestly, or so style magazines tell me (major confession -- I love fashion magazines) tell me is just a neutral to begin with.


Are there styles or things that you push yourself to try?

xo, erika

details:
blazer: c/o wallis fashion
top: thrifted
jeans: urban outfitters (if you've never tried their bdg jeans, I highly reccommend them-- and they're even made in the u.s.)
shoes: seychelles


linking up to style elixir.

please note: affiliate links used.

10/13/13

whole wheat pumpkin pancakes



I've been out of town four out of the five past weekends and this Saturday was one of the first days where I didn't need to be anywhere-- at least not until later on.

I chose not to go tailgate with the husband at the UW game (he headed out at 4 a.m. to catch the filing of ESPN College Game Day-- insane) and so it was me and my morning -- stretched out before me.

The husband is pretty great, but he's got a major flaw: he doesn't like big breakfasts/brunchs. He claims they make him feel lazy or something. Me, on the other hand, I love them. So when the husband is gone and I have a leisurely morning awaiting me, I eat a really good breakfast.

And because it's October and all, I decided to eat a really good breakfast that had pumpkin pancakes.

I suggest you find yourself a leisurely morning soon and make these.



whole wheat pumpkin pancakes (adapted from here)

ingredients:
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tbs baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 tbs brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup milk
1 egg -- lightly beaten
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
2 tbs coconut oil

mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl
mix all the wet ingredients in a small bowl
beat the egg separately with a whisk for a minute or so, stir into wet ingredients
slowly stir in wet ingredients into dry

cook 'em up!



xo, erika

linking up to wild & precious for life lately!

10/9/13

swiss chard vegetable soup

I've probably mentioned this before, but the husband isn't the biggest fan of leafy greens.
He is a pretty strong vendetta against kale and I'm pretty sure it extends to swiss chard.

But I like swiss chard and it's really, really good for you-- so I want the husband to like it too.

The solution? Stick it in soup, add bacon and top with cheese. (A side of bread doesn't hurt either.)



ingredients:
1/2 onion
4 pieces of nitrate-free, natural bacon
3 garlic cloves, minced and diced
5 tomatoes (or can of no-salt, diced tomatoes)
1/2 can of tomato paste
3 to 4 carrots, sliced
1/2 bunch of swiss chard, stalks chopped and sliced lengthwise.
3 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 can of garbanzo beans
2 cups water
2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt


(please note that my carrots are purple! Farmers market for the win.)

- Cook bacon in pan and remove, cool on paper towels and crumble.
- Reserve 1 tbs of bacon drippings and cook onion in it (best thing ever? Food cooked in bacon fat.)
- Once onion is translucent, add garlic cloves and cook a minute or two.
- Stir in carrots, tomatoes and sliced chard stalks. Cook another minute.
- Add tomato paste, broth, and water. Bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and add in garbanzo beans and bacon pieces, cumin, cayenne pepper and salt.
- Simmer for at least 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add more salt and pepper to taste.

Right before serving, stir in torn chard leaves.
Serve immediately with grated Parmesan-Reggiano cheese and crusty bread.




Also, just to be warned, this is one of what is sure to be many soup recipes. Soup is my biggest go-to for fall and winter cooking. 

xo, erika



10/8/13

wear: noonday necklace


Some days I want to put together a complex outfit-- something with layers and creativity. Other days, I'll settle for a plain tee dressed up with a statement necklace.

That's the best thing about necklaces and scarves-- they're a no-fail, dress-the-outfit-up option with not a whole lot of commitment or work.

I'm especially loving this statement necklace from Noonday Designs. Artisans from all over the world design and make stunning accessories for a living wage that are then sold around the world. In many places, being a Noonday artisan is a way for someone to get out of poverty and take control of their future.  (learn more about that here.)

There are a lot of gorgeous pieces-- to be honest I had a hard time picking out something. I'm wearing the Ruth necklace in gray and turquoise but I love the Goldrush necklace and the Evening Horizon necklace.

so what about you? scarf girl or more about statement necklaces?

xo, erika

jeans, top: thrifted (score!)
necklace: noonday designs
boots: Nordstrom


10/7/13

painting our house

 
I thought of a lot of different titles for this post.

Like:

"The worst household chore ever."

"Why house painters charge so much."

"The longest and worst project ever. "

"What I did all August and most of September."

So yeah. House painting. Not my favorite.

What I tell myself is that by painting our house ourselves we saved a lot of money. A lot of money. But painting a house on your own takes a lot of time.

A lot of time.

 


And we had help. So much help. I feel so grateful to Evan's parents, my parents, my friend Sam, and my brothers who gave up glorious summer weekends for prepping, sanding, scraping, sanding, priming and painting. (Yes, there's that many steps.)

But it needed to be done and I can not be more happy that our house is finally painted. And I love the end result. One more project checked off our enormous house to-do list.



xo, erika

p.s. we matched our old paint color to the new paint-- so I have no idea the color, but my front door is Behr exterior gloss paint in chili pepper. :)
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