1/29/14

the importance of taking breaks


After Christmas, I was burnt out. 

I could not look at my sewing machine. I was exhausted by everything and had no creativity. I wanted to disappear from it all-- from my blog, from my shop, my day job -- from everything.

Originally, I planned to close my shop just through New Years, but when January 1st rolled around, I wasn't ready. I couldn't make myself reopen or do anything, really.

I started a new position at work and I decided that rather than push myself, I was going to keep the shop closed through January. I'm grateful that I could take a break; that I like my day job.

It's almost February and one day, riding the bus home from work, I realized I was finally ready to begin again. I have ideas-- I'm excited-- and I feel refreshed.

What has struck me is the necessity of breaks, the importance of self-care. While I could have grown my shop further this month, I know that in the long run, it wasn't worth it.

Going forward, I want to challenge myself to evaluate if I need a break, if I need to take care of myself.

I know that we can't always take a month off of something-- and granted, January was not by any means a lazy month-- but sometimes we need to put some things on the back burner for awhile. Will we get ahead by always pushing ourselves? Or will we still get to where we need to go, will we still be who we are,  if we take a small break? I've learned the answer is yes.

xo, erika

1/28/14

plaid skirt


For awhile I was on a plaid pants kick, but I haven’t been able to find any (there was a pair at Zara that was out of my price range and of course now that they're on sale, they're out of stock) so I changed my search to focus on a plaid skirt.

My friend found the plaid skirt when we were exploring a vintage boutique, but after determining it wasn’t her size, I had to snag it. (And at 40 percent off, too!)

I’m a little bit worried it’s too school girl-ish, (I have a problem with people thinking I’m several years younger than I am), but one of my friends told me its much more Scottish than anything else.

Jury's out whether that's a good thing.

xo, erika

1/27/14

96 years


My Grandma is 96 today—she was born in 1918.

I can’t even wrap my mind around her 96 years of living and all that she has seen—the legacy that she has led.

She's lived through a world war, the 1950s and 60s and the technology of today. She taught in a one-room school house in a tiny town in Nebraska and raised six kids on a farm before they moved out to California in the 1960s.

Her faith, her deep love for family and her intelligence is something I hope is present in me. 

My dad mentioned a few months ago that I should fly to California to see her, and I made the decision that it would be worth the quick trip. What was just a few of us turned into a gathering of over 15—a mini family reunion filled with loads of food and laughter and balmy 72 degrees.

When we gathered around my Grandma to blow out candles, someone asked her what she wished for. She paused for a moment and said, “I just wish this day could last forever.”

I love my friends and the connections I have in Washington—we’ve created an extended family of friends and neighbors—but there’s something about family, people who look like you and share similar characteristics and the same strong Grandma.

xo, erika

1/23/14

#whereilive-- a new ig linkup



If I had a bit more money I would travel. I think we all say that. But more than just jetting off to the places worthy of a National Geographic cover, I would love to see all of the U.S., every state, small cities and big.

I have this fascination with how and where people live. I want to know how it's different, why it's different. I think this is why I love instagram: it's tiny little snapshots answering those questions.

For awhile I've had this idea rolling around in my head to start a link-up series on instagram where people post bits and pieces of where they live -- whether it's a shot of a kitchen, your backyard, a city skyline -- it's open to interpretation! I'll repost some of my favorites on instagram & hopefully (if enough people play along) over here too.

Tell your friends-- especially friends in foreign places, ha -- I'd love to see tons of people share their homes and hometowns.

happy friday, friends. If it's a weekend coming up for you, enjoy it. Take a bubble bath or go for a long walk. You probably deserve it.

xo, erika

p.s. i'm @rougeandwhimsy on instagram. :)



1/20/14

chips + kale spinach yogurt dip


I'm eat healthy most of the time. Salads, quinoa, no processed foods, yadda yadda. But I do profess a deep love for homemade desserts, beer, and chips and dip. 

And it's football season, as well as nearly Super Bowl season, so I say it's time to get into the chips and dip.

But it's still January and resolution season, so let's not catapult all the way to fried potato chips dipped in cheesy bean dip (we'll get there in February).

Instead let's do baked potato chips and veggie chips with a kale spinach yogurt dip. Tyrells Chips sent me some of their chips to try out-- they're all natural, gluten-free and come in great flavors, including my two faves: veggie and salt and pepper. They're super crispy and make a great dip chip (or a eating late at night chip...)



Kale Spinach Yogurt Dip (inspired by Trader Joes' kale spinach greek yogurt dip)

1 cup plain yogurt
2 tbs canola mayonaise
1 tsp honey
2 minced garlic cloves
3 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup diced spinach
1/2 cups diced kale
1 tsp smoked paprika
salt & pepper to taste
1 tsp red pepper (optional--I like a little bit of a kick to dips)


Chop veggies very finely-- the smaller the better.
Mix ingredients well.
Cover and chill in the fridge for a minimum of three hours (to allow flavors to blend.)

Serve with chips, veggies or use it as a spread!



Tyrell Chips gifted me a few bags of chips to try out; opinions, as always, are my own. 

1/19/14

space + places: trove


Don't get me wrong. I'm a thrift-store fanatic, garage-sale digger and Craigslist surfer, but sometimes going to a cute boutique where someone else does all the searching for you is nice.

Trove Vintage Boutique is one of those places I've been meaning to go to for awhile now. From the adorable window displays to the turquoise painted exterior, and its array of curated antique treasures, the little shop has lured me for quite some time.

I finally was able to stop by this past Saturday and explore. It's in Ballard -- one of my favorite neighbors of Seattle (if you visit my city, forget downtown, stay in this gem of an area) -- and right off Market Street.

The adorable antique shop opened last October and excitingly enough, Cyrena, one of the owners told me, that they're hoping to open a bridal boutique soon as well. (!!!)

Trove is filled to the brim with frothy 1950s dresses, etched drinking glasses, sequined pumps and styled so well that many of the items look like they'd be at home nearly anywhere.

I went home with a plaid skirt, but I was also tempted to buy a cropped, 1960s jacket and a gold carrier case of drinking glasses. I may have to go back for those soon.


You can follow Trove on FacebookInstagram (they post adorable stuff) or Pinterest.

Thanks Cyrena and Sara for letting me take photos of your adorable shop!

I'm going to try and post more places + spaces on the blog in 2014! Check out my last post in the series here.

xo, erika

1/16/14

january | read, reading, to read



I thought I was due for a reads post. I love sharing the books I read (and I LOVE hearing about books you're reading.)

Here's currently what's been on my bookshelf (and loaded on my Kindle).

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom // I can't believe I had never read this. This book is astonishing. It's a true story of the amazing faith of a family who hides people during World War II. It's one of the few books that made me sob, not because it was so sad, but because I was so struck by Corrie and her sister Betsi's faith.


Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Ann Fowler // I love F Scott Fitzgerald's works and I've always been fascinated by he and his wife Zelda. This story-- told from Zelda's perspective-- is historic fiction, but it's incredibly well done.

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt // Everyone (newspapers, magazines, etc) is all over this book and so I thought I'd try it because I usually like critically-acclaimed best sellers. To be honest, I enjoy Donna's style of writing-- she's incredibly descriptive-- but I have a really hard time with the main character. Anytime I can not understand the motivations behind a character (or don't like them a lot), I lose interest and in this case, I kind of want to shake the narrator at times. However, I'm working through it, (skimming some pages to get through it), just because I need to finish it. (Kindle tells me I'm 78% through... )

I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai // I am fascinated by the Middle East and definitely do not understand a great deal about the culture. I can't wait to dig into this autobiography by an undoubtedly incredible girl.

The Book Thief by Mark Zusak // I know it's going to be a movie, but I heard that on its own, it's an moving book. I have it requested at the library but if I get antsy, I may have to give in and buy it.

What have you read recently and loved? (Or hated?)

xo, erika

1/15/14

preparing my heart for africa



I'm not really one of those people who really thinks about the future.

That's actually surprising, considering that I can be so type-A about other things. I guess I focus on controlling my surroundings in my present situation today, next week, maybe into the next month. A few months down the road, a year down the road? Not even on my radar.

So when I made the decision to go to Uganda with Sole Hope, it was like "whatever -- March 2014 is SO far away." And I put it out of my mind.

Until I went and got shots recently. Sitting in the travel clinic across from a doctor telling me all the risks with Africa (I think he was trying to scare me) and then the nurse giving me three shots in the arm, and handed over a prescription for typhoid and malaria pills -- it suddenly got real. Very real.

Walking out of the clinic, blinking into the weak January sunshine in downtown Seattle, I started to get nervous. Uganda felt like, feels like, another planet.

I was born in Washington and to be honest, I've had it easy. I have had access to everything I need, and even now, I live in a city where the best healthcare, jobs, technology, etc is within reach.

"It makes me feel guilty," I told a friend.

We met for coffee. He grew up in Ghana and now lives here in Seattle. I started asking him for advice.

"You cannot feel guilty for where you grew up, for where you live," he said.

He told me I couldn't help where I was from but what I could help was my attitude about where I lived, how I treated people, how I saw the world.

Unlike the doctor, he didn't warn me about Africa except to tell me that once I went, I would want to go back. He's had malaria a few times growing up. He never slept in a bed until he came to the U.S., but he loves his home continent and tells me I will too.

It's different from the U.S., he explains. But different doesn't mean bad. In some ways, it's very good to be different from America.

As I try to wrap my mind around going -- the money deposit and the bandaids on my arm tell me it's getting closer -- I'm trying to prepare my heart but at the same time, I don't want to go in with expectations. I know it will be different. I know it will be hard. But I think it will be so good, too.

xo, erika



1/13/14

pop culture told me to mix prints


I'm going to make a few pop culture references in regards to my outfit.

First one, from Sarah Jessica Parker.

Apparently because I did not create enough miles to actually go anywhere, United Airlines decided to take pity on me and instead of traveling, I can escape with some free magazine subscriptions! Luckily for them, I admit, I love magazines. So I got a subscription to InStyle Magazine and this month's cover girl Sarah Jessica Parker wisely said this:

"People should dress the way they want. Any rules for age or shape are silly. If you walk out the door feeling good about yourself, that’s what counts.”

I took her advice to heart with this outfit. Polka-dotted pleated skirt and gingham blouse? Why not? I really like it and it makes me feel good. So there.

Now, my second pop culture reference.

I confess to watching a lot of Project Runway and I just heard that Tim Gunn is getting his own show. Tim Gunn tells people to "make it work," and while he may not have been talking about mixing prints, I am going to pretend he was in this case.

Two pop culture icons justifying my outfit. More than enough for me.

xo, erika


p.s. Can we, for a moment, talk about the insane quality of the vivid moss on the tree? It's incredible that everything is dormant right now in winter, yet this moss is so bright. Incredible.

wear:
cardigan: borrowed from a friend
blouse: Target
skirt: thrifted

boots: Franco Sarto (similar)


1/12/14

battling the "shoulds"


There is always a million things I feel like I should do. 

I should fold the laundry. 

I should clean the house. I should clean the bathroom. Maybe I should vacuum.

I should call that person. I should write that person. 

I should work out more. 

I should save more. 

There is always something I "should" do and what I've realized lately (or rather the husband has helped me realize) is that all the "shoulds" are never going to make my life better. 

Would having a picture-perfect home solve all my problems? Would having rock-solid abs make me happier? 

I want things to be put together and I have a heavy guilt complex when they aren't just so. I always feel like there's a million pressing things that I should be doing. No one else is forcing me to do check off this giant to-do list; it's a list of my own creation and it's something I hold myself to far too much. 

Part of me being present this year, means letting myself not obsess over all the things I should be doing. 

Recently my family asked me to come up to the cabin on Whidbey Island. It was so last minute and I knew that there was a million things I should be, could be doing instead. But I decided that the list of "shoulds" getting done were not going to make me happier come Sunday evening, so I went. And it was perfect, relaxing and enjoyable. 



Are there things in your life-- a list of shoulds and shouldn't dos -- that you let get to you? I know all of us are busy-- too busy-- and if you're like me, maybe you revel a little bit in the fact that you're busy and you have so much you should be doing and you have so much that you can get done. I confess that busyness, my list of shoulds, can become my identity, and I take pride that I am the responsible one that gets that list done. And when I write this all out, I release how sad it all sounds. That this can be my hamster wheel of a life. 

It doesn't need to be like this for me, and maybe it doesn't need to be this way for you. Maybe I don't need to live in the world of what I should or shouldn't do. I believe that God gave us a life and a life to live fully. Yes, there are responsibilities, but I can't live my life where I feel beholden to my invisible list. 

As a part of being present, I'm battling the shoulds and hoping that this time will be the year I win. 

Am I alone in this? Or do you also feel stuck in an endless spiral of things you should do? 

xo, erika



1/8/14

gluten-free chocolate truffles

Hello wonderful rouge and whimsy readers!

My name is Meghan, and I write over at eat.live.make  all about living a creative, simple and healthy life. You can follow along for more awesome recipes and tutorials on facebook//pinterest//instagram and my blog! Sweet Erika is kind enough to let me pop in today and share this delicious recipe with you all.

My mom made these truffles for me for Christmas and I MAY have eaten them all without anyone's help! They have chickpeas in them, so they are healthy, right? Not to mention that they are totally gluten free AND vegan! For those of you who aren't vegan, feel free to substitute the chocolate for any melting chocolate you would normally use. Bring a batch of these to your next party and you'll be everyone's new best friend.. I know you'd be mine:).

Ingredients:
  • One 15 oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • ¼ c cocoa powder
  • ¼ c honey, or to taste (substitute agave or maple syrup for strict vegan)
  • ½ c peanut butter (I used natural)
  • 1 t gluten free vanilla
  • About 16 oz. gluten free & vegan (I used enjoy life brand) chocolate chips for dipping
  • Options sprinkles or other decorations, if desired

Directions: 
  1. Combine the chickpeas, cocoa powder, honey, peanut butter, and vanilla in your food processor.
  2. Process until a dough consistency forms, stopping to scrape down the sides, as needed.
  3. Transfer cookie dough to a bowl or storage container. At this point, you can refrigerate the dough for a bit before making the truffles.
  4. Take about 1 tablespoon of dough and roll into a ball. Repeat with the remaining dough and peanut butter cups.
  5. Refrigerate the undipped truffles for at least 30 minutes or so.
  6. If using, melt the chocolate as per package instructions, dip each truffle, and place on wax paper to cool, adding sprinkles or other decorations before chocolate is set.
  7. Once chocolate is set, store truffles in the refrigerator.

( this recipe has been adapted from the original recipe found on Cupcakes and Kale Chips)

--
ok how delicious do those look? Meghan is just about the sweetest and a talented photographer-- I highly suggest checking out her online space

xo, erika

1/7/14

champagne mojitos + a virtual bridal shower


One thing I've learned recently is that friendship can come from all places-- even the internet. I became friends with Julie two years ago and now I count her as a dear friend-- someone who can listen to my gripes about owning a small business and someone who will always appreciate a photo of my dog.

Julie is getting married this spring and while I can't throw her a bridal shower in my living room, I can throw her one online. And if I was hosting a shower for her, I know I would have to make the lady a mixed drink.

Julie loves mojitos, but I figure because we're at a shower, we should make it just a little fancier-- and add champagne.


champagne mojitos
(recipe for two, you can easily increase this for more people!)
3 limes, juiced
1 large bunch of mint leaves
1/2 grapefruit, juiced
2 shots of rum
1 cup of champagne
2 tsp of sugar

J + J for Julie & Jordan :)



directions:
- Tear mint leaves into small pieces. 
- Add mint juice, grapefruit juice, sugar, mint leaves to jar and muddle with the backside of a spoon to mix all the flavors 
- pour in rum, stir and continue to muddle
- top with cup of champagne
- divide contents equally between two glasses and garnish with lime wedges. 

enjoy!

congratulations Julie! I am so happy for you :)


go check out the rest of the bridal shower hosts!
 
Leonora of Yellow Heart Art
Illene of Much Love Illy
Regina of Acute Designs
xo, erika

1/6/14

on repeat


Currently on repeat:

- this thrifted sweater and my Minnetonka moccasins. If possible, I'd wear some combination of the sweater and the shoes every day.

- brussel sprouts. I can't believe I once was afraid to cook these little guys. I love them roasted and I've had them in some form every week for awhile now.

- the oh hello's. I was introduced to them by a blog post on Wild & Precious and instantly went and bought the album. Think of it as a Lumineers meets Mumford kind of group.

- dark chocolate. I'm thinking of it as a way to balance the sprouts. I got a ton for Christmas and I'm slowly working through it all (and enjoying every moment!)

- reading. I can't wait to share some of my favorite reads from the month! I'm currently reading "The Goldfinch." Jury is out on whether I like it. (I'm only a third of the way through and it's quite a beast of a book.)

what's currently on rotation for you?

xo, erika

wear:
sweater: thrifted
top: Nordstrom -- few years old
scarf: H&M (Christmas gift!)
jeans: Gap
moccasins: Minnetonka

1/5/14

the hair necessities

Quick confession: The title of this post-- the hair necessities-- is totally an on-purpose play on "The Jungle Book" song "The Bare Necessities." I'm humming to it right now... and if it's now stuck in your head, sorry. ;)

When I was little, I didn't like my hair. Kids can be cruel-- especially to anyone different-- and my red hair made me different. I wanted black hair or brown hair, honestly. It wasn't until college that I really appreciated the color and now my hair is probably my favorite feature. I'm not too fancy when it comes to taking care of my hair, but I do have a routine of products that I use to tame the mane. 



Let me explain one quick thing. I do not wash my hair every day, and most often I try to go every two days. Before you tell me how gross that is, for one thing, I'm lazy and this saves me a TON of time. Also, I've heard from so many people that washing your hair daily is really not good for it. It takes time to train your hair to be able to go without a daily wash, but if you can hack the few greaseball days getting there, it is worth it. Promise.

1. Aveda style prep smoother. This is the only fancy hair product I own, but I swear by it. It's non-greasy, light-weight but keeps my hair smooth and easier to style. I'm hooked.

2. Ceramic Tools flat iron It's not the fanciest, priciest flat iron, but it's a ceramic one that works really well for me (my hair is slightly wavy) and for the price, ($21 on Amazon!), it cannot be beat.

3. HANAair blow dryer. I've never been a fancy-pants blowdryer person. A lot of time I'm running late and don't have time to blow dry my entire mane, but I was asked to review this one by the fine folk at Misikko and I'm impressed. Turns out nice blow dryers make a difference. This one is labeled as the best professional blow dyer, and it honestly wins its title: it makes my hair silkier, my hair style last longer and my hair is dryer, faster.

4. Tresemme Tres Two Extra Hold Hairspray Sometimes you need the hairs to hold. This spray is awesome but it doesn't make your hair too helmet-like.

5. dry shampoo by Sauve. I've tried a few dry shampoos but this cheapo one by Sauve wins. It smells delish and works well. I spray it on my roots after I work out during lunch. I cannot love on this product more.

5. baby powder. So here's the real secret behind how I don't wash my hair daily. I put in baby powder in my hair, concentrating on my bangs and roots and crown of my head, before bed. I like the lavender baby powder so it doesn't smell too baby. (The husband appreciates that.)

6. Suave rosemary mint shampoo and conditioner. There's a certain high-end brand (ahem Aveda) that makes this awesome rosemary mint shampoo that I cannot justify buying. Luckily there's this low-end brand that sells something practically identical for a fraction of the price. woot.

Do you have any favorite hair products? And have I convinced you to stop washing your hair?

xo, erika

(some affiliate links used.)

1/2/14

2014




I struggled with writing this post.
I read so many good 2014 posts and so many good words that people chose.
And I thought. I prayed. And I came up with a lot of good words.

But that is exactly the problem. I am a take-on-too-much, do-all-the-good-things kind of person.

When I look back over 2013, it was a good year and it was a full year but I don't know that I fully lived or enjoyed all of it.

When I was with friends, I confess to thinking about the things I need to do for the shop, or my home, and when I'm working on the shop, I am thinking about the other things I could be doing. Simply put, I am rarely good at being content in the moment -- present with others or the situation.

This year I want to be present before God, so I can focus on Him, His calling and His plan for me.

I want to be present with others, to listen and step into my relationships more fully.

Wherever I am -- at my day job, sewing late at night, or sitting on the couch with the husband watching SNL reruns, I want to be present.

I don't want to set up a bunch of little goals -- although I'm tempted to! -- I just want to focus on this one thing and pray that life will flow from that.

Do you have a word? Or goals?

xo, erika
linking up to the "make 2014 count" linkup.
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