4/29/14

an outfit with "soccer pants"







I've been eying these pants for awhile. Some places call them soft pants, or silky pants or warmup pants My husband calls them soccer pants because they remind him of the zippered pants he wore before practice.

I call them comfy pants. I actually bought them right before going to Uganda -- I wanted something other than leggings to wear on the plane and decided that a pair of these were perfect. I bought them at Nordstrom Rack but I've seen them everywhere. Yes, they're loose and casual, but you can dress them up with flats or heels (or do what I did on the plane to home from Uganda -- pair them unwashed dirty feet in flipflops and three-day, greasy hair). It's up to you, really.

wear:
jacket: Nordstrom (similar)
tee: Everlane
pants: Nordstrom Rack (similar -- on sale!)
flats: Target

4/23/14

thoughts on failure




Here's the thing. No one likes to fail.

And I really don't like to fail.

I'm sure it's a product of my type-A, first-child syndrome. It's also due to to the fact that I am prone to giving up too easy when I feel like I'm not great at something.

Quick story: In first grade, we began doing math. One day, we were learning about money and we had cardboard punch-out dimes, nickels and pennies. I hated these serrated little discs because I did not know how to make 85 cents with just dimes and nickels or how to make 50 cents and then give change in just dimes.

I decided then and there that I hated math.

My reason was simple: I was a failure at it. Time to give up. Unforunately, to this day, I still carry the weight of that decision I made over 20 years ago. I struggle with doing any sort of accounting for my little shop simply because I have told myself that I am a failure at math and therefore, I should just give up. Let those receipts pile up until tax season when I'm forced to do something.

It's not just math. Lately I feel like a failure. Work has been hard and to be honest, I have no idea what I'm doing. I am tempted to check out and cash out as if I'm six again -- to put my head on the desk and declare myself done.

I tell others to forge through on challenges but when it comes to my own life, I'm pretty terrible at following my own advice. But aren't we all bad at following through with what we tell others?

If you were struggling right now, I would tell you: chin up. It's hard -- it feels like fire, it feels like an uphill battle wearing lead shoes and carrying a slippery load you cannot grip. But, I believe a fire is refining. The challenge is defining you and making you stronger. At the top of the hill, after the ashes cool, you will be you, but only better. If you need help carrying the load, ask for it. If you need a breather on the side of the hill, take it. But don't give up. Don't drop what you're carrying and turn around. The challenge will be worth it, I would tell you.

So now the only issue is taking those words I would speak to others, and believing them myself.

What are your thoughts on failure and struggles?



4/22/14

what i wore in wind + rain


Oh spring weather. Just when I think you're balmy and sweet, you come roaring in with wind and rain, and I'm forced to drag out the sweater I just packed away. When will you make up your mind, dear sweet fickle spring? It's about time for consistency.


dress: made by me
sweater: thrifted

boots: dsw
necklace: c/o l'avenir design

4/21/14

dear husband


Dear husband,

Thank you for making me laugh. Thanks for texting me weird things in the middle of the day, like when you texted me last week to ask me whether I would give up our future childrens' naming rights for a million dollars. Thanks for giving household items ridiculous names, like Lucas or George, even when I roll my eyes at you.

Thank you for being the one to jump up and offer to get my ice cream -- drive to the store, even.

Thank you for knowing when to be silent, when I've had a rough day and when to offer advice. Thank you for challenging me, often, when you know that what I am doing isn't healthy.

Thank you for holding my hand, thank you for praying for me, with me, when things are so good and when things are so bad.

Thank you bringing me cups of tea when I stay up late sewing -- for not questioning my blog, my small business or the stress it brings me.

Thank you for your patience with my grand ideas.

Thank you for cooking dinner and for never questioning why we need to eat kale or read the back of food labels to make sure it doesn't have high-fructose corn syrup.

Thank you for working so hard and for loving so well. Thank you for insulating the basement walls, for teaching yourself how to fix plumbing and for taking the dog for a walk when it's pouring rain and I'm running late for work, again.

And thank you so much, for not being upset when in a typical fashion, I invited you to your own surprise birthday party. Thank you for just taking it in stride and going right along with it. You are the best and there's no one else I would rather share a birthday with.

xo, erika

4/17/14

I (still) read blogs



Just a few posts I read + loved this week. Swing by and read through them-- leave a comment or two-- I know they'll appreciate it.

... clockwise from top left

>> a post from haley at the tiny twig which is a lot like the post I wrote yesterday

>> a right-on-the-mark post on inner beauty from latonya yvette

>> a post from annapolis & company about designing your home or rental to fit you

>> a post about why we need beautiful things in this world-- like a cake topper -- from oh hello love

other things I've stumbled across and loved:

>> cats + vulnerability by shauna niequist

>> strawberry lavender scone recipe by m loves m

>> should vs. must by wit and delight

read anything good lately? please share.

also, happy good friday. and happy weekend + easter. I am hosting easter dinner, which makes me feel like a grown-up. the husband kindly reminded me that, unforunately, although I don't often feel grown-up, my age and my house do, in fact, make me kind of a grown-up.

xo, erika


4/16/14

why i (still) blog


Someone asked me the other day how long I had been blogging and I realized that it's been over four years, much longer than I realized.

Of course I've only been over here at rouge + whimsy for three-ish years. I started blogging at another blog just about the husband and I. Then it transitioned and I changed the name and here I am... still blogging.

I started the blog because back then I had a tough job. I was working weird hours -- 4 p.m. to 2 am. -- I was newly married and I was lonely. I needed something to fill my time while my husband and friends were at work and I was at home in a tiny apartment. So I started the blog. Started sewing. And here I am, today.

Today I have a good day job with "normal" hours and my handmade shop keeps me as busy as ever. But I keep blogging. And the thing is, unlike the other two things, blogging hasn't gotten necessarily better for me. I feel like I used to have a lot more engagement here on this space -- more comments, more interaction. Now I feel like people are more apt to comment or tap a heart on instagram. I mean, I get it -- we're busy and reading blogs and commenting is a lot more effort than scrolling through pretty images on ig.

So why do I blog? With less comments? Less engagement? Truth be told, I do it because I like it. I know this is not how I am going to get famous, how I am going to make money, or get a book deal or anything. But while I was in Uganda and writing there, I was reminded that a big part of me is a writer. I love to write, I love to share -- even if it's only just for me. A bit part of it is processing. I work through things while I type and there's a part of me that hopes some of the words I write help others work through things-- even if it's just working out what to make for dinner or what to wear the next day.

Blog posts still run through my head -- I have yet to run out of things to say. I'm typing this now at 10:30 at night. I turned off my light, put away the computer but lay awake, because this exact blog post (and two others) were rolling around in my head. They needed to be written out. I needed to blog.

Do you blog? If so, why?

no matter your reason, write on.

xo, erika


4/15/14

a toilet in my yard (basement remodeling update)

When the husband and I bought our little house in Seattle, one of the thing we were excited about was the small, unfinished basement.

Someday, we told ourselves, we would turn into something great.

That someday has come. We've owned our home for four years and we've tackled many of the other projects it needed (painting, landscaping, among other things.) This winter we had a series of unfortunate events that led us to decide that the plumbing really needed some attention. (The plumbing and electrical in the house had never been updated.) While we were in the midst of updating the plumbing, we decided to tackle the electrical too; the walls are ripped up, might as well do it all! So now we're on a full adventure to finishing our basement.

The full adventure has meant some unforeseen costs (hello sewer line broken in three places) and some major disruption (oh hey, toilet in the backyard) but we're finally at the point where I can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel. After buying insulation and ducting, the husband and I are going to actually get to pick out fun stuff-- like paint colors and flooring and lighting.


the basement before. so scary.

some framing in!

we're roughing it ;)

 sheetrock getting put up!

I have a few ideas of what I want our basement to look like. I need to get the buy-in from the husband about some things (he has very strong opinions about rugs), but otherwise I'm thinking slate blue with white and grays and some rustic touches.


1. I love the mix of blue and white cabinets. We're not springing for marble countertops though...

2. I love this rug from West Elm. (Husband, what do you think?)

3. Pendant night from Ikea

4. Inspiration from A Beautiful Mess for creating a beautiful laundry room

5. I want to do some sort of paneled wall, like is shown here.

you can see more of my ideas on my Zillow Digs board.

xo, erika

4/14/14

fish tacos and lime slaw


It's not quite summer, but after a winter of stews and roasted veggies, I am ready for some summer food.

For two days, Seattle was fully on team spring with balmy temps and cloudless skies. Now we're back to typical, moody April weather but during those few perfect days, I decided to eat like it was summer.

One of my favorite summer meals? Fish tacos with a light, lime slaw. (And I know limes are really pricey right now, but I couldn't resist.)

Fish tacos:
1-2 lbs of white fish (serving size is about 6 oz per person)
1/2 head of cabbage shredded or 1/2 bag of pre-shredded coleslaw mix
1 lime
1/4 cup of plain yogurt
1 tsp cumin
salt and peper to taste
handful of cilantro leaves, chopped
corn tacos, heated
optional toppings: avocado, hot sauce

Rub white fish with cumin and barbecue or pan cook. (Nervous about cooking fish? This article is helpful.)
Meanwhile, whisk together juice of one lime, yogurt.
Toss with cabbage and cilantro.
Top each corn taco with fish, slaw, and avocado and hot sauce.


Easy, delicious, almost summer meal. June, you're coming soon, right?

xo, erika


4/10/14

there are good things and great things


I am an ideas person. A big ideas person. As a child, I was full of big ideas and those around me were often forced into being a part of them. My brothers were subject to dress-up and full-on theater productions.

The thing is my ideas are often directionless. I get so excited about so many different things and quite honestly, I feel like I could wear so many different hats. I have ideas about my shop. About my blog. About a book I want to write, about a store I could open. There are so many things out there and sometimes I flounder at picking just one -- or following through on just one thing.

Is this just me? Maybe I am a part of today's generation that goes from job to job-- unable to stay in one place. Directionless, or rather, full of direction, but in every which way.

Once upon a time, someone wise told me -- and I can't remember who it was -- that there are many good things, but there are only a few great things. Pursue the great things, they told me.

I am often caught up in all the good things. All the events I could go to, the places I could volunteer, the ideas I could pursue. These are good things, there's no denying that. But what are the great things? And once I know those great things, how can I say yes to those?

Right now I am not sure what the great things are for me. I know, quite simply, that my faith is a great thing, my family and friends are great things, but other than that-- when I look at my future -- I am not sure what great could be, yet.


xo, erika




4/8/14

soba noodles with avocado, snap peas and peanut-sesame dressing



I was trolling Pinterest the other day, and for whatever reason, I saw numerous recipes centered around soba noodles. They sounded good so I pinned a few and next time I was at the Asian grocery store, I picked up a package.

Soba noodles are buckwheat noodles. Buckwheat is not actually related to wheat so buckwheat noodles are usually gluten free. They also higher in protein than other grains.

Also, soba noodles are delicious. The husband loves them -- I love them -- and so we've cooked with them three times in the last two weeks.

Only downside is they can be a bit pricey if you don't get them at an Asian grocery store. You may find a better deal for them online, too. I just know that my local grocery store offered them for around $5. Yikes.

They are delicious cold or warm and have a slightly nutty flavor so they don't need a ton seasoning. I love them with a peanut or sesame-based sauce and fresh veggies.

soba noodles with avocado, snap peas and sesame-peanut dressing
2 bunches of soba noodles (an 8-oz package usually comes with 4 separate bunches)
dime size piece of fresh ginger, grated.
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 avocado
2 cups of snap peas, ends cut
3 carrots, peeled and diced
cilantro - optional for garnish
sesame seeds - optional for garnish

Cook noodles according to package directions. Rinse with cold water and toss with a tiny bit of oil if you don't want them to stick together. Be careful not to overcook the noodles as they can get gummy.

Sautee garlic cloves and ginger for a minute on medium heat in cooking oil (I use peanut here). Add carrots and saute for about five minutes, to soften. Toss in snap peas and continue to cook until snap peas are soft and carrots are fork tender but not mushy. (The veggies are best with some crunch to them.)

sesame-peanut dressing
1/3 cup natural peanut butter
2 tbs low sodium soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
juice from half a lime
salt, pepper to taste

combine ingredients and whisk until blended.

Remove veggies from heat, toss with noodles. Add in diced avocado. Toss with dressing and top with sesame seeds and cilantro and additional lime juice and red pepper flakes, if desired.





yum.

xo, erika







4/7/14

sometimes edgy



 

I don't think that I could ever pin down my style. I feel like with each outfit I put on, I have a new style. One day I'm preppy Erika, another day I'm a little more boho. Some days I wish I was more edgy, other days I think it would be great to be more girly.

I don't know that you have to stick to one style-- one certain type of clothing. You can be edgy or classic or both.

Wear what you feel like today. And, ttoday, this jacket makes me feel a little bit wild. Tomorrow, I'll likely be more subdued.


wear:
jacket, purse: nordstrom rack
jeans: Gap
booties: DSW (similar)
knuckle rings: GlamRocks Designs

4/3/14

things I love right now


Some days I hate the internet and apps and want to live in a cabin in the woods -- or some commune with my family and friends and just forget that we have all these tech devices. Even though my real-life job and my handmade job are both internet-centric, sometimes I just get tired of it. 

Then, sometimes, I realize how much cool stuff is out there on the internet. People are creative and they make awesome sites, write powerful words and I get sucked back into the internet once again.

here are some of my favorite sites + articles currently.

gel polish diys // I got a gel manicure for the first time maybe two years ago and it was life.changing because I am the girl who cannot for the life of her keep her nails painted longer than 5 seconds. I chip them way too easily but I have a really hard time paying for a manicure ever (I've only had my nails done like three times and the first time was two years ago) so the fact that there are gel top coats you CAN BUY for under $10 is pretty amazing to me. Cara told me about this first but this diy on beautiful mess is helpful. (wow, that was a long ramble about nail polish...)

maptia // I have a coworker who is obsessed with this travel blog site and for good reason -- it's gorgeous. Photo-driven, short posts about travels. Go here and realize what a beautiful, amazing world we live in.

noisetrade // I love, love, love finding out new music and this is my secret weapon. Artists share their albums here for a suggested donation and for the price of a coffee, you can download some incredible music.

pocket app // my bloghope friends told me about this. I am still (and always will be) a rapid blog/news article reader and this app allows you to save stuff you find to read later, offline. Incredible.

how to love a blogger // I am a blogger. I am friends with bloggers and I loved this post from on babies don't keep.

canva // I have photoshop elements but this online application makes design super easy with all their templates and whatnot. It's free. If you need an invite, holler. I have a few left.

another thing I love right now? That it's almost the weekend. And I do have to work (handmade shop work) but I am also going on a hike and I am really looking forward to it.

xo, erika

4/1/14

things the husband says


I love my husband. Honestly, I don't deserve him because a lot of times I'm a whole lotta crazy and he's the one keeping me sane. (Thank you, honey.) One of the best things about the husband is that he is hilarious and most of the time he doesn't even mean to be. Over the past month or two, I've jotted down some of our recent conversations that made me giggle most: 

sitting on the couch together looking at an instagram photo of our dog nesby...
husband: nesby is famous
me: why?
husband: everyone just likes him.

while watching TV:
husband: why did she dye just the tips of her hair? 
me: it's called ombre 
husband: excuse me? hombre?

while I was getting dressed the other morning...
husband: those are tights!
me: yes.
husband: look at me knowing things!

while watching TV out of the blue...
husband: we need to come up with a secret handshake.
me: now?
husband: yes.

the husband switching between games during March Madness: 

husband: it takes a real skilled veteran to work the remote like this. And text your friends. And be on twitter.

while (unknowingly) eating veggie chips:
husband: "i know why i don't like these! they taste like carrots! they're carrots disguised as chips!"

husband comes up stairs to where I'm sewing... me: hi. did you need something?
husband: i just came to check on you
me: oh, I haven't been up here that long.
husband: I know, but you just work so hard and I wanted to make sure you weren't sewing yourself to the wall.
me: huh?
husband: you know, didn't mozart or van Gogh cut off their ear? You're the creative type, so I just like to check on you.
me: uhhhh
husband: I just want to make sure you're don't feel alone.
me: um, thanks?

I'm sure he will say more things that make me giggle in the near future. Check back in for future installments of #thingsthehusbandsays.


xo, erika


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