Homemade Soap DIY

July 28, 2015

I’ve been on a soap-making kick you guys! And it’s so fun and easy and I feel like I’ve made enough soap to last me for a few years. I can’t stop.

I’m always so intrigued when I see soap stands at the farmer’s markets. Smelling ALL the soaps. Holding up the line like no one’s business. So I figured I should start making some of my own. I went online, bought the ingredients and started. It’s so much easier than I thought it would be. There are a few different ways to make soap, but the method I used is super simple and quick.

The basic things you’ll need to make homemade soap is:
A soap mold. I used this one.
A soap base. I used shea butter and goat’s milk.

After those two things, anything else you use is up to you!


To melt the soap mold, you can either create a double boiler on the oven or melt it in the microwave. If you use the microwave, make sure to heat it in 30 second intervals and stir the mixture in between.

Once you’ve melted your mold, let it cool for a few minutes, then mix the extras that you want! I made Shea Butter & Lavender, Lemon & Grapefruit, Vanilla Latte and Lemon Chia Seed. Here’s what I added to make each flavor:

Shea Butter & Lavender: about 10-15 drops of lavender essential oil and 1 teaspoon dried lavender flowers.

Lemon & Grapefruit: 10 drops of lemon essential oil and 10 drops of grapefruit oil.

Lemon Chia Seed: 10-15 drops of lemon essential oil and 1 teaspoon of chia seeds.

Vanilla Latte: 10-15 drops of vanilla essential oil and 1 tablespoon of coffee grounds

soap_lemonchia soap_LemonGrapefruit soap_packaging

For the packaging, I had some leftover watercolor scraps that I cut into strips and I secured it to the back with washi tape. Super easy! I think tying fun fabric around the soap would be really cute as well. Or using twine and creating a bow. The options are endless really.

I hope that you try making some soap and have as much fun as I’m having! I’m sure I’ll be back soon with more concoctions. Because I just. can’t. stop.

xo, e

Running Motivation

July 22, 2015

I am on the running struggle bus so hard lately guys. I feel like I’m scrapping the barrel of running motivation these day. Last week, I actually said to Sam “I’m so mad at myself for signing up for the marathon.” Yeah, the struggle is REAL over here. I have endless “excuses” that I make to skip my runs each day. It’s hot out. I’m bored of my usual running route. I have so many other things I NEED to do. I’ve made all the excuses since starting my training back in June. But I’ve gotten to a point where I know I need to stop, because I know it’s good for me, I know that I will be so happy once I’m actually running the marathon and I know I can do it.

I’ve realized something that would really help me to stay motivated. Writing a post each week about my progress! You see, when there is something that I’m accountable for that I know other people have access to, I am so much more motivated to complete each milestone. If I commit to writing about my running and healthy eating habits on Sweet Endeavors, I’ll be much more likely to actually do it in real life. Make sense? I think so! Now, I know not everyone out there will be really into running/workout/healthy eating type posts. But I have a good feeling that a lot of people are. I mean, 45,000 people run the Chicago Marathon. I can’t be the only one struggling to find motivation. (tell me I’m not the only one!!)

There are currently 81 days until the Chicago Marathon. I’m almost halfway through my training and if I were to estimate, I think I’ve stuck to 65% of my training schedule. Not great. But I’m here to make it better!

Here is what this week’s runs look like:

running schedule_7.21Saturday is going to be a doozy. But I’m really excited to have a plan to come back here next week and tell you all about it. So far this week has been good. I rested SO well on Monday ;) and ran not 3, but 3.5 miles on Tuesday. Horray for little victories!

Here are some little things that are motivating me this week. Not matter how silly or small, they still help!

Workout_7.21How cute are those shorts?! You can find them here. I just ordered them, and cannot wait to run in them.

Larabars have been saving me lately. I feel like I always get hungry around 3 p.m. and having these at my desk has been a lifesaver. I know this isn’t specifically “running” related, but eating well throughout the day and drinking lots of water makes SUCH a difference when I go on my runs in the evening. The Peanut Butter Cookie flavor is unreal and it’s made only with dates and peanuts. Magic.

YouTube workout videos are my JAM. It’s like having a free personal trainer come to your home. Lately I’ve been loving this 10 minute ab routine. I’ll do this a few times a week, either after my run, or on my cross training day.

I hope this motivates some of you to get up and stick to your workout plan. What do you do to motivate yourselves on days when you realllyyy don’t want to workout?

xo, E


Austin Guide

July 11, 2015

Austin Guide

I’m so excited to share my first city guide with you! AUSTIN was so, so cool. The vibes of the city were indie meets country meets eccentric meets AMAZING. If that makes any sense. The city was full of one-of-a-kind, local cafes, restaurants and shops. I barely saw any chain stores or Starbucks the entire time we were there, which is such a treat. I have SO much goodies to tell you guys about. So, let’s get to it!

EAT_Austin2Torchy’s TacosSam’s favorite food we had in ATX. Delicious tacos served from a food truck. I recommend the fried avocado taco and the queso. GET the queso! It has chunks of avocado in it. You won’t regret it.

Banger’s Sausage: Located on Rainey street and has over 100 beers on tap. The sausages are all made in-house and the waiters really know their stuff about beer. The patio area is huge and Texas-cool with live music. Also, you can get a free tattoo of their logo, so there’s that!

Amy’s Ice Cream: Would you judge me if I told you that we had Amy’s THREE times in the six days we were there? Because we did. And I don’t regret a single bite. Local Austin ice cream with a number of locations throughout the city. Super fun and cool. Get the Mexican vanilla.

Hopdoddy: Craft beer and burger heaven. The line will be long, but it’s so worth it. Get the parmesan truffle fries (pictured above).

Lick Ice Cream: Really unique flavors like goat cheese, thyme & honey and roasted beets & fresh mint.

Burro: Gourmet grilled cheese truck located on South Congress. Get a sandwich, sit on the picnic tables and people watch.

Freedman’s: Yummy BBQ without a wait (unlike Franklin’s). The restaurant is very Texas-y and they have a lot of whiskeys at the bar.

Jalopy: Colorful food truck serving wraps on homemade bread. Lots of gluten free and vegetarian options. This is a good place to go if you are in the mood for something a little less “Texas.”

Barton Springs Pool: Huge natural pools of water with lots of grassy areas to lay with a blanket and book. Equipped with a diving board and good people watching.

SoCo First Thursday: If you’re lucky enough to be in Austin during the first Thursday of the month, visit South Congress from 7 p.m. to midnight. The street is filled with local artists, musicians and the stores stay open late with major discounts.

Paddle board & kayak:  Enjoy Lady Bird Lake on a board or kayak. Renting is affordable and it’s the perfect way to see the city.

Alamo Draft House: The coolest movie theater there ever was. Order beer and delicious food (not just your standard popcorn and candy). Waiters come into the theater to take your order. A great option if you want to escape the heat.

Mount Bonnell: Beautiful, easy hike with amazing views of both downtown and the lake. Also, you can see all the beautiful homes along the lake where a lot of famous people apparently live. Ideal fresh air/easy workout activity!

Bats on Congress Bridge: The world’s largest urban bat colony resides underneath Congress Bridge, and every evening at dusk (between April and October), hundreds of people gather to see the bats fly from under the bridge. We heard the ideal time to see the bats is in August.

Austin Greeting Sign: So this isn’t really a “thing to do”, rather a cool thing to take a photo of! If you’re interested in being the ultimate tourists (like we were) it’s located on 1st and Annie Street.

Shop_AustinTake Heart: This store is a breath of fresh air. Shop for modern, minimalist ceramics, housewares and cards. It’s where we found our beloved ceramic horseshoe.

Charm School Vintage: The Mecca for vintage. So many amazing pieces from dresses, to cowboy boots to jewelry. Definitely go.

The Gypsy Wagon: Located on South Congress. This shop is filled with cute accessories for your home, clothing and cards. So bright and cheery.

Uncommon Objects: So many trinkets and treasures to be found in Uncommon Objects. This store is huge and jam-packed with vintage. But it’s color coordinated and set up in a way that’s not overwhelming considering the amount of goodies to search through.

Stag: Super hip men’s clothing store.

Parts + Labor: This store is filled with items from local Austin artists. From cards to clothing and jewelry.

Drink_AustinpsdMidnight Cowboy: Super hidden speakeasy on 6th Street. You must make a reservation beforehand. The atmosphere is really cool, and the cocktails are funky and strong. Some of the drinks are made table-side.

Toms Cafe: Yes, Toms as in the shoes. Super strange, I know, but SO GOOD. the back yard/patio is ideal. Filled with trees and painted benches and ping pong tables. Pair all that with an espresso drinks, and you have the perfect afternoon.

Easy Tiger: Bake shop AND beer garden. I recommend it for morning and night. The beer garden is lit with overhead fairy lights and there’s a stream that runs along the side the restaurant. So perfect.

Cenote: Definitely where the locals go for good coffee and food. This would be a perfect place to camp out with a book or your computer for a few hours.

Jo’s Hot Coffee: Grab a delicious coffee (I recommend the Belgian Bomber) and take a photo of the iconic “I love you so much” wall. Cool story – this wasn’t originally painted on the wall, but the owner and his girlfriend got into a fight, and the girlfriend spray painted the wall with the warm words to say sorry. So cute!

Craft Pride: Coolest bar on Rainey Street (we went twice within two days!)  The tap list seems never-ending and the beers are listed in a helpful, organized chart on the wall. They also have a pizza truck on the back patio (Detroit style pizza, which is apparently a thing?)

Spider House: Super cool, hipstery bar/coffee shop. The outside patio is funky, eccentric and hosts a tattoo parlor in the back. Live music at night.

So there you have it! I hope this list is helpful for anyone who is visiting Austin soon! Happy travels, ya’ll!

xo, Erica


austin, texas

July 6, 2015



Our trip to Austin was so, so great. I think it was different than Sam and I expected, but in some ways it was even better. I took my camera everywhere with me and it felt really fun to be a tourist. Taking photos and not caring what people thought! Sometimes I get so shy about taking photos in Chi. I don’t really know why. I’m working on it.

I’m planning to do a complete guide to Austin. We saw and did (and ate!) so much! We were there for 6 full days and jam-packed everything we possibly could into those days. I have so much to share and advice to give to folks wanting to travel down south to this amazing city. I’m telling you, it’s really cool! I have a lot of photos and information to sift through before I can show you my complete guide, but for now, I’d thought I share some of my favorite images from the trip.













Come back in a few days for my complete Austin guide. Complete with things to see, best places to eat, drink and shop.

xo, e

the best way to kill time

June 29, 2015

Sam and I are on our way to Austin today! We are so so excited to explore a new city. To spend some time in the sunshine, eating all the barbecue we can get our hands on and taking some time to enjoy a week off from life’s responsibilities.

We really need this.

Sam is a crazy person when it comes to traveling (i love you, samu). And I feel like I can say this, because I am the keeper of time, but he gets really stressed about having enough time at the airport. This results in us having about three hours waiting at our terminal, which is not all bad when you have some good books and music to listen to.

I thought that for this trip that I would also gather some links that I find interesting to read. And I thought I should share them with you. Sharing is caring.

11 things to remember when you think you’re not good enough

14 perfect French phrases we need in English

How to ease your fear of flying

The best Instagram accounts to follow here and here

The best ice cream spots in every state

I love these photos from Balboa

Moscow Mule is my favorite drink!

The hilarious way to recognize an artist’s painting

This furniture hack looks so cool. Be sure to watch the video!

How beautiful is this DIY marbled pitcher? Answer = SO COOL

I hope these help you kill some time! I’ll be back soon with some Austin pictures soon!

Catch ya on the flip side