Archives: April 2014

  • Wednesday, April 30, 2014

    We're certainly ready to move on from April shower to May flowers! But before we enter the realm of all things May, we thought we'd close out April by reflecting on the past month. In case you missed anything, here are some of our favorite posts and moments from the month of April.

    1. We prepared for Mother's Day with a heartfelt video that discusses the definition of motherhood. The video features our founder, Mai and her daughter, Amelie, as well as Amber Borycki and Amanda Crew of Granny Girls, and our Marketing Copywriter, Julia and her mother, Susie. Take a look at the video and contribute to our Mother's Day album if you haven't already!

    2. Want to know which blogs are our favorites? We revealed all in this post!

    3. We launched our new Wedding Advice series this month! So far, we have three truly informative posts for you, each written by our Marketing Coordinator, Sam. If you're planning your wedding, these posts are just what you're looking for!

    4. In honor of Earth Day, we compiled some of our favorite DIYs for giving your wine bottles a second life. Test out one of these cute ideas!

    5. We also shared some new writing ideas this month. We devised these silly writing prompts to help unlock creativity, and developed guidelines for writing your very own manifesto. Try your hand at these fun writing exercises as we head into May!

    6. We certainly can't make it through a month without sharing some delicious recipes! We were thrilled to discover these incredible rustic fruit tart recipes, and had so much fun testing out these twists on the classic mimosa. Sunday brunch, anyone?

    7. Our quest for new hairdo ideas continued this past month with a focus on casual updos. Take a look at our favorite tutorials for this casual, polished look!

    8. We began a new blogger styling series this month, kicking things off with Tieka of Selective Potential. View the adorably rustic outfits she came up with using only seven items, and check our Instagram to look back on her posts -- she took over our account one weekend!

    9. We focused on spring cleaning this month (and tackling the closet in particular!). It's never too late to start, so take a look at our helpful post on how to clean out your closet.

    What were your highlights of the month? Let us know in the comments below!

    xo,
    Ruche


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  • Wednesday, April 30, 2014

    One of the most difficult aspects of wedding planning is deciding which vendors to work with to ensure your bridal visions become reality. For those of you struggling with the planning process, our Marketing Coordinator, Sam, is here to help! If you've seen our past two Wedding Advice posts, Registry Recommendations and Your Wedding Website, or have been following along with Sam & Sarah's Wedding Series, you'll know that Sam is currently planning her wedding and has a lot of firsthand experience to share. Read on for her incredible advice on how to choose and work with your vendors.

    When it comes to wedding planning, the vendors you choose is an extremely important decision; they are the team that will make your wedding day dreams come true. When picking these members of your team, you want to make sure that they are reliable, experienced (or, if they're new, that they at least know what they're doing), responsive, in your budget, and pleasant to work with. Here are some of my tips and tricks for finding and working with your wedding team!

    1. Do The Research: Do a lot of research! See what what the pricing is like out there -- what seems, low, high, and standard? Compare packages between vendors to help you see what is available and to determine how much certain services cost. For example, some photographers offer packages based on hours only, whereas some base their packages on hours, number of photos you get, and print credit. Determine which type of package is best for you and then you can compare that to other vendors. Most vendors can supply a PDF or list of packages for you to choose from, so make sure to look over each option per vendor! 

    2. Reach Out: Don't be shy; email any and all vendors that you're interested in! I must have emailed about 10 photographers before I found my photographer, Lindsey of Eyelet Images! I found it helpful to save an "inquiry template" and kind of reuse that when reaching out, since I was pretty much repeating the same information. You don't want to write all your points over and over again from scratch! Here's an example of my template for emailing venues:

    Hi there,
    I just wanted to get more information about your gorgeous venue!
    - Fall 2014 availability (August - October, Saturdays are preferred)
    - Pricing
    - Do you allow other vendors / caterers to be brought in?
    - Max capacity
    - Do you require vendors to have liability insurance?
    - Where are the bathrooms and how many?
    - Do you allow more than one wedding at your site per day?
    - Table/chair rental pricing
    - Are there rooms for the bridal parties to get ready in?
    - Do you have a required end time for the wedding reception?
    Thanks so much and I look forward to hearing back from you!

    I felt it was easiest to ask all the questions that could make or break a venue upfront so that I didn't have to go through an email thread of eight messages before you finding out it wouldn't work with my max capacity!

    Here's my template for photographers too! All of these questions might be helpful to you:

    Hi there,
    I found you via _______ and I love your photography style! I'd love to get more information from you to see if you could potentially shoot my wedding! I have a couple of questions:
    - What is your availability this Fall (2014) (or if you already have your date - put your actual date)
    - What are your prices/packages?
    - What's your engagement shoot cost?
    - Do you shoot in digital or film or both?
    - Do you have a second shooter option?
    - Do you supply a disk with all the high-res JPEG files?
    - What’s your approach to shooting a wedding? (are you into more natural shots or do you like posing?)
    - Do you have liability insurance?
    - How many weddings have you shot?
    - How would you describe your post-processing style? How much do you edit the photos?
    Thanks so much and I look forward to hearing back from you!

    3. Make Sure You Mesh: This one was super important to me! I wanted to make sure that my "dream team" (that's how I refer to my wedding vendors) was comprised of people that I liked and got along with. When my fiance and I first met and interviewed our photographer, I felt like there was an instant connection! It wasn't awkward at all, even though we'd only talked via email until that point. She was so friendly and warm, and we both felt like we'd be extremely happy with her following us around for 10 hours on our wedding day. I've been told the photographer is the most important vendor to get along with, because they are the only ones who will be "in your face" all day long. We had a similar situation with our florist! We found out that she had graduated from the same college as my fiance and me, and she was born and raised in the same city as me! There were so many similarities between us and she was extremely laid back and easy to talk to.

    4. Be Realistic With Your Budget: Be honest and up front about what your budget is for each vendor! If you can only spend $1,000 on flowers, than don't bother continuing to talk to a florist whose minimums are $3,000. If there is a vendor who is a bit over your budget, see if you can negotiate over a few details. When determining you budget, don't forget to take all the fine print costs into consideration. Take note of sales tax, gratuity, service, set up, travel, and don't forget to factor in the tip! Trying to think of every little charge is the best way to stay on top of your costs and avoid going over.

    5. Voice Your Expectations:  Let each of your vendors be aware of what you are expecting from them. My DJ was wonderful in making me think about what I wanted his role to be in the wedding day. Do you want your DJ to just setup the speakers and play music, or do you want him to be the MC and entertainer of the night? I told mine that I essentially want him to run the show based off of our day-of schedule. I want him to set up two sound systems (ceremony and reception), keep the music flowing, and announce when the dancing, cake cutting, and bridal party entrance is happening. Let them know as early as you can, so they can do their best to fulfill your needs, otherwise it's not fair to have expectations for them that they are unaware of.

    I was upfront with my florist and told her what my vision and color scheme are, and then let her know she can pretty much do what she wants. I am not knowledgeable with flowers, so I'd rather let her, the expert, have the creative freedom to do her best work. I essentially told her that I trust her and that I wouldn't be dictating a lot with her. If flowers are something you personally want to have a lot of say in, make that known! And if you're expecting a lot from your florist, don't tell her the day of your ceremony that you expect her to style the venue when she was only planning on setting up the floral arrangements.

    6. Finalize The Contract: Make sure you've looked over the contract multiple times and that you have the final price inclusive of any tax, shipping, travel, service, and gratuity. Be certain of when your deposit and payments are due and how your vendors want their payments, be it via credit card, check, cash, or wire transfer. Also, make sure that if you've made any special negotiations, they are listed on the contract. For example, we got permission from our caterer to bring in our own craft beer (which is typically not allowed) so I had the vendor add that to the special notes section.

    Once we decided on a vendor and signed the contract, we made a copy for ourselves along with a copy of the deposit check. Then I added all the payment dates into my wedding calendar with a week-ahead notice so I wouldn't miss a payment or worry about remembering all those dates.

    7. Be Nice: Just because your vendors will be working for/with you on your wedding day doesn't give you the right to be mean, rude, or overbearing. Your vendors are people too, who might miss an email or text and possibly make a little mistake. Just think, they are in the wedding business and they are dealing with not just your wedding, but possibly 20 others. Be nice to them and if you see a mistake in the contract, kindly point it out and don't assume they're trying to pull one over on you. The kinder you are, the more helpful and receptive they will be to you. Basically, don't be a bridezilla -- there's a reason that brides get a bad reputation!

    8. Keep Them Updated: Any time you have a major change or new decision for your wedding, be sure to alert all the vendors that will be affected by that. When my fiance and I finalized our timeline, I emailed all the vendors so they could plan accordingly for set up and take down times. When I finalize the bridesmaid dress colors, I'll certainly send a photo over to my florist so she can see what the bouquets will be held up against and pick the best color scheme.

    9. Give Them A Timeline: I think this is an extremely important aspect of communicating with your vendors. Your vendors will need to know the flow of the day that you and your fiance have decided upon, along with what time they can arrive at the venue to set up. Don't assume how much time they'll need -- make sure you have it cleared with them that they all have enough time to set up too!

    Keep in mind that your photographer and videographer will need the timeline of the day so that they know when each aspect of the big day will occur. The DJ will need to know this information as well so he can conduct and maintain the timeline you have set. If you designate the first dance to be at 7pm, he needs to know so he can prepare the music and make that announcement. Your florist also needs to know the timeline so she can swap around the flowers if necessary; we are reusing ceremony flowers at the reception and moving the cocktail hour flowers to the reception as well, so she needs to know the timeline to figure out when to begin shifting arrangements around. Lastly, the vendors need to know what time the event should or has to end (also known as the "strike"). Similar to the set up, they need to know how much time they have to take down everything and when the venue wants all the vendors off the property. Again, clear it with them so they have enough time.

    My suggestion for managing this timeline is to create a Google document with the finalized timeline and to share it with all of your vendors. They can access the timeline at any point through the Google Drive, and if you update it, they will see those changes. I'd also print out a few copies for everyone on the wedding day itself.

    10. Tip Well: It may feel like you've already spent a lot of money on your wedding, but tipping is pretty much an expected part of the budget. Prepare your tips a week before the wedding, put them in envelopes with each person's name on the front, and assign handing them out to someone you can trust. If you really had a great experience with one of your vendors, I'd even go as far as writing a nice thank you card. After all, what's a few more thank you cards on top of the hundred that you'll already be writing for the gifts!

    Happy planning,
    ~ Sam, Marketing Coordinator

    Images via Ruffled Blog & Lisa Poggi

    We hope this post will help you find and work with your dream vendors! For more wedding advice (and more from Sam!), take a look at our Registry Recommendations and Wedding Website posts.

    xo,
    Ruche


  • Tuesday, April 29, 2014

    Before the holiday sneaks up on you, make sure to shop our selection of Mother's Day gifts, including these darling Rifle Paper Co. cards! Don't forget to surprise those other special ladies in your life as well -- why not treat your grandmother, mother-in-law, or your best friend's mom who feels like a second mother? Your gift could mean the world to them!

    To find the perfect present for each lovely lady, shop our gift selection here, and take a break today with our heartwarming Mother's Day video.

    xo,
    Ruche


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  • Monday, April 28, 2014

    Sounds of saxophones and improvisational rhythms float through the air as you explore a local jazz festival or enjoy a delightful libation at a downtown jazz club. The Jazz Era is often thought to be one of the most influential periods of both music and culture, and continues to be an art form found in contemporary clubs and record collections. Our latest feature, Bourbon Street, gives a nod to this iconic time.

     Now that days are stretched longer, our nights out on the town are no longer accompanied by heavy coats and tall boots! Instead, we are free to embrace light lace frocks and pretty woven sandals while dancing the night away to the sounds of Miles Davis and Duke Ellington. Bourbon Street evokes all of our favorite eras of jazz with touches of art deco, classic silhouettes, and vintage-inspired patterns. 

    Whether you're exploring the Jazz Quarters of New Orleans, twirling in a embroidered dress to the sounds of a local jazz band, or spending a night in with your favorite record, the styles of our latest feature provide the perfect dose of musical inspiration. 

    xo,
    Ruche


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  • Sunday, April 27, 2014

    Print is free for download over on The Pretty Blog

    We're making it a goal to discover new things and continue learning about the beauty that surrounds us. Brainstorming fresh ideas and seeking out our truest passions is the perfect way to spend some free time. Our mind is a wonderful thing, and we can't wait to see all that can be created when we give it free reign!

    xo,
    Ruche


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  • Saturday, April 26, 2014

    When it comes to preparing a crowd-pleasing dessert or simply satisfying our sweet tooth on a Saturday afternoon, Miette: Recipes from San Francisco’s Most Charming Pastry Shop by Meg Ray and Leslie Jonath is one of our go-to sources for finding the perfect baked treat. Filled with the classic delights that the award-winning bakery offers, this darling book will teach you how to make everything from their Strawberry Tomboy Cake to their Brown Butter Shortbread Cookies. And with its scalloped pages and rich, colored photographs, this book lends a Parisian touch to any coffee table or shelf.

    If you haven’t yet found a thoughtful token for a friend or family member, this lovely book would make a wonderful present for Mother’s Day, or a great birthday gift for a gal who loves all things sweet. You can also make one of the recipes yourself to bring to a spring party or drop off for a friend in need of cheering up!

    Have you tried any Miette recipes or visited the bakery? We’re so glad we can recreate Meg Ray’s recipes in our own kitchen (and add as much frosting as we’d like)!

    xo,
    Ruche


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  • Friday, April 25, 2014

    We know how easy it is to mentally separate our clothing into two categories: work and play. But with versatile essentials at hand, you can mix and match your pieces to create an array of polished weekday ensembles, as well as the cutest weekend looks for those out-and-about adventures.

    Our Weekday to Weekend collection highlights the pieces that will help you transition your looks from business casual to chic and comfortable in the blink of an eye. Browse through printed blazers, statement necklaces, cropped pants, and breezy dresses to find the essentials you need to make your wardrobe both adorable and cohesive.

    How do you alter your weekday looks to fit your weekend lifestyle? Find all the pieces you need to take your outfits from work to play here!

    xo,
    Ruche


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  • Thursday, April 24, 2014

    With Mother's Day only two weeks away, we've been reflecting on motherhood and searching for new ways to show the motherly role models in our life how much we appreciate all they've done for us. To help our Ruchettes find the ideal Mother's Day gifts, we've hand-picked our favorite treasures to curate a one-stop shop of accessories, books, and thoughtful presents.

    Shop for a meaningful token here, and take time to share a picture of you and your mother with us, accompanied by a kernel of her motherly advice. We're compiling the photos into an album on our Facebook page, making this opportunity just another way to show your mother how much you care (you'll even earn a secret discount code for participating!). Take a peek at the full details here, and let us know in the comments below how you'll be celebrating Mother's Day this year! 

    xo,
    Ruche


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  • Wednesday, April 23, 2014

    Welcome to our third installment of Sam & Sarah's Wedding Series! In the past two entries, we had the chance to meet these lovely ladies and learn how they're organizing their wedding planning pursuits. This week, we're focusing on engagement party plans! Read on to learn what the gals have in mind for their engagement celebrations.

    1. Will you have an engagement party?

    Sam: Having an engagement party is actually not at the top of my list right now! Since we decided to go for a 9 month engagement, planning the wedding party has taken priority. If we do one, it will be small and with close friends when I have the time to arrange it.

    Sarah: We are planning a small engagement party for next month, when my sister is in town. She hasn’t been back to California since I got engaged, and I couldn’t imagine not having her there!

    2. If so, when and where? What do you envision for it?

    Sam: In my front yard this summer because I have a huge grass lawn. I’d want to keep it small and simple - a BBQ with good beer and time spent around our fire pit.

    Sarah: We don’t have any concrete plans yet, but we are thinking something small at a restaurant. Italian food is at the top of my list!

    3. Which Ruche dress will you wear?

    Sam: Something casual and flattering, like the Vista Trails Embroidered Dress and a cute panama hat (why not? It's warm out!). Shift dresses are my go-to look right now and a hat is a necessity when I'm out in the sun.

    Sarah: I'd definitely go with something chic, like the Waiting For You Crochet Dress.

    For more engagement styling ideas, take a look at our helpful guide. We'll see you in two weeks will the next part of the series, so check out our past installments if you need to catch up!

    xo,
    Ruche


  • Tuesday, April 22, 2014

    Happy Earth Day, Ruchettes! In the spirit of the holiday, we thought we’d share a few eco-friendly DIYs with you. We know there are plenty of wine bottle repurposing DIYs out there, but we love the following ideas as they don’t involve cutting glass or any other advanced techniques. The hardest part may just be removing the label -- soak the bottle in hot water and use the rough side of a sponge to scrub it away if the sticker is stubborn. If you’ve been looking for new ways to give your empty wine bottles or other glass bottles a quick and useful makeover, try one of these simple DIY ideas.

    1. Candle Holder: Wine bottle candle holders lend a romantic, vintage-inspired effect to any room or table display. To make your own, purchase taper candles, break them off at the desired height, and glue them securely to the opening of the bottle. Once you light the candles, the wax will melt down the sides of bottle, creating an antique feel that will stay with the candle even once you blow out the flame. They can get a bit messy though, so be careful about leaving them lit for too long or on a surface that can't be easily cleaned!

    2. Water Carafe: We've noticed that many restaurants will leave a carafe of water on the table once the initial round of water has been served, making refilling your glass extremely convenient. Mimicking this concept is great for home entertaining, as it adds a cute touch to the table while simplifying life in the process. And the best part is, once you've removed the label and washed out the bottle, your new carafe is ready to go!

    3. Flower Vase: A gal can always use extra vases in the springtime! Create a chic and simple look by filling your wine bottle with water and sliding a single blossom or sprig of tiny buds into the opening. This pretty vase makes an effortless centerpiece and adds minimalistic accent to any room in the house.

    4. Infused Olive Oil Holder: Use your old wine bottle to store infused oil or homemade salad dressing -- it's always nice to keep extra balsamic on hand! After whipping up your dressing of choice, use a funnel to transfer it to the wine bottle. Then seal it with the original cork or purchase a new stopper to keep it air tight. Why not begin your homemade oil and dressing collection with this yummy recipe for roasted garlic oil?

    Image sources: 1, 2, 3

    We hope these DIY options will help you make the most of those empty wine bottles! What's your favorite way to repurpose glass bottles? We'd love to hear your ideas!

    xo,
    Ruche


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