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  • Sunday, August 17, 2014

    We all know this scene: you’re at your local thrift store or flea market and you spot a bin of vinyl records. You carefully thumb through them, admiring intricate artwork and the faces of artists both familiar and foreign. You land on an album that speaks to your heart- but what next? Whether you’re a casual listener or thinking of beginning a collection, buying vintage vinyl can be tricky, so here are a few things to keep in mind before purchasing!

    Image via A Beautiful Mess

    First, inspect the sleeve. Are the edges or spine torn, worn, or frayed? The sleeve of an LP, which is short for long-playing record because of their 10-12 inch diameter, is generally an indicator of the shape a record is in. But don’t fret- if the album art is what you’re truly in love with, it may be worth investing in as a piece of artwork.

    After inspecting the sleeve, carefully remove the record from the jacket and hold it up to the nearest light source. It may have a layer of dirt or dust, which can is an easy fix with a dry brush or special vinyl-safe liquid cleaner. Things like fingerprints can be easily removed and small, hairline scratches in the vinyl, as long as sparse, usually won’t drastically affect the quality of the sound, so don’t let those put you off. When inspecting the record, check for things like deep scratches, marks, and, most importantly, warp in the vinyl- these can cause the sound to distort or record to skip.

    There is also a huge market for vintage records online. From auction sites to specialized websites, if your dream record doesn’t make the cut in person, you can always find another copy on the internet. When browsing records online, you can determine the quality of the record by the grade given by the seller. There is a grading system used for vinyl that is as follows:

    Mint or (M): Mint means that the record is flawless and appears to have never been handled or taken out of the sleeve, which will also be in perfect condition. This is very rare when it comes to vintage records and can usually mean a much higher sticker price!

    Near Mint or (NM) or (M-): Near Mint means the record is in excellent condition and is relatively flawless. There might a scuff on the record that does not affect the play or very minor wear to the cover, but it is almost perfect.

    Excellent or (E) or (VG++): Excellent indicated that the record has a few minor scuffs that do not affect the sound of the record at all and there is only slight wear to the album cover.

    Very Good Plus or (VG+): Very Good Plus records typically show their wear. They still play well, but their flaws are visible to the naked eye. There will also be some aging to the jacket in the form of yellowing, tears, or marks.

    Very Good or (VG): Very Good records may show their wear, but they still play well. This grade of record usually plays with surface noise (some crackling and popping) and the cover of the record will be visibly worn.

    Good or (G): A Good record will be easily identifiable. It will have visible wear and damage on the vinyl, but will still play. Unlike Very Good records, the surface noise will be continuous and more audible. The artwork on the cover will be worn and there may be a ring where the record was inside. In addition, there may be writing on the cover or tape where the spine has split.

    Using this system can be tricky because one’s Near Mint may be another’s Excellent. The subjectivity of the grading system can sometimes make buying online more difficult than easy, so keep this in mind when purchasing via the Internet!

    Image via A Beautiful Mess

    Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Whether you’re buying in person or online, get the scoop on the record you’ve set your sights on. Where did it come from? How long have they had it? Inquiries are a great way to get a history lesson and learn more about the care previously given to your record.

    Once the record is in your possession, make sure you have a plastic sleeve for the album and paper inner sleeve for your record to protect it from accidentally falling out of the jacket and keeps the dust away. Plastic inner sleeves can stick to the vinyl, so they aren’t necessary, especially for those in warmer climates. Heat can adversely affect vinyl, so always store your precious records away from vents, fireplaces and direct sunlight. It is also imperative to store records standing up to avoid warping!

    When you’re ready to play your record, place the disc between faced-in palms on the very edge of the record to avoid leaving fingerprints. Carefully set it on your record player and enjoy the soothing sounds of your latest purchase (dancing optional).


    This post originally appeared on March 28th, 2014.

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  • Saturday, August 16, 2014

    While many students are only just opening the books for their first reading assignments, finding their classes without the help of a map and schedule, and getting down their professor's names, pretty soon it will seem as though someone hit fast forward on the semester. Sometimes school days seem to drag on, but it always feels like midterms and first exams come so quickly in the year! For when feel as though you don't have a grip on your academic endeavors, we have a few tips to help you de-stress and relax. 

    Get a Plant: Adding some greenery to your space can always add just the touch of brightness you need. Opt for some fresh flowers, or for a more permanent staple, try filling a planter with succulents! 

    Strike a Pose: Stretch with some yoga for some time for meditation and relaxation. The stillness between shifting poses will give you a chance to refresh your mind and you'll feel invigorated in no time. 

    Turn Up the Volume: Find a playlist that fits your mood. Maybe you respond well to upbeat songs when you're stressed, or perhaps you need something a little more slow and mellow. No matter your preference, check out our collection of playlists and start de-stressing! 

    Get Crafty: Sometimes when you can shift your focus from what is causing you stress, it can help you feel refreshed. Using your anxious energy to create something new is incredibly rewarding. For ideas, see more DIY projects here

    Images Via: 1, 2, 3

    Call a Friend: When you're feeling stressed out, sometimes it's best to call a friend. Whether you decide to pour your heart out, or just need a distraction, contacting a loved one can be a great way to relax. 

    Take a Walk: Even a short ten minute walk can help strip away any stressful energy you may have building up. Getting some fresh air in your favorite spot is an essential for when you're not feeling your best! 

    Do you have a favorite way to relax? Let us know! And don't forget to stop by our lookbook, Making the Grade, for even more back-to-school inspiration. 


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  • Friday, August 15, 2014

    If you aren't already a fan of this fashionista, you may recognize the darling Rebecca, author of The Clothes Horse, as a past Ruchette Of The Month or from her style remix feature on our site. When she isn't jet-setting between Pennsylvania and Northern Ireland with her fiance Thomas, Rebecca is busy discovering a new favorite designer or capturing beautiful outfit photos for her blog. This gal is truly in love with all things fashion; often featuring high fashion recap posts alongside her own personal adventures. We can't get enough of her end-of-summer style, so we wanted to share her sartorial perfection with you! 

    Like something out of a springtime dream, Rebecca looks simply ethereal! We love this outfit featuring a simple blouse, neutral sandals, and our chambray Weekend Outing skirt. Her darling orange purse and bouquet of bright yellow wildflowers make the perfect accessories! 

    Adorned with a flower crown, Rebecca looks stunning in our dainty, off the shoulder lace dress and minty cutout Chelsea Crew heels. We love how Rebecca always plays with a variety of colors, even when paired with a simple white frock! 

    A flowy floral dress is an essential in every wardrobe, and we are enamored with how Rebecca styled our Veranda Floral Tiered Dress! She perfectly captures the movement of this airy, effortless dress covered in colorful blossoms. Plus, we really can't think of a better setting to wear this frock than the foliage-filled backdrop to Rebecca's outfit! 

    Want to see more of Rebecca's feminine style? View her previous style file features and don't forget to stop by her blog


  • Thursday, August 14, 2014

    A day at school almost always means a day filled with hustle and bustle. Whether you're beginning your final year of college or preparing to move into a dorm, all things back-to-school can be kind of overwhelming. You begin your day dutifully taking notes in class, latte in hand, and then go from class to study session to lunch with a friend, back to class, and then finally home only to start the whole routine over again the next day. Because we know school days are busy days, we have an assortment of accessories to get you from morning to noon to night. 

    From pocket notebooks for to-do lists, shopping lists, or whatever list you can come up with (because who doesn't love making lists?!) to scarves for freezing AC temperatures inside your lecture halls, we have an abundance of little necessities to fill your backpack or satchel to get you through your day. Even things like comfy shoes to get you from one side of campus to another and sunglasses for those outdoor study sessions are a must-have! Shop back-to-school accessories and our back-to-school lookbook, Making the Grade, to find everything you need for that first day back until you hand in your last final exam! 


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  • Wednesday, August 13, 2014

    Moving away to college is a scary, yet exciting time! Starting a new chapter in new surroundings allows you to come into a space with a fresh perspective that can help you flourish. Saying goodbye to your family and friends is never easy, but experiencing college in a place that's your very own truly is a treasure. Because we know this can be a stressful time in any student's life, we've composed a list of essentials for any student about to move into a dorm room. While you may not know your roommate, location of classes, or even your major, packing for dorm life doesn't have to be complicated! 

    Back-to-school has never been easier! It's important to remember the little things as well as essentials like laptops and bed linens, and with these dorm necessities, you'll be unstoppable this semester. We wish all Ruchettes heading to classes this fall the best of luck! 


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  • Wednesday, August 13, 2014

    One of the biggest anxieties when it comes to your big day is capturing it on film. Whether you choose photography or videography (or both!), making sure your celebration is memorialized exactly the way you've imagined is a difficult endeavor. Luckily, Sam and Sarah are back with a few helpful hints for ensuring the images from your wedding will stand the test of time, and always bring a smile to your face. 

    Image via Style Me Pretty

    1. Will you have a photographer? If so, who and how did you decide?

    Sam: Yes, we will most definitely be having a photographer along with a second shooter. To us, this was one of the most important decisions to make because after the wedding is over, all you will have left is your photos (and possibly frozen cake and dried out flowers). This is is the one vendor where I was willing to splurge a bit because I want to have beautiful photos to look back on. I had a few photographers I knew of (through work!) and I contacted a total of about 10. Whilst looking for a venue, I stumbled upon Eyelet Images and fell in love with her style. Her photography is very soft and romantic, but still punchy with the color. I decided to reach out to her for pricing and availability and she was very reasonable -- I expected her to be much more expensive. I immediately got a wonderful feeling from her over our email conversations, and when we met in person, we fell in love with her personality. She's truly just a great gal who is amazing behind the camera.

    Sarah: Yes, I have a photographer. My fiance and I looked through different portfolios and websites to find someone who’s photographs really seemed to embody the look and feel we were going for. We ended up going with Robby Cavanaugh, who is a friend as well.

    2. Will you have a videographer? If so, who and how did you decide?

    Sam: Yes, we will also be having a videographer. This was the easiest and quickest decision to make. Our media gal who puts together our lookbook videos is also my friend, and she had offered to do our videography. I already know her style and have shot videos with her so it was an easy answer -- YES!

    Sarah: We have not officially booked our videographer yet, but that is one of the things that is next on the list. We are going to meet with No One Knows whose wedding videography we absolutely love. We want that cinematic feel to our wedding video.

    3. Are there are many “must-have” photos on your list?

    Sam: Along with all the standard shots, we decided to go with the first look session before the wedding. For many reasons (see here), we just thought it would be more relaxed, more intimate and less intimating than to see each other for the first time at the altar. Plus, I really don't want to cry in front of an audience.

    Sarah: We aren't going to do a first look, so capturing that moment walking down the aisle is very important. Our reception venue has beautiful art deco architecture throughout, so we would like that highlighted as well. We both really want candid, non-posed photographs that really capture the emotion of the night. 

    4. What were the most important questions you asked your photographer?

    Sam: I had my list of standard questions for all the photographers, but most importantly, I wanted to make sure that we'd mesh. I wanted to make sure that we would feel comfortable with that person following us around for 10 hours. Some important questions we did ask was if a second shooter was available, what her style of photography was, how she approached weddings - if she liked taking control and posing everyone or being more of a fly on the wall. I also asked how she felt about having a videographer to make sure there wouldn't be any competition for getting the best shots. There's also a lot of great non-traditional questions in this previous post!

    Sarah: My fiance and I wanted to know things such as is a second shooter needed, and recommendations as far as day of schedule to ensure that what we want photographed can fit in the timeline.

    5. How far in advance should someone book the photographer and videographer?

    Sam: Along with the date and venue, the photographer is one of the most important vendors to select. I think as soon as you can, you should start looking and book one that you feel comfortable with as soon as possible.

    Sarah: I was told 9-12 months in advance for a  photographer and videographer. Our photographer was one of the first things we booked, besides the church and the reception venue. Depending on when you would like to take your engagement photos taken should be factored in as well, in regard to booking a photographer.

    Photography and videography are an essential on your wedding day, and we're so happy Sam and Sarah could share their experiences with us! See more of Sarah and Sam's advice leading up to walking down the aisle here


  • Tuesday, August 12, 2014

    We all know between-the-seasons style can be difficult, so we've crafted a handy, stylist-approved guide for outfits perfect for wearing during today's sunny days and tomorrow's days filled with grey skies and a chill in the air. The best part? The outfits feature the same key pieces, making those in-between days a little easier. Make the transition to fall a smooth one with our collection of seasonal styles! 

    Try layering a pretty patterned dress with an open knit cardigan for cooling summer afternoons. Once the days grow shorter and the crisp autumn days start to settle in, pair the same outfit with a cozy moto jacket and heels for an outfit worthy of a night at the cinema. 

    We love light and breezy scarves all year round, but they are perfect for those early days of the fall season. Pair a shift dress with a colorful scarf and flats today, and stay cozy on chilly days by pairing the same ensemble with an anorak jacket, tall socks, and timeless boots. Perfection! 

    Layers are a girl's best friend when it comes to unpredictable weather. This versatile grey dress is darling for a Sunday brunch when worn with heels, a structured purse, and statement necklace. When paired with boots, a fedora, and a classic gingham button-up, you have an outfit that is the epitome of autumnal style. 

    Ready to see more styles perfect for the summer sun and the cool days ahead? Shop our collection of styles to help you make a smooth transition to the crisp days ahead. 


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  • Sunday, August 10, 2014

    Katy of Wit and Bloom is not only one darling redhead, but she spends her days teaching special needs children, adoring all things vintage, and tending to her adorable pets. We have been fans of this Florida blogger for quite awhile, so needless to say we were excited when she shared her DIY flower crown tutorial with us (complete with beautiful calligraphy text for each step)! The perfect afternoon project for any time of the year, we love everything from the rich jewel tones of autumnal blossoms to the pastel hues of spring flowers. We can't wait to see what you craft using Katy's tutorial! 

    Hi! I'm Katy, I am a flower crown designer, and blogger at I am a huge fan of the Ruche blog, and have been loving all the floral inspiration they have been sharing lately. I am a total flower child, and I believe in the power of a sparkly dress and some flowers in your hair. I am so thrilled to be sharing a DIY fresh flower crown with you today. 

    You can get fresh flowers from a local florist, the supermarket, or even your own backyard. I generally choose one or two larger blooms, some greenery, and then some smaller flowers to fill in the blank spots with. You will also need some floral wire, floral tape, a pair of scissors. All of which are available at any craft store. Let's begin!

    Step 1: Using your floral wire, create a crown base that is large enough to go around your head comfortably. It should be a little on the looser side to allow for stems and tape. Begin placing the stems of your flowers on the crown and wrapping them with floral tape to keep them securely in place. I will sometimes makes a little bundle of a larger bloom and some smaller flowers, and tape them all down at once.

    Step 2: Continue wrapping in the same direction. I use a really long piece of tape and just continually wrap it, instead of getting an individual piece of tape for each stem. I find that it holds up a lot better this way. Remember to place the larger blooms, or your bundle first, then fill in with greenery and smaller flowers as you go.

    Step 3: When you are nearing the end, make a plan of what bloom is going to go where. I usually lay it out so there isn't a gap between the start and finish. You want it to look like a continual circle.

    Step 4: Fill it all in and be sure to wrap the tape very tightly at the end. Floral tape is a lot stronger than it seems! Here is a close up of what the wrapping should look like to keep everything in place.

    Step 5: Go over your crown very thoroughly checking for any loose tape or blank spots. If you see any loose spots, you can use a little more tape to secure them down.

    You're all done!  Go out and have some fun in your new crown!

    For more of Katy's gorgeous flower crowns, you can visit her Etsy shop where she sells her creations. We can't wait to craft our own flower crowns using Katy's simple tutorial.


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  • Saturday, August 9, 2014

    Have you ever thrown on an outfit and felt like you needed a finishing touch? Even patterned blouses, tops adorned with lace, and button-up tops look a little more polished with a necklace. From dainty layered chains to bold statement necklaces, we think top & necklaces are a perfect pairing. Get 40% off all tops and necklaces through 8/10 at 11:59 PM PDT with code BETTERTOGETHER. 

    Wine and cheese, chocolate and peanut butter, and tops and necklaces. Some things are just better together! Find your perfect pair before the clock runs out!


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  • Friday, August 8, 2014

    The beginning of fall means the beginning of all things back-to-school! We love the thrill of a new grade or semester and the excitement of starting a whole new chapter at the collegiate level. Whether you're embarking on your bittersweet last year of high school or challenging first year of grad school, we have a few must-haves for that first day back! 

    Backpack or Bag: School requires quite a few necessities, so it's important to choose a bag (or two!) for carrying everything from one class to the next. We recommend larger satchels with sturdy straps for carrying extra weight without weighing your down. We also love a classic backpack in a pretty floral print or with hints of lace to add a perfectly feminine touch to your everyday ensembles! 

    Writing Materials: We hope that you won't be doing too much notetaking on your first day of classes, but just in case you have a professor that's ready to hit the ground running or you want to jot down a few details, it's important to pack writing materials like pens, pencils, and highlighters. We even have a cute DIY pencil case to keep everything in one easy place! 

    Notebook: We recommend having one notebook or section in your binder for each class, so be sure to bring along something to write notes in! We love Rifle Paper Co.'s pretty notebooks, and it will be easy to tell which notebook corresponds to which class when you're reaching into your bag! 

    Planner: As the semester or year goes on, school can get pretty hectic. In order to stay on top of midterms, finals, due dates, essays, and other homework, a planner is essential. Whether it's a digital app on your phone or a small planner that can fit in your bag, carrying something to keep an organized calendar is definitely a must-have for heading back to school! 

    Folder: Your first day back to school usually includes teachers handing out things like their syllabus or papers with information about the class on them. To keep everything in one place, pack a folder so you don't get lost in a sea of papers by the end of the day! 

    Book: In the off chance that you find yourself out of class early and between classes, we love packing something to read. You may choose to get ahead in your class readings or finish the last novel off of your summer reading list, but it's always nice to have something to keep your mind entertained when you're waiting for your next class! 

    Tech Accessories: If you have an online class or enjoy taking notes on your latop, don't forget to bring your essential tech accessories! Having your laptop with you on campus is a great resource for looking up information on the fly or not having to worry about securing a computer in the busy library. If you decide to bring your laptop, bring along your charger and a protective case. It's also handy to pack a flash drive in case you need to print something in the library! 

    Refreshments: Bringing snacks and water is incredibly important, no matter if you only have a single class that day or you're planning on being on campus from sunrise to sunset. Packing snacks high in protein like nutrient-rich trail mix and granola bars along with staying hydrated will help you stay sharp. 

    The Little Things: Any time you're away from home it's important to keep a few things by your side to ensure your comfort. Packing essentials like a moisturizing chapstick, a handy compact mirror, chewing gum, and hand sanitizer will make any day of classes a breeze!  

    Do you have an essential for heading back to classes we left out? Let us know! And for more back-to-school essentials, stop by our lookbook, Making the Grade, for some stylish inspiration for starting the semester! 


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