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  • Friday, March 28, 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).


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  • Thursday, March 27, 2014

    Happy Spring, Ruchettes! It’s a bit difficult to differentiate between the seasons in sunny Southern California, but we’re excited that those of you in colder climates are beginning to defrost. In honor of the warmer weather in store for us all, here are some fun ideas to add to your spring bucket list! We hope that adding some (or all!) of these plans to your agenda will help you cherish each moment of the season.

    Image via Sinclair and Moore

    1. Eat outdoors: Take advantage of the improving weather and gorgeous flora by dining al fresco. Sit outside at your favorite restaurants and cafes, or pack a yummy picnic to share with friends or coworkers.

    2. Dabble in a new hobby: If you’ve had a hobby on your maybe-one-day mental list, make it a priority this season to truly give it a chance. Learn a song on the ukulele, try your hand at origami, learn to knit (maybe you’ll have a finished scarf by the time fall rolls around!), or make your very first cherry pie.

    3. Discover your new signature smoothie: With the influx of seasonal fruit and veggies at your local farmers market, spring is a great time to experiment with smoothies. Test out a green smoothie to kickstart your morning, or unwind in the afternoon by sipping on a berry smoothie.

    4. Add color to your wardrobe: If you tend to shy away from bright tones, ‘tis the season to step out beyond the neutrals. After you make room in your closet for a few new pieces, liven up a favorite outfit with a pop of peach or coral.

    5. Go on a weekend trip: Even if you don’t have time for a full-fledged spring break, make the most of your free weekends to visit a new place. Take a look at our weekend trip ideas and start saving a little extra so you can splurge on train tickets, museum fees, or a nice dinner with friends.

    May you live beautifully this spring by making the most of each warm day! Will you be completing a spring bucket list this season?


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  • Thursday, March 27, 2014

    Sometimes all it takes is a little art and a sense of humor to turn the day around. That's one of many reasons why we've been long-time fans of Canadian artist, Marc Johns. His quirky, captioned illustrations bridge the gap between clever and cute, reminding us to take the everyday ups and downs a little less seriously.

    In addition to his successful website (humorously titled "Serious Drawings") and personal shop, Marc Johns has published two books of his art, and many of his drawings have appeared in magazine editorials and inspirational books. To learn more about his techniques and the tools he uses, take a look at his interview with Workspiration!

    We hope that Marc John's art will motivate you to create in a way that speaks to you and helps you navigate the world around you. To live beautifully is to stay true to you!


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  • Wednesday, March 26, 2014

    Welcome to Sam and Sarah's wedding series! Our Marketing Coordinator, Sam, and our Stylist, Sarah, are two engaged Ruchettes getting married within the next year. We thought that our engaged readers could garner a lot of helpful information through Sam and Sarah's wedding planning process, so the girls have teamed up to share their experiences with you. Every two weeks, we'll be looking to both brides-to-be for their planning updates and tips, and we hope you'll learn from their accomplishments and compromised states of sanity alike. Read on to meet these lovely ladies and discover their heartwarming engagement stories.

    1. How did he propose?

    Sam: He proposed during a weekend trip with our friends in Big Bear, CA. After we all ate dinner together, he had my girlfriends convince me to go to Starbucks. I wanted to stay and relax in the cabin, but after some persuasion, I finally decided to join the girls. When we got back, the cabin was dark. I opened the back door and saw a slew of tealight candles that spelled out the phrase "Marry Me" out on the grass by the lake. He got down on one knee in the freezing 30 degree night, and I said yes! We popped the champagne immediately after and celebrated with our friends indoors by the fire.

    Sarah: I thought I would definitely know when he was going to propose, but he chose to pop the question the day after Christmas to throw me off. He asked if I wanted to go to dinner and walk around the canals in Long Beach, California to see the Christmas lights (this is a tradition we have every holiday season, but because of our busy schedules were unable to go earlier in the month). We were on our way to the canals after dinner when he made a wrong turn and parked the car. I was utterly confused, but followed him down to a pier where I ended up on a gondola boat. He wrote me a letter that I had to retrieve from a bottle floating alongside our boat, and at the end of the letter he asked me to marry him! The gondolier then brought out roses and dessert that were hidden on the boat. It was truly the happiest moment of my life!

    Sam & Josh enjoying the California sunshine together

    2. How long you were dating?

    Sam: Josh and I have been dating for a wee bit over 5 years now! We met our freshman year in the dorms at Cal Poly Pomona. We started out as friends and then our relationship developed into something more. Five years later, here we are!

    Sarah: Timmy and I started dating my freshman year of college, and have been together for 8 years!

    3. Do you have a date set or in mind?

    Sam: We booked the date 3 weeks after the proposal! It's October 5, 2014.

    Sarah: Yes, it will be March 7th of next year.

    Sarah & Timmy being lovebirds back in 2008

    4. What do you envision for your wedding?

    Sam: Here are the 5 words I’m using to describe my vision to all the vendors and people involved: rustic, outdoor, modern, classic, and autumnal.

    Sarah: The adjectives I'd use to sum up my vision are: romantic, indoor, vintage-glam, and enchanting. Mine will include both winter and spring elements.

    5. Tell us something sappy:

    Sam: We often dance all alone in my room to music that we mutually make up as we go. We're kinda weird like that.

    Sarah: Timmy and I had an unexplainable connection from the start. We came from extremely different backgrounds, yet connected on so many levels. He is my best friend, partner, and the love of my life. I would not be the person I am without him by my side all of these years. I am so excited for this next chapter!

    We hope you'll join us in following Sam and Sarah as they plan their wedding days! Feel free to ask questions below if you're in need of any wedding advice from one of these amazing gals. Make sure to check back in two weeks for the next installment!


  • Tuesday, March 25, 2014

    To live beautifully requires throwing caution to the wind and stepping out in your goals and activities. It’s easier said than done, but the more you challenge yourself to take risks socially and artistically, the less daunting each new action will seem. In order to get us started, we’ve come up with a list of ten items that push the boundaries of our comfort zones. Select a few tasks that speak to your own apprehensions, and make it a point to complete them over the course of the next couple of months. By the end of your challenge, you’ll be surprised at how much you’ve grown!

    1. Share your work at an open mic night: Reading a poem you’ve been working on or playing your latest song in front of an audience will help you become comfortable with your own work and open you up to discussing your art in the future. Plus, you could make a new friend (or a fan)!

    2. Open an Etsy store: If you make jewelry, knit, paint, or have any cute crafts in mind, get your work out there through an Etsy store. Not only will you be able to share you work with others, but you could turn a profit to help fund future projects and adventures.

    3. Submit creative or journalistic writing to an online or print magazine: Sharing your writing can be intimidating, but you can’t get published unless you try. If you don’t get selected, you might receive much-needed constructive criticism which will benefit your writing in the long run. And if you do get selected? You’ll be especially thankful you gave it a shot!

    4. Take an improv class: Putting your sense of humor on trial is quite the test, but you might get more laughs than you expected. Taking an improv class can also help you with public speaking, which will translate to your ability to do well in a job or interview. And improv classes are always a great way to meet new people!

    5. Explore a new place: It’s easy to spend your days in the same square-mile radius, so take a chance on someplace new. Make dinner reservations in a neighboring city, or go for a hike on trails you’ve never tested.

    6. Try a new food: Ever gone out for Ethiopian? Or perhaps you’ve always shied away from olives? There’s no better time to try new food, and you could ending up loving what you taste. And if you dislike it just as much as you thought you might, you can at least say with confidence that, yes, the texture of shrimp just isn’t for you.

    7. Host a dinner party or brunch: Having people over is a wonderful lesson in confidence. If you’re new to cooking, opt for simple meals or attempt to make the food ahead of time on a trial run. If you’re more of a seasoned chef, take a chance on a challenging or inventive recipe. In the rare possibility that you experience a total food fiasco, you can always mend the problem by ordering take-out and laughing with your friends about it. We’ve all been there!

    Photography: Brandon Kidd

    8. Start a blog or YouTube channel: If you’ve been wanting to share you fun DIYs, recipes, fashion sense, or photography with others, pick the format that suits you best and dabble in a bit of self-promotion. You’ll end up connecting with like-minded people and will feel far more confident in your craft.

    9. Ask someone new to coffee: Making new friends can be intimidating, but we’re all in the same boat. Take the initiative and ask someone you’ve crossed paths with to coffee or reach out to an old friend to reconnect. The other person may be just as nervous to make plans and will thank you for stepping up to the plate.

    10. Tackle a long-time fear: Many of us have an overarching fear that can interfere with many of our dreams. If you’ve always been afraid of heights, sign up for rock-climbing lessons and gradually make your way closer to the top each week. If the thought of flying scares you, book a trip that involves a very short plane ride to help you ease into it. Don’t worry about conquering your fears overnight -- just push yourself in whichever ways you can and your confidence will blossom.

    Which acts of courage will you challenge yourself with this season? Do you have any tips on branching out  to share with us?


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  • Monday, March 24, 2014

    Photo via The Knot

    ...we’d certainly look like this! Our brunch wouldn’t be complete without a lace dress, pretty dishes, and some truly delicious recipes. We hope you’ll plan a special brunch with family or friends this spring and cherish the conversations you share. Don’t forget the mimosas!

    Live beautifully,

  • Monday, March 24, 2014

    If you’ve got a full agenda this spring, let us take care of the clothing! No matter the occasion, we’ve got the perfect frocks and separates for socializing, relaxing, and twirling through the season. Whether or not you have a worthy excuse to pick out a new ensemble (sometimes it’s nice to be prepared, right?), take a look what we’d wear for these five possible spring fetes.

    The Sunday Brunch: Find that balance between cute and casual when dressing for a brunch. We love to pair polished, flowy separates or slip on a babydoll dress so that we have room to fill up on yummy treats and can sit comfortably for long chats with family or friends.

    The Family Occasion: To please even the most traditional grandmother, opt for a classic silhouette. A darling fit-and-flare frock can be dressed up with heels or worn more casually with flats depending on the type of family occasion you have in store.

    The Daytime Wedding: A daytime wedding is the perfect time to experiment with color! We love the look of a lace frock and wedges for an afternoon of “I do”s.

    The Evening Party: Any outfit can be party ready when you style it with sparkling accessories and pretty pumps. Opt for separates or a chiffon dress with gathering, embroidered accents, or a lace overlay for an extra touch of glamor.

    The Formal Soiree: If you have a truly elegant evening ahead of you, dress to the nines in a maxi-length frock, or choose an embellished or brocade dress for a glistening effect. Accent your hair with a jeweled headband or add a statement necklace to your outfit to complete the look.
    For plenty of outfit options and ideas, take a look at our Spring Social feature and shop our day or night categories. What events will you be attending this season?


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  • Sunday, March 23, 2014

    Make this yours via The EveryGirl

    We all have the same number of hours in the day to accomplish our tasks and make strides towards those larger goals, yet many of us waste our spare moments telling ourselves we simply don't have enough time or talent to make our dreams happen. This week, do a little research on your favorite author, artist, designer, or humanitarian, and reflect on the fact that the person you admire is also a flawed human with worries, doubts, and fears; a person with only 24 hours in the day. The only difference between you and your icons? Those inspirational people chose to jump. So if you want to be an artist, create. If you want to be a singer, sing. Don't get caught up in thinking about singing or wishing you were creating; just push yourself to jump in some way. Get up a half an hour early to work on your craft, join a choir, or perform at an open mic night. Surround yourself with the motivation you need to keep striving, and before you know it, working towards your dream will become second nature. May you live beautifully, Ruchettes!


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  • Saturday, March 22, 2014

    There are few things that bring us as much joy as a good book! We’re always on the hunt for new books to bring into our homes for a touch of inspiration, delicious recipes, or helpful, crafty tips. With the influx of new books on our site, we thought we’d share some of our favorite inspirational style books with you! Gift one to a friend or spruce up your bookshelf or coffee table with one of these fashionable titles.

    Audrey Hepburn: International Cover Girl by Scott Britzel: Perfect for lovers of old-Hollywood actresses, this book details the life of legendary Audrey Hepburn. This gorgeous coffee table book features hundreds of her international magazine covers, making it a fun book to flip through on relaxing weekend afternoons.

    Paris in Color by Nicole Roberston: Bursting with all the colors of the rainbow, this book is a must-have for Francophiles and those with an eye for photography or design. From outdoor cafes and signs to flowers and scrumptious pastries, this book reignites our wanderlust each time we open it.

    100 Years in Fashion by Cally Blackman:  If you loved our Vintage Clothing Guide, this book will be a great addition to your collection! 100 Years in Fashion takes a deeper look into the history of 20th century fashion, accented with hundreds of beautiful photos and illustrations.

    We hope you’ll find something you love in our book collection! What books have you been eyeing lately?


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  • Friday, March 21, 2014

    If you haven't already noticed, we're having a moment with peach and coral tones right now! After seeing how our stylist, Sarah, and our makeup artist, KC, added coral accents to our spring lookbook, we've been looking for new ways to brighten up our beauty routine with some pretty coral hues. Here are some of our favorite beauty products to inspire you to opt for retro-inspired corals this spring. 

    Image via Style Me Pretty

    We love how coral nails act as an accessory with any outfit you wear. To add an unexpected pop of color to your look, try Essie's nail polish in the shade Haute As Hello or Tart Deco. To boost the look for an evening out, add a fun, opalescent or chunky glitter polish as an accent nail (or on all ten fingers for lots of sparkle!). Butter London's Brass Monkey and Deborah Lippmann's Million Dollar Mermaid both look gorgeous paired with coral polish.

    Photography: Brandon Kidd

    You can never go wrong with a statement lip! This pretty coral pucker can be achieved with a creamy lipstick like MAC's Vegas Volt or NARS' Satin Lip Pencil in Lodhi. If you tend to shy away from bright lip colors, start with a gloss like Buxom's Mai Tai or a tinted balm like the Korres lip butter in Pomegranate.

    To pull the look together, we love a light swipe of coral blush to add a springy glow to the face. This Coral Oasis cheek gelée from Josie Maran is a gorgeous option for a natural flush on warm days, and we love Tarte's Amazonian Clay Blush in Tipsy as a long-wearing classic powder option.

    How will you be incorporating this springy color into your look this season? If you've been searching for the perfect coral and peach clothing and accessories, check out our Just Peachy collection to accent your spring wardrobe!


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