Friday, September 30, 2011

Love Stories: Help Heal

Dear Ruche Friends and Family,

This is Mai and Josh Olivo. Today's love story is truly heartbreaking, but it leaves us with endearing hope. It is a story about the most amazing couple we know, the ones responsible for all of the amazing lookbooks that we've all grown to love here at Ruche: Stephanie Williams and Isaac Hurtado.

We have been blessed to work with Stephanie and Issac for all our lookbooks since the very first lookbook and every single one since. Their expertise in wedding photography and capturing the passion and love between couples has been quintessential to Ruche. They brought this passion of capturing the moment to Ruche, and through their photography they brought out an art, an emotion, and inspiration for all of us to enjoy. We can honestly say, Ruche would not be where it is today without Stephanie and Issac.

To Steph and Isaac, we're absolutely devastated at the news and we're praying for the speediest in recoveries. No matter how long the road to recovery may seem, please have peace knowing your friends and family are right here with you.  We're looking forward to the day we can work with both of you again, hopefully sooner than later! We love you two!

HUGS from everyone at Ruche and all of your fans.

Here is their story, written by Stephanie Williams:

Dear friends, family, loyal blog readers, and this modern romance clients,

I wanted to give you an update of what has happened these past two weeks. Sorry for the lack of updates and blog posts, but I’ve been so mentally, emotionally and physically exhausted and focused on Isaac that typing or even calling someone on the phone seemed impossible. Isaac is resting now after a physical therapy session, so I have some time to tell everyone what has happened these past two weeks. On Monday, September 12, Isaac had a CT scan done because over the Labor Day weekend he developed blurred, double vision. The CT scan immediately showed a massive 5cm (the size of a lime) tumor in the middle of his brain, which had begun to press on his optic nerve. He was immediately checked into the emergency room at Newport Hoag Hospital and scheduled for a craniotomy on September 15. We were too in shock to process anything really or fully grasp how in danger Isaac was. The surgeons told us there was only a 5% chance of complications, so we were positive. The brain surgery went well on Thursday, and the neuro surgeon removed most of the bulk of the massive tumor – about 20% had to be left because it was up against important structures.The tumor was benign, and diagnosed as a (prolactinoma) pituitary macroadenoma. The next day Isaac was doing really well, and then on Saturday he had a grand mal seizure for the first time in his life. I was right next to him when it happened… and it was the scariest thing I had ever witnessed. I thought I was losing him…. The following few days were a struggle, but he was making a bit of progress – walking, talking just fine, just groggy from all the trauma and meds. We were ready to be discharged on Monday, September 19th… ready to go home and heal, when suddenly Isaac lost all movement on his left side and experienced stroke-like symptoms. Instead of going home, he was sent to a series of tests, CT and MRI, and it was found that a bit of the tumor the surgeon left behind had been pressing on the middle artery in his brain due to increased intercranial swelling. His motor cortex was slowly being starved of oxygen. It was my worst nightmare… a waking nightmare. Isaac had had a stroke, and was now fully paralyzed on his left side. His usually expressive, smiling face was a blank slate and his physically strong, young body had immediately caved in on itself.

He was rushed to the neuro ICU, and we spent two agonizing days there trying to reduce the swelling in his brain and shrink the last bits of tumor with medication. Once Isaac was more stable, we were transferred to the stroke unit and were monitored there for a week. Over the weekend I toured several acute stroke rehab facilities, and then Isaac was transferred by ambulance to the UCI medical acute stroke rehabilitation center, where he started intensive rehabilitation today. Right after his stroke, Isaac was unable to move anything on the left side and his speech was slurred. Now, a few days later, he can lightly squeeze my hand with his left hand, pull with his bicep a bit, and raise his left leg ever so slightly. We have a long, long road to recovery, but I know Isaac has the drive and motivation to heal and fully recover.

Those that have been following the news on Facebook and twitter... thank you all for your prayers and love… a few days ago, Isaac out of the blue told me that he feels so incredibly loved. A few people have been emailing me asking if there is a way to help or donate to Isaac’s long rehab process, so I’ve set up a paypal fund. If you can donate, then I thank you. If you can’t and still want to help in any way, please pray for Isaac. If you have a personal story or know of any latest research articles on brain trauma and stroke recovery, please send them my way – I’ll be very grateful. I’ve been trying to voraciously research what he is going through in between caring for him.

My goal is to get him the best care from here on out and stay in a rehab program even if I have to pay out of pocket. Isaac is by far the most amazing person I have ever met – he is my soul mate, the love of my life and my best friend… I don’t know anyone else that would stay so positive through everything he’s gone through the last two weeks… who else would thank a nurse for taking his blood or poking him with an IV… who else would apologize for being so heavy to lift or make sure to learn every nurse and aid’s name by heart. He has been more worried about me and my lack of sleep than with his current disability.

His spirit is beyond beautiful. It’s these moments in life when your priorities are massively rearranged and you realize how short and precarious your life is... I don’t know what the future holds for us, but I’m trying to stay positive. Needless to say, we have been unable to work, edit, or get back to anyone via phone or email these past two weeks. All my attention has been on Isaac’s recovery. Please know that now that Isaac is in an acute rehab program, I will be able to return to work… your emails answered, album and print orders taken care of, and weddings and shoots edited. Thank you for your patience. I’ll update everyone soon.

On another note, if you’d like to share Isaac’s story on your blog, please feel free to use the “Help Heal” badge. Also, if you or your loved one have any persisting symptoms or odd headaches, please don’t hesitate to see a doctor. Isaac had seen so many doctors in the past that dismissed his symptoms as signs of depression or stress or tension headaches. No one ever expects this – just celebrated his 30th birthday this year.  Isaac had also just become a yoga instructor as well, ate an organic, nearly vegan diet and exercised regularly. Life is unpredictable and short, and no amount of planning could have prepared us for this. Please make each day count, and tell the people in your life that you love them a million times a day… you just never know what could happen.

Click here if you would like to leave Stephanie and Issac some words of encouragement, advice, and support or donate to help heal Issac.

In honor of Steph and Isaac and Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we invite you all to share your own stories of cancer battle, loss, love and recovery. Please submit your story to

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Outfit Tic Tac Toe Giveaway Winners!

In our Outfit Tic-Tac-Toe feature, we chose nine versatile fall pieces for endless styling combinations, and then we asked you to show us your own creativity. See below for the winners!

Congratulations, Gio Marie! She said...
I would wear the stratford town ruched tunic dress with:
-color dash chiffon blouse layered over it
-with the at the crossroads wide elastic belt in light blue to give a defining waist
-derbyshire empire coat by Pink Martini
-keaton applique flats in plum
-notting hill polka dot scarf

Congratulations,  KeatonJ! She said...
I love the regent floral print tunic! To start, I would pair it with the changing seasons corduroy pantsin burgundy. I would then layer the checkmate fitted blazer over it. For shoes, I would have to go with the collegiate charm oxfords.
Top it off with the amora hinge bangle, the samone silk blend scarf in burgundy and the roses on my mind headband. Perfectly feminine and androgynous! And great for running across campus.

Thank you for all the amazing entries!


Project DIY: Get into the season with 3 fall approved recipes

Cozy up to fall and take advantage of apple season with these 3 scrumptious recipes.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wedding Wednesday: Delightfully Engaged

When we read about Elizabeth's engagement story on her blog, Delightfully Tacky, we couldn't help but get a little teary eyed. Not only did her fiance manage to surprise her, he was able to get photos of the proposal in action. Hop over to her blog and read about her heartfelt proposal.

Wedding Moodboard by Delightfully Tacky!

Hi everyone! Elizabeth here, from Delightfully Tacky. Since getting engaged in August I've been feverishly collecting inspiration for my upcoming wedding in November and Ruche so kindly asked me to share with you guys some of my wedding inspirations!

November in Washington state is almost guaranteed to be rainy and cold, so an outdoor wedding was out of the picture, but I still want to have my wedding feel light and fresh, despite the inevitable fall temperatures.

I opted for a color palette that was both rustic and fall, but still had summery overtones.

Since a lot of my wedding decor will be DIY and handmade, much of my inspiration is DIY-friendly.

We've only got about six weeks left before the big day so I'm in the midst of lots of crafting and constructing various wedding decor items!

image sources: glitter shoes via grey likes weddings, mr & mrs fringe via a beautiful mess, bouquet via ben blood, cake bunting via kiki la rue, invites via curious doodles, pillows via green wedding shoes, fringe chairs via green wedding shoes.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Warning: Will Melt Your Heart

Presented without comment...

Extreme Cuteness. Click at Your Own Risk.
(Source: Jezebel)

Autumn Reflections Giveaway

In celebration of our recent lookbook, Autumn Reflections, we're launching another giveaway!

To enter:

1. Take a photo of your favorite space or room, a place where you love to be.
2. Choose a Home & Office item here that will complete this space or room.
3. E-mail your photo to and be sure to tell us which Home & Office item you chose and why.

We will choose our favorite three submissions to win. The 1st place winner will receive the item they chose and a $75 Ruche gift card. The 2nd and 3rd place winners will receive the item they chose. Contest ends October 6th, 12:00pm PST.

Good luck and have fun!


Contest Disclaimer: No purchase necessary. We reserve the right to close the contests early or late without warning. We will post the name of the winners on October 6th, 2011. Upon winning, you agree that your name and photos can be published on this blog at the close of the contest. You must contact us via within 7 days after the winners have been announced to claim your prize.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Picture This: Working with Gradients

In our latest lookbook, Autumn Reflections, we used a Gradient technique to manipulate some of the photos. We love the effervescent and illuminated  look gradients give our photos, and in today's tutorial we've come up with a simple introduction to using this technique.

Step 1. From your Adjustment Layer Menu (black and white circle at the bottom of the right hand side toolbar) select Curves. Brighten your image by pulling the curve line up to the left.

Step 2. Next select a color you want to use for your 1st gradient. We did a mint green. Select Gradient from your Adjustment Layer Menu. Play around with the scale and angle of your gradient. Lower the opacity.

 Step 3. Open up curves again and darken the image by dragging the line down to the right.


Step 4. Select another color and repeat Step 2.

Step 5.  From the Adjustment Layer Menu select Brightness/Contrast. Adjust brightness.

Step 6. Select the Color Burn Tool from the toolbar on your left hand side. Set the range to Shadow  and Exposure to 50. Click over to your original background layer and mouse your curser over parts of the images you want to darken. This will bring out some of the details lost in the editing process.

Enjoy Your New Image!

If Ruche were an apple treat...

sources: image onetwo, and three

...we would look like this. Happy Monday and happy autumn, everyone!


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Weekend Frills

The weekend is a time for rest and relaxation. Is there a better way to spend your day off than treating yourself  to a day at the spa? Yes! Treating yourself to a day of DIY pampering and giving your wallet and yourself a much needed break.

1 cup seal salt
1/2 cup sugar
15 drops coconut oil
15 drops essential oil
40 drops sweet orange
Combine all of the ingredients in the order they are listed.  Mix with a butter knife.
Feel free to play around with the ratio of oil to salt/sugar. Add more oil for dry skin and less oil for oily skin.

1 egg
1 eggshell's worth of olive oil
1 quarter of a peeled cucumber
Blend the egg, olive oil and peeled cucumber. Spread evenly through your  hair, leave on for 10 minutes, then thoroughly rinse. For the best  results year-round, continue this treatment monthly.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Style File: Blogger Roundup

Ruche wishes you a lovely weekend! ♥ We hope you will swoon over these outfits with us:

Tania is wearing our hip hippo hurray dress for an effortlessly smart look. Stop by her blog to read the sweet story behind this outfit!

Maria dressed up our venetian square pleated dress for colder weather. We love her styling!


Friday, September 23, 2011

It's all in the Details

Have you ever browsed The Coveteur? It's our guilty pleasure.
(Source: The Coveteur

"It's more interesting to have just a picture of a small detail - then you can dream all the rest around it. Because when you see the whole thing, what is there to imagine?" -Dries Van Noten

Love Stories: First Love

First loves may come to an end, but the memories always linger on. At least, for me they do.

 image via littlebrownpen

My love story started in a funny place: bandcamp. It was my first year of highschool, and like most freshmen, I was awkward and unsure. I was a typical little music nerd and fell in love with instruments around 6th grade which inevitably led to highschool marching band. Two weeks before school actually started, we spent days out in the hot sun, bonding and learning our music for the coming football season.

While stretching one morning, before parading out onto our practice field, a pair of grinning blue eyes caught my attention. He was turned around, watching me - and my blush was instantaneous. His name was Tyler and he was a senior. The rest of the week involved "accidental" shoulder nudges, big smiles whenever I caught his eye, and, to my amusement, his butt in my face (Tyler had a great sense of humor & thought it would be a laugh to stretch in front of me one morning).

My heart somersaulted at his attention - how could I deserve a senior?! His blue eyes floated in my dreams, and I was terrified and shy. I had never experienced love before - my sweet inexperience only seemed to draw him in. He completely won my heart when - during our band's rendition of "Hey Baby" - he stepped into the middle of the room, pointed at me, and in front of everyone, sang the line, "I wanna knooooww - if you'll be my girl."

Being a senior, however, was certainly NOT a good thing in my parent's eyes. Being the oldest & most protected of my siblings, I was absolutely forbidden to date.

But Tyler waited. For months he pursued me; learned my schedule, walked me to class, made me laugh. Finally, a few days after my 15th birthday, I agreed to date him (a later talk with parents definitely ensued) and he exuberantly proclaimed his triumph in the halls.

He was the most perfect first love I could have ever imagined. He left sweet notes in my locker when I was sick, bought me the biggest stuffed animal and box of chocolates in the school for Valentine's day, and even won my mom when he let her (to my horror) come on our first date and TAKE PICTURES.

He was even patient when it came to our first kiss - which took 6 months. He kissed me in front of the buses, and my heart flew out of my chest. Heaven, I decided, must feel like his kisses. I was warm down to my toes.

My favorite memory was the next year's Homecoming. The DJ didn't play a single slow song all night, which is what I was looking forward to. We left disappointed and as I was climbing into his car, Tyler asked me to wait. He put "Lead You In" by Jimmy Eat World on his stereo, and pulled me close. We danced under the stars in the parking lot as the cars around us left one by one.

Tyler and I dated for almost 3 years; he was my highschool sweetheart. I moved away my junior year, and after a year of long distance, we fell apart. I was completely heart-broken. I cried in class, to my teacher's horror, and spent my nights on the couch, soaking the furniture as my mom held me. It took over a year to let go of him.

I've healed, and realize now that you never really let go of your first love. He'll always be a piece of my heart. And I am so lucky to have had such a storybook first romance. Tyler and I are still friends; we occasionally say hello, and my nose instantly recognizes the scent of his favorite cologne - Aqua de Gio. Love is a funny thing; no matter how sure you are, you can never predict what's coming. Sometimes things fall apart. But I like to believe that its all for a reason. Who knows - maybe we'll meet again, somewhere down this long, winding road. And all I can hope for, is that his butt still looks just as good.


See the previous Love Stories here! If you would like to submit your story, please send an e-mail to You may attach up to 5 photos, and we welcome creativity! Please try to keep your stories to a 1200 word limit. You will receive an e-mail when your story is selected.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Project DIY: Projects with Stencils

We believe that stencils are an underutilized tool in DIY projects. Here are 3 ideas to get you started!

Outfit Tic Tac Toe (and $50 Giveaway!)

Play a game of Outfit Tic Tac Toe! We chose nine versatile fall pieces for endless styling options. Click below to see the three-piece outfit combinations. ♥

And now it's your turn to show us your creativity! To enter this giveaway, tell us different ways you would style the versatile pieces below. You may enter up to two times (one comment for each piece).  Be creative!

stratford town ruched tunic dress                                                     regent floral print tunic

We'll choose our favorite entry for each piece and two winners will receive a $50 gift card. Contest ends September 29th, 12:00pm PST.

Good luck and happy styling!

UPDATE: The winners have been announced!


Contest Disclaimer: No purchase necessary. We reserve the right to close the contests early or late without warning. We will post the name of the winner September 29th, 2011. Upon winning, you agree that your name can be published on this blog at the close of the contest. You must contact us within 7 days after the winner has been announced to claim your prize.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wedding Wednesday: A Very Ruche Wedding

Our resident buyer/stylist, Mara, had one of the most beautiful weddings we've ever seen. Okay, so maybe we're biased, but we just couldn't help but share her joy with you!