The Dandelion Patch

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Where in the world is "the Patch?" - In Bahrain at the Tree of Life

The "Patch" has traveled far and wide this summer, but this photo entry to our contest "Where in the world is 'the Patch' this summer" represents the farthest trip taken so far - to Bahrain and to the "Tree of Life."

This photo was submitted by 'Patch' fan Amy, who traveled to Bahrain for several weeks to visit her fiance. The tree in the background is called "The Tree of Life" and it considered a natural wonder. The tree is over 400 years old, and what makes it remarkable is that it stands alone in the dessert in a place that is completely without water!

Send us a picture of you on your summer vacation holding a Dandelion Patch bag and you'll receive a Vera Bradley tote for FREE!

Read the full contest rules here.

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Heidi's Pick's for this Hot Summer Week

My first pick this week is for me!

Ok, so when it's 105 degrees outside and everyone is shopping inside and NOT coming to our Reston location due to the heat, what was I to do? I started trying on Vera Bradley sunglasses! I confess, until this weekend, I hadn't committed to patterned eyeware. But - OMG! They are so super cute. WIth fashionable frames and just a wee bit of pattern showing in all the right spots, I feel like a fool for not caving earlier in the summer. My favorite is this updated gals version of the aviator. The small wire frame fits my face and allows the totally turq to match my blue eyes. And when I learned that the name was "Heidi," I decided that someone was trying to tell me something. Go on, try a pair on for yourself! Maybe your name is written on them too!

For the little one in the tub:

My daughter is certainly not old enough to shave yet, but sometimes I catch her pretending to shave those small, but hairy legs of hers. Until I found this toy from Alex, I was wondering when I would catch her using the "real thing" out of boredom. But now, she has a razor, a bottle of shaving cream and an hour-long bath! Lucky me (or smart me!)! Trust me, this shaving kit is good clean fun for girls and boys. And it provides a much needed break for any mom who's had a long day!

For the Martha / Julia in your life:

Another winner of a gift that I found during the dog days of summer was this spinner full of pewter measuring spoons. I couldn't help myself. There are designs ranging from butterflies to frogs, from angels to kites. One was cuter than the next. By the end of the night, I had a small collection of measuring spoons and had spent a small fortune of time (not money, thankfully) choosing a different pattern for all of my gal pals. I have decided for the rest of this year, I will give a set of spoons along with some yummy cookies as my signature "hostess" gift. Now, if only I could buy those cookies too! :-)

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Friday, July 23, 2010

Where in the World is the "Patch" Going this Summer?

Here is the latest entry in our Where in the World is the "Patch" Going this Summer contest. This entry comes from Debbie, who traveled with her family to Lookout Mountain, Tennessee. In this picture, you can see her standing with her children and her bag from The Dandelion Patch atop the famous Lover's Leap.

Just to give you a sense of how high up she was, Debbie also sent this picture. Yikes Debbie! Don't look down!

Don't forget to send us a picture of you on your summer vacation holding a Dandelion Patch bag! You'll receive a Vera Bradley tote bag for free! Plus, at the end of the summer you'll get to help us select the best photos, and the very best of the best will win a "Patch" shopping spree worth $250!

Read the full contest rules here.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

10% off all Save-the-Dates!

Calling all 2011 brides!

Purchase your "Save-the-Dates"* anytime between July 21st - July 31st and you'll receive 10% off as our gift to you.

* May not be combined with any other promotion. No cash value. Does not apply to previous orders.

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Monday, July 19, 2010

You're Invited! Customer Appreciation Night - July 27, 6PM - 8PM

Join us for an evening of fun and games at Dulles Golf Center and Sports Park!

Enjoy a FREE bucket of balls, FREE miniature golf, batting cage tokens, cotton candy, popcorn and more! Bring the whole family, your co-workers, friends!

When: July 27, 2010, from 6PM - 8PM*

Where: Dulles Golf Center and Sports Park, 21593 Jesse Court, Dulles, VA 20166

RSVP: Email us at

* inclement weather date is Wednesday, July 28th, 6PM - 8PM. Call 703-404-8800 for weather closings only. All other questions, call us at 703-281-4141.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The votes are in! Gabby, Gardening and Giving are Heidi's picks for this week

Well, hello Dahlia! If you haven't heard yet, it's true! The fall collection for Vera Bradley has hit the shelves (as of July 8th). With much fanfare, the marketing genius of the Vera folks had us waiting (some not so patiently!) to see what the "Be Colorful" campaign was all about. And now that we've had these beautiful patterns for a weekend, and the votes have been tallied, we can tell you that the Hello Dahlia is our customers best vote getter. Specifically, this super cute purse called "Gabby" drew all the attention. What do you think? Based on the strong sales thus far, I think this happy handbag is a perfect gift for any mom, grandmother or special friend.

Need a little summer gardening lesson for your "kiddos?" Check out these grow-a-head pets. My kids just had to have these a couple of weeks ago, and I must admit that I thought they'd die within days. But no! These furry marine creatures have sprouted green "hair" that needs to be trimmed regularly. They are absolutely adorable and my daughter loves to pretend to be the hairdresser for "Larry the Lobster" and "Priscilla the Penguin." I think she may be ready for beauty school . . . oh, but she's only 8! Grab your own fun this summer and choose your furry friend. Remember, gratuity not included!

These frosty glasses from Cat Studio have such a strong following that many people have entire collections. Some friends collect the glasses from the states they've traveled, to those they want to travel to. Others collect the glasses in places they've lived (and given the huge military population around the DC area, this could be many!). As a unique twist, I love to give these glasses to college grads as they begin their careers (the state of their first job) or high-school grads headed off to college (the state of their university). I am sure that there must be a hundred different ideas on how these hand-drawn maps - that happen to be printed on a frosted glass - can be used as inexpensive, yet personal gifts. How would you give this gift?

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Saturday, July 10, 2010

Where in the world is "The Patch" going this summer? - How about France!

I would like to share some of the entries from our "Where in the world is 'The Patch' going this summer" contest.

This photo is from Linda and it was taken in Menton France, on the Mediterranean Sea not far from the Italian border. Linda used her bag from The Dandelion Patch while shopping for souvenirs for her grandchildren and friends!

Don't forget to send us a picture of you on your summer vacation holding a Dandelion Patch bag. You'll receive a Vera Bradley tote bag for FREE! Plus, at the end of the summer you'll get to help us select the best photos and the very best of the best will win a "Patch" shopping spree worth $250.

Bon voyage friends!

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Friday, July 9, 2010

Writing: A Habit Worth Developing

All around me, I see signs for summer reading programs. I'd like to propose a summer writing program. Reading is definitely an important skill. Writing is a close second.

A good writer can write himself or herself into or out of almost any situation. I've seen more people who have excellent writing skills excel in careers where they had no other prior experience, than I have seen people with any other kind of specific technical expertise be able to make similar career crossovers.

You don't even have to see yourself as a "writer" to see a benefit from writing. In fact, last year admidst the worst recession we've seen, I've proffered that if business people wrote thank you notes, their businesses would benefit. Specifically, I've offered a "Heidi Challenge" - where business folks would write 52 thank you notes (1 per week) in a year. After 12 months of this task, the group that went along with my challenge showed better-than-average sales, improved relations with their vendors and strengthened relationships with their employees. What we learned from the "Heidi Challenge" was that writing 'thank you' was really a lesson in being grateful. And thus, our outlook became more positive and our stress level reduced - simply from writing thank you notes!

It doesn't take much to develop a writing habit. A pen and some paper. Perhaps a journal. Give someone - perhaps even yourself - the gift of writing. Forget boring composition books from college days; we have a cornucopia of journals at The Dandelion Patch to suit every personality. From tiny Moleskine notebooks to whimsical journals with the words "Create" or "Rules" or "Write" on the cover. Some thought-provoking journals have quotes such as, "You don't write because you want to say something, you write because you've got something to say." Or, "The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page." Pretty Vera Bradley pocket-sized books, with matching pens, pencils or highlighters. Lily Pulitzer pens, pencils or highlighters are equally beautiful and all enhance the writing experience.

It's never too early to get little ones started on this habit (though do try to get them to contain their writings to paper instead of the walls!). Start them out with Melissa and Doug Triangular Colored Pencils (they don't roll!), and let them write to friends and family on note cards and let them have some fun sending / receiving mail over the summer. On gift-giving occasions, even the youngest writers can learn to write thank you notes with Zoomerang's fill-in-the-blanks thank you notes. It allows just enough fill-in space to personalize the note, but provides enough pre-printed information to keep the process from being frustrating for new writers.

Next time you head to the beach or the pool, instead of packing a summer book, consider packing a journal and pen instead.

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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A special offer for our Facebook fans and Twitter followers

We would like to thank all of you who follow The Dandelion Patch on Facebook and on Twitter. So, we've put together something special for you.

For THREE days only (July 7 - 9), any bride who purchases her wedding invitations from The Dandelion Patch will receive 10% of her invitation purchase in gift cards to the Patch (to be used for another purchase) and a FREE Patch Preferred membership card that offers up to $350 additional savings in wedding-related products and services.

Appointments are necessary, so call us today! In Vienna, our number is 703-319-9099. In Reston, call us at 703-689-2240.

Remember, this offer is valid ONLY from July 7 - July 9, 2010.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

An Inviting Wedding

Although June used to be THE season for weddings, in Northern Virginia we see weddings year 'round. Times have changed, but one standard certainly hasn't - you must still invite your guests to the wedding! (Unless you truly meant it when you said, "We just want to have a small wedding.")

You may have chosen to send a save-the-date card earlier in your engagement. Even so, you should still send you invitations 8 weeks in advance. This not only gives your guests time to make travel and / or childcare arrangements, this will give you sufficient time to track down errant non-responders. Unfortunately, you will have to track down a good third of your guests! Nothing will turn you into a rabid RSVPer like throwing a wedding!

Your invitations should reflect the theme, colors, location and formality of your wedding. Remember that you are setting the stage for the main event and this will be your guests first glimpse into your "dream day." Make sure the invitation is also functional - have all the who, what, when, where information and don't be afraid to use additional cards for sharing more detail about your reception, accomodation arrangements and directions. Some couples even share common local attractions and weather data should guests want to make a mini-vacation out of your event. Do not, however, include registry information, unless you particularly relish being the topic of gossip around town! Even today, registry information is only correctly shared by word-of-mouth.

Invitations, like fashion, go through trends. This is why it is beneficial to befriend a professional who can navigate you through the process and educate you on the many options available. In our stores we are seeing a decline in certain colors such as brown and seeing an increase in others such as blues and greys. Belly bands, tags and layers are going away and instead beautiful letterpress, blind embossing, and engraving are making a strong comeback. There is an emphasis on quality paper, especially now that the use of more "white space" in design is prevalent. Simple, elegant motifs are making bold statements where graphic designs used to be.

And let's not forget there are many eco-friendly, "green" options, including bamboo paper, cotton paper, post-consumer waste paper along with soy-based inks and non-mass produced products that reduce the negative environmental footprint. The Dandelion Patch loves paper, but we love the Earth too! We are delighted to help brides find alternative ways to make a "white wedding" more GREEN!

Natually, when ordering your invitations, you will also want to order your thank you notes. Look for a future post about notes of gratitude. (You can thank us later!)

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