Monday, December 22, 2014

The Ultimate Gift - Presence

So this morning my sister (a yoga instructor and manager of the Core Power Yoga Studio in Arlington Heights) posted this video to Facebook. I watched it after just coming home from yet another run to Target and the post office. After watching the video and really taking time to think, of all the things I've been making and all the cool German inspired products I've been promoting, this is the greatest gift.


I'm sure all of us have spent the past month running around and buying gifts, checking things off the to-do list, making cookies, preparing meals etc… but that whole time (if your anything like me) you've had your phone at your side and kept on working and "socializing".

It is no secret, I'm in the business of not only creating products and items that people like and would enjoy, but in order to make a living… I have to sell them. So, my month has been filled with  trying to meet sales goals, buying more fabric and trim to meet demand, late nights sewing, early mornings Instagraming, filling orders and waiting patiently in line at the post office. It's been a super busy month and I truly appreciate all my customers who made this month so busy, but now with Christmas only days away, I am going to stop. Stop worrying about sewing more gloves, stop feeling sad that I didn't reach all my goals, stop running around like a crazy person, and just decide to be present.

This is a holiday, whether you are religious or not, that at the end of the day... is about celebrating love with family and friends. Giving gifts is a way to show others that we care and love them, but those will mean nothing to them if when they open it, you're staring down at your cell phone, texting or checking Facebook. Starting Christmas Eve, I'm going to turn off social media, turn off the e-mail and just be present in the moment and cherish the time with my family and friends. It's more important to give presence than to give presents! So join me in turning off the distractions and tuning in to the spirit of Christmas.

Merry Christmas, Frohe Weihnachten, Happy Holidays and everything in between from our Rare Dirndl family to yours!

Check out the original #givepresence blog article by clicking here







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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Top 3 German Inspired Gift Ideas Under $100 (2014)

This time of year is all about family and friends! I love it when I find the perfect gift for the people on my list and a lot of those people would be super excited about these great German gifts that I found/made. So here are my top pics for this year!


#1- Purse-a-palooza!

Apron Purse
No one likes schlepping around a clunky purse at a German club picnic, German Fest or Oktoberfest… so we have a fabulous solution. The Apron purse! So easy to slip onto the ties of an apron or a belt, and it holds just the things you need… phone, wallet, chapstick, etc. Handmade by Heidi Kelly of HKelly Designs and available in 3 simple and classic colors, it is sure to be a big hit this year. The purses start at $49 and there are 2 styles to choose from. Click here to get one for the dirndl wearer in your family.








Lederhosen Clutch
This is another great gift for any lovely lady who loves unique gifts that have a German touch to them. The lederhosen clutch is slightly larger than the typical wristlet and it's made from the leg portion of genuine leather Bundhosen. "I'm always surprised with how much I can fit in it. I use it all the time', says Katherine from Chicago. This is a limited edition purse and is available on the Rare Dirndl website for $45.00. Click here to add this must have to your cart.








#2- Celebrate our Weltmeisters!



Jerseys for you, and something for the little ones too! 
After the epic World Cup win this year, any German lover on your list would love a new Germany National Soccer Team Jersey with 4 stars! Home and away jerseys are available for $89.99 at worldsoccershop.com. But let's not forget about the little ones in your family who need to start supporting the greatest soccer team in the world asap! How about this adorable onesie available for $14.43 on etsy. (Click here for link)


















#3- Always the perfect fit… Jewelry!



Custom Jewelry Designs by Kristen Hunger
I'm so excited to be working with local jewelry designer Kristen Hunger this year. She has designed a gorgeous selection of jewelry to match Rare Dirndls. Some of my favorites are the Beer Stein Earrings, Industrial Style Edelweiss Necklace, and Oktoberfest Charm Necklace! She creates each piece to be a perfect compliment to both a dirndl and an everyday outfit. Ranging from $15-$79 her jewelry designs make a wonderful holiday gift and you can see the whole collection by clicking here.






The Edelweiss Wrap Bracelet
To put it simply, this is the greatest bracelet I've ever owned. I don't even feel it when I wear it and it looks so chic. Layer it with a second bracelet or layer it with other bracelets and again… your ready for the Christkindlmarkt, Oktoberfest or for work! At $20 each or double up for $30, this is a no brainer gift for the edelweiss-obsessed on your list.

Speaking of lists… Every year I make a list and always forget someone, not because I'm not thinking of them or do not want to give them a gift, but because my brain is moving 90 miles an hour and I simply forget. So this year, we did it for you! We made a Holiday List, so you don't miss anyone this year. It's an editable excel file that you can download to use to help make sure that no one gets forgotten. There is a second doc with gift ideas just in case you get stuck trying to think of something for them.

Click Here to download the Weihnachtsgeschenk Liste
and Click Here to download the Weihnachtsgeschenk Liste with Ideas

I've also made a quick video to show you my Rare Dirndl favorites!




BONUS!!!

This year we are offering Holiday Gift Wrapping for only $1.00! You can add it to your cart at checkout and even include a message. Wrapping gifts and getting it all organized is such a hassle, so let me do it for you!






If you think any of this info would be helpful to your friends, I would be honored if you would send them to this blog post so they can get some fresh holiday ideas. I hope this helps you with your Christmas shopping for those crazy-fun Germans on your list. I know my list is full of them… and I love them all!! Merry Christmas to your family from ours!




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Saturday, December 6, 2014

Krampus Fest Here We Come!!



I'm so excited to be a part of Martyrs' 2nd Annual Krampus Fest! This is a FREE EVENT at Martyrs' near Lincoln Square (3855 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, Illinois 60613) Rare Dirndl will be one of the local vendors at the Artisan Holiday Market 11am - 4pm  and then there is a Krampus Parade 4:30pm and Live Music 5:30pm

It should be a great family friendly event to shop, eat, drink, stomp, chant in celebration of Krampus, St. Nick's dark partner. Wicked good fun!

Last year was the first Krampus fest and it's a day long event paying homage to St. Nick's dark partner, Krampus, because sometimes it's hard to be good! This is a family-friendly fest, so no Krampus beatings. (sorry!)

We will have table at the Holiday Arts Market from 11am-4pm along with other local artisans, crafters, bakers and purveyors of beautiful handmade and homemade gifts. Super cool background mixtapes from DJ LowFi. There will also be delectable sweet and savory edibles: cakes, chocolates, German sausages, potato pancakes, a terrific housemade Glogg and of course, hot cocoa!

Take a picture with Krampus! or St. Nick! Are you feeling naughty or nice? Chillax, we get it! Most days we're both, too! Krampus Parade at 4:30!! Wicked. Cool. Fun

Can't wait to see you there!! But first I need to decide what to wear! I feel like any of these dirndls could fit a Krampus theme, so come to Martyrs' tomorrow so visit my little booth (see which dirndl I chose), meet Krampus and enjoy a truly unique holiday tradition! 













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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Rare Dirndl Customer Spotlight: Kathleen Martini


Kathleen Martini - Columbus, OH



I'm Kathleen Martini, a 20-year-old Schwob living in Columbus, Ohio and dancing for the Trenton Donauschwaben Jugendgruppe. I have four Rare dirndls, one of which is custom, and I'm a little more than obsessed.

The custom dirndl Erika made for me when she was moving locations is probably the most beautiful piece of clothing I own. It is a vision in white, and I love it, but I think another piece she did is even more beautiful...

I'm half-Schwob, half-Irish, with my mom being the only non-genetic Schwob in the family. She always comes to Labor Day and whatever other club events we drag her to, sporting a dirndl more often than most, and throughout the years, she's always joked about getting a green dirndl to show off her Irish pride. When I discovered Erika a few years ago, she posed the perfect solution to my mom's problem. I emailed her, and she drew up a design for a beautiful shamrock-themed dirndl that I gave my mom for a late Mother's Day present. My mom loves it still, and I'll be stealing it out of her closet one of these days.




Erika is an artist, and I love her visions for dirndls. I love the tradition of our Donauschwaben heritage, and I know she does, too. It's beautiful to see her create modern pieces that are still tributes to our roots.




Do you want to be the next Rare Dirndl Customer Spotlight? As the winner you will recieve a $50 Coupon Code for any online purchase, a feature on the Rare Dirndl website and blog, and a gift package worth approx $100!! Click here to get all the details!





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Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Party is Happening on Pinterest, AND We're Having a Pinterest Party!

I've been on Pinterest for a few years now and I've realized that I think it is my favorite social media platform! Plus, the Rare Dirndl boards are increasingly becoming favorites of others as well. My Pinterest following is becoming ever larger and I think it's because it's not 100% dirndl focused! I could spend hours on Pinterest… and sometimes I do… (whoopsie).

I am a visual person and Pinterest is a visual platform! I love seeing new DIY ideas, funny pictures, great new products, and visually based articles that are interesting. Its a great way to find new blogs, new recipes and ideas! If you have a Pinterest account, I would encourage you to click here to jump on over to Pinterest to follow the Rare Dirndl boards!

Why?! Because that's where the party's at homie!!!

There is more fun Rare Dirndl (and not Rare Dirndl) things going on over there then on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram combined!

For Example…
If you like things that are yummy, then follow the "Yummy" Board

If you like inspirational quotes, then follow the "Good Quotes" Board

If you like everything having to do with dirndls, then follow the "Everything Dirndl" Board

If you like a good laugh every once in a while, then follow the "Things that make me Smile" Board

There are also boards specifically for things that I LOVE (that maybe you didn't know I loved) like Harry Potter, Traditional Dress, Star Wars, and Typography Jokes!

We're also celebrating Small Business Saturday with a mini Pinterest Party! 

There is one project I found on Pinterest and I am going to be working on it in the Rare Dirndl Design Studio during Small Business Saturday, November 29th from 10am-6pm!

You are welcome to come in and #shopsmall! There will be some snacks out all day, I'll be working on my Pinterest project, but that doesn't mean you can't come in and pick up the Open Gloves, Edelweiss Wrap Bracelet or anything else we have. Plus… everything will be 10% off!!! EVERYTHING! So don't miss it!


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Friday, November 14, 2014

Restaurant Review: Stony Run Inn and Grill - Kempton, PA

Today is a special treat! A guest post about a German Restaurant that I probably won't have the chance to try, but luckily my friend Heidi wrote a review. Enjoy!




Hi, I'm Heidi Kelly of HKelly designs and I live in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country, so I guess it is no surprise that we found a very nice German/Austrian restaurant just miles from home. Stony Run Inn and Grill http://www.stonyruninn.com/


At first, I wasn't so sure about going, when I think of german food I think about saurkraut and heavy food and I am a picky eater, but my husband convinced me. 























Well I opened up the menu and the first thing I look at is the drink menu and I was beyond excited to see many champagne drinks!! I don't drink beer, but I am a sucker for champagne! Besides drinks the food selection was great, there were even some American meals in case someone wasn't into the German food.







My husband and I decided to go authentic. We ordered appetizers he had a cabbage soup and I had scallops wrapped in bacon. The appetizers were the perfect size. Then we ordered our meals, I had the pork schnitzel and he had saurbraten, he also had the German beer, Warsteiner. 

All in all, one of the best meals I have had in this area! The wait staff was amazing and super knowledgeable! The owner, chef even came out to talk to us! Our waiter, I think was a part time actor, had a great German accent when he wanted to and we had a great time. We ended the night with a German coffee for my husband and we split a raspberry chocolate cake! If you ever find yourself in Pennsylvania Dutch Country near Kutztown, PA this restaurant should be on your list!


My husband and I decided to go authentic. We ordered appetizers he had a cabbage soup and I had scallops wrapped in bacon. The appetizers were the perfect size. Then we ordered our meals, I had the pork version of weinerschnitzel and he had saurbraten, he also had a German beer Warsteiner. All in all, one of the best meals I have had in this area! The wait staff was amazing and super knowledgeable! The owner, chef even came out to talk to us! Our waiter, I think was a part time actor, had a great German accent when he wanted to and we had a great time. We ended the night with a German coffee for my husband and we split a raspberry chocolate cake! If you ever find yourself in Pennsylvania Dutch Country near Kutztown, PA this restaurant should be on your list!





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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Great Traditions to be Passed Down


This past weekend was the 3rd International Fair and Wine Tasting that took place at the AAS Clubhouse in Chicago. One of the items that usually sells out the fastest are the home-made German cookies. Last year I did a little trial and error, teaching myself (with a recipe from my best german recipes) to make classic Hazelnut Macaroons. The 2nd attempt was good enough to contribute to the cookie pile, but it is still just amateur hour compared to the magnificent cookies that my grandpa used to make. Here's the video… you can see for yourself why I think I'll focus my energy back in the studio making dirndls, haha!





My Grandpa started learning his trade at the tender age of 11 and throughout the years received multiple awards for his baking (and I would call it artwork). Now 90 years old, he doesn't do anymore baking, but those who know him and tasted his cookies, especially his macaronnen, still crave just a little taste.

Grandpa Jacob's famous Macaronnen

Traditions like baking family cookie recipes and making classic German dinners can unfortunately be lost. I encourage anyone who still has the ability to learn from the older generation about the traditions to do so, because it would be such a shame to loose them. I've spent a lot of time learning the craft of creating traditional Donauschwaben trachten, but in doing so, I didn't put enough (or really any) time learning my grandfather's craft. However… as seen in the above video… I don't think it's quite my calling, but it never hurts to learn from the best.


Now I'd like to hear from you! What kind of family traditions do you carry on? Which traditions do you wish you would have learned? Write your thoughts in the comments and let's get a conversation going… maybe we can even swap some recipes!





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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Old Favorites and New Must Haves: Open Gloves and Edelweiss Wrap Bracelets

Last week released our newest accessory, the Edelweiss Wrap Bracelet and at first I thought maybe it was just me who thought they were fabulous, but apparently not, because they are the talk of the town.

Available in 8 colors they can easily be mixed and matched and layered and I could go on and on! They make great gifts at $20 each and as a bonus, you can get 2 for $30 in select colors!











There have been a few questions surrounding the new bracelets, so I made a quick video to explain a little bit more about them!


Another item that is all the buzz, it the final return of the Open Gloves. This is the very last run of the gloves because I have officially used every scrap of the cotton loop knit fabric to make the gloves. I had a few yards left in olive so I decided to use all of it to make the last round of gloves! They make great texting gloves because it leaves your fingers free, and they are also perfect over those grab n' go gloves from the dollar store! A quick and easy way to spruce up those old and tired $1 glovies. Click here to get your gloves now!

What's even better… Pairing the gloves and new bracelet like Monika did! She posted this picture to instagram and used #raredirndl and now her picture along with any other picture tagged using #raredirndl comes up on our new website! How cool is that!? 

We also have 2 great events coming up if you're in the Chicagoland area. This Thursday is the Lincoln Square Fall Wine Stroll and Sunday is the 3rd Annual International Fair & Wine Tasting at the AAS. We will be participating in both events and will have both of these great accessories available! 

As always we love to hear from you! So comment below or on Facebook and tell us what you think of our winter accessories or what you'd like to see from Rare Dirndl. 


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Friday, October 24, 2014

Rare Dirndl Customer Spotlight: Ingrid Jacobs

Ingrid Jacobs - DeForest, WI


I have wanted a dirndl ever since I learned what a dirndl was. I have wanted a Rare Dirndl ever since I stumbled across the Rare Dirndl website. My German heritage is very important to me. My father is full German, and I learned German in school; I love brats, beer, pretzels and polka. Not only do I love all things German, but I also love learning about all cultures and celebrating different heritages, especially when it comes to clothing. I already owned a kimono and two saris, so it seemed strange to me (and everyone who knows me well) that I didn’t own a dirndl. 


I was visiting my parents in Minnesota, and we decided to go to Deutsche Tage at the Germanic-American Institute. Erika had a booth there, and I seized the opportunity to buy the dirndl of my dreams. I got an In Bloom Dirndl because I wanted the versatility that goes with it. I paired it with a royal blue semi circle skirt and a royal blue off-the-shoulder blouse. 


My favorite part is the pattern on the apron. It is so elegant. The dirndl became my favorite outfit instantly. My boyfriend and I went to his cousin’s wedding, and I got permission from the bride to wear it. I received so many compliments. Wearing it makes me feel so feminine and beautiful. This may be my first Rare Dirndl, but it certainly won’t be my last.







Do you want to be the next Rare Dirndl Customer Spotlight? As the winner you will recieve a $50 Coupon Code for any online purchase, a feature on the Rare Dirndl website and blog, and a gift package worth approx $100!! Click here to get all the details!


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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Ironing your Dirndl

Recently I wrote a blog post about caring for your dirndl and this week, I thought I would do a quick follow-up video about how to iron your dirndl. Most Rare Dirndls are designed for easy care and little to no ironing needed, because let's face it… who likes ironing!? I specifically choose synthetic fabrics that don't wrinkle easily or need much ironing, however… there are a few that are made of cotton because I thought the design called for a cotton fabric. Those particular dirndls will need some ironing, so here is a quick video about ironing your dirndl.


If you have questions about what your dirndl is made of and whether or not your should use a hot iron, low iron, or steam feel free to give us a call or shoot me an e-mail and we will try to answer your questions as best as possible.

Do you have any dirndl ironing tricks? We'd love to hear them! Put them in the comments below or tell us about them on Facebook!



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Friday, October 17, 2014

Lincoln Square Art Walk

This weekend is the Lincoln Square Art Walk and it's the first time that the Rare Dirndl Designs Studio is participating in the event! As a venue, I worked closely with local artist, Daniel Cleary and will have his artwork displayed in the design studio windows all weekend!






Daniel Cleary was born in Tipperary Town, Ireland. Having developed a passion for painting at an early age, Daniel went to art school in London. From there, he moved to America, became a citizen and has been living in Chicago for the past 30 years.

"My art depends very much on what I take in through my eyes. In seeing, I try to get to the heart of my subject. I am stimulated by what I see and held in thrall by it -- as Delacroix has described it, 'as a snake by a snake charmer'. The artists I have tried to learn from have all had their original stimulus from nature: Cezanne, Van Gogh and Matisse, even Mondrian who talked about plastic values which I understand as a kind of tactile presence. I try to make the subjects I paint or draw immediate to the senses."


To decide which paintings he would display in the windows, he stopped by and took a look at my work and thought that the portraits and still life paintings featuring flowers would compliment the Rare Dirndls nicely. Also in the window is the Love Dirndl







I designed this dirndl in 2010 after the world lost a beautiful member of the German Community. Fellow Donauschawben dancer and friend, Katie Buchert, lost her battle with breast cancer inspired the Strength in Pink Collection. The love dirndl is still available and the proceeds from that collection benefit the Young Survival Coalition. We have already donated over $800 in Katie's name and can't wait to give more. October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and we hope to support a great cause and local artists this month with our window display.

Although the studio will not be open this weekend, if you are in the Lincoln Square area, please take a wander around the neighborhood and check out all the local artist's work and the small businesses. 








Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Post Oktoberfest: How to Care for your Rare Dirndl


The best part of Oktoberfest is the food, drink, and wearing dirndls! The not so fun part is the mustard dripping on your apron, that drunk guy behind you spilling his J├Ągermeister on your blouse and just that overall stale beer smell your dirndl has because you may or may not have sat in a puddle of Spaten Okotberfest. However, there is an easy way to solve this problem… a nice post wiesen dirndl cleaning!







Caring for your Rare Dirndl is pretty simple and below is a quick overview of the cleaning instructions  for your dirndl. (and there should be a tag in the garment that explains how to clean it too)


Blouse: The vast majority of Rare Dirndl blouses are a 65% cotton 35% polyester blend which is fabulous because you can toss that puppy in the washer and dryer and it'll come out like a dream! I like to wash them on a gentle cycle and then in the dryer. For the sparkle organza blouse, line drying or machine air drying is best. I also let the draped sleeve blouses air dry, but I've accidentally put them in the dryer on high and they turned out just fine.

Apron: Since the apron is what usually gets dirty the fastest, I try to choose washable fabrics for the aprons, but if it is dry clean only, the tag will say so. So for the apron, please check the tag to be sure.






Dirndl: Your best bet with the dirndl is to have it dry cleaned or spot clean it yourself with a wet rag and some detergent. The fabrics used to make the dirndls are typically machine washable. However, its the handwork is the reason you don't really want to toss it in the washer. The trim may start to fray and the front hooks and hardware may start to come loose.

Bloomers: Easy peasy… machine wash and dry.

If you ever have any concerns about caring for your dirndl, you can either e-mail me or take it to the cleaners and ask their opinion. Even though I make the dirndls, I don't always know the best way to clean them. But… that quirky dry cleaners in the strip mall down the street that's been there forever and ever, probably knows how to get just about any stain out of your apron and/or dirndl.

Or… just give it to Oma and give her a big hug… she'll probably take care of it for you ;-)



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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

From the Runway to Oktoberfest to Every Day… Dirndls are Here to STAY!

Bridesmaid Dirndls from a Wedding in June
As an avid dirndl wearer, I find myself in situations where I can get some funny looks from people at times… like in the grocery store, filling my car up with gas, or walking down the street. However, every year, Americans are becoming more and more enamored with Okotberfest and all things German.  It's clear to me that with over 16 Oktoberfest celebrations in the city of Chicago alone, wearing dirndls is becoming more mainstream. (And that's very exciting!!)











Not only are dirndls being seen more at smaller local Oktoberfests, but also on the runway. The latest Spring 2015 Collection by Givenchy, recently seen on the runways in Paris, is very clearly inspired by the dirndl silhouette and style. One look at the collection and I'm instantly excited to start wearing some of my dirndls everyday! Looks like this spring (according to Givenchy) is going to be the time to start wearing your dirndl out on the town.
Givenchy Spring 2015 Collection
Me in my dirndl in the streets of Basel during Fasnacht.
I expect that if this trend continues, it could very well be that in the near future, all us dirndl loving folk will be able to wear our favorite pieces out to the store and out to dinner without anyone thinking twice about it!

I'm excited to wear my dirndl everywhere!! How about you? Do you have a funny story about when you wore your dirndl to an unexpected place and people had interesting reactions… like the time someone asked me if I worked at the Apple Pickery while I was driving home. Share them in the comments and the maybe next year we can all celebrate being able to avoid those silly comments, like, "Are you an irish dancer?"







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