By Vanessa Voth / September 25, 2018
What do you do when you have a passion for interior design, fashion, travelling and food, and a sister who shares the same passions as you? Why, start a blog, of course! At least that was the case for sisters Pam Ratzlaff and Laurel Edwards.
Sugar Plum Sisters is much more than just those topics, though. It’s a place where Pam and Laurel can be creative, dive deeper into their curiosities, and connect with a community of women who share their interests. Pam and Laurel have a unique place in the blogging world as they are both mothers of teenage and adult children. They share their experiences as mothers who are guiding their children into adulthood.
The Sugar Plum Sisters was the first blog our owners of Bella & Wren, René and Sandra, followed. Having met each other while working at an interior design firm, and being mothers themselves, René and Sandra resonated with Pam and Laurel’s posts. From home decor, to recipes their families loved, fashion and beauty posts it all lined up perfectly with what Bella and Wren is about.
We have worked with Pam and Laurel on numerous occasions and love how they style pieces from our store. They recently shared a blog post with their fall favourites, all of which can be found in our store and are available online. Be sure to check out their post!
Pam and Laurel have since become customers-turned-friends of Bella & Wren, and we wanted to feature them as this week's #bellababes. We asked Pam and Laurel a few questions to help you get to know them better, and so you, too, could be inspired by these two amazing women in our community.
BW: Your blog, Sugar Plum Sisters, is the first blog we ever started following, eight years ago now. When did you start your blog and what inspired you to do so? And how did you come up with the name?
LAUREL: That is such a huge compliment! We are so grateful for those who follow us and feel a connection:)
PAM: WOW! I love that we were the first ones you followed! You started following us right when we started blogging.
LAUREL: Pam and I have long had a love for fashion, food, travel and entertaining. Pam specifically is a researcher and has a knack for finding hidden gems or hacks. For a number of years, friends had asked for our recommendations for travel and food and we started thinking maybe we should have somewhere that we could journal them. A blog.
PAM: I didn’t really know what a blog was, but Laurel kept bugging me that we should start one, and after thinking about it for several months, we decided to give it a try. Laurel and I were doing interior design, which we loved, but we also loved other things, like food, fashion, and travel. With a blog, we could talk about more than just interior design.
Our brother once talked about an investment the family made as “Sugarplums for the future”. That got us thinking. A sugarplum is a sweet treat… and we wanted to talk on the blog about those little extras in life that can make a difference. For example, that extra ingredient in a simple dish you are making. Or that piece of jewelry that just elevates an outfit. Of course, the “sisters” part is because we are really sisters.
BW: What's your "why”?
PAM: Our “why” has changed over the years. We’ve gone from talking about sweet little extras that enhance your life to more about how we actually live life and do family. Recently, we’ve been talking a lot about learning how to graciously launch your kids into the adult world. We want to start conversations about how to do this. There really aren’t a lot of what we call “midlife” bloggers out there, so we hope that we are filling a niche in the social media world. We are also talking more about traveling now that we have more time to explore as the kids are getting their licenses and have their own lives.
LAUREL: Originally, I felt the blog gave me a reason to look for something beautiful each and every day. It made me feel accountable. While that still is a desire, my “why” has grown a bit. Life happens and there are ups and downs and it has been incredible to share so much of it on our blog. When we make relationships through the blog, or feel like we can use our platform to encourage/support others, it’s amazing. And is a driving force for both Pam and I.
BW: What do you love most about blogging?
PAM: I really love researching. Yes, I’m a bit of a nerd that way! Blogging gives me a place to share what I learn - whether it’s the best way to remove a stain, or a great deal on a pair of booties that I’ve been stalking. I also love that it gives me the opportunity to work with my sister, who really is also my best friend. Yes, there are rubs along the way, as we are very different, but we do truly compliment each other. Blogging has also given me the opportunity to connect and meet so many people that I never would have had the chance to know!
LAUREL: I love being able to write. It’s definitely an outlet for me. It pushes me… to keep being current, to try new things (whether in the kitchen or a new trend), to be ok with failing. We always encourage our kids to be bold and not be afraid of trying new things, so… I’d better be able to practice that myself! I also love the platform that our blog has given us to share about the most meaningful things in our life: faith and family.
BW: Blogging isn't your full time gig, what else do you do?
LAUREL: Pam and I are both wives and moms of three kids. Our lives are full - kids in sports have us spending much time in our cars, at hockey rinks, dance theatres, gyms… it’s a lot of fun! Blogging usually has to fit around our schedule but the cool thing is that we have begun to incorporate more about our family life into our blog, so sometimes we can do a bit of both at the same time!
PAM: Besides blogging, I am a stay at home mom. As I mentioned, that role is changing for me as my daughters are driving and my son is on the island for hockey. I do keep very busy organizing their schedules and traveling to see them when they aren’t home. But I am finding now that I have more time to dedicate to blogging.
BW: How do you balance work, blogging and home life?
PAM: This is a tricky thing! When we first started blogging, the kids were much younger and dependent on me and my hubby to get to all of their activities… and their schedules were crazy! So, blogging primarily took place late at night once everyone was in bed. That often meant Laurel and I would be talking shop at 1am. Laurel and I have always tried to keep the kids’ schedules the priority, clearing our personal schedules to attend hockey and volleyball games and dance competitions. This has meant that we’ve often missed blogging opportunities, but I don’t regret it! We have felt fortunate that we have had the flexibility to be at their games and competitions.
LAUREL: The juggle is real! When the kids were younger, we did much of our work during nap times or late at night. As they’ve grown, we have been able to have more flexibility - more day time hours and are able to go to events in the evenings. Through it all, our first priority and desire was to focus on our home life. There have been times where we’ve had to forgo opportunities because of volleyball games, or dance recitals, or hockey games, but I don’t think either of us regret it. Their time with us is going by so fast!
BW: What advice would you give to another woman who is wanting to pursue starting a blog of her own?
LAUREL: Just do it! Pam and I took the leap and while the learning curve was steep, making the decision to go for it was the hardest part! The second piece of advice would be to interact in your community - reach out to others that you feel a connection with and put yourself out there.
PAM: I say do it! If you are passionate about something, go for it! And… just be you… be authentic. For the first couple of years, Laurel and I tried to be like the 30-something bloggers that had strong followings. But then we decided that maybe we had something different to offer. The great thing about a blog is that it’s something that you own. You own the content and the photos. Don’t feel like you have to post 3 times a week (that’s what Laurel and I did when we started...it was too much and too much pressure). Post when you have great content to share and good photos are important too.
BW: What's your favourite piece in your wardrobe right now and why?
PAM: With the weather changing, I would have to say my Rains coat. My husband insisted on buying me one last year and I’m in love with it. I like that it’s lightweight, so you can wear sweaters under it. A good raincoat really is a must if you live on the West Coast.
LAUREL: A pair of staple black pants. They are an athletic cut that can be worn day to evening. You can never go wrong with a classic black pant.
BW: Is there an item in your closet you just can't get rid of, despite it being outdated, or well-worn etc?
PAM: Funny you should ask this question. Last weekend, I attended a black tie event and didn’t know what I was going to wear. I pulled out a floor-length, strapless, black evening gown that I had from an event 8 years ago and just couldn’t part with. It still fit, so I wore it. I think a classic black gown never really goes out of style. You can change up the accessories and shoes and you are good to go!
LAUREL: I have a pair of Christian Louboutins - they are the most uncomfortable pair of shoes I have ever owned… I can’t even wear them! Literally. And yet, my husband bought them for me and I’ll never get rid of them. He was so excited about treating me and that in itself makes them sentimental!
BW: If someone were to make a movie of your life, which actress would you want to play you?
LAUREL: This sounds so cliche, but Julia Roberts, because she’s a superstar! Lol just kidding. She appears to be authentic and has a good balance between her work and personal life. She is a beautiful, timeless actress.
PAM: If it was a mockumentary, I would say Melissa McCarthy...I think she’s hilarious! If it was serious, I would say Reese Witherspoon. I loved her in Four Christmases and Home Again. She’s around my age and has kids that are close to the age of my kids, so she would “get” me...and we are both blond!
We hope these ladies have inspired you as they have us! Check out their blog post for more photos of their favourite fall looks! And while you’re there you can peruse some of their other posts and try out some of their recipes or beauty rituals!
Until next time,
Bella & Wren