This week has flown by and I have never felt so under accomplishedin my life!  I’m just starting to feel like my normal self again after being sick this week.  Despite that, Mother’s Day was still perfect.  My hubs spoiled me in gifts from one of my favorite local boutiques, Frances Vintage.

I spent the morning soaking in a pink rose petal lush bath and then tried my hand at water color art at Ruze Cakehouse, which was a new experience for  me. Is anyone else seeing the duality here?

color water + water color + roses + ruzes

That experience inspired my next blog features, because I would recommend it to any of my family or friends.

As a local business enthusiast, I get most information about local happenings and events through Instagram.  I happened to see that Ruze Cakehouse was hosting a watercolor monogram workshop on Mother’s Day with Rachel of Pink Puddle Studio.

I sent it to my husband and he took my subtle hint.  Yay!

I arrived at 10:00 am sharp on Sunday, May 14th to Ruze Cakehouse and was greeted by a small group of smiling women as I found my spot and sat down. I was reminded that strangers are few and far between these days, as me and my neighbor in art tried to figure out where the heck we knew each other from.  Turns out we had rushed Gamma Phi Beta at the same time back in our Sun Devil days. Love that.

I’m highlighting Ruze Cakehouse and Pink Puddle Studio in this post because they are both local businesses ran by incredible women who make magic on a daily basis. When these worlds collide, you are sure to have a fun and scrumptious time!

On Tuesday through Sunday, you can walk into the Ruze Cakehouse storefront at 7033 E Main St #100 in Old Town Scottsdale and be greeted with a friendly hello, in a chic and intimate bakery setting that will surely prompt something along the lines of “OH EM GEE” from any patron.  The minimal white and natural wood decor with touches of copper adorned with trendy plants are the precursor to feasting your eyes upon the treats behind the display at the counter.  Trust me, it’s all really good stuff.

Ruze Cakehouse is ran by the sweetest mother and daughter team, Joyce and Jessica Rose Boutwell, who worked out of Joyce’s home in South Scottsdale for a few years until their brick and mortar dreams came to life.  I was surprised to learn that although Joyce was a baker for many years, they sort of fell into the business after they made a cake for a friend’s bridal shower that was hosted at El Chorro.  Shortly after, the onsite catering manager reached out to them to send referrals their way, and the rest is history!  With business exploding within weeks, the mother daughter duo both left their full time jobs and started Ruze, which is Czech for “Rose”, Jessica’s middle name.

Joyce and Jessica Boutwell, provided by Ruze Cakehouse

Tom and I had the pleasure of visiting Joyce’s home in 2015 to do a tasting for our wedding day dessert table.  Everything was divine!  They explained to us that they use quality and locally sourced ingredients, and showed us their chickens roaming the backyard that provided them with fresh eggs daily.    At this point, Ruze Cakehouse already had a killer social media following because their specialty cakes and treats were such a delight for the eyes …and taste buds, of course.

The elegant desserts that are produced in the Ruze kitchen, are baked by mom and designed by daughter, with both adding their finishing touches to the creative goodies.  Their dessert’s designs draw inspiration from the enchanting desert we live in, or have fresh floral elements incorporated into it.

Some have hand painted art, and their newer designs use a sugar printer to impose modern and sleek designs onto their popular cactus shaped cookies.  They offer a selection of unique beverages on the menu as well, such as their signature drink, the Ruze Latte which is a bright pink drink that includes prickly pear tea and nods of rose simple syrup and boba.

Before I get into the actual watercolor class, let me introduce you to Rachel Eskandari, the creative soul behind Pink Puddle Studio.

Rachel doing her thang at the workshop.

I’ve been following and feeling inspired by Rachel’s work for several years now.  She specializes in a variety of painting mediums; watercolor, acrylic, gouache, and oil.  She’s a fellow Sun Devil who took a leap of faith in 2014 and started Pink Puddle Studio to chase her artistry dreams.  You can check out some of her work in her online studio or on her instagram page.

If you are familiar with A Bake Shop on 16th St and Bethany Home, you’d enjoy seeing this amazing mural that she did on the interior wall.

Rachel is a pro at this whole art thing, let me tell you.  She made watercolor looks so easy and effortless.  She walked us through how to hold the brush, how to do various strokes by applying pressure differently, and showed us how to do a few different types of flowers and greenery.  The thing I liked most about watercolor was that imperfect is perfect.

Practice strokes, provided by Rachel Eskandari.

After we felt somewhat confident in our abilities, Rachel passed out our monogram letters. I went for a “C” for my sweet little lady’s room.

Who knew I was capable of making something like this?

Surprisingly, I felt crunched for time at the end of the 2.5 hour workshop, so I didn’t do the best job at getting progress shots.  I wound up frantically filling the letter in with a light green wash just so I could wrap it up and finish in time. I’m pretty pleased with how it turned it out!

The Ruze sans boba. So refreshing and delicious!

While we were busy little watercoloring worker bees, Jessica brought out drinks and cupcakes for us to indulge in.  I swear, it made our paintings just a little bit more sweeter. <3

to-die-for strawberry shortcake cupcakes

And no big deal, Rachel just whipped up the most beautiful monogram letter in the time it took me to do 2 flowers on my page….

Rachel’s monogram, demonstrated in the workshop.

I was quite pleased with how my letter came out.  I looked around and everyone had their own style and flavor, all unique like the women painting them.  I placed mine into a simple gold frame and matte to hang up in C’s room.

My final product <3

At the end of the day, I felt so blessed to share the morning with wonderful women, all putting themselves out there to try something different.  I felt fortunate to receive instruction from Rachel who is so talented and sweet.  I felt lucky enough to chat with Jessica for a few moments after the class was over as I purchased the most delicious Gruyere and salami croissant pulled freshly out of the oven.  I picked up some of the cutest cookies to take to my daughter and mother in law.  (The ones I got didn’t have a funny saying but thought I’d share these).

I admire the Boutwell’s and Rachel for taking the leap of faith and diving into the creative scene that Phoenix has to offer by starting their own businesses. So inspiring!   They both contribute great light to the local community.

You can find out about Rachel’s upcoming workshops or request private individual / group lessons through her website  Ruze will be posting to their Instagram about upcoming work shops, I believe I heard Jessica say they are doing one a month.  If you get the chance to go, grab a friend, mom, sister, ME, or anyone who you want to show an incredible time to.  I truly hope you get to Stop & Taste The Roses!

Sending you sunshine,


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