Women Who Inspire Us :: Pat Ralls

Pat Ralls

Pat Ralls of Stop Phoning and Driving – In Memory of Brian Ralls

Have you ever met someone whose story is so inspirational you are moved to be a better person?  We have and we want to share with you some of those stories. This post is our first of many featuring women who inspire us.

About two months ago, we were making our weekly calls to customers who had merchandise requests letting them know that the items they wanted had come in. After one of the calls, I heard someone say, “that was an interesting voice mail. She said she turns her phone off when she drives and she would return the call when she isn’t driving.” I said, “you were calling Pat Ralls, weren’t you?”

In 2009, Pat’s son, Brian, was killed in a car wreck caused by a distracted driver.  Whether we knew him or not, we grieved as a community for the loss of Brian.  Brian is the first person I think of when I see someone texting and driving. Then I immediately think of his parents, Doug and Pat, and his sister, Emily, and their determination to stop distracted driving – all in memory and love of Brian and their commitment that no one else loses a loved one from a completely preventable accident.

It is a great challenge facing all of us that doesn’t seem to be going away.  Earlier this summer, 7 year old Hayes Springer of Brentwood was killed when the car he was riding in was rear ended by a distracted driver.  And now, with Pokemon Go raging in popularity, it seems that the task of staying focused on the road is becoming near impossible.

Vignette wanted to highlight Pat’s phenomenal work within the community, as she fights tirelessly to extend and heighten awareness about distracted driving and its perils. We spoke with Pat about ways we drive distracted and what the best measures are in order to enlighten ourselves and others when it comes to distracted driving.

Vignette: How important is it for people to curb the prevalence of distracted driving?

Pat Ralls: How important is YOUR life, that of a loved one, or that of a stranger?  There are tens of thousands of examples every year of people who have died or been seriously injured because someone didn’t think it was important.

Most people do not realize that simply TALKING on your phone provides the same level of distraction as a .08 blood alcohol content.  Texting is equivalent to a .16 BAC.  Once you realize this, hopefully you can see how important it is to simply put the phone down while driving.

It is impossible to drive today without seeing many instances of distracted drivers.  Cars drifting in lanes other than their own, people not proceeding on green lights because they are still busy answering an email or sending a text, and the list goes on. If you are also on your own phone, you are greatly diminishing your chances of being able to react to all the other horrible drivers by whom you are surrounded.

Do methods like Bluetooth or “hands free” phone use help decrease the likelihood of distracted driving?  

Hands-free driving is still distracted driving, because it’s about what your BRAIN is doing.  Despite common misconceptions, you cannot and should not multi-task when it comes to operating a vehicle.  There is much research and science behind this.  If you are curious and want to learn more, google “inattention blindness” or “cognitive distraction”.  The research and data are there, but the will to change is not.

Are there any other modes of distracted driving that aren’t cell phone related?  

There are many ways to be distracted while driving.  It has been proven to be extremely distracting to have a buzzing insect inside of your car.  It is extremely distracting to be transporting a casserole to Grandma’s house and have it fall on the floor.  But let’s compare how often those things happen vs. how often we use a phone while driving. There simply is no comparison.  We as a society have become addicted to using our phones wherever and whenever we want to.

Have there been any developments in the journey to establish effective legislation with regard to distracted driving?

Fourteen states and the District of Columbia have banned the use of handheld devices while driving.  There are very stiff penalties for non-compliance.  More states are considering such a ban.  Unfortunately, the State of Tennessee, despite being one of the deadliest states in which to drive, and despite being tied for first place in the number of teen driving deaths, failed to pass similar legislation.  In fact, the bill was simply killed by one individual after it had passed through the Transportation Committee.  The “answer” we are given is that people don’t want their liberties taken away, and/or don’t want to be told by the government what to do.  My question then becomes, “What happened to Brian’s liberties?”  We have many laws that serve to protect us, and a law against the use of a handheld device while driving should be one of them.

What’s the best course of action someone can take to try and help better distracted driving legislation become a reality?  

This really is an uphill battle, as mentioned above.  The political will is NOT there.  We testified at the State Capitol and I was disheartened beyond words by the attitudes of some of our legislators.  I always wonder if they would feel the same if it were their loved one who was killed.

We have a Facebook page, “Stop Phoning and Driving-In Memory of Brian”, where we post updates on legislation and how you might impact this important issue. But one thing we have to realize……even the states that have much better laws still have distracted driving deaths.  What is needed is that every one of us take personal responsibility to stop using our phones in our car for any purpose.  This IS doable, and made easier by apps you can get if you don’t have the self-discipline to leave the phone alone.  If you are able to put your phone away or turn it off while driving, you will have a totally different driving experience.

Tell us a little bit about the Brian Ralls Memorial Scholarship – what do you look for in a potential recipient?  

The Brian Ralls Memorial Scholarship is administered through the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee and is given to a graduating senior at Brentwood Academy.  They look for qualities in the recipient that mirror Brian’s attributes…….academic excellence, athletic ability, consummate team player, and all-around awesome individual!  The students selected have pledged to not use their phones while driving, which is a way to honor Brian’s life and theirs.

What outlets can people access to learn more about distracted driving?    

Doug and I have spoken to over 35,000 people in the past six years as part of our mission to educate folks about the dangers of distracted driving.  If anyone wants us to come address their school, church, organization, or business, we have a power point presentation that includes facts and personal information that are effective in introducing the subject.  It takes roughly 20 minutes, and hopefully there would also be time for Q and A. Many have seen us in the Brentwood Traffic Court or Williamson County Juvenile Court, where we present our talk monthly.

Something important to keep in mind:  IT IS ILLEGAL for drivers under 18 years old to use their cell phone in any way while driving.  If ticketed, 6 points go against the driving record.  Very few parents are aware of this law.

If you would like to learn more about the dangers of distracted driving, try these sites:



You can also reference Pat Rall’s Facebook page “Stop Phoning and Driving-In Memory of Brian”.

Turning off your phone while driving seems like such a simple thing to do and yet, we don’t.  It is our hope that Pat’s story encourages and reminds us that we can all be part of the solution to end distracted driving.

This blog post is dedicated to the beautiful women among us who inspire and teach us to be more than we are.

Inspiration :: For the Recent Graduate


The summer graduation season is coming to a close, but how do you keep you graduate inspired for their next step in life?

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself”

— George Bernard Shaw


Life after high-school and college takes some getting used to, and every day is a test of courage, faith, and indomitability in the “Real World.” If you have a recent graduate that might be thinking the world is too big, eager to hit the ground running, or just looking for inspiration in the everyday, feel free to pass along some of Vignette’s favorite “TED Talks” for recent grads and young adults alike:

Dan Gilbert, The Surprising Science of Happiness
Susan Cain, The Power of Introverts
David Kelley, How To Build Your Creative Confidence
Derek Sivers, How To Start a Movement
Regina Hartley, Why the Best Hire Might Not Have the Perfect Resume

If you’re looking for more inspiration for your grad, young adults, or even yourself take a look at Shauna Niequist‘s 2010 article “What To Know When You’re 25(ish)” from Relevant MagazineNiequist does a wonderful job of highlighting the realities of young professionals lives, and the fear of having uncertainty, all the while celebrating youthful vitality in Relevant Magazine‘s most read and arguably inspriational article ever.

Summer Travel :: Explore the World, Beach, and Home


“For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.”

— Robert Louis Stevenson


Summer always brings about excitement with the prospect of warmer weather, wedding season, and graduation, but one of our favorite summer related events is traveling! There’s nothing more fulfilling in life than to go out into the world and soak up the sun, cultures, and memories made in new places! Plus, seeing the world makes coming home all the more gratifying!

All of us here at Vignette have been looking forward to longer days to go out into the world and continue designing our stories as well as finding new lines to feature in the store!

Whether you’re traveling to Iceland or to the lake, there are few things better than exploring our beautiful planet and experiencing life with the ones you love most!

Coming Soon :: Second Level Grand Opening!

Second Level Grand Opening apparel shot

Vignette’s Second Level Grand Opening is Almost Here!

Sometimes good ideas take a long time to materialize, and when it comes to the Grand Opening for the second level our store, we’ve left nothing to chance.

At the beginning of the year, our creative team got together and unanimously decided to redesign our second level to include more apparel, a larger baby section and home accessories.

It’s taken us a moment or two to get the merchandise in and display pieces made, but we’re happy (ecstatic really!) to announce that our new and improved second floor will be officially opening this summer.

Just in time for all the sweet Tennessee summer heat, we’ve stocked all the attire you could possibly need to stay cool and beautiful this summer!

We have tons of new apparel that we can’t wait for you to see.  You’ll find the perfect outfit for all those graduation parties, Memorial Day, and Fourth of July festivities this summer!

And don’t worry, the Vignette birds are still on the second floor, too.

We hope you’ll come celebrate our second floor grand opening with us soon!

“Like” us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram as well as sign up for our newsletter for all second floor updates!


Will + Ivey Holiday Pop-up Sale


Y’all remember Will & Ivey—the local children’s clothing line with a mission to serve those in need, especially children, around the world—from our last newsletter, right?

Well we’re excited to host designer Sandra Ney and her amazing business again for a Will & Ivey Holiday Pop-up Sale!

Stop by Vignette December 4th and 5th from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. to shop the clothing line, preview the spring collection and enter to win a $50 Vignette gift card and a $50 Will & Ivey gift card.

Trends We Love :: What To Wear When There’s A Chill In The Air



There’s no doubt Tennessee’s got a chill in the air now! Which means transitioning to lots of warm colors and cozy fabrics. We’ve collected our top five favorite fashions to keep you looking fabulous through the holidays. You can shop all of these and more at Vignette:

The Statement Necklace | Think long, simple + geometric. We’re also seeing lots of leather fringe, hanging charms and colorful stones.

Leather Carryall | Instead of a less-than-fashionable canvas tote, why not carry your holiday goodies in a leather carryall?? Not only are they the perfect size to fit all your necessities and hostess gifts, you can also stash away your scarf/gloves when you’re not using them.

Sweater Coats | The comfort of a sweater with the warmth of a coat? Yes, please. We especially love them in soft, neutral tones.

Shimmery Belts | An iridescent skinny belt is the perfect addition to your holiday party outfits. They’re elegant, understated and can turn any dress or skirt from a work outfit to a night-out look!

Over-The-Knee Socks | Wear them with tall boots, heels, ankle boots, shorts, dresses… Over-the-knee socks can basically make anything look cuter. We think the best way to wear them is with a cozy sweater, sipping hot chocolate and lounging on the couch :).

Special Holiday Hours + Promotions


Who else is still in doubt that Thanksgiving is less than week?? The holiday season will be here before you know it, which means special hours (and shop specials!). Here’s what you need to know:

***We will be closing the shop early on Wednesday, Nov. 25, at 2:00 p.m. and we’ll remain closed Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 26, to give our employees the opportunity to spend Turkey Day with their friends and families.

***We’ll be back open Friday, Nov. 27, for normal store hours.

***Don’t forget to stop by on Small Business Saturday, Nov. 28, for giveaways, refreshments, store discounts and to support your local businesses.

***We’ll be hosting a special holiday shopping event (think: extended store hours, seasonal sips, store discounts and more) in the beginning of December—be on the lookout for more details coming your way!

Gift Giving Made Easy

Shop the gifts that we want to give (and receive) this holiday season!

1. Living Wreaths | These decorative green boxwood wreaths come complete with a ribbon for hanging. They make great end-of-the-year gifts for teachers or for that holiday party hostess. Not to mention, they’re also the perfect touch to complete your holiday decorations!



2. Giving Keys | Started by a Nashville native based out of LA, The Giving Keys help employ those transitioning out of homelessness. It’s all about paying it forward—pick a word that speaks to you, and eventually pass it on to someone who needs it more.


Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset


3. Fair Trade Textiles | Another gift that gives back, we’ve recently received a variety of incredible bags made in Oaxaca, Mexico. Each bag sold makes a positive impact on the lives and the communities of the artisans by nurturing lasting relationships and abiding by fair trade principles.




4. Colorful Socks | We are obsessed with socks, and we show no discrimination. Polka dots, stripes, over-the-knee…the more the merrier. They also make the perfect stocking stuffers!




5. Ring Holders | These ceramic ring holders come in a variety of designs and colors + they make meaningful gifts. It’s something someone looks at almost everyday, if it’s placed in the bathroom or on bedside table, why not give one that has an encouraging message.



You’re Invited :: Vignette Celebrates Five Years


As we’re nearing our five year anniversary, we can’t help but ask ourselves, Where has the time gone??

We also can’t help but think that the past five amazing years of doing what we love couldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for you, our wonderful customers. We’ve loved every minute of being able to share our favorite finds and passion for design with you, and it’s time we said “thank you!”

To celebrate five years, we’re hosting an anniversary party Thursday, Friday and Saturday, November 5-7. The festivities will coincide with the annual Brentwood Christmas Crawl, an event we look forward to each year.

Look forward to extended store hours, weekend-long specials, food + wine, door prizes—think: jewelry, home goods and gift items—and more!

Something To Tweet About: Vignette’s New Monthly Newsletter


From Vignette updates to shopping trips for new inventory to shop events, we needed a new way to share with you all that’s been going on at our little shop in the heart of Brentwood. Enter: a brand spanking new monthly e-newsletter!

That’s right—we’re bringing you everything from the latest trends and favorite finds to store happenings straight to your inbox. And we’d appreciate your help spreading the love! If you like what you see, share the news with your friends and families through the link here.

So sit back, relax and be inspired!

Your friends {and finches} at Vignette!

Five Trends For Fall We Love

unnamed (1)

Wondering what to put on your shopping list this fall? After scouring this season’​s trends, we’re excited to bring you all of our new finds for fall 2015! Here we rounded up our top five favorite fashions to keep you looking fabulous as the weather turns chilly. You can shop all of these and more at Vignette:

1. Wide-brimmed Hats | Who doesn’t love a great big hat to help us out on those less-than-perfect hair days? We love the wool felt hats the most. We’ve seen them in every color imaginable, but merlot and camel seemed to be the favorites this fall, and they’re coming soon to our store!

2. Oversized Scarves | Big, chunky, oversized scarves are making a huge appearance this season! The bigger the better, which is alright with us because it means our necks will stay nice and warm. Choose a neutral grey or a bold plaid, throw your hair in a messy top-bun and you’re ready to go.

3. Dainty Jewelry | This one seems like it’s here to stay! Some of our favorite dainty necklaces are by local designers Freshie and Zero and Modern Bronze. Sometimes all you need is a tiny little shimmer on your neck.

4. Ponchos | Nothing makes getting dressed in the morning easier than throwing a poncho over your jeans! Navajo inspired ponchos are trending for fall and winter. A lot of them featuring bright, fun pops of color on a neutral background. We have TONS about to make an appearance on our racks!

5. Fringe | Fringe is everywhere this season! We’re seeing it less in apparel, and more subtly added to accessories like belts and purses. We just got in some great braided fringe wrap belts from ADA.




Sprucing Up The Shop, New Space + Inventory


One of our hopes is that every time you walk into our store, it’s a little bit different than the last time. We’re constantly shifting around our merchandise, adding to existing displays and trying to create a new and unique experience for our shoppers. For the past several months, we’ve been working to transform one of our walls into built-in shelving. This display will include lamps, home accessories and soft goods.

AND we just added a baby section to our store! Stop in to see our new baby corner which includes nursery decorations, clothing and more. Seriously, they’ll melt your heart. And if you want to show up at a baby shower with a unique gift that will have everyone swooning, you’ll want to stock up on these itty bitty items for the smallest person in your life.