10 steps to simplify sending out your holiday cards with Tiny Prints

Back when we were kids, specifically in the 90’s, my mother would get christmas cards by the droves! We would have a trash bag filled with cards that we would have to sort through and then choose how long was appropriate for keeping said cards.

More recently, holiday cards have become more personal with photos, or e-cards with their animation and what not.

I for one did not think that I would EVER send out holiday cards. In my mind it was something that older women aka “moms” did. Makes sense that I started sending out cards once I became a mom myself.

So for those of you who are considering sending out Holiday cards, (Birth Announcements, Birthday Invitations and plenty other papered goods) I honestly recommend Tiny Prints.

I was able to partner with Tiny Prints again this year in order to be able to send the BEST Christmas Cards. We got so many compliments on our cards that we received phone calls and texts saying how great they were. It was also great to see our last years cards when we went to go visit a few of our friends over our holiday break!

Tiny Prints allows med to customize my cards with some of the most beautiful and luxurious cards that I have seen out there.

This was the design that we went with this year. It opens in the center and your personal photos are the center focus of this design. You can customize the color of the words and the message inside.

With an easy to use gallery feature you can preview what your card will look like as you search through the site to pick your favorites.

The best part about Tiny Prints to me is the coordinating accessories.

The card selection is great, but one thing that I love is that I could customize every part of this card down to the liner of the envelope!

I chose a one photo option for the liner of my envelope which is a silver shimmer.

You will have to assemble these but it was so easy, I did it while laying in bed one night watching tv.

 

This is what it looked like when you stuff the card into the envelope! Pretty impressive huh?

In addition to the envelope liners we chose to do personalized stamps. If you are going to pay for postage why not make it pretty postage! The final accessory to this holiday card set was the return address label that wrapped towards the back to seal the envelope.

All made super duper easy by Tiny Prints.

So if you want to create your own personalized holiday card or card for any upcoming event as they have paper goods to meet every need – see future post about Gracie’s 3rd Birthday – then check out http://www.tinyprints.com to get started.

Need some tips to get you started ?

Here are 10 steps to simplifying sending out your very own Holiday Cards:

1. Chose a color palette for your family’s attire. When in doubt search Pinterest for some inspiration. The previous years I stuck with Red as an accent because it reminded me of Christmas, but when paying for pictures, I soon realized that I want to use them for more than Christmas or Holiday posts so I went with a color that didn’t overtly scream HOLIDAY!

2. You do not have to do the matchy matchy thing. Gone are the days where you have to stress out over finding the exact same outfit in multiple sizes. Try to pick outfits that compliment each other, versus match each other. Again, you can go to Pinterest for help with this as well.

3. Pick a photographer whose work you love! Now whether you hire someone or you decide to set up your camera with a timer on it, make sure that its a finished product that you love. That way when you see it printed over and over, you won’t hate it and feel regret that you wasted all of the effort.

Make sure that if you take the pictures yourself that they are of a high quality because nothing is worse than ending up with a blurry card.

4. A way to save money: If you decide to go with a professional photog, look for the times where they are offering mini-sessions. That is when a photographer make pick 2-3 days to book multiple clients back to back, with shorter session times at a reduced rate. You get in, get out and with great pictures that you can then save for your cards later on.

5. Pick a time when your children usually cooperate: preferably after they have been fed or had a nap. We missed the nap window rushing and needless to say, my daughter was NOT the most cooperative towards the end. She refused to stand in grass, walk on sidewalks, wave or smile. I mean really! so in the end, we gave her a cell phone and took that photo you see of use walking away.

6. Do not think you have to pick the perfectly posed photos for your card. Pick the ones that you love and shows the personality of your family. In one of our pictures, you see me holding my uncooperative child having a conversation with my husband while my dress is slightly hiked up — But thats us!

7. Chose Tiny Prints for your Holiday Card. Make sure that you pick a company who will print to the quality that you are paying for. You have spent money and energy on outfits, wrangling your kids and photographers and you do not want a thin, flimsy piece of a card. Quality is best!

8. Make an Excel sheet of your friends and family’s addresses. Nothing worse then scrolling through your phone not having any addresses for the persons that you want to send cards to. If you have your list of addresses and names on hand, it leads to my tip number 8.

9. Take advantage of letting Tiny Prints address the envelopes for you! That means the only thing that you have to do is stuff, place your personalized stamp on it and place in your mailbox out front! It gets no easier than that!

10. Order Early! Yes, I know the holidays have passed, but that just means you can get a really early start on next year’s cards!

 Disclaimer: I was compensated for this post in the form of free product from Tiny Prints in exchange for a blog post. However, photos and thoughts about the experience are all my own. Affiliate links are in this post.

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A Christmas Story 2012

T’was the Day before Christmas Eve and all at my job…
not a creature was stirring, not even the boss..
we were buzzing at our desks , those that were there..
with hopes that relief soon would spread here.
then out from my outlook, i heard a ding and such a chatter
I rose from my seat to see what was the matter
Away to my monitor, I flew like a flash
popped open an email from President Obama..
Off Federal Gov’t Agencies, was all I needed to hear
Per Executive Order we were in the clear.
Off for Christmas Eve I couldnt be more merry
A great way to start my Christmas, home with my family..
(sorry I felt like being a little poetic, please ignore all corniness-lol)
So we were off for Christmas Eve… and so my husband decided he would like to drive up to Philly for a friend of ours who was hosting his company’s Christmas Party.
And so I bring to you one of my first OOTD (outfit of the day) posts:
This is what I wore to the holiday party in Philadelphia.. 
 
Red Sweater (Target), Top (unknown), Sequin Leggings (H&M), Knee Leather Boots (UGGS)

Our friends The Blackstones are also musicians. Our friend Adam is Music Director for almost everyone in the business, most recently Rihanna and Dr. Dre, Jay-Z and has a company where he puts together bands for other artists as well. He and his wife started a company named, Bassic Black Entertainment and had a great holiday party sponsored by Beats by Dre, Korg, Rihanna’s perfume company, Roc Nation, Korg Keyboards and Jay-Z sponsored the drinks with his latest drink venture D’usse Cognac.

  
Here are a few photos from the event – on the right is my fellow musician’s wife, Kai.
Me, Trish and Kai



me and hubby – notice he is rockin Ravens gear. We are a Ravens Nation household!

The next day I spent wrapping presents for the family
and for some of the little girls that go to my church.
Time to go to church – Therefore another OOTD:
Red on Red on Red… I am all about layering jewelry and layers.

I fashioned this with a Black Pencil Skirt and Black and Gold Dotted Opaque Tights.



Me and our Drummer, D. Web at Sunday Service

Later on that evening, it was time to have dinner with our closest friends. This is our crew that was in our wedding..  the ones where we can just act ourselves with. This year we decided to do a Secret Santa gift exchange and it was so much fun.
We did dinner at The Chart House right on the waterfront of Downtown Annapolis – those who were married ended up sitting across from each other so that the women could chat up a storm and the men could have their fun too.

We headed to my parents on Christmas morning , just to be greeted with this surprise!

It went from warm weather all week to about 24 hours of snow..
When it was all said and done it looked like this :
Then it warmed up later that evening and snow turned to rain and it was like nothing ever happened. Strange weather of 2012.
I kid you not.. this is my parents Christmas Tree… or should I say Christmas Bush!
We teased mom but at the same time – I am allergic to pine and in a household full of adults there is no need to go above and beyond on the tree. It was festive enough with the balls and lights on it. LOL
How did hubby do? after he made me give him a last minute Christmas list?
Well, he stuck to the list and got me things that were on it… now I know next year just make him a list even if he doesn’t ask. My husband shopped on Christmas Eve for my gifts and seriously did not fail… he said the pictures I gave him helped and he had a feeling that no other wife could’ve possibly wanted the random things that I asked for.
My parents gift giving is amazing also…. they really only get to spend the holidays with us so their gifts usually receive some type of crazy response due to my moms ability to surprise us every time..
This was my sisters reaction when my mother announced that they would be funding her airfare for her to take the trip of her dreams : China!
Even Part-Time Pet knew what time it is… she saw those stockings hung on the chimney and knew that one HAD to be for her. She is always right in guessing which.. She tried on her new coat and gave us a little pose.. way too cute!
Hubby picked up the surprise gene from my mom as he reached under her couch and pulls this lovely gift out for me! It was a new laptop! a bloggers dream! THE BESTEST HUBBY EVER! Clearly I was VERY happy on Christmas.
Well after all of that excitement… Santa Hubby passed out in front of the TV. He just couldn’t hang. LOL
As we march closer to the New Year..
Tomorrow is my Blog-Anniversary. One WHOLE year of getting out thoughts and capturing moments that I did not want to forget.. so come back for the best of 2012 tomm.
AND for those on vacation right about now,
Have a wonderful Holiday!

 

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The Life of the Wife

The Mayan Pre-Christmas Apocalyptic Friday

I think I have started and stopped this post several times, not sure if I wanted to share from the heart or share something funny… trying to figure out all that I wanted to say on this particular Friday – one its a day that the Mayan Calendar ends on so people are all buzzing about that – two its the Friday before Christmas and I am feeling a bit reflective. So bare with me as I dump some random thoughts.
Christmas is a time of mixed emotions–
So much Joy is felt on Christmas with the showering of presents, spending time with your family, etc.
It’s particularly joyous for us because Christmas Day is the day that my husband asked me to be his wife three years ago. It’s a moment that I will never forget – it was the one time that he actually pulled off a really good surprise.
But I can’t neglect the uncomfortable sad times that Christmas brings as well – there are people who are without and I see it as I go into people’s homes for my job; there are people who will not see their family and there is people like my husband who is celebrating this first Christmas without his Father. My father in law passed shortly after the New Year last year. Ironically with all the bad came so much good. As soon as we got back from a week long trip to funeralize and bury my Father in Law, my husband got promoted at work, I started my new job, we were able to buy the house that we live in, the cars that we drive – and so much more… yet, this Christmas, we won’t have Papi to call us early in the morning to pray over us in Creole and wish us a Happy and Prosperous New Year.
I have always wanted my husband though to have a close enough relationship with my family that he would not feel the need to have to go through me to talk to one another… that whole “tell your mom…, tell your husband” thing gets old quick in my book. We are bound in love until death parts us, pick up the phone and call each other. If you can talk to strangers on social media, I think we should be able to interact with family… and it took some getting used to on both our parts, but I think we are getting the hang of it. I have gone to stay with my sister in laws family in Florida without my husband and my husband definitely gets called by Dad more then enough – so much so I think he calls him more then me.
Either who, in addition to the excitement of spending quality time together, I can’t help but to be kind of jealous of families who don’t have to share their parents – and not with my husband or in laws – but with the “congregation”. My mom used to be a Pastor, so all my life I have had to share her people. Then twelve years ago, she became a Bishop and now I have to share her with the world. People don’t think about the families of the Bishops and Pastors when in need as much as they think about whether or not Bishop will be there. I say all that to say, it sucks plain and simple. My mom and dad have flown in to spend time with their family for Christmas and planned to be here up until New Years Eve where I am sure my mom has to preach some where and my dad as Episcopal Supervisor has to be there as well… yet, phone call after phone call yesterday cut my parents trip so short that I guess we will see them for Christmas Day and then they are off – travelling back to Texas. Retirement can’t come soon enough. I’ll get to see them again during my Sorority Centennial and the Presidential Inauguration in a few weeks and then back to work for them…
Ah well, its time to take full advantage of Christmas!
Shaking it off and making the best of the days that I do have!
Now lets be real, its not all woe is me around here… if you made it this far in reading then you already know that I can’t stay all self- reflective that long and have to come back with some small doses of wit and reality. I mean forreal though –
I am enjoying this mild/non-white Christmas..
but the last time that happened it snowed on Easter 😦
And, I STILL haven’t gotten all the Christmas gift shopping that I wanted to do- I set out to get most of it done yesterday but that was cut short because I had to scoot to a Christmas Party with the hubby. Sorry for the lack of pictures from that but we had a good time.
I have only started to buy what I am going to get for my husband and have not even found family gifts yet. SMH
 Yes, yes tomm is going to be crazy in the malls and I will be there like a crazy woman.
I am also the type of gal that desires to be all Christmas Crafty with the best wrapped gifts but laziness and lack of time always makes my presents the ones in the bags they came in with tissue paper and a bow stuck on it or the worst excuse for wrapping nicely a person can get.
Yeah, I am the one who worked at Target two (or three?) years ago for the holidays and watched folk buy up all the Christmas paper and was stuck having to wrap my presents in Birthday Wrapping paper from the stationary aisle.
And just because I can’t believe this post has no pictures, here is one for ya!
On behalf of those who publish their own pics for free just for fun and the like, have fun Instagram with your new policies and language – I am sure I will not be effected in the least.

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So My Husband JUST asked me for a Christmas List

Notice today’s date – the day before the Mayans ran out of more rock to chisel on therefore people are acting like the world will come to an end because some ancient civilization ran out of paper. Wish folk would act like that when I run out of my bright colored post-its… but I digress.
Still – the date 5 days before Christmas and I get asked for a Christmas list.
Now grant it, my hubby and I discussed our budget for each other and families for Christmas long before this date. Every other special occasion he does extremely well when he gets me something and I love every thing he has gotten me in the past, which is why I didnt understand his asking for a Christmas list this morning.
My parents asked me for one but I kind of gave them the general – whatever you get me its fine.
But I figured – perhaps I will share with you what I asked my hubby for. I always feel so awkward asking anyone to get me anything specific. I guess because I know the strain of not being able to find exactly what a person asks for and I can’t stand that disappointment.
I really do just find it tough though.. so for all the other last minute husbands out there and wives who have to come up with at least something to send them in the right direction, perhaps you can consider some of these things.
As a disclaimer: NONE of these recommendations are sponsored and all are things I just saw and wanted.
Also P.S. – I am a last minute wife – I STILL have not gone shopping and I hoping that he sends a list too.. hehe – my excuse is that I always worked in retail during Christmas up until this year and so I am used to Christmas Eve shopping.
My Last Minute Christmas List
– comprised by websites and searching for the closest store to my house and the availability. LOL.



UGGs in Sparkle Red





UGGs in Cable Knit Black




Nordstrom Gathered Tech Gloves
Nordstrom Gathered Tech Gloves



 
Unit-Y Stretch Cotton Leggings
Unit-Y Stretch Cotton Leggings



MARC BY MARC JACOBS 'Pretty Nylon - Lil Tate' Tote
Marc by Marc Jacobs Tote in Rock Lobster



CLARISONIC® 'Aria – Candy Apple' Sonic Skin Cleansing System
Clairsonic Aria in Candy Apple





Zella 'Galaxy' Fleece Hoodie
Zella Galaxy Fleece Hoody

  

Furla 'Candy - Glitter' Rubber Satchel
Furla Candy Glitter Satchel



Well… to be honest I put quite a few more choices on my list then this – but you can get the hint!
I am sure he will do great!
What’s on your list?

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