Since our holiday cards should have all arrived - I thought I'd share the finished product!
It was not ... the best of years for Santa pictures with the boys. We must have an every other year thing going, because last year's pictures were pretty fab - here's one of the great shots we got:
But 2007 wasn't pretty either, 2006 was good ... Anyway - this year, I had to do a lot of cropping and adjusting to salvage a cute photo for the Christmas card - but I think I managed :o)
I was really pleased with my Tiny Prints cards and I will definitely use them again. I had to order some additional Christmas cards for a holiday card exchange that I'm a part of, plus some extras since I (as per my usual) grossly miscounted how many cards we need each year ...
This is the card we ordered from Snapfish - pretty cute, right?
So, what do you think? Everyone keeps asking me if this is the last year we'll use pictures of Louis and Norman on our Christmas cards ... we'll probably always do at least one version with the two of them, since we usually participate in a French Bulldog holiday card exchange (so many cute pictures of puppies!) - but for our "regular" card list next year - we might just have to feature our newest member of the family :o)
Here's a photo from one of our recent "photoshoots":
This post is a little outside my normal subject area, but a friend just passed along these tips and I had to share. Especially with approaching wintry weather, I think this advice will definitely come in handy.
These great tips are originally from Woman's World, but I can't find the article online (they don't seem to post their content on their site):
Keep your headlights clear with car wax
Ice-proof your windows with vinegar
Prevent car doors from freezing shut with cooking spray
Fog-proof your windshield with shaving cream
Squeak-proof your wipers with rubbing alcohol
De-ice your lock in seconds with hand sanitizer
Get unstuck from the snow with your floor mat
Want more details about how to employ these fabulous recommendations? Click here to download the .PDF I was sent. Good Housekeeping has some useful tips, too.
My husband's family first introduced me to Trapp Private Garden candles. His brother and sister-in-law often have one of their scented candles, the Bob's Flower Shoppe #13 fragrance, burning at their house. And these candles routinely appear at other homes of other family members. They're a favorite hostess gift. This is hands-down, the best scented candle I have ever had the pleasure to sniff:
Holiday scents can be tricky -- especially because I usually want a subtle "essence of" fragrance, rather than anything overpowering. My husband really likes "Christmas tree" scents, but most of the ones you find smell like cheap, tree-shaped car air fresheners -- not at all like the scent of having a live fir tree in your home (which ... we do, but I guess we require more pine scent!). The description for Trapp's White Fir scent is perfect:
Trapp White Fir (Forest) candle Douglas Fir, eucalyptus, clove and
crisp air. It's a walk in the forest on a crisp winter's afternoon.
The Douglas fir scent isn't overpowering at all -- it's balanced nicely by the eucalyptus and clove. It really does smell "crisp!" I sniffed the "Holiday" scent, too -- and it's also really nice: cinnamon and nutmeg.
Trapp's candles burn really well and last a LONG time, which is good, because they are a bit pricey - we paid $25 for the White Fir candle (we bought it at Christopher's in Kirkwood) and I think they're regular, non-seasonal varieties are similarly priced. They do come in a lovely, substantial box -- which is perfect for gift giving or storage. Trapp's "tagline" is "A Bottle of Perfume in Every Candle" and it's true!
They are scented beautifully -- never too overwhelming -- just lovely,
Trapp is a Kansas City, Missouri company -- which is nice -- so a lot of St. Louis area retailers carry their products. We've bought these candles at Straub's (they usually have a bit display in their floral section) and the Gifted Gardener in the past.
I neglected to mention in yesterday's review that the design I ultimately chose was one of the nine that I posted. Did you guess which one? I was going to wait until later this week to share which design I selected, once my cards arrived -- but they arrived faster than I expected and showed up last night :o)
So, after careful consideration and debate (it was a tough decision, folks!) - the hubs and I selected "Holiday Speckles":
I love that it's sort of a Kate Spade-esque design. Just a simple, lovely little card -- perfect for making your photos standout. I don't like some other photo cards that I've seen where the design of the card itself seems to conflict with your photo.
The ordering process with Tiny Prints could not have been easier. Lots of flexibility with photo uploading -- it was very easy to edit your photo and make color changes -- full color, a sepia tone, black and white, etc. They also have a great proofing system that lets you e-mail your initial designs (card and uploaded picture) and share what you've been working on. This was great when I could not decide which photo to use, so I could send several different variations to my husband and get his opinion.
Shipping was very reasonable -- and they have several options to expedite the process, either through shipping or at the front end, during printing. E-mails kept me updated on the status -- that my order was received, when it was printed and then ultimately shipped. And then my order arrived faster than expected: bonus!
I'm really, really pleased with the final result -- the cards look really nice. The printing was great - really high quality. I'm so excited about my cards -- I can't wait to send them out!!
And once they have been sent out, I'll even upload a picture of the design with the photo we chose. I hope you like it!
I just might make this a product review week, since I've been meaning to do a quick little post on something I've been enjoying a lot lately: The Republic of Tea's "get maternal" herb tea for pregnant and new moms:
It's a really lovely, caffeine free tea -- I've been having a cup every night and it's been so nice to sip something warm before bed. And the added "benefits" of this tea are great! Here's what it says on the front of the canister:
Baby, look at you glow. But with all the changes
going on in your body, you could probably use
a bit of personal pampering. So whether you're
expecting, or your little bundle of joy has
already arrived, kick back and enjoy a cup of
this lovely caffeine-free herbal blend, based on
organic rooibos and conceived just for you. To
help tone uterine muscles, we've added
raspberry leaf, a time-honored tonic. Nettles and
horsetail, herbs with roots that reach deep into
mother earth, provide essential nutrients like
silica for growing strong bones. Parsley fights
water retention and a snap of ginger staves off
nausea. So sip and rock-a-bye "baby" yourself.
It has a nice, fruity flavor -- not too strong. I can definitely taste the subtle hints of mango -- the tea reminds me a bit of their Mango Ceylon blend (comes in decaf, too!), which I LOVE. Don't fear the mango -- it's a really wonderful tea. Makes great iced tea, too.
I've been getting the Republic of Tea catalog for a while now (which, if you're interested, is great -- they send you a free sample tea bag with every catalog!) and I noticed the "get maternal" tea earlier this year, before I was pregnant. I made a mental note at the time, because I thought it would make a great new mom or newly pregnant mom gift.
Last week I was browsing the tea section at Whole Foods -- I was actually looking for a decaffeinated version of a British Breakfast blend (which I realize, seems like a contradiction in terms, but actually the Republic of Tea does have one!) -- when I came across the get maternal tea. I was very pleased to find it locally. It's a little more expensive than I'd like to pay for tea (about $10 for 36 tea bags), but it's such a nice little treat for myself. It's wonderful with a little bit of honey, but equally good just plain.
Very soothing -- I'm not sure if it's the ingredients, but I find it to be very relaxing. Seems great for sore muscles, too!
This would be a perfect stocking stuffer for new moms and moms-to-be -- but if you're looking for a little good-for-you indulgence, this is also ideal.
And this is just a TINY selection of the cards that I loved. I tried to stick with simple, clean designs for the examples I posted here -- but they have a great selection of a variety of designs: contemporary, traditional, whimsical -- you name it!
Once my cards arrive, I'll share with you the design I selected and give a more detailed review of Tiny Prints -- site navigation, ordering process, etc.