christmas

Minted + Modern Kids = All I want for Christmas Cards by Kate Brightbill

Ahhh, the story of a Christmas Card, 2016:

One hot hot day in September, Maggie's soccer game in Golden Gate Park went long. Lunch went long too because- well, three kids aren't necessarily motivated eaters. We had signed up for a 15 minute photo session at Oh Happy Day's studio pop-up with Sarah from Modern Kids. I texted her and asked if we could come an hour late, and she kindly said yes. I discussed with Brian whether we should go at all, and after a minute of deliberating back and forth: we decided to do it. 

The plan was to get photographs of the children. The children this particular day were out of sorts. San Francisco kids often don't fare well in heat, and it was 90 degrees. They were literally sweating. The cozy holiday outfits I packed in a bag would just NOT do in this heat, but we had a onesie for Jack, and a couple lighter options for the girls in case we had this situation. Not quite what I had envisioned for a Christmas card photo, but more often than I can say, parenthood = improvising.

No, the kids did not cooperate at the pop-up. They were thrilled to get unicorn stickers from Jordan's Oh Happy Day Party Shop, and were also excited to peruse the goodies at Bitte and Sunday in Color, but they were not particularly inclined to smile for any camera or pose for Sarah this time.  

Ahhh, I was glad that I had booked the session for September because "there will need to be another session after that fiasco," I thought as we left.

Right before we left the session, Sarah told Brian and me to go stand by the wall with the kids-- in FRONT of the camera. "Oh definitely not this time, Sarah- just look at us!"

I was wearing a tee that is not only old, it's a tee that I also sometimes wear to bed. My shorts were cutoffs, and I had scuffed sandals. Brian had a hole in his tee, was wearing shorts faded by the summer, and he definitely hadn't shaved his face in a few days, so he wasn't too much better!

..but for all her sweetness, Sarah is also incredibly persistent when she wants to be. We followed her directions because- ah, who's going to see these anyway?? She snapped a few shots, and we were on our way to take naps and recover. (Please tell me we're not the only ones who need to recover from family photo sessions!! ;)

We got the shots the next day and whaaaat? The favorite shot of the day was the one she threw in with Brian and me!

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Here's what we love about it: it's completely imperfect. It's completely unexpected (even by us!). It's also a time stamp of who we are these days, and there is a story to tell about how the picture came to be (against all odds, haha!). I think in my striving toward picture perfect, sometimes I miss the rest of the story, but in this case, the photo really accomplishes both.

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As soon as we agreed that this was just right, I went directly to minted.com. Ahhh, I love Minted. I love their art, their wrapping paper, their party invitations... but the sweet spot in my heart is for their Christmas and New Year Cards (half the time, my cards get started this week of December, which means they are New Year Cards... which are TOTALLY acceptable all the way through January for procrastinators just like me!). 

Minted lets me upload my photo and it shows as the sample for every single card as I'm scrolling through. It saves so much time of me thinking, "hmm- I really like that card but would it work with my photo?" I can see directly whether or not it will work! I chose a few favorites, consulted my better half, and was ready to go. 

The cards at Minted also have options-- you can do a folded version for the longwinded writers such as myself, ha! You can have a flat card to go in an envelope with no writing necessary. You can even make your card a postcard for a short and sweet scribble to friends on the back! 

My friends' addresses are already uploaded to Minted.com, so that headache of hunting down my husband's longtime childhood friends whose addresses will take at least two months to get through the grapevine will not need to be repopulated every year. They're already in the system, ready to go! It saves so much time and hand-cramping to have those envelopes printed with addresses already! 

This year, we added a special envelope insert to the cards, and it's probably my favorite feature of our card. The leaf color coordinates almost like it was planned specifically for our specific photo, so obviously that made me seriously far happier than it really should. 

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I also added a few photos from the year to the inside of the card. Nothing fancy-- just some real life candids to show my kids' personalities a little more. 

Voila! After far less stress than EVER, Minted + Modern Kids Photography proved to equal my personal favorite Christmas card I've ever sent. 

So. All this said, PLEASE do yourself a favor and order Minted. If you have your Christmas cards out this year (already?), I commend you, but I also recommend you visit Minted to check on their art pieces-- I have about a million favorites. The shop has so many goodies.

Thanks Minted for collaborating and creating my favorite cards ever, truly! All opinions are my own, obviously. xoxo

Win $150 to Minted! by Kate Brightbill

Photo by  Indu Huynh

Photo by Indu Huynh

The holidays! Ahhh- I adore this time of year. We're prepping much earlier this year, because I'm hosting Brian's family and celebrating Thanksgiving AND Christmas in one! It's pretty nice because I feel like I'm on my Christmas prep A-game {I even have gifts for my family, though we're not celebrating with them until the actual holiday!}, and I haven't been shopping in crowds. Win-win! 

This week's project has been completing my Christmas card address list... I love sending Christmas cards! It's so fun to get great pictures taken and share real, stamped mail with loved ones near and far. There's something about having a fridge full of photos of dear ones in our life... physical pictures to enjoy longer than a quick post on social media.

Below is a gallery of my favorites... they really do have something for everyone! If you like one of the options, just click on the picture and it'll take you right to that card on the Minted site. Just trying to make things easy on ya! ;) 

Minted was kind enough to provide cards for our little family AND {fingers crossed} for  YOU or YOUR little family this year. 

Here's how to enter!! Five entries possible {U.S. residents only}!

  1. Follow Minted on Instagram.
  2. Follow StyleSmaller on Instagram.
  3. Post a holiday picture on Instagram with the hashtag #StyleSmallerGivesMinted. {Don't forget to tag @minted and @stylesmaller!}
  4. Visit the Minted website and comment here letting me know your favorite holiday product.
  5. Finally, please come back here and let me know how many entries we owe you for one extra entry!

The giveaway is closed. Winner is @newtonwong on Instagram. Thanks for all of your entries!

Ps. In case you're in need of a Minted flashback of melt-my-heart-cuteness from 2013... 

Photos by   Indu Huynh

Photos by Indu Huynh

Thanks to Minted for providing products for us, and for hosting this fabulous giveaway. All opinions are my own. Post contains affiliate links. Winner will be notified here, and must contact me within 72 hours with an email address to redeem, or another winner will be chosen. xoxo

Merry Christmas! by Kate Brightbill

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Photos by Indu Huynh // Christmas Card courtesy of Minted

Oh Holy Night, the stars are brightly shining

It is the night of our dear Savior's birth

Long lay the world in sin and error pining

Til He appear'd and the soul felt its worth

A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices

For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn'

Thankful for Jesus. Merry Christmas dear friends!

Love,

Kate

Christmas Party Planning by Kate Brightbill

Who likes to host a good Christmas party? I definitely do.

We love having friends over and getting fancy and adding a bit of sparkle to a chilly December evening. I know a lot of you are probably prepping for your own holiday parties, so I asked some event planners and bloggers to send their picks for an extra dose of festive inspiration for you this year:

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one: {planning pretty} || scarlet fondant aprontwo- {with lovely} || gold striped paper strawsthree: {delighted magazine} || pine wreathfour: {bustle events} || owl salt & pepper shakersfive: {with lovely} || twinkle lightssix: {planning pretty} || cheers coastersseven: {delighted magazine} || noel pilloweight: {planning pretty} || salud gift set, goldnine: {planning pretty} || rosette wreath kit

Be sure to visit these lovely ladies on their gorgeous sites. Inspiration for days! I promise you won't be disappointed!  

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Planning Pretty || With Lovely || Delighted Magazine || Bustle Events

Happy Monday!! 

xoxox.

 

Advent by Kate Brightbill

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Today I'm taking a break from the gift guiding {here are gift guides one & two} and sharing a little inspiration for advent that I created with my dear friends/photographers Pictilio!

There are twenty-five beautiful days in December leading to the celebration of Jesus' birth! Growing up, my grandparents got advent calendars for us every year, and my cousins and I strategically picked our favorites at Thanksgiving {my family is big on traditions, so I'm talking every year until we were practically in college!} 

SO. You better believe we're carrying that tradition to our kiddos, with a little twist! Every day of December, we're making a conscious effort to come up with a little family activity we can do or chat about together, to really be remembering the reason for Christmas and not get consumed with distractions. I mean, we're definitely filling the boxes with treats about half of the days, but we're also going to have some fun ideas of how we can GIVE to others, and how we can remember this year. Here are some we'd like to do in our home:

1. Bring a meal to a family who could really use it. Maybe a friend with a newborn, a family in the middle of a move, or someone who is sick or in the hospital.

2. Draw a picture or write a letter to someone who has made you smile this year.

3. Bake cookies together and bring them to a neighbor or two.

4. Make a mini holiday video as a family, and do this one every year!! How amazing would it be to be able to watch a minute video celebrating Christmas traditions for every year as the kiddos grow? (videos are my new favorite thing since the day I tried using iMovie and realized it wasn't as hard as it looks!)

5. Read the Christmas story together with a fire in the fireplace.

6. Choose a gift to donate to families in dire need {there's a little video on the right to show kids how it all works!}

We're pretty excited about this. It's also SO simple to do the box idea, because they're basically already wrapped. You can find packages of boxes at any craft store. Ours are from Paper-Source. Just add a little sparkle with a ribbon, and you're good to go! 

Also, Pictilio has more ideas for filling the boxes on their blog today! 

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Thank you so much to Pictilio for the beautiful photographs! xo