Monday, November 28, 2011

Holiday parties

It seems that the holiday season is upon us. And with that comes decorating, baking, holiday cards, and parties! The month of December gets booked up pretty quickly, but here are a few fun ideas to throw together a little holiday party in the midst of all the busyness!

Open House Brunch
Can't find a free Saturday night? What about a Saturday or Sunday morning? An open house brunch is a great way to spend a little time with friends, neighbors, and family. And what's better than brunch foods like quiche, french toast bake, fruit salad, and whatever other yummy treats you can think up for the menu. Don't forget to offer your guests something to quench their thirst with a yummy Mimosa or Bloody Mary bar!

Cookie Swap
One of my all-time favorites—the cookie swap! Get together with friends for some warm drinks, delicious desserts, and go home with a variety of goodies to share! This Baker's Holiday Card is the perfect way to invite your pals to this year's cookie swap!
Cocktail Party
And of course there is the cocktail party. Even though it can sound a bit intimidating, you really can't go wrong. Check out Martha Stewart's Holiday Entertaining Guide and just make sure the wine (or drink of choice) is flowing! Don't forget to send out your Love and Life invitations like this classy Martinis and Cheer invite.
Do you have a unique and relatively stress-free holiday party idea to share? We'd love to hear about it and maybe you'll even inspire a card design!

Monday, November 21, 2011

And our thank you's go to...

With Thanksgiving coming up, we thought we'd take a quick time out to just share with you a few things we are thankful for.

Sona said...
Giggling girls

Generous neighbors

These people could almost fall under family since the day we moved in - feels like we have known them forever!


Baking them, eating them. How does one get through the day without them?

Hugs and Kisses

No such thing as too many:)


Enough said

Elizabeth said...
"Elizabeth runs on Dunkin"

Good Health
For myself but mostly for those around me

Friends close by
Love, love, love the mummy network!

Friends far away
The oldies are still the goodies


We'd love to hear what you are thankful for too:)

Monday, November 14, 2011

12 tips for taking the family holiday photo

Photo by Allison Rumble Photography
1. Timing
Schedule the photo shoot when kids are at their happiest—probably not just before dinnertime!

2. Lighting
Consider the lighting. I prefer natural light and outdoor photos, so since noon sunshine is not ideal lighting, I do try to get out for photos either in the morning or late in the afternoon. This can be tricky with kids schedules!
3. Bribery
Bring toys and snacks. I am not opposed to bribery when it comes to getting my 3 year old to smile for the camera!

4. What to Wear?
I like to coordinate, but not match, though I’ve seen some fantastic family photos sporting matching outfits. Just make sure everyone is dressed in a similar style, whatever that may be.
5. Go casual—
especially with little ones. I have found that my favorite photos are not when my kids are all dressed up, but the ones I catch when they are just being themselves. It’s also much easier not to worry that they will mess up their outfit if they are in jeans, as opposed to dressed in their Sunday best.

6. Setting
Try a local park or beach, and look at your own back yard. A brick wall, an old barn door, or your front steps, might be the perfect spot! And remember, the background is not the most important subject of your photo, so keep your location simple. 
Photo by Allison Rumble Photography
7. Get close—
closer, closer, closer than you think you should. Faces are what you really want to see, so get right up there!
8. Photo editing
Don’t be afraid to play around with photo editing. The beauty of digital photography is that you can edit, retouch, and experiment in all sorts of ways—and still save the original so if you aren’t happy with the changes you’ve made, you can start fresh.

9. Props
Consider using a fun prop like a hat, a sled, or a frame for an original and fun photo.
Photo by Carey White Photography
10. Capture the moment
Everyone doesn’t have to be looking at the camera or be perfectly posed. Great photos capture a moment in time. Some of my absolute favorite photos of my girls are the wide-eyed, straight faced ones. Smiles are great if you can get the real thing, but sometimes no smile is better.
Photo by Nancy Hinckley
11. Have fun and relax
Let people make funny faces, move around, and be silly. You never know—those often turn out to be the best photos that you’ll treasure forever. 

12. And repeat
If you're me... you might need to be prepared to try it all over again. Because try as I might, I just could not get two kids to sit somewhat still and both look at the camera! So if anyone has any tips that you don't see here, please send them my way. It looks like I'll be needing them next weekend.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Let your mini monet create the family holiday card

Back in June, we blogged about our "Mini Monet" cards Inspiring little artists. Mini Monet allows you to  upload a favorite piece of artwork to be transformed into stationery that can be shared and treasured. Why not take the stress off of taking the perfect family photo this year and let your little one create the family holiday card?

Simply go to the Mini Monet section of Love and Life Cards. Then click on the size you would like for your card which will look like this: 

Upload your child's artwork (or your own!) and write in your own personalization as shown here:
You now have an original card showing off your child's beautiful artwork! You can leave the rest of the card blank to write in a personal message to each recipient or you can add your message on the inside of the card. And if you, like me, can't resist sending a photo of your little cuties, you can personalize the back of your Mini Monet card with a photo of the little artist. Or include your whole family.
Mini Monet is also the perfect holiday thank you card or personalized stationery for your child and yourself. Mini Monet—the perfect way to share your child's artwork with friends and family while creating a treasured keepsake!