Thursday, October 31, 2013

TBT: Halloweens of the Past

It's Thursday. 

And you know what that means...


Edition: HALLOWEEN!!!

The Brown Girls: Melinda and Cindy
Circa: 1980 and 1978

OMG, right?!?  Those Strawberry Shortcake costumes are scary!  Y'all remember those plastic mask?  They would break if just put them on wrong!  Goodness.  Eek!

Now, have you ever seen two cuter angels?  I think NOT!  And we totally were and are angels so that makes the costume even that much more fun!  But the best part of these costumes is that they were made by my mom and grandmother.  They're pretty darn talented!  Thanks Mom and Mid!

And for your continued viewing pleasure:
The Guercio Kids: Jody, Jeremy and Katy
Circa: 1983 and 1986(ish)

Mom always let us pick our costumes. Naturally Jeremy's stature and size made him a great candidate for Superman, my cuteness made me the perfect tiger cub (or was it that LSU thing) and Jody was a zombie. (Please note that zombies can't stand upright. Clearly.)

A few years went by and Jeremy's con-man cuteness lead him to choose Pirate, me, well... I was a good witch. And Jody outgrew Halloween, or maybe he was just "the boy next door". 

Happy Halloween from the Merry Mommas!

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

WWLW: Halloween


So - confession time - Christmas isn't my favorite holiday.  I know, I know.  Katy and I run a blog about Christmas cards.  How can it not be my favorite?  But, it just isn't.  Now don't get me wrong, I like Christmas, lots.  I may even love Christmas...but it isn't my favorite.  My favorite holiday is the 4th of July followed VERY closely by HALLOWEEN!  I love Halloween!  I like the dressing up.  I like pumpkins.  I like the crisp cool(er) air.  I like the hayrides.  I like the candy.  But what makes me LOVE Halloween is the way it brings a community together.  Growing up I lived on a street with 12 girls and 1 boy and we were all within a ten year spread.  Each Halloween was different - some years we would all just trick-or treat together or we would go on a trick-or-treating hayride with the church that was one block over or we would camp out at one house and hand out candy.  But one year - goodness - we went BIG.  The moms dressed up as witches and had caldrons full of dry ice, the dads were scary things (my dad was a gorilla!) and all of us kids just ran up and down the street over and over laughing and giggle and playing.  It was a great night.  We were a community.  And that's why I love Halloween, it forces you out of your house and into your neighborhood.  It makes you talk to people you may just casually wave to as you rush off to another activity.  Halloween makes me pause and think about community...and I love that.

So - confession time - Halloween isn't my favorite holiday. I know, I know. How is that possible? I bring beds out to pasture for a picture, but I get totally all freaked out thinking about the pressure that's involved with costumes. Now Gigi, my momma, says that Halloween used to be my favorite holiday. (Thanksgiving has always been and will remain at the top of the list for me. Two words: side dishes. The end.)

My mom always let us pick our costumes - no matter what the choice (seriously, one time I went as Sandi from Grease... and not the "good" Sandi... I was the one at the end in the black cat suit and red heels. Thanks, Mom!!) and I think I could learn a lesson from her. I think the reason I haven't loved it is because selfishly, I've tried to make it about me. (I know, what a confession!) But this year, the kids got to pick and I'm pretty darn excited about how excited they are.

So, one of us LOVES Halloween and one of us is getting there (see why we make such good besties). So today - we give your our collective top 5 favorite things about Halloween...

5. Costumes - There is something so fun about seeing kids dressed up and playing make believe. How cute is this kid?

4. Movies - Y'all. Halloween has produced some classic film genius. There is something for everyone - scary and sweet!

3. Candy - What? We aren't supposed to sort through our kids' candy and take out all the ones "they won't like" for ourselves? Ha!

2. This song. 

1. COMMUNITY! So glad we get to share our community of friends in life. They really are the best!

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Hoot, Hoot!

Y' know what is great about having a baby in October...
You get to use the newborn photo session for Halloween PICTURES!

Who: Caroline (3), Annaliese (2), Millicent (new!)

Location: These pictures were taken in our front yard in Bryan, Texas.

Props: I guess you could consider the fallen tree a prop. :)  (Please know that I am less than 5 inches away from precious Millicent.)

Clothes: The adorable hats are from Annabelle Knits.   Caroline and Annaliese's shirts and leggings are from Wal-Mart.  Millicent's sleeper is from a company called Cotton Seed, however I think they are out of business.

Comments: I love having the girls dress up as animals (I don't know why, I just think it is cute!) and my high school mascot was an owl, so I thought - why not!  I looked all over Pinterest (don't forget to follow us!) and found this, this, this, this and this.  I headed to our local fabric store and bought lots of different types of fabric and some fabric glue and got busy cutting and pasting. 

Designer: Katy designed this card, isn't it adorable!  Thanks, friend!

Photographer: Sarah Burns of Butterfly Chaser Photography

Favorite Thing: Everything! :) I love that we used purple, pink and aqua and not the traditional owl colors.  I love the hats - and they had dual purpose, the girls wore them all winter.  I love that I made the shirts (I am typically not a crafty mom). And I love these three hoots!

I absolutely adore Halloween and I think one of the reasons is the costumes!  What's more fun than dressing your babies (or yourself) up?!

And dressing up isn't just for totally can be a Christmas thing too!

Does anyone host Christmas Costume Parties?  If so - invite us - and here are a few ideas for you - Mrs. Clause, a snowman, a reindeer or even an elf!  Or bet yet, a leg??  And don't forget the Christmas tree!

Cute kiddos in costumes are darling no matter the season - these girls rock the Christmas tree look!  And a kid as an ornament - LOVE IT!  These tikes look awesome in their Christmas costumes.

And don't forget that a Nativity play has lots and lots of fun costume options!  We think you could even use a Nativity picture as a card, check this out.

Remember this darling card! Here's another card we found that we think you will love!  And this picture on a card would bring big MERRY via laughter!  And if you want to WIN funniest card...try this!

If you have a Christmas card that features a costume, please send it in!  We'd love to feature it!

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Monday, October 28, 2013

What can brown do for you?

What?! You were expecting more merry goodness? 

Well, we promise to get back on that next week, but for now we are sharing the merry of Halloween!!!
(Besides, you should be brushing up on choosing a photographer, picking a wardrobe, gathering props, and designing your cards... just go here!)

For now - we have a special delivery!

Who: Radley (3), Emersyn (4 months)

Location: Navasota, TX (on a friend's front porch)

Props: UPS "riding toy", mailing label

Clothes: UPS Man Halloween Costume, brown onesie (from HobLob), headband from an Etsy vendor that's no longer open :(

Comments: My crazy friend, Cindy (you've met), convinced me that we NEEDED Halloween photos. (Because at this point, what's one more, right?) And I'm really glad that she did because this costume pairing has been one of my favorites! 

Designer: Sarah Burns of Butterfly Chaser Photography

Photographer: Sarah Burns of Butterfly Chaser Photography

Favorite Thing: We {the Kings} clearly like a UPS theme. Radley wanted to be a UPS man so bad for Halloween because he loves his Daddy so much (which I love) and Emmy as the "special package" was perfect! 

Clearly, one of our favorite parts of the holiday is checking the mail. It really is a wonderful time of year to catch up on family and friends; it's also a great time to fill others' mailboxes with MERRIMENT! So, let's look at some fun ways you can share the merry in mail this season...
  1. We came across this pinterest board and Oh.MY.Word. 13 oz of greatness! You have to check it out...filled with lots of fun ideas that you can ship to friends and family that are all 13 oz or less. 
  2. Washi tape is pretty darn fun. But you know what's really fun - wrapping your packages and adding some washi tape flair
  3. I am a sucker for "brown paper packages tied up with strings" - I use brown paper every year under my tree. Check out our "wrapping merry" board for some great ideas for packages to mail or keep!

And because we love you so much, and the shopping season has begun, we have some "shipping tips" to share, straight from the UPS man himself, Merry Husband Ryan: 

  1. It is always best to let the UPS store or the UPS customer center do the packing.  The parcel will be packaged correctly and be covered under the shipping guidelines of UPS. 
  2. If you order online and pay for next day air or second day air service; that does not always mean that you will receive the package in that timeframe. Delivery is dependent on the policy of the company that you order from.  Sometimes the shipper does not process the order until a day later and it will not ship under the expectation that was perceived. Amazon is probably the most reliable for online processing time and Big Brown will take care of the rest ;)
  3. UPS offers MyChoice which is a personalized profile that you can utilize to track, indirect or hold your shipments.  You can even schedule a timeframe for when you want your package to be delivered and where to leave it (porch, garage, etc) if you are not home.  
** And just one more tip from this Merry Momma - be extra nice to your delivery men and women this season. They give up lots of family time to spread the merry straight to you! ** 

What's your favorite thing to receive in the mail?? Seriously, we want to know!

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Saturday, October 26, 2013

Saturday Surprise: More Animal Lovin'

Who: Don (Merry Momma Cindy's daddy) and Mike

When: 1956

Comments: Isn't this just precious!  A boy and his dog...that always makes for fun!

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Friday, October 25, 2013

Holidays are ruff

Who: Kaia

Location: Her momma's house

Props: A white sheet placed on a trunk. The lights, hat, and bow were purchased from Target and the green blanket is a Christmas tree skirt from Garden Ridge.

Comments: Honestly, I was really bored one evening so I took my creative juices out on the poor dog! She may look unhappy or depressed here, but she loves to play dress up and do whatever! (But I couldn't resist playing up her mood!)

Designer: Me!

Favorite Thing: That she wasn't even 2 and let me take this picture. She sat there and let me take about 100 pictures until I got bored. She's 5 1/2 now, so no telling what will happen this year!!! 


Katy's Thoughts: Ummm. I LOVE this card. The snarky face on Kaia goes perfectly with the caption. And I can not lie - I LOVE a pun. Love love love them! 

Cindy's Thoughts: All I have to say, is preach, Kaia. Sometimes the holidays wear me out and can be "ruff!" This card shows us all that we can have a bad day and still be pretty darn cute!

How can you recreate this card? Grab your fur baby, set up a scene and snap away! Some pets have a better attention span than kids and their attitude is often "if I just sit here and do what she/he/they want - I will probably be rewarded in food and hugs...and maybe even get to sleep in the bed tonight." Kids just scream and cry until they convince you to do what they want. 

Get PINspired: (we are going to do this section a little different today... because we LOVE these cards and we really want to make sure that you see them)... 

So we present our top five favorite animal inspired cards on pinterest... (you're welcome)







And the one that keeps us laughing thinking of our own cats...


For more of our favorite PAWspiration... check out our "Animals" Board.

If you aren't already, follow ALL of our boards HERE.

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Thursday, October 24, 2013

TBT: A Merry Husband's Best-Friend

Animal week continues, THROWBACK style....

This is Ryan, Merry Momma K's fantastically adorable husband. 
The reindeer is really just Kasey, Ryan's dog. 

Who: Ryan and Kasey 

Where: College Station, TX

Props: Santa gear and stockings

When: 1999

Comments:  Radley is basically obsessed with this picture. So much so that he had it in his room on his little bedside table until I convinced him that this lovely "framer" should really only be displayed during the holiday season. He was slightly concerned that we were throwing it away when he saw it out of the frame, but we assured him we were attempting to preserve it forever by scanning it in and saving it on my computer.

Something extra: 

This picture was taken while we were in college. Ryan and his roommate, Layne, decorated their fire place and took pictures with their canines as gifts to their momma's. Sweet, right?

(Note to ALL the Merry Littles - we're gonna need a little more than a picture of you with your pets for Christmas, mkay?)

(Just kidding)

(but really...)

The funny thing about Kasey is that she wasn't Ryan's dog to begin with. My brother, Jeremy, is a sucker when it comes to puppies. He is notorious (or once was) for bringing animals home. In college alone, he owned: 3 dogs, mice, some fish, and a flying squirrel named Capone. So it was no surprise when he came home with this "adorable little puppy". 

Until he saw the light and decided that maybe we didn't need a puppy. 

But I felt bad for the dog and didn't just want to give her to the pound. So I came up with the PERFECT solution. There was this "cute boy" I knew and kinda liked and he kinda liked me and he would surely take the dog. 

And he did.

And then we kept liking each other, so we dated. For a long time. And then we got engaged. And then we got married. And that cute little dog is still here. 

Yes, that was the "perfect" solution. 

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

What We Love Wednesday: Animal PRINT

Hi friends!  Sorry if you were expecting darling pictures of the Merry families with our we mentioned, we aren't really "have our pets in professional pics" type gals...but, we can make up for it - WE LOVE ANIMAL PRINT! We love everything about it!  We love that is now considered a neutral.  We love that you can dress it up or down.  We love that men, woman and babies can embrace it.  We love that it is fun and adds a great pop to a maybe somewhat boring outfit.  We just LOVE animal print!

And if you are visual learner here's why we love ANIMAL PRINT... from head to toe!







(sourcesource, source, source)

Aren't all these things darling!  We tried to find something for everyone's price range and style.  You may be thinking...that's great Merry Mommas...but I AM IN CHRISTMAS CARD PLANNING MODE - HELP!  Well...we aim to please!

Get PINspired!

  1. We focused lots on getting Momma MERRY in animal print, but the kids can get in on the animal print action too!  We love the kids gone wild look here and here
  2. Here Momma pulls off the animal print scarf flawlessly!
  3. And to buy all this darling animal print, you may **NEED** this!
  4. Sweet, fun and cute!  We love this awesome card!  This one is super fun too!
  5. OMG - This may be the perfect animal print card!  Animals AND animal print!  We're sold!
  6. And some families go all out!

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Two pups, a baby and one adorable couple

 (Top picture is the outside front; middle picture and note are top and bottom of the inside- this was a folded card. Note was reduced for collage).

Who: Chris, Stephanie, Grayson, Sandy and Fannie (the fur babies!)

Location: Plano, Dallas and Frisco, TX (That's 3 separate photoshoots people. That's awesome. And crazy. OUR kind of crazy.)

Props: None

Clothes: Chris and Stephanie "shopped their closet" (remember this tip from our Winning Wardrobe post?) Grayson - Children's Place and Janie and Jack

Comments: I am so not clever so I couldn't decide what to do. I just picked photographs I liked and put them together in one card. 

Designer: Tiny Prints

Photographer: B4 Photography and Ashlee Dawn Photography  and Nuns Photography

Favorite Thing: I love how all 3 photoshoots came together to work so well. I LOVE that our sweet pups are always featured in our cards. 


Katy's Thoughts: Let's discuss the fact that she used a COMBO of three photography sessions to make her perfect card. Y'all. That is COMMITMENT!! And let's discuss that hubby Chris deserves some major props! Chris is Ryan's best-friend, college roommate and the best-man in our wedding. He got lucky enough to be stuck with me forever and WE got lucky enough to have Stephanie join the "3 Stripe" crew. All that to say - we love this family. Now about the card - I LOVE that they mixed black and white with a color photo. So unexpected but fits perfectly together too! I also love how they nailed the layered look for tiny man, Grayson. And that tie - gah! :) :) :)

Cindy's Thoughts: Stephanie gets a A+ from me on the styling of her men!!  I totally agree with Katy, the layered look looks good on these two!  Also, I love the top left photo of just Stephanie and Chris.  Sometimes "we" (I am talking to myself here) get a little wrapped up in our kids (human and fur ones) and forget about the couple part of our lives...this picture made me stop and think - Josh and I need pictures of just us and we need to go on a date!  Thanks for the reminder, Stephanie!


How can you recreate this picture? We love all the different backgrounds and settings of this card. Make sure to ask your photographer (or more in this case! ;)) how many different places they are willing to take photos - it does vary! All these individual shots come together to make one great story board! Tons of personalities are captured to give a great picture of this family.

Get PINspired:
First of all, we found a new card designer, elli,  that we LOVE - check out their site here. Some of their designs look amazing with black an white photos - check out this, this, and this! Or if you are into efficiency, then just check out our entire "Black and White Photo" board. And, you can even do a black and white photo of your pup - we think this is adorable! We both have dogs - our dogs are no where near calm enough for any of these photos. BUT - we do think that these images add a bunch of merry to anyone's day! Can we note that we LOVE Stephanie's style. So click here and here to see some other cute ways for black on black as she effortlessly pulls off in a few of her pics.

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Monday, October 21, 2013

Woman's Best Friend (and a WINNER)

Hi friends!
This week we have a theme (we LOVE a theme) and the theme is ANIMALS!!
Yes, all you animal lovers who have been patiently waiting for cards featuring animals we are here to inspire you!
Woof, woof and meow! 

Who:  Rachel, Toby (male, black and tan dapple long-hair dachshund) and Lexie (female, chihuahua/terrier mix) {Both are rescue dogs from Aggieland Humane Society}

Location:  Rachel's house in Bryan, Texas

Props: No props, just cute pups!

Clothes: Lane Bryant

Comments: I have friends of all faiths and from a variety of cultures, so I aim to send a more seasonal message rather than a card with a religious message.  I wanted to go with a more casual look for the card, and I also wanted to show off some of my house's front porch since most of my family lives out of town and haven't visited my house. There ended up being a ton of great photos from the shoot, so I wanted to show off as many as I could - especially Lexie and Toby's adorableness!

Designer:  I wanted to go with a more cost-effective solution for my cards, so I turned to Walmart. I was also able to have the cards printed in a hurry since I was behind on getting them sent out!

Photographer:  Gabriel Chmielewski

Favorite Thing:  I love the individual portraits of Toby and Lexie. The photographer took these pictures while we were attempting to get the shot of my feet with them next to me, so my roommate was holding pepperonis out to get them to look at the camera. Yes, those are looks of pepperoni lust in their eyes!

Katy's Thoughts: The thing I love most about receiving cards all season, is that I get a glimpse into the lives of my friends that I don't get to see as often as we would like. This card is a perfect example of that! I love that she wanted to show off her house and her pups and she did it in style. And, admittedly, I am not the #1 dog fan around, but that picture in the top left - sheesh - adorbs! 

Cindy's Thoughts:  Y'all.  I can not tell a lie.  I am not really an animal person.  I know, I know.  They are sweet, kind, loyal, loving and all that jazz...but they just don't do it for me.  I have no good explanation, it's just who I am.  Don't hate...because if you want to have animals I am all for it!  AND Rachel does the animal thing WELL!  Those dogs are cute, they clearly love her and make for a great prop! I love the feet pic with the dogs - Toby looks so distinguished and Lexie looks ready for the pepperoni!  

How can YOU recreate this card? Grab a couple of cute dogs, find a darling front porch and viola!  The great thing about this card is you can use dogs, cats, snakes (eww) or even a couple of human kids and have a similar look.  We think what makes this card so great is (yes, besides cute dogs) the fun and love this family shows!

Get PINspired:

  1. If you just want to show off your darling fur baby(ies), check this, this and this out.
  2. Think you can only dress up human babies in fun(ny) outfits for the holidays...think again!  Check this, this and this out!
  3. Animals need love too...see here and here!
  4. Dogs aren't the only ones that make it into the photos...lots of people love cats, lots!



A huge thanks to Whimsy & Style Photography for partnering with us!  Stay tuned...we'll try to give our loyal readers some sneak peeks along the way!

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Friday, October 18, 2013

Whimsy & Style - Ultimate Giveaway!

Hi friends! We have had such a fun week! We love doing giveaways! Thanks to everyone that has entered the 2013 Ultimate Christmas Card Giveaway.  If you haven't entered you have until 11:59pm tonight to enter.  Get to it! :) (see below!)

We have loved working with Chantal Bergeron of Whimsy & Style Photography on this giveaway and today we wanted to introduce you to more of her work and tell you more about her passions and motivations.

According to Chantal...
I strive to make every session a reflection of you and who you are, and photograph everyday common kisses, hugs, laughs and smiles with creativity...and add in a touch of whimsy, a dash of style, and a splattering of sparkly and it becomes wall-worthy art!  There are three areas I consider most important to my photography (1) love and connection (2) acceptance and beauty and (3) childhood magic and innocence. 

Enjoy her wonderful work!




Isn't her work beautiful?!? YOU could have images like this too -- all you have to do is enter below! Best of luck to all of you - winner will be announced on Monday!!!

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