Friday, July 31, 2015

Friday Favorites: Christmas Birth Announcement

Y'all. We simply can't get over this one...

We were just trying to illustrate how great of a prop blankets are and then ended up falling in love with this adorable announcement. I mean, it's almost worth having **one more baby**. (Not really. But almost.)

So, today's list of favorites is centered all around Christmas birth announcements...

1) Minted  / 2) Unknown 3) Minted / 4) With Style and Grace

1) Unknown 2) Zazzle  / 3) Sara Luke / 4) Minted

1) Tiny Prints / 2) Esty / 3) Zazzle  

There are so many fun options! So if you or a friend or even a stranger are expecting a baby - please promise us you will email us a copy. If I had to chose right now, I think I'd pick "wonders of his love"...  but I like all of them. T

In honor of you new mommas or mommas-to-be... we have an amazing giveaway as we wrap up Christmas in July with the Dish.

Thanks to Dexter Insurance one lucky reader is getting the ultimate mom-running accessory....

A Bob Revolution Jogging Stroller!

And in case some freak accident happens while you are out running make sure you talk to the Dexter Team for all your insurance needs. Dexter Insurance is located in Bryan-College Station (with an office in Dallas) and can help you with auto, home, commercial, and life insurance. They are seriously awesome.

Whoever wins that awesome BOB Stroller will most definitely need to fine tune their running skills using a Fit4Mom 10-Class Pass! If you aren't a runner that's okay, some of us just aren't runners ;). (Seriously. Check out the Dish today for a fun non-runners guide to running) Join the ladies at Fit4Mom Stroller Strides for their new early morning boot camp (5:30am) and take things in stride. Or you can test out a mid morning Stroller Strides class (they stride 6 days a week!). And if working out with a BOB Stroller isn't your thing, leave the kids at home and head to Body Back.

Aren't y'all excited about this awesome GIVEAWAY??? We are SUPER excited. The BOB Stroller is the ultimate mom necessity (just like Dexter Insurance ;) ). And don't even get us started with the Fit4Mom 10 Class Pass....oh the possibilities.

We have had so much fun with our buddies at the Dish over the past few weeks and we hope you have, too!

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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

WWLW: Props

Most of the texts/FB messages/pigeon delivery questions we get about cards are people wanting new ideas. Color of clothes, location, and one of our favorites - PROPS! Now don't get us wrong - we love a family picture where everyone is looking at the camera and the only "prop" is the beautiful family and the scenery. Classic, beautiful, simple. Yes.

BUT, we also love the interest and the fun that props can bring to a photo. Props can help with spacing and height, they can actually make taking the picture FUN for the kiddos and they set a scene for a memory in the making. We aren't talking crazy stuff today -  just a subtle addition will do. (We'll talk crazy in a few weeks!) ;)

Chalkboards are fantastic because, well, you can send any message you want. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, We're having a baby, We're getting married, etc. Let those creative juices flow!  We even found a place that does CHALKBOARD PHOTO BOOTHS! Y'all. AMAZING.
(Seriously, we want in on this. If you want to go halvsies, lets do it. I mean the probability that we send cards to the same people is slim.)

Blankets are a fantastic pop of color and can be used in so many ways. (They also protect that booty from itchy grass (which is great for people with allergies, ehmm.... Emmy) weird critters and soggy ground). You can use them to bundle up in the cold, have a picnic when it's warm or just be super fun and oh-so-adorable like that family with the parachute. Seriously. Blankets are awesome.

And can we just say if any of you are expecting a baby around Christmas - go ahead and make this your announcement. We added the perfect phrase to convince you.

Trucks. Trucks. Trucks. First of all - I just want one. Like for real. We passed one on the highway the other day and I told Radley - "hey buddy, want to get me a present?" Like a good boy he said, "Yes, momma." I said, "Go ahead and buy me a truck like that but I want it to be pink with five gold crowns painted on the back and a wooden tailgate." "Ok!" was his reply. #soifyouknowaguy

Anyway - they are awesome. You can sit in the truck, by the truck, on top  of the truck. You can add blankets (!), wreaths, trees, lights and words. I mean. Amazing. And sometimes, if you're lucky and you are shooting at a brake place, they will be working on an old truck and just let you use it for funsies...

We hit the jackpot. Seriously, one of my favorite shoots with Sarah!

One thing we love so much about props is that they are normally just laying around - or super inexpensive. I mean HobLob has $.99 chalkboards these days! And blankets - easy! But in case you don't just have a vintage truck laying around - have no fear - we have you covered! Your Merry Mailbox and The Dish are teaming up with Lauren Melissari for another AWESOME mini session! Available dates are below - if you are interested then hurry up and grab a space!

WHEN: September 4th, 5th, 6th & 11th, 12th, 13th
WHERE: Bryan-College Station, TX

COST: Clients can select from 3 different packages;
8 Images – $175
5 Images – $150
3 Images – $125

*Sessions will be 15 minutes long.

* Limited to 1 family per session fee. Please purchase an additional time slot for any grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, or friends wanting to participate in the session.

* In the event of poor weather, you will be notified of a re-schedule date.

Winner should contact Lauren directly!

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Monday, July 27, 2015

The greatest card on earth...

Are you dying to know who was the big winner of the $100 Nordstrom gift card sponsored by the Revelry?  We are too, but the contest isn't closed yet by the time we wrote this, so you're gonna have to wait with us. :) But, perhaps we can distract you with more fun because our Christmas in July extravaganza (oh yes, it's totally at extravaganza status) has one week left and this week has lots of fun in store!

Remember Merry Momma K's card from 2011? It's a fan favorite on Pinterest and we may be a bit biased, but we agree. ;) 

There are lots of set ups you can take advantage of shooting at a local carnival, circus or midway that you can easily fit into a "card theme"

Laughing all the way/Oh what fun!...

Merry {KISS}mas..

Visions of {candy} danced in our heads...

Merry and Bright...

(You could also do Married and Bright for newlyweds)

JOY to the world...

A few tips...

  1. Be flexible - these things travel, so you are limited in your dates! If the weather isn't perfect, then be prepared to make it work!
  2. Call ahead to see when the least busy days/times are (Or swing by - they may not have a phone)
  3. Clothing options are unlimited! Vintage, colorful, mismatched, formal - you name it and you can make it work at the fair!
  4. Sometimes rides are broken - and that's a bummer. Be prepared to go with the flow!
  5. Budget for the cost of rides, food, tickets and any other part of the fair that you want part of the shoot - this one isn't cheap!
  6. Never take candy from a carney. ;)
  7. Be prepared for the distractions - because there are plenty. 
But y'all - they are TOTALLY worth it! (We may have to go back now that Landry is here!) And because we love you and want you to be able to prep for a fair shoot - check here for a list of carnivals near you!

This will definitely be an experience the whole family will enjoy! You could even skip the posed pics and do a complete lifestyle shoot and the kids would never know the difference! They will remember that experience for a long time, and our friends at the Dish are talking about just that today! Less clutter - more fun, so head over there! We love that idea so much that we teamed up with The Dish once again to give away an experience to you!

One reader will win a Flying Trapeze Experience from Lone Star Trapeze Academy and two tickets Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus from Samantha Markey, Realtor.

I mean, let's discuss how awesome this card would be...

So what are you waiting for? Enter below!

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

If I had $100...

Y'all. You may have heard but Nordstrom is having their annual sale, like, RIGHT NOW. Which means tons of amazing items are super cheap(ish)! Which means you can get started on that Christmas shopping NOW and save money. 

Which means you will be super excited about today's Christmas in July giveaway with our buddies at the Dish. 

We are so excited that we aren't even going to make you read a long post. We are just telling you that Revelry is giving away $100 to Nordstrom! 

(Ok, that's a lie. Not the giveaway, the post writing. I'm visiting my MaMaw and she's strictly wifi free. This post is coming at ya live from my iPhone.) 

(Adding links from a phone is impossible. Up your game, blogger.) 

But, y'all. $100 to NORDSTROM! Head on over to to enter! And happy Friday!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Christmas in July: Ultimate Stocking Stuffer List

A big ol' congrats to all of our winners so far! We love all the fun that giving stuff away brings! If you haven't won yet, don't worry - we still have lots of majorly fun items coming!

On Monday at the Dish, we covered the basic to do lists - things you can start NOW to save yourself some time later. Well, one more thing you can do now is stock up on those stocking stuffers! I know that if I wait until the last minute, I end up spending so much more time and {MONEY} on those than if I would have done it first thing.

Follow this list precisely:
  1. Go to your attic
  2. Open it.
  3. Retrieve stockings.
  4. Buy stuff.
  5. Fill stockings.
  6. Hide them.
  7. Pat self on back.
  8. Celebrate with wine.
See? Easy! Oh, you're getting stuck on that #4 thing, huh? Well, have no fear... we've got ya covered...

Some items are good for any one (toothpaste, gum, candy, socks) but we like a list, so these include even those generic items. That way we get some satisfaction when we cross things off later.

For babies:
For toddlers:
  • Paper, crayons, washable markers
  • Adorable Biblical Placemats (LOCAL, y'all!) 
  • Bubbles
  • Hair accessories
  • Undies, socks, pjs
  • Party in the Tub
  • Anything snack sized (oreos, kit kats, cheezits)
  • Playdough
  • Melissa and Doug Puzzle Pack
  • Anything in the $1 spot at Target
  • Movies
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, kids floss sticks
  • Plastic dinosaurs, army men, etc...
  • Bracelets and necklaces
For big kids (4+)
See above 

For Tweens and Teens
  • Rubik's Cube
  • Diary, journal
  • Favorite snack, candy, gum
  • Socks, undies and pjs
  • Teen to Teen Devotional (Girls and Guys)
  • Card games, dominoes
  • Gift cards: iTunes, Amazon, Target, Best Buy
  • Sunglasses
  • Nail polish, makeup (age appropriate), lotion, bath accessories
  • Watch, jewelry
  • Swiss Army Knife (Blue, Red, Pink)
  • Movies, music
  • Coupons for sibling-free night out with mom and dad
  • Books

Whew. I'm tired just thinking about shopping. I'm also thinking that we could add items forever. But that should be enough to get you started! What? Did we forget something? Are you thinking to yourself, "Hey! What about my wife/mom? And my husband/dad?" No worries, friends - click on over to The Dish for the rest of the Ultimate Stocking Stuffer Guide.
Most items can be found at Target - even gift cards for other stores because, clearly that makes sense.
Including our amazing sponsor for today's giveaway! We are so excited to help announce that Dr. Smith's Diaper Ointment is now at Target! They have got you (and your newborns) covered - or shall we say STUFFED - with some goodness!

Here's a quick sneak peek...

Now just follow the directions below for your chance to win!

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Monday, July 20, 2015

Christmas in July: The {MOMMA} to do...

Are you LOVING all of this Christmas in July fun? We are, too and are so excited about today's giveaway so let's just get straight to the point.

We are talking "to do" lists today - as in things to do NOW for the holidays.

We all know they are coming - the dates stay the same every year, so why do we get so stressed every stinking year? We wrote all about general to do's over at The Dish today. Things like setting a budget, planning gifts, sorting out your address list, and making plans for where you will actually spend your time. To get the full details, make sure to head over there.

We are going to spend a little time focusing on our fellow Merry Mommas - because you are (more than likely) the mastermind behind that card... we want to start with you!  Here are top "to dos" for each one of you...

Be you.

Pick a style of clothing that is comfortable for you. Real smiles aren't going to happen if you are worried about something fitting, a color being flattering, or what your arms are going to look like in that sleeveless dress (wait, that's me.) You know what you like -  so just be you. Don't get us wrong, being trendy is awesome, but being YOU is what matters. And we think you are pretty great. (This is coming from the person that has worn or used mustard yellow in 3 of the last 4 years of pics. Be you.)

Do what you can afford.

It would be lovely if everyone that took family pictures purchased their clothes from Persnickety/JCrew/Nordstrom with Tori Burch shoes for Mom and Joyfolie on the feet of our littles. But. That ain't gonna happen. (at least not for us) AND THAT'S OK. Do what makes sense for you and your family. That includes picking a photographer, gathering props, using a designer, and printing. Don't go all crazy. 

Here are three examples of peasant tops (why I picked peasant top, I have no idea... maybe a look at what's to come) at three price points. And unless I plan on living in that one on the left, the other two look just fine to me!

Get organized. 

Don't wait to the last minute - this really just creates more stress than you may already be feeling. If you need a couple of hours to go shopping, gather props, make accessories, etc... then take the time - even if you need to get a babysitter - take the time! And give yourself EXTRA time if you are ordering clothes online because you may need to send something back if it doesn't fit.

Treat this as a treat. 

Seriously - take the time to pamper yourself! Get your nails done, your hair cut, your eyebrows waxed! It takes a lot of effort to run a household on top of everything else you have going on... the holidays are stressful, no matter how much you plan, budget, and organize - so in between all the hustle and bustle, take time for yourself! And don't feel guilty about it!

And, you are in luck because we have two things to throw your way to help with items on this list.... Thanks to Root's Boutique we have $40 for one lucky reader to claim to find something that is perfect for YOU! Check out some of their newest items....

And we are super serious about that last one.. PAMPER YOURSELF! And thanks to our friends at Galleria Day Spa, we are giving away a facial to one lucky reader to just that! All you have to do is follow the directions below!

What are you waiting for? Enter below...

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Friday, July 17, 2015

Friday Favorites

Hi friends! As you probably could have assumed...we LOVE blogs! We love them A LOT! We like to write them and we like to read them. (maybe to a fault...anyway) Some of the blogs we follow do a Friday Favorites Link Up Party and we'd thought we'd join them!

So, if you are a new reader from the link up - WELCOME!
And for our long time faithful followers, THANKS for your ongoing love!

Now...onto our faves!

1. This Store
Why you ask? THEY HAVE CHRISTMAS STUFF OUT IN JULY! What's not to love about them! Even our kiddos agree!

2. Which leads us to this phrase - "Christmas in July!" Those marketing folks are just plan smart! I mean...they get us thinking about Christmas in July! The Merry Mommas think you should start thinking about your 2015 Christmas Card. In fact, we'd love to see your 2014 card and we can help you have a stress free 2015 card. Also, the phrase Christmas in July has us thinking about making our shopping lists. And we love shopping! Nordstrom's Anniversary Sale starts today (#duh) and there are a couple of things we think would look great in your Christmas Card!

Y'all...animal print is always in style and adds such a fun pop!

Plaid is HUGE this year, HUGE! Get some plaid!

Now, we don't really recommend wearing a bag in your Christmas card photos, but you will need something cute to carry them to the post office in and this is a WINNER!

3. And how can we forget our partners in all this giveaway fun for Christmas in July?

Y'all. It was started by two friends - Stephanie and Samantha (sound familiar!?!) to help out those of us that live in the BCS area. It has everything from advice on day cares to the trendiest brunch spot. Add their blog to your daily reading list. Be sure to stop by today...for some insight into their Friday Favorites and the big reveal for today's giveways (that may or may not include, crafting, mermaids and BBQ... what can we say... we like variety!)

4. And then of course this picture!
Because **SPOILER** it seriously may be our Christmas card!

What do y'all think??

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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Stress free card prep

So, the number one question we have gotten since starting this blog is "How in the world do you do it?" Easy. 

Y'all. We are CRAY CRAY!

But in the best way. Simply put - we start early. We have already started chatting about our plans for this year's card and I can guarantee that they will be so much fun. And listen, friends, we don't do this because we want everyone to think our families are flawless (because we are far from it) - we put thought into it because that's how we show our love. We want our nearest and dearest to be touched by the thought and effort of our cards and, we ENJOY it. 

Because again. We are CRAY CRAY!

So how do we do it? Well, here you go... 

I think we got ahead of ourselves last year - we only helped you plan your photoshoot and we forgot to help you focus on your card. Silly, us... we apologize. When we have our "what are you thinking about your card" chat sessions we cover the following... 

1. What's trending this year? 

Now this may affect you in one of two ways... you could be the type that is all about those trends like men are all about that bass. Or, you could be the opposite and run away from what everyone else is doing and stand out. We like either option.  Either way, a good idea is to start perusing those big hitters in the card business. Tiny Prints, Shutterfly, and Minted, have their designs out all year. Sometimes they even run random sales so if you start early, you may score! 

And even if you don't want to purchase from them - use them to help you create your own. I have done this almost every year. I see a design I like and I mimic it the best I can. 

The top was my inspiration card from Tiny Prints in 2013. I knew I wanted a card with lots of pics on the back to tell our story, but I also knew I didn't want to pay $1.50 per card. So I copied it as best I could using PicMonkey and I think it turned out pretty darn cute. But, I was only able to do this because I am crazy and started looking at designs way ahead!

2. What story do you want to tell?

Our cards do just that - tell our story to our loved ones. So choose your story. Does your family play sports? Do y'all love nature? Are you all total hipsters?  Or are you attached to technology? Whatever your story is - tell it. Use this as the opportunity to capture those moments. Pictures don't have to be these perfectly posed editions of our lives. Lifestyle shoots are amazing ways to tell the story of your life. One of my favorite cards was from 2011... 

Our story was kind of sad at that moment - we had just gotten the news that Fely was sick but we rallied and chose to rejoice and be glad in the days that the Lord had given us. We looked for the joy and we found it. I don't know if a bible verse has ever stuck out to me so strongly as that one did the morning I was emailing Sarah about our card. But that's the story we wanted to tell and I am so glad we did. 

3. Think about the details!

Start thinking about clothes, shoes and accessories - You want a winning wardrobe! Start shopping, whether you are closet shopping, on-line shopping or mall shopping - start. Find one thing to start with - maybe a scarf for Momma or a bow tie for your baby boy - and work to find the items to coordinate with it. 

Props - If you are going to use any props - cool couchballoonsover sized letterstricycles, or a wagon - start your search now. 

Location - Because you know what story you want to tell (see above) you probably also know a few spots to take these types of photos, so now is the time to chat with your photographer about when to schedule pics to meet your desired expectation of the shoot.  They will know things like height of grass in a park or field, hours of operation, payment (if applicable). Also, there are some locations that must be reserved, so don't forget to check.

4. Relax

Christmas is months away, y'all! You have plenty of time!

And to help you relax, we want to remind you about our awesome Christmas in July giveaways with our friends at The Dish BCS

Today we are giving away an adorable lunchbox from Lacey Rae Designs. Lacey Rae Designs is a local Bryan-College Station business offering embroidered and monogrammed items. They offer the cutest options for baby shower gifts, children's personalized clothing and holiday items. You can find them on Facebook or order through Etsy.

And to get into the Christmas spirit, Lacey Rae Designs is offering a discount code on all Back to School items. Starting today through July 19th, you can use our code when checking out through Etsy to receive 10% off!!!

Oh. And if that wasn't enough - we are giving away a bag for YOU filled with some of our essentials for photoshoots. You can read all about it at The Dish so head on over there, get that code and enter to win!

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