Who: Mom, Dad, Girlchild and Boychild
Location: Our wonderful photographer, Jenny Livingston, suggested Downtown Bryan, and since our outfits were a little more casual this year, I thought that'd be the perfect vibe for this year's card! She asked us to meet her on Carnegie Alley, and I was excited because even though we've taken photos several times downtown, I had no idea what to expect from this specific location. When we arrived and I saw this amazing garage door, I was thrilled! It has that just-erased chalkboard feel, which completely worked with our outfits and color scheme!
Props: Jenny brought some props, but the big sparkly G on the back of the card was something I found on my annual girls' trip to Canton in October. We love going then because you find the best of fall AND winter stuff, including fun Christmas decorations! This G was a steal - I think I paid $6 for it. It's moments like that when I really appreciate being a long-term planner...I'd decided months before on red as our primary outfit color, so I kind of had my eyes peeled for photo props while we were shopping. I added the black and silver bow with ribbon I bought at Hobby Lobby, and that was it! A fun, easy, super inexpensive prop that we used in our Christmas decorations that year too! Love it!
Clothes: This mom is a total cheap-o when it comes to kids' clothes, mostly because my kids are rough on their duds! When I start thinking about photo outfits, I try to think about what coordinates all together, not necessarily what all matches. This card is probably the "matchiest" we've done. When friends ask about clothes for photos, I tell them to pick a base color or two - in this card, red - and then build around that, making sure everyone has at least one thing in that color on. That way the photo looks interesting and has some variety. Boychild is usually the hardest to shop for in our family, so sometimes if I see something that I like for him, that becomes the basis of the rest of our outfits. Shop early! You save money that way, and can really take time to find things you and your kiddos really like, instead of having to just buy whatever you can find because your photos are tomorrow and you have nothing to wear!
Boychild's top was from Old Navy, his pants were from Target, and we got the shoes, which were Gymboree black canvas slip-ons, as hand-me-downs from a friend. Girlchild's top was from JC Penney (Arizona brand), her little grey tank underneath was from Justice (I love them for basic tanks, shorts, etc.) and her pants (which had a little bit of glitter throughout them) and shoes were hand-me-downs from another friend, which I was given literally a week before we took the photos! WIN! I was going to have the Girlchild just wear grey leggings and black boots, but these grey jeans worked perfectly and she liked them much better! Her headband was from Target and the necklace she's wearing is an Origami Owl locket. Mom and Dad are wearing jeans and shoes we already had, and Mom's sweater is from JC Penney and the scarf is from Charming Charlie. If you've never been in Charming Charlie, do yourself a favor and go, soon. They have about eleventy billion accessories, but they're all organized by color, which makes shopping there easy. Dad's red shirt is a red v-neck tee from Target, and the grey cardigan was something from his closet. The best thing about all of these outfits is that we were able to wear all of it again through the winter!
Comments: I went with red for this card because it's a classic Christmas color that looks good on all of us. We went more causal because the year before we'd been a little more dressed up, so I like to vary that from year to year. These clothes just felt like us! Another reason we went with red is because we always use our Christmas photos as our annual family photo, and I had hopes that we'd be able to blow one of these up to put in our living room, where I'm trying to add pops of red to our decor. The photo on the front has become a "signature" pose for our family; every year since 2010 we've done photo Christmas cards, and the poses we like best are always ones where we're all hugged together, or our faces are all lined up and "squished" together. The kids are usually pretty giggly in these poses, so we usually get the most natural smiles from them this way, too!
Designer: This card design is from Zazzle, which offered a Christmas card Groupon deal! They had a ton of designs to choose from, but we decided on the photo we wanted to use first, then looked at designs that worked with that photo, and I just fell in love with the simplicity of this card, and also the message, because I just love the magical feel of the holiday season! There originally wasn't a place for a photo on the back, but there was a logo there that I was able to add my own graphic to, so I use that as a second photo! I chose the photo on the back because I feel like it shows my kids' personalities and went well with the fun "magic of the season" message. Zazzle was easy to work with and we had our cards within a week! I'll definitely be using them again this year.
Photographer: Our photos were done by Jenny Livingston with Jenny LivingstonPhotography. I cannot say enough wonderful things about working with Jenny. She is fun, creative, beyond patient (my kids had lots of ideas about poses!), and very quick. Our photo session for this card was about 30 minutes long and that included two locations downtown and about 200 images that she had to work with. She had photos edited and gave me a flash drive with about 30 high-res images on them in less than 10 days! When we were done, my husband said, "She was totally awesome. We're definitely using her again next year." It was so fast we didn't even have to bribe our kids with ice cream to smile and participate, because they didn't have time to get tired or crabby. I've already contacted her about this year's photos!
Favorite Thing: My favorite thing about the card is its simplicity, and the fact that we had a lot of fun during the photo shoot. We've done cards before that included several photos, and while I love all of those, I really just adore the overall look of this card - good shots of our faces, fun colors, and a fun message. We always keep one of our cards and frame it and put it on the mantle during Christmas, and each year I incorporate the previous years' cards into our Christmas decorations. It's a fun way to see how the kids have grown from year to year and family and friends who visit during the season always comment on the old cards.
Blog: Sadly, this mom has failed epically with blogging. However, I do email my kids regularly, and send them pictures...I made a gmail account for each of them and when they're older, I'll give them the passwords and let them read all their messages about the funny things they did as kids!
The Merry Mommas' Thoughts: PERFECT! It's like this beautiful Momma has been reading our blog and applied so many of the things we talk about! Thank you! She started early, she had an outfit/person she started with (boychild) and worked from there, she used a color scheme that would go in her home, she used a prop, she found a photographer that her kids and husband were comfortable with, she stayed within her budget, she found a theme (the squeeze hug pose) and stuck with it. Really, Momma you did so GOOD!!!
How can you recreate this card:
Zazzle has 3 great BELIEVE cards for 2105:
RED and GREY:
And here's some cute outfits for Momma because Momma Guzman did such a great job!