Friday, October 30, 2015

Ready, Set...ORDER!

Hi friends! November is almost here and for most of you card loving folks, that means it is time to order your cards. There are TONS and TONS of places for you to order darling cards, how will you decide? Never fear, the Merry Mommas are here to help!

[Large Online Retailers]
Tiny Prints - The Merry Mommas have used Tiny Prints for various occasions, including Christmas Cards, and their product is great. They have very traditional cards. Recommended!

Minted - We think of Minted as the hipster sister of Tiny Prints. We have used them and liked them!

May Designs - You may remember this company from one of FF posts. We haven't used them for cards, but we LOVE their notebooks! Recommended.

Zazzle - We haven't used Zazzle for Christmas cards, but we have used them. We were totally satisfied with their product. Recommended!
Fine Stationery - Same song, second verse. We have ordered stationery from this retailer, but not a Christmas card. Satisfied with the process and produce. Recommended!

mpix - Some of our favorite photographers and graphic designers use mpix and RAVE about them. We trust them, so recommended!

Pear Tree - We haven't used Pear Tree, but after looking at their website, they have some great stuff. Let us know if you have used Pear Tree, we'd love to know your thoughts.

Snapfish - Looks like they have some fun designs, any readers use them?

[Large Big Box Stores]
Many of the large big box stores including CVS, Walgreens, Walmart and Target, have photo labs in house and templates you can choose for your card. They have great, fun and festive designs that typically have a pretty darn good price point.

[Print Centers]
If you design or have someone design your card you may choose to have it printed at your local Kinko's (well, I think they are called FedEx stores now) or Office Depot. Merry Momma Katy has used Office Depot in the past and her cards are absolutely PRECIOUS! Merry Momma Cindy has used Overnight Prints and is 100% satisfied with their product. Vista Print is similar to Overnight Prints and could be used as well.

[Mom and Pop Shops]
Lots of folks use local graphic designers - we LOVE ours... Jumping Jax Designs and Quick Design Company - to design their cards. Many times the designs have a print company they use and you just get to pic up your finished product. #winning Another way to support local folks is to use Etsy to find local designers/printers.

[No pics, just a card...please. :)]
If you are in the market for cards without pictures or you are sending cards on behalf of your work place both Hallmark and Papyrus have a great selection.

No matter where you buy and print your cards, sending love to family and friends is really how we share the MERRY and we can't wait to see your MERRY!

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Thursday, October 29, 2015

TBT: Halloween

It's Thursday. 

And you know what that means...


Edition: HALLOWEEN!!!

We are joining our fellow BCS Bloggers this week to highlight some of Halloween Past! Make sure to follow the loop so you can check out all the posts... and maybe get some awesome ideas! So, here we go... 

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 my Dad's 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! We clearly could have benefited from some makeup tips which is exactly what you will get when you visit Making Mrs. M - she's giving some tips on simple Halloween make-up that even beginners can master!

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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

An Update on Help!

Hi y'all! It's Cindy and I know you have just been dying to hear an update on what we wore for our Christmas card pics and I am happy to oblige! Click here to refresh your memory on our choices!

First a little update on the day... It was WARM! Maybe even close to HOT. We started setting up for the pics around 5:30 and it was about 95 degrees.  Dang that October weather! One day it's in the low 70s and the next mid 90s! Oh well! We (and I really mean my sweet hubby) pressed on. We had a rather extensive set up so he was just a tad sweaty by picture time. And I'm not telling you about the set up, you will just have to wait. :) Everything was set up and ready to go around 6pm and the lighting was just beautiful, the sun was setting and the girls were pretty well behaved. #bribeswereused #everytime #picsareimportant

Josh's outfit pretty much stayed the same. He actually had a cream undershirt, but opted not to wear it. #95degrees

I borrowed some cute boot socks (thanks, Kelly!) and Millie's outfit was complete. I ended up doing a single french braid with her hair.

Caroline wore outfit #3, the light denim jeans and fringe sweater. I found a cream waffle shirt that had a tiny floral print and it looked so cute under the sweater.We gave her two cute braids.

The front runner #2 won for Annaliese. I rolled up her sleeves to help her be a little bit cooler. And I think I may have switched her jeans, but I can't remember. #sorry #itsbeenawhile We kept her hair down in her cute little bob.

Now...on to me. I definitely subscribe to the #ifmommaainthappynobodyshappy and I just wasn't super happy with my choices. I spent a little (read hours) time online and then ended up running up to Old Navy the Saturday before our pics and found a couple of additional options. After lots of texts and pics to Katy I choose a plaid shirt #plaidisin, skinny jeans, my brown booties and the cream sweater. The temperature kept me from wearing the sweater, but I was happy and not too hot. #winning #happymomma

And now I am patiently waiting to see them! #okaynotpatiently And I can't wait to share the final product with all of you!

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Friday, October 23, 2015

Friday Favorites: ALL the Cards

It's FRIDAY y'all! 

And there is only ONE more Friday left in October which means November is almost here. Which clearly means YOU BEST BE GETTING TO PICKING OUT WHAT KIND OF CARD YOU WANT TO SEND. 




So today we are just going to focus on some of our favorite types of cards to help you narrow down your selection. 



Both of the Momma's LOVE love super LOVE the year-in-review infographic that Kristin designed for her family! This works great for anyone. Married/singled/kid/no kids - there is so much to tell and you can do it in such a unique way. Did we mention that we love it?

We also loved this darling chalkboard inspired version with a darling family photo included! You know we love searching Etsy and this one by LNZart is perfect!


What's better than sending one card to family and friends? Well, sending TWO cards of course! But clearly ain't nobody got time for that. You mail cards to spread cheer and give updates, so use this as an opportunity to make a  baby announcement...

let people know you've changed addresses...

or that you're getting MERRIED!


This particular design from CardsEtc is no longer available but I'm sure you can find something similar. **UPDATE - she just added it back to the shop! Wahoo! **

We couldn't stop smiling when we found this picture. How darling are these grandparents surrounded by all of their little grands!

That's just a few of our favorite types of cards!  What kind of card are you sending this year? Anything we should add to the list?

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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

WWLW: Envelope Flair

Yes, it's true.
The Merry Mommas LOVE envelope flair! I mean, we focus LOTS on what's inside that envelope, but it's nice to give that outside some love, too!
You may be asking yourself, 
"WHAT IN THE WORLD is envelope flair?"
Well, it's all the little things on an envelope that add that extra WOW!
Here, let us show you...


United States Postal Service offers some really great holiday stamps.  They can add that extra, "Why, yes, I did stand in line for an hour to get the cute Charlie Brown stamps!" to any envelope. (Or, I sent my husband. Twice. because the first time he only bought a book, which is exactly 120 stamps too few.) :) 

Zazzle has TONS of unique options! Just search "Christmas" or "Holiday" stamps.

And you can customize them with your own pictures! How fun would it be to give a sneak peak to your card ON YOUR ENVELOPE! And sometimes you can't choose just one pic, this gives you the option of selecting just one more!


Stamps - You can fancy up your address with ink stamps!  There is literally hundreds of thousands of different places you can get stamps, but we headed to Etsy to find some fun ones for you!

Labels - If you order cards from some of the major online retailers, many of them will have the option to add address labels.  Again, this is a darling way to give the receiver a little sneak peek at what's inside!


  This card and the address return label are from Tiny Prints.

Embossed - If you are a little more on the formal side, you may choose to emboss your envelopes.  We love the distinguished look of an embossed envelope.  Feel free to send us your cards! (We're serious!)  Paper Source has a great selection of embossers.


 Washi tape can be a bit intimidating, which is silly, because the whole point of it is to add some fun to your various projects without the stress. Take a look at some of things we found!

 I mean, let's just discuss her entire style of envelope addressing. Click on that link because she does an entire post on her tips. We LOVE that she used a VARIETY of stamps! Darling. Her handwriting? AMAZING. And that washi tape adds an extra pop! It is definitely on this momma's list this year!

If you use more of a traditional addressing system (read: white labels) you can always add more washi tape for that extra pop of fun! You could even just use a tiny piece on the back of the envelope as a seal. And done!

See, you totally love ENVELOPE FLAIR now too, don't you! :)

Know what we LOVE? When y'all leave us comments! Seriously, we can't blog about what you LOVE unless you tell us. So share the merry and spread the love... 

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Monday, October 19, 2015

From merry to scary...

Halloween is right around the corner - so today we are trading in our merry for a little bit of scary. And don't worry, we focus all of our crazy on Christmas, so these are easy ways for you to make Halloween a SCREAM...

1. Ghosts and goblins are an easy way to add a little fright to your night! Our friend, Kim at Hunt and Host just did a super easy tutorial on making ghosts out of cheese cloth.

2. Bats and spiders and monsters - Oh my!! Merry Momma K made the cutest haunted bunting out of egg cartons, paint and pipe cleaners almost four years ago and she still hangs them up every year! This is seriously so easy and so much fun for the entire family. And you probably have everything you need at home!

3. Pumpkins! Halloween isn't the same without pumpkins and Holly just did a great PINspired post on EASY pumpkin hacks that everyone can do. (We love the way you think, Holly!) Check out her favorite pins and make sure to let her know which ones you try for yourself!

4. Bats, bats, bats and more bats! Andrea over at Momfessionals turned her home into a Halloween extravaganza and our favorite part is all the bats she hung on her walls! She made them from cardstock and just stuck them on with painters tape but the effect amazing!!! 

5. Ding dong... And you can't have a haunted house without a spooky entrance! This is seriously the easiest craft project you will do all year. There is nothing to wait for... just do it! 

How do you like to share the scary? We'd love to hear about your favorite Halloween decor tips!

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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

WWLW: Photoshoot Planning

It's that time y'all. Most of you are smack dab in the middle of photo shoot planning and execution. And we are here to help you. Because we really don't want you looking/feeling like this...

So, we've taken the best of our best (or so we think) to put all in one place for you today for the... 

One to Two Months Before:

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

Two Weeks Before:

1. Location - Because you know what look/feel/theme you are going for (see above) you probably also know a few spots to take these types of photos (or you have consulted with your photographer), so now is the time to do drive byes to check on 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, don't forget to check.
2. Hair & Makeup - I have to admit, I have never had my hair or make up done for a photo shoot, but I think I might! If you want these types of services, book them now. (I do admit, I do get my eyebrows a couple of days before photo shoots...I'm so fancy like that! ;))

One Week Before:

1. Try on clothes - Kids grow fast and sometimes things just look lots different go ahead and do a quick dress rehearsal. This is also a good time to iron. I swear, my ironing board only comes out for photo shoots!
2. Touch base with your photographer - Give your photographer a call or email to reconfirm times and location.
3. Talk it up! - Start talking to the kiddos (and maybe the significant other) about the photo shoot. Remind them how fun it will be to be a model and discuss expectations. We talk about listening to the photographer,  doing what we ask when we ask and reminding them that if they do well, they will get a treat! Hey, we are all about bribery here! And treats can be candy, stickers, drive around the neighborhood with the windows down listening to Frozen T. Swift...whatever works!
4. Double check your picks! - We always send texts to each other with our various wardrobe options for one final round of feedback.

Day Before:

1. Set out clothes and accessories -I set out everything, and I do mean everything (including unmentionables...don't get caught with a black bra and white shirt! EEK!). It will make the next day go smoother and if you forgot something you will have a little while to run to Target.
2. Pack
     a. Clothes - You may have all the clothes on your body and this step isn't necessary...but you may have a wardrobe change or a scarf or something, so go ahead pack it. {And, just maybe I made the girls ride to a photo shoot in their unmentionables because I didn't want the picture clothes wrinkled...just maybe. I can't say for sure, but maybe! ;))
     b. Props - Go ahead and load the car. Remember, you want tomorrow to be STRESS free. We recently did Millicent's 3 year (tear) pictures and the car was full of pumpkins.
     c. Goodies - Get the treats ready! Stickers, lollipops, whatever.  Have it ready to reward that great behavior. Also, pack water, snacks and wipes. Hungry kids (and adults) do not take good pictures!
     d. Toiletries - Don't forget the hair brushes, makeup and tissues.

Day of:

1. Be on time! Y'all nothing stresses me out more than being late. I hate it. So I make it a point to be early to photo shoots. Photographers are busy, lighting matters and a stressed face is not pretty, so be on time.
2. Be reasonable - Remember that all parties involved - kids, mom, dad, photographer, etc - are people and we all have good and bad days and we all have things we are capable of doing. (Don't expect a 2 year old to do a 3 hour shoot or take pics during nap time.)
3. HAVE FUN! Seriously, have fun. Laugh. Enjoy being in the moment! HAVE FUN!
4. Be prepared... which leads us to...

What to bring:

We have several general items that we bring to every single photo shoot:

Image sources: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

1. Safety pins - you never know what's going to need fixing. Sometimes kids are at an in between size and you need to tighten up some pants, a dress, or shirt. 
2. Lip gloss - This is pretty self-explanatory and not unusual but I like to keep it in my bag, not just for me but for the girls, too. It's the perfect bribe!
3.  Extra hair flair (bobby pins, rosettes, headbands, clips) - You never know when the weather is going to change, fly-aways are going to occur, or kids are going to hate what you picked out. Be prepared and bring EXTRA.
4. Lint brush - You know, because of lint.
5. Bug spray - Especially in Texas. Especially in summer. Who am I kidding - ALL STINKING YEAR. #wehatemosquitoes
6. Flip flops/extra shoes - You won't be in every picture and you may have to trek through some interesting land to get to your space - don't ruin your good shoes, just bring extras!

We also have some items specifically for our small kiddos...

 Image sources: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 

1. Baby wipes - It never fails that someone plays in dirt, picks up trash, or finds a piece of melted chocolate. Have baby wipes. They also serve as a great distraction when needed. Just let Tommy pull every single wipe from the bag - you can always put them back in and use them (especially on third kids). ;)
2. Candy (also known as bribes) - Grab some hard candy. If your photographer is good (and smart) he/she will have this covered. Make sure it's not chocolate or anything that will melt/run in their hands. We like smarties, jelly beans or fruit chews. As noted above, lip gloss is an excellent bribe for tiny girls. 
3. Books/toys - Have something anything that will keep them occupied when they aren't in the picture. We've found books and toys helpful, but so is your phone or iPod. 
4. Happy spray  -  Neither of the Mommas have actually tried this, but we have heard that it works. Just bring a small spray bottle full of water (and maybe even glitter) (I said maybe(#wehateglitter) and tell the kiddos it's magic happy spray. Sounds silly, but hey #whateverworks. 

And soon enough, our kids will become tweens/teens and we imagine that they may have a different set of "must haves"...

1 / 2 /  3

1. Special drink - We don't give our kids much besides water or milk and I don't anticipate Starbucks becoming a regular occurrence. It may be fun to drive through pre-photo shoot to get the older kids something before pictures begin. (or as a incentive for after the shoot). #havewementionedwelikebribes
2. Phone/Music - Not many of us ever travel without our phones these days, but make sure you have it especially if there are portions where kids aren't involved in pictures. This is a great way to keep them happy. 
3. Hairspray - Yes, I did just post a picture of Aqua Net. It's the best. Says my MaMaw. Fly aways, happen. Wind happens. Wardrobe changes mess up hair. Just bring hair spray. 

So there you have it. Our crazy is exposed. And if we thought a little longer, I'm sure we could come up with more items that you always need to bring - the ones we listed were no brainers!! We love this stuff y'all - and if you are stressing out... don't. Email us, comment below and let us know what's stressing you out and maybe we can help!

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