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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A Very Merry Custom Illustrated Holiday Card

illustrated card, custom illustration, holiday card, christmas card, christmas 2016

I'm very excited to share our 2016 holiday card with you all! Scheduling a trip to Australia in the middle of holiday prep time really threw a wrench in my normal holiday planning. All my fave photographers had scheduled holiday mini-sessions during the weeks we were out of town and there was not enough time to prep and plan for a photo shoot when we got back. So as an alternative, I decided to have a custom illustration drawn for our holiday card.  We look great and I didn't even have to put any make up on! Our card was drawn by the talented Kathryn Selbert, a freelance illustrator that specializes in children's books, wedding invitations and stationary. To prep for our illustration, I collected recent photos of us and put together the outfit board below. I also sent Kathryn a link to my Instagram account so she could view more of our recent pictures.

2016 Christmas Photo Family Outfits

I placed the order for the illustration in early October and received our final print files in early November. Our cards were printed through Moo and will be ready to mail out at the beginning of December. I'm high-fiving myself for being ahead of the game! Having our card illustrated this year has been such a time saver. I didn't have to go shopping for outfits, schedule or travel to a photo shoot, worry about whether Parker would cooperate or get my hair or make up done. However the biggest perk is that we now have an original piece of art to hang in our home!

*By the time this post is published, Kathryn's cut off for custom cards this holiday season would have passed. Be sure to contact her early next year if you are interested in having her illustrate your family!

To see more of Kathryn's work, please visit the links below. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Making a List & Checking it Twice: 2016 Holiday Planning Tips

Every year when Christmas time rolls around, my first thought is always, "Ugh, our families are SO BIG." Being one of 7 girls is a blessing but it also makes the holiday planning more complicated. There has been at least one new niece, nephew or brother-in-law every year for the past decade or so...and this doesn't even include Tuan's side of the family! The biggest challenges we face are keeping track of gift purchases for the twenty-something odd kids we shop for and planning all the various holiday parties. I'm sure many of you face the same challenges so I am sharing my tried and true tips on how to stay organized and keep yourself holly and jolly this holiday season.

1. Get a Christmas planner. These 20-30 page planners will help you track gift purchases, budget, grocery lists, activities, party menus and so much more. I started using a Christmas planner 2 years ago and have never looked back. Below are some of my favorite designs from Etsy. If you are going to be looking at this planner for the next month, you might as well pick a pretty design. Cost varies from $5-$10 and they are worth every penny. 

Christmas Planner Letter and Half Size - Printable Binder Inserts Holiday Party Planner Xmas Organizer Editable Binder - INSTANT DOWNLOAD


Printable Christmas Planner 2016 / Holiday Organiser • A4 and US Letter • Minimalistic & Stylish

printable holiday planner, holiday planner

2. Use an online invitation system to invite guests and track your party RSVPs. Since I am an event coordinator by trade, I always find myself volunteering or being volunteered to organize holiday parties. I've come to embrace this duty but I do try to make my life easier by sending online invitations. Whether you are planning a cookie swap, white elephant, holiday movie viewing or ugly sweater party, there is an e-card for every occasion. Luckily for us, Paperless Post and Minted now offer beautifully designed cards that are available for free. Both sites offer guest management options that will be sure to simplify your hostess duties. 

Paperless Post 
(25 free coins when you sign up for an account)

Paperless Post holiday e-cardPaperless Post holiday e-cardPaperless Post holiday e-cardPaperless Post holiday e-cardPaperless Post holiday e-cardPaperless Post holiday e-cardPaperless Post holiday e-cardPaperless Post holiday e-card

Minted Online Cards 
(free during beta preiod)

Bright SpiritsCookie CatchCrackin' PartyTree on Top
Thankful WreathSoiree ScriptBreak Out Your Finest ArgyleSnow Fall