Making Memories With Hallmark

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Disclosure: it's hot in Florida and I am desperately trying to get into the holiday spirit. Hallmark provided me with items for this post as well as the Christmas magic that's about to explode in my household. I am not in the holiday spirit. The high tomorrow will be 85 degrees and that's only because Tom Terry refused to put in the 87 degrees that they predicted, citing that it's December. I love that man. Thanks, Tom! You see my dilemma, right? I'm supposed to drink hot cocoa while dressing my tree. Since the weather is not helping, I've come up with some neat ways to get myself into the spirit. The  first place I go? Hallmark, of course!

Are You There Santa? Come in!

Hallmark_CommunicatorI got a little giddy when I saw this beauty. It has been resting for the right moment to make it's appearance. With thanksgiving, birthday celebrations and all that jazz at the end of November, I always have to trickle out the goodies. In the morning, we will tune in to Santa! It will be a special treat since we had to use the magical elf recovery kit on Yandelina yesterday (don't ask). The frog princess has been wanting to interact with Santa  a little more and I think this is the perfect build up to our visit (she has not met him yet!). With this awesome looking retro communicator, you can dial in to the North Pole each day, from December 1st through Christmas, one of many North Pole characters, including Santa, will come in loud and clear.

Cards

Hallmark_Christmas_CardsNothing says Christmas like cards to me. I normally collect them and show them off then pack them away for next year. It's great to look back and see some of the great messages sent from the year before. You know how much I love a handwritten card. As usual, my biggest problem is that after I buy them, I tend to not want to send them out because the cards are so beautiful. Is that wrong?

Keepsake Books!

Hallmark_SantaI fell in love with the collection last year and this time around, I get to share a brand new story with the frog princess: Santa and the Christmas Eve Flight! When you read this story aloud, Santa chimes in with a special question or choice for your child to make. Your answer will trigger an appropriate response from Santa and help the big guy on his Christmas Eve trip around the world. Um...YEAH! This reminds me of our Bell plush and storybook (which we still interact with and read, by the way). This book is sure to get you into the spirit if you aren't already there!

Ornaments!

Hallmark_Like_MotherYou know the frog princess picks one keepsake ornament every year. I'm trying to figure out which one will be her favorite when we trim the tree. I'm guessing she will want me to get her Sebastian since The Little Mermaid is her new favorite thing. Or maybe the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Personally, I'd like Disco Ball Mike OR...are you ready for this? Rainbow Brite! I already kinda got the Yoda one too. I'm really wondering if I can just skip the balls and decorate in these ornaments. I could do it! Or maybe this year, I won't let her pick and will choose Like Mother, Like Daughter. Seriously folks? Tell me that isn't precious? Of course, I will probably have to bring home each. and. every. princess for her this year. But I don't mind. As long as I sneak this Mockingjay ornament in for myself. The thing I love about Hallmark is that I make memories. Beautiful, sweet memories. Whether I'm sending out a handwritten card (that you might get late, by the way. What do they say about the thought?), bringing home the magic of the season with special messages from Santa or adding an ornament to our collection that I hope she will share with her kids, the bottom line is that I am creating memories with my girl. Sweet, beautiful memories that will be imprinted in our hearts for years to come. And I am always happy that Hallmark gives me the tools to help make that happen.

The Giveaway

Here it is, short and sweet tell me, do you have any traditions in your family around trimming the tree or ornaments? Enter to win a North Pole Communicator and an assortment of cards.

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Disclosure: I was provided a communicator, ornament, assorted cards Keepsake book to review. All opinions and love of Hallmark are purely my own.

Tell Mom How Special She is with Hallmark

This will be my third mother's day without mami. And yet I have so many new mamis to celebrate that I am sure I'll be riding that wave of grief yet again. Fortunately, I have Hallmark to help me through it. I received a small selection of their Mother's Day products so I could tell you all about them.

I have an addiction to Hallmark. Because I have an addiction to words and they manage to put words into beautiful packages that make it possible for me to send off a little piece of my heart in an envelope. That's always how I've thought of it. As my emotions go up and down during this time, I can make sure that my friends and family understand that through it all, they are loved.

Their collection this season does not disappoint. The biggest surprise for me? Their Simply Motherhood Greetings. Why? See for yourself.

 They look fresh and simple. The glitter around the border didn't hurt either. Their message is still heartfelt but the package seems light and fun, don't you think? I have people in mind already for these.

The Signature Collection features sophisticated and stylish greetings handcrafted with beautiful papers, rich textures and appealing embellishments. Also, awesome messages. Can't you just see your BFF telling you this on Mother's Day? The only thing that's missing is the big exclamation point at the end.

Then there are the magic prints which I kinda dig. Each Magic Prints frame comes with a mess-free Crayola® Magic Mitt ink applicator. When a child places his or her hand on the paper, their handprint appears, revealing a colorful pattern or message within the handprint.  Doesn't that sound cute?

The best part is that they have frames and cards. Check out how they work:

The most beautiful, ornate cards are part of Hallmark's Premium Classic Greetings. These greetings feature eye-catching premium designs with sparkle, shine, laser-cut patterns and bold colors that express messages of love and appreciation.

It is here that I pause because the expressions of love for my mami will have to go un-mailed. That first year, I couldn't even go to a Hallmark. This is the first year that I've been able to actually pick up a card and read it.

The messages are beautiful. I'm glad that I never paused to buy her a Hallmark card (from their Sinceramente collection). Happy that I was always able to find that  perfect card with that perfect look that delivered that perfect message. It goes back to cards being a small piece of your heart in the mail.

Whether you have a favorite collection or not (I love all listed here as well as the Mahogany collection), I sure do hope that you tell your mami how special she is and that if you're a mami you feel that from those around you. And I hope you use Hallmark as a vessel to share the love.

To that end, I'm here to help you out. Please enter below to win your very own "Tell Mom Gift Pack". Good luck!

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Disclosure: Hallmark provided me with samples of product and will be providing the winner with the gift pack. All opinions, thoughts and feelings are my own.

Cards From the Heart

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Houston, we have a problem! I'd very much like you all to send a picture of me to all of the local places that sell cards with a note: do not let her shop! I'm so tired of buying cards. So tired of finding the perfect little something for each and every one of my friends. Hallmark, stop making awesome things! I should probably start a petition. Seriously. I'm done.

After Valentine's Day.

Why, you ask? I don't even know how to tell you this so, here's my attempt to tell my story in pictures...(someone queue the music)

I like these Blooming Expressions. They are pretty all year round and delivers a message of love and gratitude at the press of a button. And best of all, they won't die.

These Card Presenters are too adorable to pass up. How can I not pick the perfect little message for the frog princess? I'm pretty sure she'll love the outside more than the inside. And look at the little tic tac toe board!

Do I even have to say anything about this? I mean a puppy with a bow tie? It's everything!

 Hallmark has been stalking me. How do I know this? Because they have managed to tie my book obsession with my card obsession! How adorable is this?!

And now for the coup de grace. I couldn't just give you an image of this because it would not do it justice. Check these out!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3vpM-OAxBmc

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYTsuWnBTPk

Now do you see the problem? Do you see why I have to stay out of these stores lest I run out of money to pay for my child's dance classes? I started making a list of all of the people who must get cards. Currently, my running tab is $2,678.22 (I have no idea where that $.22 came from by the way, let's just call it taxes).

I want to give a card to everyone in my Twitter timeline (hence the hefty price). But, seeing as I need to pay for such things as my car, school and groceries, I'm afraid I can't give the world my love through Hallmark.

But, I can give ONE of you a Blooming Expressions and greetings gift pack! You're Welcome!

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Disclosure: I was provided with products to review and drool over. All opinions, thoughts and emptying of saving accounts are purely my own.

Mami's Favorite Things: Hallmark!

When mami was sick, I asked that people just send her cards and notes in the mail. It was important for me that she know how many prayers were going up on her behalf and how many people were thinking of her during this time. I now have a box with beautiful thoughts and words that I can look through from people that I may have never met or that never met my mami. Some of my readers sent notes and she loved getting them. I’d like to think that it reminded her of how connected we all are. It certainly reminded me of that. That’s the thing about a card that you can’t get with an email. It’s something you can touch and although it shouldn’t be, this fast paced world of ours makes receiving cards that much more special.

You know how much I love greeting cards. I’ve told you this before. Well, the holidays are THE time for cards and I cannot wait to finally get around to dropping off Christmas cards in the mail. I haven’t done it in over 3 years and I told myself this is my year, people! Hallmark makes it easy, what can I say. Now if I can just get a good picture to use. They have some awesome personalized cards. And, don’t look now but, if you upload the addresses, they’ll send them out for you! Seriously, there’s like no excuse to not send out cards anymore.

If I don’t get the pictures taken for some personalized cards, it’s perfectly fine. Because these signature cards are beautiful, don’t you think?

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I could probably write 5 days straight about all the things I can find at Hallmark! Here’s one of the gifts the frog princess will get for her birthday on Friday:

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If you follow me on Instagram, you know that we read a lot of books. I cannot wait to surprise her with this one and see the look on her face when Jingle responds to me reading the book. Eek! It’s taken everything I’ve had to not give this to her early.

Speaking of reading, I just want to tell you that I ‘m spending way too much money on these books (because you know I can’t buy just one). But man, are they worth it! Whoever came up with Recordable Storybooks is a GE-NI-US! And the thing that makes me giggle like a maniac is that they have some of my favorite books. These will serve various purposes in my life. I plan on recording some books for the frog princess. As she starts reading on her own, I plan on recording her reading the books because, hello?! Who wouldn’t want to preserve their baby’s cute little voice reading a beloved book?

I got Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer for the holidays. I’m having a small anxiety attack because have you tried reading the story WITHOUT singing the song? It’s not an easy feat, let me tell you. These books sell for $19.95 which is about what you’d pay for a hardcover book anyway. I think the recordable portion of the book is a great addition for that price.

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I am also planning on getting these for the pregnoids in my life. There are some must-have books on this list. I also pink puffy heart Hallmark for having some books in Spanish (though I’d love to get Goodnight Moon en español – hint hint).

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Oh and for the abuelos, I think this is a great keepsake to preserve their voice for the kids. Also, the frog princess’s grandparents are in a different state. Having them record books for her will mean that they can be part of bedtime anytime. How cool is that?KOB8050_COV.indd

My final favorite thing(s) from Hallmark are their keepsake ornaments. I’ve always loved them and so when the frog princess was born, I purchased their pea in a pod as her first ornament. I remember this was the first time I left her alone after she was born. To run to the Hallmark store! Yes, I picked up a bag full of cards then as well.

Each year I’ve gone back for more and this year, I plan on taking her to the store so that she can pick out her own. It warms my heart when I think of all of the memories we are making. PS: they have a Dream Book that you can peruse before heading to the store. I like doing this so that I minimize the jumping up and down in the isle when I see the ornaments.

Because I practically own stock in Hallmark, they’ve given me a prize pack for you guys! Be sure to enter the giveaway below for a chance to win:

  • An Everyday or Holiday Interactive Storybuddy
  • One of Hallmark’s Recordable Storybooks
  • A selection of the newest Signature and Interactive Greetings from Hallmark

Good luck!

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Disclosure: I received products to review. All opinions, giddiness and holiday cheer are my own.

Giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.

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Disney On Ice and Hallmark

I've talked to you about how much I love cards and handwriting notes to people but, I also love all of the other products and gifts that you can find at Hallmark. Whether at a store or online. One of my new favorites are the recordable storybooks. I have way too many of my friends currently pregnant and, though I don't want to give away the surprise, you're getting at least one of these.

I mean, I get to read these and record my voice, inflection and excitement for some of my favorite stories. It doesn't get any better! I will say that sometimes, when I hear others read a book I think: that's not how you read it? Have you done this before?  Don't act like it's just me.

They have some of my favorites in this format including On the Night You Were Born (which I have for the frog princess and still find myself tearing up as I read), Guess How Much I Love You, Goodnight Moon and All the Ways I Love You. Just when I thought I'd be culling down the picture book collection, it seems that there's no way my library could be complete without them.

As if those weren't enough, Hallmark has now added more awesome to their Recordable Storybook line with Disney! First on my list is What Makes a Princess? Though I will be honest with you, I'm totally getting You Are a Hero, All the Ways You Save the Day because I believe girls can be princesses and heroes all at the same time.

   

To bring the magic of Disney Recordable Storybooks to life, Hallmark is sponsoring the Disney on Ice tour. And wouldn't you know it, they will be in Orlando next week. Eeek! I have never been to a Disney on Ice show and I'm pretty sure I'm more excited than the frog princess about this.

Of course, I don't want to be the only one excited about going to this show so, you have a chance to join me on September 8th at the Amway Center at 3:30 p.m. And while I could just make this a big girl's day, I thought we should include the kiddies so, I'll be giving away a family 4-pack as well as your very own  Disney Recordable Storybook. Are you excited yet? I am!

Good luck and maybe I'll see you on Saturday. I may or may not don my fairy wings that day (I find that the people that sit behind me at shows get annoyed because of my wing span).

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I will select a winner at noon on Wednesday that way there will be enough time for me to collect your mailing address and have the tickets and book shipped to you so that you have them by showtime.

Disclosure: I am being given tickets to the Disney on Ice show as well as a copy of a Disney Recordable Storybook in exchange for this post. Oh and, I got the 4-pack for you as well. Because that's how generous I am. All opinions, excitement and wings are my own.

Handwriting with Hallmark

I had too much to say for just one post. Not that I think 2 posts are going to capture everything that's in my head but, it's a start. BlogHer made me realize what I don't like about bloggers. And it's probably not what you think. I don't like that we don't put a mailing address on our cards! Because I thoroughly enjoy sending out physical follow up cards. I think it gives me an edge (of course, now that I've written this, the edge is gone. I hope you appreciate me sharing).

I still smile when I get a note in the mail from someone and so I try my best to follow up with a note here and there when I can (and when I remember).  I've made it a point to write it in to my momAgenda as part of my monthly to do's and definitely after a conference.

I like to stock up on cards. One year, CVS had a special to get a box for your cards with the purchase of X number of cards. And, yeah, I got it. I love that you can file the cards by occasion.  It totally feeds my OCD.  How cool is that? Tell me, if you'd seen these cards while shopping, wouldn't they just scream PICK ME UP! I got these eons ago and haven't sent them out yet but I know where they're going to go now. It's all about timing!

Anywho, I love sending out cards but I rarely get a blogger card with a mailing address. And if I ask for a mailing address I'll seem creepy, don't you think? Also, if I ask for an address then I've ruined the surprise.

I dislike that I don't have Martha's mailing address handy. I loved her interview and what she had to say and I saw about 5 things that I've been looking for for my home office in one of the brochures I received.  Plus, it's Martha so you know SHE sends out handwritten cards.

And who wouldn't want to send a card to Katie Couric? I'd send one to talk to her about the fact that she is so buff and how I'm now trying to figure out where I'm going to find the time to pump iron so I can be HAWT like her when I'm slightly older than what I am now.

Then there's Soledad O'Brien who looked poised and beautiful. To her, I'd write a note to let her know that I think all of the work she is doing (both on and off camera) is above board and how proud she makes me.

And don't get me started on bloggers! I'd love to send Queerie Bradshaw a snarky and funny card (actually, I'd love to send that entire Erotica panel cards thanking them for the awesome job they did and how funny and poignant they were).  Oh and then there's Brian from Central FL Top 5 who I only just met in NYC even though we are in the same city! I loved him and I'd write a note to tell him I appreciate his openness and his willingness to help connect me with others.  Yeah, I could go on and on and on but, surprise! I won't.

Instead, I will give you a chance to do this handwriting thing for yourself! Enter below to win a 10-pack of Hallmark Any Day greeting cards! And, if you should get a card from me, I apologize in advance for the bad handwriting. I was supposed to be a doctor and that, well, just didn't work out.