It’s never too late for holiday cards

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Hey everyone! It’s Nicole, Annette’s web-manager and friend, and I am writing today’s post about one of my favorite traditions: holiday cards.

Growing up, I remember stalking our mailbox waiting for holiday cards to roll in. My favorite cards were the ones that included a letter about what families had been up to. Big dance recitals, address changes, new family members, marriages, and other major life events were meticulously recorded in a friendly letter that my mom would read aloud. While these friends might live far away, it was always fun to hear what they had been up to since the last time we had seen each other.

Now, holiday cards are still one of my favorite traditions. Two have already arrived (those friends are REALLY on top of the game), and I’m anticipating many, many more – even well beyond Christmas.

When we got married, December 1, 2013, I knew I wanted to include our wedding photos on our holiday card which meant waiting several weeks to get the proofs from our photographer, create a card, have them shipped and addressed, and get everything back in the mail. I decided then that instead of worrying about getting Christmas cards out in time, our family would do New Year’s cards instead! It’s worked out perfectly ever since because it’s never too late for holiday cards.

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That year, and nearly every year since, I’ve used Minted for holiday cards. Minted not only offers hundreds of creative designs but their proofing and shipping cannot be beaten. I created my cards on Monday before Thanksgiving, and they arrived at my house on Friday. Needless to say, that was crazy fast, and they’re crazy beautiful.

In honor of those newsletter Christmas cards from my childhood, I created a newsletter of sorts for our cards this year. I added a few of our big life moments from 2019 as well as a little note to our friends and family. I also took advantage of Minted’s return address printing, as well as their matching postage designs. Everything is here and ready to go!

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Since holiday cards can be such an investment, and I wanted a way to cherish the memories year after year, I have Christmas ornaments made using our cards. These are some of my favorite ornaments on our tree, and it’s so fun to look back on our cards throughout the years.

You can have your own ornaments made here, or you can skip the extra step and create a Christmas ornament card via Minted! Either way, I cannot recommend Minted holiday cards enough. They’ve been my go-to place for holiday cards since 2013!

Thank you to Minted for gifting me my cards this year. I love them!

xo Nicole

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Minted Holiday Gift Ideas: Art is the perfect gift

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This is the story about a young lawyer, our daughter, Alex, and her husband David moving into their first home. Alex has lots of questions about how to make their space reflect both of their styles. Of course, I am here to guide her. As a stylist, I have lots of ideas and opinions about how they should style their house, but…

One of the most important things to think about when decorating is to express yourself. Artwork is the best way to do this. Alex and I picked a few pieces that would reflect her love of abstract art along with a few quirky additions.

When Alex asked me where to start, I suggested Minted. The thing that is so amazing about Minted is that all of the artwork they sell is commissioned, and the art is originally created for the Minted Collection.

Alex picked artwork that worked well on her gallery wall. Using various sizes makes the wall interesting. Their Corgi Cornelius even got into the act!

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With the holiday season upon on us, I had an idea for Alex. Why not gift some art to friends that are like her – they are moving and decorating their first homes? I think that art is really the perfect gift. Minted has all sorts of sizes and styles and affordable choices. What better way to gift a memento and keepsake and a memory?
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Alex wrapped a small canvas for a friend using minted wrapping paper. It’s a piece of art of something pleasing and personal.
Head to Minted for their Black Friday deals:
  • Enjoy 20% off all orders $150+, 15% off all orders, plus free shipping. Shop holiday cards, gifts, fine art, wedding and home decor.
    • Code to use at checkout: BF2019 
    • Offer valid: Wednesday, 11/27 – Friday, 11/29

Thanks to Minted, Alex’s gallery wall is looking great. Now for the rest of the house…

Here are some more deals that might be interested in.

  • Receive a FREE photo calendar ($29 value) when you save 10 personal occasions. Find your favorite calendar design at minted.com/calendars. Add 10 personal occasions, and we’ll save them, making future calendar orders even easier. You’ll receive a promo code for a FREE calendar. Shipping & tax may apply.
  • Just in time for holiday shopping, Minted has launched NEW Personalized Gifts and Children’s Home Decor. In addition to its popular art and stationery gifts, the design marketplace now offers high-quality customizable triangle chairs and coordinating personalized pillows for kids, plus accessories like tote bags, backpacks, clutches, pouches, and scarves — all featuring Minted’s famous prints.

xx Annette

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WOW them with dessert:: make pumpkin bread pudding!

This pumpkin bread pudding is so easy to make and is a great alternative to pumpkin pie. Prepare it ahead of time to wow your guests at the end of the meal.

This pumpkin bread pudding is so easy to make and is a great alternative to pumpkin pie. Since it makes a large batch, you can easily make as much as you need to fit your crowd. Plus, you can alleviate some stress by making the raisin bread ahead of time. Or, simply use a good-quality store bought bread. Your guests will never know the difference, and you’ll be a stress-free hostess.

Assemble this dessert first thing Thanksgiving morning, cover it with foil, and place it in the fridge until you’re ready to bake it. You can pull it fresh from the oven and serve it warm. You can also bake it in personal ramekins, so everyone has their own dish. It’s a cute and memorable presentation.

Don’t forget a dollop of fresh whipped cream (or even ice cream), too. Look for this and more recipes plus great entertaining tips in my book Picture Perfect Parties. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Bread Pudding
Makes 8 servings

You will need:
– 1 cup heavy cream, *milk can be a substitute for cream
– ¾ cup canned solid-pack organic pumpkin
– ½ cup sugar
– 6 large eggs
– ½ teaspoon salt
– ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
– ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
– 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
– 6 cups cubed (1-inch) day-old raisin bread
– ¼ cup chopped toasted walnuts
– 1 stick unsalted butter, melted

To prepare:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Whisk together cream, pumpkin, sugar, eggs, salt, and spices in a bowl.
Toss bread cubes with butter in another bowl, then add pumpkin mixture and toss to coat. Transfer to an ungreased 8-inch square baking dish and bake until custard is set, 25 to 30 minutes.
Serve with a dollop of vanilla ice cream.

Photo Credit: Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

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The one recipe you must make for Thanksgiving dinner

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Can you believe that Thanksgiving is almost upon us? As you start planning your holiday menus, I wanted to share one of my absolute favorite Thanksgiving dishes. It’s become a must-have in our house: kumquat cranberry sauce.

Cranberry sauce is a perfect complement to Thanksgiving turkey, and no table is complete without it. Cranberry sauce can be whipped up in a matter of minutes (yes, even without using a can!), and this one is equally as easy. Plus, the unexpected citrus flavor is perfection.

This cranberry sauce is especially good once the flavors come together which makes it an ideal complement for leftovers (next-day turkey sandwiches anyone?!) I like to serve mine from a jar; it gives it a wonderful homemade quality and is a pretty look for the table. Let me know if you give it a try and what everyone thinks!

Kumquat Cranberry Sauce
You will need:
– 2  cups water
– 1 cup sugar
– 12 kumquats cut into circle slices (cut the kumquat across to create pinwheel like slices)
– 1 tablespoon grated orange peel
– 1 teaspoon cinnamon
– 1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
– 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
– 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
– 1/2 teaspoon cloves
– 2 12-ounce bags fresh or frozen cranberries

 

To prepare:

Combine water, sugar, orange peel, kumquat slices and ginger in heavy medium saucepan. Bring mixture to simmer over medium heat. Simmer 4 minutes to blend flavors.

Add cinnamon, salt and clove and simmer 2 minutes. Add cranberries and simmer until berries burst and sauce is thick, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat.

Refrigerate cranberry sauce until well chilled. (Can be prepared 3 days ahead. Cover and keep refrigerated)

Photo by Stefania Crudeli on Unsplash

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Elegant Elf Fundraising and Shopping Event 2019

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I was so touched to be asked to be the Honorary Chair Person for this year’s annual Elegant Elf Shopping for a Cause Event in Sandy Springs. I was lucky enough to sign books at the event last year as Cocktail Italiano had just been published, and I was excited to share it with the crowd. And a big crowd it was! This year I will be signing books on Saturday, November 9th, from 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm. I will be signing both Picture Perfect Parties (Rizzoli NY) and Cocktail Italiano (Skyhorse Publications).

We can also chat about my new book, a memoir called, Italy is my Boyfriend (Post Hill Press) which is scheduled to publish spring 2020.

Please stop by and say hi. It’s really a great shopping experience, and if you can get organized, you can knock out your holiday shopping and support a great community all at one time.

Finally, shoppers at The Elegant Elf Marketplace will be among the first to learn about 2020 workshops and retreats at La Fortezza, the 12th Century Italian fortress where I host retreats, workshops, and events. The details are below:

Shop For a Cause at The Elegant Elf Marketplace in Sandy Springs Nov. 9-10

Mark your calendars for one of the largest holiday markets in Atlanta! The Sandy Springs Society will host their 9th annual “shopping for a cause” fundraiser The Elegant Elf Marketplace Nov. 9-10, 2019 at City Springs and The Performing Arts Center in Sandy Springs, Ga.

This popular and highly anticipated two-day upscale gift market features more than 90 carefully selected local and regional artisans, gourmet food purveyors, and unique gift vendors of jewelry, handcrafted fashions, fine crafts, items for home and garden, handbags and toys.

For more information, visit Facebook @TheElegantElfMarketplace

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