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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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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Fabulous Fall Centerpiece: make it once but use it twice!

IMG_9427 I love fall, it’s such a beautiful season. I love the color palette. With autumn officially setting in, it’s time to place some fall decor around your home. One secret you may not know about me is that I don’t love loud Halloween decor. I love the combination of orange and black, but Halloween overkill makes me dizzy. As far as decor goes, I adore changing out the house for the season, and fall is one of the best.

As for an expert tip? I like to combine Halloween and Thanksgiving decor when I can. Here’s how I create a fabulous fall centerpiece:

The nice thing about decorating for both Halloween and Thanksgiving is that you simply remove the scary stuff early November and leave the rest. That is until you are ready for holiday/Christmas decor!

Centerpieces are my passion. Here’s the one I did a few years back for my own table. As you can see, it’s festive and fall-ish with a little Halloween flair.
IMG_9421 copy – a collection of ceramic tureens or vessels, I like white or cream
– a selection of fall flowers, I used hydrangeas and they will dry nicely
– 3 small pumpkins about 4 inches in diameter
– 1 bunch of bittersweet branches
– dried thistle
– 1 blackbird
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Have fun with it! Layer as you go and let the process take over.

xx Annette

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Easy and Stunning DIY Hanging Wreath

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I first created this easy DIY project a few years ago when I was asked to participate in the Home Depot Holiday Style Challenge, and it’s still one of my favorite projects. I always loved the idea of doing a holiday table under the arbor in our backyard, and this challenge gave me an opportunity to see it through.

Since we usually have mild temperatures for the holidays, consider moving your holiday dinner outdoors. You can recreate this look in your own backyard with just a few supplies, and I promise guests will be super impressed with the finished product: a DIY hanging wreath! It’s easy and really pretty.

DIY Hanging Wreath

You will need:
– 1 6 foot garland
– 3 – 4 ornaments
– Twine for securing the ornaments
– Ribbon for hanging
– Floral wire

To create:

1. Form the garland into a circle.

2. Secure the wreath in 3 places with floral wire.

3. Attach the ornaments with twine.

4. Using 4 pieces of ribbon about 3 feet long, tie the wreath to your light fixture or chandelier. Note: this can be suspended from the ceiling with longer pieces of ribbon or with hooks.

Happy Holidays!

xx Annette

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Easy Halloween Decor:: Creepy Cloche

IMG_9418 copy Having a little Halloween around the house is always super fun, and it doesn’t have to be just for the kids. Adults can get in on the Halloween action, too. The best part is that making a big Halloween impact doesn’t have to come with a big decorating budget.

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Here’s a quick, easy, and budget-friendly idea: create a creepy cloche. Your local craft store is probably filled with all sorts of items just waiting to be used. I found these awesome neutral skulls hanging out with the Halloween decor at my favorite place – Michaels. My love affair with all things natural made me think these could be perfect stacked up in a cloche. After all, it’s always good to think outside the box…or in this case, inside the cloche.

This little project is a pinch scary and a lot Halloween-y without being overkill. Simply gather all of your skulls in a cloche; it’s that easy!

How are you decorating this Halloween?

xx Annette

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