Blog a la Cart

Category: Giveaway

Holiday Card 2015

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The holiday season is on my mind as I’ve been knitting and creating gifts for loved ones. Which means it’s Holiday Card season as well, and time to pick this year’s card design. As in years past, I’ve teamed up with Minted.com to create our family’s holiday card, and in exchange for helping us select our card, you get a chance to win a $125 gift certificate to Minted. Bring on the holiday cheer!

I LOVE this image I snapped of the girls the other day during a weekend walk near our home. It’s so classically Vermont, and the girls look so dang joyful.

We also met up with our dear and talented friend slash photographer Kate to snap some Cart family images last Sunday, so there is a chance I’ll switch up this year’s photo. I won’t see Kate’s pix for a few more weeks though, and wanted to get the ball rolling.

This year, I was particularly thrilled to learn that Minted now has a letterpress holiday card option (I’m a sucker for purdy letterpress), and I’m also intrigued with the foiled designs (gold and silver feel so appropriately festive this time of year). I’ve selected some designs with these options. I’d love to know what you think!

As I mentioned last year, one of my favorite things about the Minted site is the ability to upload a photo and then preview all of the holiday photo cards at once with that particular photo (select the “Find It Fast” button in the top right corner). It’s a quick way to get an idea of which cards work with a particular image. Then, of course, you have the ability to personalize and customize further. AND, Minted offers FREE recipient address printing, which, I ADORED last year and fully intend on using again this year.

These are my favorite designs for this particular photo – please tell me which one is your favorite!

Details about the $125 Gift Certificate and how to enter below.

1. Holiday Swirls (letterpress)

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2. Textured Pine

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3. Gilded Brush

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4. Sparkling Frame


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5. A Beautiful and Wonderful Life

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6. Color Field

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To enter to win a $125 Gift Certificate to Minted:

• tell me what your favorite holiday photo card design is from the selection above for our family

• for an extra chance to win…
‘like’ Minted and Blog a la Cart on Facebook, then come back here and tell us you like us, you really like us! in the comments

• for you Instagrammers, another chance…
follow Minted and Blog a la Cart on Instagram, then come back here and tell us that you’re digging our snaps

Make sure you enter a valid email address in the email section of the comment box so I can contact you if you win! The winner will be chosen Monday, November 2, 2015  at 5pm EST. Open worldwide. Total Value: $125

Below are cards from the past four years, since we started printing and sending Cart Family photo cards.

2013

2012 2011

Holiday Card 2014

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It’s that time of year, my friends! As I’ve written about before, I’m a sucker for all things stationery (yes, with an E), and love the yearly process of assembling and addressing holiday cards for family, friends, and colleagues. As in years past, I’ve teamed up with Minted.com to create our family’s holiday card, and in exchange for helping us select our card, you get a chance to win a $100 gift certificate to Minted. Ain’t nothing like spreading holiday cheer!

One of my favorite things about the Minted site is the ability to upload a photo and then preview all of the holiday photo cards at once with that particular photo (select the “Find It Fast” button in the top right corner). It’s a quick way to get an idea of which cards work with a particular image. Then, of course, you have the ability to personalize and customize further. AND, Minted offers FREE recipient address printing, which, while I enjoy the process of handwriting addresses, I recognize is not a universal joy.

These are my favorite designs for this year’s photo. They are all variations on a theme. I was tempted to use one of the fall foliage photos of the girls for the card, but I like the idea of watching our family grow and shift through the years as a whole group on the front of the card, so I’m using this image from our 4th of July festivities this summer.

Details about the $100 Gift Certificate and how to enter below.

So, which one is YOUR favorite?

1. Be Light

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2. A Wonderful Life

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3. Happy Everything

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4. The Best is Yet to Come

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5. Be Joyful

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To enter to win a $100 Gift Certificate to Minted:

• tell me what your favorite holiday photo card design is from the selection above for our family

• for an extra chance to win…
‘like’ Minted and Blog a la Cart on Facebook, then come back here and tell us you like us, you really like us! in the comments

• for you Instagrammers, another chance…
follow Minted and Blog a la Cart on Instagram, then come back here and tell us that you’re digging our snaps

Make sure you enter a valid email address in the email section of the comment box so I can contact you if you win! The winner will be chosen next Monday, November 17 ,2014  at 5pm EST. Open worldwide. Total Value: $100

Below are cards from the past three years, since we started printed and sending Cart Family photo cards.

2013

2012 2011

Magicsuit // 3

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I want to start this week by thanking everyone that has commented and responded to these posts (first week, second week). Your thoughts have been honest and reflective and supportive and lovely and just plain awesome. I am so grateful to each of you. We’re in this together, sisters! And it is heartwarming and inspiring to be reminded that we are all fighting this body/beauty battle together. And to know that we are not alone in whatever struggles or uncertainties or doubts we may confront when it comes to our own self-image.

With that being said, I want to talk about one of my biggest gripes when it comes to how we speak to other women.

Why is it that when someone tells someone else, “Hey, you’ve lost weight!” the response is “Yes, thank you”? Why is weight loss considered a compliment? And further, why do we feel that it is appropriate in any capacity to comment on someone else’s body shape or size in the first place?

I remember a very well-meaning friend commenting on how slim I was looking last summer and congratulating me on this thinness. Again, as though thinness was A. worthy of congratulations and compliment and B. as though I was actively striving for that thinness and thus approval. To be honest, I’d lost weight because of all the anxiety I was experiencing in the wake of my mother’s medical emergency; an event so traumatic that I was not sleeping, not eating, and stewing in nerves and fear. So um, not exactly a welcome weight-loss or a sign of health. In fact, a sign of just the opposite.

We don’t know the cause for someone’s change in size, and by commenting on it, we are further reinforcing this notion that beauty is directly tied to slimness (regardless of whether or not that size is attained in a healthful manner. Trust me, I’d need to exist on a 800 calorie diet to be a size 4, and that shit is straight up starvation.) Size does NOT equal health. Further, size does not equal beauty. And by commenting and complimenting women so frequently on their bodies and their size, we are further enforcing the idea that a woman’s worth is defined by physicality and adherence to specific cultural beauty standards rather than who she is as a person, a whole complete being with thoughts and emotions and a unique body and life story.

If you haven’t read this article that I shared earlier this week, please please do so now as it approaches this issue even more thoughtfully, specifically related to women’s bodies post-partum: Babies Don’t ‘Ruin’ Bodies.

And while I stand by my love of Miraclesuit, I can’t in good conscience ignore their tagline “Look 10 lbs Lighter in 10 Seconds.” While I understand from a marketing perspective (as sadly women will gravitate to businesses claiming thinness as that is the ever-constant demand), it further reinforces the very issues I discuss above. Why is it that women should want to look 10 lbs lighter in 10 seconds? Why is less weight so desirable? As women, we are perpetually told to take up as little space as possible, to be as small and non-threatening and thin as possible in order to be valued and beautiful. I am calling B.S. on that noise.

I love Miraclesuit not because it makes me look “slimmer” but because it is constructed thoughtfully, with a woman’s curves and need for support in mind. While I wish they didn’t use a tagline about weight as their primary focus, I fell in love with the suits before I’d ever read the tagline, by trying on dozens of bathingsuits and physically feeling the difference that Miraclesuit made when on my body.

The suit I’m pictured in this week, the Colorblock Jerry, has a built in underwire to provide much needed support but is layered under stylish draping that provides interest and movement. I wear it lazily around the house for hot afternoons spent playing with my girls, working in the garden, and enjoying a summer evening.

Because at the end of the day, I want to feel confident and comfortable in a bathing suit, and I especially want my daughters to feel that ease and comfort radiating from me so that they learn to celebrate their own unique-selves in whatever way makes them feel most at ease and comfortable.

Let’s all be kinder and gentler not only to ourselves, but to the women around us. Be mindful when you find yourself about to comment on someone’s body or size. Why are you inclined to make that comment? What does it accomplish? And is there something more meaningful or more valuable that you could offer than just a throwaway remark about their physical self. And especially be careful of critiquing or judging another woman’s body (other people period, but specifically their physical bodies) as you’re likely reinforcing very problematic, narrow expectations of beauty and health by doing so.

The greatest compliment I’ve ever received had nothing to do with my physical appearance, but had to do with the way my then-boss saw me inspiring and empowering my female students. His words, “You’re a role model for these women. Your mother should be very proud,” linger in my head today as raise two daughters and navigate these expectations, demands and pressures. Why not empower another woman by championing her smarts, her wit, her thoughtfulness rather than the size of her pants? It could start a revolution of confident, strong women… you never know…

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This is your final opportunity to win a Miraclesuit or Magicsuit of your choosing. That’s a winning of up to $180! To enter this week’s giveaway follow the instructions below via Rafflecopter. Thank you for entering and for liking Blog a la Cart and Magicsuit on Facebook and for following @blogalacart and @magicsuitswim on Instagram.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Gallery Wall

Here is the latest rendition of the gallery wall we have hanging in the girls playroom. It features images from a maternity shoot by the talented Kate Drew Miller, an image of me and James the day after our wedding, a ridiculous portrait of the two of us as monkeys, the “She believed she could so she did” print…

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… two recently acquired original watercolors by the lovely Katie Rodgers of Paperfashion

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… the wooden West Elm Christmas tree that showcases our Walker Christopher and Swarovski ornament collection…

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… and our Christmas card image from last year printed on canvas thanks to Easy Canvas prints. I plan to add this image of the girls into the mix next…

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Easy Canvas Prints is sponsoring a holiday photo contest.  To enter, upload any photo you’d like to print on canvas to gift to someone this holiday. Enter the contest here. The photo with the most votes will win a grand prize of a $300 credit to Easy Canvas Prints! The 2nd and 3rd place winners will win a $100 credit to Easy Canvas Prints. Anyone who enters will be sent a 60% off Sitewide + Free Shipping coupon code as well, so everyone wins! The contest is open to those in North America and will run from 12/15/13 to 12/20/13. Winner announced on 12/22/13.

Holiday Card 2013 // giveaway

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Two weeks ago, the Cart family ascended Stoney Ledge as part of Williams’ Mountain Day festivities. We were sweaty and frizzy and bundled in hiking gear, but my colleague offered to grab a photo of all of us together before we made our climb down. We acquiesced as there are few photographs of all four of us simultaneously in front of the camera.

Given that I’ve spent my weekends of late capturing other families’ photographs for their holiday cards, I had this sense that I should stage some epic shoot for my kids to try and create the “perfect” Cart family portrait for our card. But when I saw this image, I knew that I needed to look no further. It so accurately captures the beauty of where we live and the spirit of our family at this stage in our children’s lives: harried, imperfect, and yet, completely joyful.

Now we just need to choose a card for this photo. Like last year, I’ve teamed up with Minted.com to create our family’s holiday card, and in exchange for helping us select our card, you get a chance to win a $100 gift certificate to Minted. Ain’t nothing like spreading holiday cheer!

One of my favorite things about Minted this year was the ability to upload our photo to the site, and then preview all of the holiday photo cards at once with our personal photo (select the “Find It Fast” button in the top right corner). It was a quick way to get an idea of which cards worked with this particular image. Then, of course, you have the ability to personalize and customize further.

These are my favorites for this year’s photo. Details about the $100 Gift Certificate and how to enter below.

So, which one is YOUR favorite?

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Shop ‘em: 1. Handlettered Merry Merry; 2. Autograph; 3. Cursive Christmas; 4. We Are Family; 5. Helvetica Holiday; 6. Happiest;  7. Laughing All The Way;  8. Pebble Dot

To enter to win a $100 Gift Certificate to Minted:

• tell me what your favorite holiday photo card design is from the selection above for our family

• for an extra chance to win…
‘like’ Minted and Blog a la Cart on Facebook, then come back here and tell us you like us, you really like us! in the comments

• for another chance to win…
follow Minted and Blog a la Cart on Twitter, then tweet the following phrase (then, come back here and share a link to your Tweet in the comments): Did you catch @blogalacart & @minted  $100 Gift Certificate giveaway? I just entered!:  http://blogalacart.com/2013/10/holiday-card-2013-giveaway

• for you Instagrammers, another chance…
follow Minted and Blog a la Cart on Instagram, then come back here and tell us that you’re digging our snaps

 and one final chance to win…
follow Blog a la Cart on Bloglovin, then come back here and let me know that you’re reading along in the comments.

Make sure you enter a valid email address in the email section of the comment box so I can contact you if you win! The winner will be chosen next Monday, November 4, 2013  at 5pm EST. Open worldwide. Total Value: $100

Ergobaby // giveaway

A few weeks back I shared my favorite snaps from my first job with Ergobaby. It was a treat to work with a brand that I love (that my own family has been using and loving for years) that is so well known and respected (especially in the parenting world). And extra fun to team up with some local families. The icing on the cake happened earlier this week when I headed over to Facebook and the top post in my feed was this. It’s one thing to give them my photos, it’s another thing entirely to see them in action. And gosh, how cute are Brie and G? Such an amazing pair those two!

Anyway, in that vein, Ergobaby sent me one of the new carriers in their Designer Collection. The ‘Umba’ patterned carrier was designed by Christy Turlington to benefit Every Mother Counts, an organization I’ve been following slash supporting for years a. because of the great work their doing on behalf of women, mothers, babies in the world of maternal care and childbirth and b. because James’ cousin worked hand in hand with Christy to produce the film “No Woman, No Cry.”  It was a perfect fit to test drive this beautiful new design.

One of Courtland’s favorite activities is riding happily in our Ergo aboard James’ back for snowy winter hikes with the dogs. This weekend we swapped in the new carrier, and while Courtland was a patterned-explosion with an animal identity crisis (note the monkey hat paired with the leopard snow suit), James’ winter jacket was a great compliment to the carrier. Personally, I always opt for patterned items for life with young kids as they more easily disguise mess, spills, drips, etc. Much like our collection of Oriental rugs (thanks, Momar!), this carrier’s pattern fits the Kid Mess Camouflage bill. I love the cool blue paired with the rich chocolate and warm orange. An unexpected yet awesome combo.

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And I just adore that leather strap around the waist band. Such a lovely touch of quality.

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We’re passing this carrier off to Sunny’s FGPs who are expecting their first little one this summer. But you can win your family a brand-spanking new ‘Umba’ patterned carrier thanks to Ergobaby. To enter:

• ‘like’ Ergobaby and Blog a la Cart on Facebook, then come back here and tell us you like us, you really like us! in the comments.

Make sure you enter a valid email address in the email section of the comment box so I can contact you if you win! The winner will be chosen next Thursday, February 28 at 5pm EST. Open worldwide. Total Value: $165

Wool and the Gang // giveaway

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Last spring, after I had tucked away my knitting needles for the season, Kaki’s FGM gifted me this insane Wool and the Gang kit: The Cross Country Coat. I’ve posted about Wool and the Gang before, and was thrilled by the opportunity to make another chunky-knit, oversized garment from their collection. It was the first project I started this fall when the temperatures had dropped just enough to motivate me to pick up the needles once again.

I just can’t knit in the middle of 90 degree weather. No sir. Mounds of wool and sweat do not mix.

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What I love so dearly about Wool and the Gang is that their projects are easy and straight forward (and move quickly thanks to the chunky yarn and monster-sized needles), and yet yield jaw-dropping, head turning results. People have been oggling this coat wherever I go, and I have to laugh since it’s just a series of knit rectangles sewn together in a fun way. When I say that it was easy and a great beginner project, I mean it! The only reason I didn’t complete it sooner is because some smaller knitting projects got interspersed into the mix for gifts, the holidays, etc.

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I had some left over yarn from the project, so decided to knit two pockets to attach to either side of the coat. They were rectangles 10 stitches across, knit for 10 rows in a moss stitch. And I also made up a simple pattern for a cozy headband to complete the look.Woolandthegang-blogalacart-4

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The Knotted Headband Pattern is as follows: I used this yarn and 15mm needles
Cast on 10 stitches
Work a knit, purl rib stitch until headband is long enough to fit around your head without any stretching or pulling
Tie a knot in the center of the headband, pulling tightly
Sew together ends to turn headband into a seamless circle

Stretch, wear, enjoy!

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My favorite way to wear this coat is with these circle cooper pins by Raissa Bump. Whether I pin it together with just one or two pins, or do a full line up of all eight in my collection down the middle, it’s a subtle, useful way to hold the coat in place when I’m out and about.

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And for both seasoned and aspiring knitters, Wool and the Gang is offering one very generous giveaway to Blog a la Cart readers. One lucky reader will win his/her choice of one of the Wool and the Gang kits pictured below: Lion Zion ($85), Snood Dog ($95) or Lula Hoop ($95). They are perfect beginner projects – so here’s a chance to learn your way around a pair of knitting needles. You won’t regret it!

To enter:

• ‘like’ Wool and the Gang and Blog a la Cart, then come back here and tell us you like us, you really like us! in the comments.

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Make sure you enter a valid email address in the email section of the comment box so I can contact you if you win! The winner will be chosen next Wednesday, December 26 at 5pm EST. Open worldwide. Total Value: $95

Jackie Sedlock Pottery // giveaway

As promised, better snaps of our collection of miniature houses by Jackie Sedlock Pottery. There’s something so whimsical and intriguing about them. I am such a big fan. I also purchased a white set of house sculptures for my Swedish friend, Maja, as she recently purchased her first home, a Stockholm apartment, and you know those Swedes, they love their white and their light (given how dark the winter is there, I completely understand!).

I’m a big fan of all of Jackie’s work, in fact. We purchased our home from Jackie and her husband, and on the day we closed on Cartwheel Farm, we arrived to the property to find two of these bowls and these cups with the kindest note you can imagine awaiting us. I couldn’t keep her work a secret, especially around the holidays! Her shop is filled with lovely gifts for a range of deserving loved ones.

Best of all, one lucky reader will win a set of three of her house sculptures (pictured below). To enter:

• ‘like’ Jackie Sedlock Pottery and Blog a la Cart, then come back here and tell us you like us, you really like us! in the comments.

Make sure you enter a valid email address in the email section of the comment box so I can contact you if you win! The winner will be chosen next Thursday, December 13 at 5pm EST. Open worldwide. Total Value: $42

Ace & Jig // giveaway

I’ve been crushing on Ace & Jig for a while now, so I thought it was high time to share the goodness with all of you. Their clothing is loose and wearable – easy breezy – yet cut in such a way that is utterly stylish and lovely. I would like every piece of Fall/Winter 2012 collection in my closet, a thank you very much! Emilio approves that claim.

I threw some of my cold weather accessories over the Pleated Minidress, as life in Vermont in November requires. Some leggings and boots transition it easily from early fall into winter. It’s casual and comfortable enough for lazing around the house on the weekend and flexible enough to dress up for a dinner out. I wore it all Thanksgiving – the color just screamed fall. And lucky for you, you can own this dress, too!

To enter to win a Pleated Minidress in Scarlet:

• ‘like’ Ace & Jig and Blog a la Cart on Facebook, then come back here and tell us you like us, you really like us! in the comments.

Make sure you enter a valid email address in the email section of the comment box so I can contact you if you win! Limited sizing available. The winner will be chosen next Tuesday, December 3 at 5pm EST. Open worldwide. Total Value: $180

Holiday Card 2012 // giveaway

As I said yesterday, I am in full on holiday mode, which means, yes, holiday cards are on the brain. I grew up in a family where every season my mother sent out a beautiful Christmas photo card. I remember hours sitting at the dining room table, stuffing envelopes, stamping, licking, sticking, addressing to help her prep the cards for delivery. She had a long list of friends, family, acquaintances, and colleagues that she would mail to each year. Often it’d be her only point of contact with certain people during the year, but it was a lovely gesture and thoughtful nod to their friendship.

I have always dreamed of carrying out this tradition with my own family. Compiling a stack of cards from all of our holidays to give to my daughters when they were older. A tangible history and memory of their childhood. I have my stack tucked away in my stationery drawer to return to whenever I’m in need of a shot of nostalgia and Christmas cheer. I began this tradition last year with this card. I loved its simple design and wanted to highlight the peace and innocence that is the hallmark of infancy. This year, our focus is on our life in Vermont on Cartwheel Farm.

I’ve team up with Minted, an unbelievable online shop devoted to the art of the written word and paper goods. The Minted community of indie artists creates some of the most unique and well-designed stationery and invitations on the market. And I’m proud to say that it is another thriving Eph business with founder and CEO Mariam Naficy ’91 at the helm. Last night James and I sat down and selected our favorite photo card designs (a simple click of the heart in Minted’s layout drops your favorites into a folder so you can easily see and whittle down your favorites). Then we used Minted’s easy personalize tool to format each card with our family’s info and photographs. We’ve narrowed our selection down to eight cards, and now we need your input to finalize our decision. In exchange for weighing in on our selection, you’ll be entered to win a $75 gift certificate from Minted so you too can create your own custom paper goods!

And I have a special surprise for the back of our card (that will be on whatever design we choose) that I’ll reveal when the card is ordered and in hand!

Shop ’em: 1. Making Spirits Bright; 2. Merry and Bright Sparkles; 3. Holiday Blocks; 4. Oh What Color; 5. Holiday Map – East Coast; 6. Cheer is Here; 7. Merry Bright Season; 8. Dotted Noel

To enter to win a $75 Gift Certificate to Minted:

• tell me what your favorite holiday photo card design is from the selection above for our family

• for an extra chance to win…
‘like’ Minted and Blog a la Cart on Facebook, then come back here and tell us you like us, you really like us! in the comments

• for another chance to win…
follow Minted and Blog a la Cart on Twitter, then tweet the following phrase (then, come back here and share a link to your Tweet in the comments): Did you catch @blogalacart & @minted  $75 Gift Certificate giveaway? I just entered!: http://blogalacart.com/2012/11/holiday-card-2012-giveaway/

 and one final chance to win…
subscribe to Blog a la Cart, then come back here and let me know that you’re reading along in the comments.

Make sure you enter a valid email address in the email section of the comment box so I can contact you if you win! The winner will be chosen next Friday, November 16  at 5pm EST. Open worldwide. Total Value: $75