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A new attitude

clock November 30, 2008 19:20 by author Kim: ImpressInPrint.com

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There is nothing like a few days of vacation to cleanse you mind, renew your spirit, and give you a new attitude.  I LOVE that feeling of "I can conquer the world" I get when I finally get to spend some quality time with my family, sleep in a bit, and de-stress.  Stress is like kryptonite, sapping my creative and physical energy. 

Thanksgiving for my family was wonderful; dinner was great, the kids had fun, and we were able to relax all day.  I started working on my annual family holiday letter.  Like many families I like to take a moment to look back at the year, identify all the neat things my family and I did (like buying Impress In Print! ), and then put them into a letter for family and friends.  I usually find myself having to limit the highlights in order to keep it to one page.  I thought I would give you a few ideas of things that you might want to include in your letter, just in case you have a case of writer's block:

  • What grade did you kids start this year?  Did they start college?
  • What are they learning at school (how to read, multiplication, US constitution, etc.)
  • Sports acomplishments/Academic awards
  • Funny things your kids have done in the last month or so
  • Promotions at work
  • Volunteering activites
  • Changing Jobs
  • New hobbies
  • Travel plans for the holidays
  • Cool vacations you took this year (include a picture)
  • New pets
  • New home (try not to brag too much :) )

That is just a short list of ideas, obviously make your letter as personal as you feel comfortable.  You can also create two letters, one for close family and another for friends and associates.  Everyone jokes about these letters, but I know I read every single one I recieve.  It is a nice way to catch up on the lives of those we don't get to see very often.  I wouldn't recommend doing this over email, instead opt for sending it through standard mail (maybe even use some nice decorative paper -- that's my sales pitch).  Have some fun with it, stretch out your creative legs and do something different this year.

Check out some decorative paper options here:

http://www.impressinprint.com/FILE-items_MENUID-1131_CID-698_SCID-1759_OnSale-False_R-R.aspx

Here are a few samples:

 

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Happy Thanksgiving!

clock November 26, 2008 19:02 by author Kim: ImpressInPrint.com

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Just a quick note to say Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.  What a great holiday; just food, friends, and family.  The marketers of the world haven't been very successful in twisting this holiday into another opportunity to sell you something (they wait until the day after to do thatWink ).  No costumes to buy, no gifts to purchase, and not a load of candy given to every kid...just turkey, cranberries, and conversation.  Even when I was younger I really appeciated spending the day catching up with family who I didn't get to see very often.  As the years come and go, this day that is dedicated to bringing families together for a nice meal is still one of my favorites.

So enjoy your day, enjoy your family, and enjoy that glorious nap that always follows the Thanksgiving meal (someone needs to bottle up whatever it is that is in Turkey that lets you sleep so soundly).

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What do you do with the information you have?

clock November 26, 2008 04:54 by author Kim: ImpressInPrint.com

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Despite the year-round needs of the impovished, the holidays always puts the spotlight on the "real" global crisis that is going on.  I was listening to a radio news show the other morning that did a story about a woman living in Zimbabwe.  The journalist describe her as a women that was clearly in her 70's or beyond.  The woman was combing through a recently plowed field looking for individual corn kernals that she could use to feed herself and a grandchild.  Individual Corn Kernals!  That image has stuck with me, and permeates almost every thing I do; cleaning the morning dishes of leftover food, grocery shopping with total impunity, watching my kids play in the front yard. 

So what now?

Chastising myself for having good fortune does nothing, and waiting for someone that is better off than me to solve the problem is equally useless.  There are people in need right in our own neighborhoods, and opportunities to change someone's life right next door.  Knowing about and empathizing for those in need is not enough, we all need to contribute to the solution.  So keep this in mind as you navigate this holiday season, that every little bit helps.  Put a few coins in the red pot outside of the store, grab a gift-angel off the tree, donate your time at a food kitchen or find some other way to be a hero in someone else's life.  Take action on that information you have.

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Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!

clock November 23, 2008 06:11 by author Kim: ImpressInPrint.com

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Thank you cards are an easy and meaningful way to show someone how much you appreciate them; whether it was their attendence at your special event, the gift you received, or just their friendship.  The most important part of Thank You card etiquette is to remember to send them:)  In this case, it isn't the intention that counts, it is the action.  If you put this off because you are worried about what to write, then more than likely you will forget all together a miss a perfect opportunity to show your appreciation.

So first things first, when does etiquette require a proper Thank You card?

  • Wedding Gifts
  • To the host/hostess of a party that was in your honor
  • Bridal showers and baby showers
  • Hospital stay gifts (you might consider writing one to everyone who visited you)
  • Friends with whom you have stayed the night as a houseguest
  • Graduation or other congratulatory gifts
  • Sympathy letters or gifts
  • Gifts that were received via the mail

Here are a few other situations where they are not required, but still would be a nice gesture.

  • Birthday presents
  • To the host/hostess of a dinner party you attended
  • To a friend who helped you in a special way during a time of need

Don't sweat the actual wording too much, the act of sending a Thank You card is much more important then the actual wording.  The important concept of a Thank You note is that it should be personalized, and include enough content so that the recipient knows why you are thanking them.  Sending generic Thank You notes is pretty tacky, and negates the whole purpose.

Keep in mind that Thank You cards should be sent as soon as possible after the event.  Don't wait!  My husband and I used the airline flight to our honeymoon destination to write our Thank You cards, so it is never a good excuse to say "I just don't have the time"...find the time.  While some etiquette guidelines are pretty lenient with when cards should be sent for certain occasions, I always try to get mine out with in a week or two tops.

Sample Wording Ideas:

 ------------------------------------------------------

Dear Aunt June,

Thank you so much for spending the afternoon with us at my baby shower.  The onsie and matching sock outfit were beautiful, I cannot wait to see them on the baby.  We look forward to seeing you during the holidays.

Thank You,

Kim

-------------------------------------------------------

Carrie,

Thank you for the invitation to the dinner party, David and I had a fantastic time catching up with you and Mike.  The company and the food were both wonderful.

Thank you,

Kim

-------------------------------------------------------

Keep in mind that your Thank you cards should reflect the person sending them, so pick something that fits your style.  Keep in mind that we have hundreds of designs located on our site, http://www.impressinprint.com.  I have included photos of a few here:

 

   

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What we need

clock November 20, 2008 15:49 by author Kim: ImpressInPrint.com

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It is during tough times that you have a choice to make; focus on what you don't have or focus on what you don't need.  It is not a difficult observation to make that most people start focusing on the former, keeping a mental score card of what is lacking in their life.  It is a pretty non-productive activity, only adding stress to an already stressful time.  After all, there will always be something on that list of don't have's, they just get more unattainable as your desires grow. 

So why not take that extra effort and start focusing on the don't need's?  The incredible revalation about this activity, is that as your list grows so does your sense of peace.  I know that I quickly realize that there is nothing that a bank can take away from me that is of any real value, there is nothing that the credit card companies can do to really affect my happiness, and that anything of real value in my life is securely tucked away in their bed tonight dreaming of princesses, dump trucks and who knows what else.  This isn't a simple exercise, and it takes a lot of practice.  However, once you master the abilty to focus on your don't need's, you will realize that you will no longer need that list of don't have's.

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Thanksgiving thoughts on etiquette

clock November 19, 2008 19:21 by author Kim: ImpressInPrint.com

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Thanks to everyone who spent some time on our blog today, the day after the official coming-out party of our blog.  We had a lot of visitors today, and it is nice to know that someone out there is taking part in this "conversation" with me. 

Thanksgiving is just around the corner so I wanted to offer up some of my thoughts on the holiday.  This is one of those great American holidays where everyone participates, whether as a hostess/host or as a guest at someone's home.  As with any holiday, Thanksgiving can be a stressful time as well.  Some of these tips fall on the side of "etiquette" and other fall on the side of "stress relief".  Here are just a few of the obvious etiquette items that most of you probably already practice:

  • RSVP: This is very important, since the hostess/host needs to know how much food to prepare.  Once you have confirmed your intentions to attend, outside of an emergency or unexpected illness, you should make every effort to honor your commitment. 
  • Arrive on time:  This one is pretty important since meal preparation is such a time consuming effort, and it can easily be ruined when guests show up late.  So be courteous and give yourself enough time to get through the holiday traffic.
  • Bring a little something for the hostess/host.  This can be anything from a bottle of wine to your famous cranberry dish (make sure you inform the hostess that you will be bringing a food item to share).  A small present is also an acceptible offering as well.
  • Avoid making a big deal about your special dietary needs.  Medical needs aside, don't burden the hostess with preparing special dishes and unless it is absolutely against your personal beliefs try and partake in some of the food that has been served to you.
  • Assist with clean up.  Many hands make light work, and once the work is done everyone can sit and enjoy a good conversation, watch one of the games on TV, or sneak away for a quick snooze.

Now the big question, "Who cuts the turkey?".  This area is fraught with possible pitfalls.  Personally, I believe the hostess/host gets the first dibs at cutting up the beautiful turkey that she/he has prepared.  In many cases the hostess/host can assign this duty to his or her spouse, or possibly even a grandparent.  Each family has their own traditions regarding this special task, and my belief with most things are "to each their own".   So whatever that tradition is, honor it, and recognize the importance of the tradition.

Thanksgiving is a great opportunity to see family and friends that you don't spend much time with, it is one of my favorite holidays because of that.  As I get older (not that much older) I realize how few opportunities we have to sit down with our extended family, enjoy a meal, and good conversation.  Enjoy the day and focus on your family and friends.

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And the promo code is...

clock November 18, 2008 16:11 by author Kim: ImpressInPrint.com

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So it begins, I may finally have a real audience after tonight.  I spent a few days practicing blogging, check out some of my other articles on etiquette, nostalgia, and a new product line.  I find blogging to be quite a bit of fun, so keep an eye on our blog for new articles.  For those tech savvy people out there, you can even use our RSS feed to get my posts in real time.  I am still working out what topics I want to cover in my blog, feel free to shoot me an email if you have topic ideas that you think I should cover.  I will probably include special blog-only promotions occasionally to reward my loyal readers:)  For those of you who use Twitter, we are also offering promotions and discount alerts via the Twitter system.

This won't just be another commercial for our company, I hope to keep the topics interesting and varied.  Feel free to comment on my articles and throw in your ideas!  Our next project will introduce forums where all of you can join in the discussion, sharing your ideas and experiences.  We will also recruit a few experts in etiquette and wording ideas to participate in the forums and answer questions. 

Impress In Print is a growing business and we want to reach out and help our customers (and future customers) in whatever way possible.  Please feel free to email me with your ideas and feedback anytime (blog@impressinprint.com).

Thank you for your visit

Kim

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If Etiquette were easy...

clock November 17, 2008 17:29 by author Kim: ImpressInPrint.com

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If proper etiquette was easy then everyone would have it, and it would seem just a little less special.  The fact is, that proper etiquette is not alway obvious, but when followed it can make your event or invitation stand above the rest.  We receive a lot of requests regarding etiquette for invitations, so I thought I would share some of the more common things that we receive questions on.

  • Host names should not appear at the beginning of an invitation, but should instead fall toward the middle or bottom of the invitation
  • RSVP is short for "Répondez, s’il vous plaît", however it is not typically treated strictly as an abbreviation, so no need to put periods between the letters
  • Staying on the idea of abbreviations, generally they should be avoided in an invitation.  Words such as "Street" or state names should be spelled out completely

I could write an entire blog page on how titles and names should be treated.  The short answer is that there are different options for each situation, single, married, unmarried couple, etc.  Our type-setters are professionals, and we can offer proper guidance with regards to titles for your invitations.  Maybe if I feel more ambitious I will write up a follow up posting on this:)

My feelings are that etiquette is a lost art form that shouldn't be overlooked because you feel your event isn't "formal".  It is about offering clarity in your invitation wording, honoring your invitees, and honoring the hosts of the events.  Etiquette is a two way street as well, and following proper invitation etiquette may just inspire your guest to keep up their end of the "etiquette" exchange by not bringing uninvited guests, showing up late, or worse ;)

 

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Nostalgia, remembering childhood parties

clock November 15, 2008 14:00 by author Kim: ImpressInPrint.com

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I spent the day today playing miniature golf with my kids today at their friends birthday party, and remembering how much joy the simplicity of attending a birthday party would bring me in my childhood.  I think everyone thinks back to the good ol' days...of simpler times.  However the misconception is that the "simpler times" represent some earlier period of time in history.  "Simpler times" doesn't refer to some historical marker, but to our childhood, when a day at the park and an ice cream cone brought more joy than any new purse or pair of shoes will ever do again.  I think that is what nostalgia really represents, a yearning to go back to a time in our life where less was more, and where real happiness was only a twenty five cent ice cream cone away.

I try to keep that in mind as often as I can, that simple pleasures can easily combine to a lifetime of happiness.  So take a moment to enjoy playing with your kids without thinking about household bills, enjoy an ice cream cone after dinner occasionally without thinking about the "empty" calories, and step outside and take a deep breath of fresh air every now and then.

  

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My best friend's recommendation

clock November 14, 2008 12:04 by author Kim: ImpressInPrint.com

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 I always like inquiring of my friends about what they think are great product ideas.  It's my informal way of polling my target customers about what they want to see on the site.  My friend called me just the other day to tell me about a new product that was featured in this month's "O" magazine, personalized gift stickers by Demby & Soloman!  I immediatly thought that these would be a great addition to my product offerings and after just a couple days I was able to put them on my site, JUST IN TIME FOR THE HOLIDAYS!  I am pretty excited since they were so easy to work with, and have a great product that I can offer my customers.  They have a big selection with a diverse set of designs, with something for just about everyone's tastes. 

 Have you seen something lately that you would like us to carry?  Please send me a note and I will definetly look into getting it on the site.  Here are a few images from the Demby & Soloman sticker line.

 

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About Impress In Print

Impress In Print has been selling invitations and stationary for over 10 years!  You won't find many online businesses that can say the same.  Our company has focused on providing trendy products at great prices, and matching those products with impeccable customer service.  This blog is intended to provide our customers with information on wording ideas, thoughts on etiquette, and of course A LOT of products ideas.  Please feel free to provide comments, we love to hear from our customers.

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