How To Choose Designer Holiday Cards From Minted

Shine Bright this Holiday Season with Unique and Indie Designed Minted Holiday Cards

minted sample

I’m pleased to be working with Minted for another holiday season. As my Christmas card list shrinks because so many people have switched to e-cards (so I send them e-cards in return) I still love the process of selecting a design and tweaking it to create a combo of images of my family and a message that communicates our holiday greetings with our unique personality.

The only problem is that there are so many designs to choose from! As my friend texted me, “I’ve fallen down the Minted rabbit hole.”

Indeed. When I first started poking around in this season’s designs, I was just going to take a cursory look, but a half hour later I was still browsing through, imagining my own family’s photo in one of the designs. You can skip that part and just upload your photo right away, then load it into each design you like to preview how it will look. Minted works with indie designers to present a variety of different looks. If you like one design, you can look at others by the same artist.

But if you’re like me and you fall down the rabbit hole, you might get stuck on a design that strikes your fancy. I loved the idea of a “year in review,” and so then I fell down another hole, which is all the photos I’ve loaded onto my computer since January 2015. I wound up picking 70 favorites. That’s too many. So I loaded about 20 into Minted’s photo library, and played around with them, and came up with this goofy combo:card frontThen, because I couldn’t resist, I chose to add one large photo to the back of the card with a holiday message. (This adds $23.95 to the price, but don’t you think it’s worth it?)

card back

And since this option is free, I loaded in my address book for all the people I am sending cards to. Minted prints their addresses on the envelopes so they look classy, and it saves my hand from cramping! All I have to do is stuff envelopes and stamp them. For an additional fee you can even have your return address printed on the envelope.


I really love the quality of Minted’s cards for the holidays. There are many beautiful design options, thick and luxurious paper, classy printed envelopes, and the prices are reasonable for the quality you get. I ordered them on Monday and received them on Friday! They look and feel great. Done and done!

I received complimentary cards from Minted as part of my work with Savvy Sassy Scouts program.

Malibu Country Mart’s Annual Winter Wonderland

malibu country mart christmas tree

Starting this Saturday, December 6, and running through December 20, the Malibu Country Mart will be transformed into a winter wonderland, SoCal style. There will be the usual suspects: Christmas tree, menorah, and twinkling lights. But on each of the December Saturdays before Christmas there will also be special activities.

Victorian carolers will stroll through the Mart, singing holiday favorites while children participate in holiday-themed activities such as stocking and dreidel decorating, face painting, and homemade cookie decorating.

malibu country mart holiday events

And for the older kids and parents, the stores in Malibu Country Mart will be running holiday specials. If you’ve never bothered to stop at the Mart on your way to somewhere else, trust me. It’s worth it. In fact, it’s a great destination in itself!

See their website for additional information.

Delicious Winter Wonderland at Four Seasons Westlake Village

Let It Snow is back at the Four Seasons Westlake Village! And the Mercato Italiano in the Lobby Lounge is better than ever!

let it snow entry

Let It Snow

I visited with my family last year and loved the magical feeling of having snow fall in the evening in Southern California. I’m happy to say the Four Seasons has revived the tradition, with a few updates.

Instead of meandering out and mingling with bar guests, Let It Snow visitors go through an admission check-in and get wristbands that allow them access to the super cute s’mores kits and hot chocolate. The space has expanded this year for more room to enjoy the snow that falls twice an hour (and gives kids more room to run around). Watch out for the fire pits – which are great for roasting your marshmallows, but can be a bit smoky with the wrong direction of the wind.

the lookout let it snow

The outdoor space is freed up because Santa has been relocated into a holiday showroom, fantastically styled and cozily warm. Frosty the Snowman wanders about greeting visitors outside.

noname (4)photo by Kimball Hall courtesy of Four Seasons

The event is free for hotel guests and $5 for visitors, which includes:

– Admission includes unlimited hot cocoa, apple cider and s’mores (pizza by-the-slice along with other bites and drinks are available from the menu at The Lookout)

– Photo opp with Santa and elves in his regal sleigh

– The magical snowfall occurs between 5 and 9 pm, at the top and bottom of every hour

– On select dates, including this Friday, there will be special guests from L.I.F.E Animal Rescue holding dog adoptions at the event site

(event details on their Facebook page)

mercato and desserts

 Mercato Italiano

After hanging out in the snow, we headed indoors to the Lobby Lounge which is transformed into Mercato Italiano on Saturday nights. The Mercato is a recreated Italian market, complete with umbrellas around the lavish buffet.

While servers bring an array of freshly made pizzas (veggie pizza with chickpeas, broccoli, and a white sauce was amazing) to your table, you are free to head to the different food areas as much as you want. There is an antipasti bar, a display of bruscettas (updated from the bruscetta bar from last year), 4-5 green salads, a hot pasta bar, a salami stand complete with a leg of ham, and a hot food counter.

pizza mercatoPizzas are tossed by Pizza Steve, but Chef Manny made a special repeat appearance to make some with my kids again. They are his #1 and #2 fans!

Standouts this year included:

Antipasti bar – Heirloom carrots tossed with herbs and oil, it tastes like a Christmas tree! My husband loved the enormous green olives.

Bruscetta – goat cheese, ricotta, and pear with carmelized onions

Pasta – the risotto with butternut squash, sage and a new-to-me vegetable called savoy, cavatelli with shrimp in a cream sauce

Hot food – my husband loved the lamb osso bucco, and my favorite was the lasagna with a meat sauce and fontina cheese whose noodles tasted homemade

Topping off the meal is the dessert bar, of course! This year’s gelato offerings included carrot, which I suggest you try before you order a whole scoop. It’s worth the experience, but might not be for everyone. My favorite is still the salted caramel, but another dessert took the family favorite spot this year – a mouthwatering pumpkin custard served in a little espresso cup.  (Definitely take the cannoli, but the shell-to-filling ratio is too high to move this confection up to #1. I mean what’s a cannoli if not an excuse to eat ricotta?)

Mercato Italiano is $48 for adults and $24 for kids (make sure your kids like food, or else that is one pricey bowl of buttered pasta you’re buying) and certain beverages are extra. I enjoyed my meal with a nice Chianti at the suggestion of our superb server, Dylan.

My family enjoyed Let It Snow and Mercato Italiano on the house to facilitate this feature.