July 15, 2011

Life is a special occasion: Hallmark 'Get Carded' Giveaway

 thinking of you

I try to keep in touch with my friends pretty regularly- so much due in part to social media or email, of course, but in the busy-ness of life I've definitely sent off what I meant as a sincere note to a friend and then realized that I didn't even take my time, so it sounded quite short... and did my tone come across the right way?  I can "like" a Facebook status but can go another few months (or more) without really connecting.

With a hand-written note, I'm making myself sit and take a moment, and savor an uninterrupted thought. I can write it all out- and I can't usually edit or backspace gracefully with my pen y'know

and that is how it should be sometimes.

Honestly, I'm more likely to send a card on a regular ol' day for no reason at all, and less likely to send a card on a birthday or anniversary. I'm more than loving that Hallmark has asked me to partner with them to start a new conversation...  

freely


Let's talk about celebrating everyday moments in addition to special milestones. The real and not just the ideal. The unexpected. You anticipate cards on your birthday. What about how it feels to get one on a regular Tuesday, just because?

handholding


Get Carded. For seven days I wrote a card to someone in my life. Hallmark provided me with the cards, and I sifted through them excited to discover to whom I would send each one. Of course it was difficult to choose just seven someones- but I tried to think of people that I don't get to see everyday or who might really appreciate the gesture. The card selection definitely helped me narrow that down (which also made it kind of fun.) I love shopping for cards in general, without someone specific in mind; one pops out at me and I know just who it's for.

Some of these cards are still on their way to unsuspecting mail boxes all over this country. But I thought I'd briefly share with you who I picked, and why:

fishing

The first card I sent was to Heather. She is a new friend of mine (a la Listen To Your Mother)- we are still in the getting-to-know-you stage and it's pretty fun. We tend to have these rapid-fire phone conversations or text messages and keep meaning to get together in person but it has yet to happen this summer. I'm thankful for Heather's boldness and I admire her gumption. I look up to her, really. And so I am flattered when she comes to me about a subject I might have some knowledge or experience; it's my pleasure to help. I love when friendship works this way. Heather sent me a text after she received my card this week. We had a little "lovefest" as we call it. Hearing her response made my day. Oh the gifts keep on giving!


found a rock

The second card was to my bestie Ashlee- sort of the opposite of Heather. Ashlee and I go way back, deeper than even the five years we've known each other (soul sister territory) and one of the cards in my batch instantly made me think of her. I was overdue in sending her a handwritten message- it's one of those things where I need to send a card to say 'not it! Your turn!' She just got engaged! I'm going to be in her wedding! I can't wait to catch up! Also, I MISS HER!

chat

The third card is for my sister-in-law Lisa. She lives far up in Michigan and I just really felt like I needed to send her a note. You know those little nudges? But, I didn't find the time until it was kind of laid out right for me here and by gawly I did it. I finally sent the card I'd been meaning to send! (And I think that is exactly how I started my message.)

hmph

The fourth card, to my Mommal. It's been five months since my Poppal passed away suddenly, and every day there is always some sort of reminder of him for all of us. Mommal went to Louisiana for the summer to stay with my aunt, and I know she misses home. It's still such a process, a difficult time of transition. I wanted to let her know I was thinking of her and that we miss her. I filled her in on the happenings here (even though I know she reads my blog- she's even on Facebook!) but again- there's something much more personal and meaningful with how you say it in cursive... 


hugs

I chose the fifth card as a congratulations to my friend Erin. She has been quietly accomplishing a whole lot lately- her latest challenge was completing the Couch to 5K program like it was no big deal (even though it is a very big deal and I just had to let her know I thought so.) This is one of those milestone-y times when I am not the best at commemorating. But these days especially, accomplishments are deserving of a real-live card in the mail. Pats on the back are so the new black. (Um, hey, Hallmark? You can so put that on a card.) Erin emailed me the sweetest message thanking me for being in her corner. I love how she put it. Exactly. Let someone know you're in their corner. Means the world.

comforter


The sixth card is to Carter, my middle son. This was a card that I didn't even have to mail. I mean, I guess I could have- and he'd love to get a letter in the mailbox- but I chose to leave it as a surprise on his pillow. Hand-delivered or left on a porch with an iced latte from Starbucks... those are just as good as mail. I wrote to him some things that I've been meaning to say (it's like the To Kids With Love line was designed just for me), but in the excitement of a family of six, the in person moment hasn't come as easy lately. I think I know that this card meant a lot to him.

card


The seventh card was meant for the other Heather in my life, Heather of the EO. She just had a baby but this card wasn't a congrats on your new baby card. Not that there's anything wrong with that. This was more of a I know we don't ever have time to email so maybe try this crazy thing of calling me on the phone sometime but I know even that's hard and that's OK and also I have been meaning to send you a congrats on your new baby that isn't even so new anymore type of thing. Heather's special and deserves more than that card (like something knitted that I promised to make and still will! promise!), but it's a start. I'm thankful when a card can deliver my intentions much better than a direct message via Twitter.

inside of card

You can follow the other Get Carded challenges by liking Hallmark on Facebook and let us know if you're inspired to play along. You can also sign up for the e-newsletter down at the bottom of this page. I recommend liking & signing up because there are always good things to come in the future- you don't want to miss out!

WIN $5000! "Like" and fill in the blank at Hallmark on Facebook "______ is a special occasion"

WIN! The first ten commenters on this post will receive their own pack of cards from Hallmark to participate in this lovely Get Carded experiment. US entries only at this time. Who could you give a boost to today? (winners chosen)

OR WIN HERE! My hope is that even if you don't win, you'll still play along. Maybe even for one day.  I'm offering one more chance to win if you leave a comment telling a story about a time a card really made your day, or maybe mention if you have someone in mind you really have been meaning to reach out to. Tomorrow morning I'll randomly choose from all of the other comments (past the first 10) to win a little something something from yours truly- no matter where in the world you live, I'll send it myself.

It'll be awesome.



Hallmark provided all cards, postage, and prizes for this Get Carded challenge, and is compensating me for this sponsored post. I am partnering with Hallmark to shine a light to the Life Is A Special Occasion  blogger campaign for the rest of this year. As always, all content and opinions expressed are my own.

41 comments:

  1. I LOVE IT!!! A friend challenged me a while back to start a handwritten revolution. I wrote a bunch of letters in one month and was so proud of myself!! But then...the next month came and...I got distracted. Totally agree w/what you said about social media...thanks for the inspiration to start writing more letters! And I think it's awesome you wrote one to one of your kids. My mom wrote a bunch of letters that she has been slowly letting us read now that we are older. Pretty cool stuff!

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  2. I love it. I actually just ordered a Heartsy deal for note cards because I missed getting mail and wanted to start sending some to friends "just because" Because my mailbox is filled with junk and I want to fill it with happy!

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  3. Oh, I love this! And I love Hallmark. I used to be such the card writer and just last night (I kid you not). I pulled out my stationary and wrote a real-life letter. It felt so good to have that pen back on paper!

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  4. I Love the warm fuzzy feeling I get when I get a hand written note! heck, it's getting to the point that I love getting personalized emails!
    (I love that you wrote Carter a note. Getting a note from my mama is still one of my favorite things ever.)

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  5. I could spend hours in a Hallmark store! If only I didn't have 4 kids...

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  6. Those sure are some good lookin' kids. p.s. I love getting mail from you, it makes my day. :)

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  7. The cards sound awesome Steph! You have the biggest heart - it comes across so clearly in your writing!

    I would love to encourage my mom with a card - she's always doing things for me and I'd love to return the favor!

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  8. So fun--You have inspired me to write more cards just because. I can't even remember the last time it wasn't for a reason!

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  9. Oh my goodness this is such a cute idea. I LOVE cards and hallmark ones especially.

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  10. Whenever I see your address in the corner, I'm so happy because I know the words inside will be good for my heart. And they are, always.
    Also, more Taltree dates because these pictures are adorable.

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  11. Oh, hey, I think I wrote like three different comments because Blogger was telling me my password was incorrect even though it wasn't. But apparently, it knew the password was correct and published all the comments, anyway. THANKS BLOGGER.

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  12. I actually sat down and wrote a nice little card to a friend of mine last night for all that she's done for me recently. Thank you just feels more sincere to me if I take the time to actually write down the reasons why. Thanks for the continued inspiration!

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  13. I wish I were one of your first 10!! But what a great idea!

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  14. We started hand writtn notes this summer! So fun!
    AlainaMabrey(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  15. I am a card addict. It's not a habit I can indulge much at this stage of my life. (Have you tried to take your 4 kids into Hallmark? It's not relaxing.) But in my pre-kid days, I would spend hours at my neighborhood Hallmark, browsing cards and looking for an excuse to buy and send them.

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  16. I just remembered I did a post waaaayyy back in 2007 on my favorite cards exchanged between me and my college roommate (complete with scanned copies!). If you like cards, especially funny, for-no-reason cards, you'll like this: http://www.lovewellblog.com/2007/10/few-of-my-favorite-people.html

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  17. I started working on my mental list of who I could send cards to during the next 7 days even as I was reading through your post. One friend I should really send a card to is my high school best friend. She is a very busy woman, so I hardly ever see her, but she always brings hostess gifts whenever she comes to a get-together at my house and send thank you notes afterwards...so I know she would appreciate a card!

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  18. I would love to send a little something to my cousin, Sparrow, who had her first baby over a month ago and I have yet to send her congratulations and a gift in the mail. (This being a mom job makes it hard to stay on top of things like that. ;)

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  19. i'm so glad you've partnered up with hallmark. they are my hometown love. we were just at the visitor's center and kaleidoscope the other day, and it's just such a unique place. i've fallen off of my card-sending wagon (i used to send cards all the time), but you may have inspired me. and there's a hallmark a block away...i might just have to head down there today. does this mean you may be making a visit near me sometime soon? :)

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  20. I received a card when I was taking summer school in college. I was struggling financially w/o my student aid coming through yet, and I get an card in the mail with $50 in it from an anonymous friend. I still have no idea who sent it, but God knew what I needed and that money helped me and the encouragement in the card was exactly what I needed. A hand written not is better to me than an email. It means that someone cared enough to sit down and write out something. It's a little hug. :)

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  21. When I got my first real job and was living in a town where I had no friends and was spending a lot of time in my living room watching television, a friend wrote sent me a card and within the card she wrote a play about how I was a superhero who saved the day. I still have that card because it just meant (and means) so much to me.

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  22. I would have been top 10, but kids called before I could even finish reading...the life of mom...wouldn't trade it!

    I got a card during a rough time in a hard job...it lifted me and I've kept it for 15 years!

    Heather

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  23. I looooove getting mail, especially cards! My husband isn't much of a card giver so that's a little unfortunate. My aunt has sent us two cards recently with a little bit of cash inside and that has been amazing as we have a new baby! She said that God put it on her heart to send us a little something. wow!

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  24. I love sending and receiving hand-written cards.

    When we first found out we were accidentally pregnant with our first baby (much much earlier than we ever intended to start a family), we were living in Jackson WY to be ski bums and had no jobs, etc. We had no clue how we were going to do this parent thing. My mom sent me a card that acknowledged my fear and insecurities but that told me, "You have so much love to give, and to think that this little baby will be a recipient of that love..."

    Will never forget that card.

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  25. My mom and I have always had a quirky thing about Hallmark stores. We can spend a good hour in there looking at cards and reading the funny ones out loud to each other. There have been times we've been in tears laughing so hard! This is such a neat idea. I think I need to get to Hallmark very soon!

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  26. I love sending cards randomly, but have gotten away from it a bit. This is inspiring me to start it up again.

    I got a card around Mother's Day from a friend who had never sent me anything before...it was such a lovely surprise. She shared how much she valued my friendship and admired me as a mother. I found it very special and touching.

    I used to hang on to cards, but I have let that go, except for my most treasured cards--the ones I received when I lost my daughter. Such beautiful words, heartfelt thoughts from friends, acquaintances, strangers even...I look through them and am uplifted every year on her birthday/anniversary of her death.

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  27. I have a friend that I have been meaning to send a thank you to that I have not spoken to in so long. She has always been amazing and helped me so much and I don't think I have ever really thanked her for it! Must do that!

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  28. Years ago, I miscarried our first baby at 13 weeks. We had told everyone...and I mean EVERYONE, that we were pregnant, like the second we found out. We were devastated at the loss. One thing about everyone knowing about the pregnancy was more people knew about the loss, and I received support and encouragement from people I didn't expect. One in particular stands. A young gal who was barely out of highs school, whom I had worked with a few years prior , randomly dropped off a card on my porch. I don't even remember what it said but the gesture meant so much to me! It still holds a special place in my heart years later.

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  29. You.Are. Marvelous. I'm so glad you wrote one to me. AND I like what you said about all of us too! WAH!

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  30. My old best friend sent me a card when I got my newspaper job. It was just an "I'm so proud of you" type card, but it was the best ever.

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  31. This is fantastic! I think that getting personal stuff in the mail is so touching. I am on board!!

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  32. I love this! It's like you sent them a card twice, once in real life & once in this post!! I am always looking for deals on cards because there is nothing I love more than to send a card for no reason at all - it's so fun!

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  33. A couple months after my third was born (a short 16 months after my 2nd) overwhelmed became an understatement.

    One day, I received a card in the mail from an old friends mom who had always been a mentor to me. It was simple and sweet, with a message basically saying, you WILL get through this. Enclosed was the book, 5 minutes for mom.

    That note still touches me to this day. That a mother, who had been through this many years before, remembered me in my tough time with two babies, meant so much.

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  34. I got a card from my grandparents this week saying they are praying for my baby (our 3rd) that is on the way, and including a card of 31 things I can pray about for my kids. They also included a check that was for the exact amount we has stolen from our house last month (and it was quite a lot!) that we were saving for birth expenses. That was so awesome! I will definitely be writing back instead of just saying "Thanks" in person next time I see them. And I guess we will stop keeping large sums of money in a glass jar above the TV set. :)

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  35. Hand written notes, or little care packages ... I've been meaning to send something to 2 previous babysitters, one who went off to grad school in New York City and the other who is teaching English in Argentina, and something encouraging to my friend whose #3 is 3 months old with something fun for the 2 big brothers.
    Thanks for the encouragement to do it.

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  36. I'd send a card to my momma! She is one of those "Oh I'm okay" types - you know the kind :0) Well my brother called the other day to tell me that her husband left in the middle of the night over a month ago! He tapped out their bank accounts and just left. She hadn't told anyone. My heart breaks for her but she doesn't want to "bother anyone"! sigh....of course I'm gonna send a card anyways and call and call and call - but it would be lovely to have a "special" card to send. :)

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  37. This is such a beautiful post, and a wonderful idea! I love reading your blog! As far as a card,I love them and buy far too many, and am THRILLED any time I receive a handwritten card in my mailbox :)
    Nathalie

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  38. I adore getting mail from you. It's like a secret I get to have all to myself. I got a card this week from another friend that absolutely got me through that day (and this whole week, actually). Handwriting means so, so much more.

    Miss all your faces. <3

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  39. Love this! I haven't written a real letter in... Forever!

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  40. Hand written, snail mail cards mean the most to me. I love to send them and receive them. I adore writing and sending little goodies to my sponsor girls... such fun!

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  41. I like giving and receiving cards...especially on non-occasions. It's so fun to send something unexpected.

    That card you have pictured ("If you ever need to talk...") is one of my favorites. I sent it to a good friend a few months ago.

    stephanie@metropolitanmama.net

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