A Greeting Card Story: Engagement, Thank You, and Baptism

It’s been a while since I’ve told the story of a few greeting cards. These are from a few months ago (although it took me far too long to actually get them in the mail). Welcome to the story of an engagement card, a thank you card, and a baptism card.

Aside: I really do love making cards, but somehow I have a list of 9 cards right now that has been sitting on my desk to make for weeks. If someone could help me figure out how to add more time to the week that would be great. K, thanks.

The engagement card is for my cousin and his fiancee, the thank you card was for for a co-worker whom I sent a box of chocolate to India for, and the baptism card was for a friend who had her second baby that I wasn’t able to attend the baptism.

Apparently the theme this time was stickers. I knew I kept these around for something.

A Greeting Card Story - Engagement, Thank You, and Baptism via Chrystina Noel

After I chose the stickers I chose complimentary paper for the rest of the card. I chose bright colors for the card sent to India, a fun pattern for the engagement card, and some bright colors to add some fun to the dull-colored religious stickers.

A Greeting Card Story - Engagement, Thank You, and Baptism via Chrystina Noel

Then the cutting and folding began.

A Greeting Card Story - Engagement, Thank You, and Baptism via Chrystina Noel

A Greeting Card Story - Engagement, Thank You, and Baptism via Chrystina Noel

Every time I go to write bubble letters on the front of a card I get nervous that it’s not going to come out correctly so I cheated this time and wrote it in pencil first.

A Greeting Card Story - Engagement, Thank You, and Baptism via Chrystina Noel

So much easier than taking a chance on having to start the card over again. I added some dimension to the engagement card and added some white dotted lines to the baptism card (which is definitely one of my trademarks).

A Greeting Card Story - Engagement, Thank You, and Baptism via Chrystina Noel

And I couldn’t show you these without showing you were the fun colors for the thank you card ended up. I love adding a pop of color to the back of a card, it’s always unexpected.

A Greeting Card Story - Engagement, Thank You, and Baptism via Chrystina Noel

Here are the final products:

A Greeting Card Story - Engagement, Thank You, and Baptism via Chrystina Noel A Greeting Card Story - Engagement, Thank You, and Baptism via Chrystina Noel A Greeting Card Story - Engagement, Thank You, and Baptism via Chrystina Noel

I love sending people snail mail. I’ve actually been doing pretty well on the birthday cards so far this year. I’m still on top of it and we’re 25 days into the year. I’ll take it.

As for the other cards I’m supposed to make, I’m hoping to find time this weekend for a condolences card, 4 thank you cards, 3 congratulations cards, 1 thinking of you card, and 1 I think you’re cool card. No pressure.

12 Gift Ideas for your Nerdy, Outdoorsy Friends

12 Gift Ideas for Your Nerdy, Outdoorsy Friends

I wrote a gift guide for entertainers last week; this time we decided to switch it up a little bit and use some of Ben’s input for a gift guide. If you’re in search of somebody who seems hard to buy for because they’re into gadgets, maybe you’ll find something on the list below! (Unfortunately for me, Ben already owns all of these things, so I’ll have to keep thinking…)

Hiking Pants

Ben recently came across these hiking pants from Prana and absolutely loves them, specifically the Zion style. In addition to the Zion pants there are also Bryon. They are tighter and have less pockets.

Garmin Watch

I’ve been told that if you train you already know what this is, and if you don’t train you don’t need it. (I guess that means I definitely don’t need it.) This watch can range in price from $200 to $500. It just depends how many fancy features you want. Here’s a link to the $250 model.

Cell Phone Car Holder

This is one of the most useful technology devices we use on a daily basis. It’s a portable car mount for your phone. The best parts about this are that it (1) clips onto the air vent, (2) doesn’t block the field of vision, and (3) you don’t need to permanently stick something to the inside of your car.


The first time Ben took out the GorillaPod Tripod it scared the crap out of me. It’s a flexible tripod that you can tie around things. My first thought was definitely, “I’m sorry, you want to put my camera in a tree?” He swears by it though. (Please note: I admittedly still haven’t let him put my camera in a tree. Call me old-fashioned.) There are light-weight GorillaPods that work well for digital cameras or cam-corders. Then there are heavier ones that are built to hold a full DSLR. In addition, the thread at the top that fits to each individual camera is not made to fit in every camera so make sure you buy the one that fits yours.

Cell Phone Charger

We’ve recently found that having a crap ton of cell phone chargers around your house is a very useful thing. Maybe it’s just because we have 4 floors so having one on the first floor and one on the fourth is useful, but we’ve determined that having extra cell phone chargers can never be a bad thing. The one pictured above is a Samsung charger from Best Buy.

Wireless Headphones

(I’ve been told) Wireless headphones are great for working out at the gym. There are pros and cons to the Bose, Bragi Dash, and Beats by Dre. Ben currently has the Bragi Dash and has used the Bose. The Bragi Dash are waterproof and they will hold 4GB of songs by themselves. If you will be outside of bluetooth range you will need something that has internal memory storage. The photo below is of the Bragi Dash wireless earphones. Fun fact – you can buy only a right or left if you want.


The Kindle Oasis is Ben’s newest toy. It has a page turner button on the side. I’ve been told there are two that have this: the Kindle Voyager and Kindle Oasis. The Kindle Oasis also has a much longer battery and it’s a bit smaller.

Good Socks

Ben recommended Smartwool socks as a really solid pair of socks to have in your life. I’ve been told they hold up really well and work great even when people sweat. The photo pictured below is a pair of mens’ striped hike light crew socks.

Bose Speakers

Ben has the SoundLink Mini Bluetooth speakers. This speaker sound great and provide ‘crazy-good room-filling sound’. It’s tiny and can be carried from room to room through your house. Also, if you travel a lot, it will fill the hotel room pretty spectacularly and it doesn’t take up much room in your suitcase.


If you’re somebody who likes to watch tv or just stream things from the web onto a bigger screen, Chromecast is for you. (I’ve been told) Google Chrome now has a built-in “Cast” feature directly from the web. It supports 4k resolution and lets you push any content to your television form your phone or computer.

Magic Cards

Grab any set of duel Magic: The Gathering decks and learn how to play. Dueling decks are two decks that work well against each other that comes with a basic rulebook. And (I’ve been informed) everybody should play magic at least once. Here is one example on Amazon, but there are many to choose from.

Camera Bag

One of my friends has a pretty excellent camera bag from Lowerpro. It’s a great carrying case for his camera, it’s compact, and the particular one he bought actually keeps the camera in the part of the backpack closer to his back so it’s safe and nothing can get stolen. You can check out the Photo Hatchback bag to learn more.

12 Gifts for Your Nerdy, Outdoorsy Friends

Sending Your Holiday Cards

It’s almost December, which means it’s time to start thinking about sending holiday cards this year. I wrote a post a few weeks ago about how I was a little bit overwhelmed with all my greeting card sending, but I think I’ve got it under control for now. (Once I catch up on birthday cards again that is.)

So now that I’ve got a grasp on my own holiday card list, it’s time to help you get yours under wraps as well. Let’s do this –

Other Ways to Say Happy Holidays Other Ways to Say Happy Holidays

2011 Christmas Cards

Make Your List & Check It Twice

Decide who from your life is going to be getting a holiday card this year. Think about the people who have made an impact, the people you would like to stay in touch with, the people that always send you holiday cards, and your family members.

Choose Your Cards

There are so many great options for cards nowadays. You can order a box of cards. You can browse Etsy. You can make a photo card on one of multiple sites. You can design your own cards and print them. Or you can hand-make them. Decide what’s going to be easiest for you and pull the trigger. This is the most important part. Once you have the cards, you’re more likely to go through with sending it.

I decided a few years ago that each group of people in my life was going to get a different type of card (some of which I ordered). This mostly just makes things more interesting for me because I send so many. I have 58 more cards to make this year. It’s going to be a busy weekend.

Christmas and New Year's Cards 2012, front

2012 Christmas Cards

Buy Stamps

This is probably the second most important part. Once you have cards and stamps (especially if they’re holiday stamps) there’s no going back. Figure out when your local post office has no line and stop by then, or you can order them online by creating a USPS account and they’ll send them straight to your door. (They don’t usually fit in a mail slot though.)

Write the Envelopes First

This might seem counter-intuitive, but I’ve found that it really works for me. After I write all of the holiday cards there’s nothing I want to do less than write envelopes. It’s such a mindless task that it’s a great thing to do while you’re catching up on Netflix. I usually write the person’s name, the return address, and put the stamp, then I figure out the address later.

Chrystina Noel You're My Favorite Holiday Card
Chrystina Noel Believe Card
Chrystina Noel Merry Holiday Card
Chrystina Noel Ugly Sweater Card

2014 holiday cards

Personalize the Message

It doesn’t need to be fancy or complicated, just include a personalized message to the receiver. Throw on your favorite holiday album and start writing! Include their name, wish them a Merry Christmas / Happy Holidays / Happy New Year’s / Happy Hanukah / Happy Kwanza, and then include something specific to them i.e. it was so great to see you this year, thanks so much for helping me out, I’m so glad you were able to celebrate with me, have fun baking all your holiday cookies this year, can’t wait to see you soon, etc. I have a whole blog post about different ways to say happy holidays if you’re looking to expand your repertoire.

Gather Addresses

There’s a few way to do this. You can also create an online account at Postable to collect people’s physical addresses. (This is on my to-do list because it seems easier to maintain than my stack of index cards.) That said, I usually just end up texting or emailing people right after I finish writing their card asking what their address is unless I’m 100% sure they didn’t move.

Send Your Cards

If you’re lucky enough to live in the burbs with one of those fancy mailboxes that you put the red flag up and they take the mail you have, you don’t even need to leave your property to send your cards. Otherwise, find a blue mailbox on your walk to work, and call it a day. You’re all done!

Chrystina Noel Handmade Christmas Cards (4)Chrystina Noel Handmade Christmas Cards (3)

2015 Holiday Cards with Stamps from Hero Arts

Have you started on your holiday cards yet? Do you have any tips to make the process go better?.

PS. If you have any interest in playing Chrystina Noel Christmas BINGO, please let me know in an email or the comments below! (Essentially I will snail mail you a BINGO card and then post numbers on my blog. Whoever gets a whole row of numbers first wins.)

Great Gift Ideas for Entertainers

Great Gift Ideas for Entertainers via Chrystina Noel

Today I’m linking up with The Blog Connect 2017 team to share a few gift ideas for the holidays. Sarah from smoorelovin’ is sharing 10 Gifts for the Working Babe, Melissa from A Skinny Affair is sharing a Gift Guide for the Holistic Babe, Priyanka from Paint the Town Chic is sharing a 10 Gifts for the Fashionista, and Sarah from Shades of Sarah will be sharing Gifts Under $40.

My specialty? Great gift ideas for entertainers. Today I’ve got 10 great ideas to share with you for the hosts and hostesses in your life. Check it out:

Gift Ideas for Entertainers


First option. Aprons. They’re flipping adorable. You can buy them at Anthropologie like the one seen above. Or you can buy them at Marshalls and Homegoods. As far as I’m concerned you can never have too many. They make them for all seasons, in all styles, and all colors. Don’t believe me? Check out my Pinterest board dedicated to aprons.


Cookbooks aren’t just for recipes anymore, they’re for inspiration. Between the delicious-looking food, beautiful spreads, and enticing menus, every host or hostess, no matter how experienced, will surely be able to find something to add to their usual gatherings. If you know the host or hostess in your life reads blogs, watches certain shows, or has any favorite restaurants, there’s a good chance that you will find a cookbook written by one of those folks. Here are a just a few suggestions that I either own or have spent enough time paging through at the bookstore that I probably should have bought:

Links above are affiliate.


Admittedly, the photo above is a magazine, Mingle magazine. It’s an entire magazine of “the visual feast of imaginative gatherings.” Y’all. It’s so pretty. Highly recommend. Other suggestions for books about entertaining include Great Get-Togethers, Effortless Entertaining Cookbook, Celebrate, and Dinner Diaries: Reviving the Art of the Hostess.

Cutting Boards

A great cutting board can make a food display. They make some flipping cool cutting boards. But I’m a traditional girl and like this regular rectangular cutting board form Home Depot. They come in all different shapes and sizes. I bet there’s even a bunch of DIYs. And if you’re feeling really inspired, buy your hostess friend some cheese along with your cutting board. Because cheese. Specifically the delice de bourgogne from Trader Joe’s.

Table Topics

I finally pulled out my Table Topics game for the first time at a party, and it was a big hit! It was great for people to have something to talk about – and we even used one of the questions as an icebreaker. After browsing the Table Topics website, I found out they have one called: Not Your Mom’s Dinner Party. What a great way to kick off the party fun.


I was given custom stationery after volunteering at Texas Style Council 2015. It’s so useful to have. It has my name on it. It’s simple. It’s classy. The one above is from Minted.


Y’all. Do you know how many times I think about buying coasters, but can’t justify the price? I would love if somebody bought me coasters. The ones above are slate. But my friend Lisa just did a blog post on looking for cute coasters. There are so many options.


In my new quest for being a more thoughtful hostess, I’ve been enjoying decorating with candles. I bought my first one this year – it was called Mermaid Kisses by the Shore Soap Co. It smells delicious. Before you purchase a candle on behalf of someone else, just give some consideration to what types of smells the host or hostess enjoys. (For example, I hate super flowery smells and Ben hates super vanilla-y smells.)

Cute Plates

There are so many cute plates these days. And they add a little extra something to any party or food display. The ones seen above are from West Elm. My other favorite place for plates is Anthropologie. That said, I always wait for them to go on sale first, no matter where I get them from.


What’s more hospitable than offering somebody a cup of tea? (My interpretation of Sheldon Cooper’s: Cay I offer you a hot beverage?)  It’s always nice to have some varieties on hand because everyone has a different taste in tea. I recommend somewhere like Plum Deluxe where you can get many signature tea blends.

When In Doubt

When in doubt, just walk into Williams-Sonoma, Anthropologie, West Elm, or Crate & Barrel.

I hope this list inspired you and gave you some insight into gift ideas for entertainers. If I missed anything (especially if it’s on your list), let me know in the comments below. Don’t forget to browse through the additional gift guides while you’re browsing, you never know what you’ll find: