PAPERLESS POST: HEMNA reviews the Christmas e-cards you can personalise

Christmas draws ever closer with a mere weekend separating us from roasts and festive puddings, mulled wine and heartily sung carols. It is also prime card-giving season, with 668.9 million Christmas cards sold in the UK (2008) and an astonishing 1.9 billion cards sent in the United States over the festive period (2005).

If like a lot of people, you are pressed for time, the idea of buying several dozen packs of paper cards, envelopes and stamps and having to individually write out each one probably is a difficult thing to move up on your to-do list. You know you have to, but those end-of-year work reports will not get finished up by Santa’s elves, no matter how good a girl or boy you’ve been!

But fear not, you won’t be magically transformed into the greetings card Grinch of Yuletide 2018 if you decide to call upon the services of Paperless Post. Headquartered in New York, Paperless Post is a remarkable, fun and innovative site offering a wide choice of impeccably designed e-cards, invites and even animated flyers, with contemporary designs brimming with flair, festive vibes and colour.

 

In the run-up to Christmas, Paperless Post has launched a range of festive cards and invites to send to your loved ones for Christmas greetings, parties and New Year’s Day celebrations. In collaboration with Paperless Post, HEM News Agency will put one of their personalised Christmas cards on a review road test.

As part of their festive promotions, the online stationery firm is offering customers the chance to spread joy instantly with their online holiday cards that are simple to send and delightful to receive. You can adapt your card’s design, track its delivery to the recipient and upload photographs of your choice, perfect if you like to make themed family greetings cards or at least want something a bit more memorable than a generic glittery robin on the front.

Under the “Holiday, Christmas, and New Year cards” section on the Paperless Post site alone there are a whopping 851 designs alone to choose from, which is far more than you can find in all but the most specialised physical paper card stores. I decided to go with the square format ‘Yule Blooms Christmas’ design as it is festive and professional in appearance in equal measure.

Although the display card is offered in ‘tall’ format’, I found you can choose from six different formats, or ‘design variations’ so if you prefer a particular card size, that option is sorted for you. Choice is a good thing, we must embrace it! Enter your log-in details if you are already signed up at Paperless Post, or alternatively log in with your Facebook or Google account and you can begin customising right away.

 

Firstly you need to choose your ‘backdrop’, which is the background your card will be displayed on. There is one free option, or for the small fee of one ‘coin’ (Paperless Post’s online currency) you can choose from several more. I went for the ‘Pure White –  Holiday’ backdrop with its alluring white snow field and pine needles and holly berries scattered above the top. Très festive, no?. Very easy to do, and just one click is needed.

Hit the Next arrow and the next customisable option is the card’s text. This is where you can really make your card’s message speak from the heart. Here you can change the text size, alignment, typeface, colours and much more, and the sliders make it easier for the less typographically inclined. Using the ‘Colors’ option, which presents their colour options in handy little spots showing the exact hue, I was able to customise the text colours to match HEM News Agency’s blog branding. In the middle of the card is a blank space with patterning reminiscent of the backs of Kodak printed photos we had in our millennial childhood family albums. Just click on that, and the photo editing suite pops up on the left-hand side menu. Here you can upload your photo or choose a pre-uploaded one. I picked the HEMNA logo stored on my laptop.

Following from that, the next option is the Envelope Liner, where you can choose the pattern for the inside of the envelope. While the presented liner choices were not really suitable for a Christmas-themed card, you can use the search box to find some that are. To match the Backdrop I chose earlier, I picked ‘A Christmas Kennel’, which despite its name does not feature dogs, or indeed kennels. Instead experience the natural warmth of holly berries and leaves, which really says ‘Merry Christmas’.

You can then change the envelope’s front with a pretend postage stamp and adapt the text where you address the recipient. However you cannot change the wording at this point, just the typeface and colour. Then it’s on to the reply card, where as with the envelope you can choose the background design. Strangely, I could not find any festive themed designs so had to make do with something more ‘around-the-year’. 

Once you have finished your custom card, the site takes you to the delivery suite where you can enter your recipients’ email addresses. If you are sending the cards out to a whole bunch of friends or family, or to customers as part of business marketing promotions for the Christmas period, you can upload email lists or address books to save yourself the time of manually entering everything. After sending, you can see if the recipient has collected their card and receive messages sent in response.

 

My verdict: It was a painless and easy process to create and send your own greetings card. The steps were clearly set out and in a logical order, with tonnes of design choice and options for customising, without being too technical, long-winded or complicated. There could have been more Christmas options for designs though in my opinion. The whole process took less than ten minutes from start to finish (I was writing this article at the same time) and there was no crashing, bugs or other errors during the design process. One thing I really appreciate is the attention to detail that Paperless Post weaves into every part of the design step, and the realism you get from the designs themselves. It is almost an oddly satisfying feeling when you open the email and watch the card glide seamlessly out of the pristine envelope and reveal itself. The designs are eye-catching and brilliant to behold. This is my second time reviewing Paperless and they don’t disappoint!

Choose your Christmas card adventure at paperlesspost.com

 

DISCLAIMER: The article was a sponsored post in collaboration with the online cards and stationery site Paperless Post, of which the author was compensated.

 

 

IMAGE CREDITS:

Paperless Post.

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HEM: Diwali 2016 wallpaper

 

 

The Half-Eaten Mind wishes all its readers and community a very happy Diwali.

 

 

IMAGE CREDITS:
“File:Traditional Aakash Kandil, Diwali, Pune India 2013.jpg” –  Ramnath Bhat, Wikimedia Commons (24 October 2013) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Traditional_Aakash_Kandil,_Diwali,_Pune_India_2013.jpg
“Wish Happy Diwali To Your Website Visitors!” – Mehul Mohan, Happy Diwali http://diwali14.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/happy-diwali-blog-widget.html
Canva https://www.canva.com/

PHOTO MOMENT: The long hop of the law

 

Don’t be stealing any Easter eggs, otherwise Bunny Cop here will haul you in.

The Half-Eaten Mind wishes you a very happy Easter!!

 

IMAGE CREDITS:
Sheik Atchia.
Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/

CHRISTMAS 2015: HEM festive graphic

 

This year’s wallpaper is influenced by the humble Christmas tree, with its merry decoration and celebration of creativity and light. The basis for this year’s graphic is a picture from a photo wallpaper site, the Wallpaper Abyss, depicting a row of trees decked out in blue fairy lights. The text used aligns with the photo’s colour scheme very well and keeps the theme running.

I prepped the image using an old favourite of ours, piZap. It took only around fifteen minutes yesterday morning and is now officially launched today. It will be used here and on the Half-Eaten Mind Facebook page.

I and the Half-Eaten Mind wishes each and every one of you, our friends, supporters, loyal readers, and visitors a very merry Christmas!

IMAGE CREDITS:
“Proudly Serving 2190 Christmas Wallpapers” – Wallpaper Abyss – Alpha Coders/Alpha Coders http://wall.alphacoders.com/by_sub_category.php?id=152808
piZap http://pizap.com/

A DRUGSTORE ADDICTION: 10 Christmas ideas for bloggers

Fashion and beauty blog A Drugstore Addiction has penned a special guide on ten ideas for bloggers to explore this Christmas to get themselves and their readers into the festive spirit.

As the 25th December nears, many bloggers and online writers will be thinking long and hard about what seasonal content they are looking to post, and sometimes it can be tricky to think of revolutionary new ideas especially given the Net is such a crowded place.

A Drugstore Addiction may well be the saving grace of any blogger struggling to come up with something Yuletide related.

The 10 tips are:

  1. Christmas gift guides (reviews of Christmas-themed gifts or of gift ideas, making your own gifts at home, articles on shops, ideas for gifts for family/friends/colleagues etc).
  2. Christmas wishlists (bloggers can write about what they want most for Christmas, very good for dropping hints to loved ones about what you really want, and that’s not yet another pair of loud red socks).
  3. Christmas make-up designs (such as festive-themed eye makeup, festive colours for lipsticks, features on make-up artists’ best looks for the season or winter generally, recommended for beauty bloggers).
  4. Secret blogging Santa (many bloggers organise ‘secret Santa‘ events for their blogging community, or in real life for their friends; these and their outcome can be featured).
  5. Christmas ‘DIY – arts and crafts (bloggers can get all creative and make their own gifts, decorations, trees, greetings cards, even their ideal Xmas music mixtape!).
  6. Christmas ‘card haul’ (many greetings cards have beautiful designs ranging from traditional Victorian drawings of robins to modern ones with festive memes. Some bloggers will often collect greetings cards and feature the best or most inspirational ones on their sites).
  7. Christmas day trip (especially for lifestyle or travel bloggers, they can blog on a day trip to a Christmassy location, such as a dad’s visit to the local Santa’s grotto with his children, or a blogger’s account of a holiday to Lapland. There is also great ammunition and inspiration in this idea for photographers and artists).
  8. Christmas ‘shopping haul’ (for the shopaholics out there, this is an idea to blog about what you buy in the runup to Christmas, your shopping experiences and any recommended places.)
  9. Recipes (Christmas is a treasure trove for the home cook and foodie – turkey, cakes, Christmas puddings, roasts, festive ethnic foods, biscuits…the list is endless. This is a good time if any to share recipes and ideas, and to set the culinary creativity going).
  10. What I got for Christmas (did you get some cool pressies?, you can blog about them. If anything, it can make gifting even more exciting, especially when you share the good news with your followers/readers. Even if the presents were not so great, you can release your disappointment online).

A Drugstore Addiction is the blog of Jemma, a fashion and make-up blogger and student of marketing from Nottingham and currently studying in Liverpool in the United Kingdom. She is 18 years of age and often blogs from a farmhouse in the East Midlands.

SOURCES:
HEM Bloggers List, The Half-Eaten Mind, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/halfeatenmind/lists/hem-bloggers-list
UK Blogger RT, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/UKBlog_RT
Jemma l, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/dsaddictionx
“12 SEASONAL POST IDEAS FOR BLOGGERS” – Jemma, A Drugstore Addiction (10 November 2015) http://www.adrugstoreaddiction.com/2015/11/12-seasonal-post-ideas-for-bloggers.html
“ABOUT” – Jemma, A Drugstore Addiction (13 September 2014) http://www.adrugstoreaddiction.com/p/about.html
IMAGE CREDITS:
Getty Images via Zemanta.

 

FESTIVE FILMS: Notting Hill to host Xmas pop-up cinema

A special pop-up cinema where filmgoers have to enter through a wardrobe is set to make a return to the fashionable district of Notting Hill in London, local culture online magazine Londonist reports.

The cultural initiative, called Pop Up Screens, will see what Londonist describes as a ‘winter wonderland of Christmas films‘ will bring a selection of festive films to the 20th Century Theatre in Westbourne Grove, Notting Hill for twelve days, between and including the 12th and 23rd December 2014.

Home Alone (film)
Home Alone (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Among the Christmassy highlights to get people into the Yuletide spirit will be classic and vintage films like It’s a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street and a selection of films suitable for children, including the comedies Elf and the films of the Home Alone series, starring Macaulay Culkin as loveable rogue Kevin. Popular Disney princess animation Frozen will also put in a very appropriate appearance. For more grown-up visitors to Pop Up Screens, there will be great flicks like Scrooged, Love Actually, Gremlins and Bad Santa to round up the feast of Hollywood festive films during December.

There will be three screenings at the 2oth Century Theatre per day, meaning there will be plenty of opportunities for shoppers, parents and commuters finishing their working shifts to stop by and unwind. The doors will open an hour before the start of each screening, so no need to rush. There will also be loads of yummy and warmth giving Christmas specialties on hand, such as mulled wine, hot chocolate (with alcohol) and other treats, to help stave off the biting cold.

Tickets for the Pop Up Screens events are from £10 for children and £20 for adults. A list of films, ticket prices and booking details can be found on the Pop Up Screens website.

SOURCES:
HEM News Agency, Half-Eaten Mind, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/halfeatenmind/lists/hem-news-agency
Londonist, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/Londonist
“Pop Up Screens Returns To Notting Hill For Christmas” – Beth Parnell-Hopkinson, Londonist (25 November 2014) http://londonist.com/2014/11/pop-up-screens-returns-to-notting-hill-for-christmas.php?utm_campaign=coschedule&utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=Londonist&utm_content=Pop%20Up%20Screens%20Returns%20To%20Notting%20Hill%20For%20Christmas
IMAGE CREDIT:
“File:Home alone.jpg” – 20th Century Fox & ThunderPower, Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. (27 February 2011) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Home_alone.jpg

PHOTO MOMENT: Cadbury’s Christmas chocolate

(c) Cadbury’s UK

Nothing says “Merry Christmas” like a big chunky bar of chocolate. If it’s festive chocolate, even better. One thing I can tell you about retailers in Britain is that they are so passionate about Christmas that they start bringing out festive themed goodies a good few months in advance. In fact the receptionist at my workplace was even telling me how some shops have already started playing Yuletide carols…and this was on Hallowe’en!!

Chocolate maker Cadbury’s, home of the recently revived Wispa bar, among other niceties, has brought out a new chocolate bar that will join their family-sized Dairy Milk collection for the season of goodwill. The latest slabs of cocoa goodness are called ‘Winter Wonderland‘. Instead of the normal square pieces that you can break off and pamper yourself with, this new sweet thang has little Christmas trees instead, alternating between milk chocolate entirely and more yummy milk chocolate topped with white chocolate. Perhaps the inclusion of white chocolate was to steal a march on Nestle and its Milky Bars in the competitive run-up to the big festive season. Maybe they felt a bit bad and Scrooge-like after recently announcing they would no longer make chocolate coins, a Christmas staple, just two months before the big twenty-fifth. Maybe they love snow. But I think Cadbury’s might be on to something here. I have certainly never seen anything like this before, and rum and raisins is not only unpalatable, but it’s getting somewhat antiquated too.

The Winter Wonderland bar looks both appetising and festive. I can imagine little kids (and big kids at heart) itching like they’re sitting on pine needles to chomp down on some cute and irresistable Christmas trees straight after the roast turkey and trimmings. It’s also a good way of sharing out the festive cheer when you’ve got family coming round.

I have a notorious weakness for chocolate. I mean only yesterday I was up at 12.30 in the morning, spooning out and devouring the remains of a Nutella jar at the back of the cupboard that I had almost completely forgotten about. Thank goodness none of my housemates saw me *piercing scream*. Trust me, I had the munchies and chocolate always hits the spot. Which is why I now have extra weight I need to get rid off. Snacking is a sin against the waistline, people. Just say no.

But come Christmas, even if you are constantly on the hunt for the next ‘revolutionary’ diet, you can forgive yourself for hiding the Atkins or Paleo guidebook behind the sofa and allowing yourself the guilty pleasure of deforesting a big bar of Cadbury’s Winter Wonderland chocolate trees. Even if it turns out to be the middle of April and there’s no-one at home to share with *sly wink*. Mum’s the word.

As Cadbury’s would put it “Who says chocolate doesn’t grow on trees?

(c) apinchofsanity/tumblr

DISCLAIMER: I like all kinds of chocolate, not just Cadbury’s. Reese’s Peanut Butter cups and Fry’s Peppermint Cream often feature on my chocolate hitlists.

SOURCE:
Vijay Shah { विजय }, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/VShah1984
IMAGE CREDIT:
Cadbury UK, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/CadburyUK
“Sooo… it’s Easter today….” – apinchofsanity, tumblr https://www.tumblr.com/search/I’m+eating+chocolate

ANNOUNCEMENT: HalfEatenMind unveils theme wallpaper for Christmas 2012

By Vijay Shah

The festival of peace and goodwill to all men (and women) on Earth is just a couple of weeks away, and already nearly everyone is gearing up for the Christmas season. The stores are awash with fresh plastic trees, mince pies and all manner of various treats and presents for the loved ones. Houses and workplaces up and down the country are being bedecked in tinsel, lights and decorations as people collectively get into the festive spirit.

The first snows of December have already fallen here in Stratford, although sadly were early in the morning and did not stick around for long. The Christmas adverts on the television are already running at full pelt, and a few days ago I played witness to a Xmas episode of Futurama. Outside of the televised world I took receipt of a mug decorated with a London Underground map for a present at my workplace’s Secret Santa event. A small gift maybe, but at least I could thank my lucky Stars of Bethlehem it was not a garish red and green Christmas edition woolly jumper. That garment with the misshapen reindeer that you promise you will wear to the office party but inevitably will abandon to gather dust in the darkest corner of your wardrobe.

In cyberspace meanwhile, the Half-Eaten Mind’s site landlord WordPress is commemorating Christmas with tiny snowflakes falling from the toolbar over the webpage/dashboard, since the beginning of December (other bloggers will know what I mean).

But here we do not do things by halves. Once again, in the grand decorative tradition of the Half-Eaten Mind wallpaper, duly remembering that Christmas is about honouring the traditions of old; I showcase you the image that will form the blog background from today up until the New Year.

(c) Blingeasy.com via Tommy Writer

When I was a child, I enjoyed receiving Xmas cards and reading the messages contained within but also stopping to admire the pretty and mythologically enchanting scenes that appeared on the cover. Red-chested robins perched on mistletoe branches above thick snow, a pair of siblings with their sleds building a snowman, and the usual Saint Nicholas, reindeer, sleighs and other totems of the artists visualising a quaint, old-fashioned family Christmas in the northern hemisphere.

I found this image from the website of another blogger, Tommy Writer. Based on Google’s Blogger, a rival blogging network to WordPress (but I am sure they don’t mind), Tommy works as an entrepreneur in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia.

I chose this image precisely because it reminds me of those sweet little greetings cards. All the festive motifs are there: tonnes of freshly-fallen snow, the snow figure with his icy vacant expression graced with the traditional carrot for a nose, the spruce tree, a house lit by Yuletide candles… and this being an animated GIF image, the flashing lights and ‘disco snow’ – a theme reminiscent to me, of the fascination with the lights glowing around my family tree from my youth. Reds, whites, greens and oranges. All illuminating our humble Christmas tree in an aura of colour – instilling it as the epicentre of our otherwise fairly ordinary British family living-room. That had always helped in its own small way bring alive the Christmas spirit.

From me here at the Half-Eaten Mind, I wish my family, friends, supporters and all our Brainiacs a truly Merry Christmas 2012.

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Merry Christmas! 圣诞快乐!” – TommyWriter | All about Tommy’s Discoveries LINK