The Blog
Ever heard of Harp Design Company ;)

Do you guys recall our Texas road trip last spring?  Ok, we didn’t drive all the way to Texas.  We flew into Dallas, road tripped for about a week, then flew out of Austin. It was one of our favorite family trips of all time, and i think it totally counts as a road trip 😉 We Loved this family vacation, with a capitol “L”. We still talk about all the time; “Remember when we rode horses at the dude ranch?”,  “Remember when we swam in that cool hotel pool?” “Remember Captain Chris and MaryBeth’s boat on Lake Travis?” We knew right away that this trip would be one that the boys would remember for the rest of their lives.

One stop we had to make was in Waco, TX. I am sure you can guess why.  It’s the home of the mega stars from HGTV’s Fixer Upper, Joanna and Chip Gaines.  We toured their Magnolia store and beautiful grounds… and, oh my word. It’s so lovely, very well curated, and felt immediately that my products should be in there 😉

We also wanted to make sure we found the headquarters for Joanna’s famous woodworker “Cliiiiiiiiiinnnntt” (said with a heavy and drawn out southern accent.) Clint Harp and his team at Harp Design Company make the most gorgeous, one-of-a-kind pieces out of recycled wood. He is sweet, kind, uber talented, and also now has his OWN show on DIY network called Wood Work.

While I was in the Harp Design Co shop, I couldn’t help but snag some beautiful gifts (umm, for myself.) One of the items I grabbed was a hand carved wooden heart shaped bowl.  It was so “me.” I thought I would use it as a “catch all” at out entry way, but it’s so sweet that it ended up on our living room coffee table and is an adorable conversation piece.

Last month we had a fun photo shoot with a local Syracuse publication and I snapped a few photos of our (clean) house on my iphone, then posted one on Instagram. This photo had Clint’s Wooden Heart Bowl in the frame. Someone at Harp Design Company saw it, and then reposted the photo on Instagram!  I was so honored!!! It was also so cool to see my living room in their feed 🙂

I wanted to share this story because this moment was so impactful for a small (small!) business owner like myself. I am so humble and grateful when influencers like Clint and Kelly Harp take notice of businesses like mine. I am sure they felt the same way when they were getting their start, and it means the world to all of us entrepreneurs.

THANK YOU CLINT AND KELLY!


All the heart (bowls) for everyone!

Love,

5 years ago this week…


A photo from my very first homepage slideshow!

I meant to post this last week, on the actual five year anniversary of ATD, but I was sick on the couch almost the entire week 🙁  So here we are, a week later, but healthy again!

Five years ago this week, I pressed the “live” button on the new Annie Taylor Design site. I was so beyond excited to have a professionally designed site (thank you Two Brunettes!), new products, and gorgeous photos (thank you Alice G. Patterson)! I had been designing wedding invitations at that point for almost 10 years, but this felt like I was taking it to the next level. I was finally a professional. My boys were one, four, and six (omg)! I was ready to hit the wedding market by storm, and hopefully become the most successful invitation designer in my area. Bahahahah!

I hit the ground running, and landed some of my dream wedding clients. No joke. From a wedding in the English countryside, where the couple was very involved in animal rescue and the protection of endangered species… to a granddaughter of President George H.W. Bush and her wedding in Kennebunkport, Maine. I was in my glory.

    

After a couple more years of weddings and parties, and all the pretty little details that fall into the “invitation” category: the invites themselves, programs, maps, itineraries, I started dabbling in more personalized stationery. I was feeling more of a need to connect with the next phase of my life centering around parenting, and connecting with other moms and women my age.

In the Fall of 2015 I opened my online shop and focused mainly on thank you notes; organizational notepads for women; and some kids’ products, like lunch box notes and daily checklists. My new “baby” was released, the Seize the Day Notepad, which became, and still is my all time best seller. I started dreaming about the possibilities of getting my work into retail shops.

I am so grateful to these wonderful independent shops that took a chance on me.  I have developed wonderful relationships with the owners of each of them, and look forward to adding more and more darling shops to the list! Look out for a super fun collaboration I have been working on for months with Daytrip Society in Kennebunkport, Maine, launching this spring!

Another thing I love? My scrumptious boys who “get to” model the kids’ products for me. For every cute shot Alice snaps, we also get lots of hilarious bloopers… these of course become my favorites.

I love where my products have taken me. Designing stationery, notepads, and more is so much fun.  Oftentimes my designs come from a need like my Note to School or the Babysitter Checklist.  Coming soon is my new Pet Sitter Checklist! We can’t forget about our fur babies. Some of my favorite work centers around schools which are then used for fundraisers 🙂

Do you have an idea for a tool that I could create for you? Or do you know of a store that would benefit from carrying my products? Reach out! Email me at annie@annietaylordesign.com

Thanks, friends!

My top 10 holiday movies

I am a total sucker for a good holiday movie. Ever since I was a kid, I always saved them for the stretch between Thanksgiving and Christmas. ONLY. I never broke that rule because I wanted them to remain a special tradition. I actually couldn’t wait until I was mom, so I could share them with my kids in the hope that they would get that same warm, happy feeling while watching.

Now that I am a mom, I would say the boys enjoy most of the holiday movies. However, we did have to DRAG them to a special screening of one at the local movie theater last weekend.  I won’t spoil the surprise, but let’s just say this movie doesn’t excite them in the way it did even just a few years ago 🙁

I’m assuming we would all probably have similar lists for this category, but I will still share my top 10 with you anyway 😉

First, let’s set the scene.

  1. Put on your comfy clothes (my Old Navy flannel pajamas at the moment)
  2. Light a fire in the fireplace (or click the button on your gas insert in our case)
  3. Pour a glass of red wine or a warm a cup of tea with honey…
  4. Snuggle in with the kids and pups, and press play!

Here we go… Annie’s Holiday movie top ten list:

10. Mickey’s Christmas Carol. I kind of forgot about this one until we visited Skaneateles, NY a couple weeks ago.  The entire town indulges in a Charles Dickens themed Christmas in December. It’s truly… adorable. Of course the day we went all three kids were exhausted from a late bedtime the night before and were total misers. Naturally, I told the story of Ebenezer Scrooge and followed it up with this adorable animated classic later that week. #winningatmotherhood

9. The Holiday. Okay, this movie is actually not that great. The acting makes me a cringe a little. BUT I am a sucker for any movie set in England, and the Cotswolds no less! I’m in. Plus this was back when Jude Law was super hot.

8. Elf. Will Farrell, NYC, lots of laughing.  Enough said. #smilingismyfavorite

7. Love Actually. See #9 about movies set in England, and this one is in London. Swoon. Also, there are so many amazing actors in this one, it had to be a homerun. #ihateunclejamie #thatsalotoflegsdavid

6. A Christmas Story. I know this is another cliche movie that I am supposed to love, but I really do!  We always watched it on Christmas day (when it was on repeat on TBS all day!) And maybe I just love Ralphie and Randy, and all the little boy drama.

5. The Grinch (the original animated one!!!) I loved reading this book as a little girl, and I think I wanted to be Cindy Lou Who.

4. Christmas Vacation. This movie came out when I was in middle school, and I am pretty sure I paid to see it at the theater three times. And seriously, is there a holiday movie that’s more quotable?!? #iknowartandthanksfornoticing #hallelujahholyshitwheresthetylenol #merrychristmasshitterwasfull

3. Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas. And yes I am 100% serious. This is the one we took the boys to for a “special family night out” last weekend.  Holy crow, not the best night. They 100% didn’t appreciate it.  But I have a feeling, it’s going to be a special, nostalgic movie for them when they are in their 40s 😉 #1977orbust

2. The Sound of Music. I think I may have decided Kevin was “the one” when I found out about his love of this movie. I always liked it, but he LOVED it and taught me to love it too. Then it became the new holiday tradition when we got married, and I absolutely adore this movie, the actors, the music and the setting. And guess what? So do ALL the kids. #Salzburgherewecome #thevontrappfamilysingers

1. It’s a Wonderful Life (I bet you already knew I would pick this one). It brings all the feels. I have watched this movie on Christmas Eve since the earliest years I can recall. From my grandparents spending the night and watching it before Santa arrived, to all the years I’ve watched it with Kev, and now introducing it to my three boys. I love everything about this movie. The message, the era, and love story, and of course… George Bailey. Oh! We also named our first dog Zuzu Petals after the little girl in the film. Yep, we love this movie! #georgebaileyillloveyoutillthedayidie #hotdog


Our first Christmas together, circa 1999. 

Merry, merry Christmas everyone!

My favorite dress I ever wore…

It was 1987, and I was in 5th grade. I was given the solo in the Christmas Concert (we called it that back then) and I was BEYOND nervous. I truly loved to sing, but was incredibly shy in a group of strangers. Some things never change 😉

For the occasion my mom sewed me a very special dress. The top was ivory satin with lace trim, and the bottom was made with the most beautiful, rich red velvet. Mom nailed it.

The song I sang was “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and I just adored this song. Between the dress, the song choice and my big sister styling my hair… I was ready to go.

 


That cutie in the pink dress and the hair clip next to me became one of my best friends in the world.

Ever since then, when I hear this song, I go back to the memories of my 10 year old self (don’t you love how songs do that?) My favorite versions are by The Carpenters and James Taylor. I play them tirelessly on our Alexa in the kitchen as I cook dinner and wash dishes, just as my mom would do.

Of course I had to make this Christmas memory into a print, and now holiday cards. They are timeless, and some of my favorite holiday decor. When I see it not only do I feel festive, but I also feel so nostalgic. I am that terrified little girl, that put her nerves aside, made it happen and made herself really proud.

Do you have a holiday memory that you would like to have made into a print or cards?  I ADORE doing that for clients. Let me know! I recently designed one for a friend that accidentally would misspell “Ho, ho, ho” to “Oh, oh, oh” as a child.  We made her prints to give out as gifts this year and I can’t wait to hear about how they react. How adorable is that?!?

Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas, friends.  From me to you.


Don’t forget about my holiday open house, this Saturday 12/8!

 

Tired of feeling so frazzled?

Friend: How are you?
Me: Ugh, I’m just so busy! You?
Friend: Me too! I can’t seem to catch up or get out of my own way.
Me: OMG, same! When will our lives feel less chaotic?
Friend: I don’t know, when our kids are out of the house?
Me: (Laughs) Sad but true.

Is this you, and your friends? It certainly seems to be the convo I have had over and over (and over!) with my girlfriends for the last several years.
And, well, it sucks. I don’t want to feel so frazzled all the time. I don’t want to wish this time away while my kids are young. I truly want to enjoy them, be present, and not feel so… busy

So how do we do that?  I am still learning every single day, I will tell you that. But I am definitely taking notes and trying to notice what works for me and what doesn’t. One thing FOR CERTAIN that helps me stay clearer about my intentions each day, is the morning ritual of writing down some notes about the day as I drink that first cup of coffee (actually it’s the second cup. The first one is consumed as I am wrangling the boys to school.) My friend Jess, taught me the importance of setting intentions for the day. It can truly set the tone for the day just by putting it out there in the universe.

Next, I break up my day into work and personal priorities, school commitments, self care, and of course the ever dreaded dinner plan. For whatever psychological reasons there are behind this, the day seems so much more manageable when it’s broken down into segments. Just by taking it one thing at a time, I get a sense of accomplishment along the way. And that motivates me to get more of the things done.

Of course my go-to tool for all this organizing is none other than the Seize the Day Notepad It makes perfect sense to me why it’s the best seller in the online shop, and why most of our wholesalers can’t keep it in stock!

One last thing to share… Our Modern Arrow Organization Collection was chosen for the Old Port Magazine Holiday Gift Guide this year. I am so excited to have ATD selected, and to represent in our other home-state, Maine. Thank you Old Port Magazine!!! Once I get a copy, I will share it right here.

Ok busy friends, carpe diem! And share with me how you use your #seizethedaynotepad!