Playlist: Sweet Tunes for Your Valentine’s Day

Written by Annie Montgomery of  MontgomeryFest

Whether this weekend has you curling your hair for a fancy-pants dinner or curling up on the couch in your coziest pair of socks, you’ll need some sweet tunes to hum along to. I’ve rounded up some of my favorite romantic jams—consider it my valentine to you: the perfect soundtrack for your February 14.

Total time: 44 mins
Listen to it right here

Valentine's Day Playlist from Julep

Photo: The track list image of pretty pink peonies (above) was taken by me at the King of Belgium’s garden just outside Brussels (and since I couldn’t pick the flowers themselves, I had to settle for a different kind of pic!).

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DIY: Easy Classroom Valentines Ideas (With Treats!)

I love custom classroom valentines—my kids hand them out every year. Usually, I like to attach a special treat or prize to the card, which is why this year, I designed my “School of Fish” valentine with exactly this in mind. It pairs perfectly with a handful goldfish crackers or Swedish fish. Or, if your classroom doesn’t allow edibles, your kiddos can pass out dolphin temporary tattoos or fish-shaped pencils, instead.  —Jill Means

I also fell in love with the “King of the Jungle” classroom valentines by Bob Daly. My nephew Blake loves animals so they’re perfect—he’s going to pass his valentines out with a small animal toy, but you could also package them with animal crackers.

Supplies:
Classroom valentines (I used my “School of Fish” valentine and “King of the Jungle” by Bob Daly)
• Treats and prizes (we used Swedish fish, goldfish crackers, dolphin tattoos for “School of Fish;” animal crackers and toys for “King of the Jungle”)
• Small hole punch
• Baker’s twine
Cellophane treat bags

Steps:
Fill each bag halfway with corresponding treats/toys. Punch a hole at the top of each valentine; take a length of baker’s twine and thread it through the hole and tie the bag closed. You could also use Minted’s glassine favor bags and seal them with a coordinating sticker or washi tape.

Jill Means is a designer at Minted and sometimes blogs at CrashCourseCreative.com.


More Valentine’s Day DIYs:
• Easy Valentine’s Day Heart Pillow
• No-Sew Valentine Treat Bags
• Valentine’s Day Party Glasses
• No-Sew Valentine Mail Bag
• Valentine Present Toppers
• Fill-in-the-Blank Valentine’s Day Card (free printable!)

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The 10 Best Holiday Movies (Watch One Tonight!)

This holiday season, in addition to our regular Julep contributors, we’re also sharing stories from our Minted artists and designers about how they celebrate this most wonderful time of the year.

Every year during the holidays, I enjoy spending time with my family watching our favorite holiday movies. We like to slow down the hectic pace of the season by snuggling on the sofa with a mug of hot cocoa (with whipped cream, of course!) and just laugh, giggle, and maybe even shed a tear. Here are ten of my favorite holiday movies in no particular order… I hope you enjoy!  —Kerry

10 Best Holiday Movies to Watch

Name: Kerry Doyle of Paper Dahlia
Where you’re based: San Francisco, CA
How long you’ve been with Minted: 6 years
Favorite thing about the holidays: Spending time with my family!
On my wish list this year: A Cintiq for illustration… a girl can dream, right?
This never fails to get me in the holiday spirit: Decorating the Christmas tree is the official start of the holidays for me. I like to put on some fun holiday tunes and make it a party.
Fave holiday tradition: I love getting all the beautiful holiday cards in the mail! And of course Minties’ cards are always the best!


More Holiday Ideas:
• Printable Cyanotype Gift Tags
• Gold Holiday Laurel Leaf
• Easy Holiday Luminarias
• Family-Trivia Game (play this after Christmas dinner!)
• Glowing Star Garland with LED Lights
• Modern Paper-Tree Garland

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DIY: Printable Watercolor Tartan Gift Tags

This holiday season, in addition to our regular Julep contributors, we’re also sharing stories from our Minted artists and designers about how they celebrate this most wonderful time of the year.

Printable Watercolor Holiday Gift Tags

Name: Laura Condouris
Where you’re based: Baltimore, MD
How long you’ve been with Minted: Five years!
Favorite thing about the holidays: Everyone is extra generous and kind this time of year.
On my wish list this year: ”Adopting” an African elephant from the Baltimore Zoo.
This never fails to get me in the holiday spirit: Putting on the “John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together” record! It’s the BEST.
Fave holiday tradition: Bursting into tears at the end of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” every single time.

Chances are you’re probably in major gift-wrapping mode right now and we’re here to help! Dress up your packages with these wonderfully wintry tartan gift tags, handpainted by Laura Condouris.

Click through to download our ready-to-print gift-tag designs

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Recipe: All-Natural Red Velvet Cake (Made With Beets!)

This holiday season, in addition to our regular Julep contributors, we’re also sharing stories from our Minted artists and designers about how they celebrate this most wonderful time of the year.

All-Natural Red Velvet Cake Recipe

Name: Elizabeth Hatchett of Betty Hatchett Design
Where you’re based: Cincinnati, Ohio
How long you’ve been with Minted: Three years
Favorite thing about the holidays: I love the challenge of finding/making the right gift for folks…one that helps them feel known and loved.
On my wish list this year: After sniffing a friend’s collection of essential oils this fall, I’d love to have some cedar and eucalyptus oils.
This never fails to get me in the holiday spirit: Bing Crosby and David Bowie’s “Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy” duet (along with Will Ferrell’s spoof, or course).
Favorite holiday tradition: In the days leading up to New Year’s, my husband Sam and I go through the year’s pictures and make a book. It’s such a fun way to remember moments in the past year together.

My mom has been making red velvet cake for as long as I can remember for the holidays. It’s our fancy dessert that sits atop her 1950s crystal cake platter, and we savor its light-as-a-cloud fluffy goodness after our main meal. To me, it wouldn’t be Christmas without red velvet cake. This year, though, I’ve been wondering if there’s a way to achieve the brilliant-red color without all of the artificial food coloring. Keep reading to find out if I was able to pull it off…  —Elizabeth

Click through to read more about Elizabeth’s red-velvet adventures

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DIY: Holiday Luminarias (with printable template!)

This holiday season, in addition to our regular Julep contributors, we’re also sharing stories from our Minted artists and designers about how they celebrate this most wonderful time of the year.

Name: Laura Hankins
Where you’re based: Edmond, Oklahoma
How long you’ve been with Minted: Since 2008
Favorite thing about the holidays: the family time, the foods, the decorations, the classic movies and music… I love it all!
On my wish list this year: A new phone. I routinely overload mine with photos—time to upgrade!
This never fails to get me in the holiday spirit: Mariah Carey’s “Merry Christmas” album
Favorite holiday tradition: One tradition we started while vacationing on our honeymoon is to pick out an ornament as our souvenir from each trip. It’s so fun to unpack them every year and remember all of the great places we’ve visited together.

One of my favorite memories growing up was the drive home from Christmas Eve mass—my dad would drive around a bit so we could look at the different light displays in our neighborhood. My favorite was a street of old homes that lined its’ long sidewalks with luminarias each year. There was nothing prettier than all of those little paper bags glowing up and down the street. Recreate the look at your own home with my easy DIY luminaria tutorial.  —Laura

Click through for the step-by-step instructions

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DIY: Snowman Place Cards

This holiday season, in addition to our regular Julep contributors, we’re also sharing stories from our Minted artists and designers about how they celebrate this most wonderful time of the year.

Name: Bob Daly
Where you’re based: Reston, VA
How long you’ve been with Minted: Since August 2012
Favorite thing about the holidays: Sugar cookies
On my holiday wish list this year: Things for my toolbox
This never fails to get me in the holiday spirit: Cheesy 80s holiday rock songs
Favorite holiday tradition: Decorating cookies with the kids

For a festive (and fast!) way to dress up your dinner table for the holidays, Bob shared this adorable and easy-to-make snowman place-card tutorial.

Click through for the step-by-step instructions

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Holiday Cookie Recipe: Kris Crinkles

This holiday season, in addition to our regular Julep contributors, we’re also sharing stories from our Minted artists and designers about how they celebrate this most wonderful time of the year.

Name: Ann Gardner
Where you’re based: Irving, TX
How long you’ve been with Minted: Since February 2010
Favorite thing about the holidays: People seem to be in a better mood, generally nicer, and more giving this time of the year.
On my holiday wish list this year: The past couple of years have been rough for me and my husband, so I’m going to be a bit selfish this year and wish for good health for me and our families… and world peace, of course.
This never fails to get me in the holiday spirit: Ever since I can remember, the “official” start of the holiday season was watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade—my family would wait for Santa to arrive at the end of the parade and I looked forward to it every year. It was just one of those small, simple things our family shared together during the holiday season.

I’ve loved baking for as long as I can remember (check out the photo of me and my brother (below) decorating cookies when we were kids!) In fact, I went to culinary school and studied baking and pastry arts. Although I ultimately choose a career in design, I still like to bake. And nothing compares to the smell of something baking in the oven, especially around the holidays. My recipe for Kris Crinkle Cookies is one of my favorites—it fills the house with the warm scent of spices and gingerbread. It’s an easy recipe that’s perfect for cold, wintry days (and I promise they taste as good as they look!).  —Ann

Click through for the recipe and to download the recipe-card printable… 

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Gift Guide: For Your Adventurous and Outdoorsy Sister

This holiday season, in addition to our regular Julep contributors, we’re also sharing stories from our Minted artists and designers about how they celebrate this most wonderful time of the year.

Name: Katie Keyworth of Katie Craig Art
Where you’re based: Dallas, TX
How long you’ve been with Minted: One year
Favorite thing about the holidays: I really enjoy the hunt for the perfect gift, whether big or small. I love the person to know I put thought and love into it!
On my holiday wish list this year: Jersey lounge pants, a garment steamer (ha!), and a Baggu monogrammed backpack (as shown above) for myself, too.
Favorite holiday tradition: Christmas Eve, hands down. Growing up, my family would have a nice, quiet dinner with my grandparents that consisted of ham, scalloped potatoes, and steamed fresh green beans with butter. The mood on Christmas Eve is so heavy with anticipation yet wonderfully peaceful, it has always stuck with me.

You know that girl who jumps out of planes (and still manages to look cute!), dyes her hair blue (and it actually looks good!), and rides her long board (with her hair knotted oh-so-stylishly in a bun!)? Yah, that’s my sister! I have yet to figure out where she gets the guts for all her adventures (as I’m quite the opposite)—she is a traveler, full of sass, and always on the forefront of utilitarian-chic style. I’ve compiled a grouping of gifts I know she’ll love; hopefully something also fits the bill for someone on your holiday gift list, too. (Note to my sister: You’re not getting all of them, xoxo!)  —Katie

Click through for all the product details from Katie’s gift guide

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10 Holiday Gift-Wrapping Essentials

This holiday season, in addition to our regular Julep contributors, we’re also sharing stories from our Minted artists and designers about how they celebrate this most wonderful time of the year.

Name: Kimberly FitzSimons
Where you’re based: Pelham, New York
How long you’ve been with Minted: Five years
Favorite thing about the holidays: nonstop holiday music—it always puts me in a good mood. 
On my holiday wish list this year:
 Five different brands/shades of red lipstick. I’m determined to nail the perfect red lip!
Favorite holiday tradition: It just started, but it will be making holiday cookies with my daughters.

My family is very serious about wrapping holiday presents. The title of Best Gift Wrapper of the Season is very coveted and is partially based on how tightly the gifter can secure the ribbon atop a wrapped package! My father wins every year, but I’m determined to take the title this year with these holiday gift-wrapping favorites.  —Kimberly

Click through for all of Kimberly’s holiday gift-wrapping essentials…

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