The Moments in Between & a Minted Giveaway

There are many holiday traditions that make this time of year one of my absolute favorites. The significance of it being a time to celebrate and enjoy the people in our lives has never been clearer to me, especially as we prepare to spend this Christmas in New York City without anyone else around. Just the five of us, spending our last Christmas as Manhattan residents cozy and tucked away in the warm light of our home amongst the concrete towers.

This year, particularly the last couple of weeks, really brought our family together. The hairline fractures in our external glass shell have been fused for a long, long time. Perhaps forever. Of course there’s a bit of sadness knowing that we’ll be “alone” for the holidays, but I’m also looking forward to celebrating each other, especially as we wrap up this stint in our lives as New Yorkers. That, we have earned.

In the days before Hurricane Sandy, I had loosely put together a family photo shoot with one of my favorite photographers, Ali Smith. Ali is getting ready to publish her photo book, Momma Love (do yourself a favor and take a peek), as well as being the talent behind my past two header photos.

I had a sort of off-the-wall vision for this particular shoot: I wanted it to be beautiful but real, glamorous with a touch of mundane. Not the sort of cocktail of characteristics that usually describe a Holiday Photo shoot, but I’m really living in a do-or-die sort of mentality lately. Go all in, or don’t bother at all. So we went for it.

I arranged for the boys to wear matching Appaman Fine Tailoring Mod suits that I have been drooling over for years. Appaman is a local Brooklyn company that is run by Lynn and Harald Husum, a husband and wife team. It is the brand of choice for my boys, as it is all very cute and well made clothing. The suits are even better in person!

Zoe’s dress from one of my favorite designers for little girls, LunaLuna Copenhagen. I found this dress on their website and got a great discount on it (win/win!). I have a ton of fun dressing them-especially when I get to be the creative director for all of my own editorial. Lucky me.


Before we headed to the laundry room in our building for the actual photo shoot, we let the kids play around outside a bit to get loosened up a little.

The following photos were taken by Ali Smith.


My vision was all about enjoying all the moments that happen in between significant milestones, events, Monday and Friday… Because those are the ones that make up our lives whether we’re happy about it or not. Maybe this will help me to remember the days when the kids used to play in the laundry carts in our NYC apartment building. They absolutely loved it, every single time.

We picked a photo and I went to Minted to create our holiday photo cards. It was very difficult to pick one photo (literally, it took us days to decide), and I had no less than 15 different saved designs when it came down to decision time. Minted’s website is so easy to use, and there are a ton of tasteful, beautiful and original designs to choose from… Lots of New Years and Holiday cards especially, of course.

Screen shot 2012-11-12 at 1.17.49 PM

In the end, we compromised. I used our favorite photo from our shoot with Ali, as well as a great shot of the kids that was captured in our hotel room during the hurricane. The option of two photos made for a much easier decision.


… And on the back:

Screen shot 2012-11-12 at 11.15.29 PM

I’m so happy with the way they turned out, even if the laundry room was a bit out there. Photography is one of my favorite things ever. It’s an art form that I appreciate more and more, as well as being a very cathartic and fun hobby for me personally. I truly loved being able to tie in many of the things I love the most into this project, and have beautiful memories, and cards, to keep forever.

Win It

I am thrilled to offer a giveaway of a $100 gift code to so that one of you can order cards as well!

To Enter:

Leave a comment telling me your favorite holiday tradition.

Extra entries:

Share this contest on Facebook.
“Like” Momma Love by Ali Smith on Facebook
“Like” Minted on Facebook
“Like” Appaman on Facebook.

Please leave a separate comment for each completed entry.

This post was supposed to go up last week, but due to complications from Hurricane Irene I wasn’t able to publish. Therefore, the contest will be a FAST one so that you can order your cards with plenty of time!

Sweepstakes will run from today, November 12th until Sunday night, November 18th at midnight, EST. Good luck!

UPDATE: Winner Announcement:

Congratulations to Nicole Alas! Winner was chosen randomly via And The Winner Is, a WordPress plugin. Thank you to everyone who entered!

I was not compensated for this post. I received a set of cards from Minted, and the boy’s suits from Appaman for purposes of this review/post. All opinions are my own.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.


  • Jess! The pics are gorgeous!
    My favorite holiday tradition is gathering at my parent’s home with the entire family on Christmas Eve, midnight mass, going back to my parent’s home for a super late dinner and opening presents all together. πŸ™‚

  • Favorite holiday tradition is heading into the woods to cut down our Christmas tree…hot cocoa afterwards to warm up! Love it!

  • Liked you on Facebook!

  • Like minted on facebook!

  • My favorite holiday tradition is picking out the Christmas tree with my dad.

  • My favorite holiday is thanksgiving… No pressure, no presents- just good conversation and love.

  • My favorite holiday tradition is getting creative with different turkey crafts to do with the kids and letting them decide which family member to mail it to!!

  • My favorite tradition is a new one this year: My husband and I are spending a day making homemade gifts with our daughter (15 months old) to give to family and friends. Not only will they love the gifts, but we get to spend a whole day as a family doing nothing but painting, scrapbooking, cutting, and glittering! Win win!

  • Liked “Momma Love”!

  • My best holiday is today: Diwali. Sadly it is not a real holiday but one we still try and do with kids. We light little lamps for every room to signify light triumphing over evil/darkness

  • Fave family tradition is gathering for thanksgiving dinner and together saying what we are each thankful for!

  • My favorite family tradition is gathering for Thanksgiving. It’s not a holiday about gifts, but spending time with your family and simply being together.

  • I “liked” Minted on Facebook!

  • I “liked” Momma Love!

  • The pictures look gorgeous! πŸ™‚

    My favourite holiday tradition: Pancake-Party in bed with the whole family. Eating pancakes, talking, laughing, listening to old music, wishing these could last forever.
    The smallest start napping, because the “party” lasts until the afternoon.

  • Our favorite holiday tradition is to use the hand-drawn “turkey hands” seat cards that O made about five years ago for Thanksgiving dinner placecards. We always reminisce when she made them every time we take them out. We also love taking out the Christmas ornaments, unwrapping them, and remembering who gave which ornament — its much more fun than putting them on the tree!

  • I Liked Momma Love!
    ps.. love the card…so incredibly cute.

  • I Liked Minted!

  • I Liked Appaman!

  • Our traditions are varied because we have traditional German and Italian customs; our stockings and 7 fishes meal. My husband is from Puerto Rico so we celebrate Christmas and Three Kings Day. No matter the heritage we have awesome food and surround ourselves with family no matter how large or how small.

  • Our favorite holiday tradition? Brand new PJs on Christmas Eve (not that they actually sleep in them, mind you, but they look really cute!)

  • My favorite holiday tradition is putting up the Christmas tree. I always wish we could keep it up year round πŸ™‚

  • “liked” you on Facebook!

  • “liked” Minted on Facebook!

  • We do a “kids” (who are now all in their 30s… but the name stuck!) party on Christmas Eve, where we stay up late drinking, chatting, and exchanging little (under $5) gifts with each other πŸ™‚

  • My favorite Christmas tradition would be decorating the tree together and have a nice meal after, while listening to Christmas music.

  • I like Appaman on Facebook.

  • I like Minted on Facebook.

  • I like Ali Smith on Facebook.

  • I have two favorite traditions. First, decorating the tree as a family, first as a family of two and now of three. This will be the first year our daughter will really be able to “help” and I can’t wait. The other is doing our Advent calendar. Two years ago I bought an amazing hand made calendar from an Etsy seller. It was pricey but I love it and it should last for my daughter to have the same tradition with her own children some day.

  • I β€œLike” Momma Love by Ali Smith on Facebook!

  • I β€œLike” Minted on Facebook. (I mean, who doesn’t like Minted ANYWHERE! I’d love to win this one but will likely use them regardless.)

  • I β€œLike” Appaman on Facebook.

  • first- this is the best family photo i have seen in a long while!!!! i have have two traditions- both which will change this year as my family
    home has sold after 38 years! we had 30ft ceilings and each year we would go to the mtn lot in the forest to cut down the biggest tree we could find! all while my mom saying in the background, its too big!!! usually ended up about 18ft. i also loved that santa came on the staircase every year. he always had wrapppd everything in special santa paper. everyone was excited to see that special santa gift big or small on the stairs! we also enjoy picking out toys for the needy and droping them at the shelter.

  • I ADORE the pictures and the boy’s suits. You make city life look so fun and glamorous (says the Suburban mom in yoga pants with a minivan in the garage). πŸ˜‰

  • I shared on Facebook. πŸ™‚

  • I liked Appaman.

  • I liked Momma Love.

  • And last but not least, I liked Minted. πŸ™‚

  • I love gift wrapping with my kids!

  • My favorite holiday tradition is picking out our Christmas tree. We always let our daughter sit on top of our suv with the tree when we get home and take a picture. It is a favorite moment for everyone!

  • Favorite tradition is when my three brothers fly in from the far stretches of the country to spend time at our family home in New Jersey. All of the new baby cousins playing together surrounded by my doting parents, there is nothing more precious and important!

  • My favorite holiday tradition is baking cookies for Santa. I LOVE the little notes my girls leave out for him with the cookies, and how lovingly they set the table for him. πŸ™‚

  • I like Momma Love on FB (

  • I like Minted on FB (

  • I like Appaman on FB (

  • I liked Minted on Facebook.

  • My favorite holiday tradition is making the trip to the tree farm, picking out and cutting down our tree, and bringing it home to dress it up just right. Turning on the Christmas music and sipping hot toddies by the fire completes the entire experience, I find. πŸ™‚

  • My favorite holiday tradition is wrapping gifts on Christmas Eve with my mom and sister. They live far away from me and we travel to be with them for Christmas. We all save our gifts to wrap until that night and while the menfolk watch tv we enjoy our girl time πŸ™‚

  • I liked Minted on Facebook

  • I liked Appaman on Facebook.

  • our favorite tradition is giving the kids hot chocolate and driving to see Christmas lights πŸ™‚

  • I β€œLike” Momma Love by Ali Smith on Facebook

  • I β€œLike”d Minted on Facebook

  • β€œLike”d Appaman on Facebook

  • I love baking Christmas cookies with my kids and sharing the Christmas story with them!

  • I like ‘minted’ on Facebook!

  • I liked ‘appaman’ on Facebook!

  • Favorite holiday tradition is going to the beach to see the “christmas ships” from shore and singing along with the carols while sipping hot drinks.

  • liked “momma love”

  • We love to watch Elf every year as a family! And, each year my kids cuddle up and sleep in our room on Christmas Eve so we all wake up together Christmas morning.

  • My favorite Holiday Tradition is baking Christmas goodies and making up plates for the neighbors!

  • My favorite tradition is decorating the house and the tree as a family:)

  • My favorite tradition is decorating our Christmas tree & then admiring it twinkling away in the dark with hot chocolate!

  • I liked minted on Facebook

  • Every year at Thanksgiving my Dad’s side of the family (grandma, aunts, uncles, cousins) get together for lunch. After we’re all good and full, we rest up a bit then start getting ready for our photo shoot. We coordinate outfits usually a month or so beforehand. I take my dslr, tripod and trusty remote control and I photograph our whole family (all 13 of us!). We go to various places around the town my grandma lives in (and where my Dad & uncles grew up). It’s fun, funny and all our family-friends look forward to seeing these pictures each year. This is a tradition 5-years strong. It’s awesome to see how we’ve grown and changed over the years.

  • I liked “Momma Love” on Facebook πŸ™‚

  • I liked “Minted” on Facebook πŸ™‚

  • I liked “Appaman” on Facebook πŸ™‚

  • i liked momma love on facebook

  • i liked minted on facebook

  • i liked appaman on facebook

  • my fave holiday tradition is decorating the christmas tree and drinking hot mulled wine (gluehwein), and also, having my 2 boys wear red jammies on christmas eve…

  • My favorite holiday tradition is the Christmas pickle! Every year it’s hidden on the tree on Christmas Eve and the person who finds it first gets a special prize! It’s silly but so fun!

  • I liked Momma Love by Ali Smith on Facebook!

  • I liked Minted on Facebook!

  • I liked Appaman on Facebook!

  • My favorite holiday tradition as a kid was driving around to see all the Christmas lights in the surrounding neighborhoods. Hot chocolate was always served after. πŸ™‚

  • Love your family photos! My favorite holiday tradition has to be decorating cookies while listening to the same Christmas album we listened to as kids.

  • Like you on Facebook. πŸ™‚

  • Liked minted on Facebook

  • LOVE Minted. Used them for Lucas’ birth announcements this year and they came out spectacularly. Although, I don’t like the design process and once you choose a design it’s very limited as to what you can change.

    My fave holiday tradition is Christmas Eve with my extended family.

    Great photos btw!

  • I like Mama Love on Facebook.

  • I like Minted on Facebook.

  • I like leaving cookies out for Santa and carrots for the reindeer.

  • I like Minted on Facebook.

  • Our favorite holiday tradition is new jammies for all on Christmas Eve. So fun!

  • I LIKED Minted on Facebook!

  • I LIKED Appaman on Facebook! Love the suits!

  • We make our youngest sibling (who is now 30!) pass out all the presents to everyone. It’s still funny to us, even thought it must be terribly annoying to her.

  • My favorite holiday tradition is all the delicious Polish food my mom (and husband) make on Christmas eve! I am currently agonizing over our holiday card. It’s been so challenging to get a decent family photo now that my little guy (17 mo) won’t sit still for more than 1.5 seconds. I managed to get one of him smiling at the camera, and my husband was making a crazy-eyed goofy face in that one shot!

  • Cutting down our Christmas tree as a family the weekend after Thanksgiving πŸ™‚

  • Purchasing and decorating a pint sized Christmas tree — I say pint sized because we live in an apartment and are limited for space. This year I hope to actually have the opportunity to cut one down myself πŸ™‚

  • I love picking out our tree sold on the city sidewalk with my husband. Weather is always different – snowing or warm and humid out, or raining or frigid cold. Its always a challenge to lug the tree home as we dodge the pedestrians on the sidewalk – and smelling the tree as the scent takea over the elevator. And then we look back and see the trail of pine needles in the hallway. After living in NYC for 10 years, we finally have a baby to share this tradition! Would love to use the Minted code for our first holiday card with baby!

  • Likes Minted on Facebook

  • Likes Appaman on Facebook

  • Liked momma love on Facebook

  • Love singing Christmas carols together at our church service!

  • I love baking and decorating cookies. My very fave.

  • Shared on FB!

  • Liked Momma Love on FB!

  • Liked Minted on FB!

  • Liked Appaman on FB!

  • My favorite holiday tradition is our Christmas ornament tradition. Each year we get/give a Christmas ornament based on something amazing that happened to us that year. This year I ordered Brayden a really cute ornament to celebrate starting Kindergarten and moving to CA. For Barrett I ordered some for moving to CA and a princess ballerina to celebrate her starting and loving dance class.It is so close to my heart that Brett proposed to me this way, with a snowman ornament saying “Will you marry me on it.” So sweet I tear up every time thinking about it! Yay for the holidays, I just love them!

  • My favorite holiday tradition is our annual gingerbread decorating party! We line up the little men, each grab a color, and frost away! So fun!

  • I’m a fan of Minted on FB πŸ™‚ (love your photos btw!)

  • My favorite holiday tradition is baking pies with my dad, and now my son too!

  • I absolutely love these photos!

    My favorite traditions include baking cookies and decorating the house and tree for Christmas.

  • Last year I started a tradition of having 25 books wrapped and each night before bed we would open and read one…it was a HUGE hit! I am going to do this again this year…and probably every year from now on!

  • Liked Momma Love on FB!

  • My favorite tradition is getting our tree the weekend after Thanksgiving. It maximizes Christmas cheer!

  • This will be our 3rd Christmas celebrating with little ones, so we don’t have our traditions set in stone yet, but last year, we spent the entire day with each other. Woke up, made breakfast, opened gifts, listened to Christmas music (my favorite!), and loved up on each other. We both come from pretty big families, so “sneaking off” and enjoying out newly formed family of 3 was heaven. Heaven! This year we have another one with us, so it’ll be even more lovely! P.S. Your holiday card is seriously the best one I’ve ever seen. Love.

  • Christmas morning breakfast!

  • liked Momma Love by Ali Smith on Facebook

  • I like Appaman on Facebook.

  • love the PJ one! Might have to steal that idea one year πŸ™‚ Love the traditions of a big meal around Thanksgiving/Christmas

  • Awesome photo! Growing up my parents bought me an ornament for every year of my life (up until about 28) then my husband and I started doing it and now we’re excited this year to start our new daughter’s collection. It’s so much fun going over each ornament and seeing what I was into that year!

  • I liked Momma’s Gone City on Facebook!

  • I liked Minted on Facebook!

  • I shared your contest on Facebook!

  • Jessica, i really love looking at your family pic..
    if you ask me what’s my favorite holiday moment, it is spending time with the family.
    But my experience as i remember back to 8.5 years ago before i finally migrated to US was having a christmas with fear that something bad is going to happen in one or maybe more churches. I don’t want to talk about racism or religious differences here but yes, that how i felt those day among all of the happiest feeling.
    Now i have my own family here, I’ve got married and have a wonderful daughter who’s our biggest thing in life. We feel blessed for being able to give her an unforgettable memory of having a great holiday, to be able to thankful for everything that we had or received whether it is small or big. But the most important is to have a beautiful memory without mixing it with fear. Really grateful that we are going to create our own path with a beautiful thing to remember.

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