Fun Date Ideas for Your Best Valentine’s Day Ever!

There’s a reason we’ve all been on a ‘dinner and a movie’ date—it’s a classic! But sometimes for a special occasion, you want to do something a bit more outside the box than a good meal and the latest blockbuster. This Valentine’s Day, we’ve got you covered! We rounded up a few of our favorite ideas for a fun, memorable date, perfect for new couples, long-term loves, and Galentines alike.

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Pack a picnic and head outside!

The best part about this date is that it’s completely customizable! If you’re lucky enough to live near the beach like we do, head to the sand, sun, and sea. If you not, a local park will be the perfect backdrop for a romantic day in the fresh air! Live somewhere it’s too cold outside? Spread out a blanket on your living room floor and—voilà! All you need is a little imagination and a good sense of humor. Re: food, you can go as involved or as simple as you like! Even grabbing sandwiches from your favorite local cafe is great. After all, it’s the company that really matters! (Though we’re always partial to a super fancy cheese plate, if we’re being honest.)

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Visit the adorable pups and cats at your local animal shelter!

Studies show that cuddling with a cute dog or kitten can increase levels of oxytocin in your system (also known as the “love hormone”!), perfect for building a closer bond with your person. And, who knows? For those in serious relationships, maybe this date will end with the introduction of a third (furry!) member of the family.

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Visit a local bookstore and share your favorite books with one another!

Each of you can pick your favorite classic (think back to that Literature 101 class you took freshman year of college), your favorite book of all time, and one that you think your partner would like. If your shop has a cafe, grab a latte and just chat about these books! Super cheap, but super meaningful—you’ll learn a ton about each other in just a few short hours.

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Spend an evening at an arcade or roller rink!

Nothing brings a couple together like some good old fashioned nostalgia! Strap on some skates or dominate at skee-ball, and feel like a kid again. Love will blossom over a shared cotton candy! Who knows? Maybe you’ll head home with that giant teddy bear you always wanted as a kid.

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Haven’t been struck by Cupid’s arrow as of late? Spend February 13th celebrating one of our favorite holidays: Galentine’s Day!

Invite all of your best gals over and party the way the holiday’s creator (Park’s & Recreation‘s Leslie Knope, of course!) intended—with brunch! Make it potluck-style to keep hosting easy, and then just keep the waffles coming and the mimosas flowing. An awesome time will be had by all!

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The Cardtorial Valentine’s Day Gift Guide is here!

As fun as heart-shaped boxes of chocolate and life-sized teddy bears can be, sometimes you’re just looking for a Valentine’s Day gift that’s a bit more heartfelt and will last a lifetime. That’s where we come in! We have tons of fun ideas, perfect for celebrating the love in your life–no matter who they are.

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Where in the world is your love? Who knows! What you do know is that when this always-on-the-move lady is with you, it feels like you’ve got the whole world in your arms. Celebrate your love with a gift that lets her know just how much you admire her adventurous spirit.  

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You’re My World Card // Eat Well, Travel Often Frame // To The World Box

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Every night you come home to find him cooking up something delicious in the kitchen. He makes your life easier and your stomach happy! Celebrate his culinary skills this Valentine’s Day with a present that fits perfectly in the kitchen (or out!).

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Love You Beyond Measure Card // Pineapple Coasters // Market List Clipboard

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She can make anything bloom–from the flowers in your garden, to the love in your heart. Show her how much you appreciate her ability to make the everyday beautiful with a gift featuring a bouquet almost as lovely as she is, one that will last forever.

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Protea Journal // Botanical Frame // I Love You Floral Card

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He might not come indoors long enough for you to celebrate Valentine’s Day–so surprise your adventure-loving cutie with a gift to fit his free spirit. Planning the perfect camping trip? Now that part is up to you!

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You’re A Catch Card // Bear Journal // Ultimate Adventurer Card

Meet Our Brand New Frames!

 

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Here at Cardtorial, our design process is guided by a desire to celebrate the moments that make life wonderful—from the everyday smiles to the really big milestones, we think everything that fills your life with joy deserves to be celebrated.

From our love of reminiscing came the idea for our brand new picture frames!! We could never find picture frames we felt were both special enough to display our favorite memories AND pretty enough to fit in perfectly with our decor–so we made our own! And who hasn’t caught themselves absentmindedly scrolling through their iPhone camera roll in a free moment, smiling at old memories? In that spirit, the Cardtorial team decided to gather and share some of our favorite photos, perfect to fill our new frames with!

 

 

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Clockwise from top left: Kristin, Kayley, Yvonne, Jess, Liz, Tiina, Maddy

KRISTIN: This is one of my favorite pictures of my sister and me from my college graduation in 2012! Kimmie and I are four years apart and she’s my best friend. We fought pretty much constantly while we were growing up, but became so close when I got to college and we were both living in New York. We talk constantly and I love being around her – she’s one of the smartest, funniest, and most resilient people I know. (Also, our skin looks great in this photo and we’re on a huge skin care kick right now, so I think that she’ll also appreciate me picking this one.)

KAYLEY: This is a picture from one the best concerts I’ve been to so far. The friend that I went with and I ended up being in the front row!

YVONNE: I must’ve been 3 or 4 in this photo with my Dad. I like it simply because it makes me happy to look at. I’m just a happy lil’ kid!

JESS: This photo is from an orphanage in Shanghai I visited during my trip there. The orphanage takes in children with disabilities, especially from rural parts of China where medical care and attention isn’t available. So each child there was a reminder that every person is precious, irreplaceable, and the value of a person is not based on what they can contribute, but by the inherent value they have as a human being.

LIZ: My favorite photo is from my wedding day this past October!

TIINA: I chose this photo because my dog Lucy is my favorite thing in the world and I couldn’t be more obsessed with her. We rescued her when she was three weeks old from an alley, and she’s become such an important part of my life, as cheesy as that sounds.

MADDY: This photo is from a really meaningful road trip I took through the Southeast with my Mom a few years back. This church was in Charleston, South Carolina, a city we fell completely in love with. (Plus, Millennial Pink!! My favorite color!)

Each of our 14 unique frame designs can be hung or displayed tabletop, fits your favorite 5×7 photo, and is handmade of our signature sustainably-sourced wood right here in California. We cannot wait to see how you style your most treasured memories! Click here to shop them all now! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hygge Your Home

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There’s just something about the winter time. Yes, it’s cold. Yes, it can be grey. But, there’s another way to look at the darkest season, as well. Winter is also the coziest time of the year by far, and who doesn’t love to feel cozy? There’s just something about the early sunset that whispers, “Hey, it’s okay to stay in tonight. Relax, recharge, and enjoy” into your ear.

Never before has it felt like the choice to stay in was so, well, trendy. It seems like a small rebellion has begun against the idea that you have to force yourself to go out, even when you would be so much happier to just put on your pajamas, slather on a face mask, make a cup of tea or pour a glass of wine, and chill out. We are here for it.

The perfect accompaniment to our desire to stay in? The Danish concept of hygge! Consistently ranked as one of the happiest countries on Earth despite a wet season that lasts eight months, Denmark definitely knows a thing or two about staying cozy and happy during long, cold winter nights. (Ever visited Copenhagen in the middle of the winter? Trust us when we say that it is FREEZING!) Hygge (pronounced HOO-gah) doesn’t have a direct English translation, but it’s generally understood to be a combination of a sense of coziness, contentment, and well-being. Hygge is super personal and accessible and can be whatever you want it to be—whatever makes you feel most content!

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At its core, hygge encourages spending time with loved ones, laughing, celebrating, and savoring the small joys in life. Below, we’ve gathered some of our favorite ideas for brightening up your life and home throughout the shortest days of the year.

  • Light as many candles as you can find and turn out the rest of your lights. Nothing makes you feel cozy like candlelight. Fun fact: Danes burn 13 lbs of candle wax per person each year!! They even burn candles in schools and office buildings!
  • Bring fresh flowers inside all winter long. If you live somewhere warm like LA, find some blooms that are in season at a local farmer’s market. If you live somewhere where 30 degrees feels warm mid-January, just grab a bouquet from the grocery store. Either way, the happiness effect of fresh flowers is the same!
  • Bake something decadent! The smell will instantly set you at ease and make you feel especially at home. There’s a reason real estate agents always have cookies baking in the oven at an open house! Plus, treating yourself and truly enjoying your favorite comfort food is very hyggelig (meaning “hygge-like”).
  • Spend some time journaling! Taking time to yourself to write or sketch encourages creativity and mindfulness, which will benefit you in all aspects of your life. Just let your mind wander! We think our new Outdoor Adventure journals are especially fitting for a hygge night in–inspired by our love of the outdoors, they’re perfect for remembering sunnier days and appreciating all that nature offers year round.

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And, let us know how you stay cozy during the winter! Until then, you can catch us wrapped in a blanket with a cup of tea permanently attached to our hands until May. Happy hygge!

Our 2018 Resolutions

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The research is in: sharing your goals with friends makes you much more likely to achieve them. That’s why—to celebrate the start of 2018—we’ve decided to share our resolutions with you! Plus, the Cardtorial team is here for you if you need your own resolution buddy (seven of them, actually!) to keep you motivated.

YVONNE: Think less. Surf more.

KRISTIN: Exercise regularly, finally stop biting my nails, bring lunch to work more often, get a library card and read more. 

Also, my biggest resolution is to try and make myself into more of a morning person – no more snooze buttons for me in 2018!

TIINA: Learn Finnish! This past year I spent a lot of time in Finland, where my mom is from. I really connected with my heritage and culture, and I’d love to be able to speak fluently with my friends and family. It’s a little difficult to find good resources for Finnish (they don’t have it on Duolingo or Rosetta Stone!) but I’m really excited to start practicing and be able to carry on a conversation.

JESS: To take a dance class 🙂

MADDY: Same as my New Year’s resolution last year: meditate! I took a regular meditation class for the first half of 2017 and made the practice a priority, but my dedication waned as the year went on. 2018: the year I actually meditate for a full 12 months. Probably.

LIZ: Read more books! My goal is to finish one per month.

KAYLEY: Start meal prepping!

What Makes the Holidays Special To Us

The best part of the holiday season? No, not the presents. (Though, of course we love those, too!) It’s the time spent with loved ones, celebrating the holidays with long lasting traditions! Here, the Cardtorial team shares what puts each of us in the spirit of the season every year.

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YVONNE: My sisters, Eva and Elice, and I usually do some sort of photo shoot where we get dressed up and take a ton of photos together/of each other. It’s silly and fun and we always love going back  to look at them. It’s the only dedicated time we really take (good quality) photos together. Sometimes it’ll be around the house or in the yard…sometimes somewhere random around home (Irvine!). Perfect fodder for our family photo albums!

JESS: Christmas is the one time a year when everything slows down and you’re with family and friends and you can simply enjoy one another’s company. You don’t feel the rush of a hectic work schedule, and you can just lounge around and actually drink a cup of tea and enjoy it. I also enjoy the smell that comes from baking: the cinnamon, the spices, the feel of a warm kitchen. And, of course, walking through the neighborhood at night looking at Christmas lights!

TIINA: My favorite holiday tradition is making traditional Finnish Christmas desserts with my mom. She makes the BEST gingerbread (I might be biased, but Scandinavian gingerbread is the best of them all). We also make cardamom rolls and a spice cake that is so, so tasty. All of her recipes are in Finnish and use lots of ingredients and spices that aren’t typically used in baked goods here in the US, so they taste really special and unique.

KRISTIN: My Grandma on my Mom’s side would come over on Christmas Day, and would make us her world famous empanadas. Over the last few years, she finally started to let my sister and me in on the magic. We started to learn the recipes (spice ratios are KEY, as well as the secret ingredient – raisins), the special empanada folding technique (anyone who uses a fork is an amateur), and how they taste WAY better fried, not baked. A very nice memory I have is of my sister, my cousin Ashley, and me making empanadas under my Grandmother’s watchful eye, and everyone enjoying the fruits of our labor.

Lastly, King’s Hawaiian sweet dinner rolls. These are my ride or die. Bless the Hawaiian Roll.

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KAYLEY: My favorite holiday tradition is baking with my mom and grandma, and decorating our house. My family and I also always go to my aunt’s house on the day before Christmas Eve to have dinner and exchange gifts with our extended family. We spend the night there, and then my brother and I go Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve day at the outlet centers near my aunt’s house (it’s never crowded and there are always sales!).

MADDY: It never really feels like Christmas is here until the night of Thanksgiving! Since I was a kid, after all of the kitchen clean up has been done and we’ve all woken up from our tryptophan/turkey-induced naps, everyone’s settled in to watch a holiday movie. For the first decade or so of my life, that movie was always “The Santa Clause.” Eventually, we began to cycle in some other holiday classics—from “It’s A Wonderful Life” to “Elf”—to keep the tradition fresh. Once we’ve watched that first festive movie of the Christmas season, it truly feels like the holidays!

SARAH: My favorite Christmas traditions include:

  • All of the kids in my family get a new ornament in their stocking every year
  • Decorating the tree as a family, and placing our angel on top
  • Christmas baking—mostly almond brittle and Puppy Chow
  • Being with my family on Christmas Day, eating breakfast, opening gifts, and then driving to cousins/aunts/uncles’ places to celebrate all together

LIZ: My favorite part of the holidays is binge watching Christmas TV episodes and specials!

 

We’ve Found Santa’s Elves in Real Life!

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Our secret to a wonderful and stress-free holiday season? We’ve found Santa’s Elves in real life: the postal workers at USPS!  Not everyone ships as much as we do year round, but during the holiday season, the US Postal Service is especially busy. Just to give you an idea of how hectic this time of year can be:

  • On December 14th — AKA the busiest shipping day of the year! — about 612 million pieces of mail are processed in the US.
  • Over 240 million Americans will visit their local post office between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.
  • Approximately 15.5 billion card and packages will be mailed this holiday season (WOW).

With so much going on, this feels like the perfect time of year to recognize the hard work our Postal Workers put in for us every single day. We are so thankful for Jay, Nick, and Keisha, the Cardtorial mail carriers! They always go above and beyond to help us out (and trust us, we always have TONS of mail for them to pick up at ALL hours of the day!). Seriously, they rock.

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We’ve been brainstorming some good gifts to let them know how much we appreciate them, and we hope you’ll join us in saying an extra ‘thank you’ this holiday season. Some of our favorite ideas include:

  • A heartfelt, handwritten holiday card, telling them how much their work means to us
  • A basket of snacks and portable drinks to keep in their truck (We’ve decided to keep a snack box at our door so that they can grab something to eat and drink all year long!)
  • A gift card to a local shop or restaurant that they’ve mentioned they enjoy
  • A cozy hat, gloves, and scarf (okay, maybe this one is better for our friends outside of SoCal..)
  • A genuine, detailed letter, sent to the Postmaster, outlining the exemplary work our Postal Worker has done throughout the year. This letter will go in their permanent personnel file and might help them get a promotion or raise down the line!

Let us know how you chose to say ‘thank you’ and ‘happy holidays’ to the USPS this season! This time of year, a little heartfelt appreciation goes a long way.

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**Source for statistics: https://blog.integracore.com/packaging/fun-holiday-shipping-facts-from-the-usps/