Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Special Holiday Entry

The halls of Hallmark are starting to become bare, but we had a special visitor join us in the office today. (Check out that tie and jacket!)

Peter got a taste of the contest action by designing his very own Christmas card featuring a gingerbread house, a gingerbread man and some peppermint goodness.

Peter was awarded with a Pets card and some snacks to tie him over until lunch.

Wishing all of you very Happy Holidays! Be sure to come back on 1/4 to get the scoop on the "Birthday Your Way" contest and to see the "Birthday Her Way" winners.

Monday, December 14, 2009

More Merriment

Welcome back to the second installment of our tour d' trees. I am your guide, Wordy, and I'll be taking you through the Hallmark halls, lobbies and dining facilities to give you an up close and personal look at this year's Christmas trees. Keep your arms inside at all times and please stay seated until we come to a complete stop.

Our first feature is a pepperminty pillar of Christmas joy.

Just imagine the potential for awkward family photos in front of this beauty. It's begging for a matching-sweater-wearin' family to pose in front of it, don't you think?

Moving on, we have a tree whose every bough is laden with loveliness. No branch goes undecorated and I'm loving the effect of abundance.

Side note: There was a guy sitting just off to the left of this photo. I offered him a spot in the shot, thinking maybe he'd like to reenact a Christmas from his childhood and rip open one of the pretty packages nestled underneath. Oddly enough, he declined. Grown ups--sheesh.

We've now arrived at the final destination of our tour. Please observe a moment of silence in honor of the great Snoopy tree, which seems quite the opposite of a Charlie Brown tree.

Isn't it a feast for the eyes? It stands smack dab in the middle of our cafeteria, the Crown Room.

Have a gander, closer up.

And this concludes our tour d' trees. Thank you for riding. It's been a pleasure. I hope you'll join us for future tours.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

It's Beginning to Look Festive

Have you been gathering seasonal inspiration for a future holiday contest? Have you had your camera at the ready? I broke mine out yesterday just to get some shots of the impressive decor around here. Hope it sets the mood for your next great card idea.

The halls of Hallmark are decked and the trees are chock full of cheer. Again, our amazing design friends decorated the place to the hilt, helping us all get into the spirit of the season. Enjoy this first installment of Hallmark trees. There's more to come--Hallmark's a big place with plenty of room for a variety of trees.

This frosty beauty is next to the corporate offices, where the Hall brothers can be spotted. I did, in fact, chat with them before snapping this photo but they seemed shy about jumping into a photo op with the tree 'n' me. Maybe next year.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Her Way Has Been Judged!

This was the week for judging the Birthday Her Way contest. Yours truly got to step in as an official judge this time as Julienne had other duties to attend to. I was both honored and perplexed by the opportunity--honored because we had such great cards to choose from and perplexed because we had SO MANY GREAT CARDS TO CHOOSE FROM!

Here's our "A" bucket, the front-running cards from filtering:

First, we each go through the "A" bucket on our own and choose the cards we have "winner" potential. It's a chance for each judge to cast her vote, so to speak.

This time we agreed on most of the winning cards. It just took a little conversation and convincing to choose the remaining few. We're so agreeable (mostly).

After our final decisions were made, Kenya raced to the phone to call the winner-winner-chicken-dinners. Hooray! Look for video of that here soon.

Ciao for now!

Monday, November 16, 2009

That's Motherhood Checks Are in the Mail!

It's been a while since we announced the winners of our That's Motherhood contest, but we couldn't forget to send them their hard-earned moolah. Oooh, look at that prize money. Can't you almost smell it? Those of you who entered the Birthday Her Way contest--a check like these could be coming your way soon if your card is deemed a winnah! Look forward to the judging action later this week. We'll be giving live updates from the judging room on Twitter and Facebook tomorrow!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Pita Says "Enter By Sunday!"

We had ourselves an extra pair of eyes in the latest Birthday Her Way filtering session. Pita, our unofficial mascot, generously offered her assistance at judging the entries. She claims she's got a nose for these things (and a penchant for puns, apparently).

Pita and the team noticed some distinct trends among the entries today. We saw lots of nature, pets, babies and butts. It seems people can't resist a good butt shot when they have the chance. We're curious to see if we'll get more of a variety over the weekend. It's always nice to see a fresh, "we've never seen that before" kind of card. Those are the types that have us clapping and cheering and bugging the people in the room next to ours.

If you haven't sent in your original, Birthday Her Way card yet, what are you waiting for? You've got until Sunday at the stroke of midnight.

Good luck!

-Pita and the Gang

Monday, November 9, 2009

Enter by Sunday Night!

Today, we had another fun-filled filtering session for the Birthday Her Way contest. Was your card in the mix? If not, send it in by Sunday at midnight so it has a chance to make you a winner. This could be your card we're oohing and ahhing (and Tweeting) over.

Julienne does the honors of reading all the entries out loud for the team. If it takes us too long to "get" it, it doesn't go in the potential winner pile. Before sending in your card, give it to a few friends for a read-through. If your message trips them up, a few tweaks could be in order before you officially enter your card.

It's anyone's guess as to what these lovely ladies are thinking. What do their expressions say to you?
(Clockwise from left: Shannon, Kenya, Julienne, Theresa, Karen)

Look forward to more behind-the-scenes filtering later this week.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Perfect Ladies

In need of some inspiration for the Birthday Her Way contest? Look no further. I've rounded up photos of some of the women in my family to show you which ladylike pics I would enter if I could. Prepare to be impressed.

Look at this well-mannered woman. Isn't she just the picture of gentility?

A good hair day can make all the difference.

Just practicing for old ladyhood.

Real Grandma. Real gutsy.

If you haven't already entered the Birthday Her Way contest, get to it by Nov. 15! Surely you have some photos of the feisty females you know. Why not make them card stars? If you're fresh out of photographic inspiration, try your hand at designing a card. Either way, make it all about the birthday girl.

Monday, November 2, 2009

We Love These Cards

When we go through the rigorous process of judging all the card submissions, we are looking at the cards from every which way. In the end, the winning cards are those that had that extra something special, the extra *zing*, if you will, and that special something is different for each card.

Visit the winners' gallery and check out our team's comments on each winning Birthday His Way card. Leave your own comments for the winners, too. They'd love to know what you think of their card creations.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Dressed to Impress

Did we mention we've got a Halloween contest coming down the way? This is your primo time to capture all the fallish (and foolish) festivities. Snap plenty of pics of your favorite costumed critters (human and animal, alike) this weekend and be thinking how you might turn them into a card in the near future.

One tip to keep in mind:

Avoid pictures of licensed or copyrighted characters. Yes, we know they're cute, but they're also against the contest rules. Tough break.

This message has been approved by Pita, Shannon's phenomenally well-behaved dog.
Can she pull off the ear-flap hat, or what?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Crack 'Em Up...Later

We know some of you have been working ahead on your card ideas and we just want to wave you down to give you the latest info, in case you hadn't already taken note. Originally, we were planning to have the "Crack 'Em Up" Shoebox card contest in February. What can we say? Plans change. If you've already been crafting your jokes and fine-tuning your funny, don't fret. You'll get to enter your best "Crack 'Em Up" card soonish. Just not yet. For now, store that card submission in your back pocket and aim your brain power at our contests coming just around the bend. Let us know if you have any questions about the new plan.


Just in case you didn't notice all the pumpkins, costumes and candy at the store, consider this your friendly reminder that Halloween is just around the corner (Ahem, Saturday). What better time to be snapping photos left and right of the sweet, silly and spooky dresser-uppers in your life? As you're capturing all the tricks and treats, keep in mind what might make a winning Halloween card! You'll be able to enter it in our upcoming Halloween contest set for March.

Need a little inspiration? These fallish finds are compliments of Theresa, whose mom has been rumored to have slaved over more than a few Halloween costume sewing projects. What a gal.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Judging 101

We're sharing the inside scoop on the That's Motherhood! judging process for all you card contest enthusiasts and curious cats. Hopefully, it will help you plan for the next contest, Birthday Her Way (Nov. 2-15). You deserve to know just how the judges start with this blank board...

and wind up with these babies...

Step 1. Fuel up!

If you happen to go back through our past contest photos, you may notice a pattern...a fruity yellow pattern. It seems Theresa's judging senses are fortified with potassium. Mmm, nana-licious.

Other favorite judging supplements include Diet Coke, Diet Sunkist, real Coke with real sugar, flat pretzels, normal pretzels, chocolate of any kind, crackers, and the list goes on. Please mail snacks to...just kidding. We're above bribery, however tasty.

Step 2. Think it over.

Each and every judge goes through the whole pile o' potential winners and chooses a set amount of favorites for the Friend category and the Mom category. They're looking for cards that fit the theme (funny Mother's Day cards), are cohesive (the image and writing work well together) and are sendable (they work for more than a few people). They also have to keep in mind things like variety and irresistability. Variety is important because they can't choose ten diaper jokes and expect people to only shop from those at Mother's Day. Irresistability is important because those are the cards that just beg to be picked up in the store.

Step 3. Pin 'em up!

Once the judges have made their individual picks, they pin them up on boards for the whole room to see. This is one of our favorite parts of the process, revealing which judges picked what cards. Usually a few are loved by everyone and others are up for debate. Judges will squeal, "Yay! You picked that one, too!" or question, "Really?! That one?!"

Sara Dykes, the yourBloopers Grand Prize Winner was our V.I.P. guest judge. Here's her board of favorites. Thanks for your help, Sara!

Step 4. Tally the votes!

Once all the judges are finished pinning, we count up the "votes" for each card. If a card is loved by six out of six judges, it makes its way to the winner board. If it's only loved by two or three judges, it's up for more lively discussion. The process goes on like this until the judges narrow the cards down to the final number.

Ta-da! We've got our winners, winners chicken dinners...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Is Your Card Legal?

Judging requires all hands on deck. And all funny faces, too. Our lawyers came down to get a close-up look at your card entries run them through their legal check. They were on the lookout for copyrighted images, recognizable locations, brand names, etc. All those that passed the test moved on to the official judging round. Speaking of judging, stay tuned to the blog this week for more judging highlights. Will your card make it to the coveted winners board?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Real Moms. Real Stories. Pt. 3

Our friend Kenya is sharing a story today that reminds us that being a mom inevitably means losing your cool from time to time. And having a mom means getting to witness such meltdowns once in a while...even after you're all grown up.

Here's Kenya's tale of one ticked mama:

A few years back, Mom and I went on a trip to Las Vegas. We were typical tourists with our 35mm cameras in hand. At some point, at one of the ginormous hotel/casinos, Mom needed to change her camera film. Upon trying to auto-rewind the thing, it jammed up. Mom was not happy. She immediately flipped open the camera door (that you're not supposed to open or you'll ruin the film), wrestled with the film and eventually showed it who was boss by aggressively ripping the film completely out! Yes, she succeeded in tearing the film and breaking the camera. When the episode was over, we laughed hysterically! Neither one of us could believe what she had just done!

Sorry, Kenya's mom. What happens in Vegas sometimes winds up on the internet.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Real Moms. Real Stories. Pt. 2

Today, we've got a story from a guest mom, our teammate Theresa's mama. Her recollection gives us a glimpse of young Theresa's personality coming through at an unexpected time. Just look at this impish grin.

Without further ado, a tale of Theresa...

Because I was a working mom and my time with my little one was always too short, I chose to rock her to sleep every night. When Theresa was 17 months old, we snuggled up in the rocker for our nightly routine and I started singing lullabies to her. After just a short time of me singing, Theresa reached up, put her hand over my mouth and said, "CLOSE!" I'm not sure if she didn't like the selections that night or if this dislike of my singing had been building up!

We've got to admit, this story surprised us. Who knew our sweet Theresa was such a Little Miss Sassy Pants?

(Theresa now, all well-mannered and stuff)

Thanks for the real scoop, Theresa's mom!
We'll be on the lookout for more sass.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Real Moms. Real Stories.

Our contest team is made up of moms and people who have moms so that means we all have funny tales to tell of the kid and parent dynamic. The first such tale is from Julienne, word guru and mom extraordinaire. Her story is one of those that might not have seemed so funny at the time, but is definitely chuckle-worthy now.

Moms know it's hard to teach your kids to be truthful and polite at the same time. My daughter could be in-your-face telling long-winded neighbors "good-bye" when she thought they should leave, or proclaiming that a playmate's house was "messy," then offering the helpful tidbit, "Vacuum it!" But nothing tops the time she came into a circle of my friends gathered for a lovely autumn tea. Someone's sweater smelled like mothballs and Bridget was trailing the scent. I saw her little nose circle the room in search of the source. Before I could take evasive action she declared, "Lady has a smell." Up went her pointer finger, "This lady!" I mumbled some compliment about the woman's perfume, shoved a cookie in Bridget's mouth and dragged her out of the room. Sometimes I think honesty is overrated.


So how about it? What's your funny childhood or parenthood tale? Leave a comical comment, why don't ya?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Lawyers Love a Good Fart Joke

Judging time is one of our favorite weeks, but we couldn't keep all the fun to ourselves. We invited our lawyers to the party. And it looks like they showed up in matching outfits. Think they planned that? Don't let their business attire fool you. These two were laughing like teenage boys at all your guy-friendly jokes involving bodily functions. Thanks to all of you responsible for such potty humor. You know who you are.

This is where the magic happens, our tiny judging chamber. We had juuust enough room to fit our judges and your submissions. You're getting a rare glimpse at the room with the door open. Usually it's closed to muffle any chatting, laughing or arguing over the contending cards.

Hmmm...will it be this one or that one? Sometimes it comes down to one vote. Too bad we missed a great arm wrestling shot.

When all the arguments have been settled and the lawyers have been thoroughly amused, we finally arrive at our 30 online winners! Here they are, all blurry-like. You'll get to see all 30 unblurred when we announce the online winners November 2.