It’s Back to School with Vera Bradley!

The number one back to school essential is the backpack!  And Vera Bradley backpacks have great organization inside with a stylish fun pattern on the outside. What backpack is right for you?

Let’s look at some of the top selling backpacks!

vera backpack 17 2Campus Tech Backpack – this backpack has some great  updates including a new laptop compartment to store your electronics, a trolley sleeve for easier carrying over rolling luggage and even more pockets than before! There are pockets throughout this backpack for every essential that you want to organize inside.

vera backpack 17 3Lighten Up Grande Backpack – this backpack also features a padded laptop compartment and trolley sleeve. It has the added benefit of a chest strap to help even out the weight of the backpack. The material of this backpack is lightweight and water-resistant. Perfect for carrying your heavy loads back and forth to school!

vera backpack 17 1Drawstring Backpack – this backpack is laptop friendly enabling you to slide your electronic device right inside the bag. It has a ton of pockets with a drawstring at the top that gives you more room when you need it and allows you to cinch it on days when your load is lighter. The Drawstring Backpack is available in both the quilted material and the lighten-up material that is water resistant. It would be a great backpack to take back and forth to the gym!

vera agenda 2017 lilacWe also have all your back-to-school essentials to keep you organized and on track this school year. The Vera Bradley agenda is always popular and available in two formats – an agenda and student agenda. The 17-month agenda features monthly and weekly spreads, laminated tabs, stickers and room for notes. You’ll also find inspiring pops of color throughout.

vera lunch bunch nomadic floralAdd color when you have to “brown bag” it with your lunch. Vera Bradley lunch totes fit most frozen meals and have a plastic liner for easy clean-up.  The ID window helps set your bag apart from the rest. You’ll never go back to a boring lunch bag again!

We can check off many of the items on your back-to-school list with Vera Bradley binders, file folders, gel pens, pencil cases, ID holders and lanyards! Stop by and let us help you get ready for school… in color!

Staff’s Picks – Hallmark Keepsake Ornaments

It’s that time of the year! The first look of Hallmark’s Keepsake Ornaments for 2016! Hallmark never disappoints with their beautiful ornaments that capture a variety of sentiments! From Baby’s 1st Christmas to new home to friendships, family and fun – there’s a perfect ornament for everyone!

Our staff has a few favorites!

ornament 16 terryTeri loves the magic cord ornaments and is working on her third ornament for her magic cord collection. Her favorite ornament this year is “Winter Wonderland”. She loves the detail of this ornament & how all the magic cord ornaments brighten up her tree!

 

ornament 16.maggieMaggie’s favorite ornament is the “Beautiful Birdhouse”. She thinks it is a beautiful ornament and just by looking at it, she can feel the joy of Christmas. Maggie loves winter and this ornament reminds her of a snowy, wintery scene. It’s a first in series ornament and she thinks it would be fun to start her first series ornament collection with this ornament.

ornament 16 mindyMindy’s favorite Keepsake ornament is one of the new miniature ornaments. She loves “A Tasty Treat”. This is also a first in series ornament. Everyone at Mindy’s house loves penguins and she thinks this would be the perfect series to start for her son.

 

ornament 16 beccaBecca loves the “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” ornament. Becca and her Mom always sing this song together when it comes on the radio during the holidays. She says she cherishes special moments with her family. She has already purchased this ornament to give to her Mom as a Christmas gift but ssshhhh, don’t tell her Mom. It’s a surprise!

ornament 16 baileyBailey’s favorite Keepsake ornament is “Moo-ey Christmas”. She really likes the cow on this ornament and thinks it’s super cute that the cow is reading a book to the chickens!

 

ornament 16 brianna 2Brianna’s favorite ornament is “Ama La Vida”. She likes this ornament because she feels life is precious and we should appreciate everything in our lives because life is too short. She also has a real passion for the Hispanic culture and loves that this ornament is part of the Sinceramente collection.

ornament 16 abbyAbby loves the “All Things are Possible” Keepsake ornament. The ornament says “Faith Makes All Things Possible” and she completely agrees with this sentiment. She thinks the ornament is simple yet meaningful at the same time. The message that it portrays is what she loves most about this ornament.

ornament 16 alyssa 2Alyssa’s favorite ornament is “Forever Remembered”. It reminds her that her Grandma and Aunt, who have passed away, are still here with her during the holiday season.

What’s your favorite Keepsake ornament? Stop by the store and let us know!

And don’t forget that Ornament Premiere is Saturday, July 9 and Sunday, July 10.

Got Easter Baskets? We’ll help you fill them up!

Easter is Sunday and there is still time to fill those baskets with fun!

easter basket 16 3A little candy is always a welcome addition to the basket but how about stepping up your game & adding a few things that kids of all ages will love!

First on our list is for the sweet little girl excited to see what the Easter bunny has left in the morning.A sweet little itty bitty. We have several to choose from ranging from princesses to Rainbow Brite but we picked Lambie. We added a lip gloss, bunny tails candy & a sweet Easter card.

 

easter basket 16 4
And for the little boys looking for the Easter bunny goodies, we have a few options for Easter fun. Again, we started with an itty bitty – from Super Heroes to Star Wars, there is sure to be one he’ll love! We picked a Stormtrooper to add to our basket. We topped it off with one of our World’s Smallest toys that range from Rubik’s cubes to Army men. We added a chocolate bunny and a fun Easter card.

 

easter basket 16 2Now, you may have a young lady who doesn’t exactly still “believe” in the Easter bunny but she’s still thrilled to receive an Easter basket filled with some of her favorite things! We started this basket off with one of our Vera Bradley tumblers with straws. From Vera to Kate Spade to Lillly Pulitzer, you’ll be sure to find a tumbler that fits her style. We added a coin purse from Scout & a Key FOB from Lilly Pulitzer. And of course, we couldn’t forget a sweet treet. A “carrot” filled with jelly beans!

 

easter basket 16 1

And for your bigger “boys”, we can put together a basket of fun! Bean Boozle is still the favorite game for kids’ of all ages and we have several options. Don’t forget the jelly bean refill pack! We then added some cans of silly string available in glow in the dark or bright vibrant colors. Add a chocolate bunny and you’ve got a basket that any boy will love!

We have lots of great ideas for your Easter baskets so stop by & let us fill your basket full of fun… and lots of love!

 

 

 

 

A Few of our Favorite Things…

Christmas is at the end of the week! Can you believe it’s almost here? Why does the month of December move faster than any other month on the calendar?

If you still need to finish off your Christmas shopping list, stop by and take the Christine’s Christmas Challenge – we’ll help you find a gift for everyone on your list!

Here are a few of our favorite things in the store right now…

emily leg.pineappleEmily Ley Planner. Getting yourself organized is a great way to start out the new year! Emily Ley is a popular lifestyle blogger & she believes that the easiest way to simplify your life is by writing it all down – your schedule, your “to do” list, dinner schedule, short-term goals, long-tern goals and even your hopes and dreams. This planner has plenty of room to capture all of these things!

vera preppy poly finalVera Bradley Preppy Poly. Preppy Poly is a new nylon fabrication introduced by Vera Bradley. Available in black, red and toast this lightweight bag is also water-resistant. It has all the organization of Vera Bradley’s original bags but with a sleek updated look that will go with any outfit!

corkcicle 2Corkcicle Canteens & Tumblers. These triple insulated stainless steel cups will keep your drinks warm or cold longer than it will take you to consume your beverage! It even passes the “summer car test” – a cold drink will still be cold after sitting in your car all day on a hot summer day. Available in canteen or travel mug style and a variety of sizes and colors. It soon will be your favorite “go-to” cup.

hallmark adult coloring bookAdult Coloring Books. Yes, it’s a trend but sometimes there is a reason for an item becoming a trend. This is not your kids’ coloring books. These books have intricate designs that will help take the edge off any stressed adult. The finished product will even be frame-worthy! A variety of designs are available.

Hope you’ll stop by and let us know what your new favorite thing is in our store!

Your Daily Calendar – Paper or Tech?

A new trend in the agenda market is really an old one. The resurgence of the paper agenda to keep your daily schedule is making a huge comeback!

Even though every smartphone has a calendar that you can easily access and there are numerous apps out there to help schedule your family activities, many still choose to use the old fashion way of keeping track of their daily calendar – pen and paper.

vera agenda 2Some studies show that the act of writing helps you remember things better. Some feel being able to “see” the calendar in front of them helps to better visualize & remember their schedule. Finding an agenda with a pretty layout makes the activity of “writing it all down” even more pleasing!

Using different colored pens for each family member or “type” of activity on your calendar also helps to better visualize and keep track of all your family members or the many activities your trying to juggle. Washi tape, stickers and sticvera gel pensky notes can help track important activities.

A paper agenda can also be used as a journal to document an important milestone; a funny memory of one of your kids; or your goals & dreams for the upcoming year. Looking through an old agenda is always a good reminder of how far you have come!

So, what’s the best paper agenda? There are so many to choose from that there isn’t one choice that will fit everyone’s needs. Lucky for you we carry a variety of agendas!

Emily Ley creemily ley agendaated a planner to organize her hectic life. She thinks the easiest way to simplify your life is to take pen to paper and have a plan! Her wide open pages enable you to track many activities, family members, dinner planning and your weekly to do list!

 

Vera Bradley offers a variety of agendas in differevera agenda 1nt patterns, sizes and styles. Fun quotes and pictures are sprinkled throughout to keep you smiling your entire week! Vera Bradley’s pretty patterns keep the pages looking beautiful while you fill it up with all of your activities.

lilly agenda 16One of our most popular agendas is from Lilly Pulitzer. Her iconic patterns grace the cover and pages of these agendas but there is still plenty of room to keep track of your daily schedule. And Lilly has every size agenda to fit your need! You can purchase Lilly agendas on our website here.

 

happy everything agenda 2016 1The newest addition to our agenda collection is the Happy Everything agenda. This agenda wants to sprinkle a little happy into every week with inspiring quotes, colorful graphics and plenty of space to track your weekly to do list along with your everyday appointments. The Happy Everything agenda can be purchased here.

The year is winding down and it’s time to start thinking about getting organized for 2016! If you haven’t tried a paper agenda, maybe it’s time to start a new habit. We’re happy to help you find the perfect agenda to keep your daily life organized and productive!

vera agenda 2016vera agenda 2016vera agenda 2016

Ode to Bette – Now you can shop on our website!

bettes logo finalTwelve years ago, we were debating opening a Hallmark store and were invited to a dinner in Chicago with other Hallmark store owners. We had the good fortune of sitting across the table from Bette. At the time, Bette owned several Hallmark Gold Crown stores in the Kansas City area. We had no idea that we were about to embark on a wonderful friendship.

Bette became a great friend, mentor & inspiration as we started down the path of Hallmark ownership. Bette helped us plan our store layout, gave us product ideas and was always available for advice & tips for whatever issues we were facing.

Over the years, we would meet up with Bette at gift shows & Hallmark meetings. She was always excited about the business, looking for the next new thing & encouraging (or should I say “challenging”) us to be forward thinking about our business. Our favorite part of Bette – she would always admit to making a mistake which was so reassuring because we have made a few mistakes along the way. She would always say, “if you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not trying.”

Not only was Bette great for chatting about the business but she was a dear friend. The many laughs we shared over “store stories”, adventures with kids and all the curveballs that life throws your way. We kept up with family news, shared vacation stories, talked politics  & celebrated new births & kids’ accomplishments.

It was with a sad heart, that when we met up with her at the last gift show, she said “I have news.” She was retiring. Although, we were thrilled for her, we were sad for us. Bette will have more time to spend with her grandkids and travel the world with her husband – two of her favorite things! Doing it now, while she still can is a gift. But we were sure going to miss her… A LOT!

A few months ago, Bette contacted us because even though she had sold her stores, she did not sell her e-commerce website. She wanted to know if we wanted to take over her website. We had been thinking about expanding to an e-commerce site but had not pulled the triggered. And once again, Bette was challenging us to be better store owners!

We’ve been working hard over the last few months to transfer ownership and update the website. And we’re thrilled to now be managing “Bette’s Gifts powered by Christine’s Hallmark”. You can now shop with us 24/7 at both www.christineshallmark.com & www.bettesgifts.com.

Although it won’t be the same without Bette being a part of our Hallmark owners group, we’re honored & thrilled to be carrying on a little bit of Bette’s legacy. And here’s hoping that she’ll just stop by St. Louis one day & pay us a visit. We’re ready!

Back to School with Vera Bradley!

It’s back to school time! And our experts are here to help you plan all your back to school essentials!

emily collageEmily will be leaving in August to start her freshmen year in college! She’s heading to school with a Lighten-Up Expandable Travel Bag in Rio Stripes because it’s waterproof & a Pixie Blooms Large Duffle because it’s a BIG bag! She will store her make-up, jewelry, watches & flair accessories in her Classic Black Hanging Organizer. Heading off to her 7:30 am class will require coffee in her Midnight Paisley Travel Tumbler & she’ll use it to keep her hydrated the rest of the day. And speaking of class, her Katalina Pink Agenda will keep her organized along with her Study Buddy in Katalina Pink. She’ll tote her laptop in a Katalina Pink Laptop Case ensuring it stays safe. She plans on using a Classic Black Lanyard to hold her dorm room keys & she’s anticipating the October release of the Campus Double ID in Concerto to hold her student ID & driver’s license.

brianna collageBrianna is a college student on the go & commutes to campus. Since she carries all her supplies for a full day of class, she uses the Lighten Up Large Backpack in Sierra. She loves that it is spacious & lightweight! She always has her Katalina Blues umbrella handy because she never knows when she’ll get caught in a rain storm. She considers the Student Agenda in Parisian Paisley a necessity for keeping all her classes straight! She doesn’t like to carry a backpack & a purse, so uses the All In One Crossbody in Classic Black to hold all her personal essentials.

Maggie is in high school and she is super organized so she has a long back to school list! She carries all her school supplies in a Parisian Paisley Vera. She loves all the pockets & that she can throw it over her shoulder & be ready to go! Maggie likes the Classic Black Zipmaggie collage ID & Lanyard to carry her ID & keys. Inside her Vera, you’ll find a Parisian Paisley Pencil Pouch for her pencils & small supplies; a Study Buddy in Katalina Pink to help study anatomy; and an Eyeglass Case in Katalina Pink Diamonds to protect her glasses. Her back to school essentials include the Katalina Pink Mini Notebook with Pocket, Parisian Paisley Mechanical Pencil Set and Dual Tip Highlighters. She would be no where without her Parisian Paisley Student Agenda (at least nowhere on time)! She doesn’t want another cracked phone screen so she protects her phone with a Snap-on Phone Case in Rio. She loves the new style of the Lighten Up Lunch Cooler in Katalina Pink & stays hydrated all day with her Parisian Paisley Travel Tumbler. And if she ever gets caught in the rain, her go-to is the Pixie Blooms Bubble Umbrella!

haleigh collageHaleigh is also a high school student and her favorite bag to tote all her back to school essentials is the Vera in Classic Black. She loves all the inside pockets to help organize her school supplies. Haleigh loves the cool color tones of Katalina Blues and will use the Katalina Blues Agenda & Click Pens to keep her schedule organized. She holds her keys on a Katalina Blues lanyard and loves that the pattern sticks out inside her bag making them always easy to find!

 

Samantha is in middle school and she’s going to be prepared when she starts the eighth grade! She’ll tote all her supplies in a Katalina Pink Diamonds backpack with a Katalina Pink luggage tag attached.  samantha collageIn her backpack, you’ll find a Katalina Pink Mini Notebook with Pockets and a Katalina Pink Pencil Pouch carrying her Dual Tip Highlighters, Katalina Pink Click Pens & Mechanical Pencils. She’s going to use a Katalina Pink Student Agenda to write down her assignments and a Study Buddy in Katalina Pink to make flash cards. When she brings her lunch to school, she’ll tote it in a Pixie Blooms Lunch Bunch & when she buys, she’ll carry her lunch money in a Katalina Pink Coin Purse. She’ll use a Katalina Pink Diamonds Loop Keychain to carry her house keys and a Pixie Blooms Lanyard to hold her ID. She’s protecting her glasses with a Katalina Pink Eyeglass Case; her iPad with a Pixie Confetti Tablet Sleeve; and her iphone with a Pixie Blooms Snap-on Case.  And when those rainy days crop up, she’ll use her Katalina Pink Umbrella!

lilly collageLilly is in grade school & headed to first grade. Lilly holds a special place in our heart because she is our niece. After many years of boys in the family, we’re glad to finally have a girl heading to school who loves to carry Vera Bradley! Lilly is carrying all her school supplies in a Katalina Pink Ultimate Backpack. The smaller backpack size is perfect for the little ones headed to school. She will “take” her lunch to school in a Katalina Pink Diamonds Lunch Bunch.

Good luck to everyone headed back to school. Stop by the store and let us help you find the perfect essentials to start your school year off on the right foot!

A Few of Our Favorite Ornaments – Troy edition

We’re getting ready for Ornament Premiere this weekend by sharing our staff’s favorite Keepsake Ornament picks!

We highlighted Cottleville staff’s picks first and now we have the Troy’s staff favorite Ornaments.

ornament 15.troy.oliviaOlivia’s favorite ornament is “Holiday Barbie”. Olivia’s parents purchased several of these ornaments for her when she was a child. She’s glad that Barbie is back in the Hallmark family and is looking forward to starting this new series! (If you’ve been collecting this series. There is a duo Celebration Barbie ornament set enabling you to catch-up on the 2 years you missed!)

ornament 15.troy.kallie“Don’t Worry, Be Happy” is Kallie’s favorite ornament this year. Kallie picked this ornament because it reminds her of summer and every year her family goes to the beach. She also loves the song!

ornament 15.troy.eileenEileen chose “The Western Tanager” as her favorite ornament. She thinks the artwork and design are exceptional and the cloisonné workmanship on this ornament is beautiful. She think this ornament could be displayed past the Christmas season.

ornament 15.troy.jennJenn’s favorite Keepsake ornament is “Puppy Love!”. This ornament reminds Jenn of her dog and she says she is EXTREMELY obsessed with her dog. I bet she has a few pictures of her dog that she would love to show you.

ornament 15.troy.joy“The Santa Yoga!” is Joy’s favorite ornament. She thinks this ornament is adorable and Joy is a huge fan of yoga. Can’t you just see Santa doing a few yoga moves once he returns from his Christmas deliveries?

ornament 15.troy.tanyaTanya’s favorite ornament this year is the “Christmas Commemorative”.  This is the third ornament in the series. Tanya loves that this ornament has a traditional look.

Don’t forget that Ornament Premiere is this Saturday & Sunday. You’ll receive 100 Crown Reward bonus points for every ornament you purchase this weekend plus an additional 2,000 Crown Reward bonus points when you purchase 10 or more ornaments.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPlus, you’ll receive a FREE Tote bag with your $30 or more Keepsake Ornament purchase. Bring the tote bag back the week of July 20 and receive 20% off everything that will fit inside!

Hope to see you this weekend!

A Few of Our Favorite Ornaments – Cottleville edition

Keepsake Ornament Premiere is this weekend and we have been busy getting ready for the event! The temperatures may be rising outside but inside our front wall is beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

All the Keepsake ornaments are beautiful! But Dee, from our staff, thinks everyone needs to come in and see the bright colors of the ornaments in person. She doesn’t think the Dreambook accurately depicts the colors & fun of the Keepsake ornaments.

We wanted to share a few of our Cottleville staff’s favorite ornaments.

ornament 15.cott.teriTeri’s favorite ornament is “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas!” She’s collected all of these and just thinking about this ornament will get her started humming the song!

ornament 15.cott.amanda“In The Great Green Room” is Amanda’s favorite ornament.  And you’ll recognize this scene from the famous children’s book, “Good Night Moon”. Amanda has three children and remembers countless nights rocking them and reading this book. It brings back memories of tiny little faces watching her read this classic story.

ornament 15.cott.maggieMaggie’s favorite ornament is the “Sweet Sisters” ornament. Maggie thinks it’s too cute & she loves her sister! She thinks it would make a great gift to show her sister how much she cares for her!

ornament 15.cott.haleighHaleigh chose “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” as her favorite ornament this year. She thinks this ornament is funny because her stepmom loves 80’s music and is always feeding squirrels in their backyard. There are six girls in her family and they all just want to have fun!

ornament 15.cott.deeDee’s favorite ornament is “Once Upon a Christmas”.  This is the fifth ornament in this series. Dee thinks having this ornament hanging on her tree with Santa talking about his bag full of toys would be a delight for all her grandchildren to hear.

ornament 15.cott.brianna“Ariel’s Thingamabobs” is Bri’s favorite Keepsake ornament. Ariel is Bri’s favorite princess and she loves the song “Part of Your World.” She claims she sings it just like Ariel. So the next time you’re in the store, ask Bri to sing you a couple of lines from the song!

ornament 15.cott.cathyCathy’s favorite ornament is “C-3P0 & R2-D2”. It reminds Cathy of taking her kids to see the first Star Wars movie. She remembers watching their faces in the movie theater as they watched the movie on the big screen especially when they saw Darth Vader – which also happens to be Cathy’s second favorite ornament.

ornament 15.cott.jessicaJessica loves the ornament “Ralphie Cleans Up!”. When Jessica was looking through the Dreambook she stumbled across this ornament and it made her laugh. Her Mom used to give Jessica and her sister soap when they would smart off! She says that now, thankfully, they don’t get soap anymore!

ornament 15.cott.emilyEmily’s favorite ornament is “Santa Yoga”. She can just imagine Santa enjoying some Yoga to unwind from the hectic Christmas season! She thinks this would be a fun ornament for any Christmas tree!

ornament 15.cott.amy“A Day at the Beach” is Amy’s favorite Keepsake ornament. Amy thinks the glass jar with the cork lid looks so beachy and fun. The inscription on the bottle, “My Heart is at the Beach”, describes Amy perfectly so it would be the perfect addition to her family’s Christmas tree.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis Saturday & Sunday, you’ll receive a FREE tote with your $30 or more Keepsake ornament purchase. Bring your tote bag back the week of July 20 and receive 20% off everything that will fit in the tote!

Plus, this weekend you’ll receive 100 Crown Reward bonus points for each ornament purchase and an additional 2,000 Crown Reward bonus points for every 10 ornaments you purchase.

What is your favorite Keepsake Ornament this year? Stop by the store and let us know!

 

Mother’s Day is this Sunday!

Mother’s Day is this Sunday! It’s a great reminder to take a moment to thank Mom, Grandmas, Aunts & any other great women in your life!

Of course, you should start with a card! Writing a simple message about  your favorite thing about her or your favorite thing to do with her will be incredibly special. We often don’t stop & say thank you for the little things and sometimes the BIG things these special women do to make our lives better.

And don’t forget a gift! Our store is full of great gift items! These are just a few of our favorite things…

Vera Bradley is still one of our best selling handbags! Why? Because it’s desmom's day.vera scarfigned by a woman & she understands organization! It’s full of pockets to hold everything & it’s lightweight so when you load up all your “essentials”, it’s not too heavy to carry. Don’t worry if that special someone doesn’t like colorful patterns, we have beautiful Vera bags in classic black & navy! This week, you’ll also receive a Vera fringe scarf with your $100 or more Vera purchase.

A little pamperiCrabtree Evelyn Hand Therapyng goes a long way! Our shea butter socks help soothe the feet especially after a day of wearing flip flops. Pair the socks with Crabtree Hand Therapy or our Glowology body line!

Sometimes the day gets a bit stressful and a gSavino 2lass of wine is a great way to finish off the day.  Our “Mom” wine glass or a 4-pack of chalkboard wine glasses would be the perfect gift for any wine lover.  A great addition to the wine glasses is the Savino wine saver – this carafe will keep an open bottle of wine fresh for a week! She can sip on her favorite bottle of wine all week & it will still taste great!

Every womanmom's day.chavez for charity loves a little bit of bling! Our Crown Collection jewelry has beautiful necklaces, bracelets & earrings. We also just received beautiful watch sets for the woman who always wants to be on time. And the stone bracelet trend is huge! You can choose from lots of pretty colors. Or if you want the bracelet to have a little “meaning”, check out our Chavez for Charity bracelets. Each bracelet signifies a special charity & a donation is made to that charity with every bracelet purchase!

These are just a few of our favorite things for Mom! Stop by this weekend and we’ll help you put together the perfect Mother’s Day gift!