Kate Spade 2010 Calendars are In!

Start 2010 the right way!

We know how many people enjoy finding Kate Spade items at an affordable price and her 2010 Spiral-bound Calendars are always one of our most popular items from her stationery collection. Well, they've now arrived!

They are great not only for a gift for yourself, but they make a great stocking stuffer for the holidays too!

Click on the link below and it'll take you right to the planner on our website or you can go to http://www.sarahbstationery.com/calendars-c-1193.html to see all of our 2010 Planners!


Something Personal

I don't know about you, but it often feels to me like we live in an impersonal world. People converse via computers instead of in person much of the time because of the speed at which you need to get things done. But (!), sometimes, it's nice to slow down and take the time to be with friends and really be present -- not only physically, but mentally too. And in taking the time to do so, you come to know those friends better and what their likes and dislikes are. And as you do so, you start noticing things they'll like, but as is the communication, much of the possessions we have in our homes are impersonal as well. There is nothing to distinguish them from the other people who have those same items.

So, this year, I say take some time to figure out what your friends and family will like as their own. Personalize it! Not only to them, but for them! Here are some great things that you can give to the people that matter which will only be for them:




Season of Thanks...

Thanksgiving is Thursday! And Christmas is soon to follow. As we enter the holiday season, please remember that though it is the season of gift-giving and receiving, it is also a time to be thankful for the friends and family you have to spend it with. And if they are giving you gifts, you should return them some appreciation. This may be in the form of a gift in return, but it absolutely should be with a heartfelt handwritten thank you. Do NOT email it. Not only is it inappropriate, it also shows a lack of proper appreciation for the gift as well as the time and effort the giver put into finding something they thought you would like. Now, you might ask, do I really need to send a thank you if I said it verbally? YES! would be the answer. 

It does not have to be a long thank you note, and the handwriting doesn't have to be perfect. You can make it a simple "Thank you for the beautiful cashmere scarf. I have the perfect coat to wear it with and can't wait to use it during the winter season." or "I love the engagement ring you picked out. It's perfect! And I can't wait to spend the rest of my life with you!" Something along those lines. If you need help, get a book. A couple good ones are: Writing Thank You Notes by Gabriella Goodwin & David Macfarlane; and Just Write: The Art of Personal Correcspondence by Molly O'Shaughnessy that is more about corresponding than specifically writing thank you notes.

If you need further advice on writing your thank you notes and reasons to do so, this is a great article that was published in the Wisconsin Bride Magazine in 2006. Though it is particular to weddings, the reasons and methods pertain to everyday life as well.



It's Beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

The weather outside is cold, it hasn't yet snowed this season and Christmas is a little over a month away! And we're ready for it anyway!

Sarah B. is continually in transition...

The lights are up, the trees are decorated and more new things continue to roll in!

Some of our newest highlights include:

Candles and diffusers from Aquiesse... not only are they made in the US, but they are wonderful scents that smell great as a combination. I want one of each! The products include:
  • diffusers
  • small and large soy candles
  • french jar candles
  • votives and travel tins

Our newest Bobo Wrapping Scarves have arrived! They are made in the US, are eco-friendly because they eliminate waste since they can be reused and they joined the Madison News local during a Dane Buy Local segment...

Before we made it look all nice and pretty, you can still see the beauty of the wraps in the box.

The beauty on display!

New Stationery from Cheree Berry:


New stationery from St. Augustine's:

And last, but not least, we recently got in these REALLY COOL (!) totes. They are made of recycled newspapers and magazines and are cut, laminated and sewn into a tote. Since they're laminated, you can spill anything you like in or on your bag and not have to worry. And best of all, they're made in the US!!!

We hope you enjoy some of these great holiday offerings. Happy Thanksgiving! And shop your hearts out on Black Friday!


Dane Buy Local Holiday Marketplace

It's time to kick off the holiday shopping season if you haven't already!

We'd like to invite you to join us to do your holiday shopping and support the local Madison retailers at the Dane Buy Local Holiday Marketplace! It will take place this Friday, the 20th, Noon to 7pm at the Edgewater Hotel! See below for details....

In addition, be sure to bring the included a coupon for your use at the Sarah B. Fine Stationery booth...


Holiday Specials

With the state of our economy, many vendors are offering special discounts, not only for their holiday cards, but also for personalized stationery. And though most of the holiday specials have ended, some have been extended or reinstated. Here are the latest:

Holiday Card Specials:

CRANE & CO. has a special until December 31st for 10% off all Personalized Holiday & Photo Card orders.

Stationery Specials:

CRANE & CO. has a stationery special until December 31st. Buy 75, get 25 free! There are some exclusions, so please ask for details.

And William Arthur is giving you one last chance.... Their special ends November 15th! Great time to take advantage of this offer!

You can come visit us or give us a call (we can definitely work with you over the phone) to place your order!

If you haven't been into the store in a little while, this is a gentle reminder that we've moved to the main corridor between Macy's and Sundance. Hope to see you soon!

And if you need to call/email us, feel free to do so as well... 608.233.5100 or sbfs1@mac.com


Fall Treats

As we enter fall, we know that it starts getting dark earlier and staying dark later in the morning, which can be a good thing because if you're like me, you catch up on all the sleep that you missed when the sun was blaring in your windows at 6 am during the summer and still up at 9 pm when you really had to get to bed! Yeah! More sleep, but with more sleep, somehow in the winter it's also more and more difficult to want to get out of bed in the morning - hey, it's warm under the covers!

So, as most people do in the morning after they get out of bed, you grab a cup of coffee. I personally prefer hot chocolate, but that's beside the point. And whether your preference is coffee or hot chocolate, we recently found these wonderful flavored coffees for the fall and winter season and sipping chocolate for those of you who prefer it as I do. Not only are they a great treat for yourself, because of their packaging, they are a perfect hostess gift as well. If you're lucky, maybe they'll brew it to share while you're at the party! 

To make it more substantial, pair the package of coffee with a decorative scoop a couple sprigs of cinnamon, tie with a ribbon and voila! You have the perfect gift!

Maybe you just want to make it a favor for your Halloween Party or Thanksgiving Dinner. There are special colors and flavors just for Halloween too!

Or you could even make a package an addition to a larger gift, such as some nice hot chocolate, cappuccino or coffee mugs! If you're including hot chocolate mugs, we recommend the sipping chocolate,  adding some marshmallows to the mug and putting it all in a basket together!

Or grab one of the flavored coffees with the biscotti already packaged together and tied with a ribbon! It's ready to go if you're in a hurry or if you need something that's nice, but not too expensive.

Each package brews 8-10 cups of coffee.

Our Halloween flavors include:
  • Broomstick Brew: A Decaf coffee with a combination of Butterscotch and Toffee that comes packaged in purple with a cute witches hat on the front.
  • Spellbinding Brew: A Caffeinated coffee with a captivating blend of Vanilla, Hazelnut, Chestnut and Cinnamon that comes packaged in lime green with a cute witches hat on the front.
  • Bewitching Brew: A Caffeinated regular Arabica coffee packaged in black with a witches hat on the front.
Our Fall flavors include:
  • Apple Pie: Just like Grandma's crisp Apple pie with Vanilla Ice Cream! Packaged in gold with an orange and red leaf on the front. Caffeinated.
  • Campfire S'more: Cozy up to this blend of Caffeinated Graham Cracker Chocolate Marshmallow coffee packaged in gold with an orange and red leaf on the front.
  • Caramel Apple: Crisp apple dipped in rich creamy caramel! Makes you want to bob for apples! Packaged in gold with an orange and red leaf on the front. Caffeinated.
  • Cinnamon Spice: A warm, smooth cinnamon flavor packaged in gold with an orange and red leaf on the front. Caffeinated.
  • Highlander Grogg: A Caffeinated coffee with a blend of Butterscotch, Hazelnut and Caramel packaged in gold with an orange and red leaf on the front.
  • Pumpkin Pie: Grandma's favorite Pumpkin Pie with a Splash of Cinnamon! Packaged in gold with an orange and red leaf on the front. Caffeinated.
Our Christmas flavors include:
  • Both come with an without a Biscotti in gift packaging:
    • Candy Cane: A hearty peppermint taste and aroma. Packaged in lime green with a red and green circle, dot and striped Christmas tree on the front. Caffeinated.
    • Nutcracker: Vanilla, Hazelnut, and Chestnut over a Cinnamon background flavor. Packaged in red with a red and green circle, dot and striped Christmas tree on the front. Caffeinated. 
We hope you enjoy!



Recently, I was walking through Target and stumbled on their aisle of Christmas cards.  There, on the shelf, were three lines of cards that we carry in our store! What?!?  Upon closer examination, they had removed some of the “bells and whistles” that make the cards we sell special, stuck them in a cheap package and stuck a cheap price on them. Same look, cheaper version. Made in China. No one would know the difference unless they'd bought our cards and knew how much nicer they were.

And the neighborhood alder person thinks having a Target at the mall will be good for business. Maybe Target's business.

At Sarah B. Fine Stationery, we take special care to find beautiful made-in-America items such as stationery, cards & wrap. We look for items that are unusually beautiful and often hand-made. They are not cheap, nor are they inexpensive. Some people care about that; others don't. Rather than support a small group of individuals that put their heart and soul into the product they make, some people have a 'this is just as good, and it's cheaper' mentality. Odds are, it's made in China.

And the neighborhood alder person thinks having a Target at the mall will be good for business. Maybe Target's business.

At Sarah B. Fine Stationery, we go to great lengths to offer exceptional customer service. We pride ourselves on knowing many of our customers by name. We go out of our way to order items for customers when we can, notify them when an item comes in that they've been waiting for, assist with gift selections, beautifully wrap gifts, accomplish same-day personalizing when possible and appreciate every customer that comes in our store.

And the neighborhood alder person thinks having a Target at the mall will be good for business. Maybe he's right.

Sarah B. Fine Stationery is a proud member of Dane Buy Local and the350project.net

William Arthur Personalized Holiday Cards


Tips to Help Make Selecting Wedding Invitations Easier

As you are planning your wedding, you will discover there is more information that you could've imagined, so here are a few tips when you are ready for selecting invitations:
  • Timing: You should be ordering wedding invitations 4-6 months prior to the wedding. You don't need to start looking a year in advance unless you are looking at save the dates or intend to order. If you are looking too far in advance, you may become frustrated because companies change designs and pricing, and sometimes get rid of whole albums (selections).

  • When you look the first time, we recommend going by yourself, with a mother or a girlfriend. We don't recommend you go with your fiance unless you think he will be extremely interested. You will need at least 30-45 minutes to look the first time and get a good handle on what you're looking at. It will be overwhelming for you, even more so for your fiance. Most brides bring back their fiance after they've narrowed the options to a few selections and then ask his opinion.
    • Also, don't come with a large contingent of people. There isn't always space available for them to sit and it can be more stressful for you if a lot of people are trying to give their input.

  • If you have an idea of what you want, that's great! But, be open to ideas. Often when you see ideas in a magazine, the prices either aren't revealed or they may be priced only for the invitation, not giving you an accurate idea of the cost for the suite that you will need. Keep in mind, the expensive invitations can't be duplicated inexpensively because 1) what gives them the beautiful aesthetic is what makes them expensive, whether it is the printing process, multiple colors, multiple layers or any other design feature, and 2) the designs you see are copyrighted -- these designers put their heart and soul, so please have some respect for the hard work, time and creativity they have decided to share with you.

  • When working with your stationer, give them feedback while you are looking. It helps us to narrow the selection for you so you don't spend hours looking only to get overwhelmed. We want to help you find what you're looking for and maybe you don't know. But it is helpful to point out things you like as you are looking. We can't help if you don't tell us!

  • Taking pictures: Do not automatically assume that it is ok to take pictures of the invitations you see. Please ask before you do so. As previously mentioned, the designs that you see are copyrighted and most companies do not allow pictures. You may draw it so you can remember, but if you need to show someone, bring them back with you another time. Remember, the invitations you see are created by designers who have put their heart, soul and lots of time into their work.


United States Postal Service

Watch CBS News Videos Online

I like Andy Rooney -- sometimes his features are quirky, but sometimes they're perceptive too.

I couldn't agree more with his insights about the United States Postal Service and sending letters. In reflecting on my own history, I can see how things have changed as I've grown older -- not that old mind you. I also remember when computers were becoming a mainstream piece of technology. It was a time when AOL was the preeminent player for getting online and you paid for it with minutes as you now do cell phones. I remember when I was a child and you wrote letters to keep in touch with people because it was too expensive to call long distance; now it's included in the phone plan. Yes it is easier to keep in touch with people than it once was, but as we rush to complete the tasks of the day, so do we in the communication with those we really care about and should take more time for. I know I'm guilty! And I'm trying to get better about it. I recently remarked to my mother as I was putting stamps on bills that I have not ever in my adult life (at least that I can recall) used up a full sheet of stamps. This was the first year I had done so by sending cards to friends and family (and now I'm out of stamps for those couple of bills I have to mail)!

It's important to take time to connect with those that are friends and family and for them to know that they're important to you, that you took time to think about what you wanted to say and about doing something special for them -- not just quick for you. I hope you'll join me in sending more letters to your friends and holiday greetings to those you need to reconnect with too!


Jon Stewart's Pregnant Gourmet Bride Magazine

So, I love Jon Stewart! I think he does a great comedy routine on just about every subject he covers. And with Conde Nast closing down a few of their magazines -- 2 of them bridal, he had the perfect centerpiece. I hope you get a kick out of this one!



Totally off the subject of stationery, we take you to the subject of life and Reinvention!

If you've never read More Magazine, you should. They celebrate all women over 40! However, I just turned 30 (boy, even that's hard to say, since it's an unfortunately recent occurence that I'm not yet used to...) and I have stolen every issue from my mother for the past few years (sometimes I try to steal it before she reads it!). I think I even introduced her to it and definitely introduced my aunt to it! It's a great magazine! I love it because it isn't a fluff magazine. Though there is information in there about fashion, it touches on issues that are pertinent to life at 20, 40 or 60. And the articles are interesting.

So more to the point. This year, as they have for the last 3 years, More Magazine hosted their Annual Reinvention Convention. There were over 500 attendees, not including the press! The convention was at a cost of $295. Registration began at 7am followed by breakfast and also included lunch and morning and afternoon snacks and ended at 5:30. There was also a book store where you could pick up books by each of the speakers and later have it autographed. Upon registration, we were provided with a Reinvention Convention booklet of information with the schedule for the day and bios for the speakers, along with a nicely bound More Magazine lined journal for our use throughout the day. Each attendee was given a bedazzled More t-shirt, was free to take Jean Chatzky's book "The Difference: How Anyone Can Prosper in Even the Toughest Times", and a favor bag at the end of the day.

This was the first year mom and I attended and it is also the first year they are taking the convention on the road -- previously mentioned to Washington, DC and Chicago, IL. Since we work together, we enjoy stealing away to New York -- any excuse is a good one. Usually we go for business, but this time it was personal. We needed some inspiration. And we certainly got it! There were some great speakers in attendance -- Laura Bush, Nora and Delia Ephron and Mika Brzezinski to name a few, each talking about ways in which they reinvented their life or career. If you're into finance information, Jean Chatzky who is often featured on the Today Show was there. If you're into health and fitness issues, Pam Peeke was there. If you're into fashion, Giorgio Armani was there with makeup brushes in hand and Talbots sponsored a booth showcasing scarves and how to tie them. There was also a Tarot Card reader!

My all-time favorite speaker was Barbara Corcoran. If you're not familiar with her, I'll give you some background. During her high school and college years, she got straight D's. She had gone through 20 jobs by the time she turned 23. But, soon after, she borrowed $1000 from her slick boyfriend and become one of the most successful people in real estate today. She eventually turned her $1,000 loan into a $5 billion dollar real estate business and eventually sold it for $70 million dollars! She was hilarious and insightful!

Every issue that can come up at some time in your life was covered in one way or another -- finance, health, sex, life and career change, fashion & beauty, social media and giving back to the world around you. I highly recommend this convention to you. It covers not only career change, but personal change is highly emphasized. Sometimes, we just need some help.

This Convention was well worth the $295 dollars we paid and the $205 we didn't pay, not only for the insight of the speakers present, but also because this was a great networking opportunity. There were many people there who had previously been employees of companies, are currently or that currently head up large companies as well. I certainly would've paid more and recommend that if you have the opportunity you go to one of the shows in Washington, DC or Chicago, IL. And when you do go, don't forget to take your personalized calling cards with you to help make those connections long-lasting. I don't yet know that they will have the same speakers at each convention as this is the first year they've taken it on the road. Though they don't currently have information about the upcoming schedule, I can tell you both venues are to be in 2010; you should take a look at their website and keep an eye out for further information: www.more.com

I should also point out that they will be hosting a 1/2 Marathon in April 2010, though the date hasn't yet been announced, so I imagine is subject to change. But something to keep in mind if you want to get in shape or want to take a vacation. Though I am loathe to admit it, I have gained more weight than I care to admit to myself or the world, but am aiming to prepare for it -- no easy task as exercise isn't my friend. I hope you'll join me -- I can always use the support as I think every woman can!


Engagements Lead to Weddings!

It's now October -- boy how time flies! Followed shortly by the fall season -- football, school starting and leaves falling -- comes the sometimes never-ending winter season (at least if you're in the midwest region) -- Thanksgiving, Christmas, burning fireplaces, hot chocolate, snow falling and shovelling and Engagements!!

During the many years we've been in this industry, the engagements during the holidays are inevitable and we love them! The soon-to-be brides are excited to set a date, pick out and order their wedding gown and really have fun planning a blow-out wedding!

So, I thought it beneficial to point out something and give you a few tips to help you too! This is just the beginning! You have so much work ahead of you to plan this event. And a lot of special details will go into it. The decisions are endless, and there are more to be made than you ever thought possible. Now, I'm not trying to dampen the mood, but just want to point out that you may need some help and to suggest that in trying to get that help you visit your local stores for bridal gowns, wedding stationery (save the dates, invitations, thank you notes, programs, menu cards, table/place cards, etc.), favors if you prefer, photographers, dessert confectioners, caterers, facilities, event supplies and florists. While it can sometimes be advantageous to shop online, this is one of the biggest times in your life where etiquette will be important so that you don't offend someone by accident and therefore have to start a new relationship off in an unfortunate position because all you had to do was ask for help to begin with. In addition, you can do a lot for your local economy and for the environment too! In the end, this benefits you. Your local vendors can also help you in ways you can't imagine by presenting you with all the options and helping you stick to your budget. They will be knowledgeable about all the products available and help to educate you along the way. Our goal isn't simply to make money -- it is also to develop rapport with you so we can help you in the future.

As a stationer, we've had many couples who have never sent out invitations before and don't know the first thing about doing so. We help them navigate the necessities of what they'll need, what the printing methods are that are available and why you would select one over the other, understand pricing and etiquette, placing their order and taking care of any issues that may arise. Our customers make the decisions and we do the work. As a result, we have many customers return to us for their paper needs for 1st Anniversaries, their children's birth announcements, baby and wedding showers for friends and families, occasion cards, wrapping presents for their special occasions, holiday entertaining and gift needs, and ordering their personal stationery! In turn, we aim to support them when we can should they ask for a donation to the charity they support as well as by having staff available and well trained to help with the personalized service they've come to appreciate.

Here are a few tips when working with vendors:
  • If a vendor has spent a lot of time with you, place your order with them. It shows that you appreciate their help and value the services they provide. Likewise, if you don't intend to order from them, do not continually use them as a resourse. There is nothing more discouraging to a small businss owner to help someone, find out later they placed their order elsewhere and not know why. 
  • If you know what you want, or at least have an idea, be able to communicate those ideas. If you need to bring pictures or samples to help you do so, that is absolutely fine and much welcomed! 
  • Know what your priorities are, but be willing to work with your vendor. What you have your heart set on may not be available at the price you want, so know whether price or what you want is more important; and if price is more important, provide them with a budget and be open to other ideas so they can make suggestions.
  • Don't expect to match colors across vendors and products (i.e., bridesmaids dress swatches need to match the ink color you're incorporating into the invitations or table linens). You will make yourself crazy as well as whomever you are working with. Coordinate colors so they look nice together. You'll achieve a nicer effect and remove some of the stress from your life.
  • Don't expect discounts. In the world of online shopping, a lot of people have the expectation of getting discounts for the same product. If you are shopping at a retail store, have the understanding that they are providing you with a place to review the options in person, helping you to narrow and make a decision, place your order, in addition to helping you with the proper way to do things and taking care of problems if and when they arise, each of which take a lot of time, both with you and in educating their staff to be able to assist you. But, in the majority of case, you will be happy you had the help (believe me, we've heard horror stories)!
  • Remember that each piece of your event is just as important as the others. Your guests will keep mementos of your wedding; the invitations/programs/menu and placecards for their friend or child who will be getting married or just because you're that important to them; the photographs of you dancing the night away; the restaurant and confectioner you used to cater the event for their next party. It is all important and serves to give them a cohesive experience as your guest. Remember as well that this doesn't have to be over the top. The wedding speaks as much about the day/night you will remember for the rest of your life as it does about you as a person and a couple. 
  • Most importantly, enjoy this moment!!! You will never do it the same way again, but you will remember and share the experience for the rest of your life, whether with each other, your children or grandchildren.


Environmentally Friendly Wrap

As you may know, part of what keeps us busy each year is finding new products. In order to assist in that process each year is the National Stationery Show in New York. Now, this is one of our favorite things in which to participate. The energy in the Jacob Javits Center is palpable, each vendor trying to find new products to fit their stores... it's wonderful!

Well, each year when we go, we have a list of different merchandise that we need to be on the lookout for. Inevitably, we come home with more than we needed to begin with, but that's beside the point. This year, we found a really wonderful product. As you may be able to tell, wrapping gifts is one of our favorite things to do. A couple of years ago we went to London of all places to take an afternoon gift wrapping seminar and had a wonderful time! When we were at the show, we found a product called Bobo Wrap. Now, what's different about Bobo Wrap is that it is made of decorative fabric instead of paper! And it's almost easier than wrapping with paper! Something to keep in mind is that it can also be more expensive than the paper, but truly, that is part of the gift! The fabric can be reused many times over and is great for gifts of all different sizes. Here are some examples of a few of the fabrics that we picked up and different ways in which to use them as well as a video of how to wrap them! Since they've been well received, we will not only be adding more colors soon for the holidays, but we also add the larger sizes for further customization. In addition, there is an Instruction brochure that explains the many different ways to wrap!


Name placement etiquette in stationery

As a stationery store owner, I often get questions about etiquette, and I’m happy to answer. It seems that over the last several decades there’s been such a movement towards ‘casual’ that we forgot to teach our kids some of the rules. Surprisingly, however, it’s often the generation older than me that is locked into incorrect ways. So, here are a few simple rules pertaining to name placement on stationery.

1. Ladies, we didn’t go through women’s lib for nothing! But even without that movement, in most social situations, we are supposed to come first when mentioned with our husband. Some say the man’s “first and last name should never be separated,” some say “ladies first.” I say it’s the “polite way.” No matter, the effect is the same: it’s Susan and John Doe. Not John and Susan Doe.

2. With wedding invitations, the parents of the bride typically extend the invitation and many brides want their mom’s first name mentioned. While that is fine, it certainly decreases the level of formality. And when the mother’s first name is given, titles should be dropped. So it’s Susan and John Doe or Mr. and Mrs. John Doe inviting you to the wedding; not John and Susan Doe, and not Mr. and Mrs. Susan and John Doe.

3. When you send wedding invitations, please, please don’t use stickers on the envelopes!!! Just because ‘everybody does it…’ doesn’t mean you should. (Remember your mom saying ‘if everyone jumped off a bridge’…?) An event as important as your wedding deserves the time it takes to hand-write your guests’ names and addresses. And again, as you address the envelope, return to #1 and #2.

4. When addressing envelopes, and writing any correspondence, recall the level of formality of the event, your familiarity with the person to whom you are writing (and their spouse, as applicable), and any professional titles they may carry. Mr. and Mrs., Dr. and Mrs., and Professor and Mrs. are always in good taste. First names may not be.

Remember, etiquette isn’t as much about what’s “right” and what’s “wrong” as it is about making people feel comfortable and welcome. It’s about being polite and treating people with kindness and respect. Come on, let’s make the world a kinder place!


On Change

There are some changes in life that our culture embraces. A new marriage, new baby, new home. We welcome, no celebrate these changes in our life. They are joyous events that mark a special event in our lives.

There are other changes in life that we avoid or dread, such as an illness or loss, anticipated or not.

Then there are the changes that could go either way. A new job might be forced or highly sought after, but it may bring a new location, a new paycheck, new friends. Some might be welcomed; some might be dreaded or bitter-sweet.

Our President campaigned on “Change we can believe in.” I’m still waiting, hoping, but ‘believing’ is beginning to fade. Some change we really need as a society.

One change that happens, whether we like it or not in Wisconsin, is the change in seasons. I love the transition from winter to spring, to summer and fall, my most favorite season! Think sweatshirts, fall leaves, football and Halloween! But were it not for Christmas, I could do without winter. Give me the first snowfall of the year, and let’s just fast-forward to spring!

At Sarah B. Fine Stationery, we LOVE the changes in season! We get to bring out fresh, new designs and fun decorations for the upcoming holidays! Yes, you could say our store is ‘beginning to look a lot like….’ well, you know!

Peruse the pictures on website, sarahbstationery.com and come browse in our store. Perhaps you, too, will embrace the change!


Fall Is Upon Us

School has started now and the leaves are just starting to turn colors and the weather is starting to cool. Yeah! Fall is almost here and with it comes the changing leaves, the sweaters & sweatshirts, football games and wood burning in the fireplaces. There's nothing like it!

And along comes Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas not far behind. Though the kids are back to school, there's more family time ahead with the holidays. My favorite time of year.

To help you and your children memorialize their grad school years, we have the Grade School Books. Each has a section for pictures as well as the different activities throughout the year. You can find them on our website at http://www.sarahbstationery.com/grade-books-c-1087.html. Watch out, they do go fast! *If there's one in particular that you aren't finding at our website, you can give us a call and we can let you know when we'll have them in stock again.

Now is the time to start planning for Halloween as well! It's only about 8 weeks away and why not do it up right since it's on a Saturday this year?!

Here are some cute invitations to help you invite friends and get in the festive mood -- candy bowls as well as some fun decorations! All can be found on our website by clicking on the picture.

We hope you have a great start to the season and we'll keep you posted on all the new holiday arrivals!


Back to Basics

I know everyone is busy, every minute of every day... me too!

But, I find myself remembering and wishing for the simpler times. I remember as a child sitting down to dinner every night (or maybe not every night, but most nights anyway). And I remember my parents cooking those meals and serving us a large plate of whatever they've cooked up. Could be that's what has attributed to my weight issues (because we all have them:) throughout my life, but I find that as I get older, the time disappears so much more easily than I remember and with the time disappearing, so do my skills in the kitchen and my health. I'll admit that though my parents were cooking and feeding us so much food, it was much healthier than you can get at any fast food restaurant. So, I recently decided that it's time to take back my time and start prioritizing for me.

So, I decided to take a cooking class and on top of that I've been on Jenny Craig for a while. I started getting tired of the Jenny Craig and that's what led me to the cooking class. Now, I've always loved cooking, but I realized at some point that I don't cook from scratch, which I would love to be able to do! Part of the overeating I'm sure is attributed to the lack of flavor in some foods, which I think comes back with cooking from scratch. So, I set off...

Now, anyone who knows me knows that I'm picky about EVERYTHING! I hate, and I do mean HATE onions and I know they're great for flavoring just about everything, but I've always refused to use them in anything I cook and I've had a good excuse too. I can't cut them to save my life.

However, that's the best thing I learned in the Spice Up Your Life Culinary Skills Boot Camp Basics class at Kendall College in Chicago. I didn't even know this place existed until recently and it was one of the most fun things I've ever done for myself besides get a massage, manicure or pedicure! I have to say, they have other classes as well for baking, grilling, teens and more in-depth focuses too. This was a weekend long class (10-4 each day) that teaches you the proper way to cut vegetables, poultry, fish and other meats as well as the basics about herbs and spices, and every method of cooking you could possibly imagine. It was great! We made several sauces, dishes, stocks and desserts. And now it makes me want to cook everything under the sun! I only wish there were more people to eat it all!

And I will cook with the onions now because I no longer have an excuse. Plus, within the next few days, I'll have some great cocktails to serve with the foods I cook. We recently added a line called Wine - A - Rita! When it's posted to our website, I'll add a link. There are 3 different flavors -- Peach Bellini, Cosmorita and Wine Glace.


Like all of you, I’ve been busy. Summer hits and suddenly it’s nearly over already! But our wedding finally happened – what we’ve been anticipating and planning for nearly a year now! And what a gorgeous setting!

My son and his wonderful bride tied the knot in the mountains of Oregon. In a garden surrounded by flowers, pine trees and waterfalls, they exchanged vows.

But, some of the fun and most memorable moments were the downpour when we first arrived at Belknap Hot Springs, the afternoon before and helping people get bags out of their cars without trying to get wet since the carport was flooded; setting up for the Rehearsal dinner in the rain; the flower girl losing her basket in the stream of water flowing through the garden; the ring bearer poking the groom while the bride and groom were reciting their vows and then being bribed by the Best Man!

And as the reception progressed, so did the gathering clouds. Before long we were rushing for cover. But the reception went on way into the night. And our friend Kimberly, of www.kkayphoto.com captured the most incredible moments! (if any of you need a great photographer, she travels!) A most memorable weekend! (these are my pictures - if you want the good ones, check out Kimberly's website! Engagement photos: http://www.kkayphoto.com/blog/archives/366; Wedding photos: http://www.kkayphoto.com/blog/archives/250)

Family, friends and love... what more could you ask for?


Who will be here next year?

Boy, it seems like every day the news about the economy gets worse. More layoffs, home foreclosures, business closings and the stock market plummeting. Where’s it going to end? It seems like a downward spiral that just keeps going. It makes me afraid to go out and buy anything. I’ll just keep my money for now.

Well, why? I’m fortunate to have a husband with a steady job and good income. He’s not at risk of being laid off. Our kids are grown, we live within our means, don’t have much debt, and are comfortable. But I’m still worried. Is it, perhaps, that the gloom and doom of the media has gotten through to me? Sure, our investments are in the tank, like everyone else's. But we’re doing ok. I can afford to go buy new clothes, enjoy dinner out, take a vacation.

In fact, most of us can. I recently heard a statistic that 90+ percent of us are able to pay our mortgage as usual. Certainly a lot of people have lost their jobs, but a lot have not. I own a small stationery store and I’m doing all I can to make sure that I’m able to keep my employees. We don’t throw lavish parties, take corporate jets or have excessive salaries (heck, I just want to have money at the end of the year to buy new product!) But do you know how businesses keep from laying off staff? Sales. People have got to buy things at our stores. It’s as simple as that. Because if you don’t, the business owners wont have enough income to keep their sales staff, which means layoffs and ultimately, closing.

I had a woman come into the store yesterday and proclaim “I love your store!… I hope you don’t go out of business.” We joked that we were with her on that one. But it wasn’t funny when she turned around and left without making a purchase. Not that every person should buy something every time they enter my store. But I think there’s a disconnect there. People have to understand that their purchases support businesses and have a direct impact on whether or not people have a job, and that business will be around next year.

It’s as simple as that.

There's so much doom and gloom and warnings and frenzy out there in the media, and we're digging ourselves into a bigger and bigger hole. It's pretty basic and obvious. The less we spend, the more layoffs and business closings and foreclosures there will be.

Those of us that are able, owe it to our community to keep on making purchases. I'm not saying we should spend beyond our means or put ourselves into debt we can't handle. If that's the case, keep your money. But if you can, support your local business when they have something you love, want or need, and can afford. It's our own little bailout plan!