Friday, February 28, 2014

The Dying Art of Cursive and Auto-correct

What did Bob Dylan say?   For the times they are a-changin'! 

In the American education system today, the curriculum is always changing to meet with the demands of our past paced world.   Incentives by charities like 
DonorChose are being given to middle schools to teach computer programming and coding -- what a win! But with adding more to keep up with the times, cuts have to be made.  Cuts like eliminating spelling and eliminating cursive writing.  

In our digital age many have argued it's not necessary to spend time writing cursive when one can type using hundreds of thousands of fonts? Why spell when you have a red line under your incorrect words and can right click for the auto-correct? 

If America is no longer teaching our youth handwriting and correct spelling, what does that mean for our future generations?  Today we are examining that impact on children and we have some recommendations to keep your kids learning cursive and spelling.   

In an article written by J. Richard Gentry, Ph.D., in Psychology Today, he writes that "eliminating the spelling test is a big mistake."   Learning to correctly spell has an impact on your future reading and writing proficiency.  Reading and writing are immediately impacted when you can correctly formulate letters to words.  

Cursive is an art.  Our Founding Fathers wrote the Declaration of Independence using it.   Eliminating this from our curriculum would potentially alienate children from reading letters passed down from generation to generation, many citing that those who don't learn how to write cursive would not easily be able to read it.  Psychologists worry that perhaps those that won't be able to read the cursive of archival documents would feel trapped in a digital age.

In a Time Magazine article about this issue, a pediatric occupational therapist in and pediatric coordinator for the American Occupational Therapy Association said that "learning cursive helped students hone their fine motor skills.”  Do you remember writing cursive over and over again? We do. With fondness. 

At More Than Paper, a stationery (and personalized gift) store that values the art of letter writing, we think it's imperative that our youth learn to correctly spell and write in script. We don't mean to stand on a soap box and preach, but if you agree, here are 4 ideas we came up with to help encourage these essential and basic foundations in your children.  If your school eliminates this curriculum all together, parents will have to pick up the slack at home.

Here are some ideas: 
  1. Basic -- buy a cursive book and work with your children at home. Make it fun to do a new letter each day, week, or month.  You decide the pace! 
  2. Do an age appropriate vocabulary word every day. At the end of the week, do a "quiz" around the family dinner table. Ask your children what the word means and how to spell it.  Revisit the same words next week.  Make it fun and not seem like work.  You could even have a running point system with family rewards! 
  3. Encourage your children to write a letter to a pen pal.  Perhaps you personally have a friend from college who lives far away.  You introduce your children on a summer visit and encourage them to write letters during the year to each other.  Have them exchange letters once a month or as often as they like. 
  4. Always insist on a handwritten thank you note.  Don't allow your children to send a text or email to thank someone for a gift. It isn't and will never be appropriate.  (We have a large selection of children/teen stationery to make it fun!) 
Modern Posh Stationery/Thank You Notes - Blue Bubble Posh Digital Photo - Blue & Brown (DFJ1903BlueBrown)

We'd love to hear your thoughts on this subject matter! Tell us your opinion here or share your thoughts on our Facebook page


  3. Sign of the Times: Is Cursive a Dying Art in Classrooms? |

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Early Spring Fashion Report

The weather is warming up a bit and we are tired of just about every piece of winter clothing in our closet.  We can't look at another chunky sweater until next Fall. Bring on the spring clothes! What's hot this season? We went on official business for this post and scoped it out last weekend downtown in SoHo.  Here is More Than Paper's SPRING FASHION report. 

Trend #1: Soft, silk, "PJ" pants.  This is a trend that needs embracing!  Like wearing your silk pajamas, this trend is uber comfy. Designers everywhere are pushing these soft, silk, pajama-like pants.  Be sure they don't look like pajamas, dress up them with wedges or heals (don't wear flats here) and pair with luxe cotton shirts and plenty of jewelry. The key to this look is not looking like you just rolled out of bed.

Trend #2:  Leather details.  Leather is so hot right now and small details are found on pant leggings, near wrists, patches on elbows, zippers, and pockets.  You don't need to go head-to-toe leather, just add a little splash here and there. 

Trend #3: Button downs, button downs, oh -- and more button downs.  An easy trend to embrace, there is no shortage this season of button down shirts.  Patterns, stripes, plain, florals, there is a shirt for everyone.  Dress this look up with a thin belt around the waist, black skinny pants and heels or dress it down with jeans and flats. 

Image via

Trend #4:  Boyfriend jeans -- here for another season!  We like to pair them with a cute belt buckle, found at More Than Paper, to make these boyfriend jeans a bit more feminine. Pair this pant with heels or cute ballet flats to avoid looking scrubby, or make sure you have a really snazzy pair of sneakers or shoes to dress it up! 

Trend #5: Patterned pants!  Really get noticed this Spring with looks like these -- you can't be missed walking down the street.  Vibrant colors and bright patterns make a bold statement.  Snag a few of these for Spring!

All of these clothing items featured here can be found either at J.Crew, Club Monaco, or Piperlime.  Shop any of these sites to find all of these looks and shop More Than Paper's cute selection of belt buckles to further customize your look!  What do you think of our report? Are we spot on or have we missed a big trend? We'd love to hear from you! 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Expressing Condolences

There will come a time in everyone's life where they sadly loose someone they love.  Here are some tips to properly express your condolences during that difficult time.

Writing a sympathy or bereavement note is one of the hardest kinds of notes there is.  But when you first learn of someone's passing, getting a note in the mail as soon as possible is important.  Take note of your stationery style that you choose as a more formal style is more appropriate here. (Some good options by Rytex can be found here.  We also think these below work well.)

Rytex Signature Style Stationery - Elegant Embossed Border Cards (B4-44)

The note does not have to be long.  You can keep it to a few short sentences about how deeply sorry you are for his/her loss, how you hope they are comforted knowing you are thinking of them and your thoughts and prayers are with them.   

We also like to incorporate a personal touch about the person who has passed.  For example, "John was a wonderful man. I'll never forget when we went skiing in 2012 and sat around the fire in the lodge for hours because it was too cold to ski!"  A personal anecdote makes it more thoughtful.  After all, it's that connection lost that makes it so hard.

Here are some other creative ways to express your condolences: 
  1. In lieu of flowers, contribute to a charity or cause the person was passionate about.
  2. Bake the family cookies or sweets, or bring them a home cooked meal.
  3. Get them a book they will enjoy.  Go the extra mile with a subject matter or genre the deceased enjoyed, anything that reminds you of the person who has passed. 
  4. Buy a silver frame, get it engraved with the dates of the person's life and fill it with a photo.
  5. Put together a care package -- a funny movie, popcorn, some baked brownies, candy, a bottle of wine, a cozy blanket, a box of tissues and a note.
Whatever you do, make sure that when you reach out, you do so with sincerity and care.  It can be awkward but sometimes just letting the person know you care makes a huge difference.  If you have good ways to express condolences, share them here with us and fellow readers.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A Giveaway!

Wow --do we have a treat for our More Than Paper Blog readers today!  We are giving away 1 desk calendar and 1 PSA Essentials Peel & Stick personalized stamp to dress your desk this February!  Get organized with this calendar and stamp your correspondence in style with these two great products.

Desktop Calendars (Frames & Borders)

PSA Essentials - Custom Address Stamper (Jacobson)

There are many ways to enter and win -- follow, fan, or comment or do them all! Good luck! This contest ends next Wednesday, February 26th at 11:59 EST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, February 17, 2014

Inside New York: 10 things to do from New Yorkers

At More Than Paper, we've traveled all over the world and yet, nothing compares to New York City.  It's so vibrant, so eclectic, so electric.  The city itself has an energy not easily rivaled.  With over 50 million visitors to its 23 square miles of space each year, this "center of the universe" has an abundance of things to do, see, eat, and experience. 

You can scour the internet and travel books to find plenty of lists on "what to do" in New York City.  Many will tell you to go to Times Square, visit the Empire State Building, and go to the 9/11 Memorial.  But we wanted to know what real New Yorkers do; so we asked some local friends the question:  "If you only had 48 hours in the city: what would you do?"   The list was long and friends eagerly replied. (New Yorkers are passionate about their city!)  Here are 10 things to do in NYC in 48 hours, straight from New Yorkers.  

1.  Visit The Whitney, the world's leading museum of 20th century and contemporary art that focuses on art primarily by living artists.  For modern art lovers, this is a must see. (Photo credit)

2.  Get "Frozen Hot Chocolate" at Serendipity.  
(Photo credit

3.  Visit Chinatown and go to Joe's Shanghai, for the best soup dumplings in town.  (Photo credit

4.  Go shopping in Nolita/SoHo (East of Broadway) and shop at TopShop for women's apparel, Sweet William and Zara for kid's clothes. 

5.  Lots of our New Yorker friends wanted to share their favorite burger spot:  The Corner Bistro and The Shake Shack were  listed.  Lots also wanted to share pizza spots, too.  Listed were Capizzi, Rubirosa, and the touristy but yummy, Lombardis.  (Photo credit)

6.  On a nice day, a visit to The High Line is a must. For tourists and non tourists it is a true oasis on the west side of the city from Chelsea - through the meatpacking down to the West Village. (Photo credit

7.  Go to Rock Club in the Lower East Side, former home to Ceebee geebees. This area is an awesome spot to take in local music all night long, check out acoustic music at "The Living Room." Afterwards get a burger at Schiller's Liquor bar.

8.  Take in a cheap but very funny Comedy Show in Chelsea at the Citizens Brigade Theater -- afterwards head to the "Half King" lots of comedians hang out here and lots of interesting readings!  (Photo credit)

9.  No frills eateries:  Hagi is a hidden Japanese tapenyaki sake bar near Times Square-- amazing for late night.  Calexico Taco Cart is street cart food in Soho "fancy tex mex"- their pulled pork burrito is to die for.  Crif Dogs in the East Village has the best and most creative hot dogs, there is a secret bar attached to it that you have to enter via a phone booth ( if they will have you!)  Korea town - karaoke Korea town at night, so much fun- beforehand get Korean dumplings and Bimimbap at "Mandoo Bar"- delicious.  359 Broome Street in Little Italy looks like a convenient store but has the best Vietnamese Deli- Bahn Mi and Spring Rolls, such a hidden gem, seriously the best. 

10.  Here are a few happening nightlife recommendations, which is always changing in NYC, and by the time you are reading this, are probably out of date:  West Village, Daddy OFedora, & Ippudo.

Do you have recommendations that we missed? We are sure there are thousands more!  Be sure to share them with us at the bottom of this post! 

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's Day Gifts from the Heart

Marriages and relationships go through ebbs and flows, ups and downs, and are ever changing. When our children were much younger and we were growing our business, there wasn't a whole lot of extra time for each other, which made every moment together that much more important.  Showing each other you care in the smallest of ways can make a large difference.   Going the extra mile means everything.

If you are lucky enough to be in love, use Valentine's Day to celebrate it! At More Than Paper, we have 5 last minute ways to show your man you really care.

  1. Write a love note.
  2. Wake up 15 minutes earlier, make coffee and breakfast for your hubby.  Serve breakfast in bed! 
  3. Leave him an unexpected note in his car, briefcase, or wherever he will find it during the day while you are apart! Let him know you miss him and look forward to seeing him tonight.
  4. Create a photo scrapbook, or assemble pictures of the two of  you when you first started dating. Try to recall that young love and spark you felt in the beginning by reminiscing. 
  5. Make a list of all the "tasks" around the house that your husband does not like to do. Write out a few "free passes" that he can redeem during the year to get out of them. (For example, your husband really protests changing dirty diapers. You know he should get over it, but you'll give him a free pass, and next time he can redeem and not have to change one.  It's really a win for you because as everyone knows, there will be plenty of opportunities to change diapers but one free pass will make him feel like he wins!) 
Above all, take a few minutes to remember what this day should truly be about.  Not chocolate, candies, flowers, and gifts, but a day to show appreciation for the ones you love.   The littlest thing can go a long way!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Fire & Ice Color Trend

At More Than Paper, we pride ourselves on staying current with trends in our industry.  Today we are sharing one of the latest trends in color combinations.  This one seems to be popping up everywhere in stationery, fashion, home decor, and gifts this Spring.   Meet "fire and ice," a statement combination of soft baby blue and red. 

From throw pillows to address stickers, bookmarks to platters, you can find Fire & Ice here at More Than Paper. 

Find the above products in this great trend here:  1) Throw pillow with repeating monogram design by Devora Designs 2) Toms Shoes  3) Calling cards by Stacy Claire Boyd 4) Personalized serving platter by Boatman Geller 5) J. Crew "looks we love" 6) Bookmark by PicMe Prints  7) Stars Throw pillow by Devora Designs 8) Earrings 9) Living Room Chair 

Have you noticed this trend?  We'd love to see pictures you come across or even how you are showcasing this trend in your home.  Share photos with us on our Facebook page!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Winter Olympics 2014

There is something about the Olympics that is so incredibly exciting.  From the opening ceremonies to closing, we love tuning in to see the events and meet the athletes.  NBC does a great job introducing the favorites to win -- telling us where they are from and their struggles and triumphs to get to the Olympics. You can't help but cheer for the athlete you were just introduced to! We spent the weekend at home with our family watching the Olympics and cheering for Team USA!

Today we are sharing a card made by a design team member, Jennifer Holmes, of PSA Essentials.  Do you create your own cards?  This one is actually quite simple.  

To create this card, Jennifer used: 
  • White, red, and striped card stock 
  • Small letter stamps to spell - Team USA  (found at Michael's or JoAnn's)
  • Cheerleader Stamp from Smirk Many Moods by PSA Essentials 
  • 1.5" hole punch, 1.75" hole punch 

Jennifer stamped the cheerleader stamp from Smirk Many Moods, an interchangeable Peel & Stick stamp set by PSA Essentials.  (You can use these stamps on an acrylic block or with the PSA Stamper.)  Then she colored it up to bring it to life.  She stamped "Team USA" very carefully in blue and red ink.  Next, she punched out with the 1.5" punch and framed it in the 1.75" punched out red card stock. 

After she adhered it to a 5 x 7 striped vertical card.  That's it!  You can apply these same directions and change up the stamps, colors, and occasions.  It really is that simple to make your own card. 

More Than Paper has recently added a "Crafter's Corner" and we are adding products all the time.  We currently have a large selection of twine, glassine/treat bags, inks, Stickers by the Dozen, Quick Card Stickers, and Monthly Memory Stickers

If you enjoy crafting, what products do you want to see in this area of our store?  

Go Team USA! 

Friday, February 7, 2014

Valentine's Day Heart Whoopie Pies

We subscribe to Martha Stewart Living and delve into every issue the minute we have a chance (which we admit can be a few days or weeks after it arrives!)  In the January/February 2014 issue, there were loads of Valentine's Day ideas (if you have time to turn your paper clips into heart shapes, that is!) and a few recipes we'd like to try (slow cooking beef seems easy and low-maintenance enough.)  But we were truly excited by this easy Valentine's Day treat recipe: Whoopie Pie Hearts with Raspberry Meringue! YUM and CUTE.

Photo by Burcu Avsar for Martha Stewart

We are hosting a party for our kids on Valentine's Day so these will be just perfect.  We'll serve them up on our personalized Valentine's Day platters, like this one by Boatman Geller (works great for birthday parties, too!)

Boatman Geller - Personalized Melamine Platters (Heart Cupcakes) (21907)

Or this personalized platter also by Boatman Geller!

Boatman Geller - Personalized Melamine Platters (Candy Hearts) (21904)

Head on over to Martha Stewart for this recipe and other great recipes and craft for Valentine's Day coming up next week!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Wedding Gifts

Spring wedding season is upon us and for all those nuptials you will be attending, More Than Paper has you covered with unique gift ideas at affordable prices.   Giving money or a registry gift to the bride and the groom is always appreciated, but a personalized gift that catches them by surprise is very special. (Some of our favorite wedding gifts were ones that were unexpected!)  More Than Paper's selection of personalized wall art makes a treasured gift.  It's something they'll hang on their walls forever!  

From bold, graphic, inspiring, cute, and pretty, we have a wide selection of  personalized art Which one is your favorite? 

For same-sex couples, we also have a great selection from which to choose.  Mr. & Mr. and Mrs. and Mrs. Wall Art is a cute gift to celebrate their love.  

Same-Sex Couples Wall Art

Head on over to shop all personalized wall art for a wedding gift and share your favorites with us here on our blog or on our Facebook page! 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Guest Blog Post: Libby O

I am honored to be a guest blogger for More Than Paper's blog, Inspired, today! My name is Libby and I write a blog for PSA Essentials called PSA Stamp Camp. I was introduced to More Than Paper four years ago and have been a customer of their stationery and personalized gift products ever since.  In preparation for Valentine's Day, I ordered a bunch of Valentine's Day goodies! 

My daughter attends a preschool and they've requested we bring in Valentine exchange cards.  More Than Paper has a huge selection, way cuter than the drug store variety, and I fell in love with the photo cards.  I received a proof quickly and my order shipped in the mail next week!   They turned out cute, didn't they? 

My 20 month old son goes to a day care and I thought I would get the names of the kids in his classroom, write them on Valentine's Day exchange cards, and slip them into to their diaper cubbies!  More Than Paper has a huge selection of boy Valentine's (again, way cuter than the Batman drug store variety....) Connor is into trains now, so this one was perfect! 

I am hosting a Valentine's Day playdate and am working on some favor bags filled with candy and a few items from the dollar store (stickers, Play Dough, markers and such).  I ordered these adorable stickers to attach to bags! 

I was really happy with how fast I received everything and the personal attention More Than Paper gave me when placing my orders.  I got an order confirmation, proofs, and a shipping confirmation all in a timely manner.  Everything looks great, too! 

So I recommend you shop their Valentine's Day products and get your treat bag stickers and exchange cards before time runs out! Avoid the last minute dash to the convenience store and score some really cute ones here. 

Thanks for having me today!