Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Farewell 2014

2014 was a quiet year for Grable Tales.  I could blame it on having a baby, but shouldn't that have given me more content?  I have a feeling that Instagram has something to do with the lack of posts --- honestly, it's a lot easier to post a photo with a small comment then think of an entire post.  Regardless, this year still deserves some recognition:

January - *crickets*

February - my first post of the year was a Stitch Fix review: pregnant edition; I also shared how I was spending my time lately (hint: Sam Grable Photo, The Influence Network, and being pregnant for the second time); I announced my hopes of attending my second Influence Conference; and blogged about my love for 4moms.

March - I started the month off by writing out my monthly goals (and linking up with The Tiny Twig's Goals with Grace); I updated my about me page & began leading an Influence Network community group; and I talked about being a month out from meeting our baby boy (& shared his name)

April - I revisited my March goals + shared my April goals; and blogged about my thoughts of Brené Brown’s book - Daring Greatly

May - I looked back on my April goals + made a few May goals; introduced our baby boy, Calvin!; shared how different Mother's Day felt this year; started writing monthly letters to Calvin; and shared my first postpartum Stitch Fix review.

June - continued with goals for June; after flying across the country with a six week old, I blogged about some of the 'flying with a baby' tips/advice that worked for us; Calvin turned two months old; and Sam & I celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary.

July - this month, I really started to give myself grace when it came to my goals for July; parenting definitely isn't easy, but on occasion it does make you feel like you have some super powers; another Stitch Fix review (I love this service!); my baby turned three months old; and I blogged about the community I found online.

August - still going strong + trying to be transparent with my monthly goals; I reviewed my birthday Stitch Fix; and Calvin kept getting bigger (four months old).

September - I finally realized that some goals will be repeats each month and that's ok; I (re)introduced myself in preparation of the Influence Conference; Calvin turned five months old; thanks to credits, I received a Stitch Fix before attending the Influence Conference; and then I recapped the conference for the second year in a row.

October - two posts remain consistent each month: goals + Calvin's letter (six months old this month!)

November - goals, goals, goals (sorry for the repeating); a photo recap of October; I shared my experience with essential oils; I turned to social media for help with this month's Stitch Fix review; Calvin turned seven months old; and I took some time to be thankful.

December - after nine months of goals, I shared my last goals (with grace) for 2014; blogged about Christmas traditions; honored Charlotte's second birthday and shared the way we chose to celebrate her; reflected on our second year without our baby girl; Calvin celebrated his eighth month of being on the outside; I blogged about the significance of a little giraffe; and reviewed my final Stitch Fix for the year.

This year brought a lot of joy + hope, as well as sleepless nights + tears. And while this space has been primarily used to review Stitch Fixes, write out my goals, and share my monthly letter to Calvin, but I appreciate the comments & community I've found through this space + social media outlets.  Maybe next year things will be different...

Until then... Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Seeing the Importance of Vision Health

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Vold Vision. All opinions are 100% mine.

When I was younger, I wanted two things: 1. to be older and 2. glasses. In my mind, if I wore glasses then I would appear older, so I remember asking my mom to get my eyes checked as often as I could. Fast forward to high school and my dream finally came true. At an annual eye exam, my doctor realized I needed glasses for far away. At the time, I wasn't worried about the health of my eyes, just wearing glasses, but over the years my priorities have definitely changed. In addition to glasses, I also wear contacts and both remind me daily of the importance of eye care.

Whether someone needs vision correction once in a while or every day, taking care of your eyes should be a priority.  And Vold Vision, a Vision Care center out of Arkansas, wants you to think outside the typical "glasses and contacts" options by increasing awareness for laser vision correction.  With an after hours event featuring a live LASEK procedure, Q/A sessions, and up to $500 off LASEK surgery for attendees, Vold Vision wants to shed light on the benefits of this type of correction, while showing what one might expect at the same time.

For more information, check out Vold Vision for dates & times.

Visit Sponsor's Site

Stitch Fix #12

This fix was a good one for me.

One of the most valuable Stitch Fix tips I have come across is that when you find a stylist that you like, keep requesting them in the notes.  And for me, this happened a couple fixes ago and since then, I've continued to ask for Carrie (my stylist).

For this fix, I also requested a vest, some comfy sweaters, and neutral pieces to add to my closet.  This is what Carrie picked out for me:

[left] Market and Spruce Shara Houndstooth Printed Vest
[middle] Tart Jenny Scoop Neck Striped Knit Top
[right] Olive & Oak Dwane Colorblocked Knit Top

Loveappella Evie Draw String Funnel Neck Sweatshirt + Octavia Gilbert Houndstooth Knit Infinity Scarf

I loved how all of my requests were met and I seriously thought about keeping my entire fix for the first time... but then I didn't. The top three pieces were totally cute & netural, but either the fit and/or pattern didn't fit well on me/in my closet and ultimately were sent back.  However, the sweatshirt & scarf have both made quite a few appearances since I received them (thumbs up!).

Obviously, I can't say enough good things about Stitch Fix (see past reviews here).  If you don't particularly like shopping for yourself or are looking for unique pieces, then Stitch Fix may be for you. Sign up today & you can have your first fix delivered right to your door in no time!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Our Charlotte Giraffe

When I first found out I was pregnant with Charlotte, I immediately started planning the nursery.  Because I didn't know whether I was having a boy or a girl yet, I went neutral and based the colors on a bedding set I found with giraffes, elephants, monkeys.  Then we found out we were having a girl and giraffes quickly became her "animal" and her nursery was filled with outfits with giraffes on them, stuffed animals, art work, etc.

Fast forward to the day Charlotte was born: her nana (Sam's mom) brought her a gift which contained a little giraffe plush (above) and for her nine days of life, that giraffe hardly left her side --- if she was in her isolette, her giraffe wasn't far away; if she was being held, her giraffe was right there with her.  And when we went home without our baby girl, this giraffe was close to us & brought us a little comfort during the harder times.

Today, this same giraffe sits on a hutch in our living/dining room. When people ask about it's significance, we tell them it's "our Charlotte giraffe" and are able to share our story. It's not a big gesture or memorial, but it's something that makes us think of our baby girl whenever it catches our eye. And for me, that's enough.

We wanted to include Charlotte in our family photos this fall by incorporating her giraffe.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Dear Calvin // Eight Months

Dear Calvin,

It's true what they say... things really do keep getting better with each month!

First, you now have two teeth!!  The day after you turned seven months, the first popped through and about a week later the second followed.  You are a much happier baby with those first teeth through, but I know it's just a matter of time before we are in the thick of teething again.

Not much new to report on the food front, however. You like to sit at the table with us, but when we stick some food in front of you, you tend to just push it around. If any thing does make it to your mouth, you are the king of funny faces, which definitely entices me to keep putting food in front of you.

You aren't crawling on your hands & knees yet, but you do have the army crawl down. Especially when you can see someone's iPhone, your dad's camera, or if I walk into the room. I'm sure you'll be crawling any day now...

Besides the developmental milestones, you also celebrated your first Thanksgiving! Although you weren't able to eat anything, you still enjoyed the company. We also honored your sister's second birthday this month.

We love you Calvin and are so thankful you are in our lives!


[two months]
[three months]
[four months]
[five months]

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Two Years #babycharlotterene

Just as Charlotte's birthday holds a special place in my heart, so does the day she went to Heaven.

While we were in her room saying our goodbyes, our family was in the Randall Children's Hospital NICU waiting room praying for her to meet Jesus.  The image above is one I look back on with a grateful heart because these same people (+ more) have continued to love on us, cry with us, and lift us up in prayer over the last two years. I pray that everyone has this kind of support system when they need it most.

Hands down, December 21, 2012 was the hardest day of my life, but knowing our baby girl is now healthy & perfect with our Savior makes things a littler easier.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

In Memory Of

The first year after Charlotte's death was all about survival. We were navigating unknown situations & questions that made some days more difficult than others. Honestly, simply learning to share a part of our story that either pushed people away or brought them closer was really hard at times.

The second year, the last twelve months, have felt different. We still receive questions that are difficult to answer without making someone feel bad, but more times than not, I've found myself thanking God for His little gifts to us: Charlotte's big brown eyes, the nine days we had to spend with her, a beautiful community that has continued to surround us with love + prayer, the opportunities to talk about her, and a healthy baby boy. And because of these gifts & more, I felt called to find something we could do as a family in memory of our baby girl's birthday this year.

Enter: A Giving Tree

Under normal circumstances, we would have been (birthday AND Christmas) shopping for our two year old little girl. Instead of passing it by all together, I thought it'd be nice to find a child in need who was around the same age as Charlotte would be and shop for them.

This year we chose a name off the local Salvation Army 'Tree of Giving', but my hope is that in the years to come, we can continue to find a child in need to help in Charlotte's name.  Calvin is still too young to understand what was going on, but in the future, his participation will help teach him about giving + his sister. 

While it's not nearly enough in my opinion, this small act has helped me to know Charlotte's (small) legacy is not forgotten. And there is a lot of comfort in that.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Happy Birthday Charlotte!

As cliché as it sounds, December 12, 2012 feels like yesterday and forever ago all at the same time. Two years ago: we were sitting in the hospital room full of family + friends, waiting to meet our brown-eyed beauty, full of butterflies & nerves, and completely unaware of what the future would hold.  It probably doesn't have to be said, but this day --- the day we met our Charlotte Rene´ --- will always hold a very special & present spot in my heart.

Happy 2nd birthday, baby girl!

daddy, mama, + your new baby brother, Calvin

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


Traditions have been on my mind a lot lately --- What traditions will we carry on from my childhood? From my husband's childhood? What new traditions will we start as a family?

Over the years, Sam & I have celebrated the holidays with our immediate families, which has been wonderful & easy when it comes to traditions. But as we continue to grow our little family, the desire to make our own traditions & memories has become stronger and more important.

With this being the first holiday season we'd have a child at home with us, I found myself searching for our the memorable moments that could be carried on through the years, while reminding myself that we didn't have to go overboard by doing all.the.things.  So I did a little research...

I searched through some of my favorite blogger's past holiday posts.
I asked close friends for their ideas.
I even attended an online class titled "Holidays & Families Without Losing Your Mind", taught by Rachael Kincaid ((great class!))

And after exhausting my resources & talking them through with Sam, these are the Christmas traditions that I hope will become a part of our holidays each year:

  • Participating in an Advent plan // This may look different each year, but as long as we participate in one as a family, I'll be happy.
  • Christmas pajamas on Christmas Eve // Growing up, my mom always allowed us to open one gift on Christmas Eve and it was always a pair of new pajamas, so this is a special one from my childhood.
  • Three gifts (like Jesus received) // I recently heard this one from the above-mentioned class and I loved it. Simply put: each person receives three gifts from their list and the special part is that you can incorporate the story of the gifts Jesus received as well.

Every year is not going to look the same, I know that. But finding a a few of holiday traditions that my family can look back on with appreciation & nostalgia is important to me and something I hope we can continue to carry on.

Any traditions that have become a part of your holidays?

Monday, December 1, 2014

December Goals

I've said this before, but these monthly posts where I outline some goals I'd like to accomplish are really good for the planner in me.  However, I have found that I tend to make goals that are not specific enough because I still want to say I did them, even though I'm not sure how to measure them.  Now that I am aware of this, let's see if I can put some definitive perimeters around each goal for December.

November Goals:

1. Set SMART goals for Sam Grable Photography with Sam. // This was harder than I thought it'd be, but we set some goals for the rest of this year and some tentative ones for next year. Now to get to work on them...
2. Continue to work on Internet/phone boundaries. // I felt like I made some improvements this month, but could definitely work on this more. My goals are feeling a little too vague/big, so I think I need to set some measurements to them...

3. Budget, budget, budget! // Again, this goal is too broad...

4. Get back into blogging (for me). // From only two posts in October to seven in November, this feels like a success to me.  I still have some more posts in draft form that I'd like to post, so I'm going to continue this one into this month.

December Goals: 

1. Research advertising avenues for Sam Grable Photo and decide on what we're going to do starting in January 2015.

2. Hide my phone from 4-7pm.

3. Post on Grable Tales at least 2x/week.

4. Find a (free/inexpensive) holiday outing/tradition to do as a family each week - go look at Christmas lights, visit a live nativity, find snow!, etc.

Linking up with The Tiny Twig // Goals with Grace

Friday, November 28, 2014

Saving for an Emergency & Capital One 360's Black Friday Sale

During our first year of marriage, I distinctly remember my husband suggesting we start an account for unexpected expenses - an emergency fund - just in case something like a job loss or illness was in our future.  To be honest, I was skeptical.  Why did we need to put money away?  Surely we wouldn't find ourselves in any major financial trouble, right?


While neither of us have lost our jobs, we did have a death in our family that forced us to take some time away from work. It was very unexpected and our finances were the last thing on our mind, so at that moment I found myself very thankful for our emergency fund and the security it provided during our time of need.

And this holiday season, Capital One 360 wants to help you reach your goals of financial peace, whether that's starting an emergency fund, saving for college, or simply avoiding the "financial hangover" that usually arrives shortly after the holidays. With five helpful deals, Capital One 360's Black Friday Sale is designed to encourage consumers to keep their finances at the top of their mind, even while many have gifts, greetings and get-togethers on the brain.

In addition, Capital One 360 provides the following all year long:
  • Remote deposit capture with Capital One 360's CheckMate tool;
  • The Automatic Savings Plan, which makes saving a snap;
  • And checking and savings accounts that are fee-free and earn interest.

So once all of your Thanksgiving celebrations are over, be sure to head over to Capital One 360 for Black Friday deals you can bank on, including new account bonuses, referral bonuses and closing cost credits.  Start building your financial peace of mind today because some day in the future it will all be worth it.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Thursday, November 27, 2014


It would be easy to find reasons not to be thankful, especially after losing our baby girl, but today I'm choosing to be thankful for the time he has given Sam, Charlotte, Calvin, & I, with each other and our family & friends.

Life isn't always simple, but thanking God for the little things is. 
Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Dear Calvin // Seven Months

Dear Calvin,

Oh buddy, this has been the month of teething. Yes, MONTH!  And sadly, we don't have a whole lot to show for all the pain & tears.  However, you still manage to fill our days with smiles like the one above and all the teething trouble seem to fade away.

Along with teething, we've still been introducing solid foods here & there, but you aren't showing a whole lot of interest.  We can now add sweet potato, avocado, & banana to the list of foods you have tried, but after one or two bites, you just want to play with it.  We'll keep trying, but honestly don't feel any big rush quite yet.

Up until this month, you have just been rolling around, but you've now learned how to scoot around on your tummy & pivot in a circle.  We've caught you on all fours, rocking back & forth, a couple of times, but no crawling... yet!

I'm really looking forward to the upcoming holidays and can't wait to see it all through your sweet eyes --- your first Thanksgiving, Christmas, & New Years!


[two months]
[three months]
[four months]
[five months]

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Stitch Fix #11

Are you convinced I'm a Stitch Fix fan yet?

If you haven't signed up yet, do so HERE and follow these easy steps:

1. Fill out your style profile
2. Schedule your fix
3. Once your fix arrives, try on the items and decide what you're going to keep
4. Send everything you don't want back to Stitch Fix in their pre-paid bag

For this fix, I was stumped on which item(s) I should keep.  I wasn't initially drawn to anything in my box, but the more I tried them on, the more I liked them.  So I turned to my Instagram + Facebook friends and asked what they thought.

[clockwise from top left] 
Kut From The Kloth Larson Collared Knit Top
Evolution by Cyrus Abbot Crew Neck Elbow Patch Sweater
Desires Nero Hooded Long-Sleeve Sweater
Market and Spruce Corinna Striped Dolman Top
Liverpool Rizzo Pull-On Skinny Ponte Pant (pictured 1, 2, & 4)

Hands down, the Abbot Crew Neck Elbow Patch Sweater & Market and Spruce Corinna Striped Dolman Top were the favorites.  This ended up helping a lot because while I liked both, I felt like the striped dolman top was a much better addition to my closet and appreciated the feedback I received on it.

I've scheduled one last fix for the year and I've requested some cold weather items to help get me through the next few months.  And according to their calendar, there is still time to schedule your next fix. Whether you have a holiday party to attend or you're looking for something to keep you warm, sign up today and receive five items delivered right to your door! 

Have questions about Stitch Fix?  Let me know!  Don't forget: you can also purchase a Stitch Fix gift card for the fashion-ista on your gift list.

Friday, November 7, 2014

My Daily Routine with Essential Oils

Essential oils are everywhere these days*.

Before this summer, I didn't know much about them.  I kept seeing them pop up all over social media, but it wasn't until I was struggling with some issues with Calvin that I was introduced to them.  And now? I find myself reaching for them every day.

Lately, if I'm lucky, my day starts with a shower.  And thanks to döTERRA's shampoo & conditioner combo, my post-partum hair hasn't felt better.  They help protect colored hair & smell amazing!  In addition, I'm also using the HD Clear face wash daily.

Throughout the day, I find myself reaching for one of my citrus oils to help aid in my water intake.  Not only do they improve the taste of my water, but they help boost my mood.  I've also found that lemon is also a good one for cleaning!

And at the end of the day, oils are now a staple in Calvin's bedtime routine --- a little lavender/fractionated coconut oil mixture on his feet & sheets + a drop of DigestZen (a döTERRA digestive blend) on his tummy = a happy baby (& mama).  I'm also trying a few oils to help with the his newest stage - teething...

When I realized how easy & naturally oils can replace a lot of the medicines in your home, I took the plunge and became a döTERRA wellness advocate.  In short, that means I can purchase essential oils & products at wholesale prices, but people can also purchase oils through my site. Honestly, I've never been a natural salesman, but I do enjoy sharing a product and/or company that can change someone's life and that's what I believe essential oils are --- life changing.


Disclosure: I was not compensated for my thoughts, but I will receive commission for purchases made through the links on this post.

*I understand people have opinions on different essential oil companies, but I'm not writing this to start any debate. We have seen results with döTERRA essential oils, which is why I'm sharing my experience with them.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

October Recap

Besides Calvin's monthly posts, sharing my goals, and posting about Stitch Fix, this space has been pretty quiet. I plan to write more about some of my thoughts, but I think the silence stems from figuring out this my new role in motherhood. But now with six almost seven months under my belt, I think I might be back, even just to share about life (like I used to).

So let's start with an October recap:  

A couple weeks after Calvin turned five months, we introduced "solids" in the form of rice cereal. At first, I thought he loved it, but it turns out Calvin is much more interested in the spoon than the food.  Since then we've continued to try rice cereal, as well as sweet potatoes & a little avocado, but he continues to remain uninterested.

Fall in the PNW is one of my favorites, so we got out as much as we could. The rain has arrived, so we'll probably have less of these outings, but we had fun while the weather lasted.

Teething = no fun! It seemed that once Calvin turned six months, the teething pain came full force. We've tried frozen teethers, essential oils, and ibuprofen in desperate times, but usually a warm bath ends up doing the trick - at least until he has to get out and the tears return again.

Any teething advice from other mamas out there?

And last - our sweet pumpkin on his first Halloween! This mama can't wait to view the upcoming holidays through these sweet eyes.

Monday, November 3, 2014

November Goals

For someone that lives on lists, these posts are some of my favorite to write each month.  But, to be honest, they aren't always the easiest.  While I enjoy setting goals for the month, I find it really humbling when I have to share whether I accomplished them or not.  Anyone else find this to be true?

October Recap:

1. Continuing the spending freeze & sticking to our budget (third month's the charm?). We did much better on this one this month. We did have a couple unexpected expenses, but were able to sell a few things throughout the month to balance out the extra spending.
2. Set boundaries for Internet use, specifically when I'm home with Calvin. Still working on this one...

3. Sit down with Sam & set some SMART goals for Sam Grable Photography. FAIL. We talked about doing this, but didn't actually sit down & set any.  This will be on next month's for sure.

4. Go on a date with Sam (without Calvin, if possible). Thanks to some baby-loving grandparents, we achieved this goal.  I'd love to have at least one childless date with Sam each month if we can make that happen...

5. Start working on our house to get it ready to sell/rent. This one is started.  We had a couple appointments with real estate agents & rental companies and are working on getting the house ready.

November Goals:

1. Set SMART goals for Sam Grable Photography with Sam.

2. Continue to work on Internet/phone boundaries.

3. Budget, budget, budget!
4. Get back into blogging (for me).
Linking up with The Tiny Twig // Goals with Grace

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Dear Calvin // Six Months

Dear Calvin,

This one picture sums up your last month --- you, my son, are a happy child!

In the last month, you...

  • Traveled to Indianapolis and attended your first conference :)
  • Spent time with your tiny best friend, Henry.
  • Tried rice cereal (not a big fan) & sitting in your high chair (which you love!).
  • Continued to perfect your roll over. In the blink of an eye, you are across the room.

I'm not sure where the time goes, but I'm thankful yet again that I can be home with you during this time.  Watching you figure out how things work makes me feel like I'm experiencing it all for the first time and I can't help but cheer you on.

This month feels like a big milestone because in just six more months you'll be 1! How is that possible?!? Don't mind me. I'll just be in the corner crying...


[one month]
[two months]
[three months]
[four months]
[five months]

Friday, October 3, 2014

October Goals

Over the last few years, I have fallen more in love with the Pacific Northwest's rendition of Fall. And in my opinion, October usually has some of the best weather of the year.

September flew by!  Between sleep training & the Influence Conference, I'm not sure where the month went, which is obvious when we look back at my goals...

September Recap:

1. I'm putting myself on a spending freeze in hopes that this helps with our budget. The only exception is budgeted expenses (bills, food, gas). --- I'd give myself a C on this one, so I'm going to try again.

2. Spending dedicated time with Sam that doesn't revolve our sweet baby boy. --- We may have spent time together after Calvin went to sleep, but it was usually spent in vegging out in front of the TV. I'd like to continue to work on this one too.

3. Get out of the house more! Whether that looks like a walk around the neighborhood or meeting up with a friend, I need to step out of my comfort zone that is my house. --- Done! We walked some, visited friends, & ran errands. And now we are attending a bible study, which I'm really looking forward to!

October Goals:

1. Continuing the spending freeze & sticking to our budget (third month's the charm?).
2. Set boundaries for Internet use, specifically when I'm home with Calvin.

3. Sit down with Sam & set some SMART goals for Sam Grable Photography.

4. Go on a date with Sam (without Calvin, if possible).

5. Start working on our house to get it ready to sell/rent.

Linking up with The Tiny Twig // Goals with Grace

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Influence Conference 2014

Last September, I returned home from the Influence Conference empowered, filled up, and looking forward.  I didn't know where God was going to lead me, but I finally understood that I had influence and was praying for an opportunity to share.

Fast forward to a couple weeks after the conference: I received an email from Jessi asking if I'd be interested in serving the network via their Twitter & Facebook accounts.  I was shocked to even be considered, but completely honored at the same time and continue to be blessed daily by the women I get to meet & interact with via the Influence Network's social media.

Around November, I started thinking about following year's conference and ended up buying my ticket during the Black Friday sale. Honestly, I can't remember if I even did the math on how old my baby would be, but it didn't matter. I just knew the impact the last one had on me and felt like it was important enough to try to attend.

When conference information started rolling out this summer, I began to wonder if I could actually make this trip happen. I was deep in new motherhood and feeling pretty scared of going alone with my baby. As a last hope/joke, I asked my best friend (also a new mom) if she wanted to join me in Indianapolis & help with Calvin and to my surprise, she said yes! And from there I felt like everything just came together...

Now, on the other side of it, I know there was a reason everything came together.  God wanted me at the conference and He made it happen.  Putting words to what I learned & experienced just days after something like this is hard for me to do, but a list of my favorites? I can totally do that!

My #InfluenceConf 2014 Top 5

1. Worship --- For the second year in a row, I was brought to tears during the conference worship time.  There is something about singing in a room full of 300+ God-loving women that just moves you in the best way.

2. The Mom's Suite, hosted by Thrive Moms --- This space was a total blessing!  Even though our room wasn't far, having a place to feed, change, & play with Calvin just a few steps away from the conference was wonderful.  Some of my best conversations of the conference happened in that room with women who are in similar stages of life as I.

3. The Message Revival session on home
--- I wasn't sure what to expect with the revival sessions, but ended up walking away a page full of ideas on how to make my home a place that works for my family & I, such as dedicated date nights with my husband (even if they are at home after the kids go to bed) and organizing my home so it functions best for everyone who lives there.

4. Lara Casey's mini-Making Things Happen session --- I didn't know of Lara Casey before last year's conference, but on a whim I attended her session and was blown away by her southern charm & inspiring ideas.  This year, the network hosted a members-only event where Lara gave us a glimpse of her own conference - Making Things Happen, which intends to "fire people up to make bold decisions towards their best lives and empower them to step into their fears instead of away from them".  And that it did!  The feeling in the room was vulnerable, but hopeful, as women admitted their fears and discovered how to overcome them.  Definitely a night I'm still processing through.

5. A (small) glimpse into the behind the scenes --- Last year, I remember thinking to myself a number of times, "how did they put this conference on?"  As a do-er, I love helping to put feet to someone else's ideas.  So this year, being involved on the social media side, I was able to see a tiny part of what the core team goes through to bring a message to 300 women.  And it's inspiring!  Thank you Hayley, Jessi, Ashley, Lindsey, Rachael, & Moriah.

Honorable mention: my best friend, Kelly
--- I'm so thankful she said yes to flying across the country with our babies (five & seven months old), hanging out in a hotel room, and watching Calvin anytime I asked.  I already knew she was the best, but now everyone knows.  Kel - are you ready to come back with me next year? ;)

So tell me... If you attended the conference, what was your top moments?  And if you didn't attend, do you have any questions I might be able to answer? Leave a comment or send me an email.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Stitch Fix number 10

Since hearing about Stitch Fix over a year ago, I can't help but share about it with those who have asked. If you've been living under a rock and haven't heard of Stitch Fix, here is what you need to know:

1. Sign up & fill out your style profile - a detailed questionnaire for your personal stylist.
2. Schedule your fix & wait (impatiently, if you're like me).
*When your fix ships, you'll be charged the $20 styling fee.
3. Once your fix arrives, try on the items in the comfort of your home with the rest of your clothes.
4. Decide what you're going to keep!
*If you decide to keep anything, the styling fee now becomes a credit.
*If you decide to keep everything, you'll also receive 25% off!
5. Send everything you don't want back to Stitch Fix in their pre-paid bag.

Easy right? I think so!

For my latest fix, I knew the Influence Conference would be right around the corner.  I requested conference appropriate items, that would still transition back into my current lifestyle (staying at home with Calvin), and specifically some dresses, since I felt like my closet was lacking in that area.  Here is what I received:

[left] Gilli Ellee Basketweave Dress + [right] Daniel Rainn Mandie Cut-Out Detail V-Neck Tank

[left] Gilli Dante Polka Dot Faux Wrap Dress + [right] Three Dots Nadhia Drop Waist Fitted Dress
[both] Margaret M Emer 'X' Print High Waisted Cropped Pant

Overall thoughts: the tank was cute, but too much money when I'd be wearing it around a slobbery baby; I liked both of the Gilli dresses, but ultimately felt like I wouldn't wear them much after the conference; the Three Dots dress felt wrong on all levels - style, fit, material, etc.; and the high waisted pants were a big surprise for me & were a keeper, especially after I hemmed them [right].

Interested in trying Stitch Fix?  Sign up here!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Dear Calvin // Five Months

Dear Calvin,

How are you already five months old? Wasn't it just yesterday we were snuggling with you in the hospital? Cue the mama tears...

This month was a big one. First, you mastered rolling -- like full on, front-to-back, back-to-front, across the rug, rolling. And just like that, you are pretty mobile if you want to be. I love watching your face light up with satisfaction that you can now be on your tummy whenever you want. This mama lives for your smiles!

Sleep training was another big part of your last month too. I hope this doesn't jinx us, but you finally seem to be catching on to this thing we call sleep. You now nap somewhere that isn't in my arms and you've been sleeping for 6-8 hour stretches at night. We still have our off days, where it takes a little longer to fall asleep, but the good days are starting to outweigh the bad.

Speaking of sleeping, we discovered that you prefer to sleep on your tummy. I tried my hardest to keep you on your back as long as I could, but since you began rolling, there has been no stopping you. This still makes me nervous, but it just means your daddy & I check on you more often.

Other things to note:
*We started using essential oils on you and I'm amazed at how well they are working.
*At first, you are generally quite serious with people, but once you start to freely give out all the smiles, you've got them hooked!
*Sometimes when you're nursing, you'll stop, look up at me, & start babbling and I wish I could stop time, even for a minute.

The days may be long, but the months are flying by. There is no doubt about it - you are loved, sweet Cal!


[one month]
[two months]
[three months]
[four months]

Sunday, September 14, 2014

#InfluenceConf 2014 linkup

Last September, I remember how nervous, yet anxious I was about going to the Influence Conference. The fact that I was flying across the country and rooming with two women I'd never met was a pretty big deal, but all my worries vanished the minute I checked in to the conference. Even as a an introvert, I found myself meeting new faces & introducing myself to bloggers I had been following for years because we all had one thing in common - making our online (and offline) life mean something.

This year, my nerves have been replaced with excitement. I can't wait to reunite with women I have gotten to know virtually over the last year and learn more about using my influence right where I'm at.

I hope to meet many of you next week in Indianapolis and while I will probably have my hands full (I'm bringing my five month old), I will be sure to have my blog cards so we can connect after we return home!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

September Goals

Here we go again --- another month passed and a new one beginning. Each time I share my goals, I am forced to be accountable whether I complete any of them or not. Thankfully, I also feel a sense of freedom + grace which is much appreciated in my current season of life.

(warning: please prepare to give me a lot of grace for last month's goals...)

August Recap:

1. Stick to our budget + look at it weekly with Sam. --- Honestly? I'd give this one a C. We met at least twice, but we had a few unplanned costs come up, but we also made some extra income too. I think we came out about even, but I felt like I didn't have as good of a handle on it as I'd like.

2. Find ways to support Sam, both at home & with his photography business. --- Still working on this one. My baby has finally started to nap regularly, so I'm finding I have more open time during the day to devote to this goal in the future.

3. Post at least one blog post per week on Grable Tales. --- FAIL! I'm rethinking this goal and, as of late, rethinking the direction/purpose of this space...

4. Work on getting Calvin on some sort of routine (any tips are welcome!). --- As of last week, this has finally happened. It's not steadfast, but it's working for us + we are all happier, so a win-win!

September Goals:

1. I'm putting myself on a spending freeze in hopes that this helps with our budget. The only exception is budgeted expenses (bills, food, gas).

2. Spending dedicated time with Sam that doesn't revolve our sweet baby boy.

3. Get out of the house more! Whether that looks like a walk around the neighborhood or meeting up with a friend, I need to step out of my comfort zone that is my house.

Linking up with The Tiny Twig // Goals with Grace

Friday, August 22, 2014

Dear Calvin // Four Months

Dear Calvin,

You are no longer a newborn, which is both sad & exciting for this mama.  Don't get me wrong - I love watching you discover new things (your hands, our faces, new lights), but sometimes I miss the squishy, cuddly times from a couple months ago.

One thing every one comments on --- you love to move & jump!  If we are holding you on our laps, you immediately want to stand & wiggle around. Honestly, the only time you are really still is when you're sleeping, which (sadly) hasn't been a lot.  We received a few tips from your pediatrician, so we'll officially be sleep training this next month...

Even though you're not in the large growth percentiles, we can tell you're still growing!  Cloth diapers are finally fitting well and we have moved you into the next clothing size (3-6 months).  The pediatrician would still like you to be gaining more weight, so we'll probably be trying oat cereal in the near future.

Our days may seem long, but I am thankful for every minute I get to spend with you, baby boy!


Four month stats:
Height - 24.5" [15%]
Weight - 13lbs 6oz [8%]
Head Circumference - 43" [83%]

[one month]
[two months]
[three months]

Friday, August 15, 2014

Stitch Fix number 9

When asked what I wanted for my birthday (last month), I knew there was one thing I could ask for that would be just for me... Stitch Fix gift cards!  So I scheduled myself a July fix in anticipation :)

Left: 41 Hawthorn Trinidad Chevron Print Henley Blouse ($48) with Just Black Kristy Skinny Jean ($78)
Right: Daniel Rainn Ricardo Pleat Detail Sleeveless Silk Blouse ($68) with Mavi Karl Distressed Cuffed Boyfriend Short ($88)

Both: Sanctuary Carden Cargo Jacket ($158)

After my last fix, I updated my Stitch Fix style profile and specifically asked for a pair of skinny jeans in a shorter length.  I didn't have hopes in finding a pair that worked due to my struggle to find any when I shop myself, but the skinny jeans that Carrie (my stylist) picked out fit perfectly!  I was shocked and promptly wore them for the rest of the weekend.  They are my favorite! 

I also really liked the look and feel of the cargo jacket, but felt like I couldn't justify the price.  Bummer...

The other three items - boyfriend shorts, henley blouse, & silk blouse - were all no's for various fit, style, or material reasons.  With my new position of staying home with Calvin, I find myself looking for items that look nice, put together, yet are still comfortable to crawl around on the floor in or go to the grocery story in (glamorous life, huh?) and most of the items didn't fit that criteria.

With some credit remaining, I've requested a fix next month in anticipation of the Influence Conference and I hope to get a few items that will work both at the conference + at home.

Have you tried Stitch Fix yet?  It's a dream come true for this new mom!