Monday, February 24, 2014

4moms: Share Your Story

Like with many things, I first heard about 4moms through the blogging world. Although I wasn't pregnant at the time, their products stood out among other baby products because they were innovative & unique to say the least. One thing I knew, I planned to register for some of their products when the time came.

Fast forward to last month. Before I got a chance to put my most desired 4moms item on our registry (the mamaRoo), I received an email saying I had won one simply by sharing my story on their site!

And about a week later, a brand new mamaRoo was waiting on my porch. I couldn't wait to see what all the fuss was about, whether the baby was here yet or not, so I took a chance, opened the box, & tried putting the it together myself.

And before I knew it (about 15-20 minutes), the mamaRoo was set up & ready to go!

Unfortunately, this mamaRoo has been used by any real babies yet (just a couple stuffed animals), but all the reviews I've read have been more than promising and make me really excited for our baby boy to try it out in a couple months. Until then, I'll smile a little every time I walk by this amazing gift from the 4moms team!

Disclaimer: I wasn't asked to share about this by 4moms, but just wanted to share my thoughts & feelings.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Meet Me At The Influence Conference! #InfluenceNet

It’s probably not news to most of you, but The InfluenceNetwork holds a special place in my heart.

Last year, when I was going through a very tough time, The Influence Network was there with open arms and constant encouragement.  Not only did their mission statement stand out as something I needed in my life (“make your online (& offline) life mean something”), but the idea of connecting with real women who have experienced, what seems like, all walks of life was just what I needed. 

So last spring, I took a leap of faith and signed up to be a member of The Influence Network and purchased a ticket to my first “bloggers”conference.  And as September rolled around, my heart filled with nerves & anticipation until I walked into the conference hotel and was greeted with familiar online faces that put me at ease.

So why am I sharing all this (again)?  Because today is the day the 2014 Influence Conference tickets go on sale and I hope & pray others will have the opportunity to experience what this network is all about first hand.  If you’re interested, I’d suggest heading over to The Influence Network blog today and checking out the list of speakers, panel members, & community leaders (with more network/conference information coming this week).  Plus, if you purchase your ticket this week, you’ll be entered to win one of the daily giveaways going on all week!

If you’re still unsure about the network and/or the conference, let me know.  I don’t know all the answers, but I can certainly get you connected with one of the friendly people I've had the chance to get to know over the last year.

I really hope to see you there!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Hello Blog --- Anyone Still Here?

Tap, tap tap... Is this thing on?

Who would have thought when I came back from a "blogging" conference last September that I would feel a loss to write in this space.  But here I am, almost the middle of February, writing my second post of the year.  How does that happen? 

If I had to take a gander, I would put my money on three things that have pushed this blog into radio silence: my current pregnancy, The Influence Network, and Sam Grable Photo.

First, Sam Grable Photo. When my husband came to me early last year and told me how much he wanted to take his photography a step further, I was both excited & scared.  Excited because I love when I get to witness him doing something he loves, like taking pictures.  But I was also scared because I didn't know what that meant exactly.  Now with a little over a year behind us, we're still learning, but loving the direction Sam Grable Photo is going in.  Because I don't have the talent he does behind the camera, I have vowed to help him any other way I can --- organizing shoots, holding equipment, and corresponding with clients --- which has taken more time than I thought it would, but like I said, we're happy with where it's going for now.

Secondly, The Influence Network.  This network of women have touched my online (and offline) life in a way I didn't expect, but am so thankful for!  When I got home from the conference, my mind was spinning with inspiration, my heart blessed by those who I had a chance to meet in person, and my heart unsure where to go with it all.  So when I got an email from one of the co-founders asking if I'd like to help out the network, I was a little stunned, yet grateful.  A way to be involved and inspired?  Yes, please!  Fast forward to today and I have spent the last four months handling the Influence Network's Twitter & Facebook page, which I've really, really grown to love.

And last, but not least, our current pregnancy.  From being scared every day for the first 20 weeks to counting his kicks as I fall asleep at night, my mind has thought of every possible outcome for this little boy I'm carrying.  I've been scared to put my feelings into words because I worry the next minute things will change and I don't feel strong enough to handle it all.  However, at the end of the day, this baby boy is loved just as much as his sister and whatever happens, happens for a reason.

My wish is that I will continue to find my voice on this blog and keep writing.  When I look back over the years, this blog has played a big role in my life and I don't think I'm ready for that to go away yet.  So no promises, but I think I'll just leave it at "we'll see what happens" and hope for the best.

To those still reading: THANK YOU for sticking around, regardless of my silence.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Stitch Fix: Pregnant Edition #2

Last December, I requested a Stitch Fix when I was 20 weeks pregnant.  I wasn't sure what to expect, but hoped that I'd receive some items that would help carry me through the rest of my pregnancy.  Unfortunately, I only ended up keeping the scarf and just chalked it up to my body being in "transition" for the rest of the items.

After that fix, I didn't plan on scheduling another one until after the baby arrived, but to be honest, I couldn't stay away!  I had received some credits from referring others to Stitch Fix and they were beginning to burn a whole in my virtual pocket.

So I scheduled my next Fix and submitted a few requests that I hoped to see in my box - plaid, open sweaters, & a black scarf (all of which I received) - and waited to see what my stylist would pick out for me!

 Olson Cotton Open Draped Plaid Shirt by Ellison

I've been looking for a fitted, button down plaid shirt and knew that I wouldn't find one that I could button up over my growing bump, but had hoped that I would find one I could wear open now & button later.  My stylist sent this because they didn't have a button up version in my size and had hoped this would work instead, but I decided to continue looking for what I actually want instead of settling...

Sophia Chunky Knit Infinity Scarf by Paula Bianco

Another requested item - I wanted to love this scarf, but felt so overwhelmed when I put this on (see photo).  I just which it wasn't so chunky...

Jason Asymmetrical Zip Up Jacket by Kensie

I received an asymmetrical jacket in my last fix and found it too fitted and tight, especially over my growing bump (I couldn't even zip it up).  But this one was different.  The material was soft and I felt like it hung on my as it was intended, even if wasn't maternity.  Another plus - I see this working very nicely after the baby arrives.  Win, win!

 Addison Striped Knit Cardigan by 41Hawthorn

Another item I really wanted to like was this open cardigan.  However, I didn't like the material and didn't think it would hold up like other cardigans I have.  And at $48, I didn't see it as something I would wear enough of.

Corinna Striped Dolman Top by 41Hawthorn

To be honest, I didn't have high hopes for this top when I opened the box.  I've never been drawn to dolman tops and this one was no exception.  My last fix included a dolman top that was too big and this one felt too tight.  Regardless, this just isn't my style.

Based on my comments, you can probably guess what I ended up keeping (the jacket) and what I ended up sending back (everything else...), but I'm still happy I requested this fix.  I keep saying it, but the concept behind Stitch Fix is right up my alley.  As someone who doesn't enjoy shopping for clothes, I like that all I have to do is schedule a fix and someone else does the shopping for me.  So once again, I'll continue scheduling my fixes and referring those to what Stitch Fix can offer.

If you're interested, you can check out past reviews here, here, & here.

I was not compensated for this review. These words were all my own.