Wednesday, July 30, 2014


Honestly, I never thought I'd find community online.

When I signed up for Twitter and started blogging, it was more for entertainment. I simply read blog after blog, without commenting, just so I wouldn't be labeled a stalker (funny, I know). And when I posted on my own blog, I told myself it was for family because surely no one else would want to read it or get to know me, right?

It actually wasn't until I joined a Flickr group (The Working Closet) that I finally started to interact with other people and form my first online friendships. And from there, I slowly built up the courage to expand my interactions and begin to build a small community.

Now, the online world has become more about friendships, instead of just entertainment, and I have the Influence Network + Conference to thank for that. In a world where negativity & comparison seem to flow freely, the Influence Network strives to be a positive influence both online + offline while helping you build community where you are at in life. Who wouldn't want that? 

If this sounds like something you're looking for, come to the Influence Conference in September - you won't be disappointed!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Baby Companion: A Review and Giveaway!

When I was pregnant, I can't tell you how many books and websites I searched hoping to find the answers to all my questions regarding what to expect after my child was born.  However, more often than not, the answers I usually came across left me feeling uneasy and ultimately searching for more answers. Until I found The Baby Companion.

A follow up to the The Pregnancy Companion, The Baby Companion is "a faith-filled guide for your journey through baby's first year" and, in my opinion, one (essential) step above most how-to books available today.

While other baby books strive to give you the facts on any given topic (eating, sleeping, vaccinations, etc.), this one provides the basic developments & milestones one can expect from month-to-month, while also sharing real-life strategies, schedules, and lists for new moms. 

And my favorite part?  The biblical references and reminders that you are not alone, God is walking through this journey WITH you.

As I learn to navigate through motherhood, I can already tell you that this book has become a go-to resource. It has a prominent spot on my nightstand and with each new month, I turn to the corresponding chapter to see what I can expect from my growing baby boy, while still receiving gentle reminders to have grace on myself - something I wasn't able to find from other resources out there.

A big thank you to Jessica Wolstenholm (of Grace for Moms) and her team of doctors, Dr. Andrea Johnston and Dr. Heather Rupe, for writing a book that brings medicine + faith together in a way that a new mom can easily relate to.

Be sure to check out a sample chapter from The Pregnancy Companion here, as well as (free!) printables that correspond with The Baby Companion here.

AND as an added bonus, one lucky winner will get a copy of either The Pregnancy Companion OR The Baby Companion (your choice!).  It doesn't matter if you're expecting or not, this would be a great gift for any new mom or mom-to-be out there!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Contest is open to Canadian and US residents
Open from July 23, 2014 to July 30, 2014 PST

Disclousre: while I received a copy of The Baby Companion in exchange for my review, all opinions expressed above are my own.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Dear Calvin // Three Months

Dear Calvin,

How are you already three months old? I find myself wishing away these first few months because of the fun memories we have ahead of us, but then again, this time is special too.  Keep reminding me of that, sweet boy!

This month brought some fun developments:

1. Last month you smiled and this month you full-on laughed! Sure, your dad & I usually have to do something ridiculous to get you to do so, but we love it nonetheless!
2. If you're not eating or sleeping, you are trying to find a way to stand + kick around. You are strong! I'm nervous you're going to be an early mover...
3. You have found your hands and you want them in your mouth all.the.time. I try to sneak your binky in before things get too wet, but you are a fast one, for sure!

You also met a lot of (extended) family this month. We attended a family wedding on your grandma's side and she loved showing you off! Then some of your grandpa's family came up from California and we got to spend the day with them.  As usual, you were a charmer and they all fell in love with you :)

We didn't visit the pediatrician this month, so I don't have updated stats, but I do know you're growing since we packed up all your newborn clothes (tear!) and started transitioning you to cloth diapers, which has been an adventure...


[one month]
[two months]

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

#StitchFix number 8

When I received my Stitch Fix last month, I knew I would be most likely be spending my days with Calvin indefinitely, so I had requested mom-friendly pieces that would make me look polished, yet still practical for this new season in my life. And while this fix wasn't a complete home run, it did help me understand where my style is going, which is a win in my book.

I apologize for the iPhone-photos-in-the-mirror, but my husband & baby were sleeping in the other room and I didn't want to bother them to help take better pictures.

Lombard Tile Print Mix Material Blouse by Pomelo

Siva Cotton Utility Jacket by Sanctuary + Lauri Ankle Length Distressed Boyfriend Jean by Just Black

Hadley Embroidery Detail Roll-Tab Tunic by Subtle Luxury + Kahlo Embroidered Racerback Tank by Le Sample

Over the last year, I've found the following tips to be helpful when requesting my next fix:

1. Be honest on your style profile and update it often!

2. Provide detailed feedback on each item you received so your stylist knows what you liked & didn't like about the pieces.

3. Link to your Pinterest page and pin, pin, pin!

By following these steps, I've found that I no longer receive items that are not "me" and more items that I'd actually wear.

Have you tried Stitch Fix?  What have you found that works for you?

I was not compensated for this review, but since I frequently check out other Stitch Fix reviews, I decided to share my photos & thoughts as well.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Parenting Super Powers

Since becoming a mom, my priorities have shifted quite a bit. Instead of thinking of my own needs first, I now spend my time caring for my baby and keeping him alive day in & day out. To some, this might seem easy, but I find myself tapping into my "supermom" powers to get me through the day.

Multi-tasking. I've prided myself on being able to multi-task for years, but since becoming a mom this super power has taken a whole new meaning. I can start laundry, put dishes away, vacuum, and reply to emails all while rocking my baby. This isn't required all the time, but is a nice ability when I just need to get something done.

Super strength. Sometimes this looks like just keeping a determined baby away from harmful situations and other times this looks like having enough strength to soothe an unhappy child. Either way, my body is stronger in ways I didn't know possible.

Animal senses. This one surprised me the most. I had heard that a mom knows which cry is her baby's, but didn't fully believe it until I became a mom. With the help of safety gates and baby monitors, I'm able to know my child is safe whether they are in my arms or not.  Plus, companies like Dropcam have made things even easier by allowing your to monitor your child from your phone or tablet, which is a big plus to this tech-loving mama.

What super powers have you found while being a parent?

Disclosure: I did not receive any product or compensation for any mentions in this post.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

July Goals

And just like that, we're half way through the year! 

I've only been doing these monthly goals for a few months, but each month I find myself appreciating the accountability aspect and knowing that I'll be able to revisit the goals I've set (whether I complete them or not) at the beginning of the following month.  Plus, I love that Hayley from The Tiny Twig calls them Goals with Grace because as a new mom, I need all the grace I can get!

But before we move on to July, let's look at June's goals.

June Recap:

1. Look at our monthly budget and continue to save where possible. --- I did look at the monthly budget and trimmed where it was obviously possible, but I am still working on trimming a few areas like food and household purchases.  I can tell this one will be a work-in-progress...

2. Continue to speak life into my husband. --- I'm just going to come out and say this one is going to be an ongoing goal of mine because I think this is the least that I can do for him as he leads our family through life.

3. Refine a routine that works for us and begin to transition Calvin to sleeping in his own room. --- Nope, neither of these successfully happened.  Honestly, I think this goal might have been a little ambitious.

4. Post at least one blog post per week on Grable Tales. (Seems easy, but with a 7 week old who loves to be held, I find it difficult to find time to post most of the time.) --- Almost! 3 out of the 4 weeks isn't too bad :)

July Goals:

1. Take a close look at our spending at least once a week (if not more!) and try to stick to a tight budget that Sam & I have agreed upon for the month.

2. Help + support my husband, specifically with his photography business, without being asked to do so.

3. Start transitioning Calvin to sleeping in his own room.

4. Post at least one blog post per week on Grable Tales.

Every month I link up my goals with The Tiny Twig's Goals with Grace.