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