Inspiring Moms: Coralee Dixon from Shortcake

By | Baby Photography, Brand Spotlight, Inspiring Moms, Mompreneurs, Parenting | No Comments

If it isn’t obvious yet, I’m really into capturing memories, especially of my daughter Leslie. Not a day goes by when I don’t take at least 10 photos of her. Rewind to her first year and I was taking at least 100 photos a day. When it came time to create her Baby’s First Year photo album I was so overwhelmed with thousands of photos to choose from. It was just too much for me to tackle. Admittedly, I walked away from the project and decided I’d tackle it another time.

About a month ago I came across an incredible mama-founded photo album service called Shortcake. Shortcake makes it easy to create beautifully-designed keepsake albums. The design service will gather your photos and social content (think dates, locations, status updates, comments…), and use the details you’ve collected and shared to create a beautiful scrapbook of your family’s moments and adventures. The only thing you have to do is connect your social and photo storage accounts, fill out a form with some details, and then sit back and wait for the design to come in. Ah-mazing! Goodbye mommy guilt. Hello beautiful, personalized album of my daughter’s first year.

Want to create one? Use code “NUGGET” to get 10% off the design fee for your first order at www.shortcakeinc.com/order. Offer expires 7/21.

I recently connected with Coralee to talk about her business and just how she keeps it all together. Check out what Coralee has to say in our latest Inspiring Moms feature!

On Motherhood, Work, and Keeping it Together

When did motherhood become real for you?
When my daughter was born. As in literally the moment when she came out of me. It wasn’t real until I saw her. My actual first words on seeing her were “Holy *, it’s a baby.” (Oh the panic of first-time motherhood.) For me, no matter how much I “knew” I had a baby in there while pregnant, I didn’t really know until I saw her in person, crying and defenseless and needing our care and attention.

What is the most surprising thing about motherhood?
The paradox of extremes. How quickly (as in seconds) you can go from being completely frustrated and overwhelmed and desperate for anyone to take over for you, to utterly melting in a pool of love and cuddles.

What is the scariest thing about motherhood?
The vulnerability of having your heart walking around outside your body.

What inspired you to start Shortcake?
A little before my daughter’s first birthday, I started feeling guilty because I hadn’t been writing down her milestones and special moments in the baby book I bought for her. Both my mom and my mother-in-law had kept lovely baby books for my husband and I, so I felt awful that I hadn’t done the same. Then I thought about how I had shared most of my daughter’s most important moments with family and friends on social media, which included written descriptions, captured the date, and received some fun comments that I liked looking back on. “Somebody must have a business that will help me turn that into a really nice album, right?” I couldn’t find what I was looking for, so I decided to create it myself!

What are you most proud of?
In truth, I’m really proud of myself for starting this business. It might be the hardest thing I’ve ever done. There were so many times I could have quit when it got hard, but I didn’t, and I’m proud of what I’ve created. I love knowing I’m a role model for my daughter and other moms I know who are thinking of starting a new career.

What has been the hardest thing about balancing your business and being a mom?
Taking control of my time. It is not easy and I struggle with it. I’m still a full-time caregiver to our daughter while also putting in full-time hours running Shortcake from our home office, so if I want to achieve something (whether personal or business) I have to block out time for it or else it doesn’t get done. Being pregnant isn’t helping – it’s SO tempting to take a nap during naptime instead of working.

#MomTip: What is your best advice for other mamas who are trying to make it all work?
Write out your to do list for the next day before you go to bed. (That’s when all your reminders and lists are swimming around in your head and keeping you awake in bed anyway, right?) I’ve seen this simple trick greatly help my productivity (and help me get to sleep faster too). Then in the morning I don’t have to use my brain at all – I just look at my list and know what I need to focus on.

What can’t you live without?
Some help! Like many new moms, I struggled in the beginning with letting someone non-family watch our daughter. But once we finally hired our first sitter about a year ago….it’s so great. I currently have a sitter come watch her for a few hours twice a week so that I can get in some extra work time, and it is the best. Our daughter loves the sitter too and has such fun playing with her. Win-win.

First thing you do when you put your kiddos to bed…
Have some dessert and talk to my husband. He doesn’t get home from work until our daughter’s bedtime (and I’m usually still half-asleep when he leaves in the morning), so after bedtime is the only good hangout time we get. Then it’s either time for me to go back to work or call it a day. Did I mention pregnancy with a toddler is exhausting? Follow Shortcake on Instagram , Facebook and check out the Shortcake blog. Stay tuned… I’m in the process of creating my own Shortcake album of my daughter’s first year. Can’t wait to share it with all of you!

Inspiring Moms: Noelle at Oh Happy Play

By | Brand Spotlight, Inspiring Moms, Mompreneurs, Parenting | No Comments

Meet Noelle Bryant. Mama to two adorable little girls, Joie (2 years) and Lola (1 year), and the owner and creator behind the amazingly adorable Oh Happy Play blog. If you want some seriously adorable inspiration for baby fashion, nursery design, or just a real point-of-view on motherhood, the Oh Happy Play blog and @ohhappyplay Instagram page are must-follows! My personal favorite is the KIDspiration section as I am in the process of decorating the nursery for Baby Griffith #2!

Noelle is truly the epitome of an Inspiring Mom and I just don’t know how she does it! I recently connected with Noelle to learn about her life and just how keeps it all together. Check out what she had to share in our latest Inspiring Moms feature!

Noelle Bryant: On Motherhood, Work, and Keeping it Together

When did motherhood become real for you?
When I became pregnant with my first. We had a long journey to get there, that most don’t know about, so when we finally became pregnant it was an instant connection for me.

What is the most surprising thing about motherhood?
I was most surprised with the amount of love and protectiveness I could have over one being. And even more surprised that it could happen again when my second was born!

What is the scariest thing about motherhood?
The scariest thing would be the unknowns, the “Am I screwing this up” moments, the constant need to remind myself of my trust in a higher being. As a mother I worry about my girls and their safety every minute of every day. I worry if I am messing them up if I happen to lose patience over something. I worry if I am not giving them enough attention or so on. But what I have learned is that we are all doing our best and our children love us unconditionally regardless. This is all just a part of motherhood.

What inspired you to start Oh Happy Play?
My girls! As a mom I always want the best, coolest new products and every time I would find one my friends would always gush about them. I would get message after message about where I found them and so on. My blog became a natural extension of that! A place where I can share my mommy must haves with other like-minded mamas like myself. Without my girls I wouldn’t have the constant inspiration. Motherhood really got my creative juices flowing and I am so thankful for my girls and a chance to share it with all of you!

What are you most proud of?
Again, my girls. But also my husband for allowing me to follow my dreams! Without my family and their support I wouldn’t have the eagerness to go on. They are what I am most proud of and my inspiration.

What has been the hardest thing about balancing your blog and being a mom?
Time! I am home with my girls and when they are awake I want to give them all the attention they deserve. Even at night when they’re sleeping I want to give my time to my husband. So the hardest thing is finding the time. When something is a passion it tends become easier to find time. I have learned to get my work done while they nap or have independent play times. I involve them in much of my work so that makes things easy too! But there could always be more time!

#MomTip: What is your best advice for mamas who are trying to make it all work?
Give yourself a break! Don’t try and do it all or all at once. Make lists! I make a list every Sunday evening for what I would like to do for the week. I make a personal list and a business list. I make them as realistic as possible then I work between the two to see which I can do cohesively. Don’t over do it!

What can’t you live without?
My lists! (ha-ha). And a good planner. I have to schedule out my week so that I can keep everything even. I make sure I get the girls out a fair amount but also schedule myself some “down days” where I can get some work done at home.

First thing you do when you put your kiddos to bed…
Eat dinner with my husband! There will come a day (and probably very soon) that family dinners will be very important but at their age I don’t think this is necessary yet. My husband and I can’t get a word in with both girls around so it is nice to have that quiet time to enjoy each other…and warm food.

Follow Oh Happy Play on Instagram, Facebook and subscribe to the Oh Happy Play blog.

Inspiring Moms: Mother’s Day Giveaway

By | Inspiring Moms, Little Nugget App, Mompreneurs | No Comments

We’re a new generation of moms that are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to pave our own path for motherhood. Though that path is not always easy or clear to navigate. Whether you are a stay at home mom, working full time, starting your own business, or something in between, you deserve praise every day. You are all inspiring in your own way. Keep it up mamas.

In honor of Mother’s Day I’ve partnered with six amazing brands for a giveaway that will spoil one lucky mama– Little Poppy Co, KB Cute Designs, Madeline’s Box, Bump Club and Beyond, Mama and Little, and Chime by Sitter City. Each of these brands were selected because they were essential to helping me get through my daughter’s first year. Even better, they were each founded by some pretty inspiring mamas. Each of these moms have crafted a beautiful version for motherhood that works for them. I’m honored to feature them in this giveaway and also hear their advice on the following question:

“What is your best morsel of advice for balancing your role as mom and founder?”

Lindie and Becca, Little Poppy Co

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Lindie and Becca are sister’s-in-law and the mama duo behind the adorable bow subscription service, Little Poppy Co. If you have a little girl and don’t want to spend a TON of money on sweet bows, then a subscription to Little Poppy Co’s is a must– $11.95 a month for 3 handmade bows. My daughter Leslie has been wearing their bows since October and we absolutely love them. Needless to say, I am giddy when I see their little pink package in my mailbox!

For our Inspiring Moms Giveaway, Little Poppy Co is giving away one 3-month bow subscription. That is nine adorable handmade bows. Hooray!

 

Kerri Blaser, KB Cute Designs

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One of the things I learned when my daughter was born is there is no such thing as too many swaddle blankets.  There are so many options out there, but none quite as adorable as the handmade creations from KB Cute Designs. The mama, designer and owner, Kerri Blaser, hand-makes everything from swaddles to quilts to crib sheets and more. All of her fabrics are handpicked, and if you ask me, the vintage floral options are irresistible. I’m just in love with her creations and can’t say enough about the quality. If you are looking for something unique for your little boy or girls room, KB Cute Designs is the place to look!

For our Inspiring Moms Giveaway, KB Cute Designs is giving away a $50 store credit.

Heather Ferguson, Madeline’s Box

MadelinesBox_Blog

I’ll admit it, before my daughter was born I SWORE I would NEVER let my baby have a pacifier. Fast forward 16 months and “Mr. Binks” is my daughter’s fifth appendage. When the realization came that I needed to physically attach Mr. Binks to my daughter, I was so disappointed with the options available. Alas, I found Madeline’s Box. The founder and designer, Heather Ferguson, had the same struggle when her son was born and did something about it. Madeline’s Box was one of the first to offer stylish and handmade leather braided pacifier clips. The are simple, beyond adorable, and come in so many colors. A must-have for your little babe!

For the Inspiring Moms Giveaway, Madeline’s Box is giving away a 3-pack of leather braided pacifier clips. Bonus, you get to choose the colors!

 

Lindsay Pinchuck, Bump Club and Beyond

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One of the biggest changes a woman can go through in her life is becoming a mother. Everything changes, and it changes quickly. Preparing for, having and raising children is one of the most incredible stages in life. But it is also one of the hardest. Us moms and moms-to-be need a community of other moms to lean on. When I was pregnant with my daughter a friend introduced me to Bump Club and Beyond. Founded by Lindsay Pinchuck when she was only 8 weeks pregnant Bump Club and Beyond’s mission is to connect the moms and moms-to-be with the best products, resources, experts and most importantly, with each other. Joining this community is a must for any new or expecting mama-to-be!

For the Inspiring Moms Giveaway, Bump Club and Beyond is giving you a chance to get away and be pampered with a Box of 3 Blowouts from DryBar. What mama doesn’t love having someone else do her hair for once?!

 

 Arleene  Taylor, Mama and Little

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We’ve all heard the horror stories about teething. When my daughter’s first tooth starting cutting I made a mad dash to the store to buy her teething beads to chew on. Just a day later I found one of the beads rolling across the floor [insert a massive state of mama panic]! After a quick online search for “safe teething beads” I found Mama and Little’s stylish teething bead necklaces. Mama and Little was founded by Arleene Taylor and her husband soon after their son was born. I absolutely love Arleen’s designs because only are they durable and  safe for my daughter, the styles are something you can wear all the time. Bonus, my daughter absolutely loves chewing on them!

For the Inspiring Moms Giveaway, Mama and Little is giving away a $50 store credit. You get to pick your favorite chew-friendly and stylish bauble!

 

Genevieve Thiers, Chime by Sitter City

Chime_Blog

Have you ever made plans with friends and completely spaced booking a sitter? Have an amazing date night planned to only have your childcare cancel on you that same day? Called every sitter in your phone with no luck? In my first year as a mom all of these things happened to me. Thankfully I found Chime by Sitter City. Think of it as the Uber for childcare. Chime is an on-demand childcare app that makes it easy to find a trusted sitter at the last minute. You literally just need to enter the your time and date, and the app will recommend three pre-screened sitters in your area. Book and pay directly through the app. Hellooooo date night! The founder, Genevieve Thiers is a mom to twins and an opera singer to-boot. As a new entrepreneur and woman in tech, Genevieve is truly someone I aspire to be!

For the Inspiring Moms Giveaway, Chime by Sitter City is giving away a date night package. You’ll get a $50 credit to their sitter service and a $100 gift card for dinner. Dust off those heels and make a reservation!

Enter to win this incredible Inspiring Moms Giveaway package through @LittleNuggetCo on Instagram!

Wait… How’d I become a Mompreneur?

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Five years ago, if someone had uttered the word “mompreneur” to me, I would have looked at them with, what I would imagine to be, a pretty comical expression. I had no idea how much that word would end up depicting everything about my life. In 2014, my husband and I both decided to quit our comfy corporate jobs to venture out into the world of self-employment. So, with a breastfeeding seven-month-old attached at the teat, I became a mompreneur without any knowledge of how hard that job would be. Now with a seond child on the way, I’m just crazy enough to do it again.

Mompreneur. Today I am the living definition of that portmanteau (word-combo). For the first year and a half of this new lifestyle, I struggled to find any balance between running a business and being a mom. Doing my job while at the same time I’m yelling at a toddler to get off of the [insert something he shouldn’t be standing on here] It’s a good thing my ‘boss’ puts up with it.  At times I’d envy the stay-at-home mom who could focus all of her attention on her babies. At other times I would find myself longing to be the typical working-mom who got a break from the constant diaper changes and cries for ‘mama.’ It didn’t really hit me how lucky I was until the day my husband and I got to watch our son take his first steps in our office. We get to do what we love while spending time with who we love.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows, I still struggle to find balance on a daily basis. My days tend to consist of way too much take-out food at the office. I spend my time paying bills and invoicing customers and not nearly enough time vacuuming dog hair and doing laundry.  Some days I long to be ‘anywhere but here’— even if just for a long lunch break with a margarita— but there are so many more days that I know I ended up just where I am supposed to be.

In order to be a successful Mompreneur (let’s pretend for just one moment that I hold that title), I think there are two crucial qualities that you need to possess.

  1. Patience is numero uno. Without exercising patience in a big way, someone or something is going to pay dearly; whether it is your customers, your employees, or your toddlers feelings, most likely the latter, something’s going to pay.
  2. Realization of who you are and what you’re capable of. Realize that you are NOT Superwoman. Though I sometimes joke that I am. Accept that you may need help to get through your day. There may be some tears shed along the way, but that is okay.

I’m talking about you, mama. So when you hear those blocks dumped all over your office floor or an important work order gets colored on (both of which happened to me today), just breathe. Breathe it all in, because you are not alone. You are one of the lucky ones who gets to live in both worlds. You’re that wonderfully beautiful imaginary creature that gets to spend all day with your babies and still have adult interaction. Kudos to you for figuring it out!

Beth Calvin is a mom and co-founder of a sign and graphics company called Insignia Graphics. She lives in Adrian, Michigan with her husband Rick and two year old son Grayson.