How to be a mom...

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Let’s start with a story.

When we were trying to get pregnant, I envisioned myself as totally ready to handle this mompreneur thing.

Like, totally ready. 

I was going to work while the baby napped. The end.

You guys, that was my plan.

I was so naive.

I was working 60 hour weeks, easy, as a freshly married, young and vibrant creative business owner. And I loved it. 

Sure, it was crazy stressful. I was pretty much working myself into the ground, but I loved every second of it. I was busy and overwhelmed and wondering how I was going to get it all done. I had a team of people, jobs out my ears and dreams galore.

Looking back, bringing a baby into that mix was a recipe for disaster, but whatever. I totally had it all together, and I had a plan, obvi.

Needless to say that plan blew up, and in a hurry.

I told myself 3 months. Three. And I would get back to work. But listen, my business didn’t wait for me. It moved on, even though I set an out of office reply email, had someone doing my book keeping and website that ran themselves.

No, my business still went on. And I wasn’t there to catch it.

Something funny happens when you don’t run your biz, and it’s running you. You lose it.

It’s kind of like the refrigerator running away from you joke. Except it’s not a joke, it’s real life, and your livelihood.

The money went down, the work went up, the email went unanswered and the clients found someone else to do the work sooner, and cheaper.

My ideal client before I was a mom was no longer my ideal client.

And I didn’t have any clue when that shift happened. I was probably on the couch nursing a newborn, wondering when the fog of my head of hormones might lift so I could see straight.

Once I got here, I started Googling. 

I was coherent enough to know I would look back on this time with humor, so I wrote down in my journal what I was Googling. I knew this blog would matter one day.

  • How to be a mom

  • How to run a business as a mom

  • How to make money fast

  • How to work with a newborn

  • When does my body come back to normal?

  • Why do my boobs hurt from nursing?

  • Best way to nurse a baby, hands free

  • Do laptops emit radiation on my baby?

  • What do I ask the daycare?

  • How do I find a nanny?

  • Do babysitters carry liability insurance?

  • Can I sue my husband for not having lactating breasts?

  • Is there a course on being a working mom?

  • Self employed mom decision making matrix

  • How much is a laundry service

Seriously you guys. I actually Googled these things. I’m not kidding.

Now, I’m over two years into this mumming and running businesses thing. In fact, I’ve launched two businesses since Joey’s been born, and another while I was pregnant with him. 

I’ve completely changed my existing business to better serve our life now, and I’ve generated more than a few revenue streams to serve our family.

It’s not perfect. Not even close. But here’s what I know:

If someone had just told me how to do it, and I had done it, I would not have had to figure it out on my own and I could have been thriving during mompreneurship RIGHT AWAY and not two years later.

There is no one size fits all way to make mompreneurship successful. But there are some core principles that carry over from mom to mom, from biz boss to biz boss, and once we put them together, it’s like a huge weight is suddenly lifted and we all can fly a little bit higher.

If there can be all these courses on how to run a badass business, I thought to myself, I know there must be one on how to be a badass mompreneur.

Well, friends, there wasn’t one. So we made one.

Mompreneur : the Course is simply that – a compilation of lessons learned, tools invented and resources found in order to be a badass mompreneur without the overwhelm, guilt or loss of time.

So I, along with the help of all the other badass mompreneurs I know, put it all down on paper, in videos and podcast episodes and blog posts, and made it a course.

And after 10 weeks of beta testing on a group of badass mom bosses, we are ready to get this thing into the hands of every mompreneur amidst the chaos and mess and overwhelm of everyday life.

Stop Googling these things like I did. There’s no good answer to any of them. 

Cue, the only course you’ll ever have to take, every again. Ditch the grind and welcome to the new, glorious space of mompreneurship.

JoJo

 
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I’m Nicole, and this right here is JoJo. Or Joey, as we also call him. And this little man is the reason the JoJo exists.

Adam and I prayed for a long time for a family, me especially. I dreamt of being a mom and a biz boss my entire life. Luckily for me, biz bossing came charging into my life in my early twenties and hasn’t subsided since. 

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Joey, on the other hand, didn’t make his appearance until about 7 years later. By the time JoJo became an addition to our chaos of a life, we knew he, and we, were in for a wild ride.

You see, Adam and I are both business owners. Adam, an outdoorsman through and through, is a hunting and fishing guide. Me, well, I am a designer by nature and a writer by heart. Between the two of us, we own a total of 4 different businesses, from the outdoor world to the graphic design world to the blogger world to the world of the JoJo. Which is most likely why you are here. 

The JoJo was designed out of pure necessity. Joey, unlike (or similar to, you decide…) most newborns was a hard one to get comfy. Meaning – naps and restful sleep were a no go for ALL OF US. 

And as business owners and a family with an incredibly active lifestyle, restless-resting was not something that we wanted for our baby. Or us.

At the risk of going broke, we ran the gamut of every newborn product out there in an effort to get the baby to sleep restfully. Swings. Pillows. Swaddles. Bassinets. You name it. We tried it.

Aside from babywearing, which is how we got through almost all our days until he was too old to carry that way, Joey, and us, could not get restful, satisfying sleep.

After watching Joey grow into a great sleeper in his toddler years, and after watching every single one of our friends struggle with the same battle, we decided to create a better way.

Something to comfort baby that didn’t inherently create dependence. Something that was as natural to lay in for a toddler as it is for a newborn. Something to hold them while they rested awake AND something to soothe them while they restfully slept. Something that would help them through their startle reflex. Something that would keep them safe and parents unworried. Something that was portable, pretty and pristine. Something that could be used on the floor, on the bed, on the plane. 

And though there were products that fit some of this, nothing fit it all. And minimalistic families unite – we don’t want to buy ANOTHER thing.

One evening, Adam and I sketched up what we thought would satisfy all these things, and contacted a friend that could help us get a prototype made. And Lord behold, IT WAS PERFECT.

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 This is Val, by the way. She's an avid JoJo sleeper and cutest doll of a baby we ever did know. Also, her mom is cool.

This is Val, by the way. She's an avid JoJo sleeper and cutest doll of a baby we ever did know. Also, her mom is cool.

Joey crawled into it on the floor in the living room and rested, awake, while we stared in awe. We took it over to my best friend with a 2 week old baby girl, who hadn’t slept in weeks, and rejoiced as she slept through the night the very first night. We watched as our girlfriends bickered over who got to take the one and only JoJo on which night, because they needed sleep the most.

One JoJo, obviously, was not enough.

We are so excited to get the JoJo toddler and infant lounger into the hands of every active and tired family in the world, who knows that there is a better way to rest.

We believe that rest means more than sleep. We believe in restful sleep and restful rest. Like us, babies need a place to seek comfort, solace and recognition in order to get rest. We, as adults, like our beds or our sofas or the arms of our loved ones. Babies, of course, love our arms. But a rested family is a happy family. And we all need restful sleep.

The JoJo is a lounger made for children and parents who are seeking restful sleep.

Made for baby, the JoJo comforts and relaxes baby by providing a familiar and tranquil environment for baby to sleep. Its barely padded center makes it incredibly safe but also incredibly comfortable, no matter the surface underneath. Its raised and padded perimeter prevents rolling for infants and keeps baby in place. The egg shape allows the JoJo to be used for babies as small as newborns or as big as toddlers. Made to be used as long as baby needs.

Predictable and routine sleep environments are not always available. The JoJo provides a familiar and serene rest environment for baby, anywhere, anytime.

Keep the lifestyle, but don’t lose the sleep. 

Calling All Product Shop Forces

 
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Do you guys know my friend Rachel?

I feel strongly that you must. I pretty much talk about her every day and she’s also pretty much the best.

Well, here’s the thing:

Rachel and I are biz besties, but she’s also a life bestie. And she’s really really good at what she does.

For the last 15 weeks, Rachel has been hosting a “test” mastermind group, per say. However, we all know that anything “test” from Rachel means that it’s full blown amazeballs and she has put everything she has into its creation.

So this mastermind, specifically for product shop owners, has been something I’ve watched from a little bit of a distance. You see, because Rachel and I are besties, and now she’s besties with these ladies in her mastermind, I’m not besties with these ladies in her mastermind.

Seriously. The internet is so amazing. I’ve been able to curate these incredible relationships because she has shared me with them and them with me, and now I have this little group of fab biz ladies that I don’t really know what I did before I knew them.

Part of me feels a little FOMO because I don’t have a product shop, hence I don’t qualify for this particular mastermind group. Not to say that Rachel probably wouldn’t let me in it anyway… but that’s neither here nor there.

The point is, is that I know a ton of you ARE product shop owners, and are at so many different stages of your business. Many are thinking about starting but don’t know where to start. Some are seasoned and want to take it up a notch. Some are right at the beginning and thinking about growth and a steady paycheck. Whatever the place or season, I swear, Rachel has been there and is eager to share the wealth.

Rachel is one of the most selfless women I know, making this mastermind group a solid endeavor and investment for anyone in the industry.

Anyway, I get asked all the time about what kind of business tips and tricks I can offer someone who is wanting to further their business online. And this my friends, is my recommendation.

There is one catch, though. As of right now, Rachel only has ONE SPOT left. Ya. Because she is that awesome.

So if you want to apply, head to the link below, and get your application in ASAP. 

Anyway, ciao for now and may the product shop forces of nature be forever in your favor.

What kind of mompreneur are you?

 
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So, two weeks ago I get this email.

"Hey, we've noticed you have quite a cool mompreneur following. Are you interested in partnering with us to create some cool quizzes to engage your audience?"

Ummmmm, yes please.

Interact is a pretty awesome software that enables you to make all those cool-ass quizzes you see all over social media. I most commonly frequent the "How well do you know FRIENDS" and "What kind of donut are you" and "How excited are you for the Spice Girls reunion tour." But that's just me.

Anyway, the point is, Interact thought that all of you guys somehow made me cool enough to be a partner, and they have given me access to this software in exchange for sharing it with you!

I haven't dove super deep into all the features yet, but here's what I know:

It's crazy easy to use. It acts like Zapier, if you're familiar, and basically allows me to add anything I want, anywhere I want.

I love that I can brand it for myself, and I'm not restrained to anything at all. Fonts? Here's all of Google. Colors? Give us an hex code. Photos? Use our stock of you want, or upload your own because we know you're awesome.

Make it a "how well do you know..." type, or a "what kind of..." type and so much more. 

integrate with any email or lead collection service. Literally. Any.

Add calls to action for every single response. Know you want to take people to a download? A blog? A podcast episode? A webinar? Whatever you can dream, you can send your potential client to.

I could go on, but basically, I want to say THANK YOU to all of you who have made Interact think I'm awesome, because now they are awesome and now we can all be more awesome.

The end.

Oh! Want to see how this works?! I created a super fun, casual quiz below to find out what kind of mompreneur you are. I'm not totally sure my questions correlate, but it was an experiment so just roll with it.

Love you, mean it, and have fun Momma!

Yes, Interact did give me free access to their software in exchange for this post, but trust me, I only promote brands and business I think are great. You'll enjoy them, too. Thanks for supporting me and the brands I love! 

It's Fine. Totally Fine.

 
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I’m calling you out, girl.

You haven’t watched Mompreneur Masterclass. 

I hear you. That’s ok. It’s fine. 

Really, it’s fine.

First of all, if you’re a woman, you know that when another woman says “It’s fine,” she’s lying. And also, it’s not fine. 

The only valid reason for not watching Masterclass is if you are completely and totally content with the way your life as a mompreneur is going, and have no complaints, don’t need improvement in any area of your life and think that every single day is a freaking ray of golden sunshine.

I told you, I’m calling you out.

I KNOW that this isn’t true. Girl, it ain’t true for ANYBODY. Including me, you, my mom and your mom and even those perfect looking moms on Instagram.

Listen, we all need help. We all need someone to tell us that we aren’t alone, and that we aren’t perfect, and that we don’t need to be.

The only true way to become better humans is by WORKING to become better humans. Self improvement, happiness, contentment and education don’t come to us because we sit and let the world pass us by. No, these things come to those who put their own self-care ahead of other things. Ahead of client work, ahead of Bachelorette, ahead of story time.

I know. I just touched a nerve, right?

That’s ok. Do I have your attention now?

When was the last time you put yourself first? The last time you said, I’m going to spend my day working on improving MY OWN LIFE, and not someone else’s?

The ONLY way to be there for our families, for our clients, for our teams, for our God, is to be the best version of ourselves ALL THE TIME. Or at least, as often as we can.

Don’t get me wrong. After two glasses of wine, I’m not the best version of myself. I’m not my best version when I forget to take my anxiety medicine, or when I don’t go to the gym, or when I choose to watch Friends all day instead of the other things I should be doing.

I am not the best version of myself when I tell my husband, “not tonight, babe.” I’m not the best version of myself when I put my toddler down for a nap he may not need because I need some alone time. 

But working daily to be BETTER than we were yesterday is the only way I know how to be my best version. 

Are you sitting here now going, “Well, shit. I’m not working to be a better version of myself at all right now.” Are you still in your sweats and had your husband drop off the kids at school and having your third cup of coffee and thinking about stopping reading this and scrolling Facebook instead?

Told you. Calling you out hardcore this morning.

What if you took the next hour, or your lunch hour, or your hour before bed or the hour that you feel like your husband spends on the toilet (ya…), and watched something that would help you to become a better version of yourself TODAY?

Would you watch it?

I think you should. And not because it’s my Masterclass. But because I want you – beautiful amazing capable Godly momma – to be happier WITH YOURSELF. To feel accomplished, to feel valued and valuable. To not go to bed tonight, dreading the fact that you have to do this all again tomorrow, and already tired. 

I want you to live in joy EVERY SINGLE MOMENT. To eliminate guilt, overwhelm and time loss. I want you to feel better about yourself, TODAY. 

So, you haven’t watched Mompreneur Masterclass.

That’s ok. It’s fine.

Hustle Season - OUT

 
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Hustle season – OUT.

Thank goodness. It was long. And hard. And so wonderful. But I’ve been tired…

As Adam and I were driving home the other night from dinner, the moment I realized my hustle season had officially ended, he asked me if I could list off all the things that we did during Hustle.

And as I did, I realized that I really needed to write them down, solely so I could look back on this one day and know, “Yes you can, Nicole. Yes you can.”

I kept talking, like normal, to Adam, and when he pulled into the driveway, he looked at me and literally dropped his jaw.

“That’s so much. Even I had no idea you did that much.”

No wonder I’ve been so freakin’ tired.

But as I transition into this season of Rest, I’m feeling so excited and relieved and rested already.

Earlier, during Hustle, I reached a tipping point and almost had a burn out, but made it through. I was so disappointed when that moment hit me, and I realized I wasn’t done with what I wanted to do during my season. I felt angry, disappointed in myself, and tired. I didn’t want this to be over. 

So I kept going, and friend, it was so worth it. Because this time, when I realized I was ending Hustle, I felt HAPPY.

I felt proud and accomplished and relieved. Much better emotions than before.

I am so looking forward to this season of Rest. I have some projects, soul projects, for this season that I’m excited about. Like painting the kitchen cabinets and cooking and reading and moving my office home.

But as I wrap my own brain around all of this, I realize that there is so much I haven’t really shared with all of you, my amazing tribe! 

And while this little list doesn’t contain the entire hustle, it’s the big ones, and I’m so excited to officially share most of them.

We launched The Mompreneur LLC!

 

And though this is basically just a name for legal purposes, The Mompreneur LLC is going to be doing some pretty amazing stuff. Such as:

The JoJo infant and toddler lounger and cosleeper.

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Adam and I have designed a brand new, and pretty perfect, baby sleeper! Designed right here in our living room and inspired by Joey, of course, the JoJo is the baby sleeping secret. Similar in purpose to the renowned DockATot or SnuggleMe, the JoJo is meant to provide a safe and secure, and most importantly effective, place for baby to sleep. More details to drop soon, but this is what you need to know right now:

The JoJo will be launching next month, and will be available on our own site as well as Amazon! 

We will be giving a way a whoooooole bunch of them right off the bat in exchange for some verified reviews on Amazon, so if you want one for free, you should jump on the bandwagon HERE.

The JoJo is a safe and perfect sleeping space for newborns up to over 2 years old. We have had babies on day 1 fall asleep and stay asleep wonderfully, all the way to toddlers (Joey still sleeps in his, and our friend’s 3 year old sleeps in hers too!)

Mompreneur : The Course!

 

This is my favorite, you guys. Mompreneur : The Course is now available, and I swear, it’s the best course out there. Here’s why:

I made this course myself, from scratch, and from experience. 

I’m working with the first group of mommas now to create the rest of the course to fit exactly what every mompreneurs needs are. Nothing, and I mean nothing, will be left out.

It’s a do-at-your-own-pace, but an entire YEAR’S worth of content, of course, broken down by mompreneur seasons – Hustle, Rest, Growth and Pruning.

I am moving out of the studio in Chico and working from home full time.

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I’ve never done this working from home thing, but I’m feeling so at peace about this decision and timing. We are working on making a little office in the house and getting it all together as a serene place for me to do my thing. 

The Mompreneur Podcast

If you have been living under a rock, you may not know this. But nonetheless, it's true! Sweet Rachel and I have a podcast and it's awesome. You should listen every Monday. We're pretty funny if I do say so myself.

So, friends, that is the gist of it. And there’s A LOT of little things within all those things, but these are def the top badass things we’ve been able to do in the last 3 months.

I’m so excited to take you all on this journey with me and my little family! What a total honor.


And in case you’re a skimmer, and looking for quick links, here ya go friend ;)

Influencers

Boss Moms

Friends

Summer Reading List

 
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I am totally the kind of person that goes through stints of reading and TV. And I don’t really like doing both during the same season. And recently, this has been the season of neither, for the most part.

FRIENDS reruns and an occasional classic movie (Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood and Meet the Parents have been on repeat) have graced my TV screen on a low volume for weeks now.

But as I transition out of hustle and into rest, books will come back into play in a major way.

Here’s what’s currently happening for our reading and listening pleasure!

Podcast: For the Love by Jen Hatmaker

I love Jen. She’s my spirit animal. The end.

Paperback: The Perfect Stranger

I read Miranda’s other book, All the Missing Girls, in two days flat. I started this one about a week ago and haven’t picked it up again, but only because of time. I can’t wait to start again.

Business: 4 Hour Work Week

My insurance guy told me I had to read this book when I told him about our new Amazon venture. I know he’s right, so I got the paper version instead of audio and I’m diving in, notes and all.

Audiobook: Girl, Wash Your Face

Rachel is such a great spirit. I started listening from bed this morning and anticipate I’m done by tomorrow.

Parenting: The Awakened Family

This one is a longer investment, and I’m listening on Audible. It’s a 14 hour listen, and there’s so many good tidbits, I’ll have to take my time.

Joey

Joey’s reading choices are much simpler, but I have to admit, I like them more ;)

Mighty Mighty Construction Site

Bright Baby Trucks

Bear Snores On (still a fave)

Mompreneur Manifesto

 
 

We’ve got dreams. Purpose. Like, wake you up in your sleep-type goals that when you think about them, give you goosies and a mental high similar to that after finishing a badass workout.

These dreams are big. These dreams speak truth about you. These dreams are part of your human existence, your spiritual existence. In fact, they’ve become something that your nightly prayers revolve around.

These dreams, they speak to your children. Your business. Your health. Your home. Your husband. Your dogs and your cooking skills and your capsule wardrobe.

Raise your hand if you’re tired of hearing, “You can’t do it all.”

I call bullshit.

Sure we can, we just might not like it very much. And frankly, we will suck at a lot of things.

Here’s what the proverbial “they” forgot to say:

Striving for perfection and striving for excellence are two VERY separate things.

Sure, we can’t do everything. But why do we want to?

What if we could do everything, but on our own terms? What if we could everything WE WANTED to do, and put the rest to bed?

What if we could do everything we wanted, and do them WELL?

What if we could dismiss all the noise, the chatter, the judgement and the self critique?

What if we could put an end to feeling like we are not enough, and end the ridicule and guilt that comes along with that?

What if someone you loved, trusted and believed told you that this WAS POSSIBLE?

Ya, I dismissed it, too.

“It gets better. Easier. More possible”

Such a common statement that it started to become routine, and with routine comes a loss of value. And with a loss of value comes ignorance.

Mom told me, “I promise it will get better.”

I looked at her, and though it hurts to say now, I said with no hesitation, “We made a huge mistake. My life is over and this is my new normal. My business and my dreams and my goals have to leave now, so I can be a mother.”

I was. So. Wrong.

What if I told you that in fact, everything you dream of, is not only possible, but feasible? Something you can realistically achieve, right now.

Would you believe me?

Why would you. Who am I to tell you?

But here’s what happened.

I believed me.

Because the other option scared the living crap out of me.

There was no way this is what God wanted for me. I have purpose, and only part of that purpose is raising children to be good humans. It’s a big part, but it’s not the only part.

If that was my only purpose, what did I spend the last thirty years doing?! It certainly wasn’t preparing for motherhood. Or wifehood. Or how to correctly clean my house for company or to get a friend’s baby to stop crying.

No, I had spent the last two decades of my life, learning and educating and absorbing everything bit of information I could, while spending every spare minute of my time becoming an excellent entrepreneur.

Why? So I could someday teach, and show, my children how to do the same. And provide for my future family in a way that left me available to them, and under no one’s thumb.

This was my dream.

And motherhood, it seemed, had ruined it.

Our purpose is more. Our goals are more. Our lives are more.

I believed me, and it worked.

I hit the road running, striving for excellence in the things that mattered most. Feeding and loving my newborn baby, making money for my family doing something that made me happy, treating my postpartum depression and living a healthy lifestyle.

None of it was perfect. But never, ever ever, did I settle for less than excellent.

We can’t do it all. But we can do all the things we want, and we can do them well.

What would happen in your life, if you believed that in your deepest darkest places?

Would you do it?

The Story Behind the Podcast

 
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This podcast could be like a real thing. Apparently, it is a real thing. It’s out there, in the world, for all to hear. As of today.

And after listening to it, here’s what I know.

  • I say “like” way too much.
  • I kind of sound like a valley girl, which makes me sad for my friends who have to listen to me everyday. I’m sorry.
  • Rachel is so poised and comfortable in herself and organized. I, however, am not those things.
  • I’m late to everything. Literally everything. I’m not sure why or how this happened. But I am. And frankly, this is really hard for me to swallow.
  • Rachel asks wayyyy better questions than I do. 
  • Never in my whole life have I been more thankful for technology than I am right now.
  • Never in my whole life have I been more terrified of technology than I am right now.

The podcast has always been on the to-do list, for both me and Rachel. And when Rachel told me last year that we should do one, and call it Mompreneur, I about died.

You see, for almost a year, I was really truly the only mompreneur I knew in person, my age. I was InstaFriends with lots, and many had told me their stories of “back when,” but it was pretty lonely there for a while.

And then Rachel got pregnant, and Knox was born just a short year after Joey. And suddenly, I was not alone anymore.

And though we are going through different stages of motherhood currently, it won’t always be that way.

The first few years, we know now, are so volatile. Every day, month and season is different from the last. And I feel honored that I could help Rachel prepare for what’s next, and that Rachel could simply remind me of what had already passed. 

When our boys are older, and maybe going to the ranch together, attending school together, or practicing their fractions together, we will not feel like we are in separate seasons. We will be in the depths of whatever mompreneurism is holding for us right then. And for that, I am excited, and thankful, and so so so honored.

The term Mompreneur for me is so deep. 

Mom. Relationship first. I am a mom first.

Preneur. Wealth. Business. I am a successful business owner second.

This is the premise of my life, and the premise of the upcoming Mompreneur : the Course, but that’s another story altogether. 

Mom. Then Preneur.

And it’s an interesting place to be, let me tell you…

I’ve always been the Preneur first. The entrepreneur. Entering the business world from the ground up. Having ideas, running with them, making them matter.

And then I became a mom. And then Mom came first. And it was still this idea, this sprint to a finish line, but the finish line doesn’t exist. The race, the hustle, the steady jog to the end never actually ends. Because it’s motherhood. And we can’t ever, not ever, turn that off.

So yes. Mom. Then Preneur. 

I had questions. Questions like, how do I prepare for motherhood as an entrepreneur? Is there such thing as maternity leave? How do I help my husband prepare? How do I GET PAID when I don’t work? I have a service based business, but what happens when I can’t serve my clients? These are real questions, questions when you are expecting and have prepared but then suddenly realize that you haven’t so much prepared as idealized, dreamt or pretended to be ready.

And then you’re in the depths of it. Breast-feeding and nipple cream and hemorrhoids and stitches down THERE are real things, that MATTER. And friends MATTER. Even more than your mom might at that moment. Though we all know that mom matters. Big time.

So who is going to tell us? Who is going to help us? I needed someone to help me. Rachel needed someone to help her. And we had these talks, these text exchanges, that needed to be released to the world.

Things about songs by the Muppets that are making us cry and which iPhone apps I actually need and how to tie a Moby Wrap.

Things like what it felt like to birth a child one way, or another way. What it was like to have sex the first time. What it was like to have severe depression, and why we wanted to stay in it for just a little bit longer.

Things like how we want to go back to work, how we feel ok about leaving our child at daycare, or don’t. Things about how we miss our friends or freedom or WINE. 

Things that are taboo to say. Things that are hard to talk about. Things that go unsaid because it’s scary and vulnerable and TOO real to share. 

We are human, women, and mothers. And what are we going to say to our children when they ask us questions about their penis or the voices they may or may not be able to hear, or JESUS?! How will we choose to respond.

I will respond with the truth. Unfiltered, unafraid. And it’s time we did that for each other too, outside of the comfort of our nursery nursing chair. It’s time tears were shed and laughs were shared somewhere other than our dinner tables. Because we can. And you, momma, deserve it. And so do we.

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Mother's Day

 
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There’s a lot of really amazing moms kicking butt out there. I mean, almost a third of the world’s population is who I’m talking about. Moms in general, kick butt.

But in honor of Mothers’ Day fast approaching, I have rounded up so of my most favorite mommas to follow on Instagram.

I get asked all the time who I recommend for following along, for an assortment of reasons:

  • Momma mindset
  • Productivity and balance
  • Biz boss and momma workflow
  • Fashion and lifestyle
  • And so many more

But just a few of my favorite mommas on IG have so much more to offer than just those things. These mommas are hardcore dedicated, both to their craft and their offspring. Dedicated to their spouses and their families. Dedicated to building a community of like-minded friends instead of loyal followers.

These mommas are just a few of the many that I strive to emulate, imitate and eventually share life with.

Felica Allen

Reasons I love her: this boy mom is all things real. Felicia is the marketing director for Wild Bird, those amazing slings we all wear. But more than that, she’s a baby wearing lover, and advocate. Most of all, she has recommended some of the best books ever for parenting to me, and I love that we share a similar, if not identical, view of boy parenting.

Reasons you should follow her: the adventures she goes on with her boys, gorgeousness that is her life.

My favorite thing she’s said/shown/storied: Felicia shared Janet Lansbury with me, and for that, I am forever grateful.


Simply Sadie Jane

Reasons I love her: Oh em gee, Sadie is so freakin’ funny. Mom to three, the newest being baby Henry who is so chunky I just die. 

Reasons you should follow her: candy suggestions, health and fitness inspiration, realness

My favorite thing she’s said/shown/storied: watch the Henry Eats highlight reel in her IG


Chrissy J Powers

Reasons I love her: Chrissy’s honesty about life is unreal. Barely anything is filtered, she isn’t afraid to be real in any and all situations. All the while, her feed is gorgeous to look at and I wake up in the morning excited to see what she’s storied from the night before.

Reasons you should follow her: True biz boss momma. Mom to two boys and a girl on the way, and she has a killer business consulting, coaching and marketing. 

My favorite thing she’s said/shown/storied: Her gender reveal story for their baby girl. She and her husband could not wait until 20 weeks, so they had the early blood test and her reaction is so priceless. I cried for a whole day about it.


Rachel Hollis

Reasons I love her: Rachel took me a minute. She’s a lot to handle. And then I realized, that she’s basically me. She’s author and mom and big biz boss. I aspire to be her, like ASAP. 

Reasons you should follow her: Motivation. Real life moments and solutions. Because she’s been there and done it and if you follow her advice, you’ll make it, too.

My favorite thing she’s said/shown/storied: When Girl, Wash Your Face went onto the NY Bestseller list. It’s been there for three weeks, but the first day it did, her story and reaction was the most unfiltered, raw real you’ve ever seen. A little girl’s dream come true.


Against All Grain

Reasons I love her: My gosh, this girl is gorgeous. So are her kids and so is her husband. But that’s not why I love her. I love Danielle because she puts herself and her family in front of everything else. Author, blogger and basically a celebrity, Danielle still makes herself so grounded and accessible. 

Reasons you should follow her: Even if you’re not into cooking/recipes, she’s worth a follow. 

My favorite thing she’s said/shown/storied: The shooting of her latest cookbook. It was astonishing. 


Jen Hatmaker

Reasons I love her: Do I really even need to say? If you’re not following Jen, you live under a rock. Jen is just, goals. The end. 

Reasons you should follow her: Her Facebook posts are pure gold. 

My favorite thing she’s said/shown/storied: Her text conversation with Glennon Doyle about her girl going off to college 700 miles away, stating that she made a mistake in raising her daughter to be self-sufficient and independent. She should have taught her nothing and made her stay home forever. It’s the best. 


Anelise Salvo

Reasons I love her: Well, I know Anelise personally, so I’m a little biased, but I love her because she’s so raw. She’s a designer, like me, and does so by all means necessary while also being Mom of the Year. 

Reasons you should follow her: She and her husband spend two seasons a year in different places - one season traveling and the other in Tahoe. Their adventures are the most amazing you’ll find. 

My favorite thing she’s said/shown/storied: Last year, her and her husband and newborn baby boy, Costa, lived out of a van on the other side of the continent. She ran her design business, and they LIVED IN A VAN. It was the most amazing adventure I’ve ever seen. 


Shay Cochrane

Reasons I love her: Shay is queen. Shay works two days a week, and moms/wifes/lives full time the other days. I mean, goals. Queen of styled flat lays and all things pretty. 

Reasons you should follow her: Quirky authentic motherhood of two girls, all the while living in a gorgeous house with a hunk husband who also kicks butt in business. Also, she takes amazing photos. 

My favorite thing she’s said/shown/storied: I love her BTS of her photoshoots. She shares them all the time, and I’m sucked in every time. 
 

Hustle Season

 
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This blog is supposed to be about the season of hustle, and how to manage it while also being a mom and so many other roles I currently play.

But listen.

It’s the night before this post is supposed to go live. And I’m sitting here working to upload and match a photo and craft my IG caption and tweet and YouTube snippet. And I just can’t. Because I’m sitting here, crying.

God, I feel like such a girl. Like, whoa, pull it together. Your husband doesn’t cry, slouched over on the floor outside your over-tired toddler’s bedroom door while he complains that he’s not ready for bed.

And now, I just heard my toddler drop his binky on the floor, which means I’m going to have to stop mid-writing to go and soothe him and give him his binky back and start this process ALL. OVER. AGAIN.

Hold please.

Ok, now that he’s asleep, finally.

I’m in a season of major hustle. I’ve got some crazy dreams that need executing NOW. Not later. And so, was born about three weeks ago, my season of hustle.

I know this season is temporary, and it took me a long time to embrace the hustle season for this reason ­– it will fade. But as I grow, as a mom and an adult and a wife and a believer, I have learned to understand that we go through phases, just as our toddlers do. Nothing lasts. And if we don’t embrace where we are RIGHT NOW, it will pass us by.

We can either take advantage of the moment, or we can wait for the next.

I do not have time to wait. I got sheez to do.

Let’s clarify a few things:

  1. One. I am referring to hustle as an emotional state of mind. The physical interpretation of hustle means that you are exerting yourself beyond your normal rate of speed, intensity and strength. I am implying that you are EMOTIONALLY doing this. That your brain, heart and soul are working hard, running at an intense pace and moving fast.
  2. Two. A season of hustle means nothing unless it’s fueled by passion.
  3. Three. Once in the depths of a hustle season, there is no need to explain it to others. Your actions have spoken for themselves, and very rarely is anyone wondering why you’re extra tired, extra snippy or extra late to literally everything. They know, you’re hustling, and they don’t need to ask why.

The point.

Hustling when you’re a mom (or dad), a business owner, and a cognitive human being means that you have other responsibilities that outperform your desire to hustle.

Because kids get sick. Bills are still due. And we all know that your skin needs to be moisturized, girl. Now is not the time to be skimping on the undereye cream.

How. How are we supposed to do this? How are we supposed to hustle without the end result being us, sick and bedridden and wondering why we pushed ourselves too hard and why our kids are revolting against us as we try and feed them healthy food?

How. This is a great question.

The season of hustle comes with many a sacrifice, but it also means that we can live a little more intentionally.


Things that can wait in a season of hustle:

Housework

 By the end of your emotional hustle, your house will look like a bomb went off. Your husband will be asking you why there are no more spoons, and why the kids’ milk has soured in the fridge. This is ok, because as soon as your hustle ends, which it will, you will throw out the old milk and the spoons will get washed. And in the meantime, your kids can, and will, drink water instead and eat their cereal with their hands, albeit quite messy. And that mess, you will clean up another time.

Social time

Sorry, friends. Ain’t got no emotional energy to give your right now. This is literally the text I send my group of friends in our group text when I hit a hustle season. They get it. They know. And they also happen to show up and clean up my kids’ cereal mess when it deems I’ve gone a little too far.

Leisure time

This is what Hulu was made for. I firmly believe that Hulu was invented for people like me. I have no time to watch Grey’s when I’m in hustle mode. None. But thanks to Hulu, when I’ve exited my tunnel of hustle, my playlist is waiting for me when I can’t sleep at 3 am, like a deacon of reward for many a week spent neglecting my DVR.

Wife time

Yes, wife time. You can’t neglect Mom time (see below), but wife time can wait. You see, your husband is an adult (I hope), and he will understand when you need to step back for a bit. So long as it’s clear that this is a season, not a permanent fixture, your husband will be likely pretty supportive of a more productive and prosperous future that you are currently hustling for. With that comes more dinners by dad, a lot less bedtime fun, and a substantial amount of bedtimes brought to you by Chuggington.

The gym

For most, like me, the regular gym routine is paramount. I have big gym goals, very similar to my business goals in intensity. However, my gym goals don’t make me money. Or further my passion for helping others in their businesses. Right now anyway. So when I enter a season of hustle, sometimes my gym routine takes a hit. And though it’s really hard to swallow, I know that I will find my way back when there is an opening. In the meantime, I dial down my meals, drink a ton of water and WALK EVERYWHERE. The more you do, the more you gain, right?

Taxes

I realize I may get heat for this. But since my current season of hustle fell smack dab in the middle of tax season, and I was not prepared for either, I casually asked my CPA to file an extension for me. Very little harm and no fowl, and I get to put filing my taxes on another month’s to-do list. I was prepared, nonetheless, but my hustle took priority over spending a day or two getting my taxes together to send to my CPA and then worry about what I may or may not owe. This is something that can wait until after my hustle is over and I have time and space to digest.

Things that can’t wait in a season of hustle:

Dinner with your family

I don’t care if you order takeout, eat from a freezer or make the time to cook each night, but dinner is not negotiable. Many times, I will literally turn around from my desk and eat my dinner at the table with my family and turn right back around. But, I never turned around DURING dinner. The fact that I know this is temporary is most important. My son won’t remember the times I hurried to finish dinner, but he will remember that I ate dinner with him, albeit fast.

Sleep

If you’re tired, sleep. The end.

Food

This is my biggest fault. I don’t eat when or as often as I should. And when I’m in a hustle, it’s even worse. And when I’m not gymming because I’m in a hustle, it’s even worse. Food CANNOT WAIT. Feed yourself. And feed yourself well. If you’re hustling a much as I think you are, you need more than jelly beans and wine to sustain you. Though, I have launched many an idea on those two substances alone, I will still claim that getting some green juice and a cheese stick is probably a good idea.

Paying client work

Payday than what you’re celebrating now, but trust me, it takes a long time and a wishful dream to convince PG&E that you’ll pay them when your hustle season is over. And your hustle season is a “moo point” if you can’t sell it to anybody in the end because you never followed through on the job they paid your for to begin with.

Mom time

You cannot mom and work in the same moment. And if you think that you do, you’re doing it wrong. If you are momming and working simultaneously,  you’re not putting your heart and soul into either. Mom time cannot and will not wait. Your baby needs you. Right now. Not later. Right. Now.


Ok, ok. But really. How in the heck do you make these decisions on the go?!

I’m going to help you. After a multitude of hustle seasons lately, I decided to needed something to help me make almost split second decisions on how to proceed in my hustle or life. Alas, the hustle flowchart. And like my “should I wash my hair today” flowchart, this one hangs prominently on my bathroom mirror and is used almost daily during a season of hustle.

GET YOUR HUSTLE FLOWCHART HERE

I hope you print and hand and use and share, because I promise it will help you make those tough choices we hustlers must make.

xoxo

Beneficial Baby Budget

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Full disclosure – we didn’t really do much of the “budget baby” situation. I didn’t buy anything used, we purchased what we need on Amazon Prime for full price and never looked back. I had an Honest diaper subscription for the first year and paid an extraordinary amount for glass bottles and rubber Natursutton nipples.

However, now that we are in a parenting groove, we’ve learned a few tips and tricks. I will admit, some things are worth paying for. Those glass bottles and those expensive pacifiers, for instance, since they were the only ones Joey would take. And to be honest, I felt better not putting weird chemicals and plastic in his mouth all the time.

Other super expensive things that come with baby? Formula (if you don’t have the privilege of a great breastfeeding experience), diapers and wipes, and contraptions to hold them.

These are the things that dented our budget. That overdrew our checking account, that made it so we could only eat ramen for a lengthy bit of time. I wish I was kidding.

However, this was a situation I was glad to be in, looking back. I felt really good about how we were raising our newborn, and there were things I wasn’t willing to sacrifice for him, but would definitely sacrifice for us. Hence, ramen.

If you’re on a major budget, I am probably not the best example. I prefer to be totally transparent, so whether this makes you like me more or not, it is the truth.

Fast forward into toddlerhood, and we are no longer in the initial – first parent of a newborn scared of everything wondering if we are doing it wrong – phase. No, we are officially in the – how can we save some more money for private school or college without having to eat ramen – phase. I like this phase a lot more.

Some things still apply – Joey’s primary cup is made of stainless steel (not plastic), he uses the same expensive pacifiers, though I can’t remember the last time I replaced them, and many of his clothes are from the used clothing store in town.

Alternatively, we now buy Kirkland brand diapers and wipes, feed him whole milk instead of formula and prefer to let him wander instead of containing his wild being.

Though probably not mainstream, I do want to share our three most beneficial baby budget tips for toddlers.

  1. Joey has had a horrible time with diapers. He HATES getting his diaper changed, and for the longest time, we couldn’t figure out why. No major diaper rash, no irritation. But then it hit me – it hurts when I wipe him! The wipes themselves hurt.
    1. We can’t afford the expensive, sensitive skin, fragrance free wipes. I mean, we go through them like we do blueberries (Joey is quite messy, if you haven’t noticed).  And on top of that, I can’t afford the time to make my own wipes from fabric scraps and soap.
    2. What did I do? I kept the buttload of Kirkland wipes I had, and added a quarter cup of extra water to his diaper warmer. THEN, I added a tablespoon of coconut oil to the top of the pack and let it seep all the way through. It took two days and his little bum is much happier. Sometimes, I even add some coconut oil to the diaper I’m about to put on him, for extra measure. Soft bum, happy mum.
  2. Meals. Food for babies. It’s freaking expensive. Especially if you buy the pre-packaged snacks “made for toddlers” at the store. Give yourself a baby boy with the energy of a navy seal and you’ve got yourself broke as a joke.
    1. Joey snacks on meal-type foods. The only snacks that are really in our cupboards are dried fruit and granola bars. Throw in some Goldfish and some sweet potato chips and we have ourselves a snack party.
    2. For most snacks, Joey eats things like mandarins, avocados and parsnip fries. Believe it or not, fruit and vegetables are way cheaper than pre-packages snack foods. I know that this saves us a pretty penny, and keeps our cupboards and bodies clean.
  3. Finally, strategic child care. And when I say strategic, I mean PLANNED SO WELL THAT FRIENDS THINK WE HAVE NO FLEXIBILITY.
    1. An entire section of the upcoming Mompreneur Ecourse is focused on strategic childcare. That’s how important I think this is. It will cost more than enough to find childcare, nevermind actually pay for said childcare. Your time is money, literally, so have a plan and don’t spend your evening scrambling for a babysitter for the next morning.
    2. Figure out what you have in your budget for daycare, and then use it. It’s worth more than you think to have that sort of reliability in your life. Then, when needed, use the remaining days to take advantage of grandmas and friends and sitters. I get more done in the two days Joey goes to daycare than any other day, simply because I have the reliability of those days. 8-6, no matter what. That’s worth the few hundred dollars a month for me, even if I don’t get to work the other days at all.

I told you they were not mainstream J But this is what has been the most beneficial for us, as a family of three. We are small, and not super tight with money, this I know. But these are the tools we’ve implemented to keep our baby and ourselves healthy, on budget and happy.

xoxo

How to be REAL in an age of digital perception

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Perception is everything. All the good. All the bad.

In the social media world, for instance, perception can be formed in the blink of an eye. Or the glance of a scroll, I suppose. Each photo or caption is carefully crafted. Lies can be told, or the truth can be told, and no one the wiser.

We can actually purchase Instagram graphics, pay someone to write our captions. The imagery isn’t even of our real lives. The work in the photo isn’t even ours. It’s a photo of a top knot on someone else’s head, the shoes on someone else’s feet, goodies arranged on someone else’s desk.

So long as the imagery and verbiage is perceived as our own, no one the wiser.

However, it’s also this form of perception that can be intriguing. The perfectly curated, color coded, planned out feed is what followers are looking for. It’s what begs the popularity, the sponsored posts and affiliate links.

We work so hard to be perceived properly.

Just today, here are three examples of things I’ve done in order to better my digital perception:

  1. I curse like a polite sailor in real life, but if I put cuss words in my caption I might turn off some of my followers because I’m too crude for their comfort level.
  2. My toddler is wearing a diaper that is sagging so low that it’s painful to look at, but he won’t let me change it, so I’m just not going to show him in my Instagram stories today. I don’t want to see the DM of someone telling me to change his diaper.
  3. I AirDropped a photo of myself and Adam from my sister’s phone to my phone, then to my computer so I could edit it in Lightroom so it followed my “feed’s color story,” and also fixed my double chin, then AirDropped it back to my phone, then uploaded it to Instagram. I then opened a website to generate some hashtags on my computer, copied them and emailed them to myself, then opened my email on my phone, copied them from there, and posted them in a caption on Instagram. This is a lot of work for one cute photo of me and my husband.
  4. I am only 2 pages into my second book of 2018, but haven’t posted it on my blog yet because it was an impulse by from Target and I didn’t have it on my 2018 Reading List blog. Hence, isn’t following “the plan.”
  5. In an effort to get my posts set for the week ahead, I hid all of Joey’s toys behind the couch to my living room photos wouldn’t show the mess.

Also, I’m drinking a beer at 2 pm while I write this and my son is making lots of noise in his crib in the other room because he doesn’t want to nap and my dishwasher is full but not running because the noise bothers me and there are booger smears on my pants that I have no intention of scrubbing off anytime soon and I’m totally winging this post because it’s on my mind and I need a post for Tuesday.

Real life, but unseen.

It’s hard to be real in the digital world and not put a damper on the perception you’ve strived so hard to earn. To be honest, I wanted to prove that I could post “real” photos (unedited and technically bad) with great captions and still build an audience of engaged followers and blog readers and affiliates. I was wrong. As soon as I started curating my posts, from imagery to caption development, that audience became much more engaged, larger and best of all, a group of friends that I don’t even know!

However, I still strive to be undeniably authentic, raw and minorly edited.

Every time someone tells me that they love the realness in my posts, the little girl inside me does a happy dance. Because once upon a time, someone told me that I could be myself when I grew up. And then I grew up, and society seemed to scream “Don’t be yourself.”

Here are some of my favorite tips on how to be REAL in a world where digital perception reins all.

  1. Don’t try to please everyone. When you begin to focus more on quantity than quality, you lose your own quality. Sure, my swearing may turn off some people, but those people probably wouldn’t love me in real life either. My friends, both digital and real life, know I like to curse, and will either love me for it or call me out. Both is good. And like Jenna Kutcher says, you can’t make everyone happy – you aren’t Nutella.
  2. In regards to photos, edit edit edit. Find a style and STICK TO IT. To be honest, it really doesn’t matter what your photo is of, so long as it looks like yours. Especially as a business, branding is everything. And that includes the style of your photos. My best tip for this is to find and use a Lightroom preset. There are millions out there, and finding one that fits your style and brand vision will help tremendously. The goal is to have someone scrolling or reading, and know immediately that it’s you, simply because of the style of your photo.
  3. Post real life in the midst of the perfectly curated. On my Instagram account, this happens often. I post a lot of real life intermixed with the curated. On my blog, it’s a little bit less (more planned, less candid), and my Facebook is VERY real life every day. And as my business is found from all three of these platforms, each has its place. It’s important to remind those who already follow you, and tell any new tribe members, what your life is really like. That’s not to say that you should ALWAYS post real life mess, but the reminder that you are real is VERY important.
  4. Be brave. This, in my opinion, is the most important one. Be brave with yourself, your audience and your platform. Don’t be afraid to post or write and share. It can be terrifying to share the most intimate parts of your life. But society is craving real. Craving candid. Craving other vulnerable ladies. It’s ok to look and act and be scared. It makes your realness even better.
  5. Finally, digitally treat others how you’d like to be digitally treated. Complimentary comments, follows for your likers, sharing their names and handles, posting their blog, adding them as a Facebook friend. All these things matter, and make you so much more human than you would be if you didn’t. If the goal for your digital business is to grow, and find an engaged tribe, you have to be engaged too. Communicating makes you human, makes you real, makes you approachable.

Want to be the first to hear about the Mompreneur Ecourse or Podcast, launching soon? Sign up below! There may even be a freebie involved ;)

 

 

Resolutions That Don't Make Me Cringe

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This year, my resolution is to make resolutions that don't scare me. 

Feel me?

I feel the need to stop making resolutions for myself that imply that something is wrong with me.

Like losing weight, or eating healthier, or working harder, keeping a cleaner house, or whatever. Most resolutions imply that we aren't doing something well enough, and we need to be BETTER at something that we seem to be failing at.

To be honest, I don't really want to be better at anything. I just want to be a better person. For myself, for my family, for God. So instead of making resolutions that make me feel less than any of that, I am making resolutions that actually make me happy. Things that are totally doable, will make me happy while doing them, and better my life in itty bitty little ways.

Without further ado:

  1. Take care of my skin and stop going to bed with my makeup on.
  2. Wash my hair more than twice a month.
  3. Watch Friends another time all the way through.
  4. Be graceful.
  5. Wear bright clothes.
  6. Play more cards.

Listen. It’s possible to work on the internal, deeper meaning stuff, all day every day. Maybe not all day, but a lot. And in the midst of that work, you forget, or regret, to do other things. Like wash your face.

The same as when you get so caught up in your skin care routine that you forget to pray. It goes both ways.

I think that resolutions should be more about concrete, personal goals, rather than businessy stuff. I can share my business goals another time, but for today, let’s talk about (what apparently is a problem I have) personal hygiene.

Skin care. I have been literally washing my face in the morning, if that, applying my makeup, and going about my day. You guys, that is it. No joke. Under eye circles, eh, I’m a mom. Smeared eyeliner from yesterday, eh, nobody got time to remove that. Mascara from three days ago, well, my eyelashes seem to get longer that way.

No. Just, no. I’ve got blackheads that could stay with me until I die if I don’t do something soon, and my poor nose area is so dry that it has to work really hard to produce enough skin cells every day.

Nope. This year, I am washing my face at night. Exfoliating twice a week. Applying eye cream and moisturizer, and dare I say it, SUNSCREEN. I do live in California, mind you. It is always sunny here.

And for the hair washing thing? Well, I had a nightmare that my dry shampoo made all my hair fall out. And then I googled it and apparently that happens. I’ve got to wash my hair more often.

But my favorite hair day is day 9. This could pose a major problem.

FRIENDS. Here is something I truly believe. Every time I watch Friends, Netflix adds a deleted scene. I promise, it has not been played before. Just today, I watched as Ross told Phoebe something, I swear, he had never said before. There’s no way I missed it 25 other times. This can’t be true.

So I’m vowing to watch it again. And again. In an effort to catch all the scenes Netflix deems needed.

As far as being graceful? This is running in tangent with my 2017 resolution of offering more grace. Not only do I want to offer it this year, I’d like to have some. Attract it, enact it, example it and enforce it. This one dives a little deeper into the deeper meaning stuff. But I'm not putting too much weight on that. I more just want to keep going with my 2017 resolution. So far, so good.

Have you seen my closet sales lately, on my IG stories? You’ll find that most of what I’m ditching is neutral. Why you might ask? Well, I saw some photos of me this last year, and all the ones I like, I’m wearing something bright. Not neutral.

So to the closet I will go and major purge will ensue. And then to the thrift store and Nordstrom sales I will go and purchase all things bright red and black and pink. Because, color. No more beige.

Last but not least, cards.

Once upon a time, mostly the years right after college, we played cards a lot. Mostly because we were broke as a freaking joke and had nothing better to do. But also because it was fun. And with jobs and babies and housekeeping, playing cards has gone out the window. My goal this year is to gather my tribe around my table more often and pour more wine and play more cards. If you’d like to join, please come. It’s quite fun.

Wear All the Babies

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Let’s talk for a hot minute about babywearing.

First, you’re preggo. And frankly, you wish, so badly, that you could take that baby off of you so heaven forbid you can COOL DOWN a little.

When I was working out while pregnant, I was so jealous of all the moms that could take their babies out of the carrier and lay them on a blanket, finish their get-ups and flutter kicks and bridges, and do a pushup all the way down without their belly hitting the floor first.

Second, after you have this tiny little human, and your belly ever so slowly begins to go back to the new normal, you wish so so badly you can put them back in, if only for a minute so you can GET SOME SLEEP.

No? Just me? Ok, didn’t think so.

This, my friends, is how babywearing made my life manageable. Notice I say manageable. Not great, not doable, not better, and certainly not easy. But, totally manageable. I mean, we are all living and happy and developing well and adjusting to this new thing, parenthood and childhood.

What we can so quickly forget is that babies need to adjust, too. This “baby” thing is totally new to them, just as this “parent” thing is totally new to us. Once I realized that we were learning together, not just trying to stay alive, it was much easier to understand his needs as they correlated with mine.

Something I found super early on was that this baby wanted back inside my belly almost as bad as I wanted him to be, too. But, alas, we cannot make that happen, nor do we really want to. So skin to skin, tummy to tummy, heart to heart is as close as we can get.

At first, the easiest thing to do was to accept the fact that this babe needed sleep, and so did I. And so sleeping on my chest was what we did. I soon figured out that I needed to do other things, too. Like laundry and eat and make dinner and WALK.

Enter, babywearing.

It was not uncommon at the very beginning, for me to strap on my Moby wrap and let that skin to skin contact happen. We all know that breastfeeding is ridiculous and mostly wonderful, and that sometimes it’s just easier to not wear a shirt. I mean, you’ll be whipping that thing out in no time anyway. For me, when we were alone and home and comfy, a shirtless baby and momma would be all wrapped up together in that Moby, happy and sleepy and full and perfect.

The babywearing continued into the night time witching hours, the social outings galore and then finally, back to the gym. Shirts on and all.

Joey is now 15 months old, and the babywearing trend has not faded, not even a little. And until he is too big for me to carry, it will stay the path.

Because of this experience, I want to share my passion, reasonings, tips and tricks and loves of babywearing with you all. But also because of this, it’s too much to share in a single post.

So coming at you the next three weeks:

  • Babywearing and the newborn bubble
  • Babywearing and fitness
  • Babywearing lifestyle

Coming at you this Thursday is all about the newborn bubble, and this was my most fondly remembered stage.


Ok, ok. But why should you care? I know that these “series” things are hard to follow and you might lose interest in a hurry and only read about the stage you’re currently in and then dismiss the rest. Can I ask you, friend, stick with me?

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Because that’s what I did, and then I wished I had prepared. Each phase of babywearing is different, and I would have taken even more joy and comfort and excitement in knowing how and what was coming next.

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Because there’s a GIVEAWAY with each post! I want to share this joy of babywearing with all of you, so with each babywearing post, I’ll be giving away a sling, carrier, membership, or something awesome to a lucky winner. Does this entice you?

I’m so thankful to all of you and for all of you. Many of you have stuck with me through this whole mommyhood thing, and now you support me sharing all about it. For that, I am eternally in your debt, and can’t wait to share the love with you.

Xoxo for now.

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Taking a Break

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I didn't need a vacation, I needed a social media hiatus. 

The moment I knew this was the case? When I remembered what someone I don't know in real life posted about on Instagram, but couldn't remember what my husband was doing tomorrow.

I had this plan, you see. I was going to blog twice a week and post on Instagram every day and take better photos that complimented my brand. I was going to story more of my every day, share and show my work, answer the influx of DMs about how I do my hair and also finish writing my book. 

I totally did this, for like, a month.

And it worked, I have to admit. My following grew, my engagement was off the charts. I was being asked to be an influencer for brands and speak at different meetings and classes and I was also being HIRED. Which is the goal. The ultimate goal. To make money, to make a living off of sharing what I love.

Here's what happened:

I got so busy doing what I loved that I missed also doing what I love. 

It goes both ways - I got so busy sharing that I missed working, and I got so busy working that I missed sharing. 

There has got to be a better way. 

It was like I had my healthy smoothie ingredients all cleaned and put into the blender, and then I turned it on and it exploded all over the counter and on the ceiling and stained my white shirt. Turns out, healthy smoothies kind of taste gross anyway.

There is one thing I am ultra proud of though - I didn't compromise. I was intentional about my priorities, and yes, some suffered, but nothing was given up. Not family time, not my fitness, not my food choices, and not my sleep. 

So what now? Well, I got what I was going for - work I wanted. And now it's time to do that work.

There's a time and a place for putting your head down, working hard, and coming up for air when you need to. I'm in that time, and happy to be there. 

So for the meantime, that meant less sharing, more working. But I know that that won't last. Because there's also a time and a place for screaming from rooftops and sharing all those baby smiles and shoes and recipes and run away dogs.

Ok, but since there haven't been any stories for like, two weeks, here's what has been going down in the Andreini household and Studio 22 walls:

  1. I learned how to make soft, flaky, buttery crackers, paleo style, And Joey is obsessed. As am I.
  2. So many of my friends are pregnant and have newborns and I'm so blessed to be able to be present for them as much as I can be. 
  3. Adam has been literally fishing his tail off. Trip after trip while also working his full time gig. So he's been gone a lot, but when he's home, it's so so wonderful.
  4. Joey has learned this deep scream cry thing that is absolutely horrendous.
  5. I've been working (a little) on the upcoming Mompreneur ecourse that is set to launch next month. So stay tuned.
  6. I've had the same piles of laundry on my bed/couch/floor/dresser/anywhere there's a clean surface for over a week. I just keep moving them around instead of putting them away.
  7. I'm drinking rose at 3:30 pm on a Monday.
  8. I have binge watched Parenthood for the last two days while Joey was at my mom's. I literally didn't even get out of my pajamas yesterday and I worked during the parts I remembered from the first time I binge watched it years ago.
  9. I went shopping with my momma friends at the used baby clothing store in Chico today with the babies after we worked out and it was the highlight of my week. If you had asked me if I would be doing that 3 years ago, I would have laughed at you. And now it's freaking awesome.

How to Deal in the Midst of Working and Throes of Motherhood

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This, my friends, is the most commonly asked question from working mother to working mother –

How do you balance it all?

What I’ve learned, so far anyway, is that you really can’t. All you can do is take it moment by moment, day by day, week by week, and pray for the best.

But some moments, days and weeks just simply don’t work. Part of what makes it all so hard to balance is that when us mommas try to make priority lists, we can’t seem to find the bottom. Everything might as well be written with the number “1” next to it, because it’s all IMPORTANT.

Trying to put kids before work, or work before kids, or self before work or husband before kids, or anything in between, simply just isn’t possible. Throw in friends’ celebrations of insta fame, family phone calls about which tea to buy and delivering too-small diapers to the local shelter, and you miss the mark on everything, it seems.

Yet somehow, we find a way. Each night, we go to bed, our kids and our husbands and our selves fed (pretty much), clean (pretty much), and loved (a lot).

But, I ask again, HOW?

The day to day balance of it all not only takes practice, but discipline. And a whole lot of self-awareness, I’m coming to realize. And that’s not easy stuff. Realizing that you set yourself up for a small disaster that morning is not an easy thing to swallow, and neither is knowing that you ate that donut when you should have had an egg.

Pay for that later.

I’m not saying, in any way, that I have this down. Not even a little. But I have managed to stay pretty much afloat, and for that, I can only attribute success to God. However, I have been able to figure out and enact some “protocol” if you will, that has helped be balance motherhood and working, so I thought I’d share.

First, I always assume that things are going to go according to plan.

If I don’t, then I end up taking too much time, energy and resources out of the rest of my day to plan for something that may or may not happen. For example, if the plan is to drop Joey off at daycare at 8:15 and not pick him up until 5:30 to go straight home, then I don’t pack an extra set of clothes for him, my sling, or any snacks.

But what if the plan goes awry? Well, I’ll get to that.

Second, I give myself as much “me” time as I think I need.

Whether it’s none, 15 minutes or two hours, I always give myself that grace. Sometimes I’m excited to get right to work, so I don’t take much downtime, if any. Other days, I need a moment alone with coffee, or I have the urge to write, or I am worried about a friend that needs to vent. I take that time, no questions, no apologies. It keeps me human, sane and healthy.

But what if there really is NO TIME? Well, I’ll get to that.

Third, I never schedule things day-of.

I try, really hard, to not make last minute plans. UNLESS it’s something I really, really want to do. But so long as I keep my schedule as it stood that morning when I woke up, I know that I can accomplish everything, be on time and not rush to finish.

But what if that’s not possible? Well, I’ll get to that.

I have found that these three things have kept most of my days smooth and fairly stress free.

But what about all the “but what if”s?

My friends, the Type A in me can not, would not, will not, leave those alone.

So I made a flowchart.

This flowchart (made prettier for you, mine is on a post-it note in my Jeep), has helped me through almost every balancing decision I’ve needed to make this last year.

Disclaimer – please don’t use this flowchart for life and death situations. This is really meant for the everyday balancing act. Trust me when I say, this will not get you out of a speeding ticket, missed family dinner or escaped pets running down the road. Sorry.

13 Weeks to Goal Time

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Accountability is something that can feel like the dreamer’s worst nightmare.

Many days, entrepreneurs and lone biz owners and creative dreamers work alone. This allows procrastination and excuses to take over, and for self-discipline to fly right out the window.

At least that’s my struggle.

And I actually have a team to keep hold me accountable. My ladies in the studio are my partners in crime, and we keep each other in check quite often. However, that’s only if we share our dreams and plan with each other, and sometimes, there just isn’t enough time or brain space to keep all these details straight for one another.

This year was a huge transition in my business. I went from graphic design agency to a one woman show - mompreneur blogger and biz coach. With this shift came big changes in goals and dreams and ideas, and the road to get there was unknown and scary to me.

I needed a new way to outline my new goals, and the steps to get there. Enter, the Best Self Journal.

I should note that this is not a sponsored post. I really, really just love this planner, and think it’s the perfect tool for anyone making this shift in dream shaking.

The most wonderful thing about this planner is that it helped me to articulate my goals, and the steps to get there, in a very real and understandable way. Best part? It keeps the WHY at the forefront of each goal. Why do I want to do this? As a lover of the WHY, I love that I can refer to this when I feel a little lost or unmotivated or like I’m failing. And I love that there is a timeframe attached – 13 weeks.

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What My Goals Are

Launch and sell digital NHQ products and services

Nicole&Co. site and store live

Write and publish 25 blogs

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How Am I Doing

  1. This goal has changed shape a little bit, and instead of launching NHQ products online, I decided to shift that into offering Nicole&Co. business coaching services and products. But it’s going wonderfully so far. After being able to outline and articulate my services, I was able to list them online, price them for potential clients, and even start working with some new businesses. What’s left to do? The product side. I still need to transition some of my NHQ products into Nicole&Co. branded products and list them for sale on the site.
  2. Welp, this one happened quickly! The Nicole&Co. site is live, and the store is almost there! I have my list of products, some are designed, none are printed and ready to ship. So, a little left to do on that, but way over halfway!
  3. Again, this goal shifted. Instead of working to publish 25 blogs, I decided to make this an affiliate or product based goal. My new end game is to generate some passive income with affiliates and paid writing gigs. So far, so great. I can’t wait to see where this one takes me as time goes on.
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Other Things I Love About the Journal

  1. Short To-Do list each day. 3 most important things get listed, and that’s my list. I love that I don’t feel like I need to fill space with lists, but instead keep my eye on the prize, and accomplish the things that will get me towards my goals.
  2. Time blocking. Instead of lists, this journal promotes the intentional use of time. My most productive days are when I outline and fill my time slots. Even if I’m filling them with things like “Mommy time” or “gym” or even “travel to and from work,” I know what I’m doing, when, and why.
  3. Weekly review. This is my favorite part. In the beginning of the week, I outline 5 things, and how many times that week I want to accomplish them. Mine are usually: gym (5), write (3), Insta post (6), design product (2), affiliate (1). At the end of the week, I am able to calculate what I accomplished, if I hit my goal, and how I can do better next week.
  4. That I can skip a week. The journal is undated, so I can take a week off if needed (which I did). This made my 13 weeks into 14 weeks total, but I didn’t work towards anything during the week I took off. I literally went on vacation, and didn’t feel pressured into my timeframe.

So, if you're looking to set some pretty serious goals and MAKE THEM HAPPEN, I highly suggest using this badass tool. 

Want one?

GO HERE!