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Never Alone Yet Lonely And How To Fix It

As a mom I’m often at home with my children. I rarely get time by myself and yet, I don’t know that I have ever felt more lonely than during this season of my life. In a time when I am rarely alone, I am also rarely in actual community with other women…

Tales of a Peanut - Together - Friends - ALWB

I’m guesting over on the Alabama Women Bloggers blog today about being in community with others. Head on over and join our discussion!


Business, Faith, Friends, Mommy Advice

Mentor Monday with Malena from KiraKira

KiraKira - Mentor Monday - Tales of a Peanut

As an introverted, type A personality, going to Stationery Academy in July and knowing that I would be sharing a room with someone who I had never met was incredibly intimidating. However, when I arrived and saw Malena in our room and we chatted for a bit I knew that this was a pairing made by God. Over the next few days we shared our stories and grew to know each other much more than I would have expected in four days.

Since our time in Phoenix, Malena and I have been on a weekly capability call with two other amazing women and have gotten to know each other more. She has chosen to put her stationery shop, Little Bird Paperie, on hold because she is so passionate about getting girls engaged in the engineering field. She and her co-founder have created an amazing academy that I pray my girls will get to be a part of as they grow a little older. Malena has tons to teach us and I can’t wait to share her wisdom and passion with you.

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KiraKira - Mentor Monday - Tales Of A Peanut

What’s the inspiration behind KiraKira?

KiraKira teaches girls the fundamentals of engineering and 3D design programs through fun, interactive, inspiring jewelry design lessons. My co-founder, Suz Somersall, and I both have backgrounds with engineering and/or 3D design. After feeling uninspired and frankly, somewhat unwelcome in the very male dominated environment, I chose to leave engineering and went on to study art & design. Suz, however, continued in the field of 3D and industrial design to become a jewelry designer – she 3D prints all of her jewelry. We recognized a gap in teaching and inspiring girls in engineering. Most existing tutorials target boys and teach how to design objects such as wrenches or auto parts. We wondered how we could teach girls engineering and 3D design in a way that speaks to them, inspires them, and empowers them to create something new.

KiraKira - Mentor Monday - Tales of a Peanut

You’ve got three kids about the same age as mine and I know I’m struggling to balance family and work. Have you found anything that works to help you balance it all? Do you have any tips for us?

Everyday is a balancing act! My first tip is my “Top 3” list. If nothing else gets accomplished, what are the top 3 things I must do today. This works for home and work. Reasonable goals help me avoid feeling like I’m drowning! Tip #2, I’m learning to outsource. I outsource cleaning! For the first time ever I have a housekeeper that comes to my house every other week. She keeps me sane! I work from home and it’s hard to focus in a messy environment. Knowing my kitchen and bathrooms will get cleaned at least every 2 weeks takes a LOT of pressure off of me so I can focus on work rather than dreading scrubbing the tubs! My last tip is one I’m still working on: take time to enjoy your life! Yes, we’re moms and business owners and cooks and chauffeurs and a million other things, but the most important job titles I have are wife and mother. Take time for your family. Schedule it in if you have to! Some days it doesn’t feel like it, but soon my little ones will be all grown up. I don’t want to regret being too busy for my kids.

KiraKira - Mentor Monday - Tales of a Peanut

What three things must you have/do every day?

I wish I could say, “go for a great morning run,” but these days that just does not happen!

Hot tea in the morning with sugar (lots), there are days I WISH I were a coffee drinker!

A phone call (or 3) with my mom. She is my best friend and I talk to her ev-er-y-day.

Hugs and kisses from my kiddos – they sustain me!

KiraKira - Mentor Monday - Tales of a Peanut

If you were going to give someone just starting a business some advice, what would it be?

I have a few key pieces of advice I wish I’d known before I got started!

Don’t undervalue yourself. Your time is valuable.

Figure out what your time is worth and expect it. If your client isn’t willing to pay you what your worth, 1) that isn’t your ideal client and 2) that project isn’t worth your time… unless it is truly for charity, which I’m also a big believer in.

KiraKira - Mentor Monday - Tales of a Peanut

What has surprised you the most about being an entrepreneur?

How hard I am on myself. When I had a 9-5 job I would go home and relax, sleep and not think of work again until morning. Owning my own business I’m slightly (completely) obsessed. I think about it all the time! I don’t relax or sleep as much. (This is starting to sound awful!) The truth is, I LOVE my job. I am obsessed with creating beautiful content and a product that’s of concrete value to others. So I’m hard on myself because I have such high expectations for what I’m creating.

KiraKira - Mentor Monday - Tales of a Peanut

Where do you want KiraKira to go in the next year or two?

Everywhere! Honestly, we would love for KiraKira to be in 10,000 schools, in thousands of home across America, in summer camps and after school programs. We have big dreams for KiraKira!

Who do you admire and keep up with in the business? Any mentors, groups, podcasts, etc that you recommend we keep up with?

Jennifer Faught, owner of Stationery Academy. She has been a WEALTH of knowledge and encouragement to me and so many others! Caitlin Bacher for social media tips. Cathy Olson for Periscope. Heather Crabtree for entrepreneur advice. Love Being Boss podcast. Anything by Simon Sinek!

How can people reach out to you and follow you?

Visit KiraKira Website

Back our project!

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Malena is the co-founder & Creative Director of the EdTech startup company, KiraKira, an online academy that teaches girls the fundamentals of engineering and 3D design programs through inspiring, interactive jewelry design. For the last 10 years, Malena has been thrilled to be a Creative Director, Art Director, Graphic & Stationery designer and is based out of Dallas-Fort Worth, TX. As a mom of 3, Malena is excited to change the landscape of girls in engineering and is hopeful her own daughter will one day cultivate a love for engineering and design through KiraKira.

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I am excited to share that as of the writing of this post, the KiraKira kickstarter is 72% funded. I’m proud to say that Tales of a Peanut is supporting their efforts and I encourage you to head to their page and see if you can donate even $5 to help them get their vision off the ground. I also will be sharing some KiraKira products in my gift guides this week so make sure and come back to see some additional ways that you can support them. I would love to see KiraKira as a household name and changing the face of engineering for the better!

Business, Faith, Friends, Mommy Advice

Mentor Monday with Kristin Wilson

Mentor Monday Grace and Serendipity

You could say that God put Kristin and I together and you wouldn’t be wrong. We both attended Stationery Academy in Phoenix this summer and were on the same flight from Atlanta out there. We knew that we were taking the same flight back to Atlanta as well and so wanted to try and change seats to sit together on the way back. When we looked at our tickets we both giggled because we were already sitting next to each other! Over the past few months I have come to tremendously admire Kristin. Not only is she wickedly talented she is one of the kindest women that I have met. I can’t wait to let a little bit of her wisdom rub off on you and me as well as introduce you to her new collection, The Hey Mama Collection, that I’ve been peeking at for the past month and is insanely awesome!

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Grace and Serendipity has evolved over the years. What made you decide to move more into product design rather than wedding design?

When I started my business,  I started it because it was something I loved, but I always have known there was something more I was meant to do.  I found when I was planning that I was falling more and more in love with paper design and invitation suites made me swoon.  The first day that I stepped foot into a Paper Source and I spent literally four hours inside the store, I knew that I had found something I didn’t only love, but had found my passion.  After one of my brides asked me to design her invitations for her, seeing the design complete, I was hooked.  I fully believe that everything you do leads you to what you’re meant to do next, and for me, product design is it.

Grace and Serendipity - Mentor Monday - Tales of a Peanut - Hey Mama

You’ve got two young children which require lots of attention and balance between them and work. Have you found anything that works to help you balance it all? Do you have any tips for us?

Daily life with two kids at home with me is a constant battle to make sure I am balancing things well. My daughter is 3 and my son is 8 months, and they both require a lot of attention.  Some weeks I do really well at balancing everything and other weeks are not my best. They’re only this age once and as important it is to me to build my business and have it grow, I’ll never get this time back with my littles.  I don’t want to look back a couple of years from now when they’re in school full time and have regrets, so I try my best to have that in my head all the time.  I have never really been a morning person, but now I force myself to get up for the day every day by 5:00am, sometimes at 4:30 if my son woke up around then for a nighttime feeding. This way, I can have a two to three hours of quiet time to work on things before the busy of the day begins, so that I at least start the day ahead with some things accomplished instead of starting it with a looming to-do list.  My kids are on a pretty normal routine and do things around the same times every day, which helps a lot.  My friends have nicknamed me a “naptime hustler” because when they are napping, I am working the hardest so that I don’t have to work as much when they’re awake.  It’s really important that my kids realize that even though I do work full time from home, that they matter more – so some days it means my computer is off until mid-afternoon and I work more that night when they’re in bed to take care of everything needed.  My daughter goes to preschool three days a week for four hours a day, and those days, when my son is taking his morning nap, are my biggest workdays.  I don’t work as much on Tuesdays or Thursdays because those are the days I do more around the house like the laundry and cleaning, but we also go to the park and do other fun “mommy and me” activities these days.  The one balancing thing you can bet on is that when they’re napping, I’m hustling to take care of things for my business. When they’re awake, they have me.  And I try my hardest to stick to that completely.  The only tip that I have is find what works for you – perhaps you’ll stay up later at night, or get up early in the morning, perhaps you’ll take on less work so that you don’t have the stress of it with you, but more than anything, think about what matters most and then figure out how to make that happen best in your life.

Think about what matters most and then figure out how to make that happen best in your life. - @graceandser Click To Tweet

What three things must you have/do every day?

1 – I make time every single day for my bible and to read Jesus Calling.  I have the book and also have the app on my phone.  I have a timer set on my phone for 8:35am because I drop my daughter off at her preschool on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 8:30.  When I get back into my car after bringing her to class, my phone is going off and so I do Jesus Calling for the day right there in the parking lot before I go anywhere else.  On Tuesdays and Thursdays I read the days passage and bible verses out loud with my daughter when we’re eating breakfast.   It helps me to have the right perspective on the day from the beginning.

2 – A combination of Google Calendar, the ToDoist app, and my weekly planner.  There is no way that I could keep track of everything and attempt to keep everything organized well without these three things.  I use Google Calendar to keep track of my daughter’s school schedule, every kind of appointment, family birthdays, and what our meals are for the week so that I know what time I need to start dinner every night.  I use ToDoist for everything else.  I tried Asana but it didn’t work for me – I love the simplicity of ToDoist, especially that I can open the app on my phone and use the voice text option to say “call Dad at 1:00 on Sunday to talk to him about Christmas plans” and not only will it plug it into my phone for Sunday at1:00, the app will send me a reminder at 1:00 on Sunday to do just that.  It has been a lifesaver.  I have it broken down into main categories for my business and home.  Those then have sub-folders where everyone has their own workflow so that I can keep track of everything, and everything has dates assigned to it.  It sounds complex but it’s really pretty straightforward!  At night, I then take everything for the following day and write it in my weekly planner so that I don’t get distracted with what’s coming up by looking at a screen or spend time in the morning figuring out how to do everything needed – I can focus on the tasks for the day, and then can go back to ToDoist at the end of the day to check everything off at once.  That’s a pretty good feeling the days that I am able to accomplish everything I had planned!

3 – Good family time.  I crave it every day.  I do get to spend every day with my kids, but when my husband is home during the evenings and it’s the four or five of us when his son is also with us, life feels right.  It doesn’t matter what happened during the day or how chaotic life is, when we have those couple of precious hours together in the evenings during the week or as much as possible on the weekends, it makes my heart swell with happiness.  The days that we don’t have a lot of that due to my having client meetings or my husband having work socials, we both have found that we miss that time together.

Grace and Serendipity - Mentor Monday - Tales of a Peanut - calendar

If you were going to give someone just starting a business some advice, what would it be?

– Make a plan and truly decide if this is something you can do for a long time or see yourself doing for the rest of your career before you decide to go all in, and when you do decide it, do the work needed to make things happen.  When I first started my business, I was an elementary school teacher.  I started my wedding planning business and did both for two years before deciding to take my business full time, because I need to be able to contribute financially to our family.  Taking a chance on starting a business with no income coming in to offset getting started would not have been smart and we wouldn’t have made it – as much as you may want to quit a job and pursue a passion full time, make sure it makes sense for your family to do so first.   My business wouldn’t be here today if I hadn’t planned out step by step, thought a lot about big decisions before making them, and thought about all of the possible outcomes.  Now, with making the transition from planning to paper, it’s a whole new business plan, but not one that I have taken lightly.  I did invitation design with my brides for two years before considering doing this full time, and only because I’ve realized how incredibly passionate I am about paper design and how drawn I am to it is the reason I’m going down this path.  I also feel that this is what God has had planned for me all along, and discovering things and seeing His signs along the way makes me feel this is right too.  I have taught myself how to do things, how things work the best for my business, taken class after online class to learn what I need to, and have found a way to make my business unique in it’s own ways.  The quote “give a (wo)man a fish and you feed (her) for a day, teach a (wo)man to fish and you feed (her) for a lifetime” is one that means so much to me … you can easily ask someone the answer to something you don’t know without researching first, but doing the work and learning how to do it yourself through trial and error is much more fulfilling.  It’s awesome to be able to go back and say “I did this!” even if it is only to yourself.  You want to build a business that you’re proud of – so take the time needed to make that happen.

Grace and Serendipity - Mentor Monday - Tales of a Peanut

What has surprised you the most about being an entrepreneur?

I think probably how much I still want to learn things – I’m never happy with “that’s good enough”.  I am always wanting to learn more and do things better, I’m always wanting to try new things and see how they turn out.  I hope that I never get stuck in doing the same things day in and day out – I love pushing myself and seeing what new things come out of stepping outside of my comfort zone.

Grace and Serendipity - Mentor Monday - Tales of a Peanut - Life

Tomorrow you’re launching a new collection. Tell me a little bit about what your inspiration was behind this line and what you want people to get from your products?

Oh goodness, I am so excited for this collection!  I was definitely inspired by those around me – my mama friends and fellow creative entrepreneurs in particular, because all of us want to make a difference.  When you’re a mom, sometimes you just need to hear that you’re doing a good job, or read that you deserve a trophy to make it through the day simply wearing the same shirt!  For creative entrepeneurs, sometimes we just need to hear “you can do this” in a variety of different forms, and so definitely one word to sum it up would be encouragement for others – I hope that people are encouraged by the products they purchase to give to others or to frame on their own walls, because that inner cheerleader in my soul wants everyone to succeed.

Who do you admire and keep up with in the business? Any mentors, groups, podcasts, etc that you recommend we keep up with?

I follow Stationery Academy and look forward to every blog post, email, newsletter, and Instagram post of theirs – they are such a big part of the reason I am launching everything and so excited for what the future holds, and I fully believe that Jennifer Faught (the owner and President) wants every business to succeed!

I also am involved with the Pursuit Community and have attended their conference twice and will be going again in the spring, along with being in the Pursuit Mommies group and a small group locally as well.  I think that along with making sure everything is aligned with your business, growing a relationship with God and having a close-knit community of other business owners who believe in the same things you do is incredibly important.  Karen Stott, who started it, also has an amazing encouraging instagram feed called @intentionalhome which makes you think about what matters most.

I also think that Emily Ley and Lara Casey are pretty phenomenal women (and both are from where I live!) and love the Savvy Business Owners group that Heather Crabtree started.  So many amazing women are doing incredible things, and I love it!

Grace and Serendipity - Mentor Monday - Tales of a Peanut - Grace

I want everyone to become as enamored with you as I am! How can they find you?

Etsy: | Instagram:  | Website: | Facebook: | Pinterest: | Periscope:

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Kristin owns Grace and Serendipity, which is currently transitioning from a full-time wedding planning business to a custom design + paperie business.  She is a wife and mama to three, doesn’t go a day without coffee, loves typography, color and lives for swoonworthy moments.

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Kristin is one of my favorites and has been such an encouragement to me over the past few months. Her new collections launch TOMORROW, October 13th in her Etsy shop and I’ve seen them and, believe me, you are not going to want to miss them! Don’t forget to check out her products in the morning (hopefully around 9 am CST) and then let me know what you think!

Friends, Throw Back Thursday, WriteYourLove

Mary Shaw’s #writeyourlove #tbt

I’m continuing my #writeyourlove #tbt series today with a throwback from high school.

Tales of a Peanut #writeyourlove #tbt Mary Shaw

Mary Shaw was one of my good friends that I have written about before. She was diagnosed with cancer when we were in 8th grade and passed away right after the start of our junior year in high school. She was incredibly kind and caring and totally in love with Jesus. She was also one of the most talented artists that I know and did so much with the little time that she had.

Mary Shaw 1999 Summer Formal

Her handwriting has the feel of a high school girl to it but it was uniquely hers and didn’t change much over the years. This note was one she wrote to me after I was in a car accident right before our freshman year in high school. I don’t know if she wrote this while she was in the hospital getting chemo or if she was at home but she was definitely dealing with a lot more than broken bones when she wrote this fun and encouraging note to me. I still have it, along with some earlier notes from middle school. They remind me of her sweet personality and encourage me to live my life with more purpose.

Do you have special notes from high school that you cherish? Show them to me and tell me about your friends on instagram using the #writeyourlove hashtag! I might share your picture on my feed!

PS Don’t forget to enter the #writeshootlove contest! You can get all the details in the previous post. The contest ends tomorrow at midnight so don’t delay!

Business, Friends, Travel

#StatAcad aka The Best Business Trip Ever

Stationery Academy - photo by LifeCreated - Tales of a Peanut Feature Image

I’m pretty sure I could spend the next year detailing all that I learned at Stationery Academy last month in Phoenix and still not have relayed everything to you. It was everything that you would want a business conference to be. Open speakers who were generous with their time, knowledge, and encouragement. Lots of new friends close to the same stage as business as you so you don’t feel so alone. A beautiful location with a superb hotel staff to take care of everything. Every detail carefully curated to create the maximum impact. And four days of non-stop deep diving into every facet of your business.

Stationery Academy - photo by LifeCreated - Tales of a Peanut

I left with a renewed passion for Tales of a Peanut. Over the past six months I’ve been struggling to figure out what this business of mine should be. I love communicating with all of you and have loved sharing our family’s stories over the past seven years. I have discovered more about myself through this blog and the wonderful communities that I’m a part of online than I ever would have dreamed when I started. But it seemed like I was always frantic when I was working on my business and never entirely sure what direction I wanted to go in and where I wanted it to take me.

Stationery Academy - photo by LifeCreated - daily swag - Tales of a Peanut

As I began to dream up the Handwritten Heritage concept and line this spring my path began to get a little straighter but I was still very unsure of my direction and, more importantly, my execution. I didn’t know how I could convey the sacredness of what I feel is in the act of writing letters to your children while also balancing the parts of the business that are already chugging along. And I struggled with how to develop more for Handwritten Heritage while also fulfilling orders, taking care of my family, and finding time to spend with God.

Stationery Academy - photo by LifeCreated - Tales of a Peanut photo styling

So after all of that, the trip to Phoenix was a breath of fresh air for me. I went in knowing no one else and left with 24 friends who encourage me, help me, and hold me capable in a way that I did not dream could happen. You know how most people in business are so competitive and tight fisted with their knowledge because they want to keep a leg up on everyone else? These women are nothing like that. They generously went into great detail on their mistakes and accomplishments while we were together. They answered questions, gave feedback, and brainstormed ideas with us. These women helped me determine the path for Tales of a Peanut that will, with God’s help, make a positive impact for years to come.

Stationery Academy - photo by LifeCreated - Graduation Dinner

I’ll go into more details about where Tales of a Peanut is going in future posts because I want to share this journey with you and I want your help in determining what ways I can best serve you. But today I want to share my new friends with you. Because, like Kristen from Thimblepress said, there’s plenty of work out there for all of us. And these women, these women, are the cream of the crop and they are going to do amazing things! Without further ado, here are my Stationery Academy Phoenix 2015 speakers and classmates!

Stationery Academy - photo by LifeCreated - Class of 2015 Phoenix

Jennifer Faught – Something Detailed
Amber Housley – Amber Housley
Cara McGrady – One Swell Studio
Cathy Olson – Love Inspired
Heather Crabtree – Heather Crabtree LLC
Kristen Ley – Thimblepress
Stephanie Creekmur – Winnie Jean
Andi Harvey – EB Design Studio
Ashley Staum – She Plans
Cheryl Crawford and Nicole Crawford-Mackey – True Bliss
Erin Williams – Strawberry Mommycakes
Jennifer Elwell – Tales of a Peanut
Jessica Alonso – Sugar & Grace
Kelsey Baldwin – Paper + Oats
Kristin Wilson – Grace and Serendipity
Maghon Taylor – All She Wrote Notes
Malena Southworth – Little Bird Paperie
Mellisa Trojak – The Art Of Etiquette
Nadine Eiserer – endash LLC
Paula McCoy – Polkadot Paper Company
Stephanie Studer – LifeCreated
Susannah Carpenter – Sweetpress Studio
Tisa Jackson – tisa’s creations

Charlotte, Family, Friends, Hadley

Birth Week Friends


I’ve talked about Natalie and how I couldn’t have gotten through this summer without her.  If you think I’m kidding know that I most definitely am not.  Having baby girls five days apart allowed us to hold conversations via text at all hours of the night and discuss all the ups and downs that new motherhood of child number three holds.  She has encouraged me and supported me and let me vent constantly over the last three months and I am eternally grateful for her and so thankful for her friendship.


Two weeks ago we finally were able to get everyone together and meet each other’s new babies in person.  We had so much fun spending a few way to brief hours together and are already looking forward to the next time that we can see each other again.  But, until then, we always have texting!