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Charity, Gift Guides

11 Gifts That Give Back

Holiday Gift Guides - Tales of a Peanut 2015

The #TOAPGiftGuide for today is one that will benefit more than just you and your family. All of these gifts give back to others in some way. These gifts are not only beautiful but help make a difference in the lives of people around the world.

11 Gifts That Give Back - #TOAPGiftGuide 2015

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AllyBDesigns - #TOAPGiftGuide 2015

Shine Bright Like the Stars mug – Ally B Designs – $15

Coffee mugs with gorgeous messages are a hot commodity these days and this mug is no exception. With bold text and fun star accents this mug will bring a smile to your face. And the back of the mug will start your day on a positive note, with the text of Daniel 13:3 written. Ally B Designs donates $1 from every sale of this mug to a children’s charity. For the months of November and December these proceeds will be going to the Make A Wish foundation.

Ingabire - Tales of a Peanut Compassion

Ingabire print – Tales of a Peanut – $12+

The words Luke uses in his retelling of The Christmas Story paint a beautiful picture that this story is for all people of the world, without exception. That’s why I chose this verse when I wanted to create a print that would reinforce the freedom of this gift for everyone. This gold foil print was created as a free gift to customers in October who purchased and helped send Christmas cards to children without sponsors in Compassion’s program. It was then the front of the Christmas cards that we sent to those children. With the deadline to send cards passed, 5% of the proceeds from this print will go to support unsponsored children throughout the year with the Compassion program.

Kiwi and Hope - #TOAPGiftGuide 2015

Essential Oil Pouch (large) – Kiwi and Hope – $30

Essential oils are everywhere these days and many attribute numerous benefits to using them. We had less sickness last year during the winter when I was diffusing them than we have in years past so while I don’t use them every day I do pull mine out on occasion. For those who like to always keep their oils with them, this large pouch is the perfect gift. It has a padded insert to hold 12 15 ml oil bottles within the large pouch. Not only will this make a beautiful addition to an essential oil collection, but Kiwi and Hope always donates 10% of their proceeds to a charity related to orphan prevention, orphan care, and adoption. For the months of November through January they will be giving their proceeds to Show Hope which cares for orphans.

SheDoesJustice - #TOAPGiftGuide 2015

The Story Isn’t Over Yet Mug – She Does Justice – $15

With a rich black interior and an extra large size, this mug might become your favorite for hot cocoa this season. And the message will remind you and everyone that sees you that your past doesn’t define your future. She Does Justice is another shop that donates 10% of the proceeds from their entire shop to various charities. What’s special about She Does Justice is that they let you designate the type of charity that you want your proceeds to support at checkout. You can choose from charities that support adoption, empowering young women, healthcare in Africa, orphan prevention, and anti sex-trafficking.

BeMoShe - #TOAPGiftGuide 2015

Strong Roots – BeMoShe – $32

This super soft hoodie triblend tee will quickly become your go to t-shirt in your closet. Especially since you’ll remember every time you wear it that your purchase supported a cause that is working to eradicate SIDS. A portion of the proceeds from this tee will go to the CJ Foundation for SIDS whose priority is the health and survival of all babies through their first year of life.  This t-shirt is part of BeMoShe’s guest designer series which changes every month. This is November’s design and also comes in onesies and kids t-shirts. You can read about their guest designer series on their blog.

TypeBaby - #TOAPGiftGuide 2015

Birthday Tees – TypeBaby – $24

If your children are anything like mine they love talking about how old they are. These t-shirts are the perfect gift for them this year so they can show off their age all year long. Shirts are a super soft American Apparel poly/cotton blend shirt and are Made in the USA. And purchases of these shirts and anything in the TypeBaby shop go to support different charities. TypeBaby is donating 10% of the proceeds from their entire shop sales in November and December to the Little Giraffe Foundation which supports NICU families.

Plaid Buttercup - #TOAPGiftGuide 2015

Sofia Dress and Leggings – Plaid Buttercup – $48

This adorable dress and leggings set will quickly become your little ones favorite winter outfit. The bright blue and greens and the interesting pattern will keep them begging for you to wash it so that they can wear it again. Plus the fabric is moisture wicking, soft, breathable, and wrinkle-free (do you hear that?!?! WRINKLE FREE!) so you’ll love it also. Plaid Buttercup is donating a portion of proceeds from this dress to Ruby’s Rainbow which strives to support the educational needs of adults with Down Syndrome.

Emily and Eden - #TOAPGiftGuide 2015

Confidential: Semicolon – Emily and Eden – $85

This beautiful necklace combines precious metals with precious stories to create a necklace that makes much more than a fashion statement. If you don’t know, semicolons have been chosen as a symbol for those struggling with depression, anxiety, mental illness, and suicide (check out ProjectSemicolon for more info). This gorgeous necklace hides the semicolon symbol in the morse code for the character. Making your necklace a statement of your support of those struggling with those issues as well as accessorizing your wardrobe. For each Semicolon necklace purchased Emily and Eden donates $5 to which works as suicide awareness voices of education.

Ruby Claire - #TOAPGiftGuide 2015

Striped Azalea Maxi – Ruby Claire Boutique – $48

This maxi dress can transition through all seasons making it a pivotal piece to have in your closet. The dress is at once romantic, modern, boho, and retro which most products couldn’t pull off but works beautifully in this dress. Ruby Claire Boutique has teamed up with the Cache Valley for Hope Cancer Foundation to give back 10% of all of their proceeds on the 10th of every month. This foundation supports cancer patients with their immediate financial needs as they undergo treatment.

Meredith Collie - #TOAPGiftGuide 2015

Flamingo Color Block Personalized Journal – Meredith Collie Paper – $22

You can bring back hints of summer this Christmas season with this bright Flamingo Color Block notepad. These 5×7″ notepads are personalized and are available either with a spiral binding or as a perfect bound book. This entire Flamingos for a Cure line gives back 20% of all sales to the Susan G. Komen Northwest North Carolina.

Karama - #TOAPGiftGide 2015

Bucket Bag – Karama Collection – $195

This bag might be a splurge but it’s going to stand the test of time. Each bag is made of high quality full-grain Ethiopian leather and will patina over time to give it an even richer tone. These bags are made in Ethiopia bringing dignity and purposeful work to those who make them. This bag as well as the entire Karama Collection is a registered non-profit who reinvests their profits in artisans through product purchase. They also give back at least 15% of their total sales revenue each year to YoungLife Africa.

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I don’t know about you but I am now thinking of ways to justify these purchases for myself since they’re really serving such a greater purpose. Grin. But, in all seriousness, these products would make beautiful gifts and also help you give back a little through your Christmas shopping. I know that there are more shops out there that donate to charities. If you’re one of them, leave your information in the comments so that we can shop with you as well!

Gift Guides

11 Gifts For The Paper Lover

Holiday Gift Guides - Tales of a Peanut 2015

As you can probably guess today’s gift guide might be the most exciting for me seeing as I have a love affair with paper. Let me tell you that these products are the best of the best and something that every paper lover would love to have. I promise!

11 Gifts For The Paper Lover - #TOAPGiftGuide 2015

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ShePlans - #TOAPGiftGuide 2015

2016 Daily To Do List Planner – She Plans – $46

Planners don’t get much more beautiful than this one from She Plans. There are three beautiful cover designs to choose from and the covers are sturdy chipboard with gold corners and spiral binding. This planner is special because it has a monthly calendar as well as detailed daily pages to keep your life in check. If you need to keep track of where everyone in the family is at any one time then this is the planner for you. And not only is the design of the monthly and daily pages beautiful, this planner also boasts a host of different features like gift giving pages, holiday lists for the next three years, blank notes pages with a special notes tab in the back, and mylar coated monthly tabs. For a paper loving, organizer, type A personality like me it can be hard to find a planner that fits what I need. Which is why I especially love that Ashley lets you download and try planner pages before you buy so you can make sure you get the setup that is perfect for your life! One note about this planner is that it’s only a six month planner so expect to go through two throughout the year or go ahead and give both for 2016 in one gift.

Hello World Paper Co - #TOAPGiftGuide 2015

Personalized Stamp – Hello World Paper Co – $26.95+

Any paper lover is bound to have a stack of stationery always at the ready. And while they love the art of writing, rewriting their name and address on letter after letter — especially around Christmas card season! Enter Hello World Paper Co and their gorgeous custom return address stamps. And lest you think that your recipient already has a stamp and doesn’t need another one, get one made for the family or just for the wife, or for the kids. Or even a seasonal themed design! You can never have too many personalized stamps. One nice thing about Hello World Paper Co is that they offer their stamps in self inking or wood mounted so for those who have a preference you can get exactly what they want. And while I don’t have one of their stamps (yet, hint hint!) I’ve heard rave reviews over and over again in our common business groups on Facebook so I know that the quality is exceptional!

Natasha Red - #TOAPGiftGuide 2015

Seasonal Meal Planning Journal – Natasha Red – $25

I might have started drooling over this journal when I first pulled it up online. Not only is it gorgeous but the concept behind it is brilliant! Making dinner is consistently one of my least loved parts of being a grown up but I think that this journal might just make it a little bit better. This journal comes with 52 meal planning prompted pages that are perforated to pull out and stick to the fridge. It also has 52 grocery list sheets to keep your list in one place. What’s in Season lists and 16 favorite recipes section for each season also make this journal incredibly thoughtful and unique. It’s a perfect bound (that means it has a squared off binding) 6×9″ journal that might just make me happier to make a grocery list each week.

Polka Dot Paper Co - #TOAPGiftGuide 2015

Dots and Stripes Birthday and Anniversary Calendar – Polka Dot Paper Company – $15

We can all agree that Facebook has changed the face of birthday’s. Where we used to only hear from a few people on our birthday’s, now we’re inundated all day with well wishes from those that we’re close to and those that we haven’t seen in 15 years. With all of that “remembering” when someone takes the time to send you a birthday card in the mail it means even more than it did before Facebook birthdays. And for those who aren’t on Facebook, or those who check the actual app rarely (ahem, me, ahem), even birthdays that we should be aware of sometimes slip off our radar. That’s why this perpetual calendar is such a great idea. You can go through your existing calendar once and write everyone’s birthday down. Maybe check a few of those that you care about on Facebook and write their birthday’s down. Then set this down next to your To Do List planner and you’ll know what birthdays are coming for the entire month at just a glance! And no need to rewrite them every year in your planner since this calendar is good forever. I love this idea and have one already that I dearly love.

Tales of a Peanut - #TOAPGiftGuide 2015

Handwritten Heritage Milestones – Tales of a Peanut – $40

This is another product that any paper lover will adore. These sets were created to help the busy mom make time to write letters to her children. Each set focuses on a different time period in a child’s life – from their time in utero to their first years as a parent. With fourteen different writing prompts, these sets take the pressure off of coming up with what to write about and lets moms focus on what to write. Printed on dreamy acid free and archival paper, those who value the written word and beautiful presentation will enjoy getting to spend the time writing in each set. Gift a paper loving adult with a set or get a set now and give your children the gift of a lifetime by presenting them with a completed set of letters for Christmas. I can guarantee that this is one labor of love that you and your children will never regret.

Sylvia Stremming Designs - #TOAPGiftGuide 2015

Wedding Anniversary Collection – Sylvia Stremming Designs – $49

While the Handwritten Heritage sets are written for the future, this wedding anniversary memory book is meant to help you capture the special moments of your marriage as they happen. This Anniversary Memory book is a gorgeous silver and white and comes with its own white and silver storage box. With pages to record wedding memories, honeymoon memories, and thoughts of what you did on anniversary’s one through twenty-five, this album would be the perfect gift for anyone who wants to remember the special moments of each year of their marriage. This would be an especially great Christmas gift for anyone who is engaged or newly married.

Words Worth Noting - #TOAPGiftGuide 2015

You Make Me Brave Journal – Words Worth Noting – $13.50

Those who love paper usually love writing as well so what better gift to give than a beautiful moleskine journal for them to record their thoughts. This journal is made special by the beautiful hand lettering on the cover. Not only is it available in the verses shown in the listing, but you can also request a custom journal with your favorite (or the gift recipients favorite) verse or quote on it. Moleskine is a rich, dreamy texture that holds up really well and with 80 white lined pages, this journal will last for a while.

Tisa's Creations - #TOAPGiftGuide 2015

Daily Journal in Acrylic Box – Tisa’s Creations – $48

As I’m writing this gift guide I realized that most of these items focus on introspective pursuits such as writing letters or journaling. This product takes the spirit of that and gives it a little twist with bright colors, fun patterns, and a clear acrylic box to hold it all in. Instead of spending a lot of time writing down memories, this journal simply wants you to jot a quick note for every day of the year. The more years you use it the more memories you’ll remember as you read through what you did on that day in years past. It’s a Timehop for your thoughts! And the acrylic box is so adorable that you won’t mind leaving it out at your home command center so that you won’t forget to write a small sentence about this day as you get ready for bed.

Ace & Bear - #TOAPGiftGuide 2015

Faber-Castell LOOM Ballpoint Pen – Ace & Bear – $28 (it’s on sale right now though for $20!)

All this gorgeous stationery is kind of wasted if you’re just writing on it with a regular pen from Target. That’s where this LOOM ballpoint pen comes in. It’s sleek metallic look is gorgeous and makes it easy to pick up the pen and write. And with the fine rings of the matte chrome plated grip section and a slight curve this pen won’t make your pen hurt from spending too much time writing. I’ve also been told by a very reliable source that this pen has the best ink flow of almost any out there so don’t forget about how important not having smudges or drips when you’re writing!

House Plus Love - #TOAPGiftGuide 2015

Scripture Card Set – House Plus Love – $24.95

These sweet scripture cards might become my go-to gift because they would be perfect for just about anyone. With a gorgeous color palette that is both traditional and trendy at the same time, these 52 cards will help anyone spend more time soaking up God’s word. And while some scripture cards that I’ve seen are small, these are a generous 5×5″ side which would easily fit into a standard picture frame that you can find at Hobby Lobby to make this present even more perfect.

PS If you know a paper lover or organizer that is building a house, make sure you consider the House Plus Love Design Binder. Honestly, I’d love it just to organize everything from my house now but it would be especially perfect for those just embarking on the home building journey!

OliveBox - #TOAPGiftGuide 2015

My OliveBox – OliveBox – $25/mo or $35 for a single box

Last but most certainly not least is a subscription to OliveBox. OliveBox is a monthly box delivery that is chock full of items that a paper lover would adore. The products are curated around a theme each month and are delivered right to the door of the recipient. Not only does OliveBox feature some of the best in their monthly subscription boxes, but you can also purchase a single box or a gift membership if you’re wanting to give the subscription for Christmas.

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I might have waxed poetic about a few of these but they are just so precious in my heart. And the fact that they’re on dreamy paper doesn’t hurt either. And I’ll go on record saying that I would be exponentially happy if any of these items showed up under my tree this year! If one of these suggestions isn’t quite right for what you’re looking for I encourage you to browse through the selections of these shops. They are all packed with gorgeous products that would make wonderful gifts for those you love this holiday season.

I would also encourage you to pin, share, tweet, email, whatever you do about this post and the other gift guides so that others can find out about these amazing shops and products! I’d love to hear from you so let me know if I’m missing something or if you think one of these is a gift that you’ll definitely be gifting this year!

Books, Christmas, Gift Giving, Holidays, Parenting, Shopping, TalesOfAPeanut, Uncategorized

11 Children’s Gifts For Your Kiddos

Holiday Gift Guides - Tales of a Peanut 2015

Today’s edition of our gift guides is all about the kids. Whether they’re infants or older, there’s a little something for everyone here. And if you missed yesterdays, you can always check it out in the Gift Guides category.

11 Childrens Gifts For Your Trendy Kiddos - #TOAPGiftGuide 2015

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BeMoShe - #TOAPGiftGuide 2015

I Am Your Wild tee – BeMoShe – $24

This gray shirt will quickly become a go-to favorite for your children ages 2-6. Screen printed by hand on comfy American Apparel tee’s, each shirt will vary slightly making them more special. And reminding your child that it’s ok to be a little wild is probably a good reminder in this day. Whether you’re encouraging your child to get outdoors and explore or reassuring them that you don’t expect them to sit still all day every day, this shirt will be pulled from the laundry basket as soon as it’s clean each and every laundry day.

Perfectly Crafted by T - #TOAPGiftGuide 2015

Blue and Gray Argyle Bowtie – Perfectly Crafted By T – $8

This shop has lots of cute designs that can be made into either a bowtie or a bow. I love how easy it would be to get all of your kids matching with this shop! I’m a sucker for argyle and blue and gray is one of my favorite combo’s so choosing this design was a no brainer for me.

Toluka Paper - #TOAPGiftGuide 2015

MASH Pad – Toluka Paper – $15.50

When I was in middle school we spent a lot of paper writing out MASH games. I can’t even image how many we would have gone through if we had a notepad ready to fill in! The designs from Toluka Paper are old-school and I love the bright colors and retro feel. (Although I don’t love so much that my time growing up now feels like a retro time period.) This 8×8″ notepad would be a great stocking stuffer for a pre-teen and would help you show them what we did before screens were everywhere.

Ally B Designs - #TOAPGiftGuide 2015

Shine Bright Like The Stars Hooded Tee – Ally B Designs – $25

For the trendy kiddo, this hooded tee would be the perfect gift. It would work for boys or girls without sacrificing style for either one. And I love that it has a hoodie that you can pull up over their sweet heads if you get outside without remembering how blustery the winter wind can be. And as a bonus, $2 of every purchase is donated to a children’s charity and for November and December that charity is Make A Wish!

Jesus Loves Ice #TOAPGiftGuide

Jesus Loves Print – Tales of a Peanut – $12+

Not only do I like to surround my house with beautiful prints to remind me of Biblical truths but I like to include them in my children’s rooms as well. That’s why I love this print so much. It personalizes a very popular children’s story to remind them how personal Jesus’ love is for them. And it can be customized to match any decor which makes it pretty much perfect.

Strawberry Mommycakes - #TOAPGiftGuide 2015

Grunge Fairy Tale Shirts – Strawberry Mommycakes – $22.50

If your kids are a little old for the Shine Bright tee then these Grunge Fairy Tale Shirts might be the perfect fit. With designs that are a little rough around the edges, these shirts will make your child smile. And in sizes 2-12 and on super soft American Apparel shirts, these will be come their favorites in no time. PS Erin also has onesies in this line as well if your kiddo isn’t quite to the t-shirt stage.
miniPeanuts Plate Flutter #TOAPGiftGuide

Flutter Plate – miniPeanuts – $25

My kids love these durable plates and we celebrate special occasions with one designed just for them. As they set the table each night they love hearing the story behind each plate. This Flutter design is one of my favorites due to its vibrant colors and gorgeous watercolor patterns. And since these plates are dishwasher, microwave, and even oven safe and are non-toxic they are the perfect plate to let kids eat off of.

Pink Peppermint Paper - #TOAPGiftGuide 2015

Preppy Paddle Out – Pink Peppermint Paper – $1.99

It might be early to be thinking of summer camps, but these postcards would make great stocking stuffers for your older kids. Especially if you’re gifting them with a trip to camp this summer for Christmas! The postcards limit the space your child will be required to write (which they’ll appreciate) and you’ll appreciate receiving mail while they’re away.

Lysa TerKeurst - #TOAPGiftGuide 2015

Win or Lose I Love You – Lysa TerKeurst – $9.20

Lysa TerKeurst is a very popular writer in the women’s market but many might not know that she also writes fantastic children’s books. And her latest one, Win or Lose I Love You, will be perfect for my kids this Christmas. It’s message on how to handle winning and losing as well as reassurance that your love isn’t changed by the outcome will be a relief for kids to stick away in their minds for the future. Lisa’s books are beautifully illustrated and I love that they help bring about conversations with your kids in an organic way that doesn’t feel forced and that they can relate to.

Tales of a Peanut Placemat Robots #TOAPGiftGuide

Robots Placemat – miniPeanuts – $17

Laminated placemats have become my saving grace for the kitchen table. It’s infinitely easier to scrape dried milk or pasta sauce off of a placemat in the sink than it is to scrape it from the grooves of the table. Not that I would know anything about that, of course. With a large size (12×18″), a thick lamination (10 mil), the ability to personalize the designs, AND the choice of two different designs for the front and back, you’ll be glad that you got these for your kids.

Lionheart Prints - #TOAPGiftGuide 2015

The Snuggle Is Real – Lionheart Prints – $22

Many of you probably know Lionheart Prints for their irreverent prints and Yeaux Leaux collection, but Liz also has this adorable onesie that will encourage you to treasure those baby snuggles while you can. And with a screen printed onesie on a soft Rabbit Skins’ blue onesie this would be perfect for baby’s of any gender or a fun Christmas gift for the newly expectant Mama.

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There you have it. My favorite gifts for the kiddos in your life. I think that any of these items would make an excellent gift for kids of all ages. Think I missed something? See something you love? I’d love to know about! Let me know in the comments or join in the conversation on Instagram! And you can support all of these makers by buying in their shops or by sharing this post and their products on social media. Please use the buttons below to share on any (or all!) of your favorite social media channels!

Gift Guides

11 Holiday Gifts To Get You In The Spirit

Holiday Gift Guides - Tales of a Peanut 2015

I love supporting small businesses. By shopping small you not only help a real person in a direct and tangible way, but you’re usually getting a very high quality product. I’ve done gift guides in the past but have never asked for submissions. So this year I reached out to some of the wonderfully creative women that I’ve been getting to know over in some Facebook groups and asked them for suggestions of products to include. I was blown away by all the amazing products that I knew nothing about!

I’ve gone through all of their submissions as well as some of my favorite items to create seven different gift guides that I’ll be sharing between today and next Tuesday. Hopefully these guides will give you some new ideas for gifts and will show you ways that you can support women entrepreneurs who are working hard to create beautiful, quality products that they love while also helping support their families!

11 Gifts To Get You In The Holiday Spirit - #TOAPGiftGuide 2015

Let’s get to it! Today I’m sharing 11 holiday gifts that are all holiday themed. These gifts will get you in the spirit of the season that is to come. And, if you shop early, you’ll get to enjoy them during the season as well!

Fairmont and Grove Christmas Return Address Stamp - #TOAPGiftGuide 2015

Christmas Return Address Stamp – Fairmont and Grove – $24.95+

This Christmas themed return address stamp would be perfect to take one of the aspects of Christmas cards off of your shoulders. You can customize the text and choose whether you want a wooden stamp or a self inking stamp. I love the daintiness of this design, it would be perfect to stamp your cards with this year.

Glory Mantle - Tales of a Peanut blog

Glory Art Print – Tales of a Peanut – $12+

One way that I like to decorate my home for the holidays is with art that is centered around the season. This print comes in gold or silver foil or digitally printed and would be the perfect print to slip in a frame for an easy update for the holidays. I love the way that this print reminds you to worship and marvel at the holiness of the Christmas season.

OneSwellStudio Christmas Keepsake Planner - #TOAPGiftGuide 2015

Christmas Keepsake Planner – One Swell Studio – $16

Stress and the holidays seem to go together but this planner wants to remedy that. With 60 pages of organized goodness to help you keep up with your Christmas card address list, the gifts you’re buying, as well as those special memories that you make each day. You will find everything you need to make your holiday a breeze with this planner. I love the beautiful graphics and all of the spaces to organize just make my heart sing.

House of Belonging Fall On Your Knees - #TOAPGiftGuide 2015

Fall On Your Knees – House of Belonging – $125

You might not be able to get this beautiful piece of art before Christmas, but if you go ahead and order it you’ll be ready for next year. Or hang it year round to remind you of the miracle of Christ’s birth! I love the distressed finished of this hand painted sign and the fact that you can pick the color of the background and letters as well as the frame.

Little Lang's - Monogrammed Santa Bags - #TOAPGiftGuide 2015

Monogrammed Santa Bag – Little Lang’s – $25

This monogrammed bags will be perfect for your kids to haul their gifts home from Grandma’s on Christmas day or to help them feel like Santa when they walk into a family gathering bearing all the gifts. With options for boys and girls and free monogramming, these bags will be a hit. I love the fun patterns and always love a monogram.

Pink Slip Inspiration Rustic Wreath - #TOAPGiftGuide 2015

Rustic Christmas Wreath – Pink Slip Inspiration – $23+

This wreath isn’t guaranteed for Christmas delivery but it would look beautiful all winter long. The initial on it makes it more personal than something you could pick up elsewhere. And the beauty with the Pink Slip Inspiration wreaths is that you can purchase one piece of the wreath or all of it. And they sell the pieces to transform your simple grapevine wreath for every season. I love the rustic but refined look of the greenery and burlap mix and the crisp initial just completes the beautiful look.

Thimblepress - Merry Alabama Christmas Napkins - #TOAPGiftGuide 2015

Merry Alabama Christmas – Thimblepress – $18+

Kristen Ley of Thimblepress is huge in the paper industry and she doesn’t disappoint with her Christmas collections. I’m partial to the Merry Alabama Christmas design and the napkins, coasters, and drink stirrers that it comes on. But if you don’t live in Alabama, they offer lots of other locations in the same style. And all of the items (coasters, napkins, and stirrers) are stamped with metallic gold which couldn’t be hotter right now. I love the idea of celebrating the holidays with festive napkins that are even more personal than generic holiday greetings.

Write Away - Tis The Season Wine Tags - #TOAPGiftGuide 2015

Tis the Season to be Jolly Wine Tags – Write Away – $18

I often find myself taking bottles of wine to friends and hostesses throughout the holiday season. These wine tags would be the perfect accessory for a bottle since they’ll stay put and identify your gift and you can write a small note on the back. I love the fun polka dots and the retro design.

Paper Snob - Merry Christmas Y'all Coasters - #TOAPGiftGuide 2015

Merry Christmas Y’all Coasters – Paper Snob Shop – $24

The holidays are full of surprises, but one surprise that you don’t want is a drink ring left on your grandmother’s antique side table. You can keep spreading the cheer and avoiding furniture disasters with these festive coasters. The classic colors and traditional design will go with most any other Christmas decorations and the large size will accommodate even large coffee mugs. And you know I love the “y’all” added to the design; it makes it in my opinion.

Pencil Shavings Studio - Merry & Bright Tray - #TOAPGiftGuide 2015

Merry & Bright Melamine Tray – Pencil Shavings Studio – $32

For casual gatherings you don’t really want to bring out the fine china serving dishes. Which make fun and festive melamine trays like this one the perfect go-to piece in the kitchen. It’s dishwasher safe but also won’t break or chip if your guests are a little rough with it. And the bright colors and fun design will look beautiful even if the cookies are gone. This would also make a great teacher gift or gift for the neighbors. I love the rounded shape that makes the tray a little different from other melamine trays.

Karama Collection - Rustic Tree Ornament - #TOAPGiftGuide 2015

Rustic Tree Ornament – Karama Collection – $15

This ornament is gorgeous and is made from recycled wood from a dhow boat. Which means nothing to me but knowing what I know about Karama means that it’s one of a kind and hand made. This ornament would look beautiful on any tree and I guarantee that every time you look at it you’ll smile thinking of the artisan in Africa who made that ornament and how your purchase helped them provide for their family. I love the uniqueness of the wood contrasted with the traditional tree shape.

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There you have it. My favorite holiday gifts to get you in the right mindset as the season starts. I think that any of these items would make the perfect addition to your Christmas traditions. Think I missed something? See something you love? I’d love to know about! Let me know in the comments or join in the conversation on Instagram! And you can support all of these makers by buying in their shops or by sharing this post and their products on social media. Please use the buttons below to share on any (or all!) of your favorite social media channels!

Gift Guides

Shop From Mama’s Black Book This Holiday Season

Yesterday was all about being thankful for what we have. One way that we show our thanks to those that we love is by giving thoughtful gifts given at Christmas. Today is called Black Friday and is traditionally the start of the holiday shopping season. While I’ve been sharing gift guides over the past week and will share more in the coming days, today I want to take a chance to share some special businesses to me that can be found in Mama’s Black Book. (PS: I created Mama’s Black Book and want it to succeed so these businesses are all ones included in the magazine. There are also a few affiliate links in this list that are denoted by a *. Thanks!)

Mama's Black Book

Mama’s Black Book is a free, online magazine that I launched in early November. It is for moms who want to shop small and shop online and want to choose from some of the best mama-owned businesses that are out there. And they want to do it all as quickly as possible by using the directory listings in the magazine that are grouped by the types of products each shop sells to only visit the shops that sell items that they are looking for. Everyone can read the magazine online or download it today! It will become your essential resource for encouragement, inspiration, and shopping small throughout the year. Let’s look through the categories included in the magazine and the wonderful shops in each section.

Looksies - Mama's Black Book


*Looksies, LLC is a shop that sells stick on attachments for your phone that will get your kids not only looking while you take pictures but giggling with true smiles. Looksies attach to your phone with reusable tape and you can purchase a carrying case and come in a variety of themes, shapes, and colors. They make my kids crack up so they are a winner for sure and a great stocking stuffer if you have adult children!

Little Bow Fish sells quality, hand-sewn bows for your children and even furry family members.

Little Lang’s offers personalized heat press clothing for kids of all ages.

Meredith Collie Paper creates personalized placemats and gifts for children. [SPECIAL: Free shipping with code FREESHIP16 through Monday.]

miniPeanuts sells plates and placemats that children and parents alike will love. [Store is closing after the holidays so this is your last chance to purchase these products. [SPECIAL: Use code THANKSFS for free shipping through Monday.]

Paradigm Behavior uses applied behavior analysis (ABA) to educate families, including those touched by special needs, to make positive behavior changes in the home. [SPECIAL: Parent Guides on sale for Small Business Saturday.]

The Ivory Pony creates beautifully made, fine children’s clothing.

Kristin Jones - Mama's Black Book

Health and Beauty

Kristin Jones, an independent consultant for Rodan + Fields is passionate about helping women use the highest quality anti-aging skincare in their lives. The R+F products are dermatology based and are backed by clinically proven results. When you purchase and become a preferred customer you save 10% and get free shipping on all orders over $80! [SPECIAL: Gift packages with no tax and flat $5 shipping!]

Clean Beauty with Susi helps women find the best health and beauty products in her Facebook group and become a Clean Beauty.

Little Bow Fish creates quality bows to match any outfit.

Angela Inabinett, an independent consultant for Rodan + Fields helps women with sensitive skin, skin damage, adult acne, wrinkles, melasma, firmness, scarring, and can introduce women to an incredible job opportunity. [SPECIAL: 25% off all orders of $80 or more! This weekend only.]

Wedding - Mama's Black Book


DePriest Robbins sells engagement rings and day of jewelry for the bride and her mother who desire heirloom and designer pieces.

Grace and Serendipity designs bespoke wedding collections that encompass all the details of your day. [SPECIAL: 30% off with code SHOPSMALL2016 through Monday. Receive 100 complimentary thank you cards when you book a Bespoke Wedding Collection and have inquired by Monday.]

J.Lynn Designery and Ribbon Events sells the WedLove Wedding Planner that was designed with one goal in mind: to create a stunning, portable solution to wedding planning. [SPECIAL: Use code 4DAYSFREE for free shipping for orders over $20 through Monday.]

Kristin Jones, an independent consultant for Rodan + Fields provides free PC PERKS and mini-facials for the bridal party and moms. [SPECIAL: Gift packages with no tax and flat $5 shipping!]

Little Journal Co - Mama's Black Book

Journals and Planners

Little Journal Co. helps women and families shift their focus from what life may lack to the abundance that is already present. My Little Gratitude Journal is full of things to do like record special moments, coloring, doodling, and simple questionnaires. I love using mine and these are perfect for gifts for friends and teachers!

J.Lynn Designery brings beauty and function to your everyday life with planners and organizational products. [SPECIAL: Use code 4DAYSFREE for free shipping for orders over $20 through Monday.]

Tales of a Peanut creates dry erase planners for the Mastermind Mamapreneur. [SPECIAL: Use code THANKSFS for free shipping through Monday.]

Meredith Collie Paper designs monogram journals in multiple sizes, styles, colors, and patterns. [SPECIAL: Free shipping with code FREESHIP16 through Monday.]

Paper + Oats creates printable and editable planners to keep you organized in every area of your life. [SPECIALS: Friday – $50 off the The InDesign Field Guide, Saturday – Etsy on Autopilot, Sunday & Monday – printable planners.]

Grace and Serendipity - Mama's Black Book

Home Decor and Stationery

Grace and Serendipity designs prints in color and in gold foil to grace the walls of your home as well as uniquely designed mugs to sip with. Her designs are for celebrating life’s moments including the once-in-a-lifetime and the everyday. I have a gold foil mug from Grace and Serendipity (it was actually shown on the cover of Mama’s Black Book!) and it is gorgeous and adds just the right touch of shine to my morning routine. [SPECIAL: 30% off with code SHOPSMALL2016 through Monday. Receive 100 complimentary thank you cards when you book a Bespoke Wedding Collection and have inquired by Monday.]

Ace & Bear designs stationery and prints that are dedicated to the magical art of letter writing. [SPECIAL: All in stock pens $50+ are 40% off.]

Hello World Paper Co creates custom rubber stamps and stamps with a mission to build a school for children in need. [SPECIAL: Use code HELLOFS for free shipping and free gift with purchase for orders through Monday.]

Graced Letters hand letters stationery and prints that are thoughtfully designed to build relationships and encourage hearts.

Little Bird Paperie designs clean, simple, and sophisticated cards, prints, and mugs.

Meredith Collie Paper designs modern and classic stationery and gifts for all your friends and family. [SPECIAL: Free shipping with code FREESHIP16 through Monday.]

Polka Dot Paper Company helps busy women celebrate today, cherish yesterday, and plan for tomorrow with useful stationery, paper goods, printables, and more. [SPECIAL: 30% off through Monday with code HOLIDAY30.]

Tales of a Peanut creates Christmas cards, stationery, and gifts for those who value the written word and gifts given from the heart. [SPECIAL: Use code FREEFOIL for a free foil upgrade on Christmas cards through Sunday. Other sales reflected in shop prices.]

Rustic Barn Media - Mama's Black Book

Business Services

Nogginhed specializes in direct-to-garment printing that’s perfect for smaller quantities. They work with businesses that range from start-ups to multi-national corporations and provide excellent service either way. Nogginhed is who I work with for all of my shirt, bag, and other textile needs for both my business and my corporate clients. Their quality is unsurpassed and by working with a small company they are often able to match or beat pricing that I have received from larger printers.

Hello World Paper Co provides custom logo and packaging stamps to businesses while pursuing their mission of building a school for children in need. [SPECIAL: Use code HELLOFS for free shipping and free gift with purchase for orders through Monday.]

Paper + Oats is a design resource and online shop helping businesses navigate the world of design & digital products. [SPECIALS: Friday – $50 off the The InDesign Field Guide, Saturday – Etsy on Autopilot, Sunday & Monday – printable planners.]

Rustic Barn Media Marketing has a team of marketing strategists and social media managers to help businesses achieve big goals. [SPECIAL: Fresh and new marketing plan consultations starting at $99 and social media audits starting at $79.]

Mama's Black Book

As you shop today and over the next few weeks I encourage you to do your best to support local and small businesses. Your purchase with a small, mama-owned business directly supports families and women who are using their talents and God-given gifts to pursue their passions. In Mama’s Black Book you can find more information on all of these shops including direct links to their social media profiles, email, websites, and more. Mama’s Black Book also includes an exclusive art print hand lettered by Graced Letters that is free for you to print, frame, and enjoy. And in addition to these shops shown here there are also companies in the magazine who cater exclusively to businesses and coaches and consultants who can work with you on a variety of topics.

To thank you for shopping small this holiday season I’ve got a special gift for the first five to comment on this post with their favorite find from one of these shops! I’ll mail a printed copy of Mama’s Black Book as well as an art print, collection of greeting cards, or another fun surprise to the first five to comment. Enjoy Black Friday shopping and don’t forget to comment on this post to tell me your favorite find from these shops to win a special gift!


How I Got Burned Advertising My Small Business

Over the past three and a half years I’ve invested in a number of advertising options. I’ve found them in various places like Facebook groups, emails I subscribed to, blogs, and personal recommendations. But across the board they have resulted to very little sales for my company. Which makes me very hesitant to invest in future advertising opportunities. But after contemplating what went wrong I’ve found three places that I messed up and, to save you the heartache and pinch in your checkbook, I want to share them with you.

Getting Burned With Advertising - Jenn Elwell - Mastermind Mamapreneur

The target market wasn’t right for me

Sometimes I get pulled in by good advertising. It’s a once a year offer! It’s got tons of free stuff! This is my only chance! And these marketing tactics distract me from being diligent on making sure that the opportunity is right for me. Then I end up spending advertising money some place where my target market doesn’t frequent. For instance, my target market for miniPeanuts is moms who work, who have disposable income, who love personalized items, who value quality, and who have a strong faith. So if I spent money marketing miniPeanuts on a platform geared toward single women who value organic items and like to go hiking, then I’m wasting my money. That’s a great place to market if your target market fits their audience, but if not, you’re not reaching your target audience by advertising there.

Takeaway Question To Ask Before Advertising: Does my target market frequent the location/site/magazine/etc that I’m considering investing in?

I didn’t know how many sales I would need to recoup my expense

In the past I’ve looked at advertising from the old adage “any advertising is good advertising” and figured if I could even make one sale from the advertisement that the additional awareness in the mind of the audience could compensate for the rest of my investment. Well, for small mama-owned businesses like us who are on a very limited budget, this could not be further from the truth! We don’t have unlimited funds to spend so if we’re going to invest in advertising, we need to know exactly how many sales we need to make to recover that money. While we want to expand our reach, if we’re not making our money back or more, then we need to move on quickly to another opportunity. If you want to invest in a new opportunity that you’re not sure will make you your money back, then you can work hard over the next few days to make those sales ahead of time to offset the advertisement expense.

Takeaway Question To Ask Before Advertising: How many sales do I need to make to recover the cost to advertise? Am I going to make that before I spend the advertising money or am I expecting the advertisement to make the money back for me? 

I didn’t have a marketing strategy in place

In addition to not advertising where my target market was and not having a plan to recoup the money I spent, I also didn’t have a plan for my overall marketing so I would just buy in on an opportunity when it became available. This meant that I wasn’t strategically boosting ads on Facebook at a certain time or always advertising in one location during the non-holiday rush to keep my orders up. My advertising spending was thus erratic and ineffective. I would sometimes have ads running on two platforms and then go months without having an ad anywhere. With no game plan in place I was just throwing everything against the wall to see what sticks. Let me tell you, this will not only leave you frustrated and burnt out but you’ll also burn through your money quick! If you don’t currently have a marketing strategy you can be looking out for a new eWorkbook to come to the shop in the next month or so to help you with that. But until then, sit down with a piece of paper, write down each month, and brainstorm how you’re going to market during that month and make sure you aren’t overlapping opportunities too much and you don’t leave any time without something in the works.

Takeaway Question To Ask Before Advertising: How does this opportunity fit into my marketing strategy?

Marketing Strategy Question - Jenn Elwell - Mastermind Mamapreneur


Three Questions To Ask before Advertising - Jenn Elwell - Mastermind Mamapreneur

Before we go I want to give you an example using one of my current marketing strategies. And, yes, these are all products/services that I offer but that doesn’t make the example any less accurate.

Company: miniPeanuts

Target market: Mothers who work, have disposable income, shop online, love personalized and unique items, value quality, have a strong faith, believe in a traditional way of life (close to family, respect, honor, etc), and aren’t fans of mass marketed goods.

Advertising opportunity: Mama’s Black Book

Target Market: Mothers who care about giving special gifts, shop online, support women-owned businesses, and value quality.

Does this match my target market? Yes!

How much does it cost and how many sales will I  have to make to recoup that cost? A shop listing is currently $45 so I’ll have to sell three placemats or two plates to recover that cost.

Is that number of sales feasible and to be expected from this investment? Yes!

Does this fit into my marketing strategy? Yes, before the holidays I ramp up marketing in markets targeted to mamas for Christmas gifts so this along with participation in a number of gift guides and some promoted products on Etsy is a perfect fit for my marketing strategy.