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Best Of The Blog

Today I want to share my favorite blog posts from the history of Tales of a Peanut. I initially started the Tales of a Peanut blog as a way to get my thoughts and feelings out and then to chronicle my family. Only in 2013 did I start Tales of a Peanut as a business at which point I began to add in some business posts to my blog. But it didn’t transition into an (almost) exclusive business blog until early 2015. While some of my photo editing, writing, and post topics make me grimace when I look back at them today, I think a few hold some of my best writing. And those posts allow you to get a better idea about my family, my values, my dreams, and my life.

Best of the Tales of a Peanut Blog

So today I’m giving you a deeper look at the person behind Tales of a Peanut as well as the brand. Hopefully you’ll be encouraged by my foibles and give me some grace in my growth.

Tales of a Peanut - Superhero or Not

Superhero or not?

As I was writing this email I went back to find old posts. One thing I realized is that I need to get back more into writing to process rather than writing to educate! Even if I’m the only one who benefits from it I definitely will. So after going back and rereading a number of really heartfelt posts from 2013 I picked this one as my favorite. I could have written this post today as it’s still something I struggle with. And something that I feel all mother’s struggle with. So here’s my take on whether being a mom means I’m a superhero. (Spoiler alert: It does!)

Bringing Hobbs Home - TOAPGivesBack

Bringing Hobbs Home and #TOAPGivesBack

One thing that is the neatest about this online world that I’m a part of is that I really feel like I can make a difference in the lives of those around me (both virtually and in person). Even though my platform is small, I trust that God is working through my words to accomplish his goals. One way that I’m working to enrich others is through my #TOAPGivesBack campaign. In March of 2016 Tales of a Peanut supported our friends who are adopting a little girl from China and getting to be a part of that story is an incredible opportunity.

A Frozen Spectacular

A Frozen Spectacular

I recently wrote a post for The Vintage Honey blog about birthday parties and this post is one of the reasons. I love making birthdays special for my kids and one way that I do this, sometimes, is with all out birthday parties. Charlotte’s Frozen themed party was a labor of love seeing as I was 38 weeks pregnant but she and I had so much fun putting it together. Proof that you should do you and not care or worry about what others say. If you love it, do it, if you don’t, don’t!

PS If you love it and want to see the details from the party here’s that post as well: Frozen Birthday Party Crafts

9 Things That I Love About Our New House - Tales of a Peanut

9 Things That I Love About Our New House

We built our home in 2012/2013 and, thanks to Pinterest, I was able to fit a lot of fun things in even on our tight budget. It’s so funny to me that my biggest pin that has ever been on Pinterest is the pin with the picture of our ice maker. Let me tell you, I LOVE that thing and it was worth every penny! New features are coming along every day and some of the things that we put into our home I might do differently after living in it for a few years. But I love looking back and seeing my thoughts from right after we moved in.

Holiday Gift Guides - Tales of a Peanut

Holiday Gift Guides

Putting together gift guides might be one of my favorite things to do on my blog. I love gathering a list of products that I think are great gifts and sharing them with people. I especially love getting to feature small businesses to help them gain a larger reach. So this favorite blog post is not a link to one post in particular, but a link to all of my gift guides that I’ve curated over the years. Like everything else, my graphics and text game has gotten better the longer I’ve done this but I recommended all of these items for a reason: that I love them and thing others will as well!

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.

Tales of a Peanut Blog Post Divider

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!

Tales of a Peanut Blog Post Divider

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.

Tales of a Peanut Blog Post Divider

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!

Email Interests

Thanks for helping me out with this!

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Mama’s Black Book – a magazine written by mamas, for mamas

About two months ago I was thinking about ways that I could help fellow Mastermind Mamapreneurs and I came up with the idea of launching a free, online magazine with a directory listing. This is not a new concept as others have had online directories for a long time, but I wanted for this to be more of a magazine with encouraging articles, a beautiful print for each season that you get with the magazine, and a resource spot for mamas who want to shop small but often don’t have the time available to do the digging to find the businesses to shop from. And with that little time spent brainstorming, Mama’s Black Book was born!

Mama's Black Book - Jenn Elwell - Mastermind Mamapreneur

The first issue is launching on November 8th and tomorrow, October 15th, is the deadline for the first set of shops to get their businesses featured in the magazine. And while I have a number of fantastic shops already participating, I want to take a second to speak to those who haven’t yet made the decision to hop in to Mama’s Black Book. I know that advertising dollars are in short supply (that’s why I wrote that blog post earlier this week!) and investing in a brand new magazine seems risky, but I think it’s a pretty good investment and I want to give you some background info to show you why.

By the numbers

Since this is a brand new magazine I don’t have any hard or fast numbers about readership yet, but I can share with you my current reach online which should help you get an idea of the beginning reach of the magazine.

  • Roughly 450 email subscribers with an average open rate of 12.8%
  • Follower counts around: 1500 (Instagram), 700 (FB page), 90 (FB group), 700 (Twitter), 1700 (Pinterest)
  • Over 8800 video views and a reach of over 22500 for my promoted videos on FB in the last two weeks
  • Over 150 visits to the Mama’s Black Book website since it was released three weeks ago
  • A marketing plan to send over 50 printed copies of Mama’s Black Book to influencers after is releases as was as run ads on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest in addition to other ideas
  • An affiliate program that is growing every day and gives you 20% back on shop listings and features purchased through your link (not for your own purchases though)
  • 9 gift guide posts for the holiday season all of which will have Mama’s Black Book tie-ins
  • A 100% commitment to having this magazine succeed and benefit each shop that is in the issue

Mama's Black Book Shop Feature

What’s Guaranteed?

As you know, in life and in advertising, we aren’t guaranteed anything. And I can’t promise you hundreds of sales from Mama’s Black Book (I can’t even promise you 1!) but there are some things I can promise you.

  • Shop listings include over $200 in complimentary bonuses which include a Mastermind Mamapreneur eWorkbook download on Business Planning, ad space on the main page of this website for the quarter, blog post submission option, credit towards a listing in the next issue, consulting credit with me, promotional images and copy with your listing shown, badge to display on your website, gift guide submission credits, preferential access to advertising opportunities, and (as announced on FB yesterday), all advertisers in this first issue will get to choose a complimentary t-shirt or tote bag from the designs being released next week and a printed copy of the magazine!
  • Shop features include over $500 in complimentary bonuses which include a Mastermind Mamapreneur eWorkbook download on Business Planning, a choice of a dry erase planner or the How to Write A Bio eWorkbook, larger ad space on the main page of this website for the quarter, feature on the blog with the option to host a giveaway, individual promotion on the Instagram and Facebook pages at least once during the quarter, blog post submission option, credit towards a listing in the next issue, consulting credit with me, promotional images and copy with your listing shown, badge to display on your website, gift guide submission credits, preferential access to advertising opportunities, and (as announced on FB yesterday), all advertisers in this first issue will get to choose a complimentary t-shirt or tote bag from the designs being released next week and a printed copy of the magazine!

What Shops Should List Themselves?

Shops that are small businesses of all types are encouraged to join the Mama’s Black Book community. Specifically shops that

  • are small businesses or independent distributors/consultants of national brands (only 3 allowed per brand and are subject to approval)
  • include mothers as their target market
  • value honesty, quality, encouragement, family, kindness

I encourage you to go back and read my blog post from earlier in the week about how I’ve messed up in advertising in the past and the three questions I now ask myself before I participate in an advertising opportunity. Mama’s Black Book might not be a good fit for your business, which I totally understand, but if you sell to mothers, I highly encourage you to get your shop listed! In future issues, shops that participated in the first issue will have a star by their names to denote them as a “Founding Member” of Mama’s Black Book.

Mama's Black Book Shop Listings - Jenn Elwell - Mastermind Mamapreneur

What Do I Do Now?

If you

Don’t forget that the issue contents close at midnight tomorrow, October 15th so don’t delay! I look forward to working with you in the future as a part of this exciting new magazine for mamas.