Custom Bar Necklace Giveaway! Winner’s Choice of Font!

CUSTOM bar necklace GIVEAWAY for you! The winner will get to choose any font and any word! This giveaway is exclusive to email subscribers, so your chances are pretty good! Simply enter here!

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a Rafflecopter giveaway
CUSTOM bar necklace GIVEAWAY for you! The winner will get to choose any font and any word! This giveaway is exclusive to email subscribers, so your chances are pretty good! Simply enter using the Rafflecopter for above or here:
http://bit.ly/1Ob2uE8

 

Remember, you must be a subscriber to be able to win the prize! Good luck!

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Meet Shenasi Concept!

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It’s always such a pleasure when I meet likeminded handmade business owners, and even more so when I get the privilege to work with them! Sarah  at Shenasi Concept sells beautiful handpainted artwork and prints in her shop here. Sarah holds an engineering degree, but also has a passion for art and design. This lady is brains and beauty, I tell you! Ps… keep reading! There is a coupon code at the end of this post!
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Shop Update: Maternity Break

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Hello! Our website, http://www.mintandbirch.com, is available for browsing, but check out is disabled because we just had a baby! 

What’s going to happen to the shop? When will you open again?

  • I will be closed for at least one month, we plan to open in January with Ready-To-Ship items.
  • During this time, I’m going to continue to do giveaways on my social media feed, as well as email subscriber exclusive giveaways! To sign up, please go here: http://eepurl.com/bpFENT
  • I’ll still be posting on my social media feeds! 🙂
  • We may be looking for brand reps or casual reps!
  • I’ll also be working on new products and more woven necklaces and dreamcatchers during this time if I get a chance! And of course, I’ll be sniffing in sweet newborn scent 🙂

I will also be running email subscriber exclusive giveaways! To sign up, please go here: http://eepurl.com/bpFENT Only those who are subscribers will be eligible to enter these giveaways.

We encourage you to sign up for the newsletter as we usually only open for about 48 hours at a time before we hit our maximum order limit. We then close for 2-3 weeks to catch up on orders, and then reopen for about 48 more hours. Last time we opened, we received well over 320 orders in less than 72 hours! To sign up to be notified with subscriber only codes and coupons, please sign up here: http://eepurl.com/bpFENT

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Thank you all so much for your support! I am incredibly thankful and humbled to see all the support that I have received from my customers, fellow shop owners, bloggers and friends! I cannot wait to see what the new year holds for Mint & Birch!

Here’s a behind the scenes photo: To the Left: My 2 year old saying hello at me as I took product photos.
And to the right: the final image!

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A Letter to My Future Postpartum Self as a Mama of 3 Babies

Keepin’ it real… a makeup-less bathroom selfie at almost 30 weeks pregnant!

(Before I continue, please don’t get me wrong- I am so incredibly thankful to be able to carry babies healthily, and so thankful for our fertility! SO incredibly thankful. I will never take that for granted.)

Tonight, at about 30 weeks pregnant with baby 3, I realized how far out my belly button has really “popped.” It was quite frightening. It’s popped much farther out than it ever did with my other 2 kids. In fact, it’s popped out so far that it’s like my bump has a bump. (Please don’t get me wrong- I am so incredibly thankful to be able to carry babies healthily, and so thankful for our fertility! SO incredibly thankful. I will never take that for granted.) And then it hit me: will my belly button go back to a somewhat reasonable size? I began to imagine what it might look like after baby 3 is born and it scared me. I panicked.

But then I remembered that I needed to be gentle with myself,  so I decided to write my future postpartum self a letter. This is for me. This is something I need to say to myself now, so that when I see my freshly postpartum body, I have something to go to. I know this might seem like an incoherent, disorganized ramble… but it makes sense to me, and I hope it might to you too. Its something I wanted to write to myself in preparation of having a newly postpartum body again, and I wanted to share it with you! I’m going to be really vulnerable here… deep breaths!

(Please don’t get me wrong- I am so incredibly thankful to be able to carry babies healthily, and so thankful for our fertility! SO incredibly thankful. I will never take that for granted.)

Dear Postpartum Mama of 3 babies:

You’ve been through so much. Out of the last 4.5 years (54 months), you have been nursing for approximately 38 of those months. You would have been pregnant for about 27 of those months. Your body has been through a lot: pregnancy, nursing, labour and birth. Your body has stretch to house three precious human beings, and will probably house many more. Yes, it doesn’t look the same… but life isn’t really the same as what it was like before kids either, right?

You have kissed countless boo-boos, wiped an abundance of tears, cleaned more diapers than you’d like to count, calmed the stormiest of terrible-two tantrums and nursed away bonks and bruises, as well as fevers and ear infections. You have the ability to soothe your babies like no one else does. You are irreplaceable, because you are their mama- their one and only. Your body made you their mama. You are their mama.

Not only has your body housed a growing baby, your body serves as a vessel, a haven, a sanctuary, a place of warmth and a source of nutrition for 3 of the most precious beings in your life.  You are their mama. And how beautiful is that? The stretch marks aren’t just “tiger stripes” that you earned. It goes much deeper than that. It’s physical proof that you and your babies were once intertwined together physically, joined by one beating pulse. How beautiful is that? As those stretch marks grew, so did those little feet that liked to curl up right under your right ribs. (To this day, that certain child still likes to hook his toes onto things). How beautiful is it that you were able to learn about your child’s quirks before he was born? As that belly button popped, chubby, delicious rolls developed around little wrists. And as your hips expanded in anticipation of the birthing event, as your belly stretched and grew, that little baby’s brain connections also formed. Those little connections formed, and your babies came to be familiar with learned to be comforted only by your voice, your heartbeat, your touch and your smell. These beautiful, instinctual connections formed while all these “unsightly” changes were happening to your body.

Take a step back and remember the first time that those wriggly, fresh newborn babies were plopped onto your chest. Try and remember what it felt like when your skin came into contact with your baby’s fresh newborn skin, still coated in vermix. It was a beautiful moment that you will forever cherish. But this time, as you cherish that memory, try and take a step back and notice the stretch marks and newly sagging skin as that very moment happened. It all makes sense if you take a step back and look at the bigger picture- your body worked incredibly hard for 9 months to reach that special moment where you first meet your baby, and it’s only natural for there to be physical evidence of all that hard work. Those stretch marks, extra pounds, saggy skin, funny new breasts- happened in anticipation of that very moment that you cherish so much.

The world may have certain standards for beauty. But let me tell you something, mama. You are beautiful. What you have is beautiful. Don’t be fooled by the world’s beauty standards because it doesn’t know the love you share with your children. Find perfection in imperfection. I know how saggy you think your breasts are. I know you see ripples in your once perfect and flawless belly. Sometimes you wish that the ripples in your skin weren’t there. And hey! I know you’re probably missing those rock hard abs. And yes- I know, you wish you could fit back in those size 0 jeans sitting in the back shelf of the closet. You nit-pick at your body, and it’s so hard to not criticize yourself. Next time you run your fingers across your stretch marks, be reminded not of the “unsightly” changes that have happened to your body, but be reminded of what has come out of it, which is a love so deep that words can’t describe: a love between a mother and her children. And how beautiful is it?

Those changes that have happened to your body aren’t just “worth it,”but they have been part of the beautiful transformation you have made from a girl into a mama. I know it’s easier said than done, but try to celebrate those changes you see in your body. As you remember the very first time you embraced your babies and they were plopped onto your chest, embrace those stretch marks. Those changes that you despise so much are part of your beautiful metamorphosis into  a mama that happens each time one of your newborns were plopped onto your chest.

Now go and hug your little monkeys. And then go sniff that newborn baby…and as you do- run your fingers along those stretch marks and be proud that they are there! 

(Please don’t get me wrong- I am so incredibly thankful to be able to carry babies healthily, and so thankful for our fertility! SO incredibly thankful. I will never take that for granted.)

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Lucky Crickets: Dish Review

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Above: Custom Bunting Necklace: here.
Custom Cursive Writing Bar Necklace: here.

If you’ve seen my product photos, you’ll probably be able to tell that I am a little bit of a hoarder when it comes to photo props. But I always stick to a few of my favourites! You probably recognize my pinecone and mason jars… but I want to introduce to you a new favourite of mine! Anna of Lucky Crickets sent me this beautifully handmade dish with the letters m & b on it, for Mint & Birch.

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Above: Locket here, and nest here.

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Custom Date Bar Necklaces: here. 

The gold, glittery letters shine and shimmer in the light oh-so-perfectly. I’m basically swooning the whole time I’m taking photos 😉 Plus, the bright white dish makes for nice, bright photos! Anna doesn’t just make dishes. She’s got lots of sweet, simple and pretty hair accessories in her etsy shop like headbands, hair ties and bows. And maternity sashes like these ones here.

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Above: Custom silver nest: here
Below: Mama Bear Necklace: here

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And here are some goodies from her shop:

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Don’t forget to check out Lucky Crickets on Instagram at @luckycrickets, on her shop at http://www.luckycrickets.etsy.com  and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/LuckyCrickets

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Running a Small Business: Heart Matters.

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This is a post for fellow business owners, or those who are thinking of opening up a small business. I get told a lot of different things as a business owner, most of them very positive.

“How do you do it with 2 littles and one on the way?”

“What’s the secret to balancing your roles of mom/business owner?”

“It must keep you super busy!”

“What an accomplishment!”

I often smile and say thank you, and leave it at that… but the truth to it all is that there are a lot of things left unsaid. I don’t have it all figured out, I’m still learning how to balance my work and being a mama. And some days, I cry a lot.  Plus, there are often things that are unsaid about running a business that I feel I need to share from my heart.

Recently, I’ve seen a few posts on some local networking group from new, small businesses who feel defeated and discouraged because they feel like they don’t have many sales, or don’t have many followers on Instagram, or they feel like their followers and fans on social media are not engaging with them, or they aren’t part of enough giveaways. I realized that I’m not the only one that has insecurities surrounding their small business. I want to encourage those who might feel the same way or have insecurities. The truth is, a lot of business owners feel this way, even if they are seen as a established small business. It is never easy to run a small business.  I want to share a little bit about the vulnerabilities and sensitive heart matters on running a business on social media in this post.

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I’m just going to say it. There are a lot of things that make my heart feel vulnerable when running my business. For starters, it is easy for myself to compare myself to others, and I often have a tendency to compare my successes to those of other shops. Don’t get me wrong. when I see that another shop has reached 10,000 sales, I am extremely happy for them, but there is a part of me that wonders how many sales I’ve made to date and how that compares to 10,000 sales. The next one is hard for me to admit. When I see a good giveaway being hosted on social media, I sometimes wish I was invited to participate in it and I sometimes wonder if I even would make a good fit for any of these giveaways. Or, sometimes my heart beats a little unsteadily when I see that someone that I “follow” on Instagram doesn’t follow me back, or worse…. unfollows me! I’m even embarrassed to even say all of this out loud and I’m resisting the urge to hit backspace because it all sounds so neurotic. But the truth is, I could go on and on! I know I’m not the only one to have these thoughts because I see posts about them all the time in my networking groups.

In short: There are times I feel insecure as a business owner. I think the reason behind all of this is because running a business puts us in a very vulnerable position. We pour our hearts out into our businesses, invest our precious time and money into it, and it’s only natural to feel that way. It’s only natural to feel a bit vulnerable! But I think that it’s important to remind ourselves this:

 What success looks like to one person is not the same as what success looks like to another person. 

As small business owners, we need to give ourselves room, grace and patience. The beauty of running a business from home is that each business has a unique backstory to it! Some open up a business because they need the additional income. Some open up businesses because they have found something they enjoy making and want an excuse to make more of. Some business owners are stay at home moms. Others are working moms. Some businesses will see an overnight growth and huge spikes in sales, but others will grow slowly but steadily. The story behind each business is different, and each business owner’s life is different.  Because of all these differences- each business is going to grow and thrive differently. I think that the road to success for small businesses begins with pacing our hearts and our work loads. I’ll write another post on some of the practical things I do to balance my business with my mothering duties another day, but I wanted this post to be focused on these heart matters. What we can do is encourage each other, collaborate with each other, and lift each other up when insecurities hit. Collaboration, not competition! If you’re a small business- whether you’re seen as “big” or “small” keep doing your thing! Be encouraged, because what success looks like to one person is not the same as what success looks like to another person. 

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