Whoops, My Bad

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year To Youmohammadali / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA 

So I completely forgot to keep updating A9T5 with the posts from the new blog.

If you’re still following this blog, head over to the new blog that I mentioned in this post. Most of the social media links have switched over, but I’m still working on a few like Bloglovin. If you were following me before, you still are – the name are just changing to reflect the new one.

Happy almost Christmas! It’s crazy that it’s almost the end of the year already!

BIG Update! {New Blog}

Happy Friday! {I know it’s Friday because I originally typed Happy Birthday and wondered what on Earth I was trying to write. I’ve been finishing what this post is about for the past six hours so it’s been a long night.}


A few weeks ago I talked about the new blog that I planned to create. The new blog has been created, but I’ve altered my plan for it for now.

My original hope was to maintain the new blog and this blog to separate my business posts from my personal posts. That’s my “in a perfect world” scenario. But each time I sat down to work on separating the two, I realized it just wasn’t going to happen – at least not right now.

I realized I didn’t have enough time to do it, no matter how badly I wanted it. And that as much as I try to separate my business and personal life, it’s not going to happen. They coincide with each other and have ever since Nathan quit his job. Some days they are mutually exclusive of each other. Other days they are not. But they come together to make me who I am.

In the end, I decided it was time to move on to a new blog and table the split for now. I needed a change and this was the perfect opportunity for me to make that change. I’ll be cross-posting for the next week to help ensure that everyone has a chance to update feeds and bookmarks, but after that I’ll be posting exclusively on the new blog:



All of my social media accounts will be switching to reflect the new blog over the next few days as well. If you’d like to read more about the change, check out the first post over there! Be sure to update your bookmarks and feeds to not miss out on any posts, too. 

Datevitation Review and Giveaway

I was a Datevitation book of my own to do an honest review of the product. All thoughts are 100% my own and I only share things I would recommend to loved ones.

8 - Datevitation Logo

I’m sure most of you have heard of Datevitation by now. And if you haven’t, let me sum it up: pure awesome.

7- Datevitation Perfect For Any Occasions

Datevitation.com is the first online platform to create a custom love coupon book – for family, significant others, kids, and everyone else that you love or even just like a lot. And it’s not like those pre-packaged coupon books in stores – it’s 100% customizable and super easy to use. Once you work your magic with your creation, they’ll print it out and send it to you!

2 - Datevitation String & Button Packaging

Want a gift for your loved ones this Christmas? Choose from their library that contains over 500 date ideas. Want to go skydiving? Stargazing? A night in? They’ve got you covered! Or maybe you have children that you’d like to create a book for. There are over 200 activities for kids and parents, too! You can customize these books even further by adding photos of your faces to the illustrations they have created, too. These love coupon books are perfect for everyone on your gift list this year!

I also love that Datevitation is a family business run by the husband-wife team of Alex and Olga Karpman. You can get to know them on the Datevitation blog, where they offer video guides to date ideas and romantic gestures.   

And here’s a look at the book I created for Nathan . . .


Datevitation Bucket List

Datevitation Trip

Datevitation Dinner

These books are a great deal normally – starting at just $25! But as a special treat for my readers, they are offering $10 off your purchase with the code NINETOFIVE. $15 for a one-of-a-kind customizable and unique Christmas gift is a great price – just keep in mind that their order cut-off date is December 13th if you want to get it before Christmas!

And if that’s not enough, they’ve been generous enough to offer a love coupon book for one lucky winner!

Enter after the jump!

[Read more…]

Handmade Holidays Giveaway!

Happy Cyber Monday, everyone!

There’s still a bit of time to get our Black Friday weekend sales so head over to the shop if you’re looking to score some deals today! But if you’re not looking to spend your hard earned cash today, we have an awesome giveaway for you!


If you haven’t checked it out yet, there’s a gift guide on the sidebar filled with wonderful handmade goodies from all sorts of shops. I promise there is something for EVERYONE in this guide, and there are a ton of discounts that are valid even after Christmas for those looking to indulge after the holidays. If you’re looking to support handmade businesses this year, definitely check out the shops in this guide and what they have to offer!

And if you’ve already taken a look at it and had your eye on some things, today is your lucky day! A few of the shop owners have come together for a giveaway for one lucky winner! Check out the giveaway below!

Three Soaps

Three Soaps

from The Gnarly Whale

Treat your skin with our detergent-free coconut milk soap! Our coconut milk soap creates a rich lather without the use of harsh detergents and helps adds moisture to the cleansing process. Completely vegan. The three soaps include: Sugar Plum, Oatmeal Milk and Honey, and Spearmint.



Infinity Scarf

from Simply Darrling

An infinity scarf with a circumference of 60″ and approximately 10″ wide. Multiple colors available. View available options here.



$35 to Etsy

from The Gnarly Whale & Yes Sir, Yes Sir!

Yes Sir, Yes Sir! makes coffee cup cozies, headbands, fingerless gloves, wine bags, headbands, mittens, and more. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, contact me to arrange a custom order. I love making items “just right” for you!


All of our products are 100% vegan and cruelty free. We’re tree huggers ourselves so we made sure that all of the ingredients used in our products are completely vegan and have not been tested on animals. Final product testing was also done on humans.



Getting Through The Day

I was provided Lipton Natural Energy Tea to do an honest review of the product. All thoughts are 100% my own and I only share things I would recommend to loved ones.

These last few months have proven to be a little taxing on my energy levels. Even when I try to get enough sleep, eat the right things, and spend time moving around to get my blood flowing – it doesn’t always work with our long hours. There have been numerous times where I relied on energy drinks or sugary sweets to just power through a few more hours to get our work done.

Until I found Lipton Natural Energy Tea.


First off, I’m a tea drinker. So I was really excited to find a more natural way to get energy rather than the empty calories from the sugar and energy drinks. Even better? It’s black tea and tastes exactly like black tea. No weird flavors to add in the extra energy boost which is awesome. I like drinking black tea when it’s hot and cold, making it even perfect for those hot summer days that are long gone and even the cold winter nights that have replaced them.

I was skeptical at first about it because SO many things claim they give you more energy, yet they really don’t. (Or is that just me?) But I did notice a difference whenever I drank it. It wasn’t the bounce off the walls kind of energy that you can get from energy drinks though. I felt more alert, less likely to sit around and be lazy, and more motivated to get my work done. It’s the perfect addition to mornings that I’m just not feeling work.


are you a tea drinker? if so, have you tried Lipton Natural Energy Tea?

how do you get your energy boost on long days?

Black Friday Scores

Happy Small Business Saturday!

If you’re looking to shop handmade today, we’re still offering 35% off our shop (+ other goodies!) this weekend with code BLACKFRIDAY35. Feel free to use it in Etsy or our main shop.

Speaking of Black Friday (aka: one of my most favorite days of the year), we got a TON of awesome deals this past week while we did some early Black Friday shopping online. Even though we didn’t have much to get in store, we headed out for a few hours around 4:30AM to see if any of the stores still had the items we wanted. We were back home by 7:30 and I was probably back in my pajamas by 8:00, ready to enjoy a lazy day of shopping online and movies.

This has been a big tradition for us since we met, so I was really excited to get out there to keep the tradition going even though we didn’t have a ton to get!

Target Buys Target Buys

This year, Target was our main place to be. We got some of this pre-Black Friday – like our iPod – but they had the best deal on it a few weeks before even compared to the Black Friday sales. This was our first stop many, many hours after they were open and it perfect. No crowds, easy to find everything, and they still had everything we were looking for. Check out the #MKOH tag to see what else Target has going on this holiday season!

Amazon Buys

Amazon Buys

We’ve done the most shopping here two years in a row now because I’m a big fan of not fighting the crowds and shopping in my pjs. This year we scaled back on the things we bought in general, but Amazon was great to get some of the things we’ve been talking about getting this year. A new axe, a GPS unit, and the 4-1 Griddler to replace a few of our appliances.

We hit a few other stores and got a new Christmas tree, so we did pretty well this year. But I’m really excited to browse some of my favorite Etsy shops this weekend, too. It’s the one time of year that I really enjoy overindulging in shopping ;)

Did you go out to shop, stay in to shop online or skip the shopping all-together?

What were some of your favorite deals that you scored this year?

Black Friday Sales!

Happy Friday!

We’re about to head out to do some very minor Black Friday shopping as we’ve done a majority of it online already. But we wanted to share our weekend promotions with you! If you’re looking to shop on Etsy, we do have similar promotions on there – but the ones in our main shop are much better and are listed below :)

Black Friday

We’ll be having special promotions all weekend long, but the best deals are on Friday and Monday! If you’re looking to get an even better deal though, follow us on Twitter and Facebook for special Flash sales throughout the four day promotions!

Friday November 29th through Monday December 2nd – All weekend

35% off with coupon code BLACKFRIDAY35
PLUS free Winter Gift Pack packs on orders over $25, includes the following items (at minimum!):
  • Soap Sample
  • Lip Balm
  • 2oz Detangler

Each Winter Gift Pack is guaranteed to be a $10 value or higher – the more you spend, the higher the value! The final order total must be over $25.01 or higher after coupon and before shipping in order to receive a Winter Gift Pack. No coupon code necessary to receive the Winter Gift Pack. Winter Gift Packs include holiday scents like Cranberry Fig, Spiced Caramel, Fresh Snow, and more. You cannot choose your items or scents in the Winter Gift Pack – they will be chosen at random once an order is placed. Coupon code BLACKFRIDAY35 not valid on Narwhal Boxes or Gift Sets.

Friday November 29th AND December 2nd – only Monday & Friday

All of the above, plus the following gift certificate promos:

  • Place a $100 order, get $35 back to spend later.
  • Place a $80 order, get $20 back to spend later.
  • Place a $60 order, get $15 back to spend later.
  • Place a $40 order, get $10 back to spend later.
  • Place a $20 order, get $5 back to spend later. 

Here’s how it works: Spend the initial amount, and get the second amount back as a gift certificate with your order to spend at a later date. Keep it for yourself or give it to a loved one as a gift!

No coupon code is necessary to receive the gift certificate. Qualifying orders will receive the gift certificate with their order. Amounts are after coupon and before shipping in order to be eligible to receive the gift certificate. This offer is not valid for our Etsy shop – it is only valid on our www.thegnarlywhale.com website. Not valid with gift certificate only purchases.

TIGF: Things I’m Grateful For: Thanksgiving Edition

Sharing what we’re grateful for every Friday with Laura from Howdy Girl
Feel free to share what you’re grateful for in the comments or in a post of your own!

Nope, not Friday. But it is Thanksgiving and I’m incredibly grateful for a lot of things today so I’m changing it up a bit. Every week, I write a long list of little things that I’m grateful for. Most of them are simple little things that really aren’t that important in the grand scheme of things, but together . . . they come together to make one bad thing seem so little in comparison. And as much as I love those long lists, I feel like there are truly a handful of things that really matter. Things I couldn’t live without or are core parts of my days. So that’s what I want to talk about today.

My Family. Whether it’s Nathan and our pets or my parents, I’m so incredibly grateful to have all of them. Tough days don’t seem so tough and good days are even better when I’m able to share everything with them. It’s a good support system that makes self-employment so much more enjoyable for me each and every day. My relationship has changed so much as I’ve gotten further into being an entrepreneur and has made me see just how important this team of people I surround myself with is.

Self-Employment. These past few months have been CRAZY. I have learned so much about myself and what it means to be self-employed in such a short time-frame. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. Because all of the mistakes, the frustration and the headache is always followed by something amazing. A new opportunity, wonderful feedback, dates during the day, extended lunches, new inspiration and so much more. I didn’t know it could be this good – or this hard – until now. But I’m so grateful to even have the opportunity to be experiencing this, especially with Nathan.

Our Business. It’s crazy that it’s been over a year since The Gnarly Whale launched. It’s changed and expanded in ways I never even thought possible when the idea was floating around my head. The support we’ve received, the opportunities we’ve found, the people we’ve worked with, and the things we have created are mind-blowing for me. I can’t believe how far we’ve come and what we have in store for it in the future. We couldn’t do it without everyone who has shared us with their friends, promoted our sales, bought our products, given us feedback or suggestions, or even just acknowledged we even existed in the mass of wonderful handmade businesses out there. So thank you.

My Life. While all of that pretty much sums me up, I truly am grateful to be living a life composed of all of these things and so much more. I’ve spent years trying to find myself and where I fit in, not knowing if I would ever really know the answer. And here I am, loving life and everything it has to offer. The good and the bad, it’s brought me here. To a place where I’ve never been more confident of the journey I’m on. I have no idea where this road will lead, but I know that for right now – it’s perfect.


What are you grateful for this week?

Wishing everyone a very happy Thanksgiving!

{and safe Black Friday shopping if you’re hitting the stores!}

The Perfect Moment

Soap - Oatmeal Milk and Honey 2

It’s been a long time since I’ve written.

Every time I write, it’s always “I’m back, things are just crazy.” And I think I’m at the point where I  can get back to blogging like I used to.

But the truth is that I don’t know that I can ever blog like I used to. Because blogging like I used to meant I had way more time that wasn’t eaten up by a continuously expanding business. Short of turning down a lot of incredible opportunities, it’s not in the cards at the moment and if all goes as planned, it won’t be for a really long time. I’m so incredibly grateful for where The Gnarly Whale is and where it’s headed . . . but I want to be honest about a few things that I’m pretty sure I’ve been lying to myself about.

Months ago, I thought I was doing it all. I really felt like I was. The business was growing, the blog was booming, my personal life outside of both was thriving. I was the queen of multi-tasking. I was convinced it didn’t get any better than that – at least at the moment. I had bigger, better things I hoped to move on to but I was good. Life was good.

Then Nathan quit because we had a massive opportunity to grow our business and every single little thing I thought I knew about myself, our business, this blog, my goals, our family, and every other damn thing in my life went out the window. I was lost. I was uncertain. I was unsure of every single move I made. So I waited.

I waited for the perfect moment for things because my natural instinct disappeared. And when that perfect moment didn’t come, I went for the second best moment. Yet that never came either. The third, fourth and fifth never showed up either. Yet life was still moving forward. So things happened at the last-minute because I had no choice. The perfect moment never showed and by the time I would realize that, it was too late to do it for any other reason than it had to be done.

This cycle of waiting for moments that would never exist happened for months. I’m ashamed to even think about how long it lasted and how many days (read: weeks/months) I lost because of it. And how paralyzed I became because of it. How little got done because I was so scared of doing things at the wrong time. Or when it wasn’t just right.

I knew it was happening and I was too lost in my worries to do anything about it. So I kept going. And going. And going. Until we launched the soap.

Soap - Hazelnut Cappuccino

Why we crammed this launch into a short time-frame, I don’t know. But it’s one of those “blessing in disguise” type moments. I knew going into the official launch that there wasn’t room to wait for perfection. If it was going to happen before Black Friday, it was going to have to happen quick. And it was going to have mistakes and the stars weren’t going to align. So we set our goal pretty low:

Five soaps, only in the main shop, by Friday November 29th.

If you haven’t seen, we did meet that goal. And then some. We launched seventeen in both shops on Monday the 25th. Days early, with more than 3x as many as we had hoped for. All because I adjusted my expectations. Did we make mistakes? Plenty. Is everything the way we wanted it to be? Not even close. Are we happy with the outcome? Happy doesn’t even begin to describe it.

It was our smoothest product launch yet and the feedback we have received has given us so much hope for the future of this product line. 

The whole point of that is to tell you A) we launched our soap (yay!) and B) that I’m done waiting for that perfect moment. I’m done waiting, period. So I am back. (Really, I pinky swear.) Oh, and while the new blog isn’t anywhere close to being ready, I’m launching it next week. Imperfections and all.

And speaking of not waiting, if you have been waiting to see Catching Fire – STOP! Go see it now. Or as soon as you can. It was absolutely amazing.

I Just Want To Celebrate #MyKindOfHoliday

We’ve partnered with Target for their My Kind of Holiday campaign. We were provided a gift card to purchase an item from Target, but all thoughts and photos are 100% our own unless stated otherwise.

Every year for the past couple of years, our Thanksgiving holiday weekend has been pretty much the same. Even when we worked in the corporate world, Nathan and I always tried to take Black Friday off to enjoy a four-day weekend. And while I’m all for new things and being spontaneous, I always look forward to our Thanksgiving Day celebration. It’s easy, fun, and always starts the weekend off right.

Every year, we head over to my parents and there are always snacks. Because obviously a ginormous Thanksgiving Day meal isn’t enough. We need to pre-eat to give our stomachs a nice stretching even before we eat enough food in one meal for the entire weekend.

Content and/or other value provided by our partner, Target.

But one of my favorite things about Thanksgiving? Being able to catch up with my parents. We do see them on a fairly regular basis, but Thanksgiving is always different. It’s not just the day-to-day, “how was your week?” catch-up. It’s the important stuff. The meaningful things going on in our life. The things we are grateful for and what we have coming up that we’re grateful for.

This year I’m sure we’ll be talking about our upcoming trip to Mexico in January. We’ve decided to skip the presents for Christmas and birthdays since they’re all in the beginning of the year. Instead, we’ll be enjoying the sun and beaches of Cozumel while we enjoy all the food and drinks we can eat for a week. It makes the cold, blustery weather we’ve started to get not seem as bad.

Content and/or other value provided by our partner, Target.

After all of the food is consumed and packed away for many leftover meals, we usually head home to get ready for our Black Friday shopping extravaganza.

This year though? Our biggest Black Friday purchase is already done. We’re making a switch with our cell phones by the end of this year and going down to one phone so we got an iPod Touch from Target a week ago to replace the other phone. So while we stood in line for a few hours before Target opened to get an iPad last year, we’ll be enjoying the warmth of our house while stores are opening waaaay too early this year. I’m looking forward staying in my pajamas and shopping online instead of battling the wind and cold.

How are you celebrating Thanksgiving?

Will you be out shopping on Thursday and Friday?