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?

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.

Good Days and New Faces

Guess what day it is. Guess what day it is. Anybody?

It never gets old.

Happy Wednesday everyone! Yesterday was a really awesome day that I can’t wait to talk about – we got our new couch and it’s a little (okay, a lot) bigger than we anticipated so our living room is consumed by it now. Plus we went and saw The Blue Man Group and it was absolutely AMAZING! Knock your socks off, let’s go again – like right this very moment, hello dance party amazing. AND we got our new used mini-van from my parents and I already feel baby fever kicking in because of it.

But all of that is going to have to wait a day or so because today isn’t about any of that goodness. It’s about the lovely newish faces that we have hanging out on the sidebar this month. I’ve absolutely LOVED getting to know each and every one of them over the past month or so and I know you will, too. Check out a little bit about them, their blogs and their businesses below!



About The Business: Here at the Be Nice Box, we believe its our mission to do our part & make the planet better!
 That means reusing packaging {tissue paper, boxes, envelopes}, working with small businesses and local artists & giving back to our community.

About The Idea: Want to spread your own kindness? Join a community of passionate individuals? Create bonds with complete strangers? This is where you want to be! Choose from 1, 3, 6 and 12 month plans that help spread kindness all over!

Sign up Here: Be Nice Box



About The Blog: Simply {Darr}ling began as Adventures of Brad & Kendra in 2012 and was re-branded back in August. I have a variety of posts from recipes to DIY projects to random adventures that my husband and I go on.

About The Author: I’m an Electrical Engineer by day and a blogger/etsy shop owner by night. My husband is my high school sweetheart, we have been married for 7 years and are currently enjoying life just outside Seattle.

Recent Awesome Post: Cranberry Sauce Recipe



About The Blog: Laura Elizabeth Creative is my blog and photography business. On the blog, I talk about all the crazy things I do with my life and my thoughts on the world around me. I also have an abundant supply of funny faces on the blog. 

About The Author: Howdy, I’m Laura, the college kid do-it-all. I’m an author, Mary Kay Consultant, blogger, student, and photographer with a love for telling a story. 

Recent Awesome Post: Things I’m Grateful For



About The Blog: Photography is also a passion of mine and you can find visual and written accounts of my daily adventures on my blog! And I’m always looking forward to connecting with fellow bloggers!

About The Author: I’m Melinda of Melinda’s Musings, and I like to refer to myself as a “designer, dreamer, and adventure-seeker”. A children’s clothing designer by day, a yoga lover by night, and a traveler on holidays and weekends. 

Recent Awesome Post: Life as of Late



About The Blog: ACB is a lifestyle blog centered around travel and food.

About The Author: Tia is a recent graduate with a major in PR and Marketing. 

Recent Awesome Post: My Life As I Sit in This Coffee Shop



About The Blog: The Kind Side is a positive lifestyle blog that focuses on helping you find your inner peace in everyday situations. 

About The Author: I’m just an average person trying to make the world a better place through the use of Harry Potter references and John Lennon quotes.

Recent Awesome Post: What does it mean to Be a Lady?



Hollow Tree

Dogs in Woods



Picnic Table

Red Leaf

Sentinel Trail Sign

Maple Sundae

Chunky Monkey Sundae


Such an easy word. An easy concept. Yet it can be so hard to actually find it and figure out how to live life simply, enjoyably, and happily.

For years, I’ve chased after that word and never found it. I had an idea of what it looked like, but every time I rounded the corner, it changed. And instead of changing with it, I continued to chase after the pre-conceived notion I had of simplicity. And I failed myself. I failed to notice how easy simplicity could be if I just found acceptance. Acceptance for who I was, what I loved, what I wanted, what I dreamed of, what I believed in, what I was passionate about and what built my very foundation. Acceptance for myself as a whole, with the love and adoration I reserve only for those I hold dear to me.

It took Nathan quitting his job. And it took going all-in on our business together. And a long project that resulted in 12+ hour days for weeks on end. And a day in the park, under the sun and surrounded by nature. And an overconsumption of sugar and caffeine to power through long days and even longer nights that left me begging for salads and water to cleanse.

It took all of this for me to see that the word and that concept aren’t as foreign as I feared.

I can sit here, disappointed that it took so long to understand how easy this was. Or I can move forward. I can say no even when everyone else thinks I should be saying yes. I can let go of things that are just there because I feel like they are supposed to be, not because I want them to be. I can embrace this opportunity to live simply, live lovingly, and live fully.

I choose to move forward. I choose to ignore the drama and the should haves, could haves. I choose to embrace simplicity. Because life isn’t about looking back and its sure as hell not about all of the things we don’t do. It’s about moving forward and living life to it’s fullest, knowing that you almost always could have done more.

So I’m simplifying. Offline and online, I’m investing myself and my time into things with more care and more thought. And while I’m downsizing our household, I’m downsizing my life here, too. I’m switching this blog back to more of a hobby that will be updated as such – no schedule, only when I (and we) have things to say, and not because I feel like I have to. To go along with this change, I’ve drastically reduced the amount of sponsorship options along with the price. I know this move is beneficial for everyone involved as it will take (a lot of) the pressure off of me to do things for sponsors that I don’t have the time for and there are two incredibly affordable opportunities for you to promote your blog or business. 

I’m excited to let go of things I’ve been holding on to. The clothes, the possessions, the pounds, the responsibilities, the requirements, the impossible standards. I’m excited to walk away from them and step into something better, brighter and more fulfilling.

I’m excited to live.

And I’m pretty sure there is no greater feeling.

Hello Fall




How is it already October?!

Even though the summer weather is still lingering around here, we have big plans to enjoy the next month or two before it gets too cold to go outside. We’ve already picked our apples and pumpkins, loaded up on firewood to enjoy over the Winter, enjoyed some delicious squash soup, and canned about 50 pints of tomato recipes. Apple canning comes next along with some zucchini.

Next week, we’re headed up to Door County to check out the Fall colors along the lake with the pups. We’re thinking maybe a hayride, or a corn-maze, or a trip to the local zoo during one of it’s Halloween events is next. No matter what, we finally get to enjoy everything that Fall has to offer whenever we want now that we’re working from home. It’s something we didn’t think would happen for years so it’s been a pretty awesome experience so far!

What are your favorite things to do in the Fall?


Pet Piece of Mind: The Tagg Pet Tracker

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™ and Tagg™ Pet Tracker, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #pettracker


If that cute face up there was a human child, she’d be considered an oops! baby. I love her and couldn’t imagine our lives without her, but we had zero plans to get a dog. Nathan had a half day off work one day and I wanted to browse the puppies in the pet store from the local humane society. Next thing we know, we’re signing papers and watching her go from peeing all over the “meet and play” area at the store to peeing all over our floor.

After many sleepless nights while she whined as we tried to sleep, busy days training her to not go potty in the house and how to properly play with our other dog and cat, and a trip to the ER room after she ate gum and a pedometer . . . we’re here. With a (mostly) well-behaved dog and without a few of our belongings that she decided weren’t needed in this house (goodbye couch arm!)


As horrible as some of those times were, nothing can match the time she decided going into the house from the car was a terrible idea and took off through our neighborhood. The feeling in the pit of my stomach as we chased after her and called to her with no luck getting her to listen. She may have been microchipped, but I knew that if she got out of our sight – there was a chance we would never see her again.Luckily for us, she absolutely loves people and decided to stop by and say hello to a nice gentleman a few blocks away from our house. 

Ever since then, we’ve been extra cautious with her. And as much as I’m sure we will continue to be, we can ease up on the overprotective parenting now that we’ve signed up for Tagg.


If you’re a pet owner and you haven’t heard about the Tagg Pet Tracker, this is a MUST-have product. Especially if you’re pet(s) are free-birds like Sookie is.

The Tagg Pet Tracker is a small GPS unit that attaches to your pet’s collar and allows you to track your pet from your phone, computer, or tablet. Not only can you get real-time updates as to the location of where your pet is, but you can also monitor their activity. Want to see if they’re getting enough sleep? Or maybe you want to know if they’ve been sleeping more lately? Easy! The Tagg Pet Tracker is the perfect tool in locating your escape artist and tracking their movement to ensure they’re living a healthy, active life.



One of our favorite things about it though is that it’s good while swimming! I won’t lie – when we first started testing out the Tagg tracker, I didn’t think this feature would be beneficial for us. Sookie has always been a little timid around water, but tends to eventually head in only far enough to get her paws wet and then back out. A trip to a local park that recently started allowing dogs there proved that she had no qualms about getting chest high in the water without any coaxing though.

She had her tracker on the entire time and we didn’t have any problems with the tracker working afterwards which was perfect. Now we can get her out on a boat next summer to visit the little sand bars and islands around here with more piece of mind about her whereabouts.


As for the set-up and use of the product, it’s incredibly easy for how much it does for you and your furry pets! Once you sign up and register (which doesn’t really take long at all) – it takes about 24 hours to be able to track their activity (sleeping time, exercise time, etc), but you can start utilizing the GPS right away. Text message alerts let you know that your pet is within 20 feet of an address and the phone application allows you to track your pet on a map as well. The attaching of the GPS unit to the collar is very easy and it’s lightweight enough that it doesn’t seem to even phase her when it’s on. We always charge it for a few hours when she’s sleeping, but it holds a steady charge (can last for up to 30 days) if you stay within the Tagg Zone that you create during set-up as the unit stays in power saving mode. And if you have multiple pets that fuel each others escape routes, they offer a discount on multiple units on the same charging base!

Bottom line? It’s exactly what pet owners that have extra curious pets need.

If you’re looking for one for yourself (or maybe a loved one that has had a similar freak-out moment to the one we had), Tagg is offering 10% off with the code TAGG10. The Tagg Pet Tracker is normally $99 with three months of free service so this is truly a great deal. Regardless of the price, having this has proven to be priceless for our overprotective ways after our incident.

Are you pets are curious as our Sookie is?

How to you keep an eye on them?

Mid-Day Breaks


This is how we spent the better part of our early afternoon. Taking time off in the middle of the work day is awesome, but taking time off in the middle of the work day to watch one of your dogs splash around in a pond at a local park for the first time is way better. Even with the dreaded wet dog smell that followed us home.

Happy Friday!

Better Than Ever

Wooden Tunnel


Happy {almost} Friday!

I can hardly believe it’s been two weeks since I last blogged. I don’t think I’ve ever gone that long. I took the break for many reasons, but mostly because my plate was overflowing daily. It still is, but I feel like I’ve finally found a way to manage it all without going completely insane.

I spent the break working, spending some much-needed time outdoors (camping, going for walks, and apple picking), and really trying to figure out where our journey was headed. The switch to both of us working full-time was an easy one on paper, but in reality, it took a lot of adjustment on both ends. And it meant a lot of re-evaluating our near future and long-term plans because this opportunity wasn’t even close to what we would to have expected to happen any time soon. Taking the time to think about it and really just worrying about what was right for us was absolutely what I needed to clear my head. I feel like a brand new person. Refreshed and ready to take on the world.

I can’t wait to share our plans, goals, dreams and journey with everyone soon and it makes me really excited to be back to blogging again. We still have grand plans of making this a co-authored blog (more-so than it was over the past few months) and cannot wait to add some new features to the blog, but we’ve decided to approach it a bit differently – especially while we’re busy with our wholesale orders. Less focus on business and making money, more focus on us and our lives. Blogging when we want (and can) and really sharing our story the way we want to share it. Sometimes it’s photos, sometimes it’s wordy posts, sometimes it’s just a brief thought or two when things get crazy. I’ve needed this for a while and now that The Gnarly Whale has really taken off, I feel like it finally paved the way for it to happen.

Speaking of The Gnarly Whale, TONS of exciting things happening with it! We have lots of new Fall scents, but the most exciting part? We finally have our own site!

We’ve run into a few snags here and there, but I can’t even begin to describe how happy I am that it’s launched and no longer sitting unchecked on my daily to-do list. The direct link ( is redirected there now and we’ll be running all of our major sales/promos there as well as launching an Affiliate and Reward Program by the end of the year! Definitely check it out in the next week to take part of the shop launch sale, too.

Now that it’s up and running, there’s more time for us to enjoy the rest of Fall so we’re getting our pumpkins this weekend, stocking up on wood for the fireplace, and canning some apples and tomatoes.

What about you – any fun plans for the weekend?


See You Soon!

The Forest History Society / Foter / CC BY-NC

Tomorrow we’re headed out to the great outdoors and going camping for the first time in like three years. And after this week, it’s needed.

This was the week that finally proved that I could not, even if I wanted to, do it all. The blog went untouched, my to-do list went only half-checked, my emails went unanswered and my sleep wasn’t even close to enough. So I’m looking forward to recharging, resting, and relaxing under the stars while we roast marshmallows and lounge around our camp site.

I’m using this time to take a break from all the work we have on our plates right now and when we return, we’ll be sending out the first part of our huge wholesale order so I’ll be extending this into a bit of a blog break while we finish up some projects. I’m really excited to take a break from the pressure of blogging for a bit, get ahead on posts, and to just be in the moment for a while. I’m sure we’ll be back in a week or two with all of the exciting things we had planned for the blog before life got crazy!

I’m sure I’ll be around on social media until then, but if you do want to keep up with what we’re up to – check out The Gnarly Whale blog or the shop. We’ve been adding new products and new scents like crazy and will been adding more throughout the next few weeks! Plus this week only, save 20% off your entire order with code FALL20 and get a free sample of our new Green Tea Toner with orders over $10! 

Better Together With #TargetWedding

We’ve partnered with Target for their Be Yourself, Together 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.


When we got engaged, we knew right away where our registry would be: Target. 

We already shopped there on a regular basis so we knew that we would both be able to find things we loved – whether they were things we loved together or individually. It fit our style perfectly, could easily be located by our friends and family across the country, and also allowed us to get a pretty awesome discount on the things we didn’t get if we bought them ourselves (which we definitely did.) Target Wedding was pretty much the perfect fit for both of us because of all of these things.

Calphalon Bakeware

One of the things that brought us together when we met was our loved for food so it’s no surprise that most of  the things we bought ourselves after the wedding were kitchen items. Bakeware, utensils, gadgets, and more. As much as we didn’t think about it then, we bought some of these things for really different reasons. Nathan sought out the knives and cookware while I roamed the baking aisles for cupcake pans and new mixing bowls. So when we were asked about how we’re better together, this was a no brainer for us.

Aroma Super Pot

For two different products that really represent us, we chose the Calphalon Bakeware Set and the Aroma Super Pot. One for baking, one for cooking. Since our house is pretty small (especially our kitchen), we’ve found it’s easiest to stick to one thing – usually, it’s what we’re good at. And while our skills in the kitchen have definitely improved since we cook together on a regular basis, Nathan still does more of the cooking while I still do more of the baking.

Maybe it’s the fact that I have a huge sweet tooth and what seems to be an internal timer for when baked goods are done, but veggies or meat? It’s likely going to burn on my watch. Or maybe it’s the fact that Nathan seems to have patience for stirring things on the stove top than waiting for a pie to bake. Whatever it is, it’s nice to have a home-cooked meal that isn’t made of sugar and carbs and a good meal always deserves a good ending with a delicious dessert.

Calphalon Bakeware + Aroma Super Pot

 Later on in the week, we’ll have a Roasted Corn Salsa recipe we made in the Aroma Super Pot for the Packer game on Sunday. It was SO good! Want more from Target Wedding? Follow along with hashtag #TargetWedding!

What two products would you pick to represent you and your significant other and how you’re better together?