On a Walk + Tips for Mitigating Risk

“Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.” — Anne Frank

Happy Weekend! We’ve had a chance to get outdoors (yesterday) and even do a bit of gardening (bean bushes). Like last year, I went way overboard on the greens. I have enough kale to open up my own farm stand at this point. I still want to plant squash, zucchinis, cucumbers, garlic and corn later in the year.

Jamisen had a birthday. He’s 3 years old and we had a few little friends over to celebrate, eat cake and generally run all over the place. Children seem to have one speed: fast.

Lily got in on the cake (big time). She was double-fisting it, taking giant chunks of cake and frosting with both hands. She was very happy about it, despite going on week 5 of a cold/sinus infection/something-that-keeps-her-up-all-night-coughing.

Jamisen’s birthday theme was tractors. We splurged on a cardboard tractor cut out so all the kids could pose for a special birthday shot. Jamisen’s gift to us? He is eschewing diapers in favor of underwear. The angels are singing and all of our household is rejoicing as he makes this transition. I sort of thought the day would never come!

I spoke at the LEXI conference this week. My talk was “Fortune Favors the Brave” and it was about the steps I’ve taken to mitigate risks as my team and I have grown Bramble Berry. My seven steps for helping to plan for successful change were: Talk to People; Run the Numbers; Save your Resources; Get Buy In; Surround Yourself Well; Commit; Say ‘Yes’ to Compelling Vision. It’s funny. Every time I agree to do a talk, I always wonder why I did it. I’m nervous before the talk. Prepping takes a long time. And then, I get there and realize that in doing the talk, I’m given so much more in return. Being in a room full of inspirational women, listening to the stories and feeling their energy makes all the prep work and the butterflies in the belly all worth it.

This week, I’m excited to start the wireframing (a fancy way to say “layout”) for the Bramble Berry website redesign, do monthly planning and work through the results of our SOAP panels to get new products ordered. It’s going to be a busy – awesome – week.

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  1. says

    Happy birthday to Jamisen! The tractor cut-out photo of him is super cute. He and Lily are both growing so fast! Sounds like your garden is growing, too. I’d love to have a garden, but I don’t have a yard. I’d probably just kill all of the plants anyway. I can’t even keep cactus alive. Congrats on the conference! And I can’t wait to hear about the SOAP Panel fragrances – I’m dying to know if my nose got any of the scents right, and I can’t wait to see which FOs BB decides to carry!

  2. Patricia says

    That’s not cake icing on Lily’ face; it’s the latest facial mask, right? :)

    Love that cutout photo! Looks like now that Jamisen has grown into his new big boy pants, he’s also sprouting a beard…lol. A wee lopsided, but nonetheless cute as ever! My how fast they grow!

  3. says

    Happy birthday to Jamisen! Both Jamisen and Lily are so adorable! I can only imagine how energetic I was at that age!

    Speaking of gardening, my boyfriend and I are moving south of Seattle in June and we have a small yard area that I want to use for gardening. Do you know any good fruit and flowers that grow well in this climate? Coming from the east coast I’ve grown used to my lilac and hyacinth flowers. But I also want to try growing fruit to be active and motivate healthier eating in the household.

  4. Anna Marie Tang says

    I, too, would love to hear a more detailed version of your 7 steps :-). You are a great inspiration to me as I try to grow my own business, and I value your advice that you are so generous with. Thank you Anne Marie!

    Anna Marie

  5. says

    Yay for underwear!!! Always a huge milestone. Lilly potty trained herself at less than 2 years old, but she does still have accidents at night sometimes. And when she crawls into bed with her dad when I am at work, he will sometimes put the night time pull up on her. Ha, she gets extremely mad about this because ” I am not a baby! Stop telling me those are panties, those are baby diapers!” Well, he knows the secret is no drinking after 7 or 8, but he is terrible at saying no.

  6. says

    Dear Anne-Marie, Your posts always inspire. I love the tractor party. Children take a huge amount of time and endless energy. They will get older. Someday they will want to sleep until noon!
    Thank you so much for supporting AprilsCottage on Etsy.

  7. Plainsgirl says

    I would love to hear more about mitigating risk too! What, for example, does ‘get buy in’ and ‘save your resources’ mean? Thanks!
    I love your whole approach to business!

    • says

      Thank you! I always wonder how much people want to read versus how much they’re just here for the soap and tutorials so thanks for piping up and saying you like seeing the personal life progression. =)

      Yes, working moms do draw comfort and support from each other, don’t we? We were just over at another couple’s house tonight talking about that very thing: balance and the feelings of guilt that strike us all as we try to do the perfect balancing act.

      I’m lucky to have an amazing team (husband, mother in law, team at BB, loving helpers with the kids at home) to help support me as we all try to navigate being self-employed and being the Parents with the Mostest! =) My husband is in the same boat since he’s also self-employed.

      Thanks for popping in to comment. I love having supportive virtual friends =)))

    • says

      A random fluke. This was back when the internet was in its infancy. Domain names weren’t easy to come by (Soap.com had been taken for like 7 years at that point) but it wasn’t like it was today where you had to string together 7 random letters to get a .com domain name.

      I wanted the company name to reflect something that was whimsical, creative and NOT soap reflective in case we wanted to expand into other lines of product.

      I came up with the name “Brambles” which turned out to be a restaurant in California with no interest in selling me their domain name. So then I started working on iterations from there.

      The funny story is that even though I thought the name “Bramble Berry” was totally original, the trademark office did not agree and that cost me some serious time (and money) in getting the Bramble Berry trademark.

      So in short, it was a cute, fun, whimsical creative name that allowed expansion ideas and didn’t keep me/us wedded to one line of products.

      Thanks for asking!

  8. Dawn Mason says

    I worked for John Deere before becoming a stay at home mom, and my husband still works there, so I was happy in your color choice for your party ; )

    Thanks for your website and products. I made your honey kisses lipstick and gave some to a fried who loved it, too. We made a batch together that she gave away in a “favorite things” party.

    Getting to look through your tutorials and blog posts is my “treat” for the day. Thanks so much!


    • says

      Did you see I totally splurged on branded products too? t-shirt, cut-out, even the balloons were John Deere. =) I felt good about it b/c I’ve heard such good thing about the company.

      The Honey Kisses lipstick is one I’m obsessed with. I carry that one with me almost everywhere because it’s such a good match for many different skin tones.

      Thanks for reading – and commenting. I love getting comments. It makes me feel so much more connected to our awesome DIY community.

      • Dawn Mason says

        I did notice all the official John Deere stuff! Thanks so much!

        And one more note on the honey kisses lipstick…I had given one to my sister in law, along with a tube of the lip balm I made from your recipe featured in Kiwi magazine. I just got an email today saying she loved both! Yay!

  9. says

    I just wanted to say how cute your kids are, so adorable! I remember those London, awful colds. I’ve found that giving them Elderberry syrup really builds their immune system. You can buy it ( brand name Sambucol), or make it. All it takes is dried Eldeberries, water, honey and Ginger. If she’s under one you can use maple syrup. I got the recipe on Wellnessmama.com hope she’s better soon!

    • says

      Oooh, thanks for the hint. I will check that out.

      Seriously, this round of colds lasted for forever and a day. And while Chris and I didn’t catch them, my Mom did and I feel so bad about that.

      Kids building immune systems is always tricky for the adults in their lives that have to go to work and continue daily lives =)

      Thanks for the suggestion.

      • elaine says

        Hi A-M,
        I have found Homeopathic remedies a godsend for issues like seasonal ear/cold/flu/immune support…and teething too. Its easy to look-up and pick 1 0r 2 remedies that apply to the illness. It is a gentle medicine with no side effects. This winter we tried “BioPlasma” cell-salts ( type of homeo remedy– with wonderful results). If its too hard to pinpoint a remedy that matches Lily’s symptom picture, the BioPlasma is a great option — strengthens everything:) I second the Elderberry syrup!!
        Best to you and wee ones!

  10. Jennifer says

    I would love to hear more about mitigating risk. I am just starting out and will take all the advice I can get! And congrats on getting one child out of diapers. As my little one sang after a successful trip to the potty “it’s a whole new world!”

    • says

      God, I really don’t want to be “that mom” on FB and be all “YAY! No Diapers!!!!” but it is such a major milestone that I can see why you’d want to rent a skyplane to drag a banner all over town, proclaiming your house potty-trained.

      I’m totally going to work on a blog post to turn the talk into something that makes sense when reading it. Thanks for the nudge.

  11. says

    As a mama of a 3 year old and a 1 year old (both boys), I so admire your ability to nourish your family, your business, and your dreams. I am building my business (slowly but surely) and hoping to have the same combination of grace, balance and success that I see in your accomplishments. That sounds like a talk I’d love to hear, too (any chance you might publish it one of these days?). :)
    Best wishes from one mama to another–I’m sure you’re in the same camp of “we’ll sleep in about 20 years”, so here’s some encouragement from one who sees you as an inspiration in my own quest for a thriving family and business.

    • says

      Oh thank you. That is kind of you to say. For what it’s worth, I’m feeling SO tired right now. The baby got up at 5:45, Jamisen 6:00 and I tried to be the ‘wife with the mostest’ and let Chris sleep in while I wrangled them. Since I don’t do coffee, I’ve been sort of sleep walking ever since =)

      That’s a great suggestion re: blog post. I’ll see if I can turn the talk into something worthy of a blog post. Something that reads well is different than something that delivers well in person! =)

      Thanks for popping in with your encouraging words. They really make me smile =)

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