Holiday Gift Guide

The Pod Works Holiday Gift Guide is here! This season, find one-of-a-kind gift ideas and support local mom-bosses. Please contact the sellers directly to buy. A: Allison Bishins B-D: Aimee Bell E: Casey Hubbell F: Heather Leacy G: Angela Sumers H: Amy Natali I: Karen Simpson J: Lindsay Ashley and Amber Carter K: Kayla Schroader

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The Pod Works

The Pod Works because of moms like us. Because the modern age is moving more work online, because it’s hard to survive on a single income and because we as moms still aspire to chase our dreams and not lose sight of them amidst all the diapers and laundry duties. Because daycare is not for everyone but it still takes a village. Because we deserve the best of both worlds and our children still deserve the best of us.

The Pod Works because there was a lack of physical space that supports our hybrid lifestyle. That sees us as creatives and professionals but still loves and welcomes our children into that space the same way that we do. We are all seeking the balancing act. Having physical tools and spaces that empower that mentality are crucial to our growth and success as parents and as individuals.

The Pod Works because in an increasingly virtual, social media driven society, there is more need than ever for face to face interaction. The need for community and relationships outside of “friends” and “likes” into real life exchanges that fuel us, that inspire us, that challenge us and fulfill us. These values trickle down to our little ones as we lead by example. These are values we can pass on to our future generations where they other wise might be lost to the world wide web.

Come Together, You Are Welcome Here.  Join the Pod.

A fear of whales, branded by nature.

By: Kayla Schroader

Your brand can be such a hard decision to settle on. 

The first night I woke up with dreams about The Pod Works, it was then called something else. But after pondering some other options, this image of community and Pacific Northwest orcas rose above the rest. It fit perfectly before I even knew what this business would become. It clicked for Brooke the second I spoke the words. 

There are many reasons the name and idea originally resonated (and still does). For example, you take a species who adopts a lifelong sense of community and collaboration in order to live their best lives and correlate it with a co-working group of mothers and children with a vibrant community center, and.. Ding! That’s a match. 

But you might not guess the one underlying reason "The Pod" stuck with me.

As a child, we're often asked, "What's your greatest fear?" Such a heavy topic for lightweights! A lot of kids say monsters, or the dark, or creepy crawly creatures. I was a strange one with my fear of deep open water and, yes, whales. 

It was somewhat unexpected, since I loved SeaWorld (you know, back in the 90's when that was still socially acceptable) and Free Willy and I've always been fascinated with our largest living mammal: the creation of a creature as graceful as it is powerful; intelligent and emotional. 

But something about the idea of being close to a whale, in an element that is certainly other-world to me, still makes me quiver. 

(I wouldn’t necessarily drown if you threw me into the water, but I did hold one of the slowest times in my high school swim class and I may easily spin into a panic attack mid-paddle if I was floating next to a big blue.) 

The idea of a living being, so massive, so far beyond me and foreign in make-up and movement, overwhelms me with a fear that could swallow me up in some early nightmares (like my reoccurring one in a yellow submarine).

But that’s power! That wild spirit animal and its majestic ways are so perfectly aligned with the natural forces in each of us.. like our innate motherhood or the push of personal passions. 

It may be a wacky analogy to some, but it makes so much sense to me. 

It’s as if The Pod was "meant to be" all along, even before I knew who I was or what I was doing here. 

When we choose to embrace what scares us, harness that internal wrestling and turn it for good, we are truly free and empowered to reach our full potential. 

I could have lived in fear. I could have turned down many adventures in my path. I could have chosen to listen to the doubts and insecurities that tried to talk me out of pursuing The Pod. But I didn’t. And now I am here, swimming with my pack... powering over doubt and pursing my destiny. I encourage you to do the same. 

Step outside your comfort zone and call upon your purpose. 

Use your community resources, like The Pod Works and The Pod Collective, to help you find the right fit when it comes to your business name and imaging. These are some factors that will influence whether you sink or swim. 

But ultimately, if you’re tapping into your intuition, you’re going to know when you’ve found your calling and what to call it.

Pod Mama Spotlight with Karen Simpson

This week we're talking to Pod Mama Karen Simpson, owner of Enamel Co.

Karen offers a fun, honest behind-the-scenes look at balancing motherhood with entrepreneurship (and a little humor). 

Read on! And then drop into our Facebook page and say hello to Karen!





How would you describe yourself?


I'm a hot mess of a mama who seems to be perpetually under the illusion that things are about to get easier. But then they just... don't. I am NOT making this entrepreneur mom thing look easy or graceful.


What inspires you?


I care about empathy and authenticity, and I have the sense of humor of a pre-teen boy. So, compassion and understanding are big for me.. and so is using the word fuck in inappropriate places. Seriously, though... just leave space for people to be who they are, and don't be a dickhead. That's pretty inspirational to me.


What are you reading or listening to?


Before having kids, I used to read real books. ALL THE TIME. It was my thing. I had thoughts about those books, I took notes, I even had adult conversations about them. I didn't realize that was a luxury, until now. Now I'm too tired for much more than something unchallenging on Netflix, and when the kids are in bed, I'm probably working in front of the TV with a glass or three of red wine. I tell people my favorite books are by David Mitchell or Cormac McCarthy, but when I read lately, I'm much more likely to pick up something fluffy and girly that doesn't challenge my heart or my brain. I'm feeling overtaxed as it is. As a result of all this, I'm pretty sure I can feel myself getting dumber by the day.


What's your greatest accomplishment?


I feel very proud of successfully (mostly, anyway) navigating motherhood as an oversensitive introvert. I like to spend about 90% of my time alone. I don't get even a tiny portion of that. My kids are always around, always needing me, always wanting me, always making noise. And mostly? I'm able to enjoy them and put them first in a way I wouldn't have thought possible. I'm also CONSTANTLY frazzled and overstimulated, but I'm surviving, and I think my kids are thriving.


Why your biz? Why did you start?


I fell into it! I got my start in freelance writing, then web building, then graphic design and doing vinyl decals. Then I discovered that I love making art and being snarky and political and rude all over my products. I started doing enamel mugs, and they were so cute and so popular that it's almost all I do now. I love them.


Who do you look up to?


If I thought she'd be into it, I'd leave my husband for JK Rowling, and we'd live in a gorgeous old mansion in Scotland. She would entertain me with pithy, wise spoken-word tweets all day. She's my idol. She has introduced generations of kids to a love of reading that will follow them through life, that will never stop teaching them lessons of empathy and compassion and goodness. I think she's done more to change the world than the most ardent activist or most effective diplomat.


Biggest struggle in your business so far?


All the nitty gritty. I like ideas, but I suck at follow-through. I'm the quintessential creative-out-of-her-element when running the business side of my business. I'm pretty much constantly drowning.


Craziest Motherhood Moment so far?


They're all crazy. Anybody who watches me navigate my life is basically seeing one crazy motherhood moment after another. Yesterday at daycare, my kid's teacher had to remind me that if I don't bring his library books back on Fridays (I keep forgetting!), he'll be the only kid who can't get new books. Yes, I'm THAT mom.


Any tips for new business owners?


Keep at it. Keep at it. Keep at it some more. I have built my business with no help, enthusiasm, or participation from anybody. It's been lonely. There have been times I've screwed up monumentally. But I keep at it, and now I have this business I love to show for it, plus awesome people around me who are willing to help it grow. Don't get discouraged. Accept your inevitable screw-ups and get back up.


Ideal referral?


Um, JK Rowling, you guys. JK Rowling. Get me her address so I can send her one of my Harry Potter mugs? Thanks.


What are you most excited about with the Pod, and why did you join?


I'm excited about a community. I'm a homebody-introvert with mild social anxiety and little motivation to leave my house. People like me need community. I love the idea of a community of women who get what it's like to do all this on your own.


Do you give a discount for Pod Members?


Absolutely! I'm also happy to offer free graphic design help (logos and such) for any Pod members who need it.


Where can we find you? 


Instagram, @pnwenamelco 





Body Consciousness After Baby, a guest blog with Annabelle Bayhan



I remember packing to go to the hospital. I picked out the clothes that used to fit. They told me to find something that fit when I was six months pregnant, so I did.


I was so excited to get my body back.


My baby arrived almost two weeks late. He weighed eight pounds at birth, and I felt heavy. After giving birth, I remember walking into the restroom during one of his first naps. I looked at my body in its new form for the first time.


I still looked pregnant.


I was a little shocked, but I was also distracted by my ridiculously large boobs that were preparing milk to grow my son. I figured things would just work themselves out.


I barely squeezed into my dress to return home from the hospital; I was nowhere near the size I had imagined I would be. But I had hope. Everyone told me I would continue to lose weight in the next few weeks.


Fast forward a few weeks after returning home.


I asked my midwife if the ring of fat around my waist would "go away," like the other weight I had magically lost after childbirth. She was kind to me, but also honest: I would need to work the rest of the weight off. And this was the first time I realized I had a significant amount of fat I now needed to lose. My skin didn’t fare well either: I had visible skin sag and a diastasis separation.

I looked for hope on the internet (which I do not suggest to anyone!).


There didn't seem like much hope to repair my body. There did seem to be a lot of support for having surgery, but that's not what I wanted for my body right now.


I had really dark thoughts about my body.


One time I wondered if it would be better to just burn the skin, so that it would be more understandable when other people saw it.


I felt overwhelming guilt for allowing myself to gain so much extra weight during pregnancy.


But at the same time, I kept reflecting on the journey of growing my child inside me, of giving birth to him. I ate organic foods to benefit his growth, and I ate when I was hungry. I grew a healthy baby who was able to withstand almost two extra weeks in the womb, plus three days of labor.

Giving birth left me feeling empowered.


I’m incredibly thankful for how my body was able to create, open, and push with such great force. The energy was the greatest I’ve ever felt.


I’m proud of what my body has accomplished.. But I also remember feeling like I was looking at a stranger every time I looked in the mirror.


I wished I could simply pop back into place. But that's not what was happening.

I saw other moms who seemed to have an easier road. Their bodies didn’t have skin sag or diastasis. They seemed to lean up early and go on with their lives.


Meanwhile, and for the last two years, I’ve been working hard to lose the weight in a healthy way, while also remaining hopeful that my skin will continue to repair.


I took the long road.


I didn't want to rush my body or my skin on this journey. I knew (from studying skin) that it takes a long time to rebuild elasticity, and it may never rebuild its initial elasticity; but I also knew that if I rushed it, I would be skinny but with skin issues that were more severe and lasted for longer.

I knew I needed to avoid extreme dieting to maintain my milk supply and that extreme or quick weight loss would leave me feeling tired and create unsustainable, unhealthy eating patterns.


So I decided to work on my body consistently and at its own pace.


So far I’ve lost about forty pounds.


Here are the lessons this journey has taught me so far:

Be Self-Aware.


Your body is your own, and it’s unlike any other. That's why it doesn't really make sense to compare your body to another. You have a different metabolism, a different amount of weight to lose, and a different fitness journey.


Focusing on what other people were doing didn't make sense for me at all. My body's needs were different. I needed to tune in to who I was deep inside and trust my body to make the most of this journey. By doing this, I was able to focus my energy internally and understand how I was feeling inside.


I dedicated myself to working towards optimal energy rather than external physique, because I knew that if I was going to feel great in my own skin I would need to feel great inside and out.

Be Patient.


This was so hard for me! For a while, I would look at my body in the mirror each day and say, "Come on, where's that girl I know?" But that didn't change the fact that my body needed time to heal and time to lose the extra weight in a healthy way.


I'm not saying that I just waited for the weight to go away on its own: I worked at it every day by eating lots of fruits and vegetables and getting lots of exercise. But I didn't rush my body, because it was still healing and providing milk for my son. And I needed to nourish and care for myself while I went through this process.

Be Compassionate. 


I was always hard on my body before. I was always working to make my body a better version of itself. Even so, I hadn’t realized how much of my confidence was attributed to my body.


Losing that part of my confidence really shook me postpartum. I just didn't know how I could feel like myself again, looking the way that I did.


But then I started to have compassion for myself. I realized that I could have forty or more years in this body and in this skin, and I don’t want to go through the rest of my life wishing my body could be something else.


I found compassion for the grief I felt in losing the body I once had.

I found compassion for my husband who stood by my side and encouraged me daily to keep working on my body.. but still somehow found me beautiful, even though I wasn't yet able to see myself that way.

And I found compassion for all the mothers whose bodies change as we carry our children, each in our own way.


In this place of compassion, I became eager to tell this story, so that as mothers, we can start talking more about loving ourselves and our bodies’ changes after baby versus feeling the need to return to our pre-baby state, ignoring the need our bodies have to heal and morph into something new.

Be Thankful.


I could not have survived this journey without the gratitude I have for my body's accomplishment of growing and birthing my son. I’m still in wonder at how my body was able to grow and birth another human. And I’m so grateful to have a healthy child, plus my own health postpartum.


This gratitude has helped motivate me on the days when it’s hard to look in the mirror. It's also helped me celebrate my journey in postpartum weight loss, finding gratitude for each new benefit my body is able to bring to my sense of self and feeling complete again post-baby.

Be Comfortable. 


My "new" skin is just my old skin. We've been together for a long time, and if all goes well, we have a long journey ahead. I didn't always love my body, and even now there is work I can do for self-love, but I'm able to look at myself in the mirror and be comfortable with who I am.


I know that this body-empowerment journey was ours. We were in this together each step of the way, and now I can say I'm finally, for one of the first times in my life, fully comfortable being as I am in this moment.


I'm comfortable listening to my body, with its need to stretch, to shrink, to rest.

I'm comfortable looking in the mirror, remembering where we have been, feeling hopeful for where we will go.

I'm comfortable teaching my children to love their bodies just as they are, because now I can be an example of that.

This journey has taught me so much more than how to lose weight and minimize skin sag after baby.


It’s taught me to be patient, compassionate, thankful, and comfortable in the body I have.


And I hope that together as mothers we can start to talk more about this journey and support each other with compassion. I also hope that instead of feeling guilt, shame, grief, or sadness, we find ourselves empowered by the gift of birth and the transformations our bodies go through during that journey.


Annabelle Bayhan is a business strategist, coach, writer, speaker, and community builder. She helps mission-driven business owners leverage digital marketing strategy to grow sustainable businesses that fulfill their core life desires while living vibrant, balanced lives. She uses business as a tool for freedom and full expression of one’s self and has an innate ability to understand when people have blocks in the way of exuding their true selves. She is an advocate for thoughtful leadership within society, and she helps business owners mold into the leaders they are meant to be. Learn more at


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