That’s A Wrap: October

I’m a few days early to wrap up October, but I know everyone is going to be distracted by Halloween and wanted to make sure you didn’t miss out on my festive recipes and freebies from the month! In other news, my sister is coming to visit for the first time since she moved to New York earlier this year, SO excited! AND lot’s of great stuff happened in the studio, on the blog and around the web:

Ciera Design Blog Posts OCT

 

On The Blog

– One of my favorite Made In Mind events to date, The Garden Party and Floral Demo
– Worn Stories had been such a fun book to flip through and read
– A Fall recipe round-up!
– A Halloween twist on a favorite snack: Eyeball Caprese Salad
– Dress up your water bottles for Halloween with these free printables
– An inside look to the Marseille France markets
– I picked a winner for my 5 year blogiversary giveaway, is it you?! Thanks again to everyone who entered!
– Why personal cloud storage is a MUST for any home or small office

 

In The Studio

– I actually designed this Rock Band and Converse themed invitation last year but am just getting around to publishing it!
– I created a fiesta version to my black and gold safari invite, so happy with how it tuned out
– Sent a few things to press including BIZ Issue 2 and an invitation for the BA Rudolph Foundation!
– Got my personal cloud storage all set up and working out some new systems and processes for 2015
– My Gold Animal Toppers DIY kit is still available!

 

Elsewhere

Decor Fix threw an amazing modern gold safari baby shower inspired by my invites!
– Thanks to Kory for sharing my stock photo site roundup
– Thanks to Homemade By You and Mother for featuring my paint and glitter dipped pumpkins

 

Sponsor Love

I’ve introduced them here on the blog before but I’ve been dying to tell y’all about Brian Gavin Diamonds new rose gold collection. Maybe I’m getting all lovey dovey from wedding planning but I just think these are SO romantic!

Brian-Gavin-Diamonds

Adorned by many. Loved by all just like you! Introducing the Italian Rose Gold Collection from Brian Gavin Diamonds. Each unique piece of jewelry is crafted from 14k Italian Rose Gold with white gold, diamond cut beads. Available in earrings, necklaces and bracelets – this affordable collection provides ultra romantic accessories for the fall.

Brian Gavin Diamonds is the leading authority in precision diamond cutting and exquisite, hand-crafted jewelry design. They are committed to providing customers with an enriching, life-changing experience with every custom piece. Follow Brian Gavin Diamonds on Twitter, Pinterest and don’t miss them on Instagram, they have some really awesome videos!

 

Favorite Font of October

Harmon-Font

Sponsor the Ciera Design Blog

Rock Band & Converse Themed Event and Invitation Design

I just realized I updated my portfolio with this design but never posted it here on the blog, oopsies! For this special party, the client was inspired by Rock Band and Converse and it was my job to merge those ideas into a cohesive invitation suite, it was super fun to work on! I started out by designing an emblem for the event and then worked that into the invitation design. I really wanted the invitation to be memorable for this special occasion. They had quite a bit of information for different aspects of the event that we split up onto multiple cards then pulled everything together with the die cut, foil stamped belly band. The emblem really helped tie the whole event together from the invitation suite to t-shirts, cups and even gobo lighting on the dance floor!

Rock Band Bat Mitzvah Invitation Suite Ciera Design Rock Band Bat Mitzvah Invite Ciera Design Bat Mitzvah Invite Lined Envelopes Ciera Design Black Pink Gold Bat Mitzvah Invite Ciera Design Rock Band Converse Bat Mitzvah Invite Ciera Design Rock Band Converse Bat Mitzvah Invite Ciera Design Rock Band Converse Bat Mitzvah Belly Band Detail

 

 

Why Small Businesses and Bloggers Need Private Cloud Storage

Why Small Businesses and Bloggers Need Private Cloud StorageCiera-Design-Studio-DeskCiera-Design-Studio-DetailsCiera-Design-Studio-Computer Ciera-Design-Studio-Workspace

Today I want to tell you about why you should set up your own private cloud for your home office or creative business, but first a story.

My business has been going through quit a bit lately. Some good, some bad. Let’s get the bad out-of-the-way. I have been having some serious computer issues. I limped it along for months but finally had to send it off for repairs. As y’all know, my computer is a major part of how I make a living and it’s really not possible for me to get much done without it. Luckily I was able to borrow a computer but it still hasn’t been easy. I had to save all my files to a drive making sure I didn’t forget any fonts, graphics, working files, estimates, etc. Not fun.

Another challenge is that I’ve always worked from a laptop. I like the versatility but it’s not ideal as my only computer. I have been contemplating getting a desktop but I wasn’t sure how I’d work on both without constantly sending files back and forth.

Now the good! Something else going on behind the scenes right now is that I’m bringing on some part-time help in the design studio, exciting but scary! I’m so used to working alone. Everything is organized in my head but having employees means that everyone needs to be on the same page. So I’m working on some new processes and implementing some new technology. We all need access to the same files, otherwise things will get very confusing.

I wasn’t really sure how to achieve all of this seamlessness that I was after. Then with absolutely perfect timing WD, a Western Digital Company saved the day by providing me with a My Cloud EX2 to use and review… serious dream come true. This is what I was looking for and I didn’t even know it. Personal cloud storage! Basically, it is a physical hard drive connected to your Internet that you can access from anywhere. Totally ideal for small office and home office businesses.

 

Why I Love Private Cloud Storage

  • one-time cost – unlike many public cloud options, the My Cloud EX2 just has a one-time cost, purchase the drive and you’re done. You can also add as many users as you need!
  • easy setup – plug it in and go through the simple setup and you’re up and running with an intuitive interface
  • security – allows you to set up permissions-based folders so you can give an employee or family member limited access to access or upload files
  • peace of mind – knowing your data is backed up and secure with cloud storage for small businesses makes it easier to focus on other things to make your business successful
  • wireless back ups – the drive gets plugged into a power source and your internet during setup but never directly to your computer so your backups happen without you even thinking about it
  • file sharing – easily generate email links for files or folders. When a client clicks on the link they are given a zip of the files you selected. This allows you to send files that are too large for emailing.
  • anytime, anywhere access – with mobile and desktop apps you are not limited to what you can fit on your phone – if you download the app you can view all files from your drive at home. You can connect multiple computers and devices for seamless integration.
  • automatic transfer via camera - you can connect your camera directly to the My Cloud EX2 and it copies files automatically
  • storage space – photos from my blog take up a lot of space and I NEVER delete client projects. Luckily the My Cloud EX2 provides several capacity options, up to 8TB, to choose from.
  • speed – files load much faster to the EX2 than they do to a remote cloud.
  • working remotely – I want to be able to travel and I want employees to work from anywhere. My Cloud EX2 is such a huge benefit when working in multiple offices, computers or on the road.
  • streaming – stream videos and photos to connected TVs, media players, gaming consoles

If you have a small business, you really need to get one of these systems! I can’t believe I’m only now setting one up! Be sure to check out more of the features at Western Digital’s website and share this story with other small business owners, this knowledge is major!

Many thanks to WD for letting me try the private cloud with the EX2. Thank you for supporting this blog by allowing me to post occasional sponsored content. All sponsored posts feature products or services that I truly feel would be of interest to you and all opinions are my own. The two photos of me are by Hannah Hudson Photography.

Halloween Caprese Salad

Halloween Eyeball Caprese Salad


I’m back with more Halloween fun for y’all today! I have a TON of basil growing in my yard right now and I absolutely love caprese salads so I wanted to make a yummy recipe with a spooky twist. I know that olives are not typically included in a caprese salad but I also LOVE black olives and needed the pop of black for my food art creation. They are the perfect option for creating tasty and creative food art for Halloween. This recipe is super easy and a great healthy alternative to all of the candy at Halloween parties.

Ingredients mozzarella tomatoes olives basil

Ingredients

Basil Leaves
Fresh Mozzarella Pearls
California Black Ripe Olives
Grape Tomatoes
Balsamic Reduction

Halloween Table Setup with Caprese Salad

Directions

First, slice your tomatoes and olives. Next, using a spoon, mash your mozzarella pearls (this gives them a little more texture and makes them a little larger). Then place your basil leaves out on a tray and layer the tomatoes, mozzarella and olives on top. The final step is to drizzle the balsamic reduction on top before serving. You can serve them plain with toothpicks or have some chips or crackers on the side. Enjoy!

Eyeball Caprese Salad in Bat Glasses

Don’t forget to download the water bottle labels that I designed as well, they add a special touch to your Halloween table setting.

Halloween Caprese Salad on Platter

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own. Thank you for supporting this blog by allowing me to post occasional sponsored content. All sponsored posts feature products or services that I truly feel would be of interest to you.

Worn Stories

How cool is Emily Spivack’s new book, Worn StoriesShe’s collected over sixty sartorial memoirs from fashion designers, artists, actors, and other cultural figures. First-person accounts range from the everyday to the extraordinary, such as artist Marina Abramovic on the boots she wore to walk the Great Wall of China; musician Rosanne Cash on the purple shirt that belonged to her father; and fashion designer Cynthia Rowley on the Girl Scout sash (below) that informed her business acumen. Other contributors include actress Greta Gerwig, Heidi Julavits, John Hodgman, Brandi Chastain, Marcus Samuelsson, Orange is the New Black author Piper Kerman, Maira Kalman, Sasha Frere-Jones, Simon Doonan, Susan Orlean, Andy Spade, Paola Antonelli, David Carr, Andrew Kuo and more. I love the photography and the book is so much fun to flip through and read all the stories behind the articles of clothing.

WornStories_CynthiaRowley_p90 WornStories_DapperDan_p124  WornStories_DustinYellin_p88 WornStories_JamesJohnson_p86 WornStories_SashaFrereJones_p128 WornStories_DebbieMillman_p66WornStories_SimonDoonan_p12

Marseille Markets

While we were in Marseille France, we kept coming across some awesome markets, a few with a variety of items like soap, olives, tea and espadrilles, a plant market and an amazing fish market. Here are some photos from those markets while I wrap up the full Marseille city guide!

Marseille-Fish-Market-1 Marseille-Fish-Market-2 Marseille-Fish-Market-3 Marseille-Fish-Market-4 Marseille-Fish-Market-5 Marseille-Fish-Market-6 Marseille-Fish-Market-7 Marseille-Fish-Market-8 Marseille-France-Outdoor-Market-1 Marseille-France-Outdoor-Market-2 Marseille-France-Outdoor-Market-3 Marseille-France-Outdoor-Market-4 Marseille-France-Outdoor-Market-5

5 Years of Blogging – $400 Giveaway!

Ciera Design 5 Year Blogiversary Giveaway

This month marks my 5 year blogiversary, wow, I can hardly believe it! When I started blogging, I could have never imagined where it would be today! Whether you’re a new reader or have been around since day one, I want to thank you for following me on this journey. Thank you so much for encouraging me, challenging me to keep creating unique content and for all of your comments, emails, tweets, pins, and Facebook messages. Each one means so much to me!

I’m so grateful for everyone who has shown support over the years so to show my appreciation, I’ve put together a huge giveaway in conjunction with 21 other fabulous bloggers! What better way to celebrate right? One lucky person will receive a $400 gift card that can be spent anywhere in the world that accepts prepaid MasterCards. Yep, this isn’t a dream! Just use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks to the lovely sponsors who made this possible!
Ciera DesignKory WoodardYellow Heart ArtRebecca Lately
Patti Murphy Designs | Anna DeloresCocorrinaRachel The HatFashiony Fab
Sugar and Type | Squirrelly MindsHigh WallsThe Nectar Collective
The Proper PinwheelEx VitaeFry Sauce & GritsA Ruffled Life
Pinegate RoadBuckets & SpadesA Girl Named PJSarah HeartsTara Victoria

This giveaway will be running until October 27th, 2014 and is opened to international readers! Please note that your entry will be removed if you do not complete it correctly.

Halloween Water Bottle Printables with Dasani

This fun Halloween DIY project and freebie printable has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. But as always, all opinions are mine alone.

Free Halloween Water Bottle Labels

I love Halloween y’all and I can’t believe it’s sneaking up on us already. It’s one of my favorite holidays and it’s pretty huge in New Orleans, we love any excuse to dress up and party in the street! I need to start on my costume, but in the meantime, I wanted to create something easy to use and versatile for y’all. I designed some fun printables to dress up water bottles as Bat’s Blood, Magic Potion, Witches Brew, Zombie Juice and Snake Venom. You can use these for parties to go along with your Halloween snacks, bring them to work or your child’s classroom to get in the Halloween spirit or even hand them out to trick-or-treaters to wash down all that candy. I also did a bonus larger label to wrap around a 1 liter Fanta bottle, I love that the soda is orange and already in the Halloween spirit! I wanted to have a spooky theme but also use some fun bright colors! Water bottle labels are such a simple thing but can make a huge difference in the look of your party!

Directions

  • purchase your favorite beverages (I got 12 oz Dasani and 1 liter Fanta bottles from Walmart. I picked the smaller 12 oz bottles for the water, they just felt more festive and I liked the pop of green that the lids have.)
  • remove the labels (scissors or an Exacto knife make this super easy)
  • download, print and trim the labels (I went to Kinkos to print my labels, the colors are more vibrant than my home printer)
  • use double stick tape to attach the new labels to the bottles (one small piece on the back is enough)

Download The Halloween Printable Here

I’d love to hear your Halloween plans and see pictures if you use these labels!

Looking for something to do with all that leftover candy, try these Candy Bar Surprise Cookies.
Looking for a non-carve pumpkin option, check out my paint dipped pumpkins!

Halloween Bottle Printables Ciera DesignFree Halloween Water Bottle LabelsFree Halloween Water Bottle LabelsHalloween Water & Soda Bottle PrintablesFree Halloween Water Bottle Labels Fanta and Dasani Free Halloween Labels

Follow Dasani on Facebook and Twitter. Follow Fanta on Facebook and Twitter.

This design is © Ciera Holzenthal. All rights reserved. It may not be copied, resold, made available for download, given away or redistributed elsewhere without my written permission. Please link directly to this page if you would like to share these downloads with others. Thank you for supporting this blog by allowing me to post occasional sponsored content. All sponsored posts feature products or services that I truly feel would be of interest to you. #SpookySnacks #CollectiveBias

Fall Recipe Roundup

I was browsing through my archives and realized I have a ton of great Fall inspired recipes so I decided to gather up my favorites for you today! I’d love to hear if you make any of them.

Maple & Brown Sugar Shortbread Cookies
maple brown sugar shortbread cookies

Gratin Dauphinois
Gratin Dauphinois Recipe

Peanut Butter Scotcheroos
peanut butter scotcheroos recipe

Candy Bar Surprise Cookies
halloween candy bar surprise cookies

Caramel Apple Cider
Caramel Apple Cider with Whipped Cream in Mason Jar


Cinnamon Apple Chips
Cinnamon Apple Chips Recipe

BONUS: 16 unique and delicious grilled cheese recipes

Floral Workshop and Garden Party Recap

While the weather is so nice here in New Orleans, we didn’t want to miss the chance for an outdoor Made In Mind Social event. Two weeks ago we partnered up with fellow entrepreneurs and two of the most passionate gardeners we know, Megan and Denise of Pistil + Stamen, a flower farm and studio that grows their own flowers and designs unique arrangements for weddings and events.

MIM-floral-workshop-meet-up-chalkboardMIM-floral-workshop-meet-up-pistil-stamen-new-orleansfloral workshop meet up arrangementMIM-floral-workshop-meet-up-exploringMIM-floral-workshop-meet-up-locally-preserved  MIM-floral-workshop-meet-up-presentationfloral workshop meet up flowersMIM-floral-workshop-meet-up-ladiesMIM-floral-workshop-meet-up-picking-flowersfloral workshop meet up bandMIM-floral-workshop-meet-up-night-candles

Head over to Made In Mind for the full recap and more photos! Photos by Sarah Becker Photography | Furniture provided by Pret a Fete | Canvas totes courtesy of Tiny Buffalo Clothing | Simple syrup gifts by Locally Preserved

The Made in Mind Social is a local group of creative types that gather every other month to meet other like minded creatives, learn about other local businesses and collaborate on future projects. If this sounds like you, we’d love for you to come to our next event in November. Interested in sponsoring an event? Find details hereNot in New Orleans but want to hold awesome events like this one? Start a Made In Mind chapter in your city!