Love, Dream and Be Free

Hand Lettered Love Dream and Be Free

I’m really feeling this quote right now, I’m still all motivated by my new year’s resolutions and with Valentine’s Day right around the corner, things are feeling a little more lovey and romantic aren’t they? I like to freshen up my office walls every so often and I figured you may like to do the same. So, I designed this new art print and have it in my Etsy shop in three different variations! And I also decided to create some freebies as a desktop, iPad, and iPhone wallpaper which you can find over on Lulu The Baker today!

Hand Lettered Love Dream and Be Free

P.S. Love free wallpapers? Check out all my past wallpaper designs here.

Made In Mind Social: Cheers To The New Year Recap

Made In Mind Social Meet Up New Orleans 01

Before our community of ambitious entrepreneurs and creatives hit the ground running for 2015, The Made and Mind Social wanted to first take an evening to celebrate a successful year. In 2014, we held six meet-up events where collaborations were formed, new friendships were made and some serious business goals were tackled. We (Ciera and Kristy) felt like it was time to pause and raise a glass to relish in what we and our members have accomplished.

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Members anonymously declared the biggest projects they want to tackle in the coming year and clipped them on the screen. We also announced our most ambitious venture which I’ll be sharing here on the blog soon!

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Head over to Made In Mind for the full recap! We were able to offer the ‘Bing Sparkler’ champagne cocktail, snacks and fun little details thanks to Bing! We can’t thank them enough for supporting the creatives of New Orleans! Venue: Race + Religious, Photography: Trevor Mark, Signs: Kelly Draws, Cocktail Display: Joel’s, Giveaways: Smoke Perfume and Ciera Design

sponsors

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. 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! OR start your own from scratch with the help of The Meetup Guide.

Featured on 100 Layer Cakelet – Fiesta Safari Birthday Party

A few months back, Lisa, Co-Founder of A Charming Fete contacted me about customizing my black and gold safari invitation to fit with a fiesta theme she was working on for her Daughter’s second birthday. I was super happy with how this colorful version came out and blown away when Lisa sent me the photos, what a vision! I’m ecstatic that this party was featured on 100 Layer Cake-let, it really deserves the recognition and I’m so happy that I had a small part in it!

hello fiesta party invitation, pink envelope and gold animals fiesta safari table setting with bright flowers animal masks and flowers at fiesta party giraffe and zebra dressed for fiesta pasrty hello fiesta party invitation, pink envelope and gold animals table setting with blanket and  papel picado garland animal masks and flowers at fiesta party balloons with confetti pinata and hot sauce at fiesta party rainbow cake and papel picado garland at fiesta party bright flowers at child fiesta party

Event design and flowers: A Charming Fête
Photography: Brittany Michelle Photography
Invitations: Ciera Design Studio
Cake: Michael Angelo’s Bakery
Confetti balloons: Bright So Slight via Etsy
Papel picado banner: Vintagebabydoll via Etsy
Animal plates: Anthropologie

Check out the full party over on 100 Layer Cake-let.

Lulo Clean Font by Yellow Design Studio

I’ve featured a few fonts from this studio in the past and they’ve done it again! Lulo Clean from Yellow Design Studio is the non-distressed version of the original textured Lulo family. It’s friendly, retro, and amazingly 3-dimensional. Endless effects can be created by adding different colors to each of the five stackable layers. Like the original Lulo, the Clean version is all-caps and includes regular and bold weights and extensive language support. Lulo Clean One and One Bold can double as companions for the distressed Lulo, to be used when texts are longer and smaller. There’s no discount on Lulo right now, but don’t be blinded by percentages: at full price it’s a bargain anyway, go grab it!

Lulo Clean Font Samples

How To Start A Local Event Series

Starting A Networking Event

I’m a graphic designer. I’m a content creator—a blogger, a crafter, a photographer. I had no experience in event design or planning until I created The Made In Mind Social a year and a half ago. Now, every other month, I plan a meet-up for creatives of all kinds to gather, meet, mingle, connect and collaborate.

In the beginning, I faced a million questions and more than a few challenges. The good news? I learned a lot about how to plan and host a successful event—and I’m ready to share that knowledge with others who hope to do the same! Like many strategies, you need to start with the 5 W’s (and 1 H) – Who, What, When, Why, Where and How.

 

WHY: Purpose, Passion, Goals

It’s not what you do but why you do it that matters. By creating a vision and setting goals upfront, you will be able to maintain a focus throughout the planning process and more easily define the event itself. A clear vision will set you up for success—and concrete goals will allow you to measure that success.

WHO: Partners, Attendees, Marketing

This process—planning and executing—is not a solitary one. Of course, you’ll want to think about attendees, who you’ll be inviting. But you’ll also want to consider who you want to work with.

WHAT: Event Format, Branding and Design

Now it’s time to get started on designing the event itself. This part of the process involves two aspects: deciding what type of event you want to host and developing the branding.

WHEN: Date and Time, Frequency, Planning Timeline

The type of event may dictate when or how often it happens. Or, if it doesn’t, your next step is to select when the event will take place and how often it will occur.

HOW: Budgeting, Securing Sponsors

Next think about the components that will make your event possible—your budget and your sponsors. Managing money and getting sponsors on board may seem intimidating, but with a little organization and a professional demeanor, you’ll be able to make things happen!

WHERE: Venue, Vendors, and All the Details

Now, you’ll want to nail down the very important question of “where” (the venue!) and make sure you plan for all the elements of the event itself—the décor, entertainment, food, photography, or anything else you want to include.

 

If you want to start your own local event, you don’t need to start from scratch. This list is just a taste of the insights and information I’ve collected in my e-book, The Meetup Guide: How to Create, Plan, and Host Your Own Local Event Series. It’s 60 pages of actionable advice and tried-and-true tips, including 10 worksheets to help you get organized and make things happen. Simply put, if you’re looking for a resource to guide you through the process, this is it! You’ll learn your own lessons along the way, but the great part about hosting an event series is that you have a chance to improve the event each time.

Still too overwhelming? Here’s the good news: The Made In Mind Social is now accepting chapter applications! Our one-time chapter fee includes use of The Made In Mind Social name, logo, website template, design elements and more.

The Most Popular Fonts of 2014

Before I start sharing some new favorite fonts this year, I though it would be fun to show y’all the most popular fonts of 2014 (according to MyFonts). I have already featured a few of them here over the past year as some of my personal favorites. Did you have a favorite font in 2014?

Popular Fonts and Specimens

Brandon Printed

Brandon Printed font sample

Glober

Glober font sample

Quickpen

Quickpen font sample

Campton

Campton font sample

Adorn

Adorn font sample

Selfie

Selfie font sample

Microbrew

Microbrew font sample

Showcase

Showcase font sample

Choplin

Choplin font sample

Nexa Rust

Nexa Rust font sample

The Carpenter

The Carpenter font sample

Texta

Texta font sample

True North

True North font sample

Brix Sans

Brix Sans font sample

Eveleth

Eveleth font sample

P.S. Check out the most popular fonts from 2013!

Made In Mind Holiday Party Recap

We wrapped up the 2014 Made In Mind event series with a fabulous cooking demo thanks to the talented folks at Palate New Orleans! They served us delicious butternut squash and goat cheese toast, fall cous cous salad, spiced apple rum fizz and Walker, their Chef de Cuisine, showed us all how to make chocolate truffles. It was a blast and as always SO great meeting new people and seeing all of our creative friends! Can’t wait to get our 2015 events rolling, our first one is actually this Thursday!

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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. 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! OR start your own from scratch with the help of The Meetup Guide.

Looking Back at 2014: The Year In Review

Girl in Rain By Big Oak Tree

Crazy how quickly 2014 has gone by! It’s been an amazing year both personally and professionally and I can’t wait to see what 2015 brings. Having this blog is a really special way for me to look back at the year and see all that I have accomplished and what y’alls favorite posts were. Before I move forward I wanted to take a look back and bring you with me on the journey that was 2014.

 

Things I’m Proud of & Excited About

 

Your Favorite Posts from 2014

So you guys didn’t actually vote on the top posts of the year, but I did a little digging into my Google Analytics and discovered the most popular posts of 2014. Take a look back at your favorites below.

Best Design Related Posts

Best Business and Blogging Posts

Best Food & Drink Posts

Best DIYs and Printables

 

If you want a look back in even more detail, check out my That’s A Wrap posts that I wrote at the end of each month! For the next month posting will be a little on the lighter side – I really want to reflect on 2014 before I jump right into content for 2015. In the meantime, please let me know what you’d like to see more of in 2015 and THANKS A MILLION for reading and all of your support this year!

Photo of me by Hannah Hudson Photography

Blue and Silver Snowflake Christmas Decor

Hey friends, I hope you all had a very merry Christmas and a happy holiday season! My mom makes an amazing brunch each year for Christmas day and she always outdoes herself with the food and the decor. This year she did a gorgeous blue and silver theme. She cooked quiche, ham & egg cups, Grand Marnier French toast, mushroom/potato/chorizo fry-up, French onion soup,  berries with creme anglaise, peach and blueberry clafouti and cracked pepper & brown sugar bacon (y’all, this bacon was legit)! My dad smoked a turkey on the BBQ pit and for drinks we had fresh squeezed orange juice from my dads orange tree and blackberry thyme sparklers. It was all unbelievable and such a great day spent with family, I don’t want Christmas to be over!

Blue Silver Christmas Presents Blue Silver Christmas Table Setting Blue Snowflake Christmas Tree PresentsBlue Glassware Bar CartBlue Silver Snowflake Christmas Tree Presents   Christmas Mantle Silver Deer Blue Silver Snowflake Christmas TreeChristmas Table Setting Fraiser Fur Blue Silver Christmas Ornaments Fraiser Fur Christmas Mantle LaMarca Prosecco Chrismas Snowflake Christmas Tree

La Marca sent me a bottle of their prosecco and I just had to bring it to my mom since it matched the decor perfectly! I’m going to take the next week off to enjoy time with family in town but you’ll be able to find me on Instagram in the meantime.

A 9 Step Guide To SEO

At the end of every year, I really try to evaluate my business, this blog and my website to see what improvements I can make. This year, SEO is something I want to improve so today I have a special guest post and infographic from Jeanette at Create The Bridge. Remember that each person will have to find the right balance for them, your focus should always be your readers and then SEO. Take it away Jeanette!

Any website or blog owner must understand that if you are doing SEO (search engine optimization) the right way, it is not instant and there’s actually no guarantee. But if you do it wrong, you may get quicker results, but your blog will look spammy while attempting to maneuver the search engine traffic.

To make an optimized blog, focus on the main category or theme of your blog. The topic you promote will, to a massive scale, dictate your ranking. There are high competitions when it comes to SEO for say “real estate” or “weight loss”. Focusing on your geographical location in addition (for example, “real estate in Fort Lauderdale, Florida”) can really help. This is only one part of creating an optimized blog for search engines, check out the infographic to see how you can do more.

9-Step Guide to Creating an Optimized Blog for Search Engines

Let’s wrap this up with a little overview shall we…

Your blog post should be long, containing at least 2,000 words. According to Serpiq, the longer the content, the higher you rank. Your title tag makes all the difference. If the right keywords are missing from the title tag, how will your targeted audience find you? Second to the title, the content in your blog is KING. You should write quality content and post often using long-tail keywords. Research shows that 40% of people will respond better to visual information than plain text. Simply put: it’s all about the images. Having a powerful social media strategy and having a presence on all major social media sites will also affect, positively, your search engine rankings. Pay attention to design. A well-structured site is a crucial element when it comes to building a SEO friendly website. The design of a website is important because it affects how quickly visitors can find what they are looking for. Last, but definitely not least, your blog must not contain misspelled words or grammar errors!