That’s A Wrap: May

So let’s start with some huge news shall we… I’m speaking at Alt Summit in 2 weeks y’all! I’m on the same speaker roster as Martha Stewart and Joy Cho, whoa. Even though I’m on page two. I’ll let y’all know what my panel is all about very soon and I’ll also be featuring my lovely panel mates (is that a thing) on Instagram leading up to Alt!

Etsy Craft Party Supplies - Ciera Design

Besides being crazy excited/stressed about Alt this month, my best friend had her first baby, an adorable little girl who I just went to visit in Baton Rouge and another friend got married. We went to Biloxi for her bachelorette party and then the week after partied for 4 days straight for the actual wedding, not even exaggerating, it was exhausting/SO much fun! AND lot’s of great stuff happened in the studio, on the blog and around the web:

 

In The Studio

New work for Simplified Bee
– Launched my first Darby Smart DIY kit, a Studded Baggu Tote
– Added some new stock photos to my Creative Market shop
– Busy prepping for the June 6 Etsy Craft Party in New Orleans (image above via my Instagram)
– Launched the Made In Mind New Orleans Chapter site. Get details on starting your own chapter here.

 

Elsewhere

– The lovely Ilana of Sugar and Type featured me for her Creative Crush series
– studio-404 shared my Twitter Tips
– Coastermatic featured my photos of their product on their blog
– New post up on Creative Market, my Favorite Calligraphers To Follow On Instagram
– Designed a desktop freebie for Whimsey Box
- Want to read all about my journey as a designer? My profile is now live on the Women in Business site!

 

On the blog

– Shared my May favorites from Golden Tote. P.S. The June tote launches Monday!
– How to Set Up a Mimosa Bar
– Make It Count – Desktop and iPhone Wallpaper Freebies
– Shared the details from the Gold Safari Animal Baby Shower
– Chocolate Almond Strawberry Smoothie Recipe
– Mariah shared Tips & Tricks for Your Email Newsletter
What’s In My Bag

 

Favorite Fonts

York Handwriting (30% off, ends today at 11 PM)
– Geli (50% off, ends tomorrow at 11 PM)
Consuelo (50% off, ends June 1 at 11 PM)
– Coming Home (30% off,  ends June 2 at 11 PM)
– Archivio Family (60% off, ends June 3 at 11 PM)

 

Sponsor Love

I’d love to introduce y’all to Lori Greco of Greco Design Company, fellow graphic designer and blogger who loves painting, diy projects, typography, living in New England, hosting parties and running.

As a freelance graphic designer, I’m always teaching myself new things to stay current. Greco Design Company is a blog I started in 2013 that covers all aspects of design including print, home, fashion and lifestyle. I figure what we create around us is what designs and defines our entire lives. I hope to share my creations and things that inspire me and I hope to inspire you too.

Lori has an awesome blog at and Etsy shop that y’all should totally check out! Especially loving her DIY light switch covers!

What’s In My Bag

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™ and U by Kotex but all opinions are my own. #pmedia #UbKKmart http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

Contents Spilling Out of Purse
I can’t believe it but I haven’t done a post like this since 2011 when I was living in Boston, wow time flies! I try to keep the contents of my purse to a minimum because I don’t want to be lugging some heavy thing all around with me so my purse is usually pretty clean and these tend to be the items that are in their consistently… let’s dive into this bag of mine…

What's In My Bag Details

purse / iPhone / excessive amounts of chapstick and lipgloss including Burt’s Bees, Honest, Clinique, Kismet / keys (isn’t my handy iPhone tiltpod cool) / facial moisturizer with sunscreen (my fave is Aveeno) / business cards / pens / a snack (I’m not very nice when I’m hungry) / hair ties / MAC powder / favorites from my Mary Kay Glam VoxBox (bronzerblush) / gum / lady products

What's In My Bag

Isn’t it cool how the U by Kotex products just blend in? As a designer, I’m always drawn to products because of their packaging and these caught my eye since they actually look stylish. The nice design helps me to always be prepared since I can just leave them in my purse.

Purse Contents

I picked up my U by Kotex products at Kmart since they have a special going on right now: receive $3 off through Kmart’s Shop Your Way rewards program with the purchase of 2 U by Kotex products.

U By Kotex Boxes In Bathroom

If you are not already a member of the rewards program, you can sign up right here

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.

Gold Safari Animal Baby Shower

You saw the invitations, the mimosa bar and the DIY decor, now for all of the other details from my besties baby shower! Luckily we had five girls each in charge of different things so it made for a great party and not too much work for any individual person! I was in charge of decorations and thanks to Minted my job was super easy! You can browse by color on their site so I searched gold and fell in love with their Sparkle Everywhere collection. Then of course I had to throw a little DIY in the mix with the gold animal table top globes, stirrers for the mimosas and the juice bottles.

Golden-Safari-Baby-Shower-1
Golden-Safari-Baby-Shower-2
Golden-Safari-Baby-Shower-3
Golden-Safari-Baby-Shower-13
Golden-Safari-Baby-Shower-12
Golden-Safari-Baby-Shower-5Golden-Safari-Baby-Shower-4
Golden-Safari-Baby-Shower-7
Golden-Safari-Baby-Shower-8
Golden-Safari-Baby-Shower-9
Golden-Safari-Baby-Shower-6
Golden-Safari-Baby-Shower-11
Golden-Safari-Baby-Shower-10

P.S. The tasseled vase was a DIY kit from Darby Smart! Have you checked out my Darby Smart project yet?!

Shop Sparkle Everywhere party decor:

Cake/Cupcake StandTable ConfettiPersonalizable Bunting BannerMimosa bar signplace cardsstraws, Gold Glitter Bannerplates and napkins c/o Minted. All opinions are my own.

Design Portfolio: Simplified Bee

Sometimes clients come to me after they have already established a strong logo, but need help building a full brand identity and overall style to carry through their other materials. This was the case when Cristin from Simplified Bee reached out to me. She had a great logo but needed to take her stationery and social media a step further to really stand out within her niche. We decided on which items would be best for her and I got to work on her stationery, business cards and social media sites!

Simplified Bee Brand Identity Mockup

Simplified Bee Brand Identity - Stationery.jpg

Simplified Bee Brand Identity - Cards

While I love starting from scratch and designing logos, one of my favorite parts is also building out the brand and bringing it to life after the logo is finalized! If you are not sure how to expand your brand, reach out to me and we can brainstorm and collaborate on some new materials for you!

P.S. Did you see the brand identities for The Made In Mind Social and Sweet Tea and Co.?

Chocolate Almond Strawberry Smoothie

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Nestle, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #BreakfastEssentials http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

Chocolate Almond Strawberry Smoothie Recipe

Last month I talked about being proactive in creating a healthier diet. In addition to what I mentioned then, I’m also drinking lots of smoothies, especially since it’s getting super hot in New Orleans!  I pretty much drink them all throughout the day, sometimes for breakfast, sometimes as a snack and even for dessert!

Chocolate Almond Strawberry Smoothie Ingredients

I have always been a huge fan of the Carnation Breakfast Essentials powders. They are so yummy and easy for breakfast, just dump a pack in a glass of milk and you are good to go! But have you ever thought about adding a pack to your smoothie, SO good! They come in lots of flavors so they work well for a variety of recipes. I find that it’s pretty hard to make a bad smoothie, most of the time I just wing the proportions! But since I love y’all, I put an actual recipe together for you!

Chocolate Almond Strawberry Mango Smoothie Ingredients

Ingredients

2 heaping cups of frozen strawberries
1/2 heaping cup of frozen mango
1 tablespoon almond butter
3 tablespoons greek yogurt
1 banana broken into pieces
1/2 cup vanilla almond milk
1 packet of Carnation Breakfast Essentials powder (rich milk chocolate)

Chocolate Almond Strawberry Mango Smoothie Blender

Add all of these items into a blender and pulse until there is a smooth consistency. If you find it too thick, add a tablespoon of milk at a time until it blends more easily.

Chocolate Almond Strawberry Smoothie Paper Straw
Chocolate Almond Strawberry Smoothie

Do you have a favorite smoothie recipe?  I’d love to know about it!

For other smoothie recipe ideas visit the Carnation Breakfast Essentials website and the Carnation Breakfast Essentials Facebook page.

I got all of these ingredients at Walmart and they even have a coupon right now for $1.00 off any Carnation Breakfast Essentials. 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.

Tips & Tricks for Your Email Newsletter

Tips and Tricks for Your Email Newsletter

An email newsletter is a tricky thing when you own a small business. While having an email list and sending out emails on a regular basis keeps you top of mind to your subscribers, knowing what you should send out and how frequently is a question that many small business owners struggle with. In a previous post we discussed why the email list is so important and a few different ways you can get emails from your customers and readers. Today we’re going to discuss some tips and guidelines for sending emails out to the list of emails you’ve gathered.

Getting Started and Setting Up

There are lots of great email newsletter platforms out there – some you can pay for and some are free. While you can pay for a service like Aweber or Constant Contact, I’m particularly fond of MailChimp’s free options. They make it easy to set up a newsletter and have great template options.

Once you sign up for a free account, you’ll need to import your email addresses or type them into your account. When you have them set up in a list, you’ll want to choose a template or design your own within the site. To make your newsletter cohesive and consistent, try to use the same template for each email and have it match your current website and branding design. Now that you’ve got your emails imported and your template designed, you just need to add in some content!

Deciding What Content to Email to Subscribers

No matter what line of business you’re in, you’ll want to send out content you think is most important or helpful to your list. If you have got a giveaway coming up or have a post that’s getting lots of comments, these would be wonderful things to include in your email newsletter to get more entries or visits to your website.

If you sell products, you could share some best sellers or featured items in your email, or if you’re a web designer think about sharing some of your recent work or progress on a current job. Updates give your readers a chance to see what you’ve been up to if they haven’t visited your blog or website in a while.

Some other things to include are:

  • Recent guest posts on other blogs
  • Links to a few of your favorite new posts on your blog
  • Your social media links
  • A question for your subscribers to answer or an invitation for them to comment on a Facebook or blog post.

Whatever content you choose to send out, use your own unique voice, and write it like you’re emailing an old friend. Your subscribers will feel like you’re emailing a little note written just for them!

The Dreaded Question: How Often Do I Email Out My Newsletter?

Frequency of emails can be tricky because you don’t want to send out so often that you’re getting a bunch of unsubscribes, but you want to email out enough to stay top of mind and in their inbox.

Personally, I cringe when my phone or inbox alerts me when I have an email waiting for me. Because of this, I try to send out newsletters sparingly – once every few weeks or once a month.  But frequency will depend on the type of business you’re in as well. If you’re a social media marketer, it might be a nice service to your subscribers to send them a short, actionable social media tip each week. Or if you own a retail store you could blast out your weekly sales or a product of the week.

Send your newsletter out as often as you feel comfortable. Try out different schedules and then choose one you feel that isn’t too intrusive to your subscriber’s inbox but still keeps you in their mind. Go with what feels right to you!

Email newsletters are wonderful way to get your work in front of potential customers. Consistency and respect for their inbox is key, but once you get a schedule figured out, they’ll be excited to see your email in their inbox.

Do you send out an email newsletter? What tricks have you found helpful? Share in the comments!

Darby Smart Studded Baggu Tote DIY Kit

Ciera Design for Darby Smart Studded ToteI’ve got some fun news today! Have y’all heard of Darby Smart? They work with a fabulous community of designers to launch simple DIY projects based on the latest fashion and home trends. They turn these projects into kits that include chic materials and simple instructions, and send them right to your door! Such a great concept, right?! Well I have partnered with Darby Smart and designed their latest DIY kit, the studded Baggu tote!

Ciera Design for Darby Smart Studded Tote Styled

What better way to amp up your everyday tote than with a rockin’ new look? Choose from 5 colors and with some studs and trusty E6000 glue, you’ll be looking extra stylish in no time! The kit is on sale now for $31, which includes shipping (such a good deal)! Yep, no shopping around for the perfect materials. Click, buy and a box of all the supplies arrives at your door. So head over to Darby Smart to order your kit!

Ciera Design for Darby Smart Studded Tote Outfit

CLICK HERE TO ORDER THE STUDDED TOTE KIT

Ciera Design for Darby Smart Studded Tote Box

 

Make It Count – Desktop and iPhone Wallpaper Freebies

Lately, I’m finding it so easy to get pulled in a million different directions and distracted by a bunch of things that don’t really matter. I want to try to be more intentional in my day-to-day so I created this design as a little reminder to myself. This month my goal is to make each day as useful and as positive as possible. Not to sit and wait for tomorrow to come and make everything right. What you do today is all that matters. Life is short, and we only have one life to live, so let’s make it count!

Life is short, so let’s make it count!

This design is now available for free as a desktop and iphone wallpaper over on the Whimseybox blog! Hope you enjoy and if you use any of my desktop designs, I’d love to see photos, just tag me on Instagram or send me an email!

Make It Count Wallpaper by Ciera Design

Whimseybox is the original subscription for DIY and craft lovers. Each month WhimseyBox sends subscribers a box full of craft projects along with a project idea. If you sign up through this link, you’ll get $5 off! photograph via

How to Set Up a Mimosa Bar

I created a mimosa bar a few weeks ago for my besties baby shower (which I still need to share all the photos from). This would also be perfect for a Mother’s Day brunch, or any party really, I mean, who doesn’t love a mimosa?? I always think it’s fun to let guests customize their cocktails, remember the Blood Mary bar I did? And we got the mama-to-be a bottle of non alcoholic bubbly so she could join in!

How to Set Up a Mimosa Bar 1

Setting up a mimosa bar is simple, versatile and is a great way to add color to your party!

[Read more...]

Golden Tote May Sneak Peek

I mentioned Golden Tote to y’all a few months back and I’m still in love! I’ve purchased a few and am seriously excited for the May tote which goes live on Monday. Here are just some of the items available, I don’t know how I’m going to narrow it down to two! What do you think?

Visit my site and roll over the images for details.