The Meal – Documenting a Global Snack

One moment. One meal. One photograph. Let’s eat. On February 24th at 12pm EST, thousands of people around the world joined in a simultaneous global meal… and I was one of them! Whether it was breakfast in LA or a midnight snack in Beijing, we took a moment from our hectic lives to share it with strangers around the world. We all snapped a photo of ourselves and our meal and sent a print to the Art House Co-op. On April 5th, they exhibited these self-portraits, documenting the world’s largest communal snack.


Our aim is to inspire a feeling of community across geographic and cultural boundaries, while addressing the statement that “you are what you eat.” However, for nearly a billion people around the world, hunger is a constant daily reality and “what you eat” is never enough. In conceiving of this project, our thoughts immediately turned to the chronic problem of global hunger and the amazing organizations that struggle against this persistent crisis. Take a look at the many ways to get involved today. – Art House Co-op


Visit Art House Co-op on Flickr for all of the submissions and more photos from the exhibition. If anyone spots mine on the wall PLEASE let me know! All photos (except my entry) from Art House Co-op.

How I Stay Organized

A few readers have asked about my methods for staying organized as a freelance designer. Working from home can be difficult but here are some simple methods that I use. Overall, I try to keep it simple because the more difficult you make the solution, the harder it is to keep up.



No Such Thing as Too Many Calendars or Lists

I have used both Wunderlist and TeuxDeux for task management and love them both! UPDATE: I recently started using Todoist since I can add tasks directly from Gmail and really liking it so far! All three options are FREE and sync with your iphone! This is really a personal decision on how simple or complex you need your system to be.

iCal works best for my events and meeting. I really like that you can create multiple calendars, set alerts as messages or emails and it syncs right to my phone.

Last but not least, I’ll always have sketchpads and notebooks around. No matter how many lists and reminders I have scheduled on my computer, I still need to have written reminders, by my side, at all times… and I like the feeling of crossing items off. I also keep a separate paper calendar for blog post scheduling.


Staying Organized Drawers


Easy Access for Supplies

I love using pretty cups or jars to keep my clips, washi tape, pens and office supplies organized. It keeps my desk neat while I still have easy access to supplies.



Photos At Your Fingertips

I upload all of my photos to Flickr and organize them into Collections and Sets. I also use Flickr to host most of my blog photos. It is an easy way to keep backup copies of images and a great way to search through old photographs.


Inspiration Overload

Delicious comes in handy for bookmarking blog posts or articles that I find inspiring or want to remember. I add tags to organize them into categories and personalize each link with my comments. You can choose to keep your links private or share them.

Pinterest boards are a great way to keep track of visual inspiration and pretty things in one central location.

Feedly is where I keep track of all the blogs I follow. You can save posts to read later or add tags to organize them. It’s a great way to save your favorite blog content.


Staying Organized Binders


Files, Files, Files

On the Computer:

Folders, I use lots of them and color code like crazy. When clients hire me for a design job, it’s important to keep everything organized. If I need a file a few years from now, I will not have any trouble locating it.

Dropbox is a free service that is great for accessing your files from multiple computers and for sharing files. Anything you save to your Dropbox will automatically save to all your computers, phones and even the Dropbox website.

In real life:
I use a file cabinet and binders to store paper files. I have a basket that I drop everything in until I get to file it properly. I also use flat files for loose inspiration, reference materials, samples of work I have done and any artwork or larger files.


Staying Organized Time


Get Timekeeping and Billing Straight

Billings keeps me sane. I use it for timekeeping and invoicing. If I did not have a timer running I would never be able to keep track of how long I was spending on something. Once a job is complete, I just mark the tasks as done and send an invoice right from there! I really don’t know what I would have done if I never discovered this.

Rescuetime is my new favorite thing. It’s a personal analytics service that shows you how you spend your time and provides tools to help you be more productive. It runs securely in the background on your computer and mobile devices and then sends you weekly updates!


Sync It and Back It Up

It is important for calendars, contacts and files to be synced and backed up! Keep your really important files backed up on TWO separate drives or an online system, Dropbox can also be used for this. I use LaCie external hard drives and Mac’s Time Machine for my backups. I just plug in and don’t need to think about it again! UPDATE: I added Backblaze to backup system, it automatically backs up everything on your computer except your operating system, applications, and temporary files and store is securely online!

This is what works for me and hopefully it can be a starting point to help you discover some methods that work for you! Is there anything you think I left out or would like to hear more about? Just let me know in the comments below!

Top left image via Poketo all others are by me. Some affiliate links are used but these are all products  that I use and love!

Skitch Hand Drawn Serif [Friday Favorites]

Lucky you, a new favorite font today! Skitch from Yellow Design Studio is a funky hand drawn serif with regular, solid, and fill options. It’s loaded with features including double-letter ligatures, discretionary ligatures and stylistic alternates, and is accompanied by an eccentric collection of ornaments and a set of expandable borders that can be mixed and matched for endless fun! How great right, and check out its ampersand!

Guess what, Skitch Fill is free from MyFonts! And the other variations are only $15!

Type description and samples from MyFonts.

My Hood // Jamaica Plain [Boston Photo Tour]

It’s been a while, but the Boston Photo Tour is back! Today I’m giving you a peek into my hood! I feel that I’ve been able to capture such intimate details from my neighborhood, much more than other locations throughout my Boston Photo Tour. Sometimes you need time to explore and figure out what the area is all about. Sometimes you need to pass by a few times until the shot or light is right.

Afternoon Sun

Truck Window

Front Door

Alveston Terrace

and when I only have my iphone, that works too…

Jamaica Plain Instagrams

Follow me on Instagram for more every day photos and subscribe to the Ciera Design RSS feed or follow me on Twitter so you don’t miss out on the rest of the tour!

30 Before 30 // Three Month Update

It has been three months since I wrote my 30 before 30 list of professional and personal goals. Let’s see how I am doing so far!

green = done
yellow = in progress, there are lots of items that I will not mark as “done” until the end of the year
orange = hope to do soon or need to wait for a certain time of year
gray = probably not happening this year


01 create an inspiring studio space at home
I would say that my space is getting there. It’s kind of a mess right now because I have everything spread out on the floor to organize and put back away. You can see a snapshot of my desk and I’ll be posting some more workspace photos this month!

02 website/blog makeover
Some small updates have been made here and there. I’ll write a full blog post on the updates soon.

03 create a better home/work balance and learn to take real days off work
I have been taking most weekends off of work but finding it difficult to know when to stop working in the evenings, there is always something more to do! Anyone have a suggestion for this?

04 travel to Austin or San Francisco
I was home in New Orleans for almost all of January and am heading home again for a wedding. I think that may be all my travel budget allows this year, but you never know…

05 more tangible artwork
Need to combine this with number 14, kinda the same right?

06 learn to plan better for blog posts and focus on unique and meaningful content
Would you say I’m succeeding here? I have been writing more design based posts, personal adventures and unique content like recipes and DIYs.

07 read more books
Have not read a book yet this year, sad. Any suggestions?

08 create a stationery and art print line and online shop
I added a few things to my Etsy shop but have not created a new line yet.

09 use camera in manual mode more than auto
Have used in manual a few times but not totally into it yet, disappointing since I studied photography in college.

10 serious purge of closet and create a coherent wardrobe
Selling a few things on Ebay and donated a lot. I need to do a little more purging.

11 design and send out Christmas cards
I should probably start now

12 refinish living room table
I got used to it and not sure it is even worth refinishing

13 explore new places in Boston
Yep, I have explored some new places, mostly restaurants and bars, of course. Once the weather warms up for good I hope to explore more of the outdoors!

14 more DIY projects
I have done two DIY posts this year and have more coming!

15 week-long camping trip
Need warm weather, although it was unbearably hot the last trip. Need to find an island with shade.

16 visit Salem during October/Halloween

17 guest posts and/or collaborate with other bloggers
I had a guest post on Erin’s blog and have been submitting some ideas around the blogosphere…

18 buy another lens for my camera
I also want a Wacom Tablet now, I can’t decide which one to get first

19 visit Boston Harbor Islands
Once the Ferry is running, I’m there!

20 host a fabulous dinner party
We have friends over for dinner all of the time. While the meals are always wonderful, I want to throw a special dinner party.

21 create a regular exercise program
Have done a few random On Demand videos but that’s about it

22 update my design portfolio

23 take a self-portrait
Done. I have decided I don’t really like it though and want to do more.

24 go ice skating

25 try a “what I wore” post
Done! I have two “What I Wore” posts so far this year (BBQ in January // Wandering the Big Easy) and think they are really fun, have you guys enjoyed them?

26 learn Zander’s pizza recipe and work on cooking skills
Zander is pretty much just the master in the kitchen so I may just leave this one alone

27 leave the house more (easier said than done when working from home)
I have been walking to run errands, doing okay with this

28 one date night a month
Skipped January since we were not together for most of it. February went to Aquitaine and March went to a movie.

29 throw a special bridal shower/bachelorette party for my BFF
Done! You can see some detail here: Inspiration Board // Invitations // Party Survival Kit, Food and Photobooth

30 less online time
Totally failing on this one.

Not too much green on the list but what do y’all think??

Favorite Posts of March

Here are my favorite posts from March but I’d like to hear from you guys… do you have a favorite post or topic from the month? What would you like to see more of on the blog?

Ciera Design Favorite Posts of February 2012

1 Design Tips – Facebook Timeline for Pages – thanks to Katherine for mentioning this post here!
2 What I Wore // Wandering the Big Easy
3 Pinterest Picks – Tangerine and Mint
4 Happy Birthday Dad
5 Party Survival Kit and Photobooth DIY
6 Three Green Mojito Recipe
7 A Whimsical European Fairytale
8 These are a few of my favorite green things

thanks to Design Your Way for featuring my Rose Crescent Letterpress Business Card design here!

I have a lot planned for March but if you have any special requests just let me know! xo Ciera


I stopped in to Saloon the other night while in Davis Square and posted this photo to Instagram because I just LOVED the menu design. Actually, I noticed that everything in the bar was branded beautifully. The next day I searched the web to see who designed it and I should have know… it was the work of Somerville based, Oat Creative. I featured their work for Island Creek Oyster Bar a few months ago and they just keep pumping out spectacular work!

Saloon is inspired by the iconic New York City pre-prohibition establishment. With a focus on brown liquors and local beers, Saloon calls reference to a time when drinks were serious and uncomplicated. The menu is intended for sharing and combines American fare with contemporary favorites.

photos via Oat

Now Accepting Sponsors for April + Discount Code!

Hello lovely readers! I just wanted to stop by and let you know I am currently filling sponsor spots for April! I just implemented the new Passionfruit ad system to make it even easier and more beneficial for you to sponsor Ciera Design. It’ll be super easy for you guys… no more emailing back and forth, you get to do everything right from Passionfruit’s secure site!

I’m so excited about this new system that I have decided to offer $5 off for the first 10 people to purchase a spot of any size. Just enter the code SPRING2012 when you checkout.

If you’re interested in finding out more about how to become a sponsor and all the benefits which come along with sponsorship, click over to my sponsorship page. You can also purchase your ad right from that page.

 And some more good news: I have chosen to cover the processing fee for the use of Passionfruit instead of passing along the cost to the customer, so you will note that prices are staying the same!