Moodboard: Bold + Beautiful

I had the opportunity to work on a really cool rebrand a few months ago. They wanted the new identity to have dimension and be full of energy. This mood board was created to represent the bold, beautiful, current and fabulous woman behind the brand! It’s still in the process of being implemented but I hope to share the full project soon! 

Bold and Beautiful Moodboard by Ciera Design

Bri Emery / Interior / Letter A / Nicola / Fan / The Girls With Glasses

The Harder You Work The Luckier You Get – Desktop and iPhone Wallpaper Freebie

As I mentioned yesterday, March is kinda kicking my butt already. It’s a little late, but here is this months freebie. I love this quote and thought it worked perfectly for March because of St. Patrick’s day and this photo I took of the clovers makes me excited for Spring to arrive! 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! 

Desktop Background Ciera Design for WhimseyBox March

This design is now available for free as a desktop and iphone wallpaper over on the Whimseybox blogWhimseybox 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!

Printstagram Contact Cards + A Giveaway

With getting sick, trying to enjoy Mardi Gras and entertaining our of town guests, I took a little unexpected blogging break, sorry about that! But I’m back today with an awesome giveaway! Y’all know I love finding uses for my Instagram photos right? Well I just discovered Printstagram and they have tons of cool products including calendars, t-shirts, buttons, mini books and contact cards, which is what I got! You can easily create unique business cards by using any of your Instagram photos. Add text to their templates or upload your own image for the back. I decided to keep it simple and use their template with my Instagram name on the back of my cards.

Enter-To-Win-Printstagram-Calling-Cards

Printstagram Calling Cards

Printstagram Calling Cards

Printstagram Calling Cards

Printstagram Calling Cards

So what about the giveaway, right? Well you guys have the chance to enter to win a set of contact cards for your self! Enter using the Rafflecopter below. Giveaway open worldwide, winner will be chosen at random.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!! Have any questions? Feel free to contact meIf you are in a reader click out to access the Rafflecopter entry form.Please note that your entry will be removed if you do not complete it correctly. received contact cards as compensation for this post however all opinions are my own.

That’s A Wrap: February

Mardi Gras is in full swing and I have friends arriving tomorrow, so things are a bit crazy right now. Nothing much happens during Mardi Gras time in New Orleans except for parades, eating and drinking, it’s kind of like a vacation for the whole city! But luckily February was productive for me! Zander and I threw a pizza party for my mom’s birthday. I hosted an art market and met some lovely creative ladies. I added a bunch of stuff to my shop my closet account on Instagram and lot’s of great stuff happened in the studio and on the blog:

Ciera Design Blog Posts February

on the blogThe Made In Mind Social February Meet-up and Art Market
For Bloggers: WordPress Plugins
Snapshots of my Desk
Black Wardrobe Basics
Baking A King Cake
February Wallpaper Freebie + A Favorite Font
The Font Feast Presents Crepes with Nutella & Strawberries
Blogging With Intention

in the studioI wrapped up my first ever packaging design and it was so fun! I can’t wait to share and hope to work on more packaging soon! I added a new invitation design to my Etsy shop that’s perfect for a bachelorette party or  birthday. I have some availability coming up so get in touch if you have any design needs!

elsewhere- My Salvation Mountain photos were featured on Palm Springs Style
- Thanks to Stephanie for mentioning me in her Top 5 Tips & Resources to Prettify Your Blog post!
Ombre Cluster Necklace DIY featured on Un-complicate
Best Memories Are Handmade desktop design feature on Megan Snider’s blog
- Make Time To Create desktop design featured on Brit + Co. and Ella Dice
- February’s desktop wallpaper freebie available for download on Whimseybox!
- Red Hot Valentine DIY featured on Style Motivation and Buzz Feed
- Thanks to Brit + Co.Masterfully Me and Paper Crave for featuring my Valentine’s Printable.

from-the-archivesFrom the St. Patrick’s Day Archives
These Are A Few Of My Favorite Green Things
Three Green Mojito Recipe

The Font Feast Presents Crepes with Nutella & Strawberries

Nutella Strawberry Crepes Recipe

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day! Luckily, my husband is a pro at breakfast-making. Fluffy buttermilk pancakes, crisp, golden waffles, savory scrambled eggs, hearty biscuits and gravy–you name it, he can make it. One of my favorite things that he makes for us is crepes! Crepes filled with apples and cinnamon and butter, crepes filled with lemon and powdered sugar, crepes filled with homemade berry jam. And the creme de la creme of crepes, at least at our house, crepes filled with Nutella, fresh strawberries, and whipped cream. They’re really easy to make, but they seem so fancy and indulgent, and are so delicious! They make even regular weekend breakfasts an event to remember!

The font I chose to go with our fancy French crepes is called Little Lord Fontleroy, and the moment I saw it, I knew it was the perfect French-inspired font for this month’s post. It’s just beautiful! 

Crepes with Nutella & Strawberries

Crepes with Nutella & Strawberries inspired by Little Lord Fontleroy

2 eggs
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 Tablespoon oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
a splash of vanilla
1 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon sugar
nutella
strawberries
whipped cream
powdered sugar

In a medium bowl, combine eggs, milk, oil, salt, and vanilla. Add flour and cinnamon sugar and whisk until smooth. Spray a crepe pan or large nonstick skillet with nonstick cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Pour 1/4 cup batter onto the center of the pan and gently swirl the pan to spread the batter out into a thin circle. Allow to cook until golden on the bottom. Using a large spatula, turn the crepe over and continue to cook until golden on both sides. Stack finished crepes on a large plate until ready to serve. Fill crepes with Nutella, strawberries, and whipped cream before serving, and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Makes about 12 crepes.

Blogging With Intention

Quality Over Quantity - Blogging With Intention Tips Plus Free Worksheet

With the new year comes a new set of goals you promise yourself you’re going to reach this year – you’re going to simplify, organize your life, grow your business and make time for what matters most. 

But when you’re trying to expand your small business, you can get stuck in the everyday muck of catching up on emails, putting together proposals, planning your blogging calendar and putting the finishing touches on that blog post you wanted to have up yesterday. It’s hard to keep up with the everyday stuff and make time for the big things you want to accomplish too. 

While blogging is an important aspect of growing your small business, blogging without passion just to have a post up on your site is the wrong way to go about growing. Lucky for us, there’s a trending idea in the blogging world: blogging with intention. 

It’s writing posts that contain all original content, it’s researching the topic and coming to your own conclusion and it’s blogging only when you devote the time and passion it takes to write a great post, even if it’s only once a week or once a month. 

Here are some ways to craft a quality, well thought out, intentional blog post: 

1. Do Your Research

When planning out your posts, draw up an outline and schedule in time to do some research behind the topic you’re writing about. The more you can share with your readers, the more they’ll feel like they got something out of your post.

For example, if you’re featuring a certain artist on your blog, do some research on their story – share how they got started, the idea behind their brand and what their design process is. If they use a particular technique with their work, research the technique and share that with your readers as well. Reach out to them to get the answers to those questions, or do your own research to find those answers.

Anyone can share an image of the artist’s work, but if you can get the story behind that particular piece, you’ll add more value to your post. Make sure you cite where you found your information and give credit wherever you can. 

When you add research to your process, the quality of your posts will increase and you’ll be providing your readers with real information they’ll want to bookmark and share. 

2. Only Write About Topics That Inspire You

If you’re not inspired by the posts you’re writing, it’s time to take a look at the type of content you’re blogging about. One way to fix this is to go back to the beginning of your business and ask yourself some questions. Why did you want to get started? What inspired you back then? Has that inspiration grown or changed at all?

If you go back to the root of why you started and what inspired you most back then, you might be able to come up with some great blog post ideas that won’t leave you procrastinating to get the post written. Focus on just writing about topics you like to talk about or are interested in exploring more, and go from there.  

3. Use Your Own Photos

One way to really slow down and take your time with blogging is to create an entirely original post – sharing both your own ideas and your own photographs. While throwing together recap posts or inspiration boards with other people’s images or post content (while properly crediting them, of course) is still very popular, when you create an original post you’re putting something out on the web that hasn’t been seen before.

I’ve noticed that the posts I’ve provided original content for have been pinned and re-pinned more times than any of my themed inspiration boards or style posts – pinned DIY projects and design projects I’m working on bring more people to my website than just about any other source. 

THE WORKSHEET

Download the blogging with intention worksheet here to help you get started!

 Coming up with all original content for your posts definitely takes more time, but your readers will be able to tell that you spent more time on the post and it will hopefully bring some additional traffic back to your website after it gets shared around the web.

When you’re blogging with purpose about topics you really want to talk about, you’ll add value to your brand, contribute some amazing new things to the internet and save yourself the stress from trying to throw together 5 posts a week.

The first few months of the new year are a great time for starting new habits, slowing down and focusing on what you really want to accomplish this year. If you’re blogging with intention you’ll have better chance of accomplishing your goals, and you’ll enjoy blogging even more.

What are your blogging goals for this year? How will you slow down and blog with more passion and intention? Share your ideas in the comments! 

Baking A King Cake

Carnival season is in full swing here in New Orleans and king cakes are for sale everywhere! When I was living in Boston I really missed Mardi Gras and king cakes, so one year Zander and I decided to try baking one. I meant to post a recipe and photos to the blog but never got around to it even though I took pictures of the process. So I’m resurrecting the photos for y’all today! It came out pretty messy and lopsided, but it tasted great and made me miss home a little less!

Baking A King Cake From Scratch

Baking-A-King-Cake-1

Baking-A-King-Cake-2

Baking-A-King-Cake-3

Baking-A-King-Cake-5

Colored Sugar

Baking-A-King-Cake-7 Baking-A-King-Cake-8

Baking-A-King-Cake-9

Baking-A-King-Cake-10

For Bloggers: WordPress Plugins

My Favorite WordPress Plugins

I’ve been asked a few times what WordPress plugins I use to do certain things on this site, so rather than respond to individual emails, I thought I’d share with all of you guys!

First, a few notes on plugins in general: they are super easy to install and great for adding features to your blog even if you don’t know how to code BUT they can slow down your site. To prevent this, only add the ones that are necessary and delete plugins if you decide not to use them. Sometimes a plugin can cause conflicts within your site so always install one at a time and backup your site regularly.

Comments

I try to reply to every comment left on my blog to keep the conversation going so using Comment Reply Notification is a great way to make sure that the commenter sees my reply. It automatically sends an email to anyone who has received a reply to their comment. 

Pin It Button

You’ve probably seen this in action a lot by now, a pin it button that hovers over images making it convenient for readers to pin images. I use jQuery Pin It Button For Images for my pin it hover image. The reason I chose this plugin is because of the customization options and that you can use a custom image to match your branding.

Post Footers 

You may have noticed that at the bottom of each of my blog posts, I have the same call to action that points my readers to Facebook, Bloglovin etc. Instead of pasting this content separately into every post I write, I use WP Post Footer which allows you to create a library of code snippets and easily include them at the bottom of posts.

Editorial Calendar

I am a visual person so this plugin is one of my favorites to keep my posts organized. The WordPress Editorial Calendar makes it possible to see all your posts on a calendar and drag and drop them to manage your posting schedule.

Backup

This one is huge because you MUST backup your site! For backup, I use the WP Backup to Dropbox plugin, because it drops my files from scheduled backups right into a folder in Dropbox!

SEO

I’m pretty lazy when it comes to my SEO but the All in One SEO Pack makes it a little easier on me. It has fields at the end of each post for you to fill in to help optimize your WordPress site for Search Engine Optimization.

 

These are just suggestions and what works best for me. There are usually several plugins that do the same thing, so do your research and some testing to see which works bests for your needs!

I hope this was helpful! Do you have any favorites that weren’t mentioned here? Please share!

plug icon designed by Ben Johnson from the Noun Project