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


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

Halloween Table Setup with Caprese Salad


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!


  • 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!



That’s A Wrap: August + September

I know, I know I totally missed August’s recap post, oops, so I am combining both months here! September has been quite a month, trying my hardest to get back into a normal schedule and my computer decides to totally crap out on me. Can’t get much done without a computer for two weeks… but luckily I have awesome friends, and friends with extra computers, yay! On a fun note, I got to show the lovely Joanna Waterfall and her hubby some of New Orleans when they were in town! Zander got to stop home in between Iceland and South Korea and now on the way to Mexico so that’s exciting, even if it is only for a week at a time, I’ll take it! AND lot’s of great stuff happened in the studio, on the blog and around the web:

That's A Wrap August and September

On The Blog

– I wrapped up my Spain photos including Madrid, Barcelona and Segovia, France coming soon!
– Updated my portfolio with the packaging for local cosmetics company, Kismet
– Shared a new favorite font, Garden
– Shared a recap of Made In Mind’s Letterpress demo event
– Getting back on track with new fitness goals
– Photographs of styled mementos from each of the main cities I traveled to
– Dreaming about a bathroom upgrade
– Shared some of my favorite stock photo sites

In The Studio

– New client alert! I’m now the art director for a business magazine that just launched in New Orleans, got the first issue in the mail today!
– I’m hiring a local, part-time designer! Find details here.
– Designed the marketing materials for The Green Project’s Salvations for the 4th year, wow!
– Launched my second Darby Smart DIY kit, Gold Animal Toppers
– If you missed my first kit (the studded tote) you can vote it back!
– Updated my shop page, what do you think?
– Customizing tons of these bad boys from my Etsy shop

Salvations Gala Invitation


– Honored to be included in Regina’s The 5 (Blog Reader) Love Languages post!
– Backyard Tin Can Fence Garden was featured on Good Housekeeping
– Humbled to be mentioned along side these awesome Inspiring Designers
– Designed a desktop freebie for Lovely Indeed, go brab it!
– Listed as one of Autumn Leaves Useful Sites for New and Established Blogger
– Friendship Bracelet DIY featured on Brit + Co

Favorite Fonts

– Galea Display
– Magma II
– Aina
– Festivo Letters


Free and Affordable Stock Photo Sites That Don’t Suck

Free and Affordable Stock Photo Sites Great For Bloggers

I think by now we all know the importance of using great imagery, whether it be for blog posts, design projects, social media or anything else where you are trying to look professional as well as capture your audience’s attention.

While I’m a huge fan of completely custom imagery, we don’t always have the skill set, time or budget to do that. But that shouldn’t stop us from having great photographs. For me, those classic cheesy stock photos are not an option, I like stock photos that don’t really feel like stock photos! While I’ve been searching for the perfect, affordable image time and time again, I’ve also been bookmarking those image source sites, and today I’m sharing my favorites!

Free Options

Affordable Options

Any other ones that I missed out there? I’d love to hear about them!

Please check the licenses before using photos from any of these sites.

Fitness: Getting Back On Track with Healthy Choices

This story about making healthy choices has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. But as always, all opinions are mine alone. #BalanceRewards #CollectiveBias

sports bra, apple, wedding magazine for fitness

A few months ago I was finally back into a good health and wellness routine, I was going to the gym at least twice a week (better than nothing) and doing pretty good at eating healthy. All of that went right out the window when I started traveling, oy! We did a ton of walking, but we also did a ton of eating! So now that I am home, settling back in, it’s time for me to get back on track. I’m in the process of planning my wedding and besides the venue, music, flowers, invitations, etc, I want my health to be a priority on that list as well. When I’m eating bad and not exercising I feel sluggish, I want planning my wedding to be an enjoyable experience and I want to be in great shape and healthy for the big day! It’s time for me to start making healthy choices again.

healthy food, new fitness gear and iphone app

I don’t know about you, but being able to track my health goals and getting a little reward every now and then really helps to keep me going. This is where the Walgreens app comes into play. I have always been a Walgreens customer for my toiletries and use their app to refill my prescriptions. I also have a Balance Rewards card. For every 5,000 points you earn $5 to spend at Walgreens. If I’m going to be buying stuff, I might as well get rewards for it right?!

sports bra, tennis shoes, capris, iphone, water bottle

But what I didn’t know until recently is that you can also earn rewards just by making healthy choices throughout the day with their Balance Rewards for healthy choices feature. You can track your steps, weight and blood pressure each day. Every time you track one of those items you earn Balance Rewards. You can even sync some devices (like a Fitbit) straight to your account so go register today and start tracking your progress!

wedding magazine apple and sports bra

Another way I like to reward myself is with some new workout gear every once in a while! I just got these Victoria’s Secret Sport items and adore them, I want to go get more in all of their fun patterns!

sports bra, tennis shoes, capris and walgreens app

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. #BalanceRewards #CollectiveBias