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

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


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


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.

That’s A Wrap: April

Ok guys, I feel like sooooo much happened this month! Even one big thing that I can’t tell y’all yet! April felt like it was only three days long, anyone else?

Ciera Design Blog Posts April


In The Studio

- You have probably noticed that the site got a facelift! What do you think?
– In addition to the aesthetics, I also updated my services and added consulting to my packages! You get to pick my brain and I’ll help you nail down a plan for whatever it is you’re working towards. We can cover anything from a new design direction to finding a focus for your blog and social media strategies.
– My ebook on hosting local events is in the works! The content is almost complete so I’m starting on the design now. If you want to stay in the loop make sure to sign up for my newsletter.
– I posted the 2013 design for the Touro Infirmary Foundation and started working on the 2014 invite as well as the 2104 YLC Role Model’s gala invite.
– I also gave my Etsy shop a facelift and added a print-yourself Mother’s Day card.

Mother’s Day Printable Card



- I am now a contributor for the Creative Market blog and my first post, 5 Hand Lettering Artists To Follow On Instagramwas published this month!
– Want to read all about my journey as a designer? My profile is now live on the Women in Business site!
– Designed desktop freebies for Whimsey Box and Bunny & Dolly


On the blog

- I started a new column called Inspiring Instagrammer and first up was Zachary Smith
– I wrote about working out and eating healthy
– Shared some Twitter tips for small businesses and bloggers
– Recapped the photo walk that I hosted
– Announced that I joined the Minted designer community and need your help – voting will close Monday, May 5 at 9am PT so you still have time!
– Photos from Record Store Day
- I hosted a baby shower for my best friend. I posted the invitation and I’ll be posting more photos from the party soon!


Favorite Fonts

Enyo Serif Font by Antipixel
Daft Brush Font by Pintassilgo Prints


From the Archives

How to Protect Your Skin This Summer
4 Ways to Stand Out from the Rest
DIY Ombre Cluster Necklace
Crawfish Boil Fun

Minted Eye of the Beholder Art Challenge

I recently joined the Minted design community and submitted a few designs to their Eye of the Beholder Art Challenge! For those of you who are not familiar, Minted crowd-sources design and art from a global community of independent designers, then sells their best designs as products such as stationery, wall art, and décor for the home and holidays. If you’d like to see Minted sell my designs as art prints, just head over to vote and give them a 5 for me! If they get enough votes, Minted will add them to their shop, and with multiple color variations as well! Just click on the photos below to bring you right to the listing on Minted. You’ll have to quickly sign up for a account before you can vote but it’s super easy. Please pass this along and share away on social media if you’d like to support my designs! Thank you so much – as always, I appreciate your support!




Made In Mind April Photo Walk

For those of you who don’t know, I host a Made In Mind meet up every other month and for April we did an Intameet! The weather was absolutely perfect, it was SO gorgeous! One fun thing about New Orleans is that you can drink on the street so we met up at Tivoli and Lee for a to-go mimosas and then got to walking! We chatted and snapped photos together as we walked around the Warehouse District. Along the route, we stopped at the Before I Die wall, then HARO for some amazing sweets and coffee and ended at Bellocq for a few cocktails, yummy cheese and great conversation! It was an awesome day and I definitely want to plan another instameet soon! I was taking photos with my camera which you can see here and also with my iPhone to post to Instagram.

The Made In Mind Social Instameet New Orleans-1 The Made In Mind Social Instameet New Orleans-2 The Made In Mind Social Instameet New Orleans-4 The Made In Mind Social Instameet New Orleans-5 The Made In Mind Social Instameet New Orleans-6

The Made In Mind Social Instameet New Orleans-10 The Made In Mind Social Instameet New Orleans-8 The Made In Mind Social Instameet New Orleans-9 The Made In Mind Social Instameet New Orleans-10 The Made In Mind Social Instameet New Orleans-12 The Made In Mind Social Instameet New Orleans-13 The Made In Mind Social Instameet New Orleans-14 The Made In Mind Social Instameet New Orleans-16 The Made In Mind Social Instameet New Orleans-17 The Made In Mind Social Instameet New Orleans-19

Head over to Made In Mind for the full recap and more photos! Not in New Orleans but want to hold awesome events like this one? Start a Made In Mind chapter in your city! Interested in sponsoring an event? Find details here.

Enyo Serif Font by Antipixel

Hi friends, a new favorite font for y’all this Friday! Enyo is a decorative, display, serif handwritten font designed by Antipixel. This font is great for providing a more informal look to your work! It can be used for small amounts of text but especially for display usage because of its glyph quality. Enyo offers OpenType features, including ligatures, alternates, smallcaps, scientific superior/inferior figures, oldstyle figures, fractions, slashed zero, and kerning. I love that is looks professional with a touch of personality! Enyo Serif Font by Antipixel

Type samples from Affiliate links used.