I mentioned Pradman Jewelry in last week’s outfit post. I recently got this engraved monogram bracelet with a C on it from them and I just adore it because it goes with everything. I like how it looks layered with a watch or other bracelets too. They also have tons of beautiful gemstone jewelry that would be perfect for upcoming holiday parties! Their jewelry is designed with modern chic concept in mind and is all made with highest quality of semiprecious stones and precious metals.
So here comes the fun part, you have a shot to win any piece of jewelry from Pradman! And they were also nice enough to offer you guys 20% off your order! Just use coupon code “Ciera” for the discount! Enter below using Rafflecopter and good luck!! This giveaway is open through December 2. The winner’s name will be chosen randomly and announced soon after. Please note that your entry will be removed if you do not complete it correctly. Contestants must be 18 years of age or more. International contestants are welcome.
Some of my favorite bloggers and shop owners are joining me today to make this 4 year blogiversary month even more special! I can’t thank these lovely ladies enough for making this giveaway super special for you guys! One lucky reader is going to win the entire prize package, valued at over $200!
Let’s take a peek at all the goodies being offered:
CREATURE TYPE is giving the lucky winner a Creature Type prize pack including one 8×10″ Dang, Girl illustration print, one hand-painted wooden donut brooch and a set of five 5×7″ postcards. Michelle sells all of these cute items in her Etsy shop!
MY BILLIE DESIGNS is offering one of her pre-made Blogger templates! She’s got 12 different designs in the shop and the winner gets to pick any template! They feature a lot of things that you won’t find with most pre-made templates like customization of header, colors, navigation and installation!
KITTY AND BUCK is generously offering two months of large ad space over on her amazing blog. Shell is a professional motion graphics designer and an amateur musician, photographer, dancer, traveler, baker, maker and creator of little things!
WENDY TOWNLEY is giving away a hand-knitted color block scarf from her Knitting by Wendy shop. Perfect for fall, this hand-knitted scarf features a combination of cozy wool and soft cotton yarns in dark pumpkin and deep plum. The long and skinny design allows the scarf to be wrapped around your neck two, possibly three times.
BRIDGETTE is offering Younique 3D Fiber Lash Mascara - Packaged in two separate bottles, the Transplanting Gel and Natural Fibers are used together to enhance and magnify your OWN lashes. A 300% increase in thickness and volume to your lashes while still looking completely real and natural.
And yours truly is giving the lucky winner 2 months of basic ad space!
Enter below using Rafflecopter and good luck!! This giveaway is open through November 4. The winner’s name will be chosen randomly and announced soon after. Please note that your entry will be removed if you do not complete it correctly. Must have a USA shipping address to be eligible for entry.
I’m super excited to be able to offer y’all this giveaway today! I have been a huge fan of Kara’s blog, I Just Might Explode, for about three years now. She is an amazing photographer and offers lots of cool e-courses and PDFs in her Classes Kara Made shop. One of Kara’s newer classes is called The M and it’s for anyone who has been scared to slide their camera’s setting from Auto or Shutter/Aperture Priority over to the big M.
If you’re a blogger who wants to bring your blog to the next level with its own unique photographs or an Etsy shop owner tired of low quality photography representing your amazing product, The M will be a fantastic resource for you! Or if you just want to take better photos of your family, self, and life!
This class is for anyone who wants to learn the technical aspects of digital photography in an easy to understand and unintimidating setting. The class starts at the very basics– camera and lens recommendations, exposure, composition, lighting, and Photoshop corrections. It ends with basic tips from everything from landscape to portrait photography and includes free Photoshop actions, film photography tips, challenges, critiques, and inspiration. Most of the focus is on portraiture, but other subject matter is covered. Read more about the class and it’s lessons here.
Lucky for you guys Kara is giving two Ciera Design readers free enrollment into this e-course! And y’all, if you don’t win, or want to get started NOW, this class is super affordable for all of the information you’ll be getting! Enter below using Rafflecopter.
Good luck!! Have any questions? Feel free to contact me. If 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.
One of my awesome sponsors, Bonnie of Rodan + Fields is here today talking about summer skin care. I desperately needed these reminders a few weeks ago as I got a miserable sunburn at Jazz Fest. I was so mad at myself for forgetting sunscreen!
“Bonnie, you are 23, you are way too young to have skin cancer. This concerns me.” As if those words were not scary enough to hear, at least five additional times I heard the doctor say “He’s way too young for this…” sounding incredibly concerned each time he muttered it.
That was 22 years ago. Aloha. My name is Bonnie Cribbs, and I blog over at Beach Money CEO, tweet at @boatingBonnieC and I am addicted to the sun. OK, so “addicted” may be a very strong word, but I sure do love all things summer & sunny. I spend much of my summer at the lake having fun on my boat and I absolutely love the ocean and sitting by the pool….and I drive a convertible. I’m overweight and balding, so having a good tan has been rather important to me – at least I can have a good tan going for me, right? And for a living, I sell skin care products. It almost sounds like a conflict of interest, doesn’t it?
As summer is approaching, I want to talk about taking care of our skin this summer. It will be a Hodge-podge of how-to-protect-your-skin tips. Katie Rodan, one of the infamous doctors who created Proactive Solutions and most recently founded Rodan + Fields Dermatologist said “Genetics are only responsible for 20 percent of how your skin will age. 80 percent is in your control and that’s great news. It is never too late to change your skin’s destiny.” The sun is the culprit for most of that 80%. So that’s great, we know what to protect ourselves from. Now we just have to know how….and actually do it.
10 Minute Rule
In the time it takes you to have your morning cup of coffee, or wait in line at the Starbucks Drive Thru, the sun is working it’s magic on your skin. Before leaving the house, always use sunscreen. Sunscreen is not just for a day at the pool or for a few hours at the park. If you are going to be out in the sun any at all, wear sunscreen. In my car I keep a bottle of sunscreen and a hat. I love having the top down, but I always want to protect myself from the harmful and dangerous rays.
Reapply Every Two Hours
“I’m not burnt, I don’t need more sunscreen.” That is really bad logic. There is a deeper purpose than simply preventing being burnt, your skin needs to stay protected from the sun. In addition to applying sunscreen before leaving the house in the morning, reapply every two hours…and yes, especially when you’ll be out in the sun. But don’t be fooled, UVA damage can also occur in the house.
A little Dab A Do Ya
That’s such a misconception. When applying sunscreen, most people do not apply enough, so make sure you follow the bottles direction and apply liberally.
That’s not just the question people will be asking you when you tell them you are only 30 when your skin looks 40 (or visa-versa if sunscreen is used), but it’s also the question you need to ask about the bottle of sunscreen you are applying. Sunscreen loses its effectiveness over time, so always be sure to you check the expire date before you buy or before you apply.
It’s So Cloudy Today!
As I mentioned earlier, I have a boat and spend much of the summer out on the lake. Those cloudy days when the suns rays are not directly beaming down on us are always the days people get sunburned the most. And then they wonder why. Don’t be fooled by the cloudy day, the sun is still getting to you. If you see light outside, the sun can do damage to your skin.
Avoid Tanning Beds
I was in college in the late 80′s. This was before the time that everyone knew that tanning beds were bad for you time limits were on the beds. In the Spring I went to the tanning bed a few times a week and stayed in for 45 minutes each. Yes, I had an incredible tan and remember well that my time in the tanning bed was definitely some of the best naps I had in college (while listening to the cassette tape of Dirty Dancing), but, well, did I mention skin cancer at age 23? Avoid tanning beds. They’re not worth it.
Is There A Pill For that?
I have two points to make here. Yes, there is a pill to take to get your Vitamin D. So don’t use “I need my Vitamin D” as an excuse. The other point is this: If you are on medication, be sure to know how it affects your skin’s sensitivity to the sun. There are a lot of medications out there which increases your skin’s sensitivity toward the sun so don’t be caught by surprise and burn at even a faster rate.
I See Spots
If you have new bumps, hard spots, new growths or changes to existing moles, freckles, birthmarks…be sure to ask your doctor about them. It’s always best to catch it early. Catching them early is a very good thing – it allows you to have the spots removed before they spread. Again, check with your doctor.
The Speedo Rule
If you are a guy and have a desire to wear a speedo, resist that urge. Just don’t do it. OK, so this has nothing to do with sun protection and should just be considered a public service announcement.
At Rodan + Fields, all of our skin care regimens have sun protection at their core, including sunscreen in our cremes. We also have sunscreen, lip shield, etc. We have you covered from head to toe. You can visit my shop to find out which products are right for you.
As I mentioned earlier, I blog at Beach Money CEO. Most of my post are related to helping your business succeed, business tips, motivational pieces, some skin care tips and the occasional post about something personal. Please feel free to stop by and visit me there!
As if these awesome skin care tips were not enough, Bonnie is also offering one lucky Ciera Design reader a $50 American Express gift card! You can use this to purchase all of your summer skin care necessities! Or whatever else you may need for the summer!Giveaway open to US shipping addresses only.
Good luck!! Have any questions? Feel free to contact me. If 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. Photo from Anthropologie, design by me.
My heart is broken from the violence in Boston. Just yesterday morning I was looking back at this post of how Zander and I spent Marathon Monday last year when we were living in Boston. We walked by the marathon path that morning and it’s so scary to even think about being there for such a tragedy. I’m thankful for my beautiful time in Boston and thankful that I was not there yesterday. From what I’ve heard, everyone I know is safe and I’m continuing to send good thoughts toward Boston and to everyone affected. Hoping that today’s giveaway can add a tiny bit of happiness after such tragedy.
Whenever I don’t have my ‘real’ camera, my iPhone and Instagram is my go-to for capturing memories. It’s no secret that I looove Instagram, so of course I’m going to love anything Instagram related! In a couple of quick steps, you can turn your Instagram photos into magnets with StickyGram. It’s a fun way to bring your digital Instagram photos to life! I have a few sets up on my dry erase board in my office and thanks to the awesome folks over at StickyGram, you can win your very own set! One lucky reader will get a set of nine StickyGrams! And if you are thinking ahead… this would make an awesome Mother’s Day gift!
Good luck!! Have any questions? Feel free to contact me. If 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. I received a free set of Stickygrams but all opinions are my own.
Why you ask? For several reasons::: To say thank you to you my beloved readers. To celebrate Yellow Bird + Yellow Beard blog reaching 2000 followers. 2000. I can hardly believe it. Thank you SO MUCH. To celebrate over 1000 posts. And finally to celebrate my golden birthday! I’m turning 26 on the 26th of April.
Who are these amazing women who have contributed to this monumental celebration? They are as follows. Please, I implore you, visit them. Say hi to them. Follow them. They are all more than worthy of your time, guaranteed.
I am so excited to introduce you all to the wonderful Wendy Townley today! Wendy is a writer and blogger who published her first book, Nerdy Thirty, in 2010. It’s a collection of thirteen humorous essays from her childhood through turning 30 (which sounds amazing, by the way)! Wendy is also offering up a great giveaway for y’all today! Make sure to check out her blog and say hello!
Where were you born and where do you call home? Omaha, Nebraska
How and when did you start writing? My writing career began as a fluke. My senior year of high school, while selling ads for our student newspaper, our advisor asked me to write an article. I couldn’t tell you the topic of that article, but I will never forget how I felt seeing my words (and my name) in print. That same feeling manifests even today with each piece that is published.
Do you write as your “day job”? Somewhat. My full-time job is in nonprofit fundraising. There is writing involved, but not the kind that gets my creative juices flowing.
Is there anything you wish you’d known before starting your business? I wish I had known to savor the sweetness of success. When Nerdy Thirty was published, I was thrown into a whirlwind of book signings, readings, speaking engagements, and the like. I wish I would have slowed my pace a bit more just to enjoy the experience.
What’s your setup like? Do you have an office, work from home? Do you work alone or with a team? I have a lovely home office awash in bright colors. My dear friend, Jessica McKay of Birdhouse Interior Design, recognized that I needed a beautiful space to create beautiful work. She worked with me on each element of my home office. It has become my favorite room in our home.
Who or what inspired you to be who you are? The late writer Nora Ephron. And how it does pain me to say “the late” when referring to her. Nora’s writing speaks to me like few others have in its humor, sincerity, honesty, and simplicity. Also: my mom. Her motto will stay with me always, “Be polite and kind to others.”
Where do you go to find inspiration, and what are you inspired by? Watching the world inspires me. Reading books inspires me. Listening to music inspires me. A great meal, a life-changing experience. Just living each day inspires me.
If you were to tell us what are the most important skills that you need in order to be successful (in general) in life- what are they? Compassion. Creativity. Passion. Diligence
What are your next goals for yourself? Complete my second book later this year or early next year, the details of which will soon be shared.
What gets you excited? The energy of other creatives. My husband is one of them.
Sleep in or get up early? Get up early, even on the weekends.
Pet peeves? Hang nails. Crumbs. Tardiness.
Favorite color? Purple.
What are 5 items you never leave home without? Nail clippers. iPhone. Notebook. Pen. A kiss from my husband (when possible).
Coffee or tea? Coffee, although in the past month my cousin has introduced me to various hot teas. So far, I’m enjoying what I’m drinking.
Favorite food? A tie between mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese.
Vanilla or chocolate ice cream? Chocolate.
Wendy has an awesome prize pack that she put together for one lucky Ciera Design reader! The prize pack includes a signed copy of her book, Nerdy Thirty, three of her favorite notebooks, vanilla birthday cake lip gloss by philosophy, a travel size of amazing grace spray fragrance by philosophy, and four wool coasters that Wendy knitted! Giveaway open to US shipping addresses only.
Good luck!! Have any questions? Feel free to contact me. If 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.
Today I want to introduce you to Dedra, from Prettiful Designs. She has an amazing blog and online shop full of digital paper & clip art and has been a true pleasure to work with. She’s going to tell you a bit about herself and then offer up a great giveaway for y’all!
My name is Dedra Tregaskis and I am defined by many things. Maybe you can relate to a few. I’m a wife, a mother, a graphic designer, a cook and clean, a blogger, an organizer, and a depression fighter to name just a few. I’m appearing on Ciera’s blog today because you know me as a graphic designer. 10 years ago I would never have guessed that would be in my repertoire but I’m so glad it is.
“Designing isn’t just a job or a hobby. It is one of my creative outlets that helps me fight my depression battles. Designing lifts my spirits and allows me to express myself through color and pattern. I’ve been designing digitally in some shape or form for about 7 years. I had a 20 minute crash course in Photoshop and Illustrator while learning how to be an Event Specialist. I liked it and started to make wedding invitations in my spare time. After too many diva brides and their horrific mothers I took a breather and miraculously had a few kids. Life was going pretty good when of course it took a different turn than we expected. Many long and boring details later I found myself needing to bring in some money. I tried my hand at making boys bow ties on Etsy—which is funny to me because I have no boys. (I do have one of every color/pattern waiting if we ever are brave enough to try again!) I literally worked my fingers to the bone and I have the scars to prove it. In the back of my mind I kept thinking about design. Maybe it was my fingers pleading with me to wield a keyboard and mouse instead of a hot glue gun and needles. I finally decided to jump in and I opened up Prettiful Designs on Etsy with a collection of digital scrapbook papers and templates. And then I waited. And waited. And waited. A few months later I got my first sale…and then a few months before the next and all of a sudden everything exploded and I had requests coming from every direction. Skip ahead a few years and we are still in some awkward and difficult experiences but as a family and myself as an individual we are stronger and hopefully a little wiser. Through my designing I’ve made friends from all over and we have survived some pretty hefty ordeals. I think no matter where we start or whatever we have to go through we are all human and being human means that we are capable of awesomeness—we just have to believe it.“
Thanks for such an inspiring story Dedra! Dedra has been so kind to offer one of my lucky readers a $35 credit to Prettiful Designs! And the winner is also going to receive some super cute paper clips and a spiral eraser from me! I love having bright office supplies on my desk, don’t you?
I’m using Rafflecopter to track entries so you can login below and it will allow you to enter multiple ways! Good luck!! Have any questions? Feel free to contact me. If 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. Winner.
Hey guys, I’m here today with a special post and giveaway from January’s featured sponsor, Jesse of NeuYear. I ordered their dry erase wall calendar from a Fab sale a while back and love it!
3 Steps to Planning & Accomplishing Your Goals
There is a reason why gyms and fitness centers see a huge uptick in memberships after the first of the year. Whether it’s wanting to lose those last few pounds, or a desire to live a more healthy lifestyle, “joining a gym” has become the quintessential New Year’s Resolution. The aspirations, however, don’t last very long. On average, most would-be fitness buffs back out of their commitment by March. Oops.
Resolutions, or goals, are powerful motivators–if you stick with them. Unfortunately, so many of us fail to set appropriate goals, or stick with them for such a short time, we never see the results. Books remain half-written, vacations never get planned, and new ideas die on the vine of mind, all because the goal-setting process gets short-circuited.
If you have ever felt the pain of a good goal gone bad, here is a three-step process you can follow to easily plan and accomplish virtually anything.
1. Pick Smart Goals
One of the most common reasons people or organizations fail at goals is because they aren’t smart. SMART goals look like this:
Specific. Smart goals have a specific end-game in mind. “Save the world,” and “cure cancer,” are all great goals, but they lack specificity. How do you want to save the world? “I want to reduce litter and pollution on the coastline by my house.” Awesome. What kind of cancer do you want to cure? “I want to help focus on children’s Leukemia at the Mayo Clinic in St. Paul, MN.” Now we’re talking. You need to have something to aim at. Being specific with your goals sharpens your sights and increases your chances at success.
Measurable. If your goal is to create buzz for an event, you’ll want to have a way to measure “buzz.” For instance, let’s say last year’s event drew 100 participants. A measurable goal would be, “We want to increase participation by 20 percent.” This, of course, gives you a number to measure your success with. Make it concrete. Quantify it. Make it measurable.
Attainable. Are you really going to lose 100 lbs. in 24 hours? Good grief, I hope not! Can you quadruple the size of your organization over night? Double your earnings with one tweet? The correct answer, barring an appearance on Oprah, is “no.” These goals are not attainable–they’re unrealistic and out of reach. Setting smart goals means that you keep your head in the clouds and your feet on the ground. Setting too high of a goal (i.e., unattainable) is a recipe for disappointment.
Relevant. Does your goal matter? Is it relevant to you, your organization, or business? The Guinness Book of World Records is filled with people doing extraordinary things…that don’t matter. Longest competitive handshake? Most chainsaws juggled at once? Longest time standing still? Interesting, but ultimately unhelpful to just about everyone. Make sure your goals are helpful and relevant to you and those around you.
Time-bound. Last but not least, your goals need to have an end date on them. Something like, “We’re going to complete the parking lot refinishing project by September 30, 2013.” We know what you want to accomplish and by when. Parkinson’s Law states that a task will expand to the time allotted to it. Giving yourself a timeframe eliminates procrastination and what I call “the weasel clause.” Put a time frame on your goals. Keep everyone accountable and informed.
2. How Do You Eat an Elephant?
Once you’ve got your SMART goals defined, it’s time to start taking action. I should warn you, the Land of Action is where goals go to die. I know, it’s heartbreaking and sad, but it’s reality and sometimes you need to tie Old Yeller up to the tree and, well, you know, end it. You’re going to be different, though. You’re going to move from goal creation to goal action. How? By eating the elephant, one bite at a time.
A friend of mine used to paint houses for a living. As you’d imagine, the task of covering 3,500 sq. ft. with latex paint, by yourself, was a bit daunting. But he did it each summer, sometimes knocking out a dozen houses in three months (for the record, that’s really fast). You don’t eat an elephant in one bite (figuratively speaking, of course) and you don’t paint a house in one brush stroke. The key to his productivity was taking one section at a time. First the west side, then the east side, followed by the south and then the north. The system worked by keeping his stress levels down and productivity up.
You’re going to approach your goals the same way. You may have some lofty aspirations for yourself or your organization. Let’s say you want to run a marathon. Even those unfamiliar to the world of running know you don’t just go and run 26.2 miles without training. Even if you’ve never laced up jogging shoes before, running a marathon is possible if you start early enough and pace yourself.
Walk one block. Then walk a mile. Now jog a mile. Then another. Gradually add tenths of a mile as you get more comfortable. Before you know it, you’re crossing the finish line with enough miles for a 25-minute car ride in the bag.
3. Practically Achieving Your Goals
Practically speaking, you’re going to need some help along the way. Setting goals and keeping a rhythm to achieve them is one thing, grinding through the day-to-day is another.
Here are some tools that will help in your quest for goal domination:
Pomodoro App. You’d be amazed at what you can accomplish in 25 minutes. That’s the driving concept behind the Pomodoro technique: focus for 25 minutes, take a five minute breather, repeat until the task is complete. It’s so simple, but this helpful timer keeps you on track when your mind wants to wander. Use it in an individual or team setting.
NeuYear Wall Calendar. Something near and dear to my heart is this full-wall calendar our team at NeuYear has created. It shows you the whole year at once, making it easier to layout long-term goals, set future deadlines, and quickly get a flow for the year. Added bonus? This beautifully-designed calendar has bigger squares so you can write more. Get 10% off when you use this link!
Basecamp. Out of the hundreds of project management software platforms out there, Basecamp remains one of the best. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles countless other platforms try and cram into their offering, but what it does have, it does well. Keep your entire team focused on the project-at-hand with message boards, file uploads, and document collaboration.
Like anything else in life, you get out of goal-planning what you put in. Give your goals the respect they deserve by making them SMART, actionable, and ensuring they make progress. How much different could your life be a year from now if you started on one of your goals today?
GIVEAWAY TIME! CLOSED
I wanted to share the NeuYear love, so Jesse was nice enough to offer THREE calendars to give away to three lucky readers! This calendar is seriously so awesome! It can be hung vertically or horizontally and gives you a view of the entire year. I am using mine for blog planning!
Happy Friday! I have an exciting giveaway for y’all today! Shell from Kitty & Buck just launched her new blog design shop and is giving away $50 worth of design services! This is perfect for anyone looking for a full blog design, blog buttons or even graphics for your Etsy shop!
I am looking to branch out and take on more personal projects, which means – you! I’d love to create something beautiful for you, whether it is a complete blog design, or something smaller like a new banner or branding for your online store. -Shell
+ 50% OFF DISCOUNT: If you’re too excited to wait for the giveaway to end, you are in luck because Shell is offering a limited number of discounted blog designs to celebrate the launch of her blog design shop! A complete blog package is normally $350 but Shell is currently offering this for $175! This is a very limited offer, so if you’re interested, send Shell an email asap. Check out Shell’s design page for rates and more information about her history as a designer and the services she offers.
TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY: I’m using Rafflecopter to track entries so you can login below through Facebook OR your email and it will allow you to enter multiple ways! Good luck!! This giveaway is open through December 14. The winner’s name will be chosen randomly and announced soon after. Please note that your entry will be removed if you do not complete it correctly. If you are in a reader click out to access the Rafflecopter entry form.