I’m Speaking at Alt Summit!

Last month I mentioned quickly that I was going to be speaking at Alt Summit but now that they have released the schedule, I’m back to share the details!

Growing A Small Blog Panel

In two weeks from today, Alt Summit will be kicking off its first summer event in Salt Lake City. And in two weeks from tomorrow, I’ll be speaking on a panel about Growing a Small Blog. I am equally excited as terrified! But I’m so happy that I’ll be up there with friends: Mariah of Oh What Love, Melissa of Lulu the Baker, and PJ of Bunny and Dolly and Tan of Squirrelly Minds.

We’ll be discussing all the ways that new bloggers can grow their readership, including tips and tricks we’ve learned from our personal experiences. Since none of us are big-name bloggers (yet!), we hope that our success stories inspire others just starting out. As we put the finishing touches on our presentation, we’d love to know what specific questions you have about growing a small blog.

So find us on twitter, include the hashtag #growingasmallblog in your question and ask away! Can’t wait to hear from y’all!

Mariah – blog / twitter
Melissa – blog / twitter
PJ – blog / twitter
Tan – blogtwitter
Me – twitter

And if you’ll be attending Alt SLC in two weeks, leave a comment below — I’d love to meet you!

What’s In My Bag

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™ and U by Kotex but all opinions are my own. #pmedia #UbKKmart http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

Contents Spilling Out of Purse
I can’t believe it but I haven’t done a post like this since 2011 when I was living in Boston, wow time flies! I try to keep the contents of my purse to a minimum because I don’t want to be lugging some heavy thing all around with me so my purse is usually pretty clean and these tend to be the items that are in their consistently… let’s dive into this bag of mine…

What's In My Bag Details

purse / iPhone / excessive amounts of chapstick and lipgloss including Burt’s Bees, Honest, Clinique, Kismet / keys (isn’t my handy iPhone tiltpod cool) / facial moisturizer with sunscreen (my fave is Aveeno) / business cards / pens / a snack (I’m not very nice when I’m hungry) / hair ties / MAC powder / favorites from my Mary Kay Glam VoxBox (bronzerblush) / gum / lady products

What's In My Bag

Isn’t it cool how the U by Kotex products just blend in? As a designer, I’m always drawn to products because of their packaging and these caught my eye since they actually look stylish. The nice design helps me to always be prepared since I can just leave them in my purse.

Purse Contents

I picked up my U by Kotex products at Kmart since they have a special going on right now: receive $3 off through Kmart’s Shop Your Way rewards program with the purchase of 2 U by Kotex products.

U By Kotex Boxes In Bathroom

If you are not already a member of the rewards program, you can sign up right here

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.

My Fitness Motivation

I’m finally feeling like I am in a good workout stride after years of being off track. I joined a gym a year ago for the first time in forever. My gym teaches the Les Mills exercise programs and I’m totally obsessed with them! Doing the same workout bores me and I need to be having fun, otherwise I’ll stop going. So right now my favorite class is Body Combat which is inspired by mixed martial arts and draws from a wide array of disciplines such as karate, boxing and taekwondo. It’s super hard, fun and a great stress reliever! Since they are always releasing new classes it never gets boring which keeps me going back!

Another motivating factor is keeping a fresh workout wardrobe. Since I work from home, there are lots of days when I put my gym clothes on in the morning even though my classes are not til the evenings. I’ll work and run errands in them and then head to the gym. I don’t want to wear faded old t-shirts and old sweats, I want to look presentable even though it’s just to the grocery store and the gym!

Cute workout gear: Cobalt Leggings, Top With Thumbholes, Hairbands, Nike Running Shoes, Sports Bra, Headphones

I usually wear black bottoms but that gets boring, so I recently decided to try out, Albion Fit. They have some really cute options in fun colors! There stuff is so comfy that I’ve found my self throwing it on even when I’m not heading to the gym. They actually have a bunch of items that work as normal clothes AND they have swimwear!

Woman in Blue Leggings Tying Laces for Workout in Park Woman Putting Hair In Ponytail for Workout Blue Leggings and Gray Top for Workout in Park

I’ve been putting my hair up with Haybands hair ties and headbands, this is a local New Orleans company! And when I use headphones, Sol Republic’s Relays are great! They come with a clip so they don’t flap around and are designed to stay in while working out.

Woman Putting Hair In Ponytail for Workout

I hope you enjoyed this little insight on how I stay motivated to work out! I’ll be back next week to share how I’ve been updating my breakfast and lunch for a healthier diet! Do you have any motivational tips for staying in shape!

Woman in Blue Leggings and Gray Top for Workout

Go Long Leggings in Cobalt c/o Albion Fit / Go Long Crew in Charcoal c/o Albion Fit / Hairband and Headband c/o Haybands / Relays Headphones c/o Sol Republic / Sports Bra Avia via TJ Maxx / Nike Revolution Running Shoes via DSW / Photos by Zander White

Giveaway Time! Closed

If you are having a hard time getting in gear, I thought I’d do a fun giveaway to get you motivated! One lucky winner will receive:

  • $50 Albion Fit Gift Card
  • Sol Republic Relays Headphones
  • Music download from RUN DMT (whose song is in the new Relays video)
  • Miscellaneous selection of Haybands hair ties and headbands

Discounts!

15% off any albionfit.com purchase with code ciera15 (valid through the 11th) and 15% off your Haybands purchase with code HAYCIERA (valid through the 18th).

Enter using the Rafflecopter below. Giveaway open to US and Canada shipping addresses only. Winner will be chosen at random. 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.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I have always been a Puma and Converse person for tennis shoes, but those were  just not right for the gym so I finally got a good pair of shoes that I love for working out! I spent way to much time researching them and finding a good deal, so I have included some of my faves below.

received free goods as compensation for this post however all opinions are my own.

What I Wore // Working At The Coffee Shop

I thought it’d be fun to tell y’all my history with PJ’s Coffee of New Orleans, my favorite coffee of all time! It was founded with a single shop in 1978 and has spread throughout the Greater New Orleans area, then the Southeast and has even made it to other parts of the United States including California.

My grade school was only a few blocks away from the original location on Maple Street, so in 7th and 8th grade we used to walk there after school and hang out in their courtyard. Then in high school my best friend lived next door to a PJ’s which we frequented at least once, sometimes twice a day. I don’t even want to know how much money I spent there during those four years! Now I’m back in the Maple Street area and their iced coffees are still my absolute favorite coffee, ever, anywhere! Not to mention their amazing spinach and feta croissants and a granita when I really want to treat myself!

Most days I make coffee at home to save money but I get cravings for their yummy coffee all the time and I usually give in… hey, I deserve it! I also love to go and work from their courtyard every once in a while when the weather is nice. Crazy how constant some things in life can be! And just excuse my bitchy resting face in the third photo.

Ciera Holzenthal with MacBook Pro at Coffee Shop

Ciera Holzenthal with MacBook Pro at Coffee Shop Courtyard

Graphic Designer with MacBook Pro and Coffee In Courtyard

Striped Dress, Brown Leather Purse and Coffee

Ciera Holzenthal with MacBook Pro and Coffee

Shop Similar

Photos by Hannah Colclazier

Let’s Do This

Let's Do This Hand Lettered Art Print

I’m back from my blog break and I want to start the new year with total honestly. A few months ago I realized that I was in a rut. I was feeling like I didn’t get enough accomplished during the year. I had too many ideas and didn’t know what direction I wanted to go in or where I should put my time and energy. I have always felt confident in my design work but I was feeling a little lost managing everything. 

I didn’t feel like I was reaching my ideal clients and I was getting worried that my site wasn’t portraying my services the best way possible. I was posting quality content to my blog but it somehow felt random and focused on the short-term. I decided that I needed help, I didn’t want to feel lost in my own business anymore.

That is where Ashley of Your Super Awesome Life came in! I told Ashley my concerns and she had me fill out a business assessment. Once I answered some questions on paper, we had a Skype session where we talked through what was working and what was not and what I really wanted for my blog and business.

I was actually a little surprised at how well she communicated and understood what I was going after even though she isn’t an insider to my business or blog. I felt totally comfortable talking to her and suddenly everything that was spinning in my head made sense again.

At the end of our first session Ashley helped me to come up with an action plan that covered the main points we discussed and mapped out all of the steps to begin making my goals a reality. We wanted to get really clear on what I wanted my business to look like moving forward. All of my goals suddenly seemed so attainable.

  • After our first session, I updated my services page, I still have some work to do here, but I think it’s a much more clear representation of the design services I offer. I’m currently taking on clients so feel free to reach out!
  • I created an end of the year reader survey to find out what y’all want to see more of here on the blog in 2014! If you haven’t taken it yet, the survey is still open. Until I take some time to review all of the responses, I’m going to take it slow and post content here very intentionally.
  • I’m also starting to reach out to blogs to guest post on, so let me now if you are looking for some guest contributors in 2014!

A few weeks later we had a follow-up call to make sure I was on track. I still have a lot of work to do to accomplish the actions we came up with but I feel like I’m back on the right path! It wasn’t easy for me to reach out for help but this year I really want to take my business to the next level and after Ashley’s sessions I’m ready and confident to take on 2014, so let’s do this!

2014 Let’s Do This art print available for sale on Etsy.

Happy Birthday To Me & Year In Review

Today is my birthday y’all! I’m still on a blog break but just wanted to stop in for my normal end of the month recap.

Ciera Sitting On Oak Tree With Balloons

I decided that I should recap the whole year instead of just December, so without further ado here are some of the most popular posts from the year! It was really fun to look back at all of these posts!

Ciera-Design-Year-In-Review

Popular Posts in 2013:

- Do It Yourself Macrame Friendship Bracelets
- How To Stay Productive
- The Business Cards of Alt Summit
- Roam If You Want To Freebies
- Naive Font Favorite
- How To Make Geometric Felt Coasters
Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Growing Your Blog Through Social Media
- Ombre Cluster Necklace DIY

Ciera Design Elsewhere in December:

- Merry and Bright Freebie featured on Glitter and Bow
Sprucing Up Your Branding featured on 8 posts for smart-working, creative-types
- Geometric Felt Coasters on Brit + Co 
- The Best Memories Are Handmade freebie on Whimseybox 

Thank you so much to everyone who has shared my content this year! I also want to give a special thank you to Mariah and Melissa for being amazing contributors this year!

If you haven’t yet, please fill out my 2013 reader survey! 

One more note, I have simplified my sidebar ad options for 2014! One size at one very affordable price!