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!

On Generosity and Selfless Giving

I have introduced Dedra from Prettiful Designs to you all a few times in the past and she is here today talking about her experiences with generosity and selfless giving. Check out Dedra’s shop, blog and Facebook.

 Open your eyes to the possibilities around you.

I’ve been thinking and thinking what amazing topic I could share on Ciera’s blog. I’m so grateful she keeps letting me blog hop. I think I post more on her blog than my own! I had several ideas to write about but the one that sticks with me the most is generosity, or selfless giving.

My daughter had her first school fundraiser recently. She was so excited to help out her school (I don’t even think she understood that there are prizes for the best sellers). She just really wants her school to be a better place….but, no one will buy anything from her. It’s $1 for a chocolate bar or a jerky stick and you get it immediately. C’mon, it’s $1. I got to thinking a lot about this experience. What does it tell a child when they are trying to do something and no one will support them? How does it feel when adults only say “No” Or I can’t afford that? What does that teach them about money?

We went through some pretty darn hard times in our not too distant past. We lived on dry food storage for a year. It was miserable. Our family knows what tough times are but I still found ways to be generous (even if it was only a dollar here or there) because I’m not just buying a candy bar or donating to pay for someone’s medical fund. I’m investing in people. Real live human beings that need a chance and they need to feel loved.

When I started my Etsy shop I asked friends and family to simply put in a plug for me on Facebook or my blog. I even offered some pretty sweet things in return. They didn’t even have to buy anything but NO one would help me! It was pretty disheartening and it took a while for my shop to get started because getting those first few sales is really the hardest. So, I now make it a point to try to buy something from my friends when they start new endeavors. Sometimes money is too tight and I take a rain check but sometimes I give up something else I want so I can help them and then we are both the better for it.

I wasn’t always this generous. I met a new friend about 7 years back that showed me what generosity means. Often times I found people commenting on something awesome she had like a necklace or a bag and she would say, oh I’d love for you to have it and while they blinked she would hand it to them. When we went to parties, instead of sitting down to enjoy herself, she would go straight to the kitchen and start pitching in. She even gave her car away instead of trading it in because she said the kid needed it. Wow. I was the one turning down every school kid that came to my door and here my friend is giving cars away. She really helped open my eyes.

Money can’t buy everything. We all know that. But we CAN use our money to do more and to serve instead of only being a slave to it. I don’t have any specific agenda here. I’m not going to ask you for any money or tell you a charity to donate to. I just hope that the people who take the time to read this will open their eyes even more to the possibilities around them–The possibilities of the amazing things a little bit of money or a helping hand can do.