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.

Circles Conference 2013

Jasmine and I have been busy planning Made In Mind’s October Social (which is tomorrow, come if you can!) so it somehow took me a month to get this post up, oops!

Design Your Life Hand Drawn Type

Last month I got to attend Circles Conference in Grapevine, Texas. As described by the founder, it’s a place to learn from world-changing thinkers and innovators for the creative community. It was amazing. So inspiring. The main message I took away was to design my own life. Figure out what will make me feel satisfied and happy and create that life for myself. You can’t see someone else’s life and say “Hey, I want that life” you have to make it for yourself!

Circles A Creative Conference Inspire Create Repeat by Bethany Marie

Two days packed with meeting new people and listening to inspiring talks from amazing creatives across multiple disciplines. It was great to meet people who were previously only Twitter friends, as well as make plenty of wonderful new friends.

Circles Conference Megan Gilger Create Wildly by Bethany Marie

It turned out that Justin Shiels, a fellow New Orleanian, was attending so we got to know each other better! Blog buddy and fellow graphic designer Patti was nice enough to let me crash in her room. It was really fun hanging out and sharing stories of running our own businesses. I also got to meet Ismael Burciaga (the event coordinator) who has been an online friend for a few years now. It was wonderful to meet him in person, he is so talented and generous and was a great host! And then I met the lovely Joanna Waterfall who happened to be on my flight home for a vacation in New Orleans for a few days!

Josh Hensley at Circles Conference by Bethany Marie

The thing I loved most was that the speakers told their personal stories. It was very honest and genuine and no one was scared to share their struggles which was very refreshing to hear. It was great to hear so many talented people talking about their personal journey and not just telling us their design process. It was nice to take it all in and learn from their experiences. The intimacy was something you don’t get at larger conferences.

Circles Conference Program Mug Sticker by Bethany Marie

The after party was also a blast, we got some good Texas BBQ and it was great to mingle outside of the conference setting.

Do What You Love - Jeff Sheldon of Ugmonk - Circles Conference by Bethany Marie

Another plus is that Circles is very affordable compared to a lot of conference and since it’s in Texas the travel was affordable for me too! I definitely recommend attending next year! I’ll also be sharing some of my favorite quotes from different speakers on the blog in the future!

Crowd at Circles Conference by Bethany Marie

All photos courtesy of Bethany Marie Photography, a very talented lady who I got to have lunch with one of the days at the conference!

Four Years of Blogging!

When I started my blog, I could have never imagined where it would be today! Since I’m celebrating four years of blogging this month, I thought I’d give y’all a little history of how it all got started. Then for the rest of the month I will have some other special posts and surprises for y’all!

Ciera Design Four Year Blogiversary

In 2009, I had been at my agency job for a few years and I wasn’t really feeling satisfied by the design work I was doing anymore. I decided to start a blog to get some of my ideas out. It started as a photo dump. I would post my random iPhone pictures with a little caption and might expand a little here and there. I had no plan and no organization. Soon after, I left my job to start my own business and I knew that I needed to create a portfolio site that potential clients could check out. So in 2010 I decided to take my site and blog to the next level. I started posting on a regular basis with relevant and consistent content. It has been growing ever since into what you see today!

I love networking and meeting new people who I probably would have never had contact with if not for blogging. In January, blog friend and contributor, Mariah and I roomed together at Alt Summit and at Circles Conference last month I got to be roomies and hang out with another blog buddy, Patti! I love hearing about adventures of other bloggers who work for themselves and love following along with other creatives!

One of my favorite opportunities that has come from starting this blog was being able to attend Alt Summit this year! It was SO inspiring! When I walked into the Bing It To Life Lounge at Alt Summit the LAST thing I expected to see was my travel map pin board, but there it was, and it was huge! Bing took submissions of ideas to showcase and my DIY creation was chosen to come to life! It was really special to see bloggers from all over interacting with my idea and pinning their business cards to the map! It was so surreal to see it all over Instagram and it was such a cool way to see where everyone was from.

I’m always trying to take this blog to the next level and I can’t wait to see where it takes me in the next four years! Thank you so much to all of my readers for encouraging me, challenging me to keep creating unique content and for all of your comments over the years, it really means the world to me!

Jasmine took these photos for me.

Eight Years

So this is pretty crazy to say, but next month will mark eight years with my boyfriend! We don’t have an official day but we have always called October our anniversary month. We had been friends for years but strangely enough Hurricane Katrina brought us together unexpectedly during college and that’s when we started dating. I’m not going to get all mushy or say too much here except that he is an amazingly talented person and I love our life together! Next month also marks four years of this blog, so stay tuned for some fun blogiversary celebrations!

Ciera-And-Zander-Eight-Years

The Made In Mind Social Launch Party!

The Made In Mind Social Launch Party Evite

Jasmine and I would like to invite you to help us celebrate the launch of our new venture, The Made In Mind Social! Join us for some fun at Loa on July 27th from 6-9 P.M. There will be small bites and a specialty drink for your enjoyment. Come ready to make new friends and bring your business cards for networking. Get tatted up with Tattly before smiling for the photo booth with Photos by Brei! Make sure you arrive on time because we will have 30 awesome swag bags for our first 30 guests!

FREE TO ATTEND – CLICK HERE TO RSVP


 We’d like to thank all of our sponsors for jumping on board for our first event!

LOA-BarCourseCraft

Eef-Designs smallchalk

Zander White Photography | NOLA Partyology

Introducing The Made In Mind Social

Hey guys! I am SO excited to finally share what my sister and I have been working on for the past few months. We are starting a meetup for bloggers and creatives in Louisiana called The Made In Mind Social. We had this idea in the back of minds for a while, but after attending the Creating Offline Events panel at Alt Summit, I was really inspired to get it going! We have been working behind the scenes on the logo and website and officially launched this week!

tThe Made In Mind Social

Our goal is to build a community where everyone can share their passions and encourage each other to keep their creative juices flowing. Whether you are a blogger, graphic designer, artist, photographer, fashion designer, DIY lover, makeup artist etc., we want to network and get to know the people behind their work!

We are planning our first event as we speak so if you are in the area, we would LOVE for you to become a member and attend some of our events!

If you won’t be able to attend our events, you can still support us by sponsoring the Made In Mind blog or sponsoring an event! This is the perfect event to get your name out to bloggers and creatives in Louisiana!

The Made In Mind Social A Meetup Of Creative Minds in Louisiana

Like The Made In Mind Social on Facebook, follow on Twitter or sign up for the newsletter so you don’t miss out!