Why Small Businesses and Bloggers Need Private Cloud Storage

Why Small Businesses and Bloggers Need Private Cloud StorageCiera-Design-Studio-DeskCiera-Design-Studio-DetailsCiera-Design-Studio-Computer Ciera-Design-Studio-Workspace

Today I want to tell you about why you should set up your own private cloud for your home office or creative business, but first a story.

My business has been going through quit a bit lately. Some good, some bad. Let’s get the bad out-of-the-way. I have been having some serious computer issues. I limped it along for months but finally had to send it off for repairs. As y’all know, my computer is a major part of how I make a living and it’s really not possible for me to get much done without it. Luckily I was able to borrow a computer but it still hasn’t been easy. I had to save all my files to a drive making sure I didn’t forget any fonts, graphics, working files, estimates, etc. Not fun.

Another challenge is that I’ve always worked from a laptop. I like the versatility but it’s not ideal as my only computer. I have been contemplating getting a desktop but I wasn’t sure how I’d work on both without constantly sending files back and forth.

Now the good! Something else going on behind the scenes right now is that I’m bringing on some part-time help in the design studio, exciting but scary! I’m so used to working alone. Everything is organized in my head but having employees means that everyone needs to be on the same page. So I’m working on some new processes and implementing some new technology. We all need access to the same files, otherwise things will get very confusing.

I wasn’t really sure how to achieve all of this seamlessness that I was after. Then with absolutely perfect timing WD, a Western Digital Company saved the day by providing me with a My Cloud EX2 to use and review… serious dream come true. This is what I was looking for and I didn’t even know it. Personal cloud storage! Basically, it is a physical hard drive connected to your Internet that you can access from anywhere. Totally ideal for small office and home office businesses.

 

Why I Love Private Cloud Storage

  • one-time cost – unlike many public cloud options, the My Cloud EX2 just has a one-time cost, purchase the drive and you’re done. You can also add as many users as you need!
  • easy setup – plug it in and go through the simple setup and you’re up and running with an intuitive interface
  • security – allows you to set up permissions-based folders so you can give an employee or family member limited access to access or upload files
  • peace of mind – knowing your data is backed up and secure with cloud storage for small businesses makes it easier to focus on other things to make your business successful
  • wireless back ups – the drive gets plugged into a power source and your internet during setup but never directly to your computer so your backups happen without you even thinking about it
  • file sharing – easily generate email links for files or folders. When a client clicks on the link they are given a zip of the files you selected. This allows you to send files that are too large for emailing.
  • anytime, anywhere access – with mobile and desktop apps you are not limited to what you can fit on your phone – if you download the app you can view all files from your drive at home. You can connect multiple computers and devices for seamless integration.
  • automatic transfer via camera - you can connect your camera directly to the My Cloud EX2 and it copies files automatically
  • storage space – photos from my blog take up a lot of space and I NEVER delete client projects. Luckily the My Cloud EX2 provides several capacity options, up to 8TB, to choose from.
  • speed – files load much faster to the EX2 than they do to a remote cloud.
  • working remotely – I want to be able to travel and I want employees to work from anywhere. My Cloud EX2 is such a huge benefit when working in multiple offices, computers or on the road.
  • streaming – stream videos and photos to connected TVs, media players, gaming consoles

If you have a small business, you really need to get one of these systems! I can’t believe I’m only now setting one up! Be sure to check out more of the features at Western Digital’s website and share this story with other small business owners, this knowledge is major!

Many thanks to WD for letting me try the private cloud with the EX2. 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. The two photos of me are by Hannah Hudson Photography.

Halloween Water Bottle Printables with Dasani

This fun Halloween DIY project and freebie printable has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. But as always, all opinions are mine alone.

Free Halloween Water Bottle Labels

I love Halloween y’all and I can’t believe it’s sneaking up on us already. It’s one of my favorite holidays and it’s pretty huge in New Orleans, we love any excuse to dress up and party in the street! I need to start on my costume, but in the meantime, I wanted to create something easy to use and versatile for y’all. I designed some fun printables to dress up water bottles as Bat’s Blood, Magic Potion, Witches Brew, Zombie Juice and Snake Venom. You can use these for parties to go along with your Halloween snacks, bring them to work or your child’s classroom to get in the Halloween spirit or even hand them out to trick-or-treaters to wash down all that candy. I also did a bonus larger label to wrap around a 1 liter Fanta bottle, I love that the soda is orange and already in the Halloween spirit! I wanted to have a spooky theme but also use some fun bright colors! Water bottle labels are such a simple thing but can make a huge difference in the look of your party!

Directions

  • purchase your favorite beverages (I got 12 oz Dasani and 1 liter Fanta bottles from Walmart. I picked the smaller 12 oz bottles for the water, they just felt more festive and I liked the pop of green that the lids have.)
  • remove the labels (scissors or an Exacto knife make this super easy)
  • download, print and trim the labels (I went to Kinkos to print my labels, the colors are more vibrant than my home printer)
  • use double stick tape to attach the new labels to the bottles (one small piece on the back is enough)

Download The Halloween Printable Here

I’d love to hear your Halloween plans and see pictures if you use these labels!

Looking for something to do with all that leftover candy, try these Candy Bar Surprise Cookies.
Looking for a non-carve pumpkin option, check out my paint dipped pumpkins!

Halloween Bottle Printables Ciera DesignFree Halloween Water Bottle LabelsFree Halloween Water Bottle LabelsHalloween Water & Soda Bottle PrintablesFree Halloween Water Bottle Labels Fanta and Dasani Free Halloween Labels

Follow Dasani on Facebook and Twitter. Follow Fanta on Facebook and Twitter.

This design is © Ciera Holzenthal. All rights reserved. It may not be copied, resold, made available for download, given away or redistributed elsewhere without my written permission. Please link directly to this page if you would like to share these downloads with others. 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. #SpookySnacks #CollectiveBias

Fitness: Getting Back On Track with Healthy Choices

This story about making healthy choices has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. But as always, all opinions are mine alone. #BalanceRewards #CollectiveBias

sports bra, apple, wedding magazine for fitness

A few months ago I was finally back into a good health and wellness routine, I was going to the gym at least twice a week (better than nothing) and doing pretty good at eating healthy. All of that went right out the window when I started traveling, oy! We did a ton of walking, but we also did a ton of eating! So now that I am home, settling back in, it’s time for me to get back on track. I’m in the process of planning my wedding and besides the venue, music, flowers, invitations, etc, I want my health to be a priority on that list as well. When I’m eating bad and not exercising I feel sluggish, I want planning my wedding to be an enjoyable experience and I want to be in great shape and healthy for the big day! It’s time for me to start making healthy choices again.

healthy food, new fitness gear and iphone app

I don’t know about you, but being able to track my health goals and getting a little reward every now and then really helps to keep me going. This is where the Walgreens app comes into play. I have always been a Walgreens customer for my toiletries and use their app to refill my prescriptions. I also have a Balance Rewards card. For every 5,000 points you earn $5 to spend at Walgreens. If I’m going to be buying stuff, I might as well get rewards for it right?!

sports bra, tennis shoes, capris, iphone, water bottle

But what I didn’t know until recently is that you can also earn rewards just by making healthy choices throughout the day with their Balance Rewards for healthy choices feature. You can track your steps, weight and blood pressure each day. Every time you track one of those items you earn Balance Rewards. You can even sync some devices (like a Fitbit) straight to your account so go register today and start tracking your progress!

wedding magazine apple and sports bra

Another way I like to reward myself is with some new workout gear every once in a while! I just got these Victoria’s Secret Sport items and adore them, I want to go get more in all of their fun patterns!

sports bra, tennis shoes, capris and walgreens app

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. #BalanceRewards #CollectiveBias

Dreaming of a Bathroom Renovation

A bathroom renovation has been in the back of my mind for a while now. It’s the room in my house that needs it the most, unfortunately it will have to wait a while longer but a girl can dream can’t she?

White and Gold Subway Tile Bathroom

My bathroom tiles were originally blue but a previous owner decided to paint them rather than replace them, yikes! Years later, the paint is starting to chip and it is not pretty. Not to mention, the floor tiles still contain blue, so it’s hard to choose a new color scheme with those still intact. I’m really digging white subway tiles with a darker grout and gold faucets and accessories.

Dream Bathroom Roundup: Decor, Faucets & Skin Care

brass prism | luxury spa towels | skin essentials | candle | edison pendant light | gold classic razor | soap dispenser | mirror | vanity | faucet | photo via Domino

This post is sponsored by The Towel Depot who carries everything from salon towelswholesale towelswholesale beach towels and shop rags. 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. Contains affiliate links.

How Do You Celebrate The Bright Side of Life?

Eating Mango Frozen Fruit Bar

As you can probably tell by my travel adventures this summer, I’m attempting to be a little more spontaneous and embrace the bright side of life. Traveling to Europe for a few weeks, maybe a few months (still unsure, ah spontaneity) was not an easy decision for me since I’m a frugal spender and a planner. But I had an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up so I’m doing what makes me happy, spending time outside, traveling and treating myself, even if it’s something small like a frozen fruit bar on a hot day!

I’m not letting work dictate my life, although I am working part-time while I travel but I’m really trying to embrace the adventures by breaking routines and taking in my surroundings. Before leaving for Spain I tried these amazing mango fruit bars from Fruttare (so yummy and perfect on a hot New Orleans day) and during my travels I have been indulging in local sweets like chocolate and churros and gelato! How do you celebrate the bright side of life?

Mango Frozen Fruit Bars

Mango Frozen Fruit Bar

Ciera With Mango Frozen Fruit Bar

Fruttare Mango Frozen Fruit Bar

Holding Mango Frozen Fruit Bar

Mango Frozen Fruit Bars on Board

Fruttare Frozen Fruit Bars are made with real fruit and refreshing juice and are available at retailers nationwide.

Photos by Kaylynn Marie Photography.

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. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Vacation Dreaming

Vacation Dreaming

RCI 35 Year Logos2

Thank you RCI for sponsoring this post. For a chance to make your vacation fantasies a reality, enter RCI’s Win Your Dream Vacation Sweepstakes by 6/18/14!

 

Did you know that even the vacation planning process alone boosts happiness? Just the anticipation of a vacation boosts happiness for eight weeks. My friend Dominique just wrote about how she used to take European vacations with her mom without ever leaving home, so sweet! While the planning process and faux vacations are a ton of fun, it’s still important to truly get away every once in awhile. I’ve got the itch and I’m actually in the process of planning a dream vacation right now! I was super fortunate to study abroad twice while in college, but I haven’t been back to Europe since, bummer. Well, my best friend since 7th grade told me she was planning a trip with her sister and I invited myself along, haha! Who knows when someone else I know will be taking a trip like this and I didn’t want to miss out! While I’m not 100% sure I’m going yet (because of my budget), like I said, the planning alone has got me all excited! The itinerary looks something like this: Madrid, Barcelona, Marseille, Nice, Paris. I’m really hoping I can make it work!

The Parker Palm Springs

Lucky for me AND you, RCI (the global leader in vacation exchange) is hosting a sweepstakes to celebrate their 40th anniversary that allows you to plan your dream vacation (and they will be giving away 40 awesome vacation prizes)! I just planned mine, it took 5 minutes, so easy! First you select your vacation type (beach, gold, skiing, family, city or cruise), then your destination, extras (all inclusive, rental car, spa etc.), then how many people you want to bring and there you have it, your dream vacation is in the works!

  • One lucky winner will win the grand prize vacation of their dreams (worth up to $25,000)
  • 39 others will win other amazing vacation prizes
  • Don’t forget to share your vacation on social media for additional entries!
  • Sweepstakes ends on June 18, 2014

If you’re ready to get that ‘vacation planning’ happiness boost, RCI’s Win Your Dream Vacation Sweepstakes has you covered. (And seriously, would anything make you happier than winning a dream vacation?)

What would your dream vacation be?

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. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.