Monday, November 24, 2014

10 things I can't design without

Every morning, I wake up, brush my teeth and fire up my Keurig.  Before I had a Keurig, it was my coffee pot.  And just like that's become such a huge part of my morning ritual, I realized that I have a lot of ingrained design habits.  As a designer, there are so many things in my day to day routine that I just can't live without.  Here's a look at the top ten most helpful things that keep my on task and fuel my creativity on a daily basis.

1.  My Computer
It goes without saying that I couldn't even create without my computer.  I'm pretty lucky and have a husband who knows what he's doing.  He custom built mine a in 2012 so it's fairly new and has an incredible graphics card & a ton of memory, so she runs fast and beautifully.  I'm upgrading my screen this Black Friday to a 28" monitor, and I cannot tell you how excited I am about this.  Nerd status, anyone?

2. Adobe Creative Suite
I first used Photoshop and Illustrator in 1999, and couldn't get enough of the products.  From there, I used Dreamweaver, Frash, Acrobat, Fireworks and many other programs during my college career.  I don't know how a professional designer would get anything done without the use of Adobe CS. 

3. Coffee/Tea
Just call me Rory Gilmore.  Coffee is such a huge part of who I am, all day long.  My husband doesn't know how someone can drink so much coffee and sleep so well at night.  My mom is the only other person I know who drinks more coffee than me!  I'm a huge can of CoffeeMate's Sweet Italian Cream creamer, and if you know me then you know if I'm not drinking coffee I've got a Chai Tea Latte in my hands. 

4. Spotify
I absolutely cannot work unless I've got background noise.  If there is silence, I am distracted.  Contradictory, don't you think?   My routine looks like this:  Coffee in hand, computer fired up, Spotify turned on, Illustrator opened. 

I like all kinds of music, but I am the most productive to music that has a quick beat.  I mostly work to Drake, AFI, The Weeknd, The Smashing Pumpkins and Foo Fighters. 

5. My Planner
I'm such a Type A person and strive on organization.  My husband would tell you that I make lists of lists, then color code them.  I will neither confirm nor deny.

Truthfully, though, I do strive on organization and it's key to running a business.  I need to know what bills need to be paid when, when conference calls are scheduled, what my design schedule looks like, and what my blogging schedule looks like.  A planner is an absolute must.

6. Pinterest
I don't know how I lived before Pinterest was invented.  I'm such a visual person, and to have this curated inspiration in front of me is so helpful.  I love creating pinboards with my clients when working on a project together.  It helps me get a sense of their style, color ideas and help me pull all their ideas together to create an invitation suite that reflects their personalities.  I can easily reference our Pin Boards during the design process.

7. An Organized Desktop
I work with a lot of files every day, so it doesn't take long for my Desktop to get cluttered.  I organize my desktop in thirds:  I have a column for personal files, a column for business files, and a column for programs.  Within each folder I further organize by completed files, templates, orders, drafts, and so on.  It's a system that works for me, and I am so used to this system that I could find a file with my eyes closed. 

8. Gmail for Business ( and Boomerang)
I conduct 95% of my business online, so it's important that I have a reliable email provider.  Gmail is so user friendly!  I integrate with Boomerag and schedule emails, too,  which is a huge convenience. 

9. My Peers
Sometimes I really need to bounce ideas off a friend who gets it.  Sometimes I'm stuck on an idea and need someone to tell me I'm crazy or that an idea can really work.  Having a close friend in the industry is key - we are there for each other to bounce ideas off of one another, talk strategies, and brainstorm.  Some of my best ideas have come to fruiting because of these brainstorming sessions. 

For me, that's Phebe of Making Me Events.  For years, Phebe has been me go-to-gal for brainstorming sessions.  We both bounce ideas off one another, talk late into the night, randomly text one another & send voice messages and keep each other in check.  Believe me, you need someone to make you laugh at 2am and keep you sane! 

10.A Clean Workspace
My mom would probably disagree with you -- after all, she knows what my bedroom looked like in high school! - but I absolutely cannot work surrounded by chaos.  I have to clean my desk every morning before I get started with my work.  I always light a candle, too.  My favorite scent is Yankee Candle's Vanilla Icing! 

What about you? What are some things you can't work without?

Friday, November 21, 2014

Christmas Party Favors

Nothing says “Christmas party” more than the fun favors your guests get when they leave.  Here are 5 fun and festive options that your holiday guests will love. 
If you've got a hard nut to crack, give them these fun Nutcracker mini crackers for a jolly good time.
Holiday Chocolate Covered Oreo Pop - Give guests something to "mmm" about at your next holiday party thanks to holiday chocolate covered Oreo cookie pops!

 Everyone loves these delicious personalized holiday cookie favor bags decorated with your special message at your next party. 
Personalized Holiday Vintage Milk Jars - Add a vintage feel to your holiday party this year with help from these personalized vintage milk jars.  

Bottle some holiday memories with personalized bottle stoppers with epoxy dome.

beat the holiday rush - 20% off through 11.26

Here's the fine details

We love a good deal, and we love good design.  We think your holidays should be full of cheer and delight. That's why we designed our 2014 Holiday collection with you in mind:  I wanted to showcase full photos, multiple photos and personalized greetings with trendy, modern designs.  The best part?  Affordable printing.  I'm in love with our 130# matte stock and know that you will, too.  Now, when you order a minimum of 25 cards, you can enjoy 20% off other products in our shop -- like our custom stamps, which happen to make wonderful gifts.
PS:  Our stamps and our holiday cards ship separately!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

INSPIRATION: peach watercolor wedding

Warm pinks, dull hues of peach, yellow, green and bright gold all come together to produce this delicious palette.

I truly hope that this amazing private beach photo shoot inspires you.  My darling friend Phebe of Making Me Events, the designer and stylist of this event, told Style Me Pretty 
that she was always mesmerized at the simplicity of the sun setting and the many gorgeous colors it provides independently and all at once.

Phebe and I were brainstorming about a location for this shoot, and I said, "What about a beach?  Is that crazy?"  But it wasn't, and it worked.  Given the location, Phebe wanted to play on the soft and gentle breeze and decided to incorporate chair covers made with the most delicate fabric she could find.  Phebe chose gold faceted geometric terrariums instead of traditional vases, a to-die-for handmade sequin table number (you can buy those here), and shadow boxes to hold the escort cards. 

The result of our collaborative effort?  The most explosive splash of watercolor with movement, whimsy and glam.  

Photography: Ruth Eileen | Event Design: Making Me Events | Floral Design: 1956 Blooms | Stationery: Blush Printables | Bridal Boutique: Flair Boston | DIY Cake: Making Me Events | Hair & Makeup : Manda Of MandaMonium | Linens: Myreidas Linens | Sequin Table Number: Making Me Events -Etsy Shop | Venue: Private Beach

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

save 15% on our holiday collection

I absolutely cannot believe that next month Christmas will be here.  This year has gone by in the blink of an eye.  I feel like every year is going by faster and faster!  I love keeping in touch with our friends and families by sending holiday photo cards, and I designed our new collection with family in mind.  I wanted to showcase full photos, multiple photos and personalized greetings. 

But, I took things a step further this year:  I wanted to share even more and created coordinating back sides to all the greeting cards.  You'll find three coordinating back sides available with each holiday photo card as add-ons!

As always, the early bird gets the worm!  Enjoy 15% off your Holiday Order of $15 or more using code HOLIDAY15 now through Wednesday, November 26, 2014 on all printable orders placed on Etsy.

Sign up for our newsletter and get an exclusive code for website orders, where we offer our print services.


HOLIDAY15 through Wednesday, November 26, 2014