On Blogging / Creating Your Brand With a Designer

I’ve been using my (rare) quiet moments to plan some exciting things for the blog in the coming months. Nothing makes you reflect on your branding more than considering brand extensions, so this post was born in rapid fire during one of my brainstorm sessions!

When I was planning and launching the Ember & March brand, I was fortunate enough to be able to have maximum control over what was created. I knew I wanted to design everything myself, and plan to add even more personal touches to the blog in the future.

It’s important that you’re able to see yourself in your brand; that you get to leave your fingerprints and traces of your identity throughout your space. I know my mark is here, and hope it’s felt. But I also understand that other bloggers and creatives who don’t have design skills, or even fully understand branding, sometimes feel limited in their control over the final product.

When working with a designer, in order to get the best result, don’t be afraid to speak up and express, as best you can, what you want. If something doesn’t look or feel right or as you envisioned it, be sure to say something! When deciding to work with a designer on your brand, be sure to review designers carefully. Does that designer have other project similar to the one you want executed? Does their style match your vision?
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Can You Feel That Change is Coming?

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve probably seen me mentioning a strong want to start fresh, wipe the slate clean and move forward with a new brand. I thought it was just a fleeting thought, but then I realized this wasn’t the first time I had this feeling. And it wasn’t just a by-the-way type feeling, this time, I felt it in the pit of my gut.

So I slept on it, wrote some things, sketched some things, and didn’t act. I thought it was ridiculous that after only being in this space, under this rebrand, for eight months, I was already itching to pack up and go through the process again. And boy, is it a process. New name, new design, refreshed content.

But I noticed, all of those things were coming to me, quickly and almost effortlessly. The name came to me almost instantly, and stuck. I wrote it, typed and and said it out loud and all it felt right. It fits likes my favorite pair of jeans.

I opened up to my blogger and real-life friend Jordan about where my mind was regarding the blog and potential rebrand. I was looking for someone to tell me I was crazy, and to focus on the space I was in currently. Luckily for me, Jordan isn’t that kind of friend. She sees the ridiculous and nontraditional and encourages it, and just like that, encouraged me to press forward with how I was feeling.

So, with a little more motivation, I got to work -designing and writing, planning and mapping. Within the next 24 hours, there was a logo and a brand board in the works. Yesterday’s mood board (as I somewhat eluded to) is the bones of this rebrand. Shortly thereafter, a domain name had been purchased.

I’m not sure how long the process will take, but I know that I don’t want to rush it. This brand has its own feel, mind, and spirit.

There will be some changes, some big and some small; other things will stay the same. I still want to produce content that you all will enjoy. So, I’ve put together a quick survey (will take less than 3 minutes to complete) to help me as I move forward with this project. I’d love if you would share your feedback!

Be Bold, Live Simply / A Mood Board

I’ve been feeling off lately; I haven’t had one set routine since my summer started and that has definitely been throwing me off.

But routine hasn’t been the only thing that’s been causing this off feeling. I haven’t been feeling as inspired or creative lately. Something has felt like it’s missing from the plans I’m making and the designs in my head. I’ve hit a block.

This mood board is a foundation of sorts for something new that I’ve been feeling inclined to create. I need a new, fresh space that matches were I am right now, and where I see myself going. I wanted to pair soft and gentle colors and visuals with bold accents.

I was a little apprehensive about taking this leap of faith, but I’m excited to see what comes out of it. And honestly, it feels right. If there is one thing I’ve learned about branding over the past few months, it’s that it is not a destination, it’s an ongoing process.

Stay tuned for more!

14 Blogging Goals for 2014

Hello hello, and Merry day-after-Christmas! I hope you all had a great holiday, however and whatever you and your family celebrate! Just having time off to sit, take a deep breath and be around the people I love most is enough for me.

2013 was a great year for me when it came to blogging. Not because I did everything right and was super successful, but rather because I figured out what works for me. Even more importantly, I figured out what doesn’t work for me. I was able to step back a little, and seriously consider the role that blogging has played in my life, and the role that I want it to play in the future.

My biggest takeaway of 2013: balance. A week full of great posts and high pageviews means nothing when everything else is falling apart.

All of that being said, I’ve come up with a list of 14 goals that I would like to accomplish on the blog in 2014. I know I shared this post about some goals dealing with my online presence overall, but this is much more tailored to this space. I can’t wait until this time next year, when I can go back to this post and see how far I’ve come…

01 / Take SEO more seriously. I can’t lie, I haven’t really taken SEO into consideration at all. It’s something I’m knowledgable about, but never put into effect to use for my benefit. I definitely want to get a handle on this in the new year.

02 / Collaborate with other bloggers. My favorite part of blogging has been the connections and friendships I’ve formed through this community! I really want to create more ways to connect with other talented creatives in the new year.

03 / Mastering the ed cal. Having an editorial calendar has been extremely helpful in staying organized and tracking which posts hit the blog. One thing I learned sooner rather than later is that you have to have gaps, spaces and room to be flexible in any editorial calendar. I’ll be writing more on that later.

04 / Be less of a lurker. There are so many blogs that I read weekly, even daily that I never take the time to comment on! I hate when I do that! In 2014, prepare to see my name in your comments more frequently.

05 / More life posts. Before I launched this blog, I gave a survey to my readers about which categories of content you all wanted to see. By far, the ‘more post about you/your life’ came up the most. I definitely want to be more open and personal in 2014.

06 / Revamping sponsorships. I love that I am able to offer sponsorships here on the blog, but there are a few improvements I want to make in the new year.

07 / Learn to say no more. I never want to risk the authenticity of this space for an opportunity that isn’t right for me.

08 / Create more. I love creating things that you guys can download and use, and I really want to design more this year.

09 / Take off time, without feeling guilty. Leaving the blog without content for even just a few days makes me feel incredibly guilty. But sometimes, I do need to step away and focus on other things.

10 / Send out a successful newsletter. Before I know it, I’ll be sharing the subscribe link for the first AYTJ Newsletter. I’m excited and nervous, because I’ve never done anything like this before for my blog.

11 / Use social media more. Lately, I feel like my social media platforms have only been used to share posts and announcements, when really it should be another way to communicate and connect with all of you!

12 / Organize, organize, organize. Especially my laptop! I’m usually pretty on top of this, but it’s time to delete old images and blog ideas that are just taking up space.

13 / Think of myself as bigger. It’s come up more than a few times in conversation with close friends that I don’t give myself enough credit. I don’t take the time to celebrate all f my accomplishments, even though I’m constantly encouraging others to. In 2014, I need to be more of my own cheerleader.

14 / Become a resource. In 2014, I really want this blog to serve as a resource to people. For a while I couldn’t exactly figure out my ‘niche’ as a lifestyle blogger. But that’s just it: I’m a tool – a resource on blogging, organization, goal setting and self love. Those are things that will always pop up within my posts. A creative space building community for others to ignite their own creative powers and spread joy. That’s what I want to be all about in 2014…

So get excited1 Because this new year will only be ten times better with all of the support of my amazing readers who have been so supportive, and made this journey worth while.

What are your blogging goals for 2014?