Monday, September 22, 2014

You Can Find Me on HayesDays.com

Happy Monday!

Today you can find me guest-posting it up over on HayesDays.com AND I am sharing a free printable of my latest Disney countdown.


 Be sure to head over and check it out (there is a cute Mickey one there too!)

Thursday, September 18, 2014

My Favs on Thursdays - Shopping On Etsy

this 24oz mason jar tumbler by the mason bar company

these personalized leather bracelets by sweet auburn studio

this day designer by Whitney English

this super cute leather cord organizer by

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A Lesson in Customer Service

I got a message from one of my first art print customers today.

A few years back she was getting married and placed an order for one of our favor table signs. To make a long story short, I was drowning. Cameron and I were both working full-time and DBN was starting to really take off. I was working 12 hour days to keep up, and failing. A lot. Orders were mixed up, sent to the wrong place, and in the wrong color more often than I like to think. But I always apologized, fixed the issue and went out of my way to make sure the customer was happy with the outcome.

This customer's order was mailed to the wrong side of the US and she was being sent another couple's wedding print. I was able to APOLOGIZE and make her aware of the issue before the wrong print arrived on her doorstep, and already had printed and shipped another one that would arrive in plenty of time for her wedding. She was so grateful and appreciative that I would go out of my way to admit my mistake before she even knew there was an issue.

She messaged me today to place her fifth custom art print order since her wedding those years ago. Had I handled that situation differently, she may have never even come back to me a second time.

My boss at my old job taught me the most important customer service lesson of all time. SAY YOU'RE SORRY.


Say you're sorry, even if it isn't your fault. (but especially if it is) Say you're sorry, even if the customer is so wrong for what they are doing or saying. Say you're sorry, even if it is something small that you don't think will be a big deal to the customer. Say you're sorry even if you are planning on fixing the problem. Saying you're sorry is the BEST place to start, and the only way a situation could possibly me made better.  It can be the difference of having a loyal customer or one that will tell all of their friends never to order from you.

Now I am not saying that every sorry will make you a life-long customer. I am not even saying that it will solve the situation, some people just can't be helped. All you can do, is give someone the best customer service you can offer, and they can choose to take it or not.

I needed that customer today, to remind me of this. Because we all make mistakes, and get ahead of ourselves, and are human. But the difference can me made if you just say you're sorry.

Monday, September 15, 2014

No-Sew Disney Inspired Pocket Tee


If you know anything about me you know I love a good pocket tee. Almost as much as I love Disney. Put them together and you have a seriously cute way to Disney Bound.

Last time we visited, they had some I liked but they were all men's sizes and didn't fit me right. So for this trip I decided to make my own. I took the leftover remnants of this adorable fabric (I had purchased it for Jenny Penny Designs to make a baby shower gift for my sister-in-law) a tee from Target and my very little lack of sewing skills to put together this no-sew DIY disney inspired pocket tee.

What you need:
Tee Shirt*
Fabric Scrap*
No-Sew Tape (or Fabric Glue)
Scissors
Iron
Pocket Tee Template
Fabric Chalk (or washi tape)


*it is very important to pre-wash the tee and the fabric so when you wash it for the first time, it won't shrink funny with the no-sew tape

STEP ONE:
Iron tee shirt, and the fabric you wish to use

STEP TWO:
Use pocket template (download below) to cut out your fabric, then iron it into a pocket using the template guides

 I used the template as a guide, but didn't keep to it exactly.

STEP THREE:
Fold in the extra fabric and iron them down. Keep the lines as straight as you can! Iron until the edges stay perfectly folded when you pull the iron off, almost like they are sewn.

I used fabric glue, but if I was using no sew tape, I would add some in between the top layer and the fold.

STEP FOUR:
I am just about the messiest glue user ever, so I used this cake pop craft stick to apply the fabric glue to seal the edges to the inside.
STEP FIVE:
I used another pocket tee of mine (told you I love them) to measure the placement,
then used the ironed pocket to mark the spot.
STEP SIX:
You could use fabric chalk to keep the spot, but I didn't have any. So I improvised and outlined my desired spot with washi tape.
STEP SEVEN:
After the pocked area is outlined, apply the glue (or no sew tape) to to the back of the pocket. I wanted to keep my pocket functioning, so I just put it on the folded areas on the inside of the pocket and glued it down (be sure to put a sheet of paper between the two layers of the shirt so you don't glue it together!)

Allow it to dry for 24 hours before you wear it to try to wash it! I personally would line dry!


I think this is a super cute way to Disney Bound, especially because you can pick whatever fabric you want! Etsy has some cute options for Disney fabric, but it would be cute to use vintage sheets or fabric from your local store.

Pocket Tee Template:
Pocket Tee Template, be sure to print at actual size not shrink to page size

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sunday Thoughts

 
Let's talk about lists. I love making lists, they make me more productive. I like checking things off of lists. I love my Planner Plus app, because when I check something off it shows up all crossed off and it makes me look like I have accomplished something with my week. 

I have a list a mile long of things I should be doing but really just don't feel like doing. I have a load of laundry in the dryer, a load in the washer, a messy house and a dishwasher that needs to be unloaded. I have a website half-done, new products half designed, and items half listed. I have emails that need to be responded to, guest posts that need to be typed up and custom orders need to be worked on. 

It can be hard not to get totally overwhelmed by lists, and all the things you have to do. The best thing I have tried to teach myself is that there are only so many things I want to can do in a day.

On Sunday's I try to take a little time to plan. I add two to four things that I have to do each day (everything from laundry, custom work ordering paper) that might get missed in the day to day hustle. Let's face it, I don't enjoy cleaning, or laundry, or sometimes the annoying stuff that comes along with running your own business. But when I can schedule myself out, it leaves more time to do the things that I want to do. Instead of ending up with a whole day on the weekend dedicated to doing all the tasks that got neglected during the week.

What's your secret to not getting to overwhelmed? I would love to hear!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Disney Planning - Gluten Free Resources

This is the first in a series of posts that I am excited to write about being Gluten Free when you are at WDW.

I can't wait to review all the snacks and places we try while we are there, but this post is all about planning. Today I am sharing some great resources when planning your trip. I have found that especially with travel, it is great to be prepared when you need to eat gluten free. The most frustrating thing while on a trip is to be looking for a place to eat while you are hungry.

These are some of the blogs/websites I have been frequenting to compile my list of safe places.






The great thing about Disney is that most any place can make sure you have something safe to eat or snack on. 

There are also a few things you should do before you get to the parks!
ONE When you make your Advance Dining Reservations, make sure to note your special diet on each reservation

TWO When you are 30 days out from your trip (they ask this is the earliest you do it because the menus/ingredients periodically change) email the Special Diets department at Disney SpecialDiets@DisneyWorld.com; or call them at (407) 824-5967

They can send you a list of safe items, or the best places to eat
You can also ask them to make extra notes in all of your reservations about your special diets. Make sure you check especially with the hotel you are staying at to be sure about breakfast options.

THREE Talk to the Chef or Restaurant Manager when you arrive the restaurant.

For the full list of gluten free items at 2014 Food & Wine festival at Epcot visit the Disney Food Blog

Any extra tips? Be sure to leave them below!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

My Favs On Thursdays - The Target Cartwheel App

There is little I love more than shopping at Target. When Cam and I first got married we were about 5 min away from Target and had very little extra money for outings.

We would have Target dates, walking the back aisles trying to find the best deals on things to fill our apartment.

Even though we live a little farther from Target now, we still love going. Even more so now that they released the Target Cartwheel app. I have mentioned it to a few people recently and they hadn't head of it. So I thought I would share it as my fav this week.

Believe me, once you give it a try you will be hooked!


Download the app, and sign up. Cartwheel gives you a certain amount of spots to fill with coupons. If you sign with Facebook, you get extra slots based on if your friends join and save as well.

The great thing about this app is all your coupons attach to one barcode, which also links to your passbook if you are using an iPhone.

The offers tab is where you can find all the coupon options, usually the coupons range from 5%-20%.

The offers are organized by section if you are looking for something in particular. But what I like best is to use the scan product button (you can see from the main menu graphic above) you scan the barcode of a product and it tells you if that product has an offer or not.

Once you have loaded up your card, you can exit the offer menu and head back to my barcode. All of your saved offers are listed, as well as loaded on to your barcode.

Just show it to your cashier at checkout.

I have had it not work once or twice, especially when it first came out, and they just asked to see all the offers and they did it manually. So I have probably saved a bit more than the $28.04 it shows, and I have forgotten to use it a few times. But the savings really do add up!

Have you used cartwheel? Do you love it as much as I do?

Don't forget to link up with our my favs on thursdays link up!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Giveaway! Send Happy Mail with Lilly & Wes

I am so excited to introduce you to an adorable shop and blog Lily & Wes, they are one of my product exchange sponsors this month.


While Lily & Wes sent me these address labels to review, all opinions are my own.

I think they pair so nicely with our new Thank You notes that will be coming to the shop very soon!

I personally love her address labels, she has several designs that will fit any style. These are some of my favorites.
But her shop is also full of cute art prints, invites and baby announcements and more! I would love for you to go check her shop out.

She also has an adorable blog, that is on my reading list.

Lily & Wes is also offering one of my readers their very own set of lables, and I am throwing in some thank you notes. Enter below! US entries only please.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Tip Tuesday #36 Free Bloglovin' Button

Most of my readers follow along using the website bloglovin' it is an amazing place to keep all of your favorite blogs organized in one place.

I love using it too. They have an awesome iPad app, and I love going through my feed and flipping through blog posts, it gives it the feel of a magazine.

It has been a long time since I offered a freebie button for the blog. So here's a good one, I have a square, circle or rectangle option for you in a classic black and white that will complement any blog design.

Check out mine in the sidebar


Rectangle Button
Square Button
 Control + Click on a Mac or Right Click on a PC and download the image to your computer. Then just add it to your blog side bar, along with the link to your Bloglovin' page. {You may first need to claim your blog, the Bloglovin' website has more information on this}

Let us know if you use them, and feel free to post the link to your blog below!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Blog Tour

Jae, from Design OCD invited me to participate in a Blog Tour. Jae is an awesome interior design blogger who also makes a killer cocktail.

Her projects, like her guest bedroom before and after have been featured on Apartment Therapy
Before & After here
and this Watermelon Sangria she posted back in May makes my mouth water just reading the ingredients.




You can read her blog tour post here, and now it is my turn!

1. What am I working on?

I posted a sneak peak of some of our new products I have lined up on my instagram page last week.
I think I am most excited about those mugs. But those new cards take a close second. We are also working on our website to launch October 1st if all goes according to plan.

2. How does my work differ from those in my genre?

I work really hard not to copy others. With the introduction of Pinterest and Etsy the creative world has gotten much more copycats, but I really do try to stand out.

I have also recently started using a lot of my own drawings and handwriting in my newer designs like this new mug. But you can buy the art print here.

 

3. Why do I write/create what I do?

I started Designs by Nicolina when I couldn't find anything I loved for my friends bachelorette shower invites. I still create for that reason. I create what I want and hope there is someone out there who loves it as much as I do. 

4. How does your writing creative process work?
I am a no rough draft kind of girl. I just start typing and see where it takes me. Since I started committing to the blog more, I do find having a running list in my planner or on my phone helps get all of my good ideas in one place.

Now I am passing the blog tour on to Meghan of Hayes Days, she is one of the first people who believed my blog was a space worth putting more effort into.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Oh Hey Friday

It's the end of the week and time to celebrate! Although when you run your own business you pretty much work 7 days a week (am I right?) we try hard to take some time for ourselves during the weekend.

Linking up with a new Friday link up today, Oh Hey Friday with September FARM and {The Farmer's Wife} 

ONE
 I don't know what it is but I love leopard for Fall
Leopard Steve Madden
 I think it is because it is a great mix of brown/black, and really works as a neutral. I love how Meghan mixed in leopard with this outfit here.

TWO
One of the best things to do at Disney is EAT ALL THE THINGS in an effort to save up for this we are determined to eat out as little as possible not eat out. So I am pinning great reciepes we can make on the cheap like this one
No Cook Cucumber Salad
 while making dining reservations for Kona Cafe, 50's Primetime Cafe and Le Chefs de France. 
Do you have a favorite spot to eat at Disney?

 THREE
If you can't tell, we are SUPER excited about Disney. You will want to be following along with the blog and Instagram for all of the amazing posts and giveaways we have coming up.
http://designsbynicolina.blogspot.com/search/label/disney
There will be an amazing Disney themed giveaway at the end of October, if you are a shop that offers Disney inspired things please send us an email if you would like to be a part of it.

FOUR
 I made this cute little GIF using the party party app to show off some of the new product samples we got in the mail yesterday! We will begin taking pre-orders for mugs in the next week or so and the new stationary should hit the shop October 1st (and hopefully in the NEW designsbynicolina.com website too!)


FIVE
 In working on our new website and updating the blog I have been struggling with writing out about page. What are some things you like to know about who you are buying from? What about for the FAQ section of the website? Any and all input is appreciated.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Disney Brain

I posted about my serious case of Disney Brain on my Instagram account yesterday. Thanks so much for all of your support, it is so nice to see that I am not the only one who suffers from this.
Some people get it, some people don't but yes we are going back to Disney to celebrate our 4th anniversary in October.

And we couldn't be more excited! We are staying some place I have never stayed before, Coronado Springs. (side note: of all the times Cam went to Disney as a kid, the only time he really remembers was when his family stayed at Coronado Springs, he remembers the refillable cups and the food court in the hotel)  Have you ever stayed at Coronado Springs? I would love your tips/thoughts.

I am also exited to check out all of the new/refurbished things since the last time we were there about a year ago. We are also trying some new restaurants that we haven't done before (anyone have thoughts on Chefs de France?)

It is also the first time we will be doing Disney gluten-free. There is lots of good information on allergyfreemouse.com, and Disney even has a whole section on their site (and a special email address) for you to ask about any special diet needs. And as always Disney customer service reigns supreme. Within 10 min of sending my email I had first a confirmation email from Disney telling me they received my request, and shortly after an email answering my questions. So I am looking forward to sharing my tips, and food recommendations for doing Disney gluten free!

Another thing that YOU guys can be looking forward to is all of the amazing Disney inspired shop features and giveaways we have planned over the next month.

Are you a shop that sells Disney inspired items, send me an email for more information! designsbynicolina(at)gmail(dot)com

So what's your favorite thing to do at Disney? Any questions you have that I might be able to answer? Also visit Meghan at hayesdays.com for more Disney information.