Please Take 20 seconds to read this

Hi, all animal lovers. I was sent this email by Linda Ly, owner and designer of the stylish Begeren handbags. This is pretty simple... The Animal Rescue Site is having trouble getting enough people to click on it daily to meet their quota of getting free food donated every day to abused and neglected animals. It takes less than a minute (How about 20 seconds) to go to their site and click on the purple box 'fund food for animals' for free. This doesn't cost you a thing, ITS FREE! Their corporate sponsors/advertisers use the number of daily visits to donate food to abandoned/neglected animals in exchange for advertising. Here's the site: Animal Rescue. Please pass this on or post this on your blog to help. Thanks so much!

*this one image above from the Animal Rescue website.
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The 'not so good' housing market

Although the real estate market seems to suck pretty bad here in Las Vegas, it doesn't seem to ever slow down in New York City. After looking at these pictures, I'm wondering why I'm not still there. Ok, I'm dreaming right now.... I know. But its very depressing to sellers here in Las Vegas (like myself) to not know when our market will pick up again and we'll FINALLY be able to sell our homes for a justifiable price. I own two homes here in Las Vegas and I would love to sell the one I'm renting!! But as I've mentioned, the market is sooo depressed I may have to sit still. So I guess the only thing to do for now, is wait and dream.....

*All images come from one of the coolest real estate sites about NYC. Stribling.
How's your housing market?  Is it as bad as Las Vegas??
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Oh Baby!

Ok, despite my crazy schedule (especially on Mondays and Tuesdays) I've managed to sneak in this YUMMY post about this awesome bakery shop called BabyCakes. Situated on 248 Broom Street in New York City, this shop caters to those who like to indulge in sweets without the sweets. Isn't it awful to walk into a bakery and walk out with nothing because almost 'everything' has ingredients like butter, gluten, sugar etc. Unfair don't you think?

Well not anymore. BabyCakes puts a whole new twist on things, creating delicious little cupcakes and cookies without using wheat flour, eggs, and our famous enemies>>>> sugar and butter!! I've been eating mostly 'gluten free' foods ever since I got back from Hawaii this past September, so this bakery is perfect for me (only problem, i live in Vegas)! Anyhow, Baby Cakes uses ingredients like organic spelt flour, agave (one of my favorite sweeteners, you can use with almost anything), fruit purees, garbanzo beans etc.. Impressive! When I head to the Stationery Show in NYC this coming May, I will definitely stop by Baby Cakes and have 2 or 3 of their cupcakes....and not feel so bad about it!

Please visit their site for more info and if in NYC stop by their cute little shop. Has anyone been here yet?? If so, please tell us about it.
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Is self-promotion a useful tool for you?

For me, the answer is absolutely! If you have a small business and your advertising budget is small, then marketing yourself is key! There are many ways to get your product seen if your budget is unlimited but for now, lets stick to small businesses, with smaller budgets. The majority of my traffic comes from other blogs, web links on other sites, Rss feeds, my own comments etc. I find that leaving my company url beneath every comment I make, helps my traffic as well as introduces others to me without being too pushy. Some people may disagree with me and think that my self-promoting attitude is way too much for them.

I don't think there is any harm in leaving your url and if allowed by the blog you're posting on, then go ahead and leave it. If someone gets curious and clicks on it, then you've just introduced one more person to you and your product. However, I'd stick to commenting and leaving your url on blogs that are related in some way to your industry. Anyhow, blogs are great self promoting tools for small businesses. Here are some ideas for self-promotion using your own blog:

  • Since blogs are cost effective in comparison to advertising in the media, use them extensively. When you post about your business, make sure you place a direct link to your own site/shop.
  • After you've created your blog, keep blogging every day. It generates traffic along with high search engine ranking. Meaning, people will find you!
  • Make your blog stand out somehow, use it to speak to potential customers as well as your daily readers.; introduce them to your new products and ask them questions.
  • Take time out to respond to the comments left on your blog and answer questions readers may have via email as well.
  • Create interesting giveaways with your product or someone else's. (I'm still working on this one myself).

I believe blogs have helped many companies establish credibility and I would encourage every small business to place one on their company site. Of course, you have to tend to it as I said above, so don't forget that part. The search engines like content and it's your job (small businesses) to provide it to them via your blog. Always remember your blog is a valuable way to communicate with potential clients and let them know who you are. How do you SELF promote your site or business? What works for you?  
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2 super cool books

After seeing this book ('The Left Bank Look') via Decor 8....I just had to get it! So happy I did, its so cute and perfect for people who love to do arts and crafts. Although I am not a huge crafter, I appreciate it and I LOVE books! The Left Bank Look is by Anne Hubert. Here's the way it was described on Amazon. The idea is simple: Take plain, mass-produced basics from your closet--shoes, clothes, linens--and use easy DIY techniques and inexpensive materials to transform them into chic treasures inspired by design from the streets of Paris. Check it out on Amazon.

Also, this other book 'Interior Design Course' by Tomris Tangraz , is one of my favorites! Its great for the aspiring designer like myself and helpful if you're in school or already working in the design field. This book is very helpful because it starts all the way from the basics....I picked up this copy at my local bookstore.

* image above from Interior Design Course

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Miss Sassy Pack

Hello everyone! Today I shot some cute pics of the newest cards added to my shop, Madebygirl. This pack is simple, nothing complicated about it, and oh sooo sweeeeet! Perfect for Valentines Day which is quickly approaching! Have you gotten your sweetheart a card or two yet ??? If not, this pack is only $11.00 and its printed on 100% recycled paper. (Blank inside, 4 cards, printed on 100lb quality card stock).

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Etsy Valentines Showcase

Don't forget to check out my cards on Etsy for those of you who enjoy this cool little site. I am listed on the VALENTINES showcase today. The 'Deeply MADLY in Love' card is highlighted and this 100% Recycled LOVE pack is sure to get the message across to your significant other. See below! Hope you all are having a great week so far. I finally got to go see 'CloverField' last night and was pretty impressed. It was much better then I thought it would be. Recommend it !!!!

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Colorful Versions of the UK

Hope everyone is having a SUPER duper nice weekend so far! Its so nice to just relax at home, away from the busy streets on the weekends! I was going to go to see 'CloverField' today, but quickly changed my mind when I saw the loooong line! Oh well, maybe next time. Shot my UK card collection today, here's a pic of the pack of cards currently available via: MadeByGirl. This 100% RECYCLED card pack retails for $11.00 and brings all 4 designs along with some white envelopes! (Blank inside)

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Storefronts can be just as interesting and unique as the interior of the stores. I know I'm always drawn to cozy and colorful looking ones. The window displays always help to catch my eye, so business owners, make sure you have some good stuff in your windows. I got these cool images from Yelp - this site is awesome (its basically a review site for businesses, very helpful) you can search for many types of businesses throughout the U,S. and many of them even have pictures like you see here. I spent such a loooooong time on this site, I lost track of time! Maybe some of you recognize these stores??

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Does it make a difference ???

With so many awesome and creative companies out there I'm VERY curious what most people think of packaging. When I order something online I LOVE getting it in a pretty or creative package, just makes it that much better! To me, it shows a certain amount of effort was put into it, and I appreciate that. I'd love to hear what other people have to say about this.

These pics are from packaging I place my cards in. For all of my greeting cards, I use brown kraft paper (recycled) and hemp twine! Any thoughts on how packaging makes you feel when you receive a product? Does this type of effort from a store make a difference to you?? Shop at: MadeByGirl.

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Fun designs from my MADEBYGIRL

Hello Everyone! Mondays and Tuesdays are very busy for me, being that I am in school, so forgive me for not posting much those couple of days!. Anyhow, I've added a new card design to my shop and this collection contains a series of four cards. I call these 'Colored Pencils'....because I made them with colored pencils -obviously. All the cards in my shop are made with 100lb RECYCLED card stock! (All blank inside) These 4 cards are fun and simple , no fancy artwork here. For anyone to enjoy. So go ahead, order a few and send some LOVE this coming Valentines Day! Find them all at: MadeByGirl.

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