Aileen Barker

September Goals + August Recap

Aileen BarkerComment

Every month I like to share my goals. Sometimes I share just blog/biz goals and sometimes personal goals. Right now with a baby that takes up almost my entire day I've decided to just focus on a few blog/biz goals each month until we get to the point where I can get more done in a day. 

AUGUST GOALS RECAP

  1. Increase traffic by 10% from July to August: FAIL. My traffic actually went down about 5% because I wasn’t posting while I got the new design up and running. Oh well!
  2. Get two weeks ahead on scheduled posts: FAIL. Now that the new design is done and done, I think I can get this done this month.
  3. Finish up rebranding and launch: SUCCESS!
  4. Launch new design process + packages: SUCCESS! Check them out here.

 

SEPTEMBER GOALS

  1. Consistent Posting: Monday, Wednesday, Friday is the schedule I’m attempting to stick to. I’ve done it in the past for certain lengths of time, but I want to do it for a whole month to get my momentum going.
  2. Brainstorm & Come Up with 3 Digital Products: My How to Sell on Instagram Ecourse is still doing pretty good and my goal is to launch at least one more ebook or ecourse before the end of the year. You can help me here, what would you like to learn from me?

I’m sticking to two goals this month! I have at least one client project booked (interested in blog or branding design? click here for info) so I want to be able to focus on that project as well as getting the blog ahead of schedule. I think all of this combined with staying at home with a baby is pretty reasonable.

What are your goals this month?

New Blog Design + Design Biz Re-Launch!

DesignAileen BarkerComment

You guys, I am so excited to launch my new blog design and new blog design packages! I have moved over to Square Space from Wordpress (gasp!), and will now be offering Wordpress AND Square Space design. The main reason I moved was simplicity, but I'll talk more on why I moved later along with, possibly, some posts with tips for anyone else who is thinking about using Square Space. For now, I just wanted to share the new design! I hope you guys love it, because I do. 

Above is the mood board I put together for the new blog design and I'm just loving the way it came out. Now let's talk about the new blog design packages I have for you guys! After going on Maternity leave for several months and doing a lot of planning, I've come up with a new process as well that will ensure that design projects get done in with one week or three weeks depending on the design package you choose. 

One main difference in my blog design business is that I will only be booking one design project at a time. That means one big project, and the client behind that project, will be my main focus from start to finish. As a disclaimer I want to add that I will still do little projects here and there as they come up, but my main focus will be my one client! I think this is going to be great for me and for my clients. It's because of this we will be able to go from start to launch of the design in a much shorter time than I previously offered, and that most other designers offer.

BLOG DESIGN | $295 | 1 Week from Start to Launch

SQUARESPACE

Header Design
Squarespace Theme Set Up
Custom Typography
Custom Color Styling
Up to Three Revisions
Style Guide
7 Days Email Support

WORDPRESS

Genesis Framework
Child Theme of Choice
Header Design
Custom Typography
Custom Color Styling
Up to Three Revisions
Style Guide (fonts, colors, etc.)
7 Days Email Support

BLOG & BRAND DESIGN | $995 | 3 Weeks from Start to Launch

SQUARESPACE

BRAINSTORM PRE-DESIGN PHASE
Branding Questionnaire
Moodboard Collaboration

BRAND DESIGN PHASE
2 Logo Concepts
2 Rounds of Revisions
Final Logo Design
Brand Style Guide
High Resolution Files for Print & Web

BRAND ELEMENTS PHASE
Pick TWO:

  • Business Card
  • Letterhead
  • Pricing Guide
  • Media Kit
  • MailChimp Template
  • Social Media Branding
  • Advertisement

*Brand elements are limited to one side/one page, except business card which is double sided (if needed)

WEB DESIGN PHASE
Set Up of Theme
Header Design
Custom Typography
Custom Color Scheme
Navigation Menu Styling
Post, Sidebar & Footer Styling
Sidebar Set Up
Pinterest “Pin It” Button for Images
Social Media Icons
Three Revisions of Design
Basic eCommerce Set Up (if needed)
7 Days Email Support

WORDPRESS

BRAINSTORM PRE-DESIGN PHASE
Branding Questionnaire
Moodboard Collaboration

BRAND DESIGN PHASE
2 Logo Concepts
2 Rounds of Revisions
Final Logo Design
Brand Style Guide
High Resolution Files for Print & Web

BRAND ELEMENTS PHASE
Pick TWO:

  • Business Card
  • Letterhead
  • Pricing Guide
  • Media Kit
  • MailChimp Template
  • Social Media Branding
  • Advertisement

*Brand elements are limited to one side/one page, except business card which is double sided (if needed)

WEB DESIGN PHASE
Wordpress Installation
Genesis Framework Installation
Customized Theme
Header Design
Custom Typography
Custom Color Scheme
Navigation Menu Styling
Post, Sidebar & Footer Styling
Sidebar Set Up
Pinterest “Pin It” Button for Images
Social Media Icons
Three Revisions of Design
Installation of Basic Recommended Plug Ins
7 Days Email Support

RELAUNCH SPECIAL: Book one of the above design packages with me by September 10th and save 5%! That's $15 off the Blog Design package and $50 off the Blog & Brand Design Package.

That's it! Of course, if you have other needs we can put something together for you, but I like the simplicity and predicability of the new packages that I've put together. If you want to learn more, you can check out the design page and scroll down to the form at the bottom to contact me if you'd like to talk about hiring me.

I am currently booking for late September 2015.

Thanks for putting up with the silence over here for the last couple of weeks while I got everything organized. I'm excited to kick everything off with a bang starting this week!

Mama + Baby Must Haves | Month One

Baby, MotherhoodAileen BarkerComment

When I got pregnant, well even before I got pregnant, I swore my blog would not turn into a baby blog! Well, I’m starting to accept that this blog, above all else, is a lifestyle blog and that means that a few baby posts here and there are inevitable. Plus, as a new mom I love talking baby. My sincere apologies if you aren’t interested, feel free to skip any baby related posts or even bookmark them for future reference if they don’t apply to you at the moment.

Each month I’m planing to share our mama and baby favorites! It’s funny what you end up swearing by because it’s almost never what you think it’ll be. Me? I swore I wouldn’t have a million different places for baby to sleep and hang out yet here I am with half a dozen. You do what you gotta do to keep baby comfortable and happy, right? Let’s talk favorites…

Sleeper Portion of Pack n Play | While we’re loving the whole pack n play because it’s our baby command center downstairs (where we usually hang out), the vibrating sleeper part of the pack n play was such a lifesaver the first few weeks we were home. It was one of the only places that Atlas would sleep comfortably and the vibrations would put him right to sleep. I love that it’s removable because some nights we’d bring it upstairs and put it next to the bed in place of the rock n play if he fell asleep in it right before bedtime.

Rock n Play (Auto Rocking) | Because I want Atlas as close to me as possible, but I’m not 100% comfortable bedsharing, the rock n play has been great! I have it placed right next to my side of the bed so Atlas is within arms reach. It’s also at an incline so I’m not as nervous putting him in there after feeding him because he’s less likely to spit up. But the best, best part is the automatic rocking! Lately he hasn’t needed it really, but the first few weeks I would have it rocking all night and he was mostly a happy camper!

Swaddlers (Summer Swaddleme + Love to Dream Swaddle Up) | Being in the NICU, Atlas is so used to being swaddled. I have mixed feelings about it because it seems so restricting, but he really does sleep better and longer when he’s swaddled. Our favorites are the Summer Infant Swaddleme, which puts him into a nice tight swaddle, and the Love to Dream Swaddle Up because it lets his arms be up near his face which is where they naturally end up most of the time when he’s sleeping so he’s not struggling to get them out of the swaddle.

First Years Quick Serve Bottle Warmer | Being the type of person who wants to have as little as possible, I was convinced we didn’t need a bottle warmer. But after about a week of waiting forever to boil water and waiting for his milk to warm up, I decided it was time to try it out. I was reading reviews for this one and found out that it’s steam powered and I was sold! Not only does it warm up most bottles in about a minute with minimal water (I’m talking maybe a teaspoon), I can easily sanitize his pacifiers too.

Fisher Price Diaper Backpack | I was convinced I’d be one of those moms with an adorable diaper bag, but I guess I was wrong. Originally we registered for this backpack for Blaine to carry around. But because I wanted a cute purse to use as a purse and diaper bag combo, and haven’t been able to find one, I’ve just gotten used to the backpack. I’m still kind of on the lookout for a purse, but until then I’m more than happy with this backpack. Most of the pockets are labeled so we know exactly where everything is and can easily locate a pacifier or diaper when needed.

Ingenuity ConvertMe Swing | The swing is quite possibly the only place that Atlas will sit, awake and content, for any amount of time. Our morning routine usually begins with us coming downstairs and me plopping Atlas in the swing for about 15 minutes, more if I’m lucky, while I let the dogs out, feed the pets and make a quick breakfast (usually a bagel and coffee or tea). I’m in love with this swing because it folds up and stores easily when we don’t need it out. I, honestly, don’t fold it up that often, but it’s convenient when we need to get it out of the way.

Enfamil Slow Flow Nipples | For some reason Atlas continues to have apnea episodes while eating and using the same slow flow nipple they used in the NICU really helps reduce how often it happens. When we left they gave us a few handfuls because they are technically disposable, but I have a feeling we’ll be buying more soon! We used these nipples probably 90% of the time because it just keeps him from getting overwhelmed by a flow that’s too much for him to handle and from eating too quickly

If you’re a parent, what were your favorites in the first month?

Note: the links above are affiliate links and I do receive a small commission on any items that are purchased using the link(s).  This does not cost you extra and you are not obligated to click. However, I do appreciate the support through using my referral links!

Free Day Planner Printable

Business, Freebies, ProductivityAileen1 Comment
day-planner-free-printable
day-planner-free-printable

The wannabe organized person in me is obsessed with planners. I've almost always had a paper planner because I just can't function properly trying to do it all digitally. About a week ago I transitioned into a small binder-style planner which I shared in a youtube video (at the bottom of post). Right now I only have monthly and weekly pages in there because with being a new mom, most days aren't planned at all and I just go with the flow rather than getting every day down on paper.

However, on the days that I do want to plan my day out, I wanted to something to help me keep track and stay productive so I created this half sheet printable to share with you guys! I'm actually planning on making a slightly smaller version for my personal planner so it can fit in there and I can use it just on the days that I feel I need it.

To download the day planner enter your name and email below and you will get a link to download.

[ninja_forms id=12]

I hope you find this day planner useful! Let me know in the comments if you use a planner at all.

*Day Planner will be a FREE download for 4 weeks. After that it will be available to download for a small fee.

If you wanted to check out my new planner video, see below!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NC1Xh0u0jTk

Currently

LifeAileenComment

currently Side note: this was supposed to post on Wednesday but my mommy brain forgot to schedule it. So two posts today it is!

I like to check in and do fun little posts here and there. I’m in the midst of a whirlwind of a fussy baby, doctors appointments galore and attempting to get back into some sort of routine. I’m itching to get back to actual work, not just prepping to get back to work, if that makes sense. But I don’t want to go back until I know I’ll be able to focus on my clients and give them as much value as possible.

Embracing motherhood and everything that comes along with it. Most days are easier, in a way, that I expected but then there are some days that are exactly as hard as I expected which is, at the same time, so much harder in real life. None of that makes sense reading it back, but it’s the only way to explain it.

Thankful for Blaine. I know that (unfortunately) it’s common for dads to be less involved with their children. Lucky for me I have Blaine and I don’t know how I’d survive without him. We are 50/50 partners in this life. Sure, I get up with the baby more at night because he has to work the next day, but those nights where I’m on the verge of tears he’s up and taking Atlas from me so I can get a few hours of sleep and chill out. This past weekend he was pretty much on full time daddy duty, even though I was around too, so that I could get work done. Thankful doesn’t begin to describe it.

Watching so much netflix. Right now I’m watching Mistresses from the beginning. Blaine and I are in the middle of catching up on Glee. We recently finished watching Melissa and Joey (don’t judge) and I occasionally throw in an episode or two of Parenthood because I miss that homey, cozy Braverman family. Did I mention that I need constant noise in the house because Atlas can’t sleep in silence so I’m watching way more TV when I want to.

Feeling a little bit overwhelmed, but also feeling like this is exactly what my daily life is supposed to be. Happy to be home despite the hardships.

Missing my dad. So much. I don’t know if I mentioned it on here, but he passed away in July. We were extremely close and I still find it hard to wrap my head around. I’ll eventually get around to doing a proper post about him, but I don’t know that I’m ready quite yet.

Looking forward to getting back to work! I know I touched on it earlier in the post, but I just want to work. I have very specific plans laid out and I’m excited to get it implemented.

Eating a little better than I was when we were living at the hospital, but still not that great. Cooking is tough when it’s hot in the house and you have a baby attached to you 80% of the day. But we did our first grocery trip since we’ve been home and most of what we bought was produce. I’ve just been craving veggies and a cleaner diet.

Planning a few trips in the near future for a friends wedding and then our anniversary in October. Since Blaine took so much time off work when Atlas was born we need to make our trips pretty short. Instead of taking our usual week long anniversary trip I’m thinking we’ll do a Thursday - Sunday or Saturday - Tuesday type of thing. I’m still deciding if we’ll take Atlas or leave him with one of the grandparents. Lots of planning to do!