Free How to Plan Promotions Ebook

Best retailing practices state business owners and managers should start planning promotions 1-3 months in advance. That’s why Miseducated has created our ebook How To Plan Promotions.

Please enjoy the digestible advice and good industry tips downloading the first of our up-and-coming ebooks and get inspired to make improvements.

If you’re ready to discuss ways to make your branding or marketing grab more attention in the new year just email or call me for a free consultation.

I’d love to assist you in making your campaigns stand out from the rest!

Our first ebook is our How to Plan Promotions Ebook and you can download it for free by clicking here!

Expand Your Brand with Miseducated

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You might have noticed in the last several months I’ve been seamlessly combining my portfolio and marketing work with my blog here at Miseducated. This is due to the fact I needed to expand my business hosting account so I decided to combine my efforts and enhance my brand. In a part I can now equally focus on expanding the agency for work as well as continue blogging passion. Below you’ll find a press release of sorts with advice for those looking to expand their brand, build an online presence, and acquire new client attraction.

Miseducated is not just a blog but is also a boutique marketing agency that creates attractive business promotions, attractive brands, and premium web sites. With over 15 years of web design and social media marketing expertise; I understand effective design.

Miseducated offers you innovative and attractive design, captivating imagery and gold-woven copy combined with compelling offers and strategic promotional methods to bring you new client attraction and more attention from loyal clients. If you provide a product or service, I will teach you how to be the next big thing and provide you with a competitive advantage in your marketplace.

Many companies mistakenly implement a fundamental brand and website to save on operating and marketing costs. These website design efforts range from adequate to amateur (from drag and drop to friends and family help) ultimately sacrificing the polished online presence necessary to stand out in a crowd. As you know the field of design is a competitive business with many amateurs claiming they know design and marketing strategies, but when it comes down to it most are not able to deliver.

Business owners upon hiring an unqualified agency or designer soon realize novice web design efforts result in amateur results. They discover the site is not providing a competitive advantage, not attracting new clients, and that their site is similar to thousands of others – a total red flag in all business.

How can you avoid this problem? When hiring a brand designer or marketing agency you should be served with an initial consultation as well as a roadmap that outlines the specific actions you and your company will take to out-maneuver peers for needed resources and client retention. There should be measurable goals within the plan so you can be sure your new design and marketing strategy are serving your company as planned and moving your organization forward. A professional can translate the essence of your unique business into a savvy, engaging website and online brand.

In short, The right website will show off your business and allows you to reach out to new customers and stay in touch with current ones. So, ask yourself today, if your website is a true reflection of your business then what is your website reflecting about your brand?

Look in my design portfolio here for some examples of marketing design.

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She’s Too Pretty to Have No Curves, Curves, Scars, Curls

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There’s a pet peeve I have that I feel is a prevalent issue in our society and yet I see little to no articles around the specific flavor of it while cruising through Google and the blogosphere… I’m hoping I just missed them but regardless, I must write. I’m referring to how, “She’s too pretty to… *insert visual ailment or critique here*”, or “She would look better if…” My parents told me as a child that I was beautiful. However as I got older (into the grade school years) I began hearing comments, like most girls do, about how I shouldn’t wear wrinkled clothes, how I shouldn’t eat too much sweets or gain weight, how I should brush my hair, how I should take care of my skin, how I should appear in public. All slightly caring things.. but they soon started to get worse and much more critical.

You see, as most (if not all) women get older, the comments get WORSE. Much, much worse and what’s even more tough is they are generally coming from your peers and people whom you respect. People whom you want to like and accept you.

“Why is your face cracking?”, asked a first-grade classmate, referring to my slight spider veins. After which telling the entire class how scary my face was and many of my friends turning around and laughing at me. My face wasn’t cracking… my heart was.

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As you start to near and/or go through puberty as a young woman you can be sure things will again take a change for the worst. Suddenly you are not just a child anymore, suddenly you are expected to be whatever form of beautiful the person criticizing you appreciates. Suddenly if you’re eating too much dessert you’re going to get too fat to have any friends. If you’re growing too fast you’re going to look like a promiscuous 11-year-old that is unknowingly asking for attention from boys and men. If you’re growing too slow you’re going to earn songs of mockery about how your chest is flat. Blatant critiques about how your hair is too short, too long, too flat, too full. About how your skin is too pale or too dark. About how your legs are too short or too wide. About your body hair is too dark, too thick or too long. Never mind how different each of us are, how she might have vitiligo but you have a scar; she has spider veins but you have dark body hair; she might have acne but you have curly hair; how she has thick thighs while yours are “chicken legs.” Why isn’t a girl pretty BECAUSE she’s unique? Because of her freckles? Because of her scar? Because of her skin coloration? Because of her texture of hair? Because of her build? Why do we all have to fit a mold of whatever is deemed attractive when we don’t even want to? When we don’t even agree? When we want to be ourselves? When everyone should adore us for our unique, visual features?

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The worst of all these critiques start coming from your friends as a pubescent girl and from other girls. Girls begin to lose sight of lifting each other up and being strong together and instead choose to tear each other down and gain “status.” They begin to believe if they tear her down for her hair then they’ll feel better about their own. The walls between women begin to be built. In a personal example I remember being teased incessantly in 6th grade at age 11 because I hadn’t developed breasts yet and my classmates had began to. Then when I arrived at school after summer break ready to start 7th grade (with breasts) I was suddenly attacked by all of my friends for stuffing my bra. When I showed them I didn’t stuff my bra in gym class I was teased for trying to seduce them and labeled a lesbian. When I avoided guys I was a “lesbian” but when I had guy friends I was “slutty.” I hadn’t even began to date at the age of 13 and already I was labeled with just about every female-based insult you could come up with. By other girls. By my “friends.”

Why are girls taught to do this to each other? Why do we continue to do it in new and more covert ways as we age?

I began to get comfortable with myself in college and I just avoided people who openly judged me by my appearance. I gained my freshman 30 pounds and my clothes stopped fitting and I felt happy. In all of the photos of that period I’m smiling from my heart. I’m with my friends whom accept me regardless of my size, regardless if I lost 40 pounds the following year or gained another 30, friends I still have to this day. I felt accepted and happy in a positive community of supportive women.

Years later, in graduate school, came the body-shaming to a degree I realized I had only tasted in middle school.

Lately there has been a lot of social media popping up about fat-shaming, about curvy hash tags and models with figures of a larger clothing size, about disgusting comedians who insult a whole selection of people based on size. About how companies don’t have “real women” as models and how companies that use non-models showing their natural, naked bodies in a tasteful way get sued for “pornographic material.” About how bikini’s look on voluptuous, “real women” vs thin, fake ones.

It reminded me of being the only “skinny” girl in my graduate class.. about being teased about my clothing not fitting my body right, about my saving my food/dessert to eat at home because I must be “anorexic”, about how men don’t like bones cracking together and they want a “real woman” to hold onto. About how I’m not a real woman. About how I don’t have large breasts and therefor am a child, not a woman. Now I understand these women must have had prior experiences of being treated in a similar way or they probably wouldn’t be doing it to me but why are we so happy to pass on the shaming to each other? The teasing got worse and worse every late night we worked together on our project. Why wasn’t I eating enough? Do I need a hamburger? They will THROW a hamburger at me if I’ll eat it! I’m 22 and I don’t even have cleavage! What’s my issue with food? Am I not eating enough? Do I buy my clothes in the toddler section? I look unhealthy! I decided not to go back the next semester. My anxiety had grown to an all-time high for many reasons but I felt it getting worse just being around those two, strong-willed women who couldn’t accept me because of my size.

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This was in 2008 and although many things have changed since then.. one thing hasn’t. Women are still building walls in between each other that weren’t even theirs to build. Whatever current, boring beauty standard seems like the truth is only a lie and an opportunity to further pull each other down. Don’t even get me started on the current great makeup debate about how we should wear makeup, shouldn’t wear makeup or how we must be insecure liars if we do, too masculine if we don’t. Or how if we wear colorful, revealing or tight clothes we must be asking for attention from everyone. When really we shouldn’t have to force ourselves to fit within anyone else’s mold of beauty and we certainly can’t expect push our sisters into that mold with us if we try. We are women, we must stick together and protect our beautiful spirits. When women encourage each other amazing things happen.

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again.. with all of these debates going around describing what “real women” do or do not look like, act like, have or are.. Real women have HEARTS. We’re all real women.

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Current Events

Get listed here?

Toronto police officer told a crowd of college women that if they wanted to avoid sexual assault, they shouldn’t dress like sluts.

Amber Rose Slut Walk LA

Lipstick feminism is a movement that attempts to dislodge the idea that traditional ideas of femininity undermine women. This movement encourages women to embrace things like makeup and feminine clothing, including revealing clothing, in order to show that having qualities that are defined as female does not make one inferior.

– Shaming women for makeup a destructive, anti-feminist approach, The Collegian

Instead, can we all just agree that we’re all uniquely perfect in our own way? Can we just start celebrating ourselves for who we are and not be so caught up in the competition?

– Curvy vs. Skinny: Let’s End the Women’s Weight War Once and for All, The Huffington Post

Mood Board: Lock my Heart and Never Part

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted a Mew for Today because I really was going through a painfully overwhelming period in my life that I am slowly navigating out of. I am happier and healthier than I have ever been before and I owe it to my one true love, spirituality and sobriety. Thankfully as more time goes on I have started feeling very much inspired and overwhelmed with ideas again and I would love to share some eye candy that is oh-so-Miseducated and catching my attention on tumblr tonight…

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I’ve Since Been Crowned by Flowers and Love

It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to update and felt free enough to explain a little of what has been going on in my life and all of the changes and struggles I have encountered. I felt very disappointed that my work and my blog fell to the wayside in the midst of this but my life was in dire need of most of my effort, the rest was given to love and support my little girl and my boyfriend (Mister Educated).

Although I can’t be too specific because it’s not appropriate and feels gross to put other’s private lives on a public blog, I can say the basics. My marriage fell apart in June. It had been falling apart for quite a while prior to that but it reached it’s breaking point in June. I’m not hurt about it anymore as I was when it happened, I’m thankful for the experiences I’ve had and most importantly for the beautiful little girl myself and my ex share. If you met her I have no doubt that you would instantly smile from ear to ear. She is the kind of special soul that leaves a positive imprint on everyone she meets and everywhere she goes. She’s always happy and saying something very clever for her age or something completely silly and comical. She reminds me so much of myself when I was little and enjoys playing with miniatures in her doll house with her Sylvania cream cats, love all animals, loves painting and loves to be outside. She can find fun in most situations and is a ball of cuteness and sweetness.

I also started talking to another very special person in mid-August. This is a person I had cherished having met and being a friend of mine. He taught me a lot of valuable skills and ways to see the world and I openly considered him a mentor. I met him in 2003 in college but remained friends with him after graduation via short occasional chats online about our families and work. We decided to hang out after we began talking again in August and the connection we had was still there but things had changed quite a lot. The connection was less of a friendship and inspiration connection and more of a romantic connection. The attraction was almost unbearable and we couldn’t get enough of just hanging out and talking or going to dinner and laughing, everything we did together was a very uplifting experience for both of us at the most painful time in my life. A month went by and things became gradually more serious until in late-September when I moved in because he offered that I needed a safe place to get my new life in order and get back on my feet. Since then we have became not just star-crossed lovers and soul mates united, but a family. We have a gaggle of smart and beautiful children that adore each other and hanging out with us and we are both happier than we have ever been before and so thankful we were united at last.

Our home is a big, old house. Over 100 years old to be exact and my Mister (as I lovingly call him because we will not be publicly open until after everything is resolved sometime next year) spent most of his past free time fixing and remodeling every room, nook and cranny until we got serious and I began helping as well. It feels like such a positive environment as soon as you walk in the door and you feel a lightness that is created from love, effort and a million memories left from a happy family. The floors, stairs and accents are lovely and original hardwood, there are 4-stories including a finished basement and loft studio and our sparkly mint and latte fireplace we just rehabbed and intricately tiled is the heart of the home. There is a large, fenced-in backyard with gardens of all kinds and a play set for the children. The front has gardens, stones and red hedges to welcome passersby. There are two balconies, one amazing one off our bedroom and another unfinished as well as a big front porch. It is a big change going from apartment life to a antique mansion but I’ve adjusted quite nicely and I adore living here. I haven’t felt I had a home since I was a child and I feel through and through that this is my home and my long lost beautiful family, my cute 15-year-old house cat Hobbes included.

I am happy now. I have found my higher power and I don’t take any medications for anxiety or depression anymore, I don’t ever drink even recreationally or socially and I work towards a more healthy self daily. I still have struggles such as doing extremely trying self work and moving on completely and I recently found I have pre-cancer which I have been getting treated but I never thought it was possible for me to have what I have. It has been an IMMENSE amount of work thus far and still is as I am still not where I want to be. I’m rebuilding myself online yet again and offline as well in my new community. I adore the opportunities that continue to pour in and I very much missed blogging and doing designs especially for you. I am home now and I am back. Thanks for hanging in there on this long and bumpy ride. You wont regret it!

Some exciting things coming in the future that were put on hold over a year ago: kid-friendly projects and activities, more reviews, interviews and features, his and hers articles, the world according to us articles, more tasty and easy recipes, positive energy projects, diy and craft projects, kawaii kitty care articles, art features, more products in our new shop (officially open again!), pretty photo shoots and daily life shoots. Stay tuned!

Who Are You Without Your Stories?

Picture it: you’re in the eighth grade and someone you like is across the school yard. You want to approach them but don’t know if your approach would be welcome. You get a warm fuzzy feeling, but there’s also a panic that comes with it – after all, most kids that age would rather die than suffer rejection. The humiliation that would result would be unbearable, especially from the most gorgeous person in the entire school district – no, make that the entire city.

So no matter how much you want to go and talk to them, you wouldn’t just stroll over there and say hi, would you? You couldn’t risk it. As a girl especially, you certainly wouldn’t walk up to him when he’s talking to his male friends and blurt out, “Hi, I’m Maryanne – I think you’re really cute, and I’m looking for someone to go with to Karen’s party this weekend, and I was wondering if you’d be my date?”

I know, I know, I should have guessed this would be a disaster. But at the time, I felt like I had nothing to lose – sure, he was the hottest guy in the school, everyone was staring at me, and of course girls weren’t really “supposed” to do things like asking guys out. But I liked him, and my curiosity got the better of me in the end, so I just threw caution to the wind and went for it.

Naturally I was nervous – I was a kid, and this was my first limited foray into the world of romance. But my nervousness was more the exciting kind than the nauseating kind, and I was so focused on what might happen if he said yes, that I didn’t let myself think too much about the other option.

Until it happened. His face crinkled up into a mixture of annoyance and confusion, and he asked the question I’ll never forget: What’s wrong with you?! And I spent a lot of time and heartache trying to figure out the answer to that exact question – what was wrong with me? In order to put a stop to the pain and protect what was left of my ego, I wove a story for myself, and the moral of the story was this: I will never allow anyone to hurt me like that again for as long as I live. And that was it – I stuck to my story, and I never approach a boy directly ever again.

There are no other stories we enjoy better than our own. We love to spin our own tales, we love to tell them, and we love to hear them back again from others. We never get tired of them no matter how many times we’ve heard them before. And while it’s true that our stories are based on actual events (at least most of the time), why is it that we cling to certain ones and let others fade into obscurity? Certainly I have had other humiliating experiences in my life that eclipsed that particular schoolyard event, and yet that’s the story I keep coming back to. I think it has a lot to do with recognizing the moments when we separate from our Divine selves, and create an alter-self that we use to try to survive when we think our authentic self can’t hack it. These are moments where we consciously assign disproportionate meaning to events that wouldn’t need that meaning in a perfect world.

We create stories about ourselves for all kinds of reasons. We do it to shield ourselves from pain, to make people like us more, or to create a persona that acts as a protective shell for our real selves. So the question remains: who would we be without that shell, without those stories? Personally, though I have spent a great amount of time and effort examining my stories in order to try to understand who I am, it wasn’t until I released my grip on my stories and let them go that I truly found out the answer.

Five Simple Ways to Love Yourself Now

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Hard as it can be to realize sometimes, no matter what you think, you are good enough. With the onslaught of picture perfect images in the media and culturally defined ideas of what we “should” look like, sometimes it’s so hard to just do one of the most basic things — love ourselves. To me, loving yourself is the very first step to living a positive and present life. If you can’t love yourself, you’re going to have a hard time truly loving the world around you and enjoying the life you’re living. However, loving yourself is no easy task sometimes. It actually takes a lot of hard work, which is why I’ve come up with the top five ways you can start loving yourself right now. 
 

1. Stop comparing yourself to others.

The entire world encourages us to compare, to want what others have, to want to be like others. In the post I wrote back in 2009,  Stop Judging: 4 Reasons, 5 Things, 6 Ways, I talked about how much we lose when we waste time judging others and ourselves. If you truly want to love yourself, you must stop your comparisons. Focus on you and what’s great about who you are, what you have, and what you do. Don’t waste any more time comparing yourself to those around you. This is the first — and most important — step to loving yourself now. 
 

2. Focus on your achievements — big and small.

To often, we focus on the things that went wrong (or could go wrong) and not on the things we did right. We’ll dwell forever on a conversation that went poorly, but hardly think at all about a wonderful interaction with had with someone. Likewise, people are often more likely to focus on their failures than their achievements (probably as some sort of self-protection in order to avoid future failures). It’s okay to acknowledge the things that didn’t go swimmingly, but if you really want to love yourself, you have to spend most of your time thinking about what you did/said right. And, remember, even the little things deserve a pat on the back. 
 

3. Look past the mirror to your true self.

It’s all too common for people to define themselves by the way they look. Remember: you are more than what you look like. Yes, it cannot be denied that appearance is important and has some merit, but it is not everything. The way culture is set up, it’s hard to remember that sometimes. Next time you look in the mirror and find yourself filled with negative thoughts, remind yourself that you are more than what you see in that reflection. Your worth is more than the way you look. Once you convince yourself of the truth in those words, it will become much easier to love your true self. 
 

4. View yourself from another perspective.

We all have the tendency from time to time to get wrapped up in our own minds. Our thoughts and ideas take over and we tend to forget that there are millions and millions of other opinions and ideas out there in the world. The next time you find that you’re giving yourself a hard time, take a step back and try to look at the situation — and yourself — objectively. You may soon realize that the way you were looking at yourself or the situation is not the way that others would. Taking a step back and looking at yourself with fresh eyes will help you to realize that you are worth more than you realize — and you are certainly deserving of your own love. 
 

5. Make a list of all your awesome traits.

Feeling like you’re not quite up to par? Stop. Drop what you’re doing. Grab paper and a pen. And get to work. The activity might seem like a silly one, but, seriously, taking some time to write about how great you are will help you to realize that, no matter how you might feel about yourself sometimes, you really are pretty awesome. And if you find yourself struggling with this exercise, enlist the help of friends and family. Hearing their input about your awesomeness will make you realize that, hey, if all of those people can love you, you can certainly love yourself! 
 
As I said, loving yourself isn’t easy. It seems like the kind of thing that should come naturally, but I think most people are filled with reasonable amount of self-doubt and, as a result, their minds fill with self-deprecating thoughts from time to time. It’s okay to struggle with self-love, but it’s not okay not to give it a really solid try. You deserve to love yourself because, no matter who you are, you are awesome. So start embracing your awesomeness and use the five tips above to start loving yourself now. There’s no time like the present to learn to love yourself! 

Falling in Love With Soapylove

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Debbie is behind the aesthetically delicious soap design company (so perfectly named) Soapylove.

Miseducated, knowing you would love this as much as I do, just had to chat with her and plan some super special features for you in the future.

Q. How do you think of new ideas for soap themes and designs?

A. I’m very inspired by fashion and craft trends. Graphic design is my latest passion since I can now put dissolving images into my soaps. I love that!

Q. What inspires you?

A. Candy, color, cuteness, anything kawaii, and I especially love Japanese stationery supplies. Deco tape is my newest indulgence!

Q. What are your favorite scents?

A. I LOVE super fruity scents like watermelon and strawberry jam. I could smell those all day long!

Q. What’s the most exciting memory you have experiences because of soapylove?

A. Definitely when my soaps were featured on the Etsy homepage for the entire Thanksgiving weekend! That was my first year in business and the orders came rushing in. So many new opportunities came from that lucky break. It was beyond thrilling!

Q. What’s next? Can you give us a sneak peek?

A. There are so many new things coming up in Soapylove! I have amazing cupcake fizzies that I’m getting labels designed for right now, and a new collection of printed soaps featuring adorable kawaii characters! You can take a sneak peek here. I am working hard to get them ready for my shop. Stay tuned!

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Now sink your eyes into this sugar surprise, a gallery of Soapylove creations~

Don’t Be Controlled: Things You Should Do

Speaking as one of the very last people in the world that one should expect to be able to control, I’ve battled my fair share of attempts. I’ve been asked to be silent, to restrict my speech, to limit my work. My work knows no limits. What keeps me going is the aesthetic obsession I have with art and design, the need to create the world around myself and around you. The world is your canvas, express yourself vividly.

As you see this is not a ‘Design Your Life‘ article — this is a ‘Visual Splendor‘ article and with good reason. I’m being silly and contradictory and I think you should absolutely do all the things listed below daily. Please feel free to make suggestions of MUST-DOs that you enjoy daily and also suggestions of new objects I might place in my mouth for nonsensical artistic amusement. Remember, this is Miseducated and sometimes being nonsensical purely for your own endeavors is many times necessary and often unexplainable.

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EAT CAKE. Necklace by stoopidgerl

in my mouth: pink pill
TAKE YOUR VITAMINS.

in my mouth: perfume
SMELL DELICIOUS.

Mew for Today: Tickle Me Green

It’s St. Patrick’s Day, green shamrocks and rainbow bridges to pots of gold. Green beer. It’s time to celebrate because, as if you needed a reason anyway, there’s a holiday underway.

Green is the color of life and the earth. It signifies growth, health, environment and is often used for it’s calming effects.

Spend Your Day Tickled Green

First, start your day by preparing the cutest of the sweets, pistachio macarons at Tartelette. If you’re feeling thirsty grab an iced green tea to refresh and wake you up. Use milk and matcha powder or brewed green tea with ice.
Next get prepared for a night out on the town or for a very-green party at home. Make sure your outfit contains lots of green and is reminiscent of whimsical St. Patrick’s Day for extra fun — I relate green, rainbows and gold to St. Patrick’s Day due to the decorations!
Add a couple of drops of green food coloring to just about anything to green it up in a flash. This is great for beer and drinks as well as baked sweets.
No matter what you do I hope you can spend it with loved ones having fun and enjoying great food as every holiday should be shared.

Dress Up, Go Out

Green Love

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Green Tea Cupcake

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