How this graphic designer balances her new WFH life. Using scheduled rest, her Success Planner, and delicious bites, Allie finds her groove to stay fueled & inspired between family, friends, and graphic design clients.
Welcome to The Crown Diaries, an SXS look at the real-life experiences of women running businesses, crushing their career, and rocking their passion projects. For each Crown Diary, we ask one woman to provide a behind-the-scenes account of “a week in the life”: where did she go, what did she do, who did she meet? Read on to find out!
ABOUT ME: Allie Bittner (@kisscreativeco), 26
CITY: Philadelphia, PA
CURRENT ROLE: Owner and Designer at Kiss Creative, Graphic Designer at Printfly Corporation
MISSION: Kiss Creative creates visual brands that capture the essence of who you are so you can attract the clients you’re meant to serve. I strive to create brands that inspire confidence, create recognition, cultivate consistency, and stand the test of time. I love to empower women in business and I believe that great design is the silent ambassador of your brand... because we could all use an unpaid employee who works while we sleep.
FAVORITE SETTING TO WORK: The Foundry on Elm/The Saloon/The Rockwell Theater (three places in one) in Boston, MA. I was a server, a hostess, and a designer for the theater. I got to learn about cocktails, I was fed amazingly well every day during pre-meal, and I designed for Shitfaced Shakespeare – an outrageously fun theater show.
FUN FACT: "I love reality TV because it’s some of the only content I can watch on one of my many monitors while I work. It’s not distracting and if I miss a beat, I can sum it up to some tea spill I’ll sip later."
BUSINESS or LIFESTYLE MEMBERSHIPS/COURSES: Creative Lounge Virtual Co-Working Space (by Kiss Creative Co.), coming soon!
I wake up, convincing myself to keep my eyes open with some of my guilty favorites on Instagram stories:bretmanrock and bennydrama7. I listen to music while I make my bed. Lately, my sister and I have both been listening to Surf Mesa - ily while we wake up.
I head to the bathroom to brush my teeth and wash my face. I love green beauty and my skincare essentials are definitely a reflection of that. After I’m done, I head to the kitchen for a coffee. Usually a hot latte, an iced coffee, or a coffee protein shake. I prepare my hot latte with KITU Sweet Creamer or Picnik Original creamer (my favorites), a tbsp of coconut oil, and Stevia Select Coconut stevia drops in my beloved hot/cold InstantPot Blender.
I recently learned that whipping coconut oil into your hot coffee creates a more sustained release of caffeine due to the time it takes to metabolize coconut oil, among a few other benefits. I have ADHD and I took extended-release medication from the ages of 7-20, so this is a particularly attractive benefit for me. I’ve definitely noticed a bit of a difference!
I’m not a morning person, so I wake up slow. I do about 20 minutes of yoga. I combine @shaylaquinn yoga for tight shoulders with some chiropractic stretches to manage carpal tunnel and neck and shoulder pain related to work (Stretch 1, Stretch 2). It’s so important to be proactive! Afterwards, I do about ten minutes of journaling on my deck. I picked up journaling from @lizwhite.co Transformational Journaling course and it’s been such a good outlet for me. My journal is from a Philly company called Printfresh.
Every morning, I check in with my Success Planner and my weekly schedule on Trello to see what I’ve got planned for the day. I’ve been on a year-long break from business podcasts after I realized they were packed with so much value, I was constantly distracted from my work for notetaking! I recently signed up for an Audible membership with one stipulation: No business content. Instead, I listen to fiction books. I’m currently listening to The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey, which is eerily ironic in Covid-19 quarantine. I tune in before I get to work for the day.
I get to work! Today, I created a mood board and a detailed creative brief for a new Full-On Identity client (a full brand identity design and a custom ShowIt website). I start my mood boards with a secret Pinterest board for collecting inspiration, and I use the most relevant content to create the final mood board (a digital collage) in Adobe Photoshop.
I steal a solid 30 minutes of my workday to revise logo concepts for Creative Lounge based on feedback I received in my Instagram stories. Creative Lounge is a virtual co-working space in my never-ending list of personal projects!
I take a break to grab myself a Perfect Bar. I’m quarantined with my mom and my sister, a frequent feature in my Instagram stories. I hear my mom complaining about hunger from her temporary living room office space, so I surprise her with the famous Dalgona coffee and a little charcuterie bowl of strawberries, spring peas, chorizo slices, and honey mustard. Personally, I don’t eat enough and I never hear the end of it. It’s a work in progress.
I call my best friend to help her prepare for a job interview. Afterwards, I call another girlfriend to catch up on her life in quarantine. There’s no shortage of girl talk in my life!
I get to work preparing for an Instagram + Canva Masterclass I’ve prepared exclusively for my Kiss Creative clients, both past and current. This kind of resource is highly requested by my lovely little design family! Our trust is mutual, so they’re the perfect audience to beta-test this concept before I decide if I should take it to the masses. I work on my presentation in Canva and I schedule a 1-hour reminder email in MailerLite.
My sister takes my phone to film some workout videos while I sneak in some dance cardio on the 305 Fitness YouTube channel. We wrap up with about 20 minutes of yoga together.
I take to Instagram Stories to check in for #workwithmewednesday and to unveil a brand debut for my client, D’Andrea Concrete Designs. I switch between posting content and engaging over comments and DM’s. It feels like a total whirlwind of all the things.
I can’t believe how quickly the day flew by! I rush off to the kitchen to whip together a quick cocktail: Gin, lime seltzer, a splash of organic cherry juice, fresh lime, a few drops of stevia, and lots of ice.
I’m back at my computer to tune into Mental Health Happy Hour. I look forward to this time every week. I’m the kind of entrepreneur who doesn’t take enough breaks, and this call keeps me accountable to some much needed self-care every week. It’s been an amazing resource for me through quarantine.
Our call is over, so I head into the kitchen to do some cooking with my sister. I use some homemade bone broth to prepare a recipe called “Feel-Good Soup” from my all-time favorite cookbook, Made Whole by Christina Curp of The Castaway Kitchen.
I always keep a bag of vegetable scraps in my freezer for bone broth that’s convenient and easy to prepare! Anytime I’m cooking, I toss my vegetable scraps (like garlic/onion skins, celery tops, or anything else that’s otherwise inedible) in the bag. I buy chicken necks and backs from Whole Foods and combine them with my scraps to make a bone broth that I always keep on hand. It’s a little known fact that I LOVE to cook and I’ve been mostly paleo for the past three years!
Dinnertime! My soup is finished and it’s cooling so I can store it away in my favorite glass meal prep containers from Target. I’ve prepared it *mostly* for my roommate, whose a kickass ER doctor in this midst of this Pandemic. I want her to have something delicious, nutritious, and easy to reheat so she knows she always has a hot meal she can come home to.
My sister made me a dinner of ground beef, shrimp, and green beans stir-fried in coconut aminos. We top our bowls with fresh spinach and cheers between her glass of wine and the end of my homemade cocktail. We eat as a family. This has always been the usual dinner time in our household.
Dinner is over, we’ve cleaned up together, and now my sister and I get to work on preparing some homemade mousse using chilled coconut cream, cacao powder, stevia, and just a pinch of pink salt. I’m the chef of the family, but she’s the master of healthy treats. I mostly watch while she does all of the work. I do the dishes. She’s my best friend and we hang out for a while after!
We like to let the mousse set overnight, but my sister and I can’t wait any longer. We grab the chocolate mousse from the fridge and join my mom in the living room for a Tiger King nightcap. She’s out cold in 10 minutes, so it’s just me and my sister until it’s time for bed. I work on my Canva presentation some more.
I literally do not even know what we’ve been doing for the past two hours! We’re constantly collaborating on ideas, so we’ve shared some of our content plans for the weekend and spent the rest of our time poking fun at each other. I retire to wash my face and brush my teeth while mentally reviewing next day to-do’s before heading to bed.
Good morning! I slept in today to make sure I’m well-rested for my Masterclass later in the afternoon. I know that’s not *how it works* but, whatever. It works for me! I’m scrolling through my phone and catching up on my DM’s before heading to the bathroom.
I go through my normal skincare routine, before grabbing a quick coffee and catching up with my roommate in the kitchen. Afterwards, I head to my vanity for “wakeup and makeup.”
Time for makeup! I don’t have a green beauty routine (yet) so I grab some of my favorite products. My Jeffree Star setting powder smells like cotton candy, and I have an enormous sweet tooth, so it’s one of my favorites. My gold watch ALWAYS makes me feel more put together – even as I’m rocking sweats from the waist down. It takes me about 30 minutes to do my hair and my makeup, but I’m listening to Megan The Stallion, so intermittent dance breaks easily add 10 minutes.
I know I need to eat before the day gets away from me. I top off my coffee with the last remaining foamy sip from the blender and prepare some quick and easy breakfast tacos – a staple in my diet.
I get started drafting a proposal for a returning Kiss Creative client. We’re working on a physical product design and I can’t wait to get started with her again!
I spend the rest of this time preparing for my Masterclass before diving in with my clients.
3:00 pm-5:00 pm
My Masterclass begins! It’s a great turn out. I get to see some clients who I haven’t worked with in a while. I get lots of good feedback on the content before we wrap up.
I need about 20 minutes to shake off the excitement of going live and teaching an engaged audience. I know I’m not the only one who does this! I refill on seltzer, dip into the family chocolate stash, and head back to my desk.
I work on finalizing the proposal I drafted earlier and I schedule for next-day delivery through Dubsado, my project management software of choice.
I work on revising some content for the SHE x SHINES Instagram, created on artboards in Photoshop. It’s a fairly new Adobe feature that I can’t live without.
I head back to the bathroom to dye my hair. I’m cursing myself for overlooking this opportunity before my Masterclass! My sister is a certified esthetician, so I’m fully stocked on professional salon products I’ve been using for my DIY hair-dyes forever and always. I bleach it first (I’m daring, I know), before covering it in some semi-permanent coral color. I let that sit while I head to the kitchen for dinner with my family.
My sister made me some chicken and vegetables. I’m grateful, because I’ve spent the better part of the last 25 years cooking for her – a fact I never let my family forget when they mention that she’s “the only one who cooks.” We have fun together. We eat while reviewing our Success Planners.
I rush off to the shower to rinse off my dye. Afterwards, I slather myself in lemon sugar body lotion and some of my favorite Monet curl cream. I climb into some comfy clothes.
“Where is my sister, Jenn?!” I find her and we do some co-working in my bedroom. I work on writing Instagram captions in Trello and she runs her latest content ideas by me. We’re compiling a list of Tik Toks we need to batch together.
Jenn leaves my room to get ready for bed. I’m already ready for bed, so I unwind for the next hour by switching between HotPads and Pinterest while I envision my future apartment. I was preparing to plan my move until the pandemic hit. Still, I can’t stop fantasizing about the future. I already have the furniture picked out. Thanks, Wayfair!
I crash sometime around now! I think I fall asleep with my phone in my hand.
It’s Friday! Somehow, I wake up at a decent time despite the fact that I fell asleep with my phone in my hand. I run through my usual morning routine. I take one “half” day for every two days I work, so it’s going to be a pretty casual day. I like to work on weekends because my clients are typically offline, so I can really put my nose to the grindstone to crush my workload in preparation for Monday.
My sister, Jenn, surprises me with a protein coffee! This one is made from chilled coffee, a frozen banana, a heaping tablespoon of cacao powder, a scoop of 1st Phorm Ice Cream Cookie sandwich protein, and lots of ice. We topped it off with KITU Sweet Creamer. She’s the master of healthy treats, like I mentioned. I literally can’t contain my excitement. If I hype her up enough, she might make this a habit.
We write in our Success Planners, listen to music, and do some journaling while sippin’ on coffee shakes.
We do some yoga together. We mirror each other and we stick to some of our own routines.
I clean my room, do some laundry, and optimistically work on my spring capsule wardrobe while watching The Busch Family Brewed on Xfinity. I missed most of the episode, but I finished my capsule wardrobe. I make three piles: One to donate, one to sell online, and one to store away. I bag them up and set them aside for later.
I make a slice of avocado toast for my mom and I on our favorite Canyon Bakehouse gluten-free everything bagels.
I eat my toast at my desk while logging onto my computer to draft a Masterclass recap email, complete with a quick 4-question feedback form. I send it through MailerLite.
I receive a package in the mail that I’ve been waiting for! It’s a shipment of my favorite grain-free crunchy taco shells from Siete. I’m so happy! My sister takes a few photos that showcase my joy. I spend 30 minutes editing them in A Color Story.
I call my best friend and we spend the longest time talking on the phone while I lay in bed. We talk about work, food, boys, and future plans. It’s wonderful.
We reluctantly part ways when my mom comes home with Chipotle. My sister and I have salad bowls while she enjoys a burrito bowl. This is supper for most, but it’s “linner” for my family.
I call my older sister and we catch up for 30 minutes. She has a bachelor's degree in English and she’s a VA for a few well-known cookbook authors, so I send her my latest blog post through LassPass because she agrees to check my Yoast readability score on Wordpress.
I grab some tortilla chips with hot pico and homemade dairy-free cheezy almond dip. I take them to my desk while I log on to MailerLite to make sure my Masterclass recap was delivered okay. I check my email and I catch up on my Instagram.
I dip into the family chocolate supply and lazily check in on a dating app before deciding that there’s no fish in the sea. At least, not for me! I leave everyone on read and take to Googling photos of Shia Labeouf instead.
I decide we’re watching American Honey after reading Shia’s IMBD biography. My sister and I hatch a plan to complete the dream boards included in our Success Planners while we Netflix. We go for a brief drive to get out of the house and to discuss our dream boards together.
We get back to the house and take to Pinterest, curating all of the essential visuals in Canva before printing them out and heading back to my room for the movie.
We spend the rest of the night watching American Honey and assembling our dream boards. My desk is covered in Elmers glue, stickers, paint brushes, scissors, and paper scraps while we splay out with our visions.
I’m a sucker for indie films, so while I loved the movie, my sister hated it. We compare our completed dream boards, which are also very different. These moments define how my sister and I are both so similar and so different. We take way too many pictures and call it a night so I can hit the ground running on my workday in the morning.
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