(left: Yesterday Nite. Right: Patch Adams by Katie Rodgers of PaperFashion)
I try to keep my blog/social media light hearted-ish. The news is so heavy with really upsetting stuff that I'd honestly rather pin things that I can't afford, projects I'll never do and food I'll never cook.

Selfish? Meh. More like an escape.

For people who know me as more than just FIVE12 STUDIO, they know my heart. They know I pay attention to the current events and sometimes I'm the one breaking the news to my friends.

The last two days, I've been more news heavy than tips heavy on Twitter.

Why? Two things:

- Ferguson police shot an unarmed Black man. People are upset. We're tired of this happening. This is injustice.

- Robin Williams died of suicide after dealing with depression. That's hard, because a) depression, b) suicide, c) he was (as the Internet has said) the babysitter we never met.

As a blogger, I'm torn. Do I express how tired I am of seeing minorities (specifically minority men) being targeted and killed just because police want a shooting target? Or do I keep mum about it and post 10 ways to do something related to whatever?

And why do I fear doing said posts? Controversy? Backlash? Mean comments?


So here are two things you need to know about me if you don't know:

One: I have zero tolerance for injustice of any kind. It bothers me so much more than you know. It infuriates me to see cases such as Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis and now Mike Brown. When it happens, I speak on it. Since it's happening all the time, I speak on it a lot.

Two: Depression sucks. Living with depression sucks. Suicide is the worst because it means depression won. But battling with it constantly sucks. And whether it's a celebrity who we're talking about committing suicide or not, we need to tackle the stigma. I fully believe raising the awareness of mental health issues is important and should have been done yesteryear.

So I battle: what to do? what to do?

In the end, I speak my truth, though, it's not even about me. 

To close:

Shaun King created a petition to protect citizens from police violence and misconduct.  Please read it and sign.

Depression, the Secret We Share, Andrew Solomon (TED) is worth the listen. I saw this link on Wit and Delight's site when she wrote about her anxiety/depression/ADD. Listen and change your understanding on this.

Until next time,



Wednesday I blogged about changing your brand's name and what you should consider before doing.

Ya'll, this is me speaking from personal experience, so I present to you:

The journey to FIVE12 STUDIO.

My child. My baby. My blood, sweat, and tears.

What makes me happy, what gives me anxiety, what makes me extremely proud.

Back in the day, when I graduated with a second degree, I was quick to think, “How can I market myself while looking for full-time?” because it was important to keep up my skills while I continued to look for opportunity in the workforce.

I knew two things:

I wanted to design and I wanted to do photography.

After some Googling and bouncing ideas, I came up with CNICOLE Photodesign, which I would shorten, ‘cnicolepd’ across the web. C being Clarissa, and Nicole being…well Nicole.

It worked for a bit. I branded, bought the domain, set up my blog, Facebook, Twitter, and put together a very simple and plain website and started going. I didn’t have a ton to share but I kept in mind I just graduated so that’s OK.

My first website on Weebly. And yes, that header/logo is not that great.
What I did have was family and friends photos to show my photography skills and a few internship pieces. I was ready, or so I thought. I eventually got temp assignments and kept researching.

I started blogging after coming across a few popular design blogs because I thought, “Oh that’s cool. I can do that too.” I was very oblivious to the behind the scenes of blogging. But here are some of the mistakes I learned from in the beginning: I didn’t map out the vision I had for the long term.

Logo redo part 1. Better than the last. Still not good. 
Because of the economy, I only focused on the very short-term goal (to get income, now). I didn’t have a mentor (I still don’t, but I have community, which is awesome). I went out there on my own and really winged it. That’s not really a mistake, but I was completely clueless and didn’t reach out for help.
I did free gigs and got used. Yeah, remember that post about to free or not to free? That came from personal experience. I undercharged, didn’t do a contract (ya’ll…I know) and eventually got completely screwed. I never thought of the details, the other costs, the time, anything.

The last of the mohicans. The font stayed, the name didn't.
It was late 2012/early 2013 I was I really tired of CNICOLE Photodesign. I didn’t like the way it flowed anymore. I didn’t like how it felt to the ears when I told people. I also thought it was limiting.

I brainstormed and figured out what name would better coincide with what I wanted to do. What would go (and look) well with branding, a collaboration, a product line, etc. It came to me upon a midnight hour (quite literally) to use a variation of my birthdate, May 12.

FIVE12 STUDIO is now a way to serve people through more than just this and that. I’m free to add or subtract services.

And honestly, I downright love it.

Are you considering changing your brand's name? Have you? I'd love to know bit more about your decision!

Until next time,



You’re starting a new business venture, be it a blog or some small business. You have a name and you love, love, love it! So you go with it. It’s everywhere, you’ve even spent some money on it.

And now you hate it.

It’s like that tattoo you got that you thought was so cool and got on impulse and now you’re sitting wondering “Why?” and budgeting laser removal.


You had the intent to do something with said brand name. It fit so great with your idea at the time, but as you developed, evolved, the name just doesn’t fit anymore.

Now you feel stuck. You want to change this one thing, but how?

Just do it.

“But won’t that confuse my audience?”

If you do it and you don’t tell them and you just keep going on about your daily like NOTHING has changed, then yes, yes it can.

If you give a heads up, and an explanation as to why you’re changing and what to look forward to, your audience will understand.

I’m not saying change your name as the wind blows. That may detour your audience if you’ve changed a third, fourth or fifth time.

But I get it. I went from CNICOLE Photodesign to FIVE12 STUDIO (which we’ll get into tomorrow) and I couldn’t be happier with my decision.

FIVE12 fits what I wanted to do. It allows me more freedom to work with different people I admire in and out of the design/photography field. It allows me to expand on dreams I have for the future. I love seeing FIVE12 STUDIO on business cards, social media, etc. I love hearing people say the name the same way I love hearing random accents and languages on the busy streets of New York.

So here’s the deal on should you or shouldn’t you change your brand name: if you’re not in love with what you have now, and I mean in that really cheesy, Fault in Our Stars, The Notebook kind of way, go for it. If you feel like your name doesn’t fit what you’re currently doing now and it's so outside of what you're really passionate about and want to start pursuing now, change it. At the end of the day, you have to live with it and you deserve to be happy with it.

Until next time,



I know what you're thinking:

Why is she talking about shorts like summer just got here?

Because it may almost be August, but it is still hot outside and to be honest, I can't be in pants like I've been doing. And if you're in the South like me, it'll be hot for at least another 2-3 months.

On a special note: I made an offhand comment about not having a thigh gap and I need to get over it and get some shorts anyway. I received a lot of encouraging tweets following it and I want to say thank you. Please know, out of every thing I might be a little insecure about, having a thigh gap like Spongebob isn't one of them.

Until next time,



If you're thinking about creating a small business or develop yourself as an entrepreneur, here are a few things you should avoid. Some of these are a "duh" (hopefully) while a few others may be a head scratcher.

5) Not actually having a conversation in your Twitter feed. 
Blog links, website links, Instagram links, links to the left, links to the right.

But you're not engaging. To me that says your Twitter is a hub for links and you don't really care about interacting on the medium, which is completely fine and your prerogative--I just won't be following because I love interacting with my followers.

4) Automated DM's when you follow someone.
Por que? It's impersonal and makes me question why I followed you. If you want to communicate with new followers, an easy at reply does the trick. "Hey @newfollower! So glad we can connect!" or something. Just make it feel like they're not part of those mass holiday text messages.

3) Not having a name, link, and/or bio on your Twitter profile.
If someone follows me and all I see is a profile pic, I'm not going to even bother reading your timeline. Why? Because I assume you're just spam and you'll be gone in two days anyway. If you're a PR savvy person, list that. If you're a huge fan of Dr. Who, list it. I don't care, but to me you need something in the bio so my curiosity piques.

And if you're a professional without a website, I kind of scratch my head and wonder why? A graphic artist with no portfolio? A blogger with no blog link?

Is this the real life or is it just fantasy.

Do me a favor: link your site, blog, Instagram, etc. I want to get to know you!

2) Newsletter pop-ups.
Look, I'm all about opt-ins if you choose to do so. I don't however, want that to be the first thing I see when I check out your website. If that's the first thing I see, chances are I'm going to "x" out of it completely, and those top 5 facts you want people to read won't be read. 

But put aside the annoying factor: it's not good to assume everyone is on a computer. Pop-ups on tablets and cell phones are annoying because it's hard to click out of them to view the content. If you want readers to subscribe to your newsletter, place it at the end of your post or on the side bar (hint: look to the right of mine).

1) Comic Sans.

What are you doing this for? Why are you doing this?


What I'm saying is, unless you're a 5 year old with a site about Candyland or and 8 year old who writes poems about unicorns, delete this font off of your computer.

"But it's kid friendly!" Oh honey, let me help you. I'm just sayin' you can do better.

Got any branding "oh-nos" I didn't mention? Feel any of them are actually not that bad? Leave me a comment. I'd like to know your insight.

Until next time,