my back to school essentials

Seriously, where has this summer gone? As sad as I am that this summer is coming to an end, I am feeling pretty excited to head back to school and start this school year!


Instead of writing a blog post about my back-to-school must haves, I thought it would be fun to make a video for you guys! (Thanks iMovie web show days for helping me out with this editing.)


If you want to hear me talk about some of my back to school essentials / what I can’t wait to use this school year, head over to my video (and maybe give it a like?) Click the image below to view my video!



Let me know what you think or if you want to see more videos in the future. I will have everything I talk about linked in the description box beneath the video. 🙂


If you are heading back to school soon, or are already back, let me know what your school essentials are!



– madauer

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Main question floating around in my head = why are we so afraid of becoming vulnerable?


I am almost finished reading Melissa Ambrosini’s Mastering Your Mean Girl (& no, this mean girl isn’t the type that you see in the movies…)


The mean girl that Melissa dives into in her book is the inner negative voice in our head. Call it what you want, but the message remains clear – it can be your harshest critic.


To start off, I am not going try to sugar coat things – this past semester I experienced some super hard and challenging moments. Even though I’m only 20, these experiences have opened my eyes to some very important learning lessons. Not only have I learned more about others, but most importantly, I have learned so much more about myself.


Time at home has been so soothing and good for the soul. I have been having so much fun delving more into my passion in design work and bracelet making, and I have loved having the opportunity to reconnect with one of my ultimate past loves – reading for fun! (I sound like a nerd, right.)


Along with my experiences at school this past semester, Melissa’s book has opened my eyes to some super important lessons and food for thought. So let’s start this chat, shall we?



First, vulnerability. I would have never thought of sitting down and writing this post, unless I had read Mastering Your Mean Girl. When you truly consider it, we are often so hesitant to opening ourselves up to others, let alone via the web! I took a chance last summer through my social media cleanse post, and I can honestly say it felt so good to write and click publish. Not to mention, it was one of my most engaging posts viewership wise.


My social media cleanse post and this one go way deeper than the usual “summertime essentials” and “skincare routine” posts. And in no way am I bashing these types of posts AT ALL. I personally love them and read / watch millions of them in my free time. But, I think that mixing in some vulnerability enables us to open up to others and engage with the real truth. Which is what we are really trying to do in life, right?


In her book, Melissa states, “Being vulnerable makes people lean in…humans are hardwired for connection. We want to feel like someone gets us. We don’t want to land on a person’s website and feel like she / he has a ‘perfect’ life. – (which, by the way, what even is perfect?) – people can’t relate to that-they relate to real people and real life situations.” (page 213 for reference)


Ugh, I could not agree more. Lesson 1 – stop comparing! We are all so guilty of it and I will be the first to admit it. It is so easy to make our lives look amazing within the space of a grid of tiny squares on our smartphones. Do I love Instagram? Yes. But I know when it is truly making me happy versus when it is not.



Personally, this is definitely something I need to work on, as well as something I want to explore this summer. I honestly do not know if I will try the social media cleanse again, but what I do know is that I want to truly live in the moment this summer, spending less time on my phone and hence, less time in “comparison mode.”


At the end of the day, Instagram and our presentation on social media is a teeny tiny piece of our overall worth and value as a person.


Again, I LOVE Instagram (& other social media) and I do not want this to sound like a social media hate party at all. I just am taking the time to open up to you guys and tell you – I’m there too. Only when we open ourselves up can others lean in (and that’s when unity happens.)


These apps are neutral gateways for us to express ourselves. It’s how we receive and interact with these expressions that vary from person to person, and they can either be positive or negative at times.



Let me know how you guys use social media for the positive. Personally, I love creating content for my feed and adding stories / highlights to my profile. These are just some of the small ways that Instagram adds a little happy in my life.


And the next time you are scrolling on the gram or other social media and think someone has it all – they probably and most certainly do not. Everyone is going through their own ish and in no way does one photo or a grid reflect it alllll. Let’s be real.


I hope you guys enjoyed this post and are inspired to be a bit more vulnerable – there’s nothing to be afraid of!



– madauer


PS – stay tuned to see if social media cleanse part 2 happens – it’s good for the soul

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feeling creative? 5 design projects for you…




I am super excited to be blogging for the first time from this newly named platform – no longer “four floors up” but now me – madison auer!


You may remember me blogging earlier in the semester about how I would be keeping my name as four floors up because that is where my blog first originated. But, after thinking about it, I truly feel as though I have grown in my personal / brand identity since I was living four floors up my freshman year.


This year, I have truly just started to realize my love for design. This design spreads far from my original concept of design as I discussed on four floors up in the past. This past love for design was more concerned with physical design – dorm décor, fashion, etc. I still love this concept of design and draw much inspiration from it; however, I also have a new found love for visual design, especially through Adobe Illustrator and InDesign.


My love for creativity and design has definitely grown this semester, especially through the freedom that I now have to create in the Creative Cloud programs. Shout out to my Digital Aesthetics communications class for pushing me to create and learn new tools that I could have never figured out so easily on my own.


Stemming off of this new found love for creating and design, I wanted to share some ways that you can get creative, especially within design. You don’t necessarily need the Adobe Creative Cloud apps to complete these projects, though it may help. If you don’t have Creative Cloud – no worries! There are plenty of free design apps, such as Over and Canva, that can get the job done just as well.


Sooo, here are some of the ways that I have gotten creative this semester. Hope you enjoy and can draw some inspiration from these ideas!


project 1: mood board

One of my favorite projects this semester has been making mood boards for my Digital Aesthetics class. I pulled all of these photos from my Pinterest account. The main goal for creating this mood board was to begin drawing inspiration for our personal brand. These photos could be fashion based, home décor, textures, words, etc. – basically include anything that speaks to who you are!



This mood board was more tailored for my first project – developing my personal brand and logo. I tried to include photos that were simple, minimalistic and creative. Notice the common color scheme of natural tones – black, grey, white and navy just to name a few.


project 2: word inspo

In my free time, I love scrolling through Pinterest and finding inspirational words. Soon after learning the tools of Illustrator I thought, “why can’t I just make my own?” So, I decided to create some inspo words of my own.



I also had fun creating little words for the start of a new month, such as my “hello march” graphic.



Most of the fonts that I use in these designs are free downloads from dafont! I could honestly get lost scrolling through this site – they have endless options of fun free fonts to choose from.



project 3: color scheme

This isn’t necessarily a design project as much as it is a tool for having some fun with Adobe Color! By creating an account with Creative Cloud, you are able to access Adobe Color – an online tool that allows you to create fun color schemes. However, you are also able to upload a photo and choose colors straight from the photo with a color picker.



After uploading several photos from my mood board, I created these color schemes. The colors you create then sync directly to your Creative Cloud library – so convenient!



project 4: redesign a magazine / online article

One of my favorite design projects from this semester has definitely been remaking an article from a plus. This project was aimed at further understanding the power of layout in InDesign. It is amazing how simply changing the font and layout choices of an article can completely transform the tone and overall “vibe” of it!



I picked an article about taking selfies with veggies and made it look like a more sophisticated article that could now be in a lifestyle or fashion magazine.



project 5: brand sheet / personal logo

The first project for my Digital Aesthetics class was creating a personal brand. This included a brand sheet and personal logo for the final submission. Pulling from the previous design projects, I was able to create a consistent aesthetic across my brand sheet and logos.


I was super excited to create this brand sheet, which I believe effectively communicates my “madison auer” aesthetic – minimal colors, simplicity, and creative elements through my personal logos.



It was so fun to be able to create a brand sheet and logo. I am super excited to incorporate elements from these designs into my future projects, such as my business card and resume design. I am currently working on this project & I cannot wait to share more about it!



Thank you for taking the time to read this first post on my newly named platform! I can’t wait to share more creative, design & lifestyle content.


Let me know in the comments below what you would like to see more of next! Also, be sure to follow along with me on the daily through my Instagram / other social media accounts (linked in sidebar).



– madauer

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