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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travel series: nyc

Hello & happy summer! Hopefully, if you are reading this, you are already done with school or almost finishing up with finals.


photo with text that reads, "travel series: nyc"


If you follow along with my personal insta account, you know that I have been doing quite a bit of traveling (a lot for me, that is). We recently went to new york city for Memorial Day Weekend. We spent four days in the city and explored various areas, such as brooklyn and soho.


I decided I would make this post more photo based, because, what better way to show our explorations on this trip than through photos! This post is the first of a travel series, as I will continue to share my favorite spots / moments after various trips.


Keep reading to see more of my trip to nyc…


D A Y  O N E

ballerina sculpture

// we practically walked into this sculpture. This awesome art installation is in Rockefeller Center. Read more about it here. (We didn’t have much time to explore our first day since our train got in later that afternoon)


D A Y  T W O

pressed juicery storefront

// day two was spent exploring the streets of soho. Pressed Juicery is a quaint and trendy shop with yummy pressed juices. Two words = fresh and simple.


up close of bulb lights

// it’s basically inevitable that we end up eating at Shake Shack at least once during our trip. However, my brother and tour guide in one led us to Soho Park – a hip, trendy, and delicious burger find. Better yet, they are much cheaper than Shake Shack!


ivy and lights strung in walkway

// if you’re looking for the perfect photo-op, head to Nomo Soho. This hip and trendy hotel has the coolest spots for photos. Their archway is ~ magical ~


mirror pic of girl with peace sign

// I always love going to Brandy Melville, so I had to include this pic! They are pretty strict with taking photos in the store so I snapped this mirror pic instead. Head to their online store to see their clothing selection.


soho buildings

// always love the buildings of soho


girl taking photos in crowded side street

// shoutout to mama auer for taking this shot! One of our favorite parts about soho are the unexpected finds within the side streets. There are so many photo-ops if you just remember to look up at the buildings.


storefront - by Chloe.

// before leaving soho we stopped in by Chloe for a quick bite to eat. I had been wanting to go here for so long because all of my bloggers and youtubers always rave about this place. It’s hip, trendy, and has plenty of healthy options to choose from. My dad isn’t the biggest fan of vegan style foods so he got a smoothie while my mom and I got avocado toast. TBH I enjoyed my dad’s smoothie more than the avo toast. The toast came with seasonal veggies on top, which happened to be peas and pickled onions. It wasn’t even photo worthy (and that says a lot!) The morale of the story is, I wish I had opted for a smoothie or one of their other options, but it was still tasty. I will def try again…


D A Y  T H R E E

girl walking on brooklyn bridge

// this is the second time that I have walked the Brooklyn Bridge, and it seems like each time just gets better and better. It was an overcast day, but the views were still breathtaking.


FEED storefront

// this coffee shop – FEED – was basically my mom’s dream store. She had been looking at it on insta and was so excited that we happened to find it. Check out their site (linked above) to learn more about their mission and story.


One Girl Cookies window

// my DREAM – One Girl Cookies…literally so good – if you happen to go here while in Dumbo, try one of their whoopie pies. They are delicious and totally worth every calorie. Of course, you can get coffee too, or a cupcake…or one of each! 🙂


whoopie pies and cupcake

// nyc eats at One Girl Cookies


D A Y  F O U R

the high line

// we spent our last morning in the city walking the High Line. It has plenty of photo ops and awesome spots to sit and relax.


// views from the High Line…


madewell storefront

// almost immediately after walking across the High Line, we managed to find Madewell! I always love Madewell’s décor and storefront, but this particular store was amazing. I think I was focused more on the interior of the store than the clothes!



// selfies !


I hope you enjoyed this post ! Let me know about your thoughts on the layout of this post. I wanted it to be more of a travel diary with a greater focus on the photos and less on the text.


ALSO check out my friend Maddy’s blog! She recently started it and I loooove it. Seriously so cute.




ps – you should really check out Glossier. I went to their showroom while in soho and it was one of the coolest experiences. All of my youtubers (it should be noted that “my youtubers” = beauty and fashion vloggers / bloggers) rave about Glossier. Also, their packaging is beautifulllll. Probably gonna blog about them soon.


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spotlight app review: Over

Hello! This week I will be doing something different here on four floors up – A Spotlight App Review! I will be sharing one of my favorite apps with you – “Over.” Keep reading if you are interested in learning more about this great app available for purchase in the App Store.




What is Over?

Essentially, “Over” is a design app in which you can add text, graphics, and clip art to your photos. It is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch products.



Some Interesting Tid-Bits…

  • There are 10,000+ graphics, fonts, & images available for use in “Over”


  • You can create fun and unique posts for any celebration with birthday and holiday graphics


  • Check into “Over” every day to collect free artwork and graphics


How Do I Use Over?

“Over” is definitely one of my favorite apps on my iPhone. I use it countless times every week, from creating birthday posts for friends to cover photos for my blog posts.


If you ever wondered how I create my blog graphics, “Over” is the answer! These are some of my favorite creations that I have made with “Over”…





If you decide to download “Over,” check out this awesome step-by-step “Over” walkthrough. I have had the app for a few years and still found myself amazed to learn more from this tutorial. “Over” also has several other tutorials on Vimeo, such as, “How to make a Transparent PNG in ‘Over.’”


Also, I wanted to make it clear that I do not have the PRO version of “Over.” I have not felt the need to purchase the PRO version ($7.99 per month), although I do buy new artwork and font packages within “Over’s” Store from time to time. You can find the Store by clicking the upper right icon on the home screen in “Over.”



My Favorite Things About Over…

Fonts, fonts, fonts

One of my favorite things about “Over” is the app’s broad font selection. Some of my favorites are Nexa, Hello Beautiful, Lulo, Sheepman, & Papercute.



Simple Design & Interface

I think I love creating graphics within “Over” so much because of the app’s simple and clean design. Over’s sleek interface makes it possible to create your own graphics within minutes!


Cute & One of a Kind Graphics

The graphics that “Over” offers are adorable and unique for any occasion. I know I mentioned this before, but always check into the “Over” store to see what graphic packages are available for free! I snagged this adorable free graphic for Father’s Day and created this collage for my dad.



The Gallery

Once you download “Over,” you will notice that the app saves all of your previous creations in your own personal gallery. So, if you ever want to go back and revisit one of your creations, feel free to do so!



Photo Selection

Suppose you feel as though you don’t have any photos to create designs in “Over.” No problem. When creating a new project, “Over” provides the option to use some of their professional photos under the, “Unsplash” tab.



If “Over” sounds like the app for you, download it from the app store! It is my go-to for creating countless designs and unique creations in a few simple and easy steps. If you are interested in learning more, check them out in the app store or read some of the awesome reviews they have gotten, such as the review they received from companies such as Brit & Co.


Join the “Over” movement and start creating today! Let me know in the comments below if you have any questions, comments, or concerns about “Over” – I am always here to help.




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my top 10 college essentials

Hello from four floors up!

Since I have been at college for a little over 2 months, I am going to be sharing 10 of my favorite essentials. I can’t imagine college life without these products, so keep reading to learn more…




A weekender bag

When you want to head back home for the weekend or visit a friend at college, a weekender/ duffle bag comes in handy! I bought my grey weekender bag from Brandy Melville & it is by the brand John Galt USA. It is not available online, but you can find a similar style here from Herschel.



Artificial plants & succulents

To brighten up any space, I suggest investing in some artificial succulents. Don’t get me wrong, I love real plants, but in order to avoid dying succulents, I invested in artificial ones. I purchased mine from Marshall’s and Target, but any local home décor store usually offers a large selection!




To maintain a constant supply of fresh, filtered water, I advise purchasing a Brita. This Amalfi Water Pitcher fits perfectly in our micro-fridge and has a 5 cup capacity.



Sticking with the water theme, this next product is a common college necessity – the s’well water bottle. Featured in my “what’s in my backpack” post, more information about my s’well selection can be found here.




To jam out with friends or play some relaxing background music, I love my Bose SoundLink Mini Bluetooth speaker. It produces an amazing sound and connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth. Bose offers many other speakers with a range of prices if this particular version doesn’t match your budget.



Room spray

Since most residence halls don’t allow candles, I found room spray to be a dorm essential. I purchased this Aura Cacia Peppermint Room & Body Mist from Whole Foods. However, it is also available at a range of online sites, such as Amazon. I love its subtle and refreshing peppermint scent.



Rain jacket

My most used college essential would definitely have to be my rain jacket. It doesn’t rain much in Philly, but I have loved layering my Target Rain Anorak – Merona jacket. I purchased it in the color “Orion Gray” – the perfect mix of gray and navy.


Portable charger

Nothing is worse than your phone dying when you are out and about, so I suggest investing in a portable iPhone charger. I bought mine from Marshall’s but you can find one like it here from Target.


Milk makeup cooling water

I cannot say enough great things about this product. I have an 8am everyday and cannot imagine my mornings without this Cooling Water stick from Urban Outfitters. This “ultra-refreshing cooling water stick” leaves your skin feeling cool and refreshed. I especially love using it on my eyelids and under eyes, as it helps me wake up in the morning.




Slip-on vans

Take a visit to any campus and you will see most students rockin’ some slip-ons. I purchased my Braided Suede Slip-On Vans in the color Wild Dove. Their braided texture and sleek design make them great shoes for walking the campus. They are extremely comfortable and I love them!




That’s it for now…I hope you enjoyed my top 10 college essentials at the moment.

Let me know in the comments below what some of your essentials are that you can’t imagine living without.



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how to decorate empty wall space


Hello from four floors up! This week I will be sharing my advice and inspiration on how to decorate any empty wall space in your room. I will share my own tips and tricks and provide links to the websites I use to purchase my dorm décor, ranging from Target to Artifact Uprising! Keep reading if you are inspired to learn more…


Artifact Uprising Square Prints

First, let’s talk about Artifact Uprising. Artifact is a great way to turn your digital photos into real-life prints. Their standard square prints are 5 x 5” and you get 25 prints per order. After ordering these for the first time, I was absolutely in love. They are amazing quality with a clean matte finish. Artifact Uprising even makes it super easy to upload photos to print. You can sync your photos from your Instagram feed or select photos from your Photo Album on your computer.



Displaying your Prints…

I decided to hang my prints with command strips and binder clips because I didn’t want to damage the photos with tape and risk tearing them. (Command strips are your best friend in college BTW) I love the way they look and I only display 12 at a time, enabling me to interchange them throughout the year! Also, I highly suggest following Artifact Uprising on Instagram because they usually post coupon codes that can get you 25 free prints (excluding shipping) $8 for 25 prints – yes please!




Above my prints, I hung navy and white tassels from Target. My mom and I bought these when we were planning a photo booth for my brother and I’s graduation party, but they look great in a dorm room! We bought two different tassel packs – one navy and one white pack – and interchanged them on one string. I love how the length of the navy and white tassels vary from one to the next. These tassels are definitely a must have and make any space unique!



Twinkle Lights

What’s a dorm room without twinkle lights??? My favorites are from IKEA. They are their standard Kilometer light chain with 48 bulbs. I love the glow that they give to the room and I find them so relaxing while I am studying at night! I also love that the cord is thick, allowing me to clip some of my extra Artifact prints to the chain with clothespins.



YAY Banner

If you know me, you know that I love inspirational quotes and sayings. As I was looking on Instagram, I kept noticing posts from Urban Outfitters featuring small banners with different sayings, such as, “IT’S OK” and “YAY”. I was obsessed and knew it was a necessity for my dorm, but I was so disappointed to find out the hefty price tag. After searching relentlessly, I found an adorable AND affordable “YAY” banner on Etsy from Zana products, almost identical to the original I saw on Instagram. Shipped from South Africa, my banner came surprisingly quick and beautifully packaged! I could not be happier with my “YAY” banner! (It honestly makes me smile just looking at it as I am writing this)




Urban Outfitters Inspired Hat Display

Once again, I was inspired by Urban Outfitters, as well as photographer and visual merchandiser, Cait Poli, via Instagram. After scrolling through my feed, I noticed Urban and Cait’s small space photos featuring simple hat displays. Using two large command strips, I hung two hats onto my wall to fill some of the empty space between my bed and desk area. If you are looking for a simple, functional, and easy way to decorate your space, consider displaying your fav baseball caps!



Baltimore Pennant

Lastly, I gotta talk about my hometown pride! Being in Philly, it’s a necessity for me to represent Baltimore, Maryland. I purchased this simple and classic pennant from one of my favorite stores, Becket Hitch. They are my go-to for desk supplies, notebooks, planners, and one-of-a-kind finds, such as this pennant. It always reminds me of where I came from and all of the reasons why I love Baltimore.



That’s it for now! I hope that these tips help you spruce up your space or inspire you with some dorm décor ideas. As always, be sure to stay connected by following either my personal Instagram or my new four floors up account. Both are featured in the sidebar!



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