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The New Nova Donna

By | news | No Comments

It’s funny calling Nova Donna new because it seems redundant. The word nova is Portuguese for new and it also means a brightening of a star; both we think are apt metaphors the new woman of the 21st century. So, this is the new New Woman!

When we started Nova Donna at the beginning of the year, we had a big idea. We wanted to help women empower themselves in a global way, address big issues that women face, and help women give themselves permission in their daily lives to live life the way they want to live it.

A few weeks after launch, we quickly realized that we went into something much more complex than we have the resources to address. We’re idealists at heart, so it was hard for us to admit that maybe we could make a bigger impact doing something smaller.

So, we sat down and had a heart-to-heart. We looked at all the ways women can be more empowered, both big and small. And we looked at the resources we have at hand and the most simple things we can do now.

The result is the new Nova Donna! We’re starting off with templates and small resources for people who need to get their personal brand off the ground and look good (because looking and feeling good about yourself is empowering, right?). And in the future we’ll be adding mini courses, tools, and fun things that people can use right away and integrate into their businesses and lives quickly.

Want to keep up to date whenever we add new items or when we offer discounts and specials? Sign up for our periodic newsletter here.

Got an idea or any questions for us? We’d love to hear those too. Feel free to leave a comment below or contact us.

To all of you who’ve supported Nova Donna’s journey so far, we just want to say one thing: THANK YOU!

What is a brand?

What is a Brand? (in images)

By | branding | No Comments

Describing what a brand is or isn’t is a challenging task. Most people believe that it’s a logo or colors or design. But, all of those things are really the visual artifacts and symbolism. Building a brand is something deeper. It delves into the roots of identity, character, values, culture, story, voice, and more.

Jeff Bezos famously said, “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room”.

I agree with this sentiment to some extent. But, I believe a brand is also how you feel about you. Because how you feel about your business and about yourself is how you transmit your brand and connect to others. People don’t know what to say about you when you’re not in the room if they don’t have a signal or something to experience.

You can build a brand for your business. Or you can build a personal brand around yourself and your own name. Or, your name can be your business. Branding is a general concept that can be applied to many different things.

We tend to think of branding like an orange with different segments and the orange itself represents the whole experience. The core is the heart and soul of the brand. Its core identity. And the top skin is how it appears visually. Here’s a graphic we made to illustrate the concept.

Please feel free to download and share it as you wish. We just request you credit us when you do, please.




Free Color Palettes: The Young Girls of Rochefort

By | color palette | 2 Comments

The other day, Koldo and I watched the most charming French movie called “The Young Girls of Rochefort” starring Catherine Deneuve and Françoise Dorléac. I was impressed by the generous and fresh use of color they used in the movie and how well they mixed it all to make it work.

One of the most charming parts was seeing the two sisters wear complementary clothing; Françoise, the brunette, in gorgeous yellows and Catherine, the blond, in pinks. They skillfully alternate in colors as the movie goes on. This delightful complementary color-matching theme continues throughout the movie with all of the characters, extras, objects, and scenery.

I’ve mixed together some fun color palettes to compliment some of the scenes in the movie for you.

Here are some ideas on how you can use these palettes:

  • Save the image to a Pinterest board for a fun project you’re working on.
  • Use for your website: bright contrasting colors for accents and features and neutrals for backgrounds.
  • Use for styling up your social media graphics for a fresh look.
  • Use for decorative accents in one of the rooms of your home or go all out with bold paint colors.
  • Accessorize your style with jewelry, handbags, or shoes. I personally love the idea of mixing a faded pastel with a bright complimentary color. For example, mixing a pale mint handbag with a bright turquoise top.

You can download the palettes in Adobe Swatch Exchange (.ase) format underneath each photo, which will work in all Adobe programs. I’ve also included a .zip file with all of the palettes at the end of this post if you’d like to download them all at once.

Sisters; fresh, fun, and doe-eyed. Download this palette.


I couldn’t keep my eyes off of these lemon placements in the movie. They add a fun burst of color throughout all the bar scenes. Download this palette.


There are a LOT of colors in this scene. Yet, somehow it works. Download this palette.

I appreciated the primary color mixing they did for the men here. They’re wearing bright and bold colors, rather than pastels. Download this palette.


Nice touches of pastel in the background and objects. Download this palette.


More pastel love. And Gene Kelly in pink! *swoon* Download this palette.

This time the sisters have swapped their yellow and pink looks. Download this palette.


This couple’s color scheme is highly unusual and hard to mesh right. And yet, they pull it off again! Download this palette.


Pastels and dancing couples in love. What could be better? Download this palette.

Download All of the Palettes

Deneuve is as lovely and doe-eyed as youth can be in this movie. The appearance of the ever-graceful Gene Kelly in the movie was a nice touch although his part was small. The movie does have a bittersweet feel though when you realize that Françoise Dorléac, the co-star and real-life sister of  Catherine Deneuve, died  in a tragic car accident a few months after the movie was made.

Color ideas and inspiration sometimes find you in the most unexpected places. I was surprised and delighted by this little visual feast and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Are you planning on using any of these schemes in a project of yours? If so, we’d love to hear about it!


You Can Choose to Do What You Love. Yes, You.

By | entrepreneurship | No Comments

So many things we do everyday are things we should do. Things that others tell us to do, like our bosses, our clients, our family, our friends. Sometimes it can feel like we never actually get to do what we want.

We’re waiting for permission, we feel obligated out of a sense of duty to others, or perhaps we’ve just been taught that only certain routes are acceptable for us.

I’ve always thought that if we have something we spend so much time on everyday like work, it makes sense for it to be something we choose. It truly takes up more time than anything else we do. More time than we spend having fun, more time than we spend with our families, more time than we spend with ourselves….time that we’ll never get back again.

I started working at my first job at age 13. After that period I went through 9 different jobs before I became self-employed at the age of 20. A few of these jobs were not fun at all (telemarketing) while others were more gratifying (putting together window displays at a department store).

I learned something very valuable about myself through all of it though: I quickly become dissatisfied when I feel like I’m wasting my time away. I was worried that this was a weakness in myself for awhile, but I’ve now come to understand that it’s more like a strong internal radar, ever guiding me to something that’s a better fit for me in that space and moment.

I’m not saying the only route to doing what you love is to work for yourself. A job can be just as meaningful for you if it fits your own values and goals in life. Self-employment is just a practical way because it gives you the space and freedom to choose what aligns with your values, what’s acceptable and not, and what turns you on.

I believe a lot of people, women in particular, don’t realize they have a choice.

They think no one will support them, they don’t have the time, it’s selfish, they can’t because they have to support someone else, or they just can’t for other practical reasons.

I believe that those are traps we set for ourselves when we feel that something is going to be challenging or difficult. The fact is, you can do just about anything you choose, given that you’ve outlined the constraints and it’s still possible. I’m not saying that there aren’t certain off-cases that are so unlikely that they aren’t practical. Like, if you’re very short and you want to be a supermodel. And I’m not saying you should eschew your personal responsibilities to others.

Make no mistake, doing what you chose often comes along with unique challenges.

Sometimes what you want to do doesn’t match what other people value, perhaps you won’t get the support from your friends and family that you hope for, you might not get approval, and maybe you’ll discover later that what you decided to do is not really what you love after all.

The point is: you choose. Only you can decide what’s worth spending the precious few moments of your time on earth.  Will you look back in regret, wondering about all of the things you wanted to do, but didn’t?

Or, will you look back and say, “Sometimes I succeeded and sometimes I failed. But, I chose what I wanted to do and no one else chose for me.



She enjoys life

By | women in publicity | No Comments

I’m simply in love with this ad from 1958! I’m 100% in love with a a woman who enjoys all the little things in life and doesn’t hide her joy. Why we don’t see anymore women like this in publicity?:

  • A woman who is happy and relaxed.
  • A woman who doesn’t hide her feelings.
  • An elegant woman who drinks alcohol and doesn’t look trashy.
  • A woman who holds her glass with security and strength.
  • A woman who is served by someone who cares. Maybe by a man.
  • A woman who enjoys LIFE.

In the USA, it’s very unusual to see a woman in a bar having a beer by herself. Bars are a ‘male’ territory where only drunken or promiscuous women are supposed to be.  This is not that common in many European countries, where all kind of cultured women have a beer without a problem just as any man would.

We are the ones who can change the perception of women in our culture. Here are a few things women can do about it:

  • Don’t consume products that portray weak women in publicity and media. Support the products which show a free and strong woman that enjoys alcohol or whatever she likes with a joyful and a healthy attitude.
  • If you are an entrepreneur looking for a new business adventure, here is something that the world is in need today: bars where women can feel comfortable and safe. There are lots of them already in Europe. A bar doesn’t need to be a filthy place with a huge screen on the wall blasting sports. A bar can be a relaxing and cute space were women and men can gather together and chat, or just simply have a beer by themselves by the fireplace and enjoy this little moment in life.



Promoting Conscious Consumption Part 2: Be Unique, but Not Too Unique

By | Sustainability | No Comments

This is part one of our promoting conscious consumption series. Last week we talked about how to allow others to support your business. We will follow up next week with a new part.

Many people like to find and support things that are unique and novel. However, these types of people are generally in the minority. There’s also a tricky sort of area where the unfamiliar becomes uncomfortable for people. The challenge then is doing something unique, innovative, or novel, but at the same time provides familiarity and makes people feel at home.

The good news is that contrary to what many people believe, not everything has already been done. The world is just waiting for improvement of even everyday things, new takes on old problems, and solutions to the hard stuff.

There are lots of small things that we use everyday that are overly complicated and difficult to use. Things like potato peelers, microwaves, remote controls, smart phones, etc. It might seem like these are small and unimportant in the grand scheme of things, but it doesn’t mean we don’t need better solutions and what you do can’t affect people’s lives in a beneficial way.

Here’s an example of a creative solution. One person posted on Reddit this hack they did to their grandma’s remote control to make it easier to use for her to use. It makes you wonder why they don’t make very simple remotes more often, doesn’t it?

Remote Hack

Remote Hack

And  where to start with some of the some of the larger and more pressing issues. Things like women’s rights around the world, hunger, access to portable water, better infrastructures, better medical services, and much more.

Even beauty has a vitally important function in our lives. How things look impacts the way we feel about the world around us and brings us closer to nature. Even everyday objects take on new meaning when they’re beautiful. We appreciate them more, they gain value, and we feel proud to own them.

The past several years, people have become more sophisticated and have come to expect attractiveness. This expectation of beauty will only increase in the upcoming years.

So, if you want to build something, innovation is always an option as long as you don’t build something that people can’t grasp or understand. And if you don’t build something innovative or world changing, that’s ok too. There are many many problems out there, just waiting to be solved, many improvements to be made, and much more beauty to be had.

Coming soon! Part 3: Local or Small is Great Too!


Today I’m Giving Myself Permission to Be Present

By | daily permission | No Comments

It’s so easy to get caught up in what we should be doing every day. We have to do lists a mile long, obligations and responsibilities, and a lot of distractions.

Sometimes this takes us away from being present in the moment and with the people we care about. We get focused on whatever we have to get done and sometimes it becomes more important than stopping and listening and making the people we love feel cared for.

This daily permission is a reminder to myself to slow down, listen, and savor my glass of wine with good company, good conversation, and a lot of love.



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