DIY Bug Spray for Summer

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DIY Bug Spray for Summer

Do mosquitos have you buggin’ out this summer? Never fear, your favorite D.I.Y. bug repellent is here! This homemade insect repellent is great for mosquitos, flies, and other annoying summer bugs… Not to mention it smells like a sunny day in the garden. Great for most skin types, this formula uses soothing witch hazel and cold-pressed essential oils to get the job done.

What You Need

  • 4 oz dark spray bottle
  • 3.0 oz Witch hazel
  • 5 drops Citronella oil
  • 10 drops Lemon oil
  • 10 drops Grapefruit oil
  • 10 drops Lavender oil (Lavandula Angustifolia)
  • 1/2 tsp Grapeseed oil


Add witch hazel to small spray bottle. Add oils. Shake well before each use. Apply the bug repellent every few hours for maximum effectiveness.

There are a lot of bug-repelling oil options out there. Interested in some alternatives to the ones listed above? Check out the following options:

  • eucalyptus
  • tea tree
  • peppermint
  • cypress
  • rose geranium
  • bergamot
  • lemon eucalyptus oil (recommended by the CDC as an alternative to DEET. Should not be used for children under 3 years of age though!)


  • Per usual with essential oils, women who are pregnant or nursing should consult a health practitioner before using.
  • Use caution when using essential oils on young children.
  • Do a patch test to check for an allergic reaction before using an essential oil for the first time.
  • Make sure to label homemade products well.
  • Dark-colored bottles work best for products containing essential oils. Store in a cool, dark place when not using.


Check out our how to video and let us know if you try out the recipe for yourself!

Intro to Design Thinking Series: The Art of Brainstorming

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Intro to Design Thinking Series: The Art of Brainstorming

We’re familiar with brainstorming as being a collaborative group discussion where the participants all contribute ideas that will ultimately create a solution to a problem. This is indeed true… but what constitutes a great brainstorming session? What is the formula for making amazing ideas? Where do you start?

Rally the Troops

No brainstorming session is complete without a good team. Grab a couple people from each area involved in project production: creative team, project managers, content strategists, client/task manager, marketing associate, etc. You want a diverse group that can contribute different perspectives on the project. Definitely have a moderator, someone to keep everyone on track when the idea wheels start churning.

Ready, Set…

…a time limit. 1-2 hours. Enough time to get some steady creative juices flowing and not too much where you run the risk of burning out or overthinking. You can always have follow-up sessions. Prep the team before the meeting, so that everyone arrives on the same page when the session starts.


Now we’re getting to the good stuff! Writing supplies? Check. Ample white board space for sketches? Check. Snacks? Check. Let’s get started: State the challenge: You can’t create a product until you know how it needs to function. This where the team discusses and solidifies key performance indicators, what the end-user needs to accomplish the goal of the product and any possible obstacles. One conversation at a time, let everyone’s voice be heard. Work together to define the problem and write a problem statement. Ideate: You’ve now entered the no-judgment zone! Make some assumptions about the product. Try to consider all aspects of your product and business, including consumer/customer beliefs, production, materials, budget, distribution, product positioning, etc. Everyone should contribute thoughts on:

  • a solution
  • the risks from every angle (production and business)
  • who the users are
  • what users value
  • how the product should feel and function

Be visual! Draw mind maps, make priority clusters with post-its, make outlines… Get those ideas out there! Onward and upward: Move forward with the best ideas. These bits of genius are whittled into shape and an implementation plan is created. Brainstorming isn’t just about solving problems. It’s about empowering the team by letting everyone contribute. It’s about creating strong team bonds through effective and efficient collaboration.

Studio Spotify: It’s a Productivity Party

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Studio Spotify: It’s a Productivity Party

There have been a multitude of studies on music and the human brain. One fact resonates: music can increase productivity. Whether it’s your favorite electronic beat, acoustic riff, or melodic lyrics, it all contributes to your positive mood and overall awesomeness.

Ever wanted an invitation to the Personal Dance Party (PDP) your coworker seemed to be having while churning out assignments? Wonder what that coworker is rocking to as you call his or her name over and over in an effort to get their attention to share your pressing review of last Sunday’s Game of Thrones episode?

Yeah, we do, too. Curiosity got the best of us and we asked our team to give us some of their favorite productivity boosters. The result? This pretty amazing Spotify playlist. Here’s a preview of some the tracks:

Celebrate, MIKA featuring Pharrell Williams
“This is my jam. It reminds me to take my time and enjoy the ride. Life is not about being the first and making the most… let’s live it up! Let’s go!” – Rukesh Samarasekera

Love Vibration, Josh Rouse
“It debuted in 2003 and still makes me smile and sway. Full of sunny, unbridled, 1970s am radio sounds.” – Joe Crea

Young Forever, Jay-Z featuring Mr. Hudson
“I like Young Forever when I really need to get something done. Why? I can completely ignore the lyrics and pump out work.” – Christopher Gray

Stolen Dance, Milky Chance
“This is your typical summer song. The song you listen to with your windows down and bob your head up and down and ‘accidentally’ put on repeat until everyone in the car has the words memorized. “ – Kunal Gulati


Join the productivity party and stay tuned because we will be adding new tracks as the music moves us.

Meet Nia Lindsey

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Meet Nia Lindsey

Everyone: Meet Nia Lindsey.

Nia is a member of our supergroup who specializes in beautiful graphic and web design. She’s an integral part of producing marketing collateral, digital products and beautiful graphics. Oh, and she is the brilliant mind behind USGBC Studio. No big deal.

10 Questions with Nia

Describe your role on the USGBC Marketing Team:

I’m a graphic designer (print + digital).

Favorite city to visit with friends:

It’s a toss up between Savannah, Georgia or Los Angeles, California

What designers inspire your work everyday? 

I pay daily homage to the designer(s) who invented the grid system. I tend to draw inspiration from all types of artists. Currently, I’m really loving the work of Mara Hoffman (fashion designer), Andrea Pippins (graphic designer), Lisa Lapointe (pencil artist) and Brianna McCarthy (painter).

Zodiac sign:


Go-to design website for inspiration when you’re in a rut: or

Favorite ice cream flavor:

Butter Pecan

Are you a morning person, or night owl?

Night owl, most definitely. 

What is your spirit animal?

A liger lol

3 things you’d take with you to a deserted island:

Medium-sized tent, Wi-fi hotspot and an iPad

Biggest pet peeve as a designer (We promise to try really, really hard to never do this):

Not packaging design files. Grrr.

Our innovative Studio team is comprised of marketing strategists, digital analysts, designers and developers. This supergroup is responsible for making sure that USGBC communicates with the world in the most effective and compelling way while maintaining our standards of sustainability. The only way we can accomplish this is through collaboration. Glad you guys took the time to meet Nia — stay tuned to meet the rest of our talented team members!

Seeing green: Creating captivating digital content to reduce your environmental impact

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Seeing green: Creating captivating digital content to reduce your environmental impact

Just as architects and builders are moving toward more sustainable materials to create environmentally-friendly living and work spaces, graphic designers are progressively finding ways to make their work more impactful by hitting the triple bottom line.

Printing with low-VOC or soy inks and choosing production vendors who use renewable energy are just a few of the many small changes that make a huge difference.

Finding new ways to make compelling, purposeful and environmentally-conscious products reach a broader audience while maintaining optimum functionality is a welcomed challenge and begs the questions:

  • If “making the world a better place” was a party, how would the invitations look?
  • If Mother Earth will be the keynote speaker at a conference, what would be in her SWAG bag? Imagine.

With sustainability as the primary goal, the push to create more visually captivating digital information is stronger than ever before.

The Internet doesn’t need paper, ink, or bioplastics that run the risk of being thrown in the wrong waste bin. Not that beautifully packaged takeaways aren’t totally cool when reusable and made of at least 80% post-consumer content, but digital collateral is quickly at your fingertips. The impact is measurable.

Pearls of sustainable wisdom and advocacy are easily sharable with your network of friends, neighbors and colleagues with the tap of a button. It’s always with you… And who doesn’t want proof of their contribution to saving the environment on their phone next to their favorite selfie app or e-book?

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USGBC STUDIO : Back for the First Time

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USGBC STUDIO : Back for the First Time

Ahoy, it is us. The “elusive” marketing team. Way yonder on the 5th floor, “other side of the elevators.” We’d call it the Bat Cave, but let’s be honest, we save more days than Batman. It is truly an honor to be here and with great dignity assume the charge of developing and implementing USGBC’s brand. We’ve decided to give our team a name. Since “The Almighty Creators” is taken, we are going with USGBC STUDIO. Not quite as celestially romp-kicking, but it has a ring to it.

USGBC STUDIO offers hands-on involvement in every aspect of developing your project. Our team specializes in branding, collateral marketing, illustration, digital media, copywriting, and good ol’ creative advice. This is where it all goes down and the gang’s all here. Get to know the marketing team. While you’re at it, check out what inspires us and browse some of our recent work.