Improve Your Writing Skills

Want to know a secret? I have terrible grammar! I misspell words all the time, and I type so fast that sometimes I skip words altogether. And there is nothing more unprofessional than sending an email to a client and realizing a little too late that it’s filled with typos. So, for today’s tip, I’d like to tell you about a great tool I use every day to help improve my writing skills: Grammarly!

Grammarly is a top-rated writing software that you can use online through their web editor, as an extension on your browser, and through an app on your computer or your phone. I personally love the browser extension because it checks anything I’m doing online in real time. It helps me when I write emails, compose blog articles or post comments on social media.

Grammarly offers a free version, but the best features are only available through their Premium option. Here is a list of other benefits the Premium level offers:


It not only corrects grammar and spelling, but it also checks for context and sentence structure.


It explains grammar rules and provides you with examples to better understand them.


It can help enhance your writing by suggesting replacements for overused, redundant or repetitive words.


You can tell it what type of intent, audience, style, and emotion you want your writing to follow so it can make better suggestions.


It has a plagiarism detector that checks your writing against 16 billion web pages.

Let’s face it, in any professional business excellent writing skills are essential so their Premium version would be worth the investment. If you want to learn more about this great tool, visit their site at

(Advertisement: BlackStone Studio is an affiliate partner for Grammarly.)

New Tech Gadgets

I’m the kind of person who would rather buy a new tech gadget over jewelry, clothes or makeup. That’s not to say I don’t like shiny bling, new outfits or a fresh lipstick… but I just LOVE playing with new tech toys!

My latest purchase is the Qwertywriter S Keyboard, and I think it’s my favorite of them all! I am enjoying it so much that I think I’m going to send my old keyboard on a very long (probably permanent) vacation to storage island.

Here’s something that might surprise you… I actually had a typewriting class in middle school—I’m not that old, but I’m not kidding! The teacher used to play us audio clips of a man instructing us to press each key followed by the word “clack” after each letter. So it would be something like “A clack, S clack, D clack…” and it was absolutely hilarious at 13 years old. But eventually, my friends and I were typing at warp speed with covers over our hands so we could work without looking at the keys. And that’s why I knew I’d love the Qwertywriter!

It’s the best of both worlds. It feels like a real typewriter and it even has a working return bar. But it also has all the features we are used to from Bluetooth keyboards like controlling volume and brightness and using shortcuts. My favorite feature is that with a click of two keys I can switch from using it on my computer to using it on my iPad or on my phone. I’m not an affilate partner nor am I getting paid to adverstise it, I’m just a happy customer.

What tech gadget have you been playing with lately? I’d love to know!

Email Marketing with Vertical Response

Today I’m going to take a minute and give a shout out to a company I use regularly at BlackStone Studio and always recommend to my clients.

As a small business owner, I know how important it is to find affordable ways of growing your business. One key aspect of growth is learning how to maintain an ongoing relationship with your customers. An excellent way to do this, is by keeping your clients informed about your company, showing them your latest work , letting them know about your newest products, special offers and  promotions.  A great, easy and affordable way to communicate with your customers is by using  email marketing, which I like to call eblasts.

There are a few companies out there that offer email marketing services, and believe me, I’ve tested out most of them! The one company that has kept me completely happy, not only with their great customer service, but also with their cost is Vertical Response.

Why I Use Vertical Response:

Vertical Response is easy to use, affordable and has features that are extremely helpful to a business. One of the most important features is that they give you reports on each email you sent out. You get information on the number of emails that were opened, links that were clicked on and it even lets you compare the response between different emails that were sent out.

The other feature that makes Vertical Response great, is that it allows you to fully customize the email design! That’s were BlackStone Studio comes in to help you out. Vertical Response has many template options and great tools to help you personalize each email, but it also has an option or developers, so we can help you design an email that’s cohesive and has a consistent look to your existing branding.

Vertical Response has several other services, like postcards and surveys, but the email marketing solution is by far the best product. Try it out for yourself!

Send 500 FREE email newsletters with your VerticalResponse trial!

Once you see what a great tool it is, call or email me to help you design of your next eblast!

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