Archive for November, 2012

RE-READING OLD EMAILS, LIKE SEARCHING THROUGH GIFTS ALREADY UNWRAPPED, LOOKING FOR LEFTOVER JOY AMONG THE TATTERS OF WRAPPING

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Painting With Ribbons

Celebrating the 100th anniversary of Louis Vuitton’s Small Leather Goods, louisvuitton.com now offers the Mon Monogram personalization service for small leather goods along.

Featuring real ribbons, movements and textures, this festive, elegant and playful film by Christian Borstlap applauds all the shapes and sizes of Louis Vuitton Mon Monogram Small Leather Goods collection in a fabulous ode to diversity and colourful.

Rolling out ribbons like paint on a canvas, colours are brought to life in a cheerful and sophisticated way, as if we were tying a ribbon around one’s Louis Vuitton personalised wallet or desk diary. The ribbons sweetness and elegance perfectly contrast showing us fires alight, carnivorous plants, and other magic tricks.

With the possibility to add colour choices and initials, one is given the great opportunity to take part in the creative process and design of personalised Louis Vuitton products and to choose the right combination among this enchanting sea of ribbons.

Images via Louis Vuitton



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NaBloPoMo: Keep Up The Good Work, Everyone!

As November wanes, we’re nearing the end of the 13th National Blog Posting Month, better known as NaBloPoMo. Every single day, participants are firing up their blogs and writing on every topic under the sun in a marathon of self-expression. Are you one of them? If you are looking for more background or inspiration, this is the post for you.

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Across WordPress.com this month, NaBloPoMo bloggers have been writing about . . .

Image: mindfulmonth

The importance of hanging on

As with every creative challenge, the key to a successful NaBloPoMo is stamina, determination, and a cool head. If you are looking for an apt analogy, try rock-climbing, courtesy of ”A Good Day” from A Month of Mindful Blogging:

 

Power, technique and fitness all play their part but reigning supreme over them all is the climber’s head. Fact: your technique goes to pot if your head is not calm and focused. Fact: your power disappears in an instant when lactic acid surges through your forearms because you’ve been clinging on too hard because you’re scared. Fact: fitness doesn’t matter a jot if you don’t believe you can get up a climb.

The power of an apology

For some, this has been a month of finding the courage to say the difficult, painful things that need saying — including the words “I’m sorry.” Prompted by this post, “Unspoken Apologies” from Hayley of Going The Distance lists the regrets she’s never been able to articulate in person, before noting:

An actual, genuine apology should never be delivered over a blog post.

Sometimes blogging is only the first step toward expressing how you feel.

Image: Mr. T in DC

Saying “no more”

If you’re committing yourself to a writing challenge, and if you can choose what you write about, why not make those lifestyle changes you’ve always longed for and document the process as you go? Take the post “Giving Up Diet Soda or: How I Am Learning To Stop The Fizz And Love Water,” in which sorta ginger decides to . . . well, you guessed it:

Over the years, I have tried to quit this habit.  The cost alone of these drinks is phenomenal.  I would alternate brands to match what was on the best sale that week.  I would switch to store brands to try to wean off the taste and save a few bucks.  But none of this really worked.  It is my caffeine source, helping me wake up since I have never liked coffee or tea, and my replacement for sweets when I have a sugar craving.

An unexpected longing for Twinkies

Unsurprisingly, the sad news that Hostess Brands has gone into liquidation has hit Twinkie-lovers hard this month. What has surprised some bloggers is how attractive it’s made this spongy snack. In ”Death Of A Sponge,” the author of The Smug Cloud writes:

I can’t remember the last time I ate a Twinkie or a Hostess cupcake, but you would not believe how much I have been craving one, knowing that they are virtually unattainable.

. . . while Andrea‘s post “In My Lunchbox” notes:

With all the talk of Twinkies this week, I now have a ridiculous craving for one… and I don’t think I’ve actually had a Twinkie in at least fifteen years.

Image: suanie

A passion for unique food

It’s a month in which a lot of love has been expressed for a lot of food. Take Char Kuey Teow, staple dish of Malaysia. Inspired by this prompt, Sakthi of Time flies when you’re having fun explains why this meal is a different experience for everyone:

 

In most places one can ask for ingredients like prawns, egg, or cockles to be added or omitted, and also specify whether more or less chilli is preferred. And the brilliant thing is, the kuey teow vendor will remember every version that each customer has ordered, while still cooking a previous order in their giant wok. That in itself is a wonder to be experienced.

Learning to trust their instincts

It’s one thing to know that your instincts are often the source of your future happiness — and another thing to find the confidence to trust them. In “Instincts,”  melbatoastjones outlines the danger of ignoring your deepest feelings:

…if you constantly dim your brightness to accommodate others, if you repeatedly allow your ideas to be watered down or replaced with someone else’s, then you never even get to see the impact that your voice has. You never get to see if your idea really was a good one. You’re so busy trying to please others that it becomes washed out, a pale ghost of the idea it should have or could have been. Even if your idea ultimately sucks, it’s better to learn that for real rather than regret the never having seen it come to life in the first place.

Image: Guwashi999

Appreciating their lives

Some NaBloPoMo writers chose to reflect on their progress through life, examining their goals, hopes, and fears, while considering how differently things might have turned out. In “NaBloPoMo: Rewrite Time,” Lady Joyful remembers her years as an English university student, and recounts a panic attack that led to a protracted stay in Finland. If she had caught her plane home as originally planned, she may never have found the source of her current happiness:

If that had happened, I would probably have muddled through my first year of university and come out the other side somewhat more settled. I would, this summer just gone, have finished my degree and graduated with the friends I made there. I may not have moved to Finland. Going by statistics, our relationship would have floundered as many long distance relationships do. I would not be engaged. I would not have my three lovely cats or the flat with my much-loved fiancé.

Feeling inspired to take part?

With a few days still left on the clock, it’s not too late to join in. Take a look at Michelle’s overview of resources to help you get started, including our daily writing prompts and weekly writing and photo challenges over at The Daily Post. If you want to know a little more of the thinking behind NaBloPoMo, have a look at WiseGeek’s overview, or rummage through the resources on offer at BlogHer’s official home of NaBloPoMo.

The 365-day challenge

If you’re nearly a month into your daily blogging routine and wishing that NaBloPoMo lasted longer, why not take things further?

We’re thinking of the impressive commitment of the yearly bloggers, setting themselves challenges that span twelve months. We’re thinking of Ann of A year of reading the world, who has made it her mission to read a novel from as many of the world’s 196 independent countries as she can by 2012′s end. We’re thinking of Chuck Cottrell’s Sketches from Memory, in which the author has been posting a sketch a day for nearly a full year.

As the year draws to a close, we’ll highlight some more motivated bloggers who’ve participated in challenges through 2012. Stay tuned over at The Daily Post!


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The importance of Music Arts and Culture in a Small Community

Music, Art, and a Small Community

It is through art, music, drama and dance that a small community is able to pull together collectively to show what they have to offer, what they have in common and to understand their past, their history and their future. The musical arts are important in a small community because in times of change and hard times it helps bring them together and give them hope.

The musical arts of a small community help shape and make it come to life for all those that visit the area. The importance of music in a small community helps bring the culture of the area to life. Having the chance to feel the joy of the theatre through the eyes of a child as they watch performances such as Disney on Ice and to awake some hidden talents of the members that help make up Adelphi Theatre is wonderful.

Adelphi Theatre

Seeing huge musical performances on stage such as Les Miserables and Midsummers Night Dream help to bring the stories to life much better than seeing them performed on a movie screen, being there with the actors is better than 3D could ever be. The stories become real, the community in which they are performed transforms and the heart of the small community shines through the performances.

There are many that believe that enjoying a live Broadway show will require that they have to travel miles and spend tons of money on tickets not fully understanding that just minutes away from their homes are stars being born, great performances being performed at prices that in many ways are too good to be true.

Having musical arts and culture in a small community helps to bring these hidden resources into reach for so many, it gives them the chance to experience the richness of our cultural heritage, forgotten fashion and valuable tradition up close and personal, live and in real time much better than watching it on the movie screen or television.

Art in a small community helps others understand that you don’t have to be a star to entertain but entertaining in a small community theatre can help you becomes a star or have the pleasure of discovering one.

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Taxi Encounters: Bangkok

To what extent do taxis reflect the cities they serve?

Bangkok is known in Thai as Krung Thep, meaning "city of angels". This expression could allude to the millions of souls who at nightfall infuse the city with a palpable energy. Even though the pulsating capital started as a tiny trading post during the Ayutthaya Kingdom in the 15th century, today it is by far the beating heart of Thailand with around twelve million inhabitants.

Bangkok has many taxis but is especially known for its three-wheeled open-air tuk-tuks. Having evolved from old-fashioned rickshaws used during the Second World War, tuk-tuks are ideal for discovering Bangkok when in search of the city’s innermost secrets. They hurry to fill the bustling streets looking for customers in the city’s humid climate.

Getting into a tuk-tuk for a short trip is not only a practical way to get around, it is a unique travel experience. It gives us the opportunity to journey through a myriad of sounds and lights, aroma and colors, faces and unexpected encounters. Getting to know Bangkok, while we wind our way through the stormy atmosphere of a city that never sleeps.

Video via Louis Vuitton



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Ring’O Bonding With PrimeStyle!

You know I have the passion for weddings. I love the fashion of the wedding dresses and wedding rings. I always get excited for all the lovely gowns for the wedding party. The bride is always the center piece in this love ritual and of course the wedding bridal set too. People are always curious how the wedding sets looks like. I have to admit that ‘ring exchange vow’ are my favorite part of the event.

PrimeStyle Reviews
So I was looking through some wedding rings that are incredible and found an amazing website. They are PrimeStyle.com and their website will take you through a wide array of high quality rings, from wedding sets, engagement rings or diamond ring. At Primestyle.com they will help you to find the perfect stone, whether that is for an engagement ring, bridal sets, necklace, earring, your own loose diamond needs or any jewelry piece. They will guide you search to help you understand what you want. Now that will make you want to get married! Not to mention, their online chat is prompt, if you have extra questions you can just ask there- their chat support is great in responding. If you and your fiancé is running short of time, make sure to give PrimeStyle a visit as they are very competitive in pricing. Shopping for jewelry can be really easy with the right store. I recommend this site to anyone who loves jewelry and low prices!

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Free Custom Design with a Premium Theme Purchase on Black Friday

This Thanksgiving, we’re celebrating with a Black Friday Sale just like we did last year. On Friday, November 23rd, you’ll receive a free one year subscription to our Custom Design Upgrade, a $30 value, when you purchase any Premium Theme.

Sale starts Thursday night—November 22, 2012 at 11:00 PM PST.

Since last year, we’ve more than doubled the number of premium themes! Each premium theme is meticulously reviewed and updated before it is added, and each one comes with support directly from the theme developers themselves. You can find the perfect theme for your blog this Friday!

To see all of our themes, check out the WordPress.com theme directory.

Custom Design has options anyone can use: fun and professional Custom Fonts, color palettes and patterns you can add with just a few clicks, and a recently-overhauled CSS editor for those of you who really like to dig into the CSS code. You can really make your theme stand out using Custom Design!

Sale ends November 24, 2012 at 2:00 AM PST (that’s Friday night).

Our goal for these themes and customizations is to help you make the web a more beautiful place. We’re grateful to have such a wide range of talented individuals, companies, groups, and families writing, posting photos and videos, contributing ideas, reading, and connecting with the world through blogging.

A very special thank you to every single person that makes WordPress.com what it is today. May your year’s end be filled with spice, love, and inspiration.


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From Blog to Book: Moon over Martinborough

My name is Jared Gulian, and I’m still not entirely sure how I ended up living in paradise.

That’s the first line on the About page of Jared Gulian’s blog, Moon over Martinborough. In Jared’s case, “paradise” is a tiny olive farm in rural New Zealand, the location and inspiration for his upcoming book based on his blog at WordPress.com.

We asked Jared about his whirlwind of an experience landing a book deal with Random House New Zealand this summer, and how he’s built his audience using his blog.

How did your book contract come about?

It started with my blog, which is about life on our tiny olive farm. My partner and I are both American city boys, and somehow we ended up living in rural New Zealand with an olive grove. I wanted to write about it, so I created a blog on WordPress.com in 2009.

The blog became popular and won some awards, and a regional magazine, Wairarapa Lifestyle Magazine, started publishing my posts. Eventually, it attracted national media, including Radio New Zealand and the Dominion Post. Visitors on my blog started asking where they could buy our olive oil. Although we’d never planned to have our own brand, due to the overwhelming demand we decided to launch a line of our own artisan extra virgin olive oil. We named the olive oil after my blog, Moon over Martinborough.

After blogging for about a year, I slowed my schedule so I could start turning the blog’s content into a book. It took longer than I thought, and it was harder than I thought. I spent the next year-and-a-half blogging and working on a book manuscript simultaneously. I took a break from the book to write new blog material, and then returned to the book. When I was done with the manuscript, I let it sit for a while.

My friends and partner pushed me to put together a book proposal to send to publishers. (I wrote about the process in this post.) A good deal of that proposal was about the blog: web stats, awards I’d won, and media attention I’d received. (I also included stats about people who “liked” the blog’s Facebook page to show who my audience was. As it turns out, my audience is 70 percent female and 30 percent male, mostly between the ages of 35 and 55.)

I sent the proposal to four publishers, and a week later I heard back from two of them. Eventually, I signed a contract with Random House New Zealand. It’s like a dream come true.

How did your WordPress.com blog contribute to this?

It wouldn’t have happened without the blog. The blog helped me to build an audience and establish a platform that showed potential print publishers I had a viable, engaging project. It’s like my material had already been “user-tested” and proven popular.

How has being part of the WordPress.com community influenced your work and writing process?

I have found a lot of parallels between moving out to the country and joining the blogging community. In both worlds, I’ve found the people to be remarkably helpful and friendly. Other bloggers have been very supportive when I needed advice. They’re like country neighbors. The WordPress.com forums are a great source of information, and the “like” function makes it easy to connect with all sorts of fantastic bloggers in our community. The first “like” on a post has, in many cases, led to an ongoing conversation with really nice people.

How has having a blog changed the way you interact with your audience?

When I started the blog, I knew I eventually wanted to turn the material into a book. I saw my blog as a way to self-publish sections of the book as I wrote them. I’d been writing for years, but before blogging I was writing mostly fiction. In fact, I have two novels in the bottom drawer (where they belong), and a stack of rejection letters from publishers.

With my “olive grove book,” I wanted to do something different. Publishing my content online as I wrote it allowed me to engage with my readers directly and learn from what they liked. When certain posts received a lot of comments (such as Old Man Henry and the Chook House Race Wars and The U.N. Committee on Home Decorating), I took a closer look at what it was that people responded to. Then I did more of that. This changed the course of my writing as I progressed.

The biggest result was that I began focusing more on humor than I’d originally intended, because humor was what people were responding to most strongly. This is completely different to my early fiction writing, which I did in isolation and which was a bit heavy-handed and self-consciously “literary.” Blogging has helped me to learn that I don’t need to take myself so seriously — in writing as well as in life.

Why did you choose WordPress.com over the other options available to you? Are there certain features that have been particularly useful?

WordPress.com makes it easy to manage my site. There are really good videos, support, and forums that make it easy to learn, and I like how there are so many useful bits of functionality. There are also heaps of great free themes that are easy to sort and sift through. Ultimately, I like that WordPress.com lets me focus on content — not back-end technical development. Good content has always been my focus.

I’ve found the built-in stats very useful. Also, I like that I can easily dictate photo layout in my blog and control where I want things to appear. It’s important for me to have a beautiful blog with a nice layout, and WordPress.com makes that easy without HTML.

What advice would you give budding authors on building their web presence?

Produce good content. If you’re doing stuff people like, and if you keep doing it long enough, people will notice. Being a good blogger is a lot like being a good country neighbor. You need to be sincere, helpful, and kind. You can’t introduce yourself to your cyberspace “neighbors” with secret agendas about what they can do for you. Just join the conversation. Be warm and open.

Talk to people about what you can do together that will help both of you. And remember that if you ask for help, be prepared to give help in return. That’s how it works in the country, and that’s how it works in the blogosphere.

When will the book be published?

Moon over Martinborough will be released in June 2013. A print version will be available in New Zealand (and internationally through NZ websites such as www.fishpond.co.nz and www.mightyape.co.nz), and an e-book will be available internationally.

I’m hopeful the print book will be picked up by publishers overseas. This process so far has shown me that anything can happen, so who knows?

Be sure to head over to Jared’s blog, Moon over Martinborough, to say hello and see what he’s up to, or visit his Facebook page or follow him on Twitter. We’ll check in with him when the book is published so he can share more about his experience.


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New Theme: Academica

Today, I’m happy to announce that our collection of themes grows by one:

Academica: Home Page

Academica is a great choice for educational and school websites. Designed by WPZOOM, it sports a classy, modern design and comes with a one-, two-, or three-column layout, nine widget areas, three page templates, and a featured content slider. With all of these customization options, Academica makes it easy to create a unique look for your school or organization.

Find out more about how to get started with Academica on the Theme Showcase, or activate it on your blog by going to Appearance -> Themes.


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Firefox Users: Try the WordPress.com Extension

Want to receive WordPress.com notifications instantly, even when you’re not on WordPress.com? Back in January, we announced the WordPress.com extension for Chrome, and today, the extension is available for Firefox too!

Add the WordPress.com extension for Firefox and as soon as you get a new follower, comment, or a like on one of your posts, a notification will appear in your browser:

The WordPress.com button in the toolbar is badged with the number one, indicating one unread notification.

Simply click the icon to view your latest WordPress.com notifications:

A popup opens when the WordPress.com toolbar button is clicked, displaying recent notifications, including comments, likes, and new followers.

Start following new blogs without visiting WordPress.com

The Firefox extension also makes it easy to follow sites from your WordPress.com account by displaying a Follow button whenever you’re browsing a site that has an RSS feed.

Clicking the Follow button will add new posts from the website to your reader, and send you an email each time an update is published. (You can change your default email settings if you like.)

When you visit a WordPress.com site, you’ll notice that the extension icon will turn blue, but keep in mind that you can follow blogs on Blogger, Tumblr, and other services, too.

Quickly post cool stuff you find while browsing the web

Press This is a lightning-fast way to publish content on your blog without ever visiting WordPress.com. Click the WordPress.com extension button, then select Press This whenever you find something on the web that you’d like to share on your blog, and a pop-up editor will appear:

A popup window opens containing a post editor pre-filled with a link to and the title of the current page.

Select the blog you’d like to post to, then hit publish to share a link to the site. Your blog will be updated, and you can continue browsing the web from wherever you left off.

If you’d like to publish an excerpt of text along with the link to the site, simply highlight the material with your cursor before clicking Press This:

A portion of text is selected in a web page.

And it will appear in the editor for you to publish along with the link:

The post editor is shown again, but this time with the aforementioned selected content added to the editor, along with a link to the page.

We hope this makes it easier for you to share cool stuff on your blog quickly; if there’s anything you’d like to see in future versions of the extension, be sure to let us know.


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