Archive for December, 2012

Freshly Pressed: Four Friday Faves

No more of this “waiting until the end of the month” nonsense to see what was hot on Freshly Pressed! To keep our Freshly Pressed editors’ picks, um, fresh, we’ll highlight a few of our (and your) favorite posts here every Friday.

If One More Woman Complains About the Size of Her Body . . .

Caitlin Kelly’s post on Broadside hit a nerve with hundreds of you.

Whining about weight teaches the girls in our lives, who look to us their role models, that this is just what women do, that focusing miserably and endlessly on our individual body size and shape is our most pressing issue as women — instead of political and economic issues that affect us all, size 00s to 24s,  like paid maternity leave or better domestic violence protection or access to birth control and abortion.

Caitlin’s post racked up the Likes, but also spawned some fascinating conversation in her comments section. We loved seeing your responses as much as we enjoyed reading this no-holds-barred post in the first place.

My Life, Plan B (or what to do when life doesn’t go as planned)

Photo from http://callmeshebear.wordpress.com

Mama Bear, the blogger behind Call Me She Bear, is almost 40 years old, and coming to terms with the fact that her life hasn’t turned out quite the way she’d been planning.

(I’m sure none of us can relate, right?)

What’s Mama Bear’s Plan B? Actually:

“Plan B is not a plan at all. It’s more of an intention. It’s an intention to let go of the tight grip on my big expectations, take things one day at a time, do what’s in front of me to the best of my ability, and trust that the blur coming up for me on the horizon will become clear to me and worthwhile when I get there.”

The gorgeous photos accompanying the post pushed it over the top. We can’t wait to read about how Plan B works out.

“I’m Spiritual, Not Religious”

We had a feeling some great conversation would come out of this post, and we weren’t wrong. After all, it’s hard to imagine that a bunch of opinionated bloggers wouldn’t have something to say about this:

To claim to be spiritual and not religious is like claiming to have taken a swim without getting wet. Anyone who embarks on anything spiritual will either receive the religious tradition from which it comes, or create their own religious tradition in the attempt to understand and practice it.

Not everyone agreed with blogger Eric’s take, but the discussion was both thought-provoking and civil — the very best of what the WordPress.com community is about.

Hanging Up the Tutu

Becca at 25toFly had quite the cheering squad among fellow bloggers this week, and when we read this post about her journey to find her life’s passion and re-define herself after leaving a career in dance, we understood why.

I had become the one thing that I had almost forgotten I’d sworn not to be, Miss play-it-safe.  Sure, I’d find a job. That job would pay well enough for me to live as comfortably as I always have. People would see me as “successful,” but I wouldn’t stop thinking, “Is this it?” I would eventually become that forty-year-old woman still bragging about how many pirouettes she could do twenty years ago while shamefully dodging conversation about her soul draining day job.

Her new direction? Writing. You think it’s a good choice, and so do we.

Thanks to everyone who sent us recommendations this week — you introduced us to a bunch of great bloggers, some of whom have since been featured on Freshly Pressed. Keep it up! You can tweet links you love to us @freshly_pressed. (And be sure to follow @freshly_pressed to see all your fellow bloggers’ picks, even those that don’t make it to the Freshly Pressed page.)


Go to Source

New Theme: Widely

Say hello to Widely, the newest theme to launch on WordPress.com. This modern and elegant theme showcases your content with a design that will give your site a classy, contemporary feel.

Widely front page

Widely front page

Make it yours with a custom background, custom menu, and optional custom header image. Promote posts in the content slider on a static front page and use featured images to make your site look stunning! Widely also comes with four Widget areas, six Post Formats, and a responsive layout structure that looks great on all devices.

The Widely theme was designed by Themes Kingdom. Learn more about it on the theme showcase, or activate it right away at Appearance → Themes. And once you are done, just start posting.


Go to Source

Introducing WordPress.com Enterprise

Today we are happy to announce a new tier, WordPress.com Enterprise, that brings the best of WordPress.com: all of our paid upgrades, including premium themes and Custom Design, and the best of all the built-in WordPress.com VIP features such as 70+ approved plugins which include integrations with top partners such as Flipboard, Chartbeat, and Facebook, and custom JavaScript for $500 a month per site.

Making a landing page, news magazine, company website, or product page? You’ll want to check out WordPress.com Enterprise.

More information about the new tier is available on the VIP News WordPress.com Enterprise announcement postClick on over to the Enterprise announcement to get information about a free trial!

Even if you’re not interested in creating a WordPress.com Enterprise site, we’re sure you’ll want to check out what people are creating with Enterprise. Get a sneak peek at two sites created with WordPress.com Enterprise and live now, Tim Ferriss’ The 4-Hour Chef and ESPN’s Digital and Print Products!

Learn more about WordPress.com Enterprise.


Go to Source

Showcase Your Images with Galleries

We recently announced changes to the Media Manager, which is designed to make it easier to upload images, audio, and video files to your site and edit their attributes.

Galleries and the Carousel

We highly encourage you to display your images in a gallery. Our different gallery styles showcase your collections of images professionally, and when you click on an image in a gallery, you can view its larger size in a full-size carousel. In the carousel, your readers can comment on individual images, and you can opt to display the metadata for all of your images — which is valuable info for photographers, camera hobbyists, and anyone interested in learning more about your images.

You can insert a gallery with the default thumbnail grid layout, as seen in German photographer Sven Seebeck’s galleries of landscapes and nature photography. Sven’s stunning images of coastal Cornwall in England and Norway’s Lofoten Islands are worth a peek.

Tiled Galleries

If you haven’t already, we hope you’ve tested out our tiled mosaic-style layout galleries, which showcase your images with square, rectangular, or circle-shaped thumbnails. Sven switches to the square tiled layout in some of his posts, as seen in “A Belated Postcard from Vienna.”

Likewise, the travel post “Framing Sri Lanka” at I Am Wanderful illustrates how a square tiled gallery beautifully displays a collection of images:

I Am Wanderful

I Am Wanderful

As for a great example of the rectangular gallery, Jonathan Chater’s recent “Travel Photography (2009-2011)” post does the trick:

Jonathan Chater

Jonathan Chater

If you visit the blogs mentioned above and hover over the images in these square and rectangular tiled galleries, you’ll notice the captions that pop up along the bottom border of the images, which are nice touches.

Finally, the circle gallery offers a different look, as seen in this “Gallery of Elsewhere”:

Writing Through the Fog

Writing Through the Fog

To switch from the default setting to the tiled gallery layout, go to Settings → Media in your dashboard, scroll down to “Image Gallery Carousel,” and checkmark the box next to “Display all your gallery pictures in a cool mosaic.” Selecting this option makes the rectangular layout the default for all of your blog’s galleries, including those you’ve previously inserted.

You can also manage gallery styles individually. In Settings → Media, leave the box unchecked next to “Display all your gallery pictures in a cool mosaic.” Then, you can insert the appropriate gallery shortcode on individual posts or pages while in text edit mode:

[gallery type="square"]

[gallery type="rectangular"]

[gallery type="circle"]

Be sure to read our gallery support page for more details.

Carousel View

When you click on an image in any gallery on a blog at WordPress.com, you’re taken to the gallery’s full-size carousel view, which presents images as large as your display can contain them. You can enable the carousel on your blog, and customize its settings, at Settings → Media as well:

Image Gallery Carousel

You can customize the background color — black or white — and opt to show the available metadata for the images in a collection.

We hope you enjoy the new Media Manager and use these gallery and carousel features to showcase your images. We’ll also highlight more great blogs using the galleries soon!


Go to Source

Handmade Designer Jewelry Gifts

Does your lady or girl friend love bling? Time’s running out for holiday shopping and while it may be hard to find the perfect gift for that special someone in your life, you can’t go wrong with buying a jewelry piece that’s handmade and one of a kind. Show the one you love how well you understand their style with beautiful hand crafted jewelry designs that are unique and of far better quality than mass-produced trinkets. Also, you can score great deals of up to 35% off jewelry handmade by talented artisans.

Here are some of my favorite handmade jewelry finds:

Lacy Chain Necklace for Backless Dress by Independent Accents

You’ve never seen necklaces like this before. Independent Accents makes one of a kind necklaces that perfectly complement your one-shoulder, strapless, and backless dresses. This necklace is created with various sized silver chains specifically for backless dresses for a truly unique look for your next wedding, prom, or special occasion. This December, Independent Accents has an Etsy coupon code for free shipping on everything plus you get a $25 gift card with every purchase over $100.

Copper Branches Hair Fork and Blossoms Earrings by MairzyDozy

Unique hair jewelry pieces are special and unexpected gifts for ladies with long hair. Marie of MairzyDozy creates designer metal hair forks and hair accessories but none are more beautiful than her Copper Branches Hair Fork and matching Blossoms Earrings in this special gift set. Each jewelry piece is hand- crafted with incredible attention to detail to ensure durability and ease of use MairzyDozy is offering 10% off all her unique jewelry and artisan-crafted metal hair forks, and other hair accessories.

Woodland Animal Bracelets by hARTjewelry

These bracelets handmade by hARTjewelry are the perfect combination of sweet, glamorous pearls and cute, adorable animal beads. Each bracelet features a cute polymer clay critter of a fawn, fox, bunny, or owl, which is delicately strung with beautiful freshwater pearls. These limited edition bracelets are perfect gifts for your best friend, girl friend, or close relative who loves animals and exquisite jewelry pieces. Plus, hARTjewelry is offering 10% off all her ready to ship jewelry.

Support aspiring jewelry designers this holiday season with these handmade jewelry finds and more at NerdWallet Indie, the one place to get thousands of discounts on beautiful jewelry and handmade gifts. Rita Chu is the Community Manager for NerdWallet Indie, where shoppers can find Etsy coupon codes and save on beautiful and unique holiday gifts.

Go to Source

Louis Vuitton Macro Lens Fashion

NeAr Louis Vuitton 115 Macro Lens Fashion 1 WM41 Louis Vuitton Macro Lens Fashion

One of Louis Vuitton’s signatures in Ready-to-Wear is the extremely high quality of the fabrics used; from high end technological components to more traditional textiles, each one is carefully chosen and crafted to fit the specific needs of each product.

Photographer Vincent Bousserez, went closer to the details and the minute to display Louis Vuitton’s finishing touches in a very unexpected way. These photographs combine materials, shadows, lights and perspectives, swinging us over to another universe, the world of the infinitely small.

Discover Louis Vuitton’s Spring/Summer 2013 menswear collection up close and personal with a macro perspective, which almost turns each piece into a poetic and abstract journey.

NeAr Louis Vuitton 115 Macro Lens Fashion 2 WM41 Louis Vuitton Macro Lens FashionNeAr Louis Vuitton 115 Macro Lens Fashion 3 WM41 Louis Vuitton Macro Lens FashionNeAr Louis Vuitton 115 Macro Lens Fashion 4 WM41 Louis Vuitton Macro Lens FashionNeAr Louis Vuitton 115 Macro Lens Fashion 5 WM41 Louis Vuitton Macro Lens FashionNeAr Louis Vuitton 115 Macro Lens Fashion 6 WM41 Louis Vuitton Macro Lens FashionNeAr Louis Vuitton 115 Macro Lens Fashion 7 WM41 Louis Vuitton Macro Lens FashionNeAr Louis Vuitton 115 Macro Lens Fashion 8 WM41 Louis Vuitton Macro Lens FashionNeAr Louis Vuitton 115 Macro Lens Fashion 9 WM41 Louis Vuitton Macro Lens FashionNeAr Louis Vuitton 115 Macro Lens Fashion 10 WM41 Louis Vuitton Macro Lens FashionNeAr Louis Vuitton 115 Macro Lens Fashion 11 WM41 Louis Vuitton Macro Lens Fashion

Images via Louis Vuitton


Go to Source

Louis Vuitton Spring/Summer 2013 Ad Campaign

DEI F WEAV2 FR Louis Vuitton Spring/Summer 2013 Ad Campaign

Following the precedent of recent seasons, Louis Vuitton’s Spring/Summer 2013 advertising campaign recreates, with extreme attention to detail, the ambiance of the fashion show. Accordingly, the set of the campaign – a yellow and white checkerboard recalling the historic Damier canvas – was designed by the French conceptual artist Daniel Buren, with whom Louis Vuitton Artistic Director Marc Jacobs so memorably collaborated on the show.

Shot in a New York studio by Steven Meisel — styled by Karl Templer, hair by Guido Palau & makeup by Pat McGrath — the campaign pairs 12 up-and-coming models, most of whom walked the Louis Vuitton runway in October, wearing similar outfits and carrying identical handbags. Marc Jacobs takes up the story: “I have always loved Daniel Buren’s work, and Les Deux Plateaux in the Palais Royal in Paris – a series of striped columns of three different heights – was the inspiration for the proportions of the clothes. I felt that the idea of pairing the girls as ‘twins’ heightened the message of repetition, and the repetition of pattern, which is key this season. Sometimes, they are perfectly matched twins, and other times they are mismatched, wearing different lengths – mini or midi, or midi and maxi – reflecting the different column heights.”

DEI 220x285 SL ORS1 FR Louis Vuitton Spring/Summer 2013 Ad Campaign

For his part, Daniel Buren, who supervised the construction of the set in New York, was delighted to continue his collaboration with Louis Vuitton. “I have never done anything of this kind before, so that in itself was a surprising experience,” he says. “What was also surprising – given that my projects can take years to complete – was to see how quickly we could move from the initial sketch to the finished set. I enjoyed that.” The artist will also design window displays for selected Louis Vuitton stores, to be unveiled with the ready-to-wear collection in March 2013.

The Louis Vuitton Spring/Summer 2013 advertising campaign, comprising three single and six double-page visuals, as well a specific visual for the show shoes, will break in the February 2013 issues of magazines worldwide.

Images via Steven Meisel / Louis Vuitton


Go to Source

Freshly Pressed: Editors’ Picks for November, Part II

On Tuesday’s Freshly Pressed roundup, we highlighted posts published last month that resonated with us — and the rest of the WordPress.com community. Below, we’ve shared more picks that generated lively discussions, made us think, and even made us smile.

Dear Lady in the SUV

That’s how you made us feel: Like we were that kid, and finally someone wanted to be on our team. It was the first time someone looked close enough to ignore that we were gay, and instead, saw the love we shared between us. Better yet, I don’t think you “ignored” that we were gay. If you smiled, I think it actually made you happy.

Coffee Bean GleanThe author at Coffee Bean Glean talks about holding hands with her partner in public, and the hurtful glares they’ve received as a gay couple. Here, in this open letter, she thanks a lady in an SUV who smiled at her and her girlfriend one day, as they walked across a parking lot. Candid and endearing, the letter made us smile. It’s refreshing to read a positive personal story that resonates with some of our readers.

“Hurricane Porn”?: The Aesthetics of Authenticity and Nature’s Wrath

That is, we increasingly live in an internet environment that is akin to walking down Main Street USA in Disneyland; Disneyland announces itself as a lie in which we willingly participate from the very outset, and most of us expect if not actually desire clever if not beautiful distortions and misrepresentations in such popular culture.

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, we saw many fake photographs shared across the internet. In this post at Archaeology and Material Culture, Paul discusses authenticity in journalism in the age of Instagram and memes, and the internet’s power to shape our collective imagination and idea of reality. Sophisticated and thought-provoking, Paul’s take makes you think about ideas you may not have considered before.

We read other thoughtful post-Sandy commentaries as well. In “In the Eye of the Storm: What Hurricane Sandy Taught Me about Social Media and Technology,” Tracy describes how the experience taught her more about the role of technology in her daily life, disconnection in the digital age, and the importance of neighbors — our immediate, physical social network.

Goodbye, Twinkie the Kid

And what of the children? The innumerable generations of American children who will never know the foam-like, room-temperature mouthful of a Twinkie, who will never get the chance to debate the finer points of Twinkie-eating — end-to-end like a hot dog or upside down and bottom-first, like some cruel Twinkie surgery, savoring every layer of the total cremectomy.

Many WordPressers weighed in on the Hostess Twinkie news, and we were particularly entertained by the sharp humor in John’s homage to this all-American spongecake. Still, amid the lightheartedness, he makes us think: What does it mean when a society mourns a packaged snack — when crowds rush to grab the last ones off the shelves, or flock to eBay to snag what they can? At the end, he writes: ”O, Twinkie the Kid! Winsome cowboy of my dreams, western harbinger of root canals, you will be sorely missed. A singular America dies with you.” We think you’ll agree: it’s a nice mix of humor and opinion.

Sometimes a Punch In the Face Is All It Takes

No one pushed me to defend myself by pressing charges or anything, which I really needed in this situation. Plus, wasn’t my dad supposed to walk out in overalls, wild eyes, and carrying a shotgun? That’s what happens on Lifetime. But, mine just stood idly by, which made me feel like I’d been punched a dozen more times.

You know those occasional pieces we stumble upon that are so raw and honest and bold? Meghan’s post is one of them. Here, she paints a picture of her father — whom she had wished was more open and loving when she was younger — and then recalls a relationship in her early 20s with an older man that turns violent. After a number of years, she learns the truth about the situation — and realizes her father is indeed the man she had always hoped for.

Art Blogging vs. Conversational Blogging

Art Blogs are like museums. When visiting one, the guest usually strolls about casually, looks around, stops, stares, maybe sits for a minute, contemplates, wanders off, and eventually leaves with a sense of appreciation for whatever was on display.  It’s rare to happen upon a conversation during a visit.

Adam at My Right to Bitch created a lot of chatter with this post, which presents two distinct types of blogs — the art blog and the conversational blog — as well as how to cultivate a fan base. We appreciate the space he creates for a community conversation and like how the piece kicked off a healthy discussion — be sure to read the 500 comments from readers and fellow bloggers who’ve weighed in.

Just can’t get enough? Read the latest Freshly Pressed picks; check out our writing challengesphoto challenges, and other blogging tips and inspiration at The Daily Post; visit our Recommended Blogs; and browse the most popular topics in the Reader.

For editorial guidelines for Freshly Pressed, read: So You Want To Be Freshly Pressed.


Go to Source

New Theme: Hero

Have some featured content that desperately needs saving? Have no fear, our new theme Hero is here!

Hero's featured content-rich Front Page template

Hero’s featured content-rich Front Page template

Designed by antthemes, Hero is a dark and minimal theme that features the content you care about most with a Front Page template that’s packed with the promotional power of our Featured Post Slider, a custom tagline, and three featured post callouts. Hero also comes packed with sidebar and footer widget areas galore, and a full width page template for those times that you just want to eliminate some of the distractions.

Read more about its features on the Theme Showcase or dive right into previewing it on your blog from Appearance → Themes.


Go to Source

Iconic Photographer Steve McCurry Talks Blogging and WordPress

Steve McCurry, a professional photographer and author of several photography books, shares his reasons for why he blogs on WordPress.com. His iconic photo, Afghan Girl, graced the cover of National Geographic and was named one of the 100 Best Pictures of the magazine. McCurry has been recognized with some of the most prestigious awards in the industry, including the Robert Capa Gold Medal, National Press Photographers Award, and an unprecedented four first prize awards from the World Press Photo contest, to name a few.

You are a world-famous photographer. Why do you blog?

Steve: Who would even dream 20 years ago that we would even have the internet? Clearly the internet is changing the landscape of publishing, news, and entertainment. There are countless channels on television, infinite content on the internet, and stimuli literally everywhere we turn. . . . There is so much competition. My blog is just my way of introducing my work through this new media.

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

Steve: Generally, I don’t see any difference between photographing now and 30 years ago! The only differences today are that people want you to send them a picture and that you are shooting with a digital camera. There will always be new people and situations. In so far as there are new songs to be written, new poems to be told, likewise there will always be a new photograph to be taken! One way in which things today are different is in the suddenly vital role that web presence plays in a photographer’s success today. Having a blog with WordPress allows me to put up some of my most current work or related photos together in an impactful way.

Why did you choose WordPress.com over the other options available to you?

Steve: It’s intuitive, flexible, and easy to use. Much more user-friendly.

Are there features of WordPress.com that have been particularly useful to you?

Steve: There are a lot of theme options and I use a free theme with Custom Design with custom CSS to give it a look and feel I like. Many of the WordPress.com features don’t require me to know coding and are free, and uploading pictures is fast and efficient.

How do you choose which photographs will make a good blog post?

Steve: What is important to my work is the individual picture. I photograph stories on assignment, and of course they have to be put together coherently. But what matters most is that each picture stands on its own with its own place and feeling. I think the definition of a great picture is one that stays with you, one you can’t forget.

Which of your posts has had the most impact on your readers, and why?

Steve: It was a privilege to go to the Omo Valley in Ethiopia with my friend, John Rowe, to photograph the work he is doing with Lale Labuko in their work to end the practice of mingi (abandonment of “impure” children) and to house and shelter the mingi children who have already been rescued.

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

Steve: If you want to be a photographer, you have to photograph. If you look at the photographers whose work we admire, they’ve found a particular place or a subject, dug deep into it, and carved out something that’s become special. And that takes a lot of time and a lot of work — that’s not for everyone. Regardless of how successful you are, it’s important for you to spend your time photographing things that matter to you. You need to understand the things that have meaning to you, and not what others think is important for you. Having a blog is one of the easiest ways for your to get your work out to a wide audience.

Thanks, Steve!

Follow Steve McCurry’s WordPress.com blogIf you’re not sure where to start, consider these four posts first to sample the stunning work he produces:

Discover other photography and recommended blogs on WordPress.com. 

All photos in this post are copyright Steve McCurry. Photograph of Steve by: Ahmet Sel.


Go to Source