Archive for November, 2013
Louis Vuitton opens the virtual doors of its Cabinet d’Ecriture starting 15 November 2013. Building on the success of the pop-up store at Place Saint-Germain-des-Pres, Louis Vuitton will launch the World of Writing on LouisVuitton.com for the first time in the US.
The Louis Vuitton World of Writing is a celebration of the House’s unique heritage and relationships with renowned customers and travelling authors who embarking on long voyages, enjoyed the emblematic travel pieces. Gaston-Louis Vuitton, grandson of Louis Vuitton, was passionate about reading and writing. His personal library, bookplates and wide-ranging publications pay homage to this love of books.
Through its writing instruments, exclusive inks, stationery cases, trunks and collection boxes, the World of Writing connects the art of correspondence and the creativity of Louis Vuitton. This is a collection of colors, textures and materials, where every element plays its part in the pleasure of writing.
Discover the World of Writing on LouisVuitton.com.
Priceless jewelry comes in many forms. When a jewelry piece embodies a strong symbolic connection to a special person in your life, this type of jewelry is priceless beyond measures. Jewelry that represents a symbolic meaning can be passed down from generations to generations and represent a special family heirloom that keeps traditional family values alive.
Jewelry is personal for each individual. Each piece is selected based upon a person’s personality and style sense. People also choose to wear certain pieces of jewelry when it fits a particular occasion. In addition to being worn as a fashion statement, a customized piece of jewelry can represent more than just a beautiful accessory. In today’s society, jewelry is often used as a reminder of the bond between individuals in personal relationships. It serves as a memento and can have various connotations attached to it.
Hand stamped jewelry has its own level of significance apart from the traditional diamond, pearl or cubic zirconia jewelry sets. Hand stamped jewelry sets, including earrings, necklaces and bracelets are made to order and allow you to customize the jewelry to create a design that is exclusively unique to you. You have the option of engraving names and individual images from a custom jewelry company, such as TheMothersNecklace.com, and providing your loved one, such as a mother, sister or grandmother, with a special dedication to her. Whether it’s for a wedding, birthday, anniversary or other special day, hand stamped jewelry is a great gift for you to show your esteem for another person. Click here to start creating your design.
For made to order jewelry, the entire design should be made with the highest quality of metals. The clasps should securely connect to ensure its durability and resilience for years to come. There are a wide variety of precious metals that can be incorporated into the design to include a distinctive character and represent your unique personal stamp. Gold, platinum and silver are the most common types of metals used in jewelry making. The metals can be designed for lighter and bright jewelry pieces as well as darker and richer colors.
The post Create a jewelry design that is exclusively unique to you appeared first on Live Stylish And Fashionable.
I spent last weekend surrounded by my 13 closest girlfriends to celebrate the nuptials of one of my nearest and dearest. After some gossipy catch-up and more champagne than we’d like to admit, bedtime slumber party routines made it clear we are all on incredibly different pages when it comes to daily skin care.
We had the girl who washes with a bar of soap at the end of the night and follows up with a drugstore brand moisturizer, to the girl at the other end of the spectrum who spends 20 minutes removing her make-up, exfoliating, toning, moisturizing and finishing up with eye-cream and serum! The teasing carried on for quite some time, and sparked a lot of questions about what really was too little or too much facial care. And the collective conclusion between us was: Do what’s right for you! Hereditary crows-feet? Eye cream is going to be an essential. Dry skin? An ulta-hydrating evening cream might be your go-to. Your beauty regime should be set based on your genetics and personal gripes.
That being said, there were some pretty common conceptions running between the pyjama-clad masses, which I feel broke around a happy medium.
A girl’s daily facial routine should include the following four essentials:
1. Proper makeup remover – your cleanser just isn’t tough enough to gently remove your eye makeup without some serious scrubbing.
2. A face specific cleanser – your enormous bottle of body gel isn’t going to cut it here! Even girls with oily skin should opt for an oil free version in order to balance out your body’s natural oils.
3. Toner – most cleansers don’t get that final layer of poor-rooted grime and pollution. One swipe with a cotton pad and you’ll see the difference.
*Kill two birds with one stone by using this facial cleanser I’ve been hooked on. It cleanses and also tones pores in one go!*
4. Moisturizer – absolutely critical to your face’s rejuvenation, especially while you sleep!
The post What’s The Bare Minimum When It Comes To Facial Cleansing? appeared first on Live Stylish And Fashionable.
Photographed by Coppi Barbieri, Louis Vuitton’s super adorable Holiday 2013 catalogue features a jolly goose playing around Louis Vuitton’s holiday selection. Also, visit http://vuitton.lv/Holiday to play Louis Vuitton’s version of The Goose’s Game and discover the full holiday selection.
In our digital age, we interact with new technologies each day, yet some of us also pine for the past: we cherish handwritten things and value — even fetishize — physical objects. Posts like “Diaries and Connections to the Past” and “Found Objects and Books” reveal a collective nostalgia.
Consider a diary hidden in a shoebox. Postcards from your best friend, traveling around the world. Or a stack of letters from a secret lover. We view messages crafted by hand as more personal and meaningful — check out Cristina Vanko’s handwritten texts as modern-day snail mail. Words from our pens stand the test of time, and are viewed as more intimate — and meant to be shared and carefully considered by you, the reader.
PostSecret: Now on WordPress.com
We’re happy to announce that PostSecret, founded by Frank Warren, has made its home on WordPress.com as one of our newest VIP sites. A popular online community art project for many years, PostSecret is an outlet through which people anonymously mail in their secrets via postcard. It’s the largest ad-free blog in the world — and a perfect example of our appreciation and fascination for handwritten forms of communication.
Secrets are preserved in their analog glory, further creating a sense of intimacy:
Image via PostSecret, Sunday Secrets: November 23, 2013
Image via PostSecret, Classic Secrets: November 22, 2013
PostSecret is a longtime favorite blog for millions on the internet — we’re thrilled it’s now part of our community. Secrets are posted weekly, on Sunday.
Mixing analog and digital: other cool blog projects
Other blogs on WordPress.com experiment with found objects and handwritten letters and messages. Some bloggers have ongoing projects bringing their ancestors’ journals and scribbles to life, like A Hundred Years Ago and Home Front Girl Diary.
Over on Hope Street, Kurt Blumenau blogs about his grandfather, who kept month-to-month calendars on which he recorded events that affected him — everything from presidential assassinations to late-season snowstorms. Every Monday, Kurt picks an interesting calendar entry and writes something about it.
Image via Hope Street, September 1970: Spells
Likewise, the preservation of family history is the focus at Save Every Step, which archives family photography, childhood memories, and even World War II-era letters, like this one from 1944 from the blogger’s uncle Joe:
Image via Save Every Step, Joe’s Letters, WWII: “Final, Final, Final Exams”
From the postcards at PostSecret to the letters, diary entries, and handwritten messages on these blogs, it’s evident the WordPress.com community tells important stories about our pasts and histories in creative, clever ways.
Follow other interesting blogs that publish handwritten posts and other found materials? Let us know.
Finally, if you’re interested in keeping up with what’s abuzz in the community — from a collection of top reads to featured topics curated by our editors — subscribe to WordPress.com Weekend Reads, which we’ll deliver right to your inbox.
So far in our series of lesser-known WordPress.com features, we’ve discussed handy editing tools and neat ways to split up longer posts. This time, let’s leave text behind and talk about three image presentation tools you might have missed.
But there are some additional image-related features to discover.
Among the modules below your dashboard editor, there’s an unassuming Featured Image option:
Try clicking “Set featured image” and uploading an image (or choosing one of your existing images). It’s likely that you won’t see this image in your post itself, but different themes display featured images in different ways. For example, here I’ve added a featured image of a bridge:
With the Twenty Eleven theme, this image is then used as a special header image on the single post page for that post:
In the Visual theme, it’s shown above the post on the homepage:
It’s important to note that some themes don’t use featured images in any obvious way, but many do. If you aren’t sure if yours does, find your theme in the Theme Showcase and check out its documentation.
Do you use Flickr to store and organize your photos? Did you know you can connect your Flickr account to your WordPress.com site to blog your images right from Flickr?
To try it out, follow these instructions to connect your Flickr account to your site. Once they’re connected, pick an image you want to post, and click the share icon in the lower right-hand corner.
You’ll see a WordPress icon, which will give you a pop-up where you can add your title and post content:
Click “Post” when you’re done, and it posts directly to your blog!
Finally, you probably use galleries to display multiple images in your posts and pages. But you can also display an attractive gallery in your sidebar or footer using the Gallery Widget.
Just add the Gallery Widget to your sidebar, choose the images you want included, and choose the format for how you want it to display:
You can choose the various gallery styles for the widget as well:
If you have an image-heavy blog and you haven’t yet tried out these features, play around with them! They’re a fun way to add some variety to your site.
Parenting blogs flourish on WordPress.com, and today, we’re pleased to introduce you to Gendermom, whose site tagline, A chronicle of fun and fear, or, daily life with my young trans daughter, says it all. Gendermom’s daughter M. was born a boy. He knew early on that he should have been born a girl. Gendermom writes anonymously about the challenges and joys of raising M. Her site is a great example of how bloggers can educate, inspire, and build supportive communities.
Your son approached you at age three to tell you he believed that he should have been born a girl. How did you come to terms with him as a transgender person?
Well, it’s taken time. As far as I knew, I’d never met a transgender person before my child came onto the scene, announcing shortly after his third birthday that he was actually a she. I spent many months resisting, offering alternatives (“Couldn’t you just be a boy who likes girl stuff?”). No dice. The idea of remaining a boy was intolerable to her, and she never once wavered in her insistence that she was a girl who had been born into the wrong body.
“I am the last word for this kid. I’m Mom. What I decide now will impact the entire course of his (her?) life. I can’t afford to get this wrong.”
My ex-husband and most of my family, friends, and neighbors accepted it before I finally did. I dragged my feet for the better part of a year. Some of this resistance was born of grief — I had fallen in love with my baby boy and I didn’t want to let him go. But most of my reticence had another source: the knowledge that I was facing perhaps the most important decision of my life. I am the last word for this kid. I’m Mom. What I decide now will impact the entire course of his (her?) life. I can’t afford to get this wrong.
How did you embrace raising your son as a daughter?
I hedged and resisted for months and months. While my child went ahead and transformed into the girl she knew herself to be, I read books and consulted experts and found a support group and second-guessed myself a thousand times, until I was finally as sure as I was ever going to be that this was the right thing to do. When she was four years old, I got fully on board and I haven’t looked back.
It’s been almost two years since then. She is happy and confident and thriving, so I believe that we are on the right path. But it has been a long and difficult journey so far, and I know we are not out of the woods yet. She just started kindergarten at a new school where only her teachers and one other family “know.” I wonder every day when this will change, and what’s in store for us when it does. Life remains extremely interesting.
How have readers responded to your blog? How would you describe the support you’ve received?
The anonymity provided by the internet can be a dangerous thing (cyber-bullying comes to mind). But in my case, it has been such a gift. Through my anonymous blog, I’ve been able to connect (without exposing my child’s identity) with people around the country (and around the world) who understand me and my child in a way none of my cisgender friends (with their cisgender children) ever will (cisgender = not transgender).
Through the safety of our mutual anonymity, I’ve connected with transgender people I could never otherwise have found. This is particularly true in the case of older generations, who transitioned in an era when trans folks were required to hide their status completely, burying their pasts like participants in a witness protection program. One woman wrote to me:
When my age group transitioned more than 40 years ago, we were told…to blend into the woodwork. We were not to identify ourselves as transsexuals. I have only revealed myself to my family and a very few very close friends. Everyone else I know considers me as just like every other woman.
No questions asked. I admire the young transgender girls and women (and boys and men) of today who are bold and in your face and let the world know their situation. I admire that because that is really the only way things will ever change for the better.
Earlier generations of trans folks also lived in a time when a transgender childhood was simply not an option. Their stories frequently leave me humbled and heartbroken, as well as keenly aware of my child’s good fortune to have been born when she was:
I was born in 1960 and I was first spanked for wearing female clothes when I was four years old. All throughout my childhood I was beaten and humiliated for trying to dress or act female — because I was born with a male body. None of the beatings or humiliation tactics did any good — you ARE who you ARE and that cannot be changed!
Like most transsexual people born when I was, I transitioned late in life — at the age of 48. At this point, my transition is complete. Since I was NOT on hormone blockers as a child my body developed with male features.
Because of this I had to undergo years of very expensive, painful electrolysis. I have also had facial feminization surgery (FFS) where my entire face was basically removed so the doctor could reshape the bones in my face — bones that had been disfigured by testosterone.
To have parents like you and to be a trans kid today is the stuff my dreams were made of!
There’s a vein of envy running through many of these comments. They know all too well that my child will dodge many of the horrors they have endured. Early medical intervention to stave off the wrong puberty will mean she’ll never have to worry about being perceived as “a man in a dress.”
You might expect that they’d sound bitter, a little resentful of my child. But there has never been a hint of that. Rather, their words are uniformly supportive and kind. On dark days, I can rely on my anonymous cheering squad to get me through:
A parent as yourself is GOLDEN, cherish your daughter as you both are very special.
I see great things for your brave little girl. She knows she’s loved and supported, and with that she can conquer the world.
Have you encountered any negative reactions to you blog?
No, but I suspect this is largely due to the fact that my audience has thus far been composed mostly of transgender adults and parents of trans kids — people who believe, as I do, that transgender people are a naturally occurring and ever-present branch of the human family tree, found in all cultures and time periods. It’s a friendly audience and so far I haven’t had a single heckler.
But I am well aware that much of the world still believes trans people to be psychologically damaged, or worse. I do hope to eventually reach this wider, more mainstream audience. Some of them are going to say some awful things, and that’s going to be really hard. But if their minds are even half-way open, and they “meet” my child in the pages of my blog, I think there’s a very good chance that most people will come away with a new perspective about what it means to be transgender — one that’s based on real people and real lives, rather than fear and stereotypes. A mom can dream, anyway.
Have you been able to connect with other parents facing similar issues? What influence has that had, if any, on your blogging?
I hear fairly frequently from parents with gender-nonconforming or transgender kids. Their emails often express the same relief that I feel when I encounter other parents who have kids like mine. We might be strangers, but I know them. I know they’re just as lonely and scared as I am, just as exhausted by the well-meaning questions (“What if you just made her wear pants?”), the subtle (and not so subtle) jokes and smirks at our kids’ expense, and the ever-present (and not unfounded) terror that the world is going to hurt our children.
I love receiving emails from these other parents. And they all say pretty much the same thing: “You GET me.”
I have a transgirl too, and she’s five. Reading your blog is sometimes like reading about MY life.
Most of your entries bring tears to my eyes as I think “Yes, yes, yes! I get it!” It is such a gift to have people who really understand.
What’s your advice to others who might be thinking about blogging about (potentially) sensitive/highly personal issues?
“On top of this, I feel strongly that it’s not my secret to share. Someday my child may decide to live openly as a trans person, but that will be her call, not mine.”
I take my anonymity seriously. I’ll never write anything or post an image that might expose my identity or that of my child. This is not because I’m ashamed of her or of us, but because the world still isn’t a very safe place for transgender folks. The statistics on violence against transgender people — especially women — are terrifying. On top of this, I feel strongly that it’s not my secret to share. Someday my child may decide to live openly as a trans person, but that will be her call, not mine.
I actually haven’t even shared my blog with any family or friends. All my readers are strangers. This allows me to feel free to write whatever I want to, without fearing I’ll upset or worry loved ones. I can openly complain about friends who, though well-intentioned, often say absolutely the wrong thing (“You should just keep things gender-neutral until he’s older.” “I’m so relieved my kid is…normal.”) When this happens, I go to my blog and tell sympathetic strangers about it. I write, without holding anything back, about how isolating and terrifying it can be to raise a child like mine. This freedom is fabulously therapeutic, and the supportive responses I receive from readers get me through the tough days.
How do you respond to the typical misconceptions about transgender people that you’ve encountered ?
I live in a very liberal area, so we’ve had a pretty easy time of it so far. People generally fall all over themselves to express their enthusiastic support, but that doesn’t mean that they have a clue about what it means to be transgender. Some people actually ask me if my kid has had a “sex change operation.” No, she has not. She’s five years old!
“My hope is that every speech I give will change the world just a tiny bit, and that each of my victims will tell their friends, who’ll tell their friends, who’ll tell their friends… and the world will be that much safer and friendlier for kids like mine.”
More often, people assume that a five year old couldn’t possibly know what gender she is. If I’m feeling sassy, I might ask them if they’re sure they’ve got their kids’ genders right. “I mean, little Ella’s only six years old. Do you really think she can know that she’s a girl at such a young age?” That generally gets them thinking.
All sassiness aside, most of the time I try hard to be patient, knowing that I was in their shoes just a few years ago and would have likely asked many of the same questions. I give a lot of little informational “Transgender 101” speeches, explaining that transgender people have always been with us, but have been hidden and marginalized. (“You know, just like gays and lesbians were a few decades ago.”) My hope is that every speech I give will change the world just a tiny bit, and that each of my victims will tell their friends, who’ll tell their friends, who’ll tell their friends… and the world will be that much safer and friendlier for kids like mine.
Which resources would you recommend for parents and families raising non-genderconforming kids?
These organizations provide invaluable advice, resources, and support for parents of gender-nonconforming kiddos:
The mission of WordPress.com is to democratize publishing. We’re inspired every day by the ways creators use our platform to bring their voices to the world. Unfortunately, we also see many cases of censorship aimed at WordPress.com authors and users.
One area where we’ve seen a number of problems is the censoring of criticism through abuse of copyright law. Two recent cases of abuse really caught our attention and made us think that we needed to take action to fight back on behalf of our users and everyone who believes in the internet’s promise for free expression.
Censorship by DMCA
A common form of censorship by copyright stems from improper use of legal creations called DMCA takedown notices. The DMCA stands for the “Digital Millennium Copyright Act,” which is a US federal law that created a system for protecting copyrights online. The DMCA system works pretty well, but has a few overlooked flaws that have made it too easy to abuse. Under the DMCA, companies, like Automattic, who publish user content cannot be held legally responsible for copyright infringement — so long as we follow a procedure to take down materials when we receive a notice from a copyright holder that something appearing on our platform allegedly infringes their copyrights. Every company that you use to share videos, pictures, and thoughts (from Google search to Facebook to Snapchat to WordPress.com) relies on the DMCA to balance free expression with copyright protection.
The DMCA system gives copyright holders a powerful and easy-to-use weapon: the unilateral right to issue a takedown notice that a website operator (like Automattic) must honor or risk legal liability. The system works so long as copyright owners use this power in good faith. But too often they don’t, and there should be clear legal consequences for those who choose to abuse the system.
We receive hundreds of DMCA notices and try our best to review, identify, and push back on those we see as abusive. Our users have the right to challenge a DMCA complaint too, but doing so requires them to identify themselves and fill out a legally required form saying that they submit to being sued for copyright infringement in a place that may be far away. If they don’t, their content is taken down and could stay down forever. This tradeoff doesn’t work for the many anonymous bloggers that we host on WordPress.com, who speak out on sensitive issues like corporate or government corruption.
Standing with Users to Take Action
Given the legal landscape, it’s no wonder that we’ve seen an increased number of improper notices. The following two notices inspired us to take action to help bring some needed balance to the situation.
First: Ivan Oransky and Adam Marcus are experienced science journalists who operate Retraction Watch, a site that highlights and tracks situations where published scientific papers may not be everything they seem. One reader apparently disagreed with a critique published on Retraction Watch — so he copied portions of the Retraction Watch site, claimed the work as his own and issued a DMCA takedown notice against the original authors.
Second: Oliver Hotham is a student journalist living in the UK. Oliver publishes investigative articles on his WordPress.com blog. The subject of one of his articles apparently had second thoughts about a press statement he gave to Oliver — so he turned to copyright law to censor Oliver’s site. Oliver’s account of that incident is here.
These cases are both infuriating and increasingly common. While there are no legal consequences (like fines) under the DMCA for copyright abusers, there is a provision that allows victims of censorship (and their web hosts) to bring legal action against those who submit fraudulent DMCA notices. So today, we’ve joined with Oliver, Ivan, and Adam to strike back at DMCA abuse. We’ve filed two lawsuits for damages under Section 512(f) of the DMCA, which allows for suits against those who “knowingly materially misrepresent” a case of copyright infringement.
Until there are some teeth to the copyright laws, it’s up to us — websites and users, together — to stand up to DMCA fraud and protect freedom of expression. Through these suits, we’d like to remind our users that we’re doing all we can to combat DMCA abuse on WordPress.com…and most importantly, remind copyright abusers to think twice before submitting fraudulent takedown notices. We’ll be watching, and are ready to fight back.
We’ll also be actively involved, on behalf of our users, in trying to change the law — both through court cases and in Congress — to make sure that everyone has the right to share their voice on the internet without threat of censorship.
Read Retraction Watch’s thoughts on our lawsuit here.
We have a special treat this Two Theme Thursday: new premium themes from two of our most popular sellers, Organic Themes and The Theme Foundry.
Do you have stories to share from a trip to timeless Angkor Wat, or a camera full of images from the surreal landscapes of Iceland? Organic Themes are back with their fourth theme here on WordPress.com, the travel-inspired Adventure theme.
Whether it’s a trip around the world, or a personal journey that needs to be told, Adventure has been designed to share your travels with excitement and grandeur. A tight top menu and customizable logo allow the sweeping, full-width images to command any viewer’s attention. Bold, clean typography and a fully responsive design ensure the tales of your voyage are crisp and clear on all devices, from the smallest phone to a full desktop.
Organic Themes knows that to share your adventures, you need a choice of layouts and page formats. Adventure is bursting with no less than six custom page templates, including a specialized home page template, three-column and full-width layouts, slideshows, and more. Every experience will have the right showcase for it to excite your readers, while easy-to-use social icons allow everyone to stay up-to-date with all of your travel adventures.
Strap on your pack, and let the Adventure theme be your journal to the world.
This is not your usual WordPress business theme; being The Theme Foundry, they’ve taken the business theme into the next generation with a built-in HTML builder app. This unique app allows the user to quickly and easily add product features, highlight services, and create slideshows for demonstrating the best your business has to offer. Keeping your business website fresh, dynamic and exciting is simple for even the least technically-inclined on your team, with a drag-and-drop interface that allows you to further tweak the layout and order of each of these sections, without any coding necessary. Just watch:
Of course, it wouldn’t be a theme from The Theme Foundry without sharp, clean typography, responsive layouts for mobile and tablets, and a strong sense of aesthetic and design. Basis also includes a Minimal Mode which, by removing the site header and navigation, further simplifies your landing pages for maximum impact.
Your business deserves more than just a website; let Basis be the foundation of your business web presence, a valuable tool for keeping your customer base engaged and coming back.
Party planning for the holidays? Scheming up a New Year’s Eve 2013 bash? Or, maybe you host regular gatherings, like a weekly book-swap-and-wine-tasting night, or are planning “NaNoWriMoNowWhat?” writing support sessions in November and beyond. No matter your type of event, we hope you’re using the tools available to promote it!
Here’s a rundown of features you can use, right in your dashboard:
Themes to showcase your one-time and recurring events
- Make a page to allow attendees to register and buy tickets.
- Create a page for blog posts to publish updates for your attendees.
- Feature your events in a carousel.
- Activate widgets for registration or message customization, which you can add to your sidebar.
Widgets to promote your events
To check out the widgets you can activate, head to Appearance → Widgets in your dashboard. If you’re using an Eventbrite theme, you can choose from several widgets to help spread the word about your events and customize your sidebar. Consider widgets to display a month-view calendar of upcoming events, a registration button, a personal message to attendees, and an area to list recently announced/upcoming dates (for recurring events):
If you’re not using an Eventbrite theme, you can still activate some widgets ideal for events. In Appearance → Widgets, look for the Eventbrite: Event Calendar/Listing Widget to display your event.
The Milestone Widget, as seen on the Twenty Thirteen theme.
You can also consider the Milestone Widget, especially if you’re hosting a single, one-time event, to call attention to a specific date.
To display dates for upcoming events, like your foodie cook-offs next month or your weekly book clubs, use the Upcoming Events Widget, which allows you to show a list of upcoming dates and events, using Google Calendar and an iCalendar feed.
And don’t underestimate the power of the Text Widget, which you can use to display a message about your upcoming gathering.
For something more colorful, use an Image Widget to attract attendees: display a photo of books on a shelf to promote your book club, or an image of your favorite dish to promote your foodie competition, then link the widget to a static page on your site dedicated to your event.
Are there other features you use to promote your events? We’d love to hear how you use the widgets and tools available to you.