Archive for February, 2015
Following a dreamlike safari through the African savanah, Louis Vuitton sets its trunks halfway between the sky and the sea under the beating sun, where the belles du jours give themselves to exciting visions of Caribbean jaunts.
Sailing towards the horizon, searching for adventures on a drifting pier: this is the spirit of travel for which the House of Vuitton has long been recalled. Enveloped in luxury, an odyssey through the terrains of fashion. A journey exquisite in its elegance.
Precious trunks, unique luggage and celebrated bags ring in tune with this scintillating nature. As colours range from aqua, desert to forest hues, all of Louis Vuitton’s leather goods answer to this one radiant light.
And then we have the Epi leather sitting inherently in Vuitton’s history, beating stronger now than ever in whole, pastel tones against the pulsating ripples that have forever adorned trunks and suitcases, the iconic Alma bag and the new Twist alike.
The new “Spirit of Travel” campaign embarks on a journey towards pure excellence. “Epi Landscapes” become one with nature and will be prominently displayed from the ￼6th April till 14th June in Louis Vuitton’s shop windows worldwide.
Ad Campaign Credits:
Photographer: Patrick Demarchelier
Models: Liya Kebede, Maartje Verhoef, Julia Nobis
Stylist: Marie-Amélie Sauvé
Hair: James Pecis
Makeup: James Kaliardos
Images via Louis Vuitton
We’re excited to offer two Blogging U. courses this March: Blogging 101 and Photography 101. Read on to learn more about each course, see how Blogging U. works, and register!
Blogging 101: Zero to Hero — March 2 – 20
Blogging 101 is three weeks of bite-size assignments that take you from “Blog?” to “Blog!” Every weekday, you’ll get a new assignment to help you publish a post, customize your blog, or engage with the community. Whether you’re just getting started or want to revive a dormant blog, we’ll help you build blogging habits and connections that will keep you going over the long haul.
You’ll walk away with a stronger focus for your blog, several published posts and a handful of drafts, a theme that reflects your personality, a small (but growing!) audience, a grasp of blogging etiquette — and a bunch of new friends.
Photography 101: A Photo a Day — March 2 – 27
Photography 101 is a photo-a-day challenge. You’ll publish new posts, make new friends, and hone your photographer’s eye.
Photography 101 is a four-week, intro-level course open to all, from new bloggers to hobbyist photographers to pro-shooters. Use the camera you like: a phone, a point-and-shoot, or a dSLR. Each weekday, we’ll give you a new photography theme and tip — we might share advice on composition, tips on working with different light sources, or image editing ideas — and the community critique will inspire and motivate you.
How do Blogging U. courses work?
Blogging U. courses exist for one reason: to help you meet your own blogging goals.
- Courses are free, flexible, and open to all.
- You’ll get a new task to complete each day, along with some advice and resources. Do them on your own time, and interpret them however makes sense for your specific blog and personal goals — we’re not grading you, we’re not checking that you complete every task, and there’s no “wrong” way to use the resources we give you.
- You’ll receive each assignment via email. Each assignment will contain all the inspiration and instructions you need to complete it. Weekends are free.
- Each course will have a private community site, the Commons, for chatting, connecting, and seeking feedback and support. Daily Post staff and Happiness Engineers will be on hand to answer your questions and offer guidance.
How do I register?
While you’re free to register for both, we encourage you to try one course at a time, to be sure you get the most out of the experience. All courses will be repeated throughout 2015.
To register, fill out this short form. Registration for each course remains open until the day before the course begins. You won’t receive an automated confirmation email, but you’ll receive a welcome email with more detailed instructions before your course(s) begin.
Happy Theme Thursday, all! Let’s dive right into a new free theme:
Designed by Mel Choyce, Lyretail is a stunning visual treat for your personal site. The theme puts your social presence front and center, displaying social links prominently below the site’s title and logo, so readers can easily find you on your favorite social networks.
Read more about Lyretail on the Theme Showcase, or activate it on your site from Appearance → Themes!
WordPress for iOS version 4.8 comes with exciting editor and navigation enhancements.
We’re thrilled to announce that the 4.8 release includes a beautiful new visual editor. With the new editor, you can add rich text like bold, italics, links, and lists naturally as you type. You can also insert images with a tap, seeing real-time uploading progress and images right in the post.
App users have long wished for a “what you see is what you get” (WYSIWYG) editor on iOS. Until now, a rich mobile editing experience on the iOS app was reserved for those who felt comfortable with HTML. But not everyone is comfortable with coding, and few find it convenient to use code on a mobile device. The visual editor removes this technical friction and makes creating and publishing content on the go simpler. No code necessary!
The new editor interface has been streamlined for the most frequently used functionality. For our coders, poets, code poets, and folks that want to add more custom elements to their content, the new editor comes equipped with an HTML toggle. Hop over to the HTML view to add more complex styling like headers, <!–more–>, shortcodes, and single-line spacing.
The visual editor also comes with more robust image settings. Editing image title, caption, alt text, alignment, link, and size is just a tap away while you’re writing.
Tap to edit
Managing your sites and managing your account are two different tasks, so in 4.8, we unpacked site management into its own top-level navigation tab called “My Sites.” The “Me” tab is still the home of account settings and the go-to place for extra support!
The WordPress mobile apps are open source and work for both WordPress.com and WordPress self-hosted blogs. Wonderful people from the entire WordPress community contribute to making each release a success. Thanks to all of the iOS app contributors, and thanks to our wonderful users who share thoughtful feedback daily.
Over at The Daily Post, our first poetry-focused Blogging U. course, Writing 201: Poetry, has just entered its second week. It’s been a blast, with hundreds of poets sharing their work, experimenting with new forms, and commenting on their peers’ poems.
After working hard on polishing their elegies, haiku, and ballads, most writers want to make sure their readers can enjoy their work to the fullest. This is where choosing the right theme can play an important role (this is true for non-poets too, of course): you want your posts to be readable, clean, and inviting. Here are some options to consider (as well as a few community favorites).
This might sound like an unorthodox choice, given Illustratr‘s natural appeal to visual artists of all types. But its typography, post title styling, and overall crispness makes Illustratr as poem-friendly as it gets. Add a featured image, and you can balance the spare look with a bold dash of color.
For those who want to create a warm, inviting space without sacrificing readability, Sela — a very recent addition to the Theme Showcase — is a theme worth exploring. Even if you use a number of widgets in your sidebar, the focus is squarely on your words.
A bold, emphatic post title area coupled with a generous, full-width featured image prepare your reader for what’s to come. Tonal‘s clear font and white background take care of the rest.
Created with photobloggers in mind, Cubic is a theme that makes it clear you can paint pictures with your words, too. The gorgeous typography might convince your readers that they’re reading a volume produced by a vintage letterpress, not a webpage.
Another versatile theme that’s become a go-to for many poets is this year’s highly customizable default theme, Twenty Fifteen. It comes recommended by blogger-poets Zen and Pi, Mutafariq Khayalat, and Kavita Panyam.
Taking minimalism to a pleasing new height, Minnow‘s stark look directs your visitors’ eyes where you want them: your words. However, with a centrally-located social links menu, the theme also keeps you connected to the world outside your poetry.
To see Minnow in action, head to poetry-heavy blog Devious Bloggery, where poems of various styles and lengths are equally easy to read and savor.
Looking for more ideas for reader- and writer-friendly themes? Here are few more ideas.
Poets, wordsmiths, and minimalists of all stripes: what theme do you use for a clutter-free reading experience? Share your favorites in the comments.
Several years ago, writer Ann Morgan noticed that she didn’t read much literature from countries outside of the United Kingdom and United States — and had yet to dive into stories from around the globe. From this realization, her blog, A Year of Reading the World, was born. You can read about Ann’s journey in her new book, Reading the World: Confessions of a Literary Explorer, available now in the UK. (The US version, The World Between Two Covers, will be released on May 4.)
I chatted with Ann about the blog-to-book journey and her experience of reading and blogging about literature from 197 countries.
For readers new to A Year of Reading the World, can you talk about your original project — and how the blog came about?
A comment someone left on a blog I wrote four years back, A Year of Reading Women, got me thinking about how little literature I read from countries other than the UK and US. The more I thought about it, the stranger it seemed that I would limit myself to such a small proportion of the world’s stories. The next year, 2012, was set to be a very international one for the UK, with the Olympics coming to London and plans for big celebrations for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, so I decided to spend it trying to read a novel, short story collection, or memoir from every UN-recognized country (plus a couple of extras) and blogging about each book.
As I didn’t know what to choose or how to find books from some places, I asked the world’s book lovers to offer suggestions. I registered the domain name ayearofreadingtheworld.com, set up the blog on WordPress.com, and put a call out on social media. Before long, I was inundated with recommendations and other offers of help.
Reading your way through nearly 200 countries requires discipline! How did you stay motivated as a blogger?
It wasn’t easy. I had to be very organized. I calculated how much I needed to get through each day (around 150 pages to stay on track to read four books a week), and made sure I stuck to it. This meant reading for two hours on my commute and an hour or two in the evening. I sometimes read during my lunch break, too. And on Saturdays I spent the mornings in bed with a book. I got very good at reading at odd moments — while walking along the road and going up escalators, for example, and on the exercise bike at the gym.
The author, reading in Crete.
Reading was only half the battle — writing the blog posts and doing all the research to find the books took as much time, so I got up early to work on this before I left for work.
For all the hard work, though, it was a lot of fun. The generosity and enthusiasm of my blog’s followers around the world helped me source titles. Readers posted kind comments every day, and this kept me going and cheered me across the finish line.
How did your book deal come about?
The UK book cover
When I started the project, I had no clue it would lead to a book. But three or four months into the year, media interest was starting to build with the Olympics approaching, so several people suggested that a book might be a good idea. I’d always wanted to be an author, so I put together a short book proposal and sent it to a handful of literary agents.
Several were interested in it, but one in particular — Caroline Hardman at Hardman & Swainson — seemed to look at the project the same way I did. We also got on well personally, which was a bonus.
After I’d signed with Caroline, I spent the next few months shaping the book proposal and writing sample chapters (and, yes, I was still reading the world and earning money to pay the bills during this time!). Caroline sent the proposal out in September 2012 and within half an hour an email came from my editor, Michal Shavit at Harvill Secker/Random House, making an offer for the book.
What about the blog-to-book process? Did much of your post content end up in the book?
The US book cover
I spent about a year-and-a-half, on and off, writing and rewriting after I got the deal. In the end, none of the material from the blog made it into the book. In fact, only a few paragraphs from the sample chapters are in there.
The main challenge was finding the right form for the book. I remember a meeting where Michal told me that I needed to let go of the blog, and she was right. There would have been no point giving a blow-by-blow account of the year because that already existed on the blog. I needed to find a way of taking the insights that quest gave me and shaping them into something new.
In the end, the book became a space for exploring the big questions that arose during my adventure. There were issues like cultural identity, translation, censorship, and how the internet shapes our reading that I didn’t have a chance to consider in depth on the blog, but was really interested to research more thoroughly.
I love both the UK and US covers of your book. Beyond the cover art, is there a difference in these versions?
Thanks! No. Although they look very different, they are actually the same book. The UK title was too close to something else Liveright/Norton — my US publisher — publishes, but apart from this, my US editor, Elisabeth Kerr, was very keen to keep the text exactly as it had been in the original.
With your Book of the Month posts, you’ve kept your blog alive, post-project. Do you have other plans for the blog, post-book release?
The coming year looks very exciting with lots of invitations to travel, speak at events, and take part in reading-related initiatives. I plan to record my experiences on the blog and take the many people who’ve supported the project for such a long time — and the new subscribers who sign up every day — along for the ride. Now and then, if there’s a book-related issue that I have something to say about, I’ll write about it on the blog, too.
I still get a lot of recommendations for new books from blog visitors, so I’m still updating the list and will carry on doing that. And of course the Book of the Month posts will continue. It’s hard to know what the future holds, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be reading the world in one way or another for a long time to come.
Read what’s new on Ann’s blog, A Year of Reading the World. You’ll find Reading the World: Confessions of a Literary Explorer (UK version, available now) and The World Between Two Covers: Reading the Globe (US version, available on May 4) on Amazon.
Hew is a personal-blogging theme with a distinct identity and a bright splash of colour. Share your thoughts and experiences with readers while connecting through prominently placed social media links.
Designed by yours truly, Hew puts your content in the spotlight. With its single column and bold typography, Hew offers a pleasant reading experience across all devices — no matter whether your visitors arrive by smartphone, tablet, or desktop computer. Make it your own with your Gravatar or a custom header image.
Read more about Hew on the Theme Showcase, or activate it on your site from Appearance → Themes.
Sobe is an eye-catching personal blogging theme for sharing life’s most memorable moments, designed by Caroline Moore.
Choose between a one- or two-column layout by adding widgets, help your content stand out with colorful post formats, add links to your favorite social networks, and brand your site with a site logo or header image.
Read more about Sobe on the Theme Showcase, or activate it on your site from Appearance → Themes!
A December 2014 addition to our library of themes, Radcliffe stands out with elegant yet modern fonts, large featured images, and clean navigation that gets out of the way and puts your content front and center.
Radcliffe looks great right out of the gate, but it’s also got beautiful bones. These five bloggers have five very different styles, but Radcliffe works for them all — you see their work and personalities, not their theme.
Out of the Box: Ollie on the Move
Twenty-year-old UK native Ollie uses his blog to chronicle his travels as he explores his new home country, Canada.
Radcliffe‘s full-width images and classic typography let Ollie’s beautiful images take center stage. His focused, organized menu helps visitors find their way around quickly and easily.
Add a Header: Cat(herine) and mmitII
Custom headers are an easy, free change that can transform the feel of an entire site. Catherine Jue adds a simple but bold text-based header to her blog, Cat(herine):
She relies on the same full-width images, focused menu, and beautiful fonts to build her striking site, but the simple addition of a header adds an informal, fun-loving note perfect for this California gal’s personality.
Header images can work just as well — take a look at mmitII:
Blogger Matt Ballantine wisely chose a wide photo with strong horizontal lines. Echoing the header’s colors in his posts’ featured images keeps his blog from feeling busy — the images work together rather than compete.
Add a Header, Change the Fonts: dutchie love
Nicole and her husband Nathan both come from Dutch backgrounds — hence the name of Nicole’s lifestyle blog, dutchie love:
She transforms Radcliffe, removing the default site title text and replacing it with a soft header image with her blog’s title in a fun font. Going a step further, she used Custom Fonts to change her title font to the punchy, retro-modern Brandon Grotesque and her menu and body to Avro, a fuss-free serif.
Add a Header, Change the Fonts, Update the Colors: Simul Blog
If you’re getting the impression that Radcliffe works best for image-heavy blogs, friends Rich, Jacob, and Dan of Simul Blog beg to differ:
Simul Blog packs a saturated punch: a stark header image, brash oranges, and the aptly-named Chunk font turn Radcliffe into a minimal but high-impact home for their theological musings.
Want some more theme-spiration? Check out these stunning sites:
- Jonas Rask Photography: a scaled-back header helps Jonas’s photos shine.
- Reverse Retrograde: uber-thin sans serif fonts are streamlined and modern.
- Sheer Stomping: a bold header and stripe of black keep this lively fashion site grounded.
- Cultrbox: a splash of color in the site logo adds a pop of personality.
- Omar Shahid: a pared-down look creates a focused home page.
In the digital age, it’s very easy to talk at each other through emails, texts, and tweets rather than with each other. Interviews enable us to rekindle the art of conversation. Here are seven interviews we’ve enjoyed reading recently from across all of WordPress.
Chatting with Rebecca Schinsky, the director of content and community for Riot New Media:
Admin R: Is there any book you’ve read in particular that you credit with changing you somehow? Something that affected you so much after you read it, that you grew and matured?
Schinsky: Yes! When Women Were Birds by Terry Tempest Williams rocked my world in very real ways. She gave voice to thoughts and feelings I had been simmering on for a while, and when I read her words, things just clicked. I had conversations about Major Life Stuff that I wouldn’t have had if not for this book, and I said things I wouldn’t have said otherwise. And those conversations changed the directions, in positive and important ways, of some of the defining relationships in my life. I wrote about it for Book Riot when I was in the throes a few years ago.
Investigative journalist Anya Schiffrin discusses the “pleasures and perils of reporting”:
Guernica: Does investigative journalism have to involve risk on the part of the journalist to have an impact?
Anya Schiffrin: For me, the lesson is that you don’t know when you will have an impact and how. It can take a long time, though in some cases there is impact quite quickly, like with the New Zealand fishing story [which immediately led to legislation to protect migrant crew members]. Even when a piece doesn’t have an impact, it provides a testimony, sets the record right for history, like with [Chilean reporter] Patricia Verdugo [whose piece on military abuses under Pinochet was used a decade later as evidence during Pinochet’s trial].
Three-year-old Branko has a rare, unnamed condition causing him to have bone dysfunctions. An interview with his mother:
RAI: How does the fact that he’s the only person in the world with this condition affect his treatment?
JPZ: It’s tricky. Pretty much every statement that comes out of a doctor’s mouth is justified with “but he’s the only Branko in the world!” Sometimes this works in our favor, like when a doctor gives us bad news, they can placate us using these words. And it works. However, when we push for a new treatment or the next major surgery, we are sometimes told to wait it out, because the doctors can’t make any predictions on how his bones might turn out.
A conversation with the popular ’90s group:
T-BOZ: The song “Unpretty”—it was actually a personal situation on my behalf. When I wrote that song, I basically wanted to stand up for how people made me feel in school. I had sickle cell anemia, and I didn’t understand the disease I had myself, but people would say to me, “Oh, Sickle, you’re gonna die.” So mean. But this is the thing: I had tough skin, ’cause my mom was amazing. But at the same point, not everybody handled things the way she taught me to, and there were times when I got down. My thing is to give somebody something relatable, like in those lyrics, and to show there is an upside. You can overcome. I was told I wouldn’t live past 30, that I would never have kids, and that I’d be disabled my whole life. I’m 44, my daughter’s 14, and I’ve traveled the world in the best group on the planet. So, my thing is, there’s always an upside.
Jordan Brady has been working in comedy for three decades:
Splitsider: People think it’s about going from one place and then just skipping to another, but you should connect with the community as well.
Brady: Right, because that’s the ego. The meet-and-greet, you can still have ego. Without the ego, no one would want to meet you. But you show humility and appreciation for fans. I mean, this is turning into a deeper conversation, but comedy, it’s bouts of ego and humility that will give you a long-lasting career.
Joshua Oppenheimer, the director of the Academy Award-nominated The Act of Killing, discusses his new documentary:
Harper’s: It seems fair to say that The Look of Silence and The Act of Killing aren’t so much two discrete pieces as they are two parts of a single project. How did this larger project come about?
Oppenheimer: There’s a key moment in The Look of Silence when you see two perpetrators take me down to a clearing by a river, the Snake River, and then show me how, in that very spot in 1965, they helped kill ten thousand people. These men take turns playing victim and perpetrator, showing how they brutalized people, how they kicked them in the river. And then they produce a camera when they’re done, and pose for photographs—snapshots as souvenirs from a happy day out.
Seitz just wrote a book taking readers behind the scenes of The Grand Budapest Hotel, and this interview with Wes Anderson is excerpted from the book:
Seitz: Another question: “This is the first script where you have a solo credit for the screenplay. Your others were collaborations. What is it like working with different writers versus writing by yourself?”
Anderson: Well, you know, this movie wasn’t actually that different of a process from other ones — different parts of different ones. Noah Baumbach and I, for Life Aquatic, really did sort of sit there together, all the way through the process. Bottle Rocket, certainly, and Rushmore: Owen and I were together while we were writing those.
But, on the other hand, at different phases of all of those scripts, there were times when I was working on my own a bit. So it’s not like I felt, on this movie, “I’m on my own here.” In fact, I had Hugo Guinness, who is a very old friend, hysterically funny and tremendously intelligent, working with me on the story from the very beginning.
In the past, we’ve highlighted some of our favorite themes for longform enthusiasts and bloggers who just want to write. Today, let’s take a look at five free themes, launched in the past several months, that offer a distraction-free writing and reading experience.
Radcliffe combines bold typography with a clutter-free post layout, as shown above. Ideal for longform writing, the theme works blissfully out of the box for those focused on lots of text. The default headline font Abril Fatface is strong but not overbearing, while the Crimson font for your body text completes this pleasurable reading experience.
Calling out text in various ways also looks fantastic — for example, the blockquote styling is simple but sophisticated:
But don’t be fooled by Radcliffe‘s simple design. Your photography has a place here, too: full-width featured images give your posts visual flair, while galleries also look lovely, as seen on Sage and Clare.
Go on, give Radcliffe a spin.
Standard posts on the Cols theme are laid out in newspaper-style format, which is great for essays, articles, and book excerpts. The number of columns changes depending on your device: three columns on large monitors, two columns on medium-sized screens (as shown above), and a one-column layout on small screens like phones.
Whether you add headings, blockquotes, or preformatted text, Cols displays your writing beautifully, providing your readers with an uninterrupted experience. See it in action at Cancer Made Me Do It, or explore more features on its demo site.
Fresh and clean, Penscratch truly gets out of the way and lets your words speak for themselves. It’s a solid choice if you want a no-fuss design, but there are options to personalize and brand your site easily, like uploading your site logo at the top.
We also love the treatment of left and right pullquotes, which adds visual variety and is a nice touch for longer pieces of journalism and narrative nonfiction.
Penscratch works especially well for an intimate blogging space, from experimental writing to thinkpieces to personal essays. But it’s versatile enough for anyone! If you’re curious how Penscratch looks with images, see how Felicia Sullivan uses it on her blog, which is a tasteful mix of words and images.
Like the themes above, Capoverso is minimal, and its post layout allows your writing to shine. The default background — a faint grey with diagonal lines — adds a subtle visual layer to your blog, though you can change the background by using the Customizer.
A notable feature of Capoverso is the Front Page Template, which is handy for writers and authors who want more than just a space for blogging, but a landing page with essential links. You just need to create a static front page (and assign the Front Page Template to it). Voilà:
Interested in Capoverso? See how it looks on its demo site.
Clean and straightforward, Minnow is a one-column theme that puts your writing front and center — even your widgets and custom menu are hidden, in a slide-out bar on the right. Despite its pared-down look, Minnow allows writers to promote themselves across all their networks — it prominently displays your social links at the top, just under your site title.
For bloggers who just want to write, Minnow does the job. Take a closer look on its demo site.