Archive for October, 2015

How to Choose the Best Theme for Your Business Website

Building a beautiful website for your business begins with choosing a theme — a design that controls page layout, widget areas, and default style. With more than 350 free and paid themes on WordPress.com, selecting a theme for your business website can feel overwhelming, but you can make it easier by focusing on these three questions.

What Am I Publishing on My Website?

Draft a visual map of your website to help you plan your site structure and decide what you want your homepage to look like. Will your homepage contain static information about your business like a welcome message and business hours or do you want to showcase your latest blog content?

In a theme overview page or when trying out a live demo, look at how the theme handles Widgets — tools or content blocks that you can add, arrange, and remove on your website. Widget areas can include the footer, sidebar, or unique places on the homepage. Menus are another useful way to organize Pages, Posts, and links on your website.

The Sela theme, for example, has seven Widget areas, two options for testimonials, and a custom menu. Kirsten of The Pink Rose Bakery chose to use the theme’s grid layout to organized links to her recipes, blog, and social media right on the homepage.

FireShot Capture 28 - The Pink Rose Bakery I Always Gluten Free. Al_ - http___thepinkrosebakery.com_

What Features Do I Need?

Are you building a restaurant website, a landing page for your hotel, a corporate blog, or something completely different? Depending on your business, you may need website features exclusive to certain themes.

Prepare a list of your must-have features so you know right away if a theme is hitting the mark. You can use the filters in the drop-down menu under “More” to narrow down the themes with the features and layouts you want for your website.

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For example, the Stay theme is fantastic for the hospitality industry. Its functional reservation drop-down form makes booking a room quick and intuitive. Take a look at how The Lake Crest Inn in Lake George Village personalized the Stay theme.

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Premium themes often offer more specific features, so you’ll want to consider your budget as well. WordPress.com has a large selection of free themes to choose from as well as premium themes starting at $20. They can be purchased for a one-time fee per site, or you can get Unlimited Premium Themes for $120 per year and switch things up as often as you’d like!

What Look and Feel Do I Want for My Website?

You can filter themes by style and color if you have a specific look in mind or need to match a brand logo. While most themes can be tweaked with custom headers and background colors, Custom Design unlocks next-level customization.

Think back to the content you expect to publish on your site. Do you need a design that showcases photos? If so, choose a portfolio site or a design that makes the most of high-resolution photos. Perhaps photography plays a small role in your website design. If so, avoid themes that only look good with a lot of photos.

Take a look at the Urban Legends Film Co. They use the Blocco theme, which looks great with a generous use of featured photos on the homepage.

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It can pay to do a little research on your competition. How do other websites in your industry look? How do they organize their content, online store, and calls to action? Keep these elements in mind when inspecting potential themes. You can also sort themes by Type and Features to help narrow your search to websites designed specifically with your industry in mind.

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Get a Sneak Peek

Now that you’ve answered these questions, you can browse themes with purpose. When shopping through the Themes Showcase, you can see additional information and view it in action by clicking on Live Demo.

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You can also view themes by going to My Sites → Themes. This has the added feature of allowing you to preview the theme with your very own content.

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Just to keep things fresh and interesting, we’re adding free and premium themes all the time, so keep an eye on the Showcase for new designs. Follow our blog to get an exclusive tour of new designs and featured themes.

You can switch themes as many times as you need until you find the right fit. If a Premium theme doesn’t work out, we offer a full refund up to 30 days from your purchase.

Planning on Turning Your Website into a Lean Mean Marketing Machine?

Consider upgrading to WordPress.com Premium or Business to unlock features like advanced customization, more space for your photos, and videos and stellar customer support.

Our Premium and Business plans also include a custom domain and access to premium themes.

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Filed under: HowTo, Themes
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What Inspires Us to Blog?

Every day, people from all around the world start a site on WordPress.com to share everything from photos from their latest adventures to deeply personal stories from their lives. What motivates them to do so? We asked seven bloggers from the WordPress.com community to tell us what inspires them to blog. Here are their responses:

Mica, Busy Mockingbird

My primary reason for blogging came from the multitude of projects I have going on all the time. A friend once said, “Oh, you’re so creative — I could never do THAT,” and I insisted that all art is trial and error. So I started the blog to share ideas about what I’m doing, things I learn, mistakes I make — just to show people that art isn’t always some mystical, magical, PERFECT thing. It takes work and practice and mistakes, and it’s okay to have fun doing it! I always get such great feedback from people saying, “I think I’m going to give that a try!” — which always makes me smile.

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Sarah, Problems With Infinity

So, I can be an excessively lazy person. I don’t mean just your average lie around in pajamas all day lazy, I’m talking like wear dirty socks at least three days too long because I can’t be bothered to do a load of laundry, and also deciding that washing my hair is just too much work and “hair wadding” is probably the next big fashion trend anyhow, so why not start early? But I’ve learned over time that I can trick myself into being less lazy about blogging by promising myself brownie rewards once I finish a post. I guess you could say that a main inspiration for me to blog is a combination of my highly tuned skills at self-trickery and warm gooey brownie treats.

“Blogging has given me an outlet to just be myself, and it turns out I kind of like me…”

But all silliness aside, I started blogging during a really tough period of my life, and I think I just needed to be able to reach out and share who I was, not only to other people, but to myself. As a long time sufferer of severe social anxiety, I have an incredibly difficult time being myself around other people. And I desperately needed a way to show myself and other people that inside I am someone more than what my anxiety allows me to be on the outside. Blogging has given me an outlet to just be myself, and it turns out I kind of like me, and some other people kind of like me too, which is a surprising and wonderful feeling. So I suppose what inspires me to blog even more than my own self-trickery is really just the ability for me to be me in a way I was never able to before.

Angelica, table twenty eight

My blog, table twenty eight, began over three years ago as a solution for collating and documenting two of my greatest passions – photography and food. I’ve been an avid photographer from a young age, and that became intertwined with my love of cooking (and eating), impulsively picking up my camera to capture a dish I’d made or taking it along with me to a restaurant in the hope of being served a visually impressive dish.

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My blog started as a little personal project, a place to function as a photographic journal and “brain dump/collage” for anything related to food; however, it’s now grown into something much more valuable. It’s not only provided me with a creative outlet, but has also allowed me to vastly improve my photography skills and experience throughout these years.

By setting myself the goal of photographing and writing a post once a week, it’s inspired me (ok, sometimes forced me!) to pick up my camera and style a food shoot. It’s paved an invaluable path to developing my own personal photography style and providing motivation for hours and hours of practice. I daresay I wouldn’t be taking the photos I am today if it hadn’t been thanks to my blog.

Joe, Developing Dad

The first answer would have to be my kids. I’m an older dad and my blog started with several aims — all of which were the result of me being a dad. It’s such a transformative experience, and so much of my private writing had started to become singularly focused on it; I guess it was just natural to start sharing my musings.

I thought of it as an art project for my kids. I wanted there to be a piece of me—a piece of me in my own words that they could visit for any number of reasons; to find out more about who I was before I had them; to meet the me they’ll only remember from pictures and movies. Or even just a way for them to visit me and to hear firsthand how much I loved them — right from the start. I should be around for quite some time and when I do leave what I know is that my voice will live in their heads. This will provide them some words so they can hear me whenever they need to. It won’t be the same as having me around, but it’s something.

“It’s really been remarkably cathartic.”

A big part of the transformation for me has been to become more comfortable in my own skin. My blog is a great way to challenge myself to keep pushing through discomfort so I can have as little difference between my internal and external selves. Had you asked me what was keeping me from starting a blog before, I’d have told you that I was too embarrassed to be “naked” in front of so many people I know and have known. Now I’d say being that honest, raw and vulnerable has been amongst the greatest outcomes from the whole endeavor. I don’t want my boys to be afraid to be wholly themselves or ashamed of something so normal as having feelings. The wonderful and loving feedback from so many people I know and people I have never met before has allowed me to put down so many misconceptions about who I was “supposed” to be. It’s really been remarkably cathartic.

Laila, Tape Parade

I’m inspired to blog by so many things: by music, by films, by other bloggers, by the city I live in (London), and by the people I meet in my day-to-day life. I think for most of us, life can be hard and there’s a lot of figuring out to be done, a lot of conclusions to reach. Whenever I reach a rare moment of realization, I’m inclined to share it with my readers — just to see if anybody else feels the same. I often write about my own inspirations and the places that I’ve been and things I’ve seen. I work as a musician, and I try to take as much inspiration from the world around me as I possibly can. I’m very lucky to live in an amazing part of the world and it’s hard not to feel inspired when surrounded by so much history, so many people, and so many stories.

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Phoebe, Girls Like Giants

I teach writing (and television studies!) to college students and consistently hear myself reminding them that writing is about process — a way of thinking, hashing out, and ultimately (on a good day) communicating ideas. For me, writing also rarely stays in a vacuum, nor should it — at least apart from my grammar school journal full of delightfully repetitive lists of daily activities, including accounts of gymnastics practice, homework, school, and snacks. I’ve long loved writing and do a lot of it in my daily work, writing academic articles and a dissertation and now working on a book. Academic writing, while awesome in so many ways, also moves quite slowly. But when I started blogging on Girls Like Giants (GLG), it gave me a platform to practice writing about things I cared about in pop culture and to work out my ideas in a public space and it made my academic writing stronger. I also blog about cooking, which is more for me than anybody else, but still provides an outlet to practice and keep my writing muscles active — especially important for me during a busy term of teaching.

“[My blog] gave me a platform to practice writing about things I cared about in pop culture and to work out my ideas in a public space…”

At first, it was really hard for me to put my ideas out there — I am by nature a pretty private and shy person. But what I found in blogging consistently is that it got easier and easier and became exciting to force myself out there via writing and finding and connecting with a community of people. It helped me test ideas and practice backing up my points of view. Blogging has given me a chance to write about things I care about in pop culture and it is great for working out ideas in my more academic work (also, it’s a good example of practicing what I preach to my students on a daily basis). Plus, through blogging on GLG (a blog I co-founded with my friend Sarah), I found a partner in crime and somebody who has been instrumental in propelling me to write (and she is a great and generous editor) — a community within a community, so to speak. So, in sum: I blog for a lot of reasons. And, ultimately I do it for myself, but I always hope that other people also enjoy engaging with my writing and that it resonates with readers.

Liz, Cats and Chocolate

I’m inspired to blog by any number of things. It can be something I’m interested in — an idea, a philosophy, a place, an experience, a thing — or something that I intentionally blog about, like writing, books I’ve been reading, or a film I’ve seen. When I started blogging 10 years ago, blogging had a very DIY feel. But thinking back on it, I still hold to that fount of inspiration, the importance of being true to yourself, and writing about things that matter to you. First and foremost, blogging comes from you. Second is writing for the audience and connecting with a community. If you are passionate about and interested in what you are writing, then that comes across and readers will be able to see that.

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As the years pass, keeping to that foundation means that your blog will adapt to your changing interests and passions, and will be something you can look back on, as a record of who you were, perhaps still are, and all the things that you have been through. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself occasionally either. I’ve participated in a couple of monthly blog challenges, and also try to write about emotionally difficult topics when I feel that they will help other people. This is the tension between writing for yourself and writing for readers: The trick is to also think about how you can turn your experiences and what you’ve learned into something that can advise and inspire your readers and community.

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Interested in honing your blogging skills and making writing a habit? Blogging U. is a fantastic way to get expert advice, instructive assignments, and support from a community of bloggers and staff. Find more information about Blogging U. here.

Filed under: Community, General, Writing
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Join Automattic’s Worldwide WP 5k 2015

The 2015 edition of the Automattic Worldwide WP 5k (#WWWP5k) is around the corner!

Automatticians already hit the trail at our company meetup last week. It was early — the sun was barely peeking behind the mountains in Park City, Utah — but the air was crisp and the morning was perfect for running a 5k. (Staying fit is an important part of our company culture.)

Automatticians running the WWWP5k in Park City, Utah

Automatticians laced up and ready to go! Photo by Dean Royal.

Now it’s your turn! The Worldwide WordPress 5k will take place next week from Monday, October 26th to Sunday, November 1st.

Lace up your running/walking/hiking/hopping shoes and join us for the 5k blogged about around the world! Read on to find out how to participate.

What is a 5k?

A 5k run/walk is approximately 3.1 miles long. You can run, walk, or skip; it’s totally up to you. There’s no time limit and there’s just one requirement: that you participate! You can do it at a gym or outdoors, on a treadmill or on a track, or even swim or bike instead of running/walking — just get moving!

A 5k (or 3.1 miles) is roughly equal to:

  • Twelve laps around a track.
  • Approximately 6000-7500 steps.
  • Approximately 50-60 minutes of brisk walking.

When can I run?

We’re all busy, but we want you to participate, so we’re giving you lots of flexibility. You can complete the WWWP5k any time between Monday, October 26 and Sunday, November 1st.

Who’s invited?

Anyone who’s ever used or loved WordPress (and your families and friends, too). Heck, the entire Internet is invited!

How do I participate?

Post about it on your site and tag the post “wwwp5k” so that other runners around the world can find you and read about your experience. If you’re not on WordPress.com, link back to this announcement post so others might join in and participate, too.

You’re welcome to blog your entire route and your preparation (a video or gallery, perhaps?) but above all we’d love to see where you are and how you’re completing your 5k. Share a picture of you and what you see when you cross the finish line and tell us your location as you complete your 5k with the rest of the world.

Here are a few additional tips and resources:

Will you be joining us for the Worldwide WP 5k next week?

Filed under: Community, Events
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Five Ways to Boost your Site with Social Media

Looking for more traffic? Social media is your best friend. Every Facebook like and retweet helps you grow your audience and attract more customers. To ace your online strategy, optimize your website for social media. From widgets to share buttons, here are five ways to integrate social media into your WordPress.com site.

Social Media Icons

Your website is an important sales tool, but it shouldn’t be the only way you reach and engage customers. If you’re on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, add Social Media icons to your sidebar or footer where visitors are sure to see them.

There are three ways to add social media icons to your WordPress.com website or blog. First, some themes offer a special custom menu for social media icons. The menu generates icons designed for your theme and are easy to update if your social media accounts change in the future.

Social Menu

Another way is to use Widgets — tools or content that you can add, arrange, and remove from the sidebar(s) of your blog. Select the social media icons widget from the Widgets section in your Customizer to connect the most popular social media networks to your website or blog.

Third, if you have your own social media buttons, you can upload your icons to your media library and use the Text widget with a little HTML to control how they display.

For example, The Foodimentary, a blog dedicated to food-related holidays and holiday-related food has added custom social media icons in the widget area of their landing page.

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Sharing Buttons

Make it easy to like and share your content by activating sharing buttons at the bottom of your posts and pages.

Sharing buttons

To customize your blog’s sharing options, go to My Sites → Sharing in the sidebar. You can control the order and look of your social media buttons. You can disable the sharing option and/or like button on specific posts or pages by using the checkbox(s) in the Advanced Settings for a post.

Widgets

Use Widgets to showcase your real-time Twitter timeline, latest Instagram pictures, and other social media activity. Go to Widgets in your Customizer to view, test, and add widgets to your website. Depending on your theme, you may be able to choose where your widget appears on your site. Try different combinations to see what works best.

Customizer

Recording artist and performer Tae Phoenix used the widget area on her website to embed a Facebook badge, her Twitter Timeline and Instagram photos. Her homepage now features all her social media activity in one central place.

Tae-Social-Widgets

Publicize

How many marketers do you need to change a lightbulb? None, they automate it!

With Publicize, you can broadcast and share your content across your favorite social media accounts as soon as you hit publish. To connect your social networks like  Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Path, and Eventbrite, go to My Sites → Sharing.  Try it out now!

Publicize

Embedding Content

Blend your social media activity and website content by embedding tweets, Facebook posts, Instagram photos, and more right into your blog posts and pages.

To embed content, copy and paste the link into the text or visual editor.

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Get to Know the National Book Award Finalists for Nonfiction http://t.co/8v81p5NaxN v. #longreads pic.twitter.com/x5pBrnUvIS

— WordPress.com (@wordpressdotcom) October 18, 2015

Don’t let your website live in silence and solitude! Integrate your social media activity and watch it come alive. We want to hear from you. Share your stories of how you’re sharing your WordPress content below.

Planning on turning your website into a lean mean marketing machine?

Consider upgrading to WordPress.com Premium or Business to unlock features like advanced customization, more space for your photos and videos, and stellar customer support.

Our Premium and Business plans also include a custom domain and access to premium themes. Try it out for 30 days. (Note that for the domain registration-related portion of the upgrade, the refund window is 48 hours.)

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Filed under: Social, Widgets
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Fall Winter Wedding Guest Outfit Ideas 2015



Tricky fall weather poses a unique challenge for wedding guests everywhere. While the ceremony may be sunny and hot, the reception may welcome a cool autumn breeze and evening chill. To make your wedding wear instantly fall-ready, adopt the warm tones of the season and focus your energy on bright metallics, dynamic accessories, and nuanced textures. To prepare for an unexpected shift in temperatures, pair any outfit with a shawl or lightweight scarf to add a touch of polish and practically.

#1. Burgundy Glam

This rich burgundy cocktail dress fits and flatters while offering conservative chest coverage. To highlight neck and shoulders, add a delicate pair of dangling cluster earrings and a thin gold bangle bracelet. A faceted geometric gold clutch continues the metallic accessory trend while keeping the look updated and modern. Strappy lace-up nude heels are on-trend and enahnce the simple elegance of the outfit.

Fall wedding guest outfit

Earrings | Dress | Bracelet | Clutch | Perfume | Shoes

#2. Suede & Metals

As a trendy twist on the traditional wedding outfit, this look combines rich cinnamon suede with mixed metals and bronze accessories. Inspired by vintage-mod shapes and materials, this shift dress maintains a timelessly soft and luxurious feel. This simple look can easily be combined with a shawl or light jacket to prepare for evening weather changes.

Wedding Guest Outfits

Dress | Necklace | Perfume | Clutch | Shoes | Mascara | Eyeliner

#3. Fall Hues and Fringe Too

Combine the season’s hottest style trends with classic fashion staples in this dynamic fall wedding outfit. The elegant draping of the khaki green dress works to frame the delicate golden leaves of a precious statement necklace. Matching gold medallion earrings help dress up your lobes without over-complicating your accessory styling. A black fringe clutch and mixed-texture black heels enhance the depth and range of the look.

Olive dress with asymmetrical bottom

Dress | Earrings | Necklace | Nail Polish | Clutch | Shoes

#4. The LBD

Some things aren’t meant to expire, and the little black dress is one of them. As the most reliable solution to any dressy occasion, the LBD has earned its place as a timeless fashion favorite. An a-line skirt and simple bodice help accentuate the simple glitz of the dangling bead drop earrings. Detailed black ankle-strap heels add a splash of modern style, while the teal clutch coordinates perfectly with the accent beads of the drop earrings.

Little black wedding dress

Dress | Mascara | Earrings | Perfume | Shoes | Clutch

#5. Beige Beauty

Let this outfit serve as proof that neutral doesn’t have to mean boring. This show-stopping accent necklace is perfect suited to the conservative bib neckline of the draped cocktail dress, whose structured design is flattering from every angle. A beige and glitter clutch adds some shimmer to the outfit, while khaki green pumps lend a splash of color. Matching opalescent nail polish helps pull the look together and balance the range of shades captured in the feature necklace.

Nude wedding dress

Dress | Necklace | Clutch | Nail Polish | Shoes | Perfume

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Fall Maxi Skirts and Dresses



Maxi skirts and long dresses are a timeless favorite for summer fashion, but the changing seasons shouldn’t mean that you have to bid adieu to breezy chiffon and long hemlines. The maxi dress becomes instantly autumn-appropriate by adding a cute fall jacket or long sleeves. Darker color palettes add an updated seasonal vibe to your favorite patterns and textures. Check out some of our favorite fall maxi looks from today’s hottest bloggers for some serious outfit inspiration.

1.) Airy Rose

Kim Le at Lace & Locks opts for a loose-fit long sleeve printed maxi dress with a flattering wrapped-V neckline. The elegance of soft billowing fabric and rich florals make this a perfect transitional look for any fall weather. It’s lightweight design will keep you cool during unexpected spikes in temperature, and works well with cropped jackets if you need a little extra warmth. Kim pairs this maxi with matching brown leather details and a bauble necklace to accentuate the cut of the dress.

Lace and Locks Fall Black Floral Maxi

2.) Dress Noir

Jenn from hellorigby! gives us reason to celebrate that black is back in season. Her perfect layering and mixed-texture ensemble add depth and dimension to this all-black look. Her wide-brimmed hat and cropped leather jacket accentuate the utilitarian urban ruggedness of the look, while the elegant silhouette of the black maxi keeps the look timelessly feminine. A touch of fringe and metal in the shoulder bag keep the outfit modern and on-trend.

Solid Black Maxi

3.) Boho Wanderer

This look from Natalie Dressed is the perfect way to look put-together without compromising comfort. The long, loose silhouette of the printed maxi and relaxed cardigan add just the right touch of bohemian whimsy, while laced city boots and a wide-brimmed hat keep the look practical and modern. The fine floral print of the dress material is reminiscent of vintage fabrics, adding to the artsy bohemian vibe of the outfit.

Sweater maxi for fall

4.) Maxi(mum) Lace

Becky Kung at Velvet and Vino aces fall girly with this adorable lace-on-lace look. Her cutout crop top and high-waisted lace maxi skirt fuse old world elegance with new-age edge. She pairs strappy brown leather heels with a minimalist navy fold-over clutch for an added pop of color. Her muted fall tones and rich range of textures make this a sartorial home run fit for a crisp autumn day.

Lace Maxi

5.) Two-Tone Chic

This glam-casual look by Mel from Melrod Style is equally suited for Sunday brunch or a night on the town. Her long black maxi features a high draped slit for just the right amount of leg while the relaxed cut of her white blazer adds an element of relaxed chic. The high contrast of this outfit creates a look that is instantly polished and versatile. Her ankle-strap heels add a touch of transitional practicality while keeping this outfit on-trend.

Sexy Black Maxi with White Jacket

6.) Pleated Neon

Rach Parcell from Pink Peonies shows us how one of our favorite spring trends, the pleated chiffon dress, can be instantly updated for fall. Her delicate maxi gets a bold twist with an updated color choice of neon green. Rach adds a textured denim jacket and a delightful pop of color with her pink shoulder bag. As a fall outfit, this pleated look allows for just the right proportions of warmth and freedom.

Neon Maxi Dress

7.) Painted Maxi

Kristen at Everything is Always Sunny rocks a unique painted maxi dress for an artsy twist on a classic favorite. The delicate pattern and fall-time palette make this dress a perfect transitional maxi for the season. Kristen adds a cropped denim jacket, sunnies, and a brown leather shoulder bag for ease and versatility. Her fabulous studded pointy-toe flats enhance the originality of this look and add a hefty dose of enviable street-ready style.

Printed Maxi Dress

8.) Midnight Floral

Whit at Beauty and a Budget rocks this excellent fitted maxi in rich floral print. The wrap-V neck flatters the chest and torso while accentuating the waist and elongating the legs. The dark base color of the dress makes this pattern instantly fall-appropriate, while delicate pink florals create a classically feminine look. Whit’s cut-out heels and neutral bag add comfort and practicality while allowing the dress to take center stage. Long sleeves and a close-fitting top add warmth during breezy fall days without looking bundled up.

Floral Maxi for Fall

 

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Make Halloween Meaningful with a FEED Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF Tote

FEED Trick-or-Treat Bag

If you’re planning to partake in Halloween festivities, I have the perfect bag for you! The FEED Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF Tote is made of burlap with orange nylon trim. I love that this tote serves a greater purpose beyond function. For each FEED Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF Bag purchased through www.feedprojects.com, FEED Projects will donate $1 to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF to help support UNICEF’s nutrition programs. Price: $18.00. For more information about UNICEF visit www.unicefusa.org.

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Reasons to Invest in Chanel + My Fab Finds at Fashionphile!

The Makings of an Investment BagY’all already know how much I love Fashionphile, the leading online reseller of pre-owned vintage, rare, and limited edition handbags from the most coveted luxury designers. It was founded by Sarah Davis, whose revolutionary vision of a safe and easy shopping destination for the buying and selling of luxury handbags, has enabled thousands to reclaim designer bags and accessories at exceptional value. If you’re looking for fabulous bag worth investing in, Chanel is one of the top brands because their styles stay hot for so long. Even bags that came out over 20 years ago are still in high demand today. What makes it such a key investment is that the retail prices increase every year or two. Check out the diagram of cost increases of a Chanel Jumbo Flap just in the past ten years. Keep in mind that classic styles, colors and silhouettes yield the highest resale value. Below are my fab finds at Fashionphile that are totally worth the investment.

Chanel at Fashionphile
Visit Fashionphile.com to view the entire selection of Chanel and other designer handbags and accessories.

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Versatile Themes for Online Magazines

Launching a magazine? At WordPress.com, you can choose from an ever-growing collection of themes. Here are four free and four premium themes to promote a wide variety of content.

Canard

canard

Launched earlier this year, Canard showcases writing and photography in a nicely balanced layout. You can display up to five posts in a grid on your homepage, and if you publish images and use post formats, you’re in luck: image and gallery post formats are beautifully called out on the homepage. You can create up to four custom menus, too: perfect for directing your visitors to different places.

This free theme lends sophistication to Sarah Ascha’s food site, à la Susu: her featured dishes look delicious in her homepage grid, and other custom touches, from the light blue navigation bar to the Calluna font used throughout the site, are subtle and delicate.

Publication

publication

Publication is an awesome free theme that brings your best full-width images to life. At MLB.com affiliate site Call to the Bullpen, each post is accompanied by a full-screen featured image (ideally at 2000px wide and 1500px high). Publication also has two widget areas to display your extras, from a list of your contributors to links to recent podcasts. Whether you’re launching a sports journal or a travel magazine, Publication will cover your needs.

Twenty Fourteen

twenty fourteen

The default theme for 2014, Twenty Fourteen remains a solid pick among bloggers who need a highly functional theme to promote a mix of writing and imagery. Your front page is rich with content: you can feature up to six posts in a grid or a slider, and show off your recent videos, music, quotes, links, and other posts with the unique Twenty Fourteen “ephemera” widget.

At The Stockholm Review of Literature, the featured images add visual touches to the literary publication’s homepage, while their custom menus direct readers to various sections and previous issues of the magazine.

Oyxgen

oxygen

An enduring favorite for online magazines, Oxygen remains a powerful free theme in our Theme Showcase. If you enable its showcase page template on your front page, you can build a sleek slider for up to six sticky posts with featured images, as shown on the theme’s demo site. Or, you can randomize your collection of uploaded headers, as seen on music publication New Slang, which focuses on the musicians and singer-songwriter communities in Texas.

We’ve featured Oxygen in the past — take a peek at how others have made it their own.

Dicot

dicot

Dicot, the first of four premium themes in this list, is super modern and minimal. Designed by DesignOrbital, you can see it in action on Very Joëlle, the fashion site of Canadian lifestyle journalist and stylist Joëlle Paquette. Immediately, you’ll notice two distinct features: Joëlle’s content carousel of featured posts, and her site’s sticky menu — you’ll see a black menu bar appear and “stick” to the top as you scroll down the page.

Dicot also has custom options — post carousel and post list widgets — which Joëlle has used for her “Latest Posts” and “Popular This Week” sidebar sections. Whether your passion is fashion or books or even gardening, Dicot can achieve the right look for you.

Christopher

christopher

Ideal for a magazine or news site, the premium Christopher theme, by SiloCreativo, offers a number of front page layouts. You can showcase a prominent content slider and display posts you want to promote, mixed with other touches.

We love the simple but professional look created at PhotoArtMag, which uses Christopher‘s custom widgets to showcase quotes and categories with flair. The theme’s default Noto Serif font is also clean and readable, which makes browsing enjoyable.

MH Magazine

MH Magazine

Need a theme to accommodate your team’s busy publishing schedule? MH Magazine will get the job done. This premium theme from MH Themes includes a unique homepage template with up to 11 widget areas and an optional sidebar for even more content.

You can see MH Magazine put to excellent use at Occupy My Family, an Atlanta-based destination, events, and activities guide for families. With widgets to highlight what’s happening this week, editorial picks, and recommendations across popular categories, the guide acts as a one-stop site for family fun.

Zuki

zuki

Finally, Zuki, a premium theme from Elmastudio, is minimal yet flexible, allowing you to arrange custom widgets and featured sections on your front page. At Reef Magazine, an “online magazine for creative souls,” you’ll see the top post slider in action, as well as recent posts with different-sized thumbnails to give the page visual variety. With these options, the global Reef team promotes their mix of content — from coffee articles to short stories — in an eye-catching way.

Want more? Browse our free and premium magazine themes, or explore the entire Theme Showcase and narrow your search with the filters at the top.

Buying a premium theme for your site is a one-time purchase. Feel free to preview and customize one in your Customizer (My Sites → Themes → Customize) before buying it.

Filed under: Community, Themes, WordPress.com
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Early Theme Adopters: Libre

Out-of-the-box, Libre is an understated, reader-friendly theme that’s already become a WordPress.com favorite. As movie review blog Empty Screens demonstrates, it’s both crisp and classic:

empty screens.png

Head to the Customizer, though, and you can build on Libre‘s strong foundation to create a site that reflects your unique POV.

Change up the fonts

Libre-Fonts

Fonts can be fun or serious, refined or homey — they add instant personality. Now that free Google fonts are available to any WordPress.com blogger, tailoring a theme with fonts is easier than ever.

Novel Pitch opts for Oswald — whose simple lines keep things bold — and Merriweather, introducing serifs for a writerly touch. Jordan Quinn chose two serif fonts for her home page, The Quinntessential; a delicate font makes for an elegant title, and a more substantial one ensures that reading regular text is comfortable. Beauty and travel blog process. goes for a typewriter-reminiscent serif for headlines, and a simple sans-serif for regular text.

Add a small header

By default, Libre displays a site’s title on the left, rather than centered at the top of the page. The layout lends itself perfectly to highlighting a small logo, something these three bloggers quickly realized:

Libre-Small-Header

On crab & bee, home sewer Morgan displays a pair of scissors over the default title, letting new readers know at a glance that they’re in for some crafty fun. she be kale-in’ it‘s Kate adds a stalk of the eponymous veggie to her title, which she’s customized to use the Lato font, while at Noble No More, Jacob eschews Libre‘s default title altogether for a graphic of his own design.

Add a full-width header

If you like a bit more up top, no worries — Libre looks just as great with a full-width header.

Libre-Full-Width-Header

Since Libre‘s layout is fairly minimal, it can handle a larger or busier header without feeling cluttered. The Boarding Pass, this little light, and and this is why I will die alone surrounded by cats each use a very different header style, but each works perfectly in Libre.

Go nuts with backgrounds

A simple layout means that Libre can also handle the most in-your-face backgrounds without feeling too busy or illegible, and Pocket WritesMy Life in a Suitcase, and shanbobs don’t hold anything back:

Libre-Backgrounds

Bright chevron stripes, graphic black-and-white eyes, and an endless stream of taxi cabs give life and verve to these blogs without causing us to lose sight of their words; no small feat!

All of the above!

Fonts, headers, and backgrounds, oh my! The Lit(erature) Mermaid goes for the trifecta — and succeeds admirably:

lit mermaid.png

Any one of these design elements could command a readers’ full focus, but here, they each support the others — in part because of the blogger’s smart choices, and in part because a well-thought-out theme makes it easy for you to create a beautiful, custom site.

Want to give Libre a spin? Take a deeper look and activate it from the Theme Showcase!

Filed under: Customization, Themes
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