Archive for January, 2016

Shop Now: Louis Vuitton on Rue La La

Louis Vuitton on Rue La La

Rue La La has Louis Vuitton handbags and accessories from the reserve. Click {here} to shop the Monogram Canvas, Damier Canvas & Special Collections, and Vernis Leather & Epi Leather collections. Sale ends in 18 hours!

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New Theme: Revelar

On this Theme Thursday, I’m happy to present a brand new free theme for your enjoyment.

Revelar

Revelar WordPress Theme

Designed by Automattic’s own Filipe Varela, Revelar is a single-column blogging theme with a fresh, modern look. Designed to showcase your gorgeous photography and complement your writing, it’s a perfect choice for photographers, travelers, and authors. With support for large featured images, multiple post formats, and footer widget areas for additional content, Revelar gives your posts plenty of room to shine.

Find out more about Revelar on the Theme Showcase!

Filed under: Themes
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Customizing Twenty Sixteen: Four Takes on Our Annual Theme

Every year we release an annual flagship theme as a blank canvas for bloggers, artists, professionals, and business owners. This year’s creation, Twenty Sixteen, is a gorgeous theme that celebrates a classic WordPress layout yet injects it with new energy and precise, minimalist flare.

Twenty Sixteen‘s customization options allow it to support any type of site — from a traditional blog to a professional web page. Here are four sites that caught our eye.

Shakespeare Confidential

shakespeare confidential twenty sixteen
Some of you might know blogger John Kelly from his superb etymology blog, mashed radish. John has embarked on a new adventure this month. Since 2016 marks the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death, he intends to read the Bard’s entire corpus of plays and poetry by year’s end, and chronicle the journey on his blog.

He chose Twenty Sixteen for this project, and the theme’s crisp typography and nods to print culture work perfectly with his topic — check out the neat post intro which gives readers a hint of the post’s content (see screenshot above: “In 2016, it’s not the shrew that’s the problem. It’s the taming.”), or the magazine-like pull quotes (below).

A few other well-chosen elements, like a clean serif font (Libre Baskerville) and a custom header image based on a famous Shakespeare etching, come together to create an unobtrusive but memorable look.

YINKABOKINNI

YINKABOKINNI twenty sixteen

A pop of color, a punchy tagline, strategically positioned social icons: with just a few brushstrokes, D.J. and radio presenter Yinka Bokinni has crafted a homepage full of personality.

Yinka, a UK-based music and fashion lover, hosts a morning show at London’s Rinse FM, and you sense something of that early-morning, big-city vibe in the site’s design, from the shocking pink custom background to the slender sans-serif fonts she uses (like Droid Sans Mono in the site’s title).

Yinka has opted for a static front page, but the site’s other sections — her blog and contact info, for example — along with her other social profiles are all one click away thanks to the well-placed custom menu and Social Media Icons Widget.

Lucão

lucao twenty sixteen

Even if you don’t read Portuguese, Brazilian poet Lucão’s blog is a hymn to the virtues of minimalism — in writing as well as in design.

lucao detail

Lucão — real name Lucas Brandão — has cultivated a huge audience on social media, with more than 300,000 followers on Instagram alone. His blog — where he gathers all his handwritten, aphorism-length poems — is a comfortable hub where readers can explore his deep archives (he’s been publishing here for almost a decade). The black-and-white aesthetic of the poems work especially well against the backdrop of Twenty Sixteen, whose clean lines and focus on readability let the words speak for themselves.

Three Hour Brunch Friend

three hour brunch friend

In our book, any food blog with “brunch” in its name is already ahead of the curve; Patricia, a Toronto, Canada-based food blogger went a few steps further and used Twenty Sixteen to create an inviting, bright space for her recipes.

three hour brunch friend detail

Patricia’s blog demonstrates how the theme’s out-of-the-box look, including its default font and white background, are the perfect foundation for lovely photos and fun food writing. She’s added a handful of widgets — an Image Widget to introduce herself, a Categories Widget for easy navigation, an Instagram Widget for even more eye candy — and let the theme (and a winning custom header image featuring bacon) take care of the rest. We particularly liked how her wider images overhang the text (see the screenshot to the left), one of Twenty Sixteen‘s signature touches.

Have you added your own tweaks to Twenty Sixteen? Have you seen other beautiful customizations of the theme? Let us know in the comments.

Filed under: Customization, Design, Themes, WordPress.com
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Gift Idea Under $10: Baggu Reusable Shopping Totes

Baggu bags under $10

Baggu bags under $10

One of my new year’s resolutions is to shop for gifts throughout the year to avoid being stressed out around the holidays. Therefore, I will be sharing more gift ideas under $10/$25/$50/$100 so that regardless of your budget, you can give the perfect gift. Part of finding great deals is shopping during a sale that offers an additional percentage off. Who doesn’t love a double markdown?! Check out these Baggu reusable shopping totes, currently on sale at flight001.com with an additional 25% off with promo code: EXTRA25:

  1. Baggu Tote Cheetah, Sale Price: $6.99
  2. Baggu Tote Aqua Animal, Sale Price: $6.99
  3. Baggu Tote Swan, Sale Price: $6.99
  4. Baggu Tote Electric Happy, Sale Price: $6.99
  5. Baggu Tote Cloud, Sale Price: $6.99

Baggu totes holds the contents of 2-3 plastic grocery bags (up to 25 pounds) and fold flat into a pouch. It is machine washable and made from 100% ripstop nylon.

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DMV Event: Shopping & Champagne at Reddz Trading Bethesda

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One of my favorite stores REDDz Trading {Bethesda} is having a special event – shopping & champagne hosted by some of the areas hottest bloggers! Check out the details above.

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Fab Find: Louis Vuitton Montsouris GM Back Pack with Custom Design

Louis Vuitton Montsouris GM Back PackI am starting the new year off with more fab finds! First up, this amazing Louis Vuitton Montsouris GM Back Pack with custom design by Newark, NJ artist Serron (@xplorefreedom) available at Closet Savvy Consignment (@closetsaavyconsignment).  It’s in good condition and measures 11.7 w x 13.7 t x 4.72. Original dust bag not included. Price: $799.00 I have been following Isabel Livingston of @closetsaavyconsignment for months and absolutely love her edgy, beyond fabulous style. She offers an eclectic mix of designer clothing and accessories available for immediate purchase via Instagram, online {here}, or at her brick and mortar boutique located in Newark’s Teachers Village at 35 Maiden Lane.

{photos: via @closetsaavyconsignment}

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New Themes: Escutcheon and Orvis

Happy Theme Thursday, everyone! Today we have two new free themes for your perusal.

Escutcheon

Escutcheon WordPress Theme

Escutcheon, designed by Automattic’s own Mel Choyce, boasts a smoky color palette and bold typography. It’s a striking theme for writers who want to stand out, with a front page that gives just enough information to entice your readers. Individual posts and pages are stylish and easy to read.

Find out more about Escutcheon on the Theme Showcase, or activate it on your site.

Escutcheon Responsive WordPress Theme

Orvis

Orvis: Portfolio Page Template

Orvis, designed by Thomas Guillot, is the perfect companion for all photographers and designers. It is a minimalist, vibrant, and flexible theme, whose bold grid design keeps the spotlight on your projects, and scales to fit any screen size. Orvis also lets you share your thoughts and engage in a conversation with your visitors through the blog, which shares the same minimal look.

Orvis: Responsive Design

Check out Orvis on the Theme Showcase, or activate it on your site.

Filed under: Themes
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“Discover” Great Features You Might Have Missed

Late in 2015, we launched Discover — a site to showcase the people who use WordPress and the amazing things they make and do. There, we publish editors’ picks from across the WordPress landscape as well as in-depth features on WordPressers making a splash in the world. Here are five thought-provoking features you might have missed.

Anne Thériault: one gutsy feminist

Image: "Fight" by seven_resist, (CC BY-SA 2.0).

Image: “Fight” by seven_resist, (CC BY-SA 2.0).

You may already know Anne from her incisive blog, The Belle Jar, where she writes candidly of her experiences as a woman and a mother. In “Too Loud, Too Outspoken, Too Feminist: Anne Thériault Writes Her Truth,” Anne talks about learning from her mistakes, protecting her family’s privacy and safety, and handling trolls. She has great advice for women bloggers who may shy away from sharing their true thoughts online.

If I had to give advice to a woman who wanted to write but thought no one would care, I would tell her that reading stuff by other women has been so incredibly validating and affirming and enlightening. Hey women! Please keep writing! And if you’re thinking about writing, please do it! You are a treasure and your thoughts are interesting and don’t let anyone tell you differently.

— Anne Thériault

Curiosity meets camera: on the passions of Cameron Karsten

Photo by Cameron Karsten.

Photo by Cameron Karsten.

Cameron Karsten is a visual storyteller. Armed with his camera and innate curiosity, he travels the world to document people, customs, and raise awareness of environmental causes. In
“Stories of the World: A Q&A with Photographer Cameron Karsten,” Cameron shares his passion for the people, places, and causes he photographs:

I look forward to photographing people when I pick up a camera. I approach a person not as a subject but as a person who has needs and wants, a history of joys and sorrows, of gains and losses. I’ve never connected with the industry’s idea of using a camera to hide behind a lens as if to separate myself from the rest of the world. People aren’t subjects to me. Inanimate objects are what I call a subject. I first try to relate to and connect with a person by just being myself. Taking the photograph comes later.

— Cameron Karsten

Lori Duron blogs through fear and finds her community

Photo courtesy of Lori Duron.

Photo courtesy of Lori Duron.

When Lori Duron started to blog about the questions, fears, and challenges of raising C.J., her gender non-conforming son, she — like many of us — had no idea what she was doing. In “Raising a Rainbow: An Interview with Author Lori Duron,” Lori talks about why she writes about her parenting journey and the overwhelming support she’s received from the world community.

I received emails from parents who were struggling with the gender identity of their child; they felt alone and helpless like I once did. I tried to help them the best that I could. I have readers in more than 190 countries. There are little gender-nonconforming boys in Ireland, the Philippines, Iran, all around the world. And, their parents need help.

— Lori Duron

An exercise in process: 365 projects across WordPress

In addition to personal profiles and interviews, Discover features roundups highlighting the things people create with WordPress. “365 Days, 52 Weeks: Bloggers on Posting Daily or Weekly in 2015” profiles a handful of bloggers who participated in a 365-day or 52-week project and posted their sketches, stories, and essays online.

I write because Writing is a box under the category Creativity under the list Happiness that I have the luxury of checking off every morning. For nearly six years, I committed to writing and posting daily because on the days I didn’t write, I felt an itch of discontentment, and sooner or later, I realized it was because I hadn’t created something.

— Yi-Ching Lin

Danny Gregory on making creativity a habit

Danny Gregory -- self portrait.

Danny Gregory — self portrait.

Ever wanted to learn to draw, but felt you lacked that special talent? Danny Gregory will be the first to tell you that anyone can learn to draw with practice. In “Making Creativity a Habit: An Interview with Danny Gregory,” the prolific author and Sketchbook Skool co-founder shares the best advice he’s received on establishing a creative habit and his advice on sticking with your drawing dream.

My advice: keep making and stop critiquing. And think about how what you are doing matters to the world in some way, how your creativity solves problems or brings joy. Get out of your head and your own concerns and see how you can make a difference with your art. It’s just a drawing, you say? Well, what if drawing something can bring you peace? Or give you an insight you can share? What if that drawing stimulates your imagination so you can solve a problem that’s been vexing your family or your coworkers? What if that drawing is a way of honoring yourself, of investing in yourself, in freeing yourself…

— Danny Gregory

Don’t miss out on inspiration — be sure to follow Discover in your Reader and check out editors’ picks and features.

Filed under: Community, Discover
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New Theme: Toujours

Special milestones deserve special websites. This Theme Thursday, we’re introducing a fresh take on our classic wedding theme.

Toujours

toujours-news-post

Toujours — a refresh of our popular Forever theme — has a simple, elegant design that’s perfect for planning and sharing moments from your wedding. The theme includes a large slideshow, a unique layout for recent posts, and a special Guestbook template. The theme’s subtle color palette and large featured images will help your words and photographs shine.

toujours-responsive-trio

Add a map to your venue, collect RSVPs, or create a page with pictures from your wedding Instagram hashtag: with its responsive design, Toujours looks good on any screen, big or small.

Find out more about Toujours on the Theme Showcase!

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Three Ways to Refresh Your Website in 2016

The new year is a great time to hit refresh and set new goals. If your website looks and feels a little stale, now is the time to make a change! Here are three quick ways to freshen up your personal or business website:

Take Inventory

Is your content still accurate? Do you need to update your photos? Are the important links working? Take a step back to think about your site’s purpose and audience. Have your personal or business goals changed since you launched it? Make a list of what needs to be fixed and set a timeline to get it done. Take a look at your most popular posts to know what’s working and target those posts and pages first.

In 2012, three friends — Jeri, Erin, and Allysa — founded a full-service event and styling company, bon évé Events. After refocusing their company’s priorities and goals, they recently relaunched their website. Their rebrand includes a new name (My Simple Soirée), a logo, and WordPress.com website.

 

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Refocusing our business meant an extensive rebrand and rename. This can be challenging for a small business as your brand and name are your lifeline. WordPress.com made it easy to implement the changes we needed for social media first impression.

— My Simple Soirée

Evaluate your website in light of your objectives and make the most of what WordPress.com has to offer, from uploading a new site logo or custom header image to exploring our Premium and Business plans to unlock more space for media, design customization, and eCommerce integration. 

Boost Your Brand

Every website can benefit from custom branding, from hobby blogs to eCommerce websites. Create a cohesive brand experience by aligning all the elements that identify and set your website apart: domain name, website name, and logo. 

Adding a logo to your website is an achievable first step to branding your site. In your menu, click on Customize to launch your Customizer, and click on Site Title, Tagline, and Logo. Here, you can upload a new image or select one from your Media Library.

site-logo-initial-9-4-15

Click the Save & Publish button at the top right of the Customizer to activate your new logo.

In a few clicks, you can take your website to the next level with a custom logo. (And if you switch to and from any logo-supported theme, your logo will still be there!)

Textile artist Krista blogs at Looming Jane. She has a custom logo at the top of her website — a stylish cursive display of her brand and shop name. While each theme’s default fonts are carefully selected, you can transform the look of a theme by swapping out the Header Text with your own designs.

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Add Fresh Content

The best way to have a vibrant and active website is to publish new content regularly. If you feel stuck, look to Automattician Andrea Badgley, who has developed a great strategy to help you meet your blogging goals this year.

In her post Publish in 10 Minutes Per Dayshe shares her secret sauce for blogging regularly. It has two ingredients: carve out 10 minutes per day and keep topics on hand.

Giving yourself meaningful topics to write about and then carving out the time to write will get you not only practicing, but will get you publishing again. It will make your blog active and will bring visitors to your site.

Andrea Badgley

Committing to a blogging schedule can be a challenge, so a New Year’s resolution is the perfect motivation to kickstart a new routine. Make your resolutions a reality by investing in your WordPress.com website.

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.

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Filed under: Customization, WordPress.com
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