Archive for the ‘Accessories’ Category
Kelly, which was designed by Automattic’s own Kelly Hoffman, is an inviting, fun theme for bloggers of all stripes. Its clean, one-column layout makes it perfect for text-heavy posts, but can be just as ideal for a tumblelog-like stream of images.
With bold featured images, the ability to customize the header and the background, and three widget areas in the site’s footer, you can make it your own with just a few quick tweaks. Here are some examples of the theme’s versatility.
Curated Style, a Toronto-centered fashion blog, makes great use of Kelly‘s out-of-the-box look. The theme’s cursive font in the header injects a stylish playfulness, while the generous white space in the posts makes the images of Toronto’s fashion scene stand out.
The blogger behind Curated Style effortlessly added a few personal touches, like a patterned custom header image, a splash of bright pink in the custom background, and an easy-to-navigate custom menu.
Created by a photoblogger based in the Southeast (of the US), The Lens Less Traveled shows how radically different Kelly can look with just a few small changes.
The site uses a more neutral palette than the theme’s trademark bright greens and pinks, as well as a serif custom font instead of the default cursive. The focus is squarely on the gorgeous photography, like the picture above, taken in a state park in Georgia. The splashy featured image in each post creates a particularly striking effect, drawing viewers in and enticing them to explore more.
Taking Kelly in a very different direction than its default design, Italian software developer and entrepreneur Lorenzo Setale recognized the theme’s inherent strengths, and used them to create a tailor-made look for his site.
The dark background and sans serif font join forces to become a modern, clean canvas for Lorenzo’s thoughts, while the theme’s original focus on readability and balance stay as effective as ever.
Have you customized Kelly as well? Is there another theme you’d like to see featured in this series? We’d love to hear your input!
Blogs are incredible vehicles for exploring our passions and finding our voices. They can also be powerful tools for healing in the face of trauma; for many of us, the act of writing is a cathartic one.
These brave moms are blogging their way through one of life’s more traumatic losses: the loss of a child. Calling themselves babyloss blogs, they provide insight for those of us who have never experienced this unique pain and support for other parents starting to navigate the same grief — along with hope that life does go on, and happiness is still possible.
2014 BlogHer Voices of the Year winner Timaree started C is for Crocodile to chronicle her pregnancy, never imagining that after three years and five months, she would instead be chronicling her son’s fight with juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia — an incredibly rare form of cancer. She blogged through his treatment and now writes her way through the aftermath, as in this piece published during the recent BlogHer conference:
I grabbed a glass of champagne, tucked myself up on a set of stairs, and I watched from Planet I Miss My Son as people strolled by, stopped, read, dug around in their bags for tissues, and moved on.
She shares the blog with wife Jodi, and together they’re documenting the journey to their new normal with honesty and eloquence.
Connecticut midwife Meghan was pregnant in March 2014 when she learned first that her daughter had down syndrome, and then a potentially fatal kidney defect. On Expecting the Unexpected, she does not blunt the edge of what happened next:
The story of my daughter began with a positive pregnancy test and ended as I held her in my arms as she died six hours after birth.
Her blog gives her a space to mourn and process the loss as she works not only to heal, but to re-enter what became a painful profession.
Natasha was diagnosed with a brain tumor at age seven, and passed away five years later. Like Timaree and Meghan, mom Suzanne turned to words to help deal with the pain of a devastating loss. In her latest post, she explains why she’d prefer that you didn’t call her child a “hero”:
To those she loved and trusted, she didn’t soldier on with a smile on her face as the hero-philes would have it. She mourned the injustice of the good health that she had irrevocably lost, noting that her friends who had morphed into gangly preteens got to play a brisk game of basketball.
Along with her blog, Suzanne helps other grieving parents feel less alone with regular pieces on The Huffington Post, Mothering, the San Francisco Chronicle, and many more.
The blogger behind Hang Your Hopes from Trees began writing in the aftermath of a traumatic miscarriage:
This is not a goldfish! My head raged. This is your baby! Pick it up! Hold it, you will NEVER get another chance! Another voice rang in, steady and calm. Don’t touch the baby, it said. The baby is gone, has been gone a long time. If you pick it up, what will you do with it? Will you ever be able to let it go? Will you be scarred, more deeply than you already are?
At, Hang Your Hopes from Trees she writes to forgive herself — and her body. This month, she opens a new chapter, learning to reconcile her joy at the birth of a daughter with the lingering pain of her loss.
Sadly, these four women are not alone; there are countless other bloggers using babyloss blogs to write through their grief, including:
- Jo-Anne, who mourns her stillborn daughter in prose and poetry at This Little Light of Mine.
- Writing the Roads of Grief, a blogger whose son took his own life.
- Carla of Loving Luca: Life Without Him Here and the blogger at following my sun, both of whom only shared a single day with their newborn sons.
These women tell their painful truths to help themselves heal and to keep the memories of their children alive — and in doing so, they help countless other parents who find themselves crushed and bewildered after the loss of a child.
Check out Edin and Espresso — today’s spiffy new additions to our massive family of themes.
Edin is a brand-new, free business theme designed by yours truly. It’s a modern and fully responsive theme that will help you create a strong — yet beautiful — online presence for your business. Edin offers multiple theme options and supports the recently launched Site Logo feature.
Espresso is a responsive, content-centric premium theme designed by Justin Carroll that allows you to choose between two charming layouts. Go with a traditional post stream for your writing-based blog, or go grid-style for your photography blog. A fixed sidebar on the right keeps widgets, menus, and social links at the ready for visitors.
Edin is a free theme, and Espresso is a premium upgrade. Check out each theme’s showcase by clicking on its screenshot above, or preview it on your blog from Appearance → Themes.
As many of you know, we periodically release new features and updates to the software that powers WordPress.com sites. We’re excited to share the freshest crop of improvements with you today, and hope they’ll make great content even easier to create.
Some of the highlights of this major update:
- The Media Library’s look has been upgraded, and your files are now displayed, by default, in an easy-to-view grid. Still prefer the old list view? You can toggle back and forth as many times as you wish.
- Composing new posts — and editing old ones — has just become a lot easier with a fixed toolbar. You no longer need to scroll up and down the Post Editor to make changes, which makes longform writing, in particular, especially smoother.
- Improved audio playlists let you enter artist and album information, which will be displayed in the audio player in the published post.
A sleeker Media Library
Many bloggers constantly visit their Media Library to choose files to use in their newest post. With this update, we made browsing through and selecting media smoother and quicker with a new grid view. Another cool touch? When you use the search box to look up files, irrelevant results will be eliminated as you type.
Of course, if you prefer the older list view, have no fear: you can always switch back with the toggle at the top-left corner of the Media Library.
A streamlined editing experience
One small — but extremely helpful and time-saving — update we’ve introduced is a fixed toolbar to the Post Editor. Before, if you were writing a longer post and wanted to use any of the formatting tools, you’d have to scroll up the page to make the toolbar appear again. No more.
The toolbar is now pinned to the top of your post window, so whether you’re writing a haiku or a longform essay, it’s there to let you make all the changes you want in an instant.
And remember, if you want to get to the top of the page very quickly, all you have to do is click the admin toolbar at the top.
Better audio playlists
If you’ve uploaded audio files to your site (which requires the Space Upgrade), we have some good news. When you create a new playlist, you can now add the artist and album information.
Once the post is published (or the draft saved) and the audio player is visible, that information will be available for your visitors, as in the example below:
Is your site self-hosted?
The improvements we’re announcing today are part of the WordPress 4.0 release, which WordPress.com users test out first. These and other updates will become available to all self-hosted WordPress sites in coming weeks. Meanwhile, you can already help test the second beta.
We’re constantly tinkering behind the scenes and making updates to make your dashboard experience the best it can be. If you have feedback or questions, chime in on the Forums. For support questions, contact Support.
What’s more, Bloggy sports Special Elite — a distinctive default font — on the site title, post titles, navigation, and text widgets:
If Special Elite isn’t your style, the Custom Design Upgrade offers scads of additional fonts to choose from.
Let’s tour a few sites that use Bloggy for some customization inspiration.
Prolific poet R.M. Engelhardt uses Bloggy to great effect to promote his most recent volume of poetry, The Resurrection Waltz. The black background and chunky all-caps site title and tagline lend a distinct gravitas, wouldn’t you agree? Engelhardt uses Bloggy‘s custom header feature to load one of four header images at random. The grainy black and white images lend portent and emphasize the sense of a serious poet at work.
Julie Catherine Gagnon is a kinesiologist and professional figure skating coach. We especially loved the large, inviting custom header image at OBJECTIF SANTE ~ FORME. It combines light-green leaves and slim, elegant type which underscore the healthful focus of the articles on her French-language site.
Be prepared to feast your eyes on some recipes! American expat Kellie Anderson, blog proprietress of Food To Glow, uses stunning, large-scale photographs to show off her culinary feats. Kellie’s light background and muted typography allow her food photos to whet your appetite for her tantalizing recipes.
Looking for more Bloggy inspiration? Check out:
- The colorful and delightful Yellowbird Wedding site.
- Rob Stennet’s hilarious blog, The Perfect Father.
- Thyme and Honey — a gorgeous homage to the pleasures of food.
While Bloggy is a premium theme, there’s a wealth of free themes you can choose from to create just the look you’re after for your blog.
Don’t be fooled by Adelle‘s distinctive look, though: there’s a lot more to this theme than polka dots, as these five bloggers ably demonstrate.
Blogger Elaine chose Adelle for the cleverly-named MomJeanz, then gave it a complete makeover using only free options available to any blogger:
(If a custom header image seems beyond your technical or design chops, we’ve got a tutorial that will help you create one in less than fifteen minutes, no special software required. We’ve also got leads on great sites for background-friendly textures and patterns.)
Fashion blogger Kristi uses those same free options to tailor Alligator Toe, but ends up with a different feel; it’s simple yet colorful, crisp yet handmade:
She also opts for a custom header, but keeps thing clean with a design that’s text only, then trades in Adelle‘s bubbly pink circles for her own minimalist take on the polka dot. The effect is decidedly modern, and decidedly her.
Like Adelle‘s nifty features and integrated social sharing icons, but want something even more minimalist? Journalist Emma Gannon blogs at Girl Lost in the City, where she adds the Custom Design upgrade to Adelle — then uses it to strip the theme down:
Emma’s take on Adelle loses more than the pink dots; thanks to some custom CSS, even the black menu bar and circles used to highlight the post date get the axe. What’s left is a clean, easy-to-navigate site with a sidebar jam-packed with useful information like links to her popular posts and other profiles and publications where readers can find her.
(Not comfortable with CSS? We’ve got you covered there, too.)
Custom Design isn’t just for paring Adelle back. English mom and blogger Vanesther uses it to change up the colors and fonts on Bangers & Mash to give her cooking blog a homey feel:
The pink dots are back, but they soften against a warm taupe background, while Adelle‘s default hot pink accents are replaced with a sophisticated teal. The menu bar and social sharing icons take on a deeper version of her background color. A custom header pulls the whole look together.
If you’re feeling ready to take your Custom Design skills to the next level, The Utter Blog is an excellent example of how much is possible — you’ve got to look hard to see Adelle‘s bones in this personality-filled wedding planning site:
Custom Colors, Fonts, and CSS come together for a bespoke site. The social sharing icons and sidebar are there, as is the black circle highlighting the post date, but everything else is tailored. The dots fade away, the menu bar is replaced with a series of buttons designed to mesh with the wood-paneled background, and a secondary menu pops up along the top edge of the site. The site bursts with charm — perfect for a wedding blog.
You can learn more about and activate Adelle in the Theme Showcase. Once you do, explore all your customizing options in the Customizer.
One of the most common requests we’ve received from WordPress.com users is the ability to add a logo to your site. While some premium themes have their own type of logo uploader, as soon as you switched your theme, the logo would disappear. But not any more! Today, we’re excited to announce the new Site Logo feature.
With this new feature, you just need to upload your logo once. Your logo will appear on any of our supported themes, regardless of how often you switch themes. Each theme has been custom-tailored to ensure your logo will look its best and display appropriately, whether on a mobile device or a large screen.
In addition to offering support for over a dozen themes — from our best business-styled themes like Motif and Forefront to all-time favorites like Oxygen — we’ll continue to add support for even more themes over time (as well as new ones upon release).
To get started, check out the Site Logo support page for details on adding, changing, and removing a logo to your WordPress.com site. Enjoy!
Here’s the second edition of Longreads’ Best of WordPress! We’ve combed through the internet to put together a reading list of some of the best storytelling being published on WordPress. (You can find Vol. 1 here.)
As a reminder: If you read or publish a story on WordPress that’s over 1,500 words, share it with us: just tag it #longreads on Twitter, or use the longreads tag on WordPress.com.
On grieving after the loss of a parent at a young age:
My father died on November 14th, 1995, when I was 14. Every day since the day he died I am one day farther away from him than I was before. This is the truest thing about me. It is the most important and worst thing to ever happen to me. It is me. My father died when I was 14. I will tell people this forever. It is the truest thing about me. I was 14 when he died. My father. I was 14.
“There was a time, perhaps 20 years gone by now, when the Valley was different.” Michael O. Church looks at the state of the software engineer — perhaps paid well, but not elevated to leadership roles even within Silicon Valley companies.
“After learning to hover you were taught to land, then what to do when an engine failed, then to fly off your instruments in the clouds.” A marine learns to fly a helicopter and goes to combat in Afghanistan.
Esmé Weijun Wang writing for The Toast on her experience with psychosis:
“Let’s note that I write this while experiencing psychosis, and that much of this has been written during a strain of psychosis known as Cotard’s delusion, in which the patient believes that she is dead. What the writer’s confused state means to either of us is not beside the point, because it is the point. The point is that I am in here, somewhere: cogito ergo sum.”
Scientists may not be able to predict what the world may look like 100 million years from now, but they may be able to look at how diseases like the flu will evolve in a few months, which has the potential to save lives:
Lässig hopes to be able to make predictions about future flu seasons that the World Health Organization could consult as they decide which strains should be included in flu vaccines. ‘It’s just a question of a few years,’ he said.
The victims of police shootings are often people with mental illness. The city of Memphis, Tennessee, has found a solution:
Memphis, one-quarter of Toronto’s size but with a homicide rate nine times higher, has developed a progressive approach to de-escalate high-tension confrontations, improve police attitudes toward those suffering from mental illness, and divert them from the criminal justice system. The Memphis Crisis Intervention Team model centres on dispatching specially trained beat cops to emergency calls as quickly as possible, and giving them the authority to take charge of the scene. That approach triggered a revolution in policing that has now been emulated in 2,700 jurisdictions across the US, including large urban centres such as Chicago and Los Angeles. A handful of Canadian cities, among them Hamilton and Vancouver, have also adopted the CIT model. While the TPS has not, senior officials claim that all of its 5,500 uniformed officers receive some training in how to handle mental illness, which makes the recent proliferation of shootings that much more perplexing.
The Bee Gees were pop music geniuses whose work in 1978 “accounted for 2 percent of the entire record industry’s profits.” Yet they were still underappreciated — and also still capable of making ill-conceived creative decisions.
Seth Mnookin reports the story of how one couple, Matt Might and Cristina Casanova, worked with researchers to diagnose their son’s disease and connect with other families whose children also had the same genetic disorder. Mnookin’s story also exposes some of the problems within the cloistered research community.
A personal story about dealing with the feelings of loss that come with unexpected fertility problems.
A young social worker fights Medicare to cover a homeless teenage boy’s medication, forfeiting her own idealism in the process:
The year I worked at Hudson Outreach, we found mistakes in over half the Social Service denials we saw. Of the cases we argued, we overturned a third. People who had previously been denied heating assistance or rent got much needed checks from the state. Another third of our clients received grants from us. The final third received nothing, not from us and not from Social Services. Often they became homeless.
“You mean to tell me,” I said to Mrs. Stafford, “that the caseworkers at Medicaid are making your son wait for the medicine he needs to survive?”
Gabrielle Bell, a cartoonist based in Brooklyn, New York, has published a new book, Truth Is Fragmentary: Travelogues & Diaries. Raw, revealing, and sometimes surreal, this comic diary serves up what Gabrielle is known for — her humor and introspection — as she muses on daily life and chronicles her travels around the world, from France to Sweden to Colombia.
Gabrielle is a WordPress.com blogger to watch: in the past, her work has been selected for numerous notable anthologies (such as the Best American Comics series) and her last book, The Voyeurs, was named a best graphic memoir of 2012.
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Marilyn R. Gardner, the blogger at Communicating Across Boundaries, also has a new book released this month: a collection of essays, based on her blog posts, titled Between Worlds: Essays on Culture and Belonging.
Marilyn started her blog in 2011 after returning from a relief trip to Pakistan — with the hope of finding her voice.
Three years later, Marilyn has grown her blog into a space for thoughtful writing on cross-cultural communication, faith, third culture kids, travel, and the Middle East.
Between Worlds, which weaves these themes into one compilation, is tangible proof that Marilyn indeed found the voice she had been looking for.
Are you an author on WordPress.com? Have you recently published a book? Leave a comment and let us know.
If you’re interested in previous book releases from WordPress.com authors, check out our May and April 2014 editions. For a glimpse of how authors use their blogs to promote their books, take a look at this post on author websites.
BlogHer 2014, the 10th anniversary celebration of the popular women’s blogging network, kicks off next Thursday, July 24th in San Jose, California. There’s still time to register, and we hope you do — we’ll be there, too!
This year, along with a Happiness Bar offering in-person support for your WordPress sites, we’re hosting a series of short workshops on the topics you care about most. We’re also excited to welcome some of the amazing WordPress bloggers nominated as BlogHer Voices of The Year — they’ll join us for a series of informal panels where we can chat all things blogs and blogging.
Interested? Here’s the schedule:
Friday, July 25
- 10 AM: Talking Shop with BlogHer Voices of the Year
- 11 AM: WordPress.com or Self Hosted: Which One is Right for You?
- 12:30 PM: Own Your Content: Tips for Switching Blog Platforms
- 1:30 PM: Talking Shop with BlogHer Voices of the Year
- 2:30 PM: Getting Great WordPress Support
- 3:30 PM: Master Your Domain
Saturday, July 26
- 10:30 AM: Own Your Content: Tips for Switching Blog Platforms
- 12:00 PM: Plugins: Taking Your WordPress Blog to the Next Level
- 1:30 PM: Fight for Your (Copy)Right: Intellectual Property Basics
- 2:30 PM: Get Social: Your Content, Your Networks
- 3:30 PM: Talking Shop with BlogHer Voices of the Year
The WordPress booth will have everyone from editors to developers to Happiness Engineers to VIP managers there to talk about every aspect of the blogging (and Automattic) experience. BlogHer ’14 is jam-packed with inspiring and educational programming, but we hope you’ll find a few minute to swing by — we’d love to say “hi!”
If you’re not able to be there but want to follow the fun on Twitter, follow #BlogHer14. We’ll also be tweeting with the #WPlovesBlogHer hashtag.