New design for hellomelissa.net

I did a little redecorating around here this weekend. (If you’re reading via an RSS reader, click over and have a peek.)

This redesign is actually a bit of a big deal. I actually purchased a theme and modified the CSS myself to make it look more like me. I learned the basics of CSS years ago, but my skills got rusty as websites got more automated. I’ve been taking lessons at Codecademy to catch up to how things are done today, and it’s coming back to me bit by bit.

(I designed the new logo and background too, but I usually do that so that’s not really news.)

For me, blogging is writing, design, and technical skills coming together to create something interesting and usable. Since I’m a hobbyist, anything I pay for comes out of my pocket. I don’t have the money to hire a pro to do it right the first time.

I’m doing this for love people. Like a sucker.

I’ve learned a lot about patience and have built my skill set by doing my own website for the last 13 years*.  To be clear: I’m not a pro developer at all. To say otherwise would insult so many talented craftspeople and I don’t want to do that. I’m a print designer by trade so I understand the importance of making content visually appealing. I’m always surprised at how much easier it is to create websites that look like real websites – not the Geocities-style stuff of the late 90s and early 2000s I produced. It’s honestly getting easier and easier in a lot of ways. It’s more complicated in other ways, but I love learning how to uncomplicate it.

I got this site completely redone in less than 24 hours. I did a lot of other things in those 24 hours too – I wasn’t completely glued to the computer. It’s the fastest revamp I’ve had in years, if ever. The future really is amazing.

* There was a period between 2007-2009 where I was on a web service that provided pre-made templates that didn’t allow for much deviation. Whenever a customization feature was introduced, I always tried it out. I discovered I liked having more control over the output.

I love a good magazine

I love magazines. I’ve loved them for nearly as long as I could read.

When I was a kid, I stealth-read my mother’s magazines – she didn’t like me reading them even though the titles she read were pretty tame. My tween years were filled with pinup mags despite the fact I didn’t recognize half of the non-threatening teen boys they covered (we didn’t have cable till I was past the pinup mag stage). I spent my teens and twenties reading music, teen, and fashion mags by the armful.

Now that I’m in my thirties and a parent, my choice of magazines is changing again, but I’m struggling to find the perfect read. I feel like I’m straddling two demographics: woman and Mom. Of course, women can’t possibly be both of those things at the same time, so never shall the two demographics meet in one magazine. This makes me crazy. When will there be an article about how to clean kid’s snack residue out of your killer purse?

Recently I’ve felt like I’ve grown out of some magazines. I’ve decided not to renew my ten-year subscription to BUST because I think their niche is too small – hipster feminists who like to craft – I’m just not cool enough for that magazine anymore (not that I ever was, but I’m really feeling it now). I still read Glamour, but it’s a little fluffier (with a couple Serious Articles thrown in), and usually a bigger read.

I’ve subscribed to Chatelaine since their big redesign in 2008 and I enjoy it. I appreciate that they cover a bit of everything, but I wish they’d do more longer articles on Serious Subjects, as I think they do that very well. I’ve used several of their recipes and they have always turned out successfully.

I tried Canadian Family this month because I love their blog: Family Jewels, and their Twitter feed. I wasn’t disappointed, and will likely get a subscription soon. I love their down-to-earth tone. Parenting is Serious Business, but it’s also full of funny stuff, and I appreciate a magazine that gets that.

I saw an interesting ad in the May 2010 issue of Glamour magazine about “The Power of Print”. As a magazine-lover, the lead-in: “We surf the Internet. We swim in magazines.” really  Has this ad come up in your monthly reads? Did you notice it? I think this is an American-0nly campaign, so it won’t show up in your Canadian reads.

If you know of any magazines that straddle the woman/Mom demographic, or are just good reads, let me know what they are in the comments. I would love to read them. Bonus points if they have a great online presence. Extra bonus points if that online presence works well in a mobile environment.

often

I guess three weeks between updates is better than 3 months, isn’t it?

For the first time in a long time, Sean and I had a very productive Saturday on our own. Usually, our most productive times at home come when my parents are visiting and they kindly offer to help us do stuff around the house. We did the following:

  • Finished painting Sean’s new office. It looks spiffy!

  • Began setup of furniture and computer in Sean’s new office.

  • Began cleanup of our former shared office, which is now my own office.

  • Did several loads of laundry – and most of it is folded and put away.

  • Shredded old mail

  • Gathered up a ton of recycling and trash.

  • Straightened up the storage room in the basement (didn’t really get rid of anything though, but that’s cuz Sean did it without me).

It was definitely a good day to stay inside and do all this. Today’s blizzard, as well as the continuing wind chill has made it a perfect day to stay inside and get stuff done.

Our house is far more cluttered than it should be for two people and a cat. While we did have a roommate up until last week, he took most of his stuff with him. The leftover stuff is getting on my nerves though, and I’m looking forward to getting rid of it too. As I’ve been going around the house doing stuff today, I keep thinking “I could have a yard sale this spring.” But I know that by the time yard sale season rolls around, I’ll have forgotten about which stuff I want to sell. So it would be prudent for me just to box up what I have now and send it to Goodwill or something, but I don’t know what their limits are for taking stuff. I don’t want to give them crap that won’t sell there, but may make a quarter from a little kid buying stupid stuff with change from the couch.

But back to my office. The major task of the weekend has been to get Sean and I into separate offices so that we can have our own space for doing stuff. I want to have my computer, books, aromatherapy stuff, and a spot to do crafty things. Just before Christmas, I saw the nicest craft desk on sale in the Canadian Tire flyer. My sister liked it too, and picked it up for herself right away. I decided to wait since I didn’t know that I was getting my own ofice yet, and now I can’t get the desk anymore – it was a special order, and now I can’t find it anywhere. I even looked on Ebay, and someone is selling one there, but in USD and with a pantload of shipping that makes it awfully expensive. So now, I have to be on the lookout for it.

There is still lots to do around here, but I don’t feel like I’m horribly behind at this point in the weekend like I normally do. I guess Sean and I are changing for the better.

Lots of things going on around here. I went out with a friend I haven’t seen in a long time, and we went for dinner and saw Kissing Jessica Stein. We both really enjoyed it, and it was a great movie to go and see with a friend. If you get the chance, try and see it – the story was smart and funny, and while I thought it was deliciously feminine, it wasn’t overly girly.

I also finally bought the bookshelf for my bedroom that I needed so badly. No more books all over the bedroom floor! Of course, being the Virgo that I am, I had to organize the books in a certain way between the two bookshelves I access the most. The bookshelf in my hallway has all of my fiction books, some biographies and my books on career and financial planning (because books on finances and career are not fun and do not belong in the bedroom). In my bedroom, there are several more categories, and I made sure they flowed into each other.

One shelf has health/weight loss (wish I could just say health – buying books on weight loss seems so pathetic), which moves into my books on herb gardening, which moves into my cook books (loosely sorted by cuisine type), which moves into my craft and home decoration books. The shelf below has all of my aromatherapy books, followed by my books on the Bach flower remedies, followed by my books on cleaning out the clutter and simplifying your life. The other shelf that has books on it has my books on writing and typographic design (something I’m interested in but haven’t really read yet), as well as various celebrity biographies. These arrangements seem like natural progressions to me, but I’m not consulting with the Dewey Decimal System to see how they categorize things.

I have two more shelves but I don’t have enough books to fill them yet. However, since my Chapters wishlist seems to have grown to over $600 worth of books in several categories, I hope to fill them up someday. So right now the top shelf has my diffuser on it, and the bottom shelf is still empty. And, since my camera was sitting on my desk, I remembered to take a picture.

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada
This work by Melissa Price-Mitchell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada.
%d bloggers like this: