New Decade, New Look

12:24 AM

It's time for a fresh start around here. And what better time to do it when the new year...or I should say, a new DECADE is around the corner??

Like seriously, a new decade is starting in 15 days. It's crazy...

First thing, I need to apologize for those visitors who stumbled across my blog this past week. I'm afraid you were subjected to wonky coding, ill-fitting templates, and terrible aesthetics.

I can now explain why - I've been redecorating again. More intensely, actually.

You see, I've been trying to find some kind of aesthetic that fits this blog better. After a year of trying to copy my personal blog's style into this one, it was clear that nothing was really working. Or at least, not working as well as my other blog.

The background is what kept frustrating me the most. As much as I liked the photo backgrounds, it just seemed to be a mess. And even though the layout worked, it didn't really reflect any sort of budding author - it was more like a girl who blogged as a hobby.

And so, I took a flying leap into the next step as a blogger - and that is graduating from using plain Blogger templates and using a more professional and a bit more personalized template.

Now, I had a bit of an idea of what I was doing when I helped Lia redesign her blog, but hers was a piece of cake. I'm not sure why, but this design process was fraught with trouble.

Finding a template that suited my aesthetic proved to be one stumbling block. It took a lot of sifting through some really poorly designed templates before I came up with a shortlist of templates I liked.

Then it was hour after hour of overlaying new template themes onto the blog, and discovering the limitations of each one. I finally chose one called "Splendid" from Gooyaabi Templates...which I think is the first one on my list, LOL.

And that's when the disaster struck.

You see, there was some really wonky coding issues with this template. The header was miniaturized, I couldn't change the menus, and something else was the wrong size.

Now, I never took any tech classes - the only HTML I could read were some formatting tags that I picked up from blogging tutorials. So I was not comfortable digging into the code.

Thankfully my brother Matthew, who is an almost-graduated graphic designer, knows about building websites. So he and I spent two hours trying to read the HTML code - both on the browser and the template, which are two different codes - to fix all the issues. My coding knowledge more than doubled after that. In the end, we got the major problems fixed and both of us were in agreement that HTML is from the devil.

It was he who helped me choose the pink :). He took my title picture and made a digital color palette from the pinks and greens and we found a matching shade from there.

From there, it was a matter of linking pages and cleaning up the gadgets. I didn't transfer as many images from the old blog, and I took down my post on the Eagles Super Bowl victory because of all the spam views it got. Oh, and I updated my personal bio page too.

And there left one thing to put in.

And that was the profile picture.

I had indeed been thinking about putting up an "actual" profile picture for some time. One that

I admit, part of what spurred me this time was seeing the stock photos in those templates. 

I mean, don't get me wrong, I loved my Waterhouse painting. In fact one day, I hope to do one of those "photo replications" that I've seen vloggers do. But alas, that day is not today.

As much as that painting served me well, an author platform needs a good author photo.

Now, I'm more of an ethereal person and I believe that author photos reveal their brand. And so, I wanted a bit of a whimsical feel to my photos.

I had a medieval-style dress that I had made for my Renaissance concerts, which I thought was perfect for this purpose. It's dark blue with silver accents, and very swishy :).

During the fall, I started collecting pose ideas on Pinterest and I got my brother Tyler to be my cameraman. Alas for us, due to work and school, we were unable to take advantage of the fall foliage this year.

But, we ended up getting a decent (and very pretty) snowfall one December day, and so on the spur of the moment we did the shoot. We borrowed Mom's brand new camera and had a freezing time getting some shots of both me and the dress (which will hopefully be featured in a post on WbC in the future). I was really impressed with the light - it was cloudy, which eliminated the blinding force of white, but the snow really made the dress pop out.

One of these shots became my new profile picture: 

Copyright: Catherine Hawthorn, photography by Tyler

I decided not to do a full face reveal at this time. Part of it still has to do with privacy, part of it is sensitivity towards my severe case of acne, and the third part is that...well, I'm in a state of transition. I'm coming out of the shadow of my own obscurity. This blog is morphing into an author website. All things will come in their time :)

And now, I shall give the mic to you! What do you think of the new design? Have you got any design ideas of your own cooking? Have you ever done a photoshoot? Chat with me in the comments! 

Scribbingly yours,

Catherine <3   

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  1. Catherine! The new blog look is awesome! It fits your personality perfectly and looks so professional. :) Oh, I know what you mean about coding. A few days ago I was trying to add gifs to a post and it worked, but just took forever! Anyway, eeeep! It is so exciting to see part of you!

  2. *freaking out* I LOVE THE NEW DESIGN!!!!! All those hours you and your brother spent on it definitely paid off. (Also, kudos to both of you for putting up with HTML. It really is the worst.)

    And THAT'S A PICTURE OF YOU!!!!! OH MY WORD, I LOVE IT SO MUCH!! Your branding is spot-on . . . I’m running out of things to say that do not involve screaming. XD

  3. The new design is absolutely beautiful! It's always fun to try something fresh for the new year. :)

  4. I love everything about the new design!! The pink is so sweet and lovely! Everything feels welcoming and perfect!

    Your picture is also amazing!! You're totally right: the lighting was PERFECT!

    Can't wait to see what the future holds for your blog! (and thank you for the reminder that 2020 starts in two weeks. Totally needed that today.)

  5. I love the new design! Especially how all the colors flow together! Its so pretty!
    But also... WHAT DO YOU MEAN A NEW DECADE? I know its a new decade, but AAAAH! I forgot to think about that???

  6. It's beautiful, Catherine!! I love the new design. It's awesome that your brother was able to help. and I absolutely love your new profile pic. :D. You look like an Elven warrior princess to be sure. <3. Congratulations!! <3

  7. It looks splendiferous! Congrats on working out the kinks!



    It looks AMAZING!!!!! I'm so sorry I haven't been present lately. Missed you so much!!!!

    I understand with the acne and I'd love to tell you more about what I've discovered and what's helped me if you're interested. I have cystic acne, which is basically giant cysts of acne on my face. I'm recovering now, but apparently once a woman turns 20 it's common for them to get it?? Like how's that fair?

    Anyway, I don't know if you have my email... if you don't, let me know I think I have yours and I can email you. :D

    No pressure, if you don't want to talk about it, I totally get that too!

    So loving this new design AAAAHHHH THE AESTHETICS!!!


  9. The 20s are coming back! *attempts to dance the Charleston and fails* Let's not do a cultural morality dive this time, shall we? This country can't take any more of it. :P

    This new theme is so pretty!! Very professional, indeed, and contemporary without losing the trademark Catherine charm. :)

  10. LOVING the new look!!! <3

    Don't get me started on acne...I get it a lot under my jaw, I guess from talking on the phone a lot at work and pinning it between chin and shoulder? Not fun...


  12. J+M+J
    "It's ... pink!"
    But no really, it looks great!
    And I totally know what you mean about coding being frustrating! I took a programming class a year or so ago (and loved it) and it really was quite a nuisance when you had to go through all your beautiful lines of code to find that one little mistake that has thrown a wrench in the whole thing.... I've never had to do it with blogging before though....
    Yes, next year is 2020... EEK! ... I came to that realization too earlier today... it's so weird!!

    The Doorman.

  13. Your new blog layout looks amazing!

  14. Very clean! I always feel like my blog could use so much help. It's hard. Love the half fave reveal!


  15. I love the new design and profile pic!


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