New Blog Design!

I've had this blog since 2007, and as I've changed, so has my little blog. When I had this design created for my blog in 2009 it was exactly what I wanted at that time.

Before_Screenshot
Before_Screenshot

But over the past few months I didn't really feel connected to it anymore. I wanted to change the look and feel to reflect more of who I am now. I started to make a list of the things I wanted to change and realized that what I really wanted was to learn how to make these changes by myself!

So I took to the Internet and found the Girls Guide to Web Design (GG2WD) course. It's a self-paced, online course that provides end-to-end training on how to create, design and set-up a self-hosted WordPress site. I've spent the past several weeks working through the course's 9 modules and finally felt ready to take a stab at it. I designated last Saturday as my blog redesign day.

It literally took ALL DAY – and night - to get this new look up and running. It's not quite complete; there are more things that I want to do with it but it was about all I could manage for one day’s work. Trying to learn coding and Photoshop at the same time was overwhelming.

Throughout the process I found my biggest challenge to be formulating a vision of what I wanted the new look of my site to be. By nature, I am a very structured person. I see things in black and white, and I color inside the lines. But deep down, I KNOW there is a creative person yearning to come out. I think this is one of the reasons why I am so drawn to learn Web design.

One of the things I *loved* about the GG2WD is that Amanda really helps you find your creative vision. There are a few exercises that have nothing to do with the "nuts and bolts" of Web design; instead, she has you create an Inspiration Board to help you figure out what your new site will look like.

This was my inspiration board:

Tao_of_Me_Color_Board
Tao_of_Me_Color_Board

As you can see, some of the things (like the colors) changed, but for the most part, the images on it helped me to take this basic Thesis theme...

Thesis_Before
Thesis_Before

...and create the new look.

It may not be obvious to a random reader, but each color, font, and graphic has personal meaning to me. It’s how I see “my world though my eyes."

Through the GG2WD course I also met Sally Hope. Sally is a life coach and a 1-hr session with her is included in the course tuition. I'm going to be honest - I had no idea what a life coach does, and wasn't quite sure what to expect out of my session with Sally. It turned out to be a wonderful, wonderful experience.

At the time that I met with her, I was still struggling with how to implement my vision for this site. Sally coached me by asking probing, thought-provoking questions that really forced me to be honest with what I truly wanted.

What was my purpose for blogging? What do I want to get out of it? What blogs do I like? What blogs don't I like? What do I like/not like about them?

Of course in my head I knew the answers to all these questions. But saying them out loud, and writing them down on paper really helped me to move past the impasse that I was at. As it turns out, the new look isn’t quite like what Sally and I discussed, but my session with her was the jump start I needed to evolve my ideas into what you now see.

I'm so happy with what I've been able to create. Everything you see here was 100% done by me. One of the mission statements of the GG2WD course was to help women feel empowered by learning web design, and that is exactly how I'm feeling right now. Words cannot describe the joy I felt I was when I uploaded my favicon! :)

Like me, this blog is a work in progress. There are still so many things that I want to do with it, but it takes a while to learn the skills, practice and then implement them. It takes a lot of time, and requires baby steps. But now, thanks to Amanda and Sally, I see my blog as my voice and my creative outlet in the very structured world that I live in. I feel a renewed sense of commitment to it and I'm excited to move forward!