Hey y’all! Things have been quite busy over here in Anne Marie la la land so thought I would check in with a few updates and let you know I’m still alive and still crazy.
As you may have noticed…the blog has a new look! With serious hand-holding from Bluehost, new framework from Genesis, gorgeous Foodie theme design and hours of video tutorials on YouTube and John at Minimalist Baker…the new Ciao Mama has arrived. Ain’t she pretty?
I don’t know much about having a baby, but I feel a teensy bit closer to the whole concept after pouring every ounce of me into this blog redesign and then releasing it (“giving birth” seemed to take it a bit too far) to the world. And just like deciding to have a baby, even thinking about the process was a big step. So if I take just as much time to even think about having a baby as I did to take the leap and redesign my blog, it is safe to say that our first child will be born in 5-7 years. Maybe 10. Sorry Ma!
I’ve always known that my old site wasn’t what I wanted it to be. After working on various websites for my job, I would come home, look at my site and think…come on AM! Get your shizz together and let’s do this! However, I was missing the components that were crucial to the mix: time and energy (Wow, with the “this is my baby” reference earlier and now this bit about not having time or energy despite not having to care for another human, I owe all you mom readers a serious apology. I’m begging you to roll your eyes at me). I was literally all over the place in DC, and the second I found time to sit down, all I wanted to do was be away from the glaring computer screen I’d stared at all day. Plus, I have this little problem called “ants in the pants.” Totally inherited it from my 95 year-old grandma, who is still rolling in from bingo at 11 p.m. twice a week. If there is something going on in the world around me that I can easily walk, run or drive to…I need to be there. Doesn’t matter if it makes no sense and I don’t have the time or the energy to do it and my husband hates my life because he’ll have to find parking in the middle of rush hour in the city…I gots ta go.
So when we first decided to move from the nation’s capital to Kentucky, there was a big hole in my heart for all of the things we would be leaving behind in DC. Our friends, our favorite haunts, our beloved Rock Creek Park, our crazy weekend agendas…what the heck was I going to do in Kentucky? How would I spend all of this wide open bluegrass time?
I was going to exhale…and finally finally finally spend it on my blog. Not only redesigning it, but refocusing my content, my energy and my brand. I needed a new framework in which to tell my story, a new organization system so that my story is told well, and a new paint job so that my story look pretty. Because in the web world, books are inevitably judged by their cover.
So, here is our debut. You’ll notice that the new design is a lot cleaner and easier to navigate than my old site. My recipes are now displayed in little cute thumbnails and my DIY projects, running adventures and travel log have their own category page. I also created a little spaced named “Etc.” for all of the random, fun nonsense I throw ‘atcha. Related posts will help you find other articles you may be interested in, and popular posts are displayed on the home page. As I move along this redesign, I find something new every day to change, implement, improve, etc. – so expect even more features to come.
The site isn’t anywhere near perfect yet, but that is okay. Patience, grasshopper. I have learned so much through this process and continue to pick up bits and pieces of knowledge every day. So I am pretty pumped about where I will be tomorrow, next week, next month, etc…I know it can only get better from here! (Well, as long as really smart people keep making easy-to-follow YouTube tutorials.)
While doing everything yourself can be daunting in any aspect of life, there is no greater feeling of accomplishment than when you step back and exclaim, “Oh my gosh, I did that!” (Well, with the exception of when you try to make that “really easy” craft from Pinterest and end up turning your back steps into a deep shade of metallic gray) And with the wonders of the web – information, advice and assistance are everywhere – you can really accomplish anything your creative heart desires. Even that “really easy” Pinterest craft.
Shout out to Brent N. and Kevin S. of Bluehost – I know you also loved live chatting with me at 2 a.m. because I thought I “broke” my blog as well as John at Minimalist Baker, whose WordPress and Foodie tutorials saved my sanity, and all of the other bloggers who wrote back to my comments, emails and Twitter messages. I can only hope to help people with their web designs and content organization in the future as much as everyone who has helped me! Also, I highly recommend Studiopress and the Genesis framework. While it was an initial investment, I felt completely at ease knowing I was implementing a framework that not only is used by many professional sites but also syncs magically with WordPress, as well as joining a huge #genesiswp community filled with tech-love and support.
Anyways, I hope you love the new look as much as I do. And please tell me if you notice any bugs/issues with the site! I tried my best to test every page after I made the switch but if you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that with a busy trip to Buffalo, two beyond incredible weddings and a raging party for my grandma’s 95th birthday, I may have missed something. :)
Cheers to the fabulous, delicious, crafty, exhilarating journey ahead!