24 before 24: Redesign my blog

I finally did it!

If you’ve been to this blog before, you may notice a few changes. Yes, I redesigned my site! I’m seriously so excited about the new look! It feels even better because I did it myself! It turns out that it wasn’t even that hard! Guys, this is a big deal! Exclamation marks all day every day! I was inspired my this post and decided that if I put in some work, I could change my blog all by myself.

With the help of WordPress, a free theme and a day’s worth of work using custom CSS and the WordPress forums, I was able to make my site look the way I wanted. I’m sure I’ll make more changes later on, but for now, I’m happy.

Here’s what Modern Notebook looked like before I started making changes:

Modern Notebook 1.2

And here’s what it looks like today:

Modern Notebook 2.2

Can you see the changes? It’s like one of those Spot the Differences challenges. Mainly, I wanted to make the site look more like my own and less like the theme because it is really common. My favorite colors are pink and gray, so I used those throughout the site. Even though I love pink and I feel like it goes with Modern Notebook, I wanted to minimize it while keeping it on as an accent color.

Let’s geek out about those details!

I upgraded from a free WordPress account to WordPress premium back in April, when I changed the blog’s name and URL. The upgrade comes with great options, such as the ability to customize with CSS. But I was lost and honestly, I didn’t even bother with it. I just figured I would have to take a class in CSS or do a ton of research before I could make any changes. That’s simply not the case though.

CSS can be really fun, especially if you have a customize tool and theme to work with. With the way my blog is set up, I just had to look at the framework of the free theme I was using, figure out what I wanted changed and make adjustments from there. It would have been a lot different if I was working from scratch. Knowing a little bit about how HTML works helped too, since CSS is different but similar.

Using CSS, I finally hid the pink polka dots that are signature part of the free Adelle theme. I also snipped off the end of he navigation bar, which looked  more like a ribbon before, and I changed it from black to gray. Adelle normally has squiggly lines between each section in the sidebar, but I changed them to straight lines. To make a cohesive look, I made the post date the same color gray as the navigation bar and changed it from an oval shape to more of a circle.

By the way, CSS stands for cascading style sheets. It’s often used to style web pages and interface with HTML. Or something like that.  read about it on Wikipedia and got a little lost.

Most of the work came down to Google + copy + paste = :) Add some critical thinking for a job well done.

Some of the changes didn’t even require CSS. For example, I added a new header to give it a signature touch, thanks to the help of my amazing boyfriend. We made the header together in Photoshop. (But it could be done using any free photo or design software instead.)

Then I worked on the sidebar to make it look special. I added in my blog’s categories with a text widget and HTML, only after going through all my posts to make sure they were each in the right categories. Then I added in an image to link to my summer playlist, which I plan to change out occasionally.  Finally, I used free social media icons from Carrie Loves Design and took out the old social widgets. To top it all off, I changed out my profile photo from last summer to a more recent one.

That about did it!

If you have any questions about how I made my site look the way I wanted, let me know with a comment or email! I’d love to help. If you have any advice or critiques about my redesign, please let me know! I’m totally new to this.

P.S. I’m trying to do 24 things before my 24th birthday in February, and this one is on the list. I know, I’m crazy. See the rest of the 24 before 24 list and then judge me.

Between lenses: Movement

Where do you feel most at peace? More than anywhere else, I think I feel most at peace standing beside the ocean watching the waves come in. There’s nothing quite like it.

the ocean in motion

The ocean has always been a special place for me. I especially love watching the waves go in and out. When I was a little girl, my older sister and I would play tricks with the waves. As the waves would start to come in I would call out “You can’t get me you little rascal waves.” Except, I had a hard time pronouncing words then, so it sounded more like “You can’t get me you wittle wascal waves.” Then I would either run away from the water or my sister would pull me up by the arms so the waves wouldn’t get me. Maybe this actually only happened once or twice. Either way, it’s a fond memory.

Being on the beach always makes me think of that memory. I get so excited to stick my feet in the water, even if it’s a cold day. I know that if it’s too cold for me, I can just run away and come back when I’m ready. The waves will still be there.

I took this photo a few weeks ago I was in Santa Barbara with my best friend just for a day. We took a break from exploring the city to hang out by the ocean waves. It was really fun! Not many people were on that area of the sand so we had our own space to be silly and take photos. We played around with the settings and took turns modeling for the camera. We were acting like kids. A lot of the pictures turned out bad. Out of the bunch, this was my favorite. It’s not just a decent pictures. It also has a soft quality to it, which I like.

So, I decided to share it as part of the Between Lenses photo challenge put on by Latrina and Tara.

Between Lenses

To find out more about the Between Lenses photography challenge, visit Latrina’s blog Of Trees and Hues and Tara’s blog Tara Victoria.This challenge is really beautiful and hope to keep linking up with them. If you’re interested, the next two themes have already been planned out so you can get a head start.

Here’s what’s coming up:

no. 08 Tuesday, August 12th // Symmetry
no. 09 Tuesday, September 9th // Silence

Links I love v. 17

grrrranger

I’ve been thinking and talking about blogging a lot lately. I wrote about my blogging process recently, and it wasn’t the first time I posted about blogging. Whether you’re a blogger or a reader, you may have noticed an increase in posts about blogging too. It almost seems silly. But it only makes sense that bloggers would blog about blogging (ha!) because their (our) online lives are important too us.

What I love about having a blog is that it’s a creative outlet in which I can both express  myself and refine my writing skills. I could do this by just writing in a spiral bound notebook. But the good thing about this modern notebook is that I have the critique and counsel of others. Blogging fosters community, which I love. Through blogging and reading blogs, I’ve had the chance to virtually meet inspiring, creative women around the world.

This month, I’ve been proud to sponsor the blog Jaybird, written by the lovely Alicia. I was already a fan of hers before I started sponsoring and have shared a post or two from Jaybird before, but once I became a sponsor, I started following along extra close. And I’m glad!

Alicia is a smart, funny, thoughtful 20-something living in the beautiful big city of Chicago. She shares funny advice, healthy recipes (such as this one) and has been known to share very on trend thoughts on succulents. Her writing comes across natural and honest, like talking to a good friend. For some incredibly helpful advice, read her Love Your Body Resolution series.

Sadly, Alicia won’t be taking sponsors in the near future. But I encourage you to follow along with her blog.

More links:

My bae and I thought this was adorable/hilarious.

I’ve been swooning over Chris Pratt. All. Week. Look at him being adorable.

This post “Sometimes this blog is silent” captures some more of my recent thoughts on blogging. Oh Joy! has an interesting first-hand perspective on the changing business of blogs. Also, congratulations to Monique for speaking at her first blogger conference. I wish I could have gone.

What’s keeping you from achieving your dreams? Remember, learning  = sucking. (And Delightfully Tacky rocks.)

Thor will be a woman in a new Marvel comic series. I think that’s pretty cool.

I’m loving these 4 tips to help millennials to find meaningful work. Since graduating, I have been hearing about networking nonstop. Apparently, networking doesn’t have to be weird. Here’s how to cold email a complete stranger and networking for introverts.

Speaking of networking, you should totally go to the Girl in Tech LA Summer Sip Mixer, especially if you’re a girl in LA. It should be a fun & inspiring night in Santa Monica.

The photo above is from the blog The Legacy of Sequoia Planting, which I’ve been following on Tumblr for forever now.

P.S. I’ll be back tomorrow with a movie review.

Links I love v. 16

stained glass electrical tower

My sister had a baby this week and I’ve had the chance to see him grow up every few days. It’s truly amazing how fast little babies grow. He looks less like he did in these photos and more like he does in this selfie. So much hair for a little baby! He’s also got blue eyes and we’re kind of hoping they will stay that way. Brown, green or hazel would be fine too of course, but dark hair with blue eyes would be sweet.

Things have been super quiet on the blog lately. Sorry about that. I’ve been getting my computer fixed this week and I’m hoping to pick it up soon. It’s actually been broken since last year and I’ve been using my sister’s laptop when she doesn’t need it. I’ve got some exciting things planned for the next few weeks, though!

Happy weekend and happy links I love.

Stained Glass Lighthouse on Colossal // Isn’t this beautiful?

Blogging Is My Hobby. It Isn’t My Job. on MusicalPoem

Love Your Body Resolution: To Love is to Nourish on Jaybird

Pineapple Fried Rice Pizza on A Beautiful Mess

On their writing processes: Erika and Betsy

One crazy long weekend

my nephew

No, that is not my baby up top. Of course, I would tell you guys if I had a baby.

So, July has already been a pretty busy month. Summer is much more fun than spring was, at least for me. What do you guys think?

Here are a few things I did in the past five days:

  • Tried to help a man call for a ride while outside of Union Station. Actually helped one guy get on a bus.
  • Ate vegan food in Hollywood and got a discount because my boyfriend used to be in a band with the restaurant owner
  • Cried about LA traffic because I panicked. Good thing I wasn’t driving!
  • Started watching Orphan Black and got sucked in
  • Ate at a new favorite waffle place in Santa Monica
  • Hung out on the Santa Monica sand
  • Celebrated the 4th of July with my boyfriend’s family in Orange
  • Met artist Paul Frank at his pop-up shop in Anaheim
  • Went to a hospital to await the birth of my new nephew
  • Held my sister’s brand new baby when he was just a few hours old

my nephew

Wow, wow, wow. I guess I’ve been busy. This summer has been shaping up to be pretty memorable! Honestly, I didn’t think it would be. At first, I was so bummed to be out of college without a job. I was also super bored being home alone a lot, but I adjusted. Don’t get me wrong, I do still want a job! I would like to earn an honest day’s wage, make money, do what I love, learn new skills, use the ones I’ve got, and actually use my diploma. But it’s not too bad to have free time.

And hey, isn’t my nephew the most adorable little baby ever (besides the cute ones in your life)?

June Adventures

Happy July!

Last month flew by crazy fast for me, but also slow at the same time. Yeah, that makes no sense. But life moves at a different speed when you’re unemployed and out of school.

I was looking through my Instagram account earlier to remind myself what I had done this month. Although some interesting things happened, I was thinking “There must have been more events than that.” I checked my Flickr and it turns out I hadn’t updated it since May. Whoa. That’s odd for me.

So, I decided I need a way to track my adventures besides just Instagram. I need a writing portion. Since I haven’t kept a journal in a few years  and this is my Modern Notebook (get it?) I’ll recap my month here!

last college paperour succulent

I submitted my last college paper, which I stapled in the library that has a sense of humor, apparently. Paul and I got our first plant for his apartment. Every time I look at it, I think of the love fern in How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days. Well, the boyfriend hasn’t broken up with me yet.

we're alumni now Cal Poly ladies

Graduation day! Every time I think of the phrase “graduation day” I think of Reba McEntire saying “Here’s Cheyenne and Van on Cheyenne and Van’s graduation day.” The Reba show was the best. Any way, I graduated! I couldn’t have done it without these beautiful people.

Grandma's favorite place Snoopy and friends

These ladies are the best. Summer is my favorite. I got to go to Laguna and Knott’s Berry Farm in the same week. #Blessed

DTLA bookstore cutesy tea time

 

My adventures took me to Downtown LA one day, where I wandered around The Last Bookstore. Later I took a bus to Santa Monica and got desperately lost for an hour. But it worked out. A few days later I was relaxing in a tea house in San Dimas.

best friend adventure beautiful ocean

The best friend and I took a one day trip to Santa Barbara on the Amtrack on Monday. That was quite an adventure! Neither of us had been on the Amtrack before. It was a good option, especially considering that we don’t drive much or own cars. We got to see Isla Vista, where she will be living in fall, and even splashed around in the water at the beach. It’s crazy how close of a walk the beach was!

Wow, wow, wow! June was pretty perfect, I must say.

All the photos in this post were taken from my Instagram. Follow me, if you would like! I just started doing a photo challenge for July on Instagram by Postcards from Rachel. You can find out more about that here.

Did you guys have any adventures in June? What are you most looking forward to in July? 

Links I love v. 15

DTLA bookstore

I can’t believe it’s already almost July! Anyone else feel like this month went by super fast? Not like that’s necessarily a bad thing. I’ve had some fun being unemployed, but I also keep thinking about how I need to step up my writing, blogging and applying to places game.

In the past week, I managed to go to Knott’s Berry Farm, go on a (super exciting) job interview, visit an old internship, get lost in Santa Monica, have dinner with my boyfriend twice, get my nails done, lock myself out of my house (accidentally), hang out with my bestie and go to a tea parlor with family. Whew! I don’t know about you but that’s not what a week normally looks like for me. I think I actually left my house every day, which like never happens. I even wandered around The Last Bookstore in LA, which is where I took the above photo.

So, since I haven’t shared links in a few weeks I’ve got a bit of a stockpile going and didn’t want to sell you short. Have at it!

Glorious, inspiring and thought provoking links!

July Instagram photo challenge on Postcards from Rachel

If You’re Not Anxious, You’re Not Growing
on A Novel Quest

Get rejected on Delightfully Tacky

10 Things you can do today to achieve goals by Emma Bauso

How To Be a Better Blogger on Avoiding Atrophy

Do Your Beauty Thing on Rookie

Everything I Need to Know, I learned From Mindy Kaling
on HelloGiggles

Why You Need to Know (And Love) Writer Roxanne Gay on HelloGiggles

Ask a Jeweler: A Beginner’s Guide to Diamonds, Part 1 on The Hairpin

P.S. Maybe read these while listening to my summer playlist.

Head in the clouds

blue skies

Note: I wrote this a few weeks ago and accidentally pushed publish before adding in the pictures. Here’s the completed piece, as it should be.

It rained today.

My mom excitedly pointed out the rain as I was looking at my computer on the dinning room table. We could see through the dinning room window that there was rain pouring down, but there weren’t any clouds blocking the sun. “There must be a rainbow,” she said. Sure enough, there was practically a double rainbow.

I went right out in the rain with my flip flops, running shorts, tank top and hoodie on. (This California weather changes fast. It was hot a few days ago and I was inside most of today, so I was in lounge clothes.) After about 10 minutes, it stopped raining. I had some photos of the rainbow, a truly beautiful feat of nature, so I retreated inside to warm my feet.

from porch

I got lost in the Internet again. When I looked up from the 10+ tabs I had open and saw the sunset, I decided it was time for another photo session. Queue more cloud photography, a downpour and then hail started falling from the sky. That happens a few times a year where I live and I love it every time.

in motion

flying

dark clouds

Each time I was outside staring at the sky, I thought about how my head has been in the clouds lately. I like to live in reality, but sometimes I get too caught up in thinking about the future, what it could hold, and what it should hold. The things that have been weighing heavily on my mind feel so personal at the moment, that I would rather not go into detail. I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to say I’ve been deeply considering marriage and my career both as separate and intertwined things.

As I’m writing this, I just remembered a quote from one of my favorite books and movies, Little Women. “We’ll all grow up someday,” Amy March told her sister Meg. “We might as well know what we want.”

In my experience, this is true. We should know what we want. We should be dreamers and have our heads in the clouds sometimes. Of course, eventually we’ll have to come back to earth and see how our dreams can match up with reality.

I also try to keep in mind that wherever there’s rain, there’s likely to be a rainbow. Take the bad with the good and vice versa. Gray skies and blue skies can exist in the same day, even in the same stretch of sky. So appreciate what you have.

The sky always makes me feel very contemplative. I just have to remember to look up.

 

Exploring Downtown Los Angeles

Yesterday was my last day at my internship in Downtown Los Angeles. I’ve become so used to my commute, coworkers and work there. It’s going to be sad not to be there three times a week any more. It was a great experience and I learned so much.

It was a great adventure.

Besides being an incredible learning experience where I got to work with awesome people, it was also really cool to be in the big city of Los Angeles a few times a week. I love

I thought I would share just a few photos I’ve taken over the past three months in LA, along with some restaurant recommendations.

store front view

Santee Village

sandwich shop
^^ Delicious and cheap Mexican food

Bega

Ace Sewing Machine & Thread Supply Company

Best Sewing Maching

illy and fishy

^^The pastry fishies at Delicious Together are amazing. They come with every purchase. Illy coffee there is so good too! Try the honey vanilla latte or Vietnamese coffee.

There are so many great places to eat in this area. If you happen to be in the area, definitely try out one of the independently owned places to get an experience you won’t find anywhere else. I recommend Delicious Together, TBLA, Grand Central Market and Casa la Doña. There is also a great pizza stand near the Urban Outfitters on Broadway that I can’t think of the name of and that good Mexican place pictured above. Try them! If you can, then you must!

LA folks, do you have any favorite places in downtown you would recommend?

Links I love v. 14

Max with his toy

I hope you all are having a nice, relaxing weekend. It’s always good to take a break and spend time with family and friends. To be honest, today I’m feeling a little anxious because I have to write my last college paper so that I can graduate. I can be such a bad procrastinator. After posting this, I should really finish writing the paper so I can spend the rest of Memorial Day Weekend relaxing and cuddling with my loves, including my dog Max who is in the above photo

No matter what your plans are, I hope you make them fun. . Listen to me when I tell you it’s better not to drag work through the weekend. Now, on with the links, browsing and chill out!

 

Ever wonder what self-love means?

Bikini season is here. Maybe it’s time for a change of perspective.

Speaking of fashion, I’ve been wanting a new pair of J Brand Jeans like this pair, this or this.

For those feeling like they’re “in progress” and anyone with multiple projects, this advice on setting deadlines could be encouraging. It was to me!

How can I get a job when I have little, no or the wrong experience? Well, there are a few ways.

I may have to add another book to my ever-growing mental must-read list. The book The Big Lie sounds good, necessary and a little scary.

Take a look at .

When in doubt, be helpful.

Have an awesome weekend and see you again soon!