Anatomy of A New (Old) Blog

Four years ago, I called my friend Scott Thigpen, to help me design the second version of my blog. The first, launched in 2003, had served its purpose. I'd outgrown the clunky out-of-the box template and felt like I needed something with stronger visuals. After all I am a magazine editor, and we love to fiddle with design (thank you art directors and graphic designers). The Gold Shoe Blog was born. [Why gold shoes here.]

Scott is a talented artist, and created a graphic representation of me at the time. It had the elements of the things I love and still love: Elvis, Birmingham, and 60s-inspired mod life. 

The years passed. Sometimes I wrote my own blog posts, but mostly I didn't. I felt guilty about that, as I am an overachiever and Catholic, so guilt was my jam. But later, I had a Cher-in-Moonstruck moment, aka "Snap Out Of It!"

Turns out I had some other stuff going on, like being a magazine editor and launching digital initiatives for a great brand and being a mom/ and where-are-the-socks/I need to edit 4,567 stories and write five million Tweets. 

The Gold Shoe Blog was a land of nothing but crickets.

As a digital person, this would not do. So, like all good magazine editors, I said, "REDESIGN!"

I told Scott, who referred me to his colleague Anna. We met at Octane and told her I wasn't exactly sure what I wanted, but I knew that I wouldn't that realistically, I won't be blogging all the time, but still wanted that option, and  better social integration. 

I told her I didn't have a strong visual anchor as I had last time. Like a good designer does, she listened as I tried to put into words what I wanted. Bless designers.

We weren't quite sure where to go, but Anna came up with a brilliant idea. "What about postcards?" 

"I collect vintage postcards!" I replied, then proceeded to nerd out about the thousands of postcards I've amassed since I was a child and postcards were still a thing.

Anna came up with a design that used images that represented some of the most important places in my life -- namely, where I am from (Florida).

The new banner combines two of my favorite postcards. On the left, a shot from Miami and on the right, one of "A sea nymph enjoying the Gulf of Mexico." Real caption. 

The "About Me" page uses an Instagram shot I took last year in Charlotte. I was running to meet a writer and give a talk and jump on a plane and there was a great sunrise. Anna pulled this from my IG feed. It was just one moment, but she got it. I love the contrast between the vintage postcards and an Instagram shot. 

Anna suggested I create a page where people could drop me a line. The image used is not from my collection, but I love it. It's from a church in my hometown of Clearwater, Florida. 

I love that the blog design connects the old with the new, the analog to digital. That's what I'm all about.

The rest is fairly straightforward. It's still a home for my writing and stories, including the micro-ones we tell at a rapid-fire pace through social. 

There are still a few bugs to work out, but ready to share the work in progress. .