After seven years with the same theme, it was time for something new.
This is the fifth theme I’ve had since I started blogging in September 2002. I started out with a blogspot site, which had a simple blue and gray background. I don’t have a record of what it looked like but it was pretty bare bones – blogging was still in its infancy back then, not equipped with all the fancy themes and widgets available today.
When I purchased my own domain, all the work that took place behind the scenes was due to the kindness of a fellow blogger named Kate (alas, she stopped blogging years ago). At the time, she wanted to gain experience building websites so she offered to transfer my blog to its new domain — and create a personalized theme — for free. Obviously I accepted her offer. This is what my second theme looked like (which was the first located here at zandria.us); you may recognize it if you’re a long-time reader:
Several years later she came up with this one. (I’m not sure why that thick yellow line is stretching all the way across the page; it didn’t always do that.)
And then there’s this one, which I displayed from June 2008 through January 2015. Almost seven years! That’s pretty much forever in blog years.
When I started writing regularly on this site again last October, I knew I would need a new theme. Although I wasn’t frantic for a new look, the one I was using was outdated. It didn’t have the functionality I needed, and there was no easy way for me to add it. There was also a chance, if I tried to do something simple like upgrade WordPress, something on my site would break and I would have no idea how to fix it.
I contacted Kate once again. She’s busier these days but she agreed to help me. I made it easier for her this time, I think, because I purchased an existing theme (Florence) and asked if she’d back-up my blog and do the upgrade for me. (I did look at the instructions for backing up a WordPress blog, to see if I could do it myself. It looked like a bunch of gibberish. There are certain things I’m willing to pay for, and NOT spending hours doing something I have absolutely no idea how to do, and NOT breaking my blog, are worth the money.)
I kept my name in the header because…well, it’s always been there, and I wanted it to look similar to what I’ve had in the past. I retained the blonde cartoon version of me because I wanted the obvious holdover from the other themes. It feels like a representation of how long this site has existed, and I like that.
Please note that this blog now has certain functions common to other sites, like the ability to check a box when leaving a comment if you want to receive an email from me when I respond, and an email subscription option where you can be notified of new posts if you don’t use a feed reader (it’s over there in the sidebar).
Big thanks to Kate and her coworker Breanna at Third Boxcar for their help. It still kind of blows my mind that a lady I met online over 10 years ago (who I’ve never met in person!) has been responsible for all the updates to this site. I’ve used her as an example over the years when I talk about kindnesses I’ve received from people I met on the internet. Kate and I never had the chance to become real-life friends (she lives in Seattle and I’m on the east coast), but there are certainly people I originally met online and later developed offline friendships with.
I’ve mentioned a number of them on this blog over the years: Janet from Love is Blonde (we ended up working at the same place for a while in Washington, DC — I only heard about the job because she made me aware of it, and that was before we’d ever met in person); Nadine, who no longer has a blog (she and her husband picked me up from the airport in Amsterdam in 2004 when I arrived for a semester abroad and deposited me safely at my dorm – again, without having met me in person first. I’ve since seen them numerous times over the years); Janet from This Confetti Life (we met online when I lived in Richmond VA — when I moved to California in 2005 to live with my aunt, it just so happened to be the same town she lived in); RA from Definitely RA (I was the first blogger she ever met in person!); and Leah from Penn (we had a lot of fun exploring DC together on two occasions).
That isn’t everyone (I met many more people in person at the four BlogHer conferences I attended), and some of them stopped blogging years ago, but those are who come to mind first.
I sure hope Kate is around when I need more blog assistance one of these days. I like to think she will be.