Archive of ‘Core Fusion’ category

A New Look: Dori’s Shiny Blog Site Redesign

Welcome to the new look of Dori’s Shiny Blog!

A little over a week ago, I realized just how much I hated my blog. I then made sure the rest of the world did, too.

My blog theme sucks. So does the look. Time for a change.

I think I’ve known for awhile, but when I just could not install social sharing icons at the bottom of my post despite trying a number of different widgets, I realized my current theme had to go. I last redesigned my blog in 2009 and obviously, the times have changed. Visiting this  blog was a terrible user experience. It annoyed me to no end that the theme did not enable photo captioning (hence the lame italicized captions in brackets I placed underneath photos.)

And as a social media manager, it was embarrassing that my blog practiced literally nothing of what I preached.

I was also using my blog as my final assignment in an NYU class I took called SEO & Site Content. That class motivated me to stop being so lazy and do something about my website. It also motivated me to choose a tagline that explained what my site is about and update my About page so people would stop being so fucking confused all the time about the name “Dori’s Shiny Blog.” I also added a page i wanted for a long time: Race Recaps.

Plus, the entire look pissed me off. I needed a change.

I reached out to two designers who work with other bloggers, and one responded. We scheduled a phone call and about 45 minutes before the call I freaked out and canceled.

I realized I had no reason not to do this myself.

I know how to install a theme. I know how to use the Theme Test Drive plugin. I know how to customize a good theme to the best of my ability. I know how to install plugins and widgets. I know exactly what I want. Why would I pay someone to do something I could — and SHOULD — do myself. That is my job, after all!

Over Thanksgiving weekend, I started my blog redesign. I have to say, finding a good theme that met all my requirements seemed impossible. Part of the reason is that the themes are not organized. I wish there was a filter where I could select all the elements I wanted in a theme to narrow my search down, but that doesn’t exist.

I bought a theme we use at work thinking it was good. Once I had it, I realized it was an impossibly complicated theme and I didn’t understand how to customize it. My brilliant software development engineer brother even found it complicated. Also, it made my blog look like work, and no one likes to be reminded of work.

I wasted many hours trying to customize that theme before giving up and moving on. After installing and despising a number of themes, I finally found one that seemed pretty good – but not great. But they had a sale going on to upgrade to the paid version for $20, down from the full price of $80. I got the feeling that the upgrade would fix most of the issues I had with the free version so I went for it.

I’m happy I did because you’re now looking at this theme!

Once I had this set up, getting in my widgets was very easy and much less time consuming than that old atrocious theme. If you ever saw the random floating “Tweet” link at the bottom of my posts, that is because that link was the best thing my old theme could do with a social sharing widget. Not exaggerating.

I included widgets that I really like, such as the Popular Posts and Recent Posts. I especially love the previous four posts that appear under the most recent post, and I am a huge fan of the footer widget section. Plus, there are some really great features I haven’t even played with yet, like sliding images and carousel images that link to my posts.

But for now, I’m happy with the start I made. Many people think my computer scientist brother did this for me, but aside from receiving countless frantic emails from me about all the things I don’t know how to do (which were always followed up with a “Nevermind – I figured it out!” email), all he really did was offer advice and implement the color hover in the top nav bar.

I have more work to do (the search functionality isn’t quite right yet and I am unable to upload and post photos… I had to upload that Tweet photo to another site and insert the picture URL to get it to show here, oy) but I am already so much happier with the look and functionality of my blog!

Of course, one key element was still missing: a new logo.

I reached out to the amazing designers we work with at the office, Bruckner Design, and asked if they had time to take on this personal project for me, along with how much it might cost. They are amazing, both as designers and as people. They offered to design my logo, favicon and select a complementary background color at no charge.

I was so touched and happy.

While I waited for the logo to be done, my current blog theme looked extremely messed up. I was using the Theme Test Drive, but any widgets I changed and added would still show on the live blog. My ads disappeared and the entire right side of the page, where the widgets lived, looked like a mess. Also, I formatted my most recent post at the time (Richmond Half Marathon recap) to fit with the new theme. That meant the post looked really messy in the old theme, and that is what people were seeing. I prayed no one went to my blog last week and avoided most types of link sharing or promotion.

A few days later, my designer let me know she finished my logo. . . and I love it! I knew she would understand what I wanted, and she did a really perfect job. I’m still constantly enthralled by how she got the favicon to look so SHINY.

Miracle workers! I am so happy with my new logo, the look and functionality of the site ,and the possibility of ways I can make it even better.

I think/hope this fresh new change will inspire me to blog more often and blog better. I have a lot I want to write about in the coming weeks (Andy and I started CrossFit Fundamentals, I’ve been spinning more often, Refine Method became more awesome than ever but I can only get there on weekends right now, wedding planning, etc) and I’m much more excited to do so with the new theme!

A few things to leave you with:

  • The Refine Resolution Challenge: A smarter approach to transforming your body in the new year, classes in this program are only $20 each, and you earn free classes for each month you achieve your personal goals.
  • Win a free month of YogaVibes TODAY ONLY (December 4) through my work giveaway. Read my YogaVibes review  and go here to enter to win a month of online streaming yoga and Core Fusion classes.
  • I really like beards.

 

A Follow-Up

When I published my post last week, I expected some backlash, but I can honestly say I did not expect the anger. I really don’t want to harp on this, but I did want to clarify a few points that I don’t think I expressed well last week, if at all:

  • I took Core Fusion (and tried numerous other barre classes) regularly for about 10 months, from January, 2010 – November, 2010, at which point my hip injury was diagnosed. I was no longer able to do that type of workout. I’ve been taking Refine Method for about 14 months, from December 2010 – February, 2012, at which point I wrote last week’s post. I know it seems like I jumped from one bandwagon to the next, but I gave it more than a year to see if I could heal, see if I could reclaim my love with the barre. Ultimately, I couldn’t. And I felt that I should share — had a responsibility to share — my own personal reasoning since it was clear I switched, but it wasn’t clear why.
  • One commenter mentioned I lack integrity for praising one method so passionately, and now praising another. Another called my reviews fallible. And while all reviews written by human beings are fallible to an extent, I think it is more a reflection on my personality than my integrity. When I love something, I want everyone else to love it too. Or at the very least, to try it for themselves in case they might realize they love it too! I also trust that people will read about my experience, and then make their own decisions on what they’d like to do with that knowledge I shared.
  • On that note, all workouts have the potential to be dangerous. The founder of Refine Method (which, like any exercise program, carries that same potential, which is why it has a very small class size) has told me countless times that she doesn’t think running is safe and has seen many injuries from runners who take her classes. I listened to what she said, and I decided that while her points were valid, I still wanted to run a marathon — so I ran a marathon. If you read my blog to learn about fitness classes, I  hope that you can do the same. I’m sharing my experience, but what you  ultimately decide to do should be your own choice.
  • I didn’t mean to imply that everyone who takes barre classes will get an injury. I got an injury. One I will have for the rest of my life. I know how I got it, but that doesn’t mean I think you will too. We all have different weaknesses, body types and susceptibilities. But that doesn’t mean that every word I wrote in every post about Core Fusion isn’t true — it is. I expressed my love for the class and how it made me feel at the time; how it got me through major life events; my progress and improvements; my successes and achievements. I captured an entire year of transformation. A year of my life through this exercise method! A couple of people demanded I take down my old content, but my blog is a progression through my life, and I can’t imagine removing so much information about my life just because my opinions have changed. We learn through experience, and I feel fortunate to have that experience archived here.

For a much more clear and eloquent post from someone who made the same switch in exercise methods as I did, please check out Cameo’s follow-up post to mine.

I didn’t want to write this post today. I wasn’t planning to. I was actually going to write, well, a class review actually, but once I started typing a quick note to acknowledge last week’s post it turned into this rambling. So here we are. I don’t think I need to defend myself and that was not my intent here.

I think I feel better now.

I used to like one thing and now I like another. Let’s move on to happier things, like picking a new winner of the ellasport giveaway – the original winner coincidentally just did a giveaway for the same brand on her own blog. Congratulations to j. at kissing-frogs.net! J. likes the yellow Gramercy Park workout tank. I hope she wears it well, it is a fabulous top.

Return to normalcy next week? Yes. See you then kids.

 

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