Tips: So You Want to Start a Blog?

A solid handful of friends have asked me in the past couple weeks for advice on starting a WordPress blog.  Where better than to put my tips than in a blog post here?  Hope these help!

  1. Pick a good theme. Take a look at the “Theme Showcase” and find options that fit your style. Or go to “Freshly Pressed” and check out the top posts of the day, many of which have eye-catching themes. If you find one you like, scroll all the way to the bottom to find the name. Many themes have color options included, or you’re able to upload your own background image, so don’t let that part of the appearance throw you off. Decide if you want a theme that’s more text-based or photo-based. There are good options for each. A side note: not all themes are free. If you’re looking to set up a blog with an easy structure similar to mine, you may want to check out “Something Fishy,” “iTheme 2,” “Quintus,” “Skeptical,” “Mystique,” “Brand New Day,” “Choco,” and more.
  2. Header image. Mine here is a product of my creation, but many themes have pre-matched options to choose from. It’s a bit tricky configuring your own image, because it has to be an exact size, but it’s worth it!
  3. Use widgets. They’re pretty easy to work and arrange and give your blog a personal look. Using my blog as a model, I’m using six widgets in the right column: my image, follow me box, recent tweets, top posts & pages, archives, and stats. I also have another widget area at the very bottom using: categories, Goodreads, Facebook, and calendar.
  4. Pages. Looking at my blog, I have three pages: Home, About Me, and Photo Album Links. On pages, you can basically do whatever you want: have a picture reel, make a page just for random rants, etc.
  5. Be creative. As much as it’s fine to model your blog from other peoples’, make sure to incorporate your own style narrowed to the content you’ll be posting. Make it relevant and eye-catching with colors and style but not over-the-top.

Feel free to comment with any other questions! :)

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Scholars in Action Day at Springfield College

Because I virtually pinky-promised to update here with how today went, here’s a brief synopsis:

It was great!!!  Starting off before 9am by listening to three hours worth of Toni Morrison papers may not be the most riveting way to spend a morning, but my classmates wrote fantastic papers, all with worthy points and critical analysis.  All ten of us did a fantastic job reading with confidence and at a clear, understandable pace that it went over really well.  The professors and judges that sat in apparently were very impressed.  A graduating senior member of our English Seminar class even tied for first place in the SIA Day’s Conference Paper category!  Congrats Kathleen :-)

The afternoon consisted of dance, music, theater, and the Alden Street Review literary magazine reading that I was a part of.  All of my readings went off without glitches surprisingly, and I didn’t even trip over any microphone cords (or thin air for that matter) in my heels.  Congrats to our lovely graduating Editor in Chief, Kara, on producing a beautiful magazine!!  Your hard work and leadership definitely paid off!!  I have a couple of copies of the magazine to show my family my name in print when I get home :)

Now that this day of scholarly professionalism and presentations has come and gone, I was able to relax for the rest of it with friends, putting our papers, books, notes, and planners out of sight and out of mind.  We relished the afternoon sun on the lawn in front of my building, changing out of dresses and heels into shorts, t-shirts, and flip-flops.

Overall, I’m feeling a couple huge weights lifted after today, paired with the fantastic, yet fleeting weather.  It was good to laugh again while hanging out, knowing that our academic efforts have been recognized and rewarded.  I’m so very grateful to the friends and professors that have helped me out all semester!  To everyone that has given me pointers and encouragement on the big things and the little things too, I honestly really appreciate you for putting time and effort into me and my studies.  Sorry for the cliché, but you all know who you are <3

Sti-Yu-Ka Scorcher

Unless you’re living under a special, air-conditioned rock someplace, you’ve realized it’s hottttttt out!!

I almost deleted my Weather.com app when I checked it yesterday, and it predicted today’s high of 91 degrees in Springfield. With a dorm room whose heater still feels like it’s breathing hot air onto my sticky neck, I wasn’t amused to find out my app wasn’t lying. Even now at almost 7PM, it’s still in the 80s.20120416-193859.jpg

There is a lot going on here at Springfield College this week. Most prevalent, it’s our spring week, somewhat famously called Sti-Yu-Ka (which I learned, somewhat late in the game (yesterday), means “coming of age” from a Native American translation). A classmate of mine has a great article about the week from the SC Student Newspaper posted here! Apparently, this year marks the 50th anniversary of the annual event! Every year during this week, there are tons of events like the kick-off concert, charity events, the “Taste”, and a bunch of games and outdoor activities. Right now, my room’s window is suffocating me in grill smoke and the melodies of country music from my building’s “Country Fest”. I obviously love the grill and country music. I’m just a bit bitter, because I was only outside for a little until papers called me back in, and then WordPress beckoned me for a break…

Sti-Yu-Ka is known mostly as a week excessive amounts of student drinking, and if you’re a nerd, also for the excessive homework assigned attempting to counter-act the drinking. Welcome to my life of being torn between two worlds: tempting “Country Fest” is outside, and my books and notes are scattered around my floor, bed, and desk. Another big part of Sti-Yu-Ka, again for the nerds, is Scholars in Action Day. Tomorrow, all day in the union, students will be presenting papers and posters, various performances, and other readings. To my great luck, I get to be in the air-conditioned building from 8:45-2:45. For my English Seminar course taught by my advisor, Professor Eaton, all of my classmates and I will be presenting papers on distinguished author Toni Morrison (we have plenty of material having read five of her novels at this point in the semester with one left to go). Translation, approximately 3 hours of riveting auditory entertainment! Later in the day with some others, I’m reading my poem published in our campus’ literary magazine The Alden Street Review. I’m also on the Editorial Board, and will be stepping up as Editor in Chief (that would look great on a shiny badge, huh? kidding, obviously) after my good friend Kara graduates this year. There’s rumored to be free t-shirts (classic of SC) and raffles for participants, yay!

I’ll update on how SIA Day goes– knowing myself, I’ll probably do something great followed by something embarrassing, so stay tuned! :-)