Wordpress Consultant and Blogger Mon, 29 Jun 2015 19:07:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 When out of the Blue… Mon, 29 Jun 2015 19:07:13 +0000 Most of my year when you think about it.Dear blog,

So it’s been a while….

Look I’m not going to lie. This past year has SUCKED. I’ve gone from being an energy powerhouse to being a mouse on heroine [metaphorically speaking]. My health has seriously deteriorated from a gal who could do an 8 minute mile to a girl who couldn’t walk from her bed to her couch or feed herself.

After taking a ride through the Magnetic tunnel of lurve, conveniently known to the common man as the MRI machine, I was informed that this magic trick would only tell me if something was horribly wrong. Please, great Buddha, let it be so. Alas, it was not to be. Apparently, despite all that I had hoped for, I was NOT to find a giant mass in my brain that they could hack out with a chainsaw and, with a quick ride through all the morning shows and a book deal, allow me to get my life back on track.

The neurologist was kind enough to send me on my way with a small pat on the head and a bill for $16,000. I was diagnosed with Psychogenic non-epileptic seizures, which is a fancy name for “we don’t really understand them but they are serious seizures that are NOT epileptic in nature and our epilepsy drugs won’t do you a lick of good”. My neurologist, happy to see another ‘satisfied patient’, informed me to keep my nose clean, take care of those migraines, and be sure to see a psychiatrist and therapist as they had the most cutting edge techniques for dealing with PNES.

I’ve run the gammit of drugs. Fun drugs. Not fun drugs. Drugs that make you gain weight. Drugs that supposedly make you lose weight. Drugs that have 9 pages of facts. Drugs that should probably come with ‘instances of death’ warnings. Drugs that do come with ‘instances of death’ warnings. Drugs that you wish came with instances of death. And much MUCH more.

So far, the therapist HAS actually helped. She’s helped me deal with PTSD from my abusive past. In fact, she’s helped me so much I’m beside myself. Literally. I’ve apparently been living with a roomie all this time. I’ve got a case of Dissociative Identity Disorder {DID}. This other personality is a gestalt of my younger self from the ages of 8-10 or 11ish. She’s been dubbed “Cutie Pie” or “Cutie” for short. Anyway, the theory is that similar to a computer program, the brain creates an ISO during times of crisis. When the crisis is passed, the ISO is brought out. However, the main program or Identity has continued to operate or run. So the longer running program has memories and activities that the secondary ISO doesn’t have access to.

Therefore a new maintenance program has to be created to verify data points between the running program and the ISO. Errors have to be corrected. Data matched, etc. Data from both is blended to created a new, stronger file that the computer then runs off of. This new file then has the benefit of being without errors caused by the earlier hardship as it has the clean data from the ISO. But it also has the further knowledge of the longer term program. Basically, that’s the nerd version of the DID.

Strax, Ragdoll Warrior Kitten and King of all he Surveys

Allison and Strax, her Emotional Support Animal

So I now have Strax, my Emotional Support Cat, who helps me with my PNES and my new brain Roomie, Cutie Pie. Theoretically, I’m set for life. Right?


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Ello: Beta Review Fri, 26 Sep 2014 18:37:26 +0000 The Simple, Beautiful, & Ad free social network

The Simple, Beautiful, & Ad free social network

Ello is a new social media network whose most attractive feature is that they tout themselves to be ad free. Their ‘manifesto‘ [yes they actually have one], states that they don’t believe you are a product. So your information will never be sold, scanned, or used to manipulate you.

And I am TOTALLY behind that. So keep in mind that while I love this idea, the review you are about to read comes from a purely cynical standpoint.

Ello, Welcome to the 1990s

Ello rolled out its Beta only a short while ago, so there is a certain amount of rough around the edges that you’d expect. Its minimalistic style is attractive in this age of splashy and distracting. Its UI isn’t terribly complex, but it’s fairly direct.

However, despite these attractive sides, Ello is missing some aspects that the average user assumes any Social Media Platform  [SMP] will come standard with. You can’t currently privatize your account. Private messaging is not currently enabled [or built in]. And to find new friends or folks to follow, you pretty much have to know exactly who you are looking for.

From a purely tech standpoint, this platform leaves a lot to be desired. Most of the ‘fast’ elements you expect these days, say posting by hitting ‘enter’ for example, aren’t there. There’s a tiny little arrow on the bottom right you have to click to post. You can however click ‘tab’ when commenting in reply to someone else and it will auto select the ‘comment’ button for you. But why have this feature enabled only on Comments?

Streamlining is a big part of today’s SMP, especially when most folks utilize these via their mobile products. And Ello is not currently mobilized. It is on their list of coming features, as are many of the things I’ve said they currently lack. But the sad part is that this is a BETA that doesn’t encompass things that most folks assume would be standard.

Roll outs are supposed to have the new and shiny. And Ello doesn’t have that.

To join Ello you need to be invited by an Ello member.

Hope for Ello

While Ello does seem to be lacking in the tech department, in this day and age of 1984 and Facebook mind games the attractiveness of having a social media site built to preserve and protect privacy is an attractive thing. The question is, is it enough to make this a thriving concern?

The bigger they get, the more money they are going to need. They aren’t going to use ads. Which is an A+ for them. But how are they going to support themselves?

The information Ello collects includes your location, language, referring web site, and time spent visiting Ello.

This information is anonymous and aggregated. Before information about you is stored on the Google servers, your IP address is stripped and anonymized. This means that it is very difficult for anyone (including Ello and Google) to trace the data that Google stores back to any one user. We can see how people are using Ello in general, but not what you are doing in particular.

To the best of our knowledge, this also makes what you do on Ello useless to Google for advertising purposes. – Ello

Right now, the plan as posted on their site seems to be following the idea of pay for features. Think in-game purchases in a free game and you’ll have their business model. The nice part is that once you pay ‘the small fee’, you keep that feature on your account forever.

That is a great idea, assuming their upcoming roll outs have enough support to get them the money they need to keep themselves going. And, it allows you to only get the features you really want/need/desire.

But while they say ‘small amount’, they don’t have any price points listed. Everything that their site says seems to be very obsequiously ambiguous towards how much you are paying for this private utility. And that right there is going to be a big problem towards them going mainstream.

Ello May Change Social Media

All these picky complaints aside, Ello stands a good chance of keeping out the social media charlatans. After all, if they can’t really use it to sell to you, why bother?

And, if the market share drops as people become more and more disenchanted with the whole ‘you are the product’ business strategy of the big SMPs, Ello might have a real chance to be a huge going concern.

However, I’ve seen a few other SMPs start up and drop into the dark of disinterest. Most of them had the same admirable goals as Ello. And I can’t even begin to think of their names. Oh I remember what they look like, and to be fair I’m terrible at names. But the thing is…I don’t remember them. I still remember the first blogging site I ever used. And I haven’t touched it in about 7 years.

If Ello can cross over to the mainstream using this concept of privacy as their main sounding board, they stand a chance. And if they get that chance, advertisers and ‘social media douchebaggery’ is done. And that’s not nothin’.


UPDATE 9/26/14 16:19: Aral Balkan, the source of the ‘manifesto’ Ello is based off of, has outed them for using venture capital. This means that the company will eventually be sold, leaving users in the hands of a company who probably WILL sell their info.

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PG Holyfield Cancer Announcement and Support Mon, 18 Aug 2014 03:15:26 +0000 Podcaster and author

Podcaster and author

What do you say when you find out you have cancer that’s terminal? The only thought that comes to mind is that classic from ‘Firefly':
Donate to PG

Tracey: When you can’t run anymore, you crawl… and when you can’t do that —
Zoë: You find someone to carry you.

PG Support Network

Right now P.G. Holyfield is being carried by Vivid Muse and her hubby Chooch Schubert. The podcasting community has been asked to send their thoughts, prayers, messages, and open their wallets to put money towards his medical care. Part of the money will offset the medical costs and the rest will go towards caring for his young children in the form of a trust fund.

If you or someone you know has been a cancer survivor or in the fight with cancer, please donate in their name.

If you know PG, please donate. You know why.

If you would like to find out more about this situation and find out what you can do to help, you can read the announcement on PG’s site.

The Story so Far

PG Holyfield has been a podcaster and author of note since his book ‘Murder at Avedon Hill’ won the John W. Polidori Award for Best Vampire Novel of 2010 & the Silver Medal for Fiction – Fantasy at the Foreward 2010 Book of the Year Awards.

He’s gone on to host numerous podcasts, appeared at numerous conventions as a panelist, and mentored many up and coming podcasters. To say that his presence has had a formative effect on New Media would be an understatement.

Within the last month, PG has not only been diagnosed with inoperable, terminal cancer, but he’s been given an incredibly short timeframe by medical staff. With small children, this hits his family even harder than such a shock might under even ‘the best’ circumstances. Whatever that means.

If you can help by donating, please do so. But donations aren’t the only way you can support PG. Send him your warm thoughts via Viv or Chooch. Share the links. Buy the books. At this point, you are giving him piece of mind for his family and letting him know what he means to you.

If you don’t know him, please share in this fight against cancer by doing what you can, in whatever way you can. Fuck cancer.

Buy PG's Book

Buy “Murder at Avedon Hill” by PG Holyfield


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Balticon 48 Wed, 21 May 2014 19:11:15 +0000 Balticon Logo

Balticon 48 Panelist

I’ve had a year of sabbatical on this blog. Trust me when I say that I’ve just been burned out. However, the wheel keeps on turning and as such, GetFound Consulting [my business] has been busy this year. One of my favorite events to attend is Balticon, and this year I’ll be on several panels discussing issues that I deal with all the time as a web consultant.

If you are interested, Balticon runs from 23 May through Memorial Day. Online entry is closed, but you can still pay at the door.

And, should you be ever so interested in meeting me or seeing me in person, my official Balticon 48 schedule is posted below.

  • Developing a Mobile App – Where Do I Start? (Panel) (Moderator), Fri 16:00 – 16:50, Chesapeake (Hunt Valley Inn)
  • Marketing Platforms for Writers (Panel) (Participant), Fri 20:00 – 20:50, Salon B (Hunt Valley Inn)
  • Author Branding Across Platforms and Media (Panel) (Moderator), Sat 11:00 – 11:50, Derby (Hunt Valley Inn)
  • Website Workshop for SF Professionals (Panel) (Participant), Sat 19:00 – 19:50, Chesapeake (Hunt Valley Inn)
  • Author Promotion Materials (Panel) (Participant), Sun 15:00 – 15:50, Parlor 1026 (Hunt Valley Inn)
  • Blogging for dummies (Panel) (Participant), Sun 18:00 – 18:50, Chesapeake (Hunt Valley Inn)
  • WordPress 101 (Panel) (Participant), Sun 19:00 – 19:50, Chesapeake (Hunt Valley Inn)
  • Social Media Promotion (Panel) (Participant), Sun 20:00 – 20:50, Chesapeake (Hunt Valley Inn)
  • Etiquette & Gender Changes in Fiction (Panel) (Moderator), Mon 08:00 – 08:50, Salon B (Hunt Valley Inn)
  • Branding Your Work For Success (Panel) (Participant), Mon 10:00 – 10:50, Salon B (Hunt Valley Inn)
 It is very possible that this schedule may change as no schedule at Balticon seems to stay together past the printing stage of the guides. However, they hand out updates each day, so nab one of them to stay on top of your intended panels.
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New site and stuff Sun, 27 Oct 2013 20:54:48 +0000 I’ve had some ongoing issues and this is to test the site and newsletter functionality.

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Printable: How To Sort Laundry Chart Wed, 10 Jul 2013 03:57:58 +0000 Allison GamblinEver wanted to get your family to actually use your sorting system for laundry? Tired of getting them to do their own laundry and then finding out they actually thought red ‘couldn’t possibly make whites pink’?

I’ve even found my bras in the DRYER! I just about passed out from the heart attack. Especially since I’d just paid a nice chunk [even with a deal!] for those things.

You Just Can’t Get Good Help These Days

Well after quite a talking to, it became apparent that my family needed to actually understand my type-A laundry style. So I promised to find and print a chart. Except that there don’t seem to be any that aren’t simply explaining that no, you really have to put the soap in, and yes you have to fold and put away after. Not that I do. It’s not part of my job description.

So, being me, I made a chart and now you can print it out too!


How To Sort Laundry

Ever since the dawn of time (or maybe just the dawn of ‘mooooom, I’m out of sooooocks!’), moms have been trying to convince their families that you can’t just throw everything in the washer. So here are the simple and fast rules for laundry sorting.

1. Sort your clothes by color. This means darks and whites don’t mix. Brights are divided into your blues, greens, yellows, and light oranges. Pastels go in their own pile. And reds, pinks, and purples get put in their own pile. AND NEVER machine wash anything that says ‘dry clean only’!! You can permanently damage your washer and the clothing.

2. Once you have the clothes color sorted, each color gets divided into piles based on the weight of the material. For instance, you wouldn’t want to wash a bright red set of jeans with a soft red t-shirt. It’s just a recipe for disaster.

3. If you use a soap that is homemade, you can probably just toss each pile in the washing machine with the soap and be safe. If you use a store-bought detergent, follow the instructions on your detergent for best use. Make sure you choose the machine cycle that best applies to your machine and your clothing pile.

4. And finally, once your load of laundry is done washing, transfer it to the dryer, air dry, or lay it to dry flat as the clothing directions state.

So there you have it. Download this printable and hang it somewhere in the laundry room and you’ll never be confused again!

Let me know if you use this chart or if you have one of your own when you comment!

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Balticon 47 Wrap Up Part 1 Sun, 30 Jun 2013 19:41:41 +0000 Hangin' With My HomiesBalticon 47. Wow. What a rush. I’ve got a lot to go over, and I’m not sure how I’m going to do it all. Suffice it to say I had more panels this year than EVAR before. 16 I was listed for. 15 that I actually made. I ended up having to skip the Never Have I Ever panel due to a pre-existing commitment elsewhere.

I then got tagged for the WordPress 101 panel that I had not only written up as an idea the year before, but been listed on this year’s online panel pdf, but then been taken off of for some unknown reason. It was Krazy.

People I met

I’ve been to Balticon every year since I met BrandG in 2008. Some years I get to meet people but don’t really interact. Suffice it to say, this was NOT one of those years.

Some of the highlights of this Balticon include getting married on Thursday [the day before Balticon 47 officially began]. Brand and I actually made the daily paper, which was a hoot! But because of the wedding, I got the incredible opportunity of hanging with AB Kovacs and Scott Sigler. Two of the awesomest and most kewl peeps a body can hope to know..hang with. Ask Scott to tell you about getting milk for his coffee sometime. Also, the smoking Jacket.

I got to be on several panels with Pamela Gay as well. This was a new and interesting experience mostly because I’m pretty sure the panel IQ level tilted severely in her direction. I really enjoyed her insight on several topics including WordPress as, for some odd reason, I only ever think of her as an astrologer astronomer. But she is actually a professor of computer science as well. Way cool! Though I think she had to reign me in a bit when I got carried away on the WordPress 101 panel.

Another oft seen but ne’er interacted with person was Starla Huchton. She is an avid author who moonlights as a graphic artist. That gave us something to actually discuss as I have often worked with folks needing graphic design insight and help. We were on a panel regarding the covers and layout of books and I think we both gained a mutual respect for each other. Mostly because we both actually knew what we were talking about. As opposed to..nevermind. Moving on.

P.C. Haring was there as well, which while not new, was interesting because he and I don’t interact much. But it’s always good to be able to help out with someone having a wordpress issue. And I’m happy to say that several of P.C.’s sites will be getting a hand up in the next few weeks due to several of our discussions.

Panels I Sat On

Friday was a fairly light day as I only had  “Meeting Other Podcasters” in the Derby Room. This panel ended up being more about the science of networking and progressing with a podcast than actually ‘meeting podcasters’. Which is not exactly how I interpreted the write up. Still I got to sit on this panel with Chris Snelgrove (who moderated), Katie Bryski, Doc Coleman, Nutty Nuchtchas, and Nobilis Reed. The panel was an indepth look at why you should network with other podcasters, and what you should steer clear of. I think the overall agreement was that this cannot be reduced or oversimplified. Much of the advice given is relevant based only upon your intent and goals.

After that, we were invited to do Bar Con with AB Kovacs and Sigler. We got to hang out with them for a while and met a great group of new peeps who were attendees and not participants.

Saturday was my biggest day for panels. I ended up streaking back and forth between Derby room and Chesapeake all day. I’m confidant that I burned off most of the calories gained from eating the Noodles & Company Rice Krispy Treat.

At 12 pm I jumped in on the “Blogging for Dummies” panel down in Chesapeake. Tim Dodge moderated this panel and we got several late add ons. Our main goal was to discuss what works, what doesn’t, and how to use a blog to drive traffic to your site, book, or podcast. Honestly this was a pretty laid back panel that ended up discussing what you needed on your blog. There was some advice handed out that I didn’t really agree with but que sera sera.

“Promoting your podcast” started at one p.m. in the Chesapeake room so I was able to stick around after Blogging and not have to make a break for it. Lucky me. The panel was moderated by Alicia Goranson, but she wasn’t able to make it until near the end so Scott Sigler [another panelist] ended up taking over as moderator for a while. Hugh O’Donnell, AB Kovacs, and I were the other panelists but only AB and I were there with Scott at the start. Hugh wasn’t able to show up right at the beginning, but joined us a bit later. Our topic: Where and how does an up and coming podcaster spread the word about their releases? Honestly, we went off the rails as the only ones there that did a significant amount of promotional work were AB and Sigler. And I was OK with that. The picture up top is from that panel.

So at the end of that panel I had to go streaking back down to Derby for the 2 pm “Writing Real Children”. Let’s be honest here. This panel pissed me off. Most of the people there had their ego out on display and it just erked me no end. But I rush in. Katie Bryski was the moderator, and she was very up front with the fact that she didn’t have kids. Collin Earl, Gail Z. Martin, T. J. Perkins, and I were the panelists. We were asked how can authors realistically portray children in their writing, whether in YA, or in adult works featuring young characters? Also, what are the pitfalls to watch out for when writing a child character?

Most of the panelists launched into great ideas on keeping with the rules of your story, don’t break character, try to be realistic if called for, etc. And then it started getting weird. The other panelists all started patting each other on the head as they discussed how kids don’t act like adults, can’t be written like scam artists [an idea that I had earlier espoused], etc. But the one that really sunk the nail in the coffin of this panel was when one of the panelists said that an author can’t make a child be able to say something along the lines of “Tom Cruise is a good actor. I think he portrayed that character very well.”

To be honest I was kind of aghast considering Elf Princess was sitting in the room at the front. Let her never hear that and take it to heart! My daughter is incredibly well-spoken when she decides to be. And anyone who has ever had time to seriously have a conversation with her knows this. She’s an under 10. So at what point did these mighty panelists decide that kids, who are in general terrific mimics and scammers, were too stupid to be able to pull off an adult level of conversation? Perhaps they’ve never bothered to actually talk to a truly geek kid. Maybe they’ve never bothered giving their own kids enough credit to raise them to speak properly. I was incredibly proud of myself for keeping my mouth shut. The rest of the panel was so full of their own wisdom that they literally couldn’t be bothered with the evidence sitting in front of their faces. It was pathetic.

With that great mindset, I went into the 4 pm “Make Your Book Shine!” panel. Happily, the panel was a much better one and I was able to kewl my jets. I moderated while A.L. Davroe, Starla Huchton, and Betsy A. Riley discussed basic information on interior formatting and layout of manuscripts and book cover design. We went on to cover when to DIY or hire someone, how to find the right people for the job, and how the panelists’ own covers were assembled the way they were. This panel was one of my favorites because I got to lead a really great discussion and cover a topic I really enjoy. Art.

At 5 pm I ended up sitting on the “Put Together the Total Package” panel in Chesapeake. I’d thought about  possibly having Brand sub in for this one, but AB Kovaks had asked me to stick around for it. So I did. Boy was that a mistake. Starla Huchton, A. B. Kovacs, Jim Stratton, and I were on a panel moderated by Collin Earl. Our goal was to discuss how to make your book sell, including various self-publishing avenues and requirements, marketing strategies, and tools to promote your work. I guess no one told Jim that he wasn’t the star of the show.

AB and I just sat there and tried not to look at each other [A kept telling me to stop looking at her because she was trying not to snicker or laugh] as Jim went on to discuss why “The Facebook” was an ok social media tool. And I’m pretty sure Starla barely was able to look up from her hands. I know. I was watching. Jim Stratton has a way about him that just puts my teeth on edge. I can’t really nail it down. It might have been his QVC quality of self promotion, or maybe it was the completely erroneous list of things to do to self-promote. All in all, he had the total package for turning me off, forever, on his writing and his work. I guess, in that light, he had his brand down pat.

Let me put it this way. Collin Earl is a happy sort and an attorney. He’s kind of loud when he gets going, but in a friendly sort of way. He barely got a word in. That’s how loud and pushing and wrong Jim was.

As we quickly exited from that panel, which seemed to drone on forever, I tore off to the 7 pm “Business Cards and Beyond” down at Derby. Cynical Woman and Starla were on the panel with me. And honestly, I think I laughed the most at this panel. We just had a good time. We ended up deciding that Moo cards were pretty awesome, QR codes may or may not work, and that making people pay $1 for an extra business card with special art was a nifty way to go. Damn good time had by all.

Balticon was a rush around, and I think i could have slept for weeks. More to come.

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Why I Chose Genesis Over Thesis: A Framework Discussion Sat, 18 May 2013 01:00:57 +0000 CC License by Allison Gamblin

Image by GetFound Consulting

The Genesis vs Thesis argument, it’s as old as WordPress itself. Or at least it feels that way. When I was having to rebuild my site, I had to choose between some themes I was familiar with and a framework version which brought me to the Genesis vs Thesis argument. It wasn’t one I had delved too deeply into but I started dipping my toe in when one of my customers initially asked me about it. We went with Genesis for his site because it ended up having a skin he really liked and some options that worked for his goals. Even so, I didn’t end up having a terribly deep knowledge of the differences between these frameworks until just a few days ago. So let’s go over the basics to bring any newbies up to speed.

Framework or Theme

If you aren’t terribly familiar with WordPress, you are already floundering with the terminology. So let’s clear that up. Most users of the WordPress Content Management System [CMS] use a theme. This means that they have a file which controls the look, feel, and user interface for a reader. That is basically all a theme does. A child theme means that you have, for all intents and purposes, two copies of the same theme. The first theme version is your “straight from the publisher” copy. The child theme is the hacked version that lets you tweak it to your heart’s content making the theme truly how you want it. The beauty of this is that you can update the main theme and get all the upgrades without losing your tweaks. If, however, you hack the main theme without a child theme, you end up losing all your tweaks as soon as you upgrade. Find out more about  Child Themes by visiting the WordPress Codex site.

A Framework on the other hand brings along a whole new set of code and functionality to the WordPress CMS. According to WordPress frameworks must have a “drop-in code” [commonly referred to as a ‘code library’] that is called into play by the framework reliant theme. The framework also has to have a starter or base theme that allows for child themes. Basically you have to have the framework to get the base theme to operate AND you have to have a child theme to spruce up the base theme. You cannot operate any site on a framework alone. Nor can you just grab a framework’s child theme and try to use it on the basic WordPress CMS. It won’t go, so to speak.

Thesis: The Basics

Now that you understand what it is we are discussing, let’s see what the Thesis gang has to offer. Remember, this is your framework alone and a theme may not necessarily even be in the picture yet. Cost Thesis Framework comes at three levels: Basic [$87], Basic plus [$164], and Professional [$197]. As their pay schedule (shown below) highlights, each level gets a certain amount of support upgrades, and extras.

Thesis Pay levels

Image Courtesy of

Basic is a good choice if you are a small blogger with no pretentions of greatness. You just want a solid base and a chance to get your feet wet. The sad part is that after a year, you are SOL. No upgrades at all. And from there on out, you have to pay out again to get a higher version and or anything else. PLUS this doesn’t come with a skin [the Thesis version of a child theme]. So you end up walking around with a skeleton site, no upgrades after a year, and the chance to pay over $80 more when you finally decide to upgrade. Why would you do this to yourself?

As you look at the other choices, you see that the Pro version is the only one that really seems to be a safe bet. You’ll get unlimited upgrades, lots of add-ons, 2 skins, and an email signup and social media attachment. Of course, you are also paying just shy of $190 for the privilege. Oh and then there’s the support.

Ease of Use

A lot of new Thesis users don’t expect to have to drop themselves into a college level class on site creation to use a theme. Unfortunately, Thesis is not a great “click to use” sort of software. You need an intimate working knowledge of hooks, html, css, and the like to get the framework to respond as you’d like. It is time intensive and not for the faint of heart.

And possibly, not even then. There are quite a few blog posts around Al Gore’s amazing internets that talk of  5 year+ users that switched because they couldn’t stand the Thesis generated drama anymore.

Thesis Support

Word ’round the net is that the support for Thesis 2.0 has a lot to wish for. The forums are big and sprawling but not terribly well organized or helpful. The current train of thought is that Thesis 2.0 got released before it was ready and that the developers are taking their sweet time. In fact, from a lot of the stuff I’ve been reading, there’s a lot of buyer’s remorse going on out there.

With that sort of pool to draw from, plus a $200 outlay for what may come standard with a pro theme from someone else, why would you bite the bullet? On there bright side, once you decide what a terrible idea this was, they do have a 30 day, money-back guarantee.

Genesis: The Basics

Genesis is owned and coded by Studiopress, part of the CopyBlogger network. While this may not mean much to the average site user, CopyBlogger is just about the biggest thing in the blogging world since sliced bread. To our nerd friends, CopyBlogger is to bloggers as BoingBoing is to nerds. Got it? Good. So with the power of such a site behind it, there’s a lot riding on the theme. Their professional reputation for a start. This gives them a vested interest in, to steal an Apple phrase, “making it just work”.

The Genesis Framework has three price points: Framework ($55), Framework plus theme (Price varies but include framework and chosen theme), and Pro Bundle ($350 but includes framework and all StudioPress created themes ever released).

The nice part of Genesis is that as soon as you install and activate, you are ready to go. In many ways it’s nothing short of drag-and-drop, point-and-click. This is a HUGE step over Thesis because there is a much smaller learning curve right off the bat. And if you get stuck, they have a well-developed support forum that has a great reputation for getting you un-stuck.

You get unlimited updates for the life of the framework and theme. If you bought a theme, you can get expert assistance in tweaking that as well.

Ease of Use

Genesis is an out of the box sort of framework. Just install and go. Themes hook right in and you can change most options right from your dash. There are also quite a few widget options that can easily change the look, feel, and usability of your site.

Updates are a snap as Genesis will email you when you need/can update the basic framework. At that point it’s as simple as updating a plugin, no FTP access required.

Genesis Support

Genesis runs a very easy to use forum but their set up page is terrific! You can find all the basic questions answered including the one we all wanna see answered: How do I change the credits in the footer? How many other FAQs make that THAT easy to find? None in my experience.

To Wrap Up

Your Reasons For Choosing...ThesisGenesis
Uses your chosen SEO PluginThesis generates its own SEO properties so you can't (or 'don't need to' as kool-aid drinkers say) use your preferred SEO plugin.Genesis does whatever the hell you want. 'Nough said.
Comes with a 'press-and-play' designNope. You are on your own toots. But for the low-low price of whatever the theme you like is costingYes
and this is cool
there are a million and one different child themes out there for those who can't have just one.
Base Price Point$87$56
Unlimited Support at lowest price pointYes but the reviews of this forum read like a horror novel.Yes

If you are still unconvinced, take a look around this site. It’s a Genesis based site and that’s because I had to choose. And Genesis won, hands down.

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DIY Storage Box Wed, 15 May 2013 13:46:50 +0000 Items List for DIY BoxIf you have a couple extra Amazon shipping boxes laying around, you can easily manage this DIY Storage Box.

Item List

You will need a box, a roll of cling paper in your preferred style, a pair of scissors, packing tape, a pencil, a ruler, and whatever label you choose to use.

Project Level: Easy to Low Intermediate


      1. Choose which end of the box you wish to be the bottom. Tape the ends and reinforce your edges.Cut off trangles
      2. Using the ruler, mark a spot on the box 3-5 inches up from the bottom of the box, on the far right edge. This will determine the lowest point of the angle cut. Flip the box over and repeat on the opposite side. When you connect these two lines, you should have a straight line that bisects the narrow edge of your box.
      3. Flip the box over towards you and draw a line from the top left edge to the mark you made first. This line will be your cutting edge. Repeat on opposite side of the box. You should now have a triangle marked out on either wide side of the box.
      4. Using your scissors [or an exactor knife], cut along the three lines you’ve created. You may need to cut more depending on how the box was previously constructed.
      5. Check that your edges are as smooth as possible, then align the box on the back of the cling paper [image should be down towards your work surface].
      6. Trace a line on the cling paper that runs along the edge of your cut box. This is your ‘home base’. All other lines created need to be in relation to this area.
      7. Maintain the location of the box’s bottom right edge, and rotate clockwise so that it is up on it’s ‘spine’ [like a book]. Trace a dotted line down the right edge of the spine. This will be a folding line.
      8. Rotate the box clockwise while maintaining the location of the bottom right edge. Your box should now be in a mirror image position of step 6.
      9. Trace the box from this position with a dotted line.
      10. Remove the box from the tracing paper. You should have a trapezoid traced onto the paper.
      11. Add 2 inches of space around all edges except the line that you drew for the bottom of the box. This should give you a halo of space that you will use to cover the cut edges of the box. Increase or decrease that 2 inches as necessary.
      12. Measure the bottom width of your box [the edge it will rest on in final form]. Divide by two. Add half an inch to this new number. This is the amount of ‘halo’ you need to add to the bottom line of your tracing.DIY Storage Box
      13. Cut along the outer edge of your Halo tracing [NOT the box tracing].

        Spine of Box

        Spine of Box

      14. You should now see only one traced line on your cut paper as the halo line will be gone.
      15. Slowly adhere the cling paper using the ‘home base’ lines as a guide. Do this slowly so that you can eliminate air bubbles and avoid tears.
      16. You may find it necessary to nip and tuck at corners to help the cling paper fold properly.
      17. Use a hospital bed type corner method when folding along edges and creating corners.
      18. You should now have a tightly covered box that looks similar to a magazine holder. Tape any edges of the cling paper that seem to be loose.2013-02-11 10.07.53
      19. Fill and label your box.
      20. Use for storage. Way to UpCycle!
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DIY Magnetic Makeup Board Sat, 11 May 2013 03:21:56 +0000 Project Rating: Intermediate

My Finished Magnetic Makeup Board

Ever wanted to find out how to make one of those nifty DIY Magnetic Makeup Boards? I did. You see, I’ve been fussing with my makeup for years. Trying to pare down what I don’t need and trying to store what I do. When I first saw the idea on Pinterest over  a year ago, I was intrigued. And as Mother’s Day rolls around, it seems only fitting to show you how to do it.

One of my main complaints with the tutorials currently out there is that almost all of them say “which your local hardware store can do” or, something equally as obnoxious, “you can find this anywhere”. It’s a lie. I know, I’ve tried getting my local hardware store to do any number of things, and finding a frame? Ugh. So here’s a Real Girl’s DIY guide to actually knocking this project off your to-do list.

Project Level: Intermediate


You will need the following items in order to complete this project. Sizes vary so you need to match the size of your final object to the supplies you gather.

  • Steel sheeting, 10-20 gauge works best [Fast Buy: Stainless Supply]
  • Offset Metal Clips [Fast Buy: Home Depot]
  • 1 square yard of a thin material
  • 1 Wooden picture frame [Size Guide: The edge should be at least 1.5″ – 2″ wide at a minimum to provide strength]
  • Spray Craft Glue
  • Preferred spray paint color
  • Any required hanging material [depending on the frame’s pre-existing hardware]
  • Rare Earth Magnets
  • Hot glue and hot glue gun

I have added some Fast Buy options to make it easy for you. I chose to use these options myself because they were the cheapest options that managed to fit all my needs while not compromising quality. Also, you don’t have to go do research. Love me yet?

Some notes. In regards to your steel, most of the current tutorials say that you can get the local hardware store to cut you a piece. This is incredibly unlikely. I’ve spoken to Lowes, Home Depot, and Ace. All of them said they do not cut wood or metal for ‘safety reasons’. The majority of them do not sell pieces of sheet metal as small as the normal female needs for a simple board. So getting your piece custom cut is the only option left unless your husband is a metal worker. Stainless Supply will do small orders at the best price I’ve seen. The majority of the price is actually shipping costs due to weight. This will decrease as your gauge decreases [gauge meaning thickness and pliability of the metal].

Original Frame

My GoodWill find

I found my frame at the local GoodWill. I recommend this option as you would be hard pressed to find a frame under $20 at your normal craft shop. I only paid $7 for mine.

The magnets are harder to find, but I was fortunate in that my husband was planning to create a large hadron collider or something. So I stole his.


  1.  Find the frame you want and measure the interior area. This is the size of the steel piece you need to order +/- 1/8th of an inch.
  2. Order your steel sheeting. This may take up to 2 weeks to arrive depending on your location so make sure you can work on the other parts of this project in the meantime.
  3. Sand and spray paint the frame in any way you desire. Make sure you use a spray paint that will seal the wood as well as cover it. A glossy paint is best as it cleans better.
  4. Cut your cloth so that it is about 2″ larger on each side than your steel sheet. This is so you can tuck the cloth around the sharp edges prior to insertion into the frame.
  5. When the metal comes, spray the steel with the tacky glue. Make sure that the glue is applied evenly.
  6. Lay the cloth over the glued side of the steel. Gently work out any bubbles and make sure it lays evenly across the surface of the steel. Allow to dry.
  7. Turn the frame painted side down towards your work surface. Place the steel in the picture slot, cloth side down. You should now be looking at the unclothed side of the steel with the unpainted side of the frame.
  8. Fold the edges of the material down so they lay more or less flat against the steel. Attach 1-2 of the offset metal clips on each side so that the steel is held firmly in place. You DO NOT WANT THERE TO BE ANY SHIFTING. <<<< This is important. Depending on your frame, you may need to experiment in the best way to apply your clips.
  9. Once the steel is in place, add any necessary hardware to the rear of the frame so you can hang it.
  10. Hang the frame using a Hercules hook or something else that will bear the weight of the frame as well as the makeup you’ll be hanging on it.
  11. Glue the magnets to the makeup. I recommend experimenting so you can figure out which side will make it easiest for you to know what is what. Be warned, the hot glue doesn’t always hold. However, using stronger glue may pose a problem when you have to take the magnets off before throwing empty makeup containers away.

Wrap Up

Spray The Frame

The Spray Paint Stage

This makes an excellent gift idea and can usually be done in a single afternoon once you have all your items. Some final thoughts.

  • You can scuff the painted frame up a bit with a gentle sandpaper and then apply a coat of gloss spray paint over it. This will age the frame and give it some character.
  • You can go to the dollar store and get some cheap metal containers. Spray paint them and glue them to magnets. Now you can store your brushes and tools.
  • Don’t ever put glass up. Should the glue give way, well…you get the idea.

I hope you find this DIY helpful. Please share it and let me know of your ideas and how your project turned out in the comments below!

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