A 2Summers Christmas Makeover

I gave myself a new blog for Christmas.

It’s a good time to reinvent myself. It’s been a heck of a year. I’ve experienced immense joy in 2011, along with unimaginable grief and despair.  The last two months in particular have left me feeling like someone removed my internal organs, beat them to a pulp with a hammer, then placed them back inside my body. And the year ain’t over yet.

So. Time for a change.

I loved my old header image of the South African and U.S. flags flapping in the wind. Joe shot the photo in Melville during the 2010 World Cup, just before I moved here. It was a unique image that communicated a lot about who I am and what my blog is about.

2Summers, pre-makeover, using the WordPress Twenty Ten theme.

But to be honest, I’d grown a little bored with the flags. And while I loved my old WordPress blog theme, which was called ‘Twenty Ten’, it seemed a bit outdated for 2012.

I searched the WordPress archives and found a new theme that I like, called ‘Parament’. (I’d never heard that word before. According to Wikipedia, it is ‘a term applied by ancient writers to the hangings or ornaments of a room of state’.) I love the clean, modern feel of the theme.

Then I searched my hard drive and found a new header photo.

Me on the Melville Koppies, August 2010. Photo courtesy of Joe.

I estimate that I’ve posted well over 1,000 photos on this blog since I started it. Ironically, the photo I picked for my new header appeared in one of the first posts I wrote after moving to Johannesburg. I think it’s perfect. It’s a photo of me in Melville, where I live, visiting one of my favorite spots in Joburg, the Melville Koppies. I remember the moment when this photo was taken. It was a happy one.

Here’s hoping my new blog will be the start of a new, happy beginning.

Since my new blog has a Melville Koppies theme, I’ll leave you with a few photos from Carols on the Koppies, which I attended with friends last Sunday. The Melville Junction Church choir performed a Christmas concert on the Koppies, and the whole neighborhood turned up to listen and chow down on mince pies afterward. Good times.

Following colored lanterns to Carols on the Koppies.

A Melville dog waits patiently for the caroling to begin.

Spectators settle in as the sun sets.

Another stunning Jozi sky.

The carolers perform their finale amidst great fanfare. Check out the swirling multi-colored lights that turned into Christmas trees with my slow shutter speed. Not sure if that was intentional or not. Also, the conductor appears headless and there is a green ghost on the left.

City skyline at night. A rare photographic opportunity, as the Koppies normally close at dusk.

Feedback on the new blog is welcome! As long as you say you love it.

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  • Reply Kathryn McCullough December 15, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    I LOVE the new look, Heather. Congrats on the makeover. What a wonderful Christmas present to yourself and to all of us who enjoy your blog so much! Happy holidays, my friend.

    • Reply 2summers December 15, 2011 at 9:14 pm

      Thanks, Kathy. It’s funny, I’ve been scrolling through the themes for a while and having a horrible time finding one that I liked. And having a horrible time finding a photo that would be a suitable replacement to the old one. Then suddenly today, I found both!

  • Reply landofnams December 15, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    You are my hero. That is all. Love the new look too 🙂

  • Reply Ingrid Stahlman December 15, 2011 at 9:22 pm

    Perfect and I do love it!!

    Happy Holidays to you :~D


    • Reply 2summers December 15, 2011 at 9:30 pm

      Thanks Ingrid. You too. I miss you and Tricia!

  • Reply Lu December 15, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    Love the look: both post and new theme!
    Love that you are ahead of the game for 2012, too!
    Here’s to a good year – here’s to a better year.

    …We move on from the old, to embrace the new…

    Don’t know where that “philosophy” comes from, but it suits me just fine – most of the time!


    ps… I might try and catch up with you in late Jan/early Feb and join in a joburg photowalk, if you’re cool with that??

    • Reply 2summers December 15, 2011 at 9:42 pm

      Absolutely! I’d love to meet you. We can plan a special photowalk in your honor.

  • Reply thirdeyemom December 15, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    I love the new look of your blog Heather! I am so sorry to hear that you’ve had a painful two months. I hope everything is ok! Sometimes life can really be a bitch, that is for sure. Yet somehow we survive and sometimes even thrive through difficult times. When you are in the thick of it, it is hard to see through the crap but you will pull through . Hang in there, keep writing as it helps the soul and we readers love your blog. Wishing you merrier days ahead for 2012!

    • Reply 2summers December 15, 2011 at 10:01 pm

      Thanks Nicole. A new blog theme makes everything seem better!

  • Reply Yashik December 15, 2011 at 9:50 pm

    New beginnings… Full of hope… All the best!!

  • Reply Jaco Roets December 15, 2011 at 10:17 pm

    Loving it!

    • Reply 2summers December 16, 2011 at 8:07 am

      Thanks Jaco, glad you like it!

  • Reply lisa@notesfromafrica December 15, 2011 at 11:28 pm

    Great new look for your blog and for the new year!

  • Reply Debra Kolkka December 16, 2011 at 4:45 am

    I love it! I hope you have a great Christmas and a wonderful new year.

    • Reply 2summers December 16, 2011 at 8:06 am

      Thanks Debra, you too.

  • Reply Bing December 16, 2011 at 4:52 am

    I hope doing a new skin gave you heaps of satisfaction! I’m in the process of changing my skin too and it’s so much work! I have to change a webhost too. It’s a nightmare! Feel better soon gal. All will be well in the new year. =)

    • Reply 2summers December 16, 2011 at 8:06 am

      Can’t wait to see your new skin! I guess WordPress.com does have its advantages sometimes…

  • Reply eremophila December 16, 2011 at 4:58 am

    It’s a fabulous new layout, and yep, just as good as a new outfit and hairstyle! 🙂
    I’ve a little book in which I place quotes that I find and like. For a while it’s lain dormant, but this week I needed to add some more to it, and guess what I just found for you –
    “In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.”
    I think Albert Camus sums it up nicely 🙂 xx

    • Reply 2summers December 16, 2011 at 8:04 am

      Wow. You just made me cry a little bit 🙂

  • Reply Mark Wiens December 16, 2011 at 5:44 am

    Nice clean design, looks great. And also the darker background really makes the already amazing photography look great too!

    • Reply 2summers December 16, 2011 at 8:04 am

      Thanks Mark, much appreciated.

  • Reply Spiral Dreamer December 16, 2011 at 8:19 am

    A really great new look. I love the header picture.

    • Reply 2summers December 16, 2011 at 8:21 am

      Thank you. It’s funny, this photo has been my gravatar image forever and I’ve used it for many other things. But it never occurred to me to use it for my blog header until yesterday.

  • Reply Tilly Bud December 16, 2011 at 11:49 am

    I do! It looks great!

    • Reply 2summers December 16, 2011 at 1:08 pm

      Thanks, I’m glad everyone likes it! Although I didn’t really give you a choice.

  • Reply Owls December 16, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    It looks great!! Love it.

  • Reply Jeroen December 16, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    Nice. You can’t change skins often enough, I always say.

    • Reply 2summers December 16, 2011 at 8:29 pm

      True. When will we be seeing the German incarnation of Life on the Rand?

  • Reply Eugenia A Parrish December 17, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    Your photos make me feel that I’m there, and I love the new header. Flags are fine, but it’s become more about following you on your journey.

    I lost my camera about a month ago (it wasn’t a very good one anyway) and have felt indifferent about replacing it, but reading about your pics and photo walks has got me fired up about trying to record the images of my life. But I’ll probably wait until after Christmas, when cameras are on sale!

    • Reply 2summers December 18, 2011 at 10:27 am

      Post-holiday camera-shopping sounds like a good plan. I literally don’t think I could survive without photography anymore! Thanks for the kind words about my new blog.

  • Reply Caroline Hurry December 17, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    Great post! Great layout … all the best for 2012 Heather … so looking forward to hearing lots more from you.

    • Reply 2summers December 18, 2011 at 10:26 am

      Thanks Carrie, you too. Glad you like the new format.

  • Reply Anna December 18, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    Oh, I am so surprised that I’m the only one who is not liking the white print on black background – so hard on the eyes. And so much reflection. But good luck with the whole ‘rising from the ashes’ thing! I’ve been there.

    • Reply 2summers December 18, 2011 at 2:11 pm

      Hi Anna, thanks so much for the comment. It’s funny, I feel exactly the opposite about the white print on black — I think it’s easier to read than black on white. Everyone’s eyes are different, I guess. I appreciate your honesty, though. I hope you’ll keep reading anyway 🙂

  • Reply Sine December 19, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    I actually have to agree with Anna. I first started out my blog white on black as well, and changed it eventually because I found it too hard to read. But I love everything else about your new design, especially the header image! Good luck for the New Year!

  • Reply claire December 20, 2011 at 3:08 am

    I love this new photo. It is the perfect image to convey what is most amazing about your experiences, stories and this blog- your journey. It makes me miss you very much. xx

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