An unfiltered fire hose of flaming condemnation


I know, I know, you don’t like purple. Or black. And that font over there is too small to read. And don’t even get you started on squares, they’re almost as bad as having to walk around with a rock in your shoe. These are all valid complaints and are being taken very seriously. Or at least, somewhat seriously, because there was this one email that was very passionate in its hatred of this change, and she was all DIE! DIE! DIE! and then there at the bottom was her signature followed by a quote from Jesus.

I’m going to let Jon talk about all the technical issues surrounding this redesign and why we decided to go with a different content management system, because all I did was draw up a design in Photoshop and say MAKE IT LOOK LIKE THIS. He has been knee-deep in code for almost two months now, and the only way we were able to launch the new design this soon and not, say, after we had both died of old age is because he had help from two expert developers, Ben Durbin and Bill Bostick. The amount and quality of work that they did was indispensable, cannot recommend them enough, and mostly I just want to thank them for all the support they gave Jon because without them he would have gone completely bald.

Yesterday as we neared the final stretch I decided to take Leta out to run some errands so Jon could project manage those last few tasks without being distracted by the sound of her body tossing itself on the floor. He briefly got up from this desk to kiss me goodbye when I noticed two giant sweat stains underneath his arms, and I was all, are you running on a treadmill while coding my website? Isn’t that complicated? And he’s all, yes I’m running on a treadmill, WITH MY BRAIN.

So what did I hope to accomplish with this redesign? First and foremost, I wanted to be able to post bigger photographs. That was a huge problem with the previous design, and for years I could only post photos that were 450 pixels wide. Which is why I always posted vertical photos, just to get as much out of those 450 pixels as possible. Now the width is almost double that, which gives me so much more freedom with the camera.

Two, I wanted to start a Daily Style section, some place to store my thoughts and photographs on the design of things in everyday life. When brainstorming ways to incorporate that into the site it made sense to make it a feature like the Daily Photo and Daily Chuck, mainly because I wanted it to include a photograph I’d taken of the object myself to emphasize the fact that these are things I use, these are things in my home.

Three, the Daily Links section has moved from the sidebar into the main content column. This is to give those links more emphasis, and sometime this week the background color of those entries will change color a tiny bit to differentiate them from the other posts. Also coming this week: a “previous” and “next” button at the bottom of all the posts for easier navigation and a redirected RSS feed (so you won’t have to re-subscribe to it).

Finally, I’m hoping to be able to open comments more frequently with this redesign. In recent months when I opened comments my server would crash under the 17 million scripts that ran to publish a single comment, and often people would think that their comment hadn’t published only to have it publish ten times in a row. That had everything to do with how the pages were built, and we think we’ve solved this problem.

Soon we’ll find out because I’m going to open up comments on this post to get your feedback, and I just totally winced writing that. Please be gentle for I am a delicate flower. Also, before you leave a comment you are required to watch this video. Twice. (video is not completely safe for work, but worth getting yelled at for it)

Also also, while comments are open, is there any question you’d like to see answered in the FAQ? Other than SHOW US YR TITZZ!!!!!!!!!! Because that question is getting old.

  • Brea in Santa Barbara

    I shouldn’t have been surprised to hear that people were complaining, but I still was. It is my good fortune when I click on my favorites tab and see a new post from you. You, john and Leta RULE but I save my true admiration for Chuck. I just received his calendar yesterday…awwwww!

  • Ericadaun

    OMG Heather! I love, love, love your new page. I think the new photos are fantastic, and I especially like the new Daily Style photo. I think you do amazing work on this website, it is by far the most sophisticated and sleek blog I have read on the internet. Keep up the great work!

    (I liked the recent photos off the top of the SLC library as well!)

  • Lovely! I noticed the larger photos immediately… before you ever mentioned it, so your goal? Accomplished. You two do everything well!


  • Lovebuzz38

    You are a great designer. Love the new layout!

  • Well, I hate change, and I hate the new look, but… I *heart* reading your blog so I’ll deal.

  • Testing a line break.

    Testing a line break.

    Testing a URL

    Another line break.

    *Ok my last “run-on” comment was posted in Mac Safari, this is posted in Camino. Still run-on. But I see earlier comments by others had line breaks so do what you will. 🙂

  • Love everything. It all looks great. But. Please bring back the links page! That’s all. Carry on.

  • nitebyrd

    I like everything about the new design. Ya done good!

  • Meaghan

    I love the redesign!

    The handwriting-like font that you use really doesn’t look like what I picture your writing being like! That isn’t a criticism, just an observation. I picture your writing being more angular and spiky.

  • I love the new layout and colors (my 2 favorite colors)! Don’t listen to the haters. I still don’t understand why they keep coming back if they hate you so much? Oh that’s right, Jealousy!

  • Hi Heather.

    I’ve been reading your site/life since 2001 (and researching them since 2005) and have enjoyed all of the redesigns. This one is still accessible–except for those who refuse to use a better browser or utilize tabbed browsing.

    General Questions:

    What is the purpose and goal(s) of Armstrong Media, LLC?

    How/Has your view of maintaining this website changed since incorporating, registering?

    Research Questions:

    Why do you share your life with us?

    How/Have your view(s) on privacy changed throughout the years of maintaining this site?

  • Des Mct-Master

    Your husband is hot and smart, good catch…..OH, and your sexxxyyyy!! Love the new site and purple makes me giggle.
    odin, my alaskan husky loves your so talented dog and wishes he was more like him.
    Keep up the entertaining!!

  • Amy

    I have something for the FAQ. I’d like to know how you trained Chuck to balance things on his head. I need my dog to hold the tape dispenser while I wrap presents this holiday season.

  • The new design is great, congrats to you, Jon and other people. And dude, that video is HILARIOUS.

  • Smells great! I love the larger photos.

    Great work, kids!

    Have a fabulous Thanksgiving.

  • I pretty much had a baby when I saw the new site. It’s fantastic, and well worth the brain sweat.

  • you’re amazing. that video was hilarious! keep up the good work!

  • CJ

    I like the new design!

  • Julie

    I love your new site it is wonderful. Keep up the hard work and don’t listen to the negativity.

  • Lindsay

    Looks great!!

  • julie

    POP UP ADS? nooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

  • I LOVE the redesign. Purple is not my favorite color but it works with the pic of Chuck 😉

    I just wanted you to know I’ve been reading your site for a long time and think you’re wonderful! 🙂

  • YOU. ROCK. Even if you only rate high school. LOL.

  • 1032 comments are you serious?

    Did you know how many people read your Blog?

    Seems to me It doesn’t make a hill of beans what it looks like or how it is laid out.

    Go Head Girl, make it any damn color and font size you want.


  • Kirsten

    It’s your blog, it’s your decision. Jeezus and the haters can just deal with it. On a side note, purple = mah favorite color evah, so you can do no wrong there 🙂 Also, wootlies to Jon for working so hard. Success all round!

  • Well done on the new design Heather! I think with the comments the only thing you’re going to have to worry about is the people on the first page that will type stuff like, “OMG FIRST COMMENT!” The people who send you hate mail know that if they make any attempt to leave a hateful comment on your loyal readers will bitch-slap them. Hard.

  • Sara

    I think it looks awesome. Jesus loves purple.

  • I think the purple and black are great (my two favorite colors). It looks more put together, though I think it’d look even better if the entire blog matched the header.. that would rock. The daily style is a great new addition and I’m looking forward to seeing more. Great blog- always has been, always will be.

  • Laura

    Congrats on the launch!
    It looks really nice! I´m loving the daily style….


  • Anne

    It’s so clean and pretty! – And easy to navigate!

    I had been reading your posts in Google Reader but with the redesign I’m not sure I can resist visiting.

  • Anonymous

    I think the new site looks really nice. Congrats.

    I used to be in the online advertising business and eye mapping studies (where they follow users eye patterns as they look over a computer screen) all conclude that we naturally veer to the right of the screen.

    So if the goal was for folks to read more ads, then it works for that. But if the goal is to make reading your column the priority, then you should put it back on the right column.

  • jen

    I like the little stories that go along with the pictures. Especially the ones about Chuck.

  • Who are these people who don’t like the purple and black?? I think it looks great…looking forward to seeing all the monthly(ish) headers fit in 🙂

    I also love that the site looks great on my iPhone with lovely big photos; I’m sure Jon has spent a lot of time checking it on his! Well done to both of you, the new site is fab and looks fab.

  • Ali

    I like the redesign, the only negative things I have to say are about the fonts. The font on the buttons looks space-age-ish and the curly font doesn’t exactly… match. But don’t take my word for it, I’m the one with a website in desperate need of redesign that I’m too lazy to get to. 🙂 Great work.

  • Anonymous

    I love the black and purple. I love this site, and hope the comments work. All the best!

  • Loving the new site changes, Heather! Purple and black are very cool colors. 🙂

    And the video was hysterical, LOL! “First!” LOL!

    Hope you and your family are doing well. 🙂

    Our family is getting closer to being incremented. That’s geek talk for my baby is due Wednesday, 11/21/2007, or rather, technically today, since it’s 3am Wednesday while I type this. However, he has pretty much convinced me and the doctors that he LIKES HIS SMALL WET APARTMENT, and isn’t ready to vacate the premises quite yet, LOL! Maybe I’ll have a chance to have turkey before he finally “moves out”.

    Speaking of which, Happy Thanksgiving!!!! Hope it’s a good, low-stress holiday for you. 🙂

  • Leigh

    Love the new Daily Style and the large pictures.

    New design looks great.

  • Annette

    I’ve been waiting to see the new design ever since you first mentioned it was coming – I’m sad I know… I like the purple and black and think the photos now look amazing. All round excellent!


    AND WEEEHOOOO Comments!! Just kidding, I have been a fan for…well since forever…

    You are and amazing person, wife, and mother I look forward to your posts and the laughter it brings into my life along with the tears….

    You are such a talented writer and photographer,
    Thank you for being you and sharing this look into your life…

  • I love that I can include my email in the comments. It keeps the fantasy that you’ll drop me a line going.

    Re: Q&A

    As a medicated mommy I’m always curious as to what prescription drugs others are taking.

  • The old RSS feed URL was still working, but I wasn’t getting the daily style/photo/Chuck entries, which was unacceptable.

    So I subscribed to the new feed URL, and I was relieved to see full text for entries — but now there’s no photos! Can you please please please put the photos in the feed so I don’t have to click over to the site?

    I know it doesn’t make you any money to do that. Put little ads in the feed if you want. I’m FINE with that.

  • PS – And if they are willing to swap.

  • Jeremy

    I like the redesign! The colors are easy on the eyes, the layout is both pleasing and functional, and everything is great. Of course the most important thing is the content. It doesn’t matter what kind of wrapping it comes in.

    Love the fact we’re all “first.” Like my Algebra teacher used to say… “you’re all winners! Or else you wouldn’t exist!” I was always amused by that.

    -Jeremy 🙂

  • Geoff

    1015? You call this a list of comments? I’ll take your 1015 and raise you one.

    Seriously, how can you have the time to read all these comments from people like me, a person who is only commenting so I can see that number at the bottom of your post go higher and so I can say, “Yeah, I’m one of those. Without me, that Heather gal would be only 1015.”?

  • Red

    Love it . Love it . Looove it.

  • My ID is

    You don’t have enough comments yet. I feel for you, so am adding mine out of charity. (No wonder you turn off/close/seal in a vault the comments section.)

    Here’s the cool thing…for you.

    We can say, “The logo’s too small!”, “I don’t know about that color…”, “Couldjya show a picture of our CEO with a quote?”, “I don’t know what I think until I show it around the office and take a straw pole from our plumbers.”

    And you can reply…with any comment you wish, blue or otherwise. Because it’s yours and we’re still gonna visit. We’re not clients. You left that world a looong time ago. Lucky.

    You need only open the comments, say, twice a year to show the advertisers that you can deliver a devoted fan base. Add me.

    Then say when you’re turning ’em off so I can be LAST!

    — JF, SLC

  • anita

    I have nothing original to add but if you think I’m going to pass on the rare opportunity to comment on your big beans blog you’re out of your ever-lovin. I love your writing whether poignant, hysterical or snarley, your photos are all that, Leta’s a full-blown punkinhead and your man Jon sounds like a sweetheart of a geek. Keep it going Heather. Black and purple is so you.

  • Excellent! Love it … all of it – the entire site and can’t wait to see more of the daily style section. (I aleady have a linen closet filled with “Method” hand soap. Great stuff. The only problem I had was the last two entries did not load until now (9:51 PM PST) Weird. Thanks for all the hard work!

  • Five million gazillion comments.

    I’ll drink to that. “Uranium predieted” indeed.

  • I like your redesign, but I miss seeing your recently added flickr photos up higher. Now I have to scroll down past the ads, but, then again, it’s all worth it. You’re great!

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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