Does My Blog Look Fat In These Pants?

May 28, 2007

My birthday present to myself this year was supposed to be a blog overhaul, for which purpose I enlisted the assistance of the amazing Izzy. But I’ve been stuck for days in an ever-worsening spiral of indecision about a new banner – do I go cheeky? serious? cheeky-serious (cherious?) urban-hipster-doofus? tweedy academic? black-beret-scotch-sipping beatnik?

WHAT is the aesthetic of Her Bad Mother?

I’m having a blog identity crisis, on a par with bangs or no-bangs, skinny jeans or no-skinny-jeans, tat or no tat. What look is right for me?

I’ve been seriously tempted by this banner (design by Iz)…

… but just haven’t been able to take the step of committing to it (the image on the left, by the way, is a Da Vinci sketch, Virgin and Child, which, although wonderful, is maybe not perfectly reflective of the HBM ethos.)
I’ve also toyed with using one of the many spectacular WonderBaby images…

… like this…

…or this.


I know that most of you are currently out sipping Memorial Day margaritas right now, but please. Help. What sort of look should I be going for? What’s gonna say, this is the blog of Her Bad Mother and it ROCKS?
The other thing that I want to do in this blog renovation is set up a list of favourite posts, a sort of greatest hits list. But do I go with my favourites, or do I go with the ones that have been most popular, judging by comments or awards or whatever? (Because, interestingly, what I like most and what you like most – judging by volume of comments, which I know isn’t necessarily the most reliable indicator – are not always the same). One of my recent favourites disappeared into last weekend, as weekend posts sometimes do, but it is a piece of writing that I’m particularly proud of. Another favourite was well-received, but it’s a particularly intimate post and one that I’m reluctant to wave around while shouting me-likey-likey! And another is really just a silly, off-the-cuff post, but one of the very few of my own that I really think is funny (notwithstanding the phallus posts.)
So how does one decide? Should it be my favourites, no matter their character? Or should it just be the popular posts? Or is it really just so much more grandstanding to flaunt old posts (hey! looky here! my ass looks good in these posts!)
Or is it really just so much more grandstanding and contrived insecurity to be asking for help in sorting out how to revamp one’s look? OMG am so fat am such a bad mother should I not be wearing skinny jeans should I lose the bangs but isn’t my forehead just too big omg have you seen my ass what do I do? (preen preen spin pose affect worry pose preen)
Maybe. Or maybe I’m just aesthetically stunted and indecisive and overly-reliant on peer support in making blog-altering decisions.
Let’s go with that.
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    Bon May 28, 2007 at 12:47 pm

    i think perhaps HBM needs some giant pink spectacles, a la 1985, with a little gold heart sticker in the bottom corner. oh yeh. hott.

    though the daVinci is nice too. perhaps possibly more cultured. ;)

    could the daVinci be altered so as to show the parental figure coddling WonderBaby against the CBGB backdrop? whilst wearing the afore-mentioned spectacles?

    (O has the CBGB onesie if WB wantsta borrow it. cause we’re tuff over here too.)

    seriously, blog design baffles me. hence the fact that my header has a car on it, because i’ve never quite gotten around to changing it. send me yer rejects, will ya?

    Laural May 28, 2007 at 1:01 pm

    Okay – favourite posts … I loved your old stuff – about swaddling and the farm animals one of those should be in your favourite posts.
    The rest of the questions … that’s really hard. I love love love the 2nd picture of WB. It cracks me up, and it kind of reminds me of your writing – tender but bad ass at the same time (seriously). and that’s a compliment.
    Good luck!

    jdoriot May 28, 2007 at 1:02 pm

    I absolutely love the “Mutha Sucka” photo…cracks me up each time I see it!

    SciFi Dad May 28, 2007 at 1:29 pm

    Not a huge fan of the DaVinci banner, myself. And the second photo, while funny to look at, is too washed out to be really useful as a banner focus, in my opinion.

    I’d avoid using WB as the focus of your banner, since (assuming things have not changed since your last reflection on the subject) you are attempting a for second. At that point you would return to this stage of choosing once more, so as to avoid the appearance of favouritism.

    To that end, I’d suggest you choose a graphic that you feel represents you. From that image, build a basic array of complimentary colours and then apply them as you see fit.

    Personally, I have found your shade of green very overpowering. I would suggest a royal or navy blue, perhaps with canary accents?

    meno May 28, 2007 at 2:24 pm

    I am art impaired, so no help on the banners and such.

    But as to the favorites, i think they should be your favorites. Comments are not a good judge of writing skill.

    eastcoastelle May 28, 2007 at 2:30 pm

    While the daVinci is beautiful, I’m not sure it really reflects the true spirit of HBM.

    While there are posts filled with gravitas, introspection and deep thoughts for which this banner would be perfectly, I’m not sure Madonna and child can adequately represent the deeper posts… like the Phallic lovey. Or maybe it can? Who knows what the Madonna was keeping in her bedside table…

    I’m sure whatever you choose will be wonderful, however I do agree with a commenter above that you may want to reconsider using a picture of WB, unless you don’t mind picking a new picture if/when WB 2.0 comes along.

    flutter May 28, 2007 at 2:41 pm

    DaVinci is loveliness, but I don’t think it captures YOU. You also have to go Motha Sucka. Freakin’ cracks my ass up.

    Mary-LUE May 28, 2007 at 3:09 pm

    I like the DaVinci banner myself!

    bubandpie May 28, 2007 at 3:12 pm

    I’m going to go against the flow here, because I LOVE the DaVinci header. (Beware the tide of comment-flow! – I almost decided NOT to say how much I liked it when I saw seven people ahead of me who don’t think it’s right for you.) I like the way the virgin and child image is in tension with the “bad mother” title – so much better than trying to pursue the bad with, say, a motorcycle header.

    And I think the serious banner makes the funny posts funnier – because I don’t come here thinking I’m going to get a quick laugh – I come here expecting pathos and profundity, and when I find humour instead, it’s all the funnier because of it.

    As for your favourite posts, DEFINITELY go with YOUR favourites – part of the purpose of those sidebar lists is to give people a quick way to get a sense of who you are, and going by popular vote doesn’t achieve that as well as choosing the posts yourself. If I ever decide to put up a list like that, I think I’ll tend to highlight the posts that got the least attention.

    That said, I’ll put in a plug for that funny post about toys – as I said at the time, I thought it was hilarious – one of your best.

    Mom101 May 28, 2007 at 3:19 pm


    I like the aesthetic of the izzy banner but the virgin mary? not so much. Maybe if she was holding a drink in one hand and a cigar in the other? Although then it begs the question…her bad mother? So maybe not.

    The cool thing about a blog is you can change it whenever you want. Dooce does. LOD does. So if you choose to go with wonderbaby for now then there ya go.

    Then again, this is coming from someone who hasn’t gotten past the off-center clip art that went up on my blog over a year ago. In other words: don’t listen to me. Go with the guy who suggested canary.

    nomotherearth May 28, 2007 at 3:26 pm

    I like the look of the title and tag line, but I’m not keen on the Davinci pic. It just doesn’t jump out at me.

    I’m with SciFi Dad, though, in that if you use a pic of WB and then have a second, you may want to change your banner all over again.

    And definitely – choose YOUR favourite posts.

    mothergoosemouse May 28, 2007 at 3:29 pm

    Don’t ask me – I put drinkies all over my banner. Which still can’t be seen in Firefox.

    crazymumma May 28, 2007 at 4:03 pm

    The image is beauty, but I am not sure. Could you personalize it further?

    What flashed to my mind was a Medusa image with each head of the snake being one of Wonderbaby.

    my brain goes to strange places, I cannot apologize for its fertility. I have lots more where that came from.

    Anyhow, I look forward to the new image!

    crazymumma May 28, 2007 at 4:14 pm

    Oh, and you totally know that I mean the Medusa image in only the most complimentary of ways? Right?

    A fave hits list? How about cross referencing both your faves and our faves?

    canape May 28, 2007 at 4:29 pm

    I’ve been battling with this too. What I would really like to have is a design that allows me to replace the header as often as I like while the rest of the blog remains the same. Now if I only knew how to code . . .

    I really like Izzy’s banner personally.

    And mothergoosemouse? I’m glad you said something about the drinkies, because I thought you had just gone way minimalist on us.

    reba May 28, 2007 at 4:36 pm

    The Da Vinci banner looks way too severe.

    Queen Heather May 28, 2007 at 4:39 pm

    I’m such an amateur that I’ll keep my very ignorant opinion on the new blog design where it belongs. hehe!

    But on the fav post list…post your favs, not everyone else’s fav.

    Anonymous May 28, 2007 at 4:43 pm

    no one cares.

    Jenifer May 28, 2007 at 5:36 pm

    Thanks anonymous my comments will shine now!

    I agree that you should pick your favourites regardless of whether they were the popular favourites with the crowd.

    As for the banner I am torn. I am leaning towards the sentiments that Bub & Pie outlined. I like the tension that photo (or an image like it) creates. The bad with the good and the tender and funny together.

    The thought of changing my blog appearance just about paralyzes me into indecision so I am sure mine will stay the same for quite some time.

    jen May 28, 2007 at 5:47 pm

    Her Bad Indecision? Colored in beatnik brainiac freakdom?

    I think that might be it.

    Whatever you do will take a while to love. Or better said you’ll love it, then not, then fully love it again. There are no bad choices here.

    Her Non Bad Choices? Ok, wandering away now.

    slouching mom May 28, 2007 at 6:24 pm

    i don’t know.

    however, i do know that this:

    (preen preen spin pose affect worry pose preen)

    is damn funny.

    that i know.

    Liz May 28, 2007 at 6:57 pm

    Please. I’m no help. Have you seen my blog? I just moved to WordPress, almost entirely because I can make my own headers and change it around whenever.
    But I’ll have you know, it took me a LONG time to choose the one photo I have.
    I love the graphic arts but I lack the skill, know-how, and gumption to follow through. I can’t talk the talk at all–I just follow my gut and like what I like.
    So that, HBM, is my advice for you. Variety is the spice of life and you trust your gut in so many of life’s twists and turns…I say like what you like.
    (I like the “best of” idea! You have so many bests. Can I just borrow a few?)

    Lara May 28, 2007 at 7:20 pm

    i have the most boring blog on the face of the planet, so don’t take my advice on any aesthetic choices.

    as for the favorites, i made my list of “best” posts based on my own favorites, not those of my readers. in part, when i made the list, i felt like i didn’t have enough readers who would care enough to actually *have* favorites. but as time has gone on, i’ve realized i care much more about what posts make me proud of my writing, rather than what posts please my readers most. after all, i’ve always claimed to be blogging first and foremost for myself, rather than for an audience of others.

    theotherbear May 28, 2007 at 7:30 pm

    I really love the DaVinci banner. It is clean and not too busy and bright. Too busy and bright is too hard on the eyes.
    As for faves, list your faves not everyone else’s.

    Oh, The Joys May 28, 2007 at 7:32 pm

    Oh, how I am the wrong one to ask… me who still uses the minima template from blogger – no header at all.

    Re: favorite posts… I think you should pick. I think sometimes short posts get a lot of comments because they are quick to digest – it doesn’t reflect quality all the time.

    EE May 28, 2007 at 7:55 pm

    Check out this banner
    It’s different, and it’s cool. Maybe you could do something like that with your picts.

    Her Bad Mother May 28, 2007 at 8:29 pm

    Anonymous: indeed. Indeed.

    Christy May 28, 2007 at 8:47 pm

    Hmmm. I really like your blog just as it is.

    tracey May 28, 2007 at 9:02 pm

    I am no help at all. Little Miss Photographer over here still hasn’t been able to decide on her OWN photo banner. Now, that’s just plain ridiculous.

    Veronica Mitchell May 28, 2007 at 9:24 pm

    Your blog, your favorites.

    The Davinci header is lovely, but very formal. Maybe not such a good fit with your best stream-of-consciousness.

    Shannon May 28, 2007 at 9:38 pm

    I like the clean look of Izzy’s banner, but not so much the Davinci image. I personally love the playful green background your blog currently has and think something fun and bright would fit you better.

    As for favorite posts, why not do both? I just had the same struggle and decided to put up a list of most visited posts as well as my own list of MY fave posts.

    Janet a.k.a. "Wonder Mom" May 28, 2007 at 9:39 pm

    I love the CBGB picture…but that’s me…And it should be your favorites…it is your blog…

    But then again, what do I know?

    Go with your gut woman…you rock no matter what.

    Jennifer May 28, 2007 at 9:45 pm

    Definitely pick your favorites!

    And I truly love the mutha sucka pic to put in your bannner.

    Mary G May 28, 2007 at 10:08 pm

    Two lists would be good, but the most important one is the ones you think are the most ‘you’.
    HBM, you’re colour. Got to be bright. If you want a Mother and Child, which is a super notion, go for one of the semi abstract ones, Picasso even, and pick a colour out of it for the background colour.
    Advice from Mrs. Keeps-changing-things and worth what you paid for it.
    I don’t care if you are decked out in dreck, I will still read you. Love your stuff.

    modmom May 28, 2007 at 11:24 pm

    i like your happy baby mutha sucka :)
    the 1st banner is spooky like haunted

    Fairly Odd Mother May 28, 2007 at 11:37 pm

    I love the CBGB photo—just seems to fit the ‘bad mother’ image so well. I love Wonderbaby’s face in that too.

    And, ‘no one cares’??? Harumph! I’ll be thinking about this until I fall asleep! So, either I have a lame life, or I DO care!

    Major Bedhead May 29, 2007 at 12:09 am

    I love the Mother Sucker shot, always have.

    As for the posts you want to highlight – dood, they’re your posts. Highlight what you like. Anyone who comes here and likes what you have to say will probably scroll thru your posts anyway. It’s your blog, do what you want. That’s my opinion on the subject, for whatever that’s worth.

    wordgirl May 29, 2007 at 12:13 am

    I’m always blown away by the bloggers who can stick with just one design. I make a bunch or get someone to make a few for me and the keep them back. As my mood changes, so does the blog.

    Smiling Mom May 29, 2007 at 12:25 am

    Holy Comments Batman! I’ll keep mine short. I like Picture #2 of Wonderbaby. If you can include that one into the banner, it would be really cool. Good luck!

    Change is fun. I just did it this week. :-)

    Izzy May 29, 2007 at 2:07 am

    As your blog designer, it’s part of my job to defer to your wishes, but since everyone is giving their two cents, may I be honest?

    I can?


    I don’t really like the DaVinci image. I know it must mean something to you seeing as you chose it but I don’t feel like it suits your blog persona at all.

    Your writing spans the spectrum from deeply personal and introspective to way academic and also funny and observant, all with a dash of badassiness sprinkled on top and the DaVinci just doesn’t capture who you are, in my very humble opinion.

    So…I think either something with WB or something very cheeky and perhaps a bit ironic. And of course, per your wishes, simple and streamlined.

    As for posts, I think you should pick the ones that are YOUR favorites.

    That is all :)

    mo-wo May 29, 2007 at 2:08 am

    I am glad to hear of the makeover… this argyle thing is not the it for you girl.

    I kinda like the steely banner but is there not a Durer option instead of the DaVinci.

    And, on part two. Yeah, you’re on your own.

    Jeremiah McNichols May 29, 2007 at 7:47 am

    When you’re done figuring this out (or maybe before!) you’ve been tagged for a meme post, if you’re willing, by Z Recommends!

    Susanne May 29, 2007 at 8:19 am

    I always find that when I’m unable to decide what I really need is something else instead. (I know, very helpful.)

    As for the favorite posts I think they should be yours or you could have two categories (just so you’d have a little more stuff in your sidebar).

    As meno said, comments are no indicator of good writing.

    Femme May 29, 2007 at 10:18 am

    OMG – LOVE the CBGB photo.

    ewe are here May 29, 2007 at 10:38 am

    I say go with your favorites, especially as I suspect they will be ‘our’ favorites…

    I like both pics… I’d wobble on the decision, too. ;-)

    Her Bad Mother May 29, 2007 at 10:48 am

    Agh. Yeah, the Da Vinci just doesn’t quite do it, which is why I haven’t been able to commit to it.

    The photos are both great, and I have no issues going with a pic of the child that I have now, cuz if another comes along, I’ll have bigger issues than just banner pics. We’ll work with those maybe for now.

    The other thing is – maybe no image at all? Maybe just a variation on what I have, with more subdued colors?

    nomotherearth May 29, 2007 at 11:00 am

    Back again. They don’t say “a picture is worth a thousand words” for nothing. Go with the image that speaks to you.

    Why not take a recent picture of WB with a t-shirt that says “Bad is the New Good”? You could get one made.

    Her Bad Mother May 29, 2007 at 11:03 am

    Oooh, NME… inneressing idea…

    Mimi May 29, 2007 at 11:40 am

    well, i’ve got bangs and skinny jeans, so we know i can commit to design decisions: i like nomo’s idea. but bubandpie has a point too, as does the rigorously clinical scifi dad.

    wait. i’m not really helping, am i? i’m no good with change. when you change it, i will freak out, and it’s not even my blog. sigh.

    i’ll always have the skinny jeans …

    Beck May 29, 2007 at 11:48 am

    The fact that my office has been unpainted for FIVE years suggests that perhaps I am not the go-to gal for decorating decisions. Sad but true.

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