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So as you’ve guessed already, if you’ve been here before, I’ve been messing with my blog. Changing things up a bit. Playing with formats and colour and backgrounds. Trying to make it more reader friendly. But still have it reflect what I want. 
I’ve been thinking of doing this for some time now. Several readers have mentioned that they found the white text on the dark background too hard to read. Last year, I lightened the background from black to dark grey, and made the text less bright. That helped, I think. But I’m pretty sure most people wouldn’t have even noticed. Someone else mentioned that the “lines of text were too long,” so I changed the widths to make the post itself narrower, and the sidebar wider. I follow several on-line publications that help bloggers, and as a result I cleaned up my sidebar, and did some other stuff. Most of this was just tinkering. Albeit tinkering that took time, but which I enjoyed. I like to tackle a problem, research how to fix it, and then see if I can do it. Most times it works out. 

But changing my template scared the pants off me. I was afraid I would mess everything up and not be able to get it back the way it was. I really liked the look of the dark background, especially how it made pictures seem more dramatic. I liked how all the colours worked together, text links, titles, sidebar, post background etc etc. I’d spent a long time getting everything just right, and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to change what I had. And I was determined to do everything by myself. This is my blog after all. And taking credit for how it looks when someone else has done the work just wouldn’t be as satisfying to me. 
So. Yesterday, I jumped in the deep end. I tried about five different looks and hated them all. I was going for something clean. Something uncluttered. And for a lighter post background to please those readers who were having trouble with the old template. I didn’t want a template that was too dynamic, where pictures move and change of their own accord. Or something where it’s difficult to tell where the most current post is located. When I read a blog myself, I like to be able to see the latest post right away. I’m also limited in what I can do because I don’t know how to design a website from the ground up, so I use the Blogger templates, choose one, and then play with proportion, font style, and colours to achieve a look that I like. 
If you read the blog in the mobile format, below, you won’t notice any difference at all. But if you read it on an i-pad, tablet, or desktop computer the look is now completely different. 
screen shot of the mobile version of my blog
This is the mobile format of my blog. 
As you can see I tried to match the web version to the mobile version. It’s funny, but that’s not as easy as it sounds. Ask Hubby. There was a whole lotta swearing going on in the den for a while yesterday afternoon. For the record, he doesn’t like the new look. And to be honest, I’m not sure I do either. I wanted the post background to be pale grey and not baby blue. But… sigh… like choosing paint colours… sometimes the reality is way different than you hoped. 
And the blog format is not all that I’m hoping to improve. I’m trying to up my game when it comes to my outfit photos. I bought a tripod and a blue-tooth shutter control for my i-phone. So now I don’t have to set the timer and then run around in front of the camera to “pose.” I’m hoping to take more shots in different locations. So far I haven’t strayed beyond my deck and front yard. I cringe at the thought of taking photos of myself anywhere where there are people. Actually, sometimes I cringe at the thought of even taking outfits photos of myself. 
And, you know, some weeks, I question whether doing outfit posts is worthwhile at all. I don’t mean “worthwhile” in the sense that I think fashion is not “worthy” of discussion. Ha. Not at all. Just that with my small closet, and my pared down wardrobe… there are only so many outfit posts I can do. And shopping for the sake of a blog post is, well, silly. And I’ve come to believe that most of you who read this blog think shopping for the sake of posting is silly, too. So, we agree. You’ll find in future that I won’t be trying so hard to do one outfit post a week. Because there are just so many other interesting things to talk about. I will probably only do a fashion post when there’s fashion news. Like if I’ve been shopping or deciding what to shop for when a new season is upon us. Or when something in the fashion media world really gets my goat, and I feel a rant is timely. And necessary. 
So that’s it really. All the ch-ch-ch-changes that I have in mind for my little corner of the world-wide-web. Some content tweaks. Hopefully some improvement in the photo quality. Or at least more variety there. And a major format change. I’m not finished fiddling with everything yet. The social media buttons, for instance. They took me ages to get right, so I won’t be changing them until I’m sure I have everything else the way I want. 
Now, dear readers, I’d love to hear what you think. Please feel free to weigh in on content. And style, in particular tell me what you think about the format, the new version versus the old version. And could you please let me know what device you use to read the blog? Do you read on your phone, on an i-pad or tablet, or on a desktop computer? Funnily enough, I’ve discovered that the background looks quite different on my i-pad than it does on my desktop PC. 
And then I’ll do my best to please everyone. But honestly, ultimately, I have to please myself too. 

From the archives


In Praise of Gentle Reading

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Summer in the City II … Brought To You By the Letter “B”

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Is It Possible To Be An Ethical Shopper?

It’s the dead of winter here in Ottawa, the dead time between New Year’s and …

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97 thoughts on “Ch-ch-ch-changes”

  1. I read on an iPad and I have to say it is much, much easier to read now. I was one of those who couldn't read with the dark background, although I did notice and appreciate the change to grey. I also like the shortened line length. Maybe it is not as pleasing to you but occasionally I have skipped some of your paragraphs if they were very long, the font is still quite small for me but I hope you will keep the pale background. Thank you Susan.

    1. Glad you like the format, Jenny. If I tinker I will probably keep the light background. I'll try to keep the paragraphs shorter.. break them up a bit. The text is already what Blogger calls "large" and the next size up is too large. However, on an i-pad you do have to option of maker it bigger by using the touch screen. I have to do that with some blogs who have smaller fonts than mine. Thanks for your continued reading:)

  2. I read you on my phone.Your posts are so interesting that I'm afraid I don't notice format details…A devoted reader in Iowa,USA

  3. I read on a laptop, i-pad and phone – it depends on where I am. I'm currently on my laptop and it is much lighter and brighter. I kind of liked the old way since it was different from most blogs – but agree it could be difficult to read and that's the whole point, isn't it? I'm afraid I need my glasses to read no matter which device I'm using, lol. I'm looking forward to your "tweaks" and whatever you post.

    1. I know… that's why I was so reluctant to change. I liked the drama of the charcoal background. But really.. it's the writing that matters most. Thanks for weighing in:)

  4. Hi Susan, I have to say that this is so much nicer! The pages with the black/dark background were very, very difficult to read; it was honestly a little bit off-putting at first, but of course your content won me over eventually so I soldiered on. (I hope I'm not belabouring the point! 🌝) I can imagine how difficult it is for you to do outfit photos – I'd feel a bit silly too – but I love seeing how you put things together, so I do hope you'll continue with them. I read the blog on a laptop, sometimes on a tablet if I'm travelling. I hope you'll keep the background light, and good luck with your continued blog tinkering.

    1. Fellow Canadian reading your blog on my ipad in Atlanta, Georgia. Either format works for me, never had a problem with reading and never noticed line length. I really enjoy your posts and look forward to reading many more!

  5. I love the new look! Light, bright and fun ( with the clouds at the edges of the post, like I'm on a plane reading!). I did not think the old format was a problem, but this new look is so much easier on the eyes. I read your blog on a desk top. Enjoy your views and reviews – whether fashion , or life in general. Like having a long chat with a friend, or reading a great article in an interesting magazine ( which seem to have disappeared…).

  6. I am a regular reader and sometimes commenter on your blog–one of my faves, because you address such interesting topics, in addition to the fashion!
    I've been wondering for awhile about the topic of wardrobe budgets, and suggest this as a topic others might find interesting, too.

    I'm wondering not so much about the amount you might spend in a year or a season; although that might be interesting.
    I'm actually more interested in your thoughts about setting aside funds for purchases. Do you set a budget? If so, is it determined monthly, seasonally or annually? How do you weigh cost vs. value? Does sustainability or ethics play a role in selecting a label? Does budget help determine which pieces you'll add, or are your decisions more driven by the "gaps" you see in your wardrobe? Do you extend your budget by consigning quality items once they're no longer bringing you pleasure? Do you shop consignment?
    Thanks for considering this topic!

  7. On my laptop! And I think your outfits are so great, even if they repeat, that investing in your photo tools is a great idea. You may even find it fun, as I did eventually.

    I was OK with the dark background but am also OK with the white. xox

  8. Fellow Ottawa-area Canadian reading from Half Moon Bay, CA near San Francisco. I love this new blog colour scheme and the shortened line lengths, Sue. Much easier for me to read too. I really enjoy your blog.

  9. Speaking as a longtime, senior marketing consultant, you need the highest possible contrast between your type and background. That means black font and white background.

    Just do that. It will solve eneryone's issues.

    A long-time reader and fan,


  10. I usually read it on my tablet,but during the summer and from time to time ,on my phone. I will read it even if you choose to write it in pink on red (although it would be a little bit difficult :-))
    This is better to read,but the black/greyish one was so you . I believe that Ann above is right,you could try
    I love the plethora of topics we could find here ( but books posts are my favourite) and I like comments
    I like your outfit photos,too -it is style and combinations I like about it (and I believe we all do) and what make it unique (a question: is this lady going to pack her things for UK eventually? :-)) and I like repetitions myself-there is always something slightly different.I love my wardrobe and like to wear my things,not to change everything and to be "new me"every day. But,please,don't feel the pressure,it is your blog-but, outfit photos,as they are, are not boring
    So,basically,everything works for me

    1. Thanks, Dottoressa. I'm not sure I like this new one, but it is easier to read when there is more text. Still, I liked the colours in the old one. I may keep searching for a colour scheme that suits me better.
      P.S. Planning for UK packing is coming soon:)

  11. Another iPad here but I've never found any problems with your format & didn't notice line length . I liked the dark background as it was more dramatic for any pics & different to other blogs but some people do seem to have struggled . I like the new style too . As has been said , it is the content that matters & you are one of the very few bloggers where I make a point of reading & commenting . I've always enjoyed the fashion posts , we seem to share the same taste , but travel/ books / stories of your life & general philosophising are my favourites . If we could just get you gardening you would be perfect 🙂 I do admire your tenacity with the technology & I know what you mean about the decorating . We've just finished a mammoth decorating task & I've gently mentioned that I'm not wild about the new wall colour . Lots of eye rolling going on but I think changes will be made – after a little rest
    Wendy in York

    1. Oh… that would comment would get more then eye-rolling in my house! Hubby hates the chaos of house decoration or renovation! And we're going to be doing both later in the fall. I must brace myself!
      Thanks as always for your continued reading and commenting:) Sorry but there will NOT be gardening in my future. Ha. Hope Hubby does not read that since there would really be some eye-rolling!

  12. Reading on my tablet, liked the old format, this one is a little pale, and the size of the comment font seems very small? I'm always happy to see you in my inbox, and really enjoy your book posts, as well as the style posts. Just keep doing it, please.
    Jules in Aus

  13. Leslie in Oregon

    I vote for you pleasing yourself first and last, too! Your blog should reflect what you want. I read it on my laptop computer (a MacBook Pro). I have liked, and never have had any problem with, the format, colours and backgrounds of your blog. While I read and learn from your outfit and shopping posts, I find your other content far more engrossing. (Fashion does not interest me half as much as your opinions and other thoughts on other topics, and the way you write about them.) Bottom line: High Heels in the Wilderness is a great blog!

  14. Yes, please yourself first, this is your blog. I give it a thumbs-up however – lovely and light and bright and I like the order of it all. I noodle around on different blogs for different reasons but I like the chatty, story-telling, natteriness of this blog as if I have popped round to borrow a book and go through the shopping bags. Keep writing about what interests you.

  15. The color has made it easier for these old eyes to see. The text seems small but on my iPad I can make the text bigger very easily. I will look forward to reading your blog now. Thank you!

  16. New format works for me – I rarely read anything other than texts and email on my phone, so I'm not your best canary-in-the-coalmine as far as that goes. With respect to outfit posts, I greatly appreciate that you don't bombard us with trend updates, sale alerts, and endless purchases – some of the 50+ bloggers I follow must have entire wings dedicated to clothes storage and unlimited clothing budgets. This isn't my reality. I'd like to second Biscotti's suggestion re: more information about how you budget for clothing purchases. I'd also like to know how you exercise such restraint – I tend to get distracted by things NOT on my list, especially when shopping online. Finally, I'd like to read about how you care for your clothes. I love that you invest in quality items, and I like that you carry items over from year to year. This requires tender loving care! How do you deal with sweaters that pill (they all pill), keep white shirts white, care for footwear, store your out of season clothes, etc. Thanks!

  17. This new look is much nicer! Great for reading, even on my my desktop which is where I do all blogging. The more white on a blog, the better, if you ask me. Thank you for the lighter brighter look and thinking of your readers… xox

  18. I've always so enjoyed reading your posts and will, no doubt, continue to do so, no matter the length or topic. I do love the new look–it's fresh and easy to read.

  19. This new look is much easier for me to read, although I always soldiered on with the dark background (which really only bothered me when my eyes were tired). But I love the plane wings and clouds as background.

    As for the blog, I love the variety and I do appreciate the occasional fashion post and your photos are always lovely and not overdone. Like LiaMac, I grow bored by people who only post trends, sale alerts, constant shopping. Who has time for that? I'm much more practical and really enjoy the travel photos, book discussions and occasional rants. FWIW, I'm about 2/3 through "The Thoughtful Dresser" and that recommendation came directly from you. Thanks! It's a good read and not at all what I expected.

    Keep up the great work!

  20. This is much easier to read on my laptop. Comments show up in much smaller type, and the background is a grayed-down light purple. I would like to see more contrast. Happy tinkering and thanks for the effort.

    1. Happy this works for you, Elaine. I can't do anything to the comment section, although I tried. There is no option to tinker with the font and colours in that part of the tenmplate. Sorry.

  21. The new format is easy to read on whichever piece of technology I happen to be looking at…however I love your blog and would follow it regardless of background colour and font! The variety of blog content…travel, books, life observations, fashion…is appreciated and most welcome. Cheers from Winnipeg, Alayne

  22. On a laptop. I'm one of those who whined about the white on black, and read you in Feedly – where ALL blogs are white on black. Then coming here to read comments.

    The new look is good, similar to the level of contrast on my own Blogger. It doesn't have to be black on white, but it does need good contrast.

    I am not a fashionista so I appreciate your roundup of the new season's trends. Not going to happen in my wardrobe, but food for thought when I must replace … And your book reviews are an utter delight! You have brought me some gems.

  23. I read your blog on an ipad and love the new look, had to do a bit of squinting from time to time before. I've been meaning to comment on your book reviews – recently re-read Pym and have just finished Nancy Mitford's first novels, which I loved. So thank you for the reading inspiration!

    1. Yep. Sometimes even I had trouble with the white font on the dark grey background. I just loved the look. So happy you have liked Barbara Pym and Nancy Mitford!

  24. I like the new one, it is a summery change, but I also liked the old one. I am trying to figure out the picture around the border – it seems to be a plane and clouds, but I am not sure. I usually read you on my phone or my laptop, and both are good.
    As for content, I love your outfit posts, and all the other good stuff too. I'd love to see some outfit posts of you from parliament hill! Double dog dare you!
    I don't often comment, but I read every post. Sometimes, it has taken me a week or so to get to it in my inbox, and by then, I have missed being 'au courant' for the comments! I do love your family and book posts. Thanks for being amazing.

    1. The picture around the border is the view out of a plane window. Cool, eh? Now… Parliament Hill. Now there is a challenge. I may try that… and hope I don't get arrested!
      Hope your new year starts off well, Nancy!

  25. Hi Sue, yes, I like the new one. It's fresh, modern and possibly easier to read in the middle of the night when the brightness is lower on my screen!
    However, asthetically I prefer your old one. It was authentic and unique. Unlike formats that I've seen on other blogs. Whereas the new one appears more generic.
    Having said that I'm happy with whatever format you decide. I didn't have any problems reading the old one. I tend to read on my Ipad or phone. Occasionally a large desk top computer.
    I enjoy all the topics you cover and find your fashion ones interesting and at times helpful. I really don't feel that you need a larger choice in your wardrobe to do these. You already do them really well!

    1. I agree. I loved the aesthetic of the old one. The charcoal and orange and turquoise to me was really nice. But if the text is too hard to read.. well.. what's the point?
      It will soon be time to start planning for my England trip. We will have to touch base about that meet-up. Even if it is brief.

  26. I prefer the previous format. The new one seems too pale and generic for such a vibrant personality as yours.

    1. Ah yes.. you and Hubby concur. He hates this one. And I agree that it is kind of personality-less. I may keep searching for something that suits me better and is still black text on a light background.

    2. I agree! I loved the look of the old format. This one seems too bright and less you.
      I will miss the weekly fashion post but you have to do what works for you.

  27. although i think the other one looked better from an aesthetic point of view this one is definitely easier to read. either way.. your writing is breath of fresh air. thank you!

  28. The new format IS easier to read, but less exciting somehow…..maybe I'm just not used to it? I like the outfit posts – you always look so cute! and also the travel ones, especially your fishing trips…..

    But its yours and should make YOU happy!


  29. I love your blog overall, but my very favorite posts are about books. You have mentioned so many that I have read and liked, and I can credit you with getting me hooked on Denise Mina. I look forward to whatever you decide about your blog!

  30. I'm a little baffled by all the comments about font size: surely any reader can make the font bigger by zooming on their device? (Easy on a touchscreen but also easy on a laptop by selecting "view" and then "zoom"). My only experience is on Apple products though – maybe other brands don't give that much control? I read mainly on my MacBook Air but sometimes on my iPad and once in a great while on my iPhone but truthfully it makes no difference to me what your background color is – the dark never bothered me, in fact, I never thought about it till I read this post. Seeing the new colors, I think I preferred the old format but really, it makes no difference to me.

    I do hope you will continue your outfit posts: I stopped following all other bloggers but one because I just couldn't bear to see the conspicuous consumption: every week brought another (pricey) new handbag, more new shoes, they are just buy buy buy all the time and I (and it seems others too) find it off-putting. You, on the other hand, seem to purchase a modest number of quality items about twice per year and then make them work for you. I love to see how you mix and match and add the new to the old for fresh looks. And I love BiscottiMaker's and LiaMac's topic suggestions – great ideas that I'd be really interested in reading about.

    I think I love your blog so much because you are completely relatable to me: same age, similar body type, similar education, interests and politics, similar wardrobes, and, best of all, you don't seem like a "professional blogger" (I mean that as the highest compliment – you seem completely real, not like someone who's gone all "pro." I love that your outfit photos are taken in your living room!). To that end, by far my favorite comment so far comes from Nohatnogloves (above), who wrote: "I like the chatty, story-telling, natteriness of this blog as if I have popped round to borrow a book and go through the shopping bags." That's just it exactly – so well put! –Catbird Farm

    1. Thanks for that! I'm definitely going to follow up on those ideas. They interested me too. That comment of "No Hat No Gloves" was great, eh? "Natteriness"…I may have to use that word soon.

  31. Because you asked what we think about your fashion blogging …
    When you purchase a new item, I enjoy seeing how you blend it into your wardrobe to create a new look.
    I like your style – well-cut, classic clothing with a cool, modern vibe.
    Also, I appreciate your posting only one or two fashion photos of each outfit.

    1. Thanks, Jo. I'm glad you like those posts. I do try to keep the number of shots to a few… no need to have ten shots of the same outfit, in my opinion. In fact I find the posts that do that annoying.

  32. I like your new format. As others have said I would read your blog anyway, but I do prefer the light background. I have just had a cataract operation so it's much better for my old eyes.


  33. This format is fine but most blogs look like each other. I liked the other one too, it seemed to say 'you' and stood out from the crowd. But this generic format must make life easier for many of your readers so well done you. It must have taken a huge amount of work and guts to make the changes though!
    I do like your clothes posts so I hope they keep coming. I too live mostly from an old wardrobe and I'm not a shopper so repetition works for me and I love seeing how you and others mix pieces in everyday wear.
    Sterling work, Sue, x.

    1. Thanks, Mary. I've been thinking of making the changes for a while. I just hated to give up the vivid colours. Still, if people can't read the writing then … well… what's the point?

  34. One of the best lessons I learned at university was from an Education class on evaluation. A test I'd developed, having invested much time and effort, was perfect. Or so I thought. Turns out, once it was subjected to statistical analysis, it didn't do what I'd hoped it would. I was crushed and if the analysis hadn't come from a computer box, I'd have held onto my convictions and, ultimately, become a less effective teacher. Never be afraid to ask the question, does my design serve the function I want it to? Just as you might have chosen other specific fabulous pieces for your wardrobe, there are many esthetically pleasing choices to make your personality shine in your website. Go for it! I love reading your blog, Sue. It's like having you in the same room.

    Here's my 2 cents. The lighter background does make text easier to read, but I still find that the length of the lines too long. It might be because I tend to read every single word rather than register groups of words at once. My gaze sometimes slips to the wrong line and then I lose my place. The text is too small for these aging eyes. When I zoom in on my iPad, the line is too long to fit the screen. If you check, say, CBC news website, and others, there is some kind of formula. The main story text is small with pictures on the sides. When I zoom in to better read the text, the lines are a perfect width for my iPad screen. Do you design with your laptop? I rarely use mine anymore except for writing. What device are your readers mostly using?

    I love your wardrobe photos. Smaller wardrobe? I'd love to read your thoughts about details on the designs you've chosen to wear. What makes them work? I'm pretty clueless about such things.


    1. Helloooo, my friend. Good advice… as always. I've been asking those questions for a long time. Cleaning up things when I had time. Trying to make things better without giving up the format which I really liked. And I intended to do a refresh a while ago… so… this is the result. Not entirely happy with it. But I'm not a tech person and I'm cautious about making things worse and not knowing how to correct them. And stubborn about asking someone to help. Except Mr. Google who is my friend. There's an article out there to tell you how to do anything… almost. I'm also limited by the template provided by Blogger. Not sure there is one with photos only on the side. I have a file of blogs that have formats I like which I'm using for inspiration. But most "big blogs" pay someone to do the design stuff, since they are monetized. And I really want to learn how to do this thing on my own. I know… as I said…stubborn:) My next quest is to see if I can design a logo. And then figure out how to incorporate in into the template.
      In answer to your question, I use my desktop to write the blog unless we're travelling and then I use my i-pad mini since I have an ap that let's me post to Blogger. And I read it in both formats and on my phone sometimes just to check what the mobile version looks like. Have you tried turning your i-pad around when you're reading on it? So the screen is short and wide? That's how I read on mine now.
      When are you coming to the east so we can go shopping and I can write about it on the blog??? xoxo

    2. There is a guideline for how many words across the line (a dozen, I forget) but think of a page in a book.

      Blogger has new themes which is what I have changed to. You can tweak the colours if you find them insipid. That burgundy you like is the seaweed red I used to inspire one of my blog colours.

  35. I love the new look, Sue! I'm reading on my MacBook Air laptop and the new background is so much easier on my eyes.

    I enjoy your fashion posts, so I hope they don't become too infrequent, but I concur that keeping up a weekly pace definitely becomes a challenge.

    1. Thanks, Elaine. It's just the outfit shots that I can't seen to muster weekly enthusiasm for. But fashion posts don't always have to be about what I'm wearing, do they?

    1. I didn't mean a financial allowance…I meant a limitation to your fashion posts! And re the layout, once again: for me readibility is key so I am grateful especially for the background/text reversal.

  36. I thought I was alone in finding the dark background with white text hard on the eyes. This new format is much better. I like your outfit posts. Just show us how you're putting together your wardrobe. Doesn't need to be new stuff all the time. Enjoy your blog very much no matter what the topic.

  37. Bravo you did it. So much easier to read. I read you on my laptop or iPhone. Love the lighter color. I can't see the whole page. Do you want me to? I'm just so happy with the lighter color I won't complain about anything else, yet. I really enjoy your fashion shots. You don't need to change for me.

    1. Thanks Sandra. If you mean you can't see the whole blog on your i-phone, that's because it's the mobile version. It reformats the blog to fit smart-phone proportions and doesn't include the sidebar. You should be able to see the whole thing on your laptop, however.

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