in which i have a new blog layout (but not a new name)

The conversations goes like this:

Some random person at a cocktail party: Great name for a blog, Manhattanmamma.

Me, trying to be patient: No.  It’s Mannahatta, not Manhattan.

Random stranger, uncomprehending: Um…yeah. ‘Scuse me, I need to [get a drink, pee, leave this conversation].

No one hears that funny little “a” in my blog title. And probably, if someone hadn’t grabbed manhattanmamma as a domain name before I got around to it, that would be the name of this blog.

When I started this blog, back in the dark days of 2008, just after the Republican National Convention unleashed Sarah Palin on the world, I wanted a name that would be “New Yorky” but not too cute.

Husband, bless his English professor’s soul, reminded me about Walt Whitman, and there it was: “Mannahatta:”

“I was asking for something specific and perfect for my city, whereupon lo! upsprang the aboriginal name!/Now I see what there is in a name, a word, liquid, sane, unruly, musical, self-sufficient; I see that the word of my city is that word up there.”

Those are the opening lines of Whitman’s poem. I loved that his description from the mid-nineteenth century seemed still appropriate to my 21st-century city: contradictory, beautiful, specific unto itself.  Plus I figured that “professor” is one of the many hats I wear, in addition to writer, wife, mother, sister, practitioner of wobbly yoga, and so forth–so it seemed like a nice touch to have a “literary” touch, even though I had no plans to use this blog to write about anything “academic.”

Fast forward four years and lo! here I am living on another island, a half-world away: “numberless crowded streets…tides swift and ample, well-loved by me, toward sundown…the summer air, the bright sun shining…the city of hurried and sparkling waters, the city of spires and masts…”  These lines are also about Mannahatta, but they could also describe Abu Dhabi, surrounded by water, filled with the spires of mosques and the masts of ships in the port.

In four years of writing, I’ve stayed as non-commercial as ol’Walt himeself: once I made fifty bucks for writing about cereal, and once I got a kitchen ninja blender-thing as a promo. But that’s it.  I suppose you could say that I’ve stayed true to the real roots of interwebs and am writing just for the love of writing.

Or you could say that I’m an utter ninny who needs to figure out the difference between page views and page visits, become fluent in SEO-speak, and just generally get my blogging shit together.  When this blog was reviewed by blog-bash in January, the fabulous Alexis-and-Erica said as much (although they were very nice about it) – and they wanted me to change the blog name because they said it was hard to remember.

They’re right…but I resisted. What you’re seeing here, however, is the me getting smart enough to hire the yeahwrite team of Erica-and-Jeffrey (Erica also wears lots & lots of hats). They developed this beautiful header, which combines the NYC skyline and Abu Dhabi’s Grand Mosque; designed the new layout; and answered my endless questions, without ever once saying “good lord woman how long have you been blogging and you don’t know THAT?”  Please, dear reader, take special note of the lovely buttons on the nav bar (that’s computer-designer-speak for the thing across the top of the page that has buttons that link to different categories); the nifty box at the bottom of the page with links to different posts; and my newly updated Amazon book box!  Those were all aspects of the re-design that took lots of back-and-forth tweaking and tinkering.

Working with Erica and Jeffrey has been a great experience–and this redesign is beautiful solely as a result of their hard work and patience.  Thanks, guys–and now you can take down the dart board that has this blog site’s picture as the bulls-eye.

In Abu Dhabi today, it’s Sunday, the beginning of the work week. In other parts of the world, it’s Passover and Easter Sunday–would it be wrong to say something here about the “rebirth” of my blog?

Yeah. That would probably be in rather poor taste.

Fine then. I’ll just make introductions: blog page, please meet my readers.  Readers, please meet my redesigned blog page. Click around and see what’s here – perhaps consider “liking” this page on Facebook or subscribing to the RSS feed. Then you won’t have to remember that pesky extra “a.”

Whitman and I would both be grateful.



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28 Responses to in which i have a new blog layout (but not a new name)

  1. Varda (SquashedMom) April 8, 2012 at 10:06 am #

    Looks GORGEOUS Darling! Congrats!

    As long as the content stays as wonderful as it has always been, I’m all for change.

    • Deborah Quinn April 8, 2012 at 1:19 pm #

      mwah. Yes. change sucks. but in this instance, change is good. I feel all sophisticated now and like a “real” blogger! still broke and “under-monetized” but hey. thanks for the compliment, madam. coming from someone with your writing chops…!

  2. Jennifer April 8, 2012 at 10:21 am #

    It looks absolutely amazing! I want to hire Erica & Jeffrey!!

    • Deborah Quinn April 8, 2012 at 1:18 pm #

      They were great & not terribly expensive…I felt weird taking myself so seriously, being all “hire experts…” but you know? they know what they’re doing and I… don’t. I love wordpress but this site is “mine.” flutter flutter flutter
      thanks for stopping by

  3. Dick Horwich April 8, 2012 at 9:03 pm #

    It looks great! Happy Pesach to you amd the Emirati.

    • Deborah Quinn April 9, 2012 at 12:06 am #

      the emerati are most grateful for the pesach wishes…and back at you!

  4. q April 8, 2012 at 9:11 pm #

    I’m logged in as Q and too lazy to log out and re-log in as Erica M. So on behalf of Erica & Jeffrey commenting as Q, you were a lovely client and I admire your attention to detail. Your new layout looks fab, and that’s in no small part thanks to your original vision. Thanks for letting us help you get there.

    • Deborah Quinn April 9, 2012 at 12:05 am #

      aww, thanks. but it was great working with you – Erica said you did photo magic and it’s true.

  5. Alison@Mama Wants This April 8, 2012 at 9:32 pm #

    I LOVE it, Deb!!!

    • Deborah Quinn April 9, 2012 at 12:05 am #

      thanks! but all credit goes to Erica & Q. They are so good at what they do!

  6. Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms April 8, 2012 at 10:19 pm #

    It looks sexy! They do great work! Ellen

    • Deborah Quinn April 9, 2012 at 12:04 am #

      omigoodness, sexy? woowoowoo. it’s the mosque – all that arabia stuff, so exotic. thanks!

  7. Arnebya April 9, 2012 at 8:36 am #

    It is the supposed poortastedness of the rebirth comment that made me giggle. I like the look, very sleek.

  8. Just Jennifer April 9, 2012 at 11:36 pm #

    OMG, I LOVE it, Deborah! And by the way, I’ve NEVER forgotten your little a. Ahem.

    • Deborah Quinn April 10, 2012 at 8:12 am #

      So funny – my actual a** is quite large but it’s the little a in the blog that gets people all “wha….?” thanks for the compliment – but it’s all due to the pros at yeahwrite – i’ve never hired an expert before but I guess it’s true what they say: you get what you pay for (as opposed when I screw around with wordpress for free, fumbling in ignorance!)

  9. Stacey April 10, 2012 at 12:36 pm #

    LOVE the new look and enjoyed reading the background of your blog name!

  10. Jay- The Dude of the House April 10, 2012 at 3:59 pm #

    I’m working on a redesign also, so now I pay a lot more attention to others’ websites. This new look is elegant, sleek and explains what the blog is about. Great job.

  11. Erin April 10, 2012 at 5:28 pm #

    LOVE the look… I am trying to sort out the look on mine. Maybe I need to do what you did and beg the help of the team!

    • Deborah Quinn April 11, 2012 at 12:21 pm #

      for the first time in my life, i hired a professional! and it’s amazing what happens when you have a pro in your corner as opposed to, say, your husband kind of hacking around to see if he can figure out how to get that widgety thing to work… (actually he’s better than that, but no way is that header design within his capacities)! Thank you for the compliment – i love the way it looks but I can’t possibly take any credit for it!

  12. Jamie April 10, 2012 at 8:13 pm #

    It’s beautiful!! Go team!

  13. Stephanie April 11, 2012 at 11:12 am #

    I’m new to your blog, so I can’t comment on the new design (except to say that it looks great!). But I do have to admit that your name is a bit tricky. I wanted to add you to my blog reader, and I had to try 3 or 4 different spellings before I found you. Still, it’s completely understandable that you would want to keep your name…it’s part of your blog identity.

    • Deborah Quinn April 11, 2012 at 1:17 pm #

      I know … sometimes I even type it in wrong myself. Ah well. But the other versions available now all had hyphens. I don’t want hyphens, I want to be just one big noun. Thanks for stopping by.

  14. Lady Jennie April 11, 2012 at 1:52 pm #

    How is it possible that I never noticed Mannahatta??? I absolutely love the new design. I liked your FB page. And I just like you in general! 🙂

    • Deborah Quinn April 12, 2012 at 11:44 am #

      awww… the feeling is mutual (did that editor contact you, btw?) Thanks for the FB like – never quite sure what that’s for, but “they” say one should have one, so one does. Erica and Q really know what they’re doing with that whole “computer graphics” thing… funny what happens when you hire pros – you end up with something you never in a million years could’ve done yourself! thanks for coming by…

  15. MomWithaDot April 11, 2012 at 4:17 pm #

    Very first visit and the moment I landed, all I could see was the city skylines and go WoooooooW ! Super creative !!

    • Deborah Quinn April 12, 2012 at 11:41 am #

      thanks – but it’s all erica & q at yeahwrite – and I’m sure they’d work their magic for anyone. the silhouette of the grand mosque is particularly magical, though, that’s for sure! thanks for stopping by


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