Staff Picks / September 2015

Hello, hello!

Happy weekend, friends! We love to take the time on Saturday and Sunday to get ahead on schoolwork, have spontaneous movie nights {our latest was Newsies, after we saw the musical of the same name over the summer}, and best of all, catch up on our favorite blogs, doll-related and otherwise. We had skipped Staff Picks in August due to our short vacation, but the feature has returned with a batch of excellent posts, articles, and other mentions. Read to your heart’s content before sharing your favorite posts of the month – blog love is the best.

Staff Picks September 2015{1} Some of Lulu’s favorite movies when she was younger were the ones starring the Disney Fairies; this adorable post by Journey Girl’s Adventures, therefore, was only bound to make her smile! The gorgeous shots, the captivating photo effects, and the well-placed cliffhanger all guarantee that she’ll be back for next week’s installment. Thumbs up from us!

{2} There are some bloggers that make being cool look effortless. Case in point? Inky, New York resident and Instagram superstar, who recently gave us a peek into her perfectly-styled bedroom. From her extensive Uglydoll collection to her colorful rows of books, it’s clear Inky has an eye for interior design, so only one question remains: when can we visit?

{3} While the latest Ever After High special did come out in August, Lulu couldn’t help but include it in this month’s round of picks! The animation was breathtaking {especially in the outfit transformation sequence!} and she adored the “wonderlandiful” story. She would love to discuss with other EAH fans, so if you’ve seen it, be sure to share your thoughts in the comments :)

{4} It’s hard to keep up with trends in real life, let alone translate them to the doll world too! For this reason, Bella adores any fashion craft that is both easy and quick to make, like Liz’s recent leather bracelet inspired tutorial. It’s trendy, it’s creative, and it’s an oh-so cute accessory to go with our dolls’ fall wardrobes. Perhaps we’ll make a few of our own as we watch the Brooklyn Nine-Nine premiere tonight!

{5} Doll Mag advice of the day: There’s nothing a good piece of cake can’t solve! Lulu loved reading about Kaya and Xyra’s adventures in the kitchen in a recent photo story; that lemon cake looks oh-so yummy {and makes us both hungry and ready to bake!}. What recipes have you been whipping up as of late?

{6} Finally, the girls at Dolly Dorm Diaries have impressed us yet again with their gorgeous photography and fun adventures. Cindy, Christina, and Saige took advantage of the late summer weather to fit in another beach trip, but this time with other friends: their horses! We think there’s nothing better than doing something with the people you love most, and it seems they agree.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Psst. Thanks to everyone who entered this month’s survey so far! Though our issues only has the room for one reader to be featured, we love reading your responses. Keep ‘em coming by entering HERE!

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September Updates

Hello!September UpdatesHow is it September, friends? The two of us hope you all had amazing summers and, better yet, are ready for the fun that comes with fall. Brisk autumnal weather, cozy sweaters and cute boots, and seasonal comfort food?! Count us in :)

We’re popping in to share a few DM updates as we head into a new month. Normally, as today is September 1st, we would have a new issue up and ready to read. Unfortunately, Lulu broke her finger last week as we were nearing our publication deadline {thankfully and most importantly, she’s on the mend and getting better every day}, but her injury delayed the remaining Doll Mag tasks. To continue to deliver the highest quality we can in our magazine, we have made the tough decision to push back our release day to Monday, September 14. This extension will give us the much-needed time to finish formatting, writing, and proofreading the articles we have left.

Blog posts and social media updates will continue to go up as usual, and we still plan to release the holiday issue on November 1st. Thank you for understanding, and happy fall! ♥

Psst. Doesn’t Isabella look adorable in Grace’s Sightseeing Outfit? We’re staring the process of choosing back to school outfits for each DM model; what are your dolls wearing for the season?

Work It Like a Boss / Blog Design

Hi!

Blog DesignThanks for your patience through our blog hiatus! We returned from our fun-packed family vacation in Virginia last week, and the two of us are now preparing for the fall issue launch and our upcoming school years. Needless to say, we are excited to be posting once again, and we’re looking forward to the weeks ahead.

One of the most common topics of question from DM readers is blog design, and Lulu and I can understand the anxiety! Like the cover of a book, the design of your blog is key to making an excellent first impression. For this month’s Work It Like a Boss, we’ve chosen to finally address your questions – and what better way to learn than from the experts?! Below are five doll blog designs that earn the DM stamp of approval. Use our observations and apply them to your own site, making the Internet prettier one blog at a time :)

Alex D. PerreaultAlex D. Perreault

One of the first elements to determine when designing your blog is the method in which you want to deliver your content. Here at Doll Mag, we are text-driven, using graphics as support to each post; in contrast, eighteen-inch style blog Alex D. Perreault has pictures supplemented with a short sentence or two. It’s fitting then that the blogger strays from the typical two-column design and picks a photo grid structure instead. Your eye is immediately drawn to the pictures, and the handwritten style of the title has a lasting impact. Furthermore, both color and white space are used well, making this site a visual winner all around.

Simply DollightfulSimply Dollightful

Another way to approach your site design is to work it around your strengths as a blogger. Both Lulu and I have an eye for graphic design, so we utilized our favorite fonts and bright color palettes when formatting the Doll Mag site. This is consistent with the content we produce: an online publication! At Simply Dollightful, readers can expect gorgeous photography just by looking at Christina’s header. As her blog is primarily photo stories, snapshots from previous posts is a an effective way to design the site. This is also a good reminder that simple is usually better; Christina uses two colors and the same font throughout, and trust us, that’s all you need.

Clarisse's ClosetClarisse’s Closet

Next question to ask yourself: how do you identify yourself and/or your blog? Are you an Etsy shop owner looking to promote your store? Are you a longtime doll fan in need of a creative outlet? Are you a budding doll collector who likes to review different products? It may seem unnecessary, but determining why you blog makes the process of designing a logo and brand all the more easier. Doll Mag is a hobby for the both of us, but we attempt to be professional, using the same typefaces in our graphics and high-quality files in our design. Clarisse’s Closet is excellent at this step as well – we can always tell Clarisse around the web with her signature hat logo!

From Echo with LoveFrom Echo with Love

One of the easiest ways to take your site design from good to great is to analyze how you use white space. Contrary to the name, white space doesn’t have to be white; it is merely an art term used to describe the space between design elements. Too little white space looks unprofessional and cluttered {the sidebar is the usual culprit here}, while too much of it can distract your reader. Echo, blogger at From Echo with Love, finds the perfect balance, using pops of color against a clean white background. We love how the design fits her artistic personality, and it goes to show that a white background is not as boring as it sounds.

Doll StarsDoll Stars

Finally, there’s only one mantra we can’t stress enough: less is more! Your background, header, and fonts should support the amazing content you produce, not overwhelm it. The design of Doll Stars does this well; the chic, minimalistic structure allows Elly’s colorful photos to pop, and its professional look upgrades it from the typical Blogger template. Elly didn’t do this alone, however, which leads us to our final note. If you reach a creative rut and can’t seem to get out, finding a free or inexpensive blog designer to assist you will help you and your site in the long run.

What do you think is most important when designing a blog? {And please note that there are plenty of other well-designed doll blogs we could have highlighted! We just felt that these five best fit our particular tips}.

Happy Monday!
Bella

Psst. The next Anne of Green Gables discussion will be posted tomorrow. Some DM team members slacked on the next section while on vacation – not that we know anything :)

Staff Picks / April 2015

Hi!

Staff Picks April 2015Much to our disbelief, we are already nearing the end of April, which can only mean two things in the Doll Mag household: the deadline for our next issue is nearing {check back on Friday to read it} and it’s time for another round of Staff Picks! As always, we are blown away by fellow bloggers’ creativity and photography, making our four choices difficult ones. Because we can never highlight every single site we would like to, we’re going to take a cue from another blogger we admire, Char at Doll Diaries. Send someone an online high-five by sharing their post in the comments below – a little bit of online love is the BEST! :)

1 / Berry season has arrived! The girls at The Salty Breeze took advantage of the nice weather and visited their local berry patch. The cute photos have us wishing to go strawberry picking, but in the meantime, we’ll just urge you to read the entire post here.

2 / Is there a more fun way to spend Easter than at Disneyland?! Bella thinks not. Stylishly attired in a mint green dress, Molly must have had a blast when she visited earlier this month; photos of her day were posted at Miss Molly and Friends.

3 / Although this daring cutie hasn’t been released yet, Lulu fell in love with her and her stylish armor the minute she saw the new photos. Darling Charming, daughter of King Charming, will be joining the EAH line later this year. Will she be joining your collection?

4 / Lulu has happy memories of watching the Strawberry Shortcake cartoon when she was younger, so she loved reading Emily’s witty reviews of the Strawberry Shortcake line! While the dolls have changed quite a bit over the years, we think it’s safe to say that they’re still berry adorable.

5 / Our Generation has definitely improved upon their sense of fashion, as evident in this recent post at Audra’s Elements of Style. Audra’s friend Tamsyn looks stunning in her floral dress, blossom crown, and army green jacket – we would take a cue from her wardrobe!

6 / It’s no secret that we enjoy doll fashion blogs, so coming across Alexandra D. Perreault was a welcome surprise! Alexandra {the namesake of the chic site} and her friends have a superb taste in style, and their mix and match combinations are sure to catch your eye.

7 / Springtime to us means loads of flowers and pretty dresses – and Chloe’s photos at the Dolls of Sweet Nokia Street have both! The beautiful bluebonnets are a perfect background for the third edition of this lovely photo shoot.

8 / Finally, proms are a classic springtime event, and we loved Claire’s creativity in her Prom Week posts. Her dolls looked gorgeous in their dresses, which, surprisingly enough, are actually skirts for humans! Be sure to take a peek over at her blog, Carrot and Claire.

Have a lovely start to your week!