If you’ve been on this journey with me since I started blogging about my adventures as Big Apple Angie in 2006, you will appreciate more than anyone just how far I’ve come since that rough and tumble little Blogspot I used to have. A few redesigns, and quite a few years later, I think I’ve finally found my home! This is the ultimate upgrade and it feels like the journey from my Hell’s Kitchen apartment into a beautiful brand new house. (Art imitates life!) If you’re new to my corner of the Internet, welcome to shiny, sparkly, redesigned AngieAway.com!
During a surface interval on a dive trip to Bonaire with Kristin and Alex last summer, they raved about their experiences with Hannah and Lee from Further Bound. Kristin was in the process of redesigning her award-winning site with them, and as I peeked at some of the previews of her new pages, I knew I wanted in. Angie Away has become more than just a blog where I tell my tall tales. It’s evolved into a platform that encompasses my whole life – work, fun and everything in between, and I needed my site to reflect that.
Now… the Further Bound team is a hot commodity, and you don’t just start a project with them on demand. I booked into their calendar last summer for a February start date. In the months between – the months while I was wedding planning, traveling, dealing with post-wedding drama, coordinating events, conferences and influencer programs, writing a zillion articles and buying a house, mind you – I worked closely with Hannah to come up with the aesthetic you’ll now see carried out on the pages of Angie Away.
But first I had to figure out what I wanted… and since I wear so many different hats, I didn’t know where to start. Now that I’m doing so many things, from DIY and crafts to PR and social media consulting to being a wife – and still traveling the world as always – I wanted the site to reflect that. I needed easy navigation and a pleasing visitor experience – that was a priority.
I wanted readers to find the answers they seek quickly and in one place and I wanted my content to be easy to find, not buried away. And I wanted it all to be uncluttered and clean, feminine without being too girly, youthful but also grown up, global and also down-to-earth.
As I grow as a person, I want Angie Away to come with me in a way Big Apple Angie never could. (Unless she stayed in NYC forever. And enjoyed talking about herself in the 3rd person.)
I also knew that I wanted to encapsulate more than just my travels, and that’s where the “roots & wings” comes in. Isn’t it funny that the travel writer – the wings – married a tree surgeon – the roots – and now that is my lifestyle? You’ll see hints of “roots and wings” all over the site, but there’s a particularly helpful explanation over on my new ABOUT page. Not exactly a linear request, but Further Bound was up for the challenge!
Hannah really helped me dig in to find the crux of all my wants, needs and interests to translate it into something visually appealing, fun and navigable. I appreciated how quickly she was able to peg my personality and writing style and turn that into a brand look and feel that just works. Over the course of several months, a couple of Skype conversations with Hannah and a few mood boards on Pinterest, she created a look and feel that really fits the Angie Away vibe.
We affectionately dubbed it “Jaws meets Jane Austen.”
So what’s new around here? Almost everything! I rewrote all the landing pages and content so even if you’ve been here since August 2006 when Big Apple Angie started blogging, or December 31, 2010 when I left for my RTW adventure and Angie Away took flight, you’ll find lots of new nuggets to entertain you. Jane Austen quotes are sprinkled throughout along with Southern cordiality and a hint of sparkle.
It’s hard to choose a favorite part of this new design, but the logo is up at the top of the list. I wanted to show, not tell, as they say over and over in journalism school. I needed something that evoked the movement and energy of travel without shouting it – so no airplanes or trains or suitcases for me. In the end, we came up with the round shape, reminiscent of a globe; a vintage-inspired font to add a bit of historicity; a tagline that encompasses my international sensibilities and my girl next door nature; and the cherry on top – shark fins as the letter A!
From the new homepage, you can now navigate quickly to:
- The BLOG, with access to the latest and greatest stories
- TRAVEL, a landing page for HOME (U.S.) and AWAY (International) destinations
- LIFESTYLE, the gateway to DIY, Faith, Reviews, Wellness, etc.
- MEDIA SAVVY, where I put my PR and social media expertise to work with content about press trips, blogging and influencer campaigns
- PRESS, a selection of TV segments, published articles and interviews
- TIPS, the door to Packing, Budgeting, Adventure, Volunteering, Movie Locations, Road Trips and so much more
- SHOP, which houses the many ebooks and guides I’ve been longing to write
I also have a gorgeous new media kit available from my WORK WITH ME page; the ANGIE LIVE page where all my social accounts are updated in real time; all your FAQs answered in one easy spot; and a RESOURCES page where I’ve compiled all the goodies, from luggage to technology – that I use to keep this global life going. It was so much work, but I’m so, so pleased with how it all turned out!
There’s a huge backlog of work ahead to reformat my archive of 700+ posts to fit the new design, so please bear with me while I tackle that over the coming weeks. Earlier versions of Angie Away were created prior to the invention of responsive design, so I need to devote some TLC on older posts to bring them into this shiny new world.
And I have new photos, too! These come courtesy of my super-talented little sis and her BFF/roommate Cheyenne, who braved the February cold to shoot the main images you see throughout the site. I’ve long-known I’d be lost without my sis, but so too would the new Angie Away.
In addition to prettying up the pages and infusing some much-need jazz into the content, I’m making it super easy to get Angie Away updates in your inbox. (Every other blogger in the world already has this set up, but evidently I was standing behind the door when they explained how to do it, so Further Bound did it for me.)
I’ve been alluding to an epic giveaway for months now, so here are the details. If you’ve been following the blog lately, you’ve likely seen quite a few posts about my experience on the luxurious Rocky Mountaineer. Based on your reactions, you are all ready to pack a bag and board the train yourself. So I’m making it happen for one lucky reader and a guest!
Sign up to receive Angie Away in your inbox between today and May 31, 2016, and you’ll be entered to win a trip for two on the Rocky Mountaineer train – yes, the one National Geographic calls one of the World’s Greatest Trips – in glorious GoldLeaf Service. The winner will be able to select either Journey through the Clouds or First Passage to the West. Thank you, Rocky Mountaineer, for making this great giveaway possible!
GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS
A 2-day rail offering of winner’s choosing – on either Journey through the Clouds or First Passage to the West, pending availability.
- 2 day Rail in GoldLeaf Service for two
- Overnight accommodations in Kamloops
- Winner is responsible for airfare, hotel accommodations pre/post rail portion, excursions and transfers.
- USA residents only. Valid for 2016 season.
- Approximate value of the trip is: USD $4,460.00
Thank you for stopping by and sharing your feedback on the new look. Now that it’s finally done, I’ll be napping on the back porch for the rest of the day if you need me…