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New Look!

Yesterday I shopped for groceries at Uwajimaya and Target, which are conveniently across the road from each other in Beaverton. At Uwajimaya I selected a package of daifuku for my weekly treat. At Target, I'd hoped to find the wintertime herbal teas from Celestial Seasonings, but they hadn't hit the shelves yet. Instead I chose a blend called Bedtime from a company I haven't tried before, Yogi Tea. As soon as I got home, I opened both of my new purchases for my afternoon snack.

This was a mistake.

The tea is delicious. The licorice, cinnamon, and cardamom make it a nice spicy drink to sip while nibbling the sweet, bland daifuku. But after drinking my first cup, I felt inexplicably heavy and drowsy. I looked up an ingredient I didn't recognize, valerian root.

"Valerian is most commonly used for sleep disorders, especially the inability to sleep (insomnia). It is frequently combined with hops, lemon balm, or other herbs that also cause drowsiness....Valerian seems to act like a sedative on the brain and nervous system." (WebMD)

I had just enough energy to grumble, "The box didn't say to drink it only at bedtime!" and crawl under the covers before I passed out.

The tea knocked me out for nearly six hours. I woke up around 10 pm bouncing off the walls. Sweetie was asleep, the world outside was cold and dark, and I was too wired to settle down and read or write.

So I redesigned this blog.

I've been itching to change it for a few reasons. The chocolate brown background made the whole design feel dark, the text on the banner image was difficult to read, and the section of the page for posts was too wide. Typographers recommend about 70 characters per line for optimal readability, and I was displaying 150.

Here's what the blog looked like before.

Screenshot of previous layout

Here's what it looks like now on a desktop. (The mountains and right sidebar are hidden on mobile devices with resolutions less than 1024 pixels wide.)

Screenshot of current layout

The rice paper texture in the background came from, which is my go-to resource for patterns that look natural and, well, subtle. The plum blossoms, butterflies, and mountains came from public domain images I found on Wikimedia Commons.

The plum blossom branches at the top were painted by Sun Long and Chen Lu in the early Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). The paintings are owned by the Xiling Society of Seal Arts.

Plum Blossoms 1 Plum Blossoms 2

I extracted the butterflies from this porcelain bowl by an unknown Chinese artist, which was made sometime between 1723 and 1735 and is now in the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore.

Chinese bowl with butterflies

And the mountains to the left are an adaptation of "Autumn Landscape," a silk hanging scroll painted by Kinoshita Itsuun in 1854.

Autumn landscape on silk hanging scroll

I like the new layout much better than the old one. Now to fill it with content!


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