Monthly Archives: January 2022

Peer Review 1

For the first peer review, I got to take a look at Leigh’s website called “The Visual Meditator.” The website appears to be a platform for Leigh’s photography and digital works at first glance. As an outside observer, I can tell that her blog is about visual art and culture by looking at the sub-heading and the header image, which give out a very artistic vibe, along with the quote “A state of “becoming”, rather than “accomplishment”‘

The title and header image of “The Visual Mediator”

The content

There are three main pages featured on the menu bar: About, Academic, and Blog. On the “About” page, Leigh stated that her content would be about “image ethics, visual literacy, and art history in the context of an ever-changing media landscape”. She also did a good job of showing the readers her personal branding and passion for photography through each and every one of her carefully edited images. Her posts about thoughts on changes in the media as well as photography-related topics are very well written. I found those insights admirable and inspiring to me, a person who is quite insensitive to art. All the content about her ongoing projects can be found right below the header image as I scrolled down the home page. The sub-sections are divided and titled clearly for readers to understand.

“Projects” blocks of “The Visual Mediator”

The design and layout

Logos are the faces of brands as they communicate the brands’ value and meaning while interacting with the community that they approach. However, a brand is not just a logo or a design. It can be anything that marks the brand’s existence, making it stand out. So far, Leigh is doing really well in making a difference in her brand with the harmonized combination of colour choice, web page layout, and visual presentation. I find the theme of the website very creative and eye-catching, with the main colours of black, red, and white. The layouts of her posts change flexibly according to the correlated content. I don’t know if this is her intention, but her posts are inconsistent in terms of theme and the size of the fonts. I think this is because she wants to match the fonts with her unique content for every post. Leigh also makes effective use of images throughout her posts, so they always keep readers’ attention.


I just have a small amount of minor feedback that I hope Leigh will consider. I notice that in most of her posts, she has a lot of external links embedded for readers’ references. Those links are usually opened on the same tab as her web page, which I find quite inconvenient for readers as their flow is interrupted. It may be a better choice if she sets the links to be opened in a new tab for later posts.

From what I read on her website, I believe Leigh has a second website that features further content related to her posts on The Visual Mediator. She might not notice this, but the link seems to be broken. Fixing it would be really helpful for her followers who are curious and interested in looking deeper into her works. On another note, I would suggest creating a section for any contact info or links to her works outside of the website.


In my opinion, I think Leigh has a clear picture of what her branding will look like and the potential that comes with it as she goes on. I am looking forward to seeing her progress in developing as a brand throughout this course.

Good luck Leigh!


Godin, Seth. “Definition of a Brand“.

Suzanne Norman. “Week Three-PUB 201 Intro to Branding – Visual Branding” PowerPoint slides.

Blog Post #35: Family Tree Review

Hi all! I hope you guys liked my review on Will Smith’s autobiography!

I’ve taken a break from biographies and this time I read something fictional. It’s by none other than Barbara Delinsky! And yes- she hits it out of the park yet again with Family Tree.

Let’s dive in, shall we?

This book tells the story of Dana and Hugh Clarke, who’re expecting their first child. When the time finally arrives, what’s supposed to be an ecstatic moment turns the couple’s lives upside down. Their newborn daughter, though beautiful and perfectly healthy, has darker skin and is discernably of African descent, despite both parents being Caucasian.

As you can imagine, many questions are raised about the girl’s heritage, particularly by Hugh’s parents. Hugh comes from an affluent background with careful documentation accounting for every family member. While on the other hand, Dana’s mother passed away when she was young, and she never knew her father.

Accusations of betrayal ensue, putting a strain on their relationship and the Clarke family questions facts they thought for their whole lives were true.

Dana and Hugh’s daughter’s birth takes them as well as those close to them on an explorative journey encompassing hard looks at internalized bigotry and classism, while most of all, engaging in much self-reflection.

Honestly, I did not want this book to end. I felt sad as I read the last page. I thought: “No! There has to be more!” I kid you not, every book Barbara Delinsky writes is so gripping that you think about them long after you’ve finished reading it. If I haven’t mentioned this already, (and I’m sure I have) her writing simply amazes me time and time again.

On top of that, I’ve been doing a lot of self-reflecting, so I really appreciate seeing authors go in-depth with their characters in this respect.

Overall, please take the time to seek out Family Tree. It’s a fantastic read that won’t disappoint. 

Peer Review 1: Sincerely, Gracie

I am reviewing Gracie’s website, Sincerely, Gracie. The description on the front page implies that Gracie intends to create a photography website with a large dose of sincerity. She says, “My goal is to convey inspiring messages through the art of digital storytelling — capturing stories that when told with words alone, don’t suffice.” It’s a really lovely sentiment. The first impression I get reading this is that it reminds me of the Humans of New York (HONY) project, a photo project capturing the fascinating stories of the citizens of New York. I am really interested in what Gracie will do on this website because I adore reading people’s stories.

Home Website

Gracie’s menu is easy to navigate – separated into her home page, here About page, her blog, and her PUBL 201 content. Her primary content will likely be displayed on her home page. I will primarily be focusing on her Home Page and her About Me page, which is where her content is displayed so far.

For Gracie’s content, I’m imagining some large portraits, and accompanying interviews or excerpts about her chosen person’s life. If that’s what Gracie intends to do, I think a theme that’s more photocentric would really capture the eye. The first thing the reader should see on full display are these pictures, with accompanying captions so that readers can click onto those posts to read more about the person chosen for the post.

(Photo taken from the front page of HONY for reference. Photographs are on readily displayed. HONY has posted their interviewee in a row of photographs and captions. There are twelve posts and photos for this individual as you scroll on the website.)

This is the current theme chosen for Gracie’s website, which would really suit a personal blog if that’s what Gracie is going for. The cursive blue font of the website title against the white background feels really calming to look at — it looks like handwriting, which makes the website feel comforting. However, the cursive for the menu buttons are a bit difficult to read. “Blog” and “Contact” in particular are lost because the size of the font squishes some of the letters in the menu. I would consider using a different font for the menu, maybe something like the Google Font Pacifico or Lobster, as those are bolded fonts that are cursive that read a bit more easily.

There’s also a really nice cloud background image used for the bottom as a banner, but I’m not actually able to see the full image unless I full screen my window. I would just adjust the theme a bit so that it’s visible, because it really is a lovely picture! I’m curious about whether it’s a photo taken by Gracie.

This is the image on the desktop window when I open the website.

This is how the image looks like when I press F11 on my keyboard to display the photo on full screen.

About Me

This is so cute! I love the film camera in Gracie’s photo here. It captures Gracie’s personality in a cozy yellow sweater, and the font chosen for her greeting is comforting. So far, I really like how clean the blog looks.

Gracie talks about her personal life here, and I think this is a great factor in any website that claims sincerity, even if it focuses on other people. I love the fun facts at the bottom. It makes Gracie feel relatable and personable to me as a reader – she talks about her star sign, her taste in Taylor Swift, her favourite Starbucks drinks. Gracie talks extensively about her swim team experience, and I’m excited to see whether she will be talking to swimmers in her content or more about her competitive lifestyle. 

Overall, I am excited to see more from Gracie. Her website so far feels personable, which fits the sincerity that she is aiming for. My overall thoughts are that maybe her theme could let her photography shine more — something that looks more like a canvas. Gracie’s website is easy to navigate, and I’m excited to see more from her.

Best of luck to you too, Gracie!  

Peer Review 1!

The blog I am reviewing today is . Hannah’s blog ( is focused on social media promotion, primarily Instagram and TikTok, and how to grow and market yourself on each respective platform. Hannah has chosen a monochrome, white and neutral-coloured theme. I think this accomplishes the “look” she is trying to market, and her use of images pushes her image of wellness and exploration as well. Hannah also uses many smiley face images, both in her header and at the end of her “about me” page, which shows the platform of positivity that she is trying to promote. 

Hannah’s most extensive post is her “about me” where she explains the number of garnered followers she has gained during the pandemic- without telling us how. I think this is a good marketing tactic to promote people to actively follow along as she, metaphorically, reveals more to her followers. She also ambiguously alludes to being in the “industry” which invites the curiosity of the reader to stick around and be part of something that can be considered difficult or exclusive. Her about me section is informative while also engaging. 

Hannah’s use of images help promote self care and wellness as she markets images of herself, visibly happy and pleased, showing her viewers/ readers that her methods for success and wellness do work. By showcasing a healthy and carefree lifestyle Hannah is inviting her readers to mimic her choices and read her future blog posts on how to achieve this success and happiness. 

Hannah emphasizes the quickness of which her following came to her, showcasing and branding herself as a successful and business brand-creator. By emphasizing how fast she accomplished her goals, Hannah is promoting instant success for her followers. 

Reading Reflection 01

The main point this article is trying to make is that art can be used to challenge the consumer capitalism that is currently rampant in society. The anti-consumerist activists use culture jamming to topple existing power structures. High power corporations have created the dominant discourse, and shaped the beliefs, values, behaviours that serve their own interests. These values of consumerism are being challenged by different organizations through culture jamming, through the internet, posters, billboards, and even garbage cans. These campaigns by activist groups bring awareness to the consumerist model and force people to become active participants in changing the world.

After completing this reading, I better understand that culture jamming is an important part of combatting consumer society, and it is something that should be much more widely spread. I had never heard of it before, nor Adbusters, and I think that they have a powerful message that can be disseminated much more. A few questions that I had in regard to the reading was on guerilla semiotics, and the occupy wall street movements. Some questions about Occupy wall street were answered in class, where I discovered that it was a protest in New York City economic inequality, challenging the influence of money in politics. Though I still have some questions about guerilla semiotics.

This article discusses the mediums that can be used within culture jamming, from poster and billboards to the internet and radio. I think that this reading also shows that this movement can go even further. Especially since we are in the social media age, I think that apps like Instagram and Twitter can be great spaces to get these messages out. That said, there is the challenge of both platforms being privately owned. This article really highlights that these powerful corporations are the ones creating the values and ideals of the consumer, thus doing whatever is necessary to ensure their own survival, and a considerable profit. Activist groups like Adbusters and Project Plakatiranje work to challenge these corporations, all while creating a more diverse and sincere world.

Blog Post #1: A Reflection on What Does it Mean to Be a Self-Publisher

With the events of the last 2 years there has been more demand of being online, and defining a digital space for our personal and professional lives. Creating a space in the digital takes ingenuity; the way I think about it is being an artist with a blank canvas – and that first stroke entails fearless confidence.

This website is a space for learning and exploring – And I do confess I am building this website for a class I am taking, however EVERYONE is INVITED to come along the journey! I earnestly hope to provide insight into this fascinating subject of everyday self-publication.

As a publishing student, I am excited to create a space that not only showcases my personal quirky interests, but a place to connect and have conversations over coffee! Which is why I choose my blog name: Coffee with Belle.

What does it mean to be a self-publisher?

Whether or not you believe it, but each one of us are self-publishers.

With accessible internet right at our finger tips, it is easy to show everyone what you ate for lunch or that cute pose of your cat!

We do it everyday!For me, I spend more than a few hours a day on a screen. Statics say, the global average time spent using social media platforms per day is 142 minutes in 2021 – far higher than the 90 minutes recorded in 2012. The online world has become more a part of our daily lives – not only scrolling through social media but posting and sharing our personalities on instagram, tik tok etc. The rise of social media has brought way to a revolution of independent publishing and thats exciting!

xoxo Belle

2021: Reading Wins & Disappointments

Today, I’m sharing some of my favourite and least favourite reads of 2021, along with goals for 2022! I am chuckling at the fact that in my mid-year check in I mention how much I am sweating in the heat, and now I’m typing from my chilly bedroom! (Hello, climate change…) 

This year, I’ve read 37 books which is pretty great (probably helped along by the fact I included a few long fics in there as well). But overall, I had a great reading year. Since I almost reached 40 books this year, that is going to be my goal next year. It would be really cool if I reached it, as that would be my new record!

I already did a few wrap ups earlier, so I will focus on what I read later in the year!

Related posts:

What did I read in 2020?
Mid-Year Book Freak Out

Some favourites were:

Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo

Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo

I wasn’t sure what to expect since this had pretty mixed reviews, but overall I loved it. Nikolai’s one of my favourite characters, so I guess I was biased on that front, but I also loved reading Zoya’s character development. *Them* I felt like this book was cliffhanger after cliffhanger which I loved. Especially, Nina’s chapters!! I will admit the last half was a bit slower as we crawled deep into the political strategy of the war, so that was less entertaining for me. However, I still have to say it was one of my favourites of this year, and a must read for any Grishaverse fan. 

Chain of Iron book by Cassandra Clare Cover is blue with a girl wearing a gold dress and who has long flowing brown hair

Chain of Iron by Cassandra Clare

This book has me in a chokehold which I will not be released from until Chain of… whatever the next one is called is in my hands. The drama, the romance, the mystery (had to be my fave)! I thoroughly ate this story up, and yes, I will not be relaxing until I read the third book!!

The Renegades Trilogy by Marissa Meyer

Another end of the year fave has been the Renegades Trilogy by Marissa Meyer. Now, I can’t say this series is a literary masterpiece but by my level of enjoyment, it is! I’ve had this on my TBR list for a while and wasn’t sure when I’d get to it. But, when I saw someone on BookTok compare it to Miraculous Ladybug, it skyrocketed up there. This is a story you can have a lot of fun with if you don’t take it too seriously. There’s enemies to lovers (of course), and secret identities (my favourite), oh and superheroes! I’ve been listening to the audiobook of the third book Supernova while working on a book-themed puzzle I received for Christmas <3

lore olympus cover features persephone on a horse in pink on the bottom half of the cover with Hades in blue (the underworld) at the top of the book (upside down)

I just read the hardcover Vol. 1 of Lore Olympus by Rachel Smythe and fell in love with it! Now, I’ve been catching up on Webtoon and just finished Season 1 of the comics.

I have also been on the Marvel train recently as I caught up with my movie marathon that I started in the summer just in time to watch Spider-Man: No Way Home. The movie was fantastic, and now I’m hoping to get into reading some of the comics. I’ll be starting with Daredevil because I am obsessed with the show and would like to learn more about his character!

End of year disappointments:

the starless sea has a swirling blue cover with a gold bee imprinted on its centre

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

I think what hurt the most was the fact that this was going really well! I read over 100 pages just on the first day of having the book, and I was so happy to have an actual book back in my hands! (I had only had time for really listening to audio) However, this one really fell flat. There were so many obscure twists and turns I really thought were going to get explained that never were. The mystery was just never solved… There were some really beautiful lines in here about stories and magic, but by the end it felt like a lot of that had been lost, as I was just struggling to comprehend what the point was. There also was a romance thrown in here which felt really lacking. It was like the book was trying to get you to root for them when there was nothing to root for. 

the song of achilles cover features a trojan war helmet on teal background

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

I think with all the rave reviews, I really just expected too much from this one. It just didn’t hit as hard as I was expecting it to and maybe knowing how it would play out it didn’t affect me as much.

Some book related goals for the future:

Annotate & Review More

I’m getting more into annotating and recording my thoughts of what I read. I’d like to write a short review for every book I read and either leave it in the book on a sticky note (if it’s mine) or record it in my reading journal. I think it’s occurring to me that I am not forgetting what I enjoyed so much in books I read 4, 5 years ago and hey I’d like to remember! Tabs just don’t do it for me anymore!  I have yet to reread a book that I’ve annotated, but I think that would be a lot of fun too. I’m more comfortable writing in my own books now, but I did get some translucent sticky notes from Muji which I am super excited to try out! 

Start a book club

My friends and I had an idea to start our own little book club. It got a bit derailed because of business during the semester, but we had a few people interested, so I hope we can make it a reality! 

Start a ya lit podcast

This might be a bit ambitious considering I can barely now post on my blog or TikTok account, but I think this would be so fun! I’d love to start a podcast with my close friends and delve deeper into themes, tropes, and issues relating to YA literature. We would probably branch into conversations on writing and reading experience as well! I think it would be a great way to stay in touch with them as well as start conversations about what we are reading. I’ve had a lot of topic ideas, so we’ll see if I can someday bring them into fruition. 🙂

How were your reads of 2021? Do you have any anticipated reads for this year or book goals?

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