Author Archives: Milton Jang

Blog Review: Sincerely Gracie

With an assigned peer from the course's other tutorial, write (appreciatively, constructively) a review of their website’s design. Link well, use resources from your readings please. The review should assess theme and customizations, typography, layout, social media integration, site structure, usability, and any other design decisions you notice. Your review should be 400+ words and posted to your Process Blog, with clear links to your peer’s site.

Hi Gracie! Today I will be reviewing your blog, Sincerely Gracie: http://sincerelygracie.com/

Home page: http://sincerelygracie.com/

Initial Impressions:

Upon first landing on the home page, I can immediately have a sense of what the blog is about since it’s spelled out clearly at the top: A Source of Inspiration and Goodness. On the image that stretches the width of the page, there is also another sentence describing the mission statement and what you aspire to do with the blog. I like it, but I feel you could add a lot more oomph to it. The image is high quality but the black text over the cyan background makes it a bit harder to read. This site I looked at has some good tips on how to mix text with imagery. Maybe you could try picking another image to work with? Cyan can be a hard color to work with text overlays; either way, I think the text should be bigger and somehow given more visual weight. In week five (Designer Mauvé Page) we talked about how everything above the fold should be enough to entice the visitor to keep scrolling, which your site does! Scrolling down a bit there’s a great extended introduction about the site and an Instagram widget to help people follow you there.

Pages, Categories, & Tags

I was a bit confused when I landed on the blog page because I was expecting to see blog posts but there aren’t any currently. However, if I hover over your menu dropdown and click on say, “Process Posts,” the posts do show up. So right now, you have each of these pages (Blog, Big Love Ball, Course Work / PUB101) set up as a page, but what you want is to set them up as categories (the same way how you made a “Process Posts” category). That way, you won’t have a static empty page, but rather a dynamic page since the category by default pulls everything in the category and dumps it onto the page.

For example, your “Blog” dropdown menu has: Blog (of course), Fashion, Health and Wellness, and Travel. All you would need to do is create a “Blog” category as you did with the others. Then, every time you post a fashion post, you would add both the “Fashion” category and the “Blog” category.

Typography and other stuff

In week five (Designer Mauvé Page) we also covered all things typography. I think the typography, style, and overall format you have going is excellent. The serif-typeface of your header evokes an elegant feel and works well when paired with your contrasting sans-serif body text. The body text is decently big, but it helps make the line length of each of your lines a good length—not too long and not too short.

I like how the recent posts widget on the side with the dates showing. but maybe you could consider having five posts instead of three, so when people come to your site, they can see really quickly more of the stuff you’ve put up. Overall, the theme for your site is very clean, the main issue is navigation. Since there isn’t a main blog page where all of your blog posts sit, it makes stuff a bit harder to find, but it’s quite easy to set up (check out this site).

Audience Building & Where I Stand

How exactly do you build an audience? I never thought it would be so hard, but it really is—especially online. I wouldn’t say it’s easy to build an audience in real life, but here’s a good example: clubs. My university has a chess club, and the people who join the club are either chess beginners interested in learning how to play chess, or chess enthusiasts eager to play some games with other fellow chess players. Here, audience building is easy, since the chess club is the only chess club at my university.

Reality in terms of tribe-building, however, is much different than the online world in the sense that there is a vastly more limited selection of groups and communities available. Like in my chess example, the chess club may be the only chess club at my university, but there are probably millions of other chess groups online.

But how do you establish yourself online? How do you build a fanbase of people online in an overcrowded sea of vloggers, bloggers, and content creators who are all just trying to make a name for themselves? In the past I’ve tried to build followers on an art account on Instagram—I used the hashtags, followed the advice of those who’d “made it,” implemented all the “secret” tips and tricks—but it never worked out. I definitely wasn’t consistent with my posting, but despite that, people just didn’t seem to care. Which makes sense. Why would someone care about what I put out when there are a million other people who are X times better, with X times more talent, and with X number more followers than I do? I don’t think Instagram is for me, at least not yet.

With a simple search for “building an audience,” I stumbled across a Buffer blog titled, Why Building An Audience Is So Hard (And Why I’m Still Trying), by Ash Read. The post outlines six key ingredients to successful audience building, they are:

  1. Look for what’s next
  2. Have a voice
  3. Do things differently
  4. Hard work
  5. Focus on quality
  6. Be consistent

Everything has been said before, but it’s never been said by you. Your point of view is what makes you interesting.

Jory MacKay

While I could go in depth into my thoughts about each one of these, I’m going to focus on #2: Have a voice, because it’s the one that’s most relevant to me in where I stand with my blog writing.

It’s a bit weird, have a voice. Well duh Sherlock, everyone has a voice, … but! Everyone has a voice, but not everyone has a voice. See, most people use their voice to echo back what everyone else is already saying, and as Ash says, doing this will result in you “get[ting] lost in the endless sea of content published every day.”

The big breakthrough for me is realizing I actually do have a voice. I always thought that what I said didn’t matter. But it does. The more I think and reflect back on my life—the struggles, moments of emptiness, breakthroughs, personal revelations—the more I think, this could make for a great story, this could help someone. It may not help everyone, but my audience is not everyone. My goal is to be able to reach just one heart, one lost soul, and help them find comfort in winning themselves back again.

Music Mix 2020


Some context:

For my mini assignment 3 I decided to create a video, more specifically an audio-visual experience. Music plays a big role in my life so I decided to take a couple songs from my 2020 playlist and create audio-visual story of the music I’ve enjoyed over the year and how it has changed until now. To create this, I used snippets of the song’s music video, overlapped video and audio, and synced them in a way that made sense.

Update: Website updates, writing, peer review, & more

Alright here we go againnn, another update thingy. So, for the past three days or so, I’ve been solely working on redesigning the website. My issue with using the Blog Diary theme was that, well it just didn’t do and look like how I wanted my page to look and function. The theme’s home page allowed me to showcase several pieces of writing on the homepage in a feature slider and several card sections below, but the options available were limited and quite janky if I’m being real.

I also wanted my site to act with two things in mind: a portfolio for my writing, and a blog section. The best way I know how to build a site that’s fully customizable is with Elementor page builder (the free version suffices but the pro version offers some features I’d like to have, like the custom page builder to customize the look of each blog post page, but it’s too much $$$ for me right now). I’ve used it before to build my club’s (SFU LYFE) website, so I thought this would be a great opportunity to further develop my skills in website development while also achieving the vision for my site.

And after pondering and implementing ideas for the design of the site, it’s finally (well at least the framework) done! And I’m pleased with how it turned out so far. Since I’d used Elementor once before, the process was much smoother as I understood how to resolve some of my trouble spots from the first time around.


We also just had our first peer review done for PUB101. My partner for this assignment was Marylou so here are my comments to her critique, advice, and generous peer review of my blog:

Also, since I didn’t take any screenshots of my website (silly me) before I revamped it, Marylou’s blog post is going to be the archive of that—pls don’t delete ty.

One thing I was pointed out to consider was to improve the “reading willingness” of my posts so that people would be encouraged to keep reading. And this would be done by breaking it up by inserting images, using quote blocks, or changing the font size to something bigger. And yeah, I agree with this. I’m just looking at the screenshot provided and man, that line length is really long. Thankfully, by changing to the Astra theme, the ratio of the main section to the sidebar section was reduced, so the line length is now shorter because the container it’s in is now narrower. Finding images is toughh though, I usually reserve it for when there’s something specific I want to show, but adding in sub-headings and quote blocks to break up the text I can do for sure.


Last thing. Going into this class (before the semester started) I’d kinda just stopped writing…I know, I know, very contradictory of me. But I’m glad I’m taking PUB101, it has helped me get back into the groove of writing and I’m starting to remember why I got so into it before. I guess I was just living life? But that’s also just an excuse, I won’t get into that here. Leave it for the journal! Anyways, I bid you farewell until another update.

Dear 2020…

Yesterday I listened to the On Purpose podcast episode titled, 3 Ways to Let Go Of Society’s Expectations & Connect With Your Authentic Self. Before the episode starts, Jay Shetty shares a personal letter he wrote to 2020. It was great, it really made me think, and it was so profound that I just had to share it. Have a read:

In 2020 the world was hit by a deadly pandemic.
Difficult to understand by any academic,
It could make you cough, lose smell and taste,
Gave trouble breathing, blueish lips, or face.
People felt heaviness and pain in their chest.
Human resilience and response were put to the test.

First there was anxiety and then there was confusion.
We couldn’t hug, handshake, or fist bump until a solution.
Schools were closed. Leagues were canceled. And no one could meet.
Social distancing became the new norm we had to be apart by six feet.
We couldn’t stand in line outside concerts, but we stood outside stores.
Billions were stuck indoors finishing Netflix and getting bored.

People had to work from home. It was the new normal.
We wore sweatpants to work. Only the upper half was formal.
People couldn’t travel abroad so they pursued the journey within.
People danced on their roofs and bedrooms without any rhythm.
People lost their jobs and started to pursue their passions.
People used their passions to serve others and make things happen.

We started celebrating heroes like nurses, doctors, and those on the front line.
Everyone would clap and cheer for them all at one time.
It affected people’s wealth and their mental health,
But then people started taking more care of themselves.

They practiced yoga, music, and meditation.
They started to support each other all across the nation.
People raised money for those in need and gave up their salaries.
They danced online with the world and sang on their balconies.
No one saw it coming, and no one could see it leaving.
But people became much more grateful to be breathing.

Hundreds of thousands of people died, may they rest in peace.
Let’s send love to all their loved ones to hope their pain will ease.
We deeply understood that our choices affect others.
Strangers, brothers, sisters, lovers, fathers, and mothers,
Old and young, the virus didn’t discriminate.
Rich and poor, the virus did infiltrate.

It showed us we weren’t in control and had to be more prepared.
We needed to care more for each other, and the planet, we had to be aware.

It was a warning like no other.
Being apart brought us closer together.
We finally found ways to use technology for the better.
We became more mindful and started to judge less.
We developed kindness and tools for less stress.
We led with more love, compassion, and empathy.
We gave up FOMO, comparison, and jealousy.

The choices we make now will affect future generations.
Our togetherness will be celebrated.
Our sacrifice will be recognized.
We can choose to show them what we do at tough times.

And ask yourself, when your child or grandchild asks you in 2030, 2040, or 2050,
What did you do in 2020?
Do the answer that you want to share with them.

Jay Shetty

“Wow,” I thought after hearing that for the first time. And wow is right. I think we can all agree that it’s been a hectic year so far, and as Jay said, no one saw it coming. “But 2020 wasn’t supposed to be this way! This wasn’t supposed to happen, ughh, I was planning to do this and that and travel there…” But let me ask you something.

When did anything ever happen the way we expected it to go? Never. The future hasn’t happened yet, and even our best predictions of how things might turn out will go sour more often than not. It’s like the weather. Your local meteorologist says it’s going to be a great day tomorrow with a 99.999% chance of sunshine and a 0.0001% chance of showers, hail, thunder, earthquakes, and typhoons. “It’s going to be so nice out tomorrow!” You’re so optimistic of the day to come: you pack for a beach day, make sandwiches, and fall asleep listening to a soundtrack of waves crashing on a beach. The next morning you wake up to the sound of the roof of your house ripping off and your local meteorologist now says to put on a coat because hurricanes are the new normal.

Nothing is ever final, yet we hijack how we view our current situation for worse or better than it really is because of the (unrealistic) expectations we place on something we can’t control. Why do we do this to ourselves? Or better, do you do this yourself?

We’re not fortune-tellers, people—those guys are wrong plenty too—we don’t have a magical orb we can just look into and know everything, but we think we do, and so we play that game. There’s a meteorologist inside every one of us, expecting the best and feeling bad when things get cold (literally, Winter is coming 👀 lol).

I’m not saying to not have any expectations, no, that would be unrealistic…but hear me out and you might very well change your mind.

The outcome of any situation is the outcome because it was destined to be that way. And all I’m saying is that if you leave the outcome—our expectations, future, hopes, and dreams—in an air of mystery, peace may find you in ways you never expected. The suspension of expectation brings the promise of surprise.

Maybe you’ve never been blessed with all your family, friends, and loved ones throwing you a surprise birthday party (or anxiety attack from everyone cheering your name), but I’m sure you’d be surprised if someone sent you a message telling you how much they appreciate you being in their lives. Why? because we would never expect something like that to happen in our oh so ordinary days. In fact, why don’t you check your messages right now? Of course, I don’t expect you to because chances are, I just waste twenty seconds of your life that you will never get back.

But let me challenge you. If you’re reading this (or future Milton is), send off a thoughtful message to someone in your life just to remind them how amazing they are and how grateful you are to have them. Chances are, you’ll surprise them, bring them delight, and give them twenty seconds of their lives they’ll never want to forget.

In the words of Ralph Marston: “Make it a habit to tell people thank you. To express your appreciation, sincerely and without the expectation of anything in return. Truly appreciate those around you, and you’ll soon find many others around you. Truly appreciate life, and you’ll find that you have more of it.”

Throughout the past couple of months, I’ve had so many days where I just felt tired and beat down. Some days I didn’t want to live, and continuing just meant enduring suffering. But I continued. I attended my club’s book club, I chess-n’-chilled with my friends, I ate food, I went for walks with music, and many others. Now I say I continued, but more often than not I continued with an attitude of “YYyyyy I don’t wanna be here, I don’t wanna do this, please I wish I could just go to sleep right now.” Looking back, though however spiteful I may have been, I’m glad I went forward.

Because though there’s nothing special on paper about say, playing some games of bughouse chess, the actual experience of being present and playing with my best friend was so FUN. Having been through the cycle of denial (“should I?”) but still going through with things has taught me that the experience of something—anything— trumps the thought of future projecting how a certain thing will go. And at the end of the night, I guiltily eek myself at why I even questioned doing what I just did, because of how much joy that one experience brought to my day.

Or maybe I was just sleep-deprived, or just tired, which might’ve made me think “how can going through with this possibly make my day better?” Either way, it was the suspension of the belief that something could possibly make me happier that ultimately made that something the thing that would make my day.

Don’t ever let your expectation ruin what could be.

Thrift shopping is all about going into the thrift shop and having no expectation of what you might find.

Macklemore

P.S. I didn’t expect to write this whole spiel on expectation. I just started with the poem and now I’m here. Neither did I expect the topic of expectation to just happen to be the point of discussion the podcast episode. Who knew? Not me.