August 12, 2014

I’m so excited to see my blog lookin’ all sexy and fresh! So fresh and so clean. I haven’t been thrilled about any of the blog designs I’ve had – but if you read my quote about fashion, you would know I can be quite utilitarian. But it was time for a change!

Your website is often the first impression someone has of you. I knew the previous designs didn’t reflect my personality, at all. I want to make sure people feel welcome here, enjoy being here, and understand a little about who I am.

But money, I thought!

I’m trying to pay off debt!

Then, thanks to Debt Busting Chick, I realized that you can buy pre-made themes on Etsy for $20. Say what? After getting lost in the abyss that is Etsy, I found my designer.

Not just a designer. A chef, even. The Master Chef at Graphic Cookies. Mr. Tautvydas Gaudesius is a pretty rad dude (with a pretty rad name). I was going to get a pre-made theme for $20, until I realized a custom design was only $100. I was flabbergasted by the price. How could I say no?

He was so wonderful to work with and so accommodating. I was a real pain in the a$$. I didn’t know what I wanted, hadn’t really thought about color and was extremely picky. He was patient, generous, accommodating, creative and so fun to work with! He has a great eye for things, too.

My new design cost me $100 and took 3 weeks. I couldn’t be happier! He even installed it for me, so I didn’t have to lift a finger to make it happen.

If you’re looking for a new design, I highly recommend him.

Here’s some other things I love and highly recommend:

Carrie from Careful Cents. I think she’s a rockstar babe. Full disclosure, I do work with her and help her out with some editing and writing. But she has been more than a boss to me. She has been an incredible mentor and friend to me and I can’t even express my gratitude. I wouldn’t have pursued this crazy adventure without her support and guidance. I’m so excited that she is offering 30-minute sessions to pick her brain — so you can get started on pursuing all your wildest dreams, too. That’s how it started for me, so be ready. 🙂

I really dug this post by Lauren at The Write Budget. I used to waste so much time doing client work, but using a timer has really set me straight.

Also, Kassandra’s post on how she is saving 50% of her income! You go girl! I can’t wait to follow in your foot steps.

Tell me. Do you judge people by how much money they make?

Lastly, if you enjoy my content, would you consider nominating me for a Plutus award? I’d love to be considered for Best Debt Blog or Best New Blog (i.e. blogs created in 2013 or 2014). You can use this simple link that is already filled out to nominate me (and others!). You do NOT need to be a blogger to vote.

Thanks for reading! I don’t generally do roundup posts anymore, now that I retired Sunday Worship, but I do still want to spread the love. By the way, there are no affiliate links in here, just sharing content I think you’ll find useful. But if you do use any of these resources, let them know I sent you?

What things are you loving lately? How is the start of your week?


Melanie is a freelance writer currently living in Portland, Oregon. She is passionate about education, financial literacy, and empowering people to take control of their finances. She writes about breaking up with debt, freelancing, and side hustle adventures at

Currently she puts more than 50% of her income towards debt, while living a frugal, fun life. In addition to her love of personal finance, art and music, she is also a karaoke master. Follow the adventure @DearDebtBlog.

Latest posts by Melanie (see all)

40 responses to “A New Look + Things I Love”

  1. I love the new look Melanie and didn’t even think about finding themes on Etsy. Etsy is like Pinterest to me, I am scared to go into them, because I may never come out. 🙂
    Shannon @ Financially Blonde recently posted…Music Mondays – Least ComplicatedMy Profile

  2. Kirsten says:

    I am SO in the market for a new design!!! I can’t believe the luck in you posting about your design this morning!!! I can’t use any more exclamation points, but I’m totally giddy with excitement.

    Love the new look – it’s up my alley!
    Kirsten recently posted…Losing Weight to Gain MoneyMy Profile

  3. Your site looks amaze balls! And only $100 for a custom design?! I’m going to have to check this guy out!
    Brandy @ Busted Budget recently posted…5 Cash Money Giveaways!My Profile

  4. Kassandra says:

    Melanie, I love this site design and I may just look up the person who you hired. I am still debating on which direction to go for my site makeover but I need to get it done before month end. Thanks also for mentioning my guest post over at Frugal Portland!
    Kassandra recently posted…Is Your Spare Room Costing You?My Profile

  5. Loving the new look for your blog, Melanie! I’ve been thinking about giving Cashville Skyline a facelift and $100 for a custom theme is more than reasonable. This my first week of unemployment – yay! It feels great to be free and moving in a more productive direction.
    Addison @ Cashville Skyline recently posted…Maintaining Your Network is More Important Than Saving MoneyMy Profile

  6. Looks great Melanie! It’s always nice to have a change too!
    Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted…Chasing My Hipster Dream on a Budget: Live Music for $10 or LessMy Profile

  7. I am really digging your new design! Love the color & subtlety of the stripes.
    Mrs. Frugalwoods recently posted…How To: Cheap Homemade Seltzer with a Modified SodastreamMy Profile

  8. Lovin’ the new look! I’ve been contemplating making some changes to both my sites recently, but I’m trying to take my time to understand exactly what I want before changing it up 🙂
    Kali @ Common Sense Millennial recently posted…Ready to Do What You Love and Find Your Ideal Career?My Profile

  9. Morgaine says:

    Love the new look! 🙂
    Morgaine recently posted…Weekly Spending: Aug 4-10My Profile

  10. Lauren says:

    The new design looks great! I keep toying with the idea of refreshing my blog, too. I’m hopeless when it comes to design and all that jazz, so it’s an overwhelming thought. Thanks so much for sharing my post! Glad you enjoyed it 🙂
    Lauren recently posted…Easy Productivity Hack for Freelance WritersMy Profile

  11. Barbara Dunlap says:

    Great new design…and tons of helpful info, as always!

  12. Look at how beautiful and sparkly your blog is!!! Love!
    Cat@BudgetBlonde recently posted…How to Afford a Long Distance RelationshipMy Profile

  13. Taylor says:

    LOVE THIS!!!! And glad that it was a seamless transition 🙂
    Taylor recently posted…Yes, I Cut & Color My Own Hair – And It’s Not That HardMy Profile

  14. Melissa says:

    The blog looks stellar!! Your designer did a great job 🙂
    Melissa recently posted…Getting Lunch with Co-WorkersMy Profile

  15. Michelle says:

    I love the new look and thanks for the info!!
    Michelle recently posted…My Net Worth Just Hit 6 Figures (Even With The Debt) How I Feel About ItMy Profile

  16. WOW! I’m so excited to find out about how you got your new look for so little $$. I’ve been saving some of my side-hustle income with the intent to get a new look for my site (I don’t really like mine, I just chose it because it was free and not too horrible). I am looking into Graphic Cookies now!
    Kayla @ Shoeaholicnomore recently posted…Guest Post: My Interpretation of Dave RamseyMy Profile

  17. E.M. says:

    Your blog looks great! I’ve been meaning to do a redesign as well, I’m just not sure which direction I want to go in. Glad it worked out so well for you!
    E.M. recently posted…Don’t Let Perfect Be the Enemy of GoodMy Profile

  18. debt debs says:

    Congrats on your new blog look Mel! Simple but snazzy!
    debt debs recently posted…Thoughts on SuicideMy Profile

  19. Debby says:

    Love the new look! So light and breezy and fancy!!
    I sometimes catch myself judging people on how much money they make – typically, I’d get a little jealous, then I start to feel pity for myself… and then I stop, because you never know what battles the other person fought to get where they are. Nor what I usually want their jobs, so there’s that 🙂
    Debby recently posted…Day 308 – 5 Things to Do when You Can’t Sleep.My Profile

  20. Lovely new look Melanie and you can’t complain at all for $100 wow! You are right first impressions are important in the long run.
    canadianbudgetbinder recently posted…Couple’s happy retirement on hold until son moves outMy Profile

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