Goodbye, Hannah the Mad Dog. Hello, Hannah on Horizon!

Hi there, everyone! It sure has been a hot minute!

If you’ve followed me for a while, you know that I’ve been talking about rebranding this blog. It’s something I’ve wanted to do forever but didn’t really have the courage to do so.

I talked about wanting to switch to a more travel/lifestyle focus away from beauty. Hence, the new name change (but we’ll get to that in a bit). I wanted to so badly travel this year.

Then COVID-19 happened.

It’s funny, because at the beginning of the year, I’ve been bugging Cecilio, asking him to help us plan for an upcoming trip this year. We were really contemplating going to Japan this year. I kept asking him in January and February, “when do you want me to buy the tickets?” And he would keep putting it off. He was so wishy-washy about purchasing the tickets, haha. Next thing you know, weeks later, the coronavirus spread like wildfire all over the world.

It was so bad that countries started banning visitors, restaurants shut down in lieu of offering delivery or curbside pickup. Most people started having to work from home, myself included. I work at a nonprofit, and we are considered an essential worker. We are a Catholic organization under the local Diocese, and their policy is that hourly employees may not work at home. I had to go to my boss and HR to grant me a special request to work from home due to my lupus, and my doctor provided a note. So I’ve been working at home since mid-March for 2 and a half months, next Monday I am coming back to work onsite, stashed with face masks and hand sanitizer 🙂

Cecilio said he had a bad feeling in his gut about this year with the coronavirus, which was why he kept putting off travel plans and buying tickets. My mom and stepdad wanted to go to Spain but they prayed about it a lot and felt like this year was just not the time. All I can say is that I am so relieved that we didn’t buy tickets, otherwise we would be in a huge financial mess trying to get a refund.

Why rebrand?

Like I said, I wanted to rebrand this blog. But somewhere down the wayside, I lost motivation and got really discouraged, especially from seeing other bloggers and influencers doing way better than I was/am. I felt like I was wasting my time when I could be focusing on my other goals, like being a better graphic designer and furthering my career.

I almost quit blogging completely. I felt like I was working so hard for not much in return. I felt like what I had to say didn’t matter much to anyone.

But in the back of my mind, I wanted to incorporate my love for design and blogging. I was just scared.

Scared of making mistakes and getting out of my comfort zone. Sure, I learned HTML and light coding when I was 10 and when I made Pokemon websites in 2000 (oh no, I’m showing my age!). But WordPress is a whole different beast. And I felt like I couldn’t call myself a “real” graphic designer (even though I do work as an in-house designer!) because I bought premade themes. The thought of hand-coding a theme from scratch sounded so daunting. I really wanted this blog to grow and for my skills as a designer to grow, I kept visualizing what I wanted in my blog, but I would get too overwhelmed and in over my head.

My background is mostly in print and branding, but I am also using this blog to get more comfortable with digital and web design.

So I downloaded and installed Elementor, a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) theme editor. I do know HTML and CSS and I coded a few elements to really tweak little details. Elementor is pretty intuitive, but there’s a bigger learning curve than Squarespace, Blogger, or even using a premade theme (not that there’s anything wrong with that. I just have incredibly high standards for myself as a designer!)

I designed the logo myself on Adobe Illustrator. For the watercolor background, I panted it with acrylic (with water for the watercolor effect) on Bristol paper, took a picture, took it to Photoshop and colorized.

I’m very hard on myself. I try to push myself to be better as a designer everyday. And the thing with graphic design is that it’s never finished. So even with this “official launch”, I’m still going to fuss around with the design here and there.

What’s in a name?

Along with rebranding this blog came with renaming. It was brewing in my head for the longest time. Hannah the Mad Dog was named in dedication to my dad in mind: that was our nicknames to each other. While it was sweet, I wanted something else to reflect who I am now and who I am growing into.

That is where Hannah on Horizon came in. Because I was leaning to do more lifestyle and travel content, I wanted a name that would reflect that without having the words travel, wanderlust, adventures, etc. incorporated. Especially because I have not traveled anywhere near as the average travel blogger (9 countries and 9 US states, and here’s to more once this pandemic comes to pass!). Hannah on Horizon sounds like a travel blog…but vague enough to be in the lifestyle realm.

But with COVID-19, we obviously cannot travel right now. Even with things reopening, I’m not comfortable going out and about. Sure, I go to work, and I sometimes pick up my meds or go to the groceries. But I’m immunocompromised with lupus and I’m trying to do as much as I can to minimize exposure for myself and for others.

To be on horizon also means (to me, at least) that you are hoping for something in the future. Like growth or for your dreams to come to fruition. So it also means to be hopeful overall.

So what’s to come?

Since I obviously cannot travel right now, I will be doing more lifestyle content. I am also going back to beauty. I know I said in a previous post that I was getting sick of beauty posts, but beauty and self-care (in the form of face masks and exercise) has helped me stay sane in this pandemic. I am recommitting myself to green, clean beauty for my health and the environment. I will be doing makeup and skincare reviews again.

I will also share graphic design tips and advice. If you are interested, I can also share my branding process for this blog someday!

I will share a bit of everything, and I know it’s going to be a while before we can all get to travel again. Even domestic travel is looking kinda iffy this year. But I keep telling Cecilio that I hope we can go somewhere in 2021 and 2022. And in God’s timing we can start growing a family.

I hope and dream to be in a plane, over the horizon (pun intended) and on my way to one of my many dream destinations.

And I hope you all can join me on the horizon too and we venture through life.

Hannah is a travel writer, graphic designer, and the founder/editor of Hannah on Horizon. She is based in Sacramento, California, living with her husband and two adorable dogs. She shares tips on how to experience luxury travel on any budget, and how to maximize time at each trip or destination, no matter what your budget or amount of vacation time at work. She enjoys making you feel like you have visited each destination with her through her storytelling and informative writing style.

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