we are all a cyber princess
This is a (rather long, but interesting) story about a girl and the Internet.
Namely, it's about that girl to the left - that's me! (Or that was me, back in 2009). I grew up in a small town in Texas, and while I did spend a great part of my childhood engaging in all sorts of geekery - Sega Genesis, N64, pinball arcades, Pokemon in all its forms, Sailormoon - I somehow did not stumble upon the Internet until middle school. The year is 2001. A couple of the first friends that I made, Rebecca and Ryan, took me to the library's iMac G3's and showed me a neon-tastic world of wonder...
♕ Early Internet Communities
And there it was. My first official venture into the open waters of the World Wide Web happened in the form of... Neopets. We would log on via the library computers before school and during lunch to check on our pets, stalk the shop restocks, and run our guild. Back then, it was very popular to create guild webpages outside of the Neopets domain, usually on one of the big free website creators: Angelfire, Geocities, Tripod, or Freewebs.
I selected Freewebs. I had a Sailor Moon themed guild, so in addition to being the hub for all guild activities, I also built out a Sailor Moon fansite. There were horoscopes, links to other cool websites, animated gif galleries, and more. Oh, and because the free version of Freewebs only allowed for 7 pages max, a lot of us got around this by creating multiple websites and then linking them together via a central navigation, as shown...
After staying on Freewebs for a couple years, I migrated to Geocities at the address http://geocities.com/fearmirichan. My site was named Miri Metre, since "Miri" was my online persona at the time (plus a very sad pun on "millimetre"). Sadly, Geocities is not archived on the Wayback Machine; the only capture shows a message (and a "version 11.0" label, indicating that this was the 11th layout I had designed for the site), stating that I had moved to my first subdomain.
♕ Subdomain Era
This is when I started to come into my own. I stopped using or modifying others' templates and started hand-coding from scratch in a plaintext editor (which I still do now!) My first subdomain was named Cyber Princess (I was really obsessed with the idea of combining nerdiness and being a girly-girl) and was hosted by my Internet friend Jody. The URL was http://princess.electric-butterfly.net and it served as a launch pad to the rest of the websites I maintained: my Livejournal, fansites, fanlistings, "shrines" dedicated to inside jokes and cartoon characters...
I later got into the anime series Rozen Maiden, which rekindled my love for collecting dolls (I was a mega American Girl nerd in elementary school: I can still rattle off trivia without effort). I became very involved in the Pullip community and decided to rename my website Sayonara Dollie to match that persona. Jody still served as my host, and I switched my URL to http://dollie.space-halo.org.
♕ My First Domain(s)
Finally, in 2007, another Internet friend of mine offered to purchase me a domain name as a birthday present. Back then, domain names were not just your URL, they were carefully selected representations of your best self. I selected Crimsonietta.net. It originally just started as a personal site, and a blog was later added (first using Cutenews, then incorporating Wordpress). During this time, I started taking web design much more seriously, learning how to incorporate PHP includes, CCS, and more.
I maintained Crimsonietta.net throughout my first year of college. Spring of freshman year, I purchased my own domain, Visonix.net and used it very briefly. The first iteration was simply a launch pad to some other pages (many of which were "under construction"); the second was an attempt at a portfolio site.
♕ The name is Vivian Lee
In late 2010, I decided that I was tired of hiding behind Internet anonymity, and proudly purchased a domain that I still use to this day: Vivian-Lee.net. For the longest time, I used the layout to the right which mimicked a resume. (Astute viewers will also recognize that it is the same layout that this page uses!) I had actually coded a full version with a really punk-looking header image and a fully decked out navigation system... but then decided to be boring and trim it down to this because I was lazy. Around this time, I started adopting the chess symbol for the black queen as my personal symbol. (I had a bit of a superiority complex when I was younger, okay? Please don't @ me...)
I did a speed redesign in spring 2012 that was 100% image-based (not good for archiving; thank goodness I had a screenshot!) This used a popular trick back in the day called "splicing", which involved creating your entire layout on Photoshop and then piecing it back together using either tables or CSS floats (mine was the latter, since this was the early 2010's and tables as we knew them were disappearing).
Once I graduated, I switched my layout to the following, which listed out my three identities: a management consultant, a dancer, and an ENTJ. (Note: I am definitely not an ENTJ anymore; I'm squarely in the INTJ camp now).
After I quit consulting and moved to Austin in 2013 to work at a well-known local public relations firm, I changed my three identities to "Marketer. Dancer. Gamer." and moved my website to Wordpress.
Starting with this layout, I really played up the "Renaissance Woman" identity, pointing out that being a jack of all trades was a good thing :) That weirdly creepy "gamer" image was supposed to be a placeholder (taken using the blurry back camera of my iPhone 4), but I never got around to replacing it. I was also apparently REALLY into pink at the time...
After I exited the PR space in 2014, I took a "sabbatical" (e.g. period of unemployment) to figure out what I wanted to do wtih my life. I was part of a masters program in finance for a while, then I was pre-pharm, then I worked for the state... it was a confusing time. My website reflected that - there were several versions published similar to this. If you look closely, you can spot some of my previous freelance companies: a college consulting firm, personal finance blog, and virtual assistant services.
♕ Moving Away from Wordpress
When I moved to Boston in 2015 to pursue my Masters in Mental Health Counseling, I moved away from Bluehost and self-hosted Wordpress; instead, I just linked my domain up to a free Google Sites website. It looked barebones but strangely academic. The headshot, unfortunately, was a 2012 photo using one of the first Instagram filters...
The above layout remained until 2017, when I started working for Deep Eddy Psychotherapy and revived my interest in becoming a psychotherapist. I moved from Google Sites to Wordpress.com, and tried to pare down the amount of personal information on my site in favor of professional information.
In 2019, I switched to a Squarespace site. It was beautiful, although a little before its time (I pre-made all the pages that would have been on it once I graduated from my masters program and started a private practice... and then decided I no longer wanted to do private practice). It was also untrackable by archive.org so there are sadly no screenshots.
♕ The Current State of Things
In late 2020, I moved hosts once again. I had discovered Carrd.co and created a simple website on it (not shown). It contained three columns: one for a blurb about me, one for my clinical experience, and one for my education. I kept that layout for a while, then cut it down to a minimalist professional profile page for a time.
But then!!! I (re)discovered the retroweb, Neocities, and all the folks who were actively trying to bring back the wonder and nostalgia of the Old Web. At that point, I split my Internet lives into two (although both are still connected). I still maintain Vivian-Lee.net as my true personal site (with a blog and everything), but created a second domain Synocure.me to keep some of my geeky stuff. That's probably how you found this page!
The current layout of Synocure.me!