Offbeat Home & Life: new family, new header, new Tugboat (…wait, what?)

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The sad news for today is that Offbeat Families will be ceasing publication, but the silver lining is that Offbeat Home & Life will be producing weekly-ish family-related guestposts, probably stuff like this, or this, or even this… although as always it’s up to you guys, since it’s based on YOUR submissions.

There’s always been some editorial cross-over between Families and Home & Life, and we’ve always struggled with stuff like where should we post the kid rooms? What about the amazing Radiohead birthday parties? And what about those posts about adult family relationship dynamics like dealing estranged parents or adult siblings? Seriously, sometimes we forget which site posted which articles! In many ways, rolling Families into Offbeat Home & Life makes things much easier… although we respect that we may lose some Offbeat Families readers in the shift. We’ll miss you. Thanks for a wonderful four years together.

Notice anything new up there in the header?

Painting by Ursula X. Young
Painting by Ursula X. Young
Nine months ago, we changed our name to Offbeat Home & Life. While we added “& Life” to our logo, we never changed the header graphics, which meant that even though we shifted to talking about a lot of LIFE stuff, the header still said we were all about housing and decor.

So we secured the rights from Ursula X Young to use one of her other gorgeous paintings in our header, in the hopes of better conveying our focus on not just offbeat homes… but also offbeat OCCUPANTS. Obviously, like Offbeat Bride, there’s no way any one character could ever represent even the tiniest sliver of our readership’s diversity — but we do appreciate that our new Offbeat Home & Life cover girl is blue, green, orange, and purple, hinting at the tip of the offbeat iceberg when it comes to reader identities. If you like our header, we hiiiighly recommend purchasing prints from Ursula. Her work is amazing, and she’s a remarkable woman.

What is Tugboat Yards and why should you care?

tugboat_offer_w320Ok now wait: wtf is this about Tugboats? Well, here’s the deal: after our post about all the ways readers can support the Offbeat Empire, we continued to get feedback from readers that they wished there were other ways to show their support… ways that maybe were a bit easier to understand.

One person was like, “You’re willing to take money from readers to buy whiskey for OTHER PEOPLE, but not for yourselves? That’s weird!” To which Megan responded with, “cheers to that!” and raised her glass full of self-bought whiskey.

We have our reasons for not accepting donations, but ok, fine, yes, we hear you: you want a direct way to support the site. That’s why we’ve decided to team up with a service called Tugboat Yards to make it easy for Offbeat Home & Life readers to support the site. Unlike the Offbeat Bride Tribe, we’ve got no premium features to offer — basically, if you want to get some warm fuzzies, you can do so. If you don’t have the budget (and believe us, WE GET IT), there’s no pressure. We have offerings ranging from a one-time $5 tip to buy an editor a drink, all the way up to a $200/mo patron level where you get to sit in on our editorial advisory board. If this turns into something sustainable, we can look into getting rid of our more invasive advertising, like the floaty mobile banners that everyone hates, and the animated banners at the top of each Offbeat Home & Life page. If you’re curious about Tugboat Yards, clicky zee button:

 Become a supporter

Ok. Holy fuck. That was a lot to take in. Who has questions? Who has feels? Operators are standing by!

Comments on Offbeat Home & Life: new family, new header, new Tugboat (…wait, what?)

  1. Well, this is about as disappointing as it gets. I’m 41 weeks pregnant with my first, and discovered Offbeat Families just a couple of months ago. Since I live in the Bible belt and am a crazy liberal, OF was basically my lifeline for non-awful parenting stories and evidence that I could be the kind of Mom I really want to be. I haven’t found anything similar anywhere on the web and I’m really disappointed to lose what was really my only internet resource for POSITIVE, inclusive, and unconventional parenting/family stories and advice. And I can already tell that the once-weekly “dose” on OHL isn’t really going to cut it for me. So… yeah. 🙁

    • As someone who is from the South (born in Louisana, raised in Alabama) and who is also suuuuper liberal, I just wanted to put it out there that I never had any problem finding like-minded friends — before parenthood and after. Since you’re new to the site/Empire you might not have seen these two posts about finding parent friends: & Maybe they can help!

      And as an editor, I really hope you’ll give the posts on Home & Life a chance before deciding. What’s great about this merging is that Home & Life already has a TON of content that’s relevant to parents and caregivers — it’s just not framed around being a parent and/or caregiver all the time. I think this is going to be a really great transition and relationship between the sites and the readerships. I’m excited!

  2. I’m excited; although I know that Offbeat Families was meant for all families, and occasionally went over there to look for posts on childfree subjects or things having to do with adult family dynamics, I never really felt like it was a place for me while I searched hard for those things among all the pregnancy and baby posts. I’m looking forward to knowing that the posts that will be relevant to my current family will be here where I won’t miss them, and I can still just scroll past anything that isn’t the same way I would a decor theme that didn’t interest me.

  3. Of course… it’s because I’m 38 weeks pregnant. The impending arrival of my demon spawn led OBF to shut down lest my birth story submission be JUST TOO COOL TO HANDLE. Or something like that.

    I have to say, as a guest post contributor to Offbeat Home & Life, this just motivates me more to submit other guest posts. I was so torn as to where to focus more of my attention after I got pregnant, being afraid that if I wrote something kid-centric, it wouldn’t have a place at OBH – but I transitioned personally from OBB to OBH and I didn’t want to leave just because of parenthood. Now, I know that I can 100% belong.

    Also, to those looking for a parenting site alternative, it can be super judgey in certain forums and at certain times, but I find the Mothering website to be mostly in line with a lot of the OBF philosophies. I’ve made some really good online friends there on my birth month club. Not for everyone, definitely crunchy granola leaning, but some of the articles are really good.

  4. Upon reading the news about Offbeat Families, my first reaction was, “What? WHY?” followed by, “Oh, I get it, it must be April Fool’s Day! Haha! You won’t get me this year!” But of course it ISN’T April Fool’s Day, and you answered the “why” of the decision.

    For some reason I always assumed that Families was more successful that Home & Life, even though Home & Life is the one I check every day. I’m glad some of the Families-type content will be brought over to Home & Life, and really glad you’re leaving the old Families posts up!

  5. I am pretty upset about this. I understand the reasons why, and I’m not mad at any people, but I have reached a point where I am planning on starting my own family relatively soon and was excitedly looking through all the old Families posts and getting giddy about all the content actually being timely and relevant (I’ve always read it religiously, but this time it was with new, fresh, hopeful eyes). I’m not going to lie- I seriously saw OBF as a huge part of my upcoming journey and felt good knowing that the internet had my back. I’m glad to see that some content will be included here, but it doesn’t sound like the things that I would want (need) the most. Here’s hoping to find it other places- though that doesn’t sound super likely. =(

    • This is kinda how I feel. I planned my wedding using OBB as my default resource and was excited when I allowed myself to “graduate” to OBH. I was so happy that there was a place for me, a recently married gal who may have kids in the future. I was soooo looking forward to being able to graduate to OBF when I had kids of my own– sure I read it every now and then but I really wanted it to be there someday in the future. I’m pretty upset and disappointed about this change, especially how there will be fewer stories about babies and kids. I too worry where I’ll find an “offbeat” support group when it’s time for me to be an offbeat mommy myself.

      I understand the reasoning behind the change, but that doesn’t mean I have like it at all. I am teh sad :'( hopefully this change will ultimately be for the better. Fingers crossed.

  6. I am a bit dubious, despite the reassurances that it won’t be all birth and breastfeeding stories. Offbeat Families kinda annoyed me in general, I’m just not into that stuff, I love my family and I love kids but I’m not interested in reading that. My interest in Offbeat Home and Life dropped considerably when it changed from Offbeat Home I’ll stick around but if it really focuses on all of the family and life stuff at the further detriment of the home stuff (because the home stuff really dropped off when the life tag was added) this will be one reader that will stop coming back. I’m not threatening but it’s just not my thing. I come here for ideas, hints, holiday ideas, activity ideas and tips and cool things to decorate and excite my life with, all the introspective stuff just isn’t for me.

    • I’m skeptical, but open. I have been an enthusiastic H&L participant since its launch, but Families hasn’t ever interested me much. The birthing stories and stuff like that just aren’t my cup of tea at all, and as a childfree person I’m not that interested in child-rearing issues. I did enjoy the posts about alternative family structures, so I’d welcome those. But I really hope the other stuff is a small-to-nonexistent portion of H&L content. Obviously not everyone feels the same way, though!

    • I was looking at offbeatfamilies as what’s next? I’m no longer birthing and breastfeeding. I’m dancing around with my toddler while she’s wearing a princess dress and I’m wearing steampunk. The blog and my life no longer intesected

    • I’ve gotta admit, once it changed from Home to & Life, my interest did drop from “why are there only three posts a dayyyyy” to checking in once a week, once every other week. But I’m sticking around and supporting in the hopes that we with the shift from advertising to crowd-funding we might see a little more focus on DIY?

      Also, we only really have ourselves to blame, we gotta submit more home stuff 🙂

  7. First: I am so, so happy to have an opportunity to support the Empire via Tugboat. I *LOVE* sponsored posts and never want those to go away but the sidebar/banner ads? Meh. I could live without those.

    Second: I just went to Tugboat and they won’t accept my Indonesian credit card! :'( Do they have a workaround? A connection to PayPal or another payment method?

    Third: I never read OffbeatFamilies, but I’m still sad to see it go — but super happy to see Stephanie stay on. Can’t wait to see what she comes up with for the other sites.

  8. If another site gets euthanized please make it on a Friday. I go into Offbeat withdraw over the weekend. I was so looking forward to my fix today and this was brutal. I can’t even imagine if it had been Offbeat Home (my main Offbeat page)!

  9. Oooh wow! This is BIG news! I do have quite a few feels over losing an offbeat site, I think it makes a lot of sense. Families and Home had so much crossover potential too. I’m excited to see how it all works out. Welcome to the readers from Families!

  10. First reaction – what?! Disbelief.
    Then… Nooooooooooooo! Sadness.
    I switched from Offbeat Bride to Offbeat Mama over a year ago when I became a mama myself. It was so good, like-minded ideas, non-judgemental, open, interesting…. aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! What a shame to see it go. Gah! Phoooey… sniff sniff…

  11. When I first read the title that OBF was closing I got a little panicky, thinking that Stephanie was going away. But now that it’s clear she’s staying I really don’t give a fuck about OBF.

    To me, the entire OBE is just a platform for Ariel & Co to write so as long as they’re doing that I don’t care how it’s formatted or even really what the subject matter will be. I’m happy to let them decide.

  12. Will the old Offbeat Family posts be put somewhere accessible or will they be just completely removed? I’d like to be able to refer to some of the past posts when I start a family. :).

  13. I know I caught onto this late, but woah, big news.
    Im so relieved that mama posts will still be available. I have popped over to read bits and was looking forward to it being more relevant when I have bubbas.
    I totally trust you guys to keep the empire awesome and will stay loyal!
    I know it must have been a hard decision so respect for all your hard work. The empire has meant a lot to me and will continue to so big thanks!
    Might even finally submit a post <3

  14. Alright, third time’s the charm with actually getting this comment written!

    I am upset, I came really close to panicking and crying when I read the news yesterday, especially as it took me until the third post to find open comments. I feel blindsided, and I’m mourning the loss of quantity of content, even though I know the quality will still be good. One post a week is a huge downgrade from 12-15, and I already felt like there weren’t as many posts as I’d like across the empire. I learn so much from you guys, and I’m really heartbroken to be losing a part of that.

    I know you guys did what you had to, and I do trust you to keep the rest of the sites awesome, but man … this sucks.

    • I’m feeling the same way, I am trying to keep it in perspective but there is really nothing else out there like offbeat families and I am going to miss it so much.

  15. Bummer for Offbeat Families, but score for Home & Life to get Stephanie. I’m also super excited to be able to support the site with just $5/month. That’s cheaper than buying one magazine a month, and I get waaaay more info from the site than any magazine I buy and read in like 2 hours. 🙂

  16. Ooooh… I’m sure this makes me a terrible person, but as a childless-by-choice OBH&L reader I’m glad there’s not going to be birth stories and breastfeeding articles in here…. cuz it would totally ick me out, but I’m sure I’d end up reading it anyways cuz it’d be like a train-wreck, where you don’t want to look but you can’t tear your eyes off it. Then I’d probably just have to stop coming in here, and that would make me sad.

    But hooray for Harry Potter!

  17. I didn’t realise how attached to offbeat families until I read this. I found the OB empire when I was planning my wedding and was a part of OBB. Right now I’m feeling pretty upset. I might need to give it a couple of days before I can move on to feeling positive about the future potential of the change.

  18. I decided not to comment on this post when I was being hit by the initial wave of ALL THE FEELS. By now, I’ve had some time to think about things, and ponder where my continued sadness is coming from.

    I read OBB religiously leading up to my engagement, then became involved on the Tribe (and mostly tailed off reading OBB). I’d already started reading OBH pretty much daily before we got married, and ever since I’ve been reading both OBH and OBM/OBF pretty regularly (usually I check both sites multiple times per day). Obviously you need to do what’s best for your business, so I’m not going to criticize your decision. It does, however, make me sad that OBF wasn’t sustainable.

    I think, as a devoted reader of both sites (and contributor currently mostly to OBH because we’re not having kidlets yet, but plan to later), what saddens me most is that there’s simply less total content for me to read. I read most of the posts on both sites, so rolling them into one on the one hand means I only need to check one site, but I really enjoyed the content of each. I really liked some of the content you’ve said you won’t be publishing on OBH&L (in my more obsessive baby-crack phases I’ve read every single birth story you’ve ever published), and I’ll miss that. But really it’s the decrease in total content that makes me the most sad. (That and I’m a little disappointed in the world in general that it couldn’t make something as awesome as OBF sustainable…).

    Best of luck with the continued transition. I’ll be here reading, commenting, and occasionally contributing — and hopefully I’ll be able to find money in the budget to help make the site sustainable, since I very much believe in supporting the things that support me!

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