Buffy Casablanca Poster poppy wreath  RS

Can anyone recommend a good LJ layout?

ETA 11/18/12 :  I've decided to go with Blue Woodcut for now, although it doesn't use Ariel-style font (or have tags in a column.  I can deal.)  It's actually quite similar to the Weston series template gabrielleabelle used but is not completely identical, and rarely seen (at least in this corner of the Buffy-fandom sandbox I play around in.)  And: pretty.  Easy on the eyes counts for a lot. Thanks everyone for your suggestions. 

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Exactly what the title says: I chose this particular template because it had: black print on white ground (hey, I'm getting older, kids - readability?  It's an issue - and if it is for me, then....); color around the edges to catch the eye; fairly clean and simple graphic layout; and, the tags were visible.  (The template I originally chose was nice, but tags were not visible, so why even bother?)

But - now it's starting to irk me. It feels as though the text is squeezed in too narrowly, and thus my icon becomes more prominent right at the top of each post (or maybe I need to downsize my icons), which distracts my eyes visually when I put a photo at the top of the post.

So, if anyone can recommend another layout - and, oh yeah, it has to be one of the free ones. 

I'm not "fussy" - I prefer "particular", thanks muchly.
"Zen and the Art of Movable Type" is very easily to read. I have "Weston Grey", maybe you like it?
Oh, and the one called "Retrossential" is really beautiful (but you can't see the tags! :/)
Maybe I'm being too picky? My first template was mostly all-white and had a gorgeous Gothic print title, but no tag listing. And I think that's a big deal to me because I find them extremely helpful when I'm on other people's LJs (and when I can't find them, I get irritated, and probably don't spend as much time on those sites as I might otherwise because I want to, you know, find things.)
I'm also too picky, so I understand completly! I think you should try the Weston series, maybe you'll like it.
I just looked at your LJ again - and I think the weston series is also the one that gabrielleabelle used? So I might try that.

My question - how do you get that wallpaper imagery in the background of it? Do you have to have a paid account to be able to do that?
It's exactly the same! You don't have to pay to change the background. You need to upload a picture on Tinypic, for example, and change the CUSTOM.
I require the same specs and use one of the "Expressive" themes. It looks like there are a few options that might work for you?
I remember eyeing the template you're using before and rejecting it for some reason, but I think I'll take another look at those, thank you for the suggestion!
I use the Blue Gray version of Flexible Squares, Vertigo site scheme, with "View all journals and communities in my own style" and "View comment pages from my Friends page in my own style" both checked. I believe there are other versions of Flexible Square that provide a white background. I like a pale, though not-quite-so-glary-as-white, background myself.

But I do like it for the reasons you list.

Thank you, and that's a very good point about the "glare" of a white background. And those template don't sound familiar to me but I will definitely take a look this week.

I do like the templates used by stormwreath and 2maggie2, but the contrast between the colored background and text is not enough for me - and it's weird, but at first I had been trying to avoid a template I associated too much with another person's LJ (which is ridiculous, right? there's no way for every one of us to have our own template.)

That said, I like the look of gabrielleabelle's LJ quite a lot - it was probably the first one I happened upon this year, when discovering Buffy fandom - but I suspect it's only available to paid accounts?
Thanks! I've bookmarked that page - they've got some very clean, minimalist layouts. (Although wouldn't you know, my favorites are the more "baroque" choices, "Long Time Running" and "Just Like a Woman" (despite the stupid, sexist name of that second one.)

BTW - I notice you're stories are mostly on DW now, and I'm not feeling up to creating yet another account there. But you're here from there, so are LJ and DW linked somehow?

(Also, your story "Fractured" and "Innocence (Remix)" are AMAZING. Two of my favorite Buffyverse stories.)
I use OpenID to link the two together. You can use OpenID to comment to DW with your LJ id (and vice-versa).

Due to LJ's stupidity, I've decided I'm not using my LJ id at all if not completely necessary (for the comms I moderate). I'm so fed up with them!
Is OpenID a separate website or something built into LJ or DW? I'd love to be able to link the two, thanks muchly.

I'm so fed up with them!

I've read a lot of people say they were switching to DW and complain about LJ, but I'm not sure what the jist of the complaints are about, other than "for Buffyverse writing LJ is dead and DW is where the action is at. Care to elaborate on what bugs you about it? (aka "I'm hoping I don't regret just starting this LJ, damn it".)