Regarding the image to open in new link, you need to modify our theme. For modification, we have a Copy to WordPress Theme option in each layout. So you can copy it to your wordpress theme folder and make it safe from future update.
Please go to layout, from the list of layout, click on Copy to WordPress Theme link next to the layout you are using. After that you will get the new path of the layout. Please go the that folder and open layout.php. Just above the_post_thumbnail function you can give target=”_blank” to the a tag there. This should fix your image issue.
Regarding blog layout, only option is to use via shortcode. However you can place it in your theme files like this way.
Hope this helps.