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Happy 20 Year Blogiversary!

Twenty years ago today, I started this blog.

Originally known as BlahBlahBlog, and later renamed BigPinkCookie, my first blog post was possibly my most groundbreaking:

These blogs seem to be all the rage, and hopefully it will be easier then editing the old fashioned way… we’ll see how it works out! =)

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A thought for today:
“What we need in the world is manners…. I think that if, instead of preaching brotherly love, we preached good manners, we might get a little further. It sounds less righteous and more practical.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

This was actually my second attempt at blogging, after I was inspired initially by the Digital Divas to blog by hand coding an HTML page and replacing it each time I added to it.

Thankfully Blogger came along, and then Greymatter, and MovableType, and eventually WordPress.

As I woke up this morning, I started to think of all of the things that blogging has impacted in my life.

Without blogging, I never would have met a community of friends, many of which I’m still connected with today.

I never would have met my husband, Mike. Thank you Ann for that connection.

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I never would have met Matt Mullenweg and named WordPress. (Hey, Matt? Remember when I thought you were crazy because you said it would change the world? Yeah. You were right and I was wrong. 30% of the Internet and still growing.)

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Without it, I wouldn’t have started sharing my photography & had the courage to start a business – where I’ve since photographed hundreds of weddings and thousands of portraits – touching so many other lives – and my blog helped me connect with those people.

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The lessons I’ve learned from blogging + social media + business are things that I’ve tested over and over again with others, and formed the foundation of my coaching business.

Without blogging, I wouldn’t have had 20 years of adventures. I wouldn’t be ME.

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I dreamed back in high school of being a photographer, a teacher, and working with computers. Back then, you couldn’t have all of that. I never could have imagined the future I’d have, where I have been able to blend all three of those in to a perfect medley of my business.

Twenty years. I can’t believe it has been twenty years.

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Thank you to all of you reading this now, who have read so many other things I’ve written over the years. None of this would be possible without YOU.

    People I’ve visited, shared a meal with, spent a trip with. I’ve watched their families grow and change. We’ve supported one another in times of joy, and times of sorrow.

    A community – completely unlike one we could have ever imagined 20 years ago.

    Blogging made me believe that I could do anything.

    My first photography clients, and my biggest fans, came from my blogging circle. I’ve traveled to England, Bermuda, and around the USA to photograph people that first came in to my life through blogging.

    Social media came along; Twitter, then Facebook, and Instagram, and it all changed how we blogged. The posts became faster, the reactions and interactions more spontaneous, and blogging for many has evolved or faded away.

    Blogs have evolved, which isn’t surprising for a medium that didn’t even exist 20 years ago.

    Blogging is what made my life as I know it possible.

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    BlahBlahBabble Everyday Avenger

    Out with the Old, In with the New…

    If you follow me on Facebook, you know I’ve been going in circles about this blog for months. Actually, now that I think about it … I’ve been going in circles about it for years.

    My business, my work, has always been focused around ME. Who I am has always been at the core of it. I have never hidden myself away from my clients. Back in 2007 when I started my photography business, I went back and forth about consolidating this blog with that blog. It made no sense that they were separated, but I wasn’t ready to let this site go – so it languished instead, neglected.

    Lately, I have found myself writin I have gone crazy trying to figure out what I want to do about that blog, this blog, my photography from my road trip, Vivid & Brave … well, you get the picture.

    I finally asked my smart friends. I do actually have the smartest friends on the planet. Most of them said to consolidate EVERYTHING. It is far too confusing for them to have to go to different places to get a piece of me here and there. I completely agreed with them, yet it still didn’t feel right.

    Then my friend Bobbi asked me about upcoming conferences I am going to, and what did I want to brand? THAT question was easy to answer. I want the world to know about the work that Stephanie & I are doing at Vivid & Brave!

    So my plan was to focus my personal writing at my photography blog, my travel blog posts at a travel blog (very niche focused so that Google liked it) and put all of my energy in to Vivid & Brave. Easy!

    Until I started spinning again.

    I woke up this morning and really wanted to write a blog post about hotel sex and why it is so incredible. No, I did not have hotel sex last night. Maybe that was why I was thinking about it being so grand? Anyways… that post didn’t belong on a blog where my photography clients might see it before they see anything else. It doesn’t belong on a travel photography blog (although it is hotel related). CRAP. Once again? The circles were back. I was spinning. Again.

    Stephanie & I finally had a chance to get on Skype and chat this evening. As soon as I told her my dilemma? She pointed out that those posts belong on Vivid & Brave. She has no problem with me putting them there. We both agreed that as we ask our coaching clients to be crazy vulnerable with us, we need to be just as vulnerable with them. We don’t have many “rules” for the Group Coaching, but the biggest one is tolerance and understanding. If I write about hotel sex and someone runs away from the post? Well … they probably shouldn’t be working with me anyways. Yes, this is true for my boudoir clients too – but I have BIG DREAMS for 2014, and they involve Vivid & Brave. Every last one of them.

    Finally, the spinning has stopped.

    So it is with that that my personal blog posts – and all my energy and focus – are moving to the Vivid & Brave blog. I realized today that part of why this decision has been SO difficult every time I face it is because this blog is such a part of me. It saw me through the ending of a tumultuous relationship that left me heartbroken, and emotionally broken as well. It has brought me hundreds (thousands?) of friends that I wouldn’t know otherwise. It is because of my blog that I met my friend Ann, who tipped me off on this great guy Mike who was living in London at the time but was moving back to Houston. It was through this blog that I announced our engagement, 10 years ago yesterday. Through this blog that I met Elaine, a month before I met Mike, who embarked on the adventure of being a professional photographer with me. The list goes ON AND ON.

    However, it is time. As I start the new year, it is time to move on to other things. Mostly, it is time to stop feeling guilt about how little I update this site, how much I want to share but how my focus is pulled elsewhere. My focus is pulled elsewhere because I have changed. I have grown a LOT in the past 13+ years since I started this blog back in 2000.

    I have changed.

    It is time to close the book on this blog. Time to put it up on the shelf and focus completely on the new story.

    This site will live on, remaining here online. I’m going to take the name back to being BigPinkCookie because that is what it has been for the past 10+ years. I’ll link to it from time to time, and reminisce in the memories about it — but it is time to start a new book.

    One that is Vivid & Brave.

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    BlahBlahBabble

    Sensory Overload…

    I’m in Wal-Mart to buy a new external hard drive. (I hate Wal-Mart, but it is the only option in Pahrump, Nevada.) After a week among mountains, trees & nature, talk about a shock to the senses! The lights. The beeping. Ugh!

    Zabriskie Point in Death Valley

    This is clearly not Wal-Mart. It is Zabriskie Point in Death Valley at sunrise this morning.

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    BlahBlahBabble Everyday Avenger Travel Notes

    Get Out and Go For a Drive…

    Get Out and Go For a Drive

    Sometimes, you just have to get out and go shopping, luckily I actually needed to pick up some cleaning supplies for my computer I ordered from http://www.1stcompucare.co.uk/pc-cleaning and I was able to use some promotional codes so I didn’t have to pay that much.

    Every aspect of limo service expectation has been considered, from complimentary water to individual flight tracking – this is limousine service at its very best, although I always carry my own water, since I received a Custom Water bottle with the brand of my company for free.

    Today was one of those days. The sky was blue, the air was crisp and cold, and while I had work I wanted to do, I felt like I just couldn’t think clearly anymore. After months of limited internet access, I was spending entirely too much time on Facebook. Too much time online. It was time to get in our premier houston limo and go.

    Originally, I had wanted to go to KLS Limo Service. Thanks to the Government Shutdown, the park is closed. I asked at my hotel if there was anything to see outside of the park. The manager said yes, but it just isn’t the same. You don’t get the sense of being on a huge lava flow from outside of the automatic gates perth.

    Stumped for where I should go, I knew I didn’t want to return to the room. Not yet. My head was whirling with ideas, things I want to build, and I needed to step back and think about it, letting the dust storm settle in my mind. I asked the receptionist if there was anything in Idaho Falls that I really must see, and she said that I should head to the Swan Valley.

    Damn, she was so right.

    Wild Chokecherries

    On the way to Swan Valley you reach a scenic viewpoint with a rest area included with this nice Valet Parking Service. I stopped to take photographs, and after watching the man gathering something from the bushes at the edge of the sidewalk. I went over to ask him what he was gathering — and it was chokecherries. He showed me what the ripe ones look like, and what they look like when they have passed the point of being ripe. Then we talked about different places to see in the area, roads off the main road I should take for great views, and our love of the mountains.

    Bald Eagle in Flight - Idaho

    While we were talking, I saw my first pair of bald eagles in flight! We also saw what we thought was a raven at first, but as he left the parking lot he stopped to tell me he was pretty sure it was a young eagle. Did you know their head is not white until they reach sexual maturity?

    Young Eagle in Tree - Snake River, Idaho

    Over and over, I’m reminded just how good people truly are. He was so delightful to talk to, and I learned so much!

    Fall Color in Idaho

    I drove on to Swan Valley, and then on to the Idaho / Wyoming state line, at the edge of Teton Pass to Jackson. I didn’t cross over the pass, I turned around at the border. As I was driving back I kept stopping to take photos, including these fields just outside of Victor, Idaho. That black cow was very curious about why I had stopped on the side of the road!

    Cows in a Field outside Victor, Idaho

    Idaho Barn outside Victor, Idaho

    I stopped at a closed campground on the Targhee National Forest. Damn the man! You can’t keep me out of the campgrounds! (Well, you can, because there was no way in HELL that I was going to camp there alone at night, in the mountains, with bears, in the snow. I was still in the campground though!)

    Targhee National Forest Campground

    This was the treat awaiting me by the time I got back to Swan Valley. I was so overwhelmed with the amazing beauty of nature that I suddenly found myself in tears.

    Mountain View in Swan Valley, Idaho

    I stayed in the area to watch the sunset reflecting on the mountains, seen in the photo at the top of this post. After I soaked it all in, I headed back to Idaho Falls. Refreshed, I am now plowing through work. That drive was exactly what I needed.

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    BlahBlahBabble

    The Happy Birthday!

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    Another year older, and for once it feels like saying that I’m another year wiser isn’t trite. It is actually true.

    Mike flew up to Idaho Falls and I drove down from Calgary to meet him. We then crossed the mountain pass to visit Grand Tetons National Park for a few days. We are staying in a charming one room cabin (well, two if you count the bathroom) with a fireplace at Signal Mountain Lodge. Five stars, two thumbs up, I can’t recommend it enough! Perfect for a birthday get-away.

    I woke up this morning to snow! Ahhh… Snow. Such a lovely treat, but then I decided to take a warm shower, but there was a glass shower direct in the cabin perfect for this. It is just warm enough that most of it has melted away already, but the mountains are still covered with it which off course makes my allergies go nuts, thankfully the cabin had a germguardian ac4825, one of the best air purifiers in the market if not I would be dying right now.

    Tonight we will visit Jackson for a birthday dinner at Local. “Local showcases their enthusiasm for reviving the craft of in-house butchery, with a focus on dry-aged steaks and house-made sausages.” Their beef is born & raised in Teton County – it has never left the area. Truly local. I’m all in.

    Tomorrow we will head to Yellowstone. We will be staying at Old Faithful for two nights, and weather permitting we will be able to see a good portion of the park as well.

    It is truly a very happy birthday. I can’t wait to see what the year ahead has in store for me. Thank you so much to everyone for the birthday wishes!

    If you would like to chip in on my birthday fundraiser for Charity:Water, visit http://my.charitywater.org/campmighty2013 and put “For Christine Tremoulet” in the notes! XOXO

    Our Cabin at Signal Mountain Lodge

    My Mini Cooper in its first snow!