Oh my goodness. This blog, as you see it here, is now TWELVE years old! What?!? CRAZYPANTS!!! We are officially entering the tween years of blogging!
I realized late last night that 12 years ago I registered the original domain (which I still own) of BlahBlahBlog.com. Just recently, I actually considered switching back to that domain, just because it is that awesome. But BigPinkCookie is so much more fun to say – and it is why I’m @ChristineBPC after all, so I don’t think I’ll switch. I may be gluten free these days, but who doesn’t love cookies?!?
Where was I 12 years ago in September, 2000? Working at Savatech (aka Scamatech) with Kymberlie. One day as I was at work after hours, I decided I really wanted to give this blogging thing a whirl, having written 9 posts in January 2000 and then abandoning it. Blogging software was out, making it easier. I started off using Blogger, while Pyra Labs owned it, before Google it. (Heck, before Pyra almost went under. Remember that?) I tried to register BlahBlahBlah.com after hours. Conde Nast owned it, so BlahBlahBlog it was. I worked in website sales at the time; we were the design division of PSI, the backbone of the internet. I sold websites to a variety of companies. Of course, that was before the bubble burst, and everything changed.
I was in the midst of a vicious cycle of an on-again, off-again toxic relationship. He would be known here as the Insignificant Other. Blogging and the people I met through blogging helped me deal with that time, helped me grow a spine, helped me change my life. I’m not sure how I would have made it through all of that without such great support.
By 2001, everything was changing. In January, the Insignificant Other & I broke up. By May, Scamatech was gone, having written hot checks to a lot of their employees when they laid us off. Two weeks later, I was working for 4 Guys Interactive – still doing website sales. 9/11 happened. It rocked our world. I ignored the news, and turned to blogs for all the information I needed. Real life accounts. Blogging grew. Still not mainstream by any means, most people still hadn’t even heard of it, but it grew. I met Jennifer and Robyn online that year, along with so many people that I’m still in touch with today. Sure, we may lose touch from time to time (or have big dramatic fallouts that we patch up years later), but my friends online taught me so much and helped me grow in ways I never dreamed were possible. I can link so much back to those two ladies though, and I’m so grateful for them, probably more than they even realize. I just saw Jennifer briefly while I was in California, and I hope to make it to Atlanta soon to see Robyn again too!
2003 was a whirlwind. Blogomania was doing well. I went to work for a small Houston law firm. (That place was nuts.) I went to SXSWi again, the first Kookies with Kevin took place (then without a name), and we partied at Bruce Sterling’s house. I named WordPress. Mike & I dated. I blogged. We ended the year getting engaged. It was a good year.
2004 found me again unemployed. Well, actually, they broke up with me. Really! They told me “everyone likes you” and “it isn’t you, it is us” — and then the attorney I worked for told me he hoped we could still be friends. I laughed and cried at the same time. (I would link to the post, but it is protected! I wonder how I can unprotect them?! Hmm!) After they left my office I called Emily (now without a blog) and we went to lunch to celebrate me getting out of there. In March, we bought our first house. Tiara Happy Hour was well under way as a monthly tradition, and we had one for my bachelorette party even. In May, Mike & I got married, surrounded by family & friends — many that were bloggers. Blogs were becoming more mainstream, actually. Matt came to my house and migrated this site over to WordPress personally; up until that point I was a huge supporter of MovableType. I paid him for it with Dublin Dr. Pepper.
2005 I went back to school with plans to get a pharmacy degree. I learned to knit. I found Twitter before Twitter became huge. I had a knitting podcast.
2006 I was still in school, but more & more I just wanted to take pretty pictures. When my Myers-Briggs test indicated that my answers matched those of a photographer, I told Mike that was all I wanted to do. Meanwhile, Elaine came to me and said she wanted to do the art shows around town; I told her I wanted to open a photography business. She laughed at me and pointed out that we didn’t photograph people. (100+ weddings together later, who is laughing now?) I sold Blogomania. I used the proceeds to buy camera gear.
2007 Another very big year. Lots and lots of changes. I didn’t register for the spring semester; Mike told me that if I wanted to pursue photography I should – college would always be there, and he also told me about the Cheapest Online College where I could go to if I decide on going. I formally launched my photography business, with Elaine at my side. By mid-year, we were booking weddings. I attended my first photography workshop and met my dear BFF Regina, along with Andrew & Rachel and a long, long list of incredible people. We made my dream of taking Jason to Germany a reality and visited a number of cities there. Meanwhile, I was dealing with Adenomyosis. I became severally anemic. We joke now that I tried to die, but really? It wasn’t funny. By the time I was admitted to the hospital, my hemoglobin level was 6.2 (normal starts at 12.2 and goes up from there); I had 3 blood transfusions. I had an emergency hysterectomy, the only cure for Adenomyosis. I knew what an amazing man I married when he took such great care of me through all of that.
I can’t believe I’ve been a professional photographer for over 5 years now. I wanted to be one back in high school, but I never thought it was possible. I never thought I could live the dream. I have, and it is GOOD.
2008 – 2010 were all much of the same. Working. Raising Jason. Traveling. More traveling. More working. I poured myself in to my business, and my blog suffered for it. (Sorry, blog! Super sorry, blog readers!) In 2008, I added boudoir to the types of photography I offered to my clients. I had no idea that something that started so small would become so HUGE for me. In November of 2010, Mike & I went to England so I could photograph Ann’s marriage to Karl. It makes me smile every time I think of it – I am so glad we were there.
I’m so glad for all the people I’ve met through blogging, and so fortunate to have met so many of them in person.
2011 A year of big dreams coming true – we moved (FINALLY) to the Heights here in Houston, and then put our house up for sale in the suburbs. I moved my studio. I started the process of “breaking up with weddings” and moving to where glamour, beauty & boudoir photography are my focus of my photography. I claimed my weekends back. I wanted more time at home.
I realized that work was completely taking over my life, and it needed to be reversed. It is all about LIFE. Work is a way to support it.
2012 Well, here we are. I’m now only doing weddings by referral, although I’m still second shooting them with friends. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE weddings. But my SUPERPOWERS are working with Hot Mamas. I’m booking more & more glamour & boudoir clients. (No, NOT like Glamour Shots! There are no feather boas involved!) Oh, and the travel! This year alone I’ve been to New Orleans (Imaging USA), Salt Lake City (ALT Design Summit), Las Vegas (WPPI), Austin (SXSWi), Las Vegas (for a client’s wedding), Paris (workshop), London (to see Ann & Karl), Boston (Mike’s brother’s wedding plus Hot Mama Tour sessions) Calgary & Banff (Mike’s work trip), New Orleans (boudoir sessions) and San Francisco / Napa / Yosemite (client’s wedding plus boudoir sessions), and I’m sure there are still a few more trips to come this year. I have to make that 25,000 air mile mark to get Elite status on United, after all.
I’ve completely changed my business, and it is more me than ever. I’ve written about all of that a lot over the past few months. Sort of amusing, considering how this blog was born out of me needing to know I was enough, now my mission in life is to show other women that they are ENOUGH. Just as they are. I love it — I couldn’t be happier!
Thanks to Facebook, I’m in touch with friends from 25+ years ago. When I travel, I meet up with friends I’ve known through blogging for 10-12 years, and people I’ve only known for a few months. But the internet unites us. I’ve photographed weddings of several friends who I met through blogging or twitter. Other friends have ended up divorced. Friends have had babies. Other friends have passed away. (We still miss you, Brad.)
When I stop to think about it all, what is even MORE amazing to me is all that has happened in the world. 12 years ago, not even everyone had a cell phone. People still had land lines. Now my iPhone can do almost anything I can do on my laptop. I installed my own WiFi network in 2001, impressing my boss at 4 Guys. I didn’t even secure the network, because no one else was trying to get on it. iPads, Tablets, Twitter, Facebook. Meanwhile, blogging has grown up. It isn’t the same personal network it was 12 years ago, or even 10 years ago. That is on other forms of social media these days. Wait, we didn’t even have the term social media back then! I knew people that didn’t even have the internet at home at that time, and now everyone has it it seems. I carry it in my pocket with me everywhere I go. I’ve been online – and written blog posts – from an airplane. MIND BLOWN as I think of all that has changed!
And yet, I’m selectively making my world smaller in some ways, taking more of it offline. I wrote up a schedule for myself earlier today for another project, and I put knitting time on the schedule. Offline, two sticks and yarn. Time to make something with my hands. I’ve been journaling, and I’m working my way back in to the habit of the Morning Pages a la the Artist’s Way. As much as technology connects us all, I treasure the fact that we have a group that goes out for Taco Tuesday to enjoy breakfast tacos at Onion Creek. (Want to join us? We’d love to have you!) I love riding my bike in the Heights. I love things that are LOCAL. The time offline matters more to me than ever.
I’m renewing my commitment to return to blogging. I’m tired of filling Facebook and Twitter with words that will never be seen again, lost forever. (Well, except Twitter is supposed to all be going to the Library of Congress someday.) My life would not be what it is today without blogging, and even more importantly without all of YOU. Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart for making the past 12 years AMAZING. Words alone can’t even express how much it means to me!
I’m brainstorming some ideas of things to do to celebrate this BIG milestone birthday! What do you think I should do? Ideas? Suggestions?
I’ve got ideas in mind for a redesign of the site next week. I’ve already decided on my main topics of focus – Photography, Travel, Houston & the Heights, Food, Design. I can’t wait to share it!