Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Go Live Recap + A New Website!

For months, I longed to go to a workshop. At the same time, I was struggling to design my online house to display my photo skillz. Yes, skillz. I grew up in the 90s, I can't help it. I also can't help my huge girl-crush on Promise Tangeman (and her hair - I desperately wish I could get mine to look like hers), the awesome designer behind a few of my favorite people's branding and websites.

So when I found out that Promise was hosting a workshop to help photographers get their websites online IN TWO DAYS, I knew it was going to be legendary. And that I needed to go.

It turned out to be more than I could wildly have dreamed it could be.

So two weeks ago, I boarded a Southwest Jet (on their 41st birthday no less! I heart Southwest!) for Phoenix. Side note: I'm not the type of person who likes to wing it on my travels - I like to have a plan to stick to...know where I'm going, how I'm gonna get there. But the night before I left, after checking into my flight, I was searching groupon for honeymoon deals and found the COOLEST boutique hotel running a deal that I couldn't refuse. So I took it (king-sized bed all to myself - my idea of living in luxury! I like to sleep horizontally, and flail a little too), not really sure how I was getting from there to the workshop the next day since I opted out of the too-expensive rental car that I am now magically old enough to drive. My mom suggested taking the super shuttle from the airport to the hotel, which I informed her was only for old people (only to say it to another workshop-goer to find out that she utilized the awesome blue bus - then felt bad for stereotyping), and which was too full of said old people to fit my poor weary soul in the 100+ degree heat. Instead, I hailed a cab; in my head it was very cosmopolitan, but I'm sure in reality it was far less impressive - the cab driver may have actually approached me upon seeing the lost expression that attached itself to my face. Speaking of unimpressive, my cab driver actually asked for directions to the hotel, and then proceeded to ignore the suggestions of my phone. Fortunately, we arrived, but I certainly wondered whether it was safer to get in a vehicle with a strange man than to just take public transportation (which turned out to be way less sketchy than the DC metro) on my own after dark. Long digression, my apologies.

Back to the workshop:

In my wildest dreams, I wanted a website and I wanted to work with Promise, who I look up to as a design innovator and who inspires me in so many ways. What I walked away with were 13 new besties, a new outlook on myself and my business, a new website, and a new creative platform.

In the weeks leading up to the workshop, we did a lot of homework, preparing us for the experience ahead - and doing the homework got the gears turning for the content we created in Phoenix. I put together a Pinterest board beforehand that was a definite jumping-off-point for the colors and style of the site I created. As part of the cost of the workshop, we were provided a Sitehouse design to customize at the event, which provided the ease of a template with a lot of extra versatility.

But what made it an experience that was life changing was being surrounded by other creatives, hoping to achieve the same goal. It is much easier to accomplish a task when there is a team to cheer you on - and you have two dedicated days to cross it off your list! It took me back to the world of high school swim meets, where no matter what, the team was behind you, yelling for you, and you didn't want to let them down. We celebrated the launch of each site with a margarita toast and lots of cheering (aiii - yaiaii! whoop, whoop!). On top of it all, Showit (the company who provides the design software and hosts the websites) provided amazing technical support - and once again, I was reminded why I like to work with companies who truly care about the success of their clients.

After being back for two weeks and thinking back on the experience, I feel inspired to continue building my brand and my business. The creative box surrounding me that I felt was a few sizes too small has finally ripped apart, and I feel like I have boundless new ideas. And while my website right now is not a perfect reflection of me and my business, I know now it's because I have so much more to create and it will evolve as I go out and make more pictures. I can't wait to see how it all will change and grow.

And one last story...while we were working on our sites, Showit was broadcasting the event to viewers at home. Somehow, Ben found out about it, and decided to tune in to be my stalker watch the fascinating process of building a website, which involves a lot of staring at a computer screen, shifting positions maybe once an hour. Clearly it was captivating...he claims he ONLY HAPPENED to have tuned in for a second - the exact one where my name was pulled from a fishbowl as the winner of an Align album design. Before I could text him to tell him, he had already sent a congratulatory message...such a sweetheart!


  1. Woot, woot! Love your site and this post! It was great meeting you, too! :)

    1. i think blogger needs to get a like button! i'm dying to like your comment, haha :o)