New Blog Design + Giveaway 2013

i have a feeling we're not in kansas anymore."
dorothy - wizard of oz

I once read about a study done to test human "follow" patterns and herd mentality.  There was a test subject put in a room with 19 people.  The test subject was under the impression that these 19 folks were other testers, but in reality they were "in" on the experiment.  They all did a brief written test, then they had some group projects to do.  A simple math problem was put up on a board (something like 63 + 24).  As the group discussed, they all instantly agreed the answer to the problem was 97.  The one tester was quiet and hesitant.  He counted on his fingers.  But in the end, he just said what everyone else did.  "Yeah, 97."  You've probably seen those youtube pranks where a large group of people will turn a corner and come running and screaming down the alley.  Often the clueless passerby will join in and run with them!  Why run? I DON'T KNOW! BUT EVERYONE ELSE IS! NINETY SEEEEVEN!!!

Launching a new blog design at the beginning of the year feels a little flock like to me (I'm obviously rounding up the group in the back).  Winter, after holidays, is obviously the most practical time for a primarily spring to fall photographer to get other business tasks done.  Last winter I was set ablaze thanks to Alt Summit and I decided to re-do my blog and start writing out my love story.  I also instituted the Enjoy Project.  I wanted to start taking the gradual turn into expanding my vision for this blog, as well as my vision for my career and daily life.  I was single, renting a room with my friends and on the verge of so many bigs.

One year later,  I'm a wife who shares a happy apartment with a stud-muffin.  I'm a mother, who shares her body with a little son.  I'm writing more, cooking more (well, I was cooking more... now I'm eating more. haha.), I'm taking steps to figure out how to actually turn a blog series into a real book.  We're taking our hard-earned cash to Oklahoma to finish building our house.  We're talking often about that soup & sandwich shop we want to open someday.  I'm taking fewer weddings, and more "other shoots."  I realize that I love wedding photography, but I don't love a lot of wedding photography.  I hope to shoot weddings until my hips break, but I find myself far more interested, inspired and emotional when my shoots vary - from promotional shoots, maternity shoots, documentary style shooting, portraits, babies, weddings, home life.  This goes against what I had been taught.  "Don't try to be average at a lot of things!  Focus on ONE thing! Specialize in one area!"  For some people, that is probably great advice.  But for me, I need the variety.  I do better in all areas when every week has brand new events.  Maybe that is why I loved sports?  You practice and practice, but have no idea what to expect come game time.  A music recital isn't like that.  You practice and practice and practice your piece... and then... you play... that same piece!  Just like you practiced! (hopefully.)
All of that to say, I needed a site that could keep up with my varied interests and pursuits.  A place that looked like, you know, a grown woman's site.  It was time.  97! ;)  The dear, talented Hannah Nicole took over my giant dream.  She is the one to thank for the new branding and design.  Please sing her praises and love her a lot.   Hannah, you're absolutely one-of-a-kind and dazzling.
But WHAT is a new design, without a giveaway?  Come on!  That's the way to share the love!  One lucky man, woman or child is going to be the proud and delighted owner of these four gifts:
$100 Southwest GiftCard
$100 Etsy GiftCard
Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
Soft Leather Journal 
You pretty people have ONE week to enter!  Next Monday the winner will be announced!  Cheers throughout the land!  Let the dancing in the streets begin!  (And you all better hope I don't keep these for myself.  I all of these prizes for myself.  Especially the cookbook.  How well do you trust my character... muhahah? ;)
Six Stupendous Social (like an ice cream club!) Ways To Win The Prizes!
Tweet about it: follow me on twitter + then retweet my giveaway tweet to your pack of wolves! (make sure my handle is included so I see that you did it!)
Instagram about it: Screen-cap the new blog design or giveaway list, and let the photographers of the land know about the giveaway (make sure you mention me... and if you're instagram is private, follow me and leave me comment on my photo so I see your entry!)
Pin it: Re-pin the giveaway list and tag me in a comment!
Blog it: Feel free to steal my giveaway list jpeg and post it on your own blog, linking back to my blog.
Facebook like and share it: Like my page on Facebook! And then share

*Comment [required]: And tell me what you'd do with your winnings! (Where would you like to fly off to with your Southwest giftcard, or what you have your eye on over at Etsy?  Who do you want to wine and dine?  Any fun reasons to have a new journal?) (you can also comment separately and let me know how else you entered, if you want to be sure I see it!  I'll be keeping a tally system with each name, but I know how it is.  If you're going to do all the hard work, you want to be positive it is getting you a shot at the paaah-riiizze!)

Alright!  I'm... happy.  This is fun.  I hope you enjoy it all!