Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Happy Birthday, Mom.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Won My First Blog Giveaway!

What a great day! I was checking my e-mail this morning at work and saw a message with the subject "You've won on Mom Knows It All" and my heart skipped a beat (figuratively, of course, unless I have an undiagnosed heart murmur or something).
I won a giveaway for $50 worth of patterns and things from YouCanMakeThis.com. The website is really pretty nice and it is built on a great idea. If you are a crafty person or would like to be a crafty person you should find something that you like. The site founders believe that, essentially, anyone can make anything on the site. You can buy and download instructions, material lists and patterns for various craft things and then, as the site name says, you can make it. I am looking forward to getting the prize bundle because there are a few items I want to make for the nieces and nephew.
Many thanks to Valerie at Mom Knows It All and to YouCanMakeThis.com for finally making me a blog giveaway winner! Hopefully, there will many more to follow!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Win a trip to ride SeaWorld's newest coaster, Manta!

I've only been to Florida once, a couple years ago, for a family vacation to Walt Disney World. Everyone loved it and I would really like to go back within the next couple years. One thing we thought about doing, but did not, was to check out SeaWorld. There seems to be a lot to do there, from riding the roller coasters and other rides to watching animal shows to checking out all of the awesome animal exhibits. When we next go to Florida I definitely want to spend a couple days at SeaWorld and one new reason to do that is the Manta. SeaWorld's newest roller coaster, set to open May 22, 2009, looks to be one of the coolest coasters around. Check out SeaWorld's Manta page with a video teaser of what you can expect. I can't wait to see it and, hopefully, I will win my trip there courtesy of Ted Murphy, IZEA and SeaWorld.

Friday, February 06, 2009

State of the Blog(s) Address

13 years ago, I created my first website. I had been designing my own desktop wallpapers for subjects I liked and thought other people might enjoy them too. So I created Courtenay's Desktop Creations in the College Park section of Geocities. Fast forward to 2009. My wallpaper site actually still exists on Tripod (http://courtenay27.tripod.com), although I've not touched it in at least 6 years (I'll need to do something about that finally). More importantly, though, I've got a handful of websites and ideas that I've created and worked on over the years but that never realized their true potential. I'm ready to change that.
So, without further ado, I present my action plan for 2009:

1. Divisible By 1 @ Cafe Press (http://www.divisibleby1.com)
When I created CEGPhoto.com I used Cafe Press as a major outlet for selling products with my photos on them because I figured people would be more likely to buy calendars and things rather than just buying photo prints. In addition to my photo products, though, I continued to create non-photo designs and just put them into the CEGPhoto shop so that it was easy to keep track of things. For brand identity, it really wasn't the best way to go and I had wanted to separate them for a long time. So, last February I bought www.divisibleby1.com and now will finally be opening the site which will contain various non-photographic designs on t-shirts, sweatshirts, coffee mugs, buttons, magnets, stickers and anything else that CP sells.
I'm actually in the final stages of prepping the shop by finishing up some graphic work and importing products so I'm expecting to launch it before the end of this month (February). Of course, I'll make a post here once that happens and maybe even run a giveaway because I've wanted to do that for so long.

2. CEGPhoto (http://www.cegphoto.com/)
As my little profile says I consider myself to be somewhat of an amateur photographer. I've loved shooting digital photography since about 2001 and have shot many thousands of photos to date. Over the years, I'd shown some people my work and had been told it was good so I finally decided to enter one photo into a competition. I entered it into the Ohio State University Faculty/Staff Arts & Crafts exhibition and to my surprise won the President's Choice award that year. I knew that I did shoot some good photographs but until that point I'd never thought much about it. After that, however, more people became interested so I decided to create a website. With my entrepreneurial mind I wanted to do more than showcase my photos so I made desktop wallpapers of some photos, put products on Cafe Press and more. Over time I think the site became much more than I originally intended it to be but not in a good way.
So, my plan is to do a total redesign and repurposing of cegphoto.com, basically stripping it down to the essence of what a photographer's website should be: a showcase of my photos. I love some of my photo products, especially my calendars, and will keep the CEGPhoto Cafe Press shop running but everything will be redesigned and will look much more professional. I'm planning to start this project later in the year (probably 3rd or 4th quarter) but hope to have it all completed by the holiday season.

3. I'd Like To Go.com (http://www.idliketogo.com/)
This is the one project that I am definitely most excited about. I first created idliketogo.com in the beginning of 2005 because I had the idea of chronicling my trips and travels, both near and far, on the web. I wanted to do travel reviews of places I'd visited, where I stayed and things I'd done while I was there. The first piece of content was a review/journal of my trip to NYC in February 2005 to see Jean-Claude and Christo's Gates installment in Central Park. To date, I still think the overall idea and design of idliketogo.com is among the best of my early site designs and has the most potential to be the site that I spend most of my time with.
My plan is to get started on the redesign and content creation in February or March. I've actually got more trip reviews/journals than the one that I posted to the site but due to a number of things happening in my life when I was "into" the site, I never posted anything past the NYC Gates trip. Add to that at least 5 or 6 major trips taken in the past 2-3 years and lots of little in-state trips and I've got a lot of writing to do to get my pillars started. I want to keep the feel of the site similar to what it is now but give it a major update with design, content, a new blog, a new type of gallery and some new features. Like I said, this is going to be my main "baby" this year and I'm guessing I will probably be working on the new site through April. I'd actually like to finish it by mid-April because I have a grand plan that would be awesome to implement at that time but we'll see what I can do. Once I'd Like To Go.com re-opens I will definitely have some kind of giveaway to celebrate it.

4. Divisible by 1 Designs (http://www.db1designs.com/)
Divisible by 1 Designs is really just going to be used as a showcase of my website designs and will link to all of my sites. Eventually, once I'm done with my own sites and I've gotten them all under control, I may consider hiring myself out for web design services and this is where that venture will be located.

There it is. If anyone actually read all of that, congratulations and I thank you. These are the main things I'll be working on for most of this year. I do still have a couple more ideas on the back burner and a couple more sites to come in the future but we'll cross that bridge once I've finished the above projects. As I said, I will keep track of all of my progress here in this blog and let everyone know when each site (re)launches. I welcome any comments that yo may have and may even solicit them through various parts of the design process. So, until next time, I'll just be here at my computer plugging away.


Tuesday, February 03, 2009

State of the Blog Primer

Its 2009.

The new year is in full swing and resolutions are being made and broken. I'm not really big on the "R" word myself, but I have set a few goals that I want to come to fruition this year. There's the usual suspects: get back into shape (Wii Fit tells me I'm obese), get a little bit more out of debt, etc., etc.. Things I work on to varying degrees anyway but always strive to improve. Then there's the grand business/web related goals, which I intend to fullfill and, eventually, thrive at.

I've got a few websites that I've developed, worked on and kept updated in differing amounts over the years and now, thanks to some recent inspirational reading and research, I have become more motivated about my sites and their potential than I have in a long time.

So, in an effort to keep myself honest and on task, in my next post I'm going to outline my plans and goals for each of my current sites and throw in time lines as well (because I know that all 10 of my occasional readers are soo interested) so that I can keep everyone updated with my progress.

I'm looking forward to getting all of this written down and started so that my current readers and the hundreds, nay, thousands of future readers that I will pick up through this blog and my other sites will feel that they are investing their online time reading and following something worthwhile So, stay tuned and be on the lookout for my next post...coming very soon