Happy New Year!

It’s that time of the year when we all think about the old year and make plans for the new. We’re actually still holidaying (yes, that is a word, I just looked it up =) with family, but we’re at the very tail end of it so it feels like my last chance to blog before work officially kicks in again.

First of all, we are so grateful to all of you, our blog readers, customers, friends and family who have all helped us to grow again this year by spreading the word about our services! We’re honored and humbled to have such a great base of support.

2008 has come and gone so quickly, yet so much happened! I thought I’d outline some of it here…

30 Weddings: Actually, the final number was 31 for this year, still low enough for us to maintain our small boutique personal-touch experience and yet have a little bit of a life on the other 21 weekends of the year. =)

Seaside Wedding: 2008 marked our first destination wedding to the white sand beaches of Seaside, Florida! It was a really great experience and I hope we’ll have more opportunities to travel and photograph at great locations like that. (Preferably warm! =)

Low-Res files: This year was our first year to offer low-res files (optimized for on-screen viewing) to customers. With the overwhelming rise of social networking sites, our customers love being able to post professional-grade pictures from their portrait sessions. We’ve always included high-res files with our wedding photography, but adding low-res files saves disk space and time uploading.

Twitter: Speaking of social networking, we got a Twitter account this year! Check us out (and follow us if you like!) here. (http://twitter.com/csangree) I think we’re still getting the hang of using it, so we’d love to hear from you if you Tweet!

PickPic: Probably my favorite development this year was moving from Pictage to PickPic, our own hosted proofing and ordering solution. It’s been a much easier transition than I expected and a much-improved experience for our customers. Not to mention the major quality improvement in printing by being able to use our favorite pro lab for all of our orders.

Mac Pro: This year we upgraded to an 8-core big daddy Mac Pro to help keep our time at the computer as efficient as possible and it’s really made a big difference in our workflow and computer time. They’re pricey, but it makes sense when we spend at least 60 hours on the computer every week.

iPhone: I managed to hold out until the end of 2008 before getting an iPhone, but I’ve been looking forward to owning one for ages! It’s been really great to have a phone that actually syncs with my Mac calendars, contacts, podcasts, music and even folders of favorite photos that are always on hand if needed.

Home Security: I’ve always been security-conscious, but we stepped it up after our auto-burglary in March of ’08. It’s nice knowing that even if the power is cut to the house, and the phone and cable lines are cut, our monitoring company is still notified of any alarm at our house. Gotta love technology! =)

Recycling: Yes, we just started recycling this year. I didn’t think we had much trash that could be recycled, but after starting to recycle I was amazed at how much white paper and other recyclable material we were quickly collecting. Honestly, I’m a skeptic of “global warming,” but I am a conservationist and if everyone was able to conserve and reuse more I do think it could have a big impact on landfills, etc.

Goals: For years, I was a real goal-setter at this time of year. I would type up pages of goals with timelines, etc. but life happens. While goal setting and priorities are important, so many of the best things in life were not a part of my goals or plans. I think in the last few years we’ve had a vision for where we were heading, but then we pretty much just rolled with the punches on a day-to-day basis, receiving grace and strength for today from Above.

Please forgive my rambling and run-on sentences! I have two little girls calling for their Daddy and requiring attention every 30 seconds, so it’s sometimes hard to think through a complete thought and get it typed before the next interruption distracts my train of thought. =)

Plans for 2009

We would love to start gardening a bit this year. Our foray into gardening in 2008 was to plant sunflowers and morning glories and we really did enjoy it. We’ve been thinking it would be really cool to be able to grow some grape-tomatoes and maybe some hot peppers… So we’ll see how green our thumbs get! We don’t have the best soil where we currently live (does anyone in Oklahoma have nice soil? =) but with some composting, topsoil, and manure we should be able to remedy that over the next year or two. Plus, there’s something relaxing and therapeutic about gardening.

We plan to soundproof our office a bit more. Eventually, we’d love to buy or build a home with the office a bit removed from the living areas of the home (and with a separate entrance, too) but that’s probably a couple of years out.

And then there are all of the normal resolution-type plans, like getting out of debt, back in shape and a more balanced life (work/play/etc.), but I think this post has already waxed long, so I’ll try to wrap it up. =)

Best wishes to you for a wonderful 2009! May you prosper in every truly important way!

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