bloggingjust for fun

Photo Shoot Fun – My First Ever Blog Head Shots

As a part of my 2013 goals, I really wanted to get some blog head shots done both to update my social media profiles and materials as well as have some fun and get a boost of confidence! I had not had any fun pictures of my new hair color to infuse a little of my personality back into my online persona. It took me until December to cross it off my to-do list but I got it done with the help of my friend Ryanne at R@ck Photography! It just so happened that I ended up starting a blog redesign around the same time so these will really come in handy!

These are some of my favorite solo shots:

Blogger Head Shots

On our way out the door, I decided to bring my Charlie along for the shoot! As I have mentioned, she is a huge part of my heart and the best therapy I could ever ask for! She turned 13 this year and is starting to have issues with arthritis and her vision so I really meant a lot to have some meaningful shots taken together!

World's Best Dog

How do you think they turned out? Have you ever done a solo photo shoot either for your blog or just for fun?


Results of 2013 Blogging Goals

I cannot believe 2013 is history and we are almost two weeks into 2014 which makes me fashionably late in checking in about last year’s goals. Oops! Am I forgiven? I didn’t do a great job of keeping up with posting about the progress on my blogging goals but I tried my best to make them happen!

Here are the results of last year’s goals:

Post at least 3 times a week. Quality over quantity. I definitely had to take a lot more time off in 2013 than I ever planned to. I would have never predicted at the start of the year that I would leave the workplace to start the disability process and go through two very dark and foggy places as a result of adverse affects of treatments. Thankfully these dark places stay in the past!

Read & COMMENT on at least 3 blogs a day. I have definitely enjoyed reading blogs more often as Bloglovin is a great tool to keep up with the blogs I follow. I have also enjoyed discovering new blogs to follow as well. I am doing a lot better about being very intentional about commenting but I’m probably not up to my goal of commenting on at least 3 blogs a day. I have definitely seen a huge shift in the blogosphere in the areas of community and engagement and have seen many mentions of the decline of commenting mentoined on social media. I really want to focus on becoming more personal and engaged here at A New Kind of Normal and elsewhere. I want to restore that community feeling that I think has not had the focus and nourishment that it needs and I know that actively responding to comments here and being intentional in commenting on other blogs is a great place to start. 

Guest blog at least 3 times throughout the year. I’m not sure I guest blogged at all this year which is disappointing. I don’t think it was even on my radar between all of my junk I was sorting through this year.

Feature at least 3 new guest bloggers here at A New Kind of Normal this year. I reached this goal numerically by featuring 3 guest bloggers while I was away in December soaking up the Disney magic who shared tips on surviving the holidays with chronic illness but I wish I would have been more intentional throughout the year. Again, too much junk going on. Don’t worry, stories about the Disney magic are on the way!

Organize & complete the 2nd annual Blogging for Endometriosis Awareness campaign. Done and done! Our 2nd annual Blogging for Endometriosis Awareness campaign was even more amazing than the first and I know this year will be even bigger and better! Can’t believe its less than 2 months away!

Grow blog stats by 20%. My stats definitely grew on other avenues of social media as even in my fog, I was a little more active there than I was here. Definitely didn’t reach my 20% goal but I’m not stressing. Some things are more important than others!

Attend Type A Conference in Atlanta in September! I cannot wait! I survived Type A and had a blast! I definitely learned so much at Type A Con and even figured out a few things about how to survive a blog conference with chronic illness. It was definitely a challenge for my introverted self and it definitely required stepping out of my comfort zone. A lot. I only ended up crying in the bathroom once so I count it as a success!

Follow through the book Mom Blog SEO by the awesome Kelby Carr! Still on my to-do list! SEO is most definitely on my goal list for this year since despite my best efforts, I am still struggling to fully get it. If I can get to a point where I have a better grasp on it, I know I will see more growth as it will make my blog easier to find. I’m still working on it but I’ll get it!

Have head shots taken! It took me until December to get it done but I did! It was the first time that I had pictures taken by myself (like a full session) since my bridal portraits I think! I ended up taking my partner-in-crime Charlie with me so we ended up catching some very special shots. Here is a preview shot:

What were your biggest goals and acheivements for 2013?

bloggingchronic illness

One Little Word for 2014 – Fierce


Word of the Year 2014

As I have mentioned, I am very excited to be working on a new blog design! For the  first several years that A New Kind of Normal was in existence, the design always included my signature colors, hot pink and black.  However, when I was working on my last redesign, I felt like I needed to abandon my favorite colors in order to have a more grown-up design. In order to be taken seriously. In order to take A New Kind of Normal to the next level.

Ever since, I have felt like my personality is no longer represented in the look and feel of the design. 2013 brought a lot of changes in my life. Many of which have left me struggling to find my place and my purpose. I am a creature of habit and routine and since I left the workplace due to disability,  I have failed to establish a routine for this new stage in life. I had all these ideas in my head about what disability was going to look like and that I would have all this time for blogging, building my “brand,” and maybe even start writing a book.

I fell indescribably short of these ideals I had created for myself for two reasons.

First, I think the ideals I created in my head were unrealistic and did not take into account the reason I was leaving the workplace, my illnesses.

Second, I need routine. I need structure. While I don’t need to an hourly schedule for my day, I do need to find a groove that includes quiet time for devotions and reading the Bible, time to clean and work on small projects around the house, and time to write and engage in my community. By establishing a new routine, I will have a much easier time being able to focus on the things that I need to get done in each area of my life which will not only benefit my blogging but my family life as well.

In efforts to regather myself and create new and healthy goals for myself which include spending more time writing and building the community here at A New Kind of Normal, I thought it would be a perfect time for a redesign and rebrand. I feel this blog is a part of my calling, my ministry, and a way to honor God for all of the blessings in my life despite the challenges I have faced with chronic illness. It has become a part of who I am.

The first step in the redesign is going back to my signature colors, hot pink and black. While I am excited about the colors, it is much more about rediscovering my personality and spunk and putting it back into a place I love. I love having an edge and I love my tattoos, purple hair, and spiky shoes. I want my blog to show that. I want to be confident and authentic in sharing who I am.

In reclaiming my spunk and redefining my new outlook on life, I need that I needed a new tagline to go with it. I knew that hope needed to still be a part of the equation because I believe the message that God has inspired me to share is that He has a hope and a future for each one of us despite our illnesses or challenges in life.

As I was working towards redefining and refocusing my blog which I knew would include a redesign, I sought the counsel of my blogging heroes and friends, Melissa, since she literally wrote the book on blog design and we have known each other for several years and she has kind of seen my blog grow and develop. Using hope as a starting point, she threw out some tagline options and she said, “Tackling chronic illness with a fierce dose of hope.”

It was as if the heavens parted.

That was it.

It was everything that I wanted to convey about this blog and its mission in nine words.

I felt more inspired and excited that I have been in a long time.

At this time of year, I have seen posts throughout the blogosphere selecting one word to describe what you want to focus on and achieve in 2014. My word is fierce. I want to live each and every day with a fierce dose of hope. Be fiercely confident in the person that God has created me to be. To fiercely pursue my dreams and my passions. One little word can mean so much.

I think this is one of my favorite images based on the word fierce:

Word of the Year

This is totally going on my wall!

I cannot wait for all the of the changes to be revealed and to tackle 2014 together fiercely kicking chronic illness to the curb!

What one word would describe your goal for 2014?