October, you almost had me. With a biz trip to Orlando, and two impromptu ones to Dallas for family, you almost did me in with your old bag of tricks. In fact, if it weren’t for my share of treats along the way I may very well have swelled up and turned to a pumpkin. Poof!

But here it is, the first day of November and not only am I still standing. I’m having a wine cocktail and getting ready to hit the downtown Austin streets because we all know sometimes you need the weekend to start a day early.

Looking through the photos in that there^ collage, I can tell you that I started the month out with a fun coffee interview with Melissa Lombard. She has a great blog concept where she has a cup of coffee each week with a complete stranger – she asks them what significant things have happened to them in the last 30 days, finds out about their life and current challenges, and through this she expands her own mind and learns something about herself along the way. You can check out my interview here. Just ignore my sleepy eyes, ok?

But that was just the start of the month. While in Orlando for 5 days I went to an engineering conference, mentored a few college students, saw the fireworks and electric parade at Disneyworld, and dropped in some of the city’s coolest spots – even coming away with a blog post for one. Back in Austin, I did another event shoot for Austin Restaurant Week’s wrap-up party and also had photo shoots for a couple great house tours, a ZOMG! of a workspace tour, and managed to squeeze in a little personal project too. Can’t wait to post about all those great things very soon.

And you know what I just realized? This past month also marked my first year of writing for Apartment Therapy. This here ladies and gentlemen was my very first post, on October 20th 2011…

Tech Me Home Tonight – Tech Tour

Now before you go off reading that, I have to explain why it’s written in third person. When I decided to throw my resume in the hat of submissions for their tech contributor quest, I also submitted a couple sample posts written as if they were already on Apartment Therapy – except using my personal home as the subjects. They liked ’em enough to give me the job, and also enough to allow me to submit them as my first two posts while I got the hang of the system. If you’re curious that other post is here.

What has a year of Apartment Therapy taught me? Let me see if I can summarize…

1. You can’t please everybody.

As much as this is against my nature because I really do want to please everybody, it’s just not possible. Some people are going to like your writing, some are going to punch holes in it. Some people are going to love the fact that you included some lifestyle shots of the people in their homes, others are going to hate it…and worse yet attack them. Boo! I take all those negatives I read and try to learn from them, so that if I can’t please everybody I hope to at least please 99% of them one day. Who’s the 1%? Haters. And you know what? They’re just gonna hate.

2. Switching a camera into manual mode can change your life.

Those pictures from my first couple Apartment Therapy posts, full automatic shots. Ones from a few posts afterwards, same deal. Then I had a chat with our bad-ass photo editor Leela Cyd, she explained to me the exposure triangle, talked to me about turning my camera into full manual and Boom! I started creating images I never thought I could make. In my excitement, I read more about it, learned more and with each shot I felt as if I was getting better. I never really thought of being a photographer before. Yet here I am sitting next to a stack of business cards that have my name circling around the lens of a camera.

3. The people you meet define you.

On the day of my wedding, I gave a speech not only to thank all the friends and family that attended, but to particularly thank my groomsmen as well. I met each of them in different stages of my life (high school, college, graduate school, work) and they not only had an influence on me, they represented different aspects of my personality. The sum of who I was then, was a sum of everyone I had met up to that point. A year of Apartment Therapy later, and I’ve been fortunate enough to meet even more great people and who I am today is different than it was last year because of them. I’m changing with each new person I meet, each thought and mindset I’m exposed to. It’s only because I’ve met artists, photographers, and writers that I’m able to nod my head in assurance when someone suggests that I am one of those things as well.

A lot can happen in a year if you allow it to. I’m just glad I had the courage to hit ‘send’ on my application email to Apartment Therapy. I think I became a better person because of it.

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