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Sydney
Australia

LIFE:CAPTURED began in August 2013 when we held our first full-day workshop at RAW Space in Sydney, Australia. Our mission is to help people document their stories and create tangible keepsakes to be treasured for generations to come. We offer intensive design, photography, and memory keeping workshops, as well as interactive online classes. We are advocates of honest photography, minimalist design, and memory keeping that's simple, beautiful, and tangible. We are the pioneers of the story book, and we offer flexible templates that enable everybody to tell their story. We believe that life is worth remembering and that it is never too early or too late to start documenting yours. LIFE:CAPTURED was founded by Rhonda Mason (of the Pink Ronnie blog) and Trish Chong (of Tealily Photography).

The blog

The official blog of LIFE:CAPTURED Inc, the modern school of memory keeping. We believe that life is worth remembering and that it is never too early or too late to start documenting yours. We blog about design, photography, and how you can preserve your story with timeless, tangible keepsakes.

Behind the scenes: On blogging for thirteen years and what lies ahead

Ronnie

Behind the scenes: My thoughts on blogging and what we have planned - A blog post by Rhonda Mason for LIFE:CAPTURED Inc (The modern school of memory keeping)

| Written by Ronnie |

As of this month, I will have been blogging for thirteen and a half years. I almost cannot believe it myself. It all began when a uni friend suggested that I do some online journalling since I loved writing so much. Those were the days, of course, before social media or even the likes of Wordpress, Blogger or Typepad. There weren't that many choices in terms of publishing online - I think I went with a platform called Live Journal which offered nothing much more than a dozen set templates, the ability to change colours, and a primitive guestbook with an ugly-looking counter. On a whim, I called my online journal Pink Ronnie. Am I a fan of pink? Not really. But somehow I thought the name rolled off the tongue easily, and so I stuck to it for some twelve years.

I honestly enjoyed those early days of just writing about anything and everything that struck my fancy. Life was so carefree back then. A few posts, in particular, stick out in my mind and make me chuckle even now as i think about them - there was the one about swallowing a spoonful of wasabi (as you do); the one about how my mum found out I had a new (non-Asian) boyfriend called Rick; and the one about my rather laughable (and rather worrying) lack of driving skill.

I blogged often in those early days: it was new, fun and exciting, and back then I had what one might call 'spare time.' Plus, blogging was laidback and easygoing thirteen years ago. There was no 'proper' way to blog. There were no expectations or rules about blogging to live up to. There were no 'power blogs' to compare myself to (or at least I wasn't aware of them). It was all about just sending words out into the blogosphere, being honest, and having fun.

I remember how to I used to think that I was the funniest writer ever. Like seriously, I would read my posts over and over again, giggling shamelessly at my own puns whilst giving myself metaphorical pats on the back for coming up with such clever and witty material. I was so sure that the world would discover me before long - after all, I had "humour" and "funny" in my blog's meta description. Wasn't that enough to send me to the top of keyword searches and make the the "next big thing"?

How I love that younger me. How I love her naivety. How I want to give her a great, big hug.

How I miss her.

When I married Rick, I continued to brim with words, but somehow, I never found the time to sit down and let them loose. As I adjusted to married life and full-time work, my blog and I embarked on a long distance relationship of sorts. It was always there, and I still thought of it often. But we seldom made contact, and when we did, it was always momentary, driven more by guilt than a genuine desire to connect.

Losing Camera propelled me further away from this space. Cameron's blog,  Life without Cameron, became my sanctuary. My place of retreat. My place of release. I had no capacity in me for anything else but to vent and to grieve. To this day, I have no regrets about this. Writing on Cameron's blog saved me.

Only after Angus was born, alive and well, did I allow myself to draw back near to my original blog.  Only after I was able to laugh again, did I return there and allow myself to write as Pink Ronnie again. I took small, baby steps as I slowly learnt that I could continue to grieve yet also write pieces and posts that made me smile. It seems like a no-brainer now, but it took me a long time to realise that I didn't have to feel guilty about having 'a happy place' - that I wasn't betraying Cameron.

Blogging was fun for me even back when I had no commenters. Almost all the posts I wrote between 2002 and 2009 had zero comments. I liked writing out my stories and reading over them again.

However, sometime in early 2012, my audience grew and then when I was chosen to be part of the  Project Life Creative Team for 2013, I gained even more readers. Blogging became even more fun. I loved knowing who my readers were. I loved the dialogue, the conversations, and the feedback. 

Towards the end of 2012, I closed down my graphic design studio and re-directed my time and attention to Pink Ronnie. Between 2012 and 2014, I somehow managed to publish new blog posts four to five times a week. It was intense, and often I would stay up late at night in order to get blog posts written and prepped in time for the next morning, However, it was totally worth it because the experience pulled me out of a creativity rut and it was during that period of intense blogging that I discovered my real loves: writing, photography, and memory-keeping. 

As I published an increasing amount of content to do with my personal memory-keeping projects, I continued to gain new readers. Eventually, I realised that it was those memory-keeping posts that were getting pinned on Pinterest and receiving the most number of comments on the blog.

And just like that, the idea for a memory keeping workshop began to brew in my head. 

Around that time, Trish and I re-connected over social media and when I raised my workshop idea with her, she saw the potential and we became immediate partners. We planned and we plotted, and when we were ready, we announced the workshop via our blogs and our Instagram accounts, and we were awestruck when we sold out within the first twenty-four hours. The first workshop was a lovely success and shortly afterwards, we held a second one, and then a third one. When we started receiving international enquiries and we realised the inevitability of teaching online, we knuckled down and officially created our brand and website, and the rest is history.

Along the way, I continued to blog at Pink Ronnie. However, when our LIFE:CAPTURED website was completed and ready to be launched, it became clear to me that I needed to make a change. I couldn't keep creating the same type of posts that I'd been doing  for Pink Ronnie and also build and maintain a new blog for LIFE:CAPTURED. As sad as it was to end a huge chapter of my life, I published my last post on Pink Ronnie* on the 26th of September 2014 and bade a tearful farewell to my many loyal readers who had also become my friends.

It was the end, but it was also the beginning.

From there, I created a new personal blog called The Shoemaker's Daughterwhere my aim was simply to share my personal photography and my personal journaling. However, unlike Pink Ronnie, I didn't put any pressure on myself to post daily or even regularly, as I knew that I would need to focus my energies on building our blog here LIFE:CAPTURED.

It has taken a certain amount of trial and error, and a great amount of blood, sweat, and tears, but I personally feel quite proud of the body of work that we have created here on our blog. We may not have known exactly what we hoped to achieve here in this space when we first started eighteen months ago, but we do now.

We have a vision, and we have a plan, and we would love to share it with you.

* * *

First of all, this blog will always remain a priority for our brand and our business.

Despite the growing popularity of social media platforms , I continue to believe in blogging as a form of communication and a medium for engagement. I won't deny that we all have less time for commenting on blog posts these days, but that doesn't mean that we should stop writing them. 

Perhaps this might change in the future, but for now, our blog remains a big part of our brand.

And as such, our commitment to quality content creation continues.

We want our blog to be informative, and we want it to be fun. We want our blog to be a bit of a sanctuary for those of you who seek a bit of guidance and a bit of inspiration. We want to show you how we seek to document our own lives, and we want to give you glimpses of our day-to-day every now and again.  

Ultimately, we want to encourage and inspire you to preserve the stories of your life.

A many of you might know, I'm pregnant with my last baby, and as of this week, I have less than six weeks to go. (Insert all kinds of emoticons here.)

In an attempt to take some time off after our baby arrives at the end of next month, I’ve actually planned our editorial calendar for the rest of 2016, to ensure that new content will continue to be published even when I’m on my maternity leave.

For those of you who are interested to know what lies ahead, here is a run-down of the type of posts you can expect from now until the end of the year, most of which you’ll probably be familiar with:

On a personal note, I am particularly excited about connecting with creatives around the world and raising the profile of our Storytellers series and our From my memory box series over time. I think that both these series have great potential, and I truly hope you will all enjoy reading these two series as much as I am enjoying the process of putting them together.

Also, from now until the end of 2016, blog posts will be published every Tuesday and Thursday at 9.00am EST (Eastern Sydney Time). Hopefully this will make it easier for our regular visitors to know when there will be new content to read.

And though I will be on leave between May and September, I still plan to check in briefly on a weekly basis to reply to comments, as will Trish.

If you have any questions for us or any feedback you'd like to give, do let us know in the comments below and, of course, you are welcome to email us at anytime.

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for being here and we truly hope that you'll continue to read along.

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