Studio Open House & Anne-iversary Party!

posted on: March 27, 2011

You're invited to join me in celebrating my 2nd year at Western Ave Studios and my 6th year in business as a full time photographer! The last year has brought great balance and peace to my life, and I can't wait to share that with you. For the first time since I started my business, I have FINALLY been in the same city for more than 2 years!! There's so much that goes into those first two years of opening a business or starting in a new city that I'm soooo glad to finally be in a place where I can experience the fruits of building a great team of people to work with! So....

Let's Get Our Party On!

Where: Anne Ruthmann Photography - Studio 302, 122 Western Ave, Lowell, MA 01851
When: Saturday April 2nd, 2011. 12-5pm Studio Open House, 5pm - 9pm Stay & Party with Glen David Andrews Band
RSVP & Map: So I can have enough gifts for all guests
(Don't live near me? I might be visiting your area soon!! For cities and dates, [CLICK HERE]!)

Studio Open House & Anne-iversary Party 2011

PS. The idea for the "Anne-iversary" came from my dear friends & photography colleagues Rich & Ashley Pizzuti, who also helped with the image above. They celebrated their "Anne-iversary" as the day we first met and I "helped them get their heads out of their @$$" by inviting them to get more connected with the local community of photographers. We've become such good friends since that first meeting and I really admire how quickly they've grown since then!

SXSW 2011 Adventure

posted on: March 18, 2011

I'd heard about SXSW (South by Southwest) for the last few years and it always sounded amazing- so I vowed that I would find a way to make it work as soon as I could! This year it just so happened to line up with my husband's spring break from teaching, his birthday, and St. Patrick's day. Could the timing be any more perfect?! So- I proposed the idea of a super awesome birthday week in Austin, TX- but since we're still on our "Smarter Spending" mission to pay off debt, we needed to do it in a way that wouldn't kill our financial goals.

Just got shot in @the_magbooth @Etsy #SXW

Over the holidays Alex's step-brother had offered to let us stay with him if we ever came to visit Austin - so we took him up on it and saved big time on the hotel costs. Next big cost is getting there. We've done our share of driving over the years and it's not our favorite way to travel, so we decided to finally cash in on some airline miles that we'd accumulated from lots of international travel- so our flight was FREE- wahoo! To save even more money, we decided not to get a badge for SXSW and just check out as much as we could without a badge- which turned out to be a great idea! We did end up renting a car and paying for some super tasty meals, but we totally lucked out on at least half of our meals, drinks, and entertainment because SXSW offered so many free opportunities to party! Yeeeeah baby! Photo from @FreshBooks Party

The free parties were mostly due to the SXSWi (interactive) crowd seeking promotion and attention getting opportunities with full open bars and appetizers sponsored by tech and media companies. We met a lot of tech entrepreneurs and start-up geeks, sat next to venture capitalists and record producers in cafes, and got the insider scoop on many more free events around the city. The energy and level of connection that people wanted to have with each other was amazing and unmatched by any other festival I've ever been to. What we didn't get to experience without a badge was any of the films- since those venues were all limited seating and were sold out with badge holders. We also didn't attend the panels, but we heard mixed reviews from people who did attend. The tradeshow sounded awesome, but with so many startups hosting parties elsewhere- we didn't feel like we missed out. We were leaving just as the music festival portion started kicking into gear with even more people filling the city. One record label dude was telling me that SXSW has pretty much become the largest music festival in the WORLD. I have a hard time believing that, but the sheer number of musicians filling every nook and cranny, as well as pop-up stages built just for the event is nothing short of amazing. I seriously cannot think of a better way to spend a spring break if you're over 21+ and a tech or music geek! Yes, it was epic.

Peeps: "you don't have to eat them, you can light them on fire & stick them to people" #SXSW
"Peeps, you don't have to eat them, you can light them on fire and stick them to people!"

While we were there to check out SXSW, for me it was also an opportunity to see why the city of Austin, TX has adopted the motto of "Keep it Weird." Between the trailer food parks, eclectic city neighborhoods, fearless local style, and fascination with novelty - the city did not disappoint in visual interestingness. Honestly, it was impossible to take it all in during one trip, but what an amazingly vibrant and creative city to live in!! No holds barred on creativity in Austin- which is why it's officially now my favorite city in Texas. ;-)

She's my cherry pie @piefixeseverything #SXSW

I decided to the whole adventure with my iphone and put it on Flickr (does it get any geekier?) Here's a photo slideshow of the complete adventure- mishaps and all. For caption detail, click on the images to open in Flickr and go one by :

Announcing: Smarter Business Workshop

posted on: March 8, 2011

Smarter Business Workshop Header

I've presented for many different conferences and organizations, and have received great feedback on what I have to offer and how I can really help move people forward in a workshop format. However, what has frustrated me with the conference format is that I always want more time than what I'm given. One or two hours isn't really enough for me to do anything more than give a few solid tips, a dose of inspiration, or focus on just one topic. Sometime's that all you need to get started, but most often it just leaves you with some ideas and not really a plan for implementing them. It's like buying a pretty day planner for the inspirational quotes but never actually using it to plan your life.

Since I've been doing more one-on-one consulting for photographers and other creative businesses, I've really honed in on how to get to the core of where changes need to be made in someone's business and how they can move forward without abandoning ship. Most often this seems to involve a financial or a marketing shift- which often cause changes in other aspects of the business as well.

The key is that we can't throw out everything you've been doing in the past - we have to take where you are now to build on your successes and knock down the road blocks that prevent you from moving forward.

I'm not saying I have all the answers- I don't believe anyone does- but I do believe I can help people find the right answers for themselves. In fact, the biggest thing I've learned through consulting is that you already know what you need to be more successful than you are right now- that's not the problem- the problem is that the path to get there is cluttered with a bunch of other people's ideas about what you should be doing and how you should be doing it.

I believe the solutions to your problems are already within yourself and all you need is a little help finding ways to implement them.

So, that's why I've decided to do the Smarter Business Workshop, and why I've decided to do this workshop as bare bones as possible in order to make it as affordable as possible. I will not be renting a fancy bus or RV, I will not be renting a an expensive conference room, I will not be selling you extra materials or a monthly membership, and I will not be using this workshop to fund a down payment on a new home. I just want to help you run a smarter business- for your own sake, for the sake of our industry, and for the sake of our society in the pursuit of freedom and happiness. You can even attend the first evening for free (but you may not get into the full workshop day if you haven't registered in advance.)

If you're ready for an experience like this, learn more at, or by clicking below:

Smarter Business Workshop Buttons

If you're not ready, you can always learn more for free online at or in person at your local PUG Meetings. Our Boston PUG is meeting TONIGHT- and you're welcome to join:

Coming to a City Near You! ... and tracking my carbon trail

posted on: March 7, 2011

Ever since my friend TimCo. told me about Dopplr and using it to track my upcoming trips and share my travel schedule with friends, I've been hooked.
Not only because it helps keep my friends and family in the loop, add upcoming trips automatically to my blog widget, and update my facebook page for me- but also because it tracks my carbon trail and helps me stay aware of the impact I have on the environment. Now, it doesn't always make me feel warm & fuzzy when I look at the carbon trail I'm leaving behind, but it does help me have a basis on which to calculate and be aware of my impact. It also provides me with reports that are both beautiful and useful concerning my travel and carbon impact:
Dopplr Report 2009 First Half

Another service I used to use a lot, but haven't used in a long time because they were a little slow to get plugged into other social media outlets, was Virtual Tourist. It's more about building a social travel guide, kind of like Yelp, but with more opportunities for discussions about certain things to do and places to see. Dopplr also offers an opportunity to add discovered content, but what I like most is knowing when my travel is going to coincide with friends. So - where can we meet up? Are you already on Dooplr? Let's connect!

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