Blissdom09

Honestly, I don’t even know where to start.  I want to talk about all the amazing women I met this weekend, but that would take DAYS and I know I would miss someone.  Like I already did when I listed all the necks I hugged.  (Sorry, Amanda!  Love ya, girl!)  I would like to try to share what I learned, but again, that could be a book.  And it WOULD be a best seller.  You KNOW it would!

So let me just give you the CliffsNotes version:

FRIDAY:

Get up at dark o’clock, stumble around trying not to wake up the fam, lug ridiculously over-sized suitcase down the stairs and stow in back of husband’s monster pickup truck, call Sarah to tell her I’m on my way, talk all the way to her house, as if there won’t be enough togetherness in the next 3 days.  Drive to airport, park, shuttle to terminal, check in, locate Colleen, gab nonstop all the way to Nashville.  (My most humble apologies to those sitting around us on the plane!)

Arrive at Nashville airport, run into Kimba at baggage claim, hugs and introductions all around, meet more bloggers, shuttle to Hotel Preston, meet more bloggers, pick up swag bags that were worth the price of registration in and of themselves, eat lunch, meet more bloggers, take pictures, meet more bloggers, reunite with bloggers, hunker down for first session — Building Your Readership & Providing Amazing Content with Tsh Oxenreider, Amy Clark and Meredith Pelham. Then on to Social Media/Marketing with Ghennipher Weeks, Kelby Carr and Jennifer Doyle.

Head upstairs to primp and preen for cocktail party, return downstairs (rocking the red patent leather pumps of course!) and mix and mingle and grab a blisstini before meeting up with RGM peeps for dinner out on the town at miro district (thanks, Rebecca!) with Melissa of The Inspired Room, Jessica of Jessica Knows, Tara of Deal Seeking Mom, Lori of A Cowboy’s Wife, that’s Rebecca at the head of the table, Amy of Mom Advice, Lindsay from Suburban Turmoil, Jamie from Blonde Mom Blog.

RGM dinner

I should have been thoroughly intimidated by that brilliant group of women, but each and every one was down-to-earth and delightfully real that I felt totally at home.  (And I totally pilfered that photo from Amy because my husband has my camera cable.)

Back to the Hotel Preston for more mixing and mingling.  Change into comfy new sweats and hang with my dear sweet friends Shannon and Amy and Moriah in the lobby until we’re too tired to do anything but stumble upstairs to bed.

SATURDAY:

Wake early for another day of hand shakes, hugs, gabbing, photos, and of course learning as much as I can from these creative, brilliant women.

After breakfast, the big secret screening is finally revealed — Disney set up an amazing sound system with a ginormous screen and several other smaller screens around the room and we get a sneak peak of Yanni Voices.  Then before we know it, two of the men from the performance are actually IN THE ROOM to answer our questions and pose for photos.  Ladies, if we want to be taken seriously, it might be wise NOT to act like dogs in heat when a couple of handsome men appear in our presence, and that’s all I’m gonna say about that.

Then it’s Writing With A Passion with Stephanie Precourt, Catherine Conners and Shannon Lowe which is by far my favorite session of the weekend.  It’s nice to learn about social media and marketing but it is the craft of writing that is our bread and butter, and that is what I love. And it didn’t hurt matters any that some of the most fantastic writers in the blogosphere were sitting on that panel.

Next, Maximizing Relationships: PR, Marketing, Brands and Ad Agencies with Nancy Martira of Ketchum, Rebecca Weeks Watson of Real Girls Media, John Andrews of WalMart, Tara Anderson of Lijit, and Barbara Jones of One2One Network.  Now THAT’S a power panel, y’all.  After that, on to Branding: You, Your Blog, Your Business with Liz Strauss, Arianne Segerman, Megan Jordan and Allison Worthington.  And finally, Success Blogging with Nester and Melissa Michaels who have two of the most beautiful blogs on the internet and yet are so delightfully modest about their success.

After that, a brief respite — step outside for a breath of fresh air with Jordana and Meredith.  Return inside for a little more schmoozing (totally skip out on Chris Mann and the keynote, cause I believe in living dangerously) and then out for Mexican with another list of awesome bloggers — Shannon, Melanie, Annie, Robin, Lora Lynn, Amber, Dawn, LisaB, Sarah, and Kristen and a few more who I’m sure I’m forgetting.  Return to Hotel Preston, turn around and go BACK out to a SECOND dinner (yes!  TWO DINNERS!) with Jill (love this girl), Beth (happy birthday, friend!!), Arianne and Amber (part of the brilliance behind Blissdom09), Kelby and Anissa (seriously hysterical – so loved meeting these two), and Heather (absolutely adorable).

Ooooh, here’s a picture I stole from Anissa’s Flickr stream:

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Finally, back at the ranch hotel to hang out in the lobby with Jyl and Carissa and LisaB and Kimba and Jen and and Julie oh gosh, who am I missing?  Really, if I wasn’t fried from the weekend, I’m fried from typing this post!

SUNDAY:

Quick breakfast and a millionty-two good-byes.  Greet my brother and sil and head out for a day of church, lunch, shopping, and then airport where we run into Catherine, Tanis, Motherbumper (names! they are escaping me!), Michelle, Sugar, and others at airport restaurant.  Sit down and chat for a bit and calm air travel nerves with a glass of crisp, fruity Pinot Grigio.  Say our goodbyes and then Sarah and I find a quiet spot to do what all bloggers do when they get a free moment — get online of course.  After an uneventful flight and long ride home, I am finally HOME.

And that, my friends IS the CliffsNotes version.  I TOLD you I could write a book about my weekend. Tomorrow I will post a recap of my tweets from the seminars, but this post is QUITE long enough, dontchathink?  Yes, it DID take all morning to write this post, between hugs and smooches and a game of Candy Land and several board books and the infamous kindergarten pickup line.

You can find photos of the event at Beth’s Flickr photo stream, and there will be plenty more coming.  When there is a Blissdom Flickr Group up and running, I’ll be sure to share the link.  And I’ll have some photos of my own to post once I get my camera cable back from my husand’s truck.

I’ll leave you with this.  My dear friend June (who I have still yet to meet face to face, an unfortunate situation that will hopefully be rectified this summer) asked me this morning in quintessential June-speak, How was blisterdom? and more specifically, What was the biggest thing you learned?

I definitely want to share that with you, but you’re going to have to wait until tomorrow —  yes, tomorrow is another What I Learned This Week carnival!  I hope you will all link up!  And speaking of linking, you can link up to your Blissdom recap on this post.

Finally, I want to officially thank Alli Worthington and the ladies of the One2One Network for planning and organizing this event and Lands End, Walmart, Little Debbie, Real Girls Media, Disney, Sony, Geek Squad, Care.com, Ligit, New Line Records, Victor Records, Wind-Up Records, Blue House Blogs, and Crocs for sponsoring it.  And most importantly, big kudos to the fabulous Maria Bailey of BSM Media and Mom Select for sponsoring my trip.