March 03, 2012

Getting Blissful

Last weekend I was so fortunate to be able to go to the Blissdom Conference for bloggers.  Aside from the obvious hotel room to myself, six pillows in my bed, peaceful night of sleep kind of awesomeness, there was also some great stuff that I learned!

The conference was in the amazing Opryland Hotel in Nashville.  I had the best time ever driving there by myself with my Broadway Hits and Glee Radio blasting on Pandora. (don't judge)  As I walked into the hotel, I almost couldn't breath because it was just so beautiful. (Then I couldn't breath because of all the allergens in those blooming things, but such is life!)  This was the view outside my room.  Crazy, huh?

I met so many incredible people at Blissdom.  The first day, I met Abbie and Mandy.  They were just such super sweet and fun gals from Texas.  I find that I've never met a Texan that I didn't like.  It must be something in the boots down there- they must inject coolness into the feet and it radiates up.  Whatever it is, I like it.  Mandy and Abbie were great lunch and dinner companions.  They have wonderful blogs.  Mandy's is Biblical Homemaking and it is full of inspirational perspectives on motherhood.  Abbie is a DIY/thrifting/fashion goddess over at her blog Five Days, Five Ways.  Plus, how cute are they?  Would you not kill for that red, curly hair or those Zooey Daschanel bangs?
  Mandy, Me, Abbie

The opening keynote at the conference was given by the incredible Jon Acuff from Stuff Christians Like and author of the book Quitter.  You may know him from the Dave Ramsey Show.  He is hilarious and a phenomenal speaker.  And even though we are both married people, I'm just gonna say it- Jon is hot.

I left his keynote presentation so hyped up and excited about my life, that I skipped the first session and sat in a hallway and scribbled notes in my notebook.  Ideas were coming out left, right and center.  I took my notebook full of notes back to my hotel room later that night and stayed up late writing an outline of MY BOOK.  Y'all, I've been thinking of writing a book for years.  My husband says to me at least once a week, "Baby, when you gonna start writing that book?" And I'm all, "Well, I'm just not sure what it's supposed to be about!"  But now- well, now I know and I actually have an outline!  Granted, it may stay in outline form forever, but I at least have a jumping off point and a clear idea.  I'm really excited about it.  It's amazing what being in the presence of other writers and motivators can do for the creative juices.

Another person I was so excited to meet at Blissdom was Julia Roberts.  No, not that Julia Roberts.  The more amazing, compassionate Julia Roberts from Support For Special Needs. (I'm sure the other one is perfectly wonderful, too, but whatever) In those early days of a diagnoses of Sensory Processing Disorder for Noah and the early days of a conglomerate of mental health issues for Miles, I turned to that website for support and information.  Even though I rarely commented there was so much comfort in finding other parents and families who were thriving despite their children's diagnoses (and sometimes because of them!).  I saw Julia across the room at lunch and totally went over to introduce myself like a little groupie.  I'm lame and proud of it.  She was just awesome and we spent tons of time together over the weekend.  I have so much respect for anyone who takes their own difficult circumstances (Julia's children have gone through transplants, eye problems, kidney problems and severe mental health problems) and uses their perspective to help others.

Me and the extraordinary Julia Roberts

I sat in on some great sessions.  But I always find that I learn the most from just striking up a conversation with whoever is next to me.  I had lunch one day with Becky from Organizing Made Fun and that girl just pulled out her laptop and showed my how to do all kinds of stuff!  It was like a Pinterest/Blogging/Design workshop all rolled into one right there at the lunch table.  I love people who know how to do cool stuff and who are willing to teach me their cool stuff.  
Becky and Me

One weird thing about these kinds of conferences are the sponsors.  They load you up with goods in hopes that you'll love and the write about the stuff that give you.  I came home with new shoes, books, bags, jewelry and all kinds of other cool things.  It's a weird world where mom bloggers are courted and showered with attention.  The great people at V05 gave me a makeover and I dreamed of how easy it would be to get ready every day if I had a whole team of people doing my hair and makeup. I would *maybe* be more likely to get out of my lounge wear if someone would dress me!

Me after my makeover.  Miles saw this picture and said, "Who's that?" 
Evidently with clothes, cleavage and makeup on, I am unrecognizable.

The evenings were pretty cool.  Rascal Flatts and Joe Jonas came in to do a private concert which was very, very surreal.  Watching one of the Jonas Brothers sing love songs on stage made me feel 14.  My friend, Shara,and I giggled about how silly we felt snapping pictures of the teen sensation, but it was all in good fun.

Me and Shara (oh, and Joe Jonas, too!)

Me and Joe.  My eight year old totally freaked over this and took his autograph in for show and tell.
I got to be the bomb dot com mom.  Sometimes it's the little things.

Watching Rascal Flatts play. A. Mazing.

...And then meeting the band after the show.  You know- just a regular ol' Friday night hanging out with Grammy winners.  Sometimes I wonder how I got this life.

One of my favorite things about the whole conference was eating dinner with some of the bloggers I most admire. It is so much fun to meet people you know on the Internet and they turn out to be just as much fun and gracious in person as you've always hoped they'd be.

Overall, it was such a great weekend of making connections, meeting new friends, getting new ideas and having a wonderful break.  I can't wait to do it again next year! 

Check out these other fabulous peeps I met who have blogs you should read:

Allison @ House of Hepworths

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