Thursday, March 1, 2012

Blissdom 2012 – More Than Parties

Every blog conference has its own vibe. It sounds trite, but Blissdom strives to be where business and love come together. That's one of the main things I like about this conference - it's a drama free zone.

The attentive staff and swankadelic pampering of the Gaylord Opryland Hotel  
didn't hurt either. This is the view from my room. Everything you see is indoors!

The thing people don’t tell you about blog conferences is that they are work. You’re always on, networking and trying to meet new people and opportunities. In addition to attending sessions and taking copious notes, I had to prep beforehand to lead Food niche discussions during my assigned buisness and writing sessions - which rocked my socks! The mentoring part of being a Blissdom Community Leader was my favorite part of Blissdom. I seriously need to seek out more opportunities to mentor others.

 Me, being Community Leaderly

In other words, for every tweet about a fuzzy orange guy streaking in the hotel (that may or may not have come from my own Twitter stream - ahem.)

Lorax, think of the children - PUT YUR CLOTHES ON!

And every party,

Me, being a kook in upcycled glitter tennis shoes.
(How DIY green!)

There’s a whole lotta this going on.


So my Blissdom started earlier than most. I loved mentoring Newcomers and assuring them that you don’t have to be a big blogger, or a mom, or even a chick to go to Blissdom. That goes for just about every blogging conference around, so I expect to see more of you attending conferences so I can hug the stuffing out of you. I’m a hugger. It’s the most renewable and green swag I can think of to give.

My Free Hugs shirt was a hit. 
Dana from Prudent Wisdom got the first one.

Being a CL forced me out of my green and DIY bubble because I was a Food/Entertainment Community Leader too. It was the reminder I needed that there is a huge group of people that know me as Lazy Budget Chef, instead of Condo Blues. I recognized that my Little Sister blog, Lazy Budget Chef, is growing up and the experience renewed my passion for food writing. Especially after Instagraming the stout I was enjoying one evening (to make Husband jealous), which lead to my server Shelly, giving me a small taste of a Milk Stout and a Bourbon Barrel stout that are also available at the Gaylord Opryland, as well as an in depth flavor and taste discussion. That’s customer service people! (See my video below for another example that will blow your doors off!)


That’s not to say I didn’t hang out with my friends in those niches. In fact, I kick started the conference with an unofficial lunch with a group of craft and DIY bloggers. Only in a place like this can I trade tool workshop teaching tips with Pretty Handy Girl, listen to Centsational Girl and House of Hepworths compare their board and batten projects (to the point where I’m considering doing it too), or have a table wide discussion on our favorite brands of jigsaws because someone wanted a recommendation.

Photo Courtesy of Pretty Handy Girl.
Middle right: Tracy: Lost in Suburbia and Me

I made a little video with my iPad of some of my lighter Blissdom 2012 moments. Be kind, it is my first attempt at vlogging from the men's restroom.

I had an amazing time at Blissdom, learned a lot, limped a little (stupid kidneys), and laughed until my sides ached. However, the best part of the conference was this:

Home is where ever I'm with you two.

My welcoming committee!

I want to give a special shout out and thank you to the people at the Gaylord Opryland Resort that made my stay extra wonderful. Stacy my server at Findley's Pub who saw my love of stouts on Twitter and gave me a beer flight, Cate our housekeeper who skipped our room for a bit because my roommate needed some quiet time just as Cate was about to clean it (and when she did, Cate left a few extras for us), Elizabeth, Tori & Nick for making A Mommy Story the Happiest Girl at Blissdom, and to the maintenance guy (I'm so sorry I didn't get his name!) who helped me haul my heavy suitcases full of vitamins to the front desk even though he said he technically shouldn't because he's not a valet but did it because he saw me struggling. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

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