Remember my what me afraid? post where I confessed about my fear of flying? Well after taking off and landing 4 different times, I'm still afraid. And my little heart raced crazily at the slightest hint of turbulence. I grabbed Cathe's hand so hard that I'm surprised she flew with me on the trip home. She reached out to me when I wrote my fearful flying post by offering to travel and look after me. I gotta tell you that she was my anchor during the trip. I honestly don't know if I could have done it without her. She made flying bearable to me. She's the reason I made it to Blissdom. I guess I'll be bringing her to England if we visit Dave's family in the next year or two.
Cathe Holden and me.
The spirit behind the Blissdom Conference is community. It's belonging to a group of incredible women who share your own passion for blogging. I swear I have never seen so many teched up women in my life. You know how we bloggers have to discretely pull out our iphone or laptop to check out twitter account or email in the company of friends? At Blissdom it was just the social thing to do. If you were in a conversation with someone and their computer tweeted, it was okay to check that tweet. And even share about the tweet to who you were engaging in conversation with. I was so at home with these women.I found my community.
What did I gain most at Blissdom?
Well the delicious handshake with Harry Connick Junior was probably my favorite moment. What a gentleman he is. Please take a look at his Musicians' Village in New Orleans. He spoke to us before starting the concert and what I saw was this amazing human with so much compassion and kindness. It was so touching to hear him speak passionately about helping musicians and creating a community for them in New Orleans.
But what I gained at Blissdom was the courage to go up to someone and say hello. Not only that but share with them who I am and what I do. In this setting, it was encouraged to walk up to anyone of the 500 women and introduce yourself. Where in our daily life do we have permission to do that? Seriously. Not that I'm going to start going up to people in Wholefoods to say "hello here's my business card, please check out my blog" but I'm definitely going to interact differently when I meet strangers.
The biggest perk about Blissdom was the pampering by all of the Blissful sponsors. I'll admit it, I'm frugal and I adore free things. We received a swag bag when we registered on Thursday afternoon. Is this a word many people use? I've never known that I have had a swag before let alone mumble the word before this week. Now I'm singing the word. I love Swag!
In the reception area where all the sponsors were set up, there was a continuous hot chocolate booth with 6 cans of Reddiwip on ice at all times. I can't begin to tell you nor probably should admit how often I sneaked out of a session to grab another cup of hot chocolate with whipped cream. Or maybe it was whipped cream with hot chocolate. I even told the girls running the booth that when I make my millions I'm going to have their whipped cream on ice 24/7.
The food was incredible. Most of our meals were included in the price of the ticket to Blissdom. From a frugal point of view between the meals and the swag and the workshops/panels, this conference is serious bang for your buck. They catered to allergies and often a gluten free meal would be waiting for me. When everyone else had a gluten rich desert, they would bring me a delectable chocolate mouse, the bowl decorated with hardened chocolate swirls and complete with three raspberries on top.
Snacks were always available out in the reception area. My favorite was the one sponsored by Orville Redenbacher's. Imagine walking into a room with a table filled with 8 different flavors of popcorn. On another table they had bottles of water and soda. I was in heaven. As many of you know, I'm all about the food.
What did I learn?
I learned so much that I'm going to spend the week figuring out all of this information. I'm a scanner, I love to learn, need to learn, but I have to stay focused. Otherwise everything that I learned will just dissipate when I focus on the next new thing that comes my way.I'm just hard wired that way.
- Personal branding and thinking of Apron Thrift Girl as a business (without losing the heart of what I write about)
- Building my business
- Vlogging (video blogging-I'm going to add more of this into ATG. Remember this old thing from this post?)
- Getting published (from blog to book)
- Niche Blogging
- On-line Advertising (this session was absolutely G.O.L.D.E.N.)
- Media Training Workshop (what to say and what not to say to the Media)
- PR Marketing 101
Would I recommend Blissdom?
Absolutely. Even if you are a hobby blogger or a blogger wanting to step it up a notch, I would highly recommend heading to Nashville next year. Start saving now for Blissdom 11 today. Start crafting your pitch now in order to find a personal sponsor to pay for your trip to Blissdom. Or add another jar marked Blissdom when you are saving money. Just make it happen.
I want to end this post by saying thank you to every one of you. You are the reason that I got on that plane. You are the reason I get up in the morning and write a blog post. You inspire me and you encourage me both in my darkest times and my brightest of days. I truly wouldn't be doing what I am doing without you. Thank you so much!