It was everything I expected and more.
Warm and friendly.
A learning experience.
SO much fun.
Blissdom was what I hope isn’t to be a once and a lifetime experience. I consider myself blessed to have gone. God definitely had his hand on my going.
I had the best roommate. (Seriously, go check Nancy out! She’s an amazing photographer).
I met Alli.
and so many other ladies (Bridget, Casey, Lisa and her sweet, sweet daughter Anneke, Hannah, Linda and her daughter Maggie (who didn’t tell me her blog!) to name a few) that I can’t even begin to tell you how awesome they are.
The Opryland Hotel was gorgeous. I must have walked 150 miles in 5 days because I know we got lost at least 2 dozen times. It’s huge. And confusing. 🙂
Mostly, I wanted to tell you a little bit about what I brought home with me from Blissdom. And not just all the freebies. We had amazing speakers, performances and workshops.
Jon Acuff was the Opening Keynote speaker and let me tell you, listening to him speak was like having the words taken out of your head and put out there for everyone to hear. He really gets those of that have these online lives that we love but also that distracts us. He made several points during his time on stage but what stuck with me was “Hang Up from Arrive.” Meaning, when you get home, get home. Don’t bring your work home and if you work from home, turn it off when its time and just let it be. There’s a time to be selfish and it’s not during the precious hours you get with your kids. Be selfish after bedtime or at 5 a.m. Hanging up and arriving means that you won’t miss the “hinge moments” that will change your life.
As a blogger, Jon’s most resounding comment was to “Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.” Stop and think about that. It’s more than just for bloggers who want to grow their blog and stare covetously at other blogs all day long, trying to figure out how to do it. Our preacher put it to us another way when we were in pre-marital counseling: “We want right now what it took our parents 30 years to get.” hmm, right?
Another awesome statement: Having something 90% and out there is better than 100% perfect and in your head.” Just get it out there. I can’t tell you how many drafts I have sitting, waiting to be published. It’s time for me to start hitting the publish button.
Like I said. Wow. Jon also gave everyone a copy of his book, Quitter. I’ll share my thoughts when I get through it.
I found myself choosing the Life Development more than the other tracks (Writing, Business or Photography). I guess you could say I’m trying to better focus myself while still doing this thing that I love to do. Instead of learning more about blogging, I found myself in workshops on Being Present, Not Monetizing Joy and Living With a Purpose. I walked away with specific things to work on. I also sat in on a writing track and have a list of tips on improving my writing. I didn’t take any pictures during the sessions. I wanted to be tuned in so I didn’t even bring my computer.
First there was Joe Jonas. I am obviously too old to have been a Jonas Brothers groupie, but Joe did a really great job. I snapped some awesome pictures using Nancy’s camera (look at that arm!)
Rascal Flatts also performed a few songs and they did SUCH a good job! When else am I going to stand where I can lay my head on the stage and listen to such a well-known group? It as amazing. We also heard Nathan Pacheco (Thursday night) and Chris Mann (from the Voice, Saturday lunch) sing–two more amazing voices.
Saturday night we watched a full sneak peek of Oprah’s new show, Oprah’s Next Chapter. It was a great show and really funny! After that, the fun got going with the Famous Footwear shoe spree (Nancy was a lucky girl and won FIVE pairs of shoes) and then karaoke began. Don’t worry,I didn’t sing. hehehe.
(My niece laughed at me for using the word swag…how old does she think I am???)
Y’all. If you ever want to be overwhelmed by the free stuff you are given by sponsors, you need to come to Blissdom. I came home with FOUR bags of free stuff!
Some of the fun stuff I brought home:
- A canvas Blissdom bag
- New shoes from Famous Footwear and a t-shirt
- Lorax t-shirt, book, bag and mustache (can’t wait to take the kids to see it!)
- 2 free Hallmark cards and a t-shirt
- Numerous bottles of shampoo, conditioner and hairspray from V05
- Go-Go squeeze samples
- Juice samples
- SimpleHuman soap dispenser
- DeWafelbakker and YoCrunch coupons for free food
- Aprons and coupons from Birds Eye
- Amy Giggles book from ConAgra
- Vitamins from Centrum
- A coffee mug from Microsoft
- Full size samples from Glade
- More reusable grocery bags that I care to admit
It’s taken me a week to “recover” from Blissdom and to put into words all the fun I had. I worried about not knowing anyone “in real life” and being lonely but I met awesome people and had the best time. If you’re considering attending a blogging conference, I highly recommend Blissdom.
I have so much more I want to tell you about my experience at Blissdom but this post could get really long! What I can tell you is that Blissdom isn’t just about blogging. It’s about meeting people who have become your friends, and laying in bed talking for two hours after you swear you’re exhausted. It’s about a team clicking together when it needs to in order to launch something exciting. It’s about putting voices with the words that speak to you on a daily basis. It’s about laughing. And crying. And sharing things that you might not share with the everyday folks in your life. It’s about those “internet friends” becoming your “in real life” friends. Blissdom was all that. And much, much more.