women's blogging conference

Writing recaps of my favorite TV shows? Piece of cake. Writing recaps of blog conferences? Crazy difficult. Finally giving myself permission to read everyone else’s recap because mine is published? Priceless.

Or, at least it will be, once I get through this post!

I’m not sure why I find it so difficult to recap a trip like this. Maybe because most conferences are jam-packed full of the amazing, the terrifying and everything in between. Or, maybe it’s because when I hit “publish,” I’ll have to admit that the event is finally over.

And that means I have to unpack my suitcases.

Whatever the reason, I could not bring myself to write this quickly or keep it short. So, for all of you wonderful people who did not go to the Blissdom Conference last week, I apologize. And promise to move on to normal life tomorrow. Until then, though . . .

softness worth sharingImage by sippycupmom

Kleenex was my generous sponsor for Blissdom, but even if they hadn’t been, I still would have needed the cute little box of tissues that they included in my registration bag (and as many Softness Worth Sharing boxes that I could convince people to send me!). Happy tears, sad tears, overwhelmed tears and crazy tears – I had them all.

Here are the 10 reasons (in addition to their incredible sponsorship!) that I needed Kleenex at Blissdom.

1. The Flash Mob: As I whispered to my friend Hillary as we walked to a secret rehearsal, “I’ve been keeping something from you.” Yes, it’s true. I was part of a flash mob at Blissdom! You can count on hearing more about this in the future, because it was The Most Amazing Thing EVER. But for now, just know that I really did cry – from being overwhelmed and giddy, from the adrenaline, from wanting to do it all over again, and from watching Alli’s reaction to the whole thing.

[Wanna see it? Here’s a video. I’m wearing a teal sweater, and you can see me – and my super trendy and so-not-like-me fingerless gloves – on the left side of the screen. Briefly.]

California Raisins
2. Laughing with my roommates: As in, laughing until we cried. I will admit I was worried about cramming four women (and all our STUFF) into one room, but I had the best time with my roomies! Hillary, Kate and Kathy were so laidback, so down-to-earth, and so much fun. I really do love them.

3. Spewing hot chocolate: I don’t even remember what was so funny. But at one point during my breakfast with the (in)courage team, I literally laughed so hard that I sprayed hot chocolate out of my mouth and all over my hand. Thankfully, Dawn was the only witness. But I really could’ve used a Kleenex or two at that moment!

4. No dinner plans on Thursday. Even though I’m a pretty outgoing person, I don’t like cocktail parties. Or, really, any party where I have to balance my food, drink, camera and purse while shouting at strangers in an effort to get to know them. So after enduring the Wednesday night party, I decided I wasn’t up for another one the following evening. I wanted to find some like-minded friends and have a relaxed, non-shouty dinner in some comfy clothes before heading to the (in)courage party. But after texting and tweeting several people, I didn’t find a single taker.

It wasn’t personal. And, in a few cases, it wasn’t on purpose. But I was still sad. I didn’t full out cry or anything, but having a tissue on hand never hurts.

5. I just can’t get enough (of my favorite people). I loved every minute I spent with my roommates, the (in)courage team and my Sisterchicks. But, of course, I wanted more. I also wish so much that I’d had more time to spend with Jo-Lynne, Gussy, Lisa, Leigh, Holley, Stephanie, Lindsey and, most of all, Shelly.

On top of that, I didn’t get to spend any time Sarah, Rachel, Jennifer, Jenny or Emily – all amazing women who I’d love to know better.

oh amanda cupcakesAdorable photo of cupcakes (and Amanda) by Secret Agent Mama

6. Passing up all the good food. Talk about bad timing. Blissdom landed smack dab in the middle of my second week back on Weight Watchers. I’m determined to make it work this time, though, so even though the cupcakes and ice cream and chocolate and millions of other goodies were hard to resist, I did it anyway. Mostly. Enough to see a 2.2 lb. loss on Monday morning!

sisterchicksGreat photos of great friends by Staci

7. Sharing and listening with real friends. More than once during the conference, I found myself in deep conversations with sweet friends. And, if you know me at all, you know deep conversation equals crying for me. Thanks for pretending not to notice I’m a big bawl baby, Kathy, Amanda, Mandi, Staci, Christine, Tricia and Jen!

8. Saying goodbye. As the Boyz II Men so wisely said years ago, it’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday. Or to Blissdom. Or, more accurately, friends you only get to hug once a year. When it came time to say goodbye to the incredible Lisa-Jo, I truly did cry. I’m not sure why I got so emotional (and yes, I did feel a little stalkerish and weird), but I did.

I hate goodbyes. I don’t even want to talk about it here, because knowing me, I’ll start crying again. (And my Kleenex box is all the way across the room.)

photographersActual photographers USING their cameras at Blissdom. Photo by Secret Agent Mama.

9. I am neither a photo nor a queen. Discuss. For those of you who haven’t been here since the beginning, you may not know that I originally went by “Photoqueen” on this blog. For those of you who’ve never attended an event with me, in person, you may not know that I’m ridiculous about snapping a thousand pictures, making sure I capture each and every moment. But even if you don’t know those things, please believe me when I say that I cannot believe I only took one photo at Blissdom. ONE! That’s all! Crazy. (And sad. Crazy sad, really.)

my two favorite people

10. There’s no place like home. Despite my exhaustion and a slightly bumpy ride, I could hardly contain my excitement as my plane descended into KCI. I was so ready to be home and with my two favorite people, and seeing them walk down the hallway as I waited at baggage claim was the best sight of the weekend!

Not every moment at Blissdom required a tissue. Because I just couldn’t contain myself, here are 10 more of my favorite moments from the conference:

@unmarketing

  1. The keynote speakers – Brene Brown and Scott Stratten – were AMAZING. Not something I usually say about speakers. I’m kind of picky. But they were both SO good. (Photo of Scott Stratten (with unexplained wand) by Rachel, A Southern Fairytale.)Blissdom 2011
  2. The (in)courage breakfast – and meeting the rest of the DaySpring team – was like coming home. In an enormous, beautiful hotel. (Photo from the amazing Dawn, My Home Sweet Home.)
  3. Getting a manicure and a massage never hurts. And I got both.
  4. Jessie came up for dinner on Friday, and it was great to see her (and her adorable baby boy)!
  5. After hearing Scott Stratten speak, I told him how much my entire table enjoyed his presentation. I told him it was engaging but practical, and you just can’t say that about most speakers. He very sincerely said he appreciated that – and promptly made my whole night.
  6. Playing telephone while sitting in a circle with a bunch of grown women may sound silly. And, I guess it is. But I tell you what, it was fun and made me laugh hysterically.
  7. Meeting people who said they knew me – or my blog – gave me all sorts of warm fuzzies. But so did the people I met who I knew, especially when they were gracious and kind, sometimes even hugging me.
  8. I loved meeting Dee, Angie, Matthew and Myra, seeing Ruthanne and Edie, and hanging out with Dawn.
  9. The hotel was sold out on Saturday night, so I had to find a place to stay. Christine was moving into a new house THAT DAY, but still offered her (new) guest room and air mattress. Spending the afternoon and evening with her family was definitely a highlight of my trip!

jana dancing

10.  And did I mention I WAS IN A FLASH MOB??? (Photo of Jana, our incredible flash mob choreographer, by Rachel.)

Okay, I think that’s it. For now. No, really. I’m finished. I think.

If you went to Blissdom, what was your favorite part? This post will be linked to the Blissdom Recap Carnival at Musings of a Housewife and Top Ten Tuesday at OhAmanda.

Thank you again to Kleenex for sponsoring my trip. You are not just America’s softest tissue; you’re my favorite tissue. And that’s saying a lot, considering just how much I really cry. (Seriously. Did you read this post?)

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