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 . . .
Image 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.]
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.
Adorable 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!
Great 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.)
Actual 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.)
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:
- 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.)
- 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.)
- Getting a manicure and a massage never hurts. And I got both.
- Jessie came up for dinner on Friday, and it was great to see her (and her adorable baby boy)!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- I loved meeting Dee, Angie, Matthew and Myra, seeing Ruthanne and Edie, and hanging out with Dawn.
- 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!
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?)
Great recap, Mary! I so wish we could have spent some time talking together but I’m glad we at least got to meet. If I’d known you were looking for different plans Thursday night, I totally would have ditched out on the festivities. Oh well! Next time for sure.
See? I just KNEW I had peeps who’d enjoy a lower-key Thursday night. Next time, I’m getting everyone’s cell number before I ever leave home!
Ok, if I had been there, I totally would have been your Thursday night.
And I would have LOVED that. Our dinner at Savvy Blogging was so much fun – THAT is what I want more of! :)
I so wish we had more of a chance to talk! And I wish I would have seen your tweet Thursday! I’m all about dinner in comfy clothing because it was just crazy at the dinner and I didn’t really know anyone!
It sounds like you had a wonderful time!
I wish we’d had more time to talk, too, Melissa!!
Girl. You are unreal. You just wrote TWO top ten lists. AND rocked your sponsor. And there are even a few pics of me! You *are* perfect.
Love you. Mean it.
Well, this just might be my favorite comment. EVAH. :) Love you, too!!!
Love this! And loved meeting and rooming with you! So, so thankful to call you a friend!!
I’m so thankful we roomed together. It was a blast getting to know you – and of course, laughing till we cried!
Oh, and because you can make me laugh till I cry, you’re on my favorite list forever :). Love ya!
I am now SO FEELING guilty about Thursday night. Like seriously. Such a God thing that we got to be roomies. So thankful for our friendship. Big hugs.
No way. Don’t you feel guilty. At all. (Have I already said this? I certainly THOUGHT it the moment I saw your comment!) Anyway, YES, definitely a God thing that we connected and got to room together. I LOVED getting to know you better!
Love this recap! Seriously, I think it’s my favorite one. You really covered it all.
AND you totally rock because you actually LOST WEIGHT at Blissdom. There should be an award for that one!
Yes, well, let’s not talk about my weight SINCE Blissdom. Stupid snow days!
Every time that I saw you, you were smiling. You looked overjoyed and so happy, it made my day.
I feel like we kept passing by each other — I wish we’d had more time together!
What a kind thing to say! Thank you. :)
Looks like fun! Something possessed me to get on twitter today and I was so excited to find your link about the saymmm. What a great find. Sorry for the unrelated comment.
Are you kidding? I happily take all comments, related or not. :)
This was PERFECT. (Even though you’re giving up on that!)
I cherished my time with you, Mary! You are a GIFT!
Again, you with the encouraging, sweet comments! YES, our time together was wonderful…just making me want MORE, of course!
Sounds like you were able to unwind and have a blast! I love the video!
This is an awesome recap! I love how you covered so much! Things to laugh about and cry about!
I hate that we didn’t get to meet, but do I understand that you are from GA? We will have to get together for an ATL after-Bliss coffee!
A break from our regularly scheduled programming…
Bernice, I’m actually not from GA, although my mom originally was! I live in the middle of the country for now, so the after-Bliss coffee will have to wait…probably until the next Bliss! :)
Well isn’t that a fancy picture of me :)
The wand was part of my Glenda the Good Witch outfit!!
I’m glad you enjoyed Blissdom. I was blown away by both the content and the crowd. It was truly one of the greatest audience’s I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with.
Haha! I know what the wand was for…but my readers don’t! (Or, rather, they didn’t. No more mystery!) Thank you again for speaking at Blissdom. My goal for 2011 is to bring the awesome!!!
Oh Mary! Now I need a kleenex ofter reading this. You were one of those people that it didn’t feel like I was meeting for only the first time – I just feel like I’ve known you for ever. And I wish we’d had a cosy quiet nook and some time to just catch up a bit more in person. Here’s to next time!
Thank you for always being so genuine – tears and all. It’s beautiful!
I must say that having you be my very first house guest was one of the biggest highlights of my trip as well!! AND that you gave me your chili recipe which is now a 1st Place PRIZE WINNING recipe!!! Now, THAT’S a good friend :-)
Awww! You are so sweet! I had a great time at your beautiful new house!