As I was waiting at the counter to get my hotel key last Friday, it occurred to me: I have never been to a blogging conference before. Although I'm at the helm of the Texas Style Council conference and have spoken at SXSW Interactive, I have never been able to attend a get-together like this as simply an attendee. Let me tell you: it was fabulous!
I'm not really sure what to write that's not simply going to be a stream of gush gush gush gush gush gush gush. I learned a lot, I met a lot of awesome people, and I had a lot of fun. I'm exhausted, a little overwhelmed with all the ideas for new blog content and long term writing goals swirling around my head, but I finally feel motivated to get those things done.
Kendi Everyday got the event started and spoke about the topic "How to Grow your Blog When You're Stuck in the Middle", and I think I must have looked like a bobble head doll her entire talk, nodding my head yes, enthusiastically, the whole time. It was exactly the pep talk I needed to hear after feeling stagnant for a couple years now.
The next day, Jenni from J Noel Photography, turned my world upside down. I've been shooting on manual focus on my camera this entire time, thinking that's what people said when they said I should be shooting on manual mode! All the stress I felt about the photos for my blog FOR THE LAST FIVE YEARS has been instantly lifted. I hope that my photography will get better and that I can have FUN doing photos now! I bought this tutorial she recommended and Lightroom. I am determined to amp up my photography game here.
While it's a little sad to bid adieu to a weekend full of adult conversation, wearing clothes that are not yoga pants, and having someone else make my bed and meals, I'm happy to be home and to start back here, on this new blog, refreshed.
Highlights: I got to meet one of my favorite bloggers- Grace of Camp Patton (be jealous, y'all-- she's just as sweet and funny and impossibly pretty as she is online), and I was introduced to so many other inspirational bloggers (too many to list all of them!). Some of the people I really connected with and am just gaga for include Blyth (five kids, y'all. FIVE.), Britt (who makes me want to get a pixie hair cut STAT and is raising four little boys on a ranch), Nell (earth mama and baby wearing queen), Katrina (midwest love!), and Jessica at Twine Interiors who swears to me that I'm not a hopeless cause when it comes to decor... even though she knows it took me FIVE YEARS to pick a paint color for my house and hang any art at all. Blog conferences are a weird thing, I know that more than anyone, but I'm happy to report that this was a delight in every way.
I want to write more: what I wore (updated- here), who else I met, what I learned, what new companies I learned about, etc, but I think I need a day or two to synthesize all that. Plus, I know I was only gone three days, but I swear my kids seem months older to me. I feel like while I was gone Caroline began consistently speaking little sentences now, and Jude grew into another clothing size and is such an articulate little man! For now, my snuggle meter is dangerously low and I need to tank up. Plus I don't even smell like Cheerios or sour milk, so I don't even smell like ME which means I should get in some kid time like NOW.
Huge thanks to Joules for making this event possible and to Lauren for being the mastermind and making it all happen. I can't wait to see what you have up your sleeve next. I'm there. In my underwear.
And other clothes on top. Of course.
[Photo cred goes to Paige at Awake Photography, lest you think that I suddenly / already got way better taking photos!]