BlogHer12 Recap

I’m really glad I got to go to BlogHer this year. It was a great event and I loved seeing New York City again, as well as my many friends who live in the Internets. This BlogHer, as opposed to BH10, was much less overwhelming for me. I don’t know if it was the fact that I had a buddy (Jana), that I knew so many more people this go-round, or if it was the fact that I went in without any expectations or set plans; it all worked out well and I just happened to run into pretty much all the people I had hoped to see!

This is just a brief recap that does the conference NO JUSTICE. But please consider checking out the posts I’ve linked below and enjoy the pics. Maybe I’ll see you in Chicago next year!

Voices of the Year I particularly enjoyed:

Jana: From a Pecan to a Majestic Magnolia (Identity [read at Open Mic])

Jana VOTY

Elizabeth at Flourish in Progress: To the Person Who Stole My Taco Bell Gordita Savings Fund (Humor)

Neil from Citizen of the Month: The Poet at the Geek Bar (Humor)

Dresden Shumaker: Welfare Queen (Heart)

Arnebya Herndon: Walk This Way (Op-Ed)

Best Party:

RobinPlemmons

Come As You Are – It was hosted by Aiming Low and Mouthy Housewives. I got some pretty sweet artwork drawn on me by Robin Plemmons, plus I got to give out all kinds of compliments on stickers (and got a few myself). And there was the most amazing chocolate covered peanut butter ball dessert thingy…

Connected with and/or hugged (in no particular order and possibly not all-inclusive):

Jana, Issa, Dawn, Cathy, Nona, Alecia, Allison, Katherine, Tanis, Anissa, Julia Roberts, Liz, Andrea, Jenny, Lauren, Frelle, Stacey, Bossy, Christine, Stacey (who also likes ewoks), Robin Plemmons, Angie, Jenny Grace, Julia, EmmieJ, Megan, Kristine, Jenna

Favorite conference moments:

In the “Blogging After Life Change” session, I spoke up to tell my story and was able to connect with another mom whose son had just recently been diagnosed with Leukemia.

When the lovely Robin Plemmons wrote on my arm, “He will be healed,” we both teared up.

Dancing with the very talented Cathy at Sparklecorn.

‘Fancy’ breakfast with Jana and Lauren.

When I drew a schlong on Allison’s moo card during a keynote.

What I did offsite:

Rode the subway, then had ‘fancy breakfast’.
Ate breakfast for lunch at Serendipity3.
Visited Tiffany & Co.

Things I’ll do differently next year:

Go out to dinner.
Buy a memento.
Attend more than 2 sessions.
Pack a suitcase in a suitcase (for swag).
Share a cab to/from the hotel to save cash.
Take an incoming flight that is NOT a red-eye.
Drink more champagne.
Take more pictures!

Hello From Type A Conference!

I’m currently in Charlotte, NC with one of my favorite people – Jana from Jana’s Thinking Place. She picked me up from the Atlanta airport yesterday and then we went on a roadtrip to get to NC for the Type A Conference.

We got in last night and I’ve already met several awesome bloggers whom I had been following online for various lengths of time. This conference is much smaller than BlogHer so it’s been a lot less overwhelming. It seems to me that many of the interactions with people in the blogging world here are more significant – maybe because they last more than 5 seconds! When I attended BlogHer two years ago it was a whirlwind – this is much more relaxed.

Which is exactly why I came – relaxation. Well, that and inspiration. And inspiration is what I got – we attended a session presented by Ang England this morning on brainstorming blog ideas. And holy crap do I have a ton of things to write about now! Two pages of ideas flew out of my head. I’m SO excited to get back to writing here – I may just have found my voice again, a voice that Leukemia stomped on earlier this year.

Speaking of Leukemia, I got to chat with Anissa Mayhew last night for a good long time about how our kids have dealt with cancer. Her daughter Peyton is in remission now, so I was curious to hear if she had lasting effects. It was so nice to be able to sit and talk about the intricacies of living this new life and get encouragement to seek out support in the cancer community. I needed that push. Thanks, Anissa!

I’m having a great time here. I so needed this!

Getting the Writing Groove Back

I had planned to write more about what I did in NY and who I met and all that but…it’s all kind of a blur by now.  My wedding is in 2.5 weeks and I’m kind of a ball of stress due to that and the fifteen billion other things I’ve got going on in my life.  It’s amazing I can walk really…

I do want to talk about the one full session I attended at BlogHer before I lose the memory!  The session was part of the Writing Lab and was entitled “Stoking Your Creativity.”  The topic was the #1 reason I went to BlogHer and the panelists addressed all of the things that I was there to figure out!

One of the panelists in the session was Rita Arens, author of the blog Surrender, Dorothy and editor of the book Sleep is for the Weak (which has been on my wish list forever…I haven’t read a book in two years!).  I got a chance to speak with Rita on Saturday night after the parties ended and felt even more enamored with her afterward.  She is a smart, funny, well-spoken, down-to-earth woman.  I am so glad I was able to meet and talk to her.

There were a couple of things that Rita said that have really stuck with me since the session, the first being “no one cares if you write that novel.”  Sure, family and friends will be happy for you but ultimately the writing is more for the writer’s personal satisfaction.  When I started writing, I definitely focused more on the fact that I had so much in my head that I needed to get out.  As time has gone by I’ve gotten much more aware of my audience and sometimes that has definitely had an impact on what and how I write.  Rita’s words were a great push for me to go back to the beginning.

At one point in the session someone in the audience asked how a blogger can switch gears and talk about different topics on the blog.  The answer was simple – use tags or categories and readers can choose to skip that entry based on that.  She emphasized that it’s okay that the writer’s mood affects the blog entries – after all, everyone experiences these in life and it shows the writer’s authenticity.  This hit home with me in a big way.  I have struggled over the past couple of years to write on this blog because of all the turmoil in my life.  Somehow I lost sight of the life/blog parallel while worrying about whether anyone would want to read what I had to say.

The live blog version of the Stoking Your Creativity session can be found at BlogHer website.  I would encourage you to check it out and also Rita’s blog.  Even better, go to BlogHer next year in San Diego and meet her!

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Wherein I (Blogger)Name Drop

I haven’t experienced homesickness since I was 11.  That was the summer I was supposed to spend a month with my best friend Kristal down in Fresno-area.  I didn’t last there a week.  The following year I was fine and every year after that I looked forward to that summer escape from my daily life, even if it was mostly the two of us playing pool, eating Kisses w/Almonds and watching bad soap operas.  It’s really hot in the valley in summer, so we didn’t get out much.

Thursday night at BlogHer, in between parties, it hit me again.  I was across the country from David and Jack and wouldn’t see them for days.  I had no one to snuggle with and I was a little out of sorts in an unfamiliar city.  I cried talking to David, called Jack and listened to him announce that he was a magician before fluttering away from the phone, and then wandered around the Hilton…

That was when I ran across Ali sitting in the lobby, and that familiar face from San Francisco made everything instantly better.  Plus (if you’ve met Ali you know) she is the snuggliest, huggiest person ever.  We hopped in a cab and headed to the Schick Party where we were both bummed to NOT be let in because we were so late.  Bummer!  Nevertheless, we waited around outside and were able to meet Angie and Aunt Becky and their husbands, among others that my feeble brain cannot recall at the moment.  (Side note – I had NO idea how best to introduce myself to people…hi, I’m Crystal…um, Ewokmama?  Oh, so you’ve heard of me?  Cool, here’s my card anyway because I bought 500 and I have nothing else to do with them.)  After quick intros, Ali and I headed over to meet up with Countess Mo at an Irish pub.  Mo and I hadn’t met in person prior to this but it still felt like I was seeing someone from home.  It was a very welcome interlude.  When Mo left to chase after a friend, Ali and I wandered back to hang out with Aunt Becky & gang back at the hotel bar where Becky’s husband The Daver and I talked about work and corporate America.  We are Teh Kewl!  Or something.

Not too long after the group headed to bed, Ali and I stumbled into some drunk guy who wanted to party with us “fresh girls.”  Ahahahaha.  Ha.  Countess Mo showed up out of the blue (how does she do that?!) to rescue us because she is totally the mama hen.  She rocks and I luff her.  We took a short trip up to a room where Duchess Mama (I am apparently into the royals) was staying with some other awesome ladies (who were you?  am I following you??) and giggling.  It was funny.  I was drunk, though, so don’t take my word for it.  Oh, that reminds me of a funny story of my actual meeting of Duchess Mama.  It’s good, I promise…

So, we were at The People’s Party earlier that night and the set up was such that there were rugs overlapping on the floor.  Duchess noticed this when her shoe slipped under the overlap.  I immediately pointed out that she could TOTALLY get a free drink for that craziness!  So then she “tripped” over the carpet and the hotel folks swarmed her to make sure she was okay and girly totally got a drink.  Meanwhile the Hilton dudes discussed how best to avoid any future accidents and decided to place two chairs over the overlapping rugs…where a few bloggers proceeded to lap dance.  ‘Twas awesome.  (Did anyone get pictures?)

I can’t really remember what happened after we left Duchess & Co’s room so I will wrap this up.  Suffice it to say that all of this was just one night of BlogHer.  Also, there is a lot missing, like the delicious deli I went to with my roomies, the awesome dinner with my roomies, Nona, and Issa where our Irish waitress showed Issa how to use her iPhone camera, that nap I took in the hotel room, the surprise meeting of Jessica from Oh The Joys in the hallway, and the meeting of Undomestic Diva and Shuggilippo at The People’s Party.

So, yeah, there was A LOT packed into every day of my trip to New York and on this particular day the conference had not even started yet.  Still, it wasn’t so much that I didn’t have time to miss home.  There is always time for that.

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