Blissdom ’10: Dances with Moms

ATTENTION All Non-Blog-Conference-Attending Readers (including All Readers Who Really Don’t Give A Dang About Conferences In General, And Perhaps Blogging Conferences In Particular):

Bear with me, but the deal is, I’m kinda full-to-overflowing right now, basking in my post-Blissdom glow and whatnot, so I want to chronicle the experience while it’s still relatively fresh. Also, I want to participate in some Linky-love by connecting this post at two different places: here and here. So come on, hang in there and read anyway. Or drum your fingers impatiently, look out the window and think about ponies– this won’t take long.

Here we go!


Photo courtesy of mooshinindy

#10: Never underestimate the power of comfortable footwear. As the grizzled veteran of three whole blogging conferences, I instantly recognize newbies by their pained expressions and clenched teeth as they totter across the vast expanse of the Opryland Hotel in heels that look great with the outfit but were maybe not such a great idea… Blisters can be a real buzzkill.

**FABULOUS, but… uh uh.



Photos courtesy of Southern Fairytale (Rachel)

#9: Pace yourself. As much as I want to go to every single thing and avail myself of every opportunity, if I burn myself out the first day by running myself silly, I’m not going to get my money’s worth out of the rest of the conference. Prioritize, and don’t be afraid to sit some stuff out. (OR… go balls to the wall and just collapse and rest when you get home– your choice!)

#8: Swag is fun-- who doesn’t like free stuff?!– but don’t take it if you’re not going to use it, even if it is offered. And if you get something that you don’t use, give it away. (Anybody need the Mam pacifiers that came in my Lands End tote bag? My girls are now 17 and 13 and don’t attend raves, so we’ll happily pass them on.)

Photo courtesy of mooshinindy

#7: There can be glaring exceptions, but generally? Most of the time, the bigger the blogger, the nicer they are.

Photo courtesy of mooshinindy

Photo courtesy of SuburbanTurmoil

#6: (And this one is crucial) Push past your comfort zone and DANCE if the opportunity arises! My single favorite memory of Blissdom ’10 has got to be the disco madness that spontaneously erupted in the FUSE club after the Harry Connick Jr. performance. It was so joyous and silly, I laughed as hard as I danced! There is nothing quite like the sight of a group of dressed-to-the-9’s smokey-eyed (Thanks, Cover Girl!) women fist-pumping, body rolling and booty shaking to the Black Eyed Peas… Makes me misty just thinking about it. We also managed to scare the crap out of HC Jr.’s two horn players who were foolish brave enough to jump into the fray. They were lulled into a false sense of security by the presence of a few babes in arms, so they didn’t know what they were getting themselves into until it was too late. That’ll teach ‘em to stereotype nursing mothers!

Oh, Harry…. *sigh*…

Photo courtesy of DawnMHSH

Photo courtesy of Wendy Piersall (@eMom)

Those poor sweet horn players are trapped somewhere in the middle of all those bodies…

Photo courtesy of mooshinindy

#5: Let go of the whole “What do I wear?????” thing. The clothes, across the board, were as diverse as the bloggers who wore them. And the truth of the matter is, nobody really cares that much about what you’re wearing, they’re too busy having fun– and worrying if their clothes are ‘right.’ So just relax and go for it!

Photo courtesy of mooshinindy

Photo courtesy of mooshinindy

Photo courtesy of mooshinindy

Photo courtesy of Sarcastic Mom

Photo courtesy of mooshinindy

#4: Offer your card or use your Poken liberally. My blogroll increases substantially every time I go to a conference, which is fabulous. I find blogs that I maybe never would have stumbled upon if I hadn’t met the blogger and exchanged cards. And once you find them, visit their blog and leave a comment– you know how bloggers feel about comments…

#3: If it’s possible, come early and stay late. Since Blissdom is a local event for me, it is very easy to talk myself into NOT staying at the hotel, since I could drive home and be in my own bed every night. But I’ve found that total immersion in the whole experience is worth the money. There’s something about being away from everything comfortable and familiar, and being surrounded by all of the other bloggers that really puts you in the right frame of mind to fully drink it all in.

Photo courtesy of mooshinindy

#2: OK, I am totally going to claim complete credit for this idea. I think I invented it, and I fully expect the CEO of Twitter to jump on this and possibly name something after me. Here’s what I discovered (with apologies to anyone who is bored cross-eyed by any kind of tech talk– and trust me, this is about as tech-y as I get, which is to say NOT VERY MUCH):

Sometimes it is very hard to choose between two different meetings that are going on at the same time. Since everyone is Twittering anyway, I decided to use TweetDeck to my full advantage by starting a column with the hashtag “blissdom” and monitoring it carefully. I opened a document and titled it with the name of the session I was attending, but I also scrolled down and typed the name of the OTHER session in the next room that I was missing. While I listened carefully and made notes, I also kept one eye on the #blissdom column and scanned the notes that people were tweeting from the other session– in conferences like this, people often live-tweet and hash tag some of the best quotes and main themes, kind of like a Twitter-stream of consciousness. When I would see something particularly well-phrased or a great idea tweeted from the other session, I would cut and paste it onto my page of notes. So at the end of my session, I had a page full of good notes that I had taken and another page full of good notes on the other session that basically other people had made for me!  Ta-da! My nephew The Computer Genius tried to tell me there’s some sort of app or download or program that does something sorta like this, but I did the fingers in my  ears LALALALALA thing because I KNOW that this genius idea is mine all mine. You’re welcome. And please send me lots of money as a royalty if you ever use this.

Photo courtesy of mooshinindy

And now, here’s the #1 Thing I Learned From Blissdom ’10:

What a difference a friend makes!

If I could build a solid gold bloggy shrine to Busymom, aka Elizabeth, I totally would.

Photo courtesy of mooshinindy

OK, here’s the deal.

Even in the touchy/feely/huggy/squeeeee!-y estrogen-fueled world of women bloggers, there is still a hardcore professional business aspect to it all. And whenever there is money to be made, there is competition. And where there is competition, there will always be a pecking order with people  jostling for position and striving for world domination. So WHO you know is verrrry important, and if you have only a limited time to network and make connections, it behooves you to spend that time with people who can ‘do you some good’, right? Well, as it turns out, Busymom is quite firmly in the A-list category of  bloggers. There is nothing I can do for her, no cache or influence to be gained by hanging out with me. Apparently she just likes hanging out with me, go figure.  I’m actually quite independent but as I’ve already confessed (ad nauseum), surprisingly I don’t really thrive in a schmoozy conference atmosphere, ripe with opportunities to try to glad-hand your way to greater influence and recognition– paradoxically, I end up getting kind of shy and hanging back.  But this year, right from the get-go I totally relaxed and enjoyed myself because I had a friend to sit by, talk to, eat lunch and laugh with (especially laugh with, because Elizabeth? IS FUNNY!) We weren’t joined at the hip, I’m not all needy and clingy, for crying out loud–we usually didn’t even attend the same sessions– but in her typical low-key way, she made sure to graciously introduce me to whoever stopped to talk to her and to casually include me in a couple of things I wouldn’t usually be a part of. The difference those simple acts of kindness made in my overall conference experience is immeasurable, and it was a huge lesson to me.

On Saturday I was given the opportunity to return the favor by befriending a delightful blogger, Amy from ‘She Wears Many Hats’. This was her first conference, and I instantly recognized that overwhelmed look of information overload in her eyes. It was lovely to get to know her over lunch, and the three of us also hung out for a while on Saturday night at the Movie/Games/Karaoke Extravaganza. Once again, Busymom unselfishly answered questions and offered her experience and wisdom, just as she has with me and many, many others.

If I am portraying her as the Mother Teresa of Bloggers, I really don’t mean to. Elizabeth is not as sweet as marshmallow fluff, she is witty and acerbic and does not suffer fools gladly. But by choosing to “use her power for good,” to consistently welcome and encourage and promote other bloggers without any sense of entitlement or hint of condescension– well, it’s not only impressive, it’s challenging.  As we continue to navigate the ever-changing landscape of blogging for women with all of its wide-open opportunities for advancement, I truly hope that we never lose sight of the fact that there is indeed room for all of us. Competition is healthy and business savvy is genderless, but as we each work to carve out our own corner of the blogosphere we need to remember that we have a secret weapon available to us:  the power of women to connect with each other, to truly embody all of those trendy terms we throw around at these conferences like ‘community’ and ‘authenticity’. For all of our drama, we’re also a compassionate bunch, and we know how to rally ’round when the occasion calls for it– just ask MckMama, or Anissa, or the Spohrs.

If you will allow me just a moment of hormonal hyperbole,  Blissdom ’10 reminded me once again of all of the things I love about being a woman, and being with other women. We do indeed rock the cradle AND the world, usually while wearing really cute shoes. We are capable of great depth and surprising shallowness. We laugh at each other and cry for each other. We can attend prayer breakfasts and cocktail parties with equal enthusiasm. I just love being surrounded by that energy, I am proud to be a part of it, and God willing, I will be Dancing With Moms again at Blissdom ’11.

28 Responses

  1. swerchon

    Hey Tori

    Great review of Blissdom ’10 (BTW love that name)…

    Proud of you – sounds and looks like you had a blast. You are right, having friends by your side makes the world of a difference.

    Were there any “bloggers” from Canada, or was this only for US bloggers? (just curious)

  2. jonny

    Well, I made it to the end, although I started fading a bit at the “power of women” part. But, that could be because it’s so early and dark here, and I haven’t had any breakfast yet! Or a knee jerk reaction to preaching to the choir = ) FWIW, I support some of the wonderful things you stated about the finer, uh, fairer sex! What was that St. Paul wrote about dwelling on that which is good, honorable, praise worthy, etc?? He was obviously thinking about women at their best! Clearly. But, I have to admit, probably the tiredness again, I was expecting a few pictures of some pretty huge woman at #7, the “bigger the blogger, the nicer they are” part. You know, ones that would make Former literally look the size of that fly on the wall she’d like to be at times. My bad!

    Anyway, thanks for taking the time to up-date, with photos = )

    Oh, and yes, a valuable lesson there, or words of extreme wisdom, the part about never underestimating, stereotyping nursing moms!! I’ll have to keep that in mind the next time I run across a few of them publically!! = )


  3. delightedabroad

    This looks like a really new beginning in terms of conferences for you, Tori !! I’m glad you could enjoy it so much.

    I just read the last few comments of the last post – lol !
    Uuhhh, of course you’re right, my written exams are over (and I’m slightly optimistic that I did it successfully…)and the relief/happiness about that are sneaking in by and by BUT there still are the orals in March ! And the same procedure hopefully for French in summer…

  4. karen48

    Looks like you had a wonderful time. I have heard that the Opryland Hotel is great and someday I want to visit. I have been to Nashville once and loved it, so I do plan on coming back.

    I would be the shy one in all that group of bloggers. You would have to pull me out of my shell if I was there. lol

    I sent you a message on fb this morning about a dream I had last night. lol Hope you get a good laugh out of it. lol

  5. tori

    swerchon– LOTS of Canadian bloggers, including two of the biggest, Tanis from Attack of the Redneck Mommy and Catherine from Her Bad Mother. They are even planning a Canadian Blissdom conference for next year!

    jonny– OK, do you KNOW how much trouble I could get into with that “bigger blogger” concept?! And I’m telling you, you ought to sponsor a Mommy’s Night Out at House of Love– nobody has more fun that a bunch of women who have escaped hearth and home for a night… WILD!

    delighted– You’re right, I’d head to another conference right this minute if there was one to go to! And you just keep us informed, we’ll happily hand-hold you thru all of your upcoming exams.

    karen– Opryland is like a city unto itself! Great place for a conference though.

  6. MostlySunny

    Sounds like a very fun time. Good hotel, new friends, loads of information. Love the red boots, whoever they belong to!

    We’ve been in our clumpy snow boots since Friday – SNOW, SNOW and more SNOW in Pittsburgh! But it’s stunningly beautiful! Treacherous driving, but gorgeous anyway.

  7. LindaB

    Gee, you really take those bloggy things seriously, don’t ya, Tori? You TAKE NOTES??? Holy Harry Conick Jr.! I haven’t taken notes since I was in sex education class in 8th grade, and the only reason I did it then was so I didn’t have to look up! As far as I’m concerned, your blog is perfect, so why spend the time trying to find out stuff to make it better? But thanks for the report and the picture of Harry! I’ll cherish it.

    BTW, your “number ten” of your top notes goes for all of us anywhere, anytime, anyplace! Nothing is more miserable that shoes that hurt your feet. It cancels out any brain activity you may have going on!

    Jonny, yes, you are “bad”! Why did MY NAME come to mind when you were thinking “the bigger the blogger……”? And, I’m getting a little bit of a complex when you call me “Former” all the time! It’s like I’m a rock star cast off! A reject! A has-been. Can’t you find another little pet name for me that’s more flattering? Just a thought.

    Now, back to figuring out how I’m gonna get my car out of the driveway with all that snow in my way.

  8. jonny

    Sorry, LB, your “fly on the wall” comment brought you to mind on that bigger blogger comment. No other reason. And the former pet name is history. No worries!!


  9. jonny

    Oh, and FWIW, I’m seriously NOT a rock star. Far from it, apparently = / It’s been fun having some fun with the concept here, but I don’t think anyone who knows me, or knows of me over here, would make that connection = )

  10. LindaB

    I was just kiddin’ you, Jonny! You can call me anything! And you’ll always be a rock star to me!

    Any progress on getting your music on the web so we can hear it?

  11. Silver Hair Fans

    Hey, I’m in, guess I have learned to read through coffee stains. :-) Loved the Blog…my favorite was the shoes…those red ones are awesome but give me the Bunny Slippers!! When I was young I could have worn them all day and then some….Today I couldn’t even walk in them let alone try to dance.

    Speaking of dancing….I love to dance…nothing better to lift your spirits. Looks like everyone was having a ball…but where were the lampshades??? I’ve looked and looked but saw none shining on the dance floor or on the tables!!!

    Glad you had super time…looks like an awesome place for a conference.

    Thanks for sharing your talent….Maybe some day I’ll get the nerve to try a blog.

  12. jonny

    OK, Still In Her Prime, formerly Former, good to know I did not offend = )

    Sorry, looks like it may still be a few months before anything’s recorded. This club organizing stuff has really been taking a lot out of me lately. We’ll have our first practice in months tomorrow and hopefully start working on some new material then, including the one a few here help out with the lyrics on!!

  13. Barbara M. Lloyd

    “Hello Dolly” kept running through my mind the whole time I was reading.

    Sounds as if you had a great and rewarding time. I’m waiting now for the sophisticated blog of the century with a little down-home humor thrown in…while showing your dainty little feet as barefoot and beautiful. Perhaps a little glitter on the sparkling red toes…make that toenails. You can do it. Shucks, mamn, you can do anything!

    Girlfriends! Viva la difference!

  14. ohamanda

    I think this may be my most favorite Blissdom recap yet. And I’m not just saying that b/c you sat down next to me, RECOGNIZED me and pulled a picture up of me w/a baby in a bar from last year’s Blissdom. You captured Blissdom perfectly.

    And I’m with you in the BusyMom adoration.



  15. jonny

    Viva la difference, GIRLFRIENDS!!! Yes, YES, Y-Y-E-E-E-S-S-S-S!! ! ! ! WOO-HOO-O-O!!! *runs around like the crazed rock-star maniac he is with his stringy, drug abused arms all up in the air, frantically waving them around like Kermit The Frog just after he’s introduced the next act of the guest star on The Muppet Show* YEAAAaaaaa…..

    Oops. Sorry. Wrong gender = / My bad.

  16. tori

    I just love you, jonny.

  17. tori

    Ya big ol’ wackadoodle, you.

  18. jonny

    I have to admit, in all honesty, modesty, that that’s probably one of the funniest things I’ve done here so far. I still laugh so hard when reading it that it gets difficult to breathe, and my eyes start leaking water each time. Especialy when I get that great big Kermit The Frog ‘yea’ near the end. Mercy!

    Thanks for providing an outlet for my wackadoodle side = )

  19. delightedabroad

    jonny, I’m sooo glad I’m not the only one showing – uh – surprising sides :-) I didn’t laugh so hard for days, could hardly explain what you wrote to my dear hubby, lol !

  20. jonny

    Didn’t someone, way back when, make the mistake of having some milk or food in their mouth before she started reading the comments?? Whoever it was, maybe D, I sincerely hope she, and others, have learned from her mistake. This is definitely an ‘Enter, and/or, Comment At Your Own Risk’ zone. Especially just as Spring is starting to rear its most welcomed head = )

  21. delightedabroad

    Are you sure it was a ‘she’ ?? :-)

  22. jonny

    I knew when I left that ‘she’ word in there it would come back to haunt me, but at the same time I forgot how quick you could be, delighted = )

  23. delightedabroad

    You know what ? I’m as goofy as a woman can be despite those people who were telling me I’m such a serious, calm person !
    No, I’m NOT drugged – I’ ve been awfully tired.

  24. delightedabroad

    …unless it’s a side effect of the past days of stress :-/

  25. uberVU - social comments

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by Busymom: RT @Babybloomr: #BLISSDOM post up!

  26. wendmark

    Hi Tori,
    Loved the Blissdom Blog. You find humor for us in things that may go unnoticed and yet you dispense wisdom with your mirth that seems to transcend gender stereo types that are common to the masses and…OMG, what am I saying???!!!! This is Tori!!

    Sorry, I got a bit lost there!!! Loved the Blog, It was hilarious and informative! Not Bloggity, blog-blog, BLOG at all! As always thanks for sharing and keep rockin’ it!
    -Mark and Wendy-

  27. Leisa Hammett

    LOVE this! Esp. #1. Elizabeth was very friendly. It was the first time we had ever had a chance to talk. And, I was reminded, there’s another name for refusal to share bc there may not be enough to go around: it’s called Scarcity Mentality.

  28. » Well, it’s that time of year again… | babybloomr

    […] about going to yet another blogging conference! And then, once it’s over you get to read my breathless post-conference account replete with all kinds of personal epiphanies and effusive descriptions of Fabulous! New! Bloggy […]

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