Social Soiree Recap

This is what my hotel room looked like the first nite for BlogHer. And you can’t see that the closet is full of pink tote bags – 150 pink tote bags! It got worse before it got better! All of these boxes and bags were for Social Soiree. If you’re tired of reading about Social Soiree, then you’ll just have to start blogging so you can attend next year! It really was a blast!

That craziness turned in to this sea of swag-filled bags that were transported over the The New Children’s Museum in beautiful and sunny San Diego.

What was created in a Skype chat room with 10 women turned in to one of the most talked about private events at the conference.

The goal was to find a way to connect people with brands to help them establish relationships to grow their blogs. And I think we accomplished that, and more. So much so that we’re crazy enough to say we’ll do it again next year when Blogher heads back to New York City. At least I won’t have to drive nearly all the swag to the hotel. I’ll let my frugalistas share in that fun!

But the event couldn’t have happend without the generous support of our corporate sponsors. You’ve met all of them over the past few weeks. But I will be highlighting them over the next few days too. If it weren’t for the generous support of Whole Foods and Wine Twits the event would have been lacking. For a good party you need food and wine! And we had plenty of both.

And to prove we all got dressed up and didn’t just keep all the swag to ourselves, I introduce you to my fellow Frugalistas who truly were the Social Soiree Hostesses with the Mostess.

from left to right: Tamona, Alecia, Renae, Karen, Me, KellyKristin, AnnAlli and Dian

 

Disclosure: Whole Foods and WineTwits sponsored Social Soiree. I received no compensation. As a hostess of the event I did agree to tell you about them. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Sara

What I Didn’t See at BlissDom 2011

Blissdom 2011
My first creative photo thanks to Blissdom Photo Workshop

I spent much of the last week at the Blissdom Conference in Nashville. I learned what most of the pictures and letters mean on my new Nikon D3100 camera, thanks to Mishelle who was able to teach me how to use my camera. This isn’t a post about me and my new-found photography skilz, but I had to tell you this because the photo at the top was actually taken by me. I think it’s pretty darn creative! Don’t expect that much awesome all the time. I’m just learning.

What this post really is about is all the things I didn’t see at Blissdom. When you spend 3 or so days with anything more than about 15 women you start to doubt yourself and find all the flaws. And by ‘you’ I really mean me, but it sounds better to talk about myself in the collective and makes me feel like I’m not the only one who does this. Anyway, you start to pick yourself apart and that little voice inside your head starts to get louder and louder.

This was my second Blissdom conference. I knew it would be a convergence of women bloggers who were beautiful, tall, thin, perfectly coiffed, confident, funny, smart, sweet, kind, fashionable, have good hair, white teeth, great clothes, a zillion twitter followers, fancy cards, cute shoes, and so much more. I also knew I probably wasn’t going to be ‘the awesome’ I pretend to be while typing away on my fancy MAC (which really isn’t fancy when compared to the really fancy ones I saw at Blissdom).

Why would I write about what I didn’t see? Because if I didn’t see it, chance are others didn’t either. And that means that you don’t have to fret and wonder and engage in self flagellation and negative self-talk. It mean you don’t have to feel apologetic or say I’m sorry either.

I didn’t see you were worried about a million other things in your life.

I didn’t see you didn’t have the time or money to get your hair cut or colored.

I didn’t see that the dress you were wearing has been in your closet for ages.

I didn’t see you dying on the inside because you were nervous.

I didn’t see your shoes were new or old.

I didn’t see your top had stains from baby spit up on it.

I didn’t see your camera was fancy.

I didn’t see your earrings were the same ones you wear every day.

I didn’t see that your camera was 10 years old.

I didn’t see you were so anxious about meeting people that you really wanted to crawl under the table and hide.

I didn’t see that you just got your business cards made because you totally spaced you’d need some.

I didn’t see that you gained a few pounds.

I didn’t see your nail polish was smudged or chipping.

I didn’t see your fear that someone will find out your husband lost his job.

I didn’t see that your teenager is struggling with drugs and you’re scared.

I didn’t see your every waking moment is spent worrying about ____________ .

I didn’t see you skipped going to the gym that day.

I didn’t see you’ve spent the last months/years in therapy.

I didn’t see your laptop was 2 years old.

I didn’t see you really should have done the laundry last week.

I didn’t see your photos weren’t perfect.

I didn’t see the imperfect skin.

And for that matter, I didn’t see you just spent $500 to get perfect skin.

I didn’t see that you write in incomplete sentences, have horrible grammar or can’t spell.

I didn’t see that you believed you didn’t belong here.

I didn’t see your gray hair, your wrinkles, your fat, your scars.

I didn’t see your flaws or your faults.

I saw you. I saw your beautiful smile. I saw your eyes, filled with joy and excitement. I saw your heart, full of love for all the friends you met and were going to meet.

I just saw you. I loved you the moment we met.

And I hope you just saw me, too.

Sara

Catching The Brass Ring

There are times when you watch from afar and other times when you grab that brass ring and go for it! And that is what I did. When presented with the opportunity to attend the BlogHer conference in New York City next week, I went for it. And while I thought maybe I should save for next year and maybe I’ll go ‘someday’, I decided to put walk into the talk. Stop Wishing, Start Doing!

And so next week I will join a few thousand other bloggers to learn, meet, laugh, cry, walk, talk, smile, schmooze, eat, dance, get up early, stay up late and generally have a great time. Instead of having nearly a year to plan, as many do, I’m living life on the edge and taking the plunge in to the biggest blog conference for women with merely a week notice. Seriously, people have been planning outfits and arranging for parties and events and all kinds of things for months. Me, I’m doing something very NOT ME. Not much wishing, and a lot more doing.

I’m fortunate to be connected with some great women bloggers who have invited me to share a room, attend a few parties and even be a hostess at one of the hottest breakfast tickets in town.  My friend Heather, who is the genius behind Team Inexpensively, is letting me room with her. I will also be a table host at the Bacon, Egg, and Coupon Breakfast along with Renae from Madame Deals, Corrin from Oh hey, What’s Up?, Toni from The Shopping Adventures of Cheapo McFrugalpants, Alicia from Making Time for Mommy, and Melissa from MultiTasking Mama where we will talk about the various aspects of blogging in a round table discussion.

I have had great experiences at the other blog conferences I have attended, Blissdom and Bloggy Bootcamp, and I expect that this one will be no different. I’m looking forward to learning more about blogging and how I can improve not only myself but also my blog. It will also be an opportunity for me to get out and live. To show BabyGirl that mommy has a life outside of taking care of her. Welcome to my Someday #2746!

Sara

Bloggy Boot Camp – Education, Friendship & Fun

This past weekend I attended a women bloggers social media conference.  Bloggy Boot Camp, hosted by the lovely and charming Tiffany (@SITSGirls on Twitter), was a full day of learning on topics ranging from SEO to personal branding to monetizing your blog. Even vlogging!  Each and every guest speaker was hand-picked for their expertise as well as their penchant for supporting other bloggers in the community.

The picture at the top is me with Tiffany.  Isn’t she just adorable?  And this is at the very end of the conference.  I look like a total goof, but I was standing next to a woman I admire and enjoy talking with on Twitter. She’s like a celebrity to me (she was in the NY Times, y’know!).

The word community kept coming up.  We were encouraged to not only develop a community with other bloggers, but also to work at creating a community for our readers.  Give readers quality content, variety and reasons to engage with each other. And, blog with passion.  We, as bloggers, will be rewarded in ways we never imagined – friendships, support, and being part of something bigger.

I met so many wonderful and truly genuine women (and two pretty special dudes).  Many of these women I ‘see’ everyday online – on Twitter, in my RSS reader, or at their blog. Some are celebrities, at least in my mind. Others are real moms like me looking for a connection to the world outside our window. Every one of them made me feel included. And these women are Fun-ny! Like pee your pants funny. (Note to Tiffany, poise pads should be a sponsor!)

I brought my camera. A lot of good that did since I didn’t take it out until the end when I realized I had not taken one single photo.  I’m hoping Julie will share her multiplicity of photos. But, I have to say that rather than hiding behind my camera I got out there and met people.

People like Kadi Prescott, who is kind and sweet and smart and awesome and funny and encouraging and did I mention smart! She made me feel comfortable with who I am. She connected. She was present. And she is passionate about something that I, too, feel very strongly about – empowering young girls to be sucessful. Also, she can wrangle lizards although I believe that might have been an example of her girl empowerment process. I didn’t get my picture taken with her because I was so caught up with talking to her. So, just pretend!  (Note:  it was really just one lizard she wrangled but it was like 200 feet long, or maybe just 2 feet but it was impressive!)

I met Becca from Our Crazy Boys! Again, no picture, but she’s here in AZ so I know I’ll see her again soon.  Unless she talks too much smack about ASU.  She is as funny in person as she is online. And I found out that we both like Talledega Nights and appreciate the hilarity of both Walker and Texas Ranger.

It was great to meet so many Arizona bloggers, and feel connected to a local community.  To laugh about things particular to our state and, of course, make fun of each other for going to ‘the wrong’ university.

Besides great speakers, a lovely resort, and more information than my brain can handle in one day we did get some swag. I came home with Dole Mandarine Oranges in Gel (think jello-o with oranges suspended in it) and this super new tech gadget courtesy of iGo. Now, I shall never be without power!

Like I said, I don’t have too many pictures.  If I listed everyone I met, you’d get bored.  But I’ll talk about them as time goes on so you can see why I love this world of blogging so much. Here are pictures of people I met.

This is my new friend Sara, from Super Saving Sense with Sara.  I  follow her on Twitter because we have the same name spelled the same.  Don’t mind the fact that I look like a dork (again!), I was going for that look this time.

One of the Celebrity Bloggers I met was Melissa from Consumer Queen.  She is sweeter than tea from Georgia!  She’s not short, nor am I tall so I’m not sure why we look like Shaq and Kobe.

One of the two men in attendance was Ted Rubin from Open Sky.  He is a fascinating man to speak with, especially given my background in consumer branding.  His company was one of the sponsors, and I appreciate that they made this conference possible for so many.

And I got to see my friend Holly from The Blog Frog.  I met Holly at Blissdom back in February.  She was the first person who tweeted about me, encouraging others to follow me.  She will always have a special place in my heart.  She is a blogger’s BFF! She’s a blogger herself and she understand why we do this, and she works tirelessly to give bloggers a way to create and develop their communities.

I could easily become addicted to blogging conferences.  Education. Friendship. Fun.

Sara