Where do I find my bliss?

One of the joys of blogging is being able to go to blog conferences to see my virtual friends; the people I talk with and interact with on a daily basis but rarely get to see.  My primary goal when planning these trips is to learn a few new skills but I always end up leaving with more friends than skills.

Blissdom is the perfect conference for blending my goal of learning a few new things and having a good time with friends.  I’ve gone for the past 3 years and each time I leave with so much bliss.   This years goal was to learn how to use my brand new DSLR camera.  Blissdom always has an exciting photography tract and I knew this was a perfect time to learn.

Day one didn’t disappoint.  I met up with a large group of ladies for the annual Blissdom Photowalk around the Gaylord.  I didn’t know anyone going into the Photowalk aside from a few virtual friends I had met on the Facebook group.  I met up with Jenn from Real Posh Mom who was new to this photography thing too.  We mingled with other bloggers and found a few who taught us a lesson or two in using our cameras.  I tagged along with Angela England; The Renaissance Woman, who I heard speak at a previous Blissdom.  She taught me how to take this close up photo of some of the flowers at the Gaylord.  Here are a few of my favorite photos from the Photowalk.  Note: My camera was still set on Auto at this point and I couldn’t figure out how to turn the flash off.

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Then I met up with my roomie and bestest blogging buddy Amanda, The Eco Friendly Family.  It’s always good to see Amanda and I’m glad that she was going to be my roomie for the next few days.

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The first day and afternoon wouldn’t have been complete without a hug from the sweet Sara Sophia who organizes the Handmade Marketplace.  It was the only time we saw each other the entire conference; if you don’t follow her blog you should find out more about her sweet and creative spirit on Love, Sara Sophia.

The first day is always good at bringing friends together and making new friends.  The evening event brought Amanda and I together with so many sweet friends.  One of my green mama friends, Sommer (Green and Clean Mom), introduced us to Madeline, the owner and creator of Luna Pads.  This was the perfect ending to a great day!

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The second day began with breakfast and a keynote by Scott Stratten.  Can I just tell you this guy is hilarious (and brilliant).  I’m halfway done reading his latest book; The Book of Business Awesome, and now I need to go back and read UnMarketing: Stop Marketing. Start Engaging.  If you do social media for business this is someone you should pay attention to.  For me I know it will change the way I engage with my customers/fans/readers/etc; after all I’ve never actually been trained in marketing but I do know how to talk to people.

It was finally time to get intimate with my new camera with a few lessons from Anna Epps and David Molnar.  With the help of Anna, David, and many of the wonderful friends I made over the weekend, I have the basic understanding of shutter speed and aperture.  With their help I have taken my camera off of automatic and operate (mostly) on manual.  It’s going to take a lot more practice to master this but I have the confidence and basic understanding of how to use my camera now.  I’m not a pro but I have taken some good photos while at Blissdom and on our family vacation that followed the conference.  Here are just a few of my favorites.

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The evenings at Blissdom meant relaxing with friends.  I wish I could list everyone that I met at Blissdom but the days and nights were so full that I honestly would forget someone. I did enjoy hanging out with the guys from Bloganizer (Jason and Trey) who both use cloth diapers on their kids – yes, dads who cloth diaper!  I can’t wait for Bloganizer to launch so I can finally make the move from Google Reader (which is closing it’s doors after years of use).   I also enjoyed stalking Anna from Hahas For HooHas!

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Thankfully she was hanging with some of our friends and the meeting wasn’t too awkward after our Twitter stalking.  There were plenty of laughs to be shared the last night with Jill (Baby Rabies), Tottums (Stephanie from Froggy and the Mouse), Diana (Hormonal Imbalance), Mindi (Simply Stavish) Amanda, and the Bloganizer boys.  I think everyone at Blissdom is pregnant by the way!!

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Oh, did I mention we also got to hang out with Jeremy Sisto and Ana Gasteyer? 

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I even got to hang out with a local blog friend who didn’t make it to Blissdom this year; Jenny from Conscientious Confusion.  She met us for a late lunch and we got to spend a little bit of time catching up.

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I could go on for days but I honestly just wanted to record a few of these memories for myself (and anyone who is still reading).

My most memorable moments include late night laughs with Amanda and getting to know Madeleine from Luna Pads.  She puts so much personal passion and inspiration into her business and I truly look forward to keeping in touch with her.  I love her recap of Blissdom; What I learned at Blissdom.

Just when I think I’m done with this recap, I can’t forget….

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  • Meeting Marissa (@TampaMama).  Marissa is a local Tampa blogger that I’ve only know online.  She is a GoGo Squeeze mom and was working their sponsor suite.  I can’t wait to reconnect with her now that I’m home and see how we can work together locally.
  • Hearing Jon Acuff speak again.  Jon did the closing keynote and sent us all home with an advanced copy of his new book; Punch Fear in the Face.  If you want to “escape average” and “do work that matters” then I suggest you go check out his website for more information about his new book that launches on April 21st.
  • Meeting a few cloth diapering mama’s and Instagram friends.  Amy, The Mom Bot.  Katie, Gadanke.   and Calie, Broccoli Cupcake.
  • Meeting Raechel Myers, one of the ladies behind She Reads Truth on the shuttle to the airport.  I’ve been following the She Reads Truth plans on my YouVersion bible app and didn’t even realize there was a blog behind it.  What a blessing!!

Ahhhh…Blissdom!  I wonder where you will travel to next year?  Nashville, Dallas, or perhaps Orlando?  As for me, it was a great start to my spring break.  After I left Blissdom I boarded a plane to Park City, Utah.  That’s another post for another day but I have lots of great photos and stories to share with you.

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Did you go to Blissdom?  What were your greatest memories and what lessons did you learn?  

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