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Blissdom 2012: Ready for some Bliss!

At Blissdom '11 with Matt Kearney, Michelle Branch and some fabulous women!

For the past four years every February I have packed up and headed down to Nashville to find me some bliss: Blissdom, ya’ll! (For the non-blogging amongst us, Blissdom is a women’s blogging conference.) And every year I have found it, each time in a new form from the year before. Yet even though I am a veteran Blissdomite (is that a word? Oh well, I’m making it one!) every year without fail brings a level of unease and nervousness as I prep for the conference. Even after four years of working with TV and radio, of meeting thousands of amazing people in my coupon classes and standing on stages to teach, I still get hit by nerves. Those age-old questions come racing in, the questions that have lingered in our psyche from high school, the ones that plague so many normally strong and confident women. Will I have someone to sit with? Do I have nice clothes for it? How does my hair look? Is my look trendy, classic or outdated? Will I make friends or will I be the one in the corner hiding behind my iPhone? Does my butt look too big?

And every year, without fail, I have gotten there and found Blissdom…well, it isn’t like that. Everyone worries about what they will wear. Even if they tell you they don’t, they do. But once there, I don’t think I’ve ever noticed what someone was wearing, because I was too busy laughing and marvelling at their fabulousness. (Okay, I’ll confess I have noticed what they were wearing–when I noticed that we were all in cocktail dresses and they were in jeans. I went and changed! Comfy is in baby!!) I was never the odd woman out, in the corner with my iPhone–unless I wanted to be. There is always someone to talk to. Always. No really! ALWAYS.

Still, even though I’m the type of person that has never met a stranger, I have difficulty walking into a room full of people already chatting away. I’m not really shy, but I learned long ago that I’m not comfortable walking into a group of women already clearly in love with each other. So I created a conversation starter. I ask people to sign my laptop! Last year I wanted a laptop skin that said something about me, something that would help me break the ice in sessions. Something that helped my tablemates know who I was and could help me get over that initial moment of awkwardness. But nothing seemed to fit. It was too artsy, or too blah, or too…well, just not ME. I sat down with my daughter who was happily creating away on her chalkboard and it struck me–why not let people sign my laptop? A few minutes on Amazon and voila! A signable laptop, skinned with chalkboard paper and chalk markers.

So if you sit by me, help a girl out! In the photo above you can see the signatures from a blogging conference I went to last summer. While they’re a bit faded now, every time I open my laptop I smile thinking of the amazing women I met that week. I’ll wipe them off on Wednesday before Blissdom, ready for a new set of amazing women to grace my laptop with their creativity and brilliance. (Don’t worry, I have photos of the old signatures so I’ll never forget who they were!) Grab a marker and get creative! Sign your blog name, your real name, draw me a picture–whatever makes you fabulous, do it! You’ll not only help me decorate my very bland laptop, but you’ll help me get beyond that instant awkwardness that always strikes the moment I walk into a new room of people I don’t know.

While this might be my fourth year at Blissdom , I think I’m more excited this year that I have ever been before. I have a new camera. I have the start of a new passion in blogging…and I just know that this year, even more than the others, God is going to reveal things to me at Blissdom about where he is leading me. I have this sense that when I step out the door on Wednesday I won’t just be going on a road trip–I’m going to be starting a new adventure. That is both exhilarating and nerve-wracking at the same time.

It’s Blissdom Ya’ll!!

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Comments

  1. Great post! THANK YOU 🙂
    Sherri Ohler

  2. Julie, taknhs for your comment and your candidness. I heard about the shushing when I returned after lunch. There were lots of missed opportunities for She’sConnected attendees to get to know each other was unfortunately. Lesson learned for next time. It’s also critical for brands to research and understand a community – it’s nuances, it’s influeners, etc. before they can reach out and develop connections with members. They also need to realize that everyone is a unique individual with different perspectives and motivations. We don’t all blog and tweet because “that’s what we do” or because we’re told to do so in exchange for free stuff. I’m surprised quite frankly that there wasn’t discussion about the importance of a blogger’s reputation and integrity at She’sConnected. Without that, she has little influence or connections of any value.I think the success in BlissDom Canada was about the trust by and for the community. In other words, having people like you who are respected by other members involved in helping to shape the conference. Nathalie, taknhs for your comment and letting my hijack your roundtable at BlissDom. 😉 The community atmosphere was definitely something attendees will remember for a long time.