Friday, February 12, 2010

Why Blissdom is my favorite blogging conference

I'll try to keep this short, because one of the things I learned is that y'all have the attention span of gnats. But keeping it short is going to be a challenge, because Blissdom is so amazing.

Instead of telling you, I'll try showing what I learned. See if you can tell whether I picked up any new ideas. Like using sub-headers.

Blissdom bloggers are friendly

Even though I went last year and loved it, I was a little scared to go to Blissdom. You see, last year my friend Jen Lancaster was the Blissdom keynote speaker. If you've ever met Jen, you'll know that to have a good time, all you have to do is follow her around. So I did that. And had a great time.

At this year's Blissdom, I was on my own. But what does that matter when Rachel of A Southern Fairy Tale was the first person to spot me? She steered me to the check-in desk, where I found Linda of Short Pump Preppy and Katie Howard manning the sign-in booth. And then Alli Worthington spotted me and ran down the hall to give me a hug.

Blissdom is like Alli Worthington

If you like Alli, you'll love Blissdom. Like her, it's friendly. It's approachable. It's not stuck up. The warmth and humor are almost palpable.

What other conference opens with a video of the founder's toddler crawling all over her and closes with a Sarah Palin routine?

Blissdom touched my cold, black heart

The exhibitors tables included one called Blissdom Loves Anissa, to send messages to Anissa Mayhew, a much-loved blogger who had a stroke last November.

That Poppy Buxom thinks she can help people
with beauty and style? Irony in action, people!

Some of the messages were more imaginative than others:

The Stiletto Mom is always a class act

Blissdom panels were content-rich

I've been to enough conferences (blogging and academic) to realize that sometimes, big name speakers phone it in. Not at Blissdom. I learned so much, I left the conference with a sink hole where my brain used to be. Luckily, I also left with hand-outs and several pads of notes. (And I hope to post some of them here.)

Blissdom is Attitude-free

It's just small enough that it's really easy to break the ice. Twice I walked up to an almost-full lunch table and said "Is anyone sitting here?" In both cases, the woman I asked said "You are!"

And that's how I got to sit next to the hilarious, talented, Chicagoan Nap Warden and the amazingly smart, funny, and charming Shelly Kramer.

I also had really wonderful, lengthy conversations with Katie Howard, Geekmommy, and Christina of A Mommy Story. I sat next to Amy Allen Clark of MomAdvice. Not to mention getting to hang out again with Michelle Lamar, Liz Strauss, Stiletto Mom, Kelby Carr, and Vodkamom.

Blissdom is a wonderful getaway

Does it hurt that a Chicagoan is flying south in February? No, it does not. And the Opryland Hotel ... well, I couldn't decide whether it was Disney World without the rides, or Vegas without the slots.

This is indoors, people.

I had a great time gawking at the conservatories filled with palm trees and orchids.


They were amazingly lush. And speaking of lush, you really have to admire the co-branding going on with this restaurant. That is, if you like sour-mash-NOT-Bourbon. And I do.

Just so you know, the bartenders here
know how to make a Perfect Manhattan


Oh, and I shopped. Because I felt a burning need to fill in holes in my wardrobe. So if you're in the market for cheetah print lingerie, don't bother looking at Savannah's. I bought it all.

Swaggate? Not at Blissdom


Five days, dozens of wrap-up posts, hundreds and hundreds of tweets--and the only thing I've read that mentioned swag was Shelly Kramer's shout-out to ConAgra for giving us all a Poken.

A Poken to make networking oh-so-easy. (Discloser: I didn't get one. Pay attention here and notice how I don't whine about human error. Because it was OK--I brought my old-skool business cards. I still think ConAgra rocks for coming up with this brilliant idea.)

And the rest of the swag was FABULOUS. We got lovely sturdy Blissdom Lands End tote bags filled with had great stuff: a darling silver and pearl necklace with "Bliss" on it ... two bags of Hershey's Bliss chocolate (which--just so you know--is delicious) a CoverGirl smoky eye kit, two masks from the Bliss Spa, a coupon wallet from Red Plum, a pair of comfy socks from Hanes, a stainless steel water bottle from One2One ... really nice stuff.

See the bag of Waffle Cheddar chips? History.

The Tea Party photo ops

Think Ben realized that the one with the cane is Canadian?

PARTY!11!!!!!



And those intimidating A-list bloggers had to listen to me sing "Jambalaya" at Karaoke night. And in this case, I hope there is no blogging conference take-away. Particularly of the video variety.

UPDATE: Photographic proof that this really occurred exists, courtesy of Heather Durdil:

Poppy demonstrates that "me and my big mouth" has a literal as well
as metaphorical meaning.

11 comments:

  1. Great recap...and you're so right about all of it. Was my first conference and I am now addicted to Blissdom! So great meeting you, too neighbor!

    Tamara
    www.theunexperiencedmom.com

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  2. What an awesome recap-I love Blissdom and look forward to it each year.

    P.S. there is photographic proof of you rocking that song on karaoke night from me

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  3. Was a pleasure to see you again Poppy.

    Even more fun was poking you with my stick.

    Smooches.

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  4. I never even heard of Blissdom before now. Who runs it?

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  5. Hey Tamera-that-rhymes-with-camera!

    Heather--as you can see, I grabbed your photo. Let me know if I've violated your Creative Commons license.

    Tanis, if the poking gets me pregnant, I'm filing a paternity suit against your stick. Damages will be considerable. I'm going after every single feather boa you own.

    Rachel: ♥

    Suburban C: OMG--You have to go! Run away from the teenaged girl and the fridge that needs to be cleaned out. I did!

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  6. It was so wonderful to see you again! YOu make me laugh- and remind me that there is NO excuse for not looking great.


    Now get your butt over here and help me with that make-over.

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  7. I miss you already, and isn't Nap Warden so cute? She's so tiny, I wanted to put her in swag bag and take her home! Great pics, great post, great friends....it's all that and the bag of waffle chips you ate. :)

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  8. Great post! And wow, you really captured it that Blissdom IS Alli. I just adore Blissdom, but then I just adore Alli. And it was so nice to chat with you! No conference is complete without some Poppy!

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  9. We did not hug enough, just sayin. next time. Moar Hugs...
    Great recap, loved it. Love you!!

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  10. I am terribly late at commenting on this, but you summed up Blissdom wonderfully! I'm so glad we got the chance to sit and chat that night - it was one of the highlights of my entire experience.

    See you at BlogHer this year!

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Gentle Readers:

For the time being, I've turned off comment moderation. Please don't spam; it's not nice.

xxx, Poppy.