A Vintage Crate + [Travel]

Finding My Bliss (Nashville-Style)

Guess where this lucky chick was this weekend? Nashville, Tennessee, Y'all! I was thrilled to attend a fabulous conference which I hadn't even heard of 2 months ago. BlissDom09 was hosted by Blissfully Domestic and the One2One Network.

**Now, I must tell you that I have only been on a plane less than a dozen times in my whole life, and I've certainly never flown solo. As for the question my friends and family kept asking beforehand: "How many other people did I know who'd be there?" Umm, that would be zero. But I wasn't going to let my nerves keep me from BLISS. Would you? ;)

At Blissdom, I absorbed as much information as possible from the panel speakers, who were astonishingly resourceful, accessible, and humble. The sessions in the apprentice track covered everything from naming your blog, using hosting platforms, blog design, to finding your voice, photo editing and outreach. The more experienced bloggers followed a track which focused on more advanced topics such as branding yourself, marketing your blog, and even book deals. The only downside was that I had to choose between sessions, thereby missing some of the other speakers. For this reason, I plan to purchase transcripts of the entire conference, so that I can listen to the panels I missed and review the ones I didn't.

What I wasn't expecting from Blissdom, was that I learned even more from the various women I chatted with throughout the weekend. From my lunch with Sparksfley on the first day...

...to hanging with my favorite Tennessee girlies (Edie, Leighann, Denise, and Kelly) on Friday night...

...Certainly chillin' on a Saturday with the likes of Poppy Buxom, Domestic Chicky, White Trash Mom, and the one and only Jen Lancaster, author and keynote extraordinaire was a night I won't soon forget...

Of course, how can I forget pushing the late, late-checkout in that sweltering hot (and smelly!) room on the eight floor. Six of us with later flights home were holed up trying to eek out a little more bliss. (Shout out to my late-check-out girls: Sugar, Roni, Jyl, Carissa, and Colleen.) Honestly, I could go on and on with all the fabulousness that was floating around at Blissdom09.

Don't even get me started on the live entertainment, cocktail parties, photo shoots,pajama parties and free giveaways. I will soon be sporting a pair of fabulous leopard-print Crocs courtesy of George Smith. Thankyouverymuch.

During the conference, it ocurred to me that my blog doesn't really fit into a particular niche. It's just my voice, for good or for bad. Who am I, for that matter? I'm not just a stay-at-home mother, chronic pain sufferer, thrift shopper, and harried housewife, but also a woman with varied interests, latent creativity, and her own unique perspective.

Of course, having attended this conference doesn't magically transform me into a better writer, photographer, or even someone who knows the first thing about html. (I only wish!) What I acquired at Blissdom was a sense of empowerment to just be myself. To write about what I know. What I like. What I feel. The hope is that my readers will like me for who I am, and want to come along for the ride. (Oh yeah, and I gained a bunch of new friends!)

To anyone considering reaching outside of your comfort zone, and going down a new path (even though you may be afraid of failure - and really, who isn't?), I'd certainly recommend going for it. I have never felt a stronger sense of being exactly where I was supposed to be than I did this past weekend. (Although being at my children's births was pretty special, too.)

Not for one minute did I feel that I was less valuable than anyone else. I'm talking about very successful people here, that is, in the traditional sense of how success is measured. There were women who own their own companies, bloggers who've been blogging for years, people with all kinds of awards, sponsorships, book deals, etc. Did they make me, little ole Vintagesquirrel, who's been blogging for less than two months, feel inferior? Not for a second. I am one of them.

I am a blogger.

**Finally, I want to thank my fabulous husband, Tommy, for not just saying that I could go, but for insisting that I should go...Mmmwah.