Very few things in the world can trump binge watching the release of a new series on Netflix, especially if it is Season 2 of Orange is the New Black after the cliffhanger end to Season 1. The promise of breaking free of toddler bedtime drama for two whole nights to #GetSchooled by my favorite bloggers while being spoiled with a beer tasting, a cupcake bar, and a RetroProm, got me to quickly forget about the antics of Piper and the rest of the Litchfield Penitentiary crew.
Last weekend, I spent about 36 hours at #BlogU14, a blog conference organized by Stephanie at Binkies & Briefcases and other top humor bloggers. Or as I like to call them, the fabulous women who have kept me entertained since my pregnancy three years ago. This group of faculty made sure every detail was in place – whether it was elaborate PowerPoints or ensuring there was enough glutten free food to feed half of America.
I learned an incredible amount at BlogU14. From understanding graphic design to discovering the best writing avenue for my style, no stone was missed with this comprehensive and intimate blogging conference. My head is still swimming with all the information. There is so much I could cover in my summary of this remarkable conference, but I decided to focus on the top 3 things I learned.
Lesson #1 – Success in Blogging is about Finding Your Tribe.
OMG Candy Bar at #BlogU14
Throughout BlogU14, one theme was very clear: blogging is a sisterhood. Kind of like sisterhood of the traveling pants, but with mom butts as so brilliantly created by BlogU14 Faculty Member, Kim at Let Me Start by Saying.
In a nutshell, we celebrate the victories of our fellow writers and help those who hit a bump in the road find their way. As a newbie to blogging, the lack human interaction with the process is a bit awkward. At times, it can feel like shooting darts into the wind. You tweet, you write, you comment, and sometimes you get no response.
At BlogU14, I found my cheering section (aka my tribe). Through conversations, I learned about what makes each writer tick, what are their tips for success, and what is next in store for each of them. It is very motivating to be a part of such a driven group. For example, Old School New School Mom addresses the joys of parenting and raises awareness for addressing mental health issues. Then there was A Brief Pause, who does what we all dream of – travel the world snapping photos.These two ladies are just two examples of the impressive people I met.
Side bar — the hidden perk of BlogU14 was having the opportunity to personally thank all the bloggers who have been so incredibly helpful with answering questions on blogging and/or who write pieces to keep me sane and laughing throughout this crazy adventure called parenthood.
Just so you know, this tribe has already proven helpful. Within days of the conference, someone I met put me in touch with a great writing opportunity. Details will be shared next month, but I am very excited about this fabulously wonderful project.
Lesson #2 – Like parenting, the best memories are unplanned moments.
Words of Wisdom from #NickMom
After the Full Tilt Beer tasting, we returned to our dorms (yes dorms, just like college). A number of us ventured up to a lounge for an impromptu open mic. This was hands down one of the best artistic experiences I’ve ever encountered. It was wonderful to see just regular moms get up there and read some of their work. Pretty sure I was too chicken to do so, but it was nice to take in the work of others. I laughed to the point of almost peeing my pants. My heart broke when I heard at an incredible story of never losing hope which was told by my roommate, Becoming Super Mommy. The funny thing about blogging is you can write, but in most cases, you don’t see your audience. You don’t know if what you write will fall flat on the page or if people will click off your words. For this open mic – which lasted well past midnight – it was beautiful to see everyone resisting the chance to enjoy sleep in order to hear all of the open mic pieces.
Lesson #3: The Dance Floor is Not My Oasis.
Drinks at the #NickMom RetroProm — Already better than my real prom #BlogU14
Saturday Night of BlogU14 featured a RetroProm sponsored by NickMom. NickMom went all out with the decorations. It was like if Pinterest had a birthday party. Balloon arches everywhere. Inflatable couches for lounging. Centerpieces with cassette tapes. Of course, no prom is complete without awesome music. Solid hits from the 70s, 80s, and 90s blasted throughout the room. There were even old school music videos on the TVs! Most of my fellow bloggers tore-up the dance floor like Carlton on Fresh Prince. And then there was me. I pray there isn’t video of my “moves”, but to give you idea, watch this video of the First Lady and Jimmy Fallon doing the mom dance (Courtesy of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon):