BlissDom 2013 was my first blogging conference, my first experience with meeting people in person who I’ve talked to for over a year, my first experience with meeting brands and PR people in person, and my first time to be so completely overwhelmed about what to write and when to write it…but here goes!
And, yes, I realize it’s been a month and guess what? I’m headed to another conference tomorrow so this whole cycle is behind again! My life is a series of being behind so this is normal to me.
My BlissDom Experience
To be honest, I had not considered going to Blissdom (well, briefly last year when it was announced for Dallas, but then I figured I couldn’t afford it so I gave up) until I heard about a sponsorship from Petit Jean Meats. I’m a member of the PJM Blue Diamond Club so I hear about things like this and other promotions. Even then, I thought I haven’t been a member very long so there was really not much of a chance that I would get a sponsorship. At the last minute, I decided to throw my name in the hat and was SHOCKED when they picked me!
I’ve worked with Petit Jean Meats before through my affiliation with Collective Bias and I loved making them a part of my Easter dinner, as well as making an amazing dessert with PJM bacon. I was thrilled to join their Blue Diamond Club, so this was just mayo on the BLT to be able to represent them at Blissdom. (<– did you get that icing on the cake reference, but turned into PJM products with the mayo and the BLT…okay, sorry, I’m amusing myself today)
Headed to Blissdom
I made arrangements with my family to help watch my boy and some transportation for Hubby since we only have one vehicle and I would be driving it. I also asked my aunt and Granny if I could stay with them to reduce the cost of lodging. I thought briefly about trying to find a roommate, but since this was my first conference and I found out about it so close to time to go, I didn’t want to room with someone I didn’t know and cause more anxiety, plus most people already had roommates. And, well, I just wanted to save some money.
On the day I was going to leave for the conference, I started feeling sick. Yeah, I’ve told my staph infection story, and I just really thought that I was over-excited (that happens to me) and maybe because I didn’t sleep well the night before. By the time I got to the Gaylord, I was exhausted, but ready to do this. I walked in, registered with confidence, and started looking around for signs of someone I knew.
Before the Conference – Dallas Cowboys Stadium!
As if I didn’t think Petit Jean Meats was already awesome (because I love their bacon and ham) and I was super excited to represent them at the conference, they also arranged for a few of us bloggers to tour the Dallas Cowboys Stadium before the conference. That is totally another post of its own, but let me just say – AWESOME!
After putting on my name badge, I noticed that several people kept coming up to me like they knew me and talking to me about the conference, welcoming me, and being so friendly. I didn’t know any of them, but everyone was so nice. It wasn’t until I made it to the Newcomer’s Meeting when someone mentioned the punch on my name badge. She may have let it slip that she knew I was a “first-timer” because of that punch…and then it all made much more sense.
I found a place to sit at a table and kept looking around while random people came up and talked to me and then I finally saw TWO familiar faces! Darcy from Tales from the Nursery and Maureen from Wisconsin Mommy found me and I instantly felt more relaxed. I ended up spending a lot of time with these two, but also met quite a few other great people.
I’m usually not a huge fan of the “ice breaker” games, but I did meet a couple of fun bloggers during this “trade business cards” task. I expected a little bit of advice or a few tips for newcomers, but this meet-up was just about networking with first timers.
You know, I think I’m going to make separate posts for all of the sponsors and sessions and other events that went on at the conference. There was just so much to do and so much to talk about that I can’t do it all in one post.
My Favorite Parts of Blissdom
1. Meeting Darcy and Maureen, as well as several other great bloggers, some of whom I’ve talked to online for over a year, some new to me.
2. Being inspired by the Keynote speakers and sessions I attended.
3. Meeting some fun sponsors – I especially love the GoGoSqueez room and the One to One brand salon!
4. Representing a brand that I know and love – Petit Jean Meats
5. Validating for myself that I can do this blogging thing, I can make a career out of it (even if I do have to keep my day job a little longer), and loving what I learned that encouraged me to do better!