Friday, June 04, 2010

Casual Blogger Conference 2010!

I'm probably the last person around to post about the conference, but I gotta. Especially 'cause I've got a couple pictures.

Thursday night was the speakers' dinner. I got to meet all kinds of people I've known only online, like Shelle (the conference photographer), Lolli (sat next to her at dinner!), April, and many, many more.

Each speaker stood and introduced themselves and their blog title, and when I did, I heard a squeal on the other side of the room. (Ego stroke? You betcha.) Turns out it was the totally awesome MommyJ and InkMom, who are these lovable blogging sisters I adore from North Carolina. I was thrilled to meet them. (And they're JUST as great in person as I could have hoped.)

Motherboard, MomBabe, and Julie did a fantastic job getting everything ready and rolling. The speakers got amazing swag bags (I spent a good hour after getting home slapping my daughters' hands and saying, "No, that's MINE!")

Here I am with April Durham, who designed my Tower of Strength button (scroll down; it's still on my sidebar. I love it).

Just about everyone else got to head to the Girls' Night Out at the Hilton Garden Inn, but I went home to my kidlets, so I have no pictures of getting my toenails painted or memories of a massage.

The next day the conference began in earnest. As is to be expected, it rocked. For me, one of the highlights was having dinner with Jillybean and Amberlicious, plus several gals who looked oddly but very familiar. I see a lot of people online and at various conferences, so I assumed it was because, well, we're at a blogger conference, so of course they look familiar.

But we got talking, and turns out that nope, the familiarity wasn't due to blogging. We all went to the same high school at the same time. How weird is that? We talked about favorite teachers and goofy things that happened during those delightful and somewhat hellish years.

Then Like Swimming and I compared notes and clued in on each other's maiden names. Turns out that yes, we went to high school together, but check it: our dads are practically best friends. Or, well, they worked very closely together for many years and really liked each other. Same thing. I've heard oodles of great stories about her dad, and vice versa.

[Cue Twilight Zone music.]

I got to ride to and from dinner with Jillybean and hear all kinds of great Max stories. (I know you're jealous. If you aren't, you totally should be. It's thanks to Max that my kids are Journey fans. Seriously. Remember this post?)

That night was a great concert in the main hall, but after a spell, my head started yelling at me. DeNae and I tried talking (we'd met in passing in April at the LDStorymakers conference but never got to TALK).

But it was a little loud for that, so we headed into lobby for some quiet. Next thing we knew, we'd drawn a lot of others around for a good old blogger chat, including Crash, MommyJ and InkMom. (Apparently, in the process, we missed out on seeing Annie shaking her pregnant belly as she danced during the concert. Bummer. Although I hear you can see a video of it on Shelle's blog.)

We kept scooting around the benches and finding more chairs. It was so much fun just talking to people in real life who you've known only online.

That night my body didn't cooperate (thanks, fatigue- and noise-induced headaches and funky medication side effects!) so I didn't get to the opening of the conference Saturday morning. Everything I did see, though, from the vendors to the classes to the people, was awesome.

Lunch (sheesh, you'd think all I think about is food or something) rocked. I ate in the hallway with Crash and T. and Alexes and others.

As you can see, I can't sit still without waving my hands about.

I'd already met the darling Annie at a previous bloggy thing, but I hadn't seen her this pregnant. She's gorgeous pregnant. Somehow, I love her anyway. I don't know what she was doing in this picture, but I have to post it, because it brought me joy. (Since I missed her dancing at the concert, this is the next best thing, right?)

I taught a class about how to get published, since so many bloggers have discovered that hey, they like this writing gig and then want to get published . . . now what? We came within a hair's breadth of disaster when the projector didn't work, but then, after Mr. Techie dude spent 10 minutes trying to figure out the functions on my laptop, he realized that the projector wasn't plugged all the way in to the wall.

Gotta love low-tech solutions. Phew.

The class went well, I think (and people left with prizes . . . so they have to be happy, right?).

Dinner was with some of my favoritest (that's a word) bloggers ever, including Shanna, Annie, Crash, DeNae, Kristina, and Amber.

(I KNOW! It's like the blogging elite or something! How did I get invited? No clue. Actually, it's because DeNae is a sweetheart and took me under her wing. I think I owe her Diet Coke for that.)

It was fun. It was exhausting. I learned a ton. I met oodles of awesome people and got their cards so I can find their blogs. I signed on to Blog Frog so I have my very own community where my readers can talk to one another. (See the widget over there? Click on it.)

For more pictures (including one of me chugging Mtn. Dew), visit Crash's post about the conference and Shelle's Flickr conference page.


LisAway said...

What fun!! I'm sorry your head didn't cooperate all the time, but glad you enjoyed it when it did!!

Rebecca Irvine said...

Love the new look of your blog! Sounds like the conference was fun. There are so many people from the blog world I would love to meet. I guess being an AZ resident is a handicap in some ways.

Kristina P. said...

I haven't posted about either, so you are definitely not the last.

And you got invited because we love you and think you are cool!

Kristina P. said...

Oh, and you need to put the other Blog Frog widget in your sidebar. The one you have shows your recent visitors, but it doesn't link to your community so I can join. Boo.

Randi said...

How fun! I'm completely jealous that you got to meet so many of my favorite bloggers!
I'm so glad it went well.

Sher said...

I'm bummed I didn't get a pic with you. I got home, looked at all 4 pictures I took, and was disappointed.
It was fun hosting for you, even thought I stuttered like a bumbling fool, and botched your intro.
It was great to see you again!

Melanie Jacobson said...

I had to choose between this and Storymakers and I chose correctly, but man, I sure missed out on some fun and meeting some of my favorite people. I will forever regret not seeing Inkmom and Mommy J. Sad.

Unknown said...

You are so cute. I felt like I was dining with the LDS PUBLISHING elite at dinner! I was so flattered when you said that you would love to come to dinner with us!

And I'm pretty sure that's my foot in the picture with Crash, who in turn is eating half of my lawn-clipping sandwich. (Seriously, who makes a vegetarian sandwich with nothing but spinach and sprouts? No cheese, no tomato, no nuthin'!)

I'm sorry your head was ready to explode, but I'm equally happy that you and I got some face time - before the whole party moved out to join us!

Love you, sweet girl. We need to spend more time together. Hey! Come to Vegas with Kristina, Amber, Annie, and Sher at the end of June! We're gonna play all weekend, and this is a FORMAL invitation. I'll e-mail you.

Kimberly Vanderhorst said...

First...that shade of red you're wearing in the first picture? GORGEOUS on you.

Second...I have made a vow not to express any envy towards CBC attendees. At all. Therefore, I will now stop commenting on this post lest I break my vow...

Nishant said...

Love the new look of your blog
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Meggen said...

Annette, you look beautiful! Sounds like a fun weekend! And . . . I, too, love the new blog look!

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

LOVE the new look of your blog! And thanks for the wonderful links! Looks like the CBC was a fun time. I'll have to catch it next year or did I totally miss out?

Cluttered Brain said...

i too think that shade of red looks great on you!!!

I really enjoyed your class. I especially like that part when you said you have always been interested in writing, and your husband asks you something like, "So what are you doing about submitting?"

My hubby is like that too.

I need to get on that submission thing. I already have an older copy of Writer's market.

And I am working on a copy of Writer's Digest the magazine. :)

Cluttered Brain said...

And have I told you lately that I love your header!!!!
Well I do.

DID YOU do this??

Wow. Sweet.

* said...

Sounds like you rocked the conference, projector and all. :) Yes, I so wish I could've gone {inner "waaaaaaaa" from me} but maybe next year.

Strange coincidence about those other mamas who you later found out you went to school with, etc. Strange & marvelous, the connections we find with each other in life.

PS: Love the changes to your blog, they are beautiful, as are you!!

TisforTonya said...

definitely DeNae's foot - and yeah - the lawn clipping sandwich could have used a little something!

The picture of Annie has me rolling because I'm pretty sure that's when she was telling her story about the granny panty waist nippers flying out of the overhead compartment for the young returned missionary to pick up for her. THAT was worth every boring moment of the drive!

I haven't posted about it either yet, it will probably sneak into little bits here and there over the coming weeks - I'm pretending that I'm not lazy and that it's just more fun that way!

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

It was also fantastic meeting you! And thanks for linking back to me!

Annie was talking about how her girdle flew in the air in front of a sweet missionary!

That was a golden moment! :)


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