Monday, February 27, 2012

Blissdom 2012

{l-r: new business cards from Alexandra received lots of compliments; the baby bump is growing everyday; 
Diane Cu doing her thing during her amazing session; touchdown at John Wayne airport}

Blissdom started out with tears for me, big surprise I know.  After a 6 am flight, lack of food and overwhelming emotions, I lugged my things to my room at the Opryland Hotel and I thought to myself, "Why on earth am I here, why did I come half way across the country?  For what?"  Actually, first though I thought "Why on Earth did they make this hotel so friggin big?"  I still don't get it.  But after a quick pep talk from a friend and a bit of freshening up, I went downstairs determined to have a better attitude.  I'm so thankful I did. 

Blissdom was amazing, much better than I thought it was going to be.  I went to 6 sessions and half of them were informative and I got something out of them.  The other half were just okay, but I had kind of expected it.  Jon Acuff was the keynote speaker and was awesome, really and truly.  So inspiring and funny and smart and real.  Lots of adjectives contained in this post by the way...be warned.

My favorite sessions were hosted by the White On Rice team Diane Cu and Todd Porter.  You guys, they made me cry, and it's not because I'm hormonal.  I have been a fan of their work for a while and to be honest, once I saw that they (and Erin Loechner) were going to be speaking at Blissdom, I bought my ticket.  Their session was about embracing the imperfections in your photography and your story, and going beyond the obvious when taking your photos.  They showed an example of work they did for Whole Foods where they sold a farmer's avocados by never even showing avocados.  Email me if you have questions about this, but their message was brilliant and inspiring.  Lots of good online resources were shared too for finding free music to use with videos and editing.  And I always thought they were based in LA but they are actually just a few minutes away from me in Orange County and they invited me to their studio!  The love that these two have for photography is just contagious and really I can't express just how touching and inspiring their session was for me.  If this session was the only good one I attended while at Blissdom I would have been thrilled.

Lucky for me though I also got to attend another great session hosted by Alli Worhtington and Erin Loechner.  Both of these ladies are ridiculously kind and sweet, especially Erin.  At one point I almost asked her if she was really so nice, because seriously guys, she was really nice.  I told you lots of nice adjectives were to be contained in this post.  Anyhow, their session was Stop Monetizing Your Joy, and the main takeaway was that as bloggers and entrepreneurs we tend to try and take everything we love and figure out a way to make money out of it.  Find something (if you don't already have something) and do it just for you.  Don't let it become your next blog subject or series, and just do it for the pure joy of it.  This will leave you the space and creativity you need to be more successful and free with the projects that you do monetize.  For me, Hayley and Laura, we all agreed reading was our one thing we do only for ourselves.  Overall a great session.

The other good session for me was hosted by Christine Koh whom I had met at Camp Mighty and she talked about Doing Less As a Life Strategy.  I liked her session so much because she didn't advise dropping everything you love like writing projects, hobbies and blogging, just to do less, but make priorities, say no to things that aren't on that priority list, stay focused on your specific content, be selective about projects and just be patient before you make decisions and jump into things.

But aside from the great sessions and inspiring keynote address, the best part of Blissdom was the chance to meet so many amazing and nice women.  Everyone was nice guys, not just Erin.  Barbara Jones told me they had a strict "no assholes" policy, which I completely appreciated.  It was so refreshing to see over 700 women come together in such a supportive and loving way.  I'm sure there was some cattiness here and there, but I personally didn't have to deal with any.  My roommates Allison, Virginia and Anne were fun and kind and I feel very blessed to have met them and spent 3 amazing days with them.  There were so many other wonderful women I met over the 3 days, too many to list.  But I'll just end this by saying that I will be back next year, and I'm taking Jules with me.

I'm working on posts for the new blog so I can get it up this week, so my posts may be a little spotty but all the content I'm creating over there will hopefully make up for it.  I hope to launch by the end of the week so stay tuned.  If I met you at Blissdom and I maybe didn't grab your card, please say hi so I can follow you along and keep in touch.

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