When people ask me what BlissDom is like, I often use the word "lovefest." And this year BlissDom didn't disappoint -- it was beyond wonderful. I was in the unusual position of attending to work a booth for a client, as well as to speak, which was such an honor given the new format and small speaker roster. There were so many wonderful moments, but here are the ones that stuck through my haze of sleep deprivation en route home:
The opening reception. I love that BlissDom hosts an opening reception. It's the perfect time to reconnect with old friends and meet new ones. I squealed. A lot. I even warned people that I would probably be squealing. A lot. I loved that Danielle, Meredith, and Jenny were the first people I saw when I landed at the event. I will happily sandwich between Meredith and Jenny any time -- I think I look prettier just because I'm standing between them. Bonus!
Connecting with so many amazing people at the More Birthdays booth. One of the reasons I was at BlissDom was on behalf of the American Cancer Society, a client of Women Online. The booth was so fantastic -- it was amazing that so many people took the time to share their cancer stories with us and join the fight for More Birthdays. So awesome. Also, who doesn't love a photo booth with props? Also, I love Julie and Jyl so much.
Having my friends show up for me at my DO LESS as a Life Strategy talk. I admit that I'm one of those people who sometimes worries a bit that no one will show up to my party, and my friends totally had my back. Thank you friends! Also, that talk reminded me of how much I adore public speaking. And making pretty slides. Clearly, I should be hired to public speak and make pretty slides!
The response from my talk was so gratifying. The day before my talk I wasn't exactly having jitters, but I had a few moments of concern that maybe my talk wasn't good enough. Or that people wouldn't be receptive to my ideas. But the response dispelled those worries. And it was so amazing to hear about people's journeys with doing less (I was particularly impressed by how Jo-Lynne and Steph are really taking action on this). Clearly, doing less is a topic that resonates -- it's the perfect time to sit down with Asha and write Minimalist Parenting!
Dinner with dear friends. The first night of the conference, several of us gathered for dinner. It was magical. I felt a little emotional, actually, looking around the table and realizing how lucky I am to know these people.
First meetings. I had a lot of those "OMG I love you on the internet, I'm so glad we're finally meeting!" moments -- including Kyran (who I've been Twitter crushing on for some time) Tracey (who I've known forever on the internet and cannot believe was meeting for the first time), Chrysula (an utterly brilliant woman with the most delicious accent), Katherine (a kick ass advocate for postpartum women everywhere), Me Ra (my fellow Korean at the conference...and man, I love her happy spirit), and Ana (one word = delightful). I also met Zakary. Every now and then I meet a new (to me) blogger and think, "Wow, this person has awesome mojo. I want to get to know them better, like, 10 days ago." Zakary was that person for me. She's the lovely blond to the right of my dear, long time peeps Jim and Steph (who I adored spending so much time with on this trip).
Rachel's squeezes. I think Rachel and I full on or side hugged about 10 times during BlissDom. She is just such a warm lovable friend. Look at how her eyes sparkle even while we're cast in an odd pink hue. Also, she can do splits. That's pretty rad.
Shannon. She makes me laugh, she makes me cry. She doesn't mind encourages my inappropriate behavior. She also has shockingly neat handwriting. I love you Shannon. (Also, has anyone noticed how sweet and innocent she looks? Looks being the operative word of course.)
Mystery cocktails. Jess and I managed to find a bit of time together to get a drink and all I can say is man, I adore this woman. Like, would throw myself under a bus for this woman. She is smart and funny and has the best, most spirited laugh ever. She's also insanely beautiful and has awesome style yet doesn't make you feel bad if you're not looking so awesome. It was sort of shocking that our conversation spanned deep and philosophical monk-like things and raunchy humor -- not the least of which involved the fact that when I asked for a fruity, yummy drink, the bartender served me a mystery cocktail that I later learned was called The Leg Spreader. EEK. This is Jess (on the right), with the insanely funny Meagan Francis. I'm not sure the wider world knows how insanely funny Meagan is. I pretty much was peeing in my pants with laughter the whole time I was with her.
Farklemptness...brought to you by Hallmark. When Hallmark tweeted me, saying I had a card in their suite, I admit that the cranky old blogger in me was a little suspicious...as in, oh no, I'm being link baited, I am not going to your suite! I mentioned this to someone and they said, no, you must go...it is awesome! When I got there, the Hallmark people immediately recognized me (I guess I look like my avatar...or maybe it was just that I was one of the few Asians on site) and said, "ooh, you have a bunch of mail!" I went to my mailbox to find several cards from friends at the conference and found myself on the brink of tears. It was, like, the total opposite of when people sent around candy canes or carnations in middle school and I almost never got any. I immediately sat down and "mailed" a dozen cards. It was awesome. I'm sorry I doubted you Hallmark!
Passing moments. Even the passing moments at BlissDom were replete with love. I always freak the eff out when I see Amy, Aimee, Laurie, Joanne, and Cecily. Casey and I collectively obsessed over the awesomeness of baby rolls (her photos of Vivi make me pass out). I got to give Janice a big hug (something I have wanted to do acutely for a few weeks now). Seriously, who's cuter than Dina? It was lovely to connect with my Boston peeps Sarah, Charlene, and Jodi. I also loved getting some quality chat time with Anissa, Carmen, and Ellen at breakfast one day. I almost feel as if I'm absorbing some of Megan's brilliance via osmosis when I'm around her. OMG Arianne and that adorable baby. And it was wonderful to have brief moments of connection with Alli and Barbara, despite how busy they were this weekend. Also, I want Barbara's hair in my next life.
A quiet and lovely dinner. Despite the craziness of the conference, I managed to have a quiet and lovely dinner with my amazing friend Erin -- it was just such a perfect way to follow all the busy activities of the day. Erin and I had the time and space to sit down and talk deeply about all things personal and professional. I feel so grateful to know her and cannot wait for her little baby to enter this world. I mean, really, how stinkin' cute is Erin? Also, I can't wait to wear that Ann Taylor statement necklace again. I received about 8,294 compliments on it.
Asha. I had many, many moments with Asha but this photo pretty much sums up where we are at. We had just signed up for Picha (amazing new venture, btw) and the person running the suite asked if we wanted to jump on trampolines and get our picture taken. Well, of course we did. The staffer pushed two trampolines next to each other and I was both laughing really hard and also somewhat concerned that I was going to injure myself. What joy. What silliness. What a blessing that I get to work insanely closely with Asha over the next year on our book.
I have a sinking feeling I'm forgetting people but the point is this: What an incredible community -- I am so grateful to be a part of it.