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Monday, September 28, 2009

Type-A-Mom Conference Recap ala Carolyn

Okay for my regular blog readers this will be a weird post that you are going to go: WTH is she talking about? But then again, I think you do that anyway. So I am warning you that you might want to come back later in the week when I get back to blogging about the usual nonsense of my life. But since this is something I did, I had to blog about it!

A little background for those willing to stick it out. When I started blogging in January I was clueless. I started blogging willy-nilly just like I do most of the stuff in my life. I put up a blog started writing and that's all I knew. Because I knew nothing about blogging, I had no idea what I was walking into. There is a whole world out there that revolves around blogging and I was sucked into it.

So when I read that Kelby Carr aka Type-A-Mom was going to have a conference in Asheville, I decided that I was going to go. It was close and affordable so I went for it. I was a little apprehensive because most of my blogger contacts are what people call "mom bloggers". And this was billed as a Mom Blogger conference. I remember contacting Kelby and asking if I could attend since as most of you know I am NOT a Mom and really have an aversion to children of any age under 18. But she said that any blogger could attend because this was going to benefit anyone who blogs. So I signed up.

The fantastic thing about blogging is that all of a sudden you are thrown in a community of people who are diverse as all get out. From blogging I found Twitter and that is a whole universe unto itself. For my regular readers who have no idea what Twitter is, I am not going to explain it here but it's a social media device. I know right now you guys are reading this scratching your head and saying, Carolyn has gone nuts, again. But that's nothing new. :0)

Anyway, in 9 months I have "met" tons of people online through their blogs or Twitter who I really like. Many are moms and some have different point of views than me but somehow we click. We chat, we tweet, we comment on each other's blogs. We are virtual friends.

So these past few days I actually got to meet some of these people in person and there was not one instance where I was let down. Everyone was as nice as pie. So these are highlights of my first blogger conference experience. I am sure I will leave off a lot of people because I am a freak and have the worst memory. I should have blogged from there but I am lazier than sin and didn't. I barely took any pictures because I am a slacker.

So here goes.

Type-A-Mom Conference Recap

When I first arrived at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, I went to check in and immediately saw Nicole from Pink & Posh. We recognized each other. I remember reading her blog a few days before and she had the cutest picture and was modeling some really cute clothes she had gotten for the conference. She recognized me from Facebook where I actually have a real picture of me instead of my Screaming girl avatar. We said hello, hugged and chatted. She is so cute and fun. I was lucky I got to see her a few times during the conference. I also met Jeri her blogmate at Pink & Posh.

After checking in, I settled in and was going to order some lunch when I saw a tweet from Aparna from Parentella asking who was here at the hotel. I had never tweeted with Aparna but decided to answer her tweet and she immediately responded saying if I was going to eat she would be happy to join me so I wouldn't be alone. How sweet was that? We tweeted again and agreed to meet downstairs. In the meantime, I got a tweet from Melanie from Modern Mami who I know from Twitter and she asked if she could join and we said sure. She and her friend Shari from The Crazed Mommy Reviews came down and we had a nice lunch. Aparna was one of the nicest people I met at the conference. And she was so interesting and just overall cool. At the bar I also got to meet Jennifer from Savor the Thyme. Savor the Thyme is a great foodie blog I often visit. We had tweeted before the conference and wanted to meet so it was cool we did. And if you like food, visit her site because she always has something yummy on it.

After lunch, I stopped by the HP Suite and ogled some great HP toys. I met Angela from HP and got to fondle her Vivianne Tam Mini. I was so jealous because it is beautiful. I also found out Vivianne Tam has another style coming out. Then Giovanni from HP let me play with all the cool toys. He was so patient because I was asking a million questions and I left there wanting a new printer and computer and one of those darling pink HP minis! The new HP printer was awesome. It does like 101 new cool things including scanning old photos. I really loved it because I need something to scan some old photos to use in my blog. They also have a cool touch screen computer that was in one word: amazing.

After that I went back to the room to change for the Speed Dating session and reception. At Speed Dating we all sat a tables, talked and introduced ourselves. We did this a few times and I met sooooo many people who I knew from their blogs or from Twitter. I wish I could remember everyone I talked to but it was quick and fast and way too many people to remember. The funny thing is because I use the Screaming or Jumpy Girl as my avatar people didn't know me. Some knew my blogs but it wasn't until I whipped out my business card with her picture that people would say OMG I know you!

At the last table I ended up sitting with Christina from Cutest Kid Ever and Lucinda from Loving My Joes!. I remembered Christina because she and I were featured on Resourceful Mommy's website on a community site-warming party. I had never met her but glad I did. The three of us hit it off and then went on to the reception for a while. While there I met Tamara from Mom RN and Amber from Skin MD. We talked to more peeps and then we went to the Blue Drink Party at Mulligan's Bar in the hotel for a little while. Aparna was nice enough to buy pizza for the party so we went to grab a slice and a drink. Since I am old, I didn't hang out long.

The next day I got up early and went down to breakfast and to watch the Dress Barn fashion show. I have to say that I never shop at Dress Barn but after I saw what a great job they did dressing the models (who were all bloggers) I will have to go check them out. They had models of all shapes and sizes and everyone looked great. At breakfast I sat with Nicole, Elizabeth from A Nut in a Nutshell and Jyl from The Post-it Place and Blog Friendly PR. Jyl (right) was so sweet and helpful and we got to talk more the next day at the Mom's Market. Then the rest of the day I hung out with Elizabeth since we were attending the same sessions. What a fantastic lady and we found we had lots in common.

During the day I also got to meet Jen from JenHinton.com and other sites and I was glad because when I first started blogging and tweeting she was always so nice. I also met Kim from Crafty Mama of 4 who I really like from twitter and her blog. And then I also got to meet Beth from The Plus Size Mommy. I love her tweets and blog as well. They were both super sweet. That day I also got to meet 1/3 of the Wii Mommies. I love that site because it has tons of info about the Wii and they have great twitter parties as well. While sitting in a session I got a tweet from Sarah from Real Life and she realized we were in the same session and then we realized I was 2 tables behind her. She is a sweetheart and has the BEST southern accent ever. Since I believe in a past life I HAD to be Southern Belle, I was jealous.

I had met Amy from Resourceful Mommy the night before and she joined us at one session along with Janine from The Buzz Cooperative. Other great people I met Stacie from The Divine Miss Mommy who was very sweet. I kept exchanging tweets with Renee from Cutie Booty Cakes and we kept missing each other until Saturday when I saw her out in the hall and was glad I got to meet her.

I went out on a speaker's dinner and was happy when I found out that Christina and Tamara were coming along on the dinner with Amy (that's Amy on the left) and Shannan from Crib to Car Keys and Momfluence. I was also glad to see that Sandy from Organize with Sandy was coming along as well. Also at the dinner were 2 great ladies from the Chester County Moms and Angela from Social Studies Group. We went to The Savoy Restaurant in Asheville. The dinner was great. We had fun and got to hear a lot of information from Amy and Shannan. I so admire Amy and what she has done with her blog and her consulting business. Plus, I love love love her Site Warming Twitter parties. Angela sat across from me and when the server brought us a starter before dinner we clicked. It was a shot glass with a soup made with white beans, a fried onion and truffle oil. It was seriously one of the best things I have ever eaten. Since she was sitting across from me we ended up talking food all night! She was very sweet and interesting. We took breaks and talked to the others but mainly we talked food and everyone knows I love food. We exchanged her cards and promised to exchange recipes. The whole evening was fabulous spent with new friends.

The bus ride was a lot of fun as well. Sometime during the bus ride the issue of "Bless Her Heart" came up and I explained to the group about how I was taught that you could say anything mean about anybody here in the south and as long as you say bless his heart and bless her heart, it was okay.

We headed to the bar after the speaker's dinner and although I didn't stay long I got to say hello and give a hug to another 1/3 of the Wii Mommies, Julie from Momspective. I love Julie because she is super funny! I enjoy her blog and tweets. So I was so glad she drove down and I got to say hello! I didn't stay long and went back to the room to shower and relax and get ready for the next day.

The next day I slept in then visited the Mom's Market (Nicole and Stacie on the right - Nicole doing the Twitter pose) and bought the cutest little handmade Monster (see below). I can't be left alone with money and stuffed toys because I will buy one. Then I attended more sessions along with Christina. Luckily, we found Elizabeth and we all hung out together. The sessions were great. Lunch from Chick-fil-A wasn't bad either. I was so good though and although I ate the bag of chips, I left the brownie! I am hating the thought of getting on the evil Wii because the last few days were Nutrisystem be damned. But I so need to get back on the program now that I am home!!

I had checked out earlier in the day and packed the car and just kept my computer with me the rest of the day. I left the conference early because I was meeting Tom at the Grove Park Inn to spend the night there. I was sad to leave and that sounds weird but I saw a lot of bloggers whose blogs I read and visit. It's a weird experience putting a person to a Twitter Id and/or blog to a real person. But, in the end, I was glad I was going to see Tom and have a relaxing evening at a cool hotel. I will blog about the Grove Park Inn later this week because I didn't want to make this a freaking novel.

I also want to add that these are some speakers I was so glad I got to hear. Joanne at Pundit Mom. I love her site and if you love politics you need to check it out. I have been visiting her site even before I knew anything about blogging. Cecily from Uppercase Woman was a "find". Why I have never followed her or read her blog is beyond me but I am all over her blog now.

Katja from Skimbaco Lifestyle and Kelby from Type-A-Mom did a fantastic session on Blogging and Social Media Karma. Since I think it's important to have good karma, I was glad to hear a lot of bloggers are always "paying it forward." The Blogger Outreach and Public Relations session was fantastic and I learned a lot. The two General Panels: Social and Collaborative Blogging and the Blogger Town Meeting were good as well.

I had a great time. I learned that in the short time I have been blogging I think I am doing pretty well. I am sure I am also doing some willy-nilly things I shouldn't but in the end, you have to do what's good for you. I also learned that I have a long way to go if I ever want to make money from my blog. And, I am not even sure if I want to. When I started blogging, I did it for totally different reasons and never even thought that people can actually make a living doing it but they do. Like I said it's a whole different world I knew nothing about until this year.

Overall, it was well worth going and who knows where my blogs will take me. The good thing is that I had no expectations when I began blogging and, for the moment, am happy with the progress I made.

Kelby and her crew did a fantastic job organizing the event. And for all those who know me from my professional life know that I am super critical of events I go to so when I say it was a good event, it probably was.

For my regular readers who stuck it out. I will be back to writing the usual nonsense this week.



P.S. I want to add that I also met Felicia from Go Graham Go and she was so sweet and it was so nice meeting her. See I knew I would forget someone! Boo Carolyn.

6 comments:

  1. Excellent recap! I so wish you could make it to Blogalicious. Your post will prepare me as for example I had no intention on taking my computer with me.

    I'm so happy you had fun and had a great time meeting gals.

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  2. I LOVE THIS POST. it makes me wish I could have been there even more! :snif snif:

    So happy you had a GREAT time! :)

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  3. I had to laugh when you mentioned that your regular readers won't have a clue what you're talking about.

    And why didn't I take a picture of us? So dumb of me. We have to at BlogHer!

    I think I'm pretty happy with where I am with my blog right now too.

    I'm so happy we met and that we're now friends! :)

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  4. OK, seriously, I wish I had been there for the Bless Her Heart conversation, if you're not already connected to @playgroupie on Twitter, you should...she's awesome and Southern like you!

    Wish we could have had the opportunity to connect...consider me your blog's newest fan!

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  5. It was so nice to meet you this weekend! This is a great recap!

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  6. Aww, I love you and I love the fact that I was the first person you recognized there. (you were my first too, lol) - And..you got very lucky, not many people have pictures of me smiling, lol. I'm so glad that you enjoyed yourself and got to meet some wonderful people. Maybe next time I should shop less and network more, haha.

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