Frozen Wiggly Rivers Lead Away From Blissdom but Toward Bliss

I was going to write 4 more posts about Blissdom. Yep – 4. But instead, I’ve decided to write one really long one. So hang on to your girdle Myrtle…it’s gonna be a long ride!

I awoke in the early morning following my last evening at Blissdom and packed my things in the dim hotel light – mostly because my exhausted eyes couldn’t handle the bright overheads. I raced down the LOOOOONG hallway and over the sky bridge, dragging my full-to-bursting suitcase behind me to find two of my new friends waiting at the shuttle, concerned that I might not make it in time.

We rode to the airport, shairng our excitement over the experience and some new opportunities we now had as a result of our conversations with other amazing bloggers at the conference.

We hugged at our gates, knowing this was just goodbye for now because we would all be chatting later, online. These friends will never be far away – they’re always as close as a computer screen.

Later, as I flew over Colorado, I looked out the window and through a break in the cloud I saw these long, frozen, wiggly rivers and realized they were all carrying me away from Blissdom…but back to my own personal Bliss in the form of my family – sweet Pineapple and loving DH.

I learned a lot at Blissdom. A lot of things that will help me be a better blogger (hopefully) and a lot of things about some new friends – and even myself. So what did I learn? Pull up a monitor and I’ll tell you:

  • Pretty cream and blue tote bags full of treats and information from sponsors that care enough about this community (and recognize their power of influence) to make this conference happen totally rule. Hanes, Hunts, Mam, COVERGIRL, ConAgra, Hershey’s, Arnold, Mabel’s Labels, Blue Bunny and so many others brought this conference to light. Some of the products and companies I already knew about – others were new to me – but ALL were appreciated.
  • Dinner – both cheaper Irish food and posh American cuizine – with friends (@unxperiencedmom, @adventuremomj, @queenmotherblog, and @ehood in particular) – is a wonderful way to spend your time. I rarely get the chance and I highly recommend it!
  • Trying to find a place to eat and having a walking adventure as a result (because, have I MENTIONED how huge Opryland is?!) is a fun, impromptu form of exercise – much better than Tae Bo (that Billy Blanks is just ASKING for it, I tell ya.)
  • Sometimes a new friend can be right next to you and you miss the chance to meet. @SugarJones and I spent the entire trip attempting to connect…and we constantly missed each other, only to have my friends tell me later that at least twice, we were standing right next to each other, just talking to other people! (Next time, girl!)
  • Blue feather boas that shed and yucky blue martinis get worn and drunk anyway…with pride.
  • Even thought New Moon was available in my room – a fact some of you may realize was a constant temptation for me – I didn’t stick around to watch it because I was too busy meeting, laughing, and bonding with my new pals (I know @melisstress, I can hardly believe it either!).
  • Finding Bandaids for sale in the gift shop for our abused toes and heels at a conference that was being referenced to as “#Blisterdom” is a wonderful thing.
  • Realizing I could just wear my comfy shoes and nobody cared anyway, is priceless!
  • I would never have guessed that I would forego sleep to stand in the hallway talking way past bedtime because there was just SO MUCH to say!
  • I learned I’m not only sympathetic but empathetic. I regularly wept while hugging weeping moms who were missing their wee ones just as much as I was missing my Pineapple. Everyone understood completely.
  • Being in the same room with someone like Kevin Carroll (@kckatalyst) is an absolute privelage and inspiration. I’m not sure I’ll ever look at work the same way.
  • Stellan.
  • I discovered that work should be play and play can be work but they should both be FUN! (Thanks again, @katalyst!)
  • I realized that I may actually be a humor blogger as well as a mommy blogger (apparently, I can be funny).
  • A group of women sharing a meal and a drink will shamelessly share anything and everything – including stories about peeing standing up (you GoGirl!)
  • Bloggers dream big and loud and our goals are attainable. And we will carry each other along in the wake of our successes; because that’s what friends do.

But I think the biggest lesson I learned was this (courtesy once again of @katalyst – have I made it clear yet how amazing that guy is?!):

“The moment one fully commits oneself, providence commits as well.”

Be on the lookout for big things.

XOXO Rachael

Blissfully Exhausted

Wow. Wow. Wow.

This has been such a fun, exciting, educational, frenetic weekend…aiuwehfaiagvdffiugjlk;likjoa….WHOOPS – sorry, fell asleep on my keyboard…I’m exhausted, believe it or not – but totally high on women empowerment here at Blissdom ’10 in Nashville, TN.

Now, where to start?

I think I’ll start with my travel to the conference….I woke up at 4AM to scramble to the airport where I sat and waited for my plane for another hour. Note to self: when you’re taking a flight that early in the morning, there is no need to scramble to a vacant airport. My first leg was from PDX to Denver. On that flight I sat next to a very nice girl who coughed the ENTIRE flight. I spent a solid half hour wondering how to politely offer her a cough drop. Finally, I decided that if I were coughing my head off, I would want a friggin’ cough drop and I would be THANKFUL rather than offended if my nice seat mate gave me one. Thank goodness when I gave it to her she informed me that <ACHOO…cough, cough> she wasn’t actually sick. Suuuuure you’re not.

At this point in the post, you should know that I have decided that the Denver airport is the flying equivalent of the 4th layer of hell. Reason being, I ALWAYS get stuck/delayed in Denver (if this happens on the return flight, I intend to move it’s ranking to the 5th layer of hell…will keep you posted on that). Thankfully, the Denver airport is very nice with lots of stuff to occupy your time – this didn’t help me though because they didn’t delay us until we were ON the plane and they wouldn’t let us off.

From Denver to Nashville, in case you didn’t see my tweet, I sat next to Mr. Rude Dude. He not only took up his whole seat, and both armrests, but he laid his coat over the armrest into my seat then spread his legs so that his FEET WERE UNDER THE SEAT IN FRONT OF ME. No, I’m not lying. I crammed myself against the window and attemped to make myself as small as possible. Oh…and he didn’t smell pretty. I may have discreetly sprayed him with some Bath and Body Works spritz. But I probably didnt. Probably. Shhhh.

Now, lest you decide that this is going to be a grumpy post, let me assuage your fears now…once I arrived in Nashville, complete BLISS began.

I reached my room (by following a map along a path that included 2 escalators, a sky bridge, an elevator, and half a mile of hallway – no, I”m not actually exaggerating – Opryland is HUGE, y’all) and after getting settled in, I prepared to enter the world of Blissdom at the Jack Daniel’s Saloon. I spent approximately half an hour wandering just outside the doorway, checking out fountains and plant life and gazebos until, after a call with my sister during which she did her best to make me feel beatiful, wonderful, engaging, and talented (thanks sis, you rule!).

 I finally entered the fray…and *gasp* I MADE SOME FRIENDS!

I made some super cool, neat-o keen, amazingly smart and funny friends. As an adult. As a mom. As a blogger. If you’re reading this and you’re in college or your early 20’s, you may not be aware of this, but it is exceptionally hard to make adult friends. And I did it! (I’m not going to post their pictures yet, until I get their permission – but be on the lookout!)

The next day was incredible – meeting my new pals at breakfast in the lobby, enjoying a keynote by Kevin Carroll (@Katalyst) that brought me to tears equally as often as it made me laugh out loud, and then off to some learning sessions that are really going to help me take this blog to the next level (I hope) and better engage with you, dear readers (I hope).

Just before lunch, which was sponsored by Hunts and held in Volare – and was SUPER yummy – George Duran from TLC’s Ultimate Cake Off (I met him the night before….see):

was a special guest and actually prepared the food that we were about to eat. It was awesome – and so yummy! Eggplant lasagna rolls – yum!

And this wouldn’t be a post by me if I didn’t mention Harry Connick, Jr. He performed for us at FUSE nightclub and he was amazing – hilarious and such an incredible performer. My new friends and I had so much fun dancing and squeeing over him – with my new pal (@unxperiencedmom)  claiming that she would “never wash this hand again” after meeting him and shaking his hand. I had my pic taken with him, as well, and had the chance to tell him that I too was from Louisiana, originally, and thank him for all the work he’s doing for New Orleans. <WHO DAT?!>

Today is kicking off soon – sessions for social media and blogging super stars – I’m so excited and I’m so glad I have people to meet for breakfast and I won’t have to wander around the fountains and bushes waiting for a pep talk from my sister….my new friends can give me one.  

In the meantime, I continue to miss Pineapple and DH desperately. And DH called earlier to inform me that Pineapple has pink eye…in both eyes…which means she rubbed poop in her eyes…*sigh*…and I’m worried but so proud of how DH has handled it – calling the doctor and getting her drops. Go DH!

So, more posts to come about this exciting adventure including a wrap-up, a run down of all the great products and experiences this conference provided (holla at the sponsors!), and my own, personal, BLISSY AWARDS. Is there something in particular you’d like to hear about? Let me know and I’ll be sure to give you the insider scoop!

XOXO from Nashville!


Wordless Wednesday (Proud Mama In the HIZZOUSE)

MY Kid O' The Month

So, one proud mama writing today – Pineapple was selected as KID OF THE MONTH for EverydayMoms!!! (Check out the site here: – it’s great and a wonderful community for moms – I recommend joining ASAP! – plus, you can look at Pineapple as Kid of the Month for the rest of February to your heart’s content – can’t think of a better reason to sign up…I’m rambling…again.)


Oh – and this little kiddo is also why my nails will not be done for Blissdom ’10…I’ll be spending this evening playing with her and getting some Pineapple kisses before heading out of town to see Harry Connick, Jr. lots of fabulous bloggers!

XOXO Rachael

Bliss Within Reach

I am so excited…I’m headed to Blissdom ’10 this week…and I’ll be hanging with some AMAZING blogging women and seeing HARRY CONNICK, JR. perform!!! Yowza!

There are so many things to be excited about:

1. Blissdom is in Nashville this year at the Opryland Hotel! If you’ve never been, it is amazing. There is a FREAKIN’ RIVER running through that hotel. I’m not even kidding.

2. Did I mention that Harry Connick, Jr. is performing? Oh, I did but not loudly enough? Oh – OK…HARRY FRIGGIN’ CONNICK, JR. IS PERFORMING! Let me know if y’all can hear that in Canada, mkay?

3. Amazing sessions – I’ll be learning from the best and getting to know my peers…well, hopefully they’ll think of me as a peer instead of a novice. I can’t wait to meet some of my blogging heroes, too!!! SQUEE!

4. Sleep. I plan to sleep in a bed in a hotel room without interruption or disturbance. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh….bliss.

5. The parties! YAY! Party! Party! Party!….sleeeeeeeeep. *sigh of contentment*

6. The Blissdom folks sent me a care package to prepare DH and Pineapple for my absence. It included a nifty Orville Redenbacher popcorn bowl and popcorn, and ConAgra Poken (high five!), a cute Hallmark card for Pineapple (it’s Madacascar and plays ‘I like to move it, move it’ so DH just LOVES that – I’ve filled it out for him to give to Pineapple once I’m gone!), and a ConAgra coupon book full of freebies like Blue Bunny Ice Cream, and Chef Boy Ardee ravioli to keep their tummies full. Oh – and I shouldn’t forget the Red Box coupon! DH is planning to pick a fun movie for both of them to enjoy!

Reasons why I’m NOT blissed out by the trip…..

1. I’ll MISS Pineapple and DH…sooooo much. It’s always hard to be away from them and though I considered bringing Pineapple (I hear lots of moms are brining their kiddos – and if you are, be sure to check out this link on @FromDatestoDiapers for some FUN stuff for you baby weilding moms!), DH and I decided that given how sick she’s been recently, and how much that messed up her routine, it might be best for her to just stick to a pattern this time. *BIG, sad, sigh*

That’s the only downer reason I can come up with – everything else is looking pretty darned exciting for this conference.

In other words….I. Cannot. Wait!

Let me know if you’re going! I’d love to meet in person! (I’m talkin’ to YOU HC,Jr…JUST KIDDING, DH!…not really, HC,Jr. Not really.)

XOXO Rachael