It’s finally time for THE BIG, FANCY BLOG CONFERENCE WRAP UP POST!
I know you’re excited.
Take a moment to compose yourself while looking at this neato post title graphic.
lazy hard-working blogger who blogs once a month regularly I’m getting my BlogU14 wrap-up post up a month after it happened right on time. Let’s get right to it…
I started blogging (at Coolest Family on the Block) 4 years ago and I decided that this was the year I was finally going to go to a blogging conference. There were so many great conferences to choose from: BlogU14 (Baltimore), SITS BBC/WGS (Philly), and BloggyCon (Sandusky, OH) were all here on the east coast, but BlogHer14 (San Jose) was where I could be completely awkward with Mama Kat in person instead of cyber stalking her like I usually do. So naturally I threw myself so far down the rabbit hole of indecision and overly-analytical-thinking that I wound up in the fetal position crying and rocking myself in the corner. I even asked Facebook to help me.
Long story already long, I decided on BlogU14 and SITS Philly. I was lucky enough to snag a ride with Stephanie from When Crazy Meets Exhaustion and Jennifer from Real Life Parenting in the Silver Bullet. It was a 5ish hour trip and we didn’t stop talking the entire ride there. Stephanie had to pump in the back seat because she left her sweet 2 month old at home with her hubby (…which disappointed me because my youngest is almost 2.5 years old and I was really in the mood to sniff a baby’s head. Shut up, that’s not weird.)
When we got to Baltimore we headed for a Mexican restaurant where a ton of other BlogU-ers were meeting up before check-in. After 5-or-so hours of amazing non-stop adult conversation (something I’m not used to) walking into a room packed full of bloggers squeeing at each other was more than a little overwhelming.
Before I had a chance to slip into awkward mode and start seeking out a lamp to canoodle Amy came up to me and made me feel welcome. Stephanie, Jennifer, and I sat down at a table with some ladies that had already finished their food and the waitress kept passive-aggressively suggesting we sit at the other table where the ladies hadn’t ordered yet. She also served everyone water and then inexplicably set 4 glasses of water down between me and Jenny from the Blog.
(I would’ve actually drunk all of them fo realz, but Jenny claimed them all and started licking the glasses.)
(Also, when I tried to use “drank” in that last sentence spellcheck told me that was wrong and that “drunk” was correct. Me write good.)
BlogU14 was held at an actual college campus…and we got to stay in the dorms! I didn’t go to college. Probably because of my aforementioned subpar grammar (< and sentence fragments, apparently). The bed in my room was ridiculously high up in the air. I am 5 feet tall and I had to jump-climb-crawl into the bed like a toddler.
I told Stephanie and Amanda that I would get dressed for the cocktail party and meet them in the lobby so that we could walk over together. But then I met my amazing roommate Michelle and we chatted so much that I was sure that I was making Steph wait even though she had told me “I need to be down there early for a book signing because I’m kind of a big deal, so don’t make me wait around, loser…” (or maybe she didn’t actually say it like that). When I got to the lobby they weren’t there, so I assumed that they left without me and I went to the party anyway. Then when I got there they weren’t there yet. And I suck. Oops.
That night I purposefully went to bed early at 1am so that I would be up in time for classes in the morning. I woke up and checked my phone because I was certain that it was nearly time to get up…but it was only 3am. I probably checked my phone 10 more times between then and 6am. I couldn’t wait to get up. And not because I was excited about BlogU, but because it was the most uncomfortable bed I had ever “slept” in and the worst night’s “sleep” I’ve ever had. I’ve never been so glad to see 6am before in my life.
Trying to shower in the dorm bathroom proved to be interesting. There were no hooks anywhere to hang your clothes or towel and no ledge to put your soap. There was a tiny bench that was way too small for both my clothes and my towel. I ended up having to sit my toiletry bag on the floor because there just wasn’t any other option.
When it was time to shave my armpits I nearly burst into tears because I didn’t know what to do. I was already holding my washcloth and soap so I had no available hands with which to hold a razor. Again there was no ledge to set these things on and I was certainly not going to put them on the floor. The washcloth they supplied me was actually a hand towel, so in a stroke of genius I balled the towel up between my legs and then set the bar of soap on top of it while I shaved my pits.
After breakfast there was a great keynote panel of awesome bloggers:
Jen Mann, Ilana Wiles, Karen Alpert, and Susan McLean.
Then it was off to class!
For the first two sessions I tried and failed to keep up with note taking.
I was too slow on my tablet.
I was too slow writing on paper like ye olde days of yore.
By the time session 3 rolled around I had the brilliant idea to just snap photos of the slides instead of trying to take notes. Don’t act like you’re not impressed.
Saturday night was the moment that many of us had been waiting for:
The NickMom Retro Prom (#NickMomProm)!
Unfortunately, I didn’t have any luck finding a hideous puffy sleeved retro dress at the thrift store 🙁 But at Wal-Mart I found a ton of neon gems that harkened back to my middle school days in the early 90s. Sadly I couldn’t find any slouch socks to complete my ensemble.
(Please read “ensemble” with a French accent. Thank you.)
I pulled out my entire repertoire of classic early 90s dance moves: the cabbage patch, the humpty dance, the running man, and of course my signature move…the Roger Rabbit. Unfortunately the gods of retro hip-hop rejected the dance offering I so willingly gave to them.
I started getting cramps in my feet.
My thighs started burning.
I had hip spasms.
Clearly I was being punished and my body was rejecting my dance moves.
Shame on you, Jenn, for publically humiliating the name of classic hip-hop dance.
After prom we all got in our pjs and headed to the 2nd floor for an impromptu open mic. (They actually did this the night before as well, but I didn’t know about it so instead I lay clueless in that horrible bed not sleeping while missing awesome bloggers reading their work. Woah is me. No seriously…woah. I’m still upset that I missed it :/) We headed back to our room sometime after 2am and passed a table of cupcakes along the way. So I took one. And I ate it. In my bed. In the dark. At 2.30am. #yolo
restful night’s sleep I awoke bright and early Sunday morning ready to have breakfast with some awesome bloggers before heading home. My roomie was still sleeping, the bathrooms were empty, the lobby was abandoned…I figured either everyone was sleeping in late, already at breakfast, or skipping breakfast because they had a plane to catch. Nope. Breakfast was at 8am, not 7am, and I was an hour early.
There was no one there. #karma
During breakfast (…an hour later) I had a chance to meet and gab with Meagan from The Charming Farmer. While she and I were chatting a blogger came up and asked me if I was Jenn Rian. It was Jen-freaking-Mann of People I Want to Punch in the Throat and I Just Want to Pee Alone fame.
Okay, so maybe it wasn’t exactly like that. BUT, Jen Mann approached me because she said that she wanted to meet me and she thinks I’m funny. And I acted like a dork, because that’s what I do.
At the conference closing they had an awards ceremony and I won “Best Retro Dance Moves” despite my ridiculous display of uncoordination (< not a real word?) at the prom.
That award I’m holding is actually a white board / mirror / something else called Trim-a-Rim. You can personalize them yourself and they’re great for lockers or refrigerators or other things that you can stick magnets to like those big anvils from Acme that Wiley Coyote is so fond of.
Before heading home I scrambled around trying to get selfies with a bunch of people. I never take selfies so the photos are all blurry. I’ll need to practice before SITS Philly.
(In order from left to right: Lisa, Stacia, Michelle, Teri, Melanie, Jeannette, Audrey, Christine, Christi, Norine, Lynn, Meagan, Jen, Elena, Leigh-Mary, and Ashley)
Quite a few times someone told me they weren’t getting the whole “introvert” vibe from me, but I was there to make connections so I pushed myself faaaar outside of my comfort zone. It was a lot of human interaction for me. A lot. But I’m very glad that I went.
I got to meet so many amazing bloggers some of whom, like Audrey, were from exotic places I’ve never heard of before.
And before I lost all hope in humanity, Teri from Snarkfest, asked to see my onesie up close and personal.
(Does anyone else feel like “onesie” should be capitalized? I don’t just mean any old random onesie, I mean mine…thee onesie. Mine. It deserves respect. Onesie.)
After I was all packed and ready to go I headed to the bathroom one last time before our long car trip. I found an inspirational note inside the stall. Thank you.
As the first blog conference I’ve ever attended BlogU definitely set the bar high. I had a lot of fun, learned a lot of stuff and things, and met a lot of awesome bloggers.
And this is where the post end, my friends.
Have you ever been to a blog conference?
Which conferences are you attending this year?
Let me know in the comments!
Read my family blog www.coolestfamilyontheblock.com where I pretend to be a good mom.