THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2012
I set out on a series of firsts. My first time going to Las Vegas, Nevada. My first time attending the Blogalicious Conference. My first time speaking on a panel in a blogger conference, and the first time that I have been able to share the experience with two people who I grew up listening to on the radio. One a hip-hop legend, and the other being one-third of an R&B group that has provided many soundtracks to my adolescent and teenage life. I had lots on my mind. The magnitude of it kind of hit me on my train ride to O’Hare Airport.
I truly embraced the conference theme of “Make It Personal” and focused on bettering myself, my blog, and my family.
This may get a bit lengthy, but I’ll have pictures and great bloggers for you to get to know – pinky swear.
I ended up flying American Airlines and I’ll just let the statement that I probably won’t be flying them again settle here. Each flight was late, and I ended up stuck in the airport coming back to Chicago for 12 hours. It was horrid. I should have blogged, but I did not.
My first day there was pretty low-key. I went to a poolside tweetup hosted by Desiree of Mommy Reporter. I know that I had seen her all over Twitter, and Facebook kept recommending her as someone to friend, so I went on over and introduced myself. Good thing I did since I was given a little something free!
From that meeting, I was introduced to the likes of Pamela from Still Dating My Spouse, Merieta of Single, Saved, and Searching, and Marie from The Curvy Fashionista. I’m sure that I interacted with more bloggers, but those three really struck a chord with me that first evening and had me literally in stitches sitting poolside outside of the Red Rock Resort. By the way, if you are EVER in Vegas and don’t mind driving back and forth to the strip, I highly recommend the Red Rock. Beautiful hotel and you could literally stay in the hotel your entire visit and be happy. There’s just that much to do.
I did do some eating with the famous Miss Lori of Miss Lori TV and Fred of Mocha Dad ( who I paired up with last week to write about the Teacher’s Strike.) We had SUSHI and laughed and talked a lot. *PLUG* Fred is also pledging 1 dollar for each comment up to $250 to help end domestic violence. Visit his site and cheer him on!
Some time later, I found myself back in my gorgeous room and completely worn out. I don’t think that I even remember my head hitting the pillow, BUT I did get a chance to enjoy THIS:
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2012
There was lots to do, but I had more than enough time because the conference didn’t start until noon (whoever suggested that is a SAINT) and I was still on Central Standard Time. I ended up buddying up with Tara of The Young Mommy Life who is an absolute blessing of a friend. I’ve blog
stalked adored her for a minute and it is an honor to call her my friend now. We ate breakfast and skedaddled on to the first keynote of the day, and seriously, the day flew from there. It really did.
We then attended a blog community jam session that had a panel of rockstars and they stated some things that although I’ve heard before, I grabbed on this time around. It’s important that even though your message may be the same for a bit, everyone hasn’t heard it, and sometimes, someone like me may need to hear it a FEW times before the lightbulb clicks on.
There was a High Tea with Shop Your Way Rewards of Sears/KMart – I’ll let you know a little bit more about them in a later post, but I will say this. If you haven’t signed up for the program, you’re losing. Big time. And no, I’m not a paid spokesblogger. I’ve literally saved tons of cash by participating in the program, and I’m not sure why anyone wouldn’t want to. At the tea, I got to wear my Easter dress that I sewed for myself this year again. I think that I fell in love with it all over again. I also got to meet the famous Denene Millner of My Brown Baby – another blogger who I have
stalked admired for a while. She is so funny, and so real, and so gorgeous! Her hair was a HIGH point of conversation this weekend, and she even blogged about it. You should check it out. It will educate. Seriously.
Since I was speaking on a panel the next day, I had a couple of meetings to go over last minute questions that I might have, or that might come up, and I still felt the need to vomit. Yes. Me. The introverted extrovert. Doesn’t make sense does it? I love being around people, but I am SO afraid of disappointing. SO. AFRAID. Most who know me probably chuckle at this, mostly because I volunteer to speak on a large basis, but not to people who have been in the game much longer than me. People that I have followed for so long in the blogosphere, and not with the likes of Chili from the R&B group TLC. She didn’t really make me nervous (probably because she’s fun-sized just like me!) but her presence at the conference brought more people into the room than I anticipated. It was a blast though. An absolute blast. Mostly because after our meeting, we got to eat sushi again. And yes, if General Mills is hosting, then the food is going to be plentiful. It was great to get caught up with my other Box Tops for Education Blogger Panel members and the General Mills staff that accompanied us to the conference. If you don’t know, the BTFE team works tirelessly to make sure that schools are earning as much as they possibly can each school year. It’s a busy job, that’s for sure! We ended our night on a high note, and I retired back to my room, chatted with Mr. Houseful and once again my eyelids were closed before I hit my pillow.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2012
Like all conferences, breakfast was served, and we were off to more sessions and fellowship. The sessions were invaluable, especially the presentation by Mario Armstrong – From Free to Fee. Let’s just say, he lit a fire for me and helped knock out some of the doubt about valuing my time. Sometimes people rely on you not knowing your worth, sometimes, they don’t realize how much you’re worth, and sometimes they just don’t care. I’m going to make sure that I value my time so that others can’t continue siphoning it for free.
At this point, the feeling of nausea started creeping back up. Seriously y’all, my gut was all aflutter and I felt completely sick. On the outside, I’m sure that my joking nature didn’t convince anyone that I was scared, but I started getting antsy again. So I decided to go and play a bit. I saw my friend Renee Ross (marathon runner extraordinaire) setting up hula hoops, jump ropes, and hopscotch, and I got a wee bit happy. I’m sure that there are some photos out there of me hula hooping – with a knee brace mind you – and turning double dutch and having a grand ol’ time. It was fun that only can be had around people who make you feel like you’ve known them forever.
Eating lunch didn’t seem like the SMARTEST thing to do next, but I did. And I was happy. Let’s just say that Chef Pierre made me want to smack somebody!
After lunch came a sensory-gasm (yes I made a lewd reference) of sessions, sights, and sounds. Miss Lori presented and told us why the importance of ourselves in the social media world is HUGE.
My session then came, and I assure you that I did not throw up. Actually, I fell into a sort of calm as I spoke about my love for the Box Tops for Education program, homeschooling my ladybug, and being a parent in general, no matter what great things may be thrown into my plans. I received great feedback, and some folk almost brought me to tears with their kind words. Seriously, it takes a lot to make me want to cry. Actually, since having the Twizzlers, it doesn’t, but I’m trying to stay strong here! Mocha Dad (Fred Goodall) did an excellent job of capturing some great candids throughout the session. I apparently make LOTS of faces when I speak.
The Blogger Panel minus our own Keonte from Mommy2K – we missed her a LOT!
There were other sessions that I hope to recap next week, but THIS is what I ended my night to. This man embodies so many of my childhood memories that it’s not funny. This guy let me know that my life before adulthood didn’t suck. And the fact that he seemed to have more energy than I did (and let me tell you, I danced like a fool that night) makes me feel really pitiful! Mr. Doug E. Fresh capped our night off in a way that old school Hip Hop heads (and I’m not nearly as deep in as I thought) can appreciate.
~Video Courtesy of Denene Millner of My Brown Baby
It’s time for me to go and get some sleep. I’ll continue with my update later next week.
Disclosure: I am a Box Tops for Education blogger, and all travel and expenses were compensated for Blogalicious by General Mills.