(Not intended to make you envious; definitely intended to entice you
to attend next year’s February event!)
 Barbara Jones and One2One Network. Color me impressed with the professionalism exuding from Barbara and her staff (Amber, Nichol and Arianne). If you’re a woman–blogger or not–do yourself a favor and click the One2One link. Navigate the site; join One2One. THEN, come back and thank me.
(L-R, Amber, Barbara, performer Jessie Baylin, Arianne)
Epson sponsored BlissDom ’08 and there was no charge to conferees; as a client, they understand the potential influence women have in recommending their products. The obviously professional shots you see on this post were printed with one of Epson’s Artisan series printers. Whiz!Bang!
 Sleeping with frangers. Three years ago, if someone asked my advice about whether or not to attend a blogging conference and sleep with a stranger, my response would’ve been "ARE YOU FREAKINCRAZY??? YOU’RE GOING OUT OF TOWN TO STAY WITH PEOPLE YOU’VE NEVER MET EXCEPT ON!LINE!????"
It was my pleasure and delight for it to work out for me to room with Karla, Emily and Nester. I had briefly met Karla and Emily at SheSpeaks, and as well as I’m following blogs these days, I checked in with them from time to time. Of course I’m in frequent contact with Karla (she’s a co-founder of BlissfullyDomestic and my boss for Inspired Bliss), but I was still a bit nervous about four ladies sharing two beds and one bathroom.
(l-r, me, Emily, Karla, Nester)
I hit the jackpot. Not only are these girlieQs engaging bloggers, they’re wonderful p.e.o.p.l.e. If any one of them lived nearby, I’d seek out their friendship.
Karla is thoughtful and considerate and amazingly industrious; no one will ever know the hours she has quietly poured into Blissfully Domestic, not seeking accolades, simply wanting the ezine to succeed. She balances Alli’s more flamboyant style. I’m thankful for her encouragement and direction, she leads by example.
Emily’s countenance radiates with sweetness and sincerity. It was a treat to observe her and her sister, the Nester; their relationship made me long for a) my own sister to live closer, and b) to take up blogging! She’s a rare blend of soft directness and encouragement, and her down-to-earth and approachable manner spill forth from her blog. Chatting at the Sky should be added to your reader NOW!
The Nester? Well, I had heard of her and her blog since SheSpeaks, but because I can’t even keep up with my reader now, had resisted more than just an occasional visit. Oh, my…MY LOSS. She’s creative and humble and encouraging and talented! Her persona draws you in and she might just be the most "unaffected" "top blogger" on the planet (her readership is phenomenal and I really think she could care less….).
 Megan Jordan aka Velveteen Mind aka my Blog Nosh boss aka Miss Congeniality. Megan drove up a day early so we could drive to Nashville together. Chalk it up to my mad geography skillz that I thought the Tennessee Valley was "on the way" from Mississippi’s gulf coast. Then, again, Megan didn’t check until the day before to know that, either.
(L-R, PENSIEVE (that’s ME!), Heather (Queen of Shake Shake), Megan (Velveteen Mind), Tsh (Simple Mom).
Megan’s smart and sassy and direct and convincing. She’s a committed supporter of the blogging community, and taught me a lot about the big picture. If she’s within arm’s reach of a microphone, she’ll share her two cents on just about anything. Thing is: girlfriend has something to say! From discussing blog branding to recognizing the influence of bloggers, she’s got a wonderful grasp on the medium and has the gift of communicating it to others.
 Cutting my speaking baby teeth. I was thrilled to sit on a panel with Jennifer (Playgroups are not for Children), Karla and Alli to discuss Social Media. Though there are countless forms, our focus narrowed to StumbleUpon and Twitter and how they (and others) can and have changed the face of blogging. It’s crucial to become a community giver, not merely a user with an agenda. Golden rule applies…doesn’t it usually?
Jessie Baylin. A natural beauty with a smokey & smooth voice reminiscent of Norah Jones that’ll haunt you long after she’s walked out of the room. In a good way. What a bonus to be treated to a mini concert! Check out her website then buy her CD. It’ll make her day!
 Mrs. Fussypants aka Alli aka Founder of Blissfully Domestic. While I think of Karla as Laverne or Ricky or George Burns, I think of Alli as Shirley or Lucy or Gracie. And that is NO backhanded compliment to either (and NO front-handed insult), I love how these girls balance each other. Alli is light and airy and over-flowing with ideas, and she readily admits her not-so-strongsuits.
I’m convinced she’s crazy like a fox. THIS is who I see when I think of Alli–IRL, she’s a starlet from the 40s or 50s–curly hair and a creamy complexion on the outside, shrewd determination on the inside.
(BRAVO AND THANKS to my SheSpeaks sistah Lisa B. for taking my idea and photoshopping it for me!)
 Swag Bags. In addition to Epson sponsoring the entire day, bloggers received a bag overflowing. Can you believe everything from the list below fit in one bag?
- 2 GB of Mozy’s online backup service
- 40% off of Celebrate Green! Book
- Bandaid cases
- Cahootie games
- Calico Critters Playsets
- 20% off at comfedoutkaiser.com
- Cool People Care poster
- Favor Bucket
- Hotel Preston
- Jessie Baylin
- Johnson & Johnson
- Jonothan Kingsbury Photography
- LaundryTree sample packs of soapnuts
- Little Lovey Duckies
- medicine pacifier
- Mommy Mixers
- Mr. Stinky Feet “Greatest Hits” CD
- My Family Meal Planners
- My Name is Isabella book
- One2One Network
- Precious Moments
- Sakura of America
- So Cozy Hair Care samples
- Two session coaching program called “Self-Coaching 101
- Verve Music Group
- vintage 80’s My Little Pony Set
- We Are Girls Who Love To Run/ Somos Chicas y A Nosotras Nos Encanta Correr book
- What Every 21st Century Parent Needs to Know book
- Yotta Bars
THANKS a MILLION!
 Hotel Preston. Billed as "the most delightfully uncommon Nashville hotel", I’d have to agree. Forgive me, but I kept referring to it as the p*rno hotel. Why? I dunno, could it have
been the low red lighting at registration? various pink slips–literal women’s slip-shaped art–around and about? the red, cheetah-print, fur-lined elevators?
It was a warm and accommodating venue, and in spite of my unsavory mental association (HILARIOUS when I mistook two women in the elevator carrying large, black canvas cases as exhibitors–they corrected me quickly by explaining the cases were massage tables, not exhibit displays!), it was the perfect location for a smallish gathering of bloggers!
(HT to Secret Agent Mama for the slip picchas. Check out her photo stream at Flickr for more BlissDom ’08 pictures!)
 Four fantastic, interactive blogger panels and keynote speaker Lynn Terry (Click Newz). The conference atmosphere, with an intentionally casual design, encouraged participants to take part. I’m not sure this would work with a larger group, but the intimate setting was great for discussion. In addition to the panelists, everyone had something of value to add to the conversation.
Lynn shared her inspiring personal story of triumph over trial; we were treated to something special. Lynn cultivates enthusiasm in those around her–she’s an advocate for women and a cheerleader to all.
 Making the connection between cyberspace and real life. Bloggers "get" bloggers. It was invaluable hearing from people who’ve been there, done that, ARE there, ARE DOING that.
- Hear what others had to say about BlissDom ’08. Then make plans to attend next year’s event as soon as details are posted.
- There’s no substitute for attending a blogging conference where you can meet the people you’re already reading, make some new contacts, and network with those who understand from the inside out.
p.s. There are so many others I’d like to mention, additional photos I’ll post soon. It was FABULOUS meeting ALL of you and thank you for talkin’ about me behind my back. This time, it’s a good thing :).