3.25.2013

Blissdom Recap: Part 1, The Preface

This weekend I attended a blogging conference.
If you would have asked me 4 years ago about Blissdom I would have laughed and thought "a blogging conference?? REALLY? is that even a real thing? is it even necessary?"
I thought it was a waste of money (at $400 per ticket) and that I'd never attend.
Well 4 years later, I went, and I'm here to tell you, it was definitely NOT what I thought it was going to be.
I thought several times about sharing my total experience with Blissdom, I thought about just posting the pictures and telling you what an amazing time I had.
And then it hit me.... why start being fake NOW?
You know I tell it like it is. That's why you're here in the first place. Because you want the truth, and you know I'll tell it to you.
So in light of that, I will be telling my Blissdom experience in a several part story.
Because it's too long to sum up in one post.

So lets start with a preface, shall we??


(if you follow me on Instagram (@mamalaughlin) you know this was NOT what was originally written in my thought bubble- I originally put a Jenna Marbles quote that I love so much, but toned it down for the blog. It was not aimed toward anyone at all, just a quote of hers I use on a daily basis, because let's face it, bitch is HILARI. Also, when you swing by Holly's blog today, make sure you use words like "totes", "hilari", and "obvi"... she LOVES them. ;))

You all know I'm real life friends with Megan (or SkinnyMeg as she referred to herself all weekend- even to random strangers, so they were all "ummm hi, I'm NormalBen"... we had a good laugh about this all weekend) and that she is one of my best friends and that I seriously love that girl.
You also know that I've met Holly before in Tulsa.
Homegirl drove from St. Louis to Tulsa in November of last year to cheer me on and watch me run a half marathon.
To say she is an amazing woman and friend is the understatement of the century.
She is hands down, the sweetest and funniest girl ever. Period.

So I was super excited to room with these two ladies at one of the most kickass hotels in the Dallas area, The Gaylord Texan.

I do live in the Dallas area, so when I'd heard that Blissdom would be moving from Tennessee to Texas this year, I was really excited.
I just knew I had to go. So I saved up for the $350 ticket (I got earlybird pricing) and we made plans to room together and make a big weekend out of it.
I was really excited about having a "girlfriends weekend" where I wasn't being referred to as "mama" (at least not by my kiddos) and not having to wipe runny noses and change dirty diapers all weekend.
I am a firm believer in the fact that we, as MOTHERS, need some time to ourselves every now and then to just be us, and let loose and have some fun.
There was NO shortage of fun had, that's for sure.

Honestly, I was more excited about hanging with the girls than the actual conference.
But I'd heard from a lot of people how awesome Blissdom was etc., so I was anxious to see what all the fuss was about.
And after having gone to the conference, there is nothing I want more than my $350 back...

It was NOT a total bust, however!
Megan, Holly, Becka and I made the absolute best of it, and we had a freakin' blast regardless!
My sides hurt from laughing (at myself, mostly ;)), and we made some great friends and memories and have some great pictures (and videos) to prove it!

Throughout the rest of the week I'll tell you more, in detail, why we were ignored all weekend, how the conference was like high school, why I learned nothing, and how I think blogging cliques are the dumbest thing since pajama jeans...

But mostly how I'm pretty sure we had the most fun of ANYONE there...

66 comments:

Danielle K said...

The pictures on IG were great ...looks like y'all had such a good time together. That sucks it was such a waste of money though, but at least you had some fun :)

Kathy said...

i've always wanted to attend a blogging conference but everytime i hear about one and go to check out the ticket prices, it's ALWAYS sold out!!

Shelly@Shelly No Belly said...

I liked Becka's idea of y'all starting your own conference! I'd totes go {did that work there? Ha!} I had a girl at Meg's party tell me she was tired of all the fitness blogs...she kinda made me feel bad about getting in shape. Her words were fuel for my workout this morning. Anyways, I loved getting to meet y'all!

Melissa Rheinlander said...

So I was excited to see you... but didn't say Hi because I didn't want to interrupt you, you were engaged in a conversation!! This was my first Blissdom also and I went to meet my bloggy friends face to face... if I got something out of the actual conference great if not... then oh well!! All I have heard from others that have attended in the past is how awful this one was... Not sure what I missed out on in the past but I wasn't too impressed with the actual conference portion!!

Ashleigh said...

This is hilarious because when you were posting IG pics with the girls dancing and drinking the other Blissdom chicks were posting picks of a book they got! Wooo fuckin' hooo! Thanks for keeping it real and not sugaring coating what it wasnt

Courtney @ Journey of a Dreamer said...

Aw man, I'm so sorry you had a less than stellar conference experience... You, SkinnyMeg, and Holly are freaking amazing bloggers, but I imagine you could be intimidating to those "mommy" bloggers who try to put off that they are living the perfect life. I love that none of ya'll are fake or try to pretend like life is perfect, but that may seem threatening to those mommy bloggers who take themselves WAY too seriously. Gah. At least you had fun with the girls!

Brittney said...

Y'all are the only ones that I read who had a bad experience there. I have read so many positive things about the conference, the speakers, and meeting people. I can't wait to read more and see why it was so bad for y'all.

Kiki said...

I cannot wait to hear more about it!!! i feel like you are able to make a party out of everywhere you go which is always a good time!!
xo gorgeous

Shesabigstar said...

I was thinking about hitting up Blissdom next year to get to meet so many bloggers and network, but from everything I'm reading today I'll be saving my money for a fun girls weekend (not associated with Blissdom) instead!

I hate cliques and high school drama... seriously, I don't handle it well, therefore I don't deal with it. At all. Clique-y? Drama-filled? I just walk away, remove myself from it!

And honestly? I'm kind of glad you brought up the word 'clique' because it made me think of something. And I'm only sharing this with you because you know I love you and I'd rather say it to your face (err, computer screen!) than just think it inside my head. I know all the drama happened a couple of months ago on IG and stuff with people talking smack about you and Meg... which is lame x1,000,000 and we certainly don't need to re-hash that because it's stupid. BUT - when you said 'clique' it made me realize that maybe I'd been thinking that way about you two lately, that I've kind of felt like you two were a 'clique' and everyone else (read: me) wasn't good enough, or cool enough, or hip enough. And yes I realize this sounds absolutely ridiculous that I'm a 33 year old woman thinking that I'm not cool enough to be part of a clique. Anyways, it's just nice to read that you saw that in others and were annoyed by it only for the fact that I now realize y'all hate cliques too and wouldn't try to exclude others. Am I making sense? Hope so! Also? I know this sounds effing retarded but I'm just gonna submit it before I delete it!

Elle Noel said...

I'm so bummed that Blissdom (the conference) was a bust. I was afraid of the blogging cliques- I've heard they can be bitch-tastic on another level. I'm so excited to read your recap since I know you will not hold back. I secretly hope those mean bitches read your recap too.(oh snap I said it) :)

AmberCHM said...

I am loving these Blissdom posts from y'all! (Sorry the conference was a bust though) I Instagram stalked you girls all weekend and was living vicariously through you as I changed, fed, and chased toddler twins and enjoyed the temper tantrum or 12. Sigh...I am legit in need of some girl time (drinks included!) Can't wait to read the rest of your updates!

Maggie May said...

I cannot stand wasting $10 on a bad movie, but $350 on a conference!!!

Shelli said...

Gaaahhh I hate blogging cliques. I really want to express how I feel about stay at home mom blogs who find sick self acceptance from being in blog mom cliques... but I think you will probably do that for us this week. :) Atleast you were in good company but damn $350... that's like two daycare and groceries for the week!

Kim Leech said...

See, I knew it wouldn't be for me! Jr High is in the past and I don't do it as a grown up. I was sure I would feel out of place and I would have mentally checked out but I would have loved to learn more since I started blogging late last year. Oh well, I guess I will keep reading about it and looking at Kate's hair. Love to read and follow you girls!

Joanne said...

The IG photos all weekend were GREAT! I was rolling between them & the keeks from you, Meg, Becka & Holly.

Sorry Blissdom SUCKED...but thanks for being real about it!

undomestic mama said...

If I was there, I would have wanted to be with you guys anyway - your pics looked like so much fun. Although, I missed the Jenna Marbles one so I'm going to have to hunt that one down.

Pajama jeans aren't cool? But they have pockets and everything!?!

Brandi and Chad Croom said...

Can you imagine all those mommy bloggers in one place trying to hold up their perfect suzy homemaker images all weekend long since I feel many only post when they think they have perfected their OOTD, perfect gluten-free recipe, and the perfect workout to do with your baby strapped to your chest?! That has to be a lot of pressure! I'm curious to hear what you think about the mom's that brought their babies. It's their right, I get that, but...:)

Little Oak Creations said...

Oh MAN. I am so thrilled that you are not going to sugar coat what I already figured was going on at those blogging conferences. I have a few blogs I read that try to pull the "everything is perfect" vibe and your "not everything is perfect" vibe is like a breath of fresh air. Can't wait to see what you have to say!

Kathleen said...

I have heard that about Blissdom actually. Some drama from a couple years ago... BUT what I want to comment on is pajama jeans. This made me laugh out loud. Dude, they are genius. I bought them for my mother in law as a joke (PS did you know they have them at Walmart?? Like I saw them as I was checking out and was like, yes, this, is hilarious). So she opens them and I was all, oh just take them back for a credit, I just didn't want to get you a giftcard. BUT. She was all, oh I will try them (bless her heart). She ran and put them on and then I was decided I NEEDED some. They are freaking awesome. Like bootcut jeggings with pockets and a secret drawstring LMAO. AND they are thicker than leggings, but not quite denim. Now, the $40?! is stupid. AND NOW I can't believe I just left a comment on a blog about Pajama Jeans. And that they are cool. Clearly we know I would not be in the cool kids club at blissdom, huh?

Nichole Gaertner said...

Being on the other side of the country all of this is kind of new. I know they have conferences in Utah... but I think that's as close as they get to Washington. I may be wrong though. I was reading on Megs blog about the drama and I'm really sorry. That's tote ridic. lol! Seriously though, I think everyone (ie. mommy bloggers)were just intimidated by you ladies. If they ever had a conference like that here I would totally be seeking you ladies out to meet you. You have inspired me and so many other women. Leave the middle school crap back there, because you are way better than that. Sorry it was such a bust!

Kay said...

I caught up on all of your's and SkinnyMeg's keeks last night and based on those, I CAN NOT WAIT to hear your recap of the weekend!!!

Kristy said...

I seriously live vicariously through yall! I would write my own blog, but I am a school counselor and I certainly would want to be candid and honest, but would have to be careful about what I said....which to be is BORING! So, I dont write. So, please continue to show your cute outfits, give workout advice, and have the guts to do what I cannot!

Melissa Hudson said...

I loved all the instagram pictures and keek videos! I was definitely wishing I was hanging out with you ladies! I'm so glad even though the conference was crappy, you girls still did your thing and made it a memorable weekend! Rock on, Mama!

Emily said...

#1 I am in love with your necklace!
#2 I hate that you guys didn't enjoy the actual conference that was so dang expensive! I have questions but I will hold my questions until the end!
#3 They see you rooolllliiinnn, they haaattttiiinnnn. That is all I can think of when you talk about them being mean!

Have a great day!

Hoosier Farm Babe said...

I had a friend/fellow Indiana blogger there and I told her to find you cause I knew that's where the fun would be! I went to Blissdom last year and had an awesome time and genuinely felt like the sessions and keynotes were worth the money. But who knows a new year, new location and new speakers it could've totally been a bomb (and not in the good way). Looking forward to hearing your multi-post recap. :)

Emmy said...

I'm so bummed that Blissdom was a bust. I have actually wanted to attend a blogging conference for networking and ideas as to how to further my blog, but this totally ruins that notion. Like pretty much everyone else, I loved the Instagram photos and am really looking forward to the recap of the conference!

Jaclyn N Lil M said...

Sucks you didn't enjoy the conference! but at least you made the best of it!!!

www.lilmsadventures.blogspot.com

Trista said...

I've always wanted to go but that was back when I wanted to be one of "those" mommy bloggers and before I realized that being myself on my blog was most important. I say shit a lot and I like to talk about sex. They can suck it!

Happy to know now to not waste my money or my time. Y'all should come up with your own conference for those of us who don't fit the everyday Mommy mold.

Rachel said...

Your IG pics were hilarious and I even started following Holly on there because of that.

Blogger cliques were formed by the the unpopular bitches in high school where they can feel like they are something great now. It's how they get their rocks off. Do you know how I do it, by beating bitches in road races!

Brooke Hilgenberg said...

Ah that's a shitty deal that it was a bust! I really wanted to save up my pennies & go next year so I could meet y'all & learn a few things to make my blog better! I so agree that you should start your own conference!! I just have a feeling that I'll be attending it next year! Yours that is! :)
Brooklyn- browneyedgem.com

Molly said...

I was the crazy girl that hugged you at the Glass Cactus on Friday. Sorry, I think I may have taken you off guard! It was nice to meet you, though! Definitely a starstruck moment for me. :)

Katie said...

I'm so glad you had a good time. I was wishing I could have gone but I got the same impression after reading everyone's experiences! Too funny!

Peace Love Applesauce- Terri said...

So happy to hear someone keeping it real about Blissdom.. Can't wait to hear more!

Casey said...

I can't wait to read more about your thoughts. All I've ever heard was how OMG TOTALLY AMAZING Blissdom is, and have considered going (it would be QUITE the investment as I am in California), and am very interested in hearing another perspective. LOVE LOVE your honestly, as always!

Ashley said...

Oh blogging cliques!! They SUCK. I attended a conference 2 years ago and was in such a funk afterwards because I totally felt like the fat girl who just couldn't be accepted by the fit and lean girls. It was the worst!! - Ashley @ CoffeeCakeandCardio.com

Jenny {jennycollier.com} said...

I appreciate you being real about it. I tried to go this year as I'm in Tulsa and it was a drivable distance.

But, with the ticket and cost of the hotel I decided against it. Thank you for being honest with your experience -- I most likely would have felt the same way had I spent the money.

Kacie said...

Mama, sorry you had a crappy time at the actual conference but I'm glad you had fun with your friends!

As for some comments, maybe we ought to give everyone the same courtesy that MamaL asks we give her and stop pretending that all mommy bloggers aren't being honest or genuine. Not everyone sees their blog as a personal tell-all diary, and not everyone feels the same way about things. Some people had a great time at Blissdom, some people unfortunately did not. It's not for everyone, much like any particular workout or diet. We don't have to knock other blogs down to raise the ones we like up. You can just say, "It's not for me" or "I prefer yours!" Turning this group into a snotty clique doesn't make up for the fact that some others seem to have done that already.

Sarah at Midwest PIllowtalk said...

so glad you had your friends for company! i always wonder how these blogger conferences go. so cool for those who make blogger friends along the way, but id have to agree with you on the cliques! cant wait to read more!

Crissy Smothers said...

Thank you for your honesty re the BlissDom Conference! I was considering forking over the money to attend next year, but from what you and SkinnyMeg have said, I'm not too interested in living junior high school all over again!

Thanks for your honesty! I will soon be a full-time working mom (baby is due in June...Mommy will be back to the grind within 3-4 months after his birth) and seeing that you can juggle home, work and family while still making time for yourself makes me realize that it CAN be done!

I'm not a huge fan of the "mommy blogs" mainly because frankly, I have nothing in common with women who make their own homemade laundry detergent and rely on their husbands to dole out their weekly allowances. No thanks to that!

elisha_run_run_run said...

pajama jeans bahahahah love it!!!!

Nadine Mathews said...

I love seeing all of your pictures, it really looks like you had a blast. I think blogger cliques are the dumbest thing ever, and they certainly exist. Some people never want to get out of high school. It is probably the same stupid girls that leave ugly comments too.

Brandy Orgeron said...

Its a shame that this kind of behavior still exists as adults (cliques and such). But bravo to you guys for having fun anyway! I loved following everyone on instragram and ya'll had me cracking up. Thanks for being honest!!

Tanya Lynn Case said...

Ha! I'm glad there's someone else who thinks pajama jeans are such a waste!!!

Katherine said...

Such a bummer that it was a waste of money! At least you still had a great time!

Katherine :)
keepingupwithbeasley.blogspot.com

Katie @ Chronicles of KT said...

so far, your thoughts were mine exactly. I was there last weekend too and though i had a great girls weekend with my roomie and a few other ladies I met, we could have gone somewhere much more fabulous to do that! Plus, I felt like I was starving all weekend!!

Suzie Button said...

This is Skinny Meg's Mom, Brandi, and I had to see if your post mirrored Megan's viewpoint on the conference and I see it does. Um, I went to Kate's that Megan raved on about her hair, never had been to her blog myself, but I see she got just so much out of it! ROFL. I don't know people aren't just honest so other bloggers won't believe them and waste their hard earned money and so maybe later on people will try harder to make these things more informative. Same thing happens with crafters. Someone gets recognition and even if they later make god awful 2 year old skilled crafts that they want you to pay to take to make too, people say oh how beautiful is that. I'm like REALLY?! I can't pay or say I like crafts that are just plain stupid or ugly! LOL

Lore S said...

Eff those bitches! I love you, Meg, and Holly. You are the cool girls clique to me :).

the tichenor family said...

Can I write a post and link to yours and say "Ditto!" After six years of blogging, I was beside myself to finally attend a blogging conference... and I was disappointed in more ways than one! I was surprised by the arrogance and "mean girls" vibe that so many bloggers put out there. I was less than impressed by the conference itself for many reasons... but as you said, I did enjoy some much needed girlfriend time away from my sweet boys! I sure did wish I could "return" my ticket not long after checking in though... oh well, live and learn! Thanks for your honest review.
Meredith
www.thetichenorfamily.com

ty said...

I can't wait to read the rest of your posts :)

Mandy Rose said...

I loved meeting you!!! WIsh I could have made the party Saturday night! Sounds like it was a blast! Sorry your time at the actual conference was not good! I hope I didn't alarm you girls when I ran up and insisted on a picture with y'all! LOL!

Catherine said...

I love Jenna Marbles, and also have to frequently restrain myself from quoting her to people. I think the original quote was quite appropriate. :)

JS said...

I totally laughed when you wrote you didn't know things like blogging conferences existed 4 years ago. I was clueless about them until Blissdom started popping up on blogs. Sucks balls grown women were yatchy ! Rise above and stay cool!

The Traveling Wife and Mommy said...

I am soo totally glad that you posted this! I have been in Weatherford and told my husband I was so jealous I didnt know about this blissdom sooner because I wanted to go to learn more about blogging and of course meet the coolest ladies ever! Now I am sooo glad I didnt know about it and didnt waste my moolah as well! I hate that I did miss the party after but maybe yall can do it again sometime! Anywho boo boo that it was a waste for you and can't wait to hear what happened!!

Joleine said...

I'm honestly really glad to see that someone else felt as disappointed as I did. I went to Blissdom in 2009 and left feeling disappointed then as well. I was really hoping this year would be better, but in fact it was worse! I don't think I'll be trying again.

Raven said...

you know what i love? that you are being HONEST and REAL and telling it like it is! I ALWAYS hear at these things how the "high and mighty" bloggers stick to themselves and shun everyone else, be the "mean girls" and I love love LOVE that you are speaking out about it!!!!!! Hell yes!

Shannon Dew said...

I had mixed emotions on not being able to attend Blissdom this year. A part of me wanted to go, what a cool way to meet so many cool girls all at once, and the other part of me feared it'd be one giant pissing contest. I love that you aren't all "it was great, it was awesome, you have to go" because 1. it makes me feel better about not being able to make it and 2. real is better than fake {unless it's boobs we're talking about} any day. Thanks for not sugar-coating and I'm glad you had fun regardless of The Mean Girls!

Amanda* said...

Wait... pajama jeans are dumb? ;)

Kristen @ All In My Twenties said...

You are awesome and you should know that I think you are the coolest thing since sliced bread! I read often but never comment but today I need you to know that you ladies are FABULOUS!! I was so upset to hear from Becka what happened and I really hope you ladies don't let it hurt your feelings! Youre too amazing for that!!!

PS Im SO glad I didn't go now! I would've been the B to stand up for us and would've received even a bigger B rep for not letting bullies be bullies!! So sorry this happened to yall!!

Kelly @ turned UP to ELEVEN! said...

Before even going to the Jenna link I knew it was going to be PIPE THE F' DOWN! And I laughed.

I'm sorry this was such a bust - I can't believe how much it costs. When I said I couldn't afford it I was joking, now I realize, I was telling the truth!!! SHEESH!!!

I'm glad you made the best of it regardless!

Stephanie Suire said...

Hey, I was so glad I finally got to meet you and Megan in person after reading your blogs for awhile. Love how honest you both are about your weight loss stories, running and your family life. So bummed that you had a bad experience at Blissdom, I can't believe there are still "mean girl cliques" at our age. Love that I got to get a picture with you two on Saturday. I ended up going home on Sat. night to rest for the RocknRoll half on Sunday. It was such a long weekend that I just needed a bottle of wine and a big bowl of pasta when I got home on Sunday! Will be keeping in touch and can't wait to see you and Megan at Pretty Muddy in June!

Sonja said...

Ok. So I've been trying to post a comment idk how many times LOL so hopefully this works. Stupid iPhone. lol

It's so sad to hear that nothing has changed from last year's conference. I loved following y'alls feed though! It made me feel like I was there haha!

Glad you turned it into something much better and got some much needed girl time! :)

Leslie said...

I cannot wait to read the rest of your posts about Blissdom. I've heard the exact same thing about the conference from multiple bloggers, that they felt like they were in the movie Mean Girls because some of the bloggers were so clique-ish and mean. Blogging is supposed to encourage others, and especially at a conference! I hate that so many people pay that amount of money and end up feeling so disappointed. So glad to see you speaking out about it!

Dee said...

So glad you, Meg, Holly & Becka were able to make the best of it and still have a good time. I love reading you guys because you always keep it real, and I'm glad you are sharing your honest experience at the conference. Who needs that high school BS? Sucks that you spent a small fortune on the ticket, but at least you got a rockin' girls weekend out of the deal.

I guess I have to return my pajama jeans now? I'm JK, totes obvi ;)

Mandy@ a sorta fairytale said...

I was a BlissDom newbie this year and was so so so worried about feeling left out of all of the "cliques". There were definitely times when I felt the way you did, but for the most part, I had a really great experience. I don't think we had a chance to meet, and I wish we had!! You seem very personable and genuine!

Renee Schuls-Jacobson said...

I'll be interested to hear why you didn't dig BlissDom. Initially I didn't like it, but then I realized I was stuck with some preconceived notions about what the conference was supposed to do or be.

In the end, I just looked at it as an enjoyable learning experience. Will I go to another blogging conference? I don't know.

I'm a writer, so my next conference will likely be DFWCon.

But I'm still glad that I now understand what these conferences are about. And I'm glad that I dipped my toe at BlissDom rather than Thrillerfest (where tickets are over $800)! If you'd like to check out my post, it is up at my place.

Too bad I didn't meet you. I'm guessing we would have had a good time.

Guavalicious said...

Interested to hear more from you. You both seem awesome so I am sad I didn't meet you or Meg (esp considering she is in St. Louis and I live in CoMo.)