Tag Archives: Blogger Business

A Blissdom Series: Blissdom vs. BlogHer

This weekend was life changing.

I feel like I’ve said this before, but I guess I say that after leaving a lot of conferences because when you choose the right one’s you leave feeling uplifted, inspired, and rejuvenated. And that’s the way I felt after leaving the Blissdom Conference this weekend. 

I have so much to process and think through (which I’ll share in later posts), and hopefully implement in the future! But for now, the one thing my brain wants to process first  . . .how does Blissdom compare to BlogHer? 

It’s so completely different . . .but similar at the same time! 

After working through some of my mental notes, I realized there are 4 major differences, and I’m not quite sure if those differences are good or bad. So you tell me! 

BlogHer and Blissdom both begin with registration and sponsor booths on Thursday with the actual conference kicking off on Friday and running through Saturday. 

Both start with a breakfast; although at BlogHer some of the breakfasts are “by invitation only” or for newcomers only. Blissdom provides breakfast on both days. 

BlogHer is very intense with sessions running back to back with very few breaks. There’s usually a short 30 minute break in the morning, a short break in the afternoon while they set up for the Closing Keynote, and of course a longer break for lunch (which is provided both days); however, there’s usually a notable keynote speaker during lunch so although you’re “resting” you’re still processing. 

Blissdom is the opposite of this. Blissdom classes only last an hour. With fewer, shorter sessions, they allow for longer and more frequent breaks. Meals are done on your own; with the exception of lunch on Friday.   

The benefit of Blissdom is there’s more time to visit the sponsor booths, meet new people and have conversations with other bloggers, and enjoy some down time before heading off to the next session or event. The downside is there can often be too many breaks. 

By the end of the day Saturday, the breaks seemed to get longer and longer; especially once all the sponsors had been visited. This might discourage people from staying as there was a lot of sitting around waiting for the final Keynote. 

BlogHer and Blissdom are very similar with how they run their sessions. Both have “tracks” that you can choose to follow. 

Blissdom has 4; Photography, Writing, Life Development, and Business. 

BlogHer gets a little more specific with The Personal, The Political, The Professional, The Technical, The Writing, and The Visual; plus a few other “personal” tracks like The Geek Bar and Room of Your Own. 

Both bring in experts of their fields to speak in these sessions; however, BlogHer chooses to use a panel of experts in most of the sessions rather than a solo speaker like Blissdom.

Blissdom offers time to process in each session with handouts and Q&A, where as BlogHer plans in Q&A, but length of content sometimes doesn’t allow for it. 

This is where I discovered the drastic difference between the two conferences. 

BlogHer attendees are very introverted. Although you’re among thousands of women who do the same thing you do, you’ll often find it difficult to meet other people. In my opinion, the atmosphere of BlogHer is every woman for herself. 

Blissdom is not this at all! From the moment I walked through the doors of the Newcomer Meet N’ Greet, I felt welcome. There were community leaders there to make me feel at home and wanted, and that lead the way to an amazing weekend. Women walked up to me to introduce themselves, and these women introduced me to others. 

During breaks as I was meeting new people, I felt that women were open and honest and supportive of my goal and saw the benefit of communicating with one another. 

After Hours

I’m sure you’ve heard about the parties of BlogHer! Well, what you’ve heard is true! BlogHer parties are hoppin’ . . .IF you’re invited to them

BlogHer after hours parties are all exclusive with the exception of the few parties that are hosted at the hotel/convention center by BlogHer. 

Huge brands like Hasbro, Mattel, Bravado, etc. will all rent out large facilities and event centers to host “by invitation only” breakfasts, cocktail hours, and dance parties where they’ll throw amazing swag at you; so much you’re expected to bring an extra suitcase to ship everything home. The more brand parties you’re invited to, the more popular of a blogger you are!

Blissdom, once again, does the opposite. They don’t believe in segregation. Brands throw parties . . .but they’re for everyone. Sponsors will have suites during Blissdom, but they’re not private. Everything is designed to make you feel like you’re important and not a nobody. 

In the End. . .
Both conferences are beneficial and helpful to bloggers, but what expectations you go in with are different. I, personally, was looking for in BlogHer what I found in Blissdom. 

If you want to attend a conference and be with some of the best in their “blogging fields”, BlogHer will get you there. With amazing and informative sessions lead by some great speakers, you won’t be disappointed in the knowledge you’ve gained. 

If you want to attend a conference to feel like you’re a part of a loving community, Blissdom is the place for you. You won’t have as focused tracks (or a suitcase of swag), but you’ll leave feeling inspired and important. 

Have you attended both BlogHer and Blissdom?
 What were your thoughts of the conferences? 

First Time for Bliss

This time tomorrow night I’ll be at a Newcomer’s Meet and Greet at Blissdom; a premier conference for women and bloggers. 

I’ve been so wrapped up in my small world of poppy diapers and tantrum-throwing toddlers that it didn’t actually dawn on me until tonight that the conference is actually this weekend! And not even the weekend, but tomorrow!! 

As I’m reading the Twitter feed of all the ladies who are attending, it’s helping make it more and more real. Women flying in from all over the country talking about what they’ll be wearing and who they’ll be meeting up with. I can’t wait to show up and begin meeting new people, and the best part, actually being able to stimulate my mind! 

But to be honest, all of this talk makes me a tad jealous. 

You see, one of the benefits of living in Dallas is that I can attend the conference very easily. It’s only a 30 minute drive to Grapevine so the drive is simple. And, it was also a lot easier to persuade my husband to let me leave the newborn at home! 

I’ll be able to attend the sessions in peace without having to worry about a hungry, crying baby; take notes, participate in meaningful conversation, and learn a little something from experts. 

But of course, him not being with me is the downside to the conference being in Dallas. 

Any other year, I would have found a friend and booked a room at the Gaylord with everyone else so that I could feel like I was getting the true conference experience, but with a 2 month old, I just couldn’t do it. So while the other women are getting a weekend of pampering and relaxation, I’ll be driving out to Grapevine every morning in traffic, participating in Blissdom, then enjoying the car ride home anticipating the needs of a crying baby. 

Although I’m “getting away” for the weekend, I’m not truly “getting away!”

But that’s okay…I’ll take what I can get. And that’s several days of fun and bliss; even if it is only until 5! 

**You can join in on the fun too by following me via Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter!**

Will you be at Blissdom this year? 

Make sure to find me at one of the sessions! 

Here’s a peek at my schedule: 

A #FebruaryFete by Cascade Ice Water

Media Events are one of the perks of being a blogger. You’re often the first to be introduced to a new marketing campaign or asked to experience some great new products. I don’t always write about my Media Events, but sometimes there are products that I get really excited about and just can’t wait to share them with you. 

Cascade Ice Water is one of those products! 

Last week, I headed to Frederic Fekkai Salon in Highland Park Village to join other bloggers and media for a #FebruaryFete sponsored by Cascade Ice Water. 

We were lured in with nails, hair, and make-up, 
and then once through the door, tempted with cocktails and desserts. 

I started the evening with a Cascade Ice Cosmopolitan. 
Made with the Zero Calorie Cosmopolitan Mixer and Vodka, this cocktail was under 60 calories and free of sugar, gluten, sodium and carbohydrates!

I was really skeptical before I took a sip because I’m just not a fan of artificial sweeteners like Equal and NutraSweet; however, I was pleasantly surprised by the taste. 

Cascade Ice uses sucrose (Splenda) in their drinks to make it non-caloric which still isn’t ideal, but I’m not planning on drinking these every day so in moderation is fine with me. 

After I’d munched on five one or two desserts, I made my way over to get my hair smoothed out. 
Honestly, my hair is about as smooth as it gets, so the poor Fekkai stylist gave me a brief touch-up and curled my hair instead. 

(Apparently by hair is my best side.) 
Then before having my nails done, I grabbed their second cocktail of the night; 
Cascade Ice Margarita.

(Starting to doubt whether my face if photo worthy…)

The Margarita is slightly higher at 110 calories compared to the skinny Cosmo, but when compared to a normal on-the-rocks margarita with over 400 calories…no comparison!

And it genuinely tasted like a Margarita!

Once again, I can typically taste artificial sweeteners, but I was amazed at how well these cocktails were able to hide the taste of the Splenda! 
(And hide the alcohol too!)

But Cascade Ice isn’t just about the cocktails. 

With over 31 different flavors of sparkling water including a few that are USDA Organic, there’s a little something for everyone’s pallet.

If your interested in trying Cascade Ice Sparkling Water, head to your local Albertsons, Sprouts, or Market Street and browse the shelves. Explore some different flavors, but if you need a suggestion my favorites were the Peach Mango and Strawberry Lemonade! 

Then, once you’ve picked up some Cascade Ice, here’s some recipes you should give a try! 

Cascade Ice Cosmopolitan
1. In a 16oz mixer cup half full of ice, add juice of an Orange and Lime wedge with 1 & 1/4oz of vodka.
2. Add 4oz of Cosmopolitan Mixer.
3. Shake gently or stir aggressively and strain contents into an 8oz Martini glass. 
4. Garnish with a floating orange wheel and when in season drop 4-6 fresh cranberries in the bottom of the martini glass.

Tropical Rum Cocktail
1. Combine 1/2 c. white rum (chilled), 1/2 c. frozen pineapple, 1/2 banana (chilled), 1 c. Cascade Ice Peach Mango, and 4-5 ice cubes in a blender. 
2. Blend until smooth. 
3. Pour in two glasses and garnish with a slice of fresh peach or other fresh fruit. 

Grapefruit Chargers (Non-Alcoholic)

1. Mix 6oz of Pink Grapefruit with 3oz of club soda. 
2. Squeeze in some lime wedges for a zesty kick! 
3.Garnish with small grapefruit wedges and you’re ready to serve!

What do you think?
Is this a drink you’d give a try?

*I wasn’t paid or compensated for this review of Cascade Ice; however, I’d be more than happy to accept compensation if they felt desired to do so! The opinions expressed in this blog post are 100% my own! Salon photos courtesy of Emilia Gaston.

Date Night with #ChevyAfterDark

Blogging for me is more than just a past time, but it’s become a way of life. What started as a journal for my son has become a connection for me to the outside world. 

On a typical day, I have zero interaction with adults with the exception of my hubby when he gets home from work. The depth of my conversations usually involves no more than two words like “Daddy Home” or “Granddad Home.” If I’m lucky I get lots of smiles and giggles, which makes it  well worth it, but I don’t think any SAHM would honestly say she doesn’t miss the adult time. 

And adult time is hard to come by! 

We’d always made it a goal when the Little Man was born to have regular date nights. We’re extremely fortunate to have 2 sets of grandparents in town and don’t take it for granted that they love to spend time with him! But even with this being the case, date nights are hard to come by and often difficult to plan. By the time the weekend arrives, we’re both exhausted and sitting in a crowded theater or subconsciously scaring food down over dinner just doesn’t sound as appealing. Sadly, date nights have become work. 

But thanks to Blogging, it’s gotten easier over time. I’ve noticed the more involved I get in the online world, the more opportunities have opened up! Usually, they’re events just for me (like Hallmark or BlogHer.), but sometimes it makes it worthwhile for us as a couple. For example, last night we were given the opportunity to participate in a special event at the State Fair sponsored by Chevrolet

When I spoke with the PR rep, my first question was “Can I bring my son?” And when she responded, “No” although I was a little disappointed, my brain quickly switched gears and decided to turn it into a date night. 

Free food. Free drinks. Free Fair tickets. New Cars. 

What more could my husband ask for? 
I mean, how awesome of a wife am I?? 

And what I love about this date night was that it wasn’t the usual dinner and a movie. We were provided with 2 free tickets to get into the State Fair of Texas plus free parking. When we arrived, we were given private seating and access to the Chevrolet Test Track. Tim was one of the first in line to jump into the 2013 Camero. And I was intrigued by the Volt. (Which I’m pretty sure if I ever owned, I’d always leave running since it doesn’t make a sound and there’s no key!)

Afterwards we were invited back to enjoy State Fair food that had been paired with sauces and wines. (Sadly I couldn’t not partake!) We tried the “Best Taste” winner, the Fried Buffalo Chicken Flapjacks with syrup. Yes, it’s meant to be served with syrup! Imagine Chicken & Waffles with a little spice! 

Then there was the Fried Guacamole, Funnel Cake Sticks, and Fried Picnic on a Stick. This one was a little much for me. Spicy fried chicken, tater tots, and slices of dill pickle alternated on a stick, then dipped in batter, rolled in bread crumbs, and fried. That one just about did me in! 

After the grease began to ooze from our pores, and we’d chatted with some new and fun people, we decided to call it a night. I’m sad we hadn’t planned the evening a little better, and decided to let the Little Man spend the night with the grandparents because we did have the option of exploring the Fair afterwards. (I’m really wanting to catch the Japanese Lantern Festival!) But it had been a long night the night before with Mom’s Night Out and sleep was definitely on my radar. 

Would we ever have tried these items had we not been invited to Chevy After Dark? Probably not! Would we have done anything else on a Thursday night beside plop down in front of the TV. Probably not. Which is why I’m so grateful I got into blogging! 

Has your job or hobby ever put you into situations you were thankful for?

A New Design; A Fresh Start (+ A Giveaway!)

It’s Friday night around 10:45pm, and I was laying awake in bed tossing and turning. I’ll blame it on the fact that I’m 24 weeks along and no longer able to get comfortable. Of course, it could also be the Iced Tea I had at dinner. . .or the 2 hour nap I had today. 

Either way, my brain is swimming and I can’t sleep. 

All I’ve been able to think about for the last 30 minutes is a reflection on my week; and boy has it been a rough one. For whatever reason, it always seems like when meetings need to be set or events are taking place they all pile up in one week. Last week, not a thing on our schedule…this week, we had 1 free night to ourselves. Between Tim working late, Mom’s Night Out strategy meetings, and Book Club, our house was a little chaotic after 6pm. 

Then on top of trying to keep the house clean for guests and racking my brain to plan dinners, my son has decided he’s ready to hit the “terrible two’s.” Long gone are the days when I could easily distract him for 30-40 minutes while I prepped a meal or cleaned a room. Instead, I’m now constantly being yelled at or asked with arms held high to “holdit” (which translated means “Hold Me”). One minute we can be laughing and giggling on the floor and 10 seconds later, I’m listening to the worst tantrum in the world because I put a hat on my head sideways instead of forward like he oh so clearly told me to do. (Can you believe the First World Problems a toddler has to face on a daily basis?)  

So, fast forward a week of going, going, going, and having to be challenged at every turn, and by today (Friday), I’m exhausted. There’s no more fight left in me. It will be donuts for breakfast and a Dr. Pepper for mommy to help me make it through the day. 

And to make matters worse, we’ve come to the morning I’ve been dreading all week. . .MOPS.

I absolutely love MOPS, but since our return from Hawai’i, my son decided he wants nothing to do with it! I spent 3 leadership meetings this summer rescuing him rescuing the workers from him at each meeting. At one point, I left a mandatory meeting in tears after they had to call me down to come and get him after only 15 minutes! So you can imagine, our first day back and I’m a nervous wreck! All week, I’ve been dreading what my Friday morning would look like. Would I even be able to attend? Would I have to leave my first meeting and head home? 

I wish I could tell you how relieved I was when I looked down at my watch and noticed it’d been 30 minutes since I dropped him off. But with every person that walked by, I just knew they were coming to tap me on the shoulder to ask me to come and get my son. Even as Pastor Gary Brandenburg began to speak, I found it hard to focus. 

But, it’s truly amazing how God puts you in the right spot at the right time because not only did the Little Man make it long enough for me to hear all of today’s message, but it allowed me to participate and feel a sense of rejuvenation after such a draining week. I feel like He knew what I needed to hear and worked wonders on the Little Man to help me do so. 

Walking away this morning, I felt alive and re-purposed as a mom. I’ve been struggling for awhile to survive the day in and day out’s, and after hearing God’s message, I once again felt clear and focused. I was reminded of my higher calling as mother and of ways to look past the tantrums. I feel as if I was given a fresh start and helped to see my days as a stay-at-home mom as more than just survival, but as being given a reason for being; to help cherish the moments we’ve been given and the memories we’re making. 

You may have noticed a couple of changes. This blog redesign couldn’t have come at a better time! 

I’ve been working closely with Erin Lauray Studios this week to come up with a new blog design that does a better job of representing me in this stage of life, and I couldn’t be happier with the way it turned out.  I LOVE, LOVE the new design!!

I’m hoping this renewed, fresh spirit will last at least until my next MOPS meeting when I can get recharged again, but in the meantime, I only hope that each time I look at my updated blog I can be reminded of my updated self. 

And in honor of my blog redesign and memories I’ll be making, I’ve been working with Hallmark to bring you a way to make your own memories with your children through a little giveaway
Remember how much my son and husband loved this new Interactive Storybook Buddy? Well, one lucky reader is going to win a Christopher Can’t Sleep Interactive Story Buddy of your very own (a $34.95 value)!

To enter, all you have to do is leave me a separate comment telling me that you did each of the following: 
For 2 bonus entries, 
watch the following Hallmark video, 
and leave me a comment and “Tell Me” what you need to hear.

On Friday, October 5, I’ll use Random.org to draw one winner’s name that will be announced on Facebook at 12pm CST. 

Best of luck! 

*Hallmark has not paid me for this giveaway, but is covering the cost of the the Interactive Story Buddy prize. Winner will be contacted by email on Friday, October 5th. Winner must respond within 24 hours of receiving email and reply with an address of where they’d like the prize shipped. Open to US Residents only.*

Hallmark Tour Comes to Dallas

So it was no surprise when Hallmark invited me to participate in their Hallmark Tour for bloggers that I jumped on the opportunity! It was taking place in one of Dallas’s most historic hotels, The Magnolia, breakfast would be provided, and rumor has it we’d be receiving some awesome goodies. . . how could this possibly be a bad combination? 

When we arrived, we were provided a breakfast buffet, and I was actually relieved to discover that I wouldn’t have to be pushing and shoving through a crowd to get to my bacon! Hallmark kept the event small at about 20-30 women, which made it really enjoyable to get to meet and network with some of the other women. 

While we were eating, we were given a variety of birthday cards to fill out if we wanted. I have a lot of birthdays coming up in October, so I definitely took advantage. Although if they’d waited just a few more weeks to have the event, I would have taken them up on their offer to mail my cards for me too. Unfortunately, I didn’t want my friends receiving their birthday cards 3 weeks early! 

They also gave us a free sample of Hallmark’s new Text Bands. Similar to a pager, you type in a message you want to share, and when you’re ready you can go around and Bump your band with others and exchange messages! I slightly wish my child was older because this would be so fun for a birthday party. (Parents: There’s even a dirty word filter!) 
I always forget that Hallmark isn’t just greeting cards. After breakfast we were encouraged to walk around and browse some of their new products. One of my favorite items was the Celebration Banner for special occasions. They provide up to 5 of each letter on a variety of backgrounds for you to create your own party banner. The colors make it easy to use for Halloween, birthdays, anniversaries, and more. 
And since the theme was Birthdays, they surprised us all with a birthday cupcake. I took this as a personal surprise and decided to begin celebrating by birthday 29 days early! After all…you only turn 30 once! 

But the really neat product that’s hard to see in this picture, are the personalized party plates Hallmark has come out with. You can choose your occasion (holidays, birthdays, wedding, “just because”, etc.) and add a custom photo to the plate. I was slightly impressed because the quality of the photo was actually really good and the plates weren’t made cheaply! If I’d found one of my son, I would have had no problem wiping it off and taking it home to reuse.

 And don’t be surprised if you see this show up at his 2nd birthday! 
At this point, I know what you’re probably thinking, Hallmark’s goal was to just sell me something, but that actually wasn’t the case! Throughout the event they provided lots of interesting information on how to take great photos at birthday parties or at special events. They talked about ways you can make someone feel special even when it’s not that “Special Occasion.”

I also learned a lot about the Hallmark Greeting Card company that I never would have known. In my mind, they were a corporate entity based out of New York that dominated the paper industry. Instead, I learned that they’re a smaller company based out of Kansas City, and almost all the employees are passionate about what they do! There are several card divisions in the company, and most are only made up of a small group of about 10. Most of the employees wear their “heart on their sleeve” which is why they’re able to come up with their ideas, and just love what they do. 

In the end, I walked away with a lot of really interesting information to take away about Hallmark, but of course, I couldn’t help but be excited about the goodies! Remember, I love stationery
Last night, we tried out the Storybook Buddy at bedtime. I honestly think Tim was more excited about the book than the Little Man was. Christopher was our book companion, and each time Tim came to a highlighted sentence in the story Christopher Can’t Sleep, the stuffed bear would add to it by continuing to read or make fun sound effects. He even has multiple phrases at the end to say “Goodnight” so reading this story never gets boring! (This would make a really fun Christmas gift!!)

Anyway, my goal of this post isn’t to force you to buy any of Hallmark’s products, and I definitely was NOT paid for writing this, I just love it when I come across new products and wanted to share my finds with you!

Hallmark also agreed and decided to allow you in on the fun!

If you’re a fan of my blog, or just happen to be reading this post, you can go online to Hallmark and receive 30% off of all their personalized items from birthday plates, invitations, holiday cards, and thank you notes! 

Simply use the code BLOG30

Do you have any favorite Hallmark products I need to know about?

I’m Cheating On My Blog

Lately, I’ve been spending a lot of time over on my other blog while I forget my troubles at home.
At Dallas Moms Blog, I feel like I’m more than just a mom sitting around watching Elmo. 
It’s amazing how sitting down to write and reaching over 400 local woman through my writing can make you feel empowered. After all, I went to college and got a degree! 

Writing has always been a passion of mine,
and I love that I can have a piece of my former life in with my new one. 

The other part that’s been distracting me is that we’re starting to work on our next DFW Mom’s Night Out! Although the first one was a lot of fun, I’ve taken on a more important role this time. I’ll be in charge of Public Relations! Eek! I’m currently looking for sponsors and donations for the big event, and will be working around the clock trying to fill our swag bags!  

 If you’ve been missing my writing, here’s some of the posts I’ve done lately that you can head over and read! 

(August 27, 2012)

(August 24, 2012)

(August 14, 2012)

(August 10, 2012)

(July 27, 2012)

While you’re there, don’t forget to show how much you “like” us on the Dallas Moms Blog Facebook page!

My Experience as a BlogHer Newbie

I’m not new to the blogging scene. As a matter of fact, I’ve been blogging since 2006, and that was way before it was “cool.” But for me, blogging has always been a way of journaling the story of my life and expressing my thoughts and emotions through writing; especially since we all know my verbal skills are lacking!

It’s only been recently that I thought I’d try and make something more of blogging. . . Enter Dallas Moms Blog. It’s become more than a hobby for me; I can definitely see myself writing for this site for a long time to come, which is why I’d decided to attend this year’s BlogHer conference in New York. 

I first discovered BlogHer when they began to recognize several of my blog posts on my personal site by featuring them on BlogHer Moms. (First in January, then again in April.) I’d been slightly participating in BlogHer up until that point, but really began to feel validated as a writer by being featured. This encouraged me to starting looking at my blog not just as a journal, but as a platform. 

The more I got involved in BlogHer, the more I realized I wanted to learn as much as possible about the world of blogging to attract more readers to my The T-Shirt Mama site and be able to write more interesting posts for Dallas Moms Blog. 

So, this past weekend, I found myself at my first BlogHer conference! 

For those of you who might not know what a BlogHer conference is or haven’t attended one before, this post is for you! I honestly searched the internet looking for all the helpful advice I could find before attending, and I still felt under prepared. Hopefully, this inside look will give you a better idea of what it’s like to attend a BlogHer conference, and give you some idea of whether or not you’d like to attend next year in Chicago!

Being my first conference, I chose not to attend the Pathfinder Day. (To be honest, I’m still not quite sure what it is, but now that I have my BlogHer feet wet, I might attend next year to discover more.)  Instead, I met up with Steph from City Moms Blog for lunch, and picked her brain on what to expect. And I’m so thankful I did because it really helped me understand what the sponsors were expecting from the bloggers. 

Thursday night I attended the Evening at the Expo. Imagine any Expo you’ve ever attended, and that’s Evening at the Expo. Sponsors and exhibitors are lined up in a large conference room (At BlogHer, it’s 4 large conference rooms), and they’re there to pitch to you. They want you to hear about their new products and offers hoping that you’ll help them promote. In exchange, you’re building relationships with them in hopes to build your “brand.” 
I spent almost an hour walking around and only made it through one floor of the Expo. And that was rushing! 

It was also at this Expo that I was able to grab my first BlogHer swag bag, and boy did it get filled! 

For Newbies: Thursday night is your opportunity to scope everything out. Bring lots of business cards and expect your swag bag to be extremely heavy by the time you leave. Don’t feel the need to grab freebies that you won’t end up using, and pay careful attention to all the fliers. Many have offers on them which require you to just send a simple email, and you’ll have easy connections with the company. 

Friday & Saturday
Anyone is welcome, but BlogHer hosted a Newbie breakfast that I attended. The food was good, but the room was packed with people! I arrived about 10 minutes early to stand in line, and I wasn’t even near the beginning. 

I was thankful to have someone to sit by, but I quickly found that most people come on their own. I wasn’t alone in feeling alone! 

For Newbies: Don’t worry if you arrive slightly late to any of the meals. They don’t cut off the food until the end! But don’t be surprised if seats are hard to come by. For several meals, I walked out and found many conference-goers sitting on the floor and in the lobby. And don’t be afraid to sit by new people! That’s what you’re there for!  

The rest of the day was spent in sessions. I attended several that would help me with both my personal blog and Dallas Moms Blog; including a brief review of HTML and how to effectively use Facebook & Twitter. 

Many of the more technical sessions were crammed with people, and if I didn’t arrive early, I found myself sitting on the floor. Even still, I found the speakers to be loud enough that it didn’t cause me to lose out on the session. 

In between sessions, and when I could find the time, I continued to rush through the Expo to try and build brand connections. I also made my way upstairs to the suites where several companies had set up shop. 

These were my favorite way of meeting people because it was typically a lot less crowded, and there was more time to visit and discuss any questions you had about products. 

Visiting with a dermatologist one-on-one about rosacea and other skin care questions. 

 Each suite did an amazing job decorating to fit their theme and brand! Hershey/Walmart turned their entire room into a camping ground complete with campfire and s’mores. Which (by the way) I’ve been craving ever since! 

Lunch time on Friday and Saturday was a unique experience! The Hilton did an amazing job ushering almost 5,000 bloggers through almost 8 buffet lines.

 It all seemed very unorganized and chaotic, but surprisingly we made it through really quickly, and even found a seat in time to hear. . .  Martha Stewart!

Martha was the keynote speaker on Friday, and did an amazing job of making the audience feel empowered by their use of the internet. She discussed her personal experience with using blogs, e-magazines, Facebook, and Twitter. She even revealed that Twitter is probably her favorite platform. 

Saturday was more of the same. Sessions and a keynote speech from Katie Couric. 

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend the Voices of the Year ceremony after the session had ended. My pregnant body had given up on me by this point, and I had to force myself to head back to the hotel. 

For Newbies: Each day of the conference, I highly recommend not overwhelming yourself with feeling like you have to do everything! The most valuable part of the conference is the sessions. Plan those out first, then fill your time with the sponsors, Expo, and other off-campus activities. The more involved you get, the more overwhelmed you get! 

At one point on Saturday, I just accepted the fact that I wasn’t going to get every free object to be had. I wasn’t going to be able to attended every session. I also didn’t need to feel bad if I had to stop and rest instead of heading to a party. 

The Parties

Being that it was my first year, I felt honored to be invited by Hasbro to attend their sneak-peak party on Friday night. (Apparently it’s one of the parties to go to, and now I know why!) Since it was the only one I was invited to, I wanted to make sure I attended. 

The first 300 people to arrive were given a swag bag, and I’m happy I arrived 30 minutes early because the line was already about 70 people deep.  

Although standing in 90 degree NYC heat for thirty minutes wasn’t ideal, it was in line, that I met some great bloggers like Rachel Marie Martin of Finding Joy and Jenn Perry of Daze of Adventure who offered to let me hang with them since I was clearly alone. :) 

Being pregnant, I knew I couldn’t keep with them, so I ended up grabbing my glass of water, and finding a table where I had a great view of the party. 

I walked away with over $100 worth of Hasbro products (to put in the top of the closet until my son is old enough!) and some great memories! 

For Newbies: When attending parties, they expect you to participate and be a part of the fun. If you’re expecting to go and just show up for the free goodies, you’ve got another thing coming…they make you work for them! Pictures like these may even surface the next day. :) 

Overall, I had a great experience at BlogHer, and I don’t even feel like I fully participated. As you may already know, I cheated slightly by bringing my husband along just in case it wasn’t what I expected. But it was way more!

A big THANK YOU to Stephanie who helped me so much this trip. Without her, I never would have known about the BlogHer Conference Planning Guide and all the other little tips she gave me a long the way. I also appreciate her letting me tag along as she presented City Moms Blog to potential sponsors. I learned so much, and I can’t WAIT to attend BlogHer ’13! 

For Newbies: 
My last few pieces of advice:

  • Apparently the internet never works correctly at BlogHer. If you bring your laptop to the sessions, and can’t log in within the first hour, don’t bother bringing your computer to a session again. It’s not worth the weight on your shoulder, and most of the sessions were posted online afterwards anyway. I just took notes! 
  • No joke. Pack a suitcase inside a suitecase. You’ll need it for all the extra items you bring home or you have the option of shipping. 
  • Speak up! When you sit down at a session, turn to the person to your left and then your right and introduce yourself. It’s the best way to meet new people, and discover weird coincidences! 
    • For example, at the Newbie breakfast a random stranger sat down next to me. She just happened to be rooming with Jenny (a fellow DMB writer!). 
    • Also, standing in line at the Hasbro party, I never would have known I was standing in front of the original author of “Dear Mom Letter”s who we just quoted on DMB. 
    • Or walking up to the Soda Stream station, I’d meet fellow Dallas blogger, A Frugal Friend.
Will I see you at BlogHer ’13?

#BlogHer12: Here I Come!

Well, Maui is officially in the books which means it’s time to begin thinking about our next trip coming up on Wednesday! 

After spending the last year stalking BlogHer conference attendees, this year I made the decision to go! It’s being held in one of my all-time favorite cities and since I’m taking my husband with me, I thought even if the conference is a fail, at least we can make a vacation out of it. 

So, here we are. 1 week away, and I’m starting to get really excited. 

This morning, I sat down and began to plan my conference schedule. BlogHer is organized in a similar fashion to other conferences with breakaway sessions and keynote speakers. For two days, I’ll be sitting in hotel suites and conference rooms with 4,000 other bloggers listening to experienced speakers on topics that range from the personal to the technical. 

On Friday, I’ll be attending a Newbie Breakfast where I’ll get to meet other new conference attendees (like myself). I’ve already discovered a few people through friends of friends that I’m excited to get to meet in person. Afterwards, my weekend will look a little like this: 

One of the biggest draw to BlogHer conferences are the swag bags and parties! Thursday night I’ll be hanging at the Hilton and meeting potential blog sponsors with an event called “Evening at the Expo.” Then on Friday, I’ve been invited to attend a private party with Hasbro! I’m a little disappointed because I’m awarded free drink tickets to the events. . . but since I won’t be using them if anyone would like my tickets, please let me know!

If you’re interested in “attending” BlogHer 2012 with me, you can get all the latest news by following me on Twitter or Liking me on Facebook

Come talk to me at BlogHer '12

Friday Giveaway: UPrinting

On my last day of work before becoming a stay-at-home mom, one of the last things I did was throw away my business cards. It was actually a really sad moment for me (besides the fact that they were the most beautiful cards I’d ever possessed) as it was an official symbol that I was giving up the person I was and taking on a new life and role as mother. 
15 months later, I’m finding myself in need of calling cards again. Although I’m not working, as a blogger and contributor to Dallas Moms Blog, I’ve been asked on more than one occasion how I could be reached. Giving out multiple emails or URL’s is just a lot of work! Thankfully, this is where UPrinting.com came into the picture. 


UPrinting is a one-stop online printing shop and provides services involving almost everything paper; from greeting cards and booklets to envelopes and business cards. 
When I chose this company do create my calling cards, I loved that I could personally design and create what I wanted mine to look like using my own artwork and images down to the die-cut of the card. 
When I attend Bloggy Boot Camp or BlogHer this Fall, I don’t have to worry about pulling out the same ol’ generic calling card! I know that mine will represent what I want for my blog and contributing websites. 
That’s why I’m working with UPrinting to bring you this giveaway! 
One person will win
250 Die-cut Business Cards
with your choice of die cut, cardstock finish, and size.

Whether you’re a blogger like me or just looking for a way to meet other stay-at-home moms with quick access to your information, you’ll want to win these business cards! 

To enter: 
Just visit UPrinting Print Business Cards page and leave me a comment telling me which die-cut business card shape you would choose if you win this giveaway and leave your email for me to contact you!

If you want to have a few more entries, you can: 
1. Like UPrinting on Facebook
2. Like The T-Shirt Mama on Facebook.
3.. Follow UPrinting on Twitter
4.. Add UPrinting to Google+ Circle
5.. Share this giveaway on your Twitter or Facebook account.
That’s it! Nothing too difficult. 
Just make sure to leave me a comment and email address for each one that you’ve done!

This giveaway will end on Friday, June 15th at 11:59pm. 
One winner will be chosen at random, and must live within the United States. 


Good Luck!

*You should assume that I will receive free print products in exchange for the post. Any and all reviews posted are based solely on my own experience and may be atypical. Please practice due diligence in making any related purchase decisions. Interested to hold a giveaway like this? Please sign up here.*