Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Newbie no more {Mommy’s Weekend Adventures}

I can’t tell you much about Quinn’s weekend because I didn’t get to see it. Instead, I attended my first blogging conference, the maiden voyage of Springboard, in Boston. As I write this, I’m sitting and smiling on my flight home.

View of the city from our dinner cruise around
Boston Harbor
In the days leading up to the conference, I became more anxious. Being a newbie, I didn’t know what to expect or what to wear. Also, I had never been away from Quinn for more than a few hours, other than my whirlwind trip to Boston last year.

Once again, I need not have worried.

In the midst of roughly seventy female (and one lone male) bloggers, I experienced a sense of belonging. I’ve come to know numerous bloggers online and built a few relationships that I cherish. But being in the physical presence of so much talent and ambition threw me off the bloggy island that is my sofa cushion and into a community of support, trust and friendship.

Everyone there was just… nice. I’m tempted to use a more creative word to describe them, but “nice” is the right one. And I don’t mean that in a “meh, they’re nice” sort of way. I mean than in a “every single woman I met is a genuinely nice person” sort of way. I’d like to introduce you to a few of these talented ladies because I’m sure you’ll find them as lovely as I do.

Christy of Quirky Fusion and Kim of Kim World, who did a phenomenal job putting the whole conference together, made everyone feel welcome and cared for. They attended to every detail and instantly treated me as though we were long-time friends. I adore them both.

Cat Lincoln, a Clever Girls co-founder, is as delightful in person as I imagined her to be. Whether sitting in her audience during a session or next to her in the hotel lobby sharing a bottle of wine, I was captivated by her humor and intelligence. I learned a lot from her, such as how to attract brands to my blog, yet the importance of remaining authentic. I think I gained self-confidence just through osmosis.

Amy Renea of A Nest for All Seasons is an incredible photographer and inspiring DIY-er. Through her workshop, I learned easy tips for taking better photos and how to use them to drive traffic to my blog (seriously invaluable information). Through our several long conversations, I made a true friend. She is sweet, kind and sincere, and I’m jazzed about our new friendship.

Kimberly of Red Shutters is charming and poetic as a writer and a person. I instantly felt at ease in her presence, like I had a comrade in this big, confusing blogging world. She is as beautiful as her writing. Oh, and her daughter is too cute for words.

Kristin of Mama Luvs Books really knows how to run her blog like a business. In addition to hosting great contests and give-aways, she’s an excellent writer.  She is smart and driven, and her determination to do things right and well served up the kick in the pants I needed to do the same.

Cheryl of Busy Since Birth is funny and honest. We bonded over our similar blog paths and shared passion for writing. Her stories open are heartfelt, and her spirit is as gorgeous as her words.  

Nikki of Days With Us and Lolly of The Fortuitous Housewife are simply the best ladies to have dinner with. Nikki emanates joy and her exuberance is contagious. Lolly makes you laugh your ass off. I’m so glad Amy and I ended up at the same table as them. We became four instant girlfriends.

These extraordinary women are just a taste of the greatness that filled the room last weekend. I met so many talented bloggers, I could go on forever listing them all.

Springboard is the perfect blogging conference for any newbie looking to learn and connect. It gave me the self-assurance I needed to take the next step with my blog and helped me figure out which direction to take it in. Now, the only question is which conference to attend next!

I stayed in Boston an extra day to visit two dear friends, Laura and Stef, both of whom are about to become first-time moms. We spent our time together picking apples, talking baby stuff and grocery shopping with lasers, but more on that later this week.

And just in case you’re wondering how Hubs and Q faired in my absence, the answer is very well. Even though they were both sick, that didn’t stop them from having fun. Hubs took Q to the park and got a taste of the “park moms and nannies” I often tell him about. (Maybe now he’ll find my stories more interesting.) He even broke out the sidewalk chalk and let Q have a ball.

Quinn's love for sidewalk chalk has extended
beyond the cement to his pants and the side
of the house. Luckily it's washable.

As you can see, the child is devastated without his mommy. (Kidding.)

Hmmm, this mommy might just have to sneak away more often.