I’m in Chicago today for the very last day of BlogHer conference. Its been such an incredible experience so far on so many levels, but one of the biggest lessons I’m learning is that without risk, we’ll never reap the rewards.
I didn’t originally plan to come this year, but my friend Kerri @_themaven talked me into it by offering up a place to stay for free. I call her my “Fairy Blog Mother” because she’s always been so supportive of me and my passion for blogging about mental health. She began blogging before me and has helped me find the right risks to take that have truly reaped so many rewards.
In 2011 she encouraged me to apply for the Mom Central Blog Grant, and I won. That’s what got me to BlogHer ’11 in San Diego, and connected me with a beautiful tribe of women bloggers who have become my friends and fellow passionate advocates.
For me this year I wanted even more out of the conference.
I’ve been looking for more connections, more “Bucket-List” experiences, and more ways that I can turn my blog, which has given back to me in so many ways, a bit of a boost financially too. So far its mostly been a way for me to take care of myself and give back to others through my stories. But with Ronin going to school in the fall, I know I’ll want and need to make a little extra income for my family.
Altruism in blogging is amazing. But nothing is wrong with also reaping some financial reward too.
I work hard. I know all of my blogger friends work hard as well. This is a small business to us, and we deserve financial success like all professionals who live their lives with passion.
So I’ve been jumping WAY out of my comfort zone, doing things I haven’t been confident enough to do until now. And maybe I’m not even confident enough to do them today, but I’m doing them anyway. And O. M. G. have I been reaping the rewards on this trip!
- I’m getting to walk the runway tonight at the official BlogHer Fashion Show! Its already been an awesome experience meeting the team of amazing stylists, having my fittings and even connecting with and chatting about mental health with the lead stylist Darlene. This is a “Bucket List” experience for me, for sure. I’ll be posting about the entire process and what its meant to me in the coming days. Stay tuned for photos! Here’s a sneak peek of the team organizing the model photos and picking outfits.
- Last night I was named Official Blogger in Residence to Visit South Walton, which means my family gets to take a wonderful vacation package to Florida to stay at the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort AND I get to GIVE AWAY a vacation package to South Walton as well! I am over the moon that my family gets to have this experience, but also that I get to give one away to YOU! How amazing, and just because I said YES and took the risk to come to BlogHer.
- I got to meet Guy Kawasaki and actually chat with him and get his advice about Google+ the night before he gave his lunch-time Keynote at the conference. What a funny, friendly and intelligent man. A father of four who seems to truly love his family, appreciate the great women in his life, and use his experience and knowledge for good. He said he had a tradition of taking photos of people taking photos of him, so I captured this shot while he was taking a photo of me. (He said he’d post it on Google+ so you know I’ll be stalking his account to look for it!)
- I’ve had so many amazing conversations about mental health and motherhood. I’ve given so many hugs to amazing women whom I have known online for so long, and truly cherish. I even spoke to a fellow blogger who revealed to me that after losing two loved ones to suicide in 2011, she found my blog and changed her perspective on suicide loss, which has helped her in her grieving process. I was so blown away and so proud to give her a hug and know that my work has impacted her in such a positive way. That’s really what its all about my friends. It gave me chills.
- I’ve connected with amazing brands for future potential work. Like South Walton as I mentioned, but also Verizon Wireless (we’re long time customers and huge techies in my house so I was thrilled) and American Girl (which Ellie has just begun to really get interested in.) Lifetime, Whirlpool, Sears Shop Your Way, Lands End, Disney Infinity, Skylanders, Seadog Cruises, the list goes on and on.
- And honestly, I’ve also gotten AMAZING self care. Being in a professional environment and rocking it. Having the confidence to strike up a conversation with the professionals around me who I don’t even know. Getting a chance to have my hair done, my make up done, a chair massage. A little pampering is SO good for the soul.
I know I’ll be sharing a lot more about my experiences. But as I sit here in my hotel room reflecting on the event so far, I just had to share my “lesson.” Its so important to take chances in this life. You just never know what wonderful things could result.
And by the way, if you’re at BlogHer, please come cheer me on tonight at the Fashion Show. I’m excited and nervous! And need your love and support. 🙂