Blissdom Conference 2012 – Recap

blissdom conference recap

Blissdom 2012

Blissdom Conference – it’s a wrap!  (What is Blissdom?) It was a blissful 3 days in the Biodome Gaylord Opryland Hotel with 700+ fellow bloggers. My sister, Dallas Socials – joined me this year – making the event even more fun! Lots of laughing, learning and connecting (and recognizing people from places like Instagram and Pinterest!) Despite my anxiety leaving my baby and kids (and coming home to a tornado, but so thankful for my husband!) – it was a much needed time away. Plus, how often do I get to hang out with just my sister… uhm NEVER! only on Black Friday.

This year, I was a community leader for the Social Media, Business, Entrepreneur and Tech niche. This gave me a fab opportunity to step outside of my sometimes introverted self and meet new people that I wouldn’t of typically met.

The Recap

We arrived Thursday. On our plane was the American Idol finalist (and now Christian artist) Jason Castro. He was with his wife and child and after seeing how many people went up to him and said “I KNOW YOU!” I decided to just take a sneaky shot on the walkway of the airplane.

35,000 feet. I hadn’t flown in a year. That’s such a crazy thought as I use to travel regularly. The DFW to BNA flight was an almost monthly routine when I worked at Thomas Nelson. For some reason, my mind works wonders when in the air. It was good to be in the zone and out of mommy mode.

Nashville, we’ve arrived! Knowing we’d be too occupied to leave the Gaylord, we headed out for a meal at the Loveless Cafe.

The Loveless Cafe

The Loveless Cafe is a quaint joint about 20 miles from Gaylord Opryland.  Good chicken and biscuits – down home cooking with lots of butter and homemade jam to DIE for.  This is the type of place Guy Fieri from Diners, Drive In’s and Dives would totally hit up!

Originally known as the Harpeth Valley Tea Room, The Loveless Motel and Cafe first started serving its famous fried chicken and biscuits in 1951 when the property was purchased by Lon and Annie Loveless. They set up picnic tables in the front yard and sold fried chicken and biscuits from the front door to travelers driving up and down US Highway 100. Soon they converted the rooms of the early 1900′s home into a dining room and kitchen of the Loveless Cafe and enlarged the menu to include country hams that were cured, smoked and carved on the premises. Lon Loveless ran the motel and handled the hams while hungering crowds were drawn to Annie’s homemade preserves and from-scratch biscuits – one of few secret recipes that has remained unchanged to this day.

And that was it for Nashville sight-seeing.  I so wish we could of spent more time around Nashville. Fortunately (well kind of) family is moving that way – so we’ll be able to visit sooner rather than later.

Opryland Hotel

If you’ve never been to the Gaylord Opryland Hotel, it’s an experience. This was my fourth visit, first time not pregnant.

Be prepared to walk (a TON, they totally need Segways) and be amazed. The Gaylord Opryland is a world of it’s own, and seriously feels like the Biodome.

You think I am kidding? Here are some random facts about the Opryland Hotel:

  • 2,881 hotels room in the Gaylord Opryland Hotel. This includes more than 200 suites and 750 garden terrace rooms
  • Four full-service restaurants, five lounges, and eight fast-service outlets
  • 3 atriums are featured in the hotel including the Garden Conservatory, Cascade and Delta. This doesn’t include the Magnolia area nor convention center!

Let’s Get This Party Started

Babble hosted the kick-off party. Great vibe with fun music, good food and lots of mingling. Through out the weekend there were various meet-ups and parties with lots of musical talent.

Joe Jonas anyone? Yes, he exists. The boy turned man who still has a boy face.

Rascal Flatts – yes, they too were there performing.

Chris Mann from The Voice (and many previous Blissdom appearances).

It was great meeting so many new friends and co-workers. I have been a Babble blogger for almost a year now and have never met the people I correspond with each day! It was great to actually meet who I work with!

Sessions

The conference started off with the fabulous Jon Acuff. Jon’s initial online claim to fame is the website Stuff Christians Like. His wings have grown and now he works with Dave Ramsey and is author of the book, Quitter. I had heard Jon speak at Catalyst Dallas last year and left laughing and inspired. He is definitely a speaker worth catching. His words are wise and his approach is something you can grasp.

My other favorite sessions would have to include Tyler Merrick and Michael Hyatt.

Tyler Merrick is the founder of Project 7.

He told his story of how the company launched and how he quit a executive job to pursue his purpose.  I loved how he took his story and wrapped it into actionable steps to putting purpose first.
Michael Hyatt is a renowned blogger, phenomenal business leader and overall great guy. I had the honor of working with him many years while at Thomas Nelson. He was a constant inspiration while under his leadership and continues to inspire me now via his blog and podcast.  Michael spoke on creating a Life Plan. He is offering his Creating Your Personal Life Plan eBook free, when you join his email list. Check it out as it will have you thinking about your life, beyond just today.

Spoiled by Sponsors

shellac manicure

The Blissdom sponsors went all out this year. Here are some of the highlights of swagdom:

  • VO5 – @myvo5 for the fabulous blow out
  • Ritani – @ritanirocks for the shellac manicure – my nails still look FAB!
  • Extra Storage Space – @extraspace for shipping my swag home
  • Hersheys – @hersheykisses for the Easter basket
  • Famous Footwear – @famousfootwear for the great shirt and a pair of shoes

All the sponsors truly did an amazing job in educating on their product, not just the fabulous great giveaways.
Thoughts

Another successful year at Blissdom. I loved meeting so many new faces, connecting IRL with online friends – and catching up with friends that I don’t get to see often enough!

The biggest challenge was calling people by their real name. Seriously, who would of thunk that would be an issue – especially when everyone is wearing name tags. I kept mentally remembering people by their Instagram handles.

Blissdom excels because it’s like a hug with glitter. The smart people behind the conference (Alli Wentworth, Barbara Jones and Paula Bruno) GET IT. They make people feel welcomed and loved and I honestly believe that is the secret behind their success. You can throw the greatest conference with the best SWAG and tracks – but if someone feels unwanted or disjointed they won’t be back.

This is year 3 for me and I am already looking forward to year 4.

Learn more about Blissdom at blissdomconference.com

Photos of Blissdom

I took way too many photos, click here to view a handful of the 1,200 I snapped!

Were You There?

I am hoping to collapse a link-up post of all the fabulous blogs, companies and people I met! If I met you, please leave your information.

 

 


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