4 days of Blissdom

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Like I said yesterday, we were gone this week for a bloggers conference in Nashville Tennessee called Blissdom.   I have been toying with the idea of going for a bout a year now and finally made the leap outside my comfort zone and signed up.  Of course I was way to chicken to attend myself so I brought Matt along with me.  Well he is the tech end of the blog and does HOURS of work behind the scenes so it was very important for him to attend.  Out of over 700 women he was one of about 5 men who came,  good thing he is a nurse and use to working and being around women all day.

Maveric is only 10 months old and still nursing so I was not willing to wean him just to go to a conference, so he came along too.  It was a bit of a struggle and I did not get near as much multitasking done as I would have liked (which explains the light posts this last week).  But I did get a lot of snuggle time, which is a good thing.

I huge thanks to my parents and sister in law for taking our older three children while we were gone.  With Matthews health issues and special needs I do not leave him often… like 3-4 times in 9 years.  But I knew he was in good hands and am grateful to wonderful family for supporting me and helping with my little ones.

We left Tuesday  and flew to Denver, then connected to a flight to Nashville.  Maveric was checking out the overhead bins in the airplane.   We got in rather late, and checked into the Gaylord Opryland  Center about 11:00 at night.  It was huge, beautiful and like nothing I have ever seen before….. I should have taken more photos but I was just to darn tired.

After check in they asked us if we would like a bell boy to show us to our room and help us with our bags.  My first thought was… wow I have never seen a bell boy in real life, only in the movies.  My second thought was, hmmmm you are always suppose to tip them…. and well I think my $10 could be used elsewhere so I will just find my own way.  MISTAKE #1 on this trip.  We had no idea the massive size of this place, it should be called a community and given its own zip code.  With over 2,880 rooms, shops, ballrooms, lobby’s, and more this place held more people that the whole town I grew up in ( no joke).

We got just a “little” lost, and wandered around for well over 45 minutes, hauling all our bags, &  car seat…. by the time we found our room it was  past  midnight.  No joke, we must have walked a least 2 miles.   I had not eaten since noon, and was beyond tired but excited about the next few days.  Already learned a valuable lesson, the bell boy would have been worth  a tip….darn why I am so thrifty.

Our room was clean and beautiful and Matt was rather excited to see a huge flat screen TV, I was just happy to see the bed!  I did not want to be sick from not eating so decided it would be a good idea to order something small from room service, I new the prices were awful but did not care at this point.  I ordered a kids menu item, it was like $6 which was not bad…showed up and it was huge and rather tasty!  Matt had also ordered a rootbeer, nothing fancy just a plain  can….. my eyeballs about popped out of my head when I saw it was $4.25 a can (12oz)…..say what?  Someone needs to teach this place about matching a coupon with a sale and lowering their out of pocket cost…lol.  MISTAKE #2  do not let your hubby order off the room service menu.

We got a few hours rest, and were up bright an early to start our first day of classes.  Once again we were lost and I could not find out where we were suppose to be.  There were men everywhere, for other conventions and I was starting to feel a little panicked.   When I finally rounded the corner and heard the chatter of large group of women….. Matt looked over at me and said, ” um I think we found it!”

My first class of the day was almost full, and I was trying to find a place to sit….. I kind of felt like the new kid at school trying too find a place to eat my lunch.  When  I felt a tug on my sweater and saw a smiling face, it was Ashley she writes Frugal Coupon Living.  We email back and forth often but never met, I was so happy to see a friendly face. She was also sitting with Heather from Passion for Savings and Jenny from Southern Savers. All frugal bloggers,  and from that moment on, knew that Blissdom was going to be a blast!

That night a group of us Frugal Bloggers all squeezed into one tiny mini van and went across the street to eat at Cracker Barrel.  It was a lot of fun, and we had a great time.  Their sites are We Use Coupons, Savings with Amy, Time 2 Save Workshops, Saving the family money, It’s a Coupon Life, and Simplified Savings.  Thanks everybody for a great night!

Photo: Carrie, Jamie Time 2 Save, ME,  Jenny Southern Savers, Ashley Frugal Coupon Living. Jen Beauty and Bedlam

We then came back for the kick off party.  I hung out with a few of my new friends and Matt went back to the room to put Maveric down for bed.  I got a text from him saying our room flooded and we were being moved to the executive suit…. Um hello!  It was bigger than our first house!  I hope my room floods again next year…. lol!

Little Maveric with some crazy hair, as we get ready for day two!

The next day we had the opening keynote speaker by Brene Brown, a few things she said that stuck with me,

” Those who’s opinions really matter, are the people who love you despite your struggles or success”

” I have the right to  create my own space, and create my community”

” Owning your story, and loving ourselves though out that process is the bravest thing you will ever do”

” Who has earned the right to hear your story?”

We broke up into our different “tribes” mine being frugal.  I was excited to meet Melanie she writes The Coupon Goddess.  I found her site because we used the same blog designer.   I read a few of her posts, found myself busting out laughing, since then I stalk her blog a few times a month and enjoy reading about the daily life of a fellow couponer.  Of course she had no idea who I was, and that was fine by me.  She was warm and bubbly, and a gal I would love to hang out with any day of the week!

Maveric, enjoying a few swag items, Blue Bunny Ice cream and a Cool Diaps Bib.

Thursday night was Jockey’s red carpet event….yes we really walked the red carpet and stopped for photos (not pictured, try to get a hold of them later).  Well I should say Matt ran the red carpet, he was ready to be off the second he stepped foot on it.  We enjoyed some good food, and left the rest of the girls to dance the night away as we headed back to our room.

We had to be up, bright and early the next day for another full day of classes.

Maveric chilling on the floor, it was a challenge having a baby there…but he did really well.  But I can say, if I had a dollar for everyone who asked how old he was…. I would be a sitting on a fat wallet right now!

ConAgra Foods was one of the sponsors and we had a yummy lunch, with Chef George Duran , who showed us how to make Quick and easy recipes Whole wheat pasta, with Chicken with Balsamic Tomatoes. I do not care for cooked tomatoes, but this was really good! I look forward to making it for dinner with my kids!

Maveric catching a ride, with Daddy!

This a view from inside the hotel… yes that is right they have garden inside!

This waterfall is inside as well!  It sure was pretty, but huge….remember never make mistake #1 as I mentioned above!

Hanging out in the glass elevator, right before we left!

Good thing I have a big strong husband to haul all my bags around!  It was a fun trip, learned a lot.  Met new wonderful people, and hope to be able to implement many of the things I learned to make our site even better!

One of those lessons learned is letting my readers see that I am real person, just like everyone else.  See the photo below, the one of me with the lovely double chin….. yes normally a photo I would never post.  But then I thought why not?…. It is ok to be real.  I am fine with my body image, and want my daughters and readers to see that as well….. I mean who doesn’t  have one from time to time, right?

We had been in an airport all day, I was dead tired, been flying over 3 hours and was enjoying a little snuggle time with my baby.  Instead of focusing on the one negative of this photo, instead I can choose to embrace real life moments and create a memory!

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