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What is BlissDom?

Last year I made the trek to a blogging conference called BlissDom.  As I prepare to return to my community of fellow bloggers this week in Nashville, I thought it only fitting to write about this experience.

What is BlissDom?

If you are a blogger and visit other blogs regularly you might be seeing badges like this:
Join Me At Blissdom!I'm Going to Blissdom!Gonna Get My Bliss On at Blissdom!This is my Second Blissdom!

Or maybe you are seeing bloggers talk about BlissDom on Facebook or Twitter and you find yourself wondering, “What is this?”

Well, about a year and a half ago I was experiencing this.  Many of the blogs I read on a regular basis had these badges and so I clicked on one.  There was a video about the previous BlissDom conference, so I watched that.  Watching the video was all it took for me.  Whoever put the video together will be happy to know their work paid off.  I knew I wanted to attend after watching the video.  I talked about it with the hubster and he was in support of me going.  {Isn’t he awesome?}  It’s always held in Nashville at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel.  This year BlissDom is celebrating their 5 year anniversary.

I remember trying to explain to my family and friends what BlissDom was all about last year.  Most people had a question mark look on their face.  It’s okay.  The whole blogging conference is relatively new to most, but especially for people who don’t blog.  Because of the video & information BlissDom offered on their website and reading posts by other bloggers who had attended; I had a small inkling of what the conference would be like.

My purpose in going was:

1. I wanted to meet other people who have a passion for blogging.  In other words, I wanted to meet people who “get me.”  I didn’t know one single person who blogged on a regular basis in real life.  This would be the perfect place to make new friends who understand what I do.

2. I wanted to LEARN how to grow my blog.  Let me explain, up until the time of BlissDom I had maybe a handful of friends and family {THANK YOU!} who read my blog.  As my interest in blogging grew, I enjoyed making new friends online.  I realized that not only could I provide ideas &  information on things I love, including family, but also form sort of a community of friends.  I wanted to know how to do this.

3. I wanted to LEARN more about advertising.  I was very curious how bloggers incorporated advertising into their blog.  Why did they do this?  Do they make money doing it and if so, how much?  Does your blog become a business when you start advertising?  What are the legal & tax ramifications?

4. I wanted to LEARN more about HOW to do things.  Why did some blogs look more ‘professional’ than others?  I enjoy graphic design but don’t have any professional training.  How are bloggers able to make their site look the way that it does?  BlissDom had classes about this!

5. I wanted to meet the bloggers from blogs I regularly visited in real life.  In the blogging world they are pretty much celebrities!  Good thing is, they can go out in public and not have paparazzi after them! 😉 lol

6. I won’t lie, seeing that Harry Connick Jr. came to entertain the bloggers the previous year perked my interest in BlissDom as well.  I didn’t know if he would come again, but I knew there would be some sort of musical entertainer.  As a stay at home Mom, there aren’t many opportunities to go to concerts like when I was young and single.  BONUS!

Here is the BlissDom video from last year…the one I attended:

BlissDom ’11 from Blissful Media Group on Vimeo.

Watching this video brought back many memories and has increased my excitement ten fold. {Amy, I saw you in the video}  By the way, the flash mob was held in a session I did not attend. 🙁 Big Pouty Face because I would have been all over that!

Do you remember my post about Mat Kearney?  I couldn’t remember exactly what he said about being in a room filled with so many female social media enthusiasts.  Well, they showed that at the very beginning of the video…if you skipped watching you will have to watch it!  It’s pretty hilarious!

The clip with the man and woman on stage after Mat are the compassionate masterminds behind Love Drop.  Remember me writing about them?  You can read all posts I’ve written about BlissDom by clicking here.

So did I learn what I wanted to learn as stated in my purposes above?

ABSOLUTELY!

I learned all I wanted and MORE!  There are many sessions you can choose to attend led by experienced and successful bloggers.

My blog today is living proof of that.

I am so grateful for BlissDom.  The conference is a safe haven for bloggers…a community of social networking divas.

A few weeks back participants received a Prep For Bliss package:

Includes: Name Badge, Luggage Tag, Business Card Holder, Post-It Notes, Jewel CD & Various Free Food Coupons

 

Also included in this package was a letter from the BlissDom founders.  I want to share a profound quote from them:

“You are the pioneers of a generation who are forging the way in this new digital world.  We are living through the equivalent of the Industrial Revolution and the trails we blaze and how we choose to behave as a community will set a tone for generations.”

I was a newbie at BlissDom last year.  Not only was it my first Blissdom to attend, it was my first blogging conference to attend period.  Turns out there are many different blogging conferences held through out the year.  However, at this point in my life, being the family gal that I am, one blogging conference a year has worked for us.  { Don’t worry Amy I am considering going to another with you 😉 }  Balance is important. 😉

First thing I noticed was how everyone talked about each other by their blog name.  Instead of saying Shan from Family Brings Joy, they would say, “Did you meet Family Brings Joy?”  It was a little weird at first.  It’s understandable, though, because as a blogger, unless you have talked to the blogger personally, you know them by what the name of their blog, not by their given name.  Fortunately, we all have name tags on.  Sometimes I would see people reading my name tag as I walked by.  You see, we all have bloggers we want to meet while we are there.  I didn’t take offense when they would go out of their way to stop me just to see who I was and then say, “No, you’re not her.”  Scratch that, it bothered me just a tad.  However, I did the same thing, just never physically stopped them to read their name tag.  I would just look at them as I walked by.  I understand completely.

Other fun stuff about Blissdom:

  • SWAG {Stuff We All Get, meaning free products from the sponsors or participating brands}
  • Meeting celebrities {like Michelle Branch, Mat Kearney}
  • Food galore…didn’t need to purchase one meal while I was there.
  • Free shoulder/back massage and manicure
  • Networking Parties
  • The Gaylord Opryland Hotel is gorgeous!

I believe BlissDom chose their name because when you are there you are following your bliss…following your dreams.

If you haven’t been on Family Brings Joy’s Facebook page lately {join us!} then you will not know that this year’s entertainers/special events include for BlissDom include:

  • Handmade Marketplace
  • Nathan Pacheco {Singer}
  • Lorax {Dr. Suess Movie} Party
  • Joe Jonas {Singer}
  • Chris Mann {Singer}
  • Rascall Flatts
  • screening of OWN’s Oprah’s Next Chapter episode with Oprah and her friends Gayle King & Paula Deen

Wowza!!  What a line up!  Funny side note, when I shared with my 8 year old Daughter about Joe Jonas coming, she exclaimed, “Take lots of photos and video for me, Mom!”  Here is a text snapshot of what my 16 year old Daughter, who is a devoted Jonas Brothers fanatic said, when I shared the news with her:

My Daughter said later, “Why would Joe would want to go sing for a bunch of old women?”  LOL

Hopefully this post helped you understand a little bit more about BlissDom.

I leave on Wednesday!  If you are attending BlissDom, I have a special gift for the first 10 Family Brings Joy readers/friends.  Come introduce yourself to me.  I want to meet you!  Time for laundry & packing!

P.S: Please pray that I don’t get sick like I did going to my half marathon.  I would like to be able to enjoy the conference.  I just recovered from that sickness.  I know when you fly on an airplane that it increases your chances of getting sick.  I was worried about my muscles before my race.  I didn’t really think about how a cold/sinus infection/ear infection could impact my trip…it did.  It was a miracle I was able to run that race as bad as I was feeling.  Anyway, I would very much appreciate any prayers you might offer on my behalf.

Follow Your Bliss,

Blissdom Introduction

Some of my new cyber (facebook & twitter) friends who are also attending Blissdom Blog Conference have introduced themselves on their blogs. What a great idea! I’m taking a break from packing and decided I would quickly write an intro before heading out to run.

  1. Thanks to my Army Dad (retired now) I was born in Germany. Unfortunately, I was a baby when we returned to the States so I don’t remember visiting. I hope to visit there some day. I grew up in Texas, so I consider myself a Texan even though our family moved to Oklahoma 4 years ago.
  2. In September I celebrated the big 40! Fortunately, I inherited ‘young looking’ genes. I absolutely love it when people tell me I look too young to have a 15 year old. 😉
  3. I’ve had many career ambitions in my lifetime. I took dance from very young to high school. So at one point in time I dreamed of moving to NYC to become a prima ballerina {I still LOVE to dance!} I changed my mind and wanted to be a Lawyer…did the debate thing in High School. Since I’m not the academic type {couldn’t see myself going to school for 6+ years} I decided against it. Next, I set my sights on a Public Relations major and minoring in Theater. I ended up with an Associates Degree in Education. I met my husband when I was in college for my bachelors degree in Recreational Therapy. Life had different plans for me because now I work at home as a Family Manager. Hardest job ever!
  4. My husband is learning to multi task as he was recently ordained the Bishop for our local church congregation. In addition to being the Father of our 3 kids, he has a busy medical practice and enjoys running, cycling and triathlons.
  5. I’m not really a sweet tooth kind of gal. Salty foods like extra cheesy Goldfish, cheese Chex Mix, cheese Doritos {basically I love cheese!} are my weakness! However, I am a sucker for Reeses. 😉 Chocolate and peanut butter is the perfect combo!
  6. I used to LOVE television. However, I don’t have as many shows I like to watch as I used to. My favorite show now is Parenthood. Thanks to the Twilight series I have become an avid reader of fantasy/paranormal romance books {mostly teen & young adult.} So now I read. Before Twilight, I only read non-fiction books. Last year I read or listened to 37 books.
  7. Leigh (which is my middle name, BTW) wrote about her personality that I thought was very similar to me as well. She said, “I’m a good mix of extrovert and introvert.” I think I am the same. I am definitely a people person. I don’t like to judge others or gossip. You never know what people are going through in their life. My kids are constantly hearing me say to them, “they are a child of God, too,” when I hear them speaking unkind things about someone. It is very important to me that my kids learn to be accepting of others no matter what someones shortcomings might be. I am a firm believer in doing unto others as you would have them do unto you.
  8. I ran cross country & track in grade school, but discontinued running until after I had my third child. I joined Team in Training with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and ran my first half marathon in 2003 and my first full marathon {a fulfilled dream!} in 2005. Currently, I struggle to get back into running after suffering from Achilles Tendinitis.
  9. I like to be straight forward. It’s weird. According to books I have read about the way women talk and the way men talk and my conversational style is more like a man. I don’t mean that my voice sounds like a man. LOL I just like to be direct and talk about things that matter. I don’t mind talking about the weather, but I would much rather talk about music, movies, books, blogs, graphic arts, decorating, travel, crafts, my family, my faith, photography, scrapbooking or the lives of the people I am talking to.
  10. In a nut shell, I’m just a down-to-earth girl who has MANY interests. 😀

Looking forward to making many new friends this week!

Auf Wiedersehen,
Shan

P.S. : I love hats! If you see someone wearing a hat at Blissdom, it might be me! 🙂

Anything Could Happen

Hey there!

haven buttonI’m getting excited about the blog conference I’m attending in Atlanta next week called Haven.  Last night there was a twitter party for attendees.  I was tweeting away with the best of them, only to realize nobody could read my tweets because my twitter account is “private.”  I used to have my twitter open to the public and received all kinds of SPAM so I decided to privatize it.  It was kind of a let down since the whole idea of having the party was to get to know some of the bloggers before attending the conference.

So I was visiting the Haven Link Up…

haven link up photo

hmmmm…

I’m wondering if I’m going to a modeling conference instead of a home bloggers conference.  Holy cow…if you want to see more of the beautiful bloggers click here.  If you are not sure what a link up is…it’s where you link up your blog so conference attendees can get to know each other by visiting their blogs.  Most bloggers inserted a photo of themselves instead of using their blog’s logo like I did.  Honestly, it’s probably a good idea to add a photo so people can put a name with a face.  However, I don’t really have a professional updated {with my new pixie cut} photo to share.  I need to do that.

Anyway, all of these bloggers look beautiful.  There’s nothing to say that they shouldn’t be beautiful.  Everyone is beautiful to God since we are all His children.  I guess it’s just a little intimidating.  I’m not sure what that says about me.  I’ve had friends tell me they used to think I was intimidating before they got to know me.  {I’m pretty sure it’s not because they thought I was model worthy.}  I’m completely and utterly shocked when this information was explained to me.  The LAST thing I would want would be for someone to be intimidated by me.  I love people and strive to be as friendly as possible to everyone I meet.

Shan at Blissdom familybringsjoy.com

Blissdom 2012

Here’s what I have learned about myself after attending 2 Blissdom blog conferences.  Even though I am secure in who I am as a person…even though I am content in knowing I’m not the top blogger on the block…even though I’m a people person…I still struggle socializing at conferences.  I am the girl who always wants everyone to feel accepted.  In high school I struggled with being friends with just one group of people.  For me, it was better to be friends with people from all the different “groups” than to ostracize people who weren’t in my group of friends.  This can be a little difficult because then I don’t feel like I belong anywhere.

before Blissdom cocktail party familybringsjoy.com

Me before Blissdom cocktail party

Let’s face it, when a bunch of women get together {sorry I know there are men bloggers too} invariably cliques form.  It’s like a law of nature or something.  This part makes me uncomfortable.  It’s not necessarily the workshops I have a problem with, it’s the “cocktail” parties and formal occasions.  You walk in and everyone is dressed up.  I like to dress up.  It’s fun when most days I wear t shirts and jeans.  After I walk into the party, and since I don’t know many people…well, it’s awkward.  Where do I go?  Who do I stand by?  Who do I talk to?  Then I feel as though people around me are noticing I’m alone.  I begin to think, “they must think I’m a real loser since I don’t have friends to come to the party with.”  The last conference I went to had a scenario like this:  I walked up to a table with 2 younger woman.  I asked if the spot at the table was taken… if I could join them.  They politely said I could join them.  We began to talk small talk and exchanged our business cards with our blogs on them.  I don’t remember exact words these girls said (thankfully), however I do remember how they made me feel.  I felt small…less than.  This is the exact feeling I never want people to have around me.  Nobody, I don’t care how many visitors come to your blog a day, is better than another person.  We all have problems.  We all have talents.  There is a quote that says “comparison is the thief of joy.”  I completely agree.  Once we begin to compare ourselves to another person we become insecure with who we are.  That feels dark and lonely.  Joy is filled with light and unity.

Roomspiration Blog Hop & Link Party

2012

After sharing the preceding story you might wonder why I even want to go to these conferences.  Well, fortunately, those “cocktail” parties are few and far between in the grand scheme of the conference.  The majority of the time you are in workshops learning more about the world of blogging and in this particular conference, home blogging.  The last 2 conferences I attended were for all types of bloggers, open to all.  But do you know who were the most genuine and friendly bloggers I met there were?  Yep, it was the home bloggers.  These are the women who focus primarily on inspiring others with things they do in their home by way of design and DIY.  After Blissdom, and later in the year, I had the amazing opportunity to be invited to participate in a blog hop with many influential home bloggers.  Do you remember what it was called…Roomspiration.  The other participants welcomed me warmly and helped whenever I had questions about anything.  I have never been able to meet any of these sweet ladies in person.  At least not yet, because I will next week at Haven!  A teensy part of me is nervous they won’t remember me.  It’s been a while since Roomspiration and I haven’t posted as often as I did then.

Whether those girls remember me or not, whether I make any new friends or not, I still want to go.  Going to the conference gives me something to look forward to.  I get away for a little bit from my normal routine and I am Shan the blogger.  I’m not so and so’s mom or so and so’s wife, I’m just me.  I enjoy being around other women who share in my passion for blogging.  I’m not going to let my uncomfortableness of certain social settings keep me from attending.  We have to take risks in life to grow and learn.  It’s not always pleasant, but wisdom and experience are the fruits yielded.

A friend once said this about me, “what you see is what you get.”  He is exactly right.  I don’t hide behind my feelings.  Many times I say the things I’m thinking when I probably shouldn’t because it sometimes is taken the wrong way.  I like to be unique and creative in the way I dress.  I absolutely despise gossip, which I know for a fact has kept me from having more friends.  I just try to treat others the way I would like to be treated.  Therefore, if I don’t want to be gossiped about, then I don’t gossip.  I have a big heart and only want the very best for people.  I have sincerely enjoyed writing and posting photos about our family’s home.  I’m grateful for the countless people I have gleaned inspiration from to make our home a haven.

Front of our home familybringsjoy.com

If you are attending Haven next week, I hope to meet you.  Please use my comments section as a sort of guestbook to let me know you stopped by.  I would love to visit your blog as well.  BTW, thank you for visiting my small abode. 😉  Only 5 more days…

Home Brings Joy,

Great Organizing Tips

photo(22)Yesterday, after tripping over shoe upon shoe I decided it was time.

Time to organize my closet once and for all.

I never truly organized it when we moved in to this house about 3 years ago.  It has also become a dumping ground for stuff around the house.  For example, I might have company coming so I grab a container and throw all the clutter in it.  That container ends up in my closet.  For some reason I have linens and all kinds of non-closet items.  I always justify that the rest of the house {the part everyone sees} deserves my attention more.  However it is completely out of control and beginning to wreak havoc when trying to find clothing I need or want.

I have a nice size walk in closet with built ins.  It is plenty big for my needs yet most of the time I can’t walk in.  Isn’t that awful!?  It is.  Sigh…

This is where I am in my organizing {no I did not finish}:

-Took all the shoes out of the closet.  Purged shoes (1 bag)

-Vacuumed the floor I could see. {I love vacuuming because of the instant gratification it brings!}

-Purged dresses and shirts. (1bag)  Threw away old hangers and used new wooden hangers I scored for only $6 for a box of 20 at Wal Mart. {Sure hope when I go back to Wal Mart they’ll have more of those hangers}

-Grouped my dresses in colors.  Ahhh…if it only looked like this all the time.

Anyway, so a beautiful person I met at Blissdom last year is a professional organizer.  Her name is Amy Volk from amyvolk.com  She saw me whining about how grueling this closet organizing process is for me on Instagram with the photo above.  She left me this comment of hope:

“Tomorrow my segment is on closet organizing :))))”

I visited her site first thing this morning and found a video of Amy on a TV news segment and had to share it with you:

I’m off to work some more on my closet.

P.S.: When I updated my blog it took away my pages {Home, About Me, Blogs Bring Joy, Affiliates Bring joy, Books Bring Joy} I’m currently waiting to hear back from WordPress to see how this can be corrected. Sorry for the technical difficulties

Wish me luck,

Is Time Management For Teens An Oxymoron?

My Step-Brother’s Dog

You know the saying,

“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”

I was contemplating something this morning and thought about asking for feedback on Family Brings Joy’s Facebook page.

Once I decided to do this, I began forming the question in my mind.

I resolved the question might be better suited if I asked it in a blog post.

Here’s the question:

Is it too late to teach my Senior in High School

better time management skills?

You see, bless my Daughter’s heart, she inherited my inattentive Attention Deficit Disorder.

I have been trying to help with her busy school schedule/homework, preparing for ACT, prepare for a church program {called Personal Progress,} keep up with Color Guard and prepare for college applications.  When I say help I mean it usually consists of me asking, “Are you doing your homework?”  “Are you studying for the ACT?” “Are you doing your Personal Progress?”  I feel like a nag and by the tone of her voice replies she thinks of it as nagging.

She will take her 2nd ACT test this Saturday.  She is taking it as many times as she can so she can get the best score.  We had a little ‘run in’ this weekend.  This consisted of withholding her from an extracurricular activity with friends at the lake so she could use that time to study for the ACT.  Needless to say, this didn’t go over well.

I have purchased a planner/calendar for her and a book on organizing your time specifically for teens.  There are a few other things I’ve done that I plan on sharing with you at a later date.  We are trying to manage the ADD without putting her on meds.  I do take medicine to manage my ADD.  It has been a blessing from God because it helps me tremendously.

This is hard to articulate.  When I see my Daughter’s habits, I see me when I was her age.  Now at 42, I’ve had years {& medicine, counseling etc.} to get where I am today in regards to managing my time.  I have definitely not perfected time management at all, but I am much better than I used to be.

Side note: My 17 year old gets up on her own every morning at 5:00am so she can be at Seminary {a church scripture study class} by 5:45am.  She then goes straight to school for Color Guard practice for Marching Band.  I think it begins at 7:00am.  Next is school from 8-3.  She may not be exactly punctual to Seminary, but I am very proud of her dedication.  This is a very full and demanding day.

HOW can I help her without being a nag?  Here’s the deal…when I go to her room to check on her…9 times out of 10 she is on her iPhone.  Her iPhone/Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Internet/Texting/Facetime is a HUGE time suck for her.  Any other parents out there dealing with this?  If I take her phone away, her reaction is as though I have ripped her heart out.  She then proceeds to tell me {in so many words} how she can’t possibly study now that she’s angry with me about taking her phone away.  {By the way, DH gave her his old iPhone when I was at Blissdom Blog Conference.  I am avidly against her having the iPhone.}  Next thing I know, she is working on a report or project the night before it’s due.

I guess I haven’t been a good enough teacher in regards to time management with my kids.  Is it too late now?  Should I just leave her alone and hope for the best?

I am curious to what you think.  However, I will preface this with, please go easy on me, okay?  Wisdom and counsel is what I’m seeking, not massive amounts of criticism.  Besides, I have 2 other kids still.  If I don’t do it right with her I believe there’s still hope for the other two.

Mom on a Mission,

Spring/Easter Mantel & Basket Goodies

Who else LOVES Spring?

I enjoy seeing the trees budding, the grass becoming green and blooming tulips.  ahhhh…sigh…smile.

I kept the mantel simple again.

Not to toot my own horn, but I’m really enjoying the barn door shutters I made.

 I found the green basket & chick at Gordman’s.  It was my first visit to that store and it is definitely worth checking out if you have one near you…great deals galore there!

I pulled out my book page eggs I made a few years back to place inside the basket to complete the look.

The ‘Spring’ blocks($10) I found in Pagosa Springs, CO {sorry I can’t remember the name of the store.  It was a weird name, but a discount store.}

I like the color it added to the mantel.

The GENEROSITY sign {found also at Gordman’s} was so me.  I decided to place it up there as well.

Not sure if I have mentioned this on previous posts, but I found the candle holders at Goodwill.

I rarely use them to put candles on, instead I like to use them as pedestals for objects.

I want to thank the good people from Hershey’s for inspiring me to prepare for Easter and celebrate Spring.  Good thing, since Easter is only about a week away! April 8, 2012

Visit Celebrate with Hersheys to take a journey on the Hershey’s Bunny Trail and check out the great collection of Easter tips, memories and stories.

My personal favorites are the Mini Reester Bunnies {eating one right now…yum!}  They are small enough to fit inside a plastic Easter egg and will sure to be a favorite for everyone who loves these delicious milk chocolate covered peanut butter.  {My weakness for sure!}

Tomorrow I have a special blog post about organizing. 😉

Disclaimer: I was not paid to write this post by Gordman’s or Hershey’s.  Hershey’s did graciously mail me the Easter basket shown in this post from participating in the Bunny Trail at BlissDom.  Thank you Hershey’s.  Hopefully, I won’t eat the entire contents myself. 😉

Celebrate Spring,