Class notes are up, so if you missed it live (shame on you!) you can still go see the amazing food that was prepared, and get lots of ideas to use in your own kitchen. You can see the full transcript, including recipes (like the one I use to make the awesome beef brisket with beer you see below), ways to help the less confident chefs feel at home in the kitchen, and much more – like learning Jim’s ancient secret to cooking the perfect rice, which he shared with us at the risk of being disowned by the ancestors!
From the site:
Now We’re Cooking
Jim kicked off with words of support for those who aren’t quite comfortable in the kitchen. “We want to show you that even if you don’t have all the skills you think you need in the kitchen,” he said, “there are ways to make you LOOK like you know what you’re doing!”
Shannon and Jim prepared variations of beef short ribs in their separate kitchens. Jim offered up an Asian version of the short ribs (with soy sauce and ginger), along with side dishes and dessert, and Shannon cooked an Irish version (with Guinness), also with sides and dessert.
Jockey & Tide sponsored Thursday night festivities at Blissdom and it was seriously a blast. My roomies (Mishelle, Dawn, Leslie, Victoria) and I all got dressed up and headed to “the red carpet” to kick off the night. This was basically just a chance to act silly and be photographed (Malia joined us on the carpet).
photo by Heather Durdil
We ate from a variety of foods provided to us – my favorite thing was pulled pork sandwiches with a vinegar-based barbecue sauce. What can I say, I’m still a NC girl at heart when it comes to BBQ!
I was also witness to a momentous occasion: Mishelle had her very first Guinness.
We all enjoyed the food and drinks, chatted, and laughed together.
last four photos by Mishelle Lane
What a treat – both musicians put on a fabulous show. I was particularly excited to see Michelle Branch, as I’ve utterly adored her music for so many years.
last two photos by Mishelle Lane
I generally don’t go all “fangirl” and have photos taken/do meet and greets, but I didn’t pass up the opportunity this time.
photo by Jana Warnke
Once the performances were over, there was dancing…
…and then people wandered off here and there throughout the hotel to eat, hang out, and just have a great time, late into the night.
These are memorable portions of the night – the times you spent laughing with various groups of friends, catching up, sharing hugs, smiles, and silly moments.
Mishelle and her camera… she had me model for her throughout the hotel. I didn’t argue… even when she asked me to climb onto a piano. What can I say? I’m easy.
last two photos by Mishelle Lane
And of course, Diane gave me her now traditional, on-camera, one-finger salute.
It’s this kind of silliness that makes time with best friends so fun!
Still to come – Friday, Flashmob!, Girl’s Night In, and Saturday’s Photo Walk.
to be continued…
As I’ve said previously, Blissdom is a conference that completely has my heart, and my word for it is Love. While there from January 25 – 30, both my days and nights were filled with wonderful and interesting experiences.
Tuesday was a day of traveling, arriving, settling…
…random water show magic…
…meeting, greeting, hanging…
last four photos by Mishelle Lane
The highlight of Wednesday was the Photography Wisdom Workshop I helped teach. This was so much fun to be a part of – a large room full of women who wanted to get more intimate about photography with a hands on workshop. We all split up at different tables and gave mini lessons at each table about different aspects of photography.
We shared our knowledge and our hearts about this thing we truly love: Photography. Afterwards a small group of us headed out to put our photography knowledge to practice. We walked and shot, asking and answering questions, and had a generally good time wrapping up the workshop.
Wednesday night was the kickoff party sponsored by ConAgra and it was so fun. Food and drinks were shared by a large group of excited attendees, buzzing around one another. The area was full of laughter and happiness that was palpable. I was so happy to see David and Kammie from The Social Path and Luckie, and Anissa Mayhew, at the party.
Later, Leslie and I cartwheeled through the hotel as everyone was on their way to have wine, cupcakes, and watch the premier of Working Class with special guest, Melissa Peterman. What, don’t you always cartwheel through hotels? Best way to travel.
When that was done, several of us picked up Jim in the lobby and hung out at Fuse, drinking and laughing.
last nine photos by Mishelle Lane
That’s how fun-lovin’ social media/tech-geeks roll, eh? Regardless, it was so good to spend that time with them, just laughing and soaking in the rarity of close proximity to people I adore online from great distances on a regular basis.
After many drinks, we retired. I think I got about 3 hours of sleep. Oh, boy.
Thursday was the first full day of the official conference. Let me just say that I never make it to all the sessions I want to go to at a conference, and I’m finally learning to be okay with that. On this day, I attended the two things that were most important to me (personally).
My advice to you for conferences is to find the sessions that are the VERY MOST important to you personally and make sure you attend those. If you can get to others, great; if you can carve other time to truly enjoy other facets of the experience (visiting with sponsors, spending time with good friends, networking with new business contacts, exploring the town you’re in) – fabulous!
I’ve mentioned this already, but the Opening Keynote speaker was Brené Brown. Her talk blew me away, made me cry, affirmed things for me, made me laugh deeply, had me nodding, and was basically time well spent. Her message is powerful, and I highly recommend you seek her out – watch her talks, read her book. When I got home I had the renewed confidence I needed to go back and pull up a 4-month old draft and publish it.
photo by Schmutzie
After the opening, there was a roundtable meet and greet time, a fun way for each of us to connect with our “tribe” and get to know one another.
Each tribe is headed by one or many “Tribe Leaders.” (I was one of the Photography Tribe Leaders.) This is an interesting new way to make sure nobody feels alone during the conference – no matter what, you will have a tribe to check in with! There’s even a “No Niche” Tribe. *wink*
After a superb ConAgra lunch, I wandered out into the expo hall, talked to the Purex Rep (who was totally awesome) and as I was wandering on, I suddenly realized that HOLY CRAP IF YOU ONLY SLEEP FOR 3 HOURS AFTER YOU ARE RAGINGLY DRUNK BY MIDDAY THE NEXT DAY YOU ARE SOOOOO DONE SOCIALIZING. Like that, I hit a wall, and I knew it was time to go to my room for a little bit.
Also, someone made me spill tea all over myself and I almost went back and decapitated him later just out of spite. This was totally a sign that I needed a nap, as I am generally a “punch them in the neck” kind of person rather than an “off with their heads!” chick. So I went to the room and slept like a goddess on soft fluffy pillows, fully dressed, for an hour. Then it was up and to the next session!
The Innovative Writing Session with Leslie, Jim, and Amy was fantastic – creative, informative, and hilarious. I really wish you all could have been there. You can see the presentation in this post at Jim’s site.
I think the most important thing they shared was an amazing piece put together by Shawn Burns for presentation during the session, something that he’s worked hard to get across to the community for some time, and Jim, Leslie, and Amy realized this was the perfect opportunity to help it spread. Even if you didn’t get to attend, I really think you should benefit from Shawn’s message. Now go to Jim’s site and pay close attention as you watch. You will thank me.
It’s like you were there, right? You can thank me in the comments. (Heh.)
to be continued…
I have a ton of posts still queued up in my head about the specifics of my Blissdom experience, and don’t you worry, I’ll get them up in the next couple of weeks, with photos and enough rainbows shooting out of my arse to make you all vomit copiously. I am juggling some family travel things and some work travel things right now (which I will also tell you about in due time and with much excitement) so my lazy douchery is being worn on both sleeves and the middle of my forehead as far as the ole’ blog is concerned. Ya still love me, right? (Speaking of #love, check this out and jump in! I want to hear from all of you so I can include you in a future blog post this month.)
Now, about Blissdom posts…
This one is first, because it’s a nod to the Blissdom sponsors. Without them, the show doesn’t go on, ya dig? They are the companies that invest in this dream that gets dreamed and then nurtured, hatched, grown, and set free every year. They provide and then show up to showcase their goods, share their knowledge, and connect with us on a professional and personal level.
They’re putting their hands into an effort to lift us up and help us find whatever it is we may be looking for when we join together at a blogging conference that has our hearts and minds, this Blissdom Conference that we fall in love with and want to come back to repeatedly.
My personal favorite is Freschetta, and I’m not going to lie, but they had me at NOMMY PIZZA and then they only grew my love up greater when they said “here, put on crazy props and pose like a moron with your friends in our awesome photo booth of love!” Dear Freschetta: will you please marry me? Thanks.
I also throw heavy props to:
- Con Agra Foods – I think that I could probably forget to eat with all the excitement and hugging and the being a little bit dizzy from being out until 4 am the night before so thank you so much for making sure we ate well balanced foods while we were enjoying the conference that were flavorful, interesting, and totally delicious. (Will you please come to my house and make burritos for me? Come on, I’ll give you a foot rub. Okay, the truth is I’ll make my husband do that, but still. Free foot rub. Eh?)
- Lisa Leonard Designs: This woman is incredibly talented, massively loved, and so adorable you really have to restrain yourself from running up and hugging her until she breaks. Her jewelry is beautiful. Thanks for another amazing piece to treasure, Lisa.
photo of and by Mishelle Lane
- Dear Blue Bunny, I have LUSTED AFTER YOU SINCE HIGH SCHOOL. I will marry Freschetta, but I must have your ice-creamy babies. I would like to extend to you an invitation to the pants party, if you know what I mean. And I think that you do. *salacious wink*
- Quaker Oats Company: They make the most delicious, energizing, fill-me up and get me going breakfast food that my son and I both love equally (which happens to be great, big boatloads of lovin’). In our home, Quaker Oatmeal = Yes, Please. This is one of my personal “fitness-health food-breakfast of champions” foods.
- Hallmark: Their cards are the thing I think about first when I hear the Hallmark name, and I love them, but they are so much more. For example, they have a recordable storybook (received in my Prep for Bliss package) that is going to bring my husband’s loving voice to my son at bedtime even when he’s out on the road (touring musician). For that, I thank them endlessly. And I might cry in a minute, so I’m movin’ on now.
- Purex: I used their free and clear detergent for years, and I’m a huge fan. I was introduced to the crystals at Blissdom – haven’t used them yet, but I have great expectations. Of note: their rep at the conference was one of the most delightful people I spoke to all day (and that’s saying a lot at an event like this) so KUDOS to them on hiring fantastic people to represent them and speak with compassion and humor, on a personal level, with prospective clients/consumers.
Smiles from my swag bag:
- Vintage Pearl – I have another lovely necklace to treasure! This delicate and meaningful piece will be well worn before long.
- Unilever’s Dove Ultimate Nectarine & Ginger Deodorant – It’s tiny, which makes me squee (don’t judge me, I love miniature and travel sized packages of happy), but also smells like win and works fantastically. Thumbs up.
- Kleenex Tissue! Finally a blogging conference has tissues in the swag bag! Dude, you know we are ALL GOING TO CRY AT SOME POINT during this thing. You know that, right? RIGHT??? Trust me. We are all going to cry AT LEAST ONCE AT THIS THING. Amen to tissues on hand.
- Dear Jockey, you gave me a pair of tiny underwear that fits on my foot. You also gave me $20 off any order with free shipping, AND provided an opportunity for me to act like a pompous ass on the “red carpet” one night. Need I say more? Mad love.
photo by mooshinindy
Thank you to all the sponsors who helped support the Blissdom experience. You help pull off an experience I look forward to more and more with each passing year, and I am truly thankful to you for that.
There is so much. So very much, and there is no way I can touch it all in one post. I’m going to break this up into posts on different days (non-consecutive, of course, wouldn’t want to ruin my lazy douche reputation by posting two whole days in a row with words and stuff) as I speak specifically, and share photos (mine and others’) and videos with you as I go along.
And even then, I won’t be able to get it all across to you. The excitement, the freedom, the friendship, the FLASHMOB (oh yeah!), the chance to speak and share, the Community, the panels, the musical performances, the food and drinks, the fun, the laughter. The LOVE.
I’m going to try very hard, but there just seems so much and some parts of it seem so deep, that I fear I have not the skill, the time, the energy… to really make you see, hear, and feel it the way you should, the way I wish for you to, the way I did.
I’m going to tell you now, before I start the posts by day, that I truly love this community of persons I’ve become connected to these last several years. Some of you I am only connected to by the wisp of a thread, and we float into and out of one another’s lives only occasionally. Others of you spend time with me every now and again, us keeping up in bouts and starts and stops, flowing here and there; you make my life your here sometimes and your there at other times. Still others of you are tied to me like a lifeline, and I think of or hear from you every day; we’ve been with one another through happy times and hard ones, and everything in between.
photo by Mishelle Lane & Lotus Carroll
All of you amaze me, inspire me, and collectively form a thing I am constantly in awe of and drawn to endlessly.
Each of you should attend this conference next year, or the first time you have the chance to do so. I’m rooted in the heritage of BD and have been a part of this Blissdom Community since it began in a crazy, cowhide-covered-walls hotel with a pink crayon brazier in the lobby (no really), and I’ll be a part of it for the rest of its fabulous ride down the road. I can tell you that with absolute surety, and I will also tell you now that what keeps me coming back is not just my ties to its past, or my deep and abiding love for the woman whose heart dreamed this dream so fiercely that she made it come true, but for the HUGE sense of love, friendship, and community I feel while I’m at this conference.
There isn’t any substantial amount of time that you will spend alone while at Blissdom (unless you really want to be alone, and I’m right there with you on that one, we all need to decompress, and for me that’s hiding in my hotel room every now and then in the dark because I will be a complete hag to someone in that moment if I don’t, and also because I get REALLY GASSY when I’m traveling/nervous and you gotta excuse yourself every little while and let that out, but I digress) and you won’t find one minute when there isn’t something amazing right at your fingertips.
My word for this conference is LOVE.
Call me cheesy (I really don’t mind, cheese is one of my favorite things in the world), but that is the truth. And Love, when it is truly felt and shared and spread around, is basically the most wonderful thing that exists. Some pretty popular and talented Liverpoolers once said that it’s all you need. I think they were pretty much right.
I’m looking forward to sharing these next several posts with you. I hope you enjoy them.
Oh, and one more thing: All you women out there, the ones I know well and hold dearly in my heart, the ones who have been with me for the past few years, and those who only check in once in a great while, as well as any woman who just happens to stumble through here for whatever reason, and even those who never read these words themselves at all or know me in the least (can you tell them for me?)…
~You are beautiful.
Just to let you know what I’ve been up to photographically (for those of you who aren’t doing your loyal stalker duties to the utmost*), I thought I’d let you all know that I’m engaging in several Photography Projects this year. I’m posting them daily over at my little subdomain of this site that I like to call Everyday Lotus.
A summary of the projects I’m wrangling this year:
- Picture it Outside the Box
- Project 365
- i365 – One great photo with my iPhone every day.
- The Flip Side Meme
- Everyday Me – A photo of myself, same angle and expression, every day.
- Project 52 – One portrait of myself per week.
- The Monthly Bewb – One shot o’ the rack per month.
Here are some of my favorites so far:
For Project 365:
For Project 52:
If you want to keep up with what I’m doing at Everyday Lotus, make sure to subscribe!
I’m very excited to share with you that I’m one of seven women who will be running the Photography Wisdom Workshop at Blissdom on Wednesday, January 26th (1-4:30).
Composition has been covered. What we need now is to get everyone out of automatic mode. BlissDom provides time to sit down in small groups and focus on what your camera can really do. Experienced and supportive workshop leaders will concentrate on teaching just what each part of the camera does. What is AV? What is TV? How the heck do I shoot in manual? Can someone please explain the difference between Adobe RGB and sRGB? RAW? An intimate hands-on learning environment followed by time to put your newly achieved non-automatic techniques to use with your instructors right there for additional help.
Fabulous women who will be there, ready to help:
If you have questions about how to “get off the green square” and grow your photographic skill, you definitely want to be there. Check out the work of the women running the workshop ahead of time to see who you may want to work with most, and bring your camera, photos, computers, questions, and be ready to learn in a completely hands-on environment. This one’s not a lecture, folks.
I’m also one of the Photography Tribe Leaders for Blissdom, along with Deanna Garretson, Casey Mullins, Dawn Camp, and Angie Arthur. So if you’re coming, and you’re a Fellow Photogranerd, make sure you hook up with our tribe! We’ll be there the whole time to help you with anything you need, guide you to events, answer questions, and have the kind of fun that the camera obsessed enjoy.
FInally, I’m super-dee-duper excited about a trip I get to take at the beginning of February, hosted by Adobe evangelist Julieanne Kost. It’s a Photography Girls Getaway in San Francisco with a full day to tour the city and take photos of iconic landmarks first, and then a half-day seminar to learn about and see what Adobe Lightroom 3 can do for a photographer’s organizing/editing/sharing workflow and how it works with Photoshop for a seamless photo editing experience. I’m so excited about this trip, and I can’t wait to show you photos and share the details of the experience when I return.
I’ve had the Instagram App for awhile, but just started actually using my account recently. I’m loving it! If you’re on Instagram, hit me up.
So what’s up in your world? Who’s going to be in Nashville next week!? Holla!
*you should be ashamed of yourself.
I love doing my holiday shopping by the glow of my computer monitor.
By the way, if you said no, I am highly confused by you… Because it either means you don’t like great deals (huh?) you don’t shop online (huh?) or you had all your holiday shopping done already weeks ago (I am a little jealous of you!).
Jealous or not, you know what? This is going to be beneficial to you too, Timely Shopper, because this place has deals year round, as well as some great holiday deals to help with the ole’ hurtin’ on the wallet that happens around this time of year! Something for all of us to take advantage of as the cheer of the holiday season sweeps us off our feet is waiting online…
It is that time of year when bloggers of all kinds, mostly women, but also lots of men, start packing their bags and preparing to descend on some fabulous city for a popular blogging conference, as well as days and nights filled with more than their fair share of merriment and crazy making.
There have been weeks of hype and talk and more than just a gentle buzz, but more like a gnashing, crunching, building roar of excitement from those who are attending. That building cacophony of anticipation has been filled with excitement, anticipation, nerves, joy, anxiety, what ifs and a general sense of OH YAY, I CAN’T WAIT.
I’m speaking at this conference!
I didn’t really mention that here even one time in the past several months, did I? I’ve been kind of a horrible blogger so far as words and stories and explanations go, lately, haven’t I? (Kind of. Just kind of? Hah.)
I go hither and yon, ebb and flow, rise and fall, swell and shrink.
I’m here, living and laughing and crying and spinning and twirling and facing my fears and sometimes hiding in corners from the dark I Know Not What. But mostly I’ve been running until my body is covered in sweat, stealing bites of chocolate here and there and torturing myself with happiness of all kinds.
Life has been full of a little of everything and not so much of nothing.
Yes, I speak in poems! How unfair of me, eh? But my life kind of feels like a poem to me right now, and so that is what you get. Neener.
(Yes, I’m excited.)
I’m honored to be part of a trio of photographers who will be presenting a Room of Your Own Session on how to take great photos with a DSLR or Point & Shoot. I’m delighted beyond words to be sharing this experience with Mishelle Lane (@secretagentmama) and Rachel Devine (@sesameellis). These are amazing women, talented women, women who make me laugh and teach me, inspire me, and lift me up. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with them to create this presentation, and I’m really looking forward to seeing them in person in New York at this conference. I hope that those who attend take away valuable ideas and learn some things they’ve been wanting to know.
I’m full to bursting with all that excitement and anticipation I mentioned above.
I’m about to jett off to New York City! You know, that fabulous place full of bustle and lights, that never sleeps, and has way more sights, sounds, tastes, smells, and experiences than any place should dare to be allowed.
With those thoughts swirling in my head, I take a deep breath and acknowledge the huge smile on my face. I’M GOING TO NYC TO PLAY AND WORK AND PARTY AND SPEAK AT A CONFERENCE AND BE A GROWNUP ALL BY MYSELF (WITH MY FRIENDS) FOR DAYS AND DAYS.
Leaving Braden for that long is one of those things that makes me both sigh with relief and twists my guts with agony.
I will love having the break from him! (I will miss him!)
I will love not being pestered and bossed around by a 3 Year Old.
I will love peeing without being yelled at or visited, eating without attending to others first, bathing only myself and sleeping without someone screaming in the night.
I will enjoy waking without someone ordering me to make their breakfast, or crying when it’s not perfect.
I will love no cleaning up toys, wiping the pee up from around the toilet, or being head butted in the face.
I will love not being screamed at or hearing NO NO NO all.day.long.
I WILL MISS HIM.
But it’s all good. His Daddy will be spending days with him. Then two different trusted friends will take turns caring for him. He’s in great hands.
And hey, I’m a freaking good Mom. (If you laugh, I will cut you.) I’ve raised this kid well, given him a great foundation. He’s been loved and supported emotionally, physically, and spiritually his whole life.
I am firmly sure that I’ve taught him well and given him all the tools he needs to make it through several days without me and not have any troubles.
I have set a great example for him for years now, and I know that will shine through.
Oh, shut up. At least I’m not the one who just taught him to say, “When Mommy’s gone we’re going to cruise chicks!”
[before you get all "oh no she di'in't!" I didn't teach him to flip the bird. he was showing me a "boo-boo" he wanted me to kiss. I don't teach my kid to give people the finger. gah. we are way too busy free-basing and listening to hard core rap while we count the money the hookers bring in to spend time on foolish finger salutes....]
And with that, I’m out.
New York, I can’t wait to be in you, baby. Peace out, beeshes.