I have a great and unconditional love for Kristine. We "met" when I linked up a WIW post, I don't even know where, and she commented and then gave me a shout out on her blog. I had seen her blog around and man was she the cool kid at the popular table. But the comment and the shout out were just the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Soon we were tweeting, facebooking, and stalking each other religiously on Instagram. We have watched our blogs grow, we have fought off the haters, we have even shared our "ugliness" when it comes to the blogging world. Meeting her in real life, and being able to hug her like I've wanted to do for over a year was amazing. It's like we were just 2 old friends at a reunion.
Also getting a squeal and a hug, Nay. Of course Nay. Who gives me the feed back that I need. Who has a writers heart, who knows that we bleed each time we are at the keyboard. From the very beginning of Absolute Mommy, Nay has helped me every step of the way. Like my bloggy fairy god mother, only sassier. I felt right at home as soon as I saw Nay.
The second thing that happens when you get a bunch of bloggers together is that there are always hugs. Even if you have only emailed that person, or stalked them relentlessly on Instagram.
Jen, spotted me in the parking lot the night before and called out my name. My mom (who drove down with me, another story to come) was like, "uh that girl is calling your name over there". Which I'm sure was her way of saying stranger danger, but as soon as I saw her I knew. It's Jen!!! And of course we hugged and she was super concerned about emailing me back, and I was like, girl don't you have a conference to set up in the morning? Because that's what bloggers do, we worry about emails regarding food, rather than the set up of a major event!
I did a screen shot of this picture of me and Nina. I will wholeheartedly admit that I have been stalking Nina on Instagram for over a year. I adore her. And not in a creepy, single white female way, but in a "I know we would hang out in our jeans and Toms" kind of way. When I went up and introduced myself to her, she immediately grabbed me into the biggest, tightest hug of my life. It was amazing. Then later, I caught her pumping behind a screen, and I said I know that sound, it sounds like a whale. We cracked up and shared some "mommy" stories, and it was like we had been friends for years. She also captioned the picture above as "@absolutemommy I die over you". Right back at you Nina!!
This is Chrissy. Chrissy is a breath of fresh air. Her blog, Let me see you Sparkle, is a gem. She has a project on her blog called the Happy Mail Mission. Prior to Elevate I knew nothing about her. At the end of the day, she is a new friend, and I let her know that I'm stalking her on Instagram. Check out her and her blog. She in fact does sparkle and the more you get to know her the more you just want to hug her. In the picture above she is doing a minute to win it challenge. Nina and I were on her team. The object was to pick up a skittle by using the straw. Nina and I may have sabotaged her by yelling "Suck it Chrissy!!!". She laughed so hard, she couldn't complete the challenge. It made me like her even more!
I could in fact go on for days about all the people I met. Natalee from Eat Nap Play, turned out to be my wife in the celebrity couples game. I was David Beckham and she was Posh.
Elise, is an amazing talent, and should be opening a shop soon. I can't wait, she is beautiful inside and out.
Nichelle is someone who I've wanted to meet since I thought about going to Creative Estates. So glad I got to meet her, and I loved when she gave me her business card with a pair of earrings attached and said, "I feel like you need these".
I sat next to Ashley at dinner and we discussed her easy taco recipe and the fact that our husbands despise gourmet meals and vegetables. We had a laugh about that, then laughed harder with Little Miss Momma herself interjected that her hubbs was the same way... Hmm. Celebrities they are just like us!
I walked up to April of The Gingerbread Blog and said, "I know you because I totally stalk you on Instagram". I'm not sure how she felt about that!
Sam, from the Ellison Family Expansion Plan, is gorgeous, and is chronicling bother her weight loss and infertility journey, BEAUTIFULLY, on her blog. I had to tell her that I didn't recognize her from her blog as it seems she has lost more weight. Seriously, read this, it will be the best, most beautiful thing you read today.
Rachel, who is hilarious and fun, and quick to joke and make fun in spite of herself or those around her. Who became an instant friend over facebook because something just clicked.
Natalie, who is so beautiful in real life, just like in her pictures, but so incredibly normal. I'm not sure what I expected, but she floated seamlessly between tables, stopping to talk to everyone, and spreading kind words and enthusiasm. I was totally blown away by her spirit! She practices exactly what she preaches!
I'm so thankful to Summer, Jen, and Nichole, for their vision, their hard work, and their commitment to excellence. This was my first conference, but I have a feeling it's going to be hard to beat. I can't wait until next year... Can I just buy my ticket now????
|photo courtesy of Lora Knight Photography|
Elevate was an amazing experience for me as a blogger. This post is only the beginning of my experience. Elevate really did elevate me to the next level. Of where I want to be as a blogger, but also what I want in my every day life. Elevate confirmed what I already knew. Blogging is one of the best things that I have ever done for myself. Both selflessly and selfishly.
No matter what anyone tells you about blogging, know this, it's the people, the bloggers who make the difference. It's their friendship and their loyalty. It's the fact that they have your virtual back before they have your actual back. It's the community that we share, the community that I am so blessed and honored to be a part of.