Elevate: The People

 
From the very beginning, I was excited to attend Elevate for one reason and one reason alone:
 
The People.
 
Because I knew there would be bloggers that I had never met, some I had never heard of, and some who I had been tweeting and emailing for the better part of a year.  Since I really dived into the world of blogging, all I've had on my blogging bucket list was to attend a conference.  I toyed around with Creative Estates, Snap, and even for a brief moment Influence.  But it just wasn't the right time, or I didn't have the cash.  Last year, I couldn't attend Elevate, so I had it set, in my mind, that this year I was going.  Nothing was going to stop me.  Not even Mommy guilt knowing that I wouldn't wake up with my babies on Mother's Day.  Let me tell you, there wasn't enough mommy guilt in the world when I woke up Sunday morning that would take the smile off my face.
 
To be honest about how obsessed I was with Elevate, I will tell you that I set 2 calendar reminders and 2 alarms on my phone for the day tickets went on sale.  By 9:10 am, my ticket was bought and my fate sealed.  I didn't even know who would be speaking, but I didn't care.  Me, in a room full of my peers for a whole day?  Priceless in my book.  That was in January.  The wait had begun.
 
I will tell you two things about bloggers and what happens when they meet.  One, sometimes they squeal.  Case in point meeting this gal.  She was not even out of the car when I was yelling for her, then we ran to each other and jumped up and down.  You say ridiculous, I say, typical blogger behavior. 
 

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. 



Summer greeted me with open arms.  A huge welcoming hug from a bloggy friend is an amazing feeling.  Summer's blog was the first that invited me to write a guest post.  She taught me how to do that since I was a total rookie.  Over the last year and a half we have become virtual friends.  And I love her fierce, plus her style pregnant or not, is something to aspire to!


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!!



Also hijacked this picture from Megan.  Because the world always needs more Megans.  Megan is my hero for waking up at 4 to drive from Phoenix with her husband all while 8 months preggo.  Again, another situation where it was like we have known each other for years.  When in fact it's been like a year.  I laugh because in her recap she said I ran to her... I in fact did, because I wanted her to know that I was excited to finally hug her!


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. 
 
 
 
This is my Elevate re-cap part 1.
Check out all the Instagram madness using #elevateconf.
Check out the event here.

10 comments:

  1. Aaaand Im crying. I love your heart so much and am so so so glad I got to meet you. I absolutely agree that we should be able to reserve our spots at next years conference now.. alumni? right?! lol Thank you for your sweet words and stalking. You make me smile so much! Love you bunches!!

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  2. D'aww, thanks for the ridiculously flattering shout out! I, too, am already stoked about next year. :)

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  3. There are no words for how you just made me feel...love is felt through the computer screen...and tears down my face. Girl, I'll always be your fairy godmother...and if there's a cheerleader for writers - that's me too!
    Love you:)

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  4. Sounds like you definitely got your money's worth. It is so fun having so many other ladies that get us as we all go through this crazy blogging thing together.

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  5. Yay!! Loved your recap girly!!! It was so nice to meet you!! I hope you can come to another bloggy event soon! :)

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  6. I'm so glad I got to meet you and be your wifey for the day! ;) I've only been in this little bloggy world for a few short months, but I am so happy that I got to go to Elevate and meet you, one of my favorite bloggers. XOXO
    Natalee
    eat_nap_play@yahoo.com

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  7. La la la love you Megs!! Such a great day. Finally meeting you was def a highlight! xoxoxo

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  8. You met all kinds of blogging celebrities! Jealous.

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  9. This post may have made me cry just a bit. I hope you know that meeting YOU meant just as much to me. You words have encouraged me through the years. Thanks for being so real and so freakin easy to love. So gald to call you a "real life" friend now. xoxo, ashley

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  10. I am so glad you came! I can't wait to see you next year... if not sooner! {hint, hint}


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