I promise this is my last post about The Creative Connection
Pinky swear. I just can’t shut up until I share a few more stories, pictures and do a little name dropping *coughReecoughcoughLoraleecough*.
My flight out was…crowded. Apparently Hell now operates an airline from Hartford to Minneapolis. There’s no other way to explain sitting in a teeny tiny middle seat between snoring shoeless guy and plus-size over perfumed grandma for 2+ hours with so little room I could neither cross my legs or work on my knitting. But the flight was blessedly on time and once I found my chauffeured car (!!!!!!) at baggage claim I was mere minutes away from that delicious red velvet cake and a great Q&A with The Pioneer Woman herself.
The funny thing about a crafting conference instead of a blogging conference is that the attendees were split about 50/50 on whether or not they had ever even HEARD of Ree Drummond. The mind, it boggles. Although I bet someone somewhere is writing the exact same thing about idiots like me who hadn’t heard of Amy Butler before. (I have now and I love her the appropriate amount.)
High point: When Ree signed my book.
Low point: When I hit myself in the head with said book after telling her my palms were super sweaty and she was cute.
After lunch I made it to a panel on Social Media and managed to accidentally find a seat next to an outlet (DEAD IPHONE ALERT CODE RED WEE OOOO WEE OOOO) and next to Nicole from Lark Crafts, my contact at the event. Afterward I hung around awkwardly hoping for a chance to talk to Loralee and thank her for the link that lead me to the conference in the first place. She ended up asking a group of us stragglers for business cards and when I passed her mine she looked at it…and looked again…and said “Waaaait a minute…” and then JUMPED UP and ran around the table and hugged me and hugged me and hugged me again. The other women who had been standing around all stared and one of the asked “Ok who is this famous person?” IT WAS AWESOME. Loralee is totally the same in real life as on her blog – funny and real and gorgeous and so so so nice.
I managed to check in, find my room and get changed for dinner with a few minutes to spare so I turned on the TV and was surprised to see Jeopardy! was on. Central time is weird. Anyways, this was the Final Jeopardy! question. None of the contestants knew the answer.
Then it was time for the Keynote dinner.
And then I limped up to my room, ripped off my high heels (poor choices, Suzanne, poor choices) and passed out. For exactly two hours. Then I woke up and composed eight zillion blog posts in my head and worried about finding my way around the next day and worried Baby Evan missed me and worried everyone secretly hated me and worried some more. I didn’t sleep very much. The possessed alarm clock didn’t help.
On Friday I attended a panel about blogging that included Lisa Leonard, Heather Bullard, Brett Bara and Loralee Choate. FINALLY, something I know a little bit about. I almost broke my neck nodding along to all the advice (write often! good quality pictures are important! comment comment comment!) and loved hearing people’s different opinions on personal vs. professional blogging.
Then there was the box lunch with the Women Entrepreneurs panel. It was the only place I felt totally intimidated and out of my league – not a single person mentioned The Twitter or The Facebook for 2 1/2 hours. To be honest, the whole middle part of Friday is just a big blur. The schedule was so full I hardly had any time at all to catch my breath.
Which is something I definitely needed to do, since right after lunch I ducked back into the Handmade Market for this…
I’m not even gonna lie – it was totally weird meeting a bloggy friend in person for the first time. You already know so much about them that the basic hi-where-you-from-how-many-kids-do-you-have-what-do-you-do? small talk is pointless, but you can’t really just jump in with the super personal details. You end up standing around grinning like a crazy person but have nothing to say.
Of course, the initial awkwardness didn’t stop me for a SECOND and since she was foolish enough to give me her cell phone number I managed to invite myself along to dinner with Allison, her friend Cindy and Cindy’s blog friends Kim and Jenny and (another) Allison (who writes for Apartment Therapy). We started at Ikea, which makes sense when you’re hanging out with house bloggers, where I enjoyed crepes and lingonberry soda and bought an inspirational yard of fabric I’m going to plan the new nursery/play room around. Then we went over to the Mall of America (Which turned out just to be a big mall. I don’t know what I was expecting.) for some super cheap happy hour food and wine Diet Coke* lemonade.
This is the part where things could be really awkward if I say “Meeting Allison in person was like getting together with my best friend from high school who I haven’t seen in years but I already know I love” and she’s all “Uh, yeah, it was…nice. Please stop emailing me.” It was like a first date where one person thought they were totally Soul Mates and the other couldn’t wait for the night to be over. My social awkwardness, let me show you it. I think it’s a blogger thing. But IN MY HEAD, it was a super awesome night.
On Saturday I played with yarn with Kristen Nicholas…
Attended one more panel – The Future of Retail: The Digital Marketplace…
Amy writes a blog, has an incredibly successful wooden toy business (that once got Dooce-ified), and had her teeny weeny 3 week old baby boy Scout with her at the conference. She was all kinds of cool and nice. I talked to her about my horrible pregnancy pelvic pain and instead of giving me the side-eye and running away she was all “YES!! THE PAIN!! IN THE CROTCH!!” and made emphatic stabbing motions. I liked her.
And then…the weekend was over.
It was fantastic. Amazing. Everything I had hoped for and more. It still feels more like a dream than something that actually happened to me and being back in my real life (oh boy am I back in my real life) makes it even more unbelievable.
Thank you again to Lark Crafts & Nicole & Jo & Debbie & Meaghan & everyone else who handled all the details to get me there and registered and made sure I always felt welcome and special. I promise to use everything I learned to do something beautiful.
P.S. I wanted to share this cookbook with you too:
The author, Zac, was working as the event’s videographer and tried to give a copy to Nicole, since she’s all fancy and important and has tons of publishing connections, but I fawned all over it so much that she passed it to me. I feel sort of bad for stealing it from her (and I think he was pretty disappointed too) but I looooove it. I think I’ll throw a Halloween party just to make those cupcakes.
P.P.S. If you were at the event or want to write about the event, please feel free to use my pictures from this post or the other ones. All I ask for is an attribution and a link back. If you want unedited or larger copies just email me bebehblog at gmail dot com.
*There is NO DIET COKE in Minnesota. It was all Pepsi, all the time, and it SUCKED. I ended up drinking more coffee than I’ve had in years.