Tuesday, September 9, 2014

For the Love of Blogging | AWBU 2014.

(Bear with me as I iron out some of the kinks in my new blog design.... and I HAVE A NEW BLOG DESIGN!!! Yay for finally finding the discipline to sit on the couch for 4 hours and figure out html coding that was intimidating me!)

If you follow me on social media at all, then you know that this weekend I was tucked away in nearby Rogers, AR for the fourth annual AWBU (Arkansas Women Bloggers University).

I'm going to be honest and say that going into the conference I was a little nervous. The last conference I attended I was more on my blogging game (so to speak), and knew a lot more people that were going. This year I knew no one other than my good friend, Heidi, and honestly, I didn't really know what to expect.

I attended the Foodie Friday portion of the conference, even though I'm not a foodie blogger. We got the privilege of watching some of the local chefs create dishes (I was amazed at the ease at which they cut raw meat into 10 different pieces LIKE A BOSS. I can barely handle a raw chicken without gagging and simultaneously dropping it-ha!). My favorite part of Foodie Friday, was of course, the photography portion. I love hearing other peoples takes on how they work the camera, and I also got to help a few people out with questions on how to set their DSLR in manual (for the record, if that's something you're interested in learning, I wrote a tutorial on DSLR settings that you can read). I also had a bit of prop envy... Heather's Dish has some amazing food photography props. The turquoise wood piece?! AWESOME.
I wish the internet could share smells and tastes. This was absolutely INCREDIBLE.

I was already a fan of Embassy Suites before #awbu (hello, made to order omelettes!!), but the people of #embassysuitesNWA have exceeded my expectations. #RogersRocks #RogersAR @visitrogersarOh, you know, just listening to @alliworthington at #awbu at #embassysuitesNWA
I got to hear Alli Worthington speak again (I heard her last year at Blissdom). Can I just say? I feel like a lot of the women who are in the stage ahead of me are putting some good words out about saying no and creating healthy boundaries. I am LOVING it. I've not really been one to struggle with boundary creations, but it has been refreshing having so many women speak out and say that it's OK to say no and that saying yes to everything can be unhealthy and just as dream crushing as never saying yes in the first place.

Which leads me to my biggest take away from the weekend. Sure I learned a lot about SEO (probably more than I bargained for if I'm honest. I get stressed out with small details, and Lord have mercy, SEO is all about the small details) and various social media platforms and how they can grow my blog. But what I walked away from the conference with was that blogging is more about the numbers. It's more about the hits and stats and followers. It's about community and finding other people who are as passionate as you are about things and cheering them on regardless of their klout or presence online. I felt so encouraged when I told other bloggers that this year blogging has taken a back seat. I was afraid going in that it's either all push and big or it's nothing at all. And what I walked away with was that that couldn't be farther from the truth. I knew the truth, but sometimes when I get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life we tend to forget the small truths and instead believe the big lies. I'm so grateful for my new bloggy friends and my old ones that I've known for a long while. And I'm so grateful for those who have followed my journey of motherhood, whether you be a fellow mom in the trenches, a family member that I wish lived closer, or just someone who reads my blog :) I love blogging, even if I only get to do it when I have an unhurried second once a week and only a handful of people read it. And I have AWBU to thank for reminding me that that is good enough.

me with my two crazy roomies, one of whom I've known for over 3 years and one who I didn't meet until the conference. Both are awesome!

(A special thanks to companies who made this conference possible: Great Day Farms, Skippy Peanut Butter, Alliance Rubber, Riceland Foods, Petite Jean Meats, Kendall King Group, Visit Rogers, Taste Arkansas, Wet Nap, Arkansas Grown, Acorn and IO Metro)

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