Thursday, April 10, 2014

Bloggy Boot Camp - St. Louis: Blog Conference Recap

About six weeks ago, Sean and I were sitting on the couch after he returned home from work. With kids crawling all over us, he randomly looked at me and said, "You should go to a blogging conference this year."

If you remember, I did attend a Kansas City blogging conference last summer, but it didn't quite fit my style (or lack there of since it was mostly a fashion focused conference). To find a conference more my speed, I would need to travel to it. And Sean knew that when he suggested that I go.

Did I marry an incredible guy or what? He wanted me to take a day or two off from the kids and offered to stay with them so that I could improve my skills. But more than that, this is how he always is with my writing and blogging: 100% supportive and excited for whatever opportunities I have. He does his very best to make sure that I continue to grow as Rebecca, and not just be a quad mom. He loves that I love to write. How awesome is that?

*so in love!*

All that to say, because of his encouragement, I did get to go to a blogging conference last weekend:

The SITS Girls: Bloggy Boot Camp - St. Louis

It was a whirlwind trip, but it was totally worth the exhaustion by the time we got back. I went with Sarah, a friend, fellow blogger, and triplet mom. We were able to split the costs of gas and hotel to make it affordable for both of us. We left at 3pm on Friday, and we were both home by 10pm on Saturday. Whew!

So this is where the story gets interesting. Earlier last week, I started to come down with a cold. The kids bring home everything from preschool. Ugh! But I was just going to suck it up because I wasn't that sick. Unfortunately, my voice started getting scratchy on Thursday afternoon. By Friday morning, I had no voice at all. I tried to speak normally, but literally nothing would come out. I ended up having to whisper...the entire weekend.

Do you have any idea how hard it is to network while only being able to whisper?! So frustrating!

But the other bloggers were super nice and kindly worked with me. Sarah ended up doing quite a bit of talking for me, including, calling the front desk for the wifi password, ordering my meals, and telling me not to try to talk at normal levels because I would scare people. Lol!

So here is a quick recap of our very short, very full trip:

Around 7:30pm, we rolled into the hotel, and checked in. The rooms were all suites, with a living area, refrigerator, two sinks, and two double beds. It was a very nice setup, and I sure wouldn't mind staying there again!

We were going to go grab some dinner somewhere, but I got a message from another blogger that there were several kid-niche bloggers eating dinner in the hotel restaurant. So we changed our plans and joined them. After dinner, we headed back to one of their rooms and hung out for awhile.
 Laura from LalyMom. In true blogger fashion she was working on a craft while we were visiting.

Sarah from OMG There's Three, Alisha from Makeovers and Motherhood, and Amanda from Dirt and Boogers

About 11pm that night, Sarah and I bowed out and headed to bed. Two higher order multiple moms and the possibility of a full night's sleep without being woken by kids...yeah, we were definitely prioritizing!

The next morning, I gave my voice another try (and Sarah told me to quit scaring people) so I was officially stuck at whisper level. I made the best of it though...after Sarah ordered my breakfast for me because the guy couldn't hear what I was saying.

And then the actual conference got underway. I highly recommend Bloggy Boot Camp. It is literally a boot camp with 10 very packed hours of blogging info. Goodness gracious, it's going to take me awhile to digest all of it.
Francesca and Allison from The SITS Girls

It was very well done with around 125 attending bloggers. For the first four sessions, we had assigned tables that changed with every speaker. For an introvert like me, it was a little nerve-wracking, but ended up being great because I was able to meet a lot of people who write in a lot of different niches. (Special thanks to Alida from The Realistic Mama, Nicole from Mom Saves Money, and Ashley from Lovely Commotion for being willing to help me be heard!)
By the time I reached my second table, I realized that not everyone could hear me saying that I didn't have a voice. Haha! So I made a sign and Melissa from Sippy Cup Mom thought it was so funny she had to take a photo. And then she tweeted it. And that's why I now have this photo.
Side note: Don't go to a blogging conference unless you fully expect for awkward photos of you to end up on the internet!

The sessions themselves were jam packed. Everything from tips to improve blogging to design techniques to working with brands to finding your unique writing voice. I just wanted to slow the whole thing down and absorb all of the experience and wisdom of the speakers/writers who presented. Such valuable info!

By the time we hit 5:30pm and the conference was over, Sarah and I were exhausted and ready to head back to Kansas City. There was a bonus wine reception after, but we instead opted for large cups of caffeine and the road. I'm bummed we missed that extra networking time, but by that point, I was SO sick. So, so sick. I just wanted my own bed.
It's pretty obvious that we both have little kids, isn't it?

So Sarah and I headed back to Kansas City and managed to get home at a decent time. We did make a brief stop at a Cracker Barrel for dinner on the drive back, and the food seemed to revive both of us a bit. The waiter at Cracker Barrel felt so bad for me (the guy was practically sitting on the floor next to me to hear my order) that he brought me out some tea. He had even added lemon slices to the small teapot to steep with the green tea bag. Then he handed me honey and gave me a homemade cough syrup recipe to make when I got home. It was really, really unexpected and thoughtful of him! And my throat did feel a bit better after drinking the tea.
I thoroughly enjoyed my weekend away and all of the tips I learned. The only way it could have been better? If I hadn't had to whisper the whole time!

Eh, maybe next year. :)


  1. It was wonderful meeting you at the conference! I had so many questions I wanted to ask you but I didn't want to torture your poor throat. I'll just have to catch up online and find my answers in your wonderful blog! Look forward to staying connected.

  2. Loved reading this and it looks like it was so much fun! A conference is on my list of things to do - not sure when it's going to happen, but hopefully soon. Maybe we can hit one together next year! :)

  3. I am so jealous! I want to go to one, but there is never one close to me either! And I'm close to a big city. Maybe when I get bigger, I'll be able to go.

  4. Awesome recap! LOVE the picture, haha! I had no idea you had quads - so cool! I've got twins!

  5. It was so great to meet you. I was excited to actually find you there because I read your blog before the conference. Poor baby with no voice. But, you did just fine. I don't blame you for getting on the road once it was over. When you are sick and you have a long drive, you just want to get going. Glad we are all connected now. I really enjoyed this post!!

  6. I loved reading your post and thinking some more about how wonderful #BBCSTL was!

  7. I so enjoyed meeting you, Rebecca, voice or no voice! When I met you, I couldn't help remembering your Meet the Quads page and the wonderful introduction you gave to each of your four beautiful children. What impressed me most was how you described their personalities and made clear they are distinctly four totally distinct individuals, not just quads. I'm sorry you were sick, but I'm glad you there to connect with all of us at BBCSTL. It was indeed a wonderful experience for us all! Great post!

  8. It was great to meet you at conference. I'm glad I could speak up for you.

    That was super nice of the waiter and I hope you are feeling better. :)

  9. Sounds like it was a great trip! I recently lost my voice so I feel your pain. Glad you made the most of it. :)


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