I remember reading Ashley from Lil Blue Boo's post about SNAP! creative bloggers conference last year. Actually, reading several blogger's posts about it. Last year at this time, I had been thinking it sounded so inspiring!
Earlier this year, I had the chance to snag a ticket to SNAP! I thought about it a lot, talked with Stephen and he really wanted me to go. He really just supports me in pretty well anything- he is amazing! He particularly liked the idea of us making a trip together out of it also. (Course he did, he didn't want to have to be alone with the boys for three whole days!) ;)
But, here's the thing... I really haven't been a serious blogger.
This blog has been about showing you how fun my boys are, the bits of creativity I seem to pull off on occasion, preserving our life for later, giving me a reason to play around in Photoshop Elements a bit. If I was going to go to something like SNAP, I needed to be serious about this, right?
I emailed my blogging friend Ginger from Ginger Snap Crafts to ask her advice... about the conference and about blogging. I asked her, does blogging really make a good "job"? Is the time involved worth it? How do her family priorities shake out with it all? (I know I've had tons of guilt over time spent at the laptop instead of engaged with my boys, or accomplishing something more important.) Does it get better? Is there a way to have my blog be profitable at all but not take over my life either? Oh, and... are blog conferences worthwhile?
She responded with some great, realistic advice- basically a SNAP! class in itself. :)
And she said she was going to SNAP...
and I'm pretty sure I was sold right then! :P
I was scared though, too. In social situations, I'm not the one living it up center stage. I'm happy to be the wallflower. And I say that sincerely, I really am happy about it. But SNAP! is the kind of thing where you go, in part, to be social. It's about meeting people. And I'm really not so comfortable with being surrounded by people who mostly already know each other.
And when it came right down to getting the ticket and really sealing the deal on going, that was my driving force. I would go to SNAP! to conquer my fear of going. To prove to myself that I could face and maybe even enjoy intimidating, large social situations. To figure out if this blogging-hobby-turned-work-at-home thing could be for me.
All of this rambling is probably boring you to death as you read, but I guess I feel like its important because my experience at SNAP! was likely quite different from most of the review posts you'll read. And these factors are why. I didn't go for the same reasons as most bloggers. I went to test the waters, to learn if continuing to take this seriously was where I wanted to be putting my efforts.
I committed to myself that I would smile and engage and not just stand against the wall. Still, I knew full well that I would not be the one in the pictures of a huge group laughing or being funny at the photo booth. I wasn't bound to be in any crazy group shot or referenced in any mention of late night grandeur. Rather, Stephen and I were trying to have a bit of a get away at the same time. (Note to self: blog conference + vehicle shopping + shipping hunting dogs to new owners + trading and picking up corals for the aquarium DO NOT = best couples retreat ever) :P
Anyway... I know it might sound kinda lame, but I was sure grateful to see him when he picked me back up in the evenings! "Home is where the heart is" is a cliche saying for sure, but in those moments, I actually really felt that way. Having him there gave me the ability to truly relax again, to not be so unsure for a bit.
I have to mention as I get started (or keep going...), that I lugged my DSLR camera around in my stinkin' huge bag the entire weekend... and took seriously two pictures with it... my phone won the battle by nature of social media sharing... so from here you get the rather mediocre phone pics...
I know I personally enjoyed the actual SNAP! classes more than the break times or party times. (You're shocked, right?!) Sitting in the classes was enlightening, touching and... what's the word... prompting? As in, they all seemed to prompt me to think in ways that were so good for me!
Sometimes what the presenters were saying was almost overshadowed by who they were! Listening to Amy from The Idea Room talk about really loving blogging- wow. And getting tears in my eyes hearing Desiree from The 36th Avenue rally DIYers as one collective, inspiring, powerful force- phenomenal! One thing I learned in this class is that my pictures here on Capital B have been much too large! I'm sorry if it's taken forever for my pages to load!
That first night I rode back in to Thanksgiving Point with Ginger and her sister, Megan, for the pajama party. We were hoping to hear Jen from Tatertots and Jello speak. She didn't end up actually speaking, but we did get to do some fun, quick crafts! I loved choosing awesome Modern Yardage fabric swatches for a fun little banner- I'll be sharing that as part of some re-decorating that has been in the works for way to long around here... I couldn't have been more grateful for Ginger this night. This was also a place that I ran into several of the bloggers I'd been wanting to meet, which was exciting!
On a side note- don't you just love serendipity?! When things happen or come about in a way that can not be brushed off as coincidence? Might also be called divine intervention... I know I do! And the fact that Ginger and her sister were staying in the very same hotel in Lehi (and actually in the room right next door- whoa!) was certainly serendipity- it couldn't have worked out better! They were so gracious to include me in their comings and goings; and I was so grateful to have them to feel like I "belonged."
I have to mention here, too, that I was so grateful to my fellow Idaho Bloggers for this same reason! When a class was over and I realized I was alone, surrounded by lots of people who were very much not, I could scan the room for them and feel like I had someone to go to. They gave me the cutest bag with goodies inside as an honorary roommate gift- so thoughtful! Specifically my friend Emily Benson from The Benson Street, was so wonderful during the whole conference! She and I had exchanged cell phone numbers so we could stay connected better and that helped me so much! At one point I was really uncomfortable at a table of ladies that all knew each other and were engrossed in a conversation that didn't include me or allow me the chance to step in. So I texted her and she snagged me a seat next to her across the room- what a great friend! I really hope I only get to know her better and better through the future. You Rock, Emily! So bummed I didn't snap a quick pic with you!
On the second morning of SNAP! I again rode with Ginger to listen to the amazing Lisa Leonard speak to our whole group. She and Tauni, the main host of SNAP!, had an interview style discussion and Lisa answered questions that applied to all of us. She said, "When we own how imperfect we are, it frees us up." There were several other things I liked from her talk, also. She is really an example of success and idea management!
Without question, my favorite class of the whole conference was the one presented by Lisa of Pennington Point (with me above) and Becky of Organizing Made Fun about Balancing it All: Juggling blogging, home, family, etc. I was most excited for this class and it didn't disappoint for sure. They shared some really great tips, but honestly, it wasn't even the tips that I took away most from the class. It was how they made me feel as I sat there. These are two ladies that really just shine! And they made everyone there feel like they were capable of being that same way. Lisa just inspired me so much! I will absolutely be making her blog a weekly read from now on. I loved how she said "Do not prefer your blog!" in terms of kids and husband. Really there are a ton of things from this session I would love to relay: Either marry it or don't do it... figure our your best time of day... you won't be good at all social media... okay, I'll stop there and just say again that this one was awesome. It absolutely changed the way I will blog and even the way I think about myself.
That night Stephen and I went to Rodizio Grill- yum! Earlier that day he actually got us a new vehicle- woo hoo! We've been looking for quite a long time for something that will work for our whole family- we've long since been flat tired of all piling into the pickup! So we were enjoying our new Ford Expedition that night as well... long story, but we ran out of gas first time out! Super cool when all the fuel gauges don't work and the previous owners don't tell you so... grr. We made it back to Thanksgiving Point just in time to catch the Queen Bee Market- I told Stephen he could stay in the car, but he wouldn't have it! He was I think one of three guys in the whole place, but was totally cool with it and helped me pick out the cutest earrings from Hoop-la! So, so cute and I have loved wearing them!
This was also were I got the chance to actually say hello to Jen from Tatertots and Jello! She was standing right next to me at a booth and wasn't surrounded by anyone, so I just said hi!
And in that moment, or maybe rather in thinking about that moment after the fact, I learned a little lesson... I don't even know how to put it in to concise words really, so indulge me a bit here... She asked me about my blog and what I blogged about and actually looked into my face as she did. And I realized that I was kind of almost walking away the whole time. When I said hello to her and asked her for a picture, I was assuming that I was imposing on her, that I wasn't really worthy of talking to her or something. And even though she was genuinely asking me about me and about Capital B, I was creating space between us, trying to cut off the conversation for her sake. I was being so dumb! Why did I not mention the things that I enjoy about TT&J, and actually answer her questions with more than just three of four word answers?? She was in this rare moment where she didn't have anyone else around her and I could have maybe, hopefully, imparted something uplifting back to her in return for speaking to me, but instead I like pushed away. I don't know how you summarize what you learn in a moment like that, but I just hope that I handle my star-struckedness better next time! That instead of worrying so much about myself and about being a burden, I think more of others and relay it to them when they are inspiring to me!
And where the Juggling it All session was my favorite, a close second was the Photoshop Elements class from Jessica Sprague. I would have considered it awesome based solely on the fact that I was in the same room as Jessica Sprague herself! She is so cute and so knowledgable! In the fastest hour ever, I was enlightened so much on some great Elements tips and tricks! Here's a good example of what I mean:
I have despised the white balance of my finished photos of my most popular project from the beginning! I've played with the editing to try and turn a bad thing good and have wanted to pull my hair out! I ended up just going with the best I could do, and by some miracle it's been received well nonetheless, but I have been wanting to re-shoot this wreath for more than a year now! But with Jessica's help, I at least am now a lot closer to good! Not to say that my edits above turned this into the shot I'd really like, but still, I'll take it! (And, no, don't rush over to that post just yet to see my grand improvements or anything...) :P
Sitting next to me in this class was the adorable Lindsay from Artsy Fartsy Mama. She was one of the people I was most excited to meet at SNAP! She actually had the cutest little notebook gift for me- what a sweetheart! Don't you just love the streaks in her hair?!? Anyhow, I appreciated that Lindsay wasn't the kind of person that seemed fake... she seemed ok to just be. At one point, she was sitting in the row behind me waiting for a new class to start in that same room. I'd been feeling kinda dumb, sitting by some people who, again, knew each other but didn't know me. But I looked behind me and realized, there was Lindsay, sitting and waiting also, not engaged excitedly either. She was too far away to talk to and it would've been a serious chore to climb seats to get to her so I could've, but even seeing her there, just being alone, too was somehow encouraging to me. You gave me a boost without even trying or knowing it, Lindsay- you are Awesome!
To start wrapping up this novel of a SNAP! recap, I have to go back to talking about Ginger from Ginger Snap Crafts. I kyped this pic above from her sister on Instagram- thanks, Megan! I love this awesome lady! (And another side note: If some beauty product company could bottle her youthful look, they would be rich! This adorable woman has five kids, one of whom is well into his teens! But she seriously looks so young and vibrant!)
Another thing I learned from Ginger is that she underestimates herself big time! This is someone who knows how to add simple details that make things just plain wonderful- I hope she gets chosen to be a SNAP! speaker next year! Because if she were, the entire group would leave feeling better about themselves, I just know it.
Ginger, you have been so uplifting and encouraging to me! I was honestly sad to be saying goodbye to you! I appreciated so much how comfortable you made me feel. I hope your being around me was even a tiny bit as fun for you as it was for me to be around you! (Did that get lost in translation.. :P) Hope you know what I mean!
So what now for me as a blogger? Did I bring home from SNAP! the answers and insights I was looking for? Something that changes what the future of Capital B will look like? I'm not really sure.
This I do know: I feel better about life when my blog isn't what I'm thinking most about. And I feel better about this blog when I'm sharing what I really love. I guess I learned I will continue to be the kind of blogger I always have been... if opportunities and connections with readers come as a result, awesome! I will be blogging here at Capital B about what I love, even if that means I do not post multiple times a week. I've also been wrestling with whether or not to pull my family content from this site and start a new blog for that alone. But, surprisingly, I actually don't plan on doing that. My boys are what I love more than anything and they would make their way here no matter what. I love putting together and giving gifts... I plan on sharing more of that here, using this blog as an excuse really ;) I love playing with my boys... more of the same. I love designing with Elements... that will continue as well. This blog is what it is and I am what I am. I will never be the blogger working with a magazine on a fantastic photo shoot, or the blogger attending some big city soiree representing the best brand ever. I will be the boy Mom proving that your life our there is more put together than you realized; that doesn't desire competition in any way at all; that is just here, maybe even talking to myself really... but thinking all of you are awesome and being so grateful for anyone who actually does read! Even if I never become a better, bigger blogger, I'm going to try to become a better, bigger person (no, not like literally or physically.. please no!)... and share it here for the joy of it! Thanks for sticking with me.. phew! ;)
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