Posts Tagged: Blissdom11

All Work & All Play Makes Mishi Feel Just Fine

My Bliss: Part V

Waking up on Thursday morning was really hard, but I had my first “Heads or Tails” mini-session to get to in the Delta Atrium.  I met Amanda at 9:30am, and I was extremely happy with the light.   I took a few test exposures before texting her to see where she was, as the atrium is huge and I was kicking myself for not being super specific about our meeting point in my confirmation email, but we found each other without much of a hitch.

After Amanda’s photo session, I raced to the opening keynote.  Being one of the tribe leaders, for photography, I knew exactly where I had to go.  I got to hear the end of Brené Brown‘s talk.  What I heard was phenomenal, and I totally recommend you watch her speak on Ted.   Moving. Memorable. Deep. Her words are what made me finally realize that I should “come out” on Facebook about my blog.   I’m still listening and learning about vulnerability and shame and belonging and and courage and believing that . . .

Brene Brown's opening keynote

Brené Brown’s Opening Keynote at Blissdom
[Photo courtesy of Schmutzie]

After the Keynote it was time for Tribe Leaders Round Table Discussions.   I sat with some really wonderful women.  We talked about what we do, our passions, our goals, our equipment, and our overall love of photography. I was honored to sit there with them as a Blissdom Tribe Leader!

Then it was time for lunch.  Blissdom never disappoints in this department, and lunch was absolutely delicious.  I was so hungry that I didn’t even get a chance to take a picture of my yummy food (I know, can you believe it?)   But, I did get to eat lunch with my new friend Ann, and I got sit next to the ever lovely Domestic Debacle.  I also got to talk to Ryan, and I got to get a big, huge, love-filled hug from Amy!

Once I had my fill of Mexican flare, hugs, laughter, good conversation, and camaraderie, I headed off to do some more work.

I had head shots scheduled for Shab and Brigid, in the Garden Conservatory.

There was some time to go support my old Cre8buzz pals: Jim, Leslie, and Amy at their Innovative Writing Techniques Session!  Jim has a great recap (with videos) on his blog.  You must see it!

Blissdom 2011 by Mishelle Lane PhotographyBlissdom 2011 by Mishelle Lane PhotographyBlissdom 2011 by Mishelle Lane PhotographyBlissdom 2011 by Mishelle Lane Photography

Then I had my first Boudoir shoot with Carmen.   After that session I met Mandy in the Delta Atrium for her head shot session.    I felt in the zone.  I felt alive.  I loved doing this type of portraiture.  The Heads or Tails sessions were off with a bang!


Beautiful women, right?

That’s Blissdom to me.  Beautiful, talented, smart, funny, awesome women around every corner; seeing their bliss through my lens added to my bliss!  When work is your passion you get bliss.   I absolutely love what I do!


Once Mandy’s session was completed I headed back to the sessions to catch the Advocates and Activists:  Harnessing Social Media for Social Good in the Face of Compassion Fatigue Session where the speakers got real about the situations that they have harnessed social media for social good.   Ryan’s story touched me, and if you haven’t heard of him or what he’s done, you should definitely find out.    Other speakers included Ellie Schoenberger, Anissa Mayhew, and Ellen Seidman.

Blissdom 2011 by Mishelle Lane Photography

Thursday night was something awesome.  Music.  Food. Drinks.  Friends. Laughter.  Oh, this was a night I will remember for years.  [To be continued…]

The Night I Decided I Hate My Black Boots

_I decided I hated my black boots when I was invited to the Housewares Show in Chicago last year, but I just couldn’t let go.  It was the wrong pair of socks I contended, and I continued to wear them.  When I shot The Most Interesting Show In The World I wanted to wear leggins, a black dress and a vest.   And, “the” boots.   At the last minute I remembered the pain from Chicago, and switched to jeans and black flats.   I didn’t think I looked as cute, but I was going there to work; looking cute was just a bonus, anyway.

I didn’t have a suitcase full of new duds to take with me to Blissdom like I did for BlogHer.  I had a few key pieces, but shoes were my major problem.  I didn’t want to wear heels as I knew the amount of walking there was in the Gaylord Opryland.  I decided to take “the” black boots, my new red flats (ehem…my new ten dollar red flats), my new cowboy’ish boots (ehem…my new *free cowboy’ish boots), and my new mock-Chucks.  Did I need *the* black boots?  Maybe not, but they sure looked fabulous with the outfit I planned to wear them with.

My friends at Eliza Parker sent me the most beautiful, versatile A-lined skirt and my newest and beloved piece that I wear a few times a week—the Million Ways Long Cardigan in (my favorite color) gray.   I planned on wearing the cardigan wrapped and tied at the back, with the skirt, fishnet (ish) stockings, and my black boots.  The outfit was awesome.  My feet, not so much!  I even put thicker socks on top of my stockings, trying to learn from my mistake in Chicago.  It didn’t matter.  By the end of the night I was carrying my boots around, cursing at them, and vowing to every single person that would listen that I was thoroughly done with these boots.

My next mission in life:  Find some new black boots that don’t kill my feet.

Me in my Eliza Parker Million Ways Cardigan, surrounded by gorgeous friends!
[Photo Courtesy of Nish, The Outdoor Wife]

My Bliss: Part IV

One of my favorite things about going to a conference is when we all get ready to party.   Imagine three, four, sometimes five girls in a room dressing up in their clothes, fixing their hair, putting on their makeup.  There’s usually laughter or snorting, depending on whose room you are in

Wednesday night’s festivities included an awesome party at Water’s Edge Marketplace, followed by the premiere of CMT’s Working Class with Melissa Peterman and Ed Asner.  The first part of the night was just awesome.  We showed up hungry and, boy, did they feed us well.  The food and drinks were awesome, the setting was memorable, and the company was superb.    It was a wonderful kick off party!

Party at Water's Edge

Blissdom 2011 by Mishelle Lane Photography

We mingled, and talked, and caught up with each other.  Lotus and I even got to catch up with our old friends David Griner and Kammie Avant from Luckie.   We met Kammie when David invited us (along with Anissa Mayhew and Lindsey Labresco) to Birmingham for the Marketing to the Modern Mom day event that offered a candid discussion about social media and motherhood.  It was awesome to see them again.  I can honestly say that David is one of my favorite guys in social media.

Blissdom 2011 by Mishelle Lane Photography

So, here’s a question for you….

What happens when someone tells you that there will be FREE wine and cupcakes at a party?

You do cartwheels!!!!!!   (Well, at least, that’s what Lotus and Leslie do!!!!!)

We headed for the premiere of Working Class.   There was wine, and cupcakes, and popcorn and bliss.  The Bringer of Bliss, Alli Worthington guided us in.

Blissdom 2011 by Mishelle Lane Photography

We drank wine, ate cupcakes, watched the show, and then Melissa Peterman entertained us.  She was adorable, funny, and Rachel even got to join her on the stage.

While I was getting some wine Momo caught me and said that Jim was coming in around midnight, and asked if we wanted to welcome him.  I didn’t even ask Lotus, I just said we totally would.  A few minutes after Melissa’s Q&A we headed to the lobby to greet our old friend.

We walked out the front doors, and Lotus said, “Wouldn’t it be funny if that was Jim in that truck?”

The truck pulled up to the curb and through the tinted windows we could see Jim enthusiastically waving at us.  It. Was. Him.

Blissdom 2011 by Mishelle Lane PhotographyBlissdom 2011 by Mishelle Lane Photography

He checked in, took his bags to his room, and then we headed to Fuse, where we **drank and drank, tweeted in a circle, laughed about how we were all in a club with each other tweeting, sent hilarious tweets to each other about how we were all in the club tweeting with each other, and drank some more.  Then we drank some more.

Momo retired for the night (she’s obviously the smart one opting to try to get some sleep) while Jim, Lotus, and I scoured the hotel for a ***cough drop.  We found one and along with finding one we also found some Australian guys.   And, let me just say—for the record— that it was definitely a very strange ending to a jam-packed day!

We finally decided to call it a night at, like, 3:30am, but I still had to go get my pajamas and head to my room (thankfully Stacie offered to let me stay with her which was awesome especially when I discovered that I left my air mattress pump at home!)

Lotus and I stumbled to the room, assembled our plan to get in the room quietly, and then she graciously walked me to my room.   What can I say?  She’s a good date!

When I fell into bed the whole day whirled around in my head.  From waking up late to turning in early to everything in between.   This day definitely set the stage, my bliss was well on it’s way…[To Be Continued…]

*Free Boots: Thanks to the Clever Girls SWAGG campaign that I participated in, I was gifted some SWAGG bucks and I got this great pair of cowboy(ish) boots from Amercian Eagle.  Thanks CGC and SWAGG!

**I had a shot of Jack Daniels and a New Castle.  Both firsts for me.  Thanks Jim, Momo, and Lotus!

***Cough drops are my euphemism for cigarettes.  I know, I know, they’re bad for my health.  But, I’m TOTALLY a social smoker.

“Wisdom outweighs any wealth.”—Sophocles

In the beginning, when I first decided to roll into the blogging community, I didn’t get many comments.   But, as friendships started to blossom, more interaction took place.  One of the first people to comment (and connect with me) was Victoria, aka *Vdog.  Back then it was all about the memes.  There was Haiku Friday, Wordless Wednesday, Sunday Scribblings, and so on.  My people would comment all over mine, and I would comment all over theirs.

Lotus commented on a post after I had commented on one of her posts about her Weekly Winners.   Here we are, a few years later, still sharing our photography winners.   Here we are a few years later, teaching photography workshops together, cultivating ideas together, sharing, supporting, encouraging, and constantly building upon the friendship started because of our little hobby.

Going around and around the blogosphere you find people that you would never have found in life.  Take Mrs. Flinger for example.  The first time I ever saw her, I actually saw her, like in a video, but that totally counts.  All I remember was that it was “fucking great day”.   When I saw that video I knew that I would be great friends with Leslie.

Because of these three women, I met Dawn, and countless others who I have added to my arsenal of friends.

We all got together at the first second Blissdom, where Room 704 was born (today’s their birthday, actually.)  Where  I led a photo-walk in downtown Nashville with Lotus.  Where I spoke on a panel with Leslie.   Where our online friendships crossed over into living breathing life.

Photo credit: Malia

*Vdog–Victoria came to our house when we drove to Asheville, NC for Type A Mom Conference.  To this day Davey asks if Vdog is going to come over.   One day he said, “Can Vdog, with the purple glasses, come over please!”

My Bliss: Part III

After Lotus and I left everyone that was gathered by Stax, we got got back to our room, we talked while I unpacked (to which I came prepared with my own hangers, yo!)  We were waiting for Leslie and Victoria to come in, so naturally we sat around on our laptops, munching salt and vinegar almonds, going in and out of conversation, while classical music played in the background.

Soon there was a knock at the door.  Our beeshes were finally here, and a love-fest ensued.  We delighted in each others company, told each other secrets, shared travel stories, caught up on Tweets, and soon-thereafter tucked into our beds, like the little-old-ladies-in-training that we are.

Our plan was to get up early enough to make it to breakfast.

*Our plan failed when we woke up with fifteen minutes to spare.

We jumped up, put bras on, ran our fingers through our hair, and booked it to the breakfast area.   I made one of the worst mistakes ever:  I didn’t brush my teeth.  And, of course, I ran into tons of people who wanted to hug and talk to me.  All I could do was eat breakfast and hope that I wouldn’t offend anyone with my breath.  Ask me if I’ll ever not brush me teeth ever again.

I’m sure people thought we had gotten totally drunk the night before, when the fact of the matter was we were sleeping.  Hard.  Remember? Little-old-ladies-in-training!

+ + + + + +

Lotus and I had our Wisdom Workshop at 1:00pm, so we got back to the room and prepared ourselves.

We left after noon to grab some lunch (our lovely friend Rachel’s recipe, FTW!) and met up with our fellow workshop leaders—Amy, Angie, Casey, Dawn, and Deanna.


Photo Credit: Hannah Braboy

We broke all the workshop attendees into groups.  Dawn and I took care of covering the basics about how to get off the green square. Lotus and Amy talked about creativity, detail, and composition.  Angie covered natural lighting, while Casey and Deanna went into depth about aperture, shutter speed and ISO.

+ + + + + +

After the workshop, which was Ahhh-mazing!, we went on a photo-walk in the Delta Atrium.  It was an intimate group, and just oh-so-fun!   There was lens exchanging, head-shots, group shots, creative shooting, and just a major photogranerd fest.

Afterward Lotus and I went back to our room and greeted our girl, Dawn!

And, Lotus did some cool, feel good, Tai Chi’ish thing.  I don’t know, but it made her feel good; that’s all that counts.

Soon we’d be getting ready to go party the night away!   [To be continued…]

*Leslie was the only one who got up early because she had a meeting to get to.  I’m sure she brushed her teeth!

How Fast Things Can Change

When I first started blogging— in 2005—I was doing it purely to have a place to keep stories of the kids together.  From 1998 to 2005 I had posted on bulletin boards, and realized that the stories I had shared were eventually lost in cyberspace, over time.   Someone had shared a link to Dooce, and I was turned on.  I could do that, I thought.  I could write all the stories about our life so that one day the kids could look back and read it all.  Maybe they’d laugh.  Maybe they’d cry.  But, they’d know that even through every up and down that they were loved beyond the words and hugs and kisses.  The stories told were important.   I wanted them documented and kept together, for posterity’s sake.

In 2007 I was turned on to a site called Cre8Buzz.  It was there that I found “my people”, those that would become an integral part of my online community through blogging.  I’d also been re-inspired to take up photography again, and the stories went from a few lines to a few paragraphs and more.   Fellow bloggers would come to me, read, comment, and I would do the same.  Some would come and go, others stayed.  And, stayed, and stayed.

Over the years blogging has changed in ways I never would have imagined.  There have been conferences, speaking engagements, trips, promotions and giveaways, brand relationships, sponsorships, business building, and solid networking.   These are constantly evolving, but the one thing that stays the same are those people that became “my people”.  The numbers have grown, but they are the one mainstay.  People that know [you].  People that get [you].  People that love [you] unconditionally with respect and gratitude.

It’s truly been one of the biggest blessings of this little hobby that started all because I wanted to tell stories about my life.

My Bliss: Part II

I had only planned to go to Blissdom for one night.  I would go in for my Workshop on Wednesday, and leave, after lunch, on Thursday.   I was sad about it, but I just didn’t have the money to stay the whole time.   This did not sit well with me.   My heart nagged me.  I needed to do something to allow me to stay the whole time.  That’s when I threw out, here, on Twitter, and on Facebook, that I was offering *Heads or Tails mini-sessions.

It worked.  I booked the number needed to be able to go the entire time.   I started to make driving and sleeping arrangements.  Things started to come together perfectly.   When the weather became a minor issue, I decided it would be best to leave a day early.  Luckily, that worked out, too.  And, just in time the boots and skirt that I had ordered, almost two weeks prior, arrived just before we were all ready to shove off.

On Tuesday morning, I set off with Renee (and her little boy, Mekhi), to Tennessee.

When we got to the hotel we ate and gabbed.

I’ve known Renee for a couple years now and she is nothing but class and beauty; to boot, she’s articulate and smart and funny!  I’ve had the pleasure of taking two trips with Renee, but this trip to Nashville was the best.  We laughed a lot.  That’s definitely a prerequisite for a good car trip.

Soon after we ate I got a text from Lotus.  She was in the Opryland, so we met up and headed to our room.   Her belly was growling so I introduced her to Stax, and then we went to our Wisdom Workshop meeting.   There we saw a bunch of our friends.   It was real, and it was here.

After the meeting Lotus, Schmutzie, and I walked the long way to Stax so that Schmutzie could eat.  Along the way we intercepted a spectacular water and light show.  It was mesmerizing with the moving water, the music, the darkness and the lights.   We took that moment to capture it, but we also took that moment to thoroughly enjoy it.

I Photographer

Blissful HugsLoralee Blissfully Dances

Schmutzie!Girls Just Wanna Have Good Burgers (and Fun)

After we sat for a while, Lotus and I walked back to our room to wait for Leslie and Victoria.

Blissdom was officially starting.

My Bliss was here and I was totally ready to accept it.

*Heads or Tails: Michael coined the phrase to describe my Headshot and/or Bouidor mini-sessions. Thanks, Michael, you witty man, you!

Some of the Things I’ll Be Doing This Week

1) Sleeping with some old friends. Not that kind of sleeping with, sicko!

2) Walking.  A lot of walking.  Not in high heels.  I’ll be doing my walking in cute red flats, fake Chuck Taylors (don’t judge me, Chucks are just too narrow for my big feet), and my black slouch boots.  I ordered some new boots with a gift certificate, but they have yet to arrive.  Ask me if I’ll ever use basic free shipping again.

3) Teaching friends how to “get off the green square” at Wednesday’s Photography Wisdom Workshop.

4) Walking.  Lots of walking.  Oh, yeah; I already said that.

5) Hugging.  Lots of hugging.

6) Lauging. Lots of laughing.

7) Pictures.  Taking lots and lots of pictures. I mean, how can I not?

8) Interacting, face-to-face, with people that I have come to love and respect.

9) Enjoying a good portion of the week, being filled with creativity, individuality, adult interaction, music, food, drinks, and walking (lots of walking!)

10) Finding my red ball!

Blissdom Conference ~ Nashville ~ January 26-28, 2010Blissdom Conference ~ Nashville ~ January 26-28, 2010Blissdom Conference ~ Nashville ~ January 26-28, 2010

“The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play… He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing.  To him he’s always doing both.”

—James Michener

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