The Weekend-Long Hug

I was one of the many thousands of bloggers who went to BlogHer13 in Chicago this past weekend.

The last time I went was in 2011 to San Diego. I spent weeks planning all the things: outfits, sessions, parties…oh the parties. I packed an extra bag to take my swag home in.  I stressed and stressed and stressed.  Then I walked around the conference overwhelmed, sick (from the first trimester yuckies), tired, and depressed.  I didn’t do all the things I had planned; instead I followed what my roommates were doing. Some times this was awesome, other times not, but I did it because I had no confidence in myself. I was afraid to do anything alone (other than walk back to our room in the middle of the day or early in the night so I could get in some pregnant napping).

This time I spent almost no time pre-conference planning. I looked over the sessions, added the ones that sounded cool to my schedule via the BlogHer app, said yes to a couple outside parties with the intent to for sure go to one.

And then Jen came to pick me up on Thursday afternoon and we did the road trip thing to Chicago.

I don’t really know how to describe the three days/nights I was at BlogHer other than to say I came home with a peaceful heart.

It started at check in. I noticed that Ilana was standing behind us in line to check in. Our eyes met and instead of looking down at my feet, I smiled and said “hi” and she recognized me!  We were hurried because just as I was going to say something more, I needed to get out my credit card and blah blah, but we did manage a hug, and it set the tone for the weekend (so thank you, Illana!).

And then not an hour later I tripped and fell over my own flip flop in the middle of a busy sidewalk downtown Chicago. I was nervous this would cancel out my happy beginning and instead set an inauspicious tone for the weekend.

It did not.

scraped up knees. Jen laughed at me. Hard. I deserved it.

scraped up knees. Jen laughed at me. Hard. I deserved it. I would have laughed too.

In fact, the rest of the evening made up for a little bit of the bloody knee.

I am not going to go on and on about any of the parties, the sessions, or anything that I think could have been improved on. I’ll save all that for my BlogHer survey.

What I will say is that this year it was just me and Jen in a room, and that fit my style better. We live near each other, so there was no pressure to do ALL THE THINGS together since, you know, we can do that at home.

We did get quality time together though. Of course.

roomies!

roomies!

I could write a whole post about my love of Jen…but I will save that and say this: I am blessed beyond words to have a friend like her. I hope everyone has a “Jen” in her life.

first night dinner with some of the most lovely ladies on the internet.

first night dinner with some of the most lovely ladies on the internet.

This year I kept the outside parties to a very bare minimum opting instead to hang out with my friends and stick to the BlogHer events. I hugged people and they hugged me back.

In the past seeing someone I recognize and read and love would send me into a flurry of self-doubt over whether I am good enough to say hi…or whether they will like me as much in real life. This year I must not have packed that self-doubt because over and over again I walked up to bloggers I admire and said hi.

On the shuttle from hotel to conference center

On the shuttle from hotel to conference center

On Saturday, I had a meeting at 9:50am. Jen wasn’t really up to being out of bed yet, so I ventured off on my own deciding to see where the day took me. There were some sessions I thought I would check out, and I wasn’t nervous about being alone. I knew I would run into someone.

And I did.

New friends on the shuttle. A reader in line at Starbucks. Friends in the expo. Sluiter Nation fans in the sessions. Twitter peeps in the hall outside the sessions.

We got our make up done...and Shireen got mad lashes, yo.

We got our make up done…and Shireen got mad lashes, yo.

I met people I have been following for what seems like forever…and made fast friends (and was reminded why Indy bloggers totally rock, by the way).

I reconnected with old  friends and laughed and danced and laughed some more.

Me with #WineJen

Me with #WineJen

I got a massage, a manicure, and my make up done.

I felt pretty because I was treated like I was beautiful.

Each night I watched women toss off worry, stress, and body issues and boogie the heck down. Women from all roads of life, all sorts of blogging platforms, and all kinds of beliefs came together and had fun. And loved on each other.

after my manicure and make up

after my manicure and make up

Not once did I think about my squishy middle…or even my newly skinned knees.  Not once did I worry about being judged. Not once did I think I was less than anyone else.  Not once did I feel insecure.

Arnebya and I waiting for some music we can DANCE to.

Arnebya and I waiting for some music we can DANCE to.

I was told I have a Michigan accent…by a Texan as she giggled when I said “back pack” and “map”.

I had lunch with someone who I love and respect as a writer.

I watched someone read her VOTY piece and bawled. Even though I had read the post. It was part out of the emotion of the post and part because she and I had talked for so long about how we absolutely had to meet one day. And now we have.

I was hugged by someone whom I just knew had the best hugs…but was blown away by how good they are.

I found out that someone whom I thought was probably a kindred spirit, was actually a kindred soul.

I found someone who “gets” my looks like only Cortney does.  She is both disturbed and happy about this fact.

And of course there was someone who talked me into doing Karaoke (I’m the loon who starts on the far left and chooses to dance around rather than sing. You’re welcome).

Oh this list could go on and on long into the night. I don’t know where to stop!  I want to tell each and every individual whom I talked to that I loved talking to you…because I totally did. I loved it all.

They make me happy in my heart.

They make me happy in my heart.

To those I didn’t talk to, you made me happy too. The VOTY recipients, the fashion show participants, the session leaders, everyone who smiled at me…you also made me so proud to be part of this community…part of this thing that is blogging.

The weekend felt like a great big heart, soul, and body hug.

I came home exhausted, but happy. Renewed. Joyful.

so you’re going to BlogHer…or not.

I went to this big blogging conference last year–you  may have heard of it?  It’s called BlogHer and it’s kind of a big deal.

Anywho, I went while I was in my first trimester of pregnancy with Charlie. I flew across the country, by myself, while popping zofran and tums like candy, on lots of medication to help me feel ok.

I still barfed during sessions.  I still needed to go back to my room every afternoon for a pregnant nap.  I still left all the parties by 11pm so I wouldn’t turn into a pumpkin could get some sleep for me and Charlie.

And I came back with a wicked case of antenatal depression.

BUT I HAD FUN!

I really did.  I met some of the most fantastic women; I solidified friendships; I hugged one of my best friends for the first time; and I was recognized by someone whom I was pretty sure had no idea I existed. Plus? San Diego is gorgeous.

However.

I am not going this year.  Lots of reasons.  Not the point of this post.

I will be going next year.  I’ve already decided (please, BlogHer Goddesses, let it be more centrally located in the country for this midwestern bumpkin).

When I do go again, these are the things I think I will do differently…

>>>I will NOT stress out about what to wear.  Seriously.  Last year I think I wrote three posts panicking about clothes.  CLOTHES.  My BlogHer vet friends told me not to worry.  They told me over and over.  I worried.  Needlessly.  Most of the stuff I painstakingly picked out?  I never wore.  At the time I blamed pregnancy, but let’s be honest.  That is not how I roll in real life.  I put something on in the morning and willmaybe change up part of it to go out at night.  Not do a complete overhaul.  Also? NO ONE CARES.

>>>I will NOT bring 87 pairs of shoes.  I wore two.  TWO pairs.  flip-flops by day and ONE of the nights I wore a cute pair of red mary jane pumps I had.  Again, I was pregnant.  But I wasn’t THAT pregnant.  I’m a teacher.  I am used to being on my feet, but I also wear comfy shoes.

>>>I will NOT try to do ALL THE THINGS.  It’s not possible.  Well, maybe it is, but you go home with jet lag and antenatal depression and no desire to blog ever again.  I tried to go to sessions and speakers and the expo and all the parties I could possibly attend.  Man, I want to go to bed just reading that.  Next time I will maybe go to some sessions.  Or maybe I will just get an expo pass.  Or maybe even just a party pass.  Quality over quantity is a true statement.

>>>I will NOT care about parties.  I really didn’t care last year, but I rsvp-ed and went to them all because the crowd I was with went to them all.  I ended up underwhelmed at most of them.  I am sure part of it was my lack of drinking, but I am not a HUGE drinker, so I can’t really blame that.  I just think some of it is over-hyped.  Like prom.  Remember how you wait your whole life for prom and then you go…”meh. I guess it was fun.”  Yeah. That.  Don’t get me wrong, a few of the parties were off-the-chain-ALL CAPS-awesome, but that was mostly due to WHO was there, not WHAT was there.

>>>I will NOT worry about my impression.  I know last year there were people who were let down after meeting me.  But they didn’t know I had maybe just barfed, or just woken up from a nap, or was on my way to a nap, or was on a mission for water, or was amazed they knew me, or was still shell-shocked by the sheer number of people I knew, but didn’t know…but KNEW!  I know I came off as aloof, snobby, whatever to some people.  I am bad at showing emotion.  It’s why I talk to people IN MY COMPUTER.

>>>I will NOT just stare at someone I love, but go talk to them.  I wish I had gone up and said hi to so many people who I saw from afar.  So silly to not do it.

>>> I will NOT be a swaghole. Of all the free stuff I was giving/took, I left about 30% of it behind.  Of the stuff that came home with me (smashed in its own suitcase that I had to check/pay for), I probably only kept/used 10%. I gave another 10% of it away as gifts, and I chucked or donated the other 80%. I’m  a language teacher, and even I know that I played that game wrong.  No one needs 43573987 tubes of lip balm.

>>> I WILL make time to just sit and chat.  The best…and I mean HANDS DOWN THE BEST part of going to BlogHer was meeting IN REAL LIFE people I have been pouring my soul to in this space, whom I have been whining and venting to on twitter, whose words I read faithfully over my cup of coffee in the morning or my glass of wine in the evening.

Did you make it this far down my list?  You did?  AWESOME.

Want more tips?  I’m over at Daddy Runs A Lot today (the fool let me roam his place alone…unsupervised…oh the amok I will run…) giving him some tips too because he is going to BlogHer!

I figured that poor soul has visions of hot moms having pillow fights in his head and what he is in for is very, very…NOT THAT.

So follow me to his place for a big party…I mean…tips for Dad Bloggers at a Mom Blogger conference.  Weee!

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Also, don’t forget that I am doing a super awesomely rad giveaway with Papersalt over here.

BlogHer Gave Me Monkey Butt

This is a very long over-due vlog.

Let me give you the back story…

So I went to this little blogging conference called Blogher.  They give out a buttload of swag at BlogHer.  So much in fact that when it came time to pack up and go home, my roomies and I had to create a “reject” pile on the table in our room of stuff we just couldn’t cram into our suitcase didn’t think fitted our personal needs.

Of course there was much riffling through this pile to see if someone else’s trash was indeed our treasure.

It was in this riffling one late night that I found something.

It was the last night of BlogHer.

I had come up to my room, taken a shower, put on my jammies, and was sifting through the “reject” pile while chatting with Natalie and Gigi.  It was late, I was pregnant and tired…and very, VERY punchy.

And that is when I found it.

A bright pink bottle amidst the rejected loaves of bread and thousands of thumb drives….

What in the ham sandwich is this and who GOT this as SWAG??

There was an explosion of wine-induced giggles from my non-pregnant blogging friends as they admitted that they both got “Monkey Butt” from a certain brand at that certain brand’s party.*

*Note here:  I promised not to announce on my blog that THIS BRAND gave them Monkey Butt since apparently they love this brand (actually, so do I) and we all three work with them and don’t want to tarnish anything.  But OMG…THIS BRAND GAVE THEM MONKEY BUTT!

Ahem.

Around this time, my other roommate, Nichole, comes home from the night of fun.  Just in time to witness the overly tired, punchy, pregnant lady who is in her jammies with wet hair and no make up do a pretty darn good sell of Monkey Butt powder.

They REALLY wanted to bust out their phones and get me to vlog it right there.

But I had to veto that decision.  I mean, see the previous description of me, right?

So I had to swear on my unborn child that I would vlog about this product when I got home.

And the next morning I flew out of San Diego with Monkey Butt.

Yes, I so did.

Then two months of being sick and tired and depressed went by.

And I never did the vlog.

But friends…especially Natalie, Gigi, and Nichole?

This is for you.

I hope you haven’t let your hopes get up…because it’s not all that awesome.

Oh, and excuse the mess.

And the bad hair.  I promise it’s getting chopped next week.

Anyway.

Here you go…

I know.

You have no words.

It’s ok.

Me either.

But I also don’t have Monkey Butt.

So there’s that.

My obligatory BlogHer post brought to you by Zofran

I have been prepping for BlogHer for MONTHS…which you all know.  Some of you even helped get me there.  Because you are awesome like that.

People?  It was a big, crazy blur.

I would take you day by day through it, but if you weren’t there it won’t make a ton of sense.  I will give you the run down on what I did and what I would do differently if I go again.

Cort and Eddie brought me to the airport Wednesday afternoon.  It was so hard to say goodbye.  So hard in fact that when I got to the security check point and the lady asked for my boarding pass, I gave her the wrong one and then burst into tears because I was so frazzled.

Luckily she was kind and the security lines in Grand Rapids were short.

One of my biggest moments happened in the San Diego airport near baggage claim.  I finally met my blogging bestie, Miranda. We knew each other.  No, really.  It was like we have been friends forever…like this wasn’t the first time we were meeting outside of our computer.  Little did I know that this?  Would be exactly what BlogHer was about.

The hotel was beautiful.  Gorgeous.  I think Cort would have loved it.

There may have been loud squeeing when Nichole first saw me.  And it allegedly never stopped all weekend.

If I did this again?  I would get their earlier than 9:30pm (which was really 12:30am for my east coast time zone self).  Wednesday night was one of the only laid back time we had and I wish I would have been able to enjoy it more.

Thursday was Pathfinders day.  Yummy breakfast and lunch.  Great speakers.  Unfortunately this is also when I realized I had to punk out of afternoon things due to needing a preggo nap.  This was pretty much my routine for the rest of the weekend.

I know this was mostly due to the kidney bean-sized human growing in my belly.  And honestly, I don’t think I would go to a blogging conference this intense during pregnancy again.  Some of the ladies there like Torie, rocked it while battling the first trimester.  I did not fare so well.  Thank God (and my OB…and Casey, the self-proclaimed vomit whisperer) for Zofran.

I enjoyed the sessions.  Next time I want to get to more of them.  Even if I have to go alone to some.  This year I just was feeling too blah to make it to many.

The parties rocked my face.  Clevergirls, Big Toy Book, Toca Boca, Cheap Sally, Hostess with the Mostess, not to mention all the awesome BlogHer sponsored parties like Sparklecorn and CheeseburgHer. And the Expo full of awesome.  Not only did I get to bump elbows with some sweet brands, but I walked away with more swag than could choke a horse (and there is allegedly a vlog coming soon to Sluiter Nation of me showing off the goods).

**Oh and sidenote:  My jaw-drop moment of BlogHer happened at the CleverGirls party where not only did Jill recognize me, but knew I was pregnant and was super excited to meet me.  I may have mumbled something completely moronic in response since I was stunned that she was saying hi to ME.

Anyway, I got home and realized that a LOT of the swag was more unnecessary than I thought, but in the words of Miranda?  I was totally attracted by the “bright lights and free shit”.  The Dutch in me did somersaults of joy.

The absolute best moments of BlogHer for me didn’t happen at sessions or parties or the expo, however.  The best parts happened when we did “nothing”.  Wednesday night at the pool, ditching a keynote to hang by the pool and have snacks, late night chats with my roommates, dinner out with friends, breakfast in the hotel the last morning.

If I go again?  I want more of these moments.  Hands down.

I realized somewhere along that lines that those moments are why I face my fears of traveling alone, my anxiety of being in a too-crowded, too-busy place, and my nerves about not being what people hoped.

Miranda, Nichole, Cheryl, Gigi, Natalie, Tonya, Sherri, Lori, and Yuliya (and I am sure I am missing people)…you are my soul mates.  Meeting you all just reaffirmed what I already knew…we are friends.  And the next time I see you, will not be soon enough.

And lastly, I need to give a shout out to Jen for hooking this preggo up with some YUM peanut butter fudge, and to Kit for being all anonymous (yes, there are mad rumors about who you REALLY are, but I don’t even care), yet finding me and thumb wrestling me and always being there with a kind, optimistic word when I am down.

And thank you to everyone who had a hand in getting me to BlogHer.  Even if it was just a thought or prayer or $1.  You made a dream of mine come true.

yes, another BlogHER post. get over it.

Yup, I’m writing about BlogHer again.

Two week from today, I will be in the thick of it.

I’ve read a bunch of posts about fashion and what to expect what not to do and what people are doing to prepare and what to just get over.

I was afraid.  I was.

I am still anxious about leaving my boys, but now I know I will have fun.  I will.

So my planning has taken the shape of excitement.  I made a google doc of my preliminary schedule and I quit RSVP-ing for things since I know that what I have on my schedule is already too much for this momma (I may tire quickly, what?).

I have gone shoe shopping with my lovely mother.

And now?  I have started to figure out what to pack.

So here it is…my BlogHer Fashion (or lack there of) rundown….yes the pictures are bad, I was trying to do it quickly and quietly during nap….

Wednesday for the plane

I leave at 5:45 pm est on Wednesday and don’t arrive until 9:22pm pac, so I need comfort:
baggy capris and a comfy halter top with comfy flip flops

Thursday: Pathfinders Day

I love skirts.  As in I LIVE in them in the summer.  If I am not inside in the AC with yoga pants on?  I am wearing a skirt.

Skirt:  GAP
shirt:  NY and Co.
bracelet: Funky Mama Bird
necklace: The Vintage Pearl

Thursday night parties!

Thursday night is full of great parties!  I get to start with the Sweets by the Bay and of COURSE there is the Clever Girls Rockstar Party with BlogHer sponsored parties after that.

Dress: GAP Outlet
wrist cuff: Twenty Five Design
shoes: Shoe Carnival
(guessing Clever Girls will be handing out some rock star accessories, so I need to leave room!)

Friday

Friday is the official first day of BlogHer, so more people will be there and it will be a first impression of sorts.

Pants and shirt: Gap Outlet
Shoes: Target
Bracelet: NY and Co.

Friday night parties

Friday night is the Voices of the Year reception where I get to hear some of my friends read their pieces!  But there is also the Cheap Sally party, Hostess with the Mostess, and of COURSE Sparklecorn!

Dress:  Target
Shoes: Shoe Carnival
Necklace: NY and Co
Flower for my hair: handmade by my cousin

Saturday

Last day of the conference. Still want to be cute, but comfy after all the madness of the past two days.

Skirt: Gap Outlet
Tank: Old Navy
shoes: Target

Saturday night parties

Last night to party!  But it’s more casual and chill than the other nights seeing as the Aiming Low and CheeseburgHER parties are that night, so I went with a bit more comfort than snazzy by choosing a jersey-type dress that can be paired with leggings if need be.

Dress: GAP Outlet
Shoes:  Shoe Carnival
Bracelet: NY and Co
Earrings:  Allora Handmade

Sunday plane ride home

Again, I need to be comfy on the plane, so anything that feels like jammies is a win.

Tank tops:  GAP Outlet
Skirt:  Old Navy
Shoes: Target

you didn't think I would fly across the country without these, did you?

and yes, I packed the Assets that I finally broke down and bought because that off-white dress up there?  Needed a wee bit o help. Got ’em at Target.

I will also be carrying a cute clutch, handbag, and business card wallet by Peggy Ann Design.
I also have clutches by this awesome lady that will be coming along with me.
And of course my business cards made and sponsored by GCS Design.

I will not be taking my DSLR camera to BlogHer.  I decided it was just too much to carry and pack, but I do have my point and shoot coming along.

And my Droid2.

And my laptop.

So BlogHer goers…what are YOU bringing along?

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Need more of me today?  Sick of my BlogHer talk?  I am over at Julie’s place, Back to the Basics, talking about stuff I learned about my son since he turned two.  Go check me out and tell me about your favorite and least favorite phases you kid(s) have gone through.

what am I afraid of? EVERYTHING!

In a month it will all be over.  Yes,  I am talking about BlogHer ’11.  On Wednesday,  August 3,  I fly out of Grand Rapids–BY MYSELF for the first time ever–and head to California (also a first for me).

I might be getting nervous.

I may have sent my roommates emails that involved sweaty hands and butterflies in my stomach.

I could possibly have put it out there on twitter that I am terrified.

All of these things have allegedly happened.  And it’s still just almost a month away.  Can you imagine what I will be like within a week of leaving?  People,  it is getting ugly around here.  Fast.

So I thought I would take this opportunity to share with you what is currently keeping me awake at night.  They pretty much range from legitimate nerves to ridiculous,  over-the-top,  dorky fears.

Here we go.

#1  Saying goodbye to my boys.  I may have actually cried myself to sleep imagining having to say goodbye to them.  I have only been away from Cort for less than a handful of nights since we were married and I have only been away from Eddie if Cort is with me.  I am already feeling lonely for my boys…even though I know I will have way fun.

#2   Flying alone.  Actually sitting in my seat and flying doesn’t scare me at all.  Well, other than needing to go to the bathroom,  but I’ll get to that later.  I am mostly afraid of the plane switch in Detroit and then having to get to the airport on Sunday to come home, finding my correct gate, and getting me and all my stuff to Detroit just to have to switch planes again.  The only two times I have ever flown in my life, someone else was there to just follow.  I don’t know how to work an airport.

#3   Peeing on a plane.  I don’t know why.  I’ve never done it, but in my mind it’s awful.  Therefore I will drink nothing from noon est on Wednesday, until I get to SD at 9:20 (cali time) at night.

#4   Sleeping in a bed with someone I don’t know.  Seriously, Miranda?  Nichole?  I hope I don’t snore.  Or fart.   Or have smelly feet.

#5  Getting ready with three other women in my room and only one bathroom.  I don’t think this needs explaining.

#6  Being under or over-dressed.  I think I am ok for the day, but it’s evenings I worry about.  Everyone says whatever you wear is fine.  And I am sure that is true, but I like to at LEAST match the people I am with,  and I am afraid they are FAR more fashionable than I am.

#7  Getting tired before everyone else.  I just looked at what the schedule is like.  There is more going on in one day than I have going on all dang summer.  My days usually consist of sitting around the living room, then the dining room, then outside, then the living room again.  I am afraid 10pm will come and I will be jet-lagged and exhausted and not really wanting to meet one more damn person and everyone will think I am a GIANT party pooper for going back to the room to bed.

#8  Being not what people expect.  I am not really that funny.  I talk awkwardly to fill silence.  I don’t initiate hugs because I do those awkwardly too.  I am afraid people will instantly wish they had not roomed with me or said they would go to sessions or parties with me.  I am afraid people will avoid me.  Or that I will think people are avoiding me.  Or that people will think that I am avoiding them when in reality I think they are avoiding me so I am just trying to save them the trouble and save face.

#9  Not getting enough food, caffeine, water, sleep.  I get grumpy when I am lacking in any of these things.  I don’t want to be grumpy.

#10  Either getting all “fan girl” tongue-tied around awesome bloggers or getting too talky/abrupt around them thus creating an ass of myself.  This one is very real, people.  See the awkward statement from above.

#11  Not being able to find anyone at the appointed time.  Yes, I already have a handful of cell numbers, and yes I can tweet from my phone.  But I am still nervous about missing the train to something with everyone.

#12 Getting pregnant before BlogHer and being on progesterone thus amplifying all of these worries plus adding vomiting and dry heaving and excessive sleepiness into the mix.

Are you going to BlogHer?  Do you have worries?  Can you calm mine?  Anyone?

Send a Kate to BlogHer: A Fundraiser…or Two

If you’re here from the Red Dress Club, my post is on Exploded Moments today, but you are welcome to stay for this one too.

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Yes, I am still trying to raise money to get to BlogHer.

The good news is that with your generous donations and some more money earned by me, I am at the halfway mark to my goal!  Yay!

Now I can book my flight!

I have less than three months until the trip, and I have about $500 left to earn so I can actually stay in a hotel in San Diego rather than a box on the street and so that I can pay Cort the money back for the ticket.

I am currently looking for some paid writing projects, but in the meantime I have a couple other fundraising things going on.

The first is brought to us by the lovely Amy.

She has generously offered to run a Scentsy fundraiser for me.

 

this one lives in our bedroom

With each purchase, 20% of the sales goes into the Send-A-Kate to BlogHer fund.

And if that is not awesome enough?  Anyone who books a Scentsy show with her?  She will donate 10% of the sales from THAT party to the Send-A-Kate fund as well.

 

this one lives in our downstairs family room

Whoo hoo!  I know you all love the scentsy, so why not stock up on bricks or bars OR get a new warmer for yourself?

 

this one lives in my classroom...awww! so cute!

All you have to do is shop my party by clicking this link.

 

this one lives in our bathroom

I have one that lives in the kitchen too, but I think you get the point.

I love Scentsy.

It is awesome.

I hope you do too…and just think, by stocking up?  You can help me get to San Diego!

Just click here and shop.

BUT  WAIT!

That is not the only way you can send me to BlogHer!

So you don’t like Scentsy, but you DO love T-shirts and other gear?

Step into the new Sluiter Nation Store!!!

You can get T-shirts and mugs and totes and so much more…all with Sluiter Nation blazoned across it!

Check it out:
and there are LOTS more styles and options too.

To shop, go here.  10% of sales go to my BlogHer fund.

And if you just want to donate and not get anything awesome, I still have the donate button up on the left side of the blog.

So to recap:

Scentsy fundraiser

Sluiter Nation Shop

Donation Button (on the left)

Also, please know that any money that is not used toward BlogHer (as in, I make more than I need)?  Will go toward me learning to Write Away Cancer.

Thank you for all of your support.  Your words mean the most to me.  Really.

Syndicate? No, SEND-A-KATE!

Let me start this by saying I am not asking for your money.  Cool?  No money is being asked for here. Ok?  Ahem.  Anyway….

my BlogHer jar

 

 

It’s official.

Cortney bought me a ticket to BlogHer in San Diego at the beginning of August.

And that is as far as the Sluiters can go with funding this huge endeavor.  That is why every post I have syndicated on BlogHer (three so far!  Dang!) and every sponsored post you see on this blog?  Is money going toward my trip.

Even though I believe in my writing ability?  I know it’s probably not possible for me to save up the close to $1000 I will need to make this trip happen in that small of increments.

So I have applied for some help.

One that is for a sponsorship through a company is announcing this weekend.  With over 200 applicants, it’s sort of a long shot, so we will see.

The other is for a grant through Mom Central–a $2000 grant to be exact.  My application was accepted and right now, on faceboook contest apps, they are holding public voting.  Voting is open until April 15 and people can vote once every 24 hours.

To vote for me, click here and then click the big, green VOTE button.  It’s that easy.  Every 24 hours.

Clearly if I win this grant, I will get more money than I need to go to BlogHer.  With whatever is left, I plan to take a writing course and put the rest into The Red Dress Club. I believe that ever since I began linking up with their prompts, I have been producing better writing, and since becoming one of the hostesses?  A whole new world has opened to me.  I credit those ladies with pushing me to be the best writer I can.

I really need to get to BlogHer.  I want to be a better blogger.

Oh, and Nichole, Natalie, and Tonya will be mad if I drop out of our roomie pact.

So please?  Vote for me every 24 hours!

And if you love Thirty-One and all their SUPER cute stuff?  You can go shop now!  I am having an online party!  Click here and go over to “my events” on the right and choose to “shop” at Katie Sluiter’s party!  I would really, REALLY love if you did.

that was my mind being blown

In the words of our good friend, Quincy (of Little Einsteins fame):

I CANNOT BELIEVE IT!

Let me back up.

I have been having a no good, very bad week.

My depression was taking over at the beginning of the week.  I combated it by writing about it, getting lots of love from you all, and then getting over myself by doing something for someone else.

Then I got the bad news that my cat was not doing well.  He has been diagnosed with kidney failure.  I can’t blog about that right now, but he is almost 17 and I have had him for more than half my life.

I just had a cloud over my head.

When that happens…clouds and falling into depression holes?  I start to doubt myself.  BIG TIME.

I start wondering if what I am doing here in this little corner of the blogasphere is just a bunch of whining.

And then…it was like the heaven’s opened and angels sang.

There, sitting in my inbox was an email from BlogHer telling me they would like to syndicate one of my posts.

I know you all tell me I’m good.

Cort tells me I am a lovely writer.

My MOM tells me she loves my writing.

But according to Cort, I do NOT give myself enough credit.

So yes, I was still shocked.

They are syndicating “She Taught Him to Dance” today.

It would mean so much to me if you would jog over there and sparkle my world…and drop me a line.

I was syndicated on BlogHer.com

WAIT!  if this wasn’t enough to leave me with a dumb, goofy smile on my face for a week?  BlogHer randomly emailed me yesterday after my post for The Red Dress Club was put up and asked if they could use it tomorrow for Valentine’s Day.

People?  I almost fell out of my chair.

Don’t worry.  I will remind you again tomorrow.  But people?  From what I have heard?  BlogHer doesn’t just FIND you and ask for your posts.

I may have peed a little bit. (do you hear that Rita and Melissa?  You made me pee!)

Ahem.

Today I also wanted to let you in on a little change in operations here at Sluiter Nation.

Starting tomorrow I will no longer be participating in McFatty Mondays.

I just don’t feel like it’s my thing.  If you love it, please, PLEASE go read Blair and Miranda.  They are awesome and honest and so good at writing about it.

That doesn’t mean I am quitting my goal to lose the weight.  I am still participating in Healthy Train, and I am still striving to make better choices.  I am just not going to commit a whole day of blogging to it.

Instead Mondays are going to be my day to put up my post for The Red Dress Club Memoir prompt.  The link up is on Tuesdays, but I want to continue Top Ten Tuesdays because it’s just fun…at least for me it is.

Speaking of Top Ten Tuesdays…this week is my Top Ten Wears.  Yes, I have pictures of my most worn things in my closet.  Look out.

So to recap:

I’m at BlogHer today.

I’m at BlogHer tomorrow.

I have fallen off my chair.

No more McFatty.

Doing Memoirs.

Top Ten Tuesday = stuff I wear.

Whew.

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