Maybe it was my ego…my search for success…a desire to introduce my blog to a bigger audience. Whatever it was, I needed to stand out at the annual Blissdom Conference!
I didn’t wear 8 different t-shirts with ridiculous sayings because I was making a fashion statement! I wanted folks to notice me and in the process, find out a bit more about the people I admire… learn a little from these fantastic bloggers and media personalities… connect.
OR… maybe it’s the fact that large gatherings of women terrify me! I don’t feel like I fit or belong. I can’t quite figure out how to worm myself into conversations without feeling awkward. I’ve got “fake it ’til you make it” down to a science. I want to be successful… but the fear of failing is about as terrifying as the fear of success. If I make it… people will judge me. If I don’t… same thing.
The decision to go to BlissDom was a big one. I’d wanted to go for years but money, my divorce, going back to school, timing… it held me back but this year, there was no stopping me so I joined the BlissDom 2014 Attendees Facebook group… chimed in with my sarcasm and foolishness from time to time… and hoped and prayed that people would like me!
And then, people started talking about what to wear! WHAT TO WEAR?
I hadn’t thought of that!
I’m a jeans, t-shirt, leather jacket and converse kind of girl. I’m an artist. A graphic designer. I hate heels, dresses and skirts more than you can possibly imagine and suddenly, there’s chatter about what to wear. Some said to be yourself… others reminded that you were representing your blogs… still others, that you were meeting with brands.
And then an idea hit me! Dress the way I want… represent who I am… dressed in my t’s and converse… with a purpose.
I emailed PrintedShirts.ca, an online t-shirt company that specializes in screen printing, and pitched them my idea. 9 ideas in fact! And, with a whole lot of speedy assistance from Printed Shirt’s owner, Lorne, 9 shirts were designed by me in Halifax, screen printed in Winnipeg, and shipped to the hotel in Mississauga in time for my arrival!
As I checked in, the package was handed to me and I headed to the bathroom to don the first of a weekend full of T’s! (Pssst…click here to hear about my custom converse!)
To start…there’s Kyla Cornish! We’d had a running joke that I’d had her kicked out of a blogging contest that year (which I hadn’t…but for the record, I was beating her when she got kicked out!)
Kyla was someone I’d wanted to meet and in no time, she came screaming and laughing (then crying) into the conference’s “Newcomers Lounge” to meet me as someone had given her the heads up about my T-Shirt. It was just the reaction I’d expected from this fabulous woman I’d only met on-line, who could spar with my humour better than anyone, and who has made it her business to support Curtains are Open since she first discovered me!
The second shirt I wore was when we networked with Brands and I’ll admit…I kind of hid a little behind my blazer so as not to look too forward… too bold (plus, for some reason, it didn’t quite fit the same as the others.) The big thing was that I worried my “Your Logo Here” shirt might be a little off-putting to some of the brands at the conference… but, I’m reminded I have to be myself and the right brands will want to work with me for who I am and what I represent… not who I pretend to be. I should have worn it a little prouder.
Later that night, I wore my #TBT shirt for Thursday night’s Throw Back Thursday party. While folks looked hilarious in their various costumes… the 80s get ups, the 70’s pant suits and the 50s saddle shoes and poodle skirts… I sat back comfortable in my T-Shirt with the TBT hashtag (in the hilarious old typeface you used to find on those shirts we’d have made with those fuzzy letters!)
The next morning was the big one! I’d planned this shirt for hours but wasn’t quite sure how it would work. I stressed over the names that I’d added… hoping not to offend anyone or tick anyone off! It was “pub crawl” style listing all of the people I wanted to meet… those I looked up to, those who helped me when I started out. But, despite my apprehensions and misgivings of maybe looking like a fool or annoying someone who wasn’t on the list… I wore my T and it immediately made an impact. Folks were finding me and checking off their names and it was a real kick to meet some of these fantastic women… and the many more who stopped to chat with me about my T-shirt idea! Next year, I’ll have to get a massive onesie to fit all of the names of everyone in attendance…as each person I met this weekend, made an impact!
Also… I MET ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT’s CHERYL HICKEY and former MUCH MUSIC’s ERICA EHM!
That evening, I wore my “This Shirt’s a Rental” Tee. I thought it was hilarious, but, it kind of fell flat. You see, while I don’t wear dresses, there was this sponsor who RENTS dresses and there was a moment where I actually contemplated whether or not I’d rent a dress…but, I changed my mind and made the T-shirt instead. The carnival that night was sponsored by Lentils and I’d done everything to think of something that rhymed with Lentil…to no avail!
Saturday morning arrived with the “Instagram” shirt…where, thankfully, a few folks chimed in and took an Instagram Selfie with me to amuse me!
And for the evening PJ party, my Curtains are Closed shirt with my plaid pink jammie bottoms. I mean, what else would a blog called “Curtains are Open” wear to a PJ party?
On Sunday, with the festivities over and a flight to catch, I packed and reflected about my weekend. While the T’s were a bit of fun, they were also a way of getting over my fears… of putting myself out there and forcing me into conversations with people I may not have otherwise chatted with. I met some wonderful women and am truly grateful for the experience. I laughed… I cried… I cried a little more… and I made some new friends. Some, who will likely be friends for a lifetime.
I gathered my things, checked out of my room, and headed downstairs with my final T of the weekend… a shirt that held so much meaning for me… I’d been there. Despite the build up the week before where I actually checked to see what I’d lose if I cancelled my plane ticket… despite having to put on a really brave face and push myself forward in a room full of women I admire… knowing my fear of being judged but wanting, at the same time, for people to get to know me and my blog… I went for it.
With the help of a couple of T-shirts I made it through to the very end. Inspired, exhausted, and anticipating the next conference I’d attend!
When I got home, I managed to wear the shirt that I hadn’t had the opportunity to wear during the conference. I went to the mall in my #HaliDip shirt… a recipe for Donair Dip that my blogger friend Heather has created that has gone absolutely viral in Halifax and beyond. A dip that I’ve encountered at many parties I’ve gone to and have seen multiple times in my newsfeed as one friend after the next discovers it. FOUR people stopped me in the mall to ask about my shirt as they knew about the HaliDip… and wondered where I’d gotten my Tee!
Genius, pure genius! I was SHOCKED and quite excited to have made “the shirt” that was being noticed. Additionally I love that we’ve connected and got to hang out….next time kitchen party!
I’m not sure we’d call it genius…but my head is forever thinking of ideas!
It was a thrill to meet you and to discover you were the same person in real life as you portray on-line. The kitchen party will happen! xo
Awesome shirts. I loved reading your different shirts at Blissdom! What a great idea. It’s hard to believe sometimes but even the most outgoing people are a little bit nervous at the core. It’s one of the things that sets Blissdom aside from other conference. It’s a community where it’s encouraged and acceptable to come as you are. Great post 🙂
Thanks Farlha! It always surprised me as well to see someone exude confidence and feel like they’re falling apart inside. I guess we’re all more alike than we realize sometimes!
You know I look at t-shirts and seen you a few times and just thought to myself “Where did this girl get such cool tshirts. Your brilliant, and what an icebreaker. It was my first one and had no idea to wear. I came to the pj party with a witches outfit as that is what I feel like at night (joke was on me) went upstairs and changed.Love the shirts, and the name of the blog
HA! I didn’t see the witches costume but that’s fantastic! Glad you liked the shirts. Name of the blog…Curtains are Open…it has that whole “Open Book” kind of thing!
Meeting you was an honour. I am so glad you conquered. You were the Queen of Blissdom. You made the conference for me!
I’m so glad we finally met in real life! I’ve loved sparring with you over the last year. Queen of Blissdom…hmmmm…that might be a stretch but it felt wonderful to be there!
I am so glad you persevered and made it to Blissdom! We have to get together again since we’re not too far apart.
Yes Jody me too!!! Let’s get together soon.
Your shirts were amazing! What a unique idea!
So great to meet you this past weekend.
Thank you Brandy! And it was fabulous to meet you as well.
What a great idea. You are so clever. I am friends with kyla and spotted the shirt on instagram while sitting home in Calgary, sad I didn’t get to attend blissdom. I wish I had thought of it, how fun, and yes, get the people to come to YOU!
You should have heard Kyla scream!!! Wish we’d gotten that on Instagram!
Hopefully I’ll meet you next year.
LOVED all your t-shirts, especially love that I made it on your shirt! What a fun idea. Thank you! xo
You’re very welcome! It was such a great way to meet bloggers that I admire. Thanks for being there for me when I started out and asked a whack of questions to bloggers who were blazing the trail before me…it’s the reason you made the list to begin with!
I loved your t-shirts. Was pretty jealous actually. And sad I wasn’t on your list of people you had to meet. I guess I need to up my game.
Hahahah! There’s only so many blogs we can read Mara! Plus, your “rules” blog completely calmed my nerves…unfortunately the t-shirts had already gone to print and it was too late to add your name!
I am so glad your T-shirts were a hit! They were bound to be as the idea was just so you. Brilliant, funny, down to earth! How could they not have been a hit?!? It’s inconceivable.
I love that they were waiting for you upon check-in. That’s some wicked awesome customer service, right there.
Proud of you for telling your nagging little “but what if” voice to hush. You rock.
I am so happy that your first BlissDom was such a memorable one and that you checked everyone off your list! You are one heck of a friend to share the #HaliDip T-shirt here on your blog. Support is a two way street! Glad you had each other. That’s just the coolest.
This post has made my FOMO much better. How can I be sad when my friends are so happy! Yay!
I’m so happy Blissdom was a success for you! The t-shirts were amazing. I am so terrible with meeting new people and being put on the spot. It was extremely brave of you to draw such attention to yourself. If it helps, you looked cool and confident every time I saw you!