Gaylord National Hotel & Convention Center
Recently, I had the opportunity to attend Blogalicious (thanks to a few very generous sponsors!) and meet up with my fellow bloggers IRL (in real life). It was a long journey, but well worth the trip and I’m definitely planning a repeat for next year!
First off, we decided to drive to the conference, which took place in Washington D.C. this year. Driving from South Dakota to D.C. with hubby and a three year old isn’t something that one might call easy, but it was a welcomed challenge and actually ended up being quite fun. We were explorers for a while and had to go back to basics to entertain ourselves…lol. We didn’t bring any electronics or entertainment devices, just our imaginations and a checklist of action games that could be played while buckled in. Eye spy was a staple on our trip, Lily had fun taking pictures with my camera and we were excited to chill with cable tv at the hotels. One night we even camped out under the stars.
Lily getting our camping supplies ready.
Camping was a great experience for our family, since we haven’t really done it before, outside of sleeping in our backyard. Lily really enjoyed staying outside all night and playing in the tent. Helping daddy build a fire was fun too.
While we were on the road driving through Illinois, we started hearing reports about wild animals being released in Ohio. That was a little unnerving since we were headed right for Ohio, but we were pretty sure that the highways would be out of reach for the animals. When we got to the hotel near Akron, the news reported that all the animals had been either captured or killed. What a disaster. So sad that that had to happen and we’re hoping that the animals won’t have to return to their previous owners.
When we finally got close to Washington D.C., we were ready to take a break from the road. As it was, we ended up arriving a day late because of the bad weather. It rained for two full days of our trip which cut into our driving time, but at the same time, it was kind of fun to be driving in the rain and watching the streams running across the windows. I was always one of those kids who loved driving through the car wash and watching the water encompass our car. When we finally arrived, I got a text from Ezzy (Ezzy Languzzi) to meet up with her, Ruby (Growing Up Blackxican), Dania (La familia cool) and a bunch of other Latina bloggers for the Johnson & Johnson Drinks on Us event hosted by Rory from Mama Contemporanea, which ended up being my first real life contact with some of the other bloggers that I had been connecting with online since I started blogging in January. I met Ana & Roxana (Spanglish Baby), Rachel (The Art Muse), Eva Smith (Tech.Food.Life.) and many more. I was definitely a bit nervous, but excited to finally meet everyone in person.
The next day, the events really got started for me. I spent breakfast with my favorite trio of amigas (@RubyDW, @EzzyLanguzzi, @lafamiliacool) and barely got to see them enough during the busy weekend! We listened to Lamar Tyler from Black and Married and Tyler New Media give some great tips on how to get started with video and he showed us a recent music video that he’d been working on (I’ma Fight Back Right Now).
Ricky and Lily had fun in the hotel for a bit while I attended the first half of the conference and then they joined me for lunch. That was super cute! To keep Lily entertained during the lunch presentations, I let her play on the Sprint HTC EVO View 4G tablet that Sprint let the ladies with Latina Bloggers Connect use for the weekend (which included me!). This little tech device was definitely a lifesaver! While Rene Syler was talking to us about how much Reinvention Rocks, Lily was busy playing with Diego on Nick Jr. ;)
Lily playing on the Sprint HTC EVO View 4G tablet provided for the event by Sprint.
This tablet also came in super handy for connecting with other bloggers and updating my social networks during the conference and was conveniently purse-sized, so I didn’t have to trudge around with a heavy laptop and other devices because this little helper could do it all. Best of all though, I could tweet and connect with bloggers who were attending other sessions and not have to miss a thing! ;)
Photo — Me and Eva Smith >>
Over the weekend, I had the chance to meet up with several more awesome bloggers, including Eva Smith (Tech.Food.Life.), Viviana Hurtado (The Wise Latina Club) and of course Angelica Perez (New Latina)! I wish I would have gotten more pics, but I lost a few on the way home. No worries though, because there’s always next year! ;) Outside of the Latina bloggers crew, I also got to meet up with LaShonda from SistaSense, one of my favorite bloggers, to discuss multicultural blogging and mixed life.
On another cool note, myself and several other bloggers had the opportunity to meet Aaron McCargo Jr. from Food Network to have him sign his book, Simply Done, Well Done, which of course my husband was excited to have. I wish I would have known he was going to be there…I would have invited hubby along. I think they would have hit it off too, because they have similar personalities…both are meant for the spotlight. ;)
Ruby (Growing Up Blackxican), another natural born starlet, also got to meet Aaron McCargo Jr. and they were cracking each other up as you can see…very cute!
All-in-all it was a great trip and I still have a lot to share, so stay tuned for more details. ;)
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