I continued to do a fair share of pouting about missing the moment to buy what I considered to be the best plus sized dress. Once you have visualized yourself making an entrance in a dress it is hard to rewind and tape over that with something new. I kept looking on-line for a black maxi dress or something that might flatter my height and, er, width but looking on-line only gets you so far. I knew I would have to start trying things on. Since I was going to be near a big mall and shopping center this past weekend I decided to dedicate it to finding THE dress. I just wanted one nice option to wear.

But first…

This weekend I did something I have never done before: I was a co-presenter at a workshop on blog design. I was incredibly honored to have been asked and loved working with and learning from Jo-Lynn. We had 30 people at the workshop and we broke it up into two sessions with a mingle and powder room break in the middle.

blog workshop

The title of our workshop was “Friends Don’t Let Friends Have Ugly Blogs” and it was designed to be an informal session filled with do’s and don’ts of blog design. We put together slides of #FAIL blogs and showcased blogs that were beautifully designed (hint: all of them were very simple).

I was very nervous for the first ten minutes and then it just breezed on by. The people there were there for help and an outside perspective. I think the most successful part of the session was when we did what we called the “gentle blog critique”. Six participants bravely submitted their site for feedback and we went through each one suggesting things to change, then we asked the people in the workshop to offer input.

The only thing that would have made it better would have been some hands on time with each person, but these workshops are probably going to be an on-going thing (with other presenters) so maybe there will be room for a session like that down the line.

It was perfect timing to prep and have this presentation now because next month I will be {here is that big news I was waiting to tell you guys} in the geek lab at the BlogHer conference in San Diego.

Yes! I am going to be an official GEEK at Blogher!

I have to rewind to last year to tell you how this happened. Last year was my first conference and I was so overwhelmed with it all. I had W with me (who had just started walking) and I didn’t know how to balance my time as a Mom and as a person at the conference. I mapped out my time as carefully as I could. The sessions that I really wanted to go to were design based.

It was frustrating because it was very obvious that the presenters of the design and blog panels had prepared a thorough presentation but it all got stalled when it became clear that the people in the session were at such different skill levels.

It made me think that there should be a place at the next conference where a person could go for some basic questions. If all you need to know is how to create pages – well that would take just a few minutes to show someone.

So last September, when BlogHer asked for session proposals I submitted the following:

Submitted in Skills Path: Social Geek

Genius Bar Style Assistance For Your Blog

As people sign up and purchase tickets to attend the conference they could be offered a selection of 10- 20 minute “Genius Bar” style mini sessions to sign up for.

Once 5 people click to sign up for the “10 minute blog bling tutorial” that time slot is closed and a new time slot opens.

Most people know how to do basic blog “tricks” but can get stuck on something like installing and activating a plug-in or installing a new theme or adding “bling” to their sidebars. Many people learn how to do things by actually doing them- especially when it comes to our blogs.

With a fun geek sitting next to their laptop showing them where to click and what to do next the skill is learned in the best way- by doing it.

Rather than have a big session mini sessions could happen through out the conference or during lunch breaks.

Many geeks could be staffed for various blog platforms and blog tutorials. These mini sessions would best be suited for quick how-tos but could branch into a more elaborate session with all geeks on a panel.

Proposed 10 minute how-tos:

1. How to install and activate a plug-in

2. How to install and activate a theme

3. How to back up your blog

4. How to create and add an html “blog bling” to sidebar

Proposed 20 minute how-tos:

1. How to export/import your blog

2. How to manage a c panel

3. Broken Code issues

4. Design issues

Moderating and staffing this would be fun. In addition to myself  I would propose any BlogHer geeks that are altruistic with their skills. Nothing like sending out the bat signal to BlogHer geeks!

And then I never heard anything.

Fast forward to a few months ago: I was enjoying dinner in Atlanta after the Coca-Cola conference and Elisa Camahort Page joined our table to chat. Then she turned to me and said she wanted to talk to me. Earlier in the day I had a total break down cry in the middle of telling the story of my family’s move from Florida to Maryland to Pennsylvania – so I assumed she wanted to talk about that.

I was totally shocked when she said, “You’re the Genius Bar idea, right?” And that was how I found out that my session proposal had been accepted!

You just have no idea how excited I am. It is also a total mind blow to see how much has changed in my life in one year. I came back from BlogHer last year and LJ and I created Plaid House Designs. I can’t believe it has only been a year because we have done so many projects!

But enough mushy talk. You want to see the two dresses I got this weekend? AND THE SHOES?!!

Of course I went to both Nordstrom and Nordstrom rack to see if the Chevron dress was there. Alas it was not.

green shoesBut these shoes were! I have never seen shoes like this in my shoe size before so of course I had to try them on. Just for fun. It was a shock to me that I actually LOVED how they looked. But someone had put them in the sale section and they were not on sale. I had to set them free. (The next day Mother went back & got them for me and, what do you know, they were $10 less!)

I tried on a few dresses at Nordstrom, even sort of fell in love with one, but it was $180 and sorry, that is just too much for me. But it DID make me see that I liked maxi dresses and that at my height I could totally rock it. I went to Lane Bryant next and got these two dresses from the sale section. TOGETHER they were $72.

So looks like I am embracing my inner geek and frilly girl side all at once in San Diego. I’m kind of ok with that.

The only thing I really want/need to get is a new laptop bag but I just can’t find one that will work. The bag I have now is a laptop backpack from Eddie Bauer that I have had since college (yes). I have no worries that my laptop is protected in this bag. But I look horrible wearing it. Finding a new bag that doesn’t look like a diaper bag or basic messenger bag is where I am. And then of course wanting it to not cost a lot but still not be junk… totally need some geek chic help here!

blogher dress

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s