Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Overwhelmed with AWESOME - AWBU 2013

Oh my...

Where to begin?

Please forgive me if I skip around here and there, but I'm on information OVERLOAD!

This past weekend, I attended the 3rd annual Arkansas Women Blogger's Unplugged conference (soon to be Arkansas Women Blogger's University - AWBU).

Reactions vary when a mama such as myself tells someone that they are headed to camp. 

"A what?", "you're going where?", "to do what?"


All those things and more.

"I'm going to CAMP, people!"

And at that point, I'd leave it at that.

Due to time constraints, if you want to know in detail just what AWB's is all about - please click here.

In a nutshell, it is a group of totally fabulous women who share the passion of blogging and other social media. 

Blogging about any subject from lifestyle, to farming, to healthy eating, to touching people (oh yes, I can't wait to read more about my fab fellow AWB Wendy Finn and her blog I Touch People. She's traveled the world going to different spas and learning various massage techniques. How cool!)

Maybe I should start by saying what I thought I might get out of going to AWBU. I love to blog. I love to blog, but do a terrible job staying on track and being consistent. I started my blog in 2008, after my D was born. The main objective: to document our lives with our new precious daughter. I would blog about what she was doing and post a few pics so we would have a record of our quickly growing little girl. The next year I had fewer posts, the next year fewer, and things continued to progress in a regressing fashion (and we added a couple more little Coffee's to the brew). 

Just in case you may have drifted for a moment: I was blogging, but in a very sporadic fashion.

The inconsistencies bothered me to the point I would stop blogging. I would stop until I thought I could catch up and maintain chronological order of events. This drove me BONKERS.

Well, it wasn't long before this snowballed on me and I rarely blogged. Ever.

Thankfully, within the last several years, I have worked with our wonderful LEADERStephanie (aka The Park Wife) on some community health initiatives in my hometown. While learning about Stephanie and her many accomplishments, I heard about Arkansas Women Bloggers (AWB) and knew that it sounded right up my alley.

Next thing you know, I'm signed up, participating in "blogger assignments" and began thinking of ways to revamp my blog. Once again, Stephanie stepped up and was ready and able to help me in any way. She was very willing to answer any and all questions to the best of her ability.

I read about AWBU and had hopes of attending the conference last year. Unfortunately, I did not make last year's conference, but set sights on AWBU 2013. Once the dates and details were released, I cleared "take-off" with the Hubs and SIGNED-UP for camp. I wanted the FULL camp experience, so I signed up for the bunk room. I had pictures of Parent Trap in my mind...

This was somewhat of a brave move for me. I'm somewhat of a wallflower. I'm not the social butterfly in a big room of strangers. Large numbers of women intimidate me. Whether it be for food, fashion, or just plain fun. If you are a stranger, I proceed with caution!


I am now home from camp as of two three days ago. (this post has taken me longer than I planned.)

What did I think?


The weekend kicked-off with an extra segment of "Foodie Friday". Loved the speakers, loved the "Big Event" competition, loved my fellow bloggers and I LOVED the fact that I WON the GRAND PRIZE of the day! Not sure how you did it, Debbie, but THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!

AN ELECTRIC SMOKER from Cook Shack, Inc. 

I about fell over.

I think I actually did some silly sort of jumping up and down, but I couldn't help it.

I knew the hubs would be ecstatic.

AND, it would solidify any doubts he may have incurred while hanging solo with our three littles while I was gone.

Just when I thought it COULDN'T get any better...

Saturday was filled with learning opportunities out the wahzoo.

This is where information overload comes into play.

I was hoping that the information I gathered while at AWBU would help me to narrow the focus of my blog. To help me have a clear vision of what I wanted, who I am, how I wanted to people to view me.

That didn't necessarily happen while I was at AWBU.

But, what DID happen:

I met a LOT of wonderfully talented women bloggers who share a common interest.

I had a TOTAL BLAST bunking with some super-cool chicks. 

I ate some yummy food and won some FABULOUS prizes!

AND, I brought home the realization that there is only one person responsible for helping ME to be the blogger I strive to be.

That's none other than yours truly.

I have my work cut-out for myself.

BUT, I will no longer sit back and settle with the excuse that I can't do THIS because of THAT

AWBU has aided the realization that help is just a phone call, Facebook message, tweet, instagram, pinterest pin away. (did I get them all?)

It has privileged me to a slew of fantastic resources and placed me in the presence of some PHENOMENAL women. 


You gals ROCK and you ROCK in ways I can only dream.

I'm thankful for the experience.

I'm thankful for the extremely hard work and great efforts that were placed to make this thing happen.

I'm looking forward to continuing new friendships and working toward being the bloggy gal I hope to be one day.

Until then...


The BIG Event

Such a natural. Loved having Amy James of Our Everyday Dinners as our valiant leader. 

Who wouldn't want to dive into that?


Sadly, the judges did not agree with our opinion...

Comfy accommodations aka "glamping".

   Look at this gal. She's not rubbing it in or anything.

Can't wait to try out some tasty bites from P. Allen's cookbook.

If ya can't beat'em, JOIN'EM. 

So impressed with Cyndi Minister of the The Twisted Purl! Seriously? Too cool.

Big kids at camp. We even exchanged t-shirts.

We giggled 'til the wee hours.

Crazy kids.

Staying up late didn't keep us from cheering on the 5k participants.

Thanks so much, NEW BALANCE. 

No worries - Kelly did NOT stick her finger in an electric socket. This is a routine drill, folks.
This spunky chick is hilarious. If you haven't checked out her blog, it's a MUST! (just click HERE -- don't miss out on "Toe Woe of DIY Pedicure Gone Bad". All of that and MORE for your entertainment.) 


  1. Loved reading your recap! Those wigs are hilarious! Congrats on winning the Smoker...can't wait to see what you cook up with it.

    1. Thanks, Whitney! Yes...I'll definitely be posting our yummy adventures with the smoker!

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. haha I LOVE those wigs and great recap! Thanks for sharing!!!
    What a fun and exhilarating weekend!

    1. Wasn't it though? I had forgotten how much fun "big girl time" can be!

  4. It was great to meet you Jodi!! Love all your pics.. your cabin looks like the cutest slumber party ever!

  5. I love reading this. I loved actually, IRL, meeting you. I love, love that you won the Cookshack electric smoker. And...I really love that you loved AWBU and got so much from it. Just remember, you added tons to the whole weekend. Your sweet smile and enthusiasm radiated in every place I saw you. It's gonna' be so much fun getting to know you even better. xoxoxo Any day, any time...I'm available.

    1. Wow, Debbie! This is so, super sweet! It is definitely comforting to know someone is there -- really there -- if you need them. I appreciate that very much. Looking forward to future fun! :)

  6. Be sure to share your photos on the AWBU pinterest board.

    1. oh goodness...another new adventure -- sharing photos on pinterest....Y'all are going to make a techy out of me yet! ;)

  7. Jodi, Thank you so much for your touching comment on Marshall's CaringBridge site. You have no idea how much it means to me that you took the time to find his page and let me know my words inspired you.
    You are what makes AWBU so powerful for me. I learn more than I share every time I'm with my blogger friends.

    1. I appreciate it, Stephanie. AND I appreciate the inspiration! Best wishes!

  8. AWBU was awesome! Best camp I've ever been to:)) Can't wait to hang w/ you in Helena!