The Blathering

On Friday morning, I traveled nearly 1500 miles to spend the weekend with 50 other women, only one of whom I’d ever met in real life.

Is that crazy? I think that might be crazy. But you know what?

The entire weekend was fabulous.

The Blathering

That first night in The Blathering ‘Living Room’, I took a moment to sit and just look around at everyone. It was my Twitter stream, come to life. I have spent the past few years- or at least months- talking with these same people daily through Twitter, blog comments, and sometimes emails. We have laughed together over stories about our kids, our husbands, our jobs, our families, and cried and offered sympathy and support during really crappy times. Some of them live 3 timezones away from me. And yet- here we all were, in the same room at the same time, all up in each other’s faces, instead of just our Twitter streams.

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Surreal. (ooh. THAT is my word!)

The thing that sticks with me the most is how different we all are. Different ages, different backgrounds, different current life situations. Some of us have kids, some have no kids, some are divorced, or married, or re-married, or have stepkids, are currently pregnant with their first babies, pregnant with seconds or thirds, working, not working, shy, outgoing, hilarious, reserved… and yet. We all got along. As far as I could tell (and I’m happy if you choose to not break my Bubble of Oblivion on this), there was very little drama throughout the weekend. I mean BESIDES the cranky old neighbor who nearly had a coronary over street parking, and the suspicious lady in the hotel who we’re pretty sure was a hooker. But that was FUN DRAMA. The good kind.

When I think about all of us as Grown Ups, so so different but still so much alike, I wonder… would we all have been friends in high school? Think about THAT for a minute. heh

(I don’t have an answer, obviously. I just think it’s funny to think about sometimes.)

On the more practical side, a few people who didn’t attend (and some who had NO IDEA what I was doing in Austin!) have asked about The Blathering and what exactly it is. What do we DO there? You can find out more at the website, but really it’s just a weekend for a bunch of bloggers to get together and have fun. The social part of social networking, if you will. No sessions, no swag, no fancy invite-only parties. A few organized events if you’d like to attend them, and the rest of the time is yours to do whatever you want. Just get yourself to the city and go from there! (And for those of us with kids, we were DRUNK ON FREEDOM!!)

Friday night was the kickoff event, a BBQ party at the house where the organizers were staying. Food, drinks, sparkly cowboy hats, and cute nametags.

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Saturday morning was sleeping in (kinda) for me, then coffee and visiting in the lobby for a bit. We slooooowly all made our way out for the day, and by lunchtime we were headed to the Gypsy Picnic in downtown Austin. (Some people did other things- shopping, movies, etc, and that was totally cool too!)

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Which is basically food. From trucks. GOOD FOOD.

Green chile pork taco. NOM.

Making Pittsburgh proud: deep fried perogie. YOU GUYS. IT'S AMAZING. #theblathering

And dirty feet from the sandy dirt blowing around. But it didn’t matter.

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In the afternoon we took a break for some coffee and conversation (and laughing until my FACE HURT. Is that not the best ever?) then wandered aimlessly through the vintage shops of Austin.

Uncommon objects

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That night we all gathered at Z Tejas for a private dinner with queso and half of a margarita that nearly knocked me on my butt. I am SUCH A LIGHTWEIGHT.

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AND THERE IS QUESO. #theblathering

A farewell breakfast Sunday morning back at the ‘Living Room’.

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And then… it was over. It’s really hard to sum it all up. It was my first time going to a major blogging event, meeting a huge group of new people. I was nervous and anxious and honestly I wasn’t totally sure what to expect. I’m thrilled that the whole weekend went beyond what I had imagined. By like a BAJILLION.

We all said it many times throughout the weekend, but it bears repeating. You all? You are My People. You are why I keep blogging. These connections are real, and I thank you for them.

(Also, a huge gigantic thank you to the organizers. You all did an amazing job making us all feel comfortable and making it fun, and we truly appreciate it! You guys rock.)


  1. Kelly

    October 24, 2011 10:10 pm

    This looks like so much fun. :)

  2. natalie

    October 24, 2011 10:13 pm

    I LOVED meeting you. I can’t wait until next year! It was a wonderful weekend.

  3. Jesabes

    October 24, 2011 10:15 pm

    It was so great to meet you!

  4. Melissa

    October 24, 2011 10:17 pm

    Yay! It looks like you all had an awesome weekend! So many great ladies. And the FOOD, OMG.

    Maybe next year I’ll be able to go… This smaller, low-key group thing seems much more my speed.

    • red pen mama

      October 26, 2011 1:36 pm

      I was thinking that too. The Big Blogging Conference is totally intimating to me. Wanna go next year, and be roomies? ;)

      • Melissa

        October 26, 2011 5:10 pm

        Not sure yet whether I’ll be able to go (depends on a lot of things–my mom, etc). but if I can, that would be fun! :)

        • Jen

          October 28, 2011 1:15 pm

          The Low Key thing was FANTASTIC. I’m not even sure I’d ever want to do a big conference now! Maybe once just to get the full experience, but it was much less intimidating & laid back than I imagine something like BlogHer would be.

  5. Michelle

    October 24, 2011 10:19 pm

    You take the best pictures! It was so great meeting you!

    • Jen

      October 28, 2011 1:16 pm

      aw thanks girl! I feel like I didn’t take ENOUGH good pictures… but I always feel that I think. LOL I have problems. :)

  6. jonniker

    October 24, 2011 10:40 pm

    I loved meeting you! LOVED!

    And there was NO DRAMA at all, to my innocent little nose. NONE. WHICH IS AWESOME.

  7. Michelle Smiles

    October 24, 2011 10:48 pm

    That sounds like the perfect blogging event. So fun!

  8. Elsha

    October 25, 2011 1:06 am

    It was a little surreal. In a good way. Also, I totally think about stuff like whether or not we would have been friends in high school. It’s interesting to wonder about.

  9. LInnea

    October 25, 2011 8:46 am

    Yeah, these are wonderful pictures.
    Also, that fried pirogi? It was so stinkin’ good!!
    It was great to meet you and have a face/voice to put to the writing. I loved that everyone was smiling all the time–I haven’t stopped smiling yet!

  10. Raven

    October 25, 2011 9:05 am

    Loved meeting you and hanging out with you and running strangers out of the coffee shop by being overly raucous and inappropriate. Ha!

    Way proud that none of us died, or killed anyone else trying to get to coffee. Jeebus.

    Love the pics!

  11. Erica

    October 25, 2011 9:51 am

    Your pictures are wonderful! No drama on my end, for sure.

  12. the ambitious mrs

    October 25, 2011 10:53 am

    Your post makes me miss Austin so much! Can I come next time?

  13. Jennie

    October 25, 2011 11:48 am

    You were one of my favorites, JUST as I thought you’d be, honestly. It was just so nice to meet you.

  14. Erica

    October 25, 2011 1:42 pm

    Your pictures are amazing and so is your wrap up. I am glad I got to meet you!

  15. HereWeGoAJen

    October 25, 2011 2:40 pm

    Going away for a weekend to meet people you’ve never met before is only crazy to regular people. WE all get it. :)

    I’m glad I got to meet you.

  16. Mama Bub

    October 25, 2011 3:03 pm

    Okay, this is the best set of photos from this weekend I’ve seen yet. Looks like you had a great time.

  17. natalie

    October 25, 2011 5:53 pm

    These are some awesome pictures! Great to meet you!

  18. Emily

    October 30, 2011 9:05 pm

    This was such a perfect recap!

    I loved meeting you, Jen. You’re even more adorable and sweet than I imagined you to be – I am just sorry we didn’t have MORE time to hang out.

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