Something So Simple.

The dreams started early this year, as only a glimmer in my mind.

It was a spark on an otherwise empty 2014 landscape. Could I really do this? Could I go to a blog conference? Or two? Or three? In particular, the first one I’m thinking about going to is BlogU and it focuses on writing skills, social media outreach, learning to get published, and my all-time favorite thing – connecting. I like turning blogging friends into in-person friends. It’s my favorite.

I’ve done it before. These are The Fierce Diva Guide to Life’s kids, with my kid, on A Dish of Daily Life’s lawn, after all!

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I could never have envisioned what they would be like in person, and all awesomely 3D and all of that, and I couldn’t envision what I would be like with them. We had to meet to find that out. I’m happy to say that it happened very naturally and that real friendships developed out of a twitter conversation. And after an extraordinarily long time of falling in love through emails, photos and phone calls with Cassidy, we met in person. All awesomely 3D and all. These were taken during our first meeting:

Nothing could have prepared me for that first meeting, and it was not like I thought it would be. Not that I even knew what I thought it would be. It was a composite of pictures, voices and words. And yet, it was much more than that. (more much, as Scarlet would say) It was real. That’s all I can say. It was more real. More real is simultaneously awkward, exhilarating, disappointing, intimidating, squishy, heart-pounding, ground-breaking, achy, (breaky?), touching, queasy and..altering.

I think that about sums it up!

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Moving on here. Not that I’m comparing going to a blogging conference with meeting my true love. You’re all off the hook this time, people. It’s just about..something so simple. Something so simple as meeting friends, attending conferences, traveling, meeting boys at the airport..all of those things are done by someone not battling a bad bout of anxiety. I have done those things. I can do this. I can see what develops in the former empty spaces of in-person communication, and learning, and expanding.

I can travel. I can work on my blog. I can take photos of your kids. It’s something so simple as doing all the things I want to do.

And yet, it’s not really simple. In my past, I have had days, weeks and months of the kind of anxiety that makes going to the grocery store stressful. I’ve also had YEARS of anxiety dormancy, in which anything and everything is possible, and even simply done. I’m different now that I’ve had Des. The anxiety has..vastly lessened. I feel more possible than ever. And yet, I’m more tender at times too. More to love and more to lose. My heart pounds at simple exchanges in public. Sometimes I cry when I have a cold on the same day that Scarlet argues with me. I never know the triggers, or the phasing of the moon, or whatever it is that makes the simple things seem like jagged mountains to me. And other times, they’re smooth hills I can jump from one to one.

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Can I jump the smooth hills ahead of me for 2014, or will I hide at home in fear? Can I build new friendships and relationships? Can I travel? Sometimes I wonder how I did all of the previously mentioned things without freaking out. How I could drive to meet Michelle and Ilene, and how I could drive to JFK Airport, at 10:00 pm at night, to meet an older man I had never seen in my life before. Who was that person who felt she could do anything, and it felt like flying? Can I find her again? I’d like to.


Speaking of Ilene and photos and feeling like flying, I got together with Ilene again on Christmas Eve. You may have read about it HERE. We happened to be in the same state during the same week, and not only that, she needed headshots taken. Furthermore, she wanted ME to do them?! So I did them. And it was awesome. And she blended into my family like she had been there every Christmas Eve ever, and we’re going to do it again, and saying goodbye was really hard, and I shuffled around in the driveway, freezing but unable to go back inside easily. You know how that is. Maybe you’ve had days and nights like that. Many times over. It means you’re doing, talking, photographing feeling, and experiencing something so right. Something so simple.

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I’m going to do it. All. And I’m going to turn the moments of this year into experiences to look back on. To reflect on. To write about. To photograph. To read these writings and look at these pictures and say, “That’s when things changed.”

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  1. Oh YES YES YES!!! We are more alike than you know, Tamara! I struggle with HUGE anxiety and I am a mess about traveling and meeting people and social settings and and and…. it wears you down and pulls you under at times, doesn’t it? I wish oh I wish I didn’t have this barrier between me and LIFE. I hate it, as I’m sure you do too…

    But when we take that step into our fear… it happens. The good stuff. I pray I can take that step and go to a conference and although the passion inside me FLARES thinking about meeting you and so many other amazing people, I am terrified deep down inside. I wish I could make it go away… always.

    But like you, there are days when the mountains aren’t jagged and I can fly. I pray that I can push myself toward those unknowns with faith and purpose to make my life even MORE fulfilling in my little world here.

    lets hold hands and do this, okay? I love you.

    Oh, and I LOVE that gorgeous soul you have up there too. I simply don’t know how I could handle the excitement of meeting that love – she is simply my greatest gift I have found in blogging to date. I have a good feeling it will all happen soon. It simply must. The anticipation is killing me!

    1. Let’s do this!
      And I can’t believe I’ve met your greatest blogging gift! I was a little nervous because..well, that’s my style. She drove it right out me and she would do the same for you. She is simply awesome in person, as you can imagine. Maybe beyond.
      And I know you are too.

  2. You’re going to a blog conference too?! I want to get to one but this will totally not be my year. I need to be home growing a baby and then enjoying a newborn and my toddler. 🙂 I do hope to go to one in the future though! These photos of Ilene are so beautiful! I’d definitely want you to do my head shots! 🙂

    1. I hear you! I really wanted to go to BlogHer last year and the year before but I had the baby and not enough money, and I was still too paralyzed to do anything to make more money. This year feels different all around.
      We’ll have our year to meet!

  3. Love this post – like all your posts of course! If love to go to a blog conference – Sometimes. But I waffle between getting excited about meeting people and learning and then anxious about all the other stuff – meeting people and learning! All the expectations, insecurities, fears, logistics can get overwhelming. So, we’ll see. So nice you and Ilene got together again! Love the pics!

    1. Yes, so overwhelming! The logistics are a big one for me, but I find that if I can get past the bigger stuff – fears, insecurities, expectations – I will always find a way with money/logistics/time.

  4. You ARE going to do it and it is going to be EPIC!! I also predict we meet up at some point in 2014 and you WILL take my picture because you photography is the bomb diggity. That being said, I am quaking in my boots at the thought of going to a blog conference 🙂

    1. Oh yes, and you’re not that far! I’ll have to go meet you and Janine – do you know Janine?
      I’m so glad I’m not the only one so afraid to go to a blog conference! I suppose there’s power in anxious numbers.

  5. I struggle greatly with travel anxiety, especially with leaving three kids. I would really like to go to BlogU, but I don’t know how I would manage it this year. I hope to meet you 3D one day too! And I am proud of you for doing it!!

    1. Thanks! I haven’t done it yet, but hearing you say that makes me think I will.
      And maybe we’ll have another year. Last year and the year before, I really couldn’t manage a blog conference. This year has felt different since it dawned.

  6. I also would love to go, but with me truly being my kids sole caretaker right now, so not in the cards for blog conferences. Trust me though I too have a bit of travel anxiety, too. I seriously hate packing and traveling, too. Just get a bit nauseous even thinking about. So, yup couldn’t love you more if I tried right about now with you admitting that here. But now that I know you are going, wish I could, but still not happening this year at the very least.

    1. It’s just a bit funny for me, that sometimes I approach traveling like nothing. Like it’s the adventure I kinda rightfully deserve. And other times, I’m scared!
      For next week, I’m both excited and scared. And keeping it real and calm and awesome for the kids will be my goal to ground me into place.
      If there was a blog conference in Long Island, would you go?

      1. I would totally go if it were on Long Island or even in NYC now. I seriously just can’t leave Kevin and the girls alone that long right about now without constantly worrying that they needed me or missing them. Sounds crazy and silly, but just never was away from either of my girls (Emma) but overnight when I was in the hospital for pregnancy/childbirth.

        1. Not silly or crazy. Scarlet has had a few overnights but I’ve never been away from Des, and certainly not both of them. If I do any conferences, it’s with the idea that Cassidy and/or my mom would come with and watch the kids while I went conference crazy. I wouldn’t fly to CA without them. Not yet. Maybe when they’re older.

          1. Thanks for letting me know it isn’t just me. Lily is very attached and sometimes still looks for me at night. Emma is a bit more independent, but still not sure how she would be either. And if I could justify bringing them along like that then I would, but I know Kevin only gets limited days, so I think he would want more family time on those days and kind of not blame him because the girls will only be this small for so long.

  7. Oh we are so alike, I battle my anxiety constantly. I never know if it’s going to be easy for me to do the things I’ve committed to doing or if I will be searching for a way to cancel. It’s a daily exhausting battle but it sounds like you are winning. And BlogU? If you go then we will get to meet!

    1. And sometimes, I’m really happy when something (example: snow) does cancel something I was on the fence about. I’m so bad like that.
      I would very much like to meet you at BlogU!

  8. Sending you strength if you decide that going to a blog conference is something you want to do! Your portraits of Ilene are gorgeous. That one with the horse? Awesome.

    1. Thank you! I maybe should have put more in – there were tons of horse ones. I just love how happy that one looks.
      And thank you for the strength! Trust me, I do feel it.

  9. I had a lot of anxiety going to BlogHer, but I forced myself to go because it was in Chicago and I knew I wouldn’t get another chance. There were a lot of good things that happened, but I’d rather go to a blog conference with people I already “know.” I felt overwhelmed and overlooked, but many of the sessions inspired me and I got out there and talked to a lot of people. I think the expectations for a blog conference are so different than a professional conference. It’s more social. When I go to an education conference, it’s not about the social aspect at all but more about professional development.

    BlogU would be the perfect conference to go to, because you’ll know a lot of people there even if you haven’t met them in real life! I’d really love to meet all of us MOAM bloggers some day!

    1. I remember hearing about you going to BlogHer and seeing your photos there. And you were a VOTY and all! I think BlogU is a good one to start with, although BlogHer is on my birthday and in my favorite state and I have told my husband that if we come into some miraculous money, we’re spending late July in San Jose/San Francisco!

  10. I think we all struggle with a little anxiety, but BELIEVING we can do something…well that is powerful! It’s half the battle. I want to go to BlogU too, as you know…I just need to nail it down and buy the ticket!

  11. Anxiety has never been an issue for me, but I get nervous about meeting you and my other blog friends in person too. Will you like me? Will I say stupid things to keep the conversation going? Will we connect like we do online? I’m nervous, but I won’t let that keep me from doing something that I know I will love. That will make me happy, and help me grow. I want to share that experience with you!

    1. It astounds me that there are people with whom anxiety is not an issue! Can I be you??? My mom is like that too. It’s just…wow.
      Moving on, I feel everything you’re feeling. What if the connection is stronger behind the computer? What if they hate my hair? (um…that one is weird) What if I’m a hack and they meet me and realize I’m less than they thought?
      I want to share the experience with you too!
      And in many ways, within our group, I know that the fears are mostly unfounded because we do connect in head and heart ways that let me know we are all like-minded in many ways. And meeting Michelle and Ilene – we all stuck together and our friendships got stronger… and my fears were wrong. And that helps me look to the future.

  12. Believe me, I understand what you are saying. I don’t talk about personal things on my page but I can relate to what you’re saying. I went to a blogger conference last year in NYC and it was SO stressful. It was mostly because of confidence and comparing myself to other people and only a tiny bit about being in NYC again. I’m not the same person I was when I lived there, young and carefree in my 20’s. I really had to just force myself to go and smile and put myself out there. It was an awesome experience and I ended up not wanting to leave!! My husband always tells me…just go and if you want to leave, leave! I never end up leaving but somehow it always helps me when I think of it that way!

    1. Sometimes I think I post too many personal things! It helps me to hear that other people have this, but of course, I don’t want anyone to suffer. It’s just that when we see people who struggle when we do, we support each other. And when I see people excel and overcome, I get so inspired.
      But you did it! You went to a conference! And your husband’s words soothe me too. Just knowing there’s an out, doesn’t mean you’ll ever take it.

  13. And of course, once you take the risk and meet someone like Michelle (dishofdailylife), you realize that climbing over that anxiety was so worth it:) That picture of Des.. unbelievably adorable!!

  14. BlogU has a cupcake bar?! How awesome is that?!

    You’re so very brave to share these feelings, Tamara. When I mentioned writing and living bravely and vulnerably earlier this week, I thought at the time that you are one of the people who has inspired me to do so because you’re always so honest here. And it ends up just being beautiful. I can always see by reading through the (MANY!) comments you receive that what you share resonates with others. We all want to know that we’re not the only ones who struggle. And of course, we’re not. We just need to be honest and real and vulnerable with each other.

    The photos of Ilene are perfect. Just perfect.

    1. A cupcake bar!?? Sign me up! (are you going?)
      This is probably one of my favorite comments..EVER. And thank you – I do get a lot but I comment a lot so it’s a really nice give and take. I find that the ones I have such a great blogging relationship with (like you!) really enrich my life. I love hearing you all weigh in. I love feeling so much less alone.

  15. Tamara, I swear if you and I were any more alike I would think we are related…I deal with what I call “anxiety” and I get anxious about many things. After a while, it starts to affect me physically with a racing heart, short of breath, etc. I even get anxious about calling the pizza place for delivery…I would rather do it online. I know, probably crazy, right? Your pictures are gorgeous, and as always…I wish we were closer!

    1. Wouldn’t it be great if we were closer (and related)?
      I love online delivery because calling people scares me too!!
      My anxiety is so weird. There’s no obvious rhyme or reason. I could bungee jump with nary a pounding heart, or I can stammer and get queasy from talking to a cute guy. (true story)

  16. I still get anxiety when I travel, particularly when I’m alone, but I adore traveling. I over-prepare and think about all the things that go wrong. But when I leave and am in the moment, it all goes away. Blogging conferences can be overwhelming, but I find it’s easier when I tell myself that I’m looking for my own experience. I don’t have to do it all.

    I’ll have to look into the Blog U conference. I’ve been hearing a lot about it lately. Plus Baltimore is a quick plane ride from Portland. And it’s our year!

  17. There is so much in this post – that I may have to write a 500 word blog post of my own to respond to it. First of all, I never ever ever wanted Christmas Eve to end, and as you were standing on the freezing porch, I was driving down route 80 with a little voice in my head saying, “Go back! Go back!” The ONLY thing that made the parting hurt a little less is that I know we will be able to do it again.

    Second of all, the simple things aren’t always simple depending on who we are and how we experience the world. I get that simple to me may not be simple to you – but I love the thought that it CAN be simple. And we CAN change how we experience the world and we can jump from mountain to mountain – and once we do that once, we know that we CAN do it again. We have proof of that.

    Third of all, I wish I could commit to Blog U or another conference this year. I’m not sure I can due to the business stuff – but as least it’s on the table. And I know that you will have the best time ever – because I know what a great time I had last year at BBC Charlotte and at Blogher. Those experiences changed me and changed my relationships with some of my favorite bloggers for the good.

    Last of all, The photos you took? They are invaluable to me. You and my logo designer have created the “face” of my business. I am so glad you were a part of this. I had the number of a local photographer on my planning sheet for months and though of calling her every day – except that I knew I wanted the photographer to be YOU. The other thing about those photos, they will always remind me of the great time I had with you and your family on Christmas Eve 2013. Such a perfect memory. xo

    1. This comment is a nice response too, ya know! (although I’ll take any and all blog posts that relive even a second of our day).
      Yes, I’m calling Christmas Eve “our day.” We’re both at least partly Jewish so it’s ok, I think.
      Blog conferences or not, I do suspect we will all find our ways this year. 2014 is it.

  18. Glad you wrote about this, Tamara. My anxiety comes in the form of ‘meeting in person’- as much fun as it would be to cross over from virtual buddies to actual ones, I know I would be incredibly nervous since I’m such a shy person and often super uncomfortable in social situations. It’s so easy to connect online, from the safety of the house! But but but, I know the rewards would be even greater than my anxiety.
    Here’s to a wonderful 2014 for both of us, with wishes realized and less anxiety!

    1. It’s so true – the computer is a bit of a cushion. Ok, not just a big. A huge one! And we can hide and be what we want to be back here. However, I have met bloggers in real life and they were just like I thought, and more, and I hope I was to them too. So it makes me realize a lot of us are like-minded artists/writers/crafters/bakers and the magic can definitely be had in person.
      If I can muster the guts..

  19. Travel and meet new people, take more gorgeous photos! You can do it. This post was very inspiring and maybe I should get over my anxieties and do the same thing. Have a terrific Wednesday!

  20. Life begins outside of our comfort zones, Tamara! You can do all of these things in 2014 and so much more. Fear is only temporary but regret for lost opportunities lingers. I can’t wait for the chance to finally meet you at a conference or on a road trip or by some other happy circumstance. There will be lots of photos, smiles, and memories that last!

    1. Yes, and there probably won’t be an awkward or silent moment of it! I do love those occasional journeys outside my comfort zone. They feel oh so good in the long run.

  21. It wasn’t until I started some counseling this year that I realized I have some level of anxiety. I always thought it was just “normal” to feel those feelings. You know? But I am TRYING so hard this year to combat it naturally, without any meds or assistance, besides talking about it and getting it out there in the open. Also, just through relaxation and less stress about all the stuff HERE, in this box of a computer. 🙂

    I ADORE the photos you took of Ilene, true beauty there. So lovely… xo

    1. I always thought my father’s death caused my anxiety, but I think to some degree, I had it before that. I remember some fears of early childhood that my kids definitely don’t have. I’m doing the same – no meds or assistance. It can be challenging but seems to be working..

  22. I really want to go to a blog conference (to learn of course but really) – I want to meet so many of my bloggy friends including you!!!
    I’m so excited that you are going to do this!!!
    Then lets have a big meet-up in the heartland of the US – I even know of a gorgeous venue we can use!!!

  23. Oh my goodness yes! This is my blog conference year too, I think, though I haven’t registered for a thing yet… Tell me when you decide where you will go because I want to meet you in 3D!!

  24. You all are making the blogger connections all kinds of magical! I think it’s amazing that she could visit and blend in with your family at such a special time. You did an amazing job on her photos! That conference sounds perfect for you. I’m doing Fitbloggin which is right up my alley!

  25. I need to come up with a reason why I need head shots so you can take some for me, too. You’d make me look contemplative or silly or intriguing or whatever, the way that only really good photographers can, and we’d meet. It would be great.

    Now, about the conference! I had never heard of Blog U, so I just Googled it. I DEFINITELY think you should go! Maryland is close enough to drive potentially, right? Or find a cheap plane ticket if not? I think it would be pretty freaking scary, but scary in a good way, the way that you feel at first, but then you look back and say, “Man, I’m so glad I did that.” That’s the best kind of scary, because you always get something out of it.

    1. There are many reasons to need any kind of photography! And the commute wouldn’t be half bad.
      BlogU is probably something I’d drive. I think the flight would be quick but it seems like it’s not cheap and nonstop from Hartford so I’d have to go to Logan…and at that point, I should just drive!
      (see? I totally am already thinking about this a lot)

  26. What a great post. …And I have been looking for a blogging conference to go to this year. I am fine leaving my family for a few days but not a lot and not if I need to fly. I am so happy to learn about BlogU. I think I might go? Are you going for sure?

    1. I haven’t pulled the trigger yet but I will definitely let you know when it’s a sure thing! I’ve been waiting for spare money, to be honest. And this week, despite being sick, I got three jobs. So I am going to take my earnings from one of these jobs and pull the trigger on either BlogU or Bloggy Boot Camp in Philly. BlogU seems to have many of my favorites going! Would love to meet you!

  27. If I can get up and dance with native American kids when I was 5 on a vacation to Mesa Verde, I can do anything, including a blogging conference. I don’t even care much that my blog friends will discover I’m less Spiderman and more Peter Parker in 3D. Especially if there’s good food.

      1. I sure hope they do.

        I could be the token dude at one of these conferences, easily. Like that foreign kid in those stock photos they use for college handbooks. I’ll play the role.

  28. Good for you for taking charge! My mom has anxiety over what seems like nothing to the average person. It’s a real thing and I’m so happy you are working through and overcoming it. I’m so excited for you! I want to go to a conference too!

  29. I am so excited that you are going to BlogU – and scared. I could ditto what Dana said above. I don’t have anxiety per se, but I am an o=introvert by nature. And I have actually never traveled anywhere alone. I am so incredibly excited to meet so many blog friends in real life and simultaneously terrified. What if they don’t like the “real” me? What if I annoy them with my Southern accent?? Such conflicting emotions! However, it is comforting to know that others feel the same way and I know, in the end, it will be AWESOME!

    1. Aw, we’ve all heard your accent before! And it’s awesome and YOU. I totally get the insecurities, though. So much. I’m terrified you’ll all think I’m a hack. When it’s face to face, it feels so vulnerable. My only comfort is that Michelle and Ilene (I think) still like me after meeting me.

  30. You can do it!

    And as I’ve said before, I’d so love to go to a blog conference. Maybe one day, if it all works out with childcare and such. The military sometimes won’t let my husband have any free time. Boo.

  31. Your honesty in posts like this, wow. You break my heart and make me smile and make me feel hope and show me that my paralyzing anxieties are not in my imagination and that I’m not alone. I’d love to know if you do commit to BlogU, I’m thinking I need another conference and I’d love the opportunity to hang out with you for longer than an hour!

    1. I’ll definitely let you and Michelle know when I pull the trigger. That hour was such a nice surprise, though, I’d love more time with you.
      And thank you. The honesty thing. Sometimes I wonder if I do it too much, too little, or just right. Probably all of the above at different times.

    1. I’m perpetually broke. Working my way out of it a little bit this year!
      And oh yes – it’s a 20 part saga about how I met Cassidy. He was my client. 3,000 miles away. So it wasn’t your typical online dating story because this was before the times of, but it was certainly interesting.

  32. Beautiful photos of the kids and Ilene especially the one with the horse. I wish I could attend blog conferences this year, I am attending some photography workshops and don’t have enough money to attend blog conferences, may be some other time. I would love to meet blog friends in real life, it would be amazing. Hope you have a nice time at the blog conference and meet some amazing people :).

    1. Thanks! Photography workshops sound incredible too. I always want to go to those photography adventure trips that are led by some great photographer and you pay one price for flight/lodging/food/workshops. Life dream, there.

  33. Anxiety is very common – I had extreme social anxiety as a child and I’ve managed to overcome 75% of it over time. However, it’s still an everyday battle – I am a lot better at social events, especially if I have some form of moral support haha – I just looked at the Blog U conference – THAT IS AWESOME! It’s local for me so I can go YAY! I wanted to do the BlogHer and Bloggy Boot Camp but I won’t make the registration deadline this year.. next year for those two though! Your photos are beautiful and happy to hear you’re managing your anxiety – one day at a time it gets easier and if it doesn’t play like me and hide. 🙂 Have a great one Tamara! -Iva

    1. Hey, pretty awesome about the 75%!! Seriously.
      When are the registration deadlines for BlogHer and BBC?? Did I already miss them? I wanted to go to those too. I’ll let you know if I do BlogU! And you won’t have to pay for a room so that’s awesome.

      1. Hehe thank you 🙂

        The BBC Registration ends February 28 – which I REALLY wanna go but we’ll see how things go. They’re having 4 this year: San Diego, St. Louis, Philadelphia, and Atlanta.

        BlogHer: Early bird pricing ends February 28 and the regular registration ends July 24th.

        Hope that helps!

        1. Oh my god, I promise I’m not too lazy to Google it. I thought maybe you knew something I didn’t and I got worried I already missed the deadlines! Thank you for this! BlogHer is on my birthday. And BBC coincides with my oldest starting kindergarten but I think I might manage.

              1. Agreed!! I really wanted to go but alast it’s not something that’s financially feasible for me at this time which is why I’m trying to find conferences on this East Side – it’s ok there’s always 2015!! 🙂

  34. I am going to my first blog conference this year. I haven’t met anyone else who is going and I’m a bit terrified about being Billy No Mates there, but hopefully there’ll be other blog singletons I can bond with. I’ve found myself a lot more anxious since having Lucas–I can see all the potential hazards, think of a million things that could go wrong, but rarely think about things going right!! I’m making myself sound like a real ray of sunshine, aren’t I?

    1. haha, you ARE a ray of sunshine. One funny thing since having kids is that I’m more anxious in a general sense of mortality/well-being, but a lot less anxious about social events. I am quite ok going to movies or restaurants alone. I went to a bar alone for a friend’s poetry reading recently and I really didn’t care an inch what anyone thought of me. That was nice. I

  35. BlogU looks so awesome. I think I have that one on my radar too 🙂 Those pictures of Ilene….stunning!! I have anxiety too, just about weird things and usually in the evening time.

    1. Let me know if you are going! So far it’s already jam-packed with many of my favorites. It would be SO MUCH fun to see you all. It would be worth every nerve. I am pulling the trigger this week or next. Just waiting for a paycheck. (isn’t that always the way?)

  36. as Rob Schneider in Water Boy said, “you can doo eeeet!” Then you can blog about it here and i can live vicariously through you haha. 😛

  37. After three years of blogging, it looks like we might finally be in a position where I could attend a conference. I was all set to go to BBC in Philly…but BlogU definitely looks like a great conference (and easy for me to get to…which is HUGE). You took gorgeous photos Ilene – makes me wish I was in New England more (or ever). Good for you for getting out there!

    1. I’m definitely playing around with going to both. Being easy to get to is definitely huge. I wouldn’t even wait to pull the trigger if it was closer for me.

  38. This post felt like you were looking inside my head. There’s so much I want to do this year, but what if it’s not possible or right or whatever excuse I find for not doing it? Then, I think of all the crazy things I’ve done…Maybe I can do this.

    Love the pictures you took of Ilene!

    1. Thanks!
      And when I even start to think of the crazy things I’ve done, I just want to do them some more. And having kids now shouldn’t stop me from most of it. I rather think they’d like to see their mom doing things she loves.

  39. That was such a sweet story about meeting your husband…wow……
    it must have felt good when in love right? I know that!
    The lady Iline has really good shots on those pictures you took, I love the idea with the horse!
    Her eyes and smile are beautiful!

    1. It did feel good. You’re so right.
      And thanks about Ilene! The horse shots were nearly accidental because I didn’t tell my mom to put them in the barn, and Ilene said she didn’t mind..
      So they crashed our photo shoot! And we liked it.

  40. I feel you. I want to attend my first blog conference this year but am terrified. I feel like my first day of junior high nervous. Will anyone talk to me? Will people like me? Will I fall and get laughed at? I figure I have done so much harder things in life that I can totally do a blog conference and then I totally panic. Oh I know we are at opposite ends of the east coast, but I know we will meet one day!

    1. This particular blog conference has a college setup too! So there’s the whole dining hall aspect. And I will know many of these women, or else I’d be thinking, “Will anyone sit with me at lunch???” Of course by college in real life, I didn’t care as much about that and I quite liked sitting alone at lunch when no one was around, so I do know in my heart that I don’t care so much about that.
      It’s just everything else!

  41. I really want to go to Bloggy Boot Camp in Atlanta this year. I have lots of anxiety too. It has only increased as I have gotten older. I breathe deeply a lot and count to myself. I know it’s all in my mind, but only after the feeling had passed. Lol

    1. In many ways, it has gotten worse as I’ve gotten older and I worry it will get even worse. In some ways, it has gotten better. Just those childhood anxiety ways that didn’t stick around.
      I totally breathe deeply and count to myself!

  42. You will do it all! Life is about experiences that can’t be had online.They can be talked and shared online but not made. Not really. Not like when you have someone within arms reach.

    I love these pictures of Ilene. They show her in a different light than I had pictured her before. She’s beautiful. The photos are beautiful.

  43. I’ve been to a bloggers’ summit before which gathered 100 bloggers in our region and it was so fun learning from the rest. There were talks, cocktail party, and city tour. A blog conference sounds interesting too! Hope you can join one soon. Happy to know that you actually get to meet some bloggers you’re interacting with. I’m hoping that I can get to be outside of my country in the future to probably meet all of you! Ahaha a girl can dream! 🙂

  44. The number one reason I did not go to BlogHer last year? Anxiety. Number two? Insecurity. I’m so much older than other moms of 4year olds, and I’ve gained 10 pounds in the last two years and I just felt like I wasn’t good enough to go. And I really regretted it. I was so jealous. So I signed up for FemWorking this summer and met Dana and a couple of others and was so glad I did. I met Scary Mommy and she remembered what I wrote.
    Now, I signed up for BlogU and I’m nervous and scared and and and and…I booked a single room for the escape factor and because I snore, and HOLY_____ I’m going to meet you! My lovely sister wife! So there’s that. And that’s huge. And please tell me you are going to let me hire you Sunday after the conf to take photos of Tucker. PLEASE.
    Also this: I feel more possible than ever.
    I love that you wrote that. LOVE. xoxo
    We can do this, friend. We can.

    1. I’d book a single room too! Or I’ll need a hotel if I do need the kids around me, but all around me. Like I said, my mom might come with and give them an informal tour of Baltimore.
      Once that ticket is booked, our Tucker photography dreams will come true! Crazy, right?

  45. My 2014 word resolution is “CONNECT” (although I haven’t posted about it yet….it’s still brewing) so I totally get what you mean by wanting to reach out and meet other bloggers in 3D. LOL I love how you said that. I’m so awkward at social events like happy hours or company parties. I went to a mini-bloggy bootcamp last year and I was awkward there, too. I was nervous, anxious, not confident at all….But I think I’m ready. 2014 is going to be the year!!

    1. Yes it is! I’m not even socially awkward UNLESS I’m anxious. Otherwise I’m cool as a cucumber. It’s just always a gamble and I never really know which it will be, until it gets closer to that time.

  46. YES – do it all!! As you know, I struggle with my own anxiety issues and I’ve had some battles with them lately over going to Spain to compete…and bringing my kids. How the …. am I going to do that? One step at a time! I’m with you my friend and thank you for sharing the pictures of Ilene!!! Her personality is literally jumping into my kitchen. Love it!!!

  47. Tamara, Im totally not a creeper, (lol) but I had a dream last night that I went to a high school reunion and all my old friends would not talk to me and I didnt know why. It made me very anxious and I felt very alone. I actually woke up depressed. I felt like it was a sign that I’ve been inside too long and that I needed to start getting out there and making friends again and push myself to be like the 19 year old girl that flew to another country to meet a man she had never met in person before without even giving a thought to it.
    THEN, I read your post today…
    I can relate to the anxiety of being able to do something one time, yet not being in control to do it another time and not know why.
    Im glad you are jumping out there!

    1. haha, I would never say you’re a creeper. I do think we’re kindred spirits, though, with the chocolate and the combat boots and the photography.
      What a dream! I hope it inspires you to jump out there too.
      And I would love to hear more about this romance story..

  48. I love that you are so open about your anxiety … but I wonder why you doubt yourself so. You are an amazing person and I know all your readers would agree that you have nothing to be anxious about when it comes to meeting new people, tackling the inevitable, falling in love all over again and having true joy. You are an enigma in the best way. I know you will be a complete hit.

    (¸¤ Lanaya | xoxo

    1. My husband calls me a mystery wrapped in an enigma. Or maybe it’s an enigma wrapped in a mystery?
      Thank you, honey. Best comment. Really awesome.

  49. I’ve only been to one blog conference, and I was super anxious beforehand. And I missed half of it because I read the schedule wrong (funny side note, I met Michelle Nahom there!). I used to get really bad stage freight and I refused to sing around people, even though it was what I was most passionate about. Four years ago I made myself a promise, I said that when anyone asked me to sing I would have to do it. I made a point to tell people about it and believe me, they tested it. And I always did it. Knowing that I had to do it took away some of the anxiety. And now I am in a band singing regularly with ease. I think once we practice the things that make us anxious they no longer have any control over us. You can do it, you will do it!

  50. My anxiety just started last year. It took me completely by surprise because I have always been a very laid back person. I’m not sure of the trigger that started it all, but I am fairly certain that all subsequent episodes have been hormonal in nature. I am hoping that because I got an early handle on it, that it won’t get worse. But something has changed and the memories of the anxiety can sometimes bring it on again. I, too, am hoping for a year of possibilities and “I can do this!”

    1. How interesting! I guess it really can strike at any time. I think to some extent, I was either born with it or got it from my father’s passing. Maybe both. My mom doesn’t have it, really.
      Hoping for some peace and relief for you!

  51. I know anxiety all too well! In part because of my military background, the rest is just kind of natural. I too plan on going to a conference this year. There are actually a few in Atlanta, but I’m not sure if I’ll be able to afford them since we’re smack in the middle of moving back to Ga. I’ll put it in God’s hands and hope that I can attend one soon.

    I think you’ll have a blast at a blog conference and I know you would connect and meet so many new bloggers and friends. More of us than you know are anxious about those types of things. I’m an extrovert, but also very shy at times and the anxiety starts to get to me. I’m sure I’ll feel the same way as you feel when I’m approaching my first blogging conference.

    1. I imagine Atlanta gets some good ones! Big city like that. I imagine Boston and NYC do too, but nothing I’ve heard of lately.
      Interesting about the anxiety going hand-in-hand with your military background!

  52. I had an very nervous energy when I attended Blogalicious this past summer! My blog post was about all the great things, but didn’t mention the stress or anxiety I felt with attending this huge conference by myself, and being anti-social. If I don’t really know people and I’m in an environment with a large group of extraverts, I retreat into my thoughts and become very anti-social. I’m the opposite when I know everyone around me, so I’m learning to network and not be such a loner at these things! You can do it too girl! We’ll take it one visit, one conference, and one luncheon at a time! 😉

    1. I remember your post well!
      Oddly, I don’t have any a lot of social anxiety. I don’t care about not knowing people or sitting alone to eat. This is something else that is more odd. It’s like I’m afraid of success and going to a blog conference can contribute to my success so it would make me nervous!
      And of course opening my heart wider to all of the “in person” friends I have already grown to know and love. Eek!

  53. Ilene looks so great in those pictures. It’s amazing that you were able to turn twitter connections into real friends…that’s what stepping out is all about. Sometimes having a new born shift our comfort level and slightly elevate our anxieties. That has been my experience. I think this is my year too…to venture to my first blog conference and hopefully change some of my online connections to real life ones. Great post.

  54. Oh Tamara how exciting to be able to meet online friends in the flesh, I am happy often to realise I am awake at the same time as on online friend. Yes you can make it to a blogging conference and yes you will connect and yes it will be awesome and yes I will live vicariously through your posts. Please go for both of us.

  55. I love the feeling of possibility that a New Year brings – and that it lasts into the month rather an subsiding after the first day.
    I would love to go to a conference one day – and I know I would be nervous and excited and allthefeelings.

  56. This –> “I’m going to turn the moments of this year into experiences to look back on. To reflect on. To write about. To photograph. To read these writings and look at these pictures and say, “That’s when things changed.” YES! You can do it. We can do it. For me, the hardest part is believing enough in myself that I can do it and then taking those steps. And to keep taking those steps day after day. I do hope that this is the year that I get to meet you in 3D! I haven’t quite figured out my plan for the year. I know I can do BlogU but maybe BBC Philly or something else.

  57. This is your year. Taking each day – one at a time – you will make it through and when the bad comes upon you, you have so much to reflect on and friends and family to just be there for you when you decide to open up. I find strength in you and all the good things to come!

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