An Introvert’s Guide to Blogger Conferences

There’s a reason I’m a blogger: I enjoy the comfort of my computer screen. For me, it’s much harder to break out of my shell and actually (gasp!) speak to people face to face.

I have a feeling that I’m not alone among others in the writing profession. So, here are a few tips for navigating a big conference when you’d rather be snuggled up in your bed hiding under the covers watching HGTV.

When I heard about the Haven Conference, I knew I had to go. Some of my favorite bloggers and design/DIY experts were going to be there, and I knew it was going to be a great opportunity to learn much more about the blogging world.

Still, the thought of rooms packed full of people makes me want to run away screaming, so I knew I had to buckle down and pull up the bootstraps if I was going to have a good time.

Here are some tips if you’ve ever felt the same way about heading to a conference:

Tip #1: Bring A Friend & Pretend You Just Met Her

You know my mom is an incurable DIYer as well. (Just check out some of her projects I featured here.) So, she was all for going to this Haven Conference with me. This worked well when we walked into the first cocktail party and there were a gazillion women talking and laughing. I grabbed her and said, “Mom! Face me and talk to me. Like we’re friends or something.” This worked out well until I, in an attempt to talk with my hands excitedly, flailed a piece of a pretzel into the crowd. Then I realized we needed to get more friends.
Luckily, we did, which brings me to…
Tip #2: If You See Someone You Recognize, Just Say Hi

(Skye, Kelly, Me, Kirby, and fellow island maiden Karah)

I was really excited when I saw Kelly, who guest wrote a hilarious post about saving some moolah with black beans for me a while back. I knew she was sweet and kind. (And let’s face it, with that gorgeous curly hair, I was pretty sure it was her.) Luckily, she took me under her wing and introduced me to many more wonderful bloggers.

Tip #3: Try Not To Get Overwhelmed

All being introverted really means is that when it’s time to recharge, we need to be alone. Extroverts, on the other hand, get their energy from others. So, at the end of a long, jam packed conference, realize it’s okay to sit back and chill a little.

Take the time to go through your business cards, tweet people, and update your blog.

Overall, I had a really wonderful time at Haven. I knew I was one of the youngest bloggers there, and it felt like an accomplishment in itself to take a step in the right direction to learn more about the blogging world. Some of the sessions seemed over my head, but I stuck with it and tried hard to understand what they were saying. I reminded myself that there were many people like me – small bloggers who just enjoy writing – as opposed to feeling like I was the most inexperienced person in the room.
I think it’s important to stretch yourself with experiences like this, and I walked away with several nuggets of information that I’m already utilizing over here on Budget Blonde.
Has anyone else had to beat the introvert blues at a conference? How you did you get past it? Did you end up having a blast in the end?
I am linking up to Southern Hospitality

Lessons Learned: Grenada 1 Year In

Six days into my move to Grenada, I wrote how it changed me. {Update to new readers, I left the shiny land of the U.S.A. to move to the beautiful yet still developing Caribbean country of Grenada last year.}

That first impression of peace and beauty waned a little but came then full circle.
It’s not easy to dive into a new culture. First, I thought moving to Grenada was the greatest thing that ever happened to me – an adventure that everyone wishes they could have. I tried to experience the island to its fullest, going on different excursions, enjoying the beach, and striving to meet new people.
A few months in though, I got a got a little down. A true introvert, I struggled with making friends. I can be friendly and chat with people and have good manners and all that jazz. But, when it comes to trusting people or being around people for long periods of time, I have a very hard time. I began to feel hurt and left out by others. Many people rushed to my assistance when I first moved to the island to show me the ropes. Then, when it really mattered, they faded away.
Then, things got way better because I got a job.
And, I truly love my job.
And more importantly, I began to realize that there were many people like me who just simply like to hang out or watch a movie or try out every pina colada in Grenada just to make sure we know which restaurant has the best one.
So, I wouldn’t say Grenada changed me. I would say it taught me.
Here are the three main things:
1. You Can Only Be Yourself.
When put in new situations – a new job, moving to a new city, meeting your new boyfriend’s parents, going to a job interview – you can only be you. Life is much easier that way. So in my case, I tend to be ultra polite but only let a few people in close. I have to eat pretty much all day or else I turn into a huge grump. I’m pretty sarcastic and try hard to realize when people don’t pick up on it. I get really excited and bubbly when talking to others about something I love, but do my absolute best work sitting by myself with no one around me. I’m full of paradoxes and have bad days. But, I also love deeply and am sensitive to others. Any time I have ever tried to be something other than what I have listed above, things haven’t worked out.
2. You Can Go Without Buying “Things”

It seems that now that I am back in the U.S. for the summer, every ad, every store, every commercial, and every radio station is trying to sell me something – sell me a lifestyle. They want me to have certain items which indicate I’m somehow accomplished. Every time I get annoyed with an ad, I wish I was living back in Grenada which is so freeing being away from these things. With no T.V. and only a smattering of billboards in Grenada, I felt no pressure to buy anything. In fact, my husband and I went from November – May without buying one article of clothing.
3. Your Happiness Is Up To You.

We all make decisions every day that determine our happiness. I realize that not everyone in the world is going to like me, nor am I going to like everyone in the world. So, I just strive to be at peace with myself and understand myself better every day. Grenada has taught me what makes me tick. I like to sit and write. I like to teach. I like to interact with a few close people. I like to blog and tweet and pin things. When my home is organized, I’m happy. When I snuggle with my dog in my bed with her spoiled puppy face on my pillow, I’m happy. When I get a big hug unprompted by the hubs, I feel so special and safe. Essentially, I’m easy to please, and it’s the little things that make me truly at peace. When I’m true to myself, when I don’t let myself worship money or material possessions, I feel free.
It could be a bit of maturity, it could be turning 25, or it could be successfully managing my little two person + pup family daily and by myself. Either way, I feel more content than I ever have before. There have been trials, there have been arguments, and there have been disappointments, but for once I feel like I am just along for the ride and not micro-managing my life. I’m seeing where this adventure takes me. And by me, I mean the real me – the one I’m learning about every day.
What are some of the most important lessons you’ve learned?