Back From Blissdom

How was your weekend?

I’m back from a jam-packed weekend at the Blissdom Blog Conference in Nashville where I was lucky enough to room with one of my blogging heroes, Jean Van’t Hul of The Artful Parent. In case you were wondering if Jean is as awesome in real life as she is on her blog, the short answer is YES. Rather than share those embarrassing photos I threatened to post, this one captures us quite gracefully, I think.

jean van't hul and rachelle doorley

I learned a lot from another blogging hero, Tsh Oxenreider of SimpleMom.net, who talked about writing. Did you know it’s a no-no to use emoticons and exclamation points in a blog post? I rarely use them in my posts as it is, but if you don’t mind, I need to get them out of my system!! 🙂

Thanks. Okay, moving on…

Tsh also talked about working hard, and just how hard she has to work to accomplish her goals. She actually said, “you must work crazy hard.” But she also said you have to work “smart hard.”

Yes. I needed that. I’m the kind of person who will keep going and going until there’s nothing left in me. So I’m searching for ways to find my voice, get the work done, and then move on to bed, a yoga class, or away from my computer.

tsh oxenreider blissdom 2012

If you’re nerding out on this stuff, I also learned a lot about blog law from Sarah Hawkins and how to authentically brand yourself from Tami Heim. Both of these women are worth following!

And finally, Blissdom was like one great big 2+ day cocktail party with lots of hand shaking, blog recognition, and card exchanging. Exhausting! Oh, sh*t, there’s another exclamation point. Last one, I swear. While all of us shared blogging in common, the topics of our blogs were so diverse (homeschooling, fitness, homesteading, baby wearing, DIY decor, frugal living, fashion).

One of my favorite cards came from Allorahandmade. She attached a handmade rosette bobby pin to each card. Right on. And a lesson to the rest of us in branding and making ourselves memorable.

blissdom 2012 business cards

I’m energized by all the new ideas, but mostly I’m thinking about restructuring my work life to make more room for relationships and my own spiritual well-being. I’m tossing the term life balance out the window, and replacing it with a new model for finding peace. Peace is attainable, and it’s more realistic.

I can’t expect to do it all, but I can forgive myself if things don’t happen the way I want. We may not always eat a home-cooked meal. My house might not be as clean as I want. I’m just me, and there are only so many hours in the day.

Wishing you a peaceful day!

rats, there’s one more.

What words do you live by? Are you searching for life balance or making peace with where you’re at?


  1. alllll awesome takeaways, rachelle! thanks for sharing! (i’m a mad !!!!!er and 🙂 er — but oh well. it’s part of my voice and my peace. hee hee.) LOVE the pic of you and jean — total blogging superheroes, you are! (and your hair looks very cute down like that, by the way.) welcome home – can’t wait to meet up soon for coffee… or cocktails. emoticon alert… here it is 😉

    • I know, Jen, I love those (!!!!!) too. It’s so much easier to have a ponytail in real life with kids, and it was nice to see the other side of myself for a few days. Looking forward to that cocktail/cuppa coffee. 🙂 🙂

  2. So fun to read Rachelle!  (Are exclamation points OK in comments?)  Wish I could have been there.  What a power couple — you and Jean!  I’m hoping they put out the Blissdom at Home package again so I can at least catch a few of the classes.  Thanks for sharing what you learned.  Finding balance, peace, sanity, clarity, whatever is always a challenge!  

    • I think they are, Amanda. I feel like comments and tweeting are their own thing. I hope they share that too. Is there usually a fee for the Blissdom at Hom package?

  3. Glad you enjoyed the conference. If you work out how to find peace/life balance…let us know.

  4. Glad you enjoyed the conference. If you work out how to find peace/life balance…let us know.

    • I have a feeling I’ll never fully unpack this one, Cate, but I’ll keep you posted on my journey!

  5. Sounds like an inspiring event! (I love exclamation points too).  Finding peace is exactly what I’m trying to do as well. I’ve been frantically running my children’s art studio and shop, blogging, and chasing after my 3.5 yr old, all while pregnant with a new little one. It hit me yesterday that my due date is only 1 week away and I want to bring this little girl into a calm, peaceful home- with a grounded mama. I’m thinking that meditating outside for even 5 minutes a day might help. Would love some ideas if you have any 🙂

    • Exclamation points are great, I agree!! I always got a burst of energy at the end of my pregnancies too, Megan, and I felt the same way as you. I couldn’t help myself from running around even when I knew that I needed to rest. I just came back from your beautiful blog — we’re practically neighbors! I love what you’re doing in your studio. It can be especially hard to do less and find peace when we’re responsible for other people’s happiness like you are. Meditation was actually recommended in one of the sessions I went to. I just read this metaphor about being a mom — we’re like a boat that keeps the family afloat, and if there’s a hole in the boat it will start to sink. So it’s important to do things for yourself that will patch those holes or keep them from developing in the first place. If you make time for YOU and make sure that you’re happy, your family will be happy too. I’m not sure if that will help, but know that I’m rooting for you (and trying to make time to patch my own holes). Congratulations on the new baby. Look forward to following you into the next step of your journey. xo

      • Thanks for the sweet response. I’ll be working on patching my holes for a while, I’m sure!

  6. After reading this I’m in HUGE trouble….you know me I’ve even been reprimanded by other bloggers/readers that I use too many exclamation points! I’m afraid That I just cannot take them away! Maybe a little.  Glad you had a great time.  Just stated back at a yoga class the past two weeks and it has made a big difference in my life.  Love the rosette bobby pin and necklaces…gorgeous and brilliant! You are so fortunate to have this experience. 

    • You are in HUGE trouble, Melissa 🙂 HUGE!!! I like Bernice’s comment about how emoticons and exclamation points are for people who usually talk with their hands. That totally describes me. How about you? Jean is also taking a yoga class, and I think it’s just the thing for a busy blogging mom. Thanks for the extra push!!!!!

  7. So glad to run into you at Blissdom, even if only briefly! Great summary of Blissdom, love the business card ring… BTW, I like emoticons and exclamation points too. I think they are for the people who would normally be talking with their hands!!! 🙂

    • I know, Bernice. I feel like almost all of my chats with other bloggers were way too short. And you’re so right about people who talk with their hands — that is so me!!!

    • wonderful observation! yes, hand talkers! me, in a nutshell… !!!! 😉 😉 :/ all day long !!! 

  8. Can I come over here then and use my !! here 😉 Blissdom is amazing. Glad to hear the excitement in your writing.

    • Yes, @twitter-8210092:disqus , use your !!!! here anytime. I think I’ll use them liberally in the comments at the very least. 

  9. I soooo enjoyed meeting you and Jean!  I wish I would have met you earlier.  I can tell you 2 had a blast together.  Both of you are beautiful women and am honored to have met you.  And of course I love what both of you blog about. ;)  I don’t know about Tsh’s belief about NOT using emoticons or explanation marks on posts.  Not sure I will be following that rule…I’m such a rebel…ha!  Not usually!  Thank you for letting me crash your photo at The Lorax party!  I plan to post that on my blog in the future. {Let me know if that is a problem}  It’s funny because last year this same thing happened to me.  I met bloggers at BlissDom that have quite a following, but I don’t know this until I go home and look at their blog.  You are one of these bloggers my dear!  So happy for your success because you are truly genuine and as sweet as can be!

    • I enjoyed meeting you too, Shannon! I could tell you were a rebel when we met — and I won’t turn you in for using emoticons, I promise. I would LOVE to see your photos. To save room in my suitcase I only had my phone camera and hardly have any shots. And YOU are sweet and wonderful too. Blissdom really was a dream.

  10. Life Balance? Impossible I believe. At some point while your arms are out, teatering back and forth trying your hardest not to be distracted, not to be fooled, not to lose sight of your goal, a squirrell comes racing down the same log your trying to balance on and knocks you off. Day after day and then i feel like a failure because there is always someone smarter, faster, more dilligent, strikingly creative, physically stronger…….So then i think of your second Idea. Peace with where I’m at. This one really hurts me lately because I am no where near happy with where i am at. Not because life isn’t all rainbows, because really it is, but the ache of not reaching the utopia goals i have set (and watching those around me attain them) burns me up. And so the only thing I can lean on in this torrant whirl wind of life is humor. If i can find laughter somewhere in my day, I feel accomplished, relieved, alive!!!!!!!

    • I totally hear you, Danielle! And humor gets me through miles of trouble as well. I love how a simple word or idea (balance, peace, humor, etc.) can reframe a particularly dark day and make it better. As for “peace” I could rephrase it as “acceptance,” although I like the word peace better. We are who we are in this moment. That’s it. The pile of dishes is as big as it is, our kids are as loud/quiet/playful/annoying/ (take your pick) as they are, the bills are as big as they are, and our time is as limited as it is. And with that in mind, I can only do as much as I can do, and then need to accept my situation rather than expect myself to do more. xo

  11. I’m so bummed that I just found your blog a week after Blissdom!  I would’ve loved to introduce myself to you.  I found your blog through Apartment Therapy and your topics go hand-in-hand with a new blog my husband and I started (The Risky Kids).  Looking forward to reading more, and hopefully we can connect next year at Blissdom.

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