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Instead of the Dishes » Arkansas, Not the Dishes, Travel, Write & Blog » #AWBU 2012: Whatever

#AWBU 2012: Whatever

welcome to #AWBUThis past weekend I ran off into the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas to visit the new home of my dear bloggy friend, The Park Wife. Turns out about 70 other bloggers came to visit her too.  It was the second annual Arkansas Women Bloggers Unplugged (AWBU) conference, and oh my goodness, it was a big deal. If you want to see pretty pictures and more recaps, go here.

Since I am no longer part of the Arkansas Women Bloggers leadership team, I totally skipped out on the ridiculously huge amount of planning, prep, and loss of sleep involved with planning a full-on conference for 70+ women (and a few good men). Nope, that was all 100% Stephanie, Beth, and Julie. And let’s not forget Lyndi, who planned and executed AWBU’s Foodie Friday.lyndi nwa foodie foodie friday

But, when AWBU 2012 was announced, I registered for the conference and shot the ARWB gals an email: “I’m coming to the conference. Plan to put me to work when I get there.” Stephanie emailed me back: “You have to stay at my house then, so I can boss you around 24-7”. Ok, maybe that’s not exactly what she said, or did, but that’s what she was thinking…

So, I pilgrimaged my way down to Mountain View, Arkansas and through the adorable little town to the Ozark Folk Center state park. There was tons of talk of cowboy boots and cute summer dresses prior to the conference, but I wore my blue jeans and my Keen sandals. I was ready for a weekend of behind the scenes action.

And, so, just like I recently wrote about in my approach to PTA, I became the AWBU “Whatever”. Whatever needed done, I did it. I took direction from whoever would give it to me (except Jasmine). I enjoy being the Whatever. It not only gives me an inside track to what is going on, it positions me to do what I love best – helping others. It also allows me to be the missing link. A leaison. Not quite an attendee, but not quite a coordinator. Just the Whatever. Here are my unique experiences as the Whatever at AWBU 2012:

  • Swag Management – I stuffed swag bags on a deadline while surrounded by mountains of Ziplock.  I got to see what was in the swag bags before everyone else. Nahneenahnee. I also tricked Jody Dilday into thinking she was going to help me do the third round of stuffing, and then I left her to do it all herself. I spent a lot of time in the “war room”, which fellow type-a gal Beth and I reorganized about 42 times. I also delivered swag twice to each blogger’s cabin. Now I know which bloggers are the messiest.  I drank Angie‘s vodka, ate Christie‘s snacks, and took a shower in Lela‘s bathroom. I also shook up the Cave City watermelon that Kat had stashed in her room.
  • Guess that Blogger – I am blessed to know, in some way, shape, or form, a LOT of bloggers in Arkansas. At registration, my knowledge was tested as I attempted to check my peers in without letting on that I couldn’t remember their last name, or could ONLY remember their last name, or really just wanted to call them by their blog title. “Hello, Moody Mom.  Welcome to the conference.” The test continued the next day while writing tips on a whiteboard from the “45 tips in 45 minutes” session, when I had to write the name of the blogger in the audience giving the tip. Actually, it was fun, and I liked doing both of these tasks.
  • Making Folks Happy – Guess who was most pleased about the ARWB t-shirts at registration? That would be Lisa from Frenetic Fitness. You know, since she forgot to bring clothes and all.  And while I had nothing to do with the coordination of it, I got to escort Thom from the back door and stand with him while we listened to Gina tell THE story. The anticipation for what would happen next was so exciting.
  • photo credit: Oh By Golly (click the pic to go to her site)

    Lost and Found – Having been in charge of campus-wide lost and found back when I was in college, I try to stay on top of misplaced items at events like this. Late Saturday night after everyone had left from the big boot party, we found a nice DSLR camera on the food table. We figured out whose it was by timidly looking at the images on it. Ok, maybe not so timid. Everyone squealed in horror when I turned the camera on and started reviewing pictures. Luckily, Jacklyn from Ohbygollyhad not even  missed her camera yet. AND, as a value added service, the ARWB gals and I added a few extra pictures so she wouldn’t forget us.

  • fawn and natalie, monetizationTalking Head – Although my tired body was making my brain not work so well, and despite the fact that I am a newly converted introvert, as the Whatever, I tried to do my best to chat everyone up. I especially aim for the folks who look like they need someone to talk to. However, this weekend, I didn’t see much of that. It was great to see everyone meshing so well. I also got to run my mouth off on stage, and that is always fun. I co-presented with the beautiful and talented Natalie Ghidotti on the topic of monetizing your blog. I learned a ton from her in the process of putting our presentation together – added bonus!
  • Watching Transformations – The absolute coolest thing about being a step removed is getting to stand back and watch people transform. In some folks I saw a big change from last year to this year, like Grippi Girl, who seemed really shy and reserved last year and super outgoing and bubbly this year. She told me that she gets away one weekend a year, and it’s been for AWBU the past two years.  That makes my heart warm. And there was Jackie, who voiced her concern of coming out to join us in a pre-event blog post. When I saw her at the beginning of the first day, I could see that apprehension in her face. By Sunday morning, she was sending out tweets saying “I Get it!!” and reporting that her heart broke open in a blog post titled “I Found My Tribe at #AWBU” That’s what I’m talkin’ about. That’s what it’s for.

A wordsmith, a techie, and a knitter walk into a bar. The bartender says, “Hey! Will you PUH-lease stop talking about blogging!?” Nope.

photo credit: evolved mommy
Pictured are Angie, Sarah, and Sarah 

Even though I don’t live in Arkansas any more, when AWBU 2013 rolls around, I’ll be there, with my Whatever shoes on.  I cannot wait.


Filed under: Arkansas, Not the Dishes, Travel, Write & Blog · Tags: , , , , , , ,

27 Responses to "#AWBU 2012: Whatever"

  1. Christie says:

    I know you’re a liar because I had absolutely ZERO food with me. Which made the wallet-forgetting even more horrific.

    And wouldn’t the term be “Whatever-er?” I’m just saying.

  2. Beth says:

    Despite the fact that my arse is prominently displayed on your blog (I know, I earned it), I adore this post.

    I adore you silly, and I’m pretty fond of you somber as well. I love the “Whatever” (capitalized, if you please) concept, and I am 100% certain that AWBU 2012 would not have happened without you.

    Here’s to whatever, new fashion trends, reorganization, Agent X and the evolution of your blog and ventures. I can’t get enough of any of it, and I’m better for knowing you. 🙂


  3. Jacqueline says:

    Ooooo, I like Whatever as a title. That is exactly how I approach life, but never thought of telling someone that I’d just do, well, whatever. I also love YOUR transformation from introvert to expert helper and tech guru. It is noticed and appreciated. I hope, now that you are only TWO hours from me that we see one another more than once a year… but if that is the case, I’m totally going to do, well, whatever with you!

  4. Jody says:

    I love this post! Love the humor, the observations, the “Whatever” theme running throughout, and especially the photo and joke at the bottom. That little quip illustrates how we are all the same kind of different.

  5. The conference, nor AWB, would be what it is and has become without you. As the grammar police, WordPress go-to, event planner and executed, the Whatever…..oh, so many more things. But, most of all, my friend. We are proof that you can read someones blog and wonderful friendships and bonds are made in the blobby world. As I say to you often, I am forever in debt to you. I keep racking up the reasons why. Seriously, I am thankful to call you friend. And, I have no idea who those girls are in that picture on the lost camera. They must have shown up after we left.

  6. Fawn says:

    Oh, that’s right. It wasn’t YOUR snacks that I ate. And you only -thought- you forgot your wallet.

  7. Fawn says:

    I love you too, sister. Come up and see me soon?

  8. Fawn says:

    I hope that our paths cross often Jackie! I think they will. We’ll do WHATEVER we have to to make it happen.

  9. Fawn says:

    Thanks Jody. I’m glad to know someone appreciates my weird humor. Thank you for doing what you do (and I’m not talking about stuffing swag bags).

  10. Fawn says:

    And all those sentiments can be equally returned. I thank the bloggy universe that shoved us together. Life would not be the same, and I have learned so much from you. However, I think your modesty is a little much, both when it comes to taking credit for ARWB and in regard to said picture. I can’t wait to bring my family back to see your park. Til then, sleep tight, Dusty girl.

  11. Fawn – what a great way to walk into a situation! One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever gotten is to go in asking “how can I help?” Your help was evident all over the place; thank you for all you did, it really was a wonderful weekend.

  12. Oh, Fawn, I love it! Thanks for sharing your humor, insight and help this weekend. We’re all the better for it. Perhaps we’ll actually get to talk next year 😉

  13. Fawn says:

    Thanks Sarabeth. I am glad that you enjoyed the weekend – I loved seeing your photos on flickr and am looking forward to getting over to your blog for your recap.

  14. Fawn says:

    Thank you Sarah. And yes, let’s make sure we converse IRL next year!

  15. Shell says:

    LOVE IT! Thank you gals for all you did. So MUCH FUN!

  16. Lisa says:

    Thanks for joining my joy at having a clean tshirt as an option, since I forgot my clothes and all. And for telling me the BEST and I do mean the BEST “How I Met My Spouse” story. Ever. Of All time and eternity. You are unbeatable.

  17. Joyce Grippi says:

    What a great post. Thanks for the shout out. I still like to sit in my corner, but how can you with all these great women around!

  18. Fawn says:

    I didn’t do much, Shell, but I’m so glad that you were there this year!

  19. Fawn says:

    LOL. Lisa, happy to entertain. Someday I’ll have to blog about that…

  20. Fawn says:

    Thanks Joyce. So glad to get to share space with you again this year! Hope to see you next year if not before.

  21. Sorry I didn’t get to visit with you at the conference. It was amazing and sounds like you had a great time too!

  22. Fawn says:

    No worries, Brittany. It was a busy weekend! Glad you came out for AWBU – hope we can connect next year.

  23. […] 5th, 2012 | Add a Comment I mentioned in my AWBU conference recap that I had the opportunity to present a session with the PR maven Natalie Ghidotti about the […]

  24. Angie says:

    I love it! You are an excellent Whatever and quite a clever and funny woman, judging from the closing joke! 🙂 I’m SO glad to know you were snitching out of my vodka bottle. I was afraid I had drained that half a bottle by myself!

    I’m just so darn glad to have gotten and will continue to get to know you. What a treasure you are!

  25. Fawn says:

    Thanks Angie, for the compliments and the Vodka. I hope for many opportunities to talk commas and semicolons with you in our future. It was fabulous “hanging” with you on g+ today!

  26. […] awesome AWB team who put on the conference. Beth Stephans, Stephanie Buckley and Julie Kyle, plus Fawn Rechkemmer and Lyndi […]

  27. […] an Arkansas-based company that is most well known for the ham and bacon. They were a sponsor at the Arkansas Women Bloggers Unplugged conference that I attended this summer, where I was surprised to see that they make hot dogs too!  When I got […]

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