Blissdom And Nashville For Newbies

Are you headed to Blissdom in two weeks?

I’m honored to be part of a group of bloggers enlisted to be “tribe leaders” at this year’s conference to help new attendees feel welcome. This is the fourth year I’ve attended Blissdom, founded by my super smart social media guru friend Alli, and I adore it because it is MY city’s blog conference.

I’m the go to girl for review bloggers or anyone with questions about Blissdom, Nashville, Opryland, or blogging and social media. I’m a born and raised Middle Tennessee girl (I know I’m 41) and I’ve lived in Nashville since 1993. I launched my review blog, Savvy Housewife, in 2008 and I’ve been blogging here at Blonde Mom Blog since 2005.

Here are a few Blissdom Basics if you’re attending this year’s conference (and I hope you are!)

What do I wear? Gaylord Opryland is a sprawling hotel so bear in mind that there is no “I think I’ll just run back to my room if I forget something.” Bring a big purse or laptop bag for the day. I will be carrying my trusty BATP (big ass turquoise purse.) My friend Jo Lynne from Musings OfΒ  A Housewife has a fabulous Blissdom fashion post. I will more than likely wear jeans during the day and comfy black boots. Oh and a sweater or cute top. I will not be topless. This is not Vegas or New Orleans. The opening night party Wednesday is the occasion to put on your rockin’ LBD (Edited…I originally had LBB which I’m not sure about…wink)Β if you’re so inclined. And if you’re not? That’s cool, too. Last year my dressed up look was black slacks with heels and a fun top. Do remember that people will be taking pictures like crazy and more than likely your lovely face and outfit will be posted on Flickr, Facebook, and Twitter so now is a good time to buy a few fun, trendy tops to go with your jeans or a cute sweater dress and leggings. Bring a comfy cardigan and be prepared to layer up just in case you get chilly. I never know if I’ll be sweating or freezing in a conference room!

What is Opryland like? Opryland is a gorgeous property and has recently undergone a major renovation following the devastating floods in Nashville last May. The Cascades area and the indoor gardens are breathtaking. You will get lost at least once, though, but you’ll be able to spot Blissdom attendees and hotel employees everywhere so do not hesitate to ask someone for help. I’m from Nashville and I still get turned around inside Opryland!

Where can I shop or find something to eat off site? Unfortunately Opry Mills (except for Bass Pro Shop) is closed indefinitely due to the flooding last year so if you’re looking to get your shop girl on you’ll need to venture to trendy upscale Hill Center in Green Hills or nearby Green Hills Mall or to the traditional “has everything you could ask for” mall, Cool Springs Galleria. If you want to see downtown, expect a good 15 minute drive and factor in plenty of time to find a parking spot near 2nd Avenue. Check out the Nashville Scene’s calendar of events for what’s happening. I like Big River just off 2nd Avenue for a moderately priced restaurant with something for everyone and Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Cafe is now open downtown. The Gulch downtown is the hip place for a more upscale dinner but you may want to make reservations. Vanderbilt’s Hillsboro Village area is great for a college/funky vibe and features Pancake Pantry for a Nashville breakfast tradition although I like nearby Fido or Noshville. And don’t forget Sweet CeCe’s for frozen yogurt. If you hit the Belle Meade Sweet CeCe’s don’t forget to stop by Blush boutique.Β For a hip coffee shop vibe try Bongo Java or Frothy Monkey (where Taylor Swift and Jake Gyllenhaal were spotted last year). I haven’t yet been to Crema but I hear great things about it. Personally I recommend Loveless Cafe for a true Southern breakfast, but it’s about a 30-minute drive from Opryland.

What if I forget people’s names and act like a dork? Do not fret! I will more than likely meet you and then 5 minutes later your name will be sucked into the great vortex known as my addled brain. But I am very good with faces.

What do I bring? Business cards with all your pertinent blog information, Twitter handles, etc. Comfortable, cute shoes. Extra batteries, chargers, etc. for all your social media nerd girl gear. A warm coat if you venture out off site (yes this is the South, but it’s been snowing here this week.)

Will I run into Faith and Tim, Reba and Narvel, or Nicole and Keith? It’s doubtful although I hear that Nicole and Keith are out and about quite a bit and I once sold socks to Reba years and years ago at Green Hills Mall. I did get my picture made with Harry Connick Jr. last year at Blissdom which was definitely a “pinch me” moment!

I’m bringing my family with me to Nashville. What are some family friendly activities for them to check out while I’m learning about world social media domination? Well aren’t you lucky! I just wrote about frugal family activities in Nashville at Traveling Mom, including the fun make pancakes at your own table kid favorite, Pfunky Griddle.

Where do I go for information?

If you have any questions about Blissdom or Nashville for me, please let me know. I’ll be rooming with fabulous Nashville-based frugalista Kelly from Faithful Provisions. You can also drop me an e-mail at blondemomblog @ (do me a favor and put Blissdom Tribe Question in the subject if you don’t mind.) Be sure to follow me on Twitter @blondemomblog

I hope to see you in two weeks!


  1. Blonde Mom says:

    See you soon Jennifer!

    Also, I have informally reserved us a spot in the TN Ballroom from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Saturday for the review tribe. That’s going to be a general meeting area for any tribes who want to get together. I thought we could all just meet up for a post-conference discussion, trade cards, etc.

  2. Mary Bernard says:

    Great info for attendees, Jamie.

    I’ve opted to stay home this year (part of my priority grid decision-making process in 2011). Y’all have fun. I’ll be eager to hear your reviews and read the Twitter stream.

    I’ll miss gabbing with my friends, that’s for sure. πŸ˜‰

  3. rachel says:

    AWESOME post, J!!!

    Can’t wait to see you again! I wore flip flops a lot last year with my pants and even skirts — I know πŸ˜‰

    I would get warm while trekking the hotel and then a bit chilled in some of the rooms…

    Can. not. WAIT

  4. Tamara says:

    Thanks so much for listing Blog Conference Newbie Guide as a resource site for Blissdom-ers! And I agree – Nashville is awesome. πŸ˜‰

  5. Alethea @ I'm Domestic...not DEAD! says:

    Thank you for these tips! This is my first Blissdom, so I’m trying to be as prepared as possible.

    Incidentally, I’m from Nashville, too, and L-O-V-E the “I’m not bashful, I’m from Nashville” t-shirt! Can you tell me where you saw it?

  6. Jamie says:

    The fun I’m Not Bashful t-shirt was at the Loveless Hams & Jams store but I took the picture two years ago so I’m not sure if they still have it. I loved it!

    Also, I helped found the Nashville Women Who Blog Facebook page and we would love it if any and all of the Nashville newbie (and long-time) bloggers would join us. Just do a search for Nashville Women Who Blog on Facebook and request to join. I believe we have close to 80 members now and we plan fun get togethers (very casual) throughout the year.

  7. Liz says:

    Jamie! Wow – I saw your post mentioned on Twitter and clicked on the link, saw your pic and said, “Hey! I know her!” My 5yo Alex used to go to daycare with your Miss A. We even had my hubby’s laptop fixed at Mouse Calls once. Small world! I will be at Blissdom but only for the Wednesday workshops. Hope to see you there, and thanks for the tips for newbies. Gonna go check our your FB page for bloggers now. Take care!

  8. Craig says:


    I’ll be a blissdom newbie – a blog conference newbie – I’m a newbie blogger – and I’m afraid I’ll stick out like a sore thumb – – but I asked Ali if I could come and she said yes and I need to LEARN and be around people whose words inspire me – so here I am sheepishly raising my hand saying – newbie here – I’ll take any and all advice please and thank you.

  9. oh amanda says:

    Great info! Seriously, almost wish I was bringing the fam so they could explore the Opryland and Nashville more!

    Actually, after Blissdom 09 I went to the mall in Nashville and saw Faith Hill at Juicy Coture in the mall. OMG. So, you never know…


  10. tiffany says:

    Not sure how I missed it, but I just now realized that there was a review tribe! Sign me up! I’m also a newbie, but would especially love to connect with other people in this niche! See you at the Thursday roundtable???

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