This has been an incredibly hard week. But that's usually the case when I go to an amazing conference where the inspiration is so high it's hard to come down. It never fails. You meet hundreds of amazing women. Your brain gets filled with ideas while your heart implodes with joy from all the overwhelming support from those who get it. You come home ready to implement all that you've learned only to crash on the couch or in front of the computer (head down on keyboard). Such a tragedy. I mean, can you blame me? Look at that view!
OK. Enough about my post-conferences woes (is that even a thing?). Let me tell you about Dove's global self-esteem ambassador Jess Weiner and award-winning journalist Soledad O'Brien. Their conversation about confidence and empowerment was hands-down the most engaging keynote I've ever attended. I clung on to every word. It was like listening to your girlfriends talk, except that they were dropping major truth bombs about how women speak to each other and about themselves online. Eight out of ten women experience some form of negativity on social media, and that really needs to change. I just so happen to be one of the eight, as I dealt with (for years) with one person who relentlessly used their negative opinions of me (and my son) as ammo for their social media conversations. Even worse? All the women who joined in to demean me as though I was just fair game (my name was spelled out and all). Even though it says more about the person doing it than the intended target, it's a public crusade, it's embarrassing and it's hurtful. Social media should be used to encourage and support one another. There's enough ugly in the world. Why spread more of it? This is why I love, love, love Dove's #speakbeautiful campaign, and resonated with it the moment it was initiated. I really hope it helps to raise the bar when it comes to what (and how) women and men discuss issues online. Our words are powerful. Mom 2.0 was held at the Ritz Carlton in Laguna Niguel so let's just say it was pretty fantastic. Dinner and dancing by the beach? Yes, please! Oh, and let me add that the hotel was super accommodating to my gluten-free needs. I never felt like I was missing out on anything.
Why yes, I'll have that gluten-free panna cotta with a glass of wine. Thank you very much. I also got to meet (and re-meet) bloggers who I've admired since, like, forever. Gabrielle Blair and Karen Walrond, to name a few. I also got to meet Katherine Stone, whose presentation at BlogHer 2011 (or 12?) left me in tears. It was the first time I had ever heard anyone speak so candidly about postpartum depression. I had a very hard time with it when my son was born. I told her how much her story meant to me, and that through her (years later) I got the support and understanding I never knew I needed so much. It sounds like one big mush fest, doesn't it? Well, for the most part it was. That is, until Alfonso Ribeiro surprised us by running on to the stage to dance Apache. I laughed and screamed so hard, it was like being 14 all over again. It was the perfect ending to all those deep moments of reflection. Sometimes you just need a little Tonto, jump on it, jump on it! Latina Bloggers Connect and Ana (the boss lady) was up for several Iris Awards (Mom 2.0's digital influencer celebration) so we got to dress up and do the red carpet thing. We didn't win this time around, but all good. I came home with plenty of rewards from this experience. 'Til we meet again Mom 2.0.