Thursday, September 29, 2011

bloggers who brunch

blogger brunch
Me, Tessica, Sarah, Sarah, Becky, Lisa, Karin. (Not pictured: Ashley and Lauren.)  Photo by Ashley.

One of my goals for the year was to meet new people - either through my shop or blogging. I wasn't really sure how I was going to accomplish this, since I couldn't exactly post a friend request to the whole internet (I'm sure that would attract some creepers anyway...not to mention make me look like a creeper!).

But honestly, as happy as I am to be pursuing my dream career - running my own shop, selling my art, working for myself, and blogging about my life - it can get a little isolating without having co-workers to talk to. I'm an introvert at heart, so three days of the work week, I'm quite content being by myself (along with the company of my two loyal studio sidekicks). But the other two days, I often wish I had someone to eat lunch with or collaborate on a project with or grab a beer with during an after-work happy hour. I'm new to this self-employment thing and my shop is still in its infancy, so I figured that over time I'd gradually make connections.

Over the past few months, I've been excited to discover a few local bloggers - it's always a fun surprise to realize that you have something in common with someone who lives nearby. (And honestly, I had thought all the bloggers were in California or Utah - I had no idea there were so many great blogs in the DC/VA/MD area.) I was particularly excited to meet Sarah with an H: we both grew up in Northern Virginia, we both have coonhounds (who love to eat paper, though hers eats actual books while Banjo just fancies a delicious used napkin or kleenex), we both live with engineers, and we happen to live in adjacent towns. Despite my best intentions, my schedule got crazy this month and I never got to meet up with Sarah, so...

I couldn't believe my luck when Ashley of That Is All organized a brunch for bloggers in Old Town Alexandria - this was a chance to meet not one, but a whole bunch of local bloggers. As the other girls have also admitted, I too was super excited and super nervous to meet everyone. (Becky compared it to a first date, which is so accurate - though seeing that I've never been a contestant on The Bachelorette, I've never had a first date with eight people at once!) I was actually worried that I might not even recognize the other girls, despite the fact that I had read all their blogs, seen their pictures, and even watched a few video blogs.
blogger brunch
Ashley, Sarah, Sarah, and Becky

My worries evaporated as soon as I stepped into Le Pain Quotidien and introduced myself to the other girls - of course, I recognized them - they looked exactly like they did on their blogs! (Ironically, I was the one who had just changed my look and showed up with short straight hair instead of my long messy curls.) Not only that, I felt like I already knew these girls - and before long we were chatting it up like old friends.

In fact, a girl in the cafe approached us noticing how much fun we were having and said "Who are you guys? I heard you introducing yourselves and realized that you didn't even know each other!"
french toast at le pain quotidien
These girls were such funny, smart, and creative people and it was such a treat to get to meet them in real life. When I got home and Larry asked me about it - he wanted to know who I liked (or didn't like!), and I said I could honestly see myself being friends with any of these girls. How cool to walk into a room full of strangers and walk out with eight potential new friends?
blogger brunch
Ashley and Karin.

It was really refreshing to meet such a diverse group, too - people with different careers, some single, some married with kids - and also, to realize how much we all had in common. Finally, I've found a group of people who also lug big heavy cameras wherever they go and photograph their food! There were DSLRs everywhere:
blogger brunch
Sarah, Becky, and Karin.

blogger brunch
The fashionable Lisa...with Gus the Gnome.

Big thank you to the lovely and super-stylish Ashley for organizing such a fun outing. (Ashley is the queen of make-up and I think I need her to teach me how to do mine!) I've said it a million times, but I really can't wait to meet up with these girls again. It was such a tease to only be able to chat with them for a few hours, so I look forward to getting to know some of them better, and of course to meeting some of the other local bloggers who couldn't make it this time around.

We've already tossed around a few ideas for the next one: perhaps a winery visit or an evening at the theater or going somewhere to practice our photography skills together...


Sarah Rosemary said...

It was so nice to meet you - I had the best time! Let me know how your October is looking, maybe we could practice our photography skills at Meadowlark (I have a season pass, so you can be my guest!) And I love your idea of meeting up to talk about potential collaborations/support each other on our projects. I have a couple things I would love to pick your brain about :) Oh, and Belle says she would happily eat napkins, too!

Funnelcloud Rachel said...

Yes, yes, we will plan something for this month! A photo shoot at Meadowlark sounds great!

Michael - Innkeeper said...

this is so fun!

as odd as this sounds, as i deal with people everyday, i totally identify with the first two paragraphs of this post. doing your own thing can often be very isolating an lonely. i to am a closet introvert even though people would place me in the extrovert category.

i just contacted another local blogger (unfortunately we are far and few between in these part) to see if there was an interest in a blogger meet up. she said yes!

thanks for sharing this story!

Lisa (hello, suburbia) said...

It was lovely meeting you! I agree, our meetup definitely didn't feel long enough! I can't wait to get together again and have a photo adventure! p.s. haha @ my funny face :)

Funnelcloud Rachel said...

Michael - I can totally see how it could get lonely - interacting with customers/guests just isn't the same as developing a friendship with a colleague.

Good luck with your blogger meet-up...I'm sure you'll have a great time!

Krysten @ Why Girls Are Weird said...

I've been jumping to all of your blogs after reading about your get together on Ashley's blog. Looks like a really fun time!

Karen Travels said...

Soooo jealous! I want to play!! I have to say, the only really good friends I made in Alaska was through blogging! I still talk to them these days!! We joked that we stalked each other before meeting, but oh well, it worked out!!

Funnelcloud Rachel said...

Karen - wish you were up here in DC so you could meet up, too! Though meeting Alaskan bloggers sounds awesome!

Karin said...

Great photos! I definitely enjoyed meeting you and chatting with you...albeit a little brief. Looking forward to the next meet-up! :)

Becky said...

Great pictures! I love how we all got similar shots but of course from totally different angles - it puts such a perspective on the day!

I had so much fun meeting you - I can't wait 'till the next meetup either!