I’m back! And I’ve missed you ladies like crazy! I hope that during the past three weeks, you have kept yourself busy and enjoyed the warm weather a little. Our summer is flying by too quickly, the fact that we’re already into August, makes me weepy.

During my three-week blogging break, I had a chance to relax, unWINE unwind and rest my brain, so that I can continue to add value to the blogging community. It is no easy feat to manage an engaged audience as smart as YOU, and continuously provide fresh captivating content. In order to do so, this mama needs to engage in stimulating activities, such as reading Fifty Shades Of Grey War and Peace.

So… I relaxed by the lake.

I watched my kids play happily on the beach in Maine.

I worked. A LOT actually.

I went on a few dates with my hubby.

AND THEN…. BloghHer!

What is BlogHer you might ask? Well, it is three days of magic. There is really no other way to describe BlogHer as anyting other than magical.

I quote Darryle Pollack of the Huffington Post, whom I actually met at BlogHer this weekend in New York, and her article. THIS is what makes BlogHer so unique….

Created in 2005 by three women as a gathering for women who blogged, BlogHer has multiplied in size — and importance — every year since. Now a successful website, advertising network and TV channel the annual BlogHer conference is the jewel in the crown — where bloggers, marketers and sponsors come to connect. Four smaller conferences have also blossomed from it.

Twitter , blogs and social media channels have been buzzing about BlogHer for weeks. There’s advice, lists of tips— even lists of the lists of tips.

So, why such a big deal about BlogHer?

I can’t tell you.

Seriously. There’s something for everyone, so BlogHer means different things to different people.

With several tracks on the official program, some people stick to the amazing amount of information offered in the sessions and never leave the conference site. Others never set foot in the conference itself, too busy with all the sponsored events going on outside. Since bloggers have become a powerful force, some come just to be wined and dined. The swag is legendary; people bring empty suitcases to cart it all home. Then there are the parties. One year my son stopped by my hotel room in Chicago and ran into drunk women roaming the halls; I’m sure it felt like his college dorm. So there’s that, too.

In a world where the Kardashians are the gold standard of success, for me, BlogHer represents a kernel of reality, a source of inspiration and an island of sanity where people are appreciated not for what they look like or what they have, but for who they are. Sometimes that feels like a rare thing.

And for me that’s a big deal. Maybe Martha Stewart and Katie Couric (speakers at Blogher) understand the power of that, too.” (Darryle Pollack, Huffington Post)

So, to give you a recap of my past 3 days, I blog to you in photo. I apologize the for less-than-adequate quality on most of the pictures. What can I say? I’m the last person on earth still using a Blackberry (I can’t let go of the damn keypad). Please also read the photo descriptions…

BlogHer is legendary for its parties. Who can fit all the shoes and dresses into one suitcase? It wasn't easy closing this puppy up
Power session with my buddy Adam Keats (who works in PR) discussing Women On The Fence and brand relationships
An old friend I met in the Twitter community - Ted Rubin. This guy is a gem.
Me, maternity empire pioneer Liz Lange, and bestselling author and speaker Samantha Ettus at New York Times Bestselling Author Gretchen Rubin's book launch
Jen Singer, Samantha Ettus and me
Laura Mayes (founder of Mom 2.0 Summit), me, Liz Lange, Samantha Ettus, and Jen Singer (MommaSaid.net)
Getting ready for a BlogHer photo shoot
Live from Blogher 2012
Hanging with Canadian Bloggers, Nadine Silverthorne (left) and Gossip Blogger Kelli Catana (right)
Kimberley Clayton Blaine (TheGoToMom.tv) and Ted Rubin
Anything goes at BlogHer. How ridiculously adorable are these moms?
BlogHer brings Power Women. By far, my favorite part of the weekend.
Martha Stewart snapping a photo of the audience for Twitter as she walks in...
Discussing Martha Stewart Omnimedia, and what it takes to run an empire
Thanks to a family friend, I got to meet one of my favorite female entrepreneurs Martha. Obviously an amazing moment for an entrepreneur like myself. Now that's Oprah, Richard Branson and Martha Stewart in 12 months. Not bad!
Yes, now I've seen it all. Trojan giving out VIBRATORS at BlogHer. Yup, that's what 4000 'power' women brings (no pun intended)
My Milk Moustache at 'Got Milk?' with the milk men!
With one of my favorite women in our blogging community, Whitney Wingerd, at the Best Buy booth
Having a Bethenny Frankel SkinnyGirl margarita
My oldest and dearest Social Media / Digital Mom buddies Kimberley Clayton Blaine (TheGoToMom.tv) and Beth Blecheman (TechMamas.com)
My doppleganger (don't we look alike?) blogger extraordinaire, Liz Gumbinner (Mom-101.com)
Me and the amazing Amy Windsor (TheBitchinWife.com) having dinner
One of those legendary parties. Crazy bloggers on the dance floor at Sparklecorn (yes, that's the name of the yearly party)
Because I'm the geek that enjoys the sessions the most. I always love perfecting my craft and trade
At the "Getting Gorgeous" event with my girls Vera Sweeney (left) and Audrey McClellan (right)
At "Getting Gorgeous" with Nicole Feliciano of MomTrends.com
At "Getting Gorgeous" with Joni from Mom Pulse, a new YouTube channel for moms that I am thrilled to be part of
I was asked to describe what Inner Beauty means to me. "Inner beauty is..." This is my answer.
One of my favorite journalists, Katie Couric (left) being interviewed by BlogHer co-founder Lisa Stone
Katie's famous legs! You go girl!

A video I shot of Katie Couric discussing her new fall daytime talk show, The Katie Show

CNN Reporter Soledad O'Brien interviewing Supermodel and Activist Christy Turlington
Malaak Compton-Rock (Activist and wife of comedian Chris Rock), Christy Turlington and Soledad O'Brien discussing the challenges of non-profit organizations
Three exceptionally dynamic women
This picture is "Beauty and the Beast," I swear. I also recently interviewed Christy Turlington on WomenOnTheFence.com, and here we are meeting in-person for the first time. She called me out in the audience and thanked me for helping her 'Get off the fence.' Really nice.
Me and Soledad O'Brien who promised me an interview for WomenOnTheFence.com. Yay! She also told me, "I'll never forget Women On The Fence." Love it.
Hanging with the nice peeps at RetailMeNot.com- the largest coupon site in the world. I am a Brand Ambassador for them.
New York City - one of my favorites in the world

And if that doesn’t give you the vibe, this has got to be the BEST TWEET I’ve seen on Twitter. 😉

It was truly an incredible weekend. If you’re a regular reader, you know that I never go anywhere without a lesson learned, or a take-away to implement into my life and pass on to you. After spending 72 hours with other moms, most of them who are also building businesses from scratch, I have come to realize a few things:

  • I am more independent than I thought I was. This has served me well.
  • Despite being more independent, I am nothing without my family, namely my role as wife and mother.
  • If you always remain OPEN, good things come.
  • If you’re cool going anywhere alone, good things come again.
  • If you plant enough seeds, eventually something sticks.
  • I realized that not all women are catty. At least not the ones I have allowed into my life. Give and you shall receive friends for life.
  • Work hard, but play hard too. Passion is the place to live.
  • Success comes from following your dreams. I read on Twitter this morning, “If you don’t follow your dreams, you’ll work for someone who did. Find time to make your passion a reality.” Amen to that.

Whether you’re working out of necessity, or are a trust-fund baby who doesn’t have to work at all, you can’t simply live off the fat of the land. Give back. Every woman needs to find something to call her own- for me, that was finding this community. Life is nothing without purpose.

What do you think?