Midwest Bloggers Meetup Old Friends and New

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Last Saturday,  I had the opportunity to do a couple of things that I've wanted to do for a while now:
1) Visit an amazing shop that's owned by my Friend Mark,  Room 363, in Naperville, IL
2) Hang out with 25 other bloggers, soon to be bloggers and friends of bloggers for an entire day!

My friend, Jen Rizzo of Jennifer Rizzo Designs, organized the meet-up, put together a lovely continental breakfast, bags of blogger swag and a day filled with sharing and shopping and Mark graciously volunteered to host us at his amazing shop!

Of course, I arrived early...likely due to the caffeine-fuled adrenaline rush that I was having....and maybe just a little bit from the case of nerves that anyone who knows me knows that I experience when meeting people for the first time...especially people that I admire...and this get together was full of them!

Mark's shop was everything that I had come to expect from him after having come to know him over the last two years from various markets I'd seen him at.  It's the perfect blend of old and new...with a little bit of everything and something for every taste.

From great clothing to artwork to accessories to jewelry to lighting...and even some lace panels that I'm going back to order (because they've haunted me for a week) this shop is jammed full of incredible finds and, last Saturday, twenty seven Midwest Bloggers!

I had a few minutes to look around and even find a couple of things that I couldn't live without (actually, I would  have had one of everything in the store if my budget allowed it!) Jen set up a breakfast buffet and some beverages, bags filled with blogger made "goodies" were ready and the other blogger girlfriends began to arrive.

There were 27 bloggers and friends from four different states all talking and shopping and sharing a wonderful day. Needless to say, there was LOTS of talking and hugging....and even though many of us had never met in person, the friendships that many of us share are as if we've known each other since childhood.

Connections were immediate, laughter was plentiful and the stories...well, the stories were priceless.

Like the one about Kari from Thistlewood...and the time that she chased down the robber in the K Mart parking lot.  No kidding!  Who knew?!

So I learned that sometimes blogger meet ups aren't all about SEO and what we're going to do when Google reader goes away (more on that later).

And sometimes friendship isn't about living in the same state.

My sincere thanks to Jennifer Rizzo for organizing this event, to Mark Norkaitis from Room 363 for hosting us in his amazing shop, to Sharon for arranging our "make and take" at Paper Source, and to Kari and Heather and Linda and Anne and EVERYONE who made the trip and the meet up a wonderful day with old friends AND new ones!  I can't wait  to do it again!