BEANTOWN

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"Travel" used to top my list of interests. From South East Asia to South America, Leo and I have circumnavigated the globe together. Destination weddings and engagement parties, holiday visits to in-laws, and annual industry conferences kept me filled to the brim with inspiration and new adventures all year long.

Those jet-setting days have become a distant memory now that I'm working from home, our friends have settled down, and Sebastian and Mapuche rule fill our lives. While traveling still and hopefully will always tickle my fancy, it just doesn't hold the same excitement after Sebastian single-handedly terrorized a return flight home from Chicago this past New Year's. And being away from him for an extended period of time has just never been something I wanted to do. While travel is high on the list of things I miss most since becoming a parent, I know being grounded is only temporary.

I got my first taste of freedom in almost two years this past weekend. Having had such a great time last year at Bloggy Boot Camp Philly, I decided to make the trip up to Boston for this year's East Coast installment and stay the weekend. Riding the train, perusing gossip mags and listening to Pandora (LL Cool J, Depeche Mode, and Tom Petty are the best stations), made me feel free as bird. Sure I had a bad case of guilt and missed Sebastian's sweet face and wet kisses, but with each new sense: the damp smell of the Seaport as I arrived at the hotel, the bear hugs and excited shrills as I saw friends and met new ones, and the sweet taste of fishbowl umbrella drinks, remorse faded.

Hosted by the blogging community The Secret to Success is Support, or SITS Girls, Bloggy Boot Camp is an intimate, one day blogging and social media conference. If you blog and have the opportunity to attend one, I highly recommend it, especially if you're new or even just considering it.

Thanks to sponsors like: Invasalign Teen, Mirassou Winery (who kept our glasses full), Arm & Hammer (who provided enough toothpaste to save me last-minute runs to Duane Reade for at least a quarter), Sony, and Collective Bias, the cost is super reasonable and one day jam-packed with information is about all my mommy-fried brain can tolerate these days.

Taking Notes at a Conference

The best part of the trip, other than uninterrupted sleep and lattes delivered to my room each morning, was hanging out with the bloggers that I've become friends with but don't often get a chance to see: Random Handprints, The Fordeville Diaries, The Mommyologist, Mommy's Fabulous, Cheryl Budge, Best of Fates, Raising Three Savvy Ladies, and Nice Girl Notes, and meeting for the first time: Flourish in Progress, O'Boy Organic, I'm Gonna Kill Him, (a)Musing Foodie, Writing to Insanity, Stowed Stuff and so many others. If you have a chance, check out their blogs. They're as spectacular in real life as they are in writing.

The conference offered a lot of practical business advice and ways to increase blog traffic and creativity, which is useful for me not only as a blogger but as a marketing consultant.

Other highlights?

A bar brawl started by none other than No Shopping Liz (all 5-foot nothing of her), closing down the hotel bar each night thanks to the cast of characters previously mentioned, picnicking at the Barking Crab, and meeting the legendary Pursey Galour (thanks to Momma Kiss):

Pursey Galour

Sebastian did just fine without me, other than wandering the apartment aimlessly for two days calling, "Mama?" Don't worry, it's not a big place and he's resumed his position stuck to my leg.

I'm already looking forward to my next blogging conference. Which should I attend? BlogHer is out since we're on vacay at the same time, which reminds me that I have an early-bird price ticket if anyone wants to take it off my hands.

Happy Belated Mother's Day to all the moms! Hope you had as liberating a weekend as I did.