Boy. I am still sitting here staring at my computer trying to figure out how to really describe the experience I had at AAD 2011. I told Nat I am still reeling from the event and she told me: “Pictures!” I personally am so over myself and seeing myself in pictures, but I forget that the world does not revolve around me and perhaps you, awesome readers, might not have seen any pictures yet! So, in the hopes that you are not over me yet, here is what I am able to brain dump out allll for you.
First things first, the night at registration I was lucky enough to run in to (accost) Dakota Cassidy, who embraced me with open arms and lovingly offered to give me a piggyback ride to the M•A•C store down the street. We never made it to that M•A•C store, but we’ll always have this photo:
On Wednesday, Mandi of Smexybooks picked me and Jen TwiMom227 up at the Philly airport and Mandi drove us to the DoubleTree in her Van of Fun! She even parallel parked that bitch in parking garage, which was no easy feat. The squee-hugging immediately began in the hotel lobby when we ran in to Bells of Hangin With Bells and Marq of Love To Read For Fun (she loves hugs!! no not really, don’t do it, unless you’re me of course, she let me hug her bunches:P). We met up with Larissa of Larissa’s Bookish Life, Jo Jo of JoJos Book Corner (are her fabulous Mom!), Felicia the Geeky Blogger, and Danielle of Lush Book Reviews. We all had dinner at the hotel restaurant, as seen here in a exhibit A:
The next day, I had breakfast with Mandi and Jen and then headed to the Welcome event. This was an awesome use of time, as we were standing around talking to the —- squeeeee —- authors! We REALLY got prime time with the authors to introduce ourselves and take pictures!! Lara Adrian (not pictured here, booo), Larissa Ione, Nicole Peeler, Carolyn Crane, and Jennifer Estep were a few of my favorites… I mean… DUH! This is evidenced in exhibits B, C, and D:
Oh! And I met Erin Kellison and had to get a picture with her as well! I love her books, and she was so fun! I need Shadowman like right now.
Here at the pre-Welcome event, the Bloggers all got to really meet and take pics with one another too. I can honestly say that these ladies are my Friends. It was amazing how we all just connected as if we’d already met in person before, and not just in the Matrix. We instantly became a giant Book Blogger Family. Here is me with Mandi of Smexybooks and Marquetta of Love To Read For Fun.
And here is one of my most favorite people on the planet, BELLS!! of Hangin With Bells. Seriously, Bells is a true gem and I treasure knowing her.
From the Welcome event, I proceeded to take my foot of titanium fun for the first real walk I’ve had since surgery. I discovered that the museum I wanted to go to, the Mütter Museum, was only 1.2 miles away from our hotel. So I hoofed my way on over and had a nice time walking the streets of Philly, in the NOT 110 DEGREE heat that is Texas. I took photos along the way, but could not take photos inside. For those who are not aware, the Mütter Museum is a medical museum that contains a collection of medical oddities, anatomical and pathological specimens, wax models, and antique medical equipment. It was muyyyyy coooool!
I got back from the museum and immediately got to be Nat on a panel with Larissa Sarah called “I Have a Blog, Now What?” Soooooo I had absolutely nothing to really say on this panel, but we fudged our way through it and just talked about each of our very different experiences. I enjoyed making sly faces at Bells to make her laugh. What Exhibit letter am I on now? Ah forget it, here’s the pic:
Favorite Panel: Guess the Book from the Sex Scene!
This was hands-down the most fun, most interactive panel due to the authors and the participants. And I will just have you know, Nicole Peeler gives GREAT smut reading. She is a Professional. And when that PBS documentary guy came in, camera rolling, while she was reading one of the smuttiest blurbs my virgin ears have ever heard, she did. not. miss. a. beat. I salute you, NP! Picture above was provided by the lovely PJ Schnyder, I didn’t get a pic with her. I haz a sad. But moving on…
Second Favorite Panel: Pin the Penis on the Founding Father
Oh, and here we are on another panel, this one was “Bloggers Tell All” and it was awesome talking with each other and also the authors in the crowd. That’s Robin of Intense Whisper, Jo Jo of JoJos Book Corner, JuJu of Loose Knickers and Window Lickers, Me, and Mandi! Thank you Ava Riley for providing this pic of us!
And then there was the Masquerade Ball, and the Steampunk Ball and it was just go, go, go! I ended up getting to meet Alison Pang, and JA Saare FINALLY! I loooove their books so much and they were both so personable and warm. I was just about to say they were both awesome… this is probably where I need to look in the thesaurus for help with overusing awesome. Too late? I also got to meet new-to-me authors like Kristen Painter, Melissa Ecker, Cat Johnson, Anton Strout, Lia Habel, Stephanie Julian (What a Goddess Wants - can’t wait to read it!) Sidney Ayers, and dangit! there are too many to mention! But here is another picture I can share with you of Mandi, Jen, Danielle and meee.
Surprise! It’s another picture with Dakota in it! But look who else! Larissa Ione, Alison Pang, Dakota (does she really need a last name anymore?), Meljean Brook and Alexandra Ivy! Talking about DEMONS! It was AWESOME (er um I mean amazing! or um, awe-inspiring!) and FUN and if you weren’t there you so so wish you could have been.
Oh! And the Book Signing! Holy crap! I wish I’d taken so many more pictures with all the authors, dang it. I walked away with 22 signed books by the authors there, and actually got the famous Trish AKA Picky Me to sign the covers of two Lydia Dare books she created. I kinda went fangirl on her because her cover art and conceptual art is so freaking gorgeous. I didn’t get a picture with her, but you know who I DID get a picture with? You’ll never guess! I’m shameless in my idolatry.
The last night before the Steampunk Dinner and Ball, we were able to take a group shot of us Bloggers. Well, we are missing some (Pennyy!!) but this picture CRACKS ME UP so I HAVE to include it. I am looking at it now, for the millionth time, giggling. It’s a classic group shot:
Oh oh oh! and here is me with Penny, since she didn’t make it in to the group shot above. She’s one of my favorite people to talk to and sure enough was one of my favorite people to hang out with, as well.
I want to give an extra shout-out to Mandi of Smexybooks. I felt a true kinship with her, and I mean, she not only transported me to the hotel, but then she took me on the scenic route back to the airport! LOLz were had! Whenever things got crazy and I started to freak out (hellloo spoiler alert! I’m spazstic), I just looked for My Mandi and she made everything better.
And of course I have to give MAJOR L<3VE to Nat, THE Wicked Lil Pixie, who was GREATLY MISSED. I don’t want to own or run a blog, but I sure do have fun writing for this one! I just wish she could have been with me. That’s the only thing that would have made it better for me! Come to TX, Nat! We have cheetos! and puppies!
In summary, I came home with such a full heart, and a tight stomach from laughter, and I am still riding a high from being around so much positivity and enthusiasm. We all were there to share our love for our favorite books, and to learn about new books too – and that is exactly what we did. In the end, the experience is what we make of it, and I am so happy to have had this one.