It's time for the weekly "Hooked On" party at Hooked on Houses. Stop by to see what Julia is hooked on this week!
Me, free stuff always makes me smile.
The MOPS conference in Nashville that I've blogged about was fabulous, and it was a real treat to discover some extra "freebies" outside of the amazing workshops and sessions we attended.
The first swag item we received was something to hold all the other swag we'd pick up over the weekend. I'm sure MOPS International intended for the moms to use it to tote their conference workbook and maps around, but I found it much more useful for stashing free stuff from vendors.
I'm resourceful like that.
Our first stop in Nashville was (where else?) the Opryland Mills mall. Ironically, I got a picture of Kelly and E here, but failed to get a shot of the Grand Old Opry. At any rate, we had fun window shopping.
We also window shopped in the displays at the Gaylord Opryland hotel. I would have loved these boots if they were Stuart Weitzman black wedge boots.
In the grand ballroom, waiting for the first session to start.
Around 4,000 moms were in attendance!
The conference certainly wasn't free, but MOPS invited several Christian musicians to play mini-concerts for us and lead worship time. The concerts were an unexpected perk for me. I took this photo before they told us not to take any photos. Oops.
I tend to listen to Talk Radio all day, so the artists were new to me, but I came away with an appreciation for Matt Redman, Matthew West, Natalie Grant, Plumb, and Christy Nockels. Great music with a great message!
The most fun part for a girl who loves to shop (and get free stuff!) was the Resource Fair. Lines and lines of vendors stretched as far as the eye could see, and many were giving away little gifts.
Nesting.com, which is run by Wendy Bellisimo, had a gorgeous hard-cover book called Nesting for moms who came by the booth to try their website.
The book retails for just over $30, so this was an amazing giveaway. (I wasn't asked by nesting.com to review their site, but they do have a wonderful set-up if you're in need of something to manage your day-to-day life at home)
I also picked up a pink (!) waterbottle, a purple backpack that I can happily pass on to Michaela Byrd (who is so jealous of her big sister's), and a little book of Bible verses.
During a session for groups to meet up with other moms from their state, I won The Five Love Languages, which it just so happens was chosen by my friend, Shanda. I am anxious to read this and find out why it seems that I am speaking Hungarian when I ask T to take the trash out (kidding. sort of.).
Y'all know I love to read, so I was excited to see several publishers with booths set up. I picked up Don't Panic (More) Dinner's in the Freezer, Date Night in a Minivan, and a super neat surprise book that I will be giving away here in the future.
We were too tuckered out at the end of each day to see any Nashville nightlife (except when E went out for coffee with an old high school friend). We spent most of our (free) time in our room.
I successfully brainwashed Kelly into watching Twilight with me, which would never have happened if E were in the room. I will slowly work on luring her over to the dark side. I think it's too soon to mention New Moon...I don't want to scare her away.
The best free part of the weekend was growing friendships with two amazing girls.
I've known E since elementary school, but never got to really know her until having my kids. She and Kelly made the trip so fun, and I won't soon forget all the funny stories, staying up late, eating the most amazing cupcakes, and seeing some of Nashville...it was a lot like camp!
Sometimes it's not the expensive workshop tickets, dinners out, or even the swag (as much as it pains me to say it) that make an event worthwhile.
It's the treasure of friendships. (Or knowing enough about your friends that you can blackmail them for chocolate cake)