Roadtrip to Conference in St. Louis

2014-02-10 15.29.20My husband and I started this blog more than two years ago now.  We know that we’ve come a long ways since those first posts.  However, we know that, as with anything, there are always things to learn to improve this craft.  I had been starting to look for conferences on blogging.

So, when I learned that there was going to be a bloggers conference in St. Charles, Missouri, I wanted to go. St. Charles is located outside St. Louis. The conference was hosted by a company called SITS Girls.

We have a great group of bloggers in Omaha, and we ended up with a total of 5 going – all in one van.  We left for St. Charles Friday, the day before the conference. All but one of us had not been to a bloggers conference before.  So, this was an adventure for all of us.  We were ready to bond and ready to learn all we could.

Boy, did we bond! I have a new love and respect for each of these ladies as I got to learn more about them on this trip.  As they talked about at conference, I have found my tribe. I will introduce them to you along the way.

Our brave driver of the group was Julie of Family Fun in Omaha.  She is a busy mom of two, who keeps on top of everything family friendly to do in Omaha.  If you need to know where all the fish frys are or where to find all the Easter egg hunts or where to find the best Christmas light displays, this is the site to find that and so much more.

On to St. Louis! Nothing like five Omaha Metro ladies on the loose in St. Louis.

We checked into the hotel, and waiting for us were passes for the Arch as well as Riverboat cruise tickets.  The St. Louis Convention and Visitors Bureau generously gave us these passes.  After we checked in to our hotel at the Embassy Suites in St. Charles, it was off to downtown St. Louis. We had originally had a goal of making it to the Arch before it closed. Unfortunately, we missed it by minutes. Sad face.

So, we embarked on our next item on the Friday night agenda – the Ballpark Village entertainment district. It’s the new Entertainment complex across the street from Busch Stadium.


Boy was it packed! This place is going to be popular.

Tim and I took a hard hat tour in mid-February. It’s amazing that it went from drywall and dust to the bustling wall-to-wall people it is now.

The Fox Sports Midwest Live sports bar and restaurant was packed on the first floor. It is home to a 40-foot flat screen TV that cost $1 million. No, Tim. You are not getting one for your birthday!


We started at the new Howl at the Moon piano bar.  It was a pretty rocking and packed place, which matched the rest of the Ballpark Village complex.  We enjoyed a couple of drinks, appetizers and sang along to a few songs before deciding to check out the rest of the complex.


Next, we checked out the new Budweiser Brew House. It had a line of people waiting to go in. We decided to walk around and check it out. While browsing, we came upon an empty table. The waitress stopped by and asked for our order. Well…

Later, someone asked how we got that table. The response – which became the theme for the night – was that I’m freakin’ Lisa Trudell and we got the table. It was funnier if you were there.

One of our group, Jen Schneider of Liv, Laugh, Love Media, called her brother, who lives in St. Louis, to join us. He actually has his own blog at  Jen is a great friend and blogger, who writes about her life as a mom to her young daughter Liv and many other things in her life. She inspires me to keep going after the things that I want.

I told the girls about the third floor patio and stadium seats. The seats can be purchased to watch St. Louis Cardinals baseball games from across the street. Cool.

We made our way up, but we met “Fred the security guard.” His name is substituted for our protection. Tee hee.

He advised us it was closed to the public that evening. We tried to talk him into it, but he wouldn’t budge.  Now, believe me that we were being very nice in our attempt at persuasion.  In the process, we performed an Act of Kindness.

One of the bloggers in our group, Nicole McDonald, has a great blog about saving money –  She also shows how to use coupons to get the best deals on your grocery bill and much more. The last few months she has been highlighting a challenge that she has taken on including No Spend February, DeClutter for Cash in March.  In April, the challenge has been Acts of Kindness. She has been so influential and inspiring in this venture, that her Facebook group has shown their Acts of Kindness as well. You can follow along using the hashtag #AOKMomSavesMoney.

Now, since we were given the passes to the Arch and Riverboat cruises, but knew we were unable to use them, we peformed an Act of Kindness and gave “Fred” the security guard two passes of each.  He did his job well since even after that, he did not let us through.

After giving up, we headed back to the second floor. We actually ran into the house manager, who asked how our evening was. I mentioned that I’d been there for a hard hat tour and asked if a couple of my contacts were still there. I’d just missed them. But, when I told him we were hoping to take a look at the third floor patio, he gave us an escorted trip up there.

The view was worth it!


Our last stop of the night was PBR (Pro Bull Riding) saloon. PBR has two distinct areas – the Barn for concerts and a mechanical bull. People tried their luck on the bull. People were strewn about on the mat around the bull. So much for making the eight seconds. So, after checking out the rowdy crowd at PBR, we decided it was time to call it a night. After all, we’d come for the conference.


The conference itself was informative and helpful. I think we all learned something that day that can help our blogs. We all came away with new connections and energy ready to share more with our readers.  We highly recommend attending a SITS Bloggy Boot Camp conference for any blogger.

Nebraska Bloggers
Nebraska Bloggers

So, with the conference finished, we had a Saturday night to wreak havoc on the Gateway City area.

So what did we do? We party animals, ok, not really party animals, hit historic downtown St. Charles for a late dinner at Trailhead Brewing Company and…As they say, “What happens in St. Charles, stays in St. Charles.”

We wrapped our weekend extravaganza with our drive home.

The last of my new tribe, but definitely not least, a great new friend with whom we had gained a new connection with was another Nicole.  Nicole Lindquist writes at two different blogs, the first is Life As a Lindquist, where she shares about her life as a mom, wife, and more. Her other blog is Council Bluffs Blog, which highlights her home of Council Bluffs, IA which is Omaha’s neighbor across the river.

It was a fun and productive weekend with the girls. I can’t wait for our next road trip…

Disclosure:  Thanks to all of the bloggers listed in this piece for letting me use their photos.  Thanks to St. Louis CVB for providing us with tickets to the Gateway Arch and Riverboat cruises.  Even though we were not able to use them, they gave us permission to give to others in acts of kindness.