OK, so that’s unfair.  The creative, vibrant, sassy, exciting, strong, and intelligent ladies and gentlemen of Lavish, the un-conference for lifestyle social media enthusiasts, were far more than the handbags that they carried or the fabulous clothes that they wore.  But being style addicted and “on the purse” for more than twenty years, I could not help but turn my head this way and that as one lovely bag passed by me after another.

(There were also some dynamite shoes, but I am not a  shoe person, as such, so I will leave those observations to someone who would treat the subject matter with far more reverence and appreciation than I ever could).

* First, the hotel: The Mansion on Peachtree: Being a great traveler (and being at Hilton’s Diamond level) you could almost say that I am something of  an expert in this area.  However, the fanciest Hilton on the planet can not ever hope to touch The Mansion in style, class, ambiance, and customer service.  I am now a confirmed devotee to the Rosewood Brand forever… how I am going to afford staying there again, I will never know.

Being a person who likes to sit back and take it all in, I have so much to say about the conference itself.  However, for now, I wanted to get down several things that really stood out for me.  They are in no particular order as the brain, which usually has no trouble recalling the smallest details, is still about a day and a half behind in things at work and home.

* Meeting Miss Shameeka (it’s the south, every lady is a Miss) almost immediately: There I was sitting in the lounge enjoying the music and the “True Blood” cocktail and in she glides and walks right up to me. How she knew I was a “Lavishite” I will never know.  OK, so I was wearing all black, (as prescribed for the opening night cocktail party)… that must have been her first clue.

* Meeting Miss Pam (after Miss Shameeka pointed her out to me): What can I say, Pam and I clicked!  We had dinner together at CRAFT | Atlanta.  We were both a little underwhelmed, myself moreso, but we were determined to visit despite all we were told to expect.

* Hearing the keynote address by James Andrews: Well what do you know, Lifestyle SME’s are considered “Disruptive Media“.  Take that! you stupid 1990’s marketing text book sitting on my bookshelf and collecting dust; I’ll bet you never saw that coming!

* The Heart of Haiti presentation: I knew immediately that I was going to find a way to help, and so I am.  So, to all my readers, please go to Macy’s and purchase one of these beautiful handcrafted art pieces that Haitian artisans have created.  You can buy something for as little as $10 and give a hand-up instead of a hand-out.

* Meeting The Next Food Network Star finalist, Herb Mesa: Herb told the most compelling, moving story of his life.  This was definitely an example of the bumpy road that you are sure to encounter on the way to fulfill your passion.

* Design*Sponge’s Grace Bonney: Her presentation was EPIC!  OK, so  I stole that from someone else, but it’s still so true!

* Meeting The Decor Demon, Brian Patrick Flynn: Are we allowed to be completely shallow and say how handsome he is?  I love a tall man with taste.  He had me at paper-backed fabric-covered walls! If he married me, (shut up, this is my fantasy) he and my mother would immediately bond over their mutual love of flea markets.  Think I’m lying? Check him out on HGTV!

* The Knork: I am obsessed!  Obsessed, I tell you!

* Stupidly stressing out over looking like a dork dragging my HUGE “steamer trunk” of a suitcase behind me: With all that delightful swag we got to bring home, who’s a dork now, bee-otches?

* Meeting New York Times Best-Selling author, Mary Kay Andrews: And having Miss Mary Kay’s forbearance while I asked my annoying “How do I get an agent” questions.  Plus she personally autographed my book.  Plus she is a kick-ass motivational speaker.  I have got to write my novel!

* The Sassy Suite: Hello, wine Hello, free wine!

* The amazing generosity of the sponsors, party hosts, and prize donators: A HUGE Thank you to Sokenbicha, The Foundary, Pieces Inc, Macy’s, HGTV, The Pioneer Woman, Taigan, Rue Magazine, The Wine Sisterhood, Blogalicious, GMC-Buick, La Plates, Room & Board, SWAGG, (if I’m forgetting someone, and I am sure I am, just give me a holler).

* And last but by no means least: The Broke Socialite, Shameeka Ayers and her staff: I have to thank you for one of the most enjoyable experiences of my life.  If you don’t do this again next year, I would be heartbroken.  I found a great quote online that fits the experience to a tee:

If you have a talent, use it in every which way possible.
Don’t hoard it.
Don’t dole it out like a miser.
Spend it lavishly like a millionaire intent on going broke.
~~Brendan Francis

BTW: If anyone would like to see the photos I took, you can view them on my flickr page.  I was far  too busy being knocked out by all of the interesting things I saw and heard, so I didn’t take very many.

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