I feel like the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland. I’m late! I’m late! Late to share my experience at Blogging While Brown and the fabulousity that was my Welcome to Chicago party.

Mea culpa, bellas!

It’s been almost two weeks since the best conference weekend ever, and I swear I’m still feeling the afterglow. Big, big respect to Gina McCauley for putting it all together. Blogging While Brown was an education, a celebration, a family reunion. Check out the above photo by awesome Atlanta photoblogger FreddyO to get an idea of HOW many wonderful people were in the room, ready to learn from each other and share their expertise. It was an honor and a privelige to meet so many of the online friends and inspirations who have made Afrobella possible, and who welcomed me so graciously.

I got to hang out with some of the icons of the black blogosphere, folks I’ve befriended on Twitter such as Angel of Concrete Loop, Cheryl of Jack & Jill Politics, Gina of What About Our Daughters and the Michelle Obama Watch, Sanam of Tweet Me Black… so many others I’m forgetting to link in this rush of excitement. It was so wonderful to meet everyone!

Great recaps were written on Jack and Jill Politics, the Bay State Banner, Goddess Intellect, Ananda Leeke, and the irrepressible LuvvieIg.

If you missed out on attending the conference, fret not thyself fellow blogger! You can watch the whole conference right here. I might just watch it all over again myself — I came in late (just like high school!) to the first session and had to leave early to get ready for the Welcome to Chicago party being thrown for me by The Red Pump Project!

I raced back to my downtown base (that’d be my BFF Stephanie’s place, haha) and changed into my outfit. Fabulous, flirty little black dress made by MSquared – a plus size line made by my favorite Trinidadian designer, Meiling and popular boutique Micles – made and sold only in Trinidad (at the moment, anyway. I’m working on her! Click here to get a glimpse of what they’re working on there). I paired it with fabulous red feather earrings by Dushi Trade – got compliments on those all night long! When I was all dolled up, I headed to the venue — the chic and inspiring Three Peas Art Lounge, to meet my Chicago bellas and raise some funds for the Chicago Women’s AIDS Fund!

What transpired was nothing short of magical. Here’s a slide show to give you an idea of the love that filled the room.

The room filled, and filled, and filled some more! My husband estimated 60 or so people came, drank, noshed on cupcakes, and vied for raffle prizes — provided courtesy of Just In Case Inc. and the wonderful, awesome Valana Minerals. I am so sincerely appreciative to Valerie of Valana Minerals for coming through in the nick of time with a chic gift bag — won by the amazing Sabrina Miller, AKA Fortitude1913 on Twitter. Love that chick, and so happy she got some Valana goodies!

The room was packed with attendees of Blogging While Brown, Afrobella readers and regular commenters, Twitter friends, and folks just looking to have a good time — like the Rev. Rae Lewis-Thornton, Emmy Award winning AIDS activist. You may have seen her on the cover of Essence? WOW! I was so honored she stopped by and had fun with us.

According to The Fab Giver and Luvvie, we raised over $500 for the Chicago Women’s AIDS Project. AMAZING!

Thank you SO much to my new Chicago amigas Luvvie and Karen for such a wonderful and warm welcome. Thanks to everyone who came. The whole Blogging While Brown weekend was unforgettable, and I sincerely look forward to having more events that support wonderful local charities. The whole thing felt like reinforcement from the universe — YES, Afrobella made the right move and at the right time. Chicago’s the city for me!

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Caribbean Girl says:
July 1, 2009, 10:28 pm
Thank you or leading me to the Meiling website - what an awesome concept! I definitely have to pop in to her store the next time I'm anywhere with an outlet.
Villager says:
July 2, 2009, 12:46 am
Outstanding recap from one of the true icons in the afrosphere! peace, Villager
Alicia says:
July 2, 2009, 1:09 am
Hey Bella, Thanks for this post. I was wondering what happened at both events. I am a new blogger and didn't find out about the blogging while Brown" event until it was too late, and already had a prior engagement. I am really glad to see you posted it here. Awesome. I also hate that I missed your party. As a Chicagoan I wanted to be there. Hopefully there will be other oppportunities to meet. Glad things went so well.
ebonys says:
July 2, 2009, 4:59 pm
Wow looks like you had a grand welcome to Chicago. Thanks for sharing the photos and Msquared link by Meiling, I love her clothing!
Kindred Smile says:
July 6, 2009, 11:47 am
Bella, I'm glad that you got a warm Chicago welcome - I'm sorry I couldn't be there, but motherhood was calling :-) Hopefully, there'll be another Bella-riffic event soon!
Chatty Patty says:
July 6, 2009, 12:48 pm
Hi Bella...I'm so disappointed that I wasn't able to make it and it was something that I planned on attending, since I started my own blog. Your blog is such an inspiration to me and I hope that I can one day reach the level of success that you have whether its your personal life or professional life. I'm glad you had a great time!
pets says:
July 7, 2009, 9:08 pm
Glad that you have found a group of wonderful bloggers in your new home town.
zeljka says:
July 8, 2009, 2:34 am
Hello Bella, I have been reading your blog for ages now,even though this is the first time I am leaving a comment. Just wanted to say that you look lovely and really like that black dress you are wearing.I was wondering would you be kind enough to let me know where is it from? Regards from London,UK
Oma Hakimi says:
July 27, 2012, 11:25 pm
Utterly pent written content , appreciate it for information .


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