Category Archives: Events

Mighty Summit Post Roundup

27th September 2010

I’m working away behind the curtain over here, but here are some of the things attendees have said about the Summit. Ladies, if you attended and posted something you don’t see here, please let me know in comments. I’m starting a collection.


(Photo by Andrea Scher)

Danielle Henderson from Knotty Yarn:

“Slowly (so slowly) over the past few years, I’ve taken small opportunities to believe in myself. To say “yes.” Instead of immediately talking myself out of something, I instead asked myself “What if?” What if you DID apply to that university? What if they DID accept you into that program? What if you got the grants you needed to pay for it? What if you started taking better care of your body instead of lamenting the fact that you never have in the past? What if you said yes and went to that party? What if you got a chance to spend a weekend with 20 incredible women?”


(photo by Amber Blatt)

Meg Keene from A Practical Wedding:

On Money and Self Worth
After spending two plus days hanging out with some of the most accomplished (in a free-wheeling, freelance, creative way) and supportive women I’ve ever met, I’ve been thinking a lot about self-worth. I’ve been thinking about how as women we often undervalue ourselves, our life stories, and what we’re capable of, and that leads to lost potential. We think, “I can’t do that, I can’t dream that big, I’m being selfish to even think about this, I don’t deserve to earn (or have my company earn) that much money, I shouldn’t have delusions of grandeur.” And when this happens, we all lose. Think of all those projects that could have been created, those businesses that could have thrived, that money that could be flowing back into our communities. When we cut ourselves off at the knees we lose all that, our communities lose all that, we all lose.

Mighty Summit: In Gratitude for the Blogosphere

“It was about this movement we’ve created together, as women in the social media space. It was about continuing to shape that into a force to be reckoned with. It was about shaking up the media establishment. Of telling our stories, your stories.”


(photo by Andrea Scher)

Tara Weaver of Tea and Cookies:
Throwing Your Hat Into the Ring
“The ‘no’ we hear should never come from our own lips.”

Andrea Scher from Superhero Designs Blog:

“Most importantly, I learned that women want to help other women achieve their dreams. They really do. No matter what we learned in high school (and later) about being competitive, jealous and believing there wasn’t enough goodness to go around, the truth is that when we can create a culture of community and empowerment around our goals and dreams, women are the first ones to jump in and want to help.”

Erin Loechner of Design for Mankind:

“Consider this my commitment to sharing more of myself with you — right here. My hopes, dreams and fears — and I want you to do the same with me. Let’s hold ourselves accountable in an effort to shape our futures however we may wish. Because after all? We are indeed mighty.”


(Photo by Zan McQuade)

Margaret Stewart of Fountly:

What Women Really Want Dispatch From the Mighty Summit
“Women have always been sources of creative energy in families and society, and we have always been the makers of things. We knitted, we sewed, we cooked, we quilted. We were able to express our care and affection by feeding, clothing, and wrapping people up in our creations. And while we were and are capable of so many other things, both artist and intellectual, we’ve lost something in abandoning these basic creative pursuits. And in fact, we’ve vilified them at some level over the years, making it seem unambitious or wasting your potential to focus energies on the seemingly humble craft of living.”

Mighty Junior Life Lists: Beatrice, age 9
“Inspired by my weekend at The Mighty Summit and my own experience creating a Life List (see right column of my blog), I sat down with my own kids and asked them what they’d put on their list. Here’s the first one, shared with permission by it’s author, 9-year-old Beatrice. I love the way reality and fantasy co-mingle….”


(By Zan McQuade)

Leah from A Girl and a Boy:

“I met Meg, who, if you believe in destiny, was the whole reason this opportunity fell in my lap at all. In case you didn’t catch on yesterday, she and her team of readers at A Practical Wedding are leading the charge in getting my middle-aged tuchus married off (in style!) once and for all. I’m so excited I could puke.”


(photo by Amber Blatt)

Nicole Balch from Making it Lovely:

“We all committed to working on five of our dreams this year. Maggie told us at lunch on the last day that when she set the wheels in motion on her life list, she bought a gold band to commemorate the occasion. She wears it every day along with her wedding ring. We were then each given a gold necklace by lemonade handmade with five small rings on it, representing the five things we will accomplish this year…”


(By Margaret Gould Stewart)

Heather Sphor from The Sphors are Multiplying:

“As I listened to these amazingly accomplished women, I reevaluated the things I wanted to do in my life. More specifically, the order. Sure, I still DO want to prank call the vice president, or find out who Billy Jean’s baby daddy really was. But I have some goals that I have set for myself that I want to complete in the next 365 days.”


(By Zan McQuade)

Karen Walrond of Chookooloonks:

wine! (or, everything you ever wanted to know about wine from someone who doesn’t know jack about wine)
“As far as what you’re looking for in the scent and the taste, Erin tells me you’re simply looking for a scent and taste that pleases you. If you want to, you can look for cranberry-ness or oak-y-ness or insouciant-ness, but really, like art, it’s just about learning what you like, as opposed to Knowing What You’re Supposed to Like. Once I learned this, it was like a weight lifting from my shoulders — when tasting wine, you’re the expert, not the waiter.”

Karen also continued a life list project by taking some portraits while all of us were together:
Photos, Part I

Photos, Part 2

Kelly Wickham of Mocha Momma writes about finally meeting Internet friend Andrea Wishom face to face, and how that led to meeting Oprah face to face. (Yay, Oprah!)

Roxanna Sarmiento of Everyday treats gives a peek into the invitations and “the swag.”

Helen Jane Hearn of HelenJane.com posted a how to on sabering open a bottle of champagne.

Liz Stanley from Say Yes to Hoboken has a “what i wore” segment that you should go see.

Alli Worthington of Mrs. Fussypants posted some videos and photos of the redwoods.

Heather Armstrong of Dooce sings the praises of Maile’s amazing camera bags. (And took a gorgeous photo of our room.)

Laura Mayes of The Queso learned to knit.

Allison Czarnecki from Petit Elefant: Mormon=1, Champagne=0

Amber Blatt of The Amber Show did a great recap of how the weekend unfolded. Here’s Part I and Part II.

Mighty Summit

23rd September 2010

Last year, after the Broad Summit, the organizers got on the phone to talk about whether we wanted to do it again. We all had a great time, but of course it was a lot of work. Even though the event was a success none of us were sure we wanted to re-up.

We got to talking about why, because it didn’t make much sense, until we realized there had been no real intention behind the Broad Summit. We mostly just wanted to see if we could do it. Personally, I wanted to check “organize a retreat” off my Mighty Life List, provide a fun weekend for girls who have given each other lots of support through the years, and find out whether we could plan something on that scale without losing our shirts in the process (first-year events tend to lose money). Once the event was over, the general feeling among the organizers was sort of, “Check. Did it.”

We realized that if we were going to do the Summit again, we needed a stronger reason. At the time, my new emphasis was on my Mighty Life List — building my site around it, making my living from living my dreams, helping other people start thinking the same way. So we decided to change the name to Mighty Summit, and use the event as a way to encourage attendees to dream bigger.

We wanted to make the concept of goals explicit in the event to make it more meaningful for everyone. Boy did it ever.

This year, we asked attendees to write life lists and made sure everyone had copies of all the lists before they arrived. On the first day, I said that I’d had an amazing outpouring of support from all of you when I first posted my list. Many of you asked how you could help, offered to let me stay with you while I traveled, or to loan me something I needed to make my dreams go.

That experience made me realize how often our grandest dreams are someone else’s day to day life. You want to write a book? I’m a publisher! You want to go on a cruise? I’m the publicity director for a cruise line! At the Summit, we asked everyone to talk to one another about their lists, and see where we could help each other. Everyone got started on the little stuff right away.

Danielle taught Laura to knit.

Helen Jane taught us how to saber open a champagne bottle with a knife. (Holy crap, that is easy, you guys. Margaret made a video, so go watch and try it with a $5 bottle of Cava. You will feel superhuman.)

And lots of us posed for Karen‘s 1,000 portraits project.

On the third day, after we’d had a chance to get to know one another, we did a group meditation on our life lists over lunch. We asked everyone to choose five things they thought they could accomplish in the next year, and choose one area where they needed help.

We asked for little things, like help learning to use our cameras.

And huge things, like help starting foundations.

We had a chance to be vulnerable with each other.

To offer our own talents, and to lift each other up.

We talked about how all boats rise together in the tide, and what we could do to make that tide a little stronger.

As for me, I went into this year wondering if I wanted to do the Mighty Summit at all, and came out of it planning for next year before we’d even hugged everyone goodbye.

I made some great new friends, and learned a little bit about how powerful it can be to ask for help. And now I think it’s time to ask for help from all of you.

I will always love the intimacy of the Summit, but for me the Life List concept is much bigger than 14-room hotel. For a long time, I’ve been wanting a place for all of us to share our lists and help each other cross things off, but I’ve been a little perfectionist about it (imagine!), and needing things “just so” is keeping me from doing anything at all. Here are the three things I’m committing to:

1. Starting a real community.

I want: A place on Facebook where we can all start talking about what’s going on with our lists. What’s on them, what we need help with, how we can find each other geographically and start planning meetups.

I need help with: Advice on the best way to do this. I’m kind of stumbly with Facebook to say the least.

2. Giving everyone a simple way to track their Life Lists.

I want: A Facebook app that would give us an easy way to write our lists, cross things off, and link out to the info we’ve posted online — just like I do with my own list. I have some really specific ideas of how I want it to look and what I want it to do.

I need help with: The contact info for a smart app developer who has done this kind of thing with Facebook before.

3. A space for everyone.

I want: Sometime in the next year or so, I’d like to have a campout/meetup/conference open to everyone where we do the same kinds of things we do at the Summit, but on a larger, more-inclusive scale. The downside will be no free massages, the upside will be that everyone will be there.

I need help with: Getting you there. You should come.

Happy Vientetresañera, Natalie!

10th September 2010

The night before we left for Dublin, we celebrated Natalie’s twenty-third birthday. She went all out with a quinceañera theme.

It was so genius I could only shake my head in wonder, and wish I’d thought of it myself. Plus, there are advantages to having your fifteenth birthday when you’re twenty-three.

Happy birthday, Natalie.

You’re a woman now.

(More photos over here.)

Did you win?

30th August 2010


Epiphanie’s Lola Bag


Photojojo’s Fuji Instax Minis

Did you win? You did if your name is Amber and you’re commenter number 202! Please report to the front desk, Amber. You have clearly done some very nice things for people, in this or other lifetimes.

As for the rest of you, holy holy there were a lot of you. Thank you for entering and for reading. And stay tuned for another big giveaway soon. The Mighty Summit is in a few weeks, and we’ll be setting aside one of those gift bags as well.

Gift Bag Giveaway: Epiphanie Bag and Photojojo Instant Camera

25th August 2010

So! The gift bags for the Federated Media cocktail party in New York were kind of jaw dropping thanks to a couple of good friends. Maile from Epiphanie Bags, the woman who did our family photoshoot, offered to give us a bunch of her camera bags:

Then our friends downstairs at Photojojo said they could get us some Fuji Instax Minis and film:

Are these gift bags ludicrous? Yes they are. Do you want one?

Leave a comment telling us something on your life list by Monday, August 30 at noon PST. Your comment enters you for a chance to win the Lola Epiphanie camerabag and Photojojo’s Fuji Instax Mini 25 Instant Camera. I hope you win, because I like you very much. Thanks for reading.

Now for the fine print: Please only leave one comment, because it’s the nice thing to do, and also because multiple entries will be disqualified. I’ll use random.org to select the winner, and I’ll announce who won at the top of this post and in a separate post on Monday.

Mighty Meetup, NYC

11th August 2010


(Photo by Holly Burns.)

Here’s a thing that will never stop being strange to me. You can say, on the Internet, “let’s go have beer” and people will come.


(Photo via Ry Pepper).

Total strangers, who end up being friends by the end of the night.


(Photo by Zan McQuade.)

I was anxious beforehand, because my inner control freak hates to host a party without knowing whether anyone will show up.


(Photo via Zan.)

But lots (and lots, and lots) of you showed up, and it was so cool to see everyone’s faces in a room together.

And so seldom do parties end with a KISS makeup session in a public restroom. We should do this kind of thing more often.

Next time, I hope you come too.

(I was busy meeting everyone, so I don’t have many photos, but the ones I have are here. You can also have a look at the rest of Zan’s and Holly’s. If you have photos to share, please add them to our Mighty Events group on Flickr.)

Mighty Events: Old School Meetup, NYC

27th July 2010

Will you be in New York on Saturday, August 7? Us too. Let’s grab a beer.

Lots of us will be at the The Volstead (125 East 54th St.) from 6 p.m. until we leave.

There will be no sponsors, there will be no schwag, no one will make you drink a sickly sweet purple martini with hunks of dry ice. In fact, you can drink whatever you want, because you’ll be paying for it. That’s why we arranged for happy hour specials. Come raise your glass with us.

Cheers,
Maggie Mason, Laura Mayes, Karen Walrond, Susan Wagner, Holly Burns, Zan McQuade, Chris Jordan, Helen Jane Hearn, Alice Bradley, and Jenny Lawson