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Web Wandering

July 31, 2015

web wandering

Woohoo! It’s Friday! Killing time at work till 5pm? Or want to read some fun things this weekend? Let’s wander the web together!

Attending the World Domination Summit made me open my eyes to unconventional ways of working. That makes this theory even more interesting: What if Everybody Didn’t Have to Work?

Speaking of WDS, the ringleader Chris Guillebeau posted a roundup of WDS attendee posts. I haven’t read through all of them yet but the handful I’ve read have been diverse and yet feature similar themes. I love that everyone has a different experience and different things impact them, yet it almost always boils down to having an amazing time with like-minded people.

I recently discovered The Flight Deal which shares incredible deals on flights plus how to search for and book them. It definitely makes me want to plan a visit to California again and then start making a list of desired destinations.

Because it’s Friday… smores everything! No-bake smores dip, Nutella smores puff pastry pop-tarts, and smores cookies. Someone bust out the firepit and pre-heat the oven; we’re s’moresing this weekend!

I’ve been churning out ideas lately and I’ve even been planning out some action steps for one of them. If you’re in the same boat, here’s what to do if your idea doesn’t work. (Hint: all is not lost).

Danielle LaPorte has been reading my freaking mind lately. It’s like she’s speaking directly to me. Check out these three recent favorites: you’ll do it when you’re ready, when you get through the big pain, and the upside of giving up. I love this: If you’re not able to take a leap right now it might help to tell yourself, *I’m getting ready.* Which is way sexier than, *I’m not ready yet.*

Alaska is at the top of my travel bucket list, followed closely by California. There’s so much to explore and experience! My favorite RV bloggers drove from Seattle to Alaska and then Heath shared the top ten things you must experience in Alaska. If that doesn’t inspire you to search for plane tickets and RV rentals, I don’t know what will.

I feel so positive today! I’m just loving life and the internet. Have you been wandering the web too? Got something to share? Link to it in the comments and have a wonderful weekend!

Create: Ruler Growth Chart

July 30, 2015

One of my 30 Before 30 goals is to build something out of wood. Well, I didn’t build anything per se but this is a wood project so I’m calling it good! That also means that if you have no woodworking skills or experience with power tools, you can definitely do this project.

I made a fantastic growth chart for my future niece or nephew, due less than a month from now! The growth chart looks like an old school ruler on steroids.

I started by picking up a 1×6 (I think) piece of poplar at a home improvement store. I went with the 8 foot long piece instead of 6 because a) I wanted to start the measurements at zero and b) my brother is 6’2″ so this baby could potentially be taller than six feet.

Eight feet is actually a bit of overkill though so I asked the store to cut it down to 6.5 feet. They do this for free and it took all of two minutes, max.

create: ruler growth chart - getting wood cut

I hand-sanded down the edges so they were a bit rounded and felt a little softer.

create: ruler growth chart - sanding

After wiping down the board to get the dust off, I started measuring. I first went across the length of the board and marked every 12 inches. create: ruler growth chart - measuring

Then drew long vertical lines at those marks. I went back and repeated that at six inches in between, then three inches, then one. Each smaller measurement got a shorter line so you could easily tell them apart.

create: ruler growth chart - drawing lines

Then I used a ruler again to draw over the pencil lines in Sharpie. Except the Sharpie bled. Ugh! See the long line there with lots of bleeding? I had a mini heart attack.

create: ruler growth chart - drawing lines

I either should’ve conditioned the wood first or sealed it some other way, or used a Zig Memory System Writer marker from the start. This is a marker I use for scrapbooking and Project Life when writing on photos because it doesn’t smear. Thankfully it didn’t bleed much on the wood so it saved the day!

create: ruler growth chart - drawing lines

It was then time to add the numbers. I used painter’s tape to secure a stencil down and then just traced the number with the marker and colored it in. 

create: ruler growth chart - stenciling numbers

After all of this, I was super stressed about staining the wood. For one, because I wasn’t sure if the marker would bleed or smear. And two, I didn’t want to seal it so much that the growth chart couldn’t be written on. That’s an integral aspect of a growth chart!

John and I applied conditioner and then one coat of stain. My stepdad, who is a contractor, suggested just adding one coat of polyurethane and stopping there. He too was concerned about bleeding.

create: ruler growth chart - staining

If I had to do it all over again, I would’ve done some sort of sealing before drawing the lines. To be honest, I didn’t look up any tutorials so I was definitely just going for it. That’s incredibly rare for me so I guess this project helped me grow as a person, just like the fabric pennant banner.

Regardless, it turned out to be pretty cool. It definitely looks like an old school ruler and you can write on it. Success! I took this photo right before the baby shower party started and obviously the growth chart didn’t stay there during the festivities.

create: ruler growth chart

You can tell there was a smidge of smearing but nothing major. I feel okay about that. Not great but okay. It still looks pretty cool and for that I am thankful.

create: ruler growth chart

I added a little touch on the very top so my future niece or nephew will always remember that Aunt Janelle made it for him/her.

create: ruler growth chart for my niece or nephew

Here is Ben’s adorable family with the baby’s ruler growth chart after the baby party. You can see my brother is quite tall and that in no way did I get any tall genes at all.

Ben, Elizabeth, and family with ruler growth chart
I’m super excited about this project not only because it’s a goal I set for my 30 Before 30 but mostly because it’s something for my future niece or nephew to enjoy. Even if the family doesn’t end up using the growth chart for the baby, I still love knowing that I made something special for the little one.

Have you made any baby projects or ever made a growth chart? I’m always looking for ideas :)

Create: Fabric Pennant Banner

July 29, 2015

File this project under “sewing project” for my 30 Before 30 list AND “baby project” for my July goals!

Four days before my brother and his girlfriend’s baby shower, I conned my Mom into helping me make a fabric pennant banner. I wanted to use it as decoration for the baby shower (which was a celebratory party, NOT a typical baby shower – remember the invitations?) I’m not sure why my Mom agreed to helping me but I’m thrilled that she did!

We went out that evening and picked seven styles of fabric in a mix of solids and patterns. Each piece of fabric was about a half yard and we also picked out ribbon and thread.

I went home that nite and, against my better judgment, cut triangles while tired. This involved doing math and not losing any digits to the rotary cutter. I imagine it’s sort of like driving while tired… you never know where you’ll end up or what sort of harm you’ll encounter in the process. There were a few casualties that nite but luckily it was just a few triangles. No body parts were injured in the making of this banner.

I started by cutting rectangular strips of the fabric to the height of my triangles – nine inches. To cut the triangles, you take your straight edge of fabric, measure in to the midway point of your triangle size, and just connect the corner to that point and cut; what you cut is scrap and what you have left is the start of one triangle.

create: fabric pennant banner - cutting triangles

Next you just measure the length of your short triangle size – seven inches – and connect the corner to the point and cut. Repeat until you never want to see a triangle again.

create: fabric pennant banner - cutting triangles

At this point it was after 10:30pm and I texted my Mom. “Triangles are cut. We have 67. The fabric needs to be ironed though. What’s an “iron”???”

By 67 triangles, I really meant 134 because they were paired up. Oof. Luckily I could fold up most of the fabric so I was usually cutting two pieces together.

Oh and I wasn’t kidding (too much) about the iron. It’s a running joke that I don’t know what an iron is because I never use one. I buy things that don’t need to be ironed, occasionally send something off to the dry cleaners, or sweetly ask my Mom if she’d iron something for me. I haven’t touched one in more than five years.

It probably would’ve been smarter and faster to iron the fabric before I cut the triangles but oh well. Alternatively I could’ve washed and dried the fabric (before cutting) and it might not have needed to be ironed. Live and learn.

create: fabric pennant banner - ironing fabric

The next day I ironed at my Mom’s house and we got to sewing. I chose to let the stitching show to give the triangles a little interest. Mom taught me how to work the machine and sew each triangle which was super simple.

create: fabric pennant banner - sewing triangles

I learned something new about myself: sewing is not my thing. I enjoy the end result of this project but the actual sewing is not relaxing to me, like many people say. Maybe it’s just because I’m not comfortable with the machine. The whole time I was thinking “don’t sew your fingers! don’t screw up! don’t sew your fingers! don’t screw up!” Relaxing it was not. But it was easy! And that makes up for the danger factor. (haha. those who can work a sewing machine are welcome to enjoy my discomfort).

When all bazillion triangles were sewn (25% by me and 75% by my Mom) the next day, we had enough for three banners but had only purchased two rolls of ribbon. No big deal. I laid the fabric into matching piles and then divided those up into enough for three banners. Then I randomly arranged 22 triangles to go on each banner.

create: fabric pennant banner - planning the layout

This project showed a lot of personal growth. I know that sounds odd but think about it: I’m a perfectionist but totally let that go on the triangles. There were a few wrinkles, some of the triangles didn’t evenly match up, I didn’t always sew straight. I was able to recognize that those factors added charm! Plus, I randomly arranged the fabric. Janelle doesn’t randomly do anything! Janelle does order, pattern, balance. Admittedly, the random order ended up looking really good.

My Mom did all of the sewing for attaching the pennants to the ribbon. She’s awesome like that. Meanwhile, I was busy pinning everything down so she could sew. Good teamwork!

create: fabric pennant banner - pinning

It turned out so great. SO GREAT! create: fabric pennant banner

We strung them along the patio and porch as decoration for the baby shower party. The colors went so perfectly with the back yard, nature, plants and flowers, and all of the other decor.

create: fabric pennant banner

I LOVE the contrasting green zigzag stitching. My Mom is a genius.

create: fabric pennant banner

Don’t you agree that the randomness turned out well? create: fabric pennant banner

A second strand was hung around the corner, across from all the food.

create: fabric pennant banner

My brother’s girlfriend, Elizabeth (the expectant mama!), loved the banners as much as my Mom and I did. We asked her if she wanted to keep them and she said she’d like to try to use them in the baby’s room. HOORAY! I hope that works out because it warms my heart that my tiny little niece or nephew will have something in their room made by their aunt (me!) and grandma (my Mom!). ahhhh this is really happening!! BABY!!!! And yes, that deserves a thousand more exclamation points.

Have you ever made a similar pennant banner? It’s so easy. Even I could do it. ha! I liked it so much that I already asked my Mom if we could make another. That should tell you something.

Have you made other baby shower or nursery projects? I’d love to hear about them in case I want to tackle something else. I’m sure there will be more projects after the baby is born and as he/she celebrates lots of milestones. Wait, one more time… BABY!!!

5 Ways to Get the Most Out of the World Domination Summit

July 27, 2015

I recently attended the World Domination Summit, an event that brings together individuals who aspire to live a meaningful life. We ask ourselves, “how can we live a remarkable life in a conventional world?” WDS focuses on the tenets of community, adventure, and service. 

At the World Domination Summit, so many people asked me, “what are you hoping to get out of WDS?” I never had a real answer except “soak it up!” I wanted to experience anything and everything without expectations affecting my outlook. It turns out that I had one of the best times of my life. WDS was such an incredible experience!

World Domination Summit

The WDS team puts a ton of effort into successfully pulling off a great event. If you get an opportunity to attend WDS next year, do it! Here are five tips to make sure you’re blown away by the amazing World Domination Summit experience:

1. Be open-minded. From the dancing men on stilts to the all-ukelele punk band to the people you meet to what you “expect” from WDS, keep an open mind. It’s the only way you’ll be happy with your experience instead of thinking, “man, I really wish [fill in the blank]” the whole time. That’s good advice for traveling anywhere.

As my Mama always says… it’s not better, it’s not worse, it’s just different. If something or someone is a little strange compared to what you’re used to, it’s just different. Roll with it!

2. If you have a group of people you know, branch out from them on occasion. It’s good to strike a balance between spending time with friends you’ve already made there and finding new friends. Part of the WDS experience is meeting new people and hearing new ideas and perspectives; you’re only going to get that if you make a choice to talk to people you haven’t met yet.

I roomed with Jess and Sara, where WDS was my only real opportunity to spend time with them in-person. We were together when our schedules aligned but didn’t stress over separating when choosing events and what we wanted to do.

3. Create a varied experience. The main stage events at WDS are for everyone, which this year meant around 3,000 people. Speakers can really only focus on big-picture topics with a crowd that size. By big-picture, I mean those overarching inspirational concepts that get quoted and tweeted and instagrammed. Where you get into the nitty-gritty is through Academies and Meet-ups. This is where you learn specific tactics and solutions to some of the issues you may be experiencing.

For me, the Academies were the most valuable part of WDS. It allowed me to interact with others in a smaller group and provided me with explicit steps to get where I want to be.

4. Enjoy Portland. The city is part of the WDS experience! Portland is unique. It’s walkable, has a lot of public transportation, is eco-friendly and healthy, and it’s in a beautiful area of the Pacific Northwest.

At first I didn’t realize that Portland played such a big role in the WDS experience; I thought that maybe WDS should be held in different cities so its attendees could visit somewhere new each year. After the weekend wrapped up, I realized that WDS would not have the same warm-and-fuzzy feeling if it was located in, say, New York City. It just wouldn’t be the same. So appreciate the role that Portland plays and explore the city!

5. Step outside your comfort zone. The WDS team does an incredible job accommodating introverts; I am one myself. But that doesn’t mean we should stay inside our safe little bubbles the whole time. The only way to grow as a person is to push yourself and do something a bit scary, a bit uncomfortable. (Or as my WDS roomie/friend Jess says, get gutsy!)

I told myself ahead of time that my only goal for WDS was to get outside my comfort zone. I hate small talk… but I talked to as many people as possible (and learned that small talk barely exists at WDS because you always go much deeper!) I didn’t know anyone going to the Academies or Meetups or Worldwide Waffles world record attempt… but I went by myself. I don’t dance… but I danced my ass off at the closing party. It’s so easy to see now that I had a fantastic time as a direct result of getting outside my comfort zone. It was significantly more fun than defaulting to my preferred MO of staying in the hotel and reading (although I got in a little of that too!)

I’m still reeling from WDS. It was an experience of a lifetime! These five tips are what helped me have such an amazing time.

This is my last World Domination Summit post! At least, for now… :) I’m sure I’ll have more WDS-influenced content to share in the weeks to come. Have any questions for me? I’m happy to share!

PS – Want more WDS posts? Check out exploring Portland, my life goal to make a difference, a recap of my WDS experience, my 4 biggest takeaways, and what makes WDS special.

What Makes the World Domination Summit Special

July 26, 2015

There are a number of ways the World Domination Summit sets itself apart from other events. For one, right off the bat is its name. And for two, its purpose: community, adventure, service, and connecting those who want to follow their hearts instead of following conventional paths.

Those are things you can pick up on after just two minutes of reading the WDS site. However, there are aspects of WDS that make it special, aspects that you likely wouldn’t get a feeling for until you’ve been there and experienced them for yourself.

World Domination Summit - Janelle at registration

If you haven’t been to any of the five World Domination Summits, here’s your opportunity to experience a little slice of what makes WDS so damn special:

Opportunities to meet people. There are hundreds or even thousands of people who are just like you in terms of their goals, how they feel about work and play, their struggles, and more. WDS does a great job of creating opportunities to make new friends. The bonus is that this includes speakers and attendees who are famous in their own little corner of the internet. Everyone is (generally) on the same playing field.

Sense of compassionate community. WDS creates a supportive, encouraging, compassionate community. Our weekend included hundreds of high fives as well as hugs, holding hands, supporting those who were brave enough to be open and show vulnerability, and cheering people on. This created the feeling that we were one community, one team working toward the same goal (of being awesome!).

Deeper conversations. Since we were all in somewhat similar situations, and our names and hometowns were on our badges, that allowed us to skip right over common smalltalk. It was normal to ask someone a probing question shortly after meeting them and they’d answer, ask the same of you, and listen.

Get a quiet break. WDS built in opportunities for anyone to get a quiet break. There was a quieter room at the opening party, a Highly Sensitive Persons lounge (complete with hammocks and nap areas!) during the main days, and big breaks scheduled into our days that were perfect for anyone needing a break from the social overwhelm. WDS is very accommodating of introverts and other types of people who just need a break every once in a while.

Various opportunities to connect and learn: However you learn and interact best, WDS offers it. There were huge main stage sessions, mid-size Academies, smaller Meet-ups, and small group and one-on-one social chatting. This gave you a chance to sometimes be anonymous and yet still connect personally at times.

Air of sharing: WDS somehow finds a way to break down walls between people. It became normal to share struggles, successes, painful situations, lessons learned, dreams, goals, and more. At WDS, you wear your heart on your sleeve.

I have experienced nothing like the World Domination Summit in my life. Nothing even comes close. WDS is a truly special event full of awesome people and the WDS staff makes it a point to create a memorable, unique experience for each of us.

PS – Want more WDS posts? Check out exploring Portland, my life goal to make a difference, a recap of my WDS experience, my 4 biggest takeaways, and 5 ways to get the most out of WDS.

My 4 Biggest Takeaways from the World Domination Summit

July 24, 2015

I recently attended the World Domination Summit, an event that brings together individuals who aspire to live a meaningful life. We ask ourselves, “how can we live a remarkable life in a conventional world?” WDS focuses on the tenets of community, adventure, and service. I had an absolutely incredible time and am excited to share everything with you!

The World Domination Summit is a gathering of like-minded people with similar goals of doing something meaningful with their lives. We are not accepting the status quo or passively watching our days pass by; we are pushing ourselves to be better, do something meaningful, find our calling and answer it.

World Domination Summit end

This is the absolute best way I can describe my experience at the World Domination Summit: WDS helps me remember and connect with who I am and who I want to be

After five days of speakers, academies, meetups, high fives, hugs, tears, laughter, learning, thinking, note-taking, and meeting new people, I walked away knowing that WDS is the place for me and its people are the people for me.

Here are my four biggest takeaways from the entire World Domination Summit experience:

Take imperfect action. I don’t know who said it first but it was reiterated several times and seems to be a common theme at many WDS events. The reminder to take imperfect action is a call to me to stop fussing over details, stop being a perfectionist all the time, stop feeling overwhelmed by the big picture, and just start doing something. Momentum will keep me moving forward and I’ll surely figure it out as I go.

Make a difference. We have a finite amount of time on this earth and I’d love to use that time to love, make a difference, and do something meaningful. This is big for me because I’ve taken a look at the way I spend my time and I’ve realized that there are some changes I need to make. Things aren’t sitting right with me. If my days lack purpose and meaning, what am I doing with my life? I want to find that again. I’m looking at all of the big players in my life (work, relationships, hobbies, etc) and reevaluating.

Ask: how can I help? I’m a giver; it’s what I do. But sometimes I offer help without asking what would be most useful. I’d like to remember to do that. Asking how you can help also relates to a bigger picture: ask someone what their dream is, and then ask how you can help them get there. Let’s get used to having deeper conversations with people we love, people we work alongside, people we’ve just met. Let’s find out how we can use our skills and strengths to help others find meaning in their own lives.

You have everything you need right now to take action on your dreams. This isn’t a reminder; this is a mantra. What is the first step to taking action toward your dreams? If that feels overwhelming, break it down even further. What’s the first tiny little baby step? Do it. Now. Sometimes we just need someone to tell us that you can do something right now. Why can’t that person be you? Even a small step is a small step forward. It is not insignificant. It is progress!

There could easily be 100 lessons I learned over the five days of WDS activities but these are the four that stood out to me the most. These will stick with me in the coming months as I make some changes in my life, the way I do things, the people I surround myself with, the choices I make, and more. I’m going to take action and that doesn’t simply mean working toward my dreams, although that is a huge part of it. There’s more to come! On to bigger and better things :)

I’m wrapping up my 29th year in the best way possible and plan to enter my thirties with tons of positivity over its potential, and a definite action plan for becoming the person I want to be. The World Domination Summit has played a HUGE role in sparking this shift of attitude and outlook. Instead of fearing my thirties, I’m actually looking forward to them!

PS – Want more World Domination Summit posts? Check out exploring Portland, my life goal to make a difference, a recap of my WDS experiencewhat makes WDS special, and 5 ways to get the most out of WDS.

World Domination Summit 2015 Recap

July 23, 2015

Attending the World Domination Summit impacted me in so many ways and so deeply. This post is simply a recap what I did during WDS but it certainly will not fully convey the deeper meaning woven throughout the event. I’ll share more about that in other posts.

Also, this post is long (I probably should’ve split it up) and photo heavy! I could’ve used the WDS professional photos in this post but I wanted to keep it personal… and also not show the stark contrast between the pro photos and my iPhone photos ;) So this is all me.

World Domination Summit - Janelle at registration

First, a little about WDS: The World Domination Summit brings together individuals who aspire to live a meaningful life. We ask ourselves, “how can we live a remarkable life in a conventional world?” WDS focuses on the tenants of community, adventure, and service. There’s actually no way to describe WDS that encompasses the events, the feeling, the people, the leadership, everything. That’s my best shot.

As for the structure of the World Domination Summit, WDS itself is really “just” a welcome party Friday nite, main stage speakers over the weekend with some events mixed in, and a closing party Sunday nite. You can beef up your WDS experience by adding optional Academies before and after the weekend, which are typically three-hour blocks in a smaller group focusing on one specific topic. The Academies are a nominal fee and offer a way to meet people, learn about a topic, and get explicit tools, tips, and tactics as opposed to overarching inspirational ideas that are often presented by the main stage speakers. Meetups also occur throughout the weekend which are informal and free, and are much more intimate. This year there were about 3,000 WDS attendees, Academies were in the range of about 100-300, and meetups were usually fewer than 50 people.

Thursday July 9th

After exploring Portland for an afternoon with Jess and Sara, my World Domination Summit experience kicked off with a day of two Academies.

The first was called Location Rebel with Sean Ogle. He’s pretty well known in the WDS world and online. The Academy covered exact steps for becoming location independent, a common goal for many WDSers. I wouldn’t hate it myself :)

World Domination Summit - Location Rebel Academy with Sean Ogle

Sean shared a Tim Ferriss quote that struck a chord with me. “Most people will choose unhappiness over uncertainty.” If I can learn to embrace uncertainty and recognize it as a choice and an opportunity to grow, I will be a much happier, better person.

I walked out of this Academy knowing that I already have the skills to become location independent, I just have to make it happen… and that is totally within reach if I want it to be and I put some work into it.

I took a ton of notes, met lots of new people, laughed, and celebrated a successful and enjoyable start to WDS!

My afternoon Academy was Language Lab with Benny Lewis, a guy who has learned to speak several languages fluently. His (proven) theory is that learning a language isn’t an intellectual challenge, it’s a social challenge, and that immersion is the absolute best way to learn.

World Domination Summit - Language Lab Academy with Benny Lewis

“Fluent” to him means you can have a casual conversation. Think about the kinds of things you say on a daily basis in your native language… Benny believes we say a lot of the same things over and over, so learning those phrases in another language by speaking with someone allows you to learn quickly.

By the end of his Academy, we had partnered up and I was conversing with a new friend in German! The point wasn’t to memorize or be perfect at all; the point was to speak! We could use resources like Google Translate or resources on his website; he didn’t care as long as we were speaking a different language. For a small chunk of time he even mandated NO ENGLISH! It was challenging but so rewarding.

I gotta tell you: I would’ve never done that if it wasn’t for this Academy! Speaking another language, even poorly, builds confidence for future conversations. That doesn’t mean I’ll be able to carry on a conversation with Hootie next time I see her, but it does mean that I know I have the ability to try.

Friday July 10th

In the morning I participated in possibly one of the most memorable events of my life: a world record attempt! WDSers attempted to break the world record for the biggest breakfast in bed party. I’m not kidding! And we were encouraged to come dressed in pajamas or a costume.

World Domination Summit - Worldwide Waffles

This fun event, called Worldwide Waffles, took place in Pioneer Courthouse Square, fondly dubbed “Portland’s living room” if you recall from my roundup of Portland excitement. Volunteers set up 160 beds and handed out food that included Voodoo Doughnuts, half of a banana, a vegetarian breakfast burrito, and a yogurt parfait.

World Domination Summit - Worldwide Waffles

I was placed with three strangers new friends, one of whom was a HUGE women’s soccer fan!

World Domination Summit - Worldwide Waffles

I support this sentiment from KIND Snacks.

World Domination Summit - Worldwide Waffles

There was a lot of talking, eating, and celebrating because we did indeed break the record! We had 600 people breakfasting in bed together which resulted in lots of bed jokes.

World Domination Summit - Worldwide Waffles

The documentation got sent off to Guinness World Records to make it official and we each got a certificate of participation.

World Domination Summit - Worldwide Waffles
How cool is it that I can say I participated in breaking a world record?!? Plus the beds and mattresses were donated to local non-profit organizations who put them to good use for families in nearby communities.

Worldwide Waffles ended late in the morning so I went back to the hotel to change. (I hadn’t worn pajamas but I had worn a soccer shirt and shorts… which are basically my PJs).

I spent the afternoon at two Meetups which if you recall, are free, casual, and intimate. The first one wasn’t that great but I had stellar shrimp and lobster tacos and met two people who I ended up hanging out with a few times later on in the weekend.

The second Meetup I went to was called “Help! I’m 28 and My Life is Falling Apart!” hahaha. No joke. The Meetup was marked as full when I looked online but I wanted to attend so badly that I just showed up and got in! This is where I met several new friends who are struggling with similar things in our lives. I think these will be the people I keep in touch with most. The guy who ran the Meetup had A LOT of great information to share. I met up with him one-on-one on my last day in Portland for a closer look at two of my current struggles. The Meetup and the one-on-one were incredibly valuable and eye-opening. You might be hearing about this more in the future.

After the Meetups I went to registration and picked up my name badge and swag. We got a packable bag, water bottle, pen, the latest book from Chris Guillebeau (he’s the genius behind WDS!), socks, workbook, and tshirt. I parted ways with friends from the Meetups, dropped my stuff off at the hotel, and Jess, Sara, and I made our way to the opening party. The World Domination Summit had officially begun!

The party was in a two-story urban venue where the second floor was more of a loft. This is me showing some excitement about the balloons. haha. Now I need them at my birthday party!

World Domination Summit - opening party

The party featured carnival games, drinks, snacks, a band, tarot readers, food trucks, and more. I met a few new people (recurring theme?) and played some games which was fun. Apparently I cannot accurately throw a dart at a balloon but I can sink ping pong balls in fish tanks! It’s good to know your strengths and weaknesses.

World Domination Summit - opening party

Jess, Sara, and I grabbed some food after the party and rested up for our BIG WEEKEND! At this point I had experienced enough of the pre-weekend activities that I KNEW I would get a lot out of the trip. Since the pre-WDS events had been so valuable, I figured the weekend activities were a sure bet. That absolutely turned out to be true.

Saturday July 11th

Our first official WDS day! This was us waiting in line to get into the theater to hear the five speakers scheduled for the day, plus a couple of extra surprises. Even though the three of us got dressed in the same room, I clearly didn’t get the memo to wear black. Oh well! Sara would like you to know that she isn’t actually that short; she’s on the low end of the hill.

World Domination Summit - Janelle, Jess, Sara

The anticipation!

World Domination Summit

The three of us split up when we entered the theater because I wanted to meet new people when I picked a seat. This is what I saw upon entering and it carried so much positive energy.

World Domination Summit

I immediately had an intense feeling of being alive, that I was really at WDS (surreal after reading about it for a few years!), and excited that I had a full weekend of learning, dreaming, and inspiration ahead of me.

WDS announces a few speakers ahead of time but some are under wraps and the order of speakers isn’t known. When we learned that Jon Acuff was speaking first, I was super excited because I’ve read his books and I follow him online; he’s a fantastic writer, speaker, and family man.

I’m only going to highlight my favorite speakers because why waste my time or yours on speakers or topics I felt meh about? Jon Acuff seemed to be a crowd favorite and likely because he had a universally relatable topic: finding your voice.

World Domination Summit - Jon Acuff

He said so many things that resonated with me. Here are a few:

  • If your younger self could see you now, would she clap or would she cry?
  • Regret has a longer shelf-life than fear.
  • Sometimes we lose our voice because we hide from it by being busy. “If you stay in motion, you don’t have to face the things that make you emotional.”
  • Sometimes we subconsciously find haters just so they confirm our fears.

My other favorite speaker(s!) of the day were Kid President and Brad Montague.

Brad Montague and Robby Novak - Kid President - World Domination Summit

I already mentioned that they have encouraged me to make a difference. What I haven’t yet mentioned is this one small phrase that has been bouncing around my brain ever since: You are being uniquely prepared for something magical. I need that on my mirror, my wall, my arm, everywhere. Sometimes the path we’re on doesn’t make sense… until it does. Then looking back you can see that this twist and that turn and those damn u-turns all worked together to get you where you need to be, where you feel best.

World Domination Summit - Kid President and Brad Montague

Moreso than the words making an impact, Robby & Brad’s energy is what struck me. They have a tight relationship and positive, encouraging, genuinely loving spirits. I actually got to meet Brad afterward. His first words to me were, “hi fellow ginger!” and he hugged me. So sweet. I usually try to leave well known folks alone but I really wanted to tell Brad that I appreciate him showing who a man can be: a role model, a source of encouragement and support, and someone who can express himself.

The Portland Experience

During our afternoon break on Saturday, WDS created an event called the Portland Experience to bring some highlights of Portland to us in case we weren’t able to get out and explore the city. There were food trucks, local beers, service projects, some Meetups, and more.

I’m bursting at the seams to share that I finally met Heath and Alyssa of Hourly America! A while back I stumbled across them online as they were wrapping up their honeymoon: traveling all 50 states in their RV (well, you know, not Hawaii) and working an hourly job in each state. They reignited my interest in visiting all 50 states and sparked a desire to do so in an RV. We’ve been interacting through their blogs and social media since then and I finally got the chance to meet them.

World Domination Summit - Heath and Alyssa Padgett

They are super sweet and genuine. I am so happy I got to meet them and talk for a while! Heath’s a fellow ginger which is always fun for me. They have a few projects in the works right now that are very exciting. I can’t wait to get my hands on more of their work!

That afternoon I also participated in two service projects. The Dream Box Project provides supplies to children in living situations like shelters and foster care.

World Domination Summit - Portland Experience - Dreambox Project

Each box full of supplies gets decorated by the volunteer who put it together. In this case, that would be me! I loved doing this and told the organizers that I could’ve decorated boxes all day!

World Domination Summit - Portland Experience - Dreambox Project

The other service project involved painting a Dream Bot. They begin as blank dominoes and then you paint a robot. These robots are given to children’s hospitals, non-profits, and others in need. The bot serves as a protector and brings the owner bravery and courage. It’s a super cool concept by Gary Hirsch.

World Domination Summit - Portland Experience - Brave Bot

I don’t know how many Brave Bots WDSers painted that day but it had to have been hundreds. I hope so anyway!

World Domination Summit - Portland Experience - Brave Bots

The day ended with two more speakers, lots of high fives, food, and falling asleep knowing that I had the most amazing day possible.

Sunday July 12th

Day 2 and the final official day of the World Domination Summit! (So soon?!?? It just started!)

World Domination Summit - Janelle, Jess, Sara

My favorite speaker this day was Derek Sivers. He founded CDbaby.com back in the day, built it up, then sold it. His approach to business aligns with my own ideals. I believe in treating people like humans… ya know, the way you’d want to be treated in a situation. I believe in being human, not just a business. I believe in providing value. And I believe in exceeding expectations (which is often pretty easy because consumers have become jaded).

World Domination Summit - Derek Sivers

Easily Derek’s most memorable advice was to consider, “What is version 0.1?” I’ve worked for a software company for nine years so I’m familiar with creating versions and revisions and iterations. I love that Derek wasn’t even talking about a viable version 1.0; he just wants us to figure out the version of our idea that we can do right now. That’s version 0.1 and you can “ship it” quickly. This is something I need to remind myself of alllll the time because I have a habit of taking one small idea and blowing it up into this huge project which then makes me feel overwhelmed. If I can boil ideas down to version 0.1, it’ll be more manageable to make progress and I’ll actually take action!

A number of other things occurred during the two days of main stage sessions – short transition speakers, more world records, sharing, hugging, announcements, and more – but I’ve hit most of the highlights for me. This is Chris Guillebeau on stage wrapping things up for the day:

World Domination Summit - Chris Guillebeau

He left us with this inspiring message on-screen:
World Domination Summit end

It took away a bit of my sadness that WDS was over – I’d been saying all weekend that I wish I could LIVE within WDS year-round! – and made me feel excited for the future and for what I could do with what I’d learned.Janelle at World Domination Summit

The World Domination Summit wasn’t complete until we celebrated the nite away at the closing party. I had not just stepped but lept! outside my comfort zone the entire time at WDS; the closing party was no exception.

I asked some of my new friends if I could snap a selfie with them and they all obliged.
World Domination Summit - new friends

The party had a manned photobooth with props so of course Sara, Jess, and I had to partake. They’re really fun photos of us to commemorate our time together! This is my absolute favorite. It cracks me up!

World Domination Summit - Sara, Jess, Janelle

The party took place once again in Pioneer Courthouse Square, complete with stage, DJ, Bollywood dancers, tents where you could send paint flying from drums like Blue Man Group, and images and video projected onto the side of a nearby building. This was a damn good party.

World Domination Summit - closing party

Normally I do not dance at parties. Or clubs. Or weddings. Or ever, really. But I danced at this party! For hours! Of course, I also helped break a world record by blowing out a candle on a cupcake and then another world record by eating a cupcake. It’s tough stuff, I tell ya. Then I helped the crowd bounce these LED balls around which amped up the party energy. I had a fantastic time and it was a memorable way to end the WDS weekend. Seriously. So much fun!

World Domination Summit - closing party

Monday July 13th

After all of that, I really needed some time to decompress and process everything I’d heard and learned over the previous days. I’m so thankful I didn’t fly home first thing that morning and instead gave myself a day of leeway.

I was able to attend one last Academy which I’m certain was designed specifically for me. It was called “How to take action after WDS” but the presenters, Rob Young and Pam Slim, dubbed it “Ship It!” because the goal was to leave the Academy with a short list of action items that would enable you to quickly ship (launch) your idea. That is exactly what I left with!

It almost felt like the entire weekend existed just so I could get ACTION out of this Academy. I’m so grateful for what I learned within those three hours. I can apply that information to a project, job, relationship, and so many areas of life. I hope to share more as I dive further into what I learned!

World Domination Summit - Ship It Academy with Rob Young and Pam Slim

Post-WDS

If you missed how I spent the afternoon after the Academy – my last day in Portland – you can catch it here.

Overall, I had an incredible experience at the World Domination Summit. I’ve been back for a week and I still don’t have words to describe how it made me feel. Well, I have words but not sentences. Invigorated. Hopeful. Direction. Excited. Thrilled. In love. Potential. Home. 

World Domination Summit - Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall

I’m already planning on attending WDS next year. I want to, I need to, and it WILL happen!

Phew. Okay. So that was 3,000 words on one of the best experiences of my life and it was only the “what I did” and didn’t even cover all of it! I actually do have more to share :) But I’ll save that for another post. For now, what questions do you have? I know the words World Domination Summit are both ambiguous and mysterious so even with knowing a little more about it, I bet there are things you’re still curious about. Ask me in the comments! I love talking about WDS and sharing what I learned!

PS – Want more World Domination Summit posts? Check out exploring Portland, my life goal to make a difference, my 4 biggest takeawayswhat makes WDS special, and 5 ways to get the most out of WDS.

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