Last weekend, I had the privilege of attending my first blog conference! The conference is called “Elevate” and is on the smaller side, with about 75 attendees. It was an all-day event, with several speakers, giveaways, crafts, and mingling! The day after Elevate, I hung out with one of my friends, and she asked, “so what do you do at a blogger conference?” I think I was asking myself the same thing during the days leading up to it.
So what do you do? Well, if you’re like me then you learn and cry and feel awkward one moment and then brave enough to waltz up to a group of strangers the next. You listen to speakers that change your world for a few minutes, and you eat 2-3 servings of each meal because it’s so.freaking.good. And on top of learning skills and gaining inspiration that will affect your own blog, you feel a little humbled knowing that you’re not the only person in a ten-mile radius who’s as crazy about their virtual space as you are.
The conference was held in Newport Beach and was only a few minutes from where my dad lives. It felt like a piece of home. I give you Exhibit A:
I got to meet some neat bloggers and collect their business cards. Here are the ones I made off with, along with some of my own, my name-tag, and some fun photobooth pictures we did. I’d zoom in on the photobooth pictures, but I look drunk in all of them (despite not actually being drunk at all. woops). Please note that Lisa Leonard’s business card was a beautiful, free necklace — what a neat way to brand your business! Ashley Hackshaw also stamped her business’ details on the back of cut up cereal boxes. I tell ya, these women are creative.
Now, I have to tell you: I was so SO excited to meet Ashley Hackshaw of Lil Blue Boo. Before I started my blog, I stumbled across hers (from Pinterest, I think), and was instantly wowed by her creativity. Seriously, this girl has got it goin’ ON. Her house is a creative mecca and her story is one that will leave you effortlessly inspired. I remember clicking over to her Facebook group while stalking her during my pre-blog stages and saw that she had around 30,000 page likes. I remember that moment because it was when I realized that there was something to this blogging gig — that people believed in it and that it had the power to connect people, a lot of people! I’ve followed Ashley’s blog since then and she constantly motivates me. She was also totally sweet and down-to-earth in real life, which was icing on the cake. 🙂
Aside from meeting Ashley, I was also wowed by speeches from Lisa Leonard and Desiree Campbell. Now this is where I admit to feeling totally sheepish: I’d never heard of either of these women before. I’ve been pretty darn invested in the blog world over the past year, so I assumed I was well-versed in the people who are making waves. Nope. Lisa and Desiree are both hugely successful bloggers, business owners, and parents and listening to their speeches was one of the highlights of the entire event for me. I will forever be a fan of these beautiful women — they really shared their hearts with us and I just about ugly cried while they were speaking (I can’t not cry when someone else is crying. It’s a fact).
I wanted to share a couple of my favorite pieces from their speeches, in hopes that their words might inspire you the way they did me! First, Desiree said, “your blog should have so much ‘texture’ that readers think of your blog as their blog.” She also reminded us that “we shouldn’t feel shy or humble about sharing how many visitors our blog receives because those are real people who take the time to visit your blog. We should be proud of the real people who support our work.” Next, Lisa talked about building community. Her keynote speech was incredibly moving, but some of her main points were to “be loving and be brave.” She said that sometimes we’ll receive cruel words from people online and that we need to remember that “this is a hurting person who wants to be loved.” She also asked, “what if the goal was bravery rather than dollars or pageviews?” I absolutely loved that point about pushing ourselves to be brave with our blogs and allowing everything else to fall into place.
Phew! On top of these speeches, there were also various workshops, like photography, affiliate marketing, and even makeup. The photo below is from the photography workshop when everyone was asked to take a selfie at the same time. Only at a blogger conference, I tell ya! 😉
I enjoyed the craft workshops that were put on as well. Here’s a little tassel garland I made. You can see Lauren of Pink on the Cheek in the background — she was so awesome! Love that girl!
Overall the conference was pretty fun and I definitely walked away with some new inspiration to add to my tool belt. I also recently found out that I’ll be going to Alt Summit in Salt Lake City, Utah, in a few weeks, so I’m ridiculously excited for that (more than a person probably should be, it’s gross).
Have you ever attended a blog conference? Would you?
Wina of Foreign Geek
Now I get to introduce you to Wina of Foreign Geek! Wina is a traveler extraordinaire and describes herself as “a postive-minded and adventurous geek who’s funny and a little weird.” (Aren’t we all!) She goes to crazy beautiful places like The Great Wall of China, Jeju Island in Korea, and…TOKYO! (yay!). If you want to learn more about her, I have a fun little interview with her below — check it out!
What is your biggest dream for the future?
I want to travel the world and enjoy the diversity of the cultures. That, and be the president.
What do you do to stay creative?
That’s easy! Be spontaneous and experimental. Routines kill creativity. Experiencing new things flutters and expands my mind, be it sitting in a new coffee shop, trying out a new cuisine or meeting a new group of people. I always end up with something interesting to take note of.
What has been one of your favorite destinations and why?
JAPAN! Why? Oh, let me count the reasons; the culture and delicious food choices, four seasons, friendly and stylish people, widely accepted weirdness, hot spring, the history, the festivals, Anime, Shinkansen, vending machines, nicely dressed salary men. I am forever jealous of your time living in Japan. I would move to Japan in a heartbeat. Maybe I should..
In 15 words or less, share your best piece of advice.
Practice self-love. Believe in your glamour. Prioritize your happiness. Share your JOY!
Wina was also sweet enough to give away a $25 Etsy gift card to one reader. YAY for supporting handmade and generally being awesome. 🙂 You can enter right down below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway