Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Southern Bloggers Conference

Today I finally talk about the fabulous Southern Bloggers Conference! 

 I know you all have been anxiously awaiting my story.  HAHA!

When I first heard about the conference, I knew I wanted to go.  However, for those of you who are new to my blog, I have an issue with anxiety and going out of my comfort zone.  Going to a blog conference 500 miles away from home, to be with 100+ people that I've only met online sent my anxiety into high gear.

Thank goodness, my fantastic husband agreed to go with me.  Even though he wasn't actually IN the conference with me, just knowing he was a few yards away made me feel so much better.  I wouldn't have been able to do it without him!

I don't know why I get so anxious, because I always end up having an incredible time....and this time was no exception!  Not only did I get to meet Barb and B, I got to meet 100 other wonderful women (and men) that share the same interests and passions.  It's great to be in the same room with people who don't think it's weird when you break out your gigantor camera during the middle of a conversation.

Friday afternoon was check-in, where we got to meet the fabulous women who put so much time and effort making this conference happen.  We also get our incredible swag bags full of some seriously fantastic swag!

Then immediately after check-in,  about 20 of us headed across the street to The Container Store for a wonderful presentation.  

The presentation was great, but the highlight of that little trip was the sight of all 20 of us (in various styles of shoes) running across 4 lanes of rush-hour traffic.  I swear, we laughed so hard at ourselves.  It was literally like a real-life version of Frogger!  We joked about the potential headlines for the next day:  "Blogger killed while attempting to run across rush-hour traffic in heels."  Fortunately for the slower/less death wishers of the group, the hotel shuttle brought us back to the hotel.

After our exhilarating Container Store excursion, we had a meet-and-greet at the hotel.  It was a lot of fun, with great food.  It was a wonderful opportunity to try to meet as many people as possible, hand out business (blog) cards, and entice people with ring pops (not that I did that or anything).

Saturday started early, but time just flew by as speaker after speaker came up and taught us so much about the blog world.  It was incredible to hear these speakers stories and how much they had learned in a relatively short period of time!

1. Annie Omar from Maison Blanche Paint Company 2. Rhoda from Southern Hospitality  3. Kelly from Eclectically Vintage  4. Kari from Thistlewood Farm 5. Kristen from Sophia's Decor  6. Amy from Atta Girl Says

1. Annie Omar from Maison Blanche Paint Company who taught us several painting/finishing techniques.

 2. Rhoda from Southern Hospitality talked about her life and her blogging career.  And let me just say, Rhoda brought the room to tears telling about her life of the past couple of years.  It just proves that you never know what is really going on behind the scenes!

3. Kelly from Eclectically Vintage talked about what common mistakes bloggers make. 

4. Kari from Thistlewood Farm talked about tips for increasing your blog readership. (And girlfriend ROCKED her earrings!)

 5. Kristen from Sophia's Decor and 6. Amy from Atta Girl Says showed us milk-painting techniques using Miss Mustard Seeds fabulous new line of milk-paints.  I was especially interested in this demonstration because I won a 12-color sampler of Miss Mustard Seed's paints!  I can't wait to use them!

Heather from At the Picket Fence also did a fabulous presentation, but I didn't have any good pictures of her (for some strange reason) I did get shots of her fantastic tips, though! ;)

Brittany from Pretty Handy Girl did a fantastic presentation about making things for your home out of thrifted/re-purposed items.

I learned SO much from these wonderful ladies!  It was very overwhelming, but so informative!  I hope to make some big, and some not-so-big changes with the blog in the near future.

1. Michelle from The Adventures of Supermom and Amy from Atta Girl Says 2. A delicious spread provided by one of our wonderful sponsors, HomeTalk  3. A hysterical True/False game done by the HomeTalk bloggers  4. Krista from Need A Latte Mom who won the super-duper grand prize donated by Crystorama Lighting
Before we knew it, the weekend came to a close and it was time to say our goodbyes.

1. Me and Jennifer from Our Southern Table  2. Me and Barb from The Everyday Home 3. Barb and Suzy from Worthing Court  4. Amy, Melissa from Finding Out How the Pieces Fit and Jennifer.

Jennifer and I spent a lot of time together and I really enjoyed getting to know her better.  We found out that she knows several people from my area (and actually knows where my tiny little town is!)  Such a small world!

This was my first blog conference, but it will definitely not be my last!  The Southern Blogger ladies really set the bar high for any future conferences I attend! I just don't see how it could have gone any better!  So, for all of you bloggers and would-be bloggers out there, if you ever get the opportunity to attend one, DO IT!  You will be so thankful you did!  Not just for the learning opportunities, but for the life-long friendships you will make!
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