I attended my very first blog conference two weeks ago. I was so nervous because I was a new blogger and wasn’t sure what went on at one of these things! Of course the day of I had to drop my kids off at my mother in laws and realized I had a photo shoot at four and had nothing to wear. Well, I probably did have something but I wasn’t feeling it so I ran to Nordstrom and Dillard’s to see what I could scoop up in an hour. Luckily I found the cutest hot pink dress and these amazing floral lace up Steve Madden shoes that were ON SALE! HOLLA! Who doesn’t love when they find a good sale? Eh? From the mall I headed over to the newly open Embassy Suites in The Woodlands. I was sharing a room with a few fellow blogging babes and couldn’t wait for them to arrive. Our room was gorgeous! I was sleek and modern, yet homey feeling. When I walked in there was a full room with a couch, chair, wall mounted tv, desk and sink area. In the next room were two queen bed and a bathroom that was attached to the sitting area on the other side. We totally lucked out with a beautiful view of the third story pool and lake area across the street.
I have to give a HUGE shout out to Bree Pair and Whitney Hough. These two ladies found amazing speakers as well as sponsors who spoiled us all weekend. To top it off, Whitney moved across the country the day after the conference. I would have sat in a corner and cried but she was a rock star. Francesca’s provided us with beautiful shabby chic setups for photo ops and a bag of swag!
We had the amazing and talented Meg Cady who took all of these photos and then granted us permission to use them in our posts. How awesome is that? As our Emcee between guest speakers we had Nicole Seligman of Writes Like a Girl. She was hilarious and lives in Austin, my hometown so of course I loved her.
Our first speaker was Alissa Circle (in blue), she writes Diary of an Addict, owns Pollinate Media as well as Weave Made Media. She spoke to us about finding our voice as a blogger and staying true to ourselves. If you write a blog about being frugal, you probably cannot accept that new Louis Vuitton!!! Alissa is married with two children, runs three companies and finds time to touch base on all of her social media outlets. She talked to us about work-life balance and how she keeps her businesses and family running smoothly by delegating tasks and hiring an awesome team. One member of her team is Skye McLain. Skye happens to live by me and she rocks it as a virtual assistant to creative companies such as Pollinate. Who even knew you could get a virtual assistant? She helps people like Alissa handle the day to day happenings so she can be free to focus on the bigger picture of her companies. Be sure to check them out on Periscope as well.
Kristina Braly is the hilarious blogger behind PrettyShinySparkly. She is a YouTube guru and her videos are sometimes gut laughing funny or vulnerable and tear jerking. Be sure to check out her video where her husband does her makeup!
Jessica Bailey and Sarah Skaggs are the duo behind Pretty Providence. They know a thing or two about living well without breaking the bank. They discussed with us how to work with brands and sponsors .
Ashley Rose is the creative genius behind Sugar & Cloth, a DIY lifestyle blog located downtown Houston. She discussed with us how to grow our social media platforms and gain organic users. If you don’t follow her on Instagram you are missing out!
Mallory Whitfield of MissMalaprop is a wealth of info. She specializes in SEO (search engine optimization) and Google Analytic. I learned so much from her as far as reading my Google Analytics page and how to focus on what my readers want based off my statistics.
Megan Weaver is a Dallas-based photographer for fashion and lifestyle bloggers. Check out her website megan-weaver.com for photography tips.
Last but not least, we heard Kristyn Merkley of Lil’ Luna speak to us about Pinterest. She is seriously a Pinterest goddess! I never knew it was more than looking at a picture and saying, “Oh I like that one, I’ll pin it.” Pinterest is hardcore ya’ll and Kristyn will rock your Pinterest socks off. She also has some amazing recipes on her blog so be sure to get some food inspo!
The Thrive Blog Conference was the perfect way to meet the bloggers I knew online, in person. I made new friends and learned a heap about blogging. If you are a blogger or thinking about blogging, I would highly recommend attending a conference like Thrive!