I had this all planned out, four days in Atlanta for Type-A Parent conference, a week and a half in my home town of the Hoosiers, Indianapolis, hosting a dinner with the Indy Social Media Moms and then heading to the Influence Conference, one day in Columbus driving 7 hours and hosting a 3-hour dinner with Girl About Columbus, and 24 hours in Chicago for a hosted dinner with Windy City Blogger collective—easy peasy, right?!
Now that I’m back (just in time to spend two days at the Blended Conference where I was speaking Friday in a panel discussion about what brands are looking for, and then manning a booth all day Saturday), I’m seeing I may have bit off more than I could chew. Falling behind on emails, communication, follow up—my awesome job! Not to mention my niece said my name for the first time while I was gone, and my dog, Michael, looks like he’s having a great life without me.
The upside is I made it, I learned a lot and met some real incredible men and women in the last 15 days! I also learned I can still survive on a 3-hour time change, insomnia, and working weekends and nights. This was mostly thanks to a heck of a lot of vitamins and my mom making sure I got breakfast, lunch and dinner while I was there (and helping me hand write almost 100 cards for the bloggers that attended our dinners!).
Type-A is hands down a great conference, and not for just the new bloggers or the large celebrity bloggers. I can guarantee if you go next time, you will learn something new, you’ll want to do a rebranding of your blog afterwards, you’ll make new friends, you’ll get a new spike of creativity and you’ll laugh a ton with new and old pals. It was so enjoyable and interesting, we’ll soon be publishing a blog post about recapping all the cool new tricks I learned from Type-A. So stay tuned for that!
Now that the 15 days of travel is over. There are definitely some special people that deserve a little shout out. Big thank you to all the blogger groups and founders/contacts for making the 15 days of travel worth it!
First, I have to thank Christine Berry from Indy Social Media Moms! You have a great group of warm, welcoming and hard-working moms. I am so excited to get to know all of them and hopefully do coffee with them next time I’m in my home town. Plus, being in my own stomping ground was a great way to kick off our FYI MeetUps.
Weber Grill went above and beyond making this a wonderful evening with great selection of food for us to eat. I ate salmon which is my favorite, and the cheese cake was to die for! Shout out to Nick and Paul from Gigi’s for providing delicious full-size cupcakes for us to take home at the end of the night. It was a great way to show appreciation for the Indy blogging community.
Now let’s head to Columbus. Amanda from Girl About Columbus has some awesome fashion lifestyle beauty bloggers and some real talented women in her group! We all met at Denmark on High and it was fantastic. (thanks to the manager, James, for making the experience extra fantastic). Many of the bloggers said it was a new gem to check out. The food was great and there was a superb mixologist drink selection.
Last but not least—oh Chicago! I have to say I learned I am not a big city girl, but there are definitely some very talented men and women located in the Windy City. Thank you Kit for helping us bring an engaged group of people together from the Windy City blogger collective. Tereasa at Sugar Bliss Cake Boutique provided some yummy little chocolate cupcakes to share, which were instantly eaten up and definitely enjoyed. We had delicious (and low calorie) beverages created by Leah from Social Enjoyments, amazing pizza at Ranalli’s, and the night was really topped off with a $100 gift card to raffle off provided by Ryan at Lettuce Entertain You.
Between the Indy and Columbus meetup, I attended a cool conference called the Influence Conference. It was a great place to build camaraderie with other bloggers as well as help bloggers understand their place and value in digital media. Charitable organizations like the Mocha Lounge, who assist aids victims with money donated to their foundation and have equated assisting these people with as little as it costs to buy a coffee a day, made this event really special. They had both life and work session tracks where you heard great messages about being a better parent, spouse and human in general and the other track for learning how to improve and find value in your work and professional life.
Last on my little adventure was the Blended Conference. Created by Wendy O’Neal from Around my Family Table to bring an intimate setting and gathering where foodie blogs unite! You could participate in workshops such as frosting a cupcake 101, learn a new craft or get a nice little hand massage. You also learn how to optimize your blog and meet a great selection of national brands looking to work with you. We participated in a panel conversation on what brands are looking for and how to optimize your blog. It was a blast taking selfies with everyone on Saturday and raffling off our gift cards!
Ultimately, I had a great time, learned a lot, and met the coolest group of men and women at all my stops and adventures!
I made it! But don’t think I’ll be traveling for 15 days straight for a while. Back to Phoenix and back to Find Your Influence.