Over the weekend I headed to Salt Lake City, Utah to attend Snap! Conference, a conference for creative bloggers. It happened to be the first business conference I have ever attended, and to top it all off, it was the first time I was leaving my kids overnight.
Before leaving I was nervous and excited. But then, I caught my kid’s cold and I was in tears several times thinking maybe I shouldn’t even go. My husband encouraged me to go and try to have a good time. Luckily, I stayed well enough while I was there. However, I have been so sick since I returned home. Everything I learned and did has been swirling around in my head for a few days and I have been trying to get it all out in writing.
In her opening speech, Tauni Everett (the mastermind behind this whole conference) talked to us all about moving forward. We each received a beautiful necklace from Charmed Collections that contains an airplane and the word ‘forward’ to remind us of this theme throughout the conference.
We can’t go back and change anything. What has happened is done. We need to move on and upward. Everyone deals with hard things at some point in her life. It is what you choose to make of those situations that matters. This is true for our lives, our businesses, our families – everything we do in life, we can only go forward.
Each night at dinner we were blessed to have some amazing people talk to us. And every night I left the ballroom feeling inspired.
The first night our entertainer was Alex Boye. If you haven’t heard of him, you should definitely check out his version of the song, Happy. He was amazing and truly inspirational. We were able to hear so many great songs. I hear that he has a CD coming out soon! He was so funny and an incredibly talented performer!
One of my favorite songs Alex Boye sang had the lyrics, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” This is a saying we have all heard before but it rings so true in life. You have two choices when dealing with adversity – give up or try harder. I created a free printable of this quote to share with all of you. Keep your chin up, keep smiling, and keep moving forward. This is an especially important message for me to take home after the year I had last year.
Download Make Lemonade free printable (for personal use only)
The second night we listened to Noelle Pikus-Pace tell her story. If you are not familiar with her, she is the Olympian that won a silver medal for the skeleton race in this year’s 2014 Winter Olympics. When we received the email from Snap about who our speakers were going to be, I was most excited about hearing her speak. I followed her story throughout the Winter Olympics. (If you know me well, that is pretty surprising, because I am not often all that into sports.) I cried when she won and ran into the stands to hug her family, yelling “We did it!”.
In her speech she talked about how she overcame adversity through hard work and determination. I had no idea of the struggles she had to overcome. Her family was there by her side supporting her the whole time. She advised us to set small, measurable goals for ourselves that could lead to great things. She was so funny and an incredible motivator. One of my favorite things she said is, “where you look is where you go”.
Me, Noelle Pikus-Pace and Amy
The last night we heard from Rachael Herrscher of Today’s Mama. Talk about a savvy business woman! She is like so many of us pursuing dreams and sometimes being thrown off course. However, sometimes getting thrown off course leads you to exactly where you are supposed to be. One of my favorite take-away messages from her speech was something to the effect of “what you become because of the business is more important than what the business becomes”. And isn’t this true? Your plans may not always work out the way you envisioned. However, the person you become because of your life choices is really the most important part.
I learned a lot at each class I went to. Some of them confirmed what I was already doing, some reminded me that I know what I need to do, but I need to implement the things I know, and I learned a few new tricks to help me succeed.
Be authentic – in whatever you do in life, be authentic. As this applies to blogging, be yourself and do what YOU love to do. Your readers are coming to your blog because of who you are and what you have to offer. Don’t try to compare yourself to others and just be yourself!
Set goals – this was one of my biggest take-aways from Noelle’s speech. She set small goals for herself every day that led her to become the Olympic-medal winning athlete that she has become. This theme was shared in many of the other classes that I took. If you don’t know where you are headed, then how will you ever get there? You must keep moving forward.
Get organized – now this one should be a snap (get it?) for me. However, for some reason when it comes to blogging I am all over the place. I think partly I have not allowed myself to transition from stay at home mom to business woman since my two lives are so intertwined here at home. Being a stay at home mom that also works – eek! that is the first time I am saying it out loud that I am actually a working mama – has so many blurred lines. I cannot set office hours with a four-year old home with me 24/7. However, everything in my life suffers when I am not organized. Hopefully by getting organized, I will alleviate some of the stress I feel from blogging and will be able to enjoy the creative side that I love so much.
Create great content – this one I already knew, but it was hammered home again and again in all the classes I took. And really, shouldn’t we all be doing our best and putting our best foot forward? I am going to try harder to share with you my best and not post something because I feel like I need to fill a slot on my calendar with something.
Create a sense of community – I met so many amazing and talented women at this conference. It can be hard not to compare yourself to others, but this was a unique experience in that everyone at the conference was so open and willing to help and offer advice. It is important to network and create friendships and alliances with other bloggers, but it is equally important to create a sense of community with all of you – my readers. One of the beautiful things about technology is it can bring us all closer together. I love to connect with other like-minded woman who also love to create. We are all creators. And that is a powerful thing.
Don’t give up – if you put in the hard work and the time, good things will come. There will be days when everything goes wrong. There will be times when you are scared and worried about what the future holds. But keep moving forward with your goals in mind and you will succeed.
Life will not always happen as planned, but will often turn out even better – I focused on informational classes rather than any of the hands on classes that were offered. There were so many great classes each day and we had to pick and choose. However, the class I really wanted to attend was full and I had to go to something else. I ended up taking the Ryobi class and I am so grateful I did. It was one of the most fun classes! We got to try out all the tools and learn the proper way to use them. (And my husband was grateful, because right when I got home we went out and bought all new tools because I loved them so much!)
I keep finding myself saying “one of the best parts” over and over again because the whole experience was so fantastic! However, one of the best things about the conference were the connections I made with some pretty amazing women.
I finally was able to meet my friend Amy, from The Happy Scraps. She is the first blog friend I have made and we have formed a true friendship, even if it has only been online until this weekend. We have been online friends for about two years now, but it doesn’t compare to chatting in real life and real hugs. She has been a huge source of information and encouragement to me on my blogging journey. I love having a friend that “gets it”.
Amy and me
I was able to meet some women I have admired for a long time. Stacy’s blog, Not Just a Housewife, was one of the first blogs I ever read. Her blog along with a few others are what inspired me to become a craft/DIY blogger myself. And I will admit I was a little nervous and intimidated to meet her, but she is one of the sweetest, down to earth people you will ever meet. And I love that she uses her blogging power for good. She helped to set up the Home Depot charity build that helped a single mom outfit her Habitat for Humanity home with amazing furniture pieces from Ikea. (And she is really good at poses for the photo booth!)
I cannot leave out my other roommates. Summer from Summer Scraps and Katie from The Crafty Blog Stalker are two woman you definitely want to meet. They were both fun, helpful and oh so creative! I am grateful for the friendships we made over such a short weekend. (Sorry girls, but this is the only picture I had of the four of us!)
I made some special connections with a few other women there. I have a picture below of Laura Kelly and I. She rode the train with me after arriving at the airport. We chatted quite a bit at the conference and I think she is such a sweet, wonderful person. I also met, Sunny from Dandelion Square. She rode the train with me and flew home with me. She has such a fun, bright personality. I am grateful to meet someone who lives in my home state (many of the bloggers I met were from Utah). Lastly, I met Melissa from Not Picture Perfect. She is hilarious. She is very down to earth and I will forever feel bonded to her after her hilarious stories she shared with us. If you have a chance, definitely check out all these amazing women. (And note to self: take more pictures with friends you meet.)
There were a lot of fun activities and contests throughout the conference. We decorated our door for the Scotch Door Decorating Contest. We created real life interactive Pinterest Boards to give some inspiration to get ready for all the 80’s fun that happened over the weekend. We had plenty of blue eyeshadow, hot pink blush and Aquanet to go around!
There was also a business card contest. I made some washi tape paper clip bookmarks to include with my cards.
We had an 80’s pajama party sponsored by Cricut. (This picture is from before I left since I didn’t take one while I was there!)
And we also had a crazy fun 80’s prom themed dance party.
You will want to learn how to take a decent selfie before a blog conference like this. I still can’t seem to get it right. However there were contests for all types of things wanting you to take a selfie. #letmetakeaselfie
Me and Amy (her hair and dress were epic)
There were so many amazing sponsors there to chat and make connections with. The Home Depot, Cricut, Jo-Ann, Ryobi, Decoart, Modern Masters, Rustoleum, Thompson’s Water Seal, and World Market to name a few. They each had their own fun booth we got to explore, many of them containing really fun photo props.
Rickshaw from World Market
Me and Laura Kelly, Pamper Lounge sponsored by Rustoleum (the amazing girls did our hair for us!)
Although I was nervous and didn’t know what to expect from my first blog conference, I am so grateful I went. If you are a blogger and get a chance to go to a conference – do it! You may be outside your comfort zone, but what you will take away from the experience is worth its weight in gold. And I was reminded once again how blessed I am to have a family that supports me, especially my husband.
Linked up to: Snap Creativity