“As you navigate through the rest of your life, be open to collaboration. Other people and other people’s ideas are often better than your own. Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life.” –Amy Poehler
This weekend I attended my first blogging conference, The Hundred Event hosted in Dallas at the gorgeous Warwick Melrose Hotel. I decided to attend this conference earlier in the summer when a few of my favorite bloggers (Lauren, Megan, Bridget, & Grace) posted that they would be coming to my city to host a gathering for bloggers new and old to learn and collaborate with one another. I have never really considered myself a “blogger” in name. I haven’t been consistent in my posting. I haven’t found my niche in the blogging world. But it has always been a hobby that I have enjoyed and thought I might like to pursue given the time. After going back and forth in my head about whether or not I should actually attend the conference I sided with the former and signed up (only after receiving a lot of encouragement from that husband of mine!) to see what these three days would bring to me and this little space I have here.
As the weekend approached I started to get pretty nervous about what I was going to experience – What exactly was this weekend going to be like? Would I learn anything? Would I meet anyone or would things just be excruciatingly awkward? What if people thought it was a joke that I, a hobbyist blogger at most, was attending this conference? Then Friday came and I got my suitcase, my baby, and my husband all packed up into my car and off we were to have our little staycation in Uptown to see if anything was to come from these three days.
Little did I know how much good was to come from these few short days.
Friday night we were ushered into the weekend with cocktails, a fantastic dinner, and the most incredible swag bags you have ever seen along with a welcome from the main sponsor of the event Joules and the keynote speaker, Kendi from the blog Kendi everyday. Her words were a perfect opening to the next few days and began to get my wheels churning. She encouraged us all to consider why we came this weekend and to have confidence in our blogs/businesses and what we write about or the products we make. She even shared some of her trials in the blogging world and encouraged us to power through when things don’t (and won’t) necessarily go our way. Dinner and drinks were made even better by the company I was sitting with. Earlier in the evening before the festivities kicked off I met Sarah and Amber in the lobby. Two of the sweetest (and local!) bloggers who were so excited and inviting. At dinner I met Taylor and we kicked off our conversation after an entree mix up and switching our plates! While I’m on the subject of meeting people – it was also great to finally meet Katrina in person! We have been keeping up with each others blogs for a good bit now and meeting someone in person who you have gotten to know through the blogging community is pretty much the neatest thing.
Saturday we started the day with breakfast at Breadwinners and then hit the ground running with a full day of sessions and speakers. Curt Steinhorst started us off with a session on distractions and I really think that what he said impacted me not only in terms of what I want to do with this blog but personally as well. Especially when he spoke about putting down your phone to experience the really great moments in life. I know I am definitely guilty of pulling out my phone when I’m bored or just easily distracted by it in general. It was a great reminder to live the life you want through YOU and not your technology. I also attended a session about travel and writing with Annie Fitzsimmons. She also made the point that while posting to social media and blogging is great…it’s hard to write about your adventures in life unless you are actually living them presently. Then the afternoon was filled with more informative sessions. A social media & blogging panel with Bungalow Magazine, Pulp Design Studios, Casey Wiegand, and Lily Jade Co., then a photography session with Jenni from J. Noel Photography and ending with a fashion styling session with Kendi. Needless to say, I was pretty whipped by the end of the day on Saturday. Oh and we can’t forget the delicious lunch at Il Cane Rosso and then then the block party on Saturday night hosted by Peacock Alley in the Dallas Design District!
Sunday we were sent off in the most magnificent way with a lovely brunch at the historic Aldredge House. It was the perfect ending to a perfect weekend. Not to mention the amount of STUFF donated by the fantastic vendors and sponsors of the weekend. It was really overwhelming – the amount of thought and care that went into making this weekend so absolutely wonderful.
But really, aside from the lovely gifts, delicious food, and talented speakers…I came away from this weekend with exactly what I needed. As I said before, I went into this event with no expectations and a lot of nerves and reservations. I have never really known what exactly I want to do with this blog but have had fun dabbling in blogging as a hobby now and then. After meeting so many people. Collaborating with fellow creative minds and being challenged on why I’m interested in blogging I think I have finally figured out what I want to pursue in this venue. I’m really excited for everything I have in mind and can’t wait to share with you all my new direction and focus for this space. I want to thank the hostesses of The Hundred again for their hard work and for making everyone feel so welcomed. I for one am so thankful to be a part of a community of people who truly love sharing themselves with the world and supporting others in what they do.
Now it’s time to get to work on what’s next! (:
(photo cred: Awake Photography)