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How To Rock Your First Blogger Conference

I had the opportunity to attend my very first blog conference last weekend and boy did I learn a lot! If you have the opportunity to attend a conference, I highly recommend it. No matter if you have been blogging for 6 months, 10 years or maybe you haven’t even started your blog- there are all sorts there and everyone is welcome. As a blogger, we are constantly looking for new ways to help grow our blog, inspire creative ideas, and meet other like minded individuals. I’m here today to tell you a few easy steps you can do before, during and after the conference to ensure that you get the most out of your experience.

How to Rock Your First Blog Conference | Blog Conference Tips | Blog Conference 101 | It's All Chic To Me

BEFORE (What to pack):

  • Comfy clothes and a jacket -Us girls are notorious for overpacking and I wholeheartedly admit that I am also infected with the overpacking disease. It is a blessing and curse but when you are only there for a short time packing light and efficient is the best way to go! Plan each specific outfit that you will need and leave the rest at home. My biggest piece of advice is to dress comfortable. You can see what I wore to the conference here. I decided to go comfy cute but you see it all! Next time I would wear jeans, a cute top and my comfiest shoes. Don’t forget to bring a jacket. Our conference room was FREEZING. You won’t be able to concentrate if you are shivering!
  • Business cards– If you are debating if you need them the answer is 100% YES. Have lots handy at all times. You will be giving them out like candy. I invested in the Moo.com “Luxe” business cards and got so many compliments. They were well worth the extra penny to standout in the sea of business cards that were flying around. Stay tuned on a blog post talking all about how to design your blog business cards.
  • Notebook & pen– I suggest writing things down rather than taking notes on your laptop. This way you will actually focus on what the speakers are saying and not have distractions popping up on your computer. Invest in a cute notebook like this one so you will enjoy taking notes. Cute planners= more notes 🙂 Don’t just take notes on the speakers, take notes on everyone you meet as well. You will meet so many people that they are going to start running together. Jot down something to remember each person by.
  • Smart Phone & Back-up charger– Thank goodness the ladies that put on the conference thought of it all and put charging stations in the conference room but I’m sure this is not always the case. So if you have a back-up phone charger, charge that thing up and bring it. It will be like gold! Use your smart phone to take pics and snapchats during the conference because obvi your friends/readers need to know what you are doing at all times!
  • A big ol’ bag– Instead of bringing 3 bags ( a purse, a laptop case, etc), invest in a cute all-in-one bag such as this. The less stuff you have, or appear to have, the easier it is to get around. I highly suggest bringing a bag big enough to put all of your essentials in, a notebook + pen, if you want to bring your laptop or DSLR, and last but not least plenty of room for all of the swag you are going to get because chances are you are gonna get a lot of stuff from vendors. Score!
  • DSLR & Laptop– Personally I do not see the use for these unless there is a speaker that is specifically talking about a subject where you will need them. Otherwise leave them at home and go old school with your phone, notebook and pen.

Lastly this is not a packing tip but one I think is important to point out. If the conference you are going to has a facebook page make sure you join the group beforehand. This will serve as a source of information and a way to connect with others before and after the conference.

DURING:

  • Get out of your bubble- Chances are you are going to know at least one person at the conference, if not a handful of other bloggers. Use this time to network and reach out to others. You can never have too many friends and chances are you are going to learn something new with each new person you meet. Conferences are great places to build up your tribe. If you haven’t already read why growing your blogger tribe is a necessity check it out here. But it’s crazy how everyone is just so bottled up with information that they are ready to spew all of their blogging tips and tricks. It is not every day that you have that many bloggers in one place so have questions? Here is the place to ask! I would venture to say that I learned just as much from other bloggers as I did from the amazing speakers! Not every little thing is going to be profound but it is something new!
  • Talk to the speakers– Do your research before the conference on who will be speaking and decide who you are most excited to hear. For me since I just purchased a camera for the blog, I was most excited to hear Megan Weaver speak about blogger photographer. I made a point during one of the breaks to seek her out, introduce myself, and create a connection so that if I were to ever need pictures or some sort of photography advice there would be more likely of a chance that she would want to connect again. Remember this is also a good time to pick the speakers brains about any specific questions they did not answer during their presentation. You paid good money to be here so get your money’s worth!
  • Put your phone down– Stay off of your phone and social media as much as possible. Soak up every bit of knowledge that the brilliant speakers will be pouring out. Plus there is a good chance there will be a professional photographer documenting the conference and you don’t want your nose buried in your phone the entire time, that’s embarrassing!

AFTER:

  • Send thank you notes to the speakers– In a sea of hundreds of bloggers a simple, hand-written thank you note will go such a long way. As multiple speakers pointed out, the bloggersphere is saturated with bloggers and anything that you can do to make yourself stand out, do it!
  • Connect via social media– You’ve made all of these connections now what do you do? Well you connect on every single form of social media like it’s your job. You can bet you are going to gain a whole new following to your instagram, facebook, pinterest and everything else.
  • Feeling inspired? Don’t stop now!– You are probably going to be on a “blogger high” once you are done with the conference. Well after you decompress, drink your obligatory glass of wine and take a long nap then you are totally going to feel super inspired. Did you hear of any blog post ideas that got your creative juices flowing? Sit down and plan out a few posts, jot down things that you want to implement from the conference, and then make plans to carry all of these things out. Ride that blogger high as long as you can!

 I know it was a bit longer of a post than usual but hopefully it will help a few of you out that get the opportunity to attend a blog conference! Like I said before, you see it all. Every type of blogger, all realms of blog categories, some pros, some newbs, vloggers (video bloggers), you name it- they are probably there. Last but not least don’t forget to have fun! Yes you are going for the learning experience but it is so much more than that! It’s a chance to connect with people just like you and how often does that really happen? There are only so many times that you can share blog statistics with your family before they go insane. Bloggers on the other hand? The limit does not exist 🙂

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How To Grow Your Blogger Tribe

Something that has been on my heart lately is really telling you guys about this blogging journey-how much it takes and how I have managed to stay afloat. Time, energy, creativity, photo shoots, editing, writing sessions…. well you get the picture. Don’t get me wrong, I am only 4 months into my blogging journey but I am hooked! Between having a full time job and a blog on top of that, one thing that I have learned is that you really can’t do it all on your own. [Insert tribe here]. What is a tribe? Well google defines it as a distinctive, close-knit group with a common culture and dialect. Your tribe is exactly that. They have your back. They keep you inspired to keep going and keep creating. They are the girls (or guys) that you can go to for questions and that cheer you on. And above all they should be your biggest support group. That’s what these ladies below are to me, and I am sharing my secret on how you can grow your tribe too! There are a lot more ladies that I have met through this blogging journey that I can call some of my best friends and, slowly but surely, that tribe grows! So in case you didn’t see my Thrive Tribe post, I want to introduce to you Dawn from Dawn P. Darnell, Dede from Dress Up Buttercup and Margret from Style The Girl.

How To Grow Your Blogger Tribe | Tips to finding a blogging community

How To Grow Your Blogger Tribe | Tips to finding a blogging community

How To Grow Your Blogger Tribe | Tips to finding a blogging community

How To Grow Your Tribe

  1. Get out and make it happen– Things and people do not just come to you. This applies to so many things in life but I say that because you cannot just expect your tribe to happen. You have to make it happen. It might be awkward to reach out to people but if it’s one thing that I have learned is that people are usually open to meeting up because who doesn’t want new friends?
  2. Use Instagram- My biggest suggestion is using Instagram to find like minded people. It sounds creepy at first but just get past that because I promise you 1) it is not, everyone does it and 2) it is how I have met the majority of my blogger besties. Follow people on Instagram that inspire you, have similar interests to you, and honestly people that you could see yourself being friends with. Connect with those people. Like and comment on their stuff letting them know that you enjoy their content and that they are doing a good job. Doesn’t everyone like to be praised? The answer is yes and it will get you noticed. The chances of them wanting to get to know you will increase greatly if you have already established that connection.
  3. Don’t be fake– I felt like I should follow up that last point with this one. Be genuine in your interactions and don’t have ulterior motives. It is easy to spot someone that is not reaching out or making contact for the right reasons. I’m going to leave this one at that.
  4. Ask to get coffee- Almost anyone has time to get coffee and chat. It doesn’t hurt to ask. I have had a lot of luck reaching out to people and asking if they would just like to meet up and get coffee. Coffee is non-binding and is just the right amount of time. If the meet up goes horribly wrong (which I can say has never happened to me), you can chug your coffee and get out of there in no time. The majority of the time though we end up staying hours and the coffee was just a ploy to get us both there.
  5. Attend local blogger events- This one is a little tough until you are a bit established, but the best way I find out about local events is through social media. Facebook being a big one. Go follow other bloggers on Facebook and like their actual blog page. This is where a lot of bloggers will post about events. Once at the event don’t just talk to people you already know. I usually catch up with my girls and then make a point to make my rounds. There are usually people there that I recognize from Instagram so I will go up and introduce myself. Social media can make a connection but face-to-face interactions are far more personal and will establish a relationship.

So there you have it, pretty easy right? You might have heard me say it before but I firmly believe that community over competition is key. There is enough room in this world for all of us to succeed! So if someone reaches out to you and wants to meet up, say yes! I take it as a compliment and love getting to know new people and chances are they are going to help you out at some point too.

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How To Grow Your Blogger Tribe | Tips to finding a blogging community
How To Grow Your Blogger Tribe | Tips to finding a blogging community
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Super Bowl Munchies

I’m going to be really honest here and I know this will probably come as a MAJOR shocker… but I could care less about the actual Super Bowl game. What I am super excited about is that I have an excuse to eat some yummy gameday food! Good party food is definitely a guilty pleasure of mine. Calories don’t count on Super Bowl Sunday, right? I’m sharing some of my go-to party dishes that all of my friends love and little do they know that even a 10 year old could make these! I have made all of these on countless occasions so I can vouch they are amazing and will surely be a crowd favorite at your Super Bowl party!

weeniePigs in a Blanket

  • Ingredients: Hillshire Farms Lit’l’ Smokies and Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
  • Instructions: Pull apart your crescent rolls and cut each section in 3 smaller triangles. Roll up a lit’l smokie in each triangle. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes or until golden brown. It is optional to serve with a side of mustard for dipping.

pizzaPizza Rolls

  • Ingredients: Mozeralla cheese sticks, pepperonis, marinara sauce, and crescent rolls
  • Instructions: Cut the mozzarella sticks in half. Pull apart your crescent rolls and place your halved mozerella stick and 4 pepperonis onto each triangle. Roll up each triangle. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with a side of marinara sauce for dipping.

weenCrockpot Weenies

  • Ingredients: Hillshire Lit’l Smokies, BBQ Sauce, and grape jelly
  • Instructions: Dump the entire package of weenies, BBQ sauce and jelly into a small crockpot. Mix ingredients and then let it warm up for at least 30 minutes on low. Serve with toothpicks.

Ham & Cheese Sliders

  • Ingredients: 1 package of Hawaiian rolls, 1 pack of shaved deli ham, 1 pack of your favorite sliced cheese, 1 stick of butter, 1 TBSP mustard, 1 TBSP brown sugar
  • Instructions: Do not break apart rolls, instead cut the entire pack of rolls lengthwise like one big sandwich. Pile on ham and cheese all over the middle of the “sandwich” and place top of rolls back on. Heat butter, mustard and brown sugar in a pan. For added flavor add a splash of Worcestershire and a pinch of onion or garlic powder. Drizzle glaze over “sandwich”, cover the pan with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Cut sliders apart and serve.

bufchicBuffalo Chicken Dip

  • Ingredients: 1 jar of hooters buffalo wing sauce, 1 stick of cream cheese, 1 large can of chicken breast, 1 bottle of ranch dressing, 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
  • Instructions: Heat cream cheese and buffalo sauce in a pan over low heat until cream cheese is melty and creamy. Add in drained, shredded chicken, ranch, and 1 1/2 cups of shredded cheese. Stir until blended. Pour everything into a casserole dish and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Top with remaining 1/2 cup of cheese and serve with tortilla chips.
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A year in review.

When going over pictures from 2015 I decided that it would be an injustice not to share all of the wonderful memories from 2015 on here. This is honestly the first time that I have sat down after the new year to reflect on everything I was able to see, accomplish, and do the year prior. Before sitting down to recap, I thought to myself “2015 was alright, nothing big happened though”. WOW. That could not be further from the truth!! So I don’t keep you here for longer than need be I picked my favorites from each month of the year. Somehow even my favorites became a little lengthy. I guess that’s just proof of a great year!

January

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I went to the dark side guys!! 🙂

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Best friends getting together to celebrate the engagement of Jessica to the love of her life!

February

Weekend trip to New Orleans with some of my favorite girls! We crammed 7 girls in a tiny hotel room, came home a couple hundred dollars richer, and had the weekend of a lifetime!

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March

The second most wonderful time of the year- RODEOHOUSTON!! I look forward to the rodeo as soon as Christmas is over. This year I was able to see Hunter Hayes, Brad Paisley, PitBull and Dierks Bentley.

 

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April

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Fiesta in San Antonio with my girls!

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Chopped my hair off and went lighter again!

May 

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Coming together to celebrate the bride-to-be, Jessica!

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Jessica’s Bachelorette party in Austin, TX.

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Sissy graduated from the second best University in Texas!

June

SO much happened in June so get ready for a whirlwind here. I am going to have to do a separate blog post on my trip to Europe because there are just so many pictures there is no way to recap them here so I will just give you all a sneak preview 🙂

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Sent sissy off to Europe (we would be seeing her very soon though!)

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Jessica’s big day!!

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Off to Europe we go! First stop: Barcelona, Spain

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Second stop: Paris, France

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Last stop: Athens, Greece

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July

Beach trips to Galveston, TX

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August

We attended White Linen Night in the Heights, Houston area.

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I met my blogger bestie, Margret, from Style The Girl. So thankful I met her!! She has given me so much advice on starting my blog and is such a sweet friend!

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Celebrated sissy’s birthday with a Peddle Party! SO MUCH FUN!

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Got to visit best friends in Fort Worth, TX.

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September

Cheering on our Aggies in their first game of the season!

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Meeting blogger babes at the Neiman Marcus fashion show event.

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Cheered on the Houston Astros game after game. All the way to the playoffs!

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October

October was the month for friends. I traveled back to good old College Station for a couple Aggie games, explored my city and celebrated a couple birthdays, and had everyone over for Halloween!

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November

On top of officially launching the blog, I traveled to Belize with friends!

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Went to Dallas with family for Thanksgiving!

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Celebrated my great aunt’s 80th birthday in style.

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December

In December we fan-girled over One Direction at their concert, started a wine club with old and new friends, and celebrated the birth of Jesus!

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Decorated our first home with the cutest christmas tree.

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And celebrated Christmas in my parents new home in our matching pj’s.

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And these were just my favorites! Sorry for the novel of a post but it was too hard to narrow them down! Going through all of my pictures really made me realize what a great year 2015 was. I traveled to SO many place! 2016 sure does have some big shoes to fill but I am so ready for it!! Best wishes for a great year, everyone!

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