Going to BlogPodium this past weekend was a little surreal. It started out feeling like the first day of school – I didn’t know anyone. But that all changed in the first 5 minutes. It turns out that most people were like that.
I’m glad I forced myself to go and get out of my comfort zone. It is so easy to just sit at home and blog from my couch at night, but to go and devote an entire day to thinking about the blog on a higher level was phenomenal. I left feeling rejuvenated and ready to go full force again.
Sarah Richardson, the lovely and talented designer behind so many of my favourite decor shows, along with the BlogPodium creator Jennifer from Rambling Renovators. Thanks to the awesome Annawithlove Photography for sharing so many great photos
I could not believe that there were so many Canadian bloggers. In the four years that I’ve been blogging, I’ve connected with many people from all over the world, but I’d only seen a handful of Canadians – boy was I wrong. There were 250 people there that day, and the vast majority of them were women around my age. It was awesome to be around so many people who understand why I do what I do. They just “get it”.
The whole venue was beautifully decorated by the folks at Hoopla Event Design & Styling. Great simple, yet stylish flower arrangements too.
During Sarah’s keynote speech, I cracked open this beautiful notebook from Minted and starting feverishly writing. There was just so much to take in and I didn’t want to miss anything.
Then it was onto the seminars. They covered a variety of topics including photography, using power tools, Photoshop, and business skills
The first seminar I went to was all about how to blog when you have a day job. Jordana and Giulia offered great tips that aren’t just for bloggers, but anyone struggling to fit everything into our busy lifestyles. Some big takeaways for me was working on having a zero inbox (something I’ve strived to achieve for years), scheduling time to do the things that you need to do and most importantly – taking some time for yourself.
Keka‘s talk on how to develop partnerships with brands was eye opening. She really helped demystify how PR agencies work and how we can create relationships with them that benefit both parties.
The last seminar I went to was a hilarious presentation by Karen from The Art of Doing Stuff. I’d never been on her blog before, but after laughing so much during her talk, I had to see if her humor translates onto the blog – it does. If you’ve never checked her out, I strongly recommend you do.
She is a former TV personality and host who made the transition to full-time blogger. Just hearing her talk about something that she loves so much is inspiring. I could have listened to her talk all day!
Having lunch with a bunch of bloggers all whipping out their cameras to take a picture of the food was hilarious. I was with my people!
Chocolate Lava Cake…yum!
Lunch was followed by a great discussion on old media and new media. With a panel filled with magazine editors and those who are creating digital content, it was fascinating to see how things have changed and are still evolving.
The best part of the day was getting to meet so many inspiring women, such as Heather in Heels (yes, she was in heels…and they were fabulous) and Sarah from The Curated House (who was pregnant and oh so sweet).
I also got a chance to talk to some great vendors in the exhibitor hall, including the lovely ladies at Para Paints. I’m in the process of helping my mom redesign a couple rooms in her house and they were able to show me some great new collections to use.
Sarah Richardson’s new fabric line was on display. All the patterns are lovely and coordinate together so well – making it easy for someone to create a great look.
PC Home was on hand to show some of their fantastic home products. I already use so many of their pieces in my own kitchen, so it was great to see what they have coming out right now.
Home Depot gave every blogger a key to try to open this door. 1 in 7 keys worked and it you unlocked the door you got what was inside – from tools to home storage solutions. Unfortunately my key didn’t work, but I still had fun trying.
The always classically sophisticated Brian Gluckstein Home Collection was on hand. Just look at that thick soft faux fur throw on the left. I had so hoped I’d win it (Whiskey would have loved it).
I’ve been using Tonic Living’s fabric ever since I got my first apartment and they are still my number one choice for fabric. It’s fantastic to see how vast their collection has become. They had some fun fabrics on hand with a challenge for us bloggers – take any two fabrics from this selection and create something.
I walked away with bright purple and vibrant red fabrics. I’ve already been brainstorming what I can do with them and I’ll be sharing them on here soon!
Urban Barn had some adorable displays on a great wood table. I used to love popping into their store to see what was new when my office was on Queen Street in Toronto.
Delta Faucet was sweet a brought everyone some goodies for a little afternoon sugar high.
Everyone was taking cute little baggies to fill up.
I brought mine home for Garrett, along with a Brian Gluckstein cookie. He always loves it when I get foodie things at events that aren’t peanut-free.
Before the day wrapped up, I hopped in the photobooth with some more awesome ladies I met – Gemma from The Sweetest Digs (love her blog!), Laura from Gracefully Searching and Jennifer from The Pretty Purveyor.
The conference capped off with a lovely cocktail reception with a signature drink – The Sparkling Blogger. It was especially delicious with that adorable straw.
I went home with lots of great swag – notebooks, a Roots leather coin purse, picture frame, craft supplies, washi tape, felt garland, chalk pen, caulking (Garrett loved that) and even a can of paint!
Urban Barn gave these awesome gift bags with cable knit candles and Christmas ornaments. I lucked out when one Montreal blogger couldn’t fit it in her bag to go on the train and gave hers to me. Score!
Look at all the detail in the cable knit pattern. It almost looked like the wax was actually woven like yarn.
Three of my favourite Canadian magazines were in the swag bag too. I could hardly wait to get into them.
On Sunday morning I woke up, made myself some of my favourite peppermint tea and sat down with my notes. Go through everything while it was still fresh in my mind got my gears turning thinking about what I what to accomplish with this blog, what I want to share with you and what I hope we can learn together. The conference left me with a renewed passion for this little ol’ blog. I’ve been doing this for four years and yet it feels like we’re just getting started.