Saturday I underwent a rite of passage in the world of blogging: I went to my first blogging event. Wayfair and Boston Bloggers hosted a holiday par-tay of sorts, where about 100 local bloggers got together to chat, craft, and check each other out. Wayfair’s office at Copley Place is absolutely gorgeous and just felt so festive decked out in holiday cheer. While part of me feels like it was like a really long first date (8 hours of: so where are you from, what are your interests, what’s your url?) most of me thinks it was a really awesome time and I’m stoked to have met a group of ladies who get why I blog – because they do too!
I’ve highlighted my favorite parts:
The morning kicked off with keynote speakers Heather Armstrong of Dooce.com and Christiane Lemieux of Dwell Studio. They were fab. They were real. And I’m only sort of embarrassed that I was semi-starstruck by these two super well known, successful ladies in the industry.
Heather is considered the pioneer of lifestyle blogging having started writing online back in 2000 when she explained that when you told people you had a blog, they thought it was an incurable disease. Being the note taker that I am, I jotted down a few things she said that resonated with me:
- Hold on to your authenticity. Be yourself. It makes you relatable.
- If you blog long enough, you will come up against negativity. A few, hundreds, or even thousands of people might not like you. Don’t take it personally. They’re bringing their own angle to your stories. Their negativity is about them, not you.
- Quality over quantity wins every time.
- Sharing truth and your struggles can genuinely help others.
- Never underestimate the power of a story. A blogger is a storyteller. (YES!)
When Heather talked about how she feels to share her children online, I listened even harder. I’ve written about my wavering feelings on this subject and while mostly I’m comfortable sharing some of my son’s stories and photos, occasionally I doubt myself. She talked about how there is a certain universality of children when they’re really young, from birth to about 3. She felt comfortable openly sharing stories that centered upon those universal qualities during this early part of their childhood, but pulls back now that their older. She asks them what’s okay to post now. They’re an active part of what she shares. I like this. A lot.
This workshop took us out of the cozy, Pinterest-worthy holiday scene for a spell and into a conference room with pull down screen and PowerPoint. And that was appropriate because this section was All. Business. We got super helpful tips on how to optimize our posts to make them more google-able (if it’s not in Websters now, it will be. Mark my words). We talked about keywords, plug-ins, and a few other technical things that might have the average gal’s eyes glazing over, but for a room full of bloggers, this was super applicable and practical. SEO gold, really. My hand hurt from writing so fast. Again. Me <— a note taker from way back.
Table Styling with Abby Larson:
The table styling session was hosted by Abby Larson, creator of Style Me Pretty and Style me Pretty Living. The styling tips were cool. Abby was WAY cooler. She was the sweetest and most down to earth woman and I’m pretty sure we would be friends in real life if it were up to me. She’s a mom of three and told us all about her real life, and how her house is full of fire trucks and isn’t perfect at all. I hear ya, Abby. She talked about timing, successes, failures, and was super inspiring. Her tips that stood out to me included:
- Organic elegance and mixing metallics are current trends for styling/decorating/table setting/staging (overuse/of/slashes/is/also/trending).
- Include a handmade, uncommon piece when styling or decorating. These “unexpected moments” will make for super shareable images later.
- When creating blog content, think about posts within a post. She talked about how it’s possible to get 5 posts out of one birthday party or 10 posts out of an afternoon with a photographer. All super relevant and awesome info from my friend Abby. I’m not going to say outright that I’m being creepy here. See end of post for my reasoning.
The day also included grilled cheese, DIY fabric holiday pennants and gift tags, and a dude who shucked oysters and literally cut a lobster down the center from head to tail like he was opening his mail. No bigs. I drank my end-of-day glass of wine quicker than was classy so I could head on out to my guys, who were waiting outside to pick me up. By the event’s end my couch and sweatpants were calling my name. I was the good kind of tired. It was an awesome day.
Other Items of Note:
Nobody looked at me funny when I asked if there was a private area I could pump. In fact, Wayfair had a cute little “Wellness Room,” for this exact reason and this made me so happy. It’s the little things like lockable doors and convenient outlets that really get me going these days. There was a pretty, comfy purple chair all set up and even another pump plugged in. I never did run into its owner but it was cool that I wasn’t the only pumpin’ mama. SCORE!
However, people did look at me funny when I met them and said, “oh, this is creepy, but I think I know you from online.” Note: Don’t tell people you’re creepy. They WANT you to look at their blog. It’s not the same as internet stalking your ex. Expertise I’ll bring to my SECOND bloggers’ event.
I’ll also know next time that I should eat breakfast so my growling tummy won’t embarrass me during quiet moments. Coffee alone will make me feel jittery
and creepy. <— NO! STOP!