It has been two weeks since I attended the awesome that was Blog Elevated. About time for a recap before my mind is made mush by Chemistry (teens) and Counting to 100 (tots).
My perspective is a little unique because I wasn’t able to sit in every session due to the fact that I was one of the photographers for the event (the other one was Anita Joyce, whom I really enjoyed meeting).
Instead of giving you a detailed list of notes from the gifted speakers, I thought I would just share a few of my favorite photos from the event… and intersperse a few notes about each one.
First of all, the conference was located in Houston, Texas – which made the traveling part doable for me. I got to ride down to Houston with my friends Christine and Patti, and we spent the weekend as roomies in the swanky Hotel Sorella.
[ Christine was the winner of the cupcake contest by Imperial Sugar. She was also in the fashion show. She read all the fine print before the conference – it pays to pay attention. ]
Lisa and Bobbie were the master minds behind the conference. In this photo, I’m standing with Lisa (who pulled off a fabulous blog conference while over 3/4 of the way to delivering her 10th CHILD)… and Bobbie (her partner in crime) is photobombing us. I had no idea she was behind me, or I would have asked her to join us. [If only she had put on a unicorn mask. I’ve always wanted someone to unicorn photobomb me.]
And on that note, where has Bobbie been all my life? Because her crafty blog rocks. Totally planning to plug some of her content in to my preschool lesson planner in the near future. She’s a prime example of how you need to follow your twitter friends’ blogs… and not just their twitter.
On Thursday night there was a meet and greet event with Kroger sponsoring. They had a contest for the person who could come dressed mainly in Kroger plastic bags. I loved that my friend Bon, author of MathFour (who consequently used to write for the Homeschool Post) was one of the two contestants. Both girls ended up winning and it was a blast to see how many giggles they created with their Kroger ‘gowns’.
I had a lot of fun with these crazy ladies. Jenny was a little busy as an event speaker, but Heather Sanders and her husband helped save me a seat in the audience so I could rest when I wasn’t taking photos. They were also at my restaurant when we all split up in small groups to taste the different cuisine at all the shops around City Centre.
We ended up at Straits. Our food was very interesting. I love Indian food and Thai food, but would probably never have tried some of the unique dishes they offered us. It was a four course meal!
1. Roti John Sliders & Lemongrass Clam Chowder #blogelevated @straitsR, 2. Roti Beef Carpaccio with micro greens, frisée, and truffle oil vinaigrette @straitsR #houston #blogelevated, 3. Our Straits dining guide is sweet like this fantastic food! #blogelevated, 4. Cheesecake Egg Roll Sundae Brûléed banana and Thai Tea caramel WOW! #blogelevated @straitsR
The best part about the conference for me? The fantastically fun people there. That’s always the best part for me… for any conference. I genuinely love people – even though there are quite a few people in the world that I wouldn’t want to spend a weekend with… most of them are NOT at blogging or homeschooling conferences.
I’m not sure what this photo is about, but trust me, these are friendly people. That’s totally a fake snarl. As Heather said to me on Instagram, “If you had been standing beside Stephanie Nickolich, you would have grabbed her leg, too.”
I’m not sure if Christine and Patti wanted me to ride home with them after I made them hold my leg. But that’s besides the point.
OH! I also got to finally meet one of my major photo crushes: Karen Walrond of Chookooloonks. I ascribe to her point of view: everyone is beautiful. She’s even more amazing in person than she is online. And I always enjoy spending time with Rachel. [ I’m so jealous that she’s buying the lens I always rent for conferences – LUCKY DAWG.]
Why does she have to live in Seattle? So not fair.
And there were cupcakes. What else would you expect with Imperial Sugar as a sponsor?!
Just as sweet as a cupcake? Stacy Teet. I love her to pieces. I never tire of her speaking about all kind of amazing acrobatics she can do on Pinterest. I want to live next door to her. But if I did, I would waste all my money eating Mexican food at Mi Tierra’s (my favorite San Antonio restaurant).
Another favorite sponsor at the conference was Lemi Shine. I have been using it at my house for quite some time since we have water hard enough to ruin a dishwasher in less than 2 years. They gave me a huge supply of samples to keep the dishwasher and clothes washer clean.
They had a contest giving away a prize for guessing the amount of jelly beans in the jar there. They gave away a prize to the one who was the closest, the farthest off, and the one who guessed exactly correct. This lovely lady guessed “A GAZILLION”, therefore qualifying her as the farthest off. [ She totally rocks. Whoever she is. ]
She wouldn’t be still for a photo, but I loved her smile as she was picking up her Lemi Shine goodie bag in this photo, blurry and all.
They also had a fashion show before dinner Friday night.
[ This fantastic sweater begged for me to come find it and let it live in my closet. ]
The speakers were UH-Mazing. All of them were personable, kind, and more than willing to talk to everyone one-on-one and answer questions. There are quite a handful not pictured here, but I heard good things about nearly every single session. I was hoping someone would email me all their notes (HINT: Heather Sanders), because I had to be in a lot of rooms to take pictures and missed the chance to take notes of my own.
I did sit down every now and then to listen and gathered up a few links with web-related tips to share on my Blogging and Online Pinterest board in case you are in to blogging, social media, and SEO, too.
I always learn a few new things to implement each time I attend a conference, but this particular conference wasn’t just about the “experience”. It was HEAVY on the “how-to”. It really was enough info to blow your brain. Most everyone I sat near said something to that effect.
“This is just a lot of stuff to think about.”
“I need to detox before I go over my notes.”
“My head is too full. I need a nap.”
It was awesome to see so many bloggers sharing their skills and knowledge with each other. Iron sharpening iron. It was more than just a relaxing weekend – it was a focused learning event peppered with food, fun, and friends.
For more notes on the actual speaking sessions, you might visit my friend Heather’s blog. Her recap was awesome and she was actually listening most of the time.
You can view more photos at my flickr set for the conference, and there were about 150 or so more that I gave to Lisa and Bobbie – which I’m not sure where they might be online. If you were at the conference and are looking for a photo you think I might have taken, feel free to email me and I’ll shoot it to you if I can find it.
I’m certain I’ll be going to Blog Elevated again next year – if they ask me to come back! I hope to see you there!