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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Anatomy of a Blog Conference

Hello, dear friends.  Last Thursday I flew to Salt Lake City to attend a blog conference.  

Salt Lake is not easy to get to from Boston.  I flew to Denver, had a layover for a couple of hours, and was told that the flight may be cancelled due to strong winds.  YIKES!

I promptly found Cru, ordered a glass of Chardonnay and tuna tartare to settle my nerves.  You have got to understand I am a white-knuckled flyer under the best of circumstances. 
After chugging sipping my wine and inhaling nibbling on my appetizer, I went off to check the status of my worst nightmare flight.  I was informed that the flight would leave on time.  Really?  What ever happened to the old adage better safe than sorry?  I looked around the gate and saw only about ten people.  How big is this plane, anyway?

I didn't take a pic because my hands were shaking too much.  It was about the size of this little gem.  I climbed into the death trap, called the family and told them I love them, and also instructed the girls to be kind to each other especially when it came to splitting my jewelry between them.

To call the flight bumpy is an understatement.  People were laughing and hooting like it was a joy ride.  Not me.  I sat there with sweaty palms, rapid heartbeat, and murmuring Hail Mary's as quickly as I could say them.

 I was lucky enough to be sitting with a kid that shared his music with me.  His earphones volume was up so high, I could hear every word of Kanye's music.  I was tempted to warn him that he would be deaf by age 30, but I didn't because I'm sure his bloodshot peepers would have given me a dramatic eye roll.

After praising the Lord for a safe landing, I hopped a cab and arrived at Little America Hotel.  I can't say enough wonderful things about this place.  Great service, spotlessly clean, good food, and lovely rooms.  As a note... if you're going to stay there, make sure to reserve a room in the towers.  We found out later that we lucked out because the towers went through a recent renovation.

The name of the conference was Build Your Blog Conference run by The Blogger Network, a group stationed in SLC. 

These lovely innocent-looking ladies were my partners in crime.  Kelly is at the helm of the fabulous blog Just Typikel and hails from Vancouver.  I had only known Kelly "virtually" and finally met this little dynamo in person.  The lady in the middle is Mo from the illustrious Mocadeax.  Although Mo lives outside of Chicago, we get to see each other fairly frequently because her family lives in Boston.  We also raised hell attended a blog conference in Virginia last summer. 
I don't think I ever laughed so hard in my whole life thanks to this crazy twosome.

We invited these darling blond California sistas from Chicacircle  to join our crazy train. 

We escaped ventured out to dinner on two of the nights to enjoy a glass or five of wine and some delicious Salt Lake food. 

They don't look like too much trouble, do they?

I sent this pic to my #1 to show her that Kelly was supporting my girl's company.

I cannot say enough wonderful things about the keynote speaker on the first day.  His name is Guy Kawasaki, and he heads a company called Canva, an online graphic design tool.  His background includes Apple and Mercedes Benz.   Guy offered valuable advice on everything from creating the right business card to savvy social media tips.  The crowd adored Guy and it was an energetic kick-off to the conference.

Unfortunately, we were not as fortunate with the keynote speaker on the second day.  Her name is Bonnie Andrews, and anyone in the audience can tell you every gory detail of her life.  Her presentation should have been called The Bonnie Show.  We were privileged enough to hear about her physical and mental abuse, her bout with anorexia, suicide attempts, broken marriage and depression.  She ended her shtick with a dramatic presentation of donning boxer gloves and punching her coach.  My buddy Mo whispered to me that she thought we were being "punked."  We are still trying to figure out what this dissertation had to do with blogging.

Each day, after the keynote speeches, we would choose what seminars we wanted to attend.  Some of the topics included:  increasing pageviews, building a Facebook community, the secret of going viral, and branding your blog.  Most of them were taught by fellow bloggers. 

  One of my favorite seminars was run by Ashlee Marie, who spoke about making youtube videos.  She was a dynamic speaker and her presentation was entertaining as well as informative.  I don't think I will ever do a video in place of writing a post, but it was very interesting to hear all of her tips.

If you are a blogger and have given thought to attending a blogging conference, I highly recommend it.  The important thing, though, is to find a good one.  There are a lot of them out there.  BYBC was well done for the most part and they hold a conference in Salt Lake every year.

The best thing about the blog conferences is renewing old friendships and making new ones.   

When I arrived home, these were waiting for me.  Guess somebody missed his supermodel, trophy wife.

Have you ever attended a blog conference?

Until next time...

Plum Hill Forest Grove

Preppy Empty Nester
Preppy Empty Nester

Thanks for stopping by my blog. Feel free to contact me through comments and email. I love to hear from my readers!


  1. So much fun! P.S. I say my Hail Marys when I fly too :-)

  2. What a riot! Katie I haven't attended a Blog Conference yet! (8 years blogging, really Karena!?) I can see what a great time you had. Sorry about your 2nd keynote speaker, I have met people like that, you know their deepest darkest secrets within 20 minutes of meeting them!

    The Arts by Karena

  3. Sounds like (overall;) this was super fun and you may have picked up some good tips. I've never been to one :\ So funny about your second speaker .. I think she needs to attend a seminar on how to be a key note speaker, ha.

    (sweet flowers from the hubs!)

  4. After seeing Book Of Mormon, I always hear Sal Tlay Ka Siti - lol! Glad it was a rocking good time!

  5. Just yesterday I thinking about blog conferences and remembered you mentioning going to one. Thank you for immediately satisfying my curiosity as to which one it was!

  6. Sounds like fun -- except that plane ride! Have also flown in teeny planes like that at times and pulled out the Rosary! Sweet flowers from the Mister!

  7. Oh, well, now I can hardly wait to get on the plane in the morning. :o)) I really enjoy flying but having a "joy ride" on a plane might do me in for sure. I have been a blogging conference in Dallas called Declare and it was great and I did learn a lot but I would like to go to a different one. But, perhaps I can find one a tad bit closer that SLC. Great post!

  8. you're such a hoot! you need to write a book. seriously. not sure i'll ever make it to a blogger conference but i might if i knew you'd be there :)


  9. Well this is just so interesting! I am quite a fan of Salt Lake and my oh my you traveled so far and in the Winter too!
    Glad your time was well spent and that you came back inspired!

  10. I'm so glad you enjoyed my class! if you ever consider video the in future let me know if you have any questions!

  11. Sure sounds like a bang-up good time to me, Katie! Glad you ladies had a blast! No, I've never attended a blog conference, but now you have me thinking.

  12. Eeeeeeee! Ashlee Marie has popped in!
    Have to say I cannot think of anything that you missed. Well perhaps the unavoidable eye contact in the mirror ... but that was truly a case of "you had to be there..." As for the pics of me - am delighted with the variance in my hair colour. Also love the fact that the Mister came through with roses. One can only hope that Burt will be as thoughtful ...

  13. There must be quite-a-few "Hail Mary's" floating around the Cosmosphere from those of us ladies' who aren't thrilled to fly, but travel a good bit, because you can't exactly DRIVE to Rome from the U.S.;) I also have to be conscious THE ENTIRE FLIGHT otherwise I might miss an irregularity with the sound or rhythm of the plane which could result in a fiery-death for all-aboard if I don't inform the flight crew;) Cruising to my destination has no advantage...I've SEEN 'The Poseidon Adventure' and the mere thought starts the theme-song looping through my mind accompanied by the scene of the ship turning upside-down. NOPE!;)

    1. Nickie... you and I are so much alike. I cannot sleep on a plane even on the redeye to Rome. I am constantly listening for quirky sounds and terror on the flight attendant faces. For some reason a cruise ship doesn't scare me. Maybe because I wear my life preserver all the time. :) Have a great Thursday.

  14. Girl, I'm terrified of flying! One time we flew to Las Vegas (a direct flight out of B'ham) and while waiting on our plane we struck up a conversation with another couple who were from our area. Her husband and I were talking about how scared we are flying and how we both take medication....I take Ativan and he was taking Valium. He asked me if I wanted one of his pills and I said yes! So now my husband says I was making drug deals in airports and he hopes I never get caught! That's the main reason we haven't gone to Europe yet as originally planned 2 years ago, of course I also had some knee surgery so that didn't help either. My brother in law flies international for Delta so I could go anywhere but still.....if the good Lord intended us to be up 35,000 feet we'd have wings, right?!

    I'd love to go to a blogging conference sometime, especially with you! I know we'd leave our mark on the town!

  15. You do a great job with your blog.
    It's always interesting. There's usually a touch or more of humor here.
    I would think even thou you do not blog daily that you put a lot of
    time into your postings.
    I had a blog many moons ago but now I just surf and read and click
    and read some more.
    And I do not fly any more under any circumstance. I need to grow a
    pair and get back to it. I really miss out on a lot.
    Glad you made it back safe and sound. Well safe anyways. : )
    Take care,

    1. Hi Monica! Thank you so much for you kind words. You're right, I do put in a lot of time into the blog but I enjoy every minute of it. The hardest part is trying to figure out what to write about. If you ever go back to blogging please let me know. I would love to read it. Enjoy your Thursday.

  16. I used to hate turbulence when flying until I was seated in front of a six year old who treated the whole thing like a roller coaster ride at 35,000 feet. Since then, I remember his joy and relax.

    1. That's a good way of thinking. I was lucky to wheedle my way into First Class a couple of times. I didn't mind turbulence nearly as much. Thanks for taking the time to leave me a note, DocP.

  17. I wondered which conference you attended! I am happy to hear that you liked it for the most part, but do you feel as if you learned anything that you did not already know.

    If nothing else it looks as if you had a great time with your pals!

  18. Excellent analysis of the conference. As your "separated at birth sister from another mother and another country" would say, "Good on you." Guy and Ashlee were fabulous. And, if I'm going to be punked, there's no one else I'd rather share the experience with than you and Kelly.

  19. I am totally jealous...if only I could relieve myself of this teaching gig...I would spend my days writing and sewing in between runs to TJMaxx and Homegoods. I am in the middle of one round of testing for my students, this year worse than last...thank you so much for sharing this great adventure I needed some fun right now.

  20. I have never attended a blog conference but would like to. It's on my list of things to do soon. It looks like you had a wonderful time. :)

  21. I haven't but would love to go to one just for the comraderie....how fun that you spent time with ms mo!!! Since I only blog as a vehicle for my family diary, I don't think I'd benefit much since I'm not trying to make money with it. But man, oh man....I sure could get into the after hours blogging conferencing of vino and good food with fun peeps!!!

  22. I may need to start blogging so I can attend a blogging conference with you ladies!
    I hate flying too. Never underestimate the value of a well-timed Hail Mary.

  23. I use TBN on my blog and love them and their service. Salt Lake City is a bit too far for my liking. I'd like to attend a blog conference in my backyard, but that's about it. Thanks for the review!

  24. Katie,
    Good Morning!
    Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us on Thoughts Of Home On Thursday!
    We so appreciate your support.

  25. Katie, you always give me a good laugh...thank you! I hate those small little planes too! You were very brave to continue on and I'm sure I would have felt the same way if only 10 people were getting on the flight! I guess I like safety in numbers! I've never been to a blog conference, but they sound like fun and I should probably check one out! I've heard great things about Guy and I believe he lives here in the bay area. My friend who saw him recently said great things about him as well. Look forward to your next post...always fun!

  26. I had lunch on Tuesday with a blog friend and isn't it so much fun to meet in person and discover they're exactly who you thought they were? Also, fyi-you and I should never sit side by side on an aircraft. Just sayin'

    : )

  27. You are so fun! I am so glad you are having so much fun blogging. I always love reading your posts! I would absolutely LOVE to see you do a YouTube sometime!

  28. Isn't so much fun to meet and greet friends you have only known on line? I went to a few scrapbook conventions and finally got to meet on line friends. It is such fun. I am so glad you had a great time at the conference- makes up for that horrible flight. Too bad you could blast some Journey or Boston and show the kid some REAL rock music! I bet you could make an amazing YouTube video.

  29. Hi Katie
    Im so glad you had a hoot at the blog conference, it looks great fun... but Oh my goodness I just looked up Salt Lake City on the map, how far you went in that little plane. Im shaking at the thought of it. I don't mind flying, but you are braver than I to make the trip.
    I didn't know there are lots of conferences, I think you are wonderful to put so much time and love into your blog which I enjoy so much. I can remember when I first found you, and now we are friends..its lovely
    I hope you are looking forward to a relaxing weekend at home
    Much love, Sally xx
    3,000 miles in the opposite direction

  30. Your conference looks like such fun! I'm visiting from Kelly's because it seems that we have so many of the same friends and I just love your sense of humor! Guy K spoke at BlogHer this year as well - he really is amazing. I've gone to BlogU and BlogHer for two years and had so so much fun although I'm not sure whether I'll go this year. I hadn't heard of this one in Salt Lake - there are just so so many of them!
    Also, I've made that flight from Denver to Salt Lake before and it is horrifyingly frightening. Glad you made it okay :)

  31. I have to be honest, in all my years of blogging, I have never given a hoot about blogging conferences, but reading this post made me want to hang out with you and your friends. It looked like a fantastic time :)


  32. Oh Katie your report of your white knuckled flight made me laugh! I am a bit late in visiting due to it being college finals week for me but I am so very happy you joined Thought of Home on Thursday and shared this delightful gem.

  33. I was at BYBC too and I couldn't agree more about Bonnie's keynote. It was SO embarrassing!

  34. Great look at your blog conference. I have not been to one yet, but maybe someday I will bite the bullet. I know there are a few I could go to near me. I am glad to hear about your tales, you kept it honest and straightforward. Sounds like "Bonnie" could use a blog intervention...lol


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