Last week at this time I was waking up in Salt Lake City for Build Your Blog Conference 2015. I anticipated this conference for many months. Blogging conferences are a great way to network with other bloggers and brands, as well as educate yourself in an ever-changing industry. If you already follow me on Instagram, you may have seen most of these pictures, but I wanted to give a quick recap of my weekend. Just for fun. 🙂
I started my trip by waking up at 4:00 AM on Thursday to get headed out the door for my 6:00 flight. Yikes! It was still dark for most of the flight! The sun started making its appearance as we were making our approach to Salt Lake City. I’ve always enjoyed flying, and even though it was very early, the flight was comfortable and I enjoyed the peace and quiet. I took the light rail system from the airport to the hotel, and thanks to the nice people at Little America, I was able to check in early!
I think my favorite part of the trip was the day before the conference started! It sounds weird, but I really enjoyed my “calm before the storm.” I traveled in my workout clothes, so when I got to my room, I unpacked and then hit the fitness center for a quick workout. *Pats self on the back.* Actually, the biggest reason I went to the fitness center was this right here.
Then I showered, got dressed and took the light rail up the street to a really nice mall called City Creek. I HAD to go. I forgot to pack a shirt and it was necessary to go to Macy’s and find something to wear for the day. Really.
Because I traveled alone, I spent quite a bit of my time alone during the trip. (Which was totally OK with me, even though my roommates were very nice people.) I went back and forth to the mall for a couple of meals and to kill some time at the shops. They were mostly upscale and completely out of my price range, but I like to wander around places like that. Where else are you going to see mannequins as outrageous as these?
After my lunch and afternoon at the mall, I headed back to the room to relax and get a little work done. This chair is my new favorite. I tried to figure out how to get it in my carry-on bag, but no luck.
Salt Lake City is really a beautiful city and more than once I commented on how clean the streets were and how safe I felt when walking around downtown. Although I disagree with the Mormon church, I do appreciate that the LDS community on a whole is moral and influential in their city.
One of the best things about going away to a conference is the chance to meet people “in real life” that you have been talking to and sharing hours of your life with online. I was able to meet up with a group of 15 or so for dinner at The Cheesecake Factory for dinner on Thursday night. The fish tacos were pretty bad, but the S’mores cheesecake? Oh. My. Goodness. It’s a good thing we don’t have a Cheesecake Factory here in my town, or I’d be broke and about 800 pounds.
I went to bed Thursday night relaxed and ready for the conference to start the next morning! And that’s pretty much where all my photo taking ended. I guess that means I was really busy and actually learning all sorts of great things!
Overall, my favorite sessions were 30 Easy Changes to Get Great Growth with Matt Cherry from iBlog Magazine (working on my sidebar and getting set up on Linked In this week!), Advanced Blogging with Maria Lichty from Two Peas and Their Pod (I’m looking for a college intern to help with social media now) and Working with Brands with Kelly Snyder from Redefined Mom (I now have canned responses set up in Gmail to save me tons of time when responding to PR emails!) They really knew their stuff and got through all the content quickly and succinctly. That’s a must for me at an education kind of conference. Not every session was life-changing or even all that great, but I always use my standard of an idea being worth $25 to me to see if I’m getting a good ROI. The trip cost me $500, so I need 20 good, actionable ideas to make it worth my time and money. I think that if I go through my notes, I probably hit that number. Plus, you can’t really put value to contacts made when networking at a conference. A simple conversation in the hall can be life changing when it comes to your work! More than likely, I will be attending this conference again next year.
I was able to go to another group dinner on Friday night with more online friends and then hit the ballroom for “brand speed dating” and made some great connections. IKEA, anyone? 🙂 We’ll see what comes of all the contacts I’m following up with in the next few weeks. Saturday was full of more classes, more food and more people. It’s kind of a blur now. 🙂 I missed the big Gala that was Saturday night. Well, I dressed up and went to dinner, but I had to eat and run because my flight out left at 8:00 PM. And really, I was ready to go home. I missed my boys!
One more trip on the TRAX, one more flight, one more shuttle trip, one more drive…and then I was home! I’m happy to have left the cold behind (the weather was actually really great, but you can tell Utah has more snow coming) and returned to my beautiful SoCal valley and Spring! Now it’s time to get busy!