I know, basically every single person that attended Blog Podium is writing one of these and believe me, all of the ones I have read so far are nothing short of exceptional. The reason so many of us are writing recaps is because what happens at Blog Podium needs to be shared. What happens at Blog Podium, does not stay at Blog Podium, you know what I mean? We all have nothing but wonderful thoughts to share about the event, so I’m going to try to keep mine short.
It all sort of felt like the first day of High School, and if you’re me you were the kid showing up with frizzy hair and a sweaty face (because that’s where I sweat first/most. Yep. Gross). I swear the girls at the registration table questioned whether or not I was lost because I looked cray-zay! You see, it was a rainy day in Toronto and I walked from Union Station over to the Hyatt, and I have this weird tendency to speed-walk (my husband has been telling me to ‘SLOW DOWN’ since the day we met like 7 years ago) so I had already had a cardio workout by the time I arrived. So why was it like High School? Well, you get your things and walk into this giant room FULL of strangers. Imagine, like, the fanciest high school cafeteria ever with pretty flowers on the tables and yummy croissants being served. You do the zig-zaggy walk around to see if there’s anyone who looks at you to invite you to sit down… nope. These ladies were all (rightly so) highly involved in conversations with new bloggy buddies, so I was on my own for now. No big… I zig-zagged my way up to the front of the room and asked if that seat was taken as I set my orange juice down on the table. Within seconds, introductions were made and I felt already slightly more at ease, though I was painfully aware that I may have mascara running down my face and that my hair still had a mind of its own and was surely not cooperating. I took two sips of juice and excused myself to the washroom. No mascara running down my face, but the hair… oh, the hair was not good! Nothing I could do. I smoothed it down and was on my way back to the fancy cafeteria to meet my classmates.
Jen (the principal) was sweet and kind, and always looking busy. I think everyone just wanted to hug her and thank her for all that she was doing that day (ok so maybe this part isn’t like High School at all). I saw a familiar face and QUICKLY ran over to say hello and tell her how glad I was she decided to wear her boots. Alex and I hugged, and I fell a little more in love with her easy going attitude, and naturally cool demeanor. Our orientation was about to start. Home Depot took the stage and shortly after Sarah Richardson was introduced. Every ear in the room was sucking in each word she spoke as if our very being depended on them. She was inspired and inspiring, teaching us design lessons (“If you’re not comfortable in your home, nobody else will be comfortable in your home.”) and life lessons (“It’s way more fun to be engaging, to be happy!”), grammar lessons (“These ones and those ones”) all while empowering us to move forward and do what we love. Wow. And with that we were off to class.
Two classes down, more connections made, and before we all knew it, it was lunch time! I had just thrown myself into the middle of a conversation between Amy and Sabrina (who are both so incredibly BEAUTIFUL) and we chatted about weddings as we walked back to the fancy cafeteria. By this point, most people were walking in with a buddy or a small group, so the three of us found a spot and others joined us. It was so awesome to be connecting with so many amazing people. K so this is basically where High School connections end. Servers came around with salad, followed by a main course of chicken with orzo mac and cheese and asparagus, and dessert, which was the best part and oh so chocolate-y! Then we had an amazing panel packed with some seriously impressive and high achieving women who gave bloggers so much credit, when it’s something we hardly ever seem to receive. Again, empowering, funny, informative and inspiring. Off to classes again.
Just outside of where our classes took place, sponsors had some beautiful product laid out for us to see and try. Urban Barn’s fall collection was perfectly inviting and that “Bijoux” box is still on my mind! Chapters/Indigo set up a gorgeous table with browns and greens and gold. Skinny Cow had an entire freezer stocked with ice cream for us, so I had officially entered paradise. Oh and Tonic Living had some gorgeous fabric to show us and share for future projects. The photo backdrop will make a bit more sense shortly…
With classes now over. we headed to the cocktail reception which consisted of a signature drink with some seriously adorable straws and one mighty blurry photo of Alex and I. This is where we must insert a photo of our girl, Lauren! We missed you!!!
Some more memorable moments: Natasha and Becky teaching us about the workings of blogger/brand relationships, Karen Bertelsen keeping it real and making us all laugh until it hurt, and some fun with new friends… and some props too!
And because I sucked at taking my own photos that day, here is a slice of what Anna (of AnnaWithLove) took that day:
I left the Hyatt on Saturday feeling tired and elated. The introvert in me felt the exhaustion of making new connections, seeing new faces and introducing myself over and over, but at the end of it all I walked away having made friendships and ,very much LIKE High School, everyone in the room was on the same boat, feeling (mostly) the same feelings of excitement and nervousness mixed with anxiety and happiness. It’s all enough to make you feel a little sick, really… but in a good way! As far as first experiences go, this was one of the greats.
Blog Podium, I’m coming for you again next year!