One of my favorite things about being a blogger is going to blogging conferences. When I was a full-time employee in a “day job,” I loathed conferences!! I often sat in the back, peeking surreptitiously at my phone, wishing the time away until the end of the day.
But at blogging conferences I’m like the teacher’s pet, sitting in the front row, soaking up every single word, raising my hand to actually contribute….! (Imagine that!)
This weekend I had the opportunity to attend my sixth blogging conference called Social Fabric University On the Road (a.k.a. SoFabUOTR, and thanks to a $250 grant they gave me to attend!). I’ve been working with SoFab for nearly three years: doing sponsored posts, being a part of their creative council team, and being a blog mentor. So I’m deeply entrenched with this company (or so I’d like to think, LOL) and it was a good opportunity to match names to faces. 🙂
The conference was in New York City this weekend, at the We Work offices. Imagine arriving to the conference and seeing this amazing stairway leading up the conference! I mean, seriously…..totally gorgeous and inspiring.
It made me want to pull out some scrapbook materials and Mod Podge a similar design to a dresser or something. Don’t think I didn’t take 10million pics to use for inspiration when I got back home. It was fabulous!
And the conference room was no less stunning. The detailing was to die for. I wonder how long it took to create something so ornate??
But the conference was so good that I rarely stared at the ceiling wishing the time away.
In fact, I actually walked away from this conference weekend thinking:
I’m not operating Thrift Diving as a real business.
That was the crux of this weekend.
I have no real processes…..no standard posting schedule…. no particular “way” that I conduct or manage this blog, etc. I’ve been flying by the seat of my pants, blowing whichever way the wind decides to blow me.
We got to hear from Josh Hicks, who used to be a Set Lighting Technician in Hollywood for 7 years. He talked about getting started in video–how to plan, lighting, etc. He recommended planning out your video shots with a storyboard, and knowing what shots you need before you get started, and more.
We heard talks on email marketing and Search Engine Optimization (SEO)…. and while most of the information wasn’t new to me, what was clear was this:
I have very few systems in place to actually do any of those things consistently.
I’m doing this blog thing all wrong.
So I’ve got a ton of things to focus on now that I’m back. I have to figure out how to strategize this blog, as well as put processes in place so that I can do more valuable things with less time.
The whole weekend wasn’t so serious, though! SoFab did take us on a Photography Safari around New York City, where we were taught by real New York City photographers to learn some tips. Photography is soooo important in the blogosphere, so I’m always ready to learn a few things about it!
Here was my tour guide:
We all gathered outside the New York City Public Library, which was amazing in its architecture:
Then we started snapping!
I actually learned how to take this awesome shot during the Photography Safari! All you do is set your camera to S (shutter) on a slow speed, and then as the cab is coming by, follow it with your camera, then–SNAP!–while keeping your camera following the cab. The result will be everything blurry around it, but one part of the cab should be in focus. It’s an awesome way to capture motion!
We walked over to Bryant Park (yes, the Bryant Park!) and I tried this technique with a couple people on the carousel. This one just makes me laugh. LOL Some grown woman having fun.
This is one of my favorites I shot. I love the way the kiddie chairs were scattered at the park. So colorful, too!
And this part of the carousel was so pretty:
Here were some gorgeous flowers next to the carousel. I have no idea what type there are, but their colors drew me in. Imagine these colors on a pretty piece of furniture! 🙂 That would be gorgeous, right??!
After the conference, we all headed back to The Strand Hotel for a happy hour. Here’s a shot with Kristin (the most awesome SoFab staff that manages us blogging mentors), and Stephanie, another SoFab blog mentor!
Much Needed Family Time
This weekend was also important for another reason, and I’m embarrassed to admit, but this was the first time (as a family of 5) that we had ever been away from home together for more than two nights. I know……right??
Most of my traveling is solo, from blogging conferences, to this….to that…. But I took them along this time, and I’m so glad I did.
You can see how happy they look, right? 😉
The massive number of people are always impressive when I go to NYC. It just makes me thankful when I finally come home to the suburbs of Maryland, though. I think I’m an introverted extrovert. I need that “people overload” recovery time! LOL
And of course I had to snap a pic of this because when you see pallets, even on piles of trash in New York City, your mind always thinks, “Pallets! I could make something with that!!” Of course, I didn’t dare touch them or drag them back with us on the bus. But they did make me stop and give them a second glance!
But I’ll leave you with this beautiful sunset I snapped on Friday night, through the streets of NYC.
I feel like this picture captures what this weekend was about: hope and possibility.
That even if you’re nestled in the middle of all these ginormous buildings, the sunset will always be there, peeking at you, bringing you light.
Maybe I’m being all sentimental, but I’m like that sometimes :).
And I’ll keep this in mind as I move forward in this thing called the blogosphere…
Thanks to Collective Bias and the Social Fabric community for the opportunity to attend and for supporting bloggers and brands! 🙂
Next travel: the Haven Conference next month in Atlanta! 🙂 Bring it on!