I’ve been thinking for a week or so, how I want to sum up my experience from attending my second SNAP conference. If you follow me on Instagram (which you should, cause Instagram is so awesome!) then I’m sure you are well aware that I was at SNAP and had a great time! I remember last year when I was preparing for SNAP, I shopped like I hadn’t shopped in years, to find myself some new clothes. I hadn’t shopped like that since probably high school and I sure enjoyed it. I stressed for a few days, worried about meeting other “big” bloggers, and meeting sponsors, and trying to make a good impression. I worried about wearing spanx. (Dumb!) I was so excited, nervous, and anxious, and feeling almost like I was going back to high school. (No one wants to do that, right?) I enjoyed the conference last year, but not as much as I wish I would have. I remember one night I even got home sick (and I was only 15 minutes away from home!) I cried to my husband on the phone. I remember feeling like, “why do I feel alone in the vast sea of people?” I would say that I’m and introvert, so for me to go to something like that and not know that many people, was out of my comfort zone. Well, fast forward to this year. This year, I didn’t shop and I left the spanx home. I knew that the clothes that I had were fine, and guess what?! People don’t like you for what you are wearing at a conference. They might think it is cute, but they are going to like you for you! Yeah, I know, that isn’t anything mind blowing or anything, but it really hit me after attending my first SNAP (when I was so worried about all that kind of thing). The only thing I bought for SNAP this year was some shoes, and they were comfy flip flops. One of them did have glitter on them though, so that was fun! 😉
Anyway, I thought I’d do a quick recap of my experience, and share some other thoughts about it with you. If you aren’t interested in hearing about a blog conference, then you probably don’t want to read on…and that’s okay, I don’t mind.
Every time I go to a conference, I am blown away with the swag! This year at SNAP was no exception! I brought so.much.stuff home with me, it was crazy! This is a picture of just the stuff in the swag bags, but in all honesty, I had to carry around an empty bag with me, just so I had a place to put all the swag after talking with sponsors. It was crazy and awesome!
One of my favorite things about going to a blog conference is staying at the hotel with roommates. The only conferences that I’ve ever been to have been close enough to home that I could drive everyday. I choose to stay at the hotel where the conference is because 1)it’s more fun and 2) I don’t get caught up with stuff going on at home and take a chance of missing part of the conference and 3) it is easier to meet others when staying at the hotel. I’ve had great roommates at all the conferences I’ve attended. I had the best roommates at the conference. I stayed with Laura, Summer, and Katie. I’ve known Summer and Katie both for over a year. Laura and I have been online friends for quite sometime, I think like 2 years, but we had never met in person. It was so fun to finally meet her, and it was great, because we felt like we already knew each other. I’m so glad that I had the roommates that I had. This year I roomed with Laura, Summer, and Katie. Katie had to leave before we got a picture of all of us together, but this one has Laura, Summer & I. I’m so not good at selfies… 🙂
A couple of the things that I thought were really fun additions to this years Snap was the #SnapAcademy (even if I didn’t have a pencil). We got to pin our cards onto our states. There was a giant Utah one (not pictured) along with a few other states, I really wish I would have taken a picture of it.
The other addition that I loved? Snap Secret Sisters. I remember doing similar things when I was young. It was so fun planning what I was going to give to my secret sister, and it was so much fun to pick up the gift from my secret sister each day. This bracelet is just one of the fun gifts that Jessica at Mom 4 Real gave me, and I love it!
Last year when I received my first necklace from Charmed Collections (formerly The R House Couture) I was hooked! This year they gave us all another one. And it’s gold. With a paper airplane. I’m not usually one that likes gold, but I love this necklace. I love the paper airplane. Airplanes hold a special place in my heart. My dad was a pilot. He loved to fly. My little brother now flies my dads plane. He even took us up in it about 6 months ago. It was nice to be back in my dads plane after close to 5 years of not being in it. Anyway, sorry for that little tangent…
I love these girls behind Charmed Collections! I even had them make me a customized blog logo necklace. It is perfect.
One night with dinner, Alex Boye was the entertainment. It was so fun! He is very entertaining. If you’d like to see some of his music, head on over to his YouTube channel and check it out!
Another night we were lucky enough to have Olympian Noelle Pikus-Pace come and speak to us! When I got the email before SNAP about who would be the key note speakers, I was the most excited to listen to her. I cried when I watched her last skeleton run, the one that won her the silver medal. I cried again when I watched the video at SNAP. She is such an inspiration. If you haven’t heard her story, you need hear it! She was amazing, and I feel so lucky that Laura and I were able to get a picture along side of her.
While there is a lot of learning that goes on at a blog conference, there is also a lot of fun. This year I decided that I was going to get in on that fun, even if it put me COMPLETELY out of my comfort zone. Remember above when I said that I’m an introvert? Yeah, I totally am. There were a couple of parties at the conference, one was a Kickin’ it Old School Pajama Party, and the other was an 80’s Prom. I decided that I was going to have fun with that. I didn’t get many pictures of the Pajama party because my phone died, darn it! I did get this one though.
For the 80’s Prom, I pretty much went all out. I almost couldn’t leave my hotel room when I was ready. So glad I had good roommates to help push me. Like any Prom, the planning started weeks in advance. My mom had a dress that she had found years ago at a thrift store. It was perfect. I had my sister alter it so it would fit me (cause I’m sure not as small as I once was, and even then I don’t know that it would have fit me!) and thank goodness for those years that I sold Mary Kay makeup so I had lots of sample makeup to go through and find something that would work for the 80’s. But the hair. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of 80’s hair? Big hair, right? So I decided to go with a side pony tail for Prom, and it was pretty big. One of my roomies suggested that I try the cliff for my bangs, and wow, I can’t believe I even got them to do it. Let’s just say that it is amazing what lots of Aqua Net and a flat iron can do….It was hilarious!!
photo credit: Audra from Reality to Dreams
Of course with a conference comes sponsors and their booths. I enjoyed going around to all of them, but a note to myself for next time, make it to the sponsor booths on the first and second day. They are tired and ready to be done by the third day, just like the attendees are tired and worn out. This is Laura, Summer and I at the Darice booth.
One of the highlights of the conference was being able to see my banner in the Darice booth. Before SNAP I had the chance to apply to make a project for their booth. I was surprised and flattered that I was picked. It was really fun seeing the banner on display. It is the one on the front of the table that says LIVE.CRAFT.LOVE.
There were several great classes to attend. I went to a class all about affiliate marketing, wordpress (since I’m a newbie), google analytics, phone photography, growing your blog while saving your sanity, and a Ryobi power tools class. I was lucky and won this awesome reciprocating saw in the Ryobi class.
When all was said and done, I was ready to head home Saturday night, but had a hard time leaving. I was enjoying spending time chatting with my roommates that were staying one more night. Before I left, I wanted to get a picture with Laura. I’m so glad that we are friends and that we finally got to meet in real life!
When I’ve been to conferences before, I’ve always come away from them feeling very overwhelmed. You might thinking to yourself “then why to you go?” Well, I got because I am continually trying to learn more about how to manage my blogging better and how to do it the best that I can. Something that I have learned over the last year or so is that you can never have too much knowledge, but just because you have it doesn’t mean that you have to use it. I’m learning with each conference that I go to that I don’t have to implement every single little thing that I learn. I am only one person, and I can’t do it all. So, when I go to these conferences, once I get back into the routine of things at home, after being away, I try to decide the things that are most important to me that I want to implement on the blog. Most times, you guys, as readers, probably don’t even notice. A lot of the things implemented are behind the scenes. Sometimes though, after getting home from a conference, I feel so overwhelmed that sometimes I just want to quit blogging. I know that by going to conferences, those that plan them, don’t want to overwhelm you, but when you have so much to take in, in such a short amount of time, it is hard to get it all. By the 3rd day of the conference, your brain is pretty much mush. It is hard to think straight and get all the notes written down that you want to.
Next year, I hope I’ll remember to sit down and make some goals for attending the conference, and what I want to get out of the conference. I didn’t even think about doing that, and I didn’t have time. The last few days leading up to the conference were crazy busy and hectic. But it was worth it.
This year at SNAP, I definitely enjoyed the entire conference experience more than last year. I enjoyed it last year, but not as much as I could have. I know this saying isn’t anything new, but there is so much truth in it. I learned more than ever this time around to “Be Yourself.” I did my best to be me. I also think it helped quite a bit that I already knew several people that were attending the conference. I live in Utah, and Utah is kind of the blogging capital of the world, I think so at least. I actually go to a monthly class about blogging, so I’ve gotten to know quite a few bloggers that way. I used to hear bloggers talk about how they have become good friends in real life with other bloggers, and I couldn’t ever figure out exactly what they were talking about. Now I know. I have met some of the sweetest, nicest, kindest, friends though blogging, and if I wasn’t a blogger, I wouldn’t have ever met them.
I know I said at the top that this would be a quick recap, but it wasn’t so quick. Sorry about that. And if you’ve stuck with me and read this whole post, then you should get a prize!