I’m warning you now. The following Blogalicious recaps will be photo-heavy. You’ve been warned. Now let’s get into it.
I had the best time at my first ever Blogalicious Conference. I first heard about this conference in the summer of last year at my local social media/PR women pros ad-hoc breakfast. It was too late for me to save up money to go because I had already committed to BlogHer 2011. This year, I made it a point to go. Thankfully, it was in Las Vegas – only 4.5 hour drive away (or a 1 hour flight). I thought I was heading out alone, but a handful of So Cal Lady Bloggers were also attending as well. Bonus! I’d also get to see my friend, E, who was able to fly out and hang with me and The Wife. (Mostly the Wife since I was at the conference.)
Let me give you the spoiler version: It was awesome and I want to go again!
The Location – Red Rock Casino, Las Vegas
Red Rock Casino is pretty fantastic! It was our first time staying here; we tend to stick to The Strip hotels. I’ve been to Red Rock National Park to hike but never to hang out in Summerlin (where the resort is). It’s its own little place, complete with 72 lanes of bowling, a movie theater, a casino, a convention center, a bunch of pools, a spa/salon, and plenty of elevators that work. It also has TWO Starbucks – thank you, baby Jesus. The one thing that is a plus/minus (depending on your view) is that it’s about a 20-minute drive to The Strip. That worked against the Wife and E, but it wasn’t a big deal.
Speakers and Panels
During the course of the conference, I heard a myriad of speakers and keynotes. Two of them stuck with me… even three weeks after the conference. Â [Jesus Christ, it’s been a long time since my last post. Things have happened in my personal life that made it difficult to carve out time to write.] The first was Mario Armstrong and his morning keynote on Saturday. He was energetic, engaging and threw out actual takeaways. (This is something I implore all speakers to do – whether you’re a big wig or a ‘smaller’ speaker. Who cares? People paid to take home inspiration and practical takeaways. Give them that.) Mario’s deck included a 21-day challenge. If you’re interested to see it, check out his slides here.
The other speaker whose words bore into my brain like a brand was Miss Lori. Those of you who have small kids, you may know her from the PBS Preschool TV programs. It’s kind of tough to hold a crowd while they’re eating lunch, but she did it. The main takeaway I kept was this:Â “You give nothing for free. You can waive your fee, but you don’t speak for free.” Totally makes sense and damn, why didn’t I think of that?
One of my IRL friends and fellow bloggers AJ Feuerman, aka. Confessions of a Fat Girl,Â was on a panel on working with PR agencies and publicists. Their deck was quite helpful as a reminder for me to get my 10 Ps checked off as well as a notice that I’m now a blogger too. I’m no longer a PR pro, so the tables have turned. 😛 If you’d like to check out their deck, click here to AJ’s blog post – the deck is embedded or you can go straight to her Slideshare folder.
Brands/Sponsors and Bloggerati, Part 1
Right beforeÂ AJ,Â RiccaÂ (a fellow So Cal Lady Blogger who writes atÂ The Not So Secret Life of a Super Mama!) and I walked to lunch and the start of the conference, our eyes were drawn to the big Ross stand-up banner. Hmm,Â Ross… shopping… let’s go in! We were greeted by the PR team and challenged to create our own Ross looks with the three mannequins in the room. OOH challenge!! I’m so in. Lucky for me, the Ross team liked my look so much, I won a $25 gift card to Ross! Yeah!!
Sears/Kmart’s Shop Your Way program sponsored an Afternoon Tea on the first day, and man, was it fun. I also met another (new to me) fellow So Cal Lady Blogger, Xenia, who writes at Raised by Culture. (Yep, it takes a Las Vegas conference to meet fellow So Cal bloggers. Ha!) They gave away TWO iPads and a couple of gift certificates. Guess who won a gift certificate to The Salon at Red Rock for being the fastest replier to the Tea invitation? 😀
I also finally had the opportunity to meet Marie Denee, the Curvy Fashionista!! FYI – back in the day when I was looking for fashion bloggers (who looked like me or at least wore a size larger than 2), I found the Curvy Fashionista. I’ve been reading her blog for about three years until I finally got to meet her (a fellow So Cal resident)… in Vegas. See what I mean about Las Vegas conferences?
Oh and can I REALLY miss a conference without meeting my sister by name, Thien-Kim? I first met Thien-Kim at BlogHer, and I found out that she was also coming out to Vegas for Blogalicious. Check out Thien-Kim’s fascinator. The woman’s a sewing genius. (She and many other bloggers dressed up for tea with their dresses and fascinators. I… just got dressed.)
So… I also stalked this lady here because I saw her dress during a session and drooled. Judene Walden was the first keynote of the conference. She spoke about the state of digital media through a POC lens. I
creeped up crawled over to her table and asked her about her dress during a session. Yeah I was THAT guy. Her friend Trisha jotted down the dress company and what happened? I saw her at the TEA! So I asked for a picture. Isn’t it so Joan Holloway!!?? (The dress is from The Pretty Dress Company in the UK – it’s on SALE!)
I had an amazing time speaking to Anna Garcia at the McDonald’s sponsor booth. We shared our views on minority bloggers and PR agencies, and I think I’ve got myself a new contact. Mickey D’s also had these nifty Notebook Feet as giveaways. Best. things. ever. Especially if you’re traveling or working away and don’t want to bring the laptop pad. You just pull the balls apart and put them on the bottom of your laptop. Voila! Makeshift cooling feet!
McDonald’s also hosted a terrific party “Viva Las Ladies Nite” in the evening. I was impressed. There were booths where you could get a manicure, make-up retouched (see pic below), massages, and even a psychic was on hand! There were also hot menz walking about. I am not above ogling male models; we’re equal opportunity here, right? 😛 There were also passed trays of food, including burgers and cheeseburgers. I passed on the food. My middle age has made my stomach a lot more sensitive to fast food.
Lady bloggers were out on the dance floor… dancing. I… was not. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen me zumba, but if I can’t even follow directions, what makes you think I can dance? “Gangnam Style” played and I failed my Asian brethren by not doing the horse dance. Sorry. Not really.
The party ended Night 1 of the Conference. But wait, there’s more! I’ve got Part 2 of Bloggerati and Brands as well as the rest of my Blogalicious 2012 thoughts coming soon. Thanks for sticking with me and reading. Stay tuned!