I loved it.
I went last year and had a wonderful time but this year I got to experience it from a slightly different angle- this year I was helping out! It was fascinating to see how things happen from behind-the-scenes.
(me with the rest of the organizers & helpers)
It was crazy busy but working with women I adore made it so worthwhile. Plus it helped me to realize just how much work goes into these conferences. It is truly incredible.
It has taken me several days to begin to process all that I experienced and learned while I was there. It was an incredibly FULL few days and I am certain I will be processing it all for several weeks to come.
There were a few major highlights though that stand out and I want to share with you all.
1. There is just nothing better than seeing friends that I have made online in real life.
These women are intelligent and inspiring and beautiful and all around incredible and even though I knew that already seeing them in person was just really cool.
(Shannon & I)
The friends I have made online are some of my closest and dearest friends. I know many people think you can't have real relationships online but trust me when I tell you that is so not true. @Shasherslife is one of my very best friends and she and I have only seen each other in person for a total of 10 days over the past 5 years. There women that I talk and work with pretty much daily and we live all over Canada from BC to the Maritimes and it was so fun to actually see each other in person.
2. The social good panel was inspiring and wonderful and totally made me cry.
I loved hearing the panelists stories and hearing about the incredible impact social media can have. The essential message was "use your power for good". We ALL have a sphere of influence and those of us in social media also have a platform we can use to HELP people.
I was already passionate about social good but listening to the panel speak really was inspiring. So inspiring that when I got a phone call this week asking me to volunteer my time as a social media manager for a cause I really believe in I said yes right away.
3. The branding panel moderated by the fabulous Julie Cole was beyond hysterical.
I laughed from start to finish. But more than just being funny they shared some really great tips that essentially came down to the message "know who you are and who you want to be and be true to that".
(the ladies on the branding panel)
4. I loved the Special Needs Tribe.
During the conference we had the chance to break up into small groups called "tribes". There were tribes in all sorts of categories- everything from being an entrepreneur to food bloggers. I joined the special needs tribe lead by the incredible Tanis of the Redneck Mommy. I adore Tanis. If you don't know her story you really should check out her blog.
(Janice of 5 Minutes for Mom & Tanis of Redneck Mommy)
I'm sure you all know just how amazing it is to be with people who just "get" you. Well that was what it was like for me in the special needs tribe. It was a beautiful thing. We even laughed. A lot. It was good for my soul!
There is so much more than I could ever fit in just one blog post!
I want to thank Satin Woods for the great clothes- if you are a plus size lady be sure to check out their fabulous online boutique. The clothes were super comfortable AND beautiful. The perfect combination. Plus the owner is absolutely delightful.
I also want to thank the sponsors because without them the conference could not have happened!
CBC Live put on a great party.
Kellogg's for the yummy breakfasts and the great dietician at their booth- she gave me some excellent information!
Chevrolet for employing and sending the fabulous @AdriaMacKenzie to the conference and for the awesome shuttle service with fabulous drivers. A special shout out to the amazing drivers who were so kind to laugh with us during our craziness and for not mocking me when I was sure we were all going to die driving downtown Toronto. And also Chevrolet dressed up a car for the costume party and that is just fun.
( the lovely @Beach_Mama posing with the car)
Philips for the fun place to relax and toothbrushing supplies, manicures, massages & coffee.
Fisher-Price for the gifts for the kids and lovely ladies to chat with.
Healthy Choice Gourmet Steamers for the excellent drinks and fun conversation. I seriously loved that I could grab a yummy pina coloda as I rushed by them from one session to another. So cool.
Mabel's Labels ... a fabulous company (run by amazing women) I adore all the time, not just because they put on a great party. But they DO put on a great party :).
PC Financial where I won a gift certificate to a store that doesn't exist in my town yet so I traded with a friend for yummy cookies. It was a good trade. And also who really impressed me with their generosity. My friend Jody @MommyMomentBlog had her phone stolen by the crook who drove her to the conference and PC Financial totally stepped up and gave her an android phone. That was really cool.
Kraft Foods What's Cooking for the fun Halloween themed treats and cookies - yummy!
And of course all the other sponsors who had booths set up for us to visit and/or gave out fun swag during the conference...
Maple Leaf Foods
Church & Dwight Canada
One to One Network
Lisa Leonard Designs
I'd also like to do a special shout-out to the amazing manager at the Hilton hotel in downtown Toronto who did a fabulous job making sure everything was great and fixing a small issue we had with our room right away. Wonderful customer service!
Did I mention that Jordan Knight of the New Kids on the Block came to our costume party? Because he totally did. Very brave of him if I do say so myself!
(Cheryl @purplegal78 , Jordan Knight & Ruth @momsmusings)
And finally a big huge thanks to Alli, Barbara, Catherine & Paula for bringing Blissdom to Canada in the first place! Love you ladies!