My Takeaways from BlogPodium 2015

How has it already been a month since BlogPodium?! The past few weeks have flown by, but I had to write down a few of the thoughts that I've been mulling over in my head since getting home. BlogPodium is always a highlight of my year and if you've ever thought about going, I would absolutely recommend it. I know that might sound a little biased since I do play a part in the BlogPodium team now, but I would still be going to each & every event even if I wasn't on the team - it's that good, promise :)

There's been 5 main themes that I keep coming back to, and I'm sharing those along with a few photos from my time in Vancouver below. 

1. Get out there. You'll never know unless you try. The first BlogPodium event I attended was mildly terrifying - what will it be like? Will I know anyone? Will it be super awkward? Is this even for me? - but it was truly the best ticket I've ever purchased. The connections, opportunities, knowledge and friends I have gained have been huge. I would absolutely not be doing what I do now without it.

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2. Share the good stuff. People can smell a fake from a mile away, so while it's completely overused these days, 'authenticity' is important. It will look different to everyone, but this I know is true: "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle." I once heard someone say  that we should think of creativity & inspiration as a river - a continual source of flowing ideas - not a stagnant puddle that gets smaller every time you use up an idea. 

vancouver2015 14.png
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3. Simplify. Focus more energy on fewer things. Your sanity & to do list will thank you ;) And those things you focus on will get better & better with your undivided attention.

photo by Vancouver Photobooth

photo by Vancouver Photobooth

Tia, Nancy, Julie, Jen, Britt, Barbara, me & Lisa - one of the best teams to work with! 

4. Find your tribe. The people you connect with online can make all the difference. (see point above!) Community is everything, and people will make all the difference to your blogging & social media experience. 

5. Don't sweat the small stuff. Numbers will go up & down. Always, for any platform. Take a step back every so often and look at the big picture. Are you closer to your goal now than you were before? Then you're doing something right. And if not, regroup & try again. Everything will be alright :)

Any takeaways I missed? What were your favourite moments from BlogPodium this year? Other than the stunning backdrop of Vancouver of course ;) 


Thoughts from BlogPodium 2014

How do you sum up BlogPodium in a post?? I've been struggling for the past few weeks to put my experience into words but it will never be a perfect summary, so I'm embracing my jumbled thoughts and sharing my favourite take-aways from the weekend :)

Good things take time
Someone asked me during my presentation for tips on how to create professional videos that compete with Michelle Phan. And my answer at the time was fine - make sure it's HD, don't use iMovie music, don't go 'transition' crazy, etc - but thinking back to the whole day I think my answer would be this:

Just start. If you wait until you have every skill in place to compete with Michelle Phan, you'll have missed out on so much. Just turn on your camera, use what you have (but please not the iMovie music! haha) and do your best. Michelle Phan did not become what she is overnight. It took years of regularly uploading videos, let alone the years before she ever joined Youtube. You will never, ever ever start something at the top and instantly be the most successful. Good things take time. You have to be willing to wait, and learn & grow & change in the process. But you can't do any of that until you start.

Quality over quantity.
When it comes to how many people you met, or your blog stats, or your engaged readers, we should all be more focused quality over quantity. It's what brands are looking for now - the influencers & tastemakers - and engaged followers are much more worthwhile than a mere number on analytics. And one or two genuine connections at a conference will far outweigh 100 business cards from people you barely remember meeting.

Face-to-face connections can't be beat.
I feel like I really bonded with a few people this time around. People I'd met at past conferences or worked with over email were so easy to just start chatting to & it was like the initial awkwardness of meeting new people was just not there. I'm not entirely sure why, but dang, some good conversations were had!

Do you.
There was a lot of talk on authenticity - from Donna's morning keynote, to the fantastic lunchtime panel - and I couldn't agree more. You will never succeed trying to be someone else. And someone else's path will never work the same for you. Embrace your own journey and you will succeed.

"Don’t look left. Don’t look right. Do what you yourself do – and that’s it." (via)

On the front of every program are the three words of BlogPodium's mission: Connection. Conversation. Collaboration. The first two are relatively easy, but true collaboration takes work! And I don't mean guest posts or sharing other's work (which are both great & I don't want to downplay), but truly collaborating on a project from start to finish is hard in the blog world when we're all so spread out. But I think (and I include myself in this!) that we need to really work together more. Combine strengths & work as a team. I mean, BlogPodium would absolutely not happen without the fantastic team Jen has put together. I play a very small role, and watching other people do what they do best is so neat to see.

Overall, I came away from the weekend feeling so grateful. For new friends, for the opportunities I've had, and for all the incredible things that are going to come out of it.

Thankyou Jen & Julie & Tia & Brittany and the rest of the amazing team for a weekend I won't forget anytime soon :)


Business Cards

Can't believe BlogPodium is just over a week away!! SO excited :)

Now, you should have your business cards by now. But, if you've been scrambling and haven't had a chance yet, I've rounded up some of my favourite pre-designed cards from around the web! Moo, Minted, and Etsy all have gorgeous options that look custom. (um, hello foil pressed!!) You'll have to check shipping, but most of these should get here on time with rush options. Bonus: some of these are instant downloads so you can customize & print them yourself!

Top to bottom, by last name on card: 

I'm still using the same business cards I designed last year, but I wanted to show you what you get from two different online printers, if you decide to design your own.

I ordered some from last year, but then worried it wasn't enough, so I ordered even more from Vistaprint. Mostly because yes, Vistaprint was less expensive, but I was also curious to see how they'd compare to the Moo cards. 

Visually, the Moo cards are more creamy than white, almost like they have a coating? They feel satiny and smooth and very sturdy. The Vistaprint cards are whiter, but the grey side isn't as 'smooth' looking. They are also a bit smaller and not quite as thick (but still feel fairly sturdy). I would pick the Moo cards as my favourite, but the Vistaprint cards aren't as cheap looking as their prices suggest haha

If you've posted about your business cards I'd love to see them! Or if you have thoughts on any other printing companies? I've never used Minted for business cards, but I have & love several of their art prints & I think the quality would be the same.

Can't wait to see some of you at BlogPodium this year! There's still a few tickets left!


*affiliate links used in this post

8 Reasons to Attend BlogPodium This Year

Earlybird tickets for BlogPodium go on sale this Saturday. Are you coming??

Back in early spring 2012, I was debating going to one of the first BlogPodium events. I think it was $50, and I thought that was a lot for an afternoon in Toronto talking about blogs & business. Looking back? I cannot even tell you how glad I am that I went. I remember leaving to catch my train and just beaming all the way home. I loved every single second and I would have payed double for how much I enjoyed it.

I don't remember what it was that convinced me to go that first time but here are my top 8 reasons why you should go this time:

ONE // Conversation
This blogging world is still so new, and it's changing constantly. Spending time with people who just get that? You can't put a price on it.

TWO // Connection
Along those same lines, the people of BlogPodium are fabulous. Even if you only walk away with one or two new friends, so worth it. 

THREE // Information
The keynotes & sessions are jam-packed with info. From advertising to branding to collaborating, everything is covered.

FOUR // Skills
Ever wanted to learn photoshop? Or how to use that scary looking power tool? BlogPodium has skills based workshops as well as information based ones.

FIVE // Sponsors
BlogPodium works with some of the best sponsors. Para Paints is this year's title sponsor, but in the past West Elm, The Home Depot, Indigo, minted, Delta, Etsy and so many more have taken part. 

SIX // Location
This year BlogPodium is taking place at the Fairmont Royal York. I mean?? And you get breakfast & lunch there too. 

SEVEN // Goodies
I know it's not very polite to talk about free swag, but there's some pretty awesome free stuff given away at BlogPodium. Between the BlogPodium bags, the sponsor gifts & special prizes, there's tons of awesome stuff. And who doesn't love a goodie bag??

EIGHT // Unique
Sure there's Tweetstock & other related conferences, but this? There is nothing quite like BlogPodium anywhere in Canada.

So will I see you in September??


top photo by annawithlove

Post-Conference: 2 Month Check-In

There are so many amazing conferences available for bloggers now. BlogPodium is the only one here in Canada for design & lifestyle bloggers, but there are so many others. There's so much to learn and so many people to meet and the post conference 'high' is so exciting!! But what happens after?

So you went and conquered the conference (even if you're an Introvert!). You talked, you listened, you met old friends & made new connections. You took notes diligently during the speakers and have implemented a few of the ideas. You came home with a whole new zeal for blogging. It was like your blog was brand new again - you had a never-ending stream of ideas and a whole new batch of skills to implement them.

But then, life got a little busy. Maybe it was sickness, maybe it was school or work, maybe other people needed your attention more - whatever it was, you slowed down, the zeal slowly dissipated, and you find yourself back almost like you were before the conference. Tired, maybe a bit frustrated or bored with your blog and not sure what direction to take it in. All those new skills you learned are slowly regressing and your ideas seem uninspired.

Maybe you're not quite there yet, but you can see it coming. There's always a post-conference 'high' that happens right after. It was such a good experience & such a fantastic day, but two months later, the 'high' is gone and you've still got to make it work.

Thus, the 2 Month Check-In.

It's far enough after that you've got some perspective on the whole situation, but not far enough that the people you met and skills you learned are completely forgotten.

Life doesn't happen in the 'high' following an event. It happens in the decisions you make each & every day. And even if it takes you a few days or weeks or months, you can implement the changes & use the skills you went to the conference to learn.

2 month post-conference check-in

Here are 5 things you can do to overcome that post-conference slump:

ONE // Pick a day, and go back over your notes. There's a good chance that there's something in there you've forgotten about. With so much new information being thrown at you, you can only take in so much. Which is why you took good notes :) Now you can go back and remember & learn the things that didn't sink in the first time.

TWO // Commit to implementing or implementing one new change or skill to your blog/life every month. If you're up for more, maybe make it every week or two weeks. Set a schedule if you have to! Write it down in your agenda or phone. Commit to making it happen, or else it never will.

THREE // All those pretty business cards you collected, where are they now? Go back through them and make a point to connect with as many of those people as you can. Follow them through at least one site (twitter perhaps?) and maybe leave them a nice comment or retweet one of their posts. Any kind, thoughtful gesture will do.

FOUR // Along those same lines, reach out to someone you met, but have a conversation. Email/twitter works, but in person is even better! Not sure what to say? There's probably something that you bonded over at the conference - food, fashion, design, decor, blogging, life, work - anything!

FIVE // Was there one big thing you were wanting to do after the conference? Maybe it was a collaboration, or a guest post, or a blog series - that one big idea you had that got you so excited to be a part of this community. Whatever happened to it? It's never too late to start (but always too late to quit!!) so make a plan. That great new friend you made? Why don't you swap blogs for a day? Maybe you can collaborate on a new series or linkup - the options are as endless as your ideas :)

With all of these tips, keep in mind that everyone's life & schedules are different - what works for one person may not work for someone else. So do what you can and work at your own pace. Be realistic & kind to yourself!

Is there anything I missed?? What have you been doing since BlogPodium? (or the last conference you went too?) Any great ideas you've been working on?


Missed out on BlogPodium?

Now's your chance to get in on all the awesome, because many of the presentations are now online!

You can download a pdf version of my talk, Photoshop for Bloggers, and get learning! I think everything should make sense without my commentary, but if you have any questions about it, leave them in the comments on this post.

As a little sneak peak, I thought I would share two of my favourite slides from my presentation: my favourite fonts & the font sins!
favourite fonts

font sins
You can read more about my favourite fonts here and the font sins here!

My favourite thing was reading this tweet from @talbanystyle after my presentation:
Oh Papyrus, what will we ever do with you??


BlogPodium 2013: The People

Goodness you guys. The people at BlogPodium this year were just fantastic! It was so great to meet people at Sarah's tea the day before and connect again on Saturday. Love all the fun cards too!

There are a few notable exceptions missing from the cards above, mainly Sara & Lindsey & Julie! Don't know how I missed snagging cards from you three.

I'm still on a BlogPodium high - it was that good you guys :)

And in case you need a smile (or were wondering how I took the photo above), I took the photo below - keeping it real haha

Hope you're week is going well :)


BlogPodium 2013: The Weekend

Goodness. Where to begin??

I had the most amazing weekend. BlogPodium was just beyond any expectations I had. From meeting people I'd only chatted with via email & twitter, making some wonderful new friendships, and giving a presentation on Photoshop, it was such an amazing fantastic experience. Jen, you did SO good.

photo from Jillian Murphy
I headed down to Toronto on Friday afternoon for tea with Sarah Richardson. I mean, I probably don't need to tell you, but it was so fun! Jennifer from Pluck Teas was there making some fancy teas, and she gifted us all with Sarah's favourite tea, Cream Earl Grey. I mean, that's my favourite tea too, so me and Sarah are obviously BFF's now.

After the loveliest afternoon with Sarah & the most awesome bloggers, I helped with some of the final setup for BlogPodium the next day. All those paint cans in your swagbags? I helped put them there :)

And after a somewhat sleepless night, it was time for BlogPodium!!!!!  Not even the rain could dampen the awesomeness of the day. Breakfast was yummy (with tea & coffee from Starbucks!), all the sessions were great, lunch was delish, and soon it was time for my session!! I cannot say thankyou enough to all the lovely ladies that came to hear me speak - you were so wonderful & kind and I couldn't have asked for a better audience. I hope you all learned lots & I can't wait to see what you create!

As I sat on the train home Saturday night, I probably had the biggest smile on my face. I was fairly nervous going into the weekend, but could not be more thrilled with how it all went. Everyone was so kind and lovely and um, fabulously stylish! I can't say enough good things!! I'm already excited for the next one :)

I've got another recap coming tomorrow - everyone I met and all the cards I collected!! Thought about combining everything but it might go on for days haha

Update: Check out part two over here!


all photos by Anna With Love Photography, unless noted.

The Introvert's Guide to BlogPodium (or any conference really)

A GIF!! It doesn't really have anything to do with this post, but I made it as an example for my talk at BlogPodium and thought I'd share it :)
Make sure you stop by if you want to learn to make one too!! 

For a lot of people, the idea of going to a conference where you really don't know anyone is kind of intimidating. And I am among those people! When I went to BlogPodium last year, I was so nervous. I mean, I'd emailed some of these people before, I knew their names & faces, but I'd never met any of them in person.

But, by the end of the day I was SO happy I'd gone. It was such a good event and everyone was so awesome!

I know I'm not the only one for whom things like conferences aren't the easiest thing. So I've gathered together what I learned from the last event and what I need to keep reminding myself of, just in case you need it too :)

ONE // Reach out beforehand. Even if it's only to one person, let them know you're excited to go and maybe suggest meeting up before the event so you have someone to walk in to the conference with.

TWO // Don't stress over 'networking'. Don't go into the event stressing about the number of people you 'have to' meet. Introduce yourself to the people at your table or whoever sits beside you at the workshops. Let it be more organic, not forceful.

THREE // But on the other hand, don't be a wallflower. Sometimes it's easy to stand off to the side and not meet anyone, but that's just no fun. So push yourself a little. It might go really well, or it might not, but it's not the end of the world. (I still have to remind myself of this one!)

FOUR // Be kind. To others and yourself. It's only one day, and we all make mistakes.

FIVE // Most importantly, be yourself and have fun! If you've met a few new people, exchanged a few cards, taken lots of notes, and learned a few things, then you've succeeded! Don't try to make your experience match someone else's. Do what's right for you!

Anything I missed??

SO excited for BlogPodium :) Can't wait to see everyone there!