Blogpodium 2014 Recap: 4 years later

Good Morning!

I finally got my Blogpodium 2014 recap written! Yea, me!  First of all, I had a great time at Blogpodium , I always do.  I was using my iPhone for photos that day, and the venue was a bit dark, so needless to say this post is going to be Texty McTexterson so bear with me.  After this Blogpodium was all said and done, I definitely had lots of thoughts about blogging in general, which I will get to later, but first I want to share some of my highlights.

I loved the keynote speech by Donna from Funky Junk Interiors.  It had humour, passion, and grit.  She drew us in with her story, which really showed us how she got where she is today.  She did give us some tips and hints but it was her story of perseverance that made us all relate to her and it really set a great tone for the day.  I loved the picture she posted talking about people’s reactions when you tell them you are a blogger….

Blogpodium 2014 -1

Now, I have been blogging for over four years and generally haven’t really paid much attention to the numbers.  Recently, I have been trying to figure out traffic, the best ways to improved my google rank, and other techie things, and well, it been frustrating.  So this year, I decided to nerd it up and focus on the technical sessions. I went to 2 sessions.  One by Nicki Lamont on Essential SEO and one by Avery Swartz from Camp Tech on Google Analytics.  Both were really, really helpful and I left with a much better of a grasp on all those crazy blogging metrics.  And can I tell you how much I love Camp Tech?  Seriously.  They had a nerd station at Blogpodium where bloggers could ask questions and get specific help for their own blogs.  As you can see from the photo below, they were pretty busy all day!  Also they have the best tag line ever.

Blogpodium 3 copy

And I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by the panel discussion with Jen Flores, Scott McGillivray and Monika Hibbs.  I knew Jen would be great….obviously she has the finger on the pulse of bloggers.  But I’ll be honest, although I enjoy both Scott’s shows and Monika’s blog, I went into the session wondering what exactly they would bring to the table that would be applicable to the average blogger.  Well, I will tell you I was really impressed with both of them.  They told their stories which were very interesting in their own ways and also they provided good advice on career paths. And they both had a huge amount of drive, which resonated with me.  What I took from that discussion was be true to yourself, make a plan and then go get what you want.

Blogpodium 2014 - 4

Another great thing that I always love about Blogpodium is seeing all the bloggers I don’t see in real life often enough.  This year I was so happy to have my friend Sarah of More than Denim, staying with me for her first blog conference.  Sarah is a Canadian blogger over at More than Denim, who just recently moved back to Halifax from the US and is excited to get tapped into the Canadian blogging scene. Check it out for some fabulous fashion and food posts.

Blogpodium 2014 -2

Now on to the more introspective stuff. I have been attending blog conference since before I had an probably had any right to do so. I’ve been to all four Blogpodiums and I also attended Alt Summit in Salt Lake City in 2012.  Looking back, I will say that for the first 2 Blogpodiums and Alt, I KNEW NOTHING. I learned a lot but maybe not a lot that applied to me directly since my blog was so small and newer at the time.  Now, that being said, my blog isn’t much bigger now than it was then, but I would like to think it’s slightly more sophisticated. I certainly would say that the last 2 Blogpodiums were the most rewarding. but also very different. Last year, I left feeling super inspired and motivated. For me it was about the relationships and connections, but looking back I didn’t leave with a huge amount of tangible information to actually apply on my blog.  This year, however, while I didn’t leave with a sense of euphoric blog bliss, I learned a ton and left with so much information that I could put into action right away.  It wasn’t better or worse than last year, just different.  But I think maybe that is the evolution of attending blog conferences.  Every experience is unique and speaks to you differently.

Now, it’s no secret that the word on the street is that that blogging as we know is dying. Readership is down, comments are down, major publications in the US are shutting down blogs.  And for sure, all that may indicate a significant change to blogging.  The next big thing may take blogging in a whole new direction.  Big changes. But just because something is changing it doesn’t mean it’s dying.

And I think something is missing from this conversation and that is that people don’t ever get tired from hearing stories. About a month ago I read great post written by by Erin Loechner over at Design for Mankind titled Blogging, Now  that was posted back in August and talked about the state of blogging.  I think Erin’s take on the topic is bang on.  I would encourage you all to take a read of the entire thing but I want to share with you a quote from the end of that post…..

“Blogging won’t die, because it was never truly alive. The stories, the voices – that’s where the heart beats. And storytelling, friends, is forever.” – Erin Loechner, Design for Mankind

Truth. Look at my Blogpodium highlights above. Do Donna and I have the same aesthetic?  No. Do I love every single project she does?  Not necessarily.  But I still loved her keynote and love how she writes on her blog. Why? Because she is genuine, tells a story and I connect with that in some way.  And then, Scott and Monika, two people that I didn’t anticipate taking much away from who really surprised me, and why?  Because they told their stories before they launched into the advice. I understood where they were coming from.  Genuine stories make all the difference. Isn’t that how blogging started?  It doesn’t matter what a post is about or how short it might be, if you there is a reflection of you and your story weaved in there in even the smallest way, someone is likely to enjoy it.

And I’m off my officially getting down off my soapbox. (*Drop Mic)


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Blogpodium 2013: Uncensored/Uncut

Good Morning!

Today I’m sharing my Blogpodium experience from this past Saturday   Now, if you are expecting lots gorgeous photos and uber-wise insights, you may be disappointed. But if you want a light, uncensored, uncut take on my experience keeping heading down the page….

My thoughts on Blogpodium, in no particular order:

1. Jen Flores is wonder woman

Jen as wonder woman copy via and the Blogpodium photobooth.

This woman has more energy than anyone I know.  Yes, she had a team to help her out, but she oversaw everything and ensured that every detail went off without a hitch.  I am in awe of how she put this massive event together and also of her real passion for helping Canadian bloggers get better at what they do. Oh, if I had just a thimble of her energy oh the things I could do….

2.  These two ladies were hilarious and highly informative

Blog Podium Annawithlove Photography-9904-L


Avery Swartz (of Stuff Avery Likes and founder of Camp Tech) ran the session Creating a Style Guide for your Blog…and she is awesome.  She took us on her “Nerd Journey” and I didn’t want it to end.  Fonts, logos, dos & don’t s.  It was great.  You will notice that I have stopped center lining my text and being consistent with my photo sizes.  Mostly because she said she would hunt us down if she saw were were doing that.  Who says threats aren’t effective?

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And Karen Bertlesen of the Art of Doing Stuff did the session on The Art of Monetization. She was also very funny but I also learned a ton about how to make money from your blog.  Key takeaway: No one reads my blog and therefore, I may never make much money from it.  🙂

3.  I don’t want to talk about my bum

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Cottonelle was one of the exhibitors and they had a beautiful set up and lovely products in all the bathrooms.  And while I know their current ad campaign is #LetsTalkBums, I just don’t really want to talk about my bum to strangers.  Is that so wrong?  However, if someone else (preferable someone talk, dark, handsome, single, employed….) wants to talk about how nice they think my bum is, that kind of bum talk is acceptable.

4.  Sarah Richardson ROCKS and she improved my grammar

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The keynote speaker was Sarah Richardson.  She was a fantastic speaker, gave great insights, and she seems as down to earth in person as she does on her shows.  And she looked kick-ass in her Smythe blazer. But damn her, she told a story about her father calling her to correct her grammar after watching her show….”Sarah, you know there is no such thing as those ones, it’s just those.” And as she predicted, now I’m catching myself using it all the time and it’s driving me crazy.  But I guess I’ll forgive her….you know, because she’s Sarah Richardson and because she makes fabrics like this….

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA (Sarah Richardson fabrics from Kravat)

5. Great events always have….

boozy bloggers copy

The signature drink was delicious.  BUT HOW is my blog not called The Sparkling Blogger??  Darn. It’s like when you think of that amazing Halloween costume on November 4th….

6. These events are really about connecting and building relationships.


So, of course I took very few pictures, especially of people but I met a lot of great people and got to catch up with many as well.   From the top right we have Emma and Jill from The Happy Space (damn these ladies are fun) flanking my fab blog re-designer Brittany Douglas of Gallery No. Eight. Old friends Sarah from Redesigning Sarah and Lisa MacKay from Wicked & Weird.  And the bottom photos include a slew of bloggers doing crazy things in the photo booth.  Including Ken Simpson of Fieldstone Windows who clearly was feeling outnumbered at this event and was trying to fit in.  Though I have very few photos of people, I was so happy to finally meet, Jacylyn of Lark & Linen, Julie from Elliven Studio, Sara of Saige Wisdom, and Amber of Simple Dwellings.  I’m sure there are many more I’m forgetting but you get the gist.

All in all, a great experience!



New Cards for a New Look + Blogpodium

Good Morning lovelies!

Only one more sleep until Blogpodium and I’m pumped! Having attended the event since the beginning, I’m in awe of what it has become.  In awe, but not surprised.  Jen Flores, one of the founders and the head of Blogpodium, is a true creative talent with brains for business, so I know it’s going to be awesome.  Did I mention Sarah Richardson is the keynote speaker? Only one of the most loved design personalities in Canada….no big deal.

Having attended this event as well as Alt Summit in Salt Lake City a couple of years ago, I know that having business cards at these events is important.  And since the blog has a new look I had to get new business cards.  The lovely Brittany designed them and I ordered from

new  biz cards front

Now, I love my new logo design but it makes it tricky to appear centered because of the swooping ‘d’ at the end. It makes the bottom right corner appear particularly empty.  Making the logo smaller might help to get it more centered but then it wouldn’t be very prominent and there would be even more white space.  Maybe next time I’ll change up the format a little, but overall I’m happy with pretty happy with the results

new biz cards back

Now, can I just tell you how great the customer service at is?  You see, since the new blog look was only finalized a couple of weeks ago, I knew I had to rush the order to get the cards on time. So I asked for rush printing.  I misread the terms and thought by rush printing I could still send them by regular shipping and get them here on time.  I only realized after I got the confirmation that they were about to be shipped that they were only guaranteed to arrive AFTER Blogpodium.   Awesome.  So I called them.  They had already sent them.  They said they would cancel the first order, re-print my cards, and resend them using rush shipping…..ALL AT NO COST TO ME.  Not only that but they didn’t really cancel the first order because guess what arrived yesterday? The first set of cards.  So on top of it I got two sets of cards for the price of one!  I’m telling you, this is the stuff that makes me want to support a company.

I’ll be back next week with a recap of Blogpodium, but first I’ll be sharing the big reveal of my Fall Home Show Upcycle Challenge: Unhinged submission!  Stay tuned!



Highlights from IDS 2013

 Good Morning!

This weekend proved to be busy as I tried to get things done before my departure to Switzerland tomorrow!  That meant I didn’t get a chance to post about my recap on the interior design show last week!  But I have it today!

The festivities kicked off with the opening night gala on Thursday night.  It was a fun time, and why wouldn’t it be with so many bloggers in attendance? Plus, I got a chance to preview the show.

But the real viewing of the show took place when I took part in the IDS Instawalk 2013 hosted by Beige is Dead.  (I don’t have instagram but they let me take part anyway and I just tweeted my pics)  Here are some of my faves from the show.

View of IDS from above…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Art installation as you came into the convention center…..wheeee, balloons!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Ceasarstone, one of the lead sponsors for IDS2013 put together this “Stone Garden”.  Normally I’m not big on minimalism in design, but I thought this was a nice calming break in the midst of the busyness of the rest of show.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA There was some great lighting showcased at the show.  The lovely fixture on the left is from Cocoon out of Oakville, while the eclectic display of fixtures on the right are from Living Lighting on King.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I found my dream rugs at the Reznick Carpet booth.  Hand dyed, hand woven and beautifully designed.  About $100/sq. ft….Hmmm, which means I can afford an area rug for dollhouse.  Alas.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA One of the things that everyone was talking about was the vintage copper tub that the IKEA booth used in its rustic bathroom design.  It was spectacular.  And I enjoyed their rustic kitchen design as well.


 And there was lots of stuff for bathooms too!  Cool sinks from Stone Forest, and cool gold faucets from Rubinet Faucet Company


 I’m really not a big fan of a bath….but this tub designed by might just be the one that makes me change my mind….


 I enjoyed the “candy store of tiles” setup at the Ceragres Tile Company booth, as well as their grey ombre wall of tile.



But one of the coolest things I found at the show was Creative Matters wall coverings.  They have fabulous designs and you can buy them either pre-pasted or peel and stick.  Being a renter, the peel and stick option is great.  And they also can do custom designs!  So glad I stumbled upon them!






And that is it for my summary of IDS2013! There was so much more but these are just a few of my faves.  Excited to do it again next year.




 Good Morning!

Sorry for my absence yesterday! I was hoping to get this post finished yesterday, but alas, it was not to be.  I’m very happy to be talking about Blogpodium which I attended on Saturday.   More than 150 amazing ladies (and a few men) attended this fantastic event,  which focused on the business of blogging.  It is always great to meet up with fellow bloggers but I also learned a lot!  This series of events was started by Jen and Lindsay to promote learning and conversation within the blogging community. And after two events I would say it has far exceeded anyone’s expectations.

The Keynote Speaker was Nicole Balch, of Making it Lovely who spoke in depth about monetizing your blog. This woman has talent oozing out of her pores.  Smart, creative and just a lovely person all around.

Some key things I learned from Nicole’s speech:

1) When you are starting out approaching vendors for advertising, try offer a couple of months free.  That way you can get some advertisements on your blog which makes you look more legitimate to other potential advertisers. Also, it gives the vendors a chance to see some results from the ad on your site in order to be interested in paying later on.

2) I knew very little about Ad Networks so it was very interesting to hear about the ins and outs of using them.  I’m nowhere near the level of where an Ad Network would make sense

3) Similar to newspapers, you can charge more for ads “above the fold” (i.e.what you see when you first bring up the your blog) than ones “below the fold” (when you scroll down).

Next up was the panel discussion, moderated by Leigh-Ann Allaire Perrault, Colour and Design Specialist with Benjamin Moore and regular design expert on Cityline. The panel consisted of Cheryl Kozoriz is manager of marketing and communications at GlucksteinHome, Laura Muirhead is a Community Cultivation Manager with Tribal DDB, on the Radar DDB social media team, Christine Dovey author of the blog Bijou and Boheme, and Lindsay Stephenson of author of Little House Blog.  The discussion was a great balance between both the point of view the blogger and the brands, and I think that the brands gained as much insight as we the bloggers did. The whole panel did a fantastic job.

See how engrossed I am with the content?

Then there was scrumptious food…

And a meet and greet with the vendors who had fabulous booths set up….

and friends…..

Photo Sources for above: All Mango Studios Photography except top left and bottom left and right which are mine.

Always the nicest part of these events is meeting new people and catching up with my blogger friends. Almost too many to name in the above, but I’ll give it a shot… Heather, Sarah, Meagan, Sarah G, Christine, Barbara, Lindsay, Jen, Nancy, Beatrice, Amy and Pam.

Oh then the swag….

Thanks so much to all the amazing sponsors!

And thanks to Jen and Lindsay for an amazing event! You can see more photos, here, here, and here. Can’t wait for the next one.


Photo Sources for above: All Mango Studios Photography except where noted.


Alt Recap Round 2: The things I learned…..

It’s now been more than two weeks since the last day at Alt and although I already posted my Recap – Round 1,  before I shared Round 2 I needed to take some time to mull over the things I learned .  I’ll apologize in advance for this word-heavy blog…I promise pretty pictures will be back tomorrow! In the meantime, here is a small snapshot of what I learned….

1) Your blog is your personal brand. It should reflect you and look professional.  There should be consistency with your header, fonts and icons.

I have come to realize that I need my blog to be re-designed professionally.  I’ve redesigned my header (and still I am not 100 percent sold on it), and need to get the sidebar in order.  I would love to do it myself but the reality is I don’t have time to learn code right now and my time is worth too much these days.

2) Always post the best photos possible. Most of the beautiful photos you see on blogs are Photoshopped, so learn to use a photo editing program and present the most professional looking shots you can.

I do not take great photos, but I am learning to use Photoshop to my advantage. At some point I think I should take a photography course but in the meantime, Photoshop is going to become my new bestie.

1) Post original content that reflects you. Content should be based on your research, your expertise, and your experiences.

Readers can find nice pictures and great home decor ideas anywhere, but they will come back to your blog because they like how your have presented it or like the story you tell about it. Ultimately, your blog should be a reflection of you.  I need to ensure that I’m spending equal time, if not more time, on the story/idea for a post as I do finding or creating the photos for a post.

2) Hosting giveaways, having a “if you liked this post, you might like these posts” sections on your blog, and linking to social media (Facebook, Twitter) will all help increase your readership.

I have been relatively active on Twitter and have recently started a Recreated Facebook page, but I have yet to host a giveaway. I have hesitated because I don’t know how to go about finding things to giveaway and I don’t know how to set it up. I am sure it is relatively straight-forward so the bottom-line is I have to just do it. However, another thing I learned is that there may be legal rules around giveaways and that you ensure should ensure that how you are conducting them is legal.  Also, I am switching to soon and then I will be able to get plugins, specifically a “related posts” plugin.

1) If you are going to monetize your blog and take on sponsors you need treat your blog as a business.  Things like creating a posting calender and a sponsorship kit are important.

Oh how I need a posting calender!  Not just to ensure that I’m operating my business well, but to ensure my sanity.  How often am I scrambling to put posts together at the last minute? Um, very often.  How often do I think “Oh, I wish I had posted about that last week?” Um, very often.  If you are posting about Christmas ideas a week before Christmas, it’s too late for anyone to benefit from that content. A schedule will help you plan your posts for when they will be most effective. Also, as I am about to embark on the world of blog monetization, I will need to learn how to sell my blog to sponsors in a professional way. I think creating a sponsorship/media kit will be a good first step.

2) Look for creative ways to obtain sponsors or to do guest posts on bigger blogs. Think about packaging a series of posts together on a related topic. When approaching companies or larger blogs, make sure you know their brand and their content and can articulate what your post or your blog can do for them.

For example, maybe you are thinking of doing a series of posts on sewing.  So package them together and approach a sewing machine company to sponsor that series of posts.  Or a maybe a series on your garden and you can ask a local greenhouse to sponsor. The key is to make sure you pitch in a way that is mutually beneficial.

1) The sock bun. There were a lot of buns at Alt…and I learned that apparently most of them were sock buns. A sock bun you say? What the heck is that?  Well, for someone like me with thin, straight hair this is a miracle my friends.  I too can get a full Princess Leia sized bun with the help of a sock. I tried it and, god dammit, it works.

2) Some no-no’s for styling a room for a shoot (via Miss Emily Henderson of HGTV’s Secrets of a Stylist): don’t use gerbra daisies unless it’s for a kid’s party (amen to that), don’t put twigs in a vase and use it as an arrangement, and don’t karate chop your pillows.

3) The only thing worse for me than getting my picture taken multiple times, is getting it taken multiple times in front of various cheesy backdrops.  It seemed everywhere we went there was a backdrop for pictures. Don’t get me wrong, it was a very cute and fun idea, but for someone like me who hates to get photographed, it was a little too much.You can see some of these awesome photos in Recap 1 and on Jen’s Alt recap here.

So that is a TINY snippet of what I learned at Alt, but the things that I think might be the most helpful to others starting a blog or generally new to blogging. Also, if you are interested in learning more, Alt has launched the Alt Channel that features online classes similar to those features at Alt. So check it out!

Have a great day!


Good Morning!

I attended Blogpodium on Friday as part of the Interior Design Show. There were close to 100 design bloggers in attendance to start a series of conversations on blogging.  This series is the brain-child of the amazing Jennifer Flores (and my roomie from Alt) and Lindsay Stephenson.  They saw a lack of organized conversation and learning for bloggers in Canada and decided to do something about it.  We are such a supportive community, always willing to help each other and prop each other up, but other than social media we have very few opportunities to learn.  I think this is an amazing initiative and they really pulled out all the stops for thier first event, Blogs and Media.

The founders!  Photo by Jason Hudson

The panel of experts consisted of Kimberley Seldon, design editor for Chatelaine and Editor-in-Chief of Dabble Magazine, Kate Moore, Producer at Cityline, Margot Austin, Senior Design Editor at House & Home magazine, and Jenn herself (a superstar blogger in her own right). The panel was moderated by Leigh-Ann Allaire Perrault, Colour and Design Specialist at Benjamin Moore and regular guest expert on Cityline.

Photo by Jason Hudson

  There have already been many recaps about this amazing event (you can read some of them here) so I’m not going to go into to much detail on all the fabulous information that was shared, but I’d like to touch on a few pieces of advice that struck a cord with me.


I have just returned from Alt Summit and this exact thing came up over and over again. If you want to get your blog noticed (by both readers and media) you need to write in a way that is unique to you, in a way that people will connect to who you are.  Find exactly what your voice is and always provide your perspective. Just saying “I love this picture, it’s so cute”, isn’t enough.  It takes time to write a good post that is really “you”, but it is essential to success.

photo by Jason Hudson


A well edited blog is important if you want to be noticed by media.  These are EDITORS looking at your blogs….they want to know that you are taking time to write properly and present your ideas in an organized way.


Every time you do guest post for another blog and every time you reach out to a new blogger there is a possibility for new oppourtunities.  In particular, aligning yourself with and collaborating with large well-respected blogs can really open up doors.  You never know who is reading your blog or where the next big thing will come from.

This event was such a crazy success and I’m so looking forward to attending in the future.  I dare say this is the beginning of a beautiful thing.

Thanks to Jenn, Lindsay and all the experts and sponsors.



IDS 2012

Holy Schnikes, it was a busy weekend! The Interior Design Show (IDS) 2012 and related festivities (Blogpodium and Canadian Design Bloggers Meet-up) kept my schedule filled – but I’m not complaining, it was all fun and informative. I can’t possibly talk about it all of these in one post so today I’m focusing on IDS.

 On Thursday the Show was kicked off with the opening night party.

There was the Cherish event, where 20 different designers re-imagined the iconic Magis Julian children’s chair and they were auctioned off. The auction benefits the ONEXONE non-profit children’s foundation. I had 2 favourite submissions:

1. This one completed by the Bay was a fave because it looks like rose gold, and boy oh boy do I love me some rose gold.

2. And this one completed by Lucid Interior Design is upholstered, so no need to explain why I like this one.

There was good food, music and libations.  It was a great party, and of course, what would IDS be without some lovely design bloggers??? And after a couple of cocktails a few of us were ready for our close-up….on the counter at the IKEA kitchen booth.

Ana, Misty, Amy, Sarah, Moi, Christine, Heather and Christine. Photo credit to Amy’s camera and the random guy who “styled” and took our photo.

Now for the important part, the exhibitors.  What caught my eye?  Well, a couple of things….

I am always attracted to colour and pattern, and there were a number of bright and interesting rugs at the show. 1. Graffiti style rug by W Studio 2. Bright abstract landscape by rug Reznick Carpets 3. Super-fun typewriter rug by Reznick Carpets 4. Neon bright rugs at Modern Weave 5. Bright and floral rugs by Modern Weave 6. Colourful photo print rug by Reznick Carpets

1. pretty sparkly gold lighting at Elte booth 2. really interesting brass lighting at Snob booth 3. chandelier that looked like thousands of silver necklaces strung over it at the Living Lighting booth 4. gorgeous chandy with bronze metal orb around it at Upcountry.

A few more things I enjoyed that don’t really fit in a particular category…

The dresses at Benjamin Moore, can you believe these are made out of paint chips?

Ever since I started building the gallery wall in my bedroom, my eye tends to be drawn to these, especially those with an eclectic style. I loved this on gallery wall of plates at the Elte booth.

I loved the contrasting purple tones in the upholstery of this pair of chairs found in the By Lissoni Lounge. Loved the paint display at Beauti-Tone by Home Hardware, interactive and pretty!

I’m loving deer heads and antlers these days. I find they give a feeling of rustic and modern all at the same time – I found this one at the Elte booth.

This booth won a silver award for best booth.  Orling & Wu is a store in Vancouver that sell beautiful decorative fabrics, wallpaper and objects. As we all know I’m addicted to fabrics, and I loved the bold patterns and gorgeous colours in the fabrics (as well as the wallpapers) by Sandberg a Swedish company specializing in textile and wallpaper art. Orling & Wu are the only Canadian store that carries Sandberg. I think I’ll be looking into a more in-depth profile on this store for another post. But what a great IDS discovery!

That’s my overview of IDS 2012! Some great exhibitors and interesting finds!

Have a great day!


Alt Summit Recap – Round 1

So finally, today, a week after the end of Alt Summit and a few days after I returned from my post-Alt mini vacation in Utah, I’m happy to report that my blogger’s block seems to be gone and I’m ready to write again.  I don’t think I can possibly put all of my takeaways from the summit in one post so today I’m just focusing on the overall experience.

I cannot stress enough what a great experience Alt Summit was for me.  I learned so much, met truly lovely and insanely talented people, and had such a amazing time.  So, in other words,

(images via 1,2,3)

I had a kick-ass roomie, Miss Jennifer from Rambling Renovators, and whether it was mingling at the parties or having deep discussions about blogging, we had a total blast. The added benefit of having Jenn around was that she knows everything. I’m not kidding…she knew who people were, what blogs they were from, which people were on which panels, where we were to eat breakfast…everything.  This fuzzy photobooth picture depicts the essence of Jenn and I at ALT….Jenn doing it right while I have no idea what is going on.

(via photo booth sponsored by Epiphanie Camera Bags)

I attended many sessions sessions including the business of blogging, how to grow a readership, building a personal brand and a roundtable discussion on how to quit your day job.  Some of the best design bloggers out there were sitting on the panels, and let me tell you, these men and women truly know what they are doing.  There were some amazing keynote speakers including Ben Silbermann, founder of Pinterest and Gretchen Rubin, author of the Happiness Project. And to top it all of there were crafty courses on the Saturday – everything from calligraphy to photography.

Clockwise from top right: Jenn and I just before we met Ben from Pinterest (via Jenn’s camera), swag from the party (via me), Ben Silbermann doing his keynote (via b.a.d. photography), Alt shoes (via Justin Hackworth), Panelists Jordan (Oh Happy Day), Kelly (Design Crush), Nicole (Making it Lovely) and Maggie (Mighty Girl) (via me), helpful graphs (via me), Gretchen Rubin closing keynote (via b.a.d. photography), my textile design course (via b.a.d. photography), the crowd during a session (apparently I thought something was hilarious here) (via Justin Hackworth), the lovely Miss Emily Henderson of Secrets of a Stylist speaking during a session (via me).

After the first day I had an overall feeling of, holy sh*t, I am doing everything wrong! And I heard similar sentiments from many other bloggers.  But I came away with so many tools to improve my blog that it was hard to feel anything but inspired the whole time I was there.

Oh, and have I mentioned the amazing parties ….namely the “dinner en blanc” on Friday and the mini parties on the Saturday. Super fun and beautifully decorated…..

Clockwise from top right: Jenn and I in the Method “Smilebooth” with props, Dinner en Blanc (via Justin Hackworth), Jenn and I and some new/old friends Kathleen, Jason, and Cole (via Jenn’s camera), Chinese New Year mini party decor (via b.a.d. photography), the Girls with Glasses Parisian mini-party decor (via moss and issac), Jenn and I at the dinner en blanc (via Jenn’s camera), decor at the Wilson Art mini party (via me).

I was one of about 400 to 500 women (and 10 to 15 men) at the summit so one can imagine that it could get competitive or catty, but it was so welcoming and supportive.  The ideas of collaboration and community came up in one form or another in all the sessions I attended. I have always been amazed about the community and support given by the smaller group of Canadian design bloggers but I’m happy to say it is present even in the broader blogger community.  I feel very lucky to be a part of it.

In subsequent posts I’ll talk about some of the specific things that i took away from the Summit, but for now, I have to go figure out what to wear to the Canadian Design Bloggers Meet-up tonight at Brassai.  Can’t wait to see some of you there!