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….

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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)

XO,

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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

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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….

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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.

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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!

XO,

Lindsey

Blogpodium

 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.

XO,

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

 

Barns and Blogpodium

Good Morning Sunshine….

What a great week of weather we are having here in Toronto.  Hot, clear and totally uncharacteristic of May in Ontario, but I’m not complaining.  Last night I spent the evening with Barbara of hodge:podge, Nancy of Marcus Design and Beatrice of A Crafty Bee who are in town for Blogpodium tomorrow!  It was so nice to get to know them a little better, and they are just as nice in person as they seem on their blogs.

Today I’m featuring a great barn conversion by Steven Gambrel that I came across on the Southern Living website.  It’s pretty great….

I love the use of unexpected colour combined with rustic/natural elements like leather and wood. Such a cozy looking space!

I cannot believe that Blogpodium is finally here. I will have lots to share next week about it.  Can’t wait to see/meet everyone who is attending!

XO,

Photos by Eric Piasecki for Southern Living Magazine

Last Weeks Loves and a Birthday!

Good Morning….as I have done the past few Mondays, I’m featuring my “last week loves” from other blogs that I follow and love!

BUT FIRST….

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To my niece Katrina!  She turns 11 today!

A silly picture of us, but I still love it.

Wish I could be there with her in New Brunswick for her special day but I hope she has a great one! XOXO

Now back to my blogger inspiration from last week…

First up, Sharalee over at Escapade posted about stylist Sasha Seymour‘s kitchen that was featured in House and Home magazine back in September.  I really like this whole kitchen but I LOVE the herringbone wood floor.  To. Die. For.

Next, I loved this post by This is Glamorous on mermaid pearl hairpins at Chanel. The shots were so gorgeous and there was also fab DIY on how to make them yourself!

And this fabulous nook posted by Blair over at Delight by Design….um, gorgeous…..

Ok, I don’t about you guys but I LOVED paper dolls as a kid.  My favourite was a set I had commemorating the Royal Wedding of Charles and Diana.  It had all the fabulous outfits she wore, including her wedding gown. So, I felt a little nostalgic when I saw this post on Poppytalk on paper dolls.  So much fun.

I’m not even sure if I like it, or just the colour, but I was immediately drawn to this Design Sponge post on Malachite. A little retro love for the week.

With the gorgeous weather today, I am reminded of the fact that I so need new sunglasses.  So this post by Brittney over at My Daily Randomness with a whole bunch a fantastic sunglasses was perfectly timely.

AND, lots of great announcements over at Blogpodium this week about the next session called “The Business of Blogging”.  I’m super excited to be going and if you are near Toronto and are not, you should be!  Check out all the fun below. (And huge props to Jenn (Rambling Renovators) and Lindsay (Little House Blog) for creating this amazing forum and for all their work so far).

Oh and last but not least, another proud moment for Canadian design bloggers (and some of my fave people eva…..). Check out this article in the Saturday’s Globe and Mail featuring (some of my fave people eva…..) both Jenn, Lindsay, and Christine of Bijou and Boheme and Emma Reddington of The Marion House Book.  Bloggers Unite, we are taking over 🙂

Have a great Monday!

Blogpodium

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.

1. HAVE AN ORIGINAL VOICE

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

2. EDIT, EDIT, EDIT

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.

3. MAKE CONNECTION AND COLLABORATE

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.

XO,