Everyone has expectations. Whether it’s that much-anticipated and highly-publicized movie, a toy or game from an established designer, a random meal at a new restaurant or even a family trip, we all set a bar somewhere and are either overjoyed or let down. It’s as simple as that.
Conferences are no different. I’ve attended my fair share and some are fantastic, others… just meh. As I explained a few months back, I was selected as an ambassador to Blogger Bash 2016 conference. With Blogger Bash 2015 for comparison, my expectation for this year’s event was that it would be good. I knew there would be opportunities to connect with brands, hear celebrity speakers, play with toys and learn some new tricks to improve the site.
The result: I was wrong. My expectation that it would be good was completely off the mark. I set the bar and the Blogger Bash team was completely oblivious to it, rising far above it. Simply put, Blogger Bash 2016 was GREAT!
Maybe some of you will conclude that my impression was skewed by my ambassador status. Let’s talk about that for a minute. If anything, being an ambassador was a deterrent. I had a lot of responsibilities, including attending activities I didn’t think were a good use of my limited resource of time. What the ambassadors did receive that other attendees did not was the opportunity to be personally fitted with outfits from Jude Connally.
Not just the outfits themselves, but a personal styling session with Jude Connally herself as she hand-selected outfits that met the personalities and figures of all the ambassadors. The first day of the conference, I wore a Rachel dress that made me feel stunning and confident and the second day I wore a skort and shirt that were casual and comfortable. Both days, I sported a nautical-themed tote (we were on a boat, you know!) for carrying my business cards, chargers and other conference essentials.
Other than that, I had the same opportunities for experiences as everyone else. While I would love to tell you all the nitty gritty details, there was so much happening that anything other than a recap would make this post awfully long. So let’s start with Wednesday, Day 1 at the beginning of the day! I opted to apply for a speed pitching session. There were four sessions providing influencer and brands 5 minute one-on-one get-to-know-you time. My session was the first one which meant I missed most of the Care Bear brunch. There were overlapping opportunities and it was impossible to fully experience them all! I did catch the end of the breakfast and was able to see Sunshine Bear in person.
Following that, some participants attended The Ride while others of us attended Blogging Concentrated to find ways to improve our blogs, businesses and methods. While ambassador commitments prevented us from staying for the entire session, I felt that I gained a lot of knowledge even in the few hours I was able to participate.
The day was capped off by “The biggest night of play” in the form of Sweet Suite. As many times as I’ve attended a Sweet Suite event, I’ve never been able to fully complete it. There are so many sponsors set up displaying all kinds of new and fun toys to play with there simply isn’t enough time to see them all.
This year, the event boasted numerous vendors featuring everything from baby toys to hover boards. I connected with some new brands who hopefully will participate in our holiday gift guides this year as well as reunited with existing companies such as ThinkFun, Spin Master, Winning Moves, USAopoly and Wonder Forge.
The day ended with as much excitement as it started and I would have been perfectly content chatting it up with the folks at Sweet Suite for even longer.
And that was only half of the story…
Stay tuned if you want to hear about Blogger Bash Day 2 which included an amazing soldier with a story of inspiration, a football player promoting STEM education and a keynote presentation with Nicole Polizzi and Jenni Farley. You might be more likely to recognize them as “Snooki” and “JWoww”.