Blissdom Canada 2014
Honestly, I did not think I was going to make it to the Blissdom Canada conference this year. I kept telling people that I was not going. There was no way it was going to happen this year. It was too darn expensive. But then I received a wee bit of encouragement from Jennifer, a few gentle nudges from Aimee and Nicole, the stars aligned and I was on my way to the greatest blogging conference in Canada.
When I arrived at the hotel, I felt the rush of excitement in the air hit me and I knew I was back where I belonged.
I quickly checked in and then headed towards the elevators. One of the first people I saw was Chris and I gave him a great big hug. Little did I know that there were two more people around the corner who were very excited to see me. They may have a screamed a wee bit (I’m looking at you Nicole and Paula). What a welcome I received!
I spent that afternoon catching up with my friend and roommate once again Nicole. This year we were also sharing the room with my sister-in-law Aimee and Nicole’s newest addition baby E! The room was tight but we made it work. Actually, it was pure awesome. I got a lot of baby snuggles in too. Baby E is so darn adorable. I almost brought her home with me.
After catching up with Nicole we cruised around the hotel. At one point we stopped in to the Tim Horton’s suite and grabbed a quick drink (that night they were handing out coffee mixed with Kahula). I enjoyed a couple sips of that. Then, we took in sponsor’s row and I had my hair done at the Church & Dwight booth. They may have even given me a little bit of champagne.
Finally, we made our way to the Rent Frock Repeat suite. I wanted to try a designer dress as I did not have the chance to do so at last year’s conference. However, the few sips of alcohol and the excitement of being at Blissdom again hit me and I began to feel anxious. I told Nicole and we went up to our room so that I could calm myself down.
I could have let my little anxiety attack hold me back from attending any further events during the conference but I did not let it control me. So, that night we took in the Throwback Thursday party. I felt like I had gone back in time with everyone’s amazing costumes and the throwback candy that was provided to snack on. The giant inflatable Twister game was hilarious. Erica Ehm was in her element reliving her VJ days at Much Music. There was even a Speaker’s Corner where we could have our say (and boy do bloggers and people in social media have a lot to say). Everyone had a fantastic time.
I attended many different sessions that were insightful and inspiring. I learned how to create content for my blog and how to turn my blog into a business. One session I took part in was entitled #IamWriting and it was moderated by author Ann Douglas. I learned that it is not impossible to become a published writer. It only takes one person to say yes. I took away many other great tips that will help me on my pursuit to being a published writer. Someday I will be published. Someday!
The first keynote I went to was called #WomenInMedia with panelists that included Erica Ehm, Dini Petty, Jane Brown, Jane Taber and Cheryl Hickey. This first session strongly identified and reiterated Blissdom’s theme this year: Be Bold, Be Proud, Be You. I learned that it is OK to stumble and fall. We need to dust ourselves off and get back at it. Further, we need to turn criticism into motivation. Let it drive you to be the best you can be! And learn where you fit. Once you find where you belong, things will start to come together. One quote that was said during the keynote really stuck with me: “when you open your mouth, you give it all away.” You can tell when someone is not being their authentic self by how they speak or by how they write. I strive to write the way I speak in real life and I am proud to say that I write the truth, my truth. After the panel I got the chance to talk to and get a picture with the amazingly talented and beautiful Cheryl Hickey, host of Entertainment Tonight Canada.
Each keynote session was fabulous but the most inspiring message came from closing keynote speaker Derreck Kayongo. Mr. Kayongo started the Global Soap Project which is an organization that recycles soap from hotels. After the soap is cleaned and cleared it is sent to Africa where it will help prevent disease from spreading and hopefully stop needless deaths caused by diarrhea and disease. Derreck taught us all that anyone can make a difference, whether it be big or small. We all have it in us to change someone’s life for the better. I hope one day that I can make a difference in someone’s life just like Mr. Kayongo has done.
Blissdom, for me at least, is a place to connect. To connect with the people who really get me. Blissdom is where I fit. It’s my home. You do not feel out of place when you are there. Although, I learned that you can feel the “fear of missing out” syndrome as I did at some points during the conference. It is too bad you cannot clone yourself so you can be in many places at once. There was so many people I wanted to visit with and so little time to do it.
Blissdom is a community. My community. Everyone supports each other and cheers each other on. There is no small blogger or big blogger. Little writer or famous writer. We are all equal and one. This is what I truly love about this conference.
My Blissdom experience was amazing. The trip, the people, the place, the information gathered, will never be forgotten.