Raising Memories: A Blogger Conference & Thoughts on Connection (BConnected 2017)

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

A Blogger Conference & Thoughts on Connection (BConnected 2017)

My history with blogging goes way back:

I started a semi-private online journal in 2003 (which I still contribute to, for my own records). My first public blog was created in 2007 (not long after helping another photographer to shoot my 1st wedding), to share my photography journey with friends and eventually clients. When Talia was a toddler and Katrina just 9 months old, I started Raising Memories in 2009 with the goal of motivating myself to do fun things with my kids.

7 years ago, it hadn't even occurred to me that I could monetize or grow this blog to what it is today! I can remember the first email I received from a company that wanted to partner with me. I thought it was some kind of scam at first! This blog has come a long way since then and I truly love what I do.

Some things I see as milestones in this blogging journey of mine were a couple of campaigns I worked on that involved getting together with other bloggers. In 2014 I worked on a campaign with Nikon and met several bloggers who I still keep in touch with now. Several months later I was a part of a campaign with KFC where I met more bloggers and heard them talking about blog conferences they had attended. At the time, I just wasn't willing to put money into my blog beyond what I absolutely had to (like paying yearly fees to own "raisingmemories.com"), but that little conversation was like a seed planted for something that finally bloomed this weekend. ;)

My First Blogger Conference

A year ago, a bunch of my "blog friends" attended a conference in Ottawa. I couldn't make it work, but I made myself a promise that when that conference came to Toronto, I was going to make it happen. This past weekend, the BConnected Conference came to Toronto and I was there with ticket in hand. :)

All photos shared in this post were taken by Mostafa Photography (unless otherwise noted)

I drove into Toronto on Saturday morning and walked into the Renaissance hotel (which, by the way, is PART of the Rogers Centre (aka Sky Dome) which was pretty cool!

I took this photo on my phone as I arrived at the conference in the morning.

Meeting Friends "In Real Life"

I found my way to the conference and was greeted (by name) by these lovely ladies. Having them know who I was made me feel more comfortable immediately! Seeing Sandy from Canadian Blog House, when I walked in, was the first of many strange, "I feel like I've met you before, but I've never seen you in 3D like this" moments. Sandy helped me when we planned our trip to Ottawa just over a year ago so we had chatted online several times before.

I walked into the conference room and found that I was an early arriver because there was only one other blogger in the room! The photographer caught this shot of Erin (from Fashion Mama Aquarius) and I getting acquainted.

We were soon joined by these three adorable ladies (from left to right, that's Erin, Dana from Style Cause, Adeleye from Style & Beauty Mum, and Nandita from My Style Expression). I was surrounded by fashion & beauty bloggers! ;) These four ladies were all so sweet and I was able to connect with them later in the conference as well (Dana and Nandita walked me to my car at night after dinner and we joked that they were my body guards).

Before the speeches got started, I spotted Cyn from Creative Cynchronicity and her daughter Sam from their shared blog, Gagen Girls. I met Cyn at that KFC event I mentioned at the beginning of this post, and we're in touch frequently online, so it was really nice to meet again in person!

We sat together for the rest of the conference and now we're hoping to get together and talk blogging again soon. I can't tell you how nice it has been to make "real life" connections out of the virtual ones I've had for so long!

We were joined at our table by two other ladies that I'm happy to have met in "real life" finally after years of knowing who they were online. On the far right is Aeryn from Geek with Style and next to her is Deanna from Maple Leaf Mommy. What you may not know about Deanna is that she has the longest hair of anyone I've ever met (you can't see that in a profile picture!).

Learning More About the "Behind-the-Scenes" of Blogging

The day was filled with speeches and networking. There were 3 sessions that were the most memorable to me:

The first was by Larry Adamson, Co-Founder of Monumetric and father of "The Six Sisters". This was all about advertising and he shared the experiences he and his daughters went through with their blog which was really interesting to hear. His speech got me thinking about some changes I need to make in the future, on this blog, and answered some questions I've had about advertising so it was really informative and helpful for me.

The second speech that really stood out to me was by Dani from thelikebutton.ca. This one focused a lot on Instagram (which you may have noticed is where I like to hang out ;) so I was very interested to hear what she had to say about it all. If you're following me over on Instagram, you've probably noticed that I've done more Instagram stories in the last 2 days than I ever have and it's because Dani got me interested in using them more. I'm looking forward to playing more with them!

I had been looking forward to the session by Elayna Fernandez from The Positive MOM. I did a little research before the conference and was surprised that I didn't already know more about her! If you're a mom, you'll probably want to check out her blog. I loved her speech! (If you're on Instagram, you've heard me talk about it there already). It was great motivation, encouragement, and inspiration for me as a blogger and also just as a human being ;).

Making Special Connections

Elayna has three daughters and two of them were there at the conference with her. They are Elayna & Elisha (13 & 14 year old sisters who run a blog and have published an ebook) and they spoke at the conference on the second day. I really enjoyed meeting these two ladies and talking with them about their experience with blogging and social media at a young age. Again, I've mentioned this on Instagram, but I'll say it here, too. It has really had me thinking about what ways I want to let my girls get involved in this world. I get a lot of requests from them to do things like vlogging, so you may start to see more of that from them, in the coming months.

After meeting her girls (and finding out that we had a lot more in common than I expected!), I was able to sit down with Elayna and have a heart-to-heart about blogging, parenting, and vulnerability. This was a definite highlight of the conference for me. I hope it won't be the last time we see each other in "real life"!

Photography & A Take-Away

The above photo was taken with my phone, but most of the photos in this post were taken by the photographer at the conference, Mostafa of Mostafa Photography. He took head shots for some of us (that's mine on the left). I'm excited to have an updated photo of myself to use! The photo I have been using is 8 years old, so it was about time for an update. You'll see my social media profile photos change over the next week or so as I get things updated, and I'll update the photo at the top of this blog as well.

You know, there's one thing that really stands out to me above everything else that I learned at the conference. It's not a coincidence that the conference I attended was called BConnected because the best part about it was making person-to-person connections!

Let's Connect!

It's funny, you'd think that what I do here on this blog would feel like connecting, and it does at times, but there are thousands of you who visit and read what I write each month and I don't hear from very many of you. I can see my stats, so I know you're visiting and I'm not putting this all out there for nothing, but I really want us to connect more!

That's one reason why I love to hang out on Instagram- it's easier for us to communicate and I think everyone's more likely to leave a comment or click "like" on a photo there because it takes more time to leave a blog comment. I totally get that and I'm the same way. We're busy and we're trying to rush through things so we can get onto our never-ending to-do lists. :)

So I just wanted to take a moment to let you know that I so appreciate you reading here and I would LOVE to hear from you when you have the time to leave a comment or send an email or message me on Instagram. It means a lot to me to connect with you and I hope to be able to do that more often!

Thank You!

Thank you for being here. Thank you for giving me a reason to keep doing this thing that I love. Thank you for coming back! ...and thank you for reading all the way to the end of this long post!! :) If you're still reading, maybe you have a moment to leave me a comment and let me know you're here?? ;)  I'd love to hear from you, any time.

Thanks for visiting my blog!

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  1. Sounds like you got a lot from the conference, as one should! I'm glad we got to meet in person—albeit briefly—and it's an excellent way to forge even stronger bonds down the way!

    All the best :D

    1. Yes, I hope we'll have a chance to meet again, Casey!

  2. Thanks so much for including me, Heather! Funny...I thought the same of you when I met you at the conference - like I already knew you even though we had never met IRL. It was wonderful to meet you and I loved reading your recap here! So glad you made so many connections! I just wish we had more time to visit. Here's to the next meet up! Hope to see you again soon. Thanks so much for coming to the conference!

    1. Thanks Sandy! I wish we had been able to chat more, too! Hopefully we will meet up again soon! I'm so glad I was there (thank you for being part of making it happen!)

  3. Heather it was great to meet you ! I enjoyed reading this post , thank you for the shout out. I hope we could arrange another meeting soon I would love to learn from your blogging experience. Also , if you ever need a body guard again I am at your service :)

    1. I'm so glad we met, Dana! It would be fun to meet again. I'm already looking into other Canadian blogger conferences! :) Thank you, I may have to take you up on that body guard offer again ;)

  4. I found this very interesting Heather, and love getting to know you better through your blogs. So happy you were able to go to the conference to learn even more about blogging and that you were able to meet your pals in person!

  5. It was great to be able to finally connect with you in person, Heather! It is always great to be able to see people you only connect with online in the blogisphere. The aspect of connecting is why love BConnected. I am able to learn so much from the people who attend as well as form the speakers who share their golden nuggets of success with us. I really hope to reconnect with you in person again.

    1. Yes, and next time we'll have to chat more- I feel like we met from a distance kind of ;)

  6. It was SO awesome to meet you at BConnected hun, and I hope we can meet up again at another one. :) I apologise for that table photo, lol. The way the camera was angled, I really didnt think I was in the image lol. I just sat there like a goof thinking the rest of you were getting your photo taken haha!

    1. You too!! I hope so, too. haha I didn't even notice you weren't aware of the photo. :)

  7. Isn't it so great to meet blog friends in real life? I remember as a teenager thinking meeting people you met online was so dangerous, and it was a bit odd to meet someone 'there'. BConnected looks awesome! I have not had the chance to attend yet (we need more west coast conferences),

    1. It was so nice! Yes, I know! Now it's something I can't wait to do again! The internet makes it easy to feel like west coast bloggers are just as close as Ontario bloggers, so it's weird that you and some of the other ladies I "know" aren't just there for something in Toronto. We need some kind of Canadian blogger reunion, from coast to coast, all together! ;)

  8. Well Sandy, Cyn, and Aeryn are amazing so I kind of wish I had been there just to connect with all of you. I met Positive Mom at Mom 2.0 one year and she is all kinds of inspiring. She has done some really great campaigns too. Sounds like you had a great time at the conference. I am trying to recall if we have met yet in person. You know the one really nice thing I have to say also Heather is that I do get a lovely sense of you from your blog. I appreciate that.

    1. Yes, it would have been nice to meet IRL! Someday! :) We haven't had that chance yet. Thank you so much, Paula!!

  9. GAHHHH. I just loved, loved, loved reading this. I am so glad you had a good time. It is such a good time to connect IRL. I am so happy you loved it and so sad to have missed it!!!

    1. Thank you so much Kyla!! It would have been fun to have you there. You're one of those people I really feel like I "know" from your videos. I hope someday we do meet IRL. :)

  10. So glad you enjoyed the conference, these ladies are awesome and put so much work into it. We only talked briefly but I am glad we have connected IRL and not just online.

  11. It definitely sounds like you had a great time meeting up with some you already knew and others you only knew from their blogs, so the conference did what it set out to do and connected people, always a good thing. :-)

  12. Debbie White BeattieNovember 4, 2017 at 11:18 PM

    It sounds like you had a great time and meeting people that are involved with the same things that you are would be a great time


Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment- I love reading them! :)
~Heather Lynne

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