I only recommend products I use myself and all opinions expressed here are our own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission.
I wasn't sure what to expect with SoFabCon. What is SoFabCon? It is a conference for the SoFab community that I knew online but had not had the opportunity to meet outside my computer screen before. I was so excited for my trip to Arkansas I barely slept the night before I left. I boarded a small plane and flew off to my connection of Charlotte to get me to Arkansas. Charlotte was something else to say the least. I had never been to that airport before so I didn't know where I was going. I knew there was at least one other blogger that I would meet while in Charlotte to fly in to Arkansas together for the conference. I ended up meeting Michele from Just 2 Sisters, Kristin from Mama Luvs Books and Kelly from Virtually Yours (as well as two fabulous ladies that we later found out were attending SoFabCon on behalf of Conair and would be at the brand salon). Long story short our plane to Arkansas was broken and they were moving us to a smaller plane (an hour later). Then we find out that anyone with seats 13 and up would not have a seat on the plane. All of the bloggers headed to SoFabCon made the original flight except Kelly. The Conair ladies didn't make our flight either. I felt terrible that they were having to take later flights.
We finally get to Arkansas and we were greeted by some of the Collective Bias/ SoFab "family". After all the photos, greetings and hugs we hopped in our van and headed to the John Q. Hammons convention center/ Embassy Suites hotel. There was a bit of confusion about the room I was supposed to have but it worked out in the end. I found that I needed the extra time to myself more than I ever thought I would. Everything happens for a reason right?
Fast forward to Thursday evening to our cocktail part sponsored by Kraft. We had time to eat, drink and of course be merry and chat with our SoFab family and some of the brands that we bloggers did work for. I spent time talking about Champions for Kids and introducing myself to a lot of people. Friday was full of sessions, brand salon meetings and samplings and the Collective Bias 4th birthday party complete with photo booth, balloon hats, cupcakes and a lot of dancing. I ended the night with room service of pizza and a red velvet cupcake all to myself. I was one happy lady.
Sessions were full of information to soak up to help better myself and my blog. I took notes in most of the sessions I chose to attend but some had more notes than others. Tiffany Romero (the SITSGirls) was a keynote speaker and she spoke to us about powering down, realizing that we can do it all in life- just not all at once. I was all ears during the entire keynote but she hit home with me when she said that we (I heard it as I like she was talking directly to only me) had to learn that it was ok to say no thank you. I've had a hard time telling anyone no my entire all most 30 years. I was a people pleaser. Thanks to what Tiffany had to tell us at SoFabCon I have found myself saying no thank you a little more easily.
Another session I took a lot of notes in was the HTML session with Chris Whittle & Jay Thorton. I knew a little bit about HTML thanks to Misty from CEO of Me but I wanted to know more. I wanted to be able to do more with the tech side of the blog without breaking it and I feel like I can now do just that thanks to these two guys. Then there was the Whittlecorn. I didn't really know if I wanted to laugh or cry every time I saw this poster through out the conference.
I took more notes in the session of Wording & Stories with Rebecca Parsons. Rebecca has a way with words. She opened up to the room about her history and brought many of us to tears. Just because I didn't take notes in all of my sessions doesn't mean that I wasn't touched or educated in some way. Dan Morris opened my eyes to a few things in the SEO session and he did so with a lot of humor. I thought I would have to take what I learned and back track posts and fix them but Dan says No. Just do it right from here on out and don't worry so much about the old stuff. Of course I sat in on the twitter session with Ted and Sandy too. Ted took the room for a skip down the hall during his part of the session.
During the brand salon I chatted with the Conair ladies while they were fixing other bloggers hair using some lovely Conair products. I came home with a COnair hairdryer and flat iron. That was in addition to the conair dryer and flat iron and curling iron that I all ready own (that are also all Conair). The flat iron I brought with me I used to crimp my hair for the 80's party.
I spoke with brand reps with Nestle as they allowed us to sample some delicious ice cream treats. I had a combination of snickerdoodle ice cream sandwich with a beer. I was hungry but didn't want to miss time with the brands so a girl does what she has to sometimes. The ice cream sandwich was really good. There were a few local businesses at the brand salon as well. I came home with (bought with my own money, no freebies here) a bracelet from Lauren Embree, a cute cat magnet from Gingiber and an apple print fabric covered scented hot pad for my kitchen from shopmwdesigns.com.
I am very thankful for Michele, Kristen and of course my sista from anoter mista Kim from I'm not the Nanny and the many others that were open to new friendships and allowing me to be myself around them. The 80's bowling party that brought SoFabCon to a close was a blast. We bowled, ate some fried food, had a few drinks and had a lot of fun. You can't have a cbias event without a little awkward stretching 80's style. I was also one of the $100 winners of the sock contest. Never underestimate the power of ripped fishnets and neon graffiti socks.
If you are still with me after all of that here is a few more tid bits of what I learned at SoFabCon:
- SoFabCon was confused to be Sofa Bacon by many of my non blog friends and family.
- You're not going to hit it off in person with everyone that you meet and that's ok. Just putting yourself out there is enough. Haters will be everywhere no matter who you are. Kill 'em with kindness and move on. Don't let anyone make you feel like you aren't good enough.
- Collective Bias has some wonderful guys that were willing to stand in the cold rain and take our food truck lunch orders and bring them to us even hours later. Pure dedication to the community right there.
- I can fit clothes, accessories, swag and 7 pairs of shoes all in one carry on suitcase and still be under the weight limit to have a non checked bag.
- It can snow in May in Arkansas. I was prepared for all kinds of warm weather when I bought my wardrobe for SoFabCon but as the conference approached so did the cold, wet, weird weather. I not only had spring clothes but also a winter coat and a rain coat.
- It's ok to open up and share the real me #ThisIsMe- Our last minute change of closing keynote speaker Jasmine from The Brokins (who was also the rock star head planner of SoFabCon) brought me to tears and had us all write a letter to our future selves. I have my letter written and sealed for me to open up again in maybe a few years.
I came home with a better understanding of what I need to do to help better my blog, where I want to take my blog in the future, who I am as a person (and not just a blogger). I'm ready to start planning to attend SoFabCon 2014. I have more to share but this post is all ready pretty long I'll just have to share a few more posts to cover all the rest of SoFabCon 2013.