What a whirlwind of a day! This year, the Florida Blogger and Social Media Conference was held at the perfect location, Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida. Last year I worked for the venue (my museum!) and this year even though they changed locations, I knew I wanted to be involved in any way that I could! I volunteered my time to the event planner, Bess Auer. I started the day with some last minute tasks and then manned the registration table. It was great because I got to greet bloggers whose names I recognized like Milynn and Nicole, and meet new blogger friends like Diana.
The conference had a fabulous group of sponsors including Bahama Breeze, Ford, and Barnies Coffee to name a few. After picking up lanyards and name tags at the registration desk, attendees were able to take their seats and grab a coffee, or head to the recharge lounge for a little breakfast by Florida Dairy.
The recharge lounge was equipped with furniture to relax on, a yogurt bar by Florida Dairy, a portrait area by MacBeth Photography, and a masseuse as well!
Lunch was sponsored by Bahama Breeze, just like last year. This year the lunch area was in Full Sail's back lot which looked like building store fronts from a city. It was the perfect back drop for an afternoon break.
Not only did Bahama Breeze supply salad, shrimp grits, and green beans, but they were giving out their latest cocktail called the Curly Tail which made with rum. Being in the sun, it was the perfect refreshment with lunch.
I buddied up with Milynn of Love and Whimsy. We attended some breakout sessions together, and some we split up to see on our own. The first session that I attended was Blogging 101 which was a very beginner course, but I really wanted to see Bess Auer speak being that she planned this event. Next session Milynn and I attended together called How Bloggers Make Money with Jeanette of J's Everyday Fashion blog. She was so very informative and covered all of the bases of making money through blogging. Although monetizing my blog isn't something I'm interested in right now, it was a great class to attend. Jeanette was one of the bloggers that was on the planning team for Fl Blog Con!
Among the other sessions included a session about Taking My Blog Full-Time with Julie of The Little Kitchen. She was the sweetest and was so lovable! She was so easy to relate to and had great story about her journey. My favorite session by far was Transparency Through Blogging with Adam Avitable, which was about being vulnerable and honest through your blog. Some of my favorite blogs are written by the most honest and relative writers. He had great tips on how to be honest and open and being that he is a comedian, made a serious topic extremely enjoyable (and memorable with some graphic photos!). And as you can see, we took advantage of every opportunity to try out Google Glass! There were 5 Google Glass explorers attending the conference so we had to have a photo together exploring "through Glass".
At the after party was sponsored by Sysco foods and served by a caterer I work with all the time, Arthurs Catering. There was a delicious combination of antipasto platters of meat and cheese (my favorite!) and a pasta station. Attendees were greeted by the local folk band Mud Flappers which was lovely. I always enjoy live music and to have a little concert at the end of the day kept our tired minds and bodies energetic.
Gigi's cupcakes provided mini cupcakes with great flavors! My favorite was the smores and the double chocolate. There was also a wedding cake flavor, a pumpkin cake, and a salted caramel chocolate which sounded great in theory, but definitely did not live up to the other amazing flavors.
There was also a photobooth with a great assortment of props and I even caught Bess and her family and friends snap a pic. The Ford After Party was a great time to mingle with some bloggers that I hadn't had a chance to meet with yet. In the beginning of the day I was a little timid to swap business cards, but after taking a cue from Milynn, it became easier and easier. By the end of the day it was second nature to swap cards with fellow bloggers that we chatted with.
It was a fun, informative, and exhausting day. There was enough going on to keep interested through out the day without getting bored. Each session was quick and full of information, keeping us from getting too stir crazy. In the end, I am amazed with the amazing quantity and quality of sponsors that participated in this event. It was better than last year and I can only imagine that it will continue to improve even next year!