Every Girl’s Dream, Part 2

Blogging conference

A couple of weeks ago, I posted a blog called Every Girl’s Dream , which was part one of my incredible Blissdom Canada adventure. Upon arriving at Blissdom, I quickly realized that my dream come true was only half over. Here is the rest of the story!


(above) Jewels and handbags provided by Teca Cameron and hair accessories by Sassy Sweet Pea

 


Fun Facts! Here is a blog-within-a-blog for you… During a site update in 2016, I had a chance to re-read this post and enjoy the memories that were made at the conference. Not sure what I was thinking with the white fuzzy photo borders here, sorry about that! Anyway, one of the memories that didn’t get shared when I posted this blog originally is this:

I was feeling oddly bloated on day 2 of the conference, and was finding the outfits (which I had just gotten!) to feel uncomfortably snug, even though they had fit me perfectly when I had just recently tried them on. My roomate Dana (who, in a bizarre twist of fate, I had actually originally met on a pregnancy forum when we were both expecting our first sons, and ended up rooming with at the conference!) suggested jokingly that I could be pregnant. At first I laughed, having recently found out she was pregnant with baby #2 and knowing how cool it would be if we were pregnant at the same time again. But after she said it, I started doing the mental math. I told her in the privacy of our hotel room that I guessed it could be possible, to which she immediately blurted out “TEST!!!”. She excitedly offered to march me right out of the hotel and over to the drug store across the street. I declined, mind still racing, doing the math over and over again.

Could it really be? I had recently miscarried and at this point a new pregnancy was not on my radar or even in the realm of possibility. Was it? As I pondered this further, Dana, still very excited suggested we go to dinner. A dinner during which she suggested again that I go to the drug store and buy a test! Persistent, this friend of mine! I still declined, preferring to wait until I was in privacy at home, too afraid to believe I could be pregnant so soon after my heartbreaking loss. I spent the rest of the conference trying hard not to be excited. Thinking up reasons why the heck my brand new pants suddenly didn’t fit. And sure enough, when I arrived home, I tested and got a very obvious positive result. I always think of that story when I re-read this post, and wanted to share it with you considering I hadn’t before. You never know what might happen when you go to a conference! Oh, and as a follow up to Dana winning the car- it was unfortunately smushed by a tree in the winter of 2014 during a nasty ice storm that took its toll on the Toronto area. Grateful she wasn’t in it at the time, and grateful for the memories of everything that happened that weekend and afterward. Hope you don’t mind my little update, and thanks for reading!


Back to the original post…

 

As if having The Way We Were for a clothing sponsor and the incredible Teca Cameron as a personal style coach for my trip to Blissdom Canada weren’t enough to make me feel incredibly fortunate, there was more.

Lots more.

Like immeasurable inspiration, unlimited opportunities and the chance to meet some of my favourite bloggers in the flesh for the first time.

But I don’t want this to be about me. Part of my mission at Blissdom was finding a way to make this opportunity into something share-worthy. Something that could benefit others. So if you want to blog, this might become a dream come true for you also, because I’m going to put something valuable right in your lap.

Now, if you’re new to the world of blogging or you’re just comtemplating the idea of it, there are a lot of people who will tell you it’s not worth it. I get told that often. And in their defense, it does involve a lot of hard work. Anything worth doing does. But what are the rewards?

How about:

  • the satisfaction of having challenged yourself to go beyond your own expectations every time you sit down to write?
  • having the opportunity to share your story (even if it’s a story that’s already been told) in your own unique way?
  • knowing that you aren’t the only one who benefits from your writing?
  • getting to know and appreciate the work of other incredibly talented writers in the blogosphere, learning more about yourself through their work and becoming a better writer for it?
  • the opportunity to attend amazing events like Blissdom Canada , where you can expand on your talents and minimize your flaws? Where you can learn to “suck less” and use your blog to influence change?
  • finding ways to turn your blog into a business where you can make extra money (if you so choose).

 

I could go on for days.

The point is, I hope you will turn your idea of a blog into a reality. I hope to read and enjoy your writing and I hope to see you have your own dream come true like I did. Have a look at the photos below if you’re wondering how just simply having a blog can take you places. Because it can.

 

In the meantime, here are 10 valuable blogging tips that I learned at Blissdom Canada:

1. Suck less. Find ways to expand on your talents and continually push yourself to do better.

2. Know why you’re here. Know your goals, priorities, principles, what makes you who you are, what pushes your buttons. Create clarity in your writing and have a mindfulness of what you are doing. If you know your identity you can package your content accordingly.

3. Find your “one word”. Figure out what one word best describes you and your personal brand- being aware of this word will help keep you focused on your goals. My one word is “connect”, as connecting people and families is what I aim to do with Mums ‘n Chums.

4. Use your influence to create social change. Yes, you have influence, and you can use it to do more good than you ever imagined. Why waste it? Try to make change by showing people how they can make changes in their everyday life. If you reach one person, you have made a difference.

5. Do NOT downplay your importance. Don’t dilute your messages with “I’m just…”. Use your ability to connect and share.

6. You don’t need a huge audience. Sometimes it only matters that you reach 5 people. There may be a large group of people who can’t identify with your story, but for the small amount of people who might it can have a lasting impact.

7. Alignment = blogging zen. Ask yourself what you are putting out there and what you are going to get out of it. Being that you are marketing yourself (you are your “brand”), figure out what you are contributing, and what you’re promoting.

8. You will have critics. Someone out there will not like what you write and you have to be okay with that. Ask yourself “Can I live with this? Can my kids live with this?”. Your content can affect you both personally and professionally and will have consequences and ramifications you need to be prepared for. If you write something controversial, you must be prepared to stand behind it.

9. Declutter. Your content is permanent and represents your brand. Editing is not only about words, but visual elements as well. Spend 5 times longer editing than writing and strip away things that are detracting from your work, such as flashy banner ads. Think of your blog as a shop window- does it lure people in?

10. Make it a no brainer for your sponsors. Make it easy for potential sponsors to find out what you’re about- consider creating a PR page with the details sponsors might want to see, and remember credibility is key- when brands work with bloggers, it is their job to protect their consumer status and they are very wary of that. The most important part of word of mouth is whose mouth it is!

 

I hope you’ll take this information and use it to make your own blogging dreams come true. There are people out there waiting to hear from you, and what you have to say is valuable.

 

…and you might get to do fun stuff like this….

This is me with Blissdom roommate and longtime friend @RadioRedHead (who, by the way was handed the keys to her brand new Chevy Cruze during the conference- she won the car in a Twitter contest!). I’m wearing a lace cocktail dress from The Way We Were and Brown hair accessory from Sassy Sweet Pea (did you know they make accessories for moms too?). Jewels from The Way We Were and Teca Cameron’s Stella & Dot collection.

Blogging conference

 

One of two stylish outfits from The Way We Were , which I had the honour of sporting at Blissdom Canada . Jewels from The Way We Were and Teca Cameron’s Stella & Dot collection.

Blogging conference

 

My favourite outfit, also from The Way We Were , including the fabulous blingy headband that made my everyday ponytail look uber-chic! Jewels also from The Way We Were.

Blogging conference

 

Had to include this one! Sign on the door at the Mabel’s Labels– sponsored Mabel Bliss party.

Blogging conference

 

The Hypnotiq in the ‘Hood cocktail, made by the fabulous Cocktail Deeva, at the Mabel Bliss party. Recipe below- thanks Dee!

Hypnotiq in the Hood as made by Cocktail Deeva

2 oz Hypnotiq vodka
2 oz pineapple juice
1/2 oz coconut water
1/2 oz soda water

Add the first three ingredients together and shake well with ice. Strain into a glass rimmed with icing sugar, top with the soda and enjoy!

Blogging conference

 

 

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I founded Mums 'n Chums in 2009 after realizing that the area I live in was drastically underserviced as compared to surrounding areas for support and activities for growing families. Mums 'n Chums grew popular very quickly and I have been dedicated to nurturing that growth through frequent networking, social media engagement and in person meetups. By the end of its first year, Mums 'n Chums had close to 500 members and was receiving regular inquiries from fans outside of its service area, asking when we would be expanding to serve them as well. After much careful research and polling, I expanded the site in May of 2011 to cover the entire North end of the GTA (from Cambridge to Markham), areas I believe are still receiving far less attention than they deserve from other sites and family services. We also changed the focus from small scale local mom and tot meetups to more of an informative purpose, closing down our forum and adding several talented contributors to the blog. We do still offer several large scale family events per year, such as our popular Birthday Bash events and our Holiday Bash in December. Our contests have also become a member favourite, and we strive to offer amazing prizes from trusted brands like Babies R Us, La Roche Posay, Johnson's Baby and many more. In March of 2016, after months of work spent migrating all of the site's content to a new platform, Mums 'n Chums re-launched with its fresh, new look. The changes and expansion have proven a great success and we're still getting inquiries from several other cities within the Greater Toronto Area, whom we have decided to serve as well. I have built this site and its' reputation carefully and look forward to continuing its growth!