I know that after a blogging conference, it's super important to come home and write about it. You're supposed to tell all of your readers how FABULOUS it was and about al the amazing sponsors and brands that got involved...
Well, I must tell you that Blogalicious 2012 was FABULOUS and there were AMAZING sponsors and brands involved. But it's taken me this week to process all of it and get my act together enough to write about it. And truly, I am not even recovered yet. I've been fluctuating between exhaustion and bursts of energy all week. Vegas is one tiring city!!!
I was apprehensive about the venue, the Red Rock, because I love me some Vegas, and by all appearances, the Red Rock was not really a part of the Vegas I knew and loved -- the Las Vegas strip. But I really could not have been more wrong because this hotel, isolated though it may be, is beautiful and has every part of Vegas you could want and more within its walls. And even though I couldn't walk the strip or hit the Fashion Show Mall, I could still sit among the always-amusing slot machine junkies and mooch free drinks off the hotel whilst I played penny slots.
Oh yeah, I kept it classy, folks. (Free booze = Happy AJ. The end.)
My room was absolutely perfect (once a very cute engineer made my A/C work), by the way, and I found it a heavenly place to spend time when I wanted a nap or bath or break.
The biggest part of the conference weekend for me was speaking on a panel. It was something I'd never done before and I was rather nervous about it. But as I said, it was an absolute BLAST and I felt like it reached a lot of eager minds and helped some bloggers out... I hope everyone I met afterward and gave my business card to will get in touch and say hello. I really love interacting with my fellow bloggers and it was such a great introduction to new peers.
And outside the panel, I was lucky that I could participate in the conference as regular, old ME and they really put on some SPECTACULAR events.
The sponsor suites and booths were awesome. While this weekend is nowhere near the scale of BlogHER, they still have plenty of brands on board and plenty for you to see. Plenty of brand reps to meet. I joined some friends in the Ross Dress For Less suite, where we got to dress up some mannequins (grown up dress up!), we took goofy pics inthe Crest photo booth, McDonald's had some cool swag to give out, I loved learning about MonkeyWish (check it out - great app!)... Really impressive,
Friday was my favorite. We had a delightful tea party with #ShopYourWay (whenever I get to wear hair accessories, I get positively giddy) and McDonald's held NOTHING back with the Friday night party. They took over the pool area with tables and couches and lounge areas. They had a dance floor, a photo booth, massages, manicures, psychic readings, makeup artists, an OPEN BAR (remember what I said about free booze?) -- this was the BEST time. And while they had hamburgers for us to eat, they also put out a really lovely spread if eats and sweets. And it was at this event where I met some pretty awesome ladies that I spent more time with later in the weekend -- but I'll get to them.
We also got to watch 20th Centurty Fox's Won't Back Down starring Viola Davis (LOVE) and Maggie Gyllenhaal. I keep joking it's like Lean on me but with women, but it's really more than that. It was a late night, staying up and watching it, but I really liked it. I wish more conference attendees had stuck around for it.
On Saturday, other than my panel, my friend Chris and I paid a little visit to the Red Rock Spa and it did not suck. I wish I'd come with better wardrobe for it (or that I'd bothered to shave my legs!) so I could spend more time there. It's really bright and airy and the staff was SUPER nice.
The keynote speaker druing Saturday's breakfast was the superstar keynote for me. We had a few speakers visit us but as far as I'm concerned, Mario Armstrong could have spoken at every meal. He was engaging and energetic and passionate. He didn't stand behind a podium and read to us or condescend to us. He strived to inspire and motivate us and I really enjoyed him. He's my newest Facebook friend - thanks, Mario!
Saturday night brought another round of amazing events like bowling in the private VIP lanes at Red Rock's bowling alley and partying like rock stars at the Cherry Night Club (they closed it down for us!) courtesy of Gain Fresh. And who better to host such a FRESH night than Doug E. Fresh himself?! That was pretty awesome. It's not every day you get to do The Dougie with Doug E. Ridiculous. It wasn't on my bucket list but by god it should have been. Because I am checking it off.
And above ALL the amazing events I just mentioned (and there were more I've left off and more I'll think of later), the MOST important thing I think I did during this conference was make some new friends. I really, really loved hanging out with some Las Vegas bloggers and I cannot thank them enough for welcoming me into their group and being such amazing, wonderful, funny, kind women. I know we will all stay in touch and I am already trying to figure out when I can go back and visit them.
The only other thing I'll say - and perhaps this would be controversial if my blog had a bigger audience - is that Blogalicious is just FANTASTIC. It wipes the floor with BlogHER. They're Facebook group helped everyone get to know each other beforehand and the ebook they supplied to all the attendees was irreplacable (if it interests you, I have it here for download -- it's worth perusing if these kinds of weekends interest you at all). The technology they bring the conference (Kudos to Brotha Tech) was SUPER impressive (and know I don't take that lightly - I am hard to impress here). Blogalicious celebrates diversity and isn't throwing mommy blogger notes in your face like crazy. With a far smaller attendance, they are able to plan really well thought out events and bring new friends closer together. They are able to hold events that almost everyone will attend and where everyone can mingle with everyone. The sponsors are in a far better position to engage with attendees and follow up with them and the message sent from that is quality over quantity -- something I always stress when I talk about blogging. And you're not going to enter sponsor suites only to battle swag hags (bloggers who are ravenously collecting up all the freebies they can during the conference).
In my mind, I'd wanted this entry to be short and sweet so that I could ensure you'd read the whole thing and take away some key points, but there was just so much I wanted to say. So if you only skimmed or you skipped down to the bottom of the entry, I hope you'll just take away that this was an awesome weekend and I had an amazing time. Thank you so much to Stacey, Jazzy and the whole Blogalicious team for having me. Thank you to the our beautiful hotel and generous sponsors. Thank you, old and new friends, for your smiles and hugs. Thank you, thank you, thank you -- my cup runneth over.