Thursday, May 15, 2014

SNAP RE-CAP :: Top 5 Reasons To Attend SNAP

I have been wanting to attend SNAP conference for a long time . . .ever since I learned about it a few years ago & this year, THIS year was the year it happened. When it was time to buy a ticket, I didn't have the money and so I did NOT get a ticket and they SOLD OUT super fast. So I decided to put my name on the "waiting list" since I figured what have I got to lose, since things like 'luck' NEVER happen to me. Well fast forward a few months & guess what? I was taken off of the wait list & offered a ticket! And so that's where it all begins . . .

the Home Depot was the major sponsor for the event

Since I have never attended a BIG conference like SNAP, I was a little anxious about what to expect & was constantly reading the advice of others that had been and trying to figure out a 'happy medium' to it all and come up with my own plan.

Now having been, I decided I would share with you all, my TOP 5 reasons I think you should attend SNAP. (in case you were wondering)

1. Brand relationships:
This my friends, is the place to be, if you would like to work with some amazing brands! The SNAP team did an amazing job getting some uber fab brands here for us to chat with and boy did they deliver! I would NEVER have the opportunity to chat with the "big dog" brands in any other setting, but here I did. There were rooms & rooms filled with all of my fave companies, all ready & eager to talk with me to see how we could work together. Is every brand that was there a good fit for me? Heavens no, but most of them I would gladly work for in a minute. SNAP also provided a lot of different ways beforehand to start building relationships with the brands and those, I recommend taking advantage of, as it gives you that little edge of confidence talking to them before you have to in person. ;) 
Just take a look at this sponsor list! I mean some serious heavy hitters right?

The Home Depot lounge and their DIY Hall of Fame Wall

Cricut sponsored the 80's PJ party & it was a blast!

Every day, I took some time to talk with the brand reps at their booths and they were all so nice and very personable. I had quite a few connections and IF I get to work with even 1/3 of the people that were interested, I will be one lucky girl. ;) I am here to tell you that everyone is sooooo easy to talk to and makes you feel like part of their family, just from one conversation with them. I had so much fun chatting with them and didn't feel nervous at all.

I wish I would have taken pictures of every booth I visited but I forgot half the time, but the few I DID get . . . I mean check out some of these backgrounds . . . pretty cool inspiration!
Elmer's booth at SNAP and their cork board letters

We R Memory Keepers had a FAB background - would be great to re-create for a party!

Having fun in the Moen and World Market booths

Darice booth had so many creative ideas

Stefani from Everyday Party Magazine & I having fun on the Darice booth        

Loving this backdrop at the Atly lounge

2. Connecting with other bloggers:

Attending a big conference may seem intimidating but you have to look at it from this perspective . . . .just think of ALL the cool people you are going to meet!!! Think about that person who you've always wanted to meet in person . . .ya know, that kinda-sorta 'girl crush' or the people that you have been 'online friends' with, for like ever and now wish to see if they are the same in person as they are online. Or perhaps, it's all of the people who are little surprises along the way, that you will end up being friends with upon returning home, ya know those people you just connected with. That . . . that my friends is something to look forward to . . .all of these kinds of people that will fill the days while you are there. Maybe you will get lucky and see your 'girl crush' the very first day, first person you meet upon arrival & then maybe you walk right up to her & start talking and end up spending a couple hours with her laughing and crying together as you swap stories and get to know each other. Yeah that DID happen to me . .  first day, with Ashley from Lil Blue Boo!!!! Eeeek! She is as special in person as she comes across online. She ROCKS and made my day. You will meet people that are so sweet, so down to earth and so willing to talk with you no matter how big their blog is. One of those people for me was Brooke from All Things Thrifty. She is about as cool as they come. She's my kind of people and I just wish I would have had more time to hang with her as she's awesome and I loved getting to go on a thrifting tour with her.

Brooke from All Things Thrifty and me with Ashley from Lil Blue Boo

Then there's that moment when you get to hang out with 1/3 of your "team". These two are my newest contributors on TEAM Eye Candy so it was cool to hang & snap this photo together. I have met Jessica before but this was my first time meeting Stefani. Love these chicks.

Stefani & Jessica from Everyday Party Magazine with me

Like I mentioned, I love meeting up with people I already know and connecting again but it's also fun to connect with some new people as well and this trip was no exception. I just adore Lindi from Love the Day and have known her for a few years, she & I met in NY at another blogger event. Then there's my goofy friend Mindy from Creative Juice who just cracks me up. I met her in the fall and it was so much fun to hang out with her again. Plus did I mention she just released her SECOND book? Yeah she rocks! ;) I enjoy both of these chicks and so glad we got to see each other again. My new friend Courtney (middle pic) was my Secret Sista at SNAP this year. It was a new program where we had someone's name & kept it a secret and we got 3 gifts - one each day & on the last day, we got to tell our secret sista who we were. She was so sweet and gave me great gifts I must say! Can't wait to keep in touch with my new friend. You must check her blog out at Fry Sauce and Grits.

Lindi from Love the Day ~ Courtney from Fry Sauce and Grits ~ Mindy from Creative Juice

We had so much fun at the events at SNAP too. This was the 80s pajama party and I am hanging out with Jessica from Pen n Paper Flowers who I met last fall and then Kim from The Celebration Shoppe whom I met years ago in NY. I admire both of these girls and we had a blast hanging out again.

Jessica from Pen n Paper Flowers ~ Kim from The Celebration Shoppe

These two girls below, the first I have never met until now nor had ever heard of her but she is one of those special treats I got to meet. We connected through our love of music and found out we had a ton in common. Best part, is she visits family near me quite often - bonus! Her name is Heather and she is fun to rock out with. ;) Then there's the sweet girl on the right. My rockstar author friend, I know her from being an online friend whom I finally got to meet in person. WOW - she was so much fun and our personalities fit well and that's all I will say. ;) Adore them both - they are my kind of people and hope to hang out with them again very soon! Miss you!

Heather  ~ Lynlee from Lynlees Petite Cakes

This is a rare pic of some of the "party chicks" that were at SNAP - we had a great time hanging together!

So here's the thing with getting to meet up with old friends, meet new ones and discover someone new . . . they all have their OWN story. They all started out just like you & I. They all put their pants on the same way we do every day . . .they all have issues . . .they all have secrets, but you can learn from them all. Having conversations with as many people as you can will only enhance your trip. Sometimes all you will talk is business with one person whereas you may talk all personal with another but the bottom line is you are connecting!!!

3. SWAG!!!!!!:
SWAG. The SWAG! OMG - it is so much that I can't even take a pic of it all for fear of leaving something out! lol But just know this, when people suggest bringing a whole entire suitcase just for the SWAG . . .they are NOT kidding! 

Do it. I did and so thankful I did. You will be spoiled rotten with the swag. Upon check-in we were handed a HUGE bag of swag from all of the amazing sponsors and it was good stuff. Then as you are walking around chatting with the different brands they hand you MORE swag! Yup . . I would say I returned to my room about once an hour to unload my bag so it didn't end up so heavy. Not even joking. =)

This photo is about how much swag I accumulated! Except instead of a huge pile of chairs, imagine a huge pile of SWAAAAAAG! (kidding . . . a little ;) 

Photo of a HUGE pile of chairs that was on a thrifting excursion I got to go on. So awesome!

4. Lessons learned:
First lesson I learned at SNAP . . . I stink at taking selfies! How do you people do it? AND do them so often?? I will go on record saying I am "selfie-taking challenged". Yup, that's me. This is the best one I got and I am pretty sure this was like my bazillion attempt in the bathroom mirror. But try I did, as they were giving away a FREE SNAP ticket to next year for doing it, so I tried! lol

Seriously though, the lessons learned are crazy! They offered so many great classes from some pretty amazing speakers. The schedule was soooo good that they had to repeat a couple because of the amount of people jamming into the rooms. Plus they just had so many I wished I could of taken them all! I personally learned and went to classes that I really needed to build my biz. I learned waaaaaay more then I wanted to about SEO so hopefully now I can catch up on mine to where I should be. I feel really behind on that and have tweaked a few things already and have seen quite an improvement! 

Some of the classes offered: affiliate sales, growing your team, accounting, monetizing your blog, photography, wordpress, increasing your pageviews, Instagram, Pinterest & many more! They also offered many varieties of hands-on classes which included things like sewing, woodworking, painting and more!

I squeezed in a really cool sewing class with Ashley from Lil Blue Boo and got to use one of the new BabyLock sewing machines. All I can say is oh my word, now I want one. ;)

5. Finding your voice:
When you attend a blogger conference an amazing thing happens almost magically. You find your 'voice' somewhere in the middle of it all. Your mind becomes clear and you know what it is you want to do. 
I came to this conference one hot mess. I had so many things I wanted to do and was questioning all of them to the point that I wasn't getting anywhere. You listen to what other people are doing / saying and then all of this doubt can set in. This comparison game starts and it stinks. I'm not saying that I think anyone is better than me, it was more a stressful thinking thing - more about all of the things I am behind in. But you know what I realized? I was putting all of that pressure on myself - no one else. There are plenty of people that didn't have it all together either. As a matter of fact, I would say I met more people that felt the same as me than the other. Either way is OK because it's your way, it's my way. We ourselves, determine the way we want to go, no one else.
I share all of this because getting away for this long weekend made me realize things, made me see how far I have come and when you are trying to figure it all out on your own it's hard. So when you are surrounded by all of these amazing women that know a little bit of this and a little bit of that, it's a wonderful thing. It helps make me think that I am not crazy. lol
I figured some things out. I started on my road to where I am going next. I think I was at a crossroads before coming and was just stuck . . .not knowing what step to take next. It wasn't one thing that made all of this happen. It, I believe was the combination of it all that made me see clearly about taking a chance and doing whatever it is I want. After all, our blogs are OUR blogs and  should be OUR voice. So make sure you are doing what YOU want and your voice will be clear too.

Salt Lake is beautiful and the mountains are majestic! Just look at them! I definitely HIGHLY recommend this conference and I hope to be back next year! The fun I had was epic and I am already missing a lot of the things I experienced while there. THANK YOU again to everyone who made this weekend possible: the girls behind the event, the sponsors, the people who donated the amazing swag and of course the people that went. It was great hanging out with you and I hope we can meet up again soon. At least let's keep in touch online. xoxo

Until next time my friends . . .

Oh and did I mention that we got to meet an Olympian too? Yup that DID happen, you should read about that too.

Did you attend SNAP? What was your favorite thing from your experience? Do you have anything yo add to my list here? Please feel free to share below . . .

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  1. Well, you know I'm totes jelly! It sounds like an amazing time! Maybe one day.......

    1. oh it soooo was Heather & no worries, probably in a shorter time than you think, you will be going too. ;)

  2. I'm jealous too Laura! Sounds like you had a fabulous time and learned a ton!

    1. Oh I did have a FAB time - you definitely need to try & go sometime! ;)

  3. Great recap. Loved finally meeting you in person and having you as our roomie, XOXO -Alejandra


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