Celebrating Blog Fête 2015

Since I first decided to participate in Blog Fête, I could barely contain my excitement. I have no clue where the entire summer went, but suddenly, my birthday came and went at the beginning of the month, and BF arrived! Like a child eager awaiting their birthday or presents on holidays, I woke up at 5:30AM, tackled almost every chore on my task list, and still managed to have time to properly enjoy my morning cup of coffee. I headed over to East End Market early, and managed to swing by Lineage Coffee and nab some roasted beans for my morning coffee routine.

Greeted with one heck of a theme!

Meghan and I met up at the courtyard before heading up to the second floor. Upon arrival, we met Michele and Kori as we checked in and quickly caught up with some friends! Setting out things down, we eased into our table as we waited for the other participants to arrive.

 Let’s get down to business, Ladies!

  Natalie’s Juices & Macarons by Le Petit Sweet for Breakfast!

Keynote Speaker

Our guest speaker was Brandi, an incredibly talented and amazing wedding photographer from New York City! Her discussion on “Passion, Beliefs, and Ignoring the Naysayers,” really struck a chord with me. The greatest takeaway from her presentation was identifying my obstacles which have prevented me from achieving my goals.

   Brandi crushed it as our Keynote Speaker!

I took the chance to hop into the queue to have my headshot session with Brandi before the Florida humidity ruined my hair as we eased into lunch. Brandi selected the beautiful garden at the East End Market, for our photo session. Equal parts of adrenaline and nervousness boiled up as I awaited my turn. While I’ve been told I am quite photogenic, I have my insecurities about my looks. When I lived in Japan, I was exceptionally insecure about my weight as colleague and stranger alike would comment on my being “American-sized,” and later when I was flying, passengers felt it their civic duty to provide a running commentary about my looks and like the trolls on social media, often the inappropriate, unfiltered commentary dominated the conversation.

“OHMIGOD!! I feel so awkward! I feel so awesome!!”

I’ve struggled with my weight and emotional well-being since college, so when the shutter clicked, I nearly started crying. In a society where unrealistic beauty standards result in woman-on-woman social friction, finding positive influences and galvanizing energy can truly be hard to find and even harder to hear. Brandi dispelled my discomfort immediately by laughing with me through my awkwardness and insecurity. When she showed me her photos, I couldn’t believe that I was looking at me!

I cannot thank Brandi enough for giving her time to make me feel like a supermodel for a day. One day, I hope to join her photographic caravan and resume exploring the great wide world around me!

Tasty wines courtesy of Anew Wines

Upon completion of my photoshoot, I headed back upstairs to devour the incredible buffet-style lunch provided by Melissa Creates! Hungrier than I thought, I cleaned my plate like feeding time at the zoo! There was so many delicious choices, but that macaroni and cheese and the BLT bruschetta hover near the forefront of my mind. I loved that we had a leisurely lunch, so we weren’t shoveling plates of food down before hurrying along the schedule.

After lunch, Melissa reminded us that we did have chilled wine waiting to fulfill their destiny as social lubricant and fancying up the afternoon. I’ve had the Pinot Grigio and and adore their Riesling, so I was excited to try out the rose. It was so nice, I tried it twice! I would definitely add it to my entertaining rotation, especially with the hot Florida summers.

Round Table Sessions

The intimate and casual environment lended to open dialogues and discussion on how women can work together to achieve their personal goals with regards to blogging and business– in essence– building one’s empire. With all the conversations taking place in one room, it was advantageous to circulate around the room so as to soak up as much information as possible.

Melissa Creates some Instagram magic!

First Round (1PM)

  • Branding Design Rules
  • Photoshop and Illustrator Tips
  • How to Find Your Niche
  • Working With Brands
  • Showcasing Your Business as a Lifestyle

Second Round (2:30PM)

  • Blogging Basics
  • Social Media & Newsletters
  • What It Takes to Run a Business
  • Finding Balance and Inspiration
  • Business & Personality

   Sarah Hearts is a Pinterest Jedi Master!

Pompoms and Circumstance

After the second round table session, we transitioned into crafting our motivational banners with Sarah taking the helm. Previously, I attended two fantastic Meet + Make sessions with Sarah, so I was excited not only to get crafty, but to enjoy another opportunity to make something along side friends. Sarah showed us these awesome pompom makers, so I make pompoms for every occasion! I’m looking for the perfect place to hang my banner and remind myself of what I am working toward.

The Grande Finale

 A dazzling dinner surrounded by wonderful women!

After a long hard day of building friendships and networking, we sat down to a formal four-course dinner. A team effort by the wonderful twins behind Paper Goat Post and Jessica Kirkland from Pen and Paper Flowers, we enjoyed delightful conversation, decadent food, and plenty of laughter.

  • Appetizer: Deconstructed Bruschetta
  • Salad: Herbed Orzo Salad (served in martini glass)
  • Entree: Chicken Diane with yellow rice and seasonal vegetables
  • Dessert: Chocolate Budino with Salted Caramel

I loved the flexible seating arrangement throughout the entire day, so at dinner, I had one last opportunity to make new friends over fabulous food and intriguing conversation. As the night wound down, I didn’t want it to end. Unfortunately, the Florida Gators had a 7:30 PM kick-off time, and Meghan and I had an early morning scheduled the next day. One of my favorite attendee gifts was my Tiny Print “Building My Empire” mug, which will most definitely have a poll position in my selfie mug rotation.

My empire isn’t going to build itself, right? Better get to work!

To say that Blog Fete was as “worthwhile investment” would be nothing short of a scandalous understatement. The welcoming atmosphere, relaxed dialogue, and intellectual discussion, felt like a day out with my girlfriends with an exceptionally high productivity rating. I went in with concerns about the process of overhauling my blog, but left with clarity, direction, and (most importantly) motivation. I hope that I may attend future Blog Fetes as well as subsequent social gatherings in the future. Looks like I’d better get to work, so I can bring substantial ideas and well thought out questions to the table next year! I cannot thank the BF team for such a wonderful day together!

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