As many of y’all know, I attended the Blissdom Canada ’11 Conference in Toronto this past week. Although it wasn’t my first blogging conference (third this year after BlogHer and ShesConnected), it was the first time I had partied up the Blissdom brand.
It was pretty darn spectacular.
For those of you not familiar with Blissdom, “The very best blogging, public relations and social media pros from Canada and the United States will be gathering in Toronto’s Hilton Hotel October 13 – 15, 2011 for a few days of networking , business development, community building, and a whole lot of mapletastic awesome.”
Now while I’d love to just launch into a rundown of my experience at the event, unfortunately, I do have to put forth a disclaimer: there’s a whole lotta Lena coming up. You see, I am the worst shutterbug in the world – I actually never take a picture unless it’s of my kids (even then, I fail miserably). So the only photos I have from the conference are a mishmash of pics that were tweeted to me and posted on Facebook; hence, me me me. So if you have an aversion to my goofy smile and predictable pose (right hand on hip) you may want to come back later. Frankly, I wouldn’t be insulted.
(And, forgive the varying degrees of picture quality; there’s a smorgasbord of iPhone, Instagram and Canon Digital SLR photos.)
So here goes.
The festivities began on Thursday night with a snazzy little get together with Collective Bias and the good folks at Mars | Philter. Being part of the Social Fabric community is incredibly refreshing for me; the world of real shopper media is a welcome change from the traditional blogger outreach programs that I’m used to and I find the whole process both imaginative and inspiring.
|WITH THE LOVELY JEN @LITTLEMISSMOCHA|
After a few hours of mingling and making new friends, we (which loosely refers to my travelling posse of Tammi, Diana, Lisa and Steph) headed on over to the official pre-conference party at CBC Live. Yes, bloggers are a pretty big deal (PBD). After all, they don’t roll out the red carpet for just anyone…
|#FISHERPRICEMOMS W/ DIANA @TEACHERMOMOFTWO|
Some of CBC’s finest were on hand to greet the women, including Dwight Drummond, Craig Norris, Arisa Cox, Mamma Yamma (LOL) and those two guys who know a thing or two about design, Steven and Chris.
|LITERALLY LAUGHING MY HEAD OFF|
Totally cool and random sighting: The Meligrove Band rocked the house throughout the night, and on a break between sets, I recognized one of the bandmates as someone I had gone to high school with! Turns out there were two more Goetz Gators in the band, and Mike and I had a fun few moments catching up (and confirming that yes, he sat behind me in Grade 9 English).
|EX-GATORS MEETING AT A WOMEN’S BLOGGING CONFERENCE.
After the CBC Live party a bunch of us went out to eat – and anytime you ask for a table of 12 women, you know laughs are on the way. We wrapped up the night at about 11:00pm and I hit the hay (er, Hilton Toronto hay) in preparation of a busy day ahead.
Friday was the official start to the conference and I began the day at breakfast with the amazing Mom Central Canada team. The purpose of the breakfast? To reunite our #FisherPriceMoms Play Panel! It was so awesome to spend time with friends and fellow moms – the last time we were all in the same room was at the photo shoot back in March. Plus, we were treated to a sneak peek of Fisher-Price’s 2012 marketing initiatives – great stuff on the way, peeps!
|REUNITED AND IT FEELS SO GOOD|
After our breakfast I took in a couple of sessions that proved to be informative and inspiring – yet not overly enriching for this blogger who has been in the biz for a while. Nevertheless, I picked up a few neat tricks and tips, and got to spend the better part of two hours with my Sarah, my #girlcrush.
Back to #FisherPriceMoms for a second – if you’re a Canadian mom of newborn to preschool children – or are expecting a baby – the Fisher-Price Blogger Community is expanding! With an additional 15 Canadian bloggers set to join in on the fun, you’ll help spread the word about Fisher-Price; its toys and the various initiatives throughout the year. For more information and to sign up to be considered for this amazing opportunity, click here.
|W/ THE UBER HOT CHRISTINE @SPIDERMOM1
IN THE FISHER-PRICE SUITE
After a light lunch I was off to say hello to some of my favourite brands, including the fabulous ladies from Ketchum representing Healthy Choice Gourmet Steamers and Philips, James Clarke over at Maple Leaf Foods, and a woman who I was dying to meet IRL, Maureen from Corel. We’d worked together on so many projects with PTPA and my own blog, and it was time to put a face to the e-mail addy.
Turns out, I was able to spend a lot more time at the Corel booth than anticipated; they were offering all Blissdom Canada attendees a professional headshot that we could use on our social media links. Since I’m all about updating my avatar at regular intervals, I lined up to pose for a shot. Well, even though they didn’t have a tool on Corel PaintShop that removed frizzies in hair, I’m nonetheless quite tickled with my picture!
I also had a great time connecting with GM, President’s Choice Financial, Church & Dwight, Step 2, Kraft and more.
That night, we hit up the #MabelBliss party and enjoyed Mabel’tinis and snow cones, among other treats and delights. Since I’m always about 5 paces away from my #girlcrush, here’s a picture of Steph, Sarah and I hamming it up for the camera (not to miss my hover hat; apparently I can grossly misjudge the distance to the top of my head).
|WHY DON’T I LOOK SO SNAZZY WHEN I WEAR GLASSES?|
After the party a small group of us hit Milestones for late munchies, where we stayed chatting for hours about the business of blogging. I swear we covered enough material for an entire conference :)
The next day, I took it easy and slept in (8:30am what!) for the first time in three years. But more than staying in bed for an extra hour or so, it was the sheer enjoyment of taking my time that I cherished so much. I later popped in on my friends at the Fisher-Price suite and then stopped by Kelloggs, where I heard they were looking for a new Cornflakes Spokesperson. Think I have the job?
(Unlikely. I look like a freakin’ Bollywood reject. Would YOU buy cereal from this girl?)
Sigh. My time at Blissdom Canada was coming to an end. I managed to squeeze in coffee with friends at Tundra restaurant in the hotel, where I recommend the lattes (heavy on froth, smooth on taste).
I made the rounds and didn’t shed a tear like *some* people I know (but won’t mention). Alas, I must admit, I already miss my blogger buddies. Till the next meetup, dolls!
|ONE LAST PHOTO WITH THE #GIRLCRUSH.
OH TAMMI YOU LOOK NICE TOO.
I should also mention that I missed the final costume/karaoke party, where Jordan Knight stopped by to serenade the ladies. I know, pretty mapletastic, right? S’okay, I had a couple of heartthrobs at home who only have eyes for one lady :)