The past weekend I had the privilege of attending BlogHer17 and I’m so thankful that I stepped out of my comfort zone and made the trek to sunny Orlando, Florida to attend. BlogHer is a conference that focuses on all things blogging and being a social influencer (although a vast majority of it was definitely focused on the blogging niche). Workshops, keynote speakers, brand expo and special events bring women bloggers from all different spectrums together to grow, learn, connect and collaborate. The conference was such a great experience and I feel like I walked away with a plethora of information and a newfound motivation and mission for blogging.
I first heard about BlogHer in early 2016 when I started on my blogging journey again. I had a personal “journal” style blog years before I started Mommy Gone Healthy, but wanted to emerge into a more professional and curated blog the second time around. I had really wanted to attend last year, but my daughter was still an infant and I didn’t want to leave her for a few days or bring her along (lots of mamas did and I give them so much credit) so I opted to promise myself that I’d attend the next year. As soon as tickets became available I swooped up the Early Bird passes and started making my plans. and I’m so thankful that I did!
This years agenda was full of strong and inspirational women. Among them were:
- Chelsea Clinton
- Serena Williams
- Cecile Richards
- Laurie Hernandez
- Gabrielle Reece
- Ana Navarro
- Carla Hall
- Janet Mock
- Joy Reid
- Margaret Cho
- And so many more…
The keynote speakers were definitely entertaining to listen to and they touched on many controversial and political points. I know that there were some that were a bit annoyed by the consistent political chatter, but I found it interesting even though I may not always agree 100%. They were topics that need to be discussed and have the potential to either propel us forward or hinder us so definitely need to be addressed.
Aside from the noteworthy keynote speakers, the panels and sessions were full of so much information. By far my favorite sessions were the ones that focused on SEO and Facebook Videos. I feel like I walked away from each of those sessions with so much information that it made the conference worth the time and money. I wish that I would have been able to attend even more sessions than the 5-6 that I did (thankfully I have tracked notes from nearly all the sessions now!).
While I loved being able to attend some of the sponsored events, I was saddened that I had to miss some other sessions that I really wanted to attend. The early bird yoga and breakfast session with Florida Department of Citrus was a perfect way to start the morning and my favorite sponsored brand event (yoga, duh!). I was a bit disappointed with one unnamed sponsored event as it was marketed a bit deceiving and felt that they weren’t really interested in working with bloggers as much as pushing their (controversial) agenda and I missed a speaker that I really wanted to see to attend. The Healthy EPISodes event with Joy Bauer was such a fun event to attend. She’s so sweet and kind and it made my day to be able to chat with her (we made Tasty style videos together!) and learn more about EPI.
So much truth behind her message! Health is everything!
Hilton Bonnet Creek Orlando Resort was beautiful. The service was phenomenal, especially for accommodating so many people and constantly evolving events. I’d definitely think about coming back again with my family when we plan a Disney vacation in the future. The lunches during the conference were great, but I do wish that breakfast had a bit more options (fruit, croissants and bagels just don’t do it for me…I need more protein!) so hopefully that will be taken into consideration for future conferences. The pool area is amazing! I spent all day Sunday lounging by the pool and lazy river after the conference and it was so relaxing. I can’t remember the last time I relaxed for that long (haha, like 4 years, pre-kids era).
Above all, my absolute favorite thing of the entire weekend: meeting other bloggers, including a few that I’ve followed for a long time. It’s so amazing to finally be able to connect with other bloggers who get it and understand the pros and cons of blogging. It was refreshing to be able to connect with other bloggers and moms to discuss what works for us, what we struggle with, help brainstorm future plans and to just connect face to face. The strength and stories that I heard over the weekend were staggering and inspirational. So many have had some incredibly life changing moments that I can’t imagine working through. I felt humbled and inspired chatting with some many incredible women which leads to my next point…
The number one thing I took away for blogging from the conference is to use my voice for good. To speak for those that are unable to, for those who don’t have the means to do so for themselves and for those that are silenced. I want to use my voice to make a difference in not only my life and my children live, but for those around me. There have been a few times that I kept quiet and held back from posting about topics that may be a bit controversial or triggering. That’s one of the thing that I’ve struggled the most in my blogging journey. I’ve been afraid to speak out about my beliefs/thoughts at times due to potential backlash. I love listening to others chat about their beliefs (even if I disagree with them), so why have a held back on my own platform? Due to this, one of my newest goals is to just say something. If someone is being racist, homophobic, sexist or straight up just lacks compassion for their fellow beings, I’m speaking up.