On Friday morning, Steve and Willow brought me to the airport where I boarded my flight to Toronto. Since I was flying Air Canada on points (yay!), I decided to splurge for the Business Class ticket and headed up to the Maple Leaf Lounge before boarding. I wish I could fly Business Class every time… it was incredible! I had a full breakfast before boarding and then on the plane was served a fruit and cheese plate. I also had the unicorn of flying — a business class seat (more room already) and no seatmate! I didn’t want to get off the plane when it landed. 😉
After landing at Pearson, Blissdom arranged to have a Chevrolet shuttle pick me up at the airport. I hopped into their car and off we went toward the Delta Meadowvale where my BFF and fellow blogger, Crystal, was waiting for me. Getting there was a breeze and seeing my friend’s smiling face and open arms was the best thing ever. After unpacking in the room, we decided to go wander around the conference and grab some lunch.
This was my favorite session of the entire conference and I particularly enjoyed Elia’s story of conquering Mt. Everest. In fact, he put all of my past PowerPoint presentations to shame when he integrated video, music and storytelling into his presentation flawlessly. But, it wasn’t just that I was geeking out over the way he presented – his story was incredible. After assisting one of his mentors on a mountain trek to film a documentary, his mentor passed away and Elia decided to finish the climb on his own in his mentor’s honor. The entire story is incredible and Elia is a fantastic speaker. [Thank you Elia for also laughing at my not-serious question! Ha!]
After the sessions were over for the day, Crystal and I headed upstairs to retreat, catch up and order in room service. This is one of my favorite things about travel – I love going away and feeling taken care of. I don’t have to cook, clean, worry about dishes and the food options vastly outweigh what is usually in my house. We ordered enough food for a small army (well, I did! Ha!) and some wine and we gabbed and ate and recharged.
Once we were done eating, we got dressed and headed downstairs for the Lentils sponsored party. This one had a carnival theme and was SO well done. The decor was fabulous, there were games and prizes and the food and drink options were on point. We had a lot of fun at the party and I got to make connections with people that I hadn’t up to that point.
The best thing about a blogging conference is that you get to connect in-person with the people you chat with online. In fact, I go to conferences (most of the time) for that versus going for the programming (sorry content coordinators!). While I can learn things on my own at home, I can’t get that in-person goodness that comes along with a conference like Blissdom.
As we headed into day three of the conference (I missed day one), I was bleary-eyed and tired but felt filled up with connection and deep conversation.
On day three, Crystal and I slept in until Noon (yes, noon!) and missed most of the morning programming but we came downstairs in time to check out a session on helicopter parenting. This panel featured Andrea Nair, Kelly Flannigan-Bos, Julie Cole, Doug French and Sasha Emmons. This was a fantastic session that dug deep into some of the issues that parents face when they overprotect their children.
Once that session was over, we had a bit of downtime before checking out the closing keynote featuring Derreck Kayango. Derreck spoke about his Global Soap Project and how he made the decision to start it and how he asked the Marriott for $1.5M and got it. It was quite inspiring and he’s a great speaker – light-hearted, funny and poignant.
Although I only attended three sessions, I learned so much in those few days. Even though I didn’t get to speak to as many people as I had hoped, I had deep and meaningful conversations that I won’t forget. And, I got to spend time with my bestie in a space that interests both — there’s not much more that can top that.
Some of my favorite moments included:
- Snuggling up to Crystal in our shared king-sized bed… much to her chagrin
- Deep conversations about manifesting with Christy in our room
- Karaoke parties, dinner and awesome convo with Andrea (and everyone else in the after hours room!)
- Breakout Glee moment at the piano with a fab group of women
- The Delta Meadowvale surprising us with a yummy plate of snacks (thanks Marna!)
- Busting a move to Taylor Swift at the end of the pajama dance party (what up Christella?!)
- Trying to gift Alex with some Lentils… Still can’t believe she didn’t take them 😉
- Telling Matt Clarke that I had to be honest but didn’t know what his part was in the Conversations With My 2-Year Old Series (insert facepalm here…)
- Asking Elia Saikaly if he was real… right after telling him he was handsome AND inspirational
- Shannon’s son telling me that he thought I was super cool (and inviting me to his room to play video games!)
- Finding out that Colleen had my name on their T-shirt on a list of people they wanted to meet (still blushing!)
- And so much more… I honestly can’t name ’em all.
And, in case you haven’t had enough photos, here are some of my favorite photos as captured on Instagram and Twitter.
— Loukia (@MrsLoulou) October 3, 2014
— Crystal McLeod (@OVMCrystal) October 3, 2014
Love this woman. @ovmcrystal #blissdomca
Having such a good time… @mommygearest @ovmcrystal #blissdomca
Pajama party time! 😉 #blissdomca
And then there was the time I played the piano with the pianist at the carnival party at #blissdomca 😉
Thanks to everyone who reached out, gave a hug, had a chat and said hi at Blissdom! Going to conferences can sometimes be a scary thing but you all made it way easier than I had expected it to be 😉 xo