I’m just back from a FANTASTIC blogger conference and I’m suddenly refocused, refreshed and relaxed!
But, before I go on about the conference, I have to start by saying how AWESOME Laura was to travel with. For starters, she took care of all of the travel arrangements that included a drive to the airport, our flights into Billy Bishop Airport in Downtown Toronto where Laura then jumped in the driver seat and took us two hours out of the city without making a single wrong turn, AND our drives back from the airport when we landed back in Halifax!
For someone who gets a little anxious about travelling…travelling with Laura was a complete breeze!
We’ve been home a few days and while I’m getting caught up on work and chores, my head is completely spinning with all of the things I need to do to make Curtains are Open and East Coast Moms absolutely AWESOME!
Conferences have a way of lifting you up…of teaching you just the right amount to re-focus your intentions and help you discover areas you need to improve on. Currently, I’m making a list, a LONG list at that…as I’ve much to do but I have to say…I’m super pumped that I continue to head in the right direction with this career that I truly enjoy.
Bottom line…the conference WAS A BLAST but better than that…it was relaxing! Yes…RELAXING!
Here’s the thing, my life is busy. Between raising kids, my design work and the blog…attending events, staying up-to-date on social media, being tapped in 24/7…this career, while I love it, can take a lot out of you. I’m constantly on-line and rarely get a break and YES…it’s incredibly rewarding but sometimes, you just need to turn it all off.
SJ Consulting designed a conference with that in mind.
It wasn’t packed from daylight to dusk…there was room to breathe, to relax, to get away from everything, to socialize and laugh and learn and visit the spa. It was the perfect combination of learning…and getting away. A mini vacation of sorts that had me realizing I truly have an awesome job! One that I want to continue to grow and be successful with.
The Casino Rama Resort…these folks know how to make you feel like a million bucks! With 8 unique restaurants, a casino, entertainment, beautiful rooms, fantastic lounges and a wonderful spa…it was an absolutely perfect spot for a getaway (with a conference thrown in!)
By the time we arrived, everyone had just sat down to the most wonderful meal at St. Germaine’s Steakhouse. We settled into our seats and enjoyed a delicious meal that included Yellow Fin Tuna, Foie Gras, Beef Striploin and an assortment of desserts.
And that was just a taste of things to come!!!
At the beginning of each conference day, we were treated to an amazing breakfast that included tons of fresh berries, yogurt, breakfast sandwiches, smoked salmon and more. For lunch one day, we enjoyed a buffet and the next, the most amazing Butter Chicken I’ve ever had!
In the evenings we were on our own to explore and there was a perfect little pub that served wonderful specialty coffees and a fabulous charcuterie board!
But the VERY BEST PART…each night, room service arrived with a bed time snack and each night it was ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!!!
(Check out the #LetsGoRama hashtag on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and you’ll see just how awesome we were treated!)
We were honestly BEYOND SPOILED and STUFFED the entire time we were at the resort but while, based on my pictures, we spent a lot of time eating…we also spent a lot of time relaxing.
Casino Rama is home to their Balance in Life Spa that includes the most wonderful salt water pool, hot tub, steam showers, sauna, a beautiful outdoor patio and a variety of spa services. I spent a bit of time in the pool and even took time out of my day for a full mani and pedi!
When we weren’t relaxing…most of us made our way to the casino to take part in a little play. Incredibly odd for bloggers, photography is not allowed in casinos so we had to put our phones away! There were a lot of laughs. Some money won. Some lost. It was colourful and noisy and fabulous all at the same time.
And yes…I lost. In fact…these machines just like to eat my money and stick their tongues out at me. I have ZERO luck at gambling. AT ALL!!! Laura though, she managed to walk away with a few hundred dollars in her pocket and treated me to drinks and lunch on the way home because she’s super generous (or felt completely horrible about the machines eating my money!) All in all…the casino was a whole lot of fun.
Sponsors and Speakers
Along with Casino Rama…there were a few other sponsors that treated us LIKE ROYALTY throughout the few days at the conference.
Chicken Farmers of Canada
We had a great chat with the Chicken Farmers of Canada about how to include “Wellness” in our blog posts. Chicken Farmers have amazing recipes on their website, but they also host a #ChickenChat on Twitter that covers a variety of health topics each month.
Join in the conversation on-line every third Wednesday of the month. There really is a lot of information in one of their chats…and some great tips for living a healthy lifestyle.
I greatly enjoyed meeting Gabriel Mederos of Telus. I’ve worked with Telus in the past with the We Day events which are always a big production and a great bit of fun. Gabriel talked about their brand and how they work with content creators in inventive ways so that the creator is keeping their authentic voice. Gabriel pushed the idea of “Be True to You” by giving great examples of how they’ve worked with You Tube Creators on various campaigns.
Check out this lovely video with Telus and Beauty Blogger, Jennifer Chiu.
Another great speaker at the conference was Giant Tiger’s, Karen Sterling. A Canadian, family owned discount store…Giant Tiger is currently undergoing a large brand shift as they’re set to open 15-20 stores each year, creating jobs and offering an affordable product.
Karen was an amazing speaker and talked about changing times in marketing, staying relevant and being authentic.
We were each sent home with a gift package and I’ll be popping into the store next week to see what this change is all about! In the meantime, join them for their twitter party this week and discover something new!
Femke Photography and Fuji
On the Photography end of things, we had a great chat with Femke Photography on how to take great photos on our blogs (as well, they took Head Shots of all of the conference attendees).
We also chatted with FujiFilm on a few new tech gadgets and their fantastic cameras (that I covet!)
AND…Fuji sent each of us home with the brand new Instax SP-2 Printer so you can print photos RIGHT FROM YOUR PHONE!!!
(Also, check out my fantastic Mani!)
Along with all of the sponsors, we also had great conversations about blogging, working with PR firms, social media, scheduling, monetizing, Pinterest and various other topics that broke out throughout the few days…as happens, when you take 50 AMAZING BLOGGERS and put them in a resort for three days of relaxation and learning.
It truly was a fabulous conference and just as soon as I get a few things done…I’m working on that blogging to-do list!
#LetsGoRama Twitter Party
To keep the party going, join us for a #LetsGoRama Twitter Party on August 24th for conversation, prizing and FUN!
RSVP and find out about all of the details HERE!
Again…a HUGE thanks to SJ Consulting for throwing a fabulous relaxing conference, to all of the sponsors and speakers for sharing their knowledge, and to Laura…for making it THAT MUCH BETTER!
Disclosure: I was invited to the #LetsGoRama Conference by SJ Consulting. All opinions, as always, are my own.
Photo Credit: Top Photo of the beautiful Casino Rama but Geek With Style.