FitBloggin 2014 – Around Savannah, GA

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When I attend conferences, I almost always try to maximize my free time on the last day. Most conferences end in the morning leaving the rest of the day with plenty of time for more adventures. Since I drove to Savannah, this was especially easy to do for FitBloggin. And I’m so glad I decided to stay in town after the conference ended. I got to spend some time with some great bloggers.

FitBloggin 2014 - Around Savannah, GA

There was one shop I definitely wanted to hit up before leaving town – The Savannah Bee Company. I headed there with Shannyn, Kyra, Martinus, and Nikki. We wanted to do a mead tasting, but sadly, they weren’t able to do one until 12:30pm since it was a Sunday.

FitBloggin 2014 - Around Savannah, GA

Luckily, there were plenty of other things to check out in the shop. The Savannah Bee Company not only has a wide variety of honey flavors, but they have other treats, from lotions to honey-roasted coffee.

FitBloggin 2014 - Around Savannah, GA

They have a great sample bar at the front where you can taste the honeys the shop offers. I was surprised at how much the honeys differed in taste. The tupelo and winter white were my standout favorites, so I brought a bottle of each home to enjoy later.

FitBloggin 2014 - Around Savannah, GA

I also tried the honey comb, which was really good. It’s sweet, warm, and chewy. I’ve always wanted to try honey comb straight up, so this was a real treat for me! There was also bread, apples, and cheese in case you wanted to make a savory-sweet sample.

FitBloggin 2014 - Around Savannah, GA

Our next stop was a cupcake shop just down the block, Sweet Carolina Cupcakes.

FitBloggin 2014 - Around Savannah, GA

I hadn’t planned to eat any cupcakes since we hadn’t had lunch yet, and I was still hoping to score some macarons. But, when Martinus kindly offered for each of us to share a bite of his red velvet cupcake, I couldn’t resist. It was delicious, and the frosting was nice and buttery. Thank you, Martinus!

FitBloggin 2014 - Around Savannah, GA

{Blogger shenanigans}

One of my favorite things about attending conferences is how you’re around people who are just as weird as you are. Every group has their quirks, and I love the blogger ones. We totally get taking lots of photos of food, photos of people taking photos of food, selfless galore, and other randomness. I love hanging out with fellow bloggers!

FitBloggin 2014 - Around Savannah, GA

After a couple more photo ops, Martinus and Nikki headed back to the hotel to catch a tour. I wish I’d had more time in Savannah to participate in one of the many historic tours they offered. Guess I’ll just have to go back soon!

FitBloggin 2014 - Around Savannah, GA

Kyra, Shannyn, and I had worked up an appetite, so we headed back towards the river to grab lunch. En route, we learned that the macaron shop was closed on Sunday. That was a bummer, but I was happy to at least have some delicious honey to enjoy at home later. Plus, I had one more stop I really wanted to make, and I had a good feeling they’d be open.

FitBloggin 2014 - Around Savannah, GA

We hit up the Chart House, which was located in a beautiful stone building right on River Street. We had a great view of the bridge and passing boats. The weather was warm, but we opted to eat out. With the breeze, it was really lovely.

FitBloggin 2014 - Around Savannah, GA

FitBloggin 2014 - Around Savannah, GA

I was torn between two very different options for my lunch order – a salad or the short ribs. I’ve been on a short rib kick lately, so I figured what the heck, why not get those today. They were a little tougher than I wanted, but the flavor was delicious. It was a heavy choice for lunch outside, but it’s what I was feeling.

FitBloggin 2014 - Around Savannah, GA

{Shannyn, Me, Kyra}

FitBloggin 2014 - Around Savannah, GA

For our last shop stop, we visited River Street Sweets. I really wanted to pick up some pralines for hubby, and I scored one pound to take home. The shop had chocolate and original flavors, but I opted for 100% original.

FitBloggin 2014 - Around Savannah, GA

I had to be out of the parking deck of the hotel by 3pm, and the girls had flights to catch, but we had about another hour to spend around town. So, we opted to check out some of squares in town.

FitBloggin 2014 - Around Savannah, GA

We took a leisurely walk through the squares, marveling at the giant, arching trees with their sweeping branches covered in moss.

FitBloggin 2014 - Around Savannah, GA

There were historic monuments throughout. You could spend a long time wandering around, checking out all the sites and reading all the plaques. It’s a nice setup.

FitBloggin 2014 - Around Savannah, GA

FitBloggin 2014 - Around Savannah, GA

FitBloggin 2014 - Around Savannah, GA

{Up}

FitBloggin 2014 - Around Savannah, GA

We made it to the location of Forrest Gump’s bench, which has since been moved to a museum, before turning back towards the hotel. Our afternoon walking around Savannah was the perfect end to a beautiful weekend. Thank you Shannyn, Kyra, Martinus, and Nikki for helping me end the conference on a sweet note! Let’s get cupcakes in Denver, too!

I felt ready to head home but also like I wanted the FitBloggin fun to continue. I’d met so many great people throughout the weekend, and I look forward to keeping up with them over social media and potentially to even seeing them in person! As you may have read on other FitBloggin posts, the event was really great for a blogger recharge. I spent the drive home feeling really appreciative for the opportunity to participate in such a wonderful event. I was also really inspired by so many of the other bloggers who attended. I could spend all year hearing their stories about their healthy living journeys.

With my batteries feeling super-charged, I also brainstormed how I could apply the inspiration and learnings of the weekend to make both my blog and life better. I must say, I’m especially inspired to start blogging about healthy living again. That used to be a big focus here on The Chic Life, and I’ve dialed back in recent years. Well, I’m ready to bring that back to the blog with renewed energy. I also want to do more posts to give back and share some of the things Ive learned over the years to help my fellow bloggers as others have helped me. So, long story short (TL;DR) stay tuned for some posts on health & wellness and some tutorials coming up!

Thank you to Roni and everyone who helped make FitBloggin another success! I met so many great people over the weekend, and I wish I had gotten more photos with all of them. To those I met, please know I really enjoyed meeting and chatting with you, even if only for a short time. Hope to see everyone in Denver in 2015!

***

Here are my other FitBloggin 2014 recap posts:

***

Thanks for stopping by!

FitBloggin 2014 – My Day 3 and 4 Recap

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Saturday was a big day for me. At 4pm, I would tackle one of my big goals head on – speaking at a conference. I really wanted to sleep in to be well-rested, but after hanging out with Katy and Kat the day before, I decided to attend their morning fitness session.

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 3 and 4 Recap

They took turns leading 30 minutes of a work out (Pi-Yo for Katy and Insanity for Kat) and being each other’s modifier when they weren’t lead. I’ve done yoga before, and I even do (and sometimes teach) a weekly toning class in a format proprietary to my dance fitness company, so the pi-yo was right up my alley. I really liked how it was low-impact. We did lots of toning and a bonus of stretching. I could probably use more of both in my life. The Insanity class was super fun and very jumpy. My knee sometimes bothers me if I push it too far, so I don’t think I could do Insanity on a regular basis. But, I can see how it works so well for many people. That class is no joke!

Katy and Kat did a great job. They were in full control of the class and really kept us motivated for the full hour. I really appreciated how they offered modifier moves for everything, and I found myself jumping in and out of the high and low versions throughout the session. I had to hold back just a little for the next session.

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 3 and 4 Recap

{Me, Katy, Kat}

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 3 and 4 Recap

Only 30 minutes later, it was time for more fitness. You guys knew I wouldn’t miss the Zumba class! Sue and Sam led a super-fun 80s-themed class along with a couple other guest instructors. We shook our booties to our favorite, upbeat 80s songs and got a good sweat worked up in the process. It was a blast!

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 3 and 4 Recap

{Me, Sam, Sue, Gail}

I’ve been twitter friends with Sue for a couple years now, so it was really great to meet her in person finally!

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 3 and 4 Recap

After lunch, I attended Katy’s session on media kits. Not only did she do fabulous with her pi-yo session, but she rocked out her speaking presentation, too! She talked about the important components of media kits and even showed us good and bad examples as she went. She had the room captivated, and I think she really inspired many (including me!) to plan to put together a media kit for themselves after FitBloggin.

You can read more about Katy’s media kit presentation on her Live Blog by clicking here.

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 3 and 4 Recap

{Photo courtesy of Katherine and Jennifer of It Sux To Be Fat}

At 4pm, it was my turn to present. I was super nervous. I mean, I have stage fright! But, for some reason, I was feeling pretty good about leading my session. Maybe it’s all the experience leading Zumba classes or perhaps my recent work experience has helped me. I don’t know, but I’m thankful!

I presented Intro to HTML and CSS for Bloggers. My subject matter was a bit dry, but I tried posting photos of Bailey and even asked for volunteers for an activity to engage the room. One of the session attendees, Kyra, actually recognized Bailey, and we realized later we were already twitter friends. And the volunteers did a great job with the activity. I took an HTML link element and broke it up, printed over seven pieces of paper. The volunteers put the papers in order wonderfully. Woohoo! For that, they got a photo of the success kid.

I’m very thankful for a great group of session attendees who were so fun to chat code with. Thank you to everyone who attended!

Katherine and Jennifer did a great job capturing the Live Blog for my session, which you can click here to read. Thank you, ladies!

If you’re interested in seeing my presentation, leave me a comment below with your email address or email me, and I’ll share the link. It’s in a Google Doc, so it’s easy to share.

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 3 and 4 Recap

I joined some blog friends for dinner at B&D Burgers. I got the Wormsloe, which was soooo good. It was topped with ooey-gooey melted pimento cheese and a crispy fried green tomato (plus the usual fixins). I would love to get this again soon. B&D, do you deliver to NC? I also had a side of sweet potato fries, which they brought out a couple minutes after the burger so the burger didn’t get cold.

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 3 and 4 Recap

{Photo courtesy of Nathan MacDonald – from left to right: Kyra, Jill, Kelly, Megan, Nathan, me}

We had a fun group at dinner. We went around the table and each shared what we do for our “real jobs”. It was really cool to see how diverse the jobs were and hear about some veeery interesting work experiences. Thanks to Nathan’s Instagram photo, we learned that we have a mutual friend in common – someone I went to college with. Small world!

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 3 and 4 Recap

After dinner, we headed back for dessert and the speaker panel. And after the panel, we enjoyed some dancing and had more chances to catch up with more blog friends – old and new.

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 3 and 4 Recap

All the runners of FitBloggin were really excited to see Jeff Galloway at the conference.

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 3 and 4 Recap

On Sunday morning, Jeff and his wife led a group on a walk-run interval 10k. It was such a cool opportunity to do an interval run with Jeff, I actually considered it for a half-second. But, the farthest I’ve ever run is a 5k, so I quickly decided that was a bad idea. I didn’t want to get stranded on the big bridge over the river!

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 3 and 4 Recap

I opted to do the one mile walk with some fellow bloggers and Tina of Run Disney.

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 3 and 4 Recap

We went for a walk down by the river.

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 3 and 4 Recap

We made it to the waving girl statue of Florence Martus who is said to have welcomed over 50,000 ships to Savannah with a wave of her handkerchief (or lantern at night).

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 3 and 4 Recap

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 3 and 4 Recap

After some photos with the statue, we headed back for breakfast.

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 3 and 4 Recap

I really enjoyed the walk for some fresh air, beautiful scenery, and the chance to chat with a couple more bloggers, Kris and Stephanie, that I hadn’t yet met.

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 3 and 4 Recap

After the walk it was time for breakfast, chatting with blog friends, packing, and saying goodbye. Well, not quite yet, at least.

I went out with a few bloggers to explore Savannah before leaving town. More on that next time!

***

Catching up? Here are my other recaps:

Thanks for stopping by!

FitBloggin 2014 – My Day 2 Recap

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On Friday, I was still feeling the nerves from my “adventures” the day before, but I was also really excited to dive into the first full day of the conference. Here’s FitBloggin 2014 – My Day 2 Recap…

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 2 Recap

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 2 Recap

The breakfast buffet had all my favorites – oatmeal (with a nice selection of toppings), eggs, fresh fruit, and bacon. Yum!

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 2 Recap

Thanks to sponsors like Ninja Kitchen, there were lots of healthy and tasty snacks around for most of the day. The Ninja Kitchen was my favorite because they kept putting out new flavors of delicious smoothies throughout the weekend. Smoothies are always a good idea, and I enjoyed some of their unique flavor combinations, like the yellow one that had turmeric in it.

***

For my first session of the conference, I went to Valerie’s small group discussion on How to Organize Community Wellness Programs. Valerie talked about her experience planning events, including what worked for her and didn’t. She led the conversation in a really open and friendly way, encouraging open dialog in the room while also shared some of her personal tips. As the session went on, others in the room shared their experiences, too, making for a great conversation. There were so many people in the room who had organized events like a 5k (or longer) race or charity fundraiser. It was inspiring to hear everyone’s stories about the good they were doing for their respective communities. It made me wonder if there’s more I could do for mine.

Click here to read the Live Blog from Valerie’s presentation.

After this session, I went quickly to the front desk of the Hyatt to see if my wallet had arrived to put an end to my worries still stemming from the day before. Hubby said the package would be there by noon according to USPS, so I was hoping it had arrived early since it was a bit before 11am. I was so worried that the darn thing got lost in the mail or something. Luckily, they found the package just fine. I was just so relieved that the madness of the missing wallet was over. Now, it was time to engage in the conference and prepare (calm my nerves and finish my slides) for my upcoming presentation on Saturday. Eep!

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 2 Recap

Since I keep toying with the idea of making videos, I went to Dre’s presentation on mobile video.

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 2 Recap

Dre was like a magician and kept pulling out new tools and supplies throughout his presentation. It was really cool to see how much you could do with mobile video if you had the right tools for the job. Dre talked about getting a tripod, using a bluetooth remote to start and stop the camera, using a microphone, and even passed on suggestions for affordable lighting options. He talked about which tools to use and the best ways to use them. And he even helped troubleshoot for some of the session attendees. Dre put an Amazon list of his equipment recommendations on his blog. The session did leave me wanting to create some videos for guys, but I’m still on the fence.

I actually have recorded a couple videos (dance fitness choreography, shoe reviews, etc.) to share with you guys, but I’ve been way too nervous to actually upload them to The Chic Life’s YouTube account. I don’t really like the way I look or sound on video. And once the video camera (or iPhone camera) is on and recording, it’s like I forget how to talk or act. I’m basically like this. But, maybe one day I’ll work past all that. I mean, if I look at my old food photos from years ago, they’re awful. Maybe that’s just the way things go and you just need to start somewhere and learn and improve over time?

Click here to read the Live Blog from Dre’s presentation on mobile video.

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 2 Recap

The lunch spread was wonderful. The buffet started with quinoa and pasta salads. There was also fresh fruit…

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 2 Recap

…and a ton of salad toppings.

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 2 Recap

And we also got to build our own sandwiches. And there were Mrs Vickie’s chips at the end with my favorite flavor – salt and vinegar.

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 2 Recap

The whole group ate together in one of the larger rooms where we saw a presentation from Disney with a special guest…

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 2 Recap

Mickey! As you can tell from all the cameras going up, we were pretty excited. We learned about Disney’s training camps for kids and about some of their Run Disney events.

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 2 Recap

I think most of us know about the princess races, but did you know they have a Run Disney Star Wars Weekend event now? That’s right. It could be enough to convince my husband to start running. Maybe. Just maybe. (Too bad it’s sold out already!)

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 2 Recap

In the afternoon, I went to ESPN blogger Stephania’s session on How to Build a Respected Blog. Her presentation validated a lot of what I’ve been thinking about lately. I used to love to blog about health, nutrition, and wellness, but I’ve dialed back in recent years. My fear was that I wasn’t qualified to talk about these subjects. Stephania pointed out that you can share your personal story and cite resources for information outside of your knowledge/expertise. This is something I’ve been doing to a small extent with some of my recipe posts (like this almond butter smoothie recipe), but I’m hoping to apply it to some more healthy living posts going forward. Stephania also suggested interviewing people who are experts in a given area, which is another wonderful idea.

You can read more about Stephania’s session on the Live Blog about it by clicking here.

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 2 Recap

{Photo courtesy of Katrina Elle}

After the sessions, I met up with Katy and also got to meet Katrina and Brendon for some afternoon practice and fun randomness, including dancing, headstands, and handstands. As you can see from the photo, we had a good time. These are some fun peeps! I wish they all lived closer! #headsdownforwhat

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 2 Recap

When I went back up to my room to change, I heard a loud horn coming from outside. A giant ship was passing under the bridge and coming down the river. It probably doesn’t look like much from the photo, but the ship seemed gigantic, like it took over the whole river.

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 2 Recap

Later, I headed downstairs for the Friday night festivities. Katy was rocking her new Live Chic tank.

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 2 Recap

And another ship passed behind us while we were at…

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 2 Recap

Ignite Fitness. If you don’t know what Ignite is, you can watch this video to learn more. It’s basically a short presentation where you get a limited amount of time to cover each slide. There were informative presentations, but I liked the deep, personal stories the most. Alan’s in particular stood out to me because it was so inspiring.

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 2 Recap

And what night wouldn’t be complete without a dance flash mob. Oh yea!

***

Next up – FitBloggin 2014 – My Day 3 Recap.

In case you missed it – here’s FitBloggin 2014 – My Day 1 Recap.

Thanks for stopping by!

FitBloggin 2014 – My Day 1 Recap

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Hi friends! I’m back from FitBloggin and feeling great! I finally downloaded my photos yesterday and can you believe I took over 300 photos just on my DSLR? I have more on my iPhone, too. I was going to try to narrow down all the photos to give you one big FitBloggin recap post, but most of you know that I really like to try to share my experiences through my photos. So, I don’t want to trim them down too much. I’ll follow my normal recap style and do a day-by-day breakdown.

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{Photo by Carrie D Photography}

So, without further adieu, here’s FitBloggin 2014 – my day 1 recap…

***

I’ve been wanting to attend FitBloggin since the very first one debuted five years ago, but it never quite worked out schedule-wise. So, I was really pumped when I heard that the 2014 conference would be a pretty short road trip away in Savannah, GA. Also, I pitched a couple ideas for speaker presentations, and Roni picked one of them for me to do! Not only was I going to hit up a conference I’ve wanted to attend for (literally) years now, but I was going to be reaching one of my big goals I’ve set in recent years – speak at a conference.

On Thursday, I took a couple work phone conferences from my house before hitting the road. Things started out so smoothly and my timing was perfect. Everything was great until I managed to make it one and a half hours away to a Starbucks in Columbia, SC for a quick pit stop. As I stood in line to order, I reached into my purse to grab my wallet only to realize it wasn’t there. Major fail! I called my husband in a panic, and he ended up saving the day in a big way. He called the hotel and managed to convince them to let me check in without an ID or credit card. And he overnighted my wallet to the hotel. My other saving grace? The fact that I’d listened to the advice I’ve always heard over the years – if you’re traveling take out cash just in case. I was also lucky I had my cash in a separate wallet. I didn’t have enough to make it through the weekend, but I did have enough to get gas to get to Savannah and buy some food. Phew!

FitBloggin at the Hyatt Savannah, GA

I very carefully finished my drive to Savannah and was so relieved when I checked in smoothly and swiftly. The Hyatt Regency Savannah had their stuff together and greeted me with smiles, fully prepared to check me in with everything ready. Thank you, Hyatt! I headed upstairs to my room and put my bags down, feeling like a huge weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. I was so happy to just be in the room and able to enjoy a beautiful view of the river.

FitBloggin 2014 - Day 1 Recap by thechiclife.com

I tried to put my wallet situation out of my head and headed downstairs for registration and to meet the fabulous Roni for the first time. I also saw Martinus who was trying out the one-size-fits-all tanks from our swag bags. It was time to put the wallet mess behind me and get into conference mode.

FitBloggin 2014 - Day 1 Recap by thechiclife.com

Some of the conference vendors, like California Avocado, were out and chatting up the attendees.

FitBloggin 2014 - Day 1 Recap by thechiclife.com

I met Kimba who was also a FitBloggin newbie.

Alan of Sweating Until Happy

I also finally got to meet Alan, a longtime twitter friend, in person.

FitBloggin 2014 - Day 1 Recap by thechiclife.com

We had some yummy snacks – warm tortilla chips with California avocado red, white, and blueberry salsa and balsamic almonds.

FitBloggin 2014 - Day 1 Recap by thechiclife.com

And Alan led us in some fun ice breakers. I haven’t been to a conference before that did ice breakers, but especially appreciated them as a first timer to FitBloggin. Going into the conference, I only knew one person pretty well who would be attending. I won’t lie – I’m an introvert at heart and kind of shy. I was worried no one would want to talk to me and I’d spend the weekend alone. But, thanks to Thursday night I met some great people at the ice breaker that I ended up chatting with all weekend. Success!

One of the even cooler moments for me was post-conference editing these photos. When I took the photos from the ice breaker, I didn’t know anyone in the shot. I was just trying to capture the moment. Later, as I edited them, I realized that I had met and had great conversations, or enjoyed meals, with most of the people in the photos.

FitBloggin 2014 - Day 1 Recap by thechiclife.com

After the ice breakers, much of the group headed off for some ghost tours. I wanted to participate, but the tickets for this sold out super fast.

FitBloggin 2014 - Day 1 Recap by thechiclife.com

So, I headed back to my room to check out our swag bags.

FitBloggin 2014 - Day 1 Recap by thechiclife.com

My friend Katy came by to hang out and catch up for a bit. I hadn’t seen Katy in person in years, so it was great to catch up with her. Also, I got some of the Live Chic tank tops and t-shirts printed to give out at the conference and Katy got one of the first ones.

FitBloggin 2014 - Day 1 Recap by thechiclife.com

I decided to reserve my cash (just in case) and ordered room service for dinner. After the drama with the wallet, I needed some time to rest and re-charge. I had the crab cake with arugula, feta, and fresh fruit. I tried to tell myself to stop worrying about the wallet. At this point, it was out of my control and hopefully on the way. I went to bed thinking positive thoughts for FitBloggin day 2 and feeling grateful for all of hubby’s help and support.

Next time – FitBloggin 2014 – My Day 2 Recap!

WordCamp Asheville 2014 Weekend

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Fresh mountain air. A glass of wine on a large wraparound porch. And a full agenda of learning ahead.

It was going to be a good weekend. It was almost time for Asheville’s first big WordPress event – WordCamp Asheville 2014.

Reynold's Mansion

Hubby joined me for the weekend, so we decided to stay at a bed and breakfast – Reynold’s Mansion. After a busy work day, we hit the highway headed straight for the B&B. We were greeted by the friendly innkeeper, Billy, who showed us to our room. There were cookies waiting for us there – white chocolate, oatmeal, and dried cranberry. After settling in, we explored the mansion. We snagged a couple drinks to enjoy while we walked around the inside and outside of the house. The property was pretty big, so there was a lot to see. I’ll post more photos from the B&B later.

We had a great dinner at Billy’s top restaurant recommendation – the Stoney Knob Cafe. Hubby had the duck tacos (another one of Billy’s recommendation), and I had the short ribs over grits with leeks. I tried taking photos, but we had a late dinner and the lighting was really low. Sadly, none of the photos came out. Happily, the dinner was delicious, the decor was fun, and the service was wonderful. We’ll definitely be back!

WordCamp Asheville 2014

Saturday morning brought the event I was so looking forward to – WordCamp Asheville 2014. It was finally here! The event took place at the AB Tech Community College, which was only about 15 minutes away from both the downtown area and the B&B.

WordCamp Asheville 2014

The whole group gathered in the main room for the key note before we split off for the day’s sessions.

WordCamp Asheville 2014

{The friendly Automattician team}

WordCamp Asheville 2014

{Day 1 Lunch}

WordCamp Asheville 2014

I stuck mostly with the User/Content track, but I did break out for a couple Design sessions, too. The ability to bounce around through the many tracks is one of my big likes of WordCamps, in general. You never know what session you’ll enjoy or learn something to apply to whatever you’re doing with WordPress customization, blogging, or web site design & development.

Wedge Brewery Asheville 2014

Wedge Brewery hosted the after party. I wish I’d taken more photos here, because this was such a fun place. There was a large outdoor area behind the brewery with picnic tables all around. It seemed like hundreds were gathered out back chatting, drinking, playing corn hole, and eating. The El Kimchi food truck was parked conveniently in the center of the scene and had a long line for most of the night.

El Kimchi

Hubby joined our group, and we decided to get dinner from El Kimchi. He got the hot dog and a quesadilla.

El Kimchi

{Chicken rice bowl}

We had plans to visit some of our favorite restaurants that weekend, but it was nice to enjoy the weather, eating casually al fresco and making new friends instead.

After hanging out with our WordCamp friends a bit more, we called it a night.

WordCamp Asheville 2014

{Day 2 Lunch}

Day 2 brought more fun sessions.

WordCamp Asheville 2014

And I even got to see my friend Zac who led the post-lunch session on theme customization.

WordCamp Asheville 2014

He also brought these colorful, new Team Treehouse shirts. I went for the turquoise, of course.

I have some detailed notes to read through, because I’m really excited about applying some of the new learnings to my blog. But, I also learned that I know more than I think I know. There were a couple sessions I attended to learn new things, and I realized that I already knew some of the stuff the presenters covered. It was a great feeling and a reminder to proceed with more confidence.

“Man often becomes what he believes himself to be. If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end by really becoming incapable of doing it. On the contrary, if I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

Thanks for stopping by!

WordCamp Charleston 2014 – South Carolina’s First WordCamp

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This weekend, I attended South Carolina’s first ever WordCamp – WordCamp Charleston 2014!

Have you heard about the WordCamp conferences yet? They’re super fun 1-2 day events for users, designers, businesses, and developers who use or are curious about WordPress (which is software many use to create and run blogs and web sites of all shapes and sizes). Each conference is typically run by a group of volunteers from the local WordPress meet-up, so they have their own style and flair while still following some main guidelines.

WordCamp Charleston #WCCHS

I learned about WordCamp Charleston when I was down in Atlanta recently. There was actually a WordCamp there, and I had planned to visit my cousins and attend the conference all in the same weekend. Plans fell through when the event sold out in two days, and I was not one of the lucky ones holding a golden ticket. But, I had already confirmed my trip to Atlanta, so…I decided to crash it. Sort of.

Well, first I emailed offering to volunteer as a photographer or whatever they could take for help. When I didn’t hear back, I decided to just swing by to see if they needed any additional help or to at least say hey to one of the Automatticians I met at the last WordCamp in Raleigh. I ended up talking a bit with Kathy, one of the co-organizers, who was very friendly and even offered for me to walk around a little. Due to some unexpected events that day, I actually wasn’t able to stay, but guess who was right beside me when I was chatting with Kathy – Karl. I got to talking to Karl and learned he was planning a WordCamp in Charleston. This time, I signed up for his email newsletter immediately (literally – right on his phone!) so I would stay in the loop of when tickets went on sale. And, I emailed Kathy about getting added to the Atlanta list, too, for next year’s event!

WordCamp Charleston #WCCHS

This weekend’s WordCamp took place at the beautiful College of Charleston, right in downtown.

WordCamp Charleston #WCCHS

The campus was beautiful, and it was a great time of year to visit. Or, we just got lucky with the weather. It was sunny and warm, but not too hot and humid.

WordCamp Charleston #WCCHS

{Registration table}

WordCamp Charleston #WCCHS

{Shirt pick-up}

Right away, you could tell this volunteer team had their act together. Everything was so well organized right from the start, and that only continued throughout the day.

WordCamp Charleston #WCCHS

{Refreshments}

WordCamp Charleston #WCCHS

{Bobby and me}

I was a little nervous about attending the conference. I only knew one person really well – my friend from college, Bobby Earl. After that, I had met Karl and two Automatticians, Chase and Kevin, previously. I decided I was going to have to put myself out there and make some new friends. Although I have a fairly outgoing personality, I’m really an introvert at heart. But, I was ready to meet some of the fellow WordCamp attendees. The great thing about WordCamps (that I’ve attended so far, at least – seems to be true at all) is that everyone is so friendly and welcoming. WordPress has a great community of smart and kind people who easy to strike up conversations with and get to know. And, you already have built in common ground!

WordCamp Charleston #WCCHS

This WordCamp was a one day event comprised of opening remarks, three morning sessions, a lunch break, the keynote, two afternoon sessions, and closing remarks. After a kick-off in the upstairs ballroom, we were off.

WordCamp Charleston #WCCHS

I ended up sticking mostly to the Content/Business track. I’d like to brush up on my tech skills so the Developer track is more useful for me in the future, but I’m not there yet.

For the morning sessions, I attended:

  • Sweet Selling Success with WooCommerce by Maria Scarpello
  • Package Your Expertise into Profitable Content-Based Products by Shauna Mackenzie
  • Web Design Trends for 2014 by David Laietta

I’ll share my key takeaways on my other blog as soon as I get the chance to summarize my thoughts and notes.

Verde Charleston

I tagged along with the Automattician team for lunch at Verde where I had a delicious curried beet salad. We had a fun group and some great discussions. I was so glad to have found some awesome people to get to know over lunch.

WordCamp Charleston #WCCHS

{Lunch crew: me, Tracy, Katie, Caila, Kevin, Chase, Jen, and David}

WordCamp Charleston #WCCHS

The room filled up quickly back at the conference for the Keynote with Andrew Nacin. I found a spot in the back with some of my new friends.

WordCamp Charleston #WCCHS

For the afternoon sessions, I attended:

  • No One Cares About Your Content (Yet) by Cliff Seal
  • Fighting the Deadline Pressure by Patrick Phillips

All of the sessions were great. Can’t wait to share some of my notes. I took a ton!

WordCamp Charleston #WCCHS

After the conference, we headed to Kudu Coffee and Craft Beer for the after party, which was sponsored by BoomTown.

WordCamp Charleston #WCCHS

WordCamp Charleston #WCCHS

I went for the Evil Twin farmhouse ale.

WordCamp Charleston #WCCHS

We took the after party outside, hanging out in the beautiful patio. The weather was perfect for enjoying some fresh air. The conversations flowed like the fountain next to our table as the sun slowly set over Charleston, bringing an end to a very successful WordCamp.

Congrats and great job to Karl and all of the other wonderful volunteers. You did it!

WordCamp Charleston #WCCHS

{WordCamp selfie: Kevin, Jen, Mannie, Karl}

I’m sad that WordCamp Charleston is over, but there’s good news. I’m going to WordCamp Asheville in just a couple weeks. Woohoo!

***

To my fellow bloggers – if you’re on (or are considering moving to) WordPress, you should absolutely attend this event. It’s not just for techies, so even if you’re not into code, you can learn a lot to apply to your blogs. For a list of upcoming WordCamps, click here – they’re all over the world!

***

Also, I got to visit two very cool restaurants while I was in town, so look for a couple restaurant posts next. I also created this TCL Travel Pinterest board to feature photos from past Charleston food adventures. I’ll be pinning those new posts there as soon as they’re live.

Thanks for stopping by!

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