Blog Sugar, The Conference

A few weeks ago, I grabbed my buddy April from her hotel in Huntington Beach, and we headed towards a little town called Westminster.  We were attending Blog Sugar, a one-day conference.

Angry Julie and April KennedyPhoto from April Kennedy. I love this picture of us.

We arrived at the location, a little early and I got my chatter box on. If you don’t know me, you should know, I love to talk. Sorry, it is a bad problem.  My only problem is that I start talking with them, and then I promptly forget their names.  It is becoming a VERY BAD habit for me. So please forgive me if you met me and I seemed rude or clueless. I’m just tired, so very tired from life.

After we formerly checked in, we got our mingling on.  It was fun to have some time to chat with everyone.  I spoke with some old friends, and made some new ones.

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And since it was Blog Sugar, I had some cotton candy with friends. I captured this photo of Erin and Alissa with their cotton candy. I can already say what Erin will reply with, “ugh a picture of me and my double chin”. Oh Erin, you don’t have a double chin, it was just the way the photo was taken. I promise.

Blog Sugar 11, Erin and Alissa
And YIPPEE, they had a great photobooth set-up. Melissa Munding a local photographer captured these fun moments with the great striped backdrop.
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Jen is hilarious and was one of the hostesses/leaders for the event. And a personal friend, of course. She is one of the many people who think I am nuts. She is an awesome photographer, also.

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And look at me and Erin, all matchy-matchy in our stripes. Erin and I are both CRAZY BUSY ADD/OCD MOMS. Yes, I had to write that in caps, to stress how crazy we are. Erin and I are texting buddies, and she might leave things in her mailbox for me.  I may have even done a drive-by at her house for an Irish Car Bomb cupcake in the Spring.

Can you believe that this was only the beginning of the event? Just wait, there’s more!

Blog Sugar 11

At each place setting, we were greeted with a donut and agenda.  Now this is definitely a nice greeting. A little more sugar to start the day. We had a great welcome and some introductions from Rachel, who was/is the Queen of Blog Sugar, aka Founder.

Blog Sugar 11Photo by Ruthanne Photo.

And then, we were on our way to listen to our first speaker.  I had chosen, Jen. She was speaking on photography. Jen gave some awesome tips. She started the conversation off by asking everyone whether they were blogging on Blogger or WordPress. I was shocked at how many people are still on Blogger and have a .blogspot.com URL for their sites. PEOPLE please buy a dot com. They are so CHEAP.

Along with talking about photography skills, white balance, composure, and editing, we discussed photo hosting. I host my photographs on Flickr for my blog.  I pay for the premium version. I believe that it is $24.95 a YEAR. This blog is a hobby, but like any other hobby, I spend and invest money on it.  When you load your photographs onto Blogger, they own/have your photos. If your blog crashes, you can lose those photos.  Make sure you have your blog photos uploaded somewhere else.

After listening to Jen speak, it was time for dinner.  I sat down with my table mates, and shoveled until it was done.  I was soooo hungry. But of course, I saved some room for dessert.  There was a dessert buffet in the back of the room. I waited for a few minutes and I should have gone sooner, because the desserts were disappearing fast.

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I assure you, I did not eat everything on this plate. I took little bites here and there. But seriously, this sugar goodness was amazing. The desserts were from Mod Gourmet.

Blog Sugar 11Photo by Ruthanne Photo.

After devouring dinner and dessert, I ventured on to my next speaker, Sarah.  Sarah is one of those people that I’ve heard so much about, but have never met. And who would have known, we live very close to each other too.

Sarah spoke about writing. I’ve never been one to attend any type of conference session on “writing”.  I don’t consider myself a writer, but more of a photographer.  I tend to elaborate on the photographs that I post, rather than “write”.  Sarah is amazing, and even though she was a bit nervous, her points came across. Maybe it was because I sat in the front row, sucking up all the words that she had to give.  She spoke about having a unique voice, carving out a space in the blogging community as an expert, and have some sort of focus to your blog. I did not take notes but listened carefully. I’m not one to take notes, but rather, I remember key points to things.  She went on to speak about being real, telling stories, and carving out a safe space for conversation.  You know that there are blogs that you may read, but will NEVER comment on, ya, I have those in my reader too.

I walked away with a ton of thoughts in my head after hearing Sarah speak.  I also made some realizations. Some days, I’ve got nothing to post. So I’m not going to stress about posting here.  Since my son entered elementary school last year, we are swamped.  I am up late at night trying to get everything in my life done, and sometimes, there is just no time for blogging. But I do wish I had more time for photography. My camera misses me.

Blog Sugar 11Photo by Ruthanne Photo.

Nish. She was the third and last speaker that I had chosen. I met Nish at Blissdom earlier in the year. We were both official photographers, so we both ran around like crazy people, never really stopping to chat.

Nish spoke about Hot Topics and Haters.  Now I love a hot topic, but I rarely write or post about them. I have a general rule that I’ve started to live by when blogging, “If I go back into my archives two years from now, will this controversial and heated post make sense?”  I have enough controversy in my life. I don’t need to write about it. Honestly, I know a lot of people who write about controversial topics just to raise their blog traffic. I’ve seen people go on a complete rant about a controversial topic when it makes NO SENSE with the rest of their blog posts. Nish likes to call those “word bombs”.

All I can say is that people REALLY need to research a topic before they post about it, especially when they write a post that might become controversial. If you have a personal story, that is even better. Tell the story about how this topic relates to you.  I tend to get “bitchy” on posts that talk about working mothers. But I rarely post my rants on my own blog.  But I do appreciate a good controversial post, because I love some drama.  So hopefully, the writer will control and work through the comments on a post, because it can get out of hand.

Here is the first of three posts that Nish wrote to recap her talk.  I did lots of nodding and “uh huhs” when she was speaking. It was like I knew whom she was talking about.

After hearing Nish speak, I headed back to my table.  Some lucky women won raffle prizes, and then we were introduced to Love146. Love146 works toward the abolition of child sex slavery and exploitation through Prevention and Aftercare solutions while contributing to a growing abolition movement.

I’m including their video so you can get a little preview about the organization. These people are doing amazing things.

After a tear-filled presentation from Love146, our closing and keynote speaker, Meg Duerksen came up to speak. Meg spoke about “using your blog for good”. Meg also told her story about Cora’s Playground Fundraiser. I remember when the fundraiser was going on in 2009.  Because of Cora bringing everyone together, I still read many of the blogs of the women whom were involved with Cora’s Playground. Meg was so real and genuine. It was a nice end to the day.

At the end of the night, I was very tired from a long day, but I wanted to get some pictures with some of my new friends. I’m sure that there’s more, but I grabbed one with Ashley and me, because it was pretty cute.

Blog Sugar 11 Photo from Little Miss Momma.

Isn’t Ashley adorable? I wanted to package her up and take her home with me. I’ve been reading Ashley’s blog for a few months. She came up to introduce herself at the end of the night. I handed her my business card, and waited for the smile. I told her that I didn’t want to run and scream, “Hi I’m Julie, Angry Julie” because there were already so many people that wanted to meet her.

I want to give a shout out to everyone I met. Seriously, I will be stopping by your sites. There are too many great people to list.

This post has been in draft for a few weeks so forgive me. I haven’t even written a complete BlogHer Recap either, because I have way too much to say!!

6 comments
Sarah Markley
Sarah Markley

such sweet words Julie!! i LOVED meeting you finally and i really had a good time at blog sugar. i am so glad you hung out in my session. it was nice to see a familiar face (even if it was newly familiar) =). hope to see you around town and I'd love to get to know you better. =)

danica
danica

seriously, i need to go to at least one blogging conference. I've never been to any and you always are going and making me jealous! Do you like going to them and think they are worth it? :) You look great per usual!

Jessica Johnson
Jessica Johnson

LOVED meeting you. You are my kind of people. And I'm kind of obsessed with your job. Seriously can't stop thinking about how awesome it is.

Julie {Angry Julie}
Julie {Angry Julie}

Yes, it was great to finally meet you in person. And I loved your session.

Julie {Angry Julie}
Julie {Angry Julie}

I think the smaller blog conferences are great. The bigger ones can be overwhelming, and you run around like a crazy person trying to meet everyone. And thanks for the compliment.

Julie {Angry Julie}
Julie {Angry Julie}

It was awesome to meet you too!!! You are too funny. My j-o-b is not that exciting...believe me.