Tuesday, October 16, 2012

How the Love Birds Do Vegas and Blogalicious - Pt. 2

If you missed Pt. 1 you can check it out here.

Saturday, September 29

This was the first full day of the conference and it kicked off at 8a.m. with a Kellogg's sponsored breakfast with digital lifestyle expert Mario Armstrong. He was full of energy and led us through From Free to Fee. When I saw the title on the conference agenda I knew I was going to be in for something good - this is a constant issue for me as I'm always dealing with folks who just wanna pick my brain but stall when it comes to paying for it. 

Maria got personal by sharing his and his wife's story - this aligned with Blogalicious' theme "Make it Personal." From sharing his low balance bank statement before things started to take off, to having a 6-figure offer rescinded, Mario let us know exactly what his journey has been and admitted that he and his wife still have a long way to go. They even shared a picture of their visit to Coinstar when their funds were low!

It's so easy to hear from folks who have made it and dream of that life one day with stars in your eyes, but to hear the nitty gritty of perseverance was very refreshing. Mario and his wife reminded me of me and Uka - it's wonderful when you have a like-minded partner to get through challenges together! You can check out Mario's 21 day plan to get from free to fee here. Mario also gave out a few digital goodies to some of the audience members including a portable charging cell and a backpack that can charge your digital devices which also included fun goodies. Mario's session was so good it spilled out onto the terrace and kept going for about another hour!

This was a recurring theme of Blogalicious I found - the material was so good that it just didn't seem like there was enough time to soak it all up!

I had hoped to make it to the session Securing and Maintaining Your Brand Identity but missed it from the overrun of Mario's session. I did participate briefly in the Let's Play Blogger Recess led by Renee J. Ross and thankfully I have yet to see a picture of myself trying to hula hoop in a skirt, but Natasha from House Full of Nicholes blew everyone outta the water with her hula hooping skills! I had first met her at BlogHer and she really does know how to have a good time!

Next, I went to Expanding Revenue Sources for Bloggers, Outside the Blog. As most of my readers know I'm a huge fan of multiple profit centers so this was a must-attend session for me. A few nuggets to share from Kathy Buckworth:
  • Look at your last 6 tweets/posts etc - that's who you are!
  • Beware of ripple effect of negative comments about a brand; you don't want to close the door on future partnerships
  • For pricing always ask "what's your budget?" when determining what to charge; if exclusivity (btw Mario Armstrong was not a fan of it!) then determine the value of that and build it into your fee
After was lunch Corynne Corbett and Miss Lori where they discussed Building Brand You and Capitalizing ME in the New Media

Miss Lori told us to imagine us all having a balloon and when we support each other we are able to fill our balloons with air giving us all a lift together within the blogging industry as a whole. When we try to keep information to ourselves and not support each other we are sucking the air out of each other's balloons and deflating the industry as a result. This point really stuck with me as I've had other bloggers help to support me and I've done the same for other bloggers. 

As I mentioned in the last recap I was fascinated by the Kellogg's centerpieces and snagged a picture of one during lunch:

Yes, those are shredded wheat in the vase!
Next up was laser coaching with Boni Calderlario. This was a session that I had to sign up for beforehand and it was titled Career 911 for Entrepreneurs. In it I decided to tackle the issue of folks always trying to get something for nothing from me and also time management to work on all the projects I have going on simultaneously. Boni had a concise worksheet we worked through in about 25 minutes (it was supposed to be 15 but the person after me hadn't show up so we kept going!). I walked away with a physical roadmap that I've been working through as well as a recording of the session Boni provided me afterwards. Thank you Boni!

During this session I was missing Box Top for Education Town Hall which featured Chilli from TLC. I decided to check out some of the sponsors including Ross who was hosting a $500 giveaway for styling a mannequin. 

I had no idea Polaroid still existed but the Ross staff took Polaroid pics of our creations!
Pardon the fuzzy pic below but that was my look and later I was able to get a picture with Chili after the Box Top session ended. She seemed to have such a gentle spirit about here (and yes, she really is super petite!). 

After coaching was a break that I let extend into a couple other session. The old BlogHer me would've broke my neck trying to make to every session, but instead I decided to take it easy, meet fellow attendees and continue enjoying the gorgeous Red Rock Casino. I took a few more pictures of the property . . .

I was obsessed with the bell desk
The color scheme of the conference center was soothing, but the carpet made me dizzy!
Even the restaurants provided eye candy
Having a laid-back approach left me feeling very relaxed and I spent some time at McDonald's lounge too catching up more with fellow New Yorkers Kitty Bradshaw and Dr. Yakini Etheridge of Reality TV Fashion (formerly Prissy Mommy). Crazy it took coming to Vegas for us to connect!

Oh! So about Mr. Love Bird - I hadn't forgotten about him. He was having fun checking out our hotel pool getting a mani/pedi (he met an older local who gave him the inside scoop on how the mob still has it's hand on Vegas) and hanging out on the strip. It was a nice quiet break for him! It was good he rested up since it was time to party that night . . .

But first I went to the MillerCoors Mix and Mingle to discuss MUES - a business plan competition for urban entrepreneurs and YES! I am entering. While I didn't get funding in the NYPL competition I was in a couple years ago I spoke with Alfred Edmond Jr. editor-at-large of Black Enterprise and I can indeed submit my plan for their competition. It's due October 26 and you can enter here.

Moderator Sandie, director Ava and actress Emayatzy
Next was a filmmaker conversation with Ava Du Vernay, director of Middle of Nowhere along with the lead actress, newcomer Emayatzy Corinealdi. The trailer was so moving and I am definitely seeing the film. What struck me was the director's deliberate decision to show the story of incarceration and how it affects the women of the men incarcerated. She made a conscious effort not to have the film take place in prison. 

After the conference attendees went to Red Rock's bowling alley (yes, the property has one on-location!) to Bowl for More Birthdays with the American Cancer Society. As someone who has lost family to cancer this was very important for me. The even raised awareness and gave us the opportunity to write our memories on paper bowling pins in honor of those we have lost or who are still battling with cancer. Mr. Love Bird joined at the end and had fun knocking down a few pins too!

I have to pause and say at each of these events there was so much delicious food - the Blogalicious crew made sure we were fed and hydrated!

From there it was the epic-ness everyone had been waiting for . . . Doug E. Fresh's party sponsored by Gain! 

The venue - Cherry Nightclub
We had each been given a Gain t-shirt to decorate and I hadn't given it much thought until I saw ladies working on their shirts at the bowling alley. Yes, Carolina Moore of Craftmoore had her Gingher shears at the bowling alley! She helped me style my shirt into a wrap skirt and I ended up being a finalist for a Gain prize basket. Thank you Carolina!

Although I didn't win it was fun to share the stage with Dough E. Fresh. Thien-Kim Lam who won had an amazing outfit don't you think? She was a real sweetheart too the entire conference and I'm so happy for her!

Doug E. Fresh checking out Thien-Kim Lam's outift and yes, I'm cheesin' mad hard!
Doug E. Fresh kept everyone moving and yes, it was not an official party without the Wobble:

And shout out to Sandie aka Urban Mama who snuck a picture of me and Mr. Love Bird doing the Dougie. 

Yes, we know how to act like kids! We had a wonderful time and for the rest of the trip Mr. Love Bird kept going on and on about what a good time he had - it helped him see the light when it comes to all the "blogging stuff" that I do ;-)

And of course here's a video of Doug E. Fresh teaching us how to Dougie:

Next up, the last day of the conference, how Mr. Love Bird and I played around Vegas and my key takeaways/tips . . .

P.S. Don't forget to enter my spooky giveaway here!