Blogger Meet Up: In Real Life & Link Up

What do you get when you combine 5 fashion bloggers, an organizational expert, and a blog follower?  A fabulous weekend full of wonderful memories, out-of-the-box experiences, and life-changing inspirations.

Back at the end of December, Sherry at Petite Over 40 posted an open invitation to fashion or lifestyle bloggers for her  Winter in the Desert, a 40+ blogger meet-up that she would be hosting February 10-12 in Phoenix, Arizona.  She described it as “a weekend that combines unique experiences, relaxation, and bonding time with friends and colleagues … The goal at the end of the meet-up is for everyone to feel refreshed, supported, and energized for the new year.”  Who could say no to that?

It’s my natural inclination to be excited about the possibilities of a new adventure like this and then to become hesitant about the actual experience. Occasionally, hesitancy will win over excitement but in this case, my excitement at meeting the other bloggers who would be attending (a few of which seemed to have celebrity status, at least in my eyes) was stronger this time. Having non-refundable airline tickets will do that too. Fine, whatever.

The arrangements for the weekend kept getting better and better. Diane at Fashion On The 4th Floor reached out the group asking if anyone was interested in sharing a hotel room (me, me!). Then Margo of Wave Productivity (she’s a friend of Sherry’s and lives in the Phoenix area) offered her two guest rooms to Diane and I. Awesome, “hesitancy’s” concern about the expense of the trip was quieted considerably. And finally, Goat Yoga became a featured activity on the schedule.

But, first things first … what did I wear? I think I was a bit underwhelming in this arena. I’d started out ok (see my travel outfit below) but mentally I wasn’t ready for warmer weather and I didn’t think to consider the more Spring time options that I have in my wardrobe. I had worked late a few nights leading up to the weekend including the night before I left so my head wasn’t quite in the style game as I packed. No matter, I was going to meet people I only knew from their blogs and that was of greater concern to me than what I would be wearing.

***

***

Diane’s flight was scheduled to get in about an hour before mine and Sherry offered to pick us up (she would have Suzanne of Suzanne Carillo with her) and the four of us would go to lunch. My flight into Phoenix was uneventful and I easily found Diane already waiting curbside for our ride. Sherry and Suzanne arrived a short time later and after hellos and hugs all around, we were off to lunch.

Sherry, me, Diane, and Suzanne

Good food and tons of laughs later, Diane and I were dropped off at Margo’s and then Sherry and Suzanne headed back to the airport to pick up Patti from Not Dead Yet Style. The group then met up at the Desert Botanical Gardens for dinner and a jazz concert under the stars. Perhaps it was the excitement of being in the company of these fantastic women or maybe it was jet lag (from an 80 minute flight, not likely), but I took no pictures that night except for this one.

The next day started with Goat Yoga (click on link to read more about it). Apparently, it’s a thing and we did it. Yoga in a open field with goats that roam around and check on your form. We did do a bit of real yoga amid the distraction of the goats but mostly it was posing with the goats and being photographed, all for $10. Quite a bargain for a hilarious and spirit lifting way to start the day.

Open field, yogis, and goats

What she said … meh.

Left to right: Marilee (blogger fan), Diane, me, Suzanne, Sherry and the goats.

After a quick clean up and change of clothes, we reunited with Patti and Margo for lunch and for more conversation and sharing of ideas. My display of an apparent lack of fashion-forward style was hardly noticed among the gambit of other topics covered in our varied conversations and discussions. We pondered and mused whether we thought that we were working too hard to make others happy with our blogs. We questioned and explored whether we were checking our stats too often and what they represented. And getting down to the real basic of questions, we probed and examined why we were blogging in the first place.

We squeezed in a bit of shopping at My Sister’s Closet, a resale and consignment boutique that carries a whole host of designer and higher end labels. I found and paid $20 for a pair of Steve Madden black boots that originally retailed for $150 (like I needed another pair of black boots, but that’s a topic for another post). A couple of the other ladies also find some items to take home.

After shopping, we headed back to Margo’s for a marketing presentation by Jacqueline Destremps from Another Hand Advantage in which she offered tips and strategies for using social media to build our blogs. My key takeaway from Jacqueline’s advice was the importance of keeping your information and images current relevant, specifically your cover image and your “about” information. Dinner that night was at a nice Italian restaurant in Tempe where we, of course, indulged in good food, a lot more conversation, and a decadent Creme Brulee.

Our last get together was for brunch Sunday morning which gave us another couple of hours to spend with one another before Diane, Patti, and I had to be back at the airport for our flights back to our respective homes. The five fashion bloggers were from literally four corners of the United States with a representative from Canada as well. We couldn’t have been more different and yet we are all the same. I came home invigorated and bursting with ideas.

wall graphic at Sunday brunch restaurant

If you are a regular reader of this blog, then you know that this link up post usually publishes early on Saturday mornings (PST). However, in the past couple of weeks, it’s been a bit later than that because I’ve been putting in a lot of extra hours at my day job which has left me with very little free time for blogging. As such, I haven’t even been starting to write this weekly post until Saturday morning and this week was no exception. In fact, when I woke up yesterday knowing that I had this post to write, for a fleeting moment I thought to myself “what if I just gave up blogging?”.

This wasn’t the first time I’d entertained that thought and each time that I have, I’ve gotten a sign or two that tells me I should stick with it and yesterday was no exception. That sign came in the form of a post that Sherry had just published on her blog. In this post, Sherry is again collaborating with Diane and she shares that the purpose of their collaborations is “to broaden our horizons, push our boundaries, step outside our comfort zones”.

It’s a lovely post and would be inspirational to most people but it was even more so for me because I now KNOW HER IN REAL LIFE!  I could hear her voice and it was like she was speaking to me. That is the power of a blogger meet up. If you are a blogger and come across an opportunity to meet other bloggers, DO IT!  Diane posted this video on Instagram while waiting at the airport for her flight back to St Augustine. I couldn’t have described the experience any better myself.

Me, Diane, Suzanne, Sherry, Patti

Diane – Fashion On The 4th Floor; super energetic and focused on living a responsible life

Suzanne – Suzanne Carillo: artist and vintage clothing enthusiast

Sherry – Petite Over 40: food and fiction writer in search of her signature style

Patti – Not Dead Yet Style; spreading a message to celebrate our diverse beauty and love of style

Let’s Wrap This Up

Now, onto the Fine-Whatever link up for this week. My featured contributor from last week’s post is Jennie at A Pocket Full Of Polka Dots. First of all, the name of her blog fits so well that polka dots I was sporting last week and secondly, Jennie’s posts features a color combination that uses green. All very fitting to the topic and details of last week’s post.

I’m pumped, let’s do this. I’m so inspired to truly take on the challenge of living responsibly, to nurture my inner artist and let her flourish, to explore and discover a style that fits me, and to be authentic and embrace my middle years. How about you? What are you inspired to accomplish?

Let’s connect! Subscribe, tweet, follow, friend, love, pin, stumble … all options are available and waiting for you. I look forward to hearing from you. And don’t forget to add a post or two to the link up.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 Loading InLinkz ...

59 thoughts on “Blogger Meet Up: In Real Life & Link Up”

  1. What a fantastic weekend! Iv’e been to a blogger event and was so nervous, but I can honestly say it is one of my best memories of blogging to date. Made some good friends too. One word before I go Rena. DONT GIVE UP!!!
    Have a great week. x
    www,vanityandmestyle.com

    1. It is invigorating and thank you for the encouragement. You are very dear to me … at the top of my list … as you were my first IRL blogger meet up.

    1. Patti, meeting you was one of the best perks from the meet up and I’m so glad that I got the chance to do so. Thank you for being so kind and generous with this over-stressed mess.

  2. I’m glad you still posted this post, Rena!!
    It’s so fun to hear about everyone’s experience and their individual perspective!
    That hesitancy thing is so me also! I’ve decided that the introvert in me takes over way too much, so I really need to step outside my comfort zone more!
    jodie
    http://www.jtouchofsytle.com

    1. And I bet you have absolutely no regrets each time you did manage to step outside your comfort zone. That is such a valuable lesson we need to remind ourselves of when the ‘hesitancy’ starts to put up walls. I’d hoped that you would be attending the meet up but maybe the next one.

  3. I really enjoyed reading this post! I would have loved to attend the meet up, but it just didn’t fit into my family’s schedule.

    I think connecting with other bloggers and talking about things we all think about at times – stats, feeling overwhelmed, why do I do it, etc. can be so very helpful. And knowing bloggers in real life really changes the experience of reading their blogs…

    Thanks for the link up & have a great week!

    1. It would have been great if you had been able to be there. I’ve been thinking of hosting one in So Cal or maybe working with some of you Northern California gals to plan one in that area.

  4. Looks like such a great meet-up. All of you are and look very stylish. I have always admired Suzanne’s and Patti’s styles and from I have seen from Diane so far, she is always so fashionable. =)

    Thanks for the linkup and this special post. Enjoy the week, Rena!

  5. Loved your recap Rena!

    Also I love that you are wearing your I Heart Goat Yoga Tee : P That has become my favourite tee right now too.

    I’m so delighted you chose to push through your fears and join us. Your opinions added so much to the conversation.

    Getting different women’s perspectives on life and blogging really enriches my heart and is truly one of the main reasons I continue to blog.

    PS…we all have days when we feel like throwing in the towel. For me it is every other day! Ha! (no joke!) Sometimes I find that simply taking a solid break from the blog and social media and not putting so much pressure on ourselves to create new posts helps. We tend to be our own worst enemies.

    bisous
    Suzanne

    1. Thank you, Suzanne, for your kindness and support. I think I had let things in my life get out of balance and I’m working on getting it back on track. I did take an inadvertent break since I didn’t get a link up post out last Saturday but the world didn’t end and I’ve feeling all the better for it. I’ll be back this Saturday.

  6. Oh, how I enjoyed reading this. So many fabulous ladies in one photo and I am completely jealous you met Diane in real life. She and I do a couple of collaborations (in fact, I just linked one here) together each month with two different groups and I think she is just the sweetest ever.

    Thank you so much for the feature, as well. Such a pleasant surprise!

    1. You’re most welcome for the feature, Jennie. I think that these shout outs are a great way to thank and support my blogging buddies. Diane is as great in person as you know her to be from your collaborations as are all of the ladies. I hope that one day you and I will meet IRL as well.

  7. Rena, you have touched my heart in so many ways with this post. Your words are so thoughtful. Hearing your experience of our time together means more to me than any of the monetizing and traffic goals I thought I had for blogging. Similar to what you reflected in your post here, knowing you’re out there and we’re in this together motivates me to keep going.

    I sincerely can’t imagine the weekend having happened without you. My memories of the weekend would be incomplete without you there next to me at Goat Yoga and across from me at the Italian place and seeing you unveil your awesome boots there on the sidewalk outside My Sisters Attic and posing with you down that long hallway at Culinary Dropout and marveling how you ran into someone you know there! All these moments are confettied with laughter and wonderful conversation. How happy I am that excitement won over hesitancy!

    Now I get the privilege of reading your blog and hearing your voice as I read it! What a blessing!

    Hugs,
    Sherry

    1. Thank you for those sweet words and in return, I say “you really know how to throw a party” because I had the time of my life. I’m so glad I that just went for it and signed on for the weekend. I’ve been feeling a bit lost recently with blogging which is why I’m so late on commenting but this is helping me get back my mojo. You and the others are my inspiration and my inner-blogger is feeling re-energized.

  8. Thanks so much for this (very comprehensive) post. I’ve been watching instagram to see what you all got up to and was more than a little green with envy. One day I hope to attend a big meet up, but living in such a remote place makes the logistics quite difficult (pricey).

    Anyway, it all seemed like great fun and you all looked healthy and happy by the end of it
    Anna x
    http://www.annasislandstyle.com

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the post, Anna. Blogging has been such a wonderful way to connect with others from all over even if we never get a chance to meet IRL.

  9. I’m glad that you waited a bit longer to write about this event. It has allowed me to savor once again the time with you and the rest of the women in attendance.
    As a non-blogger I felt really thrilled and even a bit honored to be invited to attend . It was lovely to be so warmly welcomed when I arrived.
    I can empathize with your nervousness and hesitancy about “meeting up.” There’s a feeling of uneasiness when you meet folks face to face for the first time, even when you feel you know them. Your story of the fun we shared was great reading and confirmed for me that it was well worth any uncertainty I initially felt about joining in.
    Your pictures are great and you look proud and comfy showing others that you’ve done “Goat Yoga”!!! It was a great pleasure to meet you Rena!

    1. It was a pleasure to meet you as well and to get your perspective on our blogs as a reader/fan. I’m glad you enjoyed my recap and the photos. I hope that we’ll get a chance to see one another soon.

  10. What a fun time! Glad you went. Meeting sweet Suzanne is a reason to travel anywhere. I crossed the continent two years ago (NY to Vancouver) and loved the opportunity.

    1. It was quite surreal at times. I was a bit starstruck at first meeting such fabulous bloggers who to me were like celebrities. We need to make these meet ups a thing!

  11. Looks like a fun weekend and I think I will try to get some bloggers who live in Brisbane, Australia to get together. It is great to have support from other bloggers . Thanks for sharing
    Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond

    1. Sue, it was a ton of fun and I whole-heartedly encourage you to organize a local meet up. I’m going to try and do one in my area.

    1. Anna, I’d never heard of goat yoga before that weekend either and I had no idea what to expect. It was quite the experience and we all had a lot of fun.

  12. Looks like you all had a great time with lots of fun and laughing. Sorry, I don’t have any fashion posts to share on your link-up. Thank you Rena for sharing this post at the #WednesdayAIM #LinkUp #BlogParty. I shared it on social media.

    1. Christina, it was so great to be away from my usual responsibilities and to be able to connect with new people from different parts of the continent and with different lives. There are bloggers all over the world and maybe there are a few near you that you just haven’t discovered yet.

  13. Rena, what an awesome opportunity for you ladies to get together. It sounds like a wonderful time of relaxation, good food, learning and laughs. Great fun! I hear you too, about whether I should keep blogging or not, but every time I go that direction, it seems someone comments or says something that tells me I should keep at it. I read Sherry and Diane’s posts and we all have something to offer, so we need to keep it up. So glad you feel encouraged to keep at it! – Amy
    http://stylingrannymama.com/

    1. Amy, I’ve been struggling with establishing a better balance in my life. Unfortunately, this imbalance and other stresses have been killing my creative urges. Reading and responding to all of the lovely comments has been a soothing balm from my frazzles and I’m so grateful of each and every one. Thank you for your encouragement.

    1. Dawn Lucy, you’ve been on my mind. How about planning a meet up in your part of the state? There are several Northern California bloggers and a few So Cal ones to make quite a bunch.

  14. I want to do a blogger linkup in real life so badly! That’s so awesome that you had this get together and I just can’t get over the goat yoga– such a fun and crazy thing to do! Glad you had a great time with some awesome blogger babes. Thanks for linking up with Fabulous Friday!
    -Kristin
    countdowntofridayblog.com

    1. Kristin, meeting other bloggers doesn’t have to be formal thing. Perhaps in your travels you might have a chance to meet another blogger even if just for lunch or coffee?

    1. Nicole, I look for your link up every week. It’s fascinating to read about your life in Alaska. One day when I travel there I will definitely let you know and see if we can plan to get together.

A comment from you would be lovely