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.
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.
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.
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.
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.