Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Blissdom Canada 2012 Recap

I've been meaning to write about my experience at the Blissdom Canada Conference in Toronto this weekend, but I've been too busy spending all my free time on twitter interacting with the new and fun people I met at the conference.  And those, the new connections, were the best parts of the conference for me.  Ok, after having Jian Ghomeshi sign my book, but that's neither here nor there.




 Hanging out with other people who feel the same need to get their thoughts down and share them with others for whatever reason helped me to refocus my commitment to my blog and my other writing endeavours.  That commitment had dwindled a little bit in the wake of having my second child in late August.

 In short, I've been busy.

 I know, we're ALL busy, but having a new baby around gave me a built in excuse to not post/write when I didn't feel like it.  Never mind that my little guy sleeps for hours at a time and sometimes no one realizes he's even awake because unless he's hungry or uncomfortable he doesn't see the point in crying.  We'll sneak a peek in his room and there he is, giggling at the mobile hanging above his crib, even though it's not moving.  To illustrate my point, this morning after returning home from dropping my older son off at daycare, I took the baby out of his carseat and put him on the carpet so he could stretch and I could take my shoes off.  This is what I found when I came to pick him up, literally about 30 seconds later.  


So the munchkin is no excuse for slacking on the blogposts.

Sometimes we all just need a little motivation, a reboot of sorts to get ourselves going again.  At least I do, and it brings me great comfort to believe that everyone else does too.  Spending time with others helps me do that. 

Obviously I didn't just go to the conference to hang out with cool people (well, maybe a little bit).  I went to learn from others who were willing to share their knowledge.  I was disappointed that there was a limit of 3 sessions that one could attend because there were so many great topics being presented.  I'm really happy with the ones I picked though, so I'm going to share one thing I will use moving forward from each of the sessions I attended.

1- Rebecca S. from bitofmomsense.com had this to say about building an organic online community: Support others more than you promote yourself.  Be kind in your comments, give more than you expect to get, and have fun.  Sage advice.

2- Lindsay Dianne from Running Scared Photography (runningscared.ca) offered tips for taking better blog photos.  She taught me that the camera is a tool, but photography is a skill.  Play around and find your own unique vision and perspective.  What you bring to the photograph can be more interesting than the traditional take.  She backed up those words with really beautiful images that prove she knows what she's talking about.

3- Finally, Rebecca Brown from bunchfamily.ca gave a session on how to price and value your services.  She provided participants with valuable insight into how the paid market works for bloggers, taking the mystery out of the whole endeavour.  Her best tip was regarding what type of work to look for and to know your own worth.  She said "Always be paid to think.  The margin on thinking is really good."  

Words of wisdom from three very smart and talented women. 

And that was just the morning! 

The afternoon saw Jian Ghomeshi, Amber Mac and Susan Cain among others take to the stage and give speeches that were informative, funny, transformative, and inspiring.  Chef Michael Smith provided a demonstration in the sponsor area and took photos with attendees.

This is a picture of the photo that was printed at the conference.  And yes he is really, really, tall.  And nice. 
I was entertained, inspired, and even pampered a little bit in the lounge with fancy-schmancy water bottles, charging stations and comfy couches to kick back and relax on inbetween sessions.

If I could make one suggestion for next year, it would be for a wider variety of food options, particularly for those with dietary restrictions.  For those avoiding gluten or dairy, the options were severely limited.  The organizers at Bliss have already told me that they're on it for next year. 

I guess now I'll have to attend again next year so I can hold them to it! 

Did you go to Blissdom Canada?  Have a memory you'd like to share?  Leave a post in the comments section.  I'd love to hear from you!

19 comments :

  1. I totally agree about the dairy/gluten option problem! You're the first person to mention it other than me. :) Other than that I loved the post. It looks like you had as much fun as I did.

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    1. Thanks for the comment. I met a few people with gluten issues at the conference. Hopefully our voices are heard for next year.

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  2. Thank you so much for the kind words. I am so happy you took something away from the session!!

    It's important to remember all of us are still learning in this space - support is huge.

    Happy to help any time -and looking forward to reading your blog and chatting on Twitter ;)

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  3. Your baby is adorable! Sounds like you did get a lot out of the conference. I've met Rebecca (IRL) and she is such a lovely personable lady (smart too!)
    I've never attended a Blissdom conference but I am hoping to attend the FBC conference this Spring.

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    1. This was my first Blissdom conference. What's the FBC conference? I haven't heard about it.

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  4. I totally agree with you that I wish we could have attended more microsessions! There were at least 10 I was interested in. And I also jotted down Rebecca's quote about "the margin on thinking"!

    On an unrelated note, your baby is gorgeous, and you're so lucky that he's such an easygoing guy! Enjoy!

    Here are my thoughts about the weekend: http://thismomloves.blogspot.ca/2012/10/blissdom-canada-2012-introvert-goes-to.html

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    1. Thanks for the comment. I think that quote should be plastered in every classroom in the country!

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  5. I also had major problems finding something to eat. Being dairy free is always a problem at events because everyone wants cover things in cheese and cream. It pains my sugar fueled heart to pass on dessert.

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    1. I know, my son is both gluten and dairy free, and at 3 years old, his first question when he sees treats is either "is that gluten free?" or "is that going to hurt my tummy?" It would be nice to see more options.

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  6. I agree about the food! I'm gluten free and it was tough. I wanted that cheese cake, man!

    It was an amazing weekend for sure. Glad you feel the same. :)

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    1. I hear you! But I did have a great time, and from what I've been reading, so did most other people. Definitely worth my while.

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  7. Love reading everyone's post-Bliss musings :)

    I agree 100% about the gluten-free food choices at the conference. I am gluten-free and had a pretty tough time. Called my hubby on the way home and asked him to make a HUGE thing of rice pasta so I could stuff my face...kinda felt like I'd been on a diet all weekend ;)

    On the note of GF, I wish we'd met. My daughter was just diagnosed with Celiacs in August, so I am all about making some new connections and pooling resources. Next year we'll connect for sure...for now I'll just stalk you on twitter!

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    1. I'm glad we connected here, even if we missed each other at the conference. My son is gluten free (he's 3). I'm always looking to connect with others and share tips and resources.

      I'm absolutely looking forward to keeping in touch through twitter!

      By the way, how are you handling Halloween gluten free?

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  8. After my first two micro sessions, I started get sad because I knew there was only one left. I found them extremely informative and would have loved another 3-4! Rebecca's advice is great and something I like to try to live by. Helping others is always more beneficial than helping yourself! See you next year!!

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    1. I agree, it's just that sometimes it's easy to forget, especially when everybody talks nonstop about how to get ahead. Sometimes it's just nice to help others get ahead too.

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  9. Hey, love your post. Love how your sweater blends right in to the background of your Lentil photo, ha!

    Re more microsessions - weren't they awesome? We'll definitely be looking at the format for next year and see how we can spread the love a little more!

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  10. He is very tall. I think I hugged him at his belly level... :)

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  11. I wish I knew about the BlissDom conference...just recently found out. I would have loved to have attended...will just have to wait until next year. I have two boys with food alleriges: oldest allergic to dairy, egg, beef, fish, seafood, sesame, peanut/tree nuts, mustard and raspberry. In the beginning he also could not eat wheat...16 years ago that was not an easy task! Youngest son allergic to peanut/tree nuts. On top of the food allergies and food sensitivities, he also had severe eczema and asthma...it has been quite the journey. I write about it in my blog. Hopefully your voice will be heard and the food options will start to encorporate those with food allergies and/or food related diseases. From the comments above, it sounds like you were not the only one wishing for alternate options. Susan H. @ The Food Allergy Chronicles

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    1. You're right, I wasn't the only one to voice that concern. Food allergies and intolerances are sometimes difficult for people to understand. If the reaction to eating a particular food isn't immediately obvious to the observer, it's often passed off as more of an inconvenience than a true health threat.

      I'll be sure to check out your blog. My husband is allergic to shellfish, my son still has problems with cow's milk, and I react to hazelnuts. I'm sure you'll have info that will be of interest to my family! Thanks for taking the time to read my post.

      Kathleen

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