Friday Faves: What I learned in Vegas

April 21, 2016, by Deena @Shoes to Shiraz

As you probably already know from the overwhelming amount of pictures and selfies and blog posts, I went to Las Vegas last weekend to meet, for the first time, some of my blogging friends. We scheduled the trip around the BAM conference so we could do some learning too. I thought today's post would be a good day to summarize everything I learned.

1. BAM- The Bloggers At Midlife conference.
While I'm more approaching Midlife, than at midlife, we decided we would give this conference a try because some of the sessions would still pertain to us and if they didn't we could get in some Blended Blog planning.  This was my first blogging conference, but definitely not the first conference I have ever attended.  I have been to some pretty incredible education conferences that left me inspired and motivated.  The BAM conference, notably on the second day, did just that for me.  I didn't know what I'd get out of it; I listened with open ears, with a willingness to learn and a want for something more.  Did I feel out of place and young, yup, and at times I even felt judged for that. And maybe it was because we already had our own little group formed and didn't venture too far out of it, or maybe it was the lack of ice-breaking activities or perhaps it was just my overwhelmedness by all the bloggers that caused me to remain in my little corner.  I think if I were to attend a second blog conference, I would have a better idea of what to expect and what I should be doing (actually exchanging the cards I printed for one)



2. My favourite session at the conference was the one about writing your personal essays and getting published.  When I started blogging 7 years ago, I wrote a lot about my family and told some of our stories. My aunty Chris always would comment that I should write a book, but in true Deena form, I doubted myself and shrugged off her suggestion.  After hearing what the panelists had to say about the ease of writing a book after having blogged, I really felt I could do it.  To write 500 words a day was a suggestion from Elaine Ambrose and that a chapter in a book is only 2000 words. Well, I'm at almost 400 words so far in this post so I feel this would be an attainable goal.  Have you ever thought about writing a book?


3.  The power of relationships and connections.  I am not blogging to take over the world.  I am blogging because I like telling my story and I like being engaged and building real relationships.  I felt very uplifted being with like-minded women and being able to talk out ideas with them and share our doubts, motivations, trials and successes.  It made me feel normal?  We had a couple planning sessions for the Blended Blog and it was nice to do in real time instead of on Slack.

4.  Laughter, sunshine and some shopping.  We all need to get away sometimes from life.  It felt so good to step out of my life, knowing my kids were in good hands.  Mommas need to recharge their batteries once in awhile, so it was an added bonus that we were able to do this in the sunshine and with some shopping.  I may have came home with a couple pairs of shoes and a new yellow purse.



All in all, it was an awesome trip and I came back home feeling inspired and blessed; motivated and uplifted.  I have gained some great friends and look forward to building those relationships and the relationships with other bloggers I haven't met.

Yesterday in my post recapping my reactions to meeting the girls for the first time, I had said that there was a point in my life when I thought it was full; that I didn't need anyone else.  I was so wrong.  Sometimes it isn't until you take a step out of the comfort zone and open yourself up to new people that you find the most amazing friendships.  I am blessed today and grateful.


  1. Living on Cloud NineApril 21, 2016 at 11:52 PM

    You know what I learned, and I wasn't even there, is that I love you even more!!!

  2. You summed everything up perfectly. Being with all of you was so inspiring and wonderful! I want to go back to last Friday...

  3. Susan {ofeverymoment}April 22, 2016 at 3:20 AM

    Deena, I think the blogging friendships are the best reason for going to a conference, but your comment about being able to share your doubts, motivations, trials and successes and "feel normal" makes me wish I had been there too! I could use a little of that right now! I've wondered how you all collaborate on the creation of The Blended Blog - I had never heard of Slack, but TBB is a good example of how well it works!
    Oh, and by the way, I love all of your business cards :)

  4. I love this. I also love that Carrie looks like she's freezing in the last pic while Shaunacey looks ready to rock a bikini. Ahhhh weather!!

  5. I appreciate your honest opinions on the conference itself! When Carrie invited me I was skeptical because of the "middle age" qualification. I would have definitely still come had it not been the week right after we were out for Spring Break! We should look into some other conferences to attend!

  6. How awesome! I really want to attend a blogger conference :)



    Novelstyle Blog

  7. I don't think I could have summed up our time at BAM any better. And the whole book thing, You got me really thinking about you wanting to know/read more about my marriage...hmmm...thanks for the suggestion. Now how to turn that into a book.

  8. omg so true, I was stripping off clothes begging to go outside and poor Sarah and Carrie were freezing hahahah

  9. NAILED it! So basically I'll just copy and paste this, k?

  10. This looks like so much fun!

    It is so funny because when I saw the photo that Lana put on her blog of all of you I thought, "They look REALLY good for over 40!" Ha ha!

    I think it is great that you went despite not being the demographic. Proof that at any age the information was valuable.


  11. #3. Yes. So this! Retweet. Favorite. Like.

  12. aw, I really can't wait to meet you!

  13. I think you would have enjoyed the conference..learn some, but it was the networking that was the best part. Next time!!!

  14. I definitely agree...there is so much interesting stuff to be learned!

  15. Love this! Looks like it was so much fun. The best part of blogging is the relationships.

    Amy Ann
    Straight A Style

  16. I would totally read your book. That last picture makes me giggle, the two Canadians in short sleeves and the Texan wrapped up looking like she is freezing.

  17. It sounds like you had an awesome time! I'm glad you got a lot out of the conference even if the networking wasn't as great as you'd have liked. It's good you got to catch up with your friends in person too.

    Away From The Blue Blog

  18. Carrie @ Curly Crafty MomApril 25, 2016 at 1:58 AM

    I love the last comment you wrote, just that you thought you had everyone you needed in your life, yet stepping out of your comfort zone you realized you didn't. I think this is something we should all follow! I don't have any blog business cards, I guess if I ever get myself to a conference, I'll need to get some!!!


  19. So fun that you were able to go to a conference AND meet up with some friend/bloggers. You have me wanting to hit up a conference more than ever now. Although without other people going too, it just wouldn't be the same I bet. So glad you had a blast.

  20. So fun I'm so glad you got to do this. I bet you learned tons too. :)
    xo, Nicole

  21. I love walking away from conferences energized and full of great ideas. It sounds like you did so I would call that a successful conference!

  22. relationships and connections are everything for building anything

    Stefanie | Casualllyawkward | Bloglovin'

  23. It's so very true...until I opened myself up, I had no idea!

  24. that was the best part- being with my people!

  25. Yes, Yes! I will create a conference someday and you will come, in your fancy car.




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