As you know, earlier this month I headed to Charleston, SC for a long weekend (some of my recap posts thus far here and here). The main reason for my visit was for the 4th Annual Blog Societies Conference. The Blog Societies (previously Southern Blog Society) opened its doors to the rest of the USA and I was thrilled to be accepted. TBS was founded by Cathy of Poor Little It Girl and Jessica of My Style Vita (serious girl crush!) and is a membership community that allows bloggers (and brands) to network and share their passions. One of the things I was most excited about when I joined was attending the annual conference. I was so happy to see that Charleston, SC was where the conference would take place. I had visited ones before (back in 2014 for my Bachelorette Party- recap here) and fell in love with the city instantaneously. The beautiful architecture and delicious food is enough to make you want to move there.
I have been getting a lot of questions about what the conference was like. So I decided why not do a full Conference related posts?!
I flew direct from DCA to Charleston and caught a shuttle (take a shared van shuttle versus taxi to save some dough) to downtown. (I stayed here for its prime location next to the Belmond Charleston Place Hotel where most of our activities would take place.) We had free time before the conference officially kicked off, so I met up with some fellow DC bloggers: Victoria, Monica and Katie at The Daily Coffee Shop for some brew before visiting some stores along Cannon Street (recap to come). After doing a little shopping (and meeting the amazing Annie Reeves) to was time to head to lunch at Husk.
Ashlee, just got into town and met us at the restaurant. It was pretty hot outside, so it was nice to sit in the A/C and relax for a bit. I ordered a refreshing shrub drink (learn more about them here) and the cheese burger-I know that sounds crazy- but it was high recommended- and it did NOT disappoint.
After lunch we decided to get lost and wander around the alleyways of Charleston and find the Pineapple fountain. I then checked into my hotel and relaxed before the festivities began!
Welcome Cocktail Party Hosted by Vera Bradley – Palmetto Cafe
First up was a Welcome Cocktail Party hosted by Vera Bradley located in the Palmetto cafe Belmond Charleston Place Hotel. We checked in and received our itineraries for the weekend along with a beautiful Vera Bradley Umbrella which came in handy the next day! There was an open bar, snacks and great vibes. We all just mingled around and got to know each other. You could tell all 75 of us were pumped for the weekend!
After the cocktail party, some of us headed to The Darling Oyster Bar for a late dinner before calling it a night. (I ordered the shrimp fry basket!)
Conference at The Riviera Theater
The next morning I woke up early, grabbed some coffee from City Lights Coffee and explored Rainbow Row and the surrounding areas solo. Charleston is so charming and peaceful early in the morning! As far as the conference goes, we started our day at the beautiful Riviera Theater with some awesome and insightful speakers:
- Lindsey Humes – White Oak Creative: Lindsey gave a great presentation about why bloggers (or any brand for that matter) need to do a brand and website audit in order to keep your readers active and engaged.
- Amy Flurry – author of Recipe for Press (cannot wait to start reading!): Amy has many years of successful experience as a magazine editor and shared some of her tips on how to successfully pitch yourself and your ideas to editors.
- Sarah Bertness- rewardStyle: Sarah spoke all about the phenomenon that is Instagram and how we as bloggers can stand out and utilize the platform.
- Victoria- MIMI from InStyle Magazine (website): Shared with us the importance of bloggers finding our own voice in order to stand out among the bazillion other bloggers out there.
There was a ton of coffee and popcorn thrown in. (hey it is a Theater!)
A delicious lunch was provided at The Charleston Grill.
Networking Suite at the Belmond
After lunch, we headed upstairs to the Networking suite- a ballroom where a ton of brands had tables set up ready to met with us. Vera Bradley graciously gave us a big beach bag (which I later utilized in OCMD!) to hold all of our goodies. I loved all of the brands that attended. Some of my favorite booths included It Cosmetics! (the cc cream is amazing), Moon and Lola (an adorable DIY charm bar), Swoozies (cutest table by far!), Mud Pie and Cosmedix. Another highlight of the networking suite was getting our hair and makeup done by L’Oreal!
If you follow me on snapchat (tmgreen88) and Instagram Stories, I shared all of the awesome items we received. It was a ton!
We had the rest of the day to ourselves. I explored some other parts of Charleston with Kate and Katherine for a bit before we decided it was time for drinks! We headed to Zero George for some cocktails and the most delicious cheese platter ever.
We decided we needed something a little more hearty and ended the night at Juanitas for some cheap tacos and beer!
Breakfast at Charleston Grill Hosted by Kendra Scott
Workshops at The Belmond Hotel
There were a bunch of workshops for us to sign up for; it was hard to choose just 3! My first workshop was with rewardStyle which helped us understand google analytics and monetize our blogs with platforms such as rewardstyle and liketoknow.it. My favorite workshop was the SEO workshop taught by Lindsey Humes – White Oak Creative. During the class we learned how to set our content up to be search engine friendly. Man did I learn a ton! My final workshop was with the Blog Societies founders- Jessica and Cathy. During this class we learned how to price ourselves as bloggers, the importance of having a good contract and how to then negotiate with brands. Such an eye opener!
Wrap up Lunch hosted by Cosmedix
Our conference ended with a great lunch sponsored by Cosmedix. While we grubbed we learned about the importance of skincare to prevent signs of aging (I learned a ton- post coming soon!)
After lunch I headed to the City Market to explore and rested until it was time for drinks (Zero George– again it is that awesome) and dinner at Taco Boy with Victoria, Monica, Katie, Annie and Brittney.
What an amazing long weekend in Charleston. Huge thank you to Jessica, Cathy and all the brands, speakers and sponsors for putting on such a wonderful #TBS conference! Make sure to check out #TBSCon on Instagram for more photos and I cannot wait to share some of the awesome collaborations I will be doing with some of the brands that were present!