Reintroductions

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Hola Chica Cactus LoafersMany, many moons ago, Julia tagged me in this post to answer 11 things about myself. Now that The Blog Connect is over (more on that later), I figured I might as well answer these questions (and share some photos from…last summer??). Better late than never! 😉 In case you are new-ish around here, these are the basics: my name is Sarah, I’m a Miami native living in the cold Northeast, I love all dogs (especially mine), and I’m accumulating plants at an alarming rate. Now, onto Julia’s questions!

What has blogging taught you?

Ugh, so much. There are skills that are actually practical: self-revision, photography, SEO. Mostly, I am grateful that blogging has opened up a lot of opportunities for me. I interned at a lot of cool places in college, and my blog definitely set me apart from other applicants. Now, I’m on the board(?) planning committee(?) of PHLbloggers, and we just hosted our third Blog Connect Conference. A crazy amount of my friends in Philly, well, I met them through blogging. I’m not sure if starting a blog was my ~sliding doors~ moment, but it has definitely changed my life.

What was your favorite blog post to write?

The first one that comes to mind is when I got to visit the set of American Ninja Warrior! Outfit photos are fun, but I also really like writing about sports (like I did here and here).

What are some of your favorite blogs to read?

Lucky for you, I still have an entire page dedicated to my blogroll!

Where do you live and what do you love about it?

I’m coming up on five (!!!) years in Philadelphia, which is crazy. I did not expect to fall in love with Philly the way I have, but here we are. So what do I love about this city? I love the neighborhoods, the walkability, the food, the people, the history, the culture, the beer gardens, the weather from May through October. I decidedly do not like the Eagles or winter, but nothing and nowhere is perfect.

What was your college major?

I double-majored in communications and American studies (basically the study of American history and culture). While not always  relevant, most of my classes were interesting.

What is your dream travel destination?

This is so dull, but London. I’ve always loved English history, and I still haven’t been! Also on my list are Prague, Montreal and Vancouver (again).

What’s the most memorable experience you’ve had traveling?

Luckily, I’ve had mostly positive experiences traveling. My trip out West was great (even though I still have to finish blogging about it!). I’ve been blessed to go to Colombia and Costa Rica numerous times and learn more about my family history and heritage. One of the most meaningful experiences though? Probably my service trip to Esperanza in the Dominican Republic.

What is your favorite season?

In Philadelphia: summer. In Florida: winter. Basically, I aspire to enjoy my retirement as a snowbird.

What have you been reading lately?

The Internet? Is that not a legitimate answer? I did go on a tear of James Patterson books this winter in an attempt to clear out my bookcase.

What is the most meaningful souvenir you’ve gotten when traveling?

Such a good question! There are definitely some pieces of jewelry and clothing I’ve purchased while traveling that mean a lot to me. I also collect postcards, so those are always fun. Nothing beats personal photographs though.

What is one thing few people know about you?

This is so hard. I think I am a pretty open book, so nothing came to mind easily. Despite all my traveling, I’m actually petrified of planes and heights — but I think a good amount of people IRL know that about me. I also cannot ride a bike! I 100% used to know, but guess what, after ten years without riding a bike, you do, in fact, forget how. I wish I had some secret fun facts that make me sound less inept, but not today!

~ Sarah

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Top: Primark
Jeans: Gap Factory
Flats: H&M
Necklace: InPink (RIP)
Woven Bag: Thrifted? Hand-me-down? No idea.

Blog It Better: The Blog Connect

The Blog Connect2017I think I’m finally recovering from a case of exhaustion and writer’s block, which means it’s Blog Connect recap time! I was lucky enough to be part of this year’s planning committee, and it was so rewarding to see everything come together! First up on Saturday evening, my co-sponsorship director Melissa and I welcomed our wonderful speakers at The Baker’s Jar (16th and Bainbridge).

Melissa and me — it was cold so I had to wear ankle boots!

After we met and chatted with our speakers, it was time to head to ellelauri (19th and Chestnut) for our kickoff party! It’s a super chic boutique, and the staff is super nice. Boutiques can intimidate me, but ellelauri has items across different price points and the pieces are all so fun. It was great to catch up with blogger friends and meet new people before the craziness of the conference on Sunday!

The Blog Connect ellelauri

With Lola from Found City

Blog Connect Concihairge BraidBraids by Concihairge. Obsessed. (Also doesn’t the purple lipstick make the whole outfit pop?)

Priyanka from Paint the Town Chic spearheaded the party planning, and it was awesome! In addition to a braid bar by Concihairge, we had a flatlay space with help from Ann Blake from Ann Blake Photography. We had kombucha from Inspired Brews and white wines from Pinot Boutique (perfect for summer!). Our snack game was on point too: macarons from ICI Macarons, and savory snacks from Agno Grill and Pure FareBai supplied us with plenty of juice and sparkling water! After a fun night with my blogger babes (and bros), it was time for some sleep!

We got an early start at Saxbys the next morning for a full day of speakers, workshops and panels! A million and one thanks to Saxbys for hosting us again this year and keeping me fueled with iced chai lattes all.day.long. Would not have made it without your tea and lovely baristas.

Saxby's Blog ConnectAnother lifesaver? These awesome custom planners from Erin Condren. They came in super handy for the attendees during all the awesome presentations we had throughout the day.

Erin Condren Blog Connect PlannerThank you again to all of our speakers, presenters and panelists! We wouldn’t have had a conference without you — and our attendees, of course!

Speakers

  • Ten Game Changers to Take Your Blog to the Next Level | Sarah Morgan
  • Create Your Own Space in The Blogosphere | Sola Onitiri
  • Finding Your Voice: Write With Confidence, for Crying Out Loud | Andy Shaw
  • SEO Bootcamp for Bloggers | Jess Herbine

Breakout Sessions

  • Monetizing Your Blog with Your First eBook (using content you’ve already created) | Angela St. Cyril
  • Growing Your Blog into a Podcast | Angelica Yarde 
  • #FeministSockBoss: How to Monetize Your Blog with Physical Products | Jennifer Dziura

Working with Brands Panel

We also had a yummy and healthy lunch from Grateful Plate and a cupcake break with Cupcakes By Ruth (I also practiced my new flatlay skills — thanks Ann!).

Cupcakes by RuthAnd of course, it wouldn’t be a blogger conference without a lot selfies with friends. Andy, Kendall and Emily: thanks for indulging me with a selfie stick and the balloon wall!
Blog Connect CollageOne more shout out to the brilliant beyond brilliant team I worked with: Priyanka at Paint the Town Chic, Melissa at Skinny Affair, Chrystina at Chrystina Noel andSarah Moore at smoorelovin. Learned so much from you all!

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Photo by Tim Becker

Thank you to Julia Dent and Tim Becker for all the fab photos throughout the weekend! You guys are absolute rockstars. Want more Blog Connect? Check out these awesome recaps:

~ Sarah

10 Reasons Why You Should Be At The Blog Connect

The Blog Connect Conference is in three days!! I’m on the planning committee for the conference, happening on April 23 in Center City (and we have a kick-off party the night before). Its focus is to help mid-level bloggers learn how to “Blog It Better” through a series of speakers, workshops, networking, and more. You can learn more on our website. If you’ve been considering buying a ticket, but are still on the fence, here are 10 reasons you should buy your ticket today.

We have a great speaker line-up.

Sarah Morgan of XO Sarah is coming from San Diego to be our  keynote speaker. Haven’t heard of her? Well, now’s your chance. She’s been blogging since the early 2000s and offers half a dozen books and courses on doubling your blog traffic, the ultimate guide to passive income, growing your blog and email list, and tripling your Pinterest traffic. She will be speaking about 10 game changing ideas to grow your blog community and brand.

In addition to Sarah, we will be hearing from Sola Onitiri from Let’s Get Going about creating your own space in the blogosphere focusing on the importance of honest branding; Andy Shaw from InstaFather about finding your own voice about writing with confidence for crying out loud, and Jess Herbine from Broke Girls Go Out about the best SEO tips and tricks for bloggers.

In addition to the speakers, there will be an afternoon breakout session where you have the option of attending a smaller workshop where you will learn how to build the product of your choice: creating physical products with Jennifer Dziura from Get Bullish, podcasts with Angelica Yarde from Studio 404, video with Andrea Corson from This Is Video Pop, and monetizing your eBooks with Angela St. Cyril from Setting My Intention. This is your chance to get your questions answered about your blogging next steps.

We’ll be finishing off the speaker line-up with a panel on working with brands from the perspective of a few different types of bloggers. Erica Ligenza is the full-time blogger behind Coming Up Roses. Nicole Raudonis is the side-hustle blogger behind Simply Nicole. Amber Burns is the side-hustle blogger behind ember + march, but also brings along her Media Relations experience from working at Visit Philly as well as multiple marketing and PR gigs beforehand. And Jeff Belonger is the man behind MyPhillyAlive and Belonger Consulting, his own social media strategist consulting firm. The panel will be led by none other than the PHLbloggers founder, Chrystina Cappello from Chrystina Noel.

Every attendee will receive a planner courtesy of Erin Condren.

We’re so excited to tell you about our partnership with Erin Condren for this conference. For those of you who don’t know, they make absolutely stunning LifePlanner stylized organizers, TakeNote notebooks, note cards, stickers, and more. They made personalized planners for each attendee with The Blog Connect logo on them – and then decided to throw in stickers and a dual-tip pen for each attendee. When you see these planners you’ll have no choice but to take a million photos out of pure beauty. Speaking of photos…

There will be lots of great photo opportunities.

From the moment you arrive there will be lots of awesome photo opportunities. You will have the chance to sign up for headshots with my friend Julia from Philly with a Fjallraven during the registration and breakfast time slot on Sunday morning. There will definitely be the over-sized PHL gold balloons again. Our creative director, Sarah Moore from smoorelovin, has visions of streamers and balloons. And if exposed brick walls and gorgeously diffused natural light are your thing, Saxbys has you covered.

There’s a party the night before.

Last year’s conference was awesome. That said, we wanted to make sure that people had even more time to get to know each other this year and we brought on our incredible party director, Priyanka from Paint the Town Chic to make it happen. We will be hosting our party at ellelauri boutique on S. 19th Street for all attendees. We will be bringing in food and drink vendors, giving you the opportunity to meet each other, and an awesome chance to learn how to create incredible flat lays with Ann Blake from Ann Blake Photography. There will be wine from Pinot Boutique , macarons from ICI macarons, beverages from Bai, sweet treats from Pure Fare, kombucha from Inspired Brews, and more. Oh, and there will be a braid bar thanks to Concichairge. What more could you ask for?
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