Sunday, March 15, 2015

Day 2 of THRIVE, kicked off at 9 am with registration from 8 to 9. The great thing about staying at Hyatt Place was their complimentary breakfast, which I took no qualms with diving into before registering. Closer to 9, I headed around the corner to the conference space and picked up my Madewell goodie bag full of items and my THRIVE Mentor badge! Myself, and 2 other lovely bloggers were asked to be mentors during the conference.  Throughout the day, bloggers could come up to us to ask us questions, on what else? Blogging! Thrive opened with a welcome from the event creators, Whitney Hough and Breanna Pair. They gave us a run-down of the day's schedule. I was excited. I've been blogging for 5 years, but you can never stop learning, especially since the phenomenon of blogging itself is still relatively new! There's always things to learn!

Breanna and Whitney welcoming the Thrive Attendees.

The first speaker was Ashley Lemieux from The Shine Project. Ashley gave us her 5 steps for achieving success and realizing our dreams. Ashley knows all about success! As the creator of The Shine Project, a non-profit organization that employs inner city teens to give back to inner city youth, Ashley is one amazing gal! The Shine Project is a jewelry making initiative, where the pieces are made by the teens, and sold to raise money. Y'all know that charity efforts are dear to my heart, and some of the stories Ashley shared with us about some of her students were heart-wrenching. From having no food to no beds. Her kids were struggling in school, and she found out why. It's hard to stay focused on school when you don't have enough at home, or have to worry about where your next meal is going to come from. Ashley's mission was to help improve these kids lives and consequently produce waves of 1st generation college attendees! During breaks between sessions, there were a few pop-up vendors on the scene with goodies for sale, including The Shine Project. I was so impressed by the initiative and Ashley's speech that I was first in line to purchase something from her.

Ashley Lemieux, The Shine Project

After the break we heard from Audra Kurtz, from The Kurtz Corner on how to take over YouTube. I was most interested in this session, because I've been wanting to increase my YouTube presence and take my blog to the next level! I basically wrote down everything she said verbatim and requested a copy of her PowerPoint. This chick (me) isn't playin'! After Audra we heard from local Houston fashion blogger, Caroline Knapp from House of Harper. I was following Caroline while she lived in New York, but she recently just moved back to Houston. It was great to hear from a fellow Fashion Blogger during the conference. She had a lot of great tips on how to build your brand!  

Audra Kurts (L) and Caroline Harper Knapp (R)

After the great tips from Audra and Caroline, it was time for lunch. Whitney and Breanna outdid themselves by bringing in Noodles & Company as one of the food sponsors! Yum, Yum! 

Back at it!
After lunch we heard from Ashley Lastovica, from Fancy Ashley.  Ashley taught us how to create compelling content. Following Ashley's talk, there was a monetization panel moderated by Meg Owens. The panelists were Sarah Skagg and Megan Silanoff. They provided us with tried and true ways to monetize, and Sarah introduced me to some new companies to work with for brand relationships. 

Caught in the act of "actively" listening!
Panelists, Sarah and Megan.

Post the monetization panel, we had two sessions on creating pinnable pictures. One for fashion and one on food. Since I focus on fashion, I choose to participate in Meg Cady's fashion photography session. I am sad that I missed Rachel's DIY & Food photography one too, but alas I cannot clone myself. Meg's session was really good. She gave us tips on how to make our photos more than just about our clothes and ways to reel our readers in. After the photo sessions we had one more keynote speaker, and that was Kristen Merkley on "How to Skyrocket Your Pageviews".

Meg Cady (L) and Rachel Matthew (R)

Kristen Merkley

After the final speaker, Whitney and Breanna announced the afterparty start with Blo Dry Bar Woodlands and food from Krogers! I stayed for a little bit after the conference to mingle and hang, but I was pretty tired so I didn't stay long enough to get my hair braided...:-(. It WAS an hour back all the way to my house. Did I also mention that I won a bottle of win from Bon Affair? Yes I did! Whiney and Bree gave away Bon Affair bottles to conference attendees who hit up all ten stores the night before at the Fashion Passport Party. The funny thing about the winners is everyone at my table was one of the overachievers! Ha! All in all it was a great conference, and I liked that we didn't have to constantly choose between sessions. I hope Thrive returns for year 2 next year!


*All photos in the post without the watermark were taken by Meg Cady, Everyday Meg

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