Growing up with many female influences in my personal life has generally made me gravitate towards smart, creative, and interesting women as a whole. Joining the Style Collective was one of those no brainer decisions I made after watching founder, Annie Spano, week after week hustle as hard to achieve her dream as I was to achieve mine. I knew that being around her energy would rub off on me. She not only recruited me, but many like me. These women were like minded motivated females all trying to change their story.
When the Style Collective announced that it would be having its first conference I dare say I was the first to register. I was thrilled at the prospect of being around other women, mothers, and bloggers that were all trying to navigate a new industry that allows women to authentically share themselves with the world.
Last month we all met up in the beautiful Cannon Room in the heart of Raleigh. NC! A beautiful space that inspired and enthused us. The agenda was filled with women that I wanted to hear and learn from and best of all, they were willing to share! Among many highlights from the conference, here are my top three.
The Cannon Room was named after the first female Mayor of Raleigh, Isabell Cannon. With that as a backdrop it was just the perfect vibe and space, intimate yet spacious and generously lit with its large windows. It made for an inviting space that made us want to network in. Lucky for us, this room has already been booked for next years conference!
The Influencer Panel
With our blog, we try to be open and honest about our journey as women and as mothers. At the conference, we were lucky enough to hear from mother to be Holly of @MakeTodayAHollyDay, Courtney of @CourtEInk, and Keke of @StyleYourSelfie and they were wonderful! Each shared their story, journey, and ideas generously with all of us. I recall chatting with Holly and discussing giveaway ideas! I really appreciated that!
Generally we had a lot of information that we needed to cover during sessions, so by Sunday afternoon we were tired. The agenda, however, anticipated that we would need creative breaks. We had the chance to play in a live photo booth and network in a beautiful corner space. The agenda also included a cocktail hour on Saturday night and a trolley ride surprise on Sunday! Everything had been thought out and considered. The team at Style Collective did an amazing job putting it all together (Thank You!).
I, along with my fellow chicks, am truly grateful for the camaraderie and the learning and I am looking forward to next year. Here is a peek at all the fun!
Wow, it has been a roller coaster since launching Chicks And Salsa and, besides the time I have spent with my family, this has been one of the most gratifying year and a half of my life. Doing something that is centered on the betterment and understanding of myself was a hard transition to make but has felt amazing. The blog has also had some unexpected benefits such as making my relationships with my parents, siblings, spouse, and children better since I had found an outlet for myself. It has served as an avenue to work through my thoughts and ideas in in a more organized fashion that my brain previously couldn’t. I am also truly grateful to Sonia, Avani, Komal, and Neema who have found a home on the blog for their voices and ideas. Compiling our passions, motivations, and insecurities has allowed each of us to grow beyond what we could have imagined. In reflecting on this past year, I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge the top five things I have learned since “becoming a blogger.”
Bloggers Are Awesome People
I was surprisingly met with good energy, positive vibes and smiling faces when I timidly introduced Chicks And Salsa to the blog-sphere. I was worried about encountering intimidation and skepticism; but other bloggers were generous with their ideas and enthusiasm. After all, we are unique and have a different messages to share with the universe. We have worked with many bloggers in developing our brand and truly credit them for the support that they have provided. These women rock! They are hard working, creative, and smart and open to questions. DM your favorite bloggers and see what they say! Pro tip: to really shortcut the process, join Style Collective. They have all the secrets, resources, and community support to justify what they offer for $10/month. I wish I had found them much sooner than I did. I use their calendars and templates for emails and contracts regularly. I have also met new networks that have streamlined my outreach.
Deciding to Start is The Hardest Part
My sister and I talked ourselves out of starting Chicks And Salsa for months. We kept thinking we were too old, too boring, too ‘whatever’ to have a blog. And although that still may be true, doing it for ourselves has been the greatest gift. The fact that so many of our readers check in is the bow on top. Sharing a piece of oneself with the universe can come with a host of insecurities, doubt, changes, attempts, failures, laughter, and tears. It’s the constant pursuit of developing and defining your brand that really reflects who you are as a person. It forces you to reflect on your values and desires, an exercise that fuels motivation to try harder and learn more. Then there is the challenge of incorporating all this sharing into your day-to-day life without it totally taking over (which it totally has the potential to do, see number 3.)
Blogging is ALL Encompassing
With blogging, I find myself managing many media platforms. In order to succeed, you do need to be everywhere all the time. Having my cameras always charged and planning out my content helps — that way I am not aimlessly taking pictures all the time. I make my time count by being goal-oriented and then I either write the piece, get the picture, or make a list and move on. A bias towards action is important and acting with intention will help limit the blogging… keeping it from taking over your life!
Blogging is actually SO MUCH FUN!
Yes, it’s true. Deciding to do this was the exact kick I needed to get out of the funk I was in. For the first time in five years, I was home alone because my kids went to school full time and I had been working part time from home. The blog has taken my ‘me time’ to another level. I have developed as a writer, photographer, digital content creator, and friend. Not to mention, I have discovered a whole world of new social media supporters and friendships – some I have met, some I have not (yet!). It has been a rewarding journey that I am excited to continue experiencing. You, our readers, are a huge part of the motivation that drives me forward. Thank you!
It Is Easier To Work Backwards
In the beginning, I decided to start a blog but I didn’t have a specific objective or purpose in mind. Helpful questions to start with are ‘why do you want to blog?’,‘what is the end goal?’, and ‘are you seeking free stuff, money, to network, or travel?’. I know it seems obvious, but if you want free travel, talk about travel; if you want free products, talk about products, etc. Genuinely I think I started because I wanted to learn about blogging and I wanted to be informed. I know now that Chicks And Salsa is truly a lifestyle blog that we have built to speak to all the layers of women, in particular mothers. Women tend to be the demographic who have limited time for themselves and cherish the time they get with their friends. Therefore, we found our mission after we decided to pursue the genesis of Chicks and Salsa. This important nuance helped us grow from the ground up into a purposeful blog.
Phew, what a round up! I hope you found this helpful. In the new digital age, the creative content that one can make and the audience that they can have is truly limitless. Use that indefinite space to find a corner that is yours. I hope that with Chicks And Salsa, you have not only found that you are part of our tribe but also that you are the origin of your own movement.