At the end of October, I was lucky enough to attend the Blissdom Canada conference held in Toronto. It was the first social media conference held in Canada for women [well, there were a few wonderful men presenting and attending too.]
I say lucky because it was a sold out conference, and I was on the waiting list. I was fortunate that a ticket became available for me; I am extremely grateful to the person who gave up their ticket.
Being gluten free, I had to make sure that they were able to offer me a gluten free alternative for the meals while at the conference. Once they confirmed they could, I signed up right away!
I admit I was apprehensive. There were going to be some pretty awesome women at this conference. I had Twitter down, but I was a newbie when it came to blogging.
There were so many events planned for us, they were making sure we had fun!
The first night we arrived, there was a welcome party for everyone at Arta Gallery in the Distillery area. We were chauffeured there by drivers from GM Canada in their new Chevrolet Cruze.
Once inside, we were welcomed by the Gallery event staff and the lovely Michele Bosc From Chateau des Charmes, Generation Seven wines; they were one of the event sponsors.
Beautiful venue, great wine and they passed around several different appetizers. They all looked delicious. I am sure the wait staff got tired of my asking, “is it gluten free”? There was one special waiter that kept bringing me some great [he confirmed gluten free] shrimp, so I had my fill.
I met so many wonderful women, many of whom I had tweeted with, but many I had not. It was great to meet these people that I was following on Twitter in real life.
The first day of the conference was awesome.
First, we were treated to Halifax artist Tanya Davis, whose album has just been released. I met her briefly the night before, I didn’t know [and she didn’t tell me she was performing for us] very sweet, lovely and talented.
The keynote speaker was none other than Unmarketing himself, Scott Stratten. He was amazing and funny.
I already had a copy of his book [which I forgot to bring] but we received another in our registration package, so I was lucky enough to have him sign it.
You really need to read it! It is filled with some much great advice. Some of the things he said that really stuck with me were:
“Pick one social media platform (ie. Facebook, Twitter, etc) and grow one at a time. “Take 6 months and spend time building relationships and engaging your followers”
I am trying to do that now; I started with twitter and am now moving on to blogging. Building the relationships has not been easy but it has been a great journey.
As for the Trolls, don’t feed them [these are the people that leave the hurtful, negative comments posted to get you to engage]. The only one that wins when you reply is them.
“Let them hate as long as they fear”
“Write great content”.
People don’t spread “meh”, they spread “awesome” so be awesome!
The Delta Chelsea had a strike going on during the conference, but it did not interfere in anyway with us. All the staff that I came in contact with were great and very friendly.
The hotel provided our lunch. Being gluten free, I had to let one of the servers know that I needed a special menu [they were serving everyone sandwiches]. I was told that the salad had no dressing so it was safe to consume. She brought me a Roast beef sandwich on gluten free bread. The roast beef was lovely. However, the GF bread was not. So I just took the roast beef out and ate it without the bread.
The panel presentations that afternoon were informative and thought provoking, made me think about how I was [or was not] blogging. The also had a great session later in the afternoon on online communities and their advantages to bloggers.
Lara Bars sponsored the snack break, they are one of my favourite snacks and they are gluten free! They were introducing their new Chocolate chocolate chip flavour. I loved it! It has become my new favourite, now all I have to do is wait until that flavour hits the stores!
That night we were treated to a wonderful party at the Roots flagship store, chauffeured again by the GM Canada gang in the Chevrolet Cruze. Once we arrived at Roots we were treated to appetizers, drinks, great music and some pretty fabulous shopping. Then onto the Mablehood Bliss party where we had great cocktails, more food [the chef went to get chicken and a clean pan so that he could make my meal gluten free] and drinks. Bunch Family sponsored a great Speakeasy that you needed a secret password to get into, it was all so much fun!
It was a great day full of amazing information, great connections and fabulous parties. All the sponsors were incredible.
The next day was filled with more amazing panel presentations. The only problem was that I could only attend one at a time and although I thoroughly enjoyed the ones I attended, I would have liked to sit in on the other panels as well.
Unfortunately, I had to sneak away to do some shopping for my daughter, so I missed part of the last session after the round table discussions. Sounds like I should have stayed; although I did get my shopping requests filled.
The day was topped off with a fabulous costume and Karaoke party. All the women wore great costumes, and quite a few brought some awesome voices. The one that stands out the most for me was Cocktaildeeva as Bret Michaels, because she was so in ‘character’. Dee is a beautiful, funny, outrageous lady. To see her as Bret Michaels was quite a treat.
Dee was just one of the amazing women I was lucky to meet in real life at Blissdom, it was wonderful meeting and chatting with them. Unfortunately, there were some amazing women that I wanted to meet in real life but didn’t actually get too – that is for the next Blissdom.
Being gluten free did not stop me from enjoying any part of the conference. The hotel staff and all the event staff were very accommodating and made sure to verify that any food I had was gluten free and safe. I had a bit of a tummy issue the Friday afternoon but it was not severe in any way and there were no other issues. I was fine for the evening party and thoroughly enjoyed it!
Thank you Blissdom for a great experience!
I miss my Bliss already.