This past weekend was the 2013 Texas Style Council Conference. Speakers, staff, sponsors, volunteers and ~400 attendees gathered for 3 days of mingling, workshops and fun in downtown Austin. If you’ve been a blog follower for awhile, you may remember I attended this conference last year – my very first and very intimidating/overwhelming blog conference experience. I’m happy to say this year was a million times more fun and useful! Partly because I knew more what to expect and had been working on my shyness factor; partly because this year covered ALL SORTS of business/blog/DIY topics, not just fashion, and in a more interactive way (workshops instead of panels); and partly because this year was WAY less claustrophobic because the staff scored a great space. It might also have helped that it was bright and sunny and warm, not cold and rainy and March. What can I say, I’m a summer creature. 🙂
Anyway, today I’m doing a [photo-heavy] recap and What I Wore rolled into one. It’s pretty long, so catch the jump after this first photo.
Happy hour social and clothing/book swap.
Fun Fact: I actually bought this dress at the TxSC mixer event in March!
After dropping my swap items off to be tagged and hung, I headed over the happy hour. I met a bunch of new-to-me blog ladies (shout-outs to Dale, Roni, Lindsay, and Jessie) and also met up in person with Joanna, Landen, and (finally!) Mia and Shanna. There were some already-familiar faces, too, as Liz and Chloe also showed up. It was low key and fun, and the food and drinks at the Bonneville were great. It did get a bit noisy and hot the more women crowded in, but nothing unbearable. Once 7 o’clock rolled around, we headed over to the swap event. And there was a line to get in! I was not expecting that, from last year. But get in we eventually did. I ended up with this dress from Lulu’s, a blue patterned midi skirt from Catherine, and a copy of Confessions of a Shopaholic from Bethany. And I somehow did not get a picture of all of these items, but you can trust me. That’s what they were. I don’t know who ended up with the items I brought.
Overall, a very fun start to the conference. I mingled a bit more after finding the items I wanted, but then headed home to eat a late dinner and sleep.
Pro Tip: Don’t wear uncomfortable wedges for an evening where you’ll be on your feet the whole time. Ouchie. Flats the rest of the weekend.
Saturday Morning & Afternoon
Workshops & room monitoring.
Outfit Note: it was pretty dang cold from the A/C in the hotel conference rooms, so I wore the Robin’s Egg Elegance Blazer from ModCloth over this outfit.
Saturday morning held the welcome and the first of the workshops. In the afternoon, people either stayed for more workshops or went off on a thrift tour/shopping excursion. I had volunteered to be a room monitor for the afternoon, so I stayed for more workshops. Topics of sessions I attended: Life Blogging 101; Monetization 101; Personal Budgeting 101; Big Impact PR on a Micro Budget; Rebranding or Starting Over; and Tailoring Your Clothes for the Perfect Fit. Most of these were super useful/inspirational, a few weren’t quite what I expected but still interesting, and one was completely not what I expected and not useful. Either way, I came out with a lot of notes and action points to actually work on. I think that was my biggest beef with last year’s panels – they were suitably inspirational, but they didn’t actually help steer you in how to act on that inspiration. Not the case this year, which was great.
Also, being a room monitor? Kind of awesome. I liked feeling useful (I had to make sure speakers showed up/were in the right place, gave them time warnings, open/closed room doors, hunted down hotel staff to help with A/V issues and water bottles and chair shortages, etc.). It didn’t interfere with me being able to participate in or enjoy the workshops at all, which I was a bit worried about beforehand.
Pro Tip: Offer to volunteer at a conference to help offset the cost of registration.
As you might guess from the pictures, the Saturday night prom-themed party was a blast. There was networking and sponsors and prizes and shopping and dancing and drinks and fun photo booths and mayhem. I enjoyed this party 1000% more than the Posh Party last year, quite simply because they had a huge space for this one and it didn’t make me claustrophobic. I couldn’t convince the boy to go with me, but my friend Liz and I decided to go as each other’s date. I even made some fake flower corsages for the occasion (that’d be them in the blurry pic above).
Pro Tip (courtesy of corsage-making): Nail polish remover also removes super glue from your skin.
If I had a do-over, I’d probably wear a different dress, because strapless was just as annoying as I was afraid it would be. I did so love the bronze lace, though. Still, this was probably the least ‘me’ feeling outfit I wore the entire weekend.
Fun Fact: I feel like I can much more represent my true style in warm weather than cold.
I was happy to get to hang out with Liz, Mia, Kara, Nicole, and Emily some more, and to meet Kristi. I was also pumped to get to (briefly) chat with Tieka about Michigan (I lived there once upon a time!). A few hours at prom, though, and we were mingled and shopped out. I came home with a whole bunch of free swag, and a new necklace I bought from Clyde’s Rebirth. Which is a weird name, but equals fabulous jewelry. You can see it in Sunday’s outfit below.
Sunday was the keynote followed by a full day of workshops. I met some more great ladies in the morning mingling (hey Sarah and Laura!), then I attended some great sessions and again took a lot of notes. Topics of the workshops I went to: Successfully Navigating Monetization (Advanced); From Etsy to Beyond; Work + Life + Blog Balance; and Secrets to a Start-Up. Each one of these was excellent, as was the keynote by the Beautiful Mess ladies. By the end of the afternoon, though, I was tuckered – a combination of conference exhaustion and lady cramps conspired against my attending the closing remarks or after party. I headed home a bit early to hang out with the boy and puppy. We vegged for a bit, and then Ian took me out to dinner. A steak-and-potatoes meal after living off of breakfast buffets and granola bars all weekend was heaven. Then I changed into PJs at about 7 and marathoned some Bones on Netflix. 😀 What? Conferences are exhausting! In a good way, but still.
I think the staff of TxSC did an AMAZING job putting together the conference this year, and am definitely glad I attended. After three very full days, I have a stack of business cards and pile of notes to go through, and a lot of ideas brewing. There will likely be some changes coming to the blog, though I’m not sure what they are yet. I have a pretty big brainstorming and soul-searching session ahead of me. The only bummer point I’m taking away from this conference is that apparently next year they’re moving it back to SXSW time, which basically equals me not going because major headache. 🙁 But this year? This year rocked.
Did you attend TxSC this year? Would you ever consider going to a blogger conference like this?