Introducing my BlogHer'13 Team!

It seems like just yesterday that I was packing my bags and boarding the plane for New York City to attend BlogHer'12. In reality, it was just over two months ago and I have learned so very much from going to the largest international blogging conference out there.

I'm already lining up sponsors for BlogHer'13 in Chicago, and am so happy to announce that TPH Canada, Tina Dean Designs, Kristine Cook Designs and Amber Bryce Luxe Bohemian are back on board with me!


Kristine Cook Designs created three stunning outfits for me for BlogHer'12, and I am thrilled to get the chance to showcase Kristine's ready-to-wear line in Chicago. Having seen her design book over dinner a few weeks ago, I know that they will be pieces that will be flattering on every body type and make you feel like you want to get out of your pj's in the morning. Kristine's work is amazing and she pays particular attention to detail with ruffles, buttons and other feminine touches that make her work one of a kind and truly unique.

Working with Tina Dean Designs this past year has been a dream come true. Tina has been working hard to become an expert in textile design, and boy does it show!  I'm really excited to be able to showcase Tina's amazing eco-chic designs in Chicago, and she's even collaborating with Kristine to make sure that my look is coordinated head-to-toe; amazing, eh?! I see some fabulous fused clutches in my future, and you can bet your bottom dollar that my messenger bag will make a reprise as my carry-on and Expo Hall bag!
Remember those incredible media cards that TPH printed for me a few months ago? Remember how they were absolutely incredible to work with, offered eco-options and funky shapes of business cards? Well they're joining up with me for my media cards that I'll be handing out to brands and bloggers in Chicago! Their printing services are absolutely amazing; high quality, digital printing at its finest. I cannot wait to share more information about this fantastic brand with you in monthly features!


I felt every bit the belle of the ball at BlogHer with my sparkly earrings, bracelet and amazing long necklace from Amber Bryce Luxe Bohemian, so I was thrilled when Amber emailed me to express interest in styling my accessories for BlogHer'13. Amber's designs are truly inspired and she uses only the best raw materials, from recycled metals to big sparkly druzies. I cannot wait to share Amber's new work with you and talk about the inspiration behind her designs.

More sponsors will be announced as the month's unfold, but I just could not wait to share this news with you all!

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BlogHer Sponor Love

A hugely massive shout out to those who helped me create the most beautiful media cards! I had so many compliments on them and I could not be happier with how they turned out!

 The team at TPH Canada was incredible to work with. While tweeting with Brittany about their amazing brand, eco-friendly solutions and really just engaging with one another, to emailing with Cynthia and being incredibly thankful for her super-powers in reprinting after a silly mistake on my part - they are simply the most amazing printing company I have ever had the pleasure in working with. The results were beautiful, and I am so thankful for the compliments that we got on my cards both from brands and bloggers!



Without Lainie's expert eye in photography, the vision that I had for these cards would just not have come to life. In creating a woodland fairy nymph with our model Kassidy, we were able to style her with a fantastic Atutudes tutu, sculpted accessories, pointe shoes, paintings and journals to create a picture of true inspiration. The end result was beautiful and I am eternally grateful for having worked with Lainie on this project.

Lainie also photographed me doing what I do best: painting. I am so thankful for this experience as I've never been able to paint and have someone capture it on film before. It was amazing, to say the least, and the feedback that I got from brands when they saw me doing my thing was awesome!





See you in Chicago!


BlogHer Sponsor Love

If you haven't checked them out just yet, be sure that you do!! They made my trip to BlogHer12 possible, and I am so incredibly thankful for them!

 

 Kristine Cook Designs is located in London, Ontario and is simply one inspired fashion designer! She created two dresses and one fabulous jacket for me to wear at BlogHer12 and I got so many compliments on them...I was even stopped by a young woman on our walk over to Bar Americain who complimented me on my peplum dress!



Michele from Mary Kay provided all of my makeup, skincare and beauty tips for my journey to BlogHer. I am so thankful, because I'm typically too on the go to spend much time on myself but these amazing products, and her gentle guidance and encouragement, allowed me to see what confidence I have in myself. Be it a smokey eye for my peplum dress, a fresh dewey look for my brunch with GMC or the bold red lips for a retro look - Michele helped me create them all!




Without EKSIT Strategies assistance and guidance, my BlogHer dreams would have remained just that...dreams. They helped make them a reality, and helped to guide me in making some decisions about my business and my blog. As true business strategists, they helped me to see the value in my knowledge, the worth in myself and encouraged me to take myself seriously as both an artist and a blogger.

BlogHer12 Recap: Memorable Moments ~fin~

There aren't many words that I can write that will do justice to the feeling of meeting Shannon {aka Shizz}

I knew it was going to be emotional, but I don't think that I was quite prepared for the feeling I would get by being around this insanely amazing woman.

Clockwise (l-r): Shizz posing for her Hubs in her Sparklecorn outfit, bloggy bff's  at the 6pm fashion show, me and my tutu, Hot Wheels #boymom
Since we did pretty much the entire conference together, it threw people when we introduced ourselves.

Hi, I'm Shannon.

Oh, hey. I'm Shannon too.

At Queerosphere, we were called awesome.com

People's Party, Shan 2.0

Whatever way you slice it, bloggy bff's for sure. Meeting this wonderful woman was...well...awesome. I dropped my bags and gave her the biggest hug when I got to our room {yes, I was crying}, and am so excited to be very likely heading to her hometown to visit in the fall, then meeting up in Chicago for BlogHer13 next year.

Shizz and I have been through alot together - blog building, branding, rebranding, soul searching. Post partum depression, formula feeding, starting businesses and having breakdowns. She is a kindred spirit indeed, and I thank my lucky stars that I am fortunate enough to call her one of my best friends.

BlogHer12 Recap: Memorable Moments, Part Deux

More? Of course there's more! you don't get the chance to engage with 5000+ bloggers and brands and walk away with more than just a couple memorable moments!


Today, I leave you with jut one.

Jenni.

I "met" Jenni way back when we were pregnant with our monster babies Brynn and Owen, and I felt an instant connection to her. One because we were gigantic {I can say that, right?}, and two because we kept it real. We didn't mince words, we didn't attack anyone, we were just real and authentic and meeting her was amazing.

Shockingly {I kid!} she was just as real in person as she is online. She's an absolute sweetheart and meeting her was most definitely a memorable moment.

BlogHer Sponsor Love: Mary Kay



One of the products that Michele, my lovely Mary Kay sponsor for BlogHer12, provided me with was a full line of the Time Wise skin care. I had used these products back in 2008 when I got married {as Michele did my makeup for the big day} and have found that my skin has really changed since then, very likely due to having a baby.


 For my trip to NYC, Michele provided me with the TimeWise Trial Miracle Set {bonus that they are all airplace complaint and travel size!}. This wonderful little set features enough product to get you through 30 days of daily use:


  • TimeWise® 3-in-1 Cleanser (normal- to-dry), 57 g
  • TimeWise® Age-Fighting Moisturizer (normal-to-dry), 21 g
  • TimeWise® Day Solution Sunscreen SPF 35, 11 g
  • TimeWise® Night Solution, 11 g
My favourite product in the entire set is the Night Solution.



After a night of galavanting and dancing, typically coming back to our hotel room at around midnight, it felt so nice to take off my makeup, wash my face with something mild and gentle, then put on the Night Solution.

In the morning, I would wake up and my skin felt...smooth. It was as if the Nutribeads worked magic while I slept and tiny little pixies danced on my skin; leaving it feeling soft and leaving me looking refreshed in the morning.

For a mama to a toddler {eek, now a preschooler!} who does her best work at night after he's gone to bed, knowing that I'll be able to put the Night Solution on and that I'll wake up and not look insanely tired is amazing. If there's one thing to put into your skin care regimen, it's the Night Solution!

BlogHer12: Mini Swag Bag Giveaway!

Want swag? How's about some swag from the BlogHer conference?

Featured companies: Petsmart, Go Army, Stella&Dot, Land o Lakes, Sweet Stella's, Playskool, Leggat & Platt, Hasbro, CoffeeMate, National Honey Board, Oogieloves, 6pm

Lip balms, compact mirror, sleep mask, PetSmart gift card, Stella&Dot affiliate program information, cookies, pendant frmo Sweet Stellas

Tote bag, GoArmy canteen, coupons, squeeky toy from Martha Stewart for PetSmart, 6pm gift card and affiliate program information

And entering is easy. While, yes, getting new followers and whatnot is great, what I really want to know if what session you would have or did benefit from at BlogHer12. I want to know what you learned about yourself, and why.

If you want to like my fb page and follow me on twitter, that's ok too ;)


a Rafflecopter giveaway

BlogHer12 Recap: My Favourite Moments

Time for a picture dump! Here are some of my absolute most favourite moments from BlogHer'12 and NYC!

Thursday: Meeting the Cocktail Deeva, riding an elephant at FAO Schwartz, the Hollister boys
Friday: taking an artistic break at the Clorox booth, snubbing Zac Efron and playing with HotWheels

Saturday: 6pm Fashion Show...hands DOWN!

Until next year, friends! Chi-town...I cannot wait to get to you!

BlogHer12 Recap: Sessions

Well...this is the post of the week that I admit I spent way too much time in the Expo Hall and not enough time down in the sessions. Bad blogger, I know I know, but the session that I DID go to was amazing and I left with such a sense of...you're on the right path.

Day2 begins!
The session that I went to was morning Day2 with Mandy, Charlie, Jill and Gina - ProTips: Branding and Blogging Professionally.

Now, I wanted to go in part because I wanted to support Mandy, a blogger that I very much believe in and sponsor with my Etsy shop. The other part was that these four bloggers hold a whole lot of knowledge between them, and I knew that I would walk away with a plethora of advice, tips and focus.

The session really resonated with me and I took away two very key things.

1) hire a professional designer to enhance this artsy fartsy space that I love to write in
2) reign in my focus!

Charlie and Mandy talked about projects {ie: working exclusively with a brand...what do you want to get out of the project. etc} and how you want to benefit from them.

Do you want to sell crazy amounts of ad space? Do you want to work exclusively with brands that you specially select for a very specific reason? Do you want to just write for the love of writing?

Defining those goals is something that I walked away with, and started writing in my journal about, but I also walked away with key notes on branding.

Can you read my short hand? Cats would be categories...not kitty cats!
So...you're going to be seeing some changes around here in the next few weeks. I'm searching out a blog designer that is highly recommended by my pal Shizz, and have started looking for inspiration that fits with my artistic vision.

*note: need more Prince on blog

BlogHer12 Recap: Fashion

You all know about my amazing fashion sponsor by now, Kristine Cook Designs, but you've yet to see me in the actual clothes.

Bottom (l-r) grey&coral asymmetrical dress {Expo Hall}, coral jacket {Hasbro party}, peplum dress {6pm fashion show, Bar Americain dinner, CheeseburgHer}

I honestly felt so incredibly stylish the entire time, and felt like I was a true reflection of myself...not the denim bermuda shorts and tanks that I sport back home when I'm too busy {or tired} to really put much effort into myself.

What did I learn? Well...that I have a body. After losing over 50lbs from when I was pregnant with my son in 2009/2010, I have...a body. I have curves, and tiny little legs! I have a tiny waist...and darn it, I can rock it! I felt confident 100% of the time, day and night and I have Kristine to thank for that.

See what's happening in each one of the looks above? I'm smiling. Truly incredibly happy...and comfortable in my own skin!

BlogHer12 Recap: Parties

I have to admit, I was a little intimidated by the whole party aspect to BlogHer. From talking to past attendees, it can be crowded, people push, hot...people get cranky...and so on and so forth.

So aside from looking pretty awesomesauce, what did I think of the parties and events?

Well...I loved the Expo Hall and am really excited about the connections that I made with some incredible companies. While it was really crowded on the first floor on Thursday night, I really really really enjoyed the second floor and made my best connections up there.
Thursday: Expo Hall! From Dole Fruit to cleaning with Lysol, we looked stylin' {Kristine Cook Designs custom dress, Amber Bryce Luxe Bohemian druzy bracelet}

The People's Party was a great mixer and an opportunity to meet some ladies that I've been reading for years. Queerosphere was delightful and I had a BLAST at it! The music was divine and it felt like you were transported to another world. Loved it!
Thursday: People's Party and Queerosphere {Tina Dean Designs fused clutch and Amber Bryce Luxe Bohemian druzy bracelet}

Hasbro, while not an official BlogHer party, was an insane amount of fun and I had a blast at the NERF booth, and relived my childhood with the butterscotch haystacks. Meeting Optimus Prime may just be the highlight of my weekend! I sent the photo to my husband, and he even got excited. PIME, as he is affectionately called by my toddler, is kind of a big deal around here
Friday: Hasbro, naturally with Optimus Prime! {Kristine Cook Designs jacket, Tina Dean Designs clutch, Amber Bryce Luxe Bohemian druzy necklace}

Sparklecorn was hilarious, and busy, and hot and after an afternoon of walking Broadway and Times Square, my feet needed a break and it was nice to unwind at the hotel bar, where my tutu literally filled up the entire chair.
Friday: Sparklecorn in the prettiest tutu ever by Atutudes Handmade Tutu {Tina Dean Designs clutch, Amber Bruce Luxe Bohemian earrings and necklace}

The 6pm fashion show, followed later on my CheeseburgHer, was amazing. I'd never been to an event like that, but I felt SO at home in the environment that they created {well done, 6pm!!}. It was chic and modern, and so incredibly inspiring to me.
Saturday: 6pm fashion show {Kristine Cook Designs peplum dress, Amber Bryce Luxe Bohemian statement earrings, Ostlund Custom Works hammered cuff, Tina Dean Designs VHS wristlet}

All in all, amazing experiences and awesome parties. Sometimes a little overwhelming, and a wee bit loud music wise, but it was just nice to dress up, put on some heels and grab a glass of champagne with your girlfriends to make some real relationships blossom.

BlogHer12 Recap: Roomies!

I thought I'd kick off my BlogHer12 recap posts with an ode to my fabulous roommates, Shizz, Shaun and Mel.

We had such a blast over the past weekend in NYC. From sightseeing to meeting amazing brands... party hopping to engaging in sessions...dinner and drinks at Bar Americain to late night giggles...your roommates are the people that you spend your greatest amount of time with {note: make sure you pick good ones like I did!!}

Clockwise from top right: Shaun and me, Three Shorties and an Amazon, Shizz and Mel




We're a cute bunch, right?

Sometimes, we did silly things....

Clockwise from top right: Shannon's in the tent at S'mores, awesome.com, Hollister boys, peeking under tutu's

All in all, we had an awesome time and we kept it lighthearted. We had fun...that's what the conference is all about, right?

Leaving on a jetplane!

That's right!! As you read this, Hubs and the Bear are taking me to the airport in Toronto to board my plane to BlogHer'12!



What's waiting for me when I get there? A picnic in Central Park with my gal Shizz from Baby Shmizz, then an afternoon of sightseeing with Shaun from Living with Peanut and Mel from Never a Dull Moment...otherwise known as my awesomesauce roommates on this crazy adventure!

Thursday night will be full of fun as we get our cocktail dresses on and head out for dinner and drinks, meeting bloggers along the way.

I am truly so very thankful for this opportunity, and am excited to share with you when I get back!

BlogHer Sponsors: Thank You!

From the bottom of my heart, I want to send out a huge thank you to all of the amazing sponsors who helped me board a plane today, put gorgeous media cards together for me, provided inspiration and photography, designed incredible outfits, jewelry and tutu's....

Without you all, BlogHer'12 would be but a dream for me. You helped make this possible!







Anticipation is high!!

Gees, the title of this post might be the biggest undersatement of the year!

In just two days, after a little car ride from London to Toronto and saying farewell to my boys, I will be boarding a plane and headed to NYC to BlogHer.

In just two day, I will be able to put my freshest face forward for the sponsors who have supported my journey to the largest blogging conference in North America.

In just two days, I will converge with over 3000 like minded individuals to engage, connect and learn.

Gosh!!

I have probably packed enough dresses, wedge heels, ballet flats, skinny jeans, and accessories to clothe myself for a few weeks...but I figure one outfit for day, and one outfit for night...with different shoe options. Flats, obviously for walking through out the city and Central Park.

Ack!!

TWO DAYS!!

How are you handling the anticipation?

Who...Me? You want to know...me?

Oh hey!!

A lot of bloggers heading off to the Big Apple for BlogHer'12 in a few days (4 sleeps!! yay!) are doing little intros of themselves on their blogs so people know what to expect and blah blah blah.

So...here goes.

I'm Shannon, but will most definitely answer to Shan, Shan North, Stella (so many people think that's actually my name, totally not! It was my great grandmothers name, though!), Mama, Girl-who-drinks-tequila{by choice!}.





I'm an almost 30 year old mama to a 2 year old little fireball named Owen, and the wife of a loving and very understanding dude named Colin who puts up with my antics and artsy-fartsy nature.


I'm a painter...a sculptor...a dreamer...a writer! I'm a total goofball, but I take things way too seriously sometimes. I have mortality issues, Post-Partum Depression {even though my kiddo is 2...it doesn't magically go away}, anxiety, and have really really bigtime fears about not being here one day.

I keep it real.

I'm stoked to meet my roommates {Shizz, Shaun and Mel} on Thursday. There will be wine...and there will be cupcakes! These are women that I've known for about 3 years since we were all pregnant with our kiddos at the same time. I am...just giddy with excitement to meet Jenni, MrsG, Steph and Kelly for coffee, and cross paths with so many other amazing women like Mandy from Harper's Happenings, Katie from Ruffles&Truffles, and Dee the Cocktail Deeva herself.

I was just telling my husband the other day that I feel like I know most of these women already, especially Jenni and Shizz. Those two ladies...honesty, expect water works when I meet them. From monster babies to PPD...we've been through it together and I've been so grateful to them both, that to be able to thank them in person...opportunity of  life time.

I'm a social media butterfly, I love to dance {so excited for Sparklecorn} and it doesn't take me long to get comfy and come out of my shell. I'm very open about my art, life and PPD so if you have a question, ask!!
Come find me at BlogHer'12...I'll be the one in the raspberry pink cropped pants!

Why BlogHer?

A few weeks ago, I engaged in a #mombizmondays chat where we got talking about conferences...

Who's going to what conference?
Will you blog while you're there?
What social media tools are you going to use?
Are you bringing a laptop?

Then the big question...

Why did you choose the conference that you're going to?

This led me to think about why I'm going to BlogHer'12 and what I hope to get out of it. Of course I want to promote myself as a freelance writer, artist and excellent, quality blogger, but at the heart of it I want to...

Connect
Engage
Network

I want to meet the people who inspire me to blog like Mrs. Gloves, Jenni From The Blog, and Goober Monkey. I want to have a blast with my roommates Baby Shmizz, Living With Peanut and Never a Dull Moment and tour the sites of NYC.

I want to picnic in Central Park with Shizz on the Thursday, kick up our feet on a rock, and be silly.

I want to go to Tiffany's and treat myself to something for my 30th birthday.

I want to live...and experience every piece of BlogHer that I can. I want to soak it all in, write it all down, and blog about it when I get home and am able to digest the most influential weekend of my professional career.

So...why did you choose BlogHer'12?

TPH Canada...my printing savior

So last thursday, late in the evening, I sat up on the couch and gasped.

I forgot my email address and twitter handle on my BlogHer media cards.

Who does that?!

Certainly not someone who claims to be overly organized, have her ducks in a row and be so on top of everything that it's not funny.

But only...it did happen. And yes, I did freak out

Cover Art...before
After crying for a little while, and my sweet husband trying to reassure me that no matter the cost, we would get the proper cards printed, I went off to email TPH Canada and see about replacement cards and what that cost would be.

I woke up the next morning the the sweetest and most reassuring email from Cynthia - saying not to worry, that it happens, just to get them the artwork and they would have the card printed asap.
Cover art...after

Their kindness {oh queue the water works again!! That's how much I love them!} and reassurance is exactly why I love working with them. They are incredible, and I will be working with them for an extremely long time.

Thank you, TPH! You deserve a medal!

BlogHer Sponsor Love: TPH Canada


When looking for a printing company to collaborate with on my business and media cards for BlogHer, what really stood out to me about TPH Canada was how enviromentally responsible they are.

Since their founding in 1961, they have continually been searching for recycling programs, putting sustainability as a top priority and offering eco-friendly printing and paper solutions to their customers. Knowing that my cards were printed with heart...that's pretty amazing!


BlogHer Sponsor Love: Michele and Mary Kay


One thing I have learned in getting educated about my new beauty regimen from Michele, Independent Mary Kay Consultant, is the importance in your tools.

Similarly to being a painter and sculptor, the tools of the trade make every bit of difference in how you complete your masterpiece.

Take the amazing Mary Kay brush collection.






The set includes Powder Brush, Cheek Brush, Eye Definer Brush, Eye Crease Brush, Eyeliner/Eyebrow Brush and Lip Brush - all with sleek black wooden handles. They are oh-so-soft, made of 100% Pony and Goat hair...so you know that when the brush sweeps across your canvas, there is zero tugging, smudging, or damage like other brushes on the market that are composed of synthetic materials and sponges.


The brush set comes with an awesome rollup bag - all of the brushes have their own little spot and there are compartments for your compact, lip gloss, bronzer and mascara. Everything you need, and everything that I will need to put my freshest face forward at BlogHer'12 in just a few weeks! 



I love the entire ensemble. The roll-up takes up literally no space...it's smaller than the makeup bag that I used to have, that was a hot mess to say the least before Michele gave me some lessons, which means that it packs up nice an tight and leaves room for shoes, outfits, media cards...the essentials of BlogHer'12!