The highlight of my year is attending BlogPaws, the Pet Bloggers and Social Media Conference. This year it was held in Vienna, Virgina and I'd have to say this BlogPaws was the best ever and I can only see it getting bigger and better. BlogPaws is here to stay. Pet Blogging is here to stay and is growing, growing, growing.
Associated Press attended which was absolutely HUGE, as it gave us international attention. That happened because of Carol Bryant, the Public Relations and Marketing Manager of BlogPaws. (She also has one of THE best pet blogs around, FidoseofReality). Here is the AP video that went out all over the world.
I live in Canada (95% of the peeps at BlogPaws didn't know that) but most of my readers are from the USA. So they just assumed I was American. (I travel so often now to the states I should get dual citizenship) It's quite a journey from the Great North to Washington, DC (close to Vienna, Virginia). I don't know what I was thinking but I didn't time my flight very well. I landed at 1:00 a.m. Wednesday and by the time I got to the hotel it was 2:00 a.m.
I pleaded my case to the front desk that technically it was Wednesday (which I had my reservation for) and could I perhaps check-in. Unfortunately (and I knew that) it was far too early and they may be able to check me in at 11. The other option was that I could rent a room for $249. I glanced around the lobby and restaurant area and let the young man know I'd be having a snooze over on that comfy chair.
I got all settled in with all of my bags and my travelling companions, Flat Oscar, Flat Tessa and Flat Indiana and Davinia. At one point the night janitor was there and had to vacuum around my feet.
Around 5:30 a.m. I feel this poke on my shoulder and the young fella said; "We're going to let you check in now, Mam". (Hate when they call you Mam) I was stuffed up so I know I was snoring for sure. So off I went to my room, and saw in the mirror; lines on my face, total "sleeping in a chair" hair and little crusty drool on my mouth. I bet management told the front desk guy to get the Hobo Blogger out of the restaurant area as they'd be opening up soon for breakfast service.
The next day I helped the gals stuff swag bags for the Cat Lounge, a special feature at Blogpaws. Lots of laughs and excited anticipation of the conference amongst us ladies. We'd take an empty bag and work our way down the line putting items into the bag and then placing them with the other filled ones. (Must have been 300) Afterwards I went back to my room and to my horror saw that I was missing a press-on nail! Egads. I retraced my steps and went back to the swag stuffing room to poke around. No sign of the AWOL hand accessory. So my sincere apologies to whomever may have received the surprise. "Let's see what I got.....a cat toy, cat treats, cat litter scoop, a fake nail....how special"
There are so many highlights of BlogPaws it's hard to know where to start. The sessions were top notch and they were recorded, so soon I will be able to hear the sessions I missed and revisit the ones I attended. That is such a post-conference perk indeed. The Sponsors were fantastic, the meals deeeeeeelicious, the events were super fun and of course the best part, seeing old friends and making new ones. You can see BlogPaws photos and stories by checking out the many posts up on the BlogPaws site. I took Flat Oscar around all weekend. He totally sat still during the sessions. Good dog!
Matt Beswick, a SEO Wizard from the UK doing his presentation, SEO: Getting Ahead in Search
Travis Watson will be launching BePawsitive June 1st! and I'm going to help them spread the word. Get this - For every treat box they sell, they give one to a shelter. How can I not back this amazing company? Wonderful people. Wonderful way to make a difference. Watch for the link on my site coming soon!
I brought my new camcorder along too as I am now adding video to my blog. Vlogging it's called. Even have a Video Blogging for Dummies Book. (There is a "For Dummies" book on every topic, I swear) I did forget my camcorder case so had to make due with this classy one.
PetSmart had a VIP event and introduced their new products. Looking forward to doing a blog post about that. They had a fella taking photos with a blue screen and beach images. Couldn't resist.
Carol Bryant, PR and Media Manager of Blogpaws and I getting tropical.
One of my favorite sessions was Make Some NOISE - How to Connect All Your Social Media and Create Buzz. My friends Annie Hart from the Bill Foundation and Eldad Hagar from Hope for Paws Rescue collaborated on the presentation, inspiring bloggers and rescue groups to work together to create a stronger voice and save more lives. They played this video which warmed everyones heart and got lots of smiles too. And a good laugh at the end.
One thing you can expect when you attend BlogPaws is incredible swag from the Sponsors. In the past years I have had to leave a lot behind with limited luggage space and weight allowance. This year I even spoke with the fellas at the UPS service that was set up, and to send even 10 pounds to Canada, was going to be $80. Yikes!
I helped start a Pet Soup Kitchen back home in Vernon and I really did want to take treats and toys back (and items for blog giveaways) so on the Sunday, Flat Oscar and I walked down to Marshall's to buy a suitcase. I needed a new one anyways and for a $35 extra baggage fee, I could bring home 50 pounds of swag. Sweet!
Just had to take a photo of this. It's not just good chicken.... It's SUPER!
I accidentally ran over goose poop on the way back to the hotel.
Getting a new suitase was a smart move as it allowed me to bring all of this back!
Now that I am home and somewhat settled, I'm super excited about the future of my blog and the future of BlogPaws. Next year it's in Las Vegas (not on the strip but beside a lovely lake) May 8,9,10th. We're planning on another sell out conference so I'm encouraging people to register early. So don't miss out!! Trust me - you'll have THE best time and learn so much.
EXCITING NEWS! I am re-launching my blog on June 15th, with a logo and several new elements, inspired from what I learned at BlogPaws. I am also redoing my MakeBooksOnline.com site, as I am a proud sponsor of the upcoming Wigglebutt Wedding. I have the honor of creating the wedding albums. Dexter and Zoe make such a wonderful couple. You can follow the festivities here.
BlogPaws has come and gone and already I miss my friends; the ones I made from the very first BlogPaws and the new ones along the way. But we are connected online and are about to be even more connected, as we share content, support one another and in the end, create a better life for pets and the people who love them. BlogPaws is a YEAR AROUND community.
I hope to see you next year! Vegas Baby!!