Monday, April 7, 2014

#LALLBLOG14 Lifestyle Bloggers National Conference {Long Post} [Part 2]

Hi everyone!

A little over a week ago, I was fortunate enough to attend #LALLBLOG14. Originally, I intended to attend both days; however, as some of you know, I have been incredibly sick with walking pneumonia that has made me practically useless for the past 3 weeks (don't worry, it's not contagious unless I lick you LOL). So, I was unable to attend Day 1 due to some serious complications because of the infection. Luckily, I was able to shake it off for the day thanks to some pretty strong meds and (yay!) I made it to Day 2 of #LALLBLOG14.

The event was held at THE REEF, formerly known as LA Mart, in Downtown Los Angeles. If you are ever on the lookout for this particular building, just look for the massive  chair they have up for display in the front. This classic-looking kitchen-style wooden straight-back chair outside of THE REEF was installed in October 2003 and it is America's largest chair! THE REEF got it from a consortium of Italian furniture makers by pure luck (it was originally supposed to be installed in Chicago). You get to drive under the chair as you enter the parking lot. It's really cool! ☺

THE REEF's parking lot giant chair

This give you an idea of how large it is!
I was very excited to see they had a sign about
#LALLBLOG14 in the elevator

34 Minutes Shoes

34 Minutes Shoes was one of the sponsors for the event. They had a display with some of their products. If you would like more information about this brand, check out their website HERE!

Mixed Media Artwork by Marissa Renee

My #LALLBLOG14 badge, Venti Hot Vanilla Latte with Soy Milk
from Starbucks, some of my notes & a pen courtesy of Sahagún Law

Once I found my girls, Linda (Beautzy) & Ahleessa (Ahleessa4Realz) and sat at the table, we were ready to start the conference. It's always wonderful to see these 2 ladies! ☺

Let me tell you, this was a conference that was not only full of education and knowledge, there was also plenty  of inspiration and support to go around the entire room. It was truly an honor and so humbling to be in the presence of people who have or are going through the same struggles, who 100% understand the way you view things & what you want to accomplish, and who believe in YOU and what you are trying to achieve. Awesome doesn't even begin to describe it...

If you are someone who is considering starting a blog OR if you are a beginner blogger and you are doubting everything you have done up to this point OR if you are an already-established blogger who needs a bit of an extra push to take you to the next level, this blog post is FOR YOU! ♥


* KEYNOTE SPEAKER *
Patricia Velásquez

Ana Lydia Monaco,
one of the organizers of #LALLBLOG14

Day 2 of #LALLBLOG14 started with Ana Lydia Ochoa-Mónaco, writer & editor of Cabeza de Coco and co-organizer of the event. Ana Lydia started by welcoming and thanking everyone for attending the conference. Then, she moved onto the introduction of keynote speaker, Patricia Velásquez. Patricia is best known for her role as Anck-Su-Namun in The Mummy & The Mummy Returns. She has also appeared in several of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issues and is considered by many to be the first Latin American supermodel.

Patricia is also the founder of The Wayuú Tayá Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting the Wayúu, a Venezuelan indigenous group of which Patricia is a descendant of. She also has a beauty line called Tayá Beauty. Tayá means "I Am" in the indigenous Wayúu dialect.

"Take small steps to get to the big steps to make your dreams happen."
-Patricia Velásquez

Patricia Velásquez as she began her speech
I want to share with you some of the things Patricia said that really  resonated with all of us. I think she was the most influential and inspirational of all the speakers. Several of the attendees were crying with her speech. It was simple, to-the-point, and very concise but, above all, her message was powerful!

Patricia talked about her own career, "When I started my career, I would see other girls become overnight successes while I was doing everything step by step. I didn't realize then that by taking small steps, my career would last longer. We are so focused on others' success that we don't realize we are making an impact on others that look up to us."

She also talked about how we should approach our business:
"Let people do what they know how to do. It helps you and makes them feel good."
"When you feel bad, get out of yourself & do something for somebody else."
"Everything you do, EMBODY IT! All decisions have to be about your niche."
"For success to happen, it only takes one person to believe in you. Pay it forward."

My favorite quote out of the entire thing is something I keep hearing over & over again. Patricia reminded us of it once again, "The universe will NEVER give you something you cannot handle."

* NOT JUST A BLOGGER *
Bloggers that have used their blog to springboard their career

L to R: Veronica Parga (@VeronicaGlamm), Marian Bacol-Uba (@marianthefoodie),
Marie Denee (@MarieDenee) & Norah Salazar (@norah_s)

This panel of bloggers was composed of Veronica Parga (VeronicaGlam), Marian Bacol-Uba (Marian The Foodie), Marie Denee (The Curvy Fashionista), and Norah Salazar (Norah Loves Makeup). They touched on their own experiences as established bloggers and how they took their careers to the next level. They also gave us tons  of advice on how to improve our business once we have established our blogs. Here are some of the most important things they had to say:

"When you go from hobby to business, make sure to trademark to protect yourself and your brand. Also, once you are have a   behind your name, it gives you more weight with social media." -Marie Denee
"Remember that just because it's on Google, it's NOT free!" -Marie Denee
"Consistency makes things happen"
"Make sure you work slow & steady. It makes you last longer!"
"Be relatable!"
"First put the foundation (blog), then add the layers (social media, video, podcast)."


"Create something new. THINK BIG!"
-Marie Denee

* MAXIMIZING SEO *
Online Business With Claudia Havi Goffan

Now, every time I think of Ryan Gosling, I think of
"Hey girl..." & Claudia Havi Goffan (@TargetLatino)

Claudia Havi Goffan is the president & CEO of Target Latino. She is also a recognized expert in Latino Marketing by CNN En Español and has been featured in several international media. It's safe to say that she knows  what she is talking about! ☺

I won't bore you with all the tech Q&A that we had at this workshop. Just make sure that you are active on social media (especially in Pinterest & Facebook), that you check your stats, and provide quality content to your audience. 

"Time. Work. Effort. Research. Quality.
It shows you KNOW what you are talking about.
MAKE IT COUNT!"
-Claudia Havi Goffan

* LUNCH! *

My delicious plate!! I was so hungry... ☺

We were provided a delicious lunch by Fresh Brothers & On Powered Refreshment Beverages.

From Fresh Brothers, I had one New Meatball Slider (OH-MY-GOD! Seriously, one of the most delicious things I have had in a very  long time), a Fresh Knot, 2 square slices of Veggie Pizza, and Greek Town Special & Caesar Salads. Hey! Don't judge me. I was super hungry & their food was simply delish! ☺

From On Powered Refreshment Beverages, I had the Dragonfruit Tangerine flavor.

* TAXES *
Do's & Don't for Bloggers With Paul Reyes-Fournier

Paul Reyes-Fournier (@coupledumb) talking about taxes

Once we were done with our lunch, we moved onto Taxes For Bloggers. This workshop was led by Paul Reyes-Fournier (Couple Dumb). He talked to us about business & taxes as if we were 5 year olds, which was perfect ! Paul put everything in the simplest terms possible in order for us to understand everything he was saying. As his wife Lee said on their Twitter account, "Don't let the hippie hair fool you - Paul knows taxes & business." He had great explanations and scenarios to make us understand what he was taking about.

Funny bit: As Paul was touching up on the IRS, we had a sudden earthquake. Coincidence? I think not! ☺

"The IRS is NOT the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse!"
-Paul Reyes-Fournier

On a side note, I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed him & his wife Lee! They are such an adorable couple and the way she gloated over her husband honestly warmed my little heart. You can tell they are very much in love with each other. By the way, I highly  suggest you check out their blog, CoupleDumb.com. It's basically all about relationships & how TO NOT screw them up. I'm obsessed with it!

* BREAK TIME! *

After the last workshop, we got to enjoy a nice cold Heineken & some Pretzel Crisps while we chatted away about all the stuff that we were learning. And, of course, we took some selfies while we were at it!

With Ahleessa (@ahleessac) & Linda (@beautzyblog)
taking selfies! ☺

Enjoying a nice cold Heineken

* ETHICS OF BLOGGING *

L to R: Luz Rivas (@luzrivas), Mariluz Gonzalez (@vesperpr),
Leah Segedie (@bookieboo), and Teresa Garza (@teresagarza)
This panel of bloggers was composed by Luz Rivas (DIY Girls), Mariluz Gonzalez (Vesper Public Relations), Leah Segedie (Bookieboo, LLC), and Teresa Garza (Checa La Movie).

This was a very interesting panel that discussed ethics. Ultimately, everyone agreed that ethics are very personal and not everyone views things the same way. It's all based on personal opinion and life experiences; however, there were some major points that I wanted to mention because, I feel, they apply to any profession or walk of life. Here are some of the things that were said during this panel:

These points are blogger-exclusive...

"Our followers believe in us. They trust us as bloggers."
"If you are a blogger, you LIVE and DIE in your reputation."
"This is social media. You HAVE to operate differently than an advertiser."
"Start local, local, local. Get your feet wet. Then move up into bigger brands."
"Engagement is more important than numbers."
"You need to behave in such a way that you ARE your brand ALL THE TIME."

...While these points are very universal!

"Don't go against WHO YOU ARE! Do what's in your heart."
"Be fair. Be honest."
"Do NOT lie or be a pain-in-the-butt to work with."
"Are you serving your ego? Or are you serving the masses?"
"Just because you can doesn't mean you should."
"Your competition should only be YOURSELF!"
"Separate the good & the bad. Build a HEALTHY network."


"Things to live by:
Fairness. Honesty. Transparency. Disclosure.
Setting things right."
-Ethics of Blogging Panel

* KEYNOTE SPEAKER *
Ana Guajardo

@chachacoversla

Ana Guajardo, owner of Cha Cha Covers started her business out of her own home and has been a major success. If you are into nail art, I definitely recommend you check her Etsy Shop by clicking HERE!

Ana shared with us her experience being a single mom in a difficult financial situation, how she got an idea, how she ran with it, and what keeps her going strong. She was full of wisdom and encouragement. Here are some of the things she had to say to us:

"Do not fear failure. Failure is a BIG part of growing."
"Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail BETTER!" -Samuel Beckett
(as shared by Ana Guajardo during her speech).
"You are part of culture. You are part of the conversation."
"You cannot outsource creativity! Creatives are the future."
"Have faith in yourself!"


"If you combine creativity & technology,
you'll be UNSTOPPABLE!"
-Ana Guajardo

At the very end, we were treated to ice cream from Peddler's Creamery. I was so excited that I completely forgot to take pictures of it. I had the Organic Dairy Salted Caramel Flavor. It was absolutely delicious! It was the perfect way to end the conference. 

* SWAG BAG *

All the amazing goodies we received.
Thank you #LALLBLOG14!! ♥

Thank you so much to all the sponsors who made #LALLBLOG14 possible and for providing all the attendees with wonderful goodies to enjoy! Here are some of the brands that participated:

Fresh Brothers, ilaments, JustFab, Melissa's Produce, Mirada Beauty, Nail Garden, Pretzel Crisps, Spectrum Athletic Clubs, Stonefire Grill, Ziba/Sum!ta Beauty, Taza Chocolate, TCBY, The New Lean For Life book, Where Women Create magazine, and Youtheory.

Thank you to Ana Lydia Ochoa-Mónaco for sponsoring me for this event. It was my very first bloggers conference and I am so happy to say it was the Lifestyle Bloggers National Conference that I attended! Also, thank you to every single person who worked so hard to put together #LALLBLOG14 - it was inspirational, educational, motivational, and 100% successful. It helped every single one of us in attendance to recharge our batteries and continue focusing on the future of our careers.

I hope you guys enjoyed my SUPER LONG post! I didn't write every single note that I took. I just wanted to share the things that stood out the most, the ones I knew would enlighten you & help you focus forward on whatever goals you have set up for yourself.

With this, I leave you. Hope every single one of you is doing wonderful and I send you tons of love & light...