This time last year, I remember being nervous walking in to Red Pepper wondering how a weekend at a blogger event would play out. I hadn’t ever been. No one really knew I was blogging. Was I ready? Am I going to know anyone? Are all the attendees going to be experienced? Was I going to get value for the money I paid? My anxiety plagued mind was going crazy!

No, I wasn’t exactly ready. I didn’t know anyone – but I met new people that I still keep connected with. Not all the attendees were “pro’s” in the blogging world and I feel like I did get my money’s worth.

Last year around this time, I remember receiving a DM on Instagram from the ladies of BloggerXchange. They had reached out letting me know that they were hosting a blogging event and that I should come. I hesitated going because I wasn’t sure if it was right for me or if I was experienced enough. I was letting fear get in the way. I took the jump and decided to go. I was only able to attend the all day class sessions on the Saturday of the weekend due to work but I fit it in and made it happen.

I am so glad I went! As I mentioned, I met a lot of like-minded bloggers of all levels and I have kept in touch and learned from each of their journeys. So when I found out about the event happening again this year, I knew I had to go.

Fast forward to this year. I had no hesitation in going. I knew that it was something I needed to do for myself if this was something I wanted to do. I was curious to see how it would differ from last year. Would I see the same people? Am I going to meet new people? Yes, to both of those questions.

It was great seeing how far some of the bloggers from last year have come and it was really fun talking to new attendees about their experiences and telling them about mine from last year and this year’s events.

One of the best things about this year was being able to attend more than just the Saturday of classes (in addition to working yet again!).

Thursday night was the official kick-off for me. Since I had purchased the VIP ticket, I was able to attend a VIP only mixer at The Lab Nashville, which is a great community work space here in town. We had dinner from Slim+Husky’s, which is a favorite of mine, cookies from Tiff’s Treats and an assortment of drinks from Deep Bay, Muddy Boot Wine and Jackson Morgan (their salted caramel liqueur was fantastic!). We also received swag bags from BumbleBFF filled with tons of goodies from various sponsors. Included were items like beauty products, a hat from Aviate Brand, a super cute Tennessee coaster from the Local Coaster and even a gift card to Macy’s! We sure were spoiled with these sponsors!

We were able to meet some of the event sponsors as well like Birdie’s Frozen Drinks (their strawberry lemonade is SO good!), NashTN (Nashville looks good on you murals around town), and LaMarvelous Balloons – who’s balloon garland at our brunch was beautiful!

Unfortunately, I had to miss Friday’s kick-off party due to my work schedule but I heard everyone had a great time.

Our host for the day on Saturday was Nossi College of Art, a beautiful facility just north of Nashville. Our day started with an inspiring speech from Paris Chanel (yes that is her birth name) and she is just the funniest, beautiful and hard-working little boss babe you will meet! We then began our classes after our keynote, classes we chose based off of what would suit us and our brand best. This was a full day and can always be a little bit overwhelming. I mean, you are having a ton of great knowledge thrown at you for most of your day. My favorite class was the Business of Blogging class, which for me was where I felt like I learned the most. How to make ad/sponsored posts FTC compliant, understanding fine details of of contracts and basically making sure you are covered – you are a brand, a company and should act and treat your blog as such.

Of course there was more Tiff’s treats involved on Saturday – I seriously, can not turn them down! Breakfast was brought in from Rush Bowls – and let me tell you…THEY ARE DELICIOUS! Oh. My. Gosh! I am a very picky eater and I very much enjoyed it! The portion size was just a bit big for me and I did my best to finish it but it was fantastic! Lunch was catered in by Taziki’s and their seasoned pita chips were to die for! So much so that there weren’t any left – bummer! Maybe it was a sign I didn’t need any more, right? Boxed Water and Milo’s kept us hydrated as well.

Saturday wasn’t just for food and classes, we also got to do some shopping with some really great vendors and I personally enjoyed the girls from Hello Well Co. I met them last year and have picked up oils from them both years so far. They are just so sweet and were very helpful and have the cutest cleaning bottles with fun messages like Hot Mess, So Fresh and So Clean, I don’t want no scrubs and my personal fave (that I own as well), Clean Me Baby One More Time. Who doesn’t love Britney Spears? And making cleaning just a bit more fun!

This brings us to Sunday, which was was the final day of the XPO but one of the most fun. Sunday’s festivities were held at the home of the OG Blogger Xchange Xpo, Red Pepper. You know it will be a good day when you are treated to yummy drinks from Birdie’s! We had a great photo op with a beautiful balloon collage from LaMarvelous Balloons and a delicious breakfast of potatoes, eggs, bacon, chicken and waffles from Chef Batts catering – Y’ALL. Those potatoes. I can not rave about them enough!

We were able to visit with vendors and snack on delicious cupcakes from Custom Creations from Chanel and they definitely get two thumbs way up from this cupcake-loving girl. I definitely have a sweet tooth! We were also treated to some massages and giveaways! Not to mention more great drinks from Deep Bay, Muddy Boot, and Jackson Morgan as well as a dance party to finish out the day. Gotta dance off all that wonderful food we had over the weekend.

Leigh and Kay – Thank you for a great event! You guys did a fantastic job and deserve so much credit. Your mom’s were both so sweet and very welcoming! I look forward to my future as a blogger. I left feeling inspired and can’t wait to put the knowledge I gained over the weekend to use and see where it takes me.

Until next year!