It all began with a boat ride…how cool right?!
Pro tip #1: Get there early
This wasn’t our first rodeo so we made sure to leave lots of time in our travel schedules to explore the city. The boat tour was amazing and the perfect way to kick off our trip!
Next we grabbed a bite to eat and headed back to the hotel to get ready for the welcome party.
We stayed in the W Lakeshore Hotel where the conference was hosted. After staying in an Air BNB for last year’s conference, I can tell you staying where it is hosted makes things so much less stressful!
Pro Tip #2: Stay where the conference is hosted
I know it can be pricy but when you split it 3 ways it isn’t too bad which leads me to…
Pro Tip #3: Limit your roomies
I heard stories last year of girls being packed into rooms like sardines! I am not about that life! Having two other roomies who had similar lifestyles as me (i.e. trying to live their best life and get sleep while doing it) was perfect!
We got ready just in time to stop by the iconic Flamingo wall before the party. How cool right?!
The Welcome Party was hosted by Vera Bradley at the Sugar Factory.
They had lobster rolls and cocktails with lolly pops so I was quite obviously (??) excited.
It was so fun meeting new bloggers and catching up with the ones I had met last year! And y’all, even though I was worried the palm print set (wearing a M) would be a little loud for a big city like Chicago, it was a huge hit! Having a room full of bloggers compliment your outfit was crazy and it helped them to remember who I was the rest of the trip!
“Oh you’re the girl who covers her life in palm print, got it!” – everyone on day two ?
Pro Tip #4: Wear something memorable
I did this in sorority recruitment way back when and have ever since to events! Ps, it doesn’t have to be pricy either! My set was so cheap!
Also, make sure to talk to as many people as possible! My favorite opening line, “So where are you from?”
Day two of TBSCON Chicago was filled with learning all the things! Shout out to my girl Greta looking so studious in the pic above!
I took a workshop on Lightroom (Stephanie, you are amazing), Tailwind (boy did that blow my mind), and SEO by the talented Lindsey Humes who did a great job revamping THIS site after last years conference.
Pro Tip #5: Don’t get overwhelmed
Conferences can be quite the brain dump but don’t stress! Not everything you learn has to be put into action immediately! Think baby steps…unless you’ve got tons of time, knock yourself out ?!
Y’all, this place was STUNNING, the food was delicious, and we got to check out some gorgeous shoes from the fall line.
Pro Tip #6: Eat up!
Every chance you have to eat, do it! There is nothing worse than your stomach growling in a quiet class or one on one conversation with a brand. Also, I just love food.
Then it was back to the W for the gifting suit or what I like to call, blogger Christmas!
(Outfit in this post)
I obviously ended up with tons of swag that made my suitcase extremely overweight but what I loved most was getting to meet the faces behind the brands!
The girl from Vera Bradley had the prettiest smile, personality, and obvi bags!
Seeing the girl from Physicians Formula who I met last year and got to hang out with that night (pics below) was like reuniting with an old friend!
The girl from Cosmedix helped me get my skin on track after she took my hydration level at 18%…the worst in the whole room! Ahhhh!
I also really enjoyed meeting the girl from Charming Charlie who I now love following on Instagram!
And how amazing is this donut wall that the girls from Lauren James had!
Pro Tip #7: Bring business cards
Ok…I know everyone says to bring media kits too but honestly, they slowed me down last year. This year, I gave all the brands my business cards and made sure to get theirs in return. As soon as I got home, I emailed (and even snail mailed) some notes to them to thank them and tell them it was great meeting them!
It was crazy and we definitely worked up an appetite riding the elevators so afterward we went to Hampton Social for dinner. You know…the place with the famous rosé all day wall! The rosé way okay but the wall was ? #basic.
Day 3 of TBSCON Chicago might have been my favorite though. We heard speakers talk on travel blogging, going full time and even FTC guidelines (Brittany, you killed it).
I also had a bit of a fan girl moment when the keynote speaker, Rachel Martino, followed me back on instagram. She was so down to earth and knowledgable!
(This outfit in this post)
I diligently took notes (and snacked on my fav popcorn #obsessed) the whole time!
Then before I knew it, it was time to pack up and head to the airport.
The whole weekend went by so quickly but was so great. I am looking forward to the conference again next year! Here’s hoping its in Nashville (or the Bahamas)!
If you’ve got questions about TBSCON Chicago or attending a conference in general, just comment below!
All really professional photos by photographer, Julie Kennedy