That week I went outside my comfort zone: Part 1: LINK2013

Last week I was very outside of my comfort zone, but in a very good way.  I packed my bags and said goodbye to my little family as I took a trip out to Toronto to explore how to grow my blog. I had no idea where I could go with my blog when I started it 3 years ago.  I was just a gal posting a few recipes and crafts for a few readers, and now it’s turning into something beyond my wildest dreams.  And I want to see where it will take me…

So in order to do that I wanted to attend some blogging conferences.  The goal being to connect with others who ‘get’ what I’m doing, and also to explore how to grow my blog.  Those who either don’t read blogs or write blogs, just don’t ‘get’ what I’m doing.  But that’s ok.  Because the two conferences I attended this past week were full of people doing the same thing as I was.  It was such an amazing feeling to connect with other bloggers. I felt part of a community, and it felt a.w.e.s.o.m.e.

I just wanted to share some of the fun I had, and maybe inspire you to explore your own dreams, blog or not.  Go outside of your comfort zone…you just never know where you may end up.  One thing I know for sure…I’m stepping out more often…and I’m not going to let anything get in my way.  😉

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First a little background.  I went to 2 conferences:  LINK2013 and BlissDom Canada.  In this post I’m just going to share my LINK2013 experience, then later I will share my BlissDom experience.  This post would be huge if I did both at the same time…can’t have anyone falling asleep while they’re readin!  🙂

LINK2013 was first up on my journey.
This conference was put on by my media network SheBlogs Media Canada, as a way to connect with other bloggers in this network, and also to connect with brands who help to make A Pretty Life possible.


This leg of the trip was so great!  Not to mention the fact that it was my first time in Toronto!  I fell in love with Toronto right away…it kind of reminded me of a mini NYC in a really fabulous way!  SO much energy.


I stayed right downtown at the King Edward Hotel, and when I arrived there I immediately felt like this was going to be a great 2 days.  The 100+ year old hotel was amazing…and the beds and pillows…my word.  The best ever.  I think I slept better there than I had anywhere in the past 10 years.  No kidding.  #sleptlikeateenager  And why oh why didn’t I take a picture of my room?!  Gah.

On a side note, I did take over 20 pictures of just the light fixtures…SO gorgeous…I’ll spare you the details, haha!  One of the highlights of the hotel though, was a private tour of the Crystal Ball Room that has been closed since the 70’s.  The hotel is planning on restoring this room, thankfully, as it is such an incredible space with a full view of the Toronto skyline.

But the best part of this trip?  I learned so much.  And I had so much fun.


I took away so much from these 2 days with fellow SheBloggers.  

  • It’s good to go outside the box.  As I mentioned before, I was totally out of my comfort zone leading into this trip.  I had to walk into rooms with dozens of people, none of which I knew in person.  And for a somewhat introvert like me, this can be very intimidating.  But it’s good to push the boundaries, because you just never know what good can happen if you push yourself.  So I put aside my anxieties, and did my best to meet and talk to so many great gals!  And now, I feel as though I’m part of a community…and that’s invaluable.
  • I need to take some time for me, to recharge and renew.  Each morning I dragged my tired buns out of bed to attend the yoga session, because I’m a trooper like that.  I love yoga, but I thought the time change would kill me in the morning (and it did), but those two mornings of yoga were ah-mazing.  Staring at the (gorgeous) light fixtures, I remembered how much I loved yoga…I’m inspired to go again.  These 2 yoga sessions made me realize that I need space to recharge and be a better person, mother and wife.
  • I need to network more, virtually and in person.  I need to build my community.  There is an entire network of like minded people out there.  And if you find the right group, you can have amazing support behind you.  What you put in, you get out.  I had some great conversations with some very knowledgeable bloggers…I actually learned the most from the blogger to blogger interactions.  Julie, for example helped me to grow my Twitter account, which is something that has been on my mind for a long time.  All I did was ask the question, and Julie stepped up in 30 seconds to help me.  This.  This is why I love the blogging community.  We all help each other.  Speaking of networking…hey, recognize that gal?!  It’s Angie from Echoes of Laughter!  I finally got to meet her and so many other fantastic bloggers.  I had other great conversations with AlexLizBrookeVirginia and Christine…just to mention a few.    Fan-tastic!
  • I need to ask for what I want more.  If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
  • I can do this…I can grow my blog into the vision I have for it.  One of the best sessions I attended was given by Jeanne Beker.  Yep, that Jeanne Beker.  Canadian icon extraordinaire.  She was enthusiastic, inspiring and really just all around fantastic.  My take away from Jeanne…Understand what you stand for.  Make things happen for you.  You are in charge of your life, whatever you choose to do with it.  I can do this.

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A BIG thank you to SheBlogs Media!

I really enjoyed my time at LINK2013.  I had so much fun, got to meet so many great people and came home with tonnes of swag from the conference sponsors…boo-yah!  But really, I feel energized and ready to tackle my blog again.  It’s time to grow, baby grow!

Next up (hopefully tomorrow)I’m going to share my experience with BlissDom Canada…another amazing conference!!

Have an inspired day!

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  1. It was a HUGE pleasure to meet you Jo-Anna! I’m hooked on your blog already. Great wrap up from the weekend. YOu really hit the nail on the head- recharge, network, have a vision, grab the bull by the horns, put on your big girl panties and ask the question, and GO for it! Great round up of the conference!

  2. Thank you for the inspiration! I am just starting out my blog and would love to find some similar resources or support closer to home (California). Do you have any posts from the past on how you’ve grown your blog so far? Love following you!