Scenes from Freeport, Nassau, Great Stirrup Cay and the Everglades

I can’t believe it was already a month ago that I set sail on the Norwegian Sky for a four day cruise to the Bahamas! (This cruise was actually purchased on Groupon for $400 round trip. Crazy cheap, and I was a little nervous at first about how a Groupon travel deal would work, but everything went perfectly. Now I’ll be scoping Groupon, too, when I’m planning vacations!)  Below are some of my favorite pictures from the trip. The Bahamas were beautiful, but I’m spoiled rotten to have been to many gorgeous Caribbean locations, so it was hard to top the majestic mountains and beach of St. Lucia, for example. Matt and I mostly enjoyed relaxing on the beach for four days, sipping beers and dacquiris while listening to reggae music float out from beachside bars. We did a sting-ray excursion on the island of Great Stirrup Cay, and that was awesome. I’ll try to blog later this week about our experiences with the rays, or as I call them, the cats of the sea. We finished our trip with an airboat ride in the Everglades, where we saw lots of cranes, egrets, and tiny baby alligators.

Have a tremendous Tuesday!

Getting my bloggy on: Lifestyle Bloggers National Conference 2015

Remember last year when I got to be all fancy and speak on a panel about social media? Well, I was invited to attend the Lifestyle Blogger’s National Conference again this year, and I’m so glad I went! I didn’t have any speaking duties this time, so I was able to fully absorb everything as an eager attendee. The conference is held at Maker’s City in downtown LA — a super cool building that houses furniture designers, coworking spaces, and textile and clothing boutiques. Many of these are not open to the public, so it’s fun to get a sneak peek of what life might be like for a designer.

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One of my favorite workshops was the Lifestyle Styling workshop. At conferences, it’s easy to get a little bit glazy-eyed as you sit at a table for hours, so I really loved the idea of small, hands-on, interactive workshops. This workshop was lead by Katie Allison, a lifestyle and product stylist for J. Crew, Nordstroms, Two’s Company, and many more. She handed us a great worksheet filled with tips and tricks for blog photography. For example, if you’re photographing something that’s mostly monochromatic, make sure your pops of color are only 10 to 20% of the photo for best visual impact. She also recommended mixing up textures and backgrounds, and getting super creative when it comes to setting up your shot. She let us loose in the studio with hundreds of fun props, from butterfly wings to old suitcases to rocks. We spent a solid half an hour arranging shots, and here’s what I came up with. This was definitely one of the best conference sessions I have EVER been to — and I’ve been to a lot of conferences!

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One of the other things I really like about LBNC is they call it a boutique conference, and work hard to keep the attendees fairly limited so it’s an intimate feeling. It was really fun to meet several ladies and then see them several times throughout the weekend, as opposed to some of the bigger cons I’ve been to where you see someone once and then that’s it. We also feasted on delicious food from Fresh Brothers (YUM!) and even an LA Dirt Dog, which is a grilled hot dog wrapped in bacon, piled with peppers and onions, and served on a chewy bun with mayo, mustard, and ketchup. It’s so good! There’s definitely plenty of yummy stuff to eat at this conference.

And lastly, despite the informative sessions, good food and kick ass swag bag (We got OPI polish from the new Hawaiian line — anybody that hooks up high end polish is good in my book!), it’s packed with awesome women. Here I am with old and new friends alike! From top left: Kia of Bodhi Bear, Monica of My Life is a Journey, Leah of Mamavation, Ana Lydia of Cabeza de Coco (and the founder of LBNC!), Jen of Skinned Knees, Me, Kia and Leah again, and me and Aubrye of Club Momme. I also got to meet an awesome photographer and fellow valley girl, Kristina Bant Jenkins.

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If you’re thinking about taking your blog to the next level, definitely check out LBNC. We were also encouraged to tweet and ‘gram and post like crazy in exchange for tons of prizes… and I scored an awesome prize pack of a hot/cold neck wrap and some fancy Nerium face products. Can’t wait to try them out. Next year it will be held starting on Feb. 25. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for promotions and coupons so you can get your lifestyle bloggy on, too! See ya there!