Bright Night Event, Arizona May 2016
Last week I had the opportunity to go to a local blogging conference. The Bright Night Event started in Utah and decided to come here to Arizona, and I’m so glad they did!
The lineup of speakers was what drew me to the event in the first place, and I bought my ticket a couple months ago. I was so excited to go learn from some great women in the industry and maybe help my blog and myself in the process. The day came for the event and I realized I wasn’t so excited.
I am newer to the blogging world and although I have met many amazing bloggers as a photographer, I was never trying to actually do the same thing. It has been so easy for me for years to hide behind a camera and not put myself out there. As soon as I started this blog and marketing for it, I knew there was going to be no more hiding. I am out in full force, all of me…..like it or not! This blog is MY story and MY journey, and I have waited years to tell it. I know that this is what I am “meant” to do and this is the gift that I have been given to share. But, it is still terrifying!
So, going to my first “blogging” event was nerve-wracking Was I going to feel like I fit in? Would I know a single person? How do I describe my blog to people in less than 500 words?! Who will I sit with? All these things were racing through my head the entire morning. Let me just explain something. I am NOT quiet. I am not a shy person by any sense of the word. I can become instant friends with almost anyone I meet. I was a born social butterfly. It’s a gift that I have always known I was blessed with.
However, when it comes to putting myself out there and talking about me, it takes a lot of effort on my part to feel completely comfortable. I know this event was supposed to be fun, but it was causing a lot of undue stress for me.
I sucked it up (after losing it a little bit on my kids) and realized I needed to get out of the house.;) I drove to the venue alone, stood in line alone, and walked around for a bit looking for a place to sit. I decided to force myself out of my comfort zone and sat at a table where I knew no one and introduced myself. Well, to my surprise, I ended up “knowing” someone at the table from my daughter’s school and the conversation just ran from there. I made a few new Instagram friends and they are awesome women, who also came not really knowing anyone.
The first speaker was Becki Crosby of Whippy Cake. I have gotten to know her a little bit over the last couple of years and she is awesome! She spoke about confidence (funny considering the morning I had) and not letting anything get you down. She is a fabulous speaker! My favorite quotes from her speech were the following:
She spoke of a lot of the things that can be distractions and get in the way of living the life we want. She spoke about the things that can help us and uplift us to be better people and women. It was a wonderful speech.
The next hour was spent in another room listening the Ashley of The Shine Project. Her story of helping inner city kids get scholarships for college and then work to pay their way through college is inspiring. She had one of the students that has benefitted from her program speak to us. It was a beautiful story and you can also help by going to their website at www.theshineproject.com to purchase jewelry that is packaged and sent by these same youth, to help raise money for the scholarships and put them through school. Many of the youth are first generation college students and great examples to their families and communities.
The final speaker of the day on my schedule was the amazing Natalie Norton. I had heard Natalie speak at a Time Out for Women LDS event a few years back and was excited to hear her again. She is a very strong woman and has survived not only the loss of her younger, very close brother, but also her infant son, whom she had named after her brother. The strength that she posses is almost otherworldly and she has so much power when she speaks. She spoke a lot about the story of Alice in Wonderland and how Alice lost her way and her self and had to learn to once again “find her muchness”. It was a beautiful talk and I was so inspired when I left to continue sharing my story with others. Thank you Natalie!
After the different classes, we were escorted back to the main dining room and had an amazing dinner catered by Oreganos. Love that place and their food! The evening was ended with delicious sodas and cookies from Sodalicious and a super fun dance party.
All in all the evening was not what I expected it to be, but so, SO much more! I left with a few new friends and more confidence than I started the night with. I was so happy that I got through my insecurities and stepped a little outside of my comfort zone to have an uplifting and fun day. Thanks so much girls at Bright Night Events for hosting an amazing party, and I hope you come back to Arizona again next year!