For the past two weeks, I have been, once again, trying to wrap my head around all that happened at Blogger Bash. My mind was literally blown. And I’m not just talking about all the awesome sponsors and the fun cruise around the city to end the event. 

I’m talking about the things I learned about myself and others during those three days. Connecting with brands and meeting new bloggers are always a priority. But what I take away the most is what I take away from the event on the inside. 

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Let me try and explain this.

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First, let me start with my car mates, my friends Jenn and Lana. If you ever needed someone that could help you belt out Whitney while driving through the tunnel or someone to tell you “to get over yourself” or make you laugh so hard your belly hurts, these are the girls. They just don’t blow sunshine and roses at you. If you need someone to shake you and get yourself out of your head, these are the girls to do it! (They also encourage you to dress up like a princess and own it!)

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And there’s also no better people to get stuck in an elevator with. True story: Jenn and I got stuck in the elevator while helping break down #sweetsuite16. And Lana came to our rescue to get us out!

Another great experience for me was being styled by Jude Connally. This opportunity just landed in my lap and I ran with it. The Blogger Bash team and ambassadors were styled by Jude herself for both days of Blogger Bash with her amazing dresses and prints. 

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I will admit. I was skeptical. I didn’t think anything would fit and I wouldn’t have anything to wear. When the box arrived with my goodies, I pulled the dresses out and whined to Jenn that nothing was going to fit. Here’s where that “get over yourself” comes into play. She told me to stop whining and just put on the damn dress. And I did. And I am so thankful that I did! 

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The Jude Connally team analyzed our social profiles and blogs to fit us with the perfect dresses. And I think I can say for everyone, they hit the nail on the head. I didn’t have to worry once about what I was wearing, how it fit, or if I looked good. It didn’t matter. I felt good. And that is what Jude is all about.  The Jude Connally brand is inspired by real women. With a fit for every body type, every woman’s spirit will shine when wearing Jude Connally.

Now that I looked and felt good, it was time to meet up with friends, both old and new. 

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Let me start with the captain of the ship, Laurie. When Laurie grabs your hand and tells you to go dance on stage, you go dance on stage. What I have learned the most from Laurie is that if you work hard, you can play hard. And this woman knows how to play. In addition to founding Blogger Bash and Sweet Suite, Laurie Schacht is President and Chief Toy Officer of Adventure Publishing Group, the leading publisher of magazines servicing the toy and licensing industries since 1983.

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The unsung hero, Charlene. You guys, I can confidently say that this girl makes the ship run, literally. From working with sponsors on planning to floor layouts to making sure our bellies are full, this girl does it all. You may not see her often during the event but it’s because she’s in the back room making sure everything runs smoothly. Watching her these past three years have taught me about grace under fire, humility, and that hard work does pay off! Not only am I proud to work along side her, I am proud to call her a friend.

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Every team needs a dynamic duo! Ali and Marissa, both incredible humans in their own rite, have no idea how much they give to others. I’m not only lucky to call them friends, but I have been a benefactor of their kindness and wisdom. It’s not every day that you get to work along side women that are talented in their field, that are so encouraging of others. These two know how to make me laugh when I feel frustrated and encourage me by bringing out qualities that I sometimes never knew existed.

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You know who can make me laugh and smile just by seeing her face? #MyFriendMaddie! I meet Maddie 3 years ago when she was an intern at Blogger Bash. Today, she’s the editorial assistant at Adventure Publishing Group and resident Millennial. Maddie has a bubbly personality and it’s contagious. You can’t help but be in a good mood when she’s around. 

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And the rest of the Blogger Bash team! I mean do these people know how to throw a party or what! It’s been an honor to work with this team. Nothing goes unnoticed even when you think no one is looking. Every team member is an important piece of the puzzle. Seeing how each member is an integral part of the puzzle has made me realize the kind of team I want to build for myself. 

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If you ever need to feel good about yourself, just talk to Janis. Janis will remind you how awesome you are. How smart you are. How talented you are. And she’s not just bs-ing you so you will share about the new Care Bears that are coming out. I met Janis back at Sweet Suite ’13 in Chicago. I was immediately drawn to her because she wears the most fabulous tights (if you have met Janis before, you know what I’m talking about). She is one of the most genuine people that I have ever met. All it takes is one Janis-ism to turn my mood around.

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And then there are my blogging friends, both old and new. I met some wonderful new people who instantly got me. My people. Like the ones who would leave a cocktail party to catch the #Manhattenhenge. 

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Or the people who will walk with you to CVS at 10 pm so you don’t have to walk alone. Or the people who look you in the eye and say “I got your back” and you know that they do. Or the people who know how to just let everything go and have fun. Those are my people. 

_Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift youLife is already filled with those who

That is why I love being a part of Blogger Bash. Not for the swag. Not for the things. But for the experience. For the tribe. For the things that I take away that will stay with me long after my blogging days are done. Things that drive me to the best person I can be. 

And for that, I will also be thankful.

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