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this is where you’ll find my favorite recipes, what we’re up to behind the scenes, and adventures in starting a new business. click on “mdj marketing” for more info on the latter.


gbs_welcome_table Yesterday, I had the opportunity to attend an amazing workshop in Kansas City hosted by Go Blog Social. It was a jam-packed day filled with networking, breakout sessions, and incredible speakers. I learned a ton and am completely reenergized and inspired to kick some serious blogging booty.

We started the day with a talk from Tobe Reed of Because It's Awesome (she's also creative director of Hallmark). She discussed finding what works for you and staying authentic to your brand—she manages a small business, so it's all about promoting without losing intention.

Then, I went to my first breakout session, hosted by Sam and Emily of StyleEsque. We learned the ins and outs of styling and building a business from the ground up—and got to try our hand at styling, too! Here are a few shots of what I came up with...



I also attended a session with Emily of The Object Enthusiast, a ceramics business (she makes pots, plates, etc for Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie!). She was a featured user on Instagram and has over 46,000 followers now, so I took some excellent notes on how she got to where she is! (Hint: it's all about staying true to yourself and your brand and giving your followers consistent, quality content.)

Next, the lovely Jenny Singh of A Touch of Ambition gave one of the most inspiring talks I've heard. Jenny provides digital marketing and brand building for entrepreneurs, bloggers, and creatives. She's the best person to call if you're having a rough day or need to be lifted up—she truly wants those around her to succeed and do what they are called to do. Jenny believes in asking people what their story is, not just what they do, because then you form deeper bonds than just "I work at an agency during the day."—you get "I grew up in a small town, then moved to XYZ City to pursue my dreams, and I'm working on 3 side projects, and I'm really into yoga." Much more effective. I relate to Jenny so much—we both tweaked our majors a million times in college and are hungry to try more, more, more. She identifies as an extroverted introvert and SO DO I. I'm lucky to have someone like Jenny here in Des Moines! Looking forward to learning and working with her and the other talented Des Moines bloggers.

Our keynote speakers were Morgan and Carrie of Ampersand Design Studio, based in Kansas City. These besties worked together for almost a decade at Hallmark and then decided to take the plunge and start their own design studio. They've had countless collaborations and amazing projects, and that's what they educated us on—taking risks and asking for what you want. If you don't ask, they can't say yes. (New mantra, obviously.) They reassured me that making mistakes happens to everyone, even once you make it big. The best things sometimes come from the biggest mistakes.

Big takeaway? Be yourself. Authenticity is the best asset to have as a person and as a brand. No one wants to follow or engage with someone who's trying to be something they're not. Embrace your silliness, embrace life's outtakes. That's what makes you you, and that's why people will want to interact with you (online and in real life.)


PS: Check out the amazing stuff we got in our gift bags. Huge shoutout to the workshop sponsors and to the entire Go Blog Social team!