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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.



Hello lovelies!

Over the weekend, I was fortunate enough to attend the Go Blog Social 2-Day Conference in Kansas City, MO. This conference is AMAZING—it's an opportunity to meet other bloggers from all over the country, hear from speakers that have built businesses and empires from the ground up, and learn from the best of the best.


I learn best by writing everything down—which works out in your favor if you're looking for a recap. Here goes:

Alissa Circle // Pollinate Media + Diary of an Addict

"If something isn't uncomfortable, then you're not growing."

Alissa is an incredible woman with an incredible story—and now, she's a boss lady in charge of Pollinate Media and her own blog, Diary of an Addict. Oh, and she's a mother of two as well. She emphasized authenticity and doing what's right for YOU. And not being afraid to fail. Here are a few sound bites:

Bloggers help brands tell stories. You have a story to tell—don't try to mimic someone else's. Who you are on your blog should reflect who you are in real life. Don't sacrifice authenticity just to work with a brand. If you don't love it, DON'T TALK ABOUT IT. Sometimes finding yourself means rebranding. You don't have to change EVERYTHING—just a little facelift will do most of the time. If your niche is holding you back, get out of there.

Balance DOES NOT EXIST. It's important to... Say "no" more—especially if it won't propel you in the long term. Find time for you.

How to find balance: get up and start your day 10-15 minutes early work out regularly monthly lunch dates with the ladies set office hours + boundaries make time for serious one-on-one time with your SO make time for snuggly family time COFFEE.

If your cup isn't full, you can't pour unto others.

Most importantly, she quoted Jon Acuff: "Don't compare your beginning to someone else's middle."

Kelly & Andra // With Grace and Gold

Kelly and Andra met in a Caribou Coffee and became instant friends. Soon after, they started With Grace and Gold—a branding boutique built on faith and an appreciation for beautiful things.

Here's the takeaway:

AUTHENTICITY in life is being aware of your voice, values, and purpose. AUTHENTICITY in business should be a reflection of how you are in life.

Why should brands/bloggers be authentic? It creates an honest and real foundation for client relationships, attracts the ideal client/reader, and helps you avoid burnout.

Who you are = your voice and heart what you value = your beliefs and motivations what you love = your hobbies and interests

Personal branding/style logo color palette voice + copy your "why" decor style social HAVE A SIGNATURE MOVE // that makes you unique.

Build everything you do into the larger context of your brand. "You are your brand and your brand is you."

When building a following, it's important to remember that numbers are just that–numbers. You should focus on: loyalty profitability engagement enthusiasm steady growth the journey hard work having FUN!

Be transparent, honest, genuine, vulnerable, and relatable. Above all, BE HUMAN.

Alea Bebenek // Alea Lovely

Step one: stick out like a sore thumb and get yourself noticed.


If you need something done, do it yourself.

You must be different to be extraordinary.

Invest in yourself—if you don't, why would anyone else?

Be aggressive—your network is your net worth.

There is no "making it" in this business—you should never settle for "made it". Keep working.

Laurie Davis // eFlirt

Laurie started eFlirt during the recession with fifty dollars and a Twitter account. Today, she's making matches and dominating her social media game. Even today, she doesn't have a marketing budget—it's all organic and all on social.

I totally identified with Laurie—she had some things to say that definitely resonated with me.

When blogging, have a main beat but address other parts of life—this humanizes you. You will be rewarded for being active—engage + start the conversation. You never know who you're talking to, or who is listening. Maintain a "real talk only" policy—people want a BFF. Don't be afraid to be raw and get on your followers' level.

"You must give to grow ... DON'T EVER ACT LIKE YOU'RE SMALL."

Mandy Beyeler // Sugar Bee Crafts

"It takes a village to raise a blog—you're not alone."

Take advantage of building a blogger tribe—connect with bloggers both in your niche and locally.

"By being yourself, you put something wonderful into the world that wasn't there before."

Benefits of a blogger tribe: support + encouragement cross-promotion shared opportunities sounding board shared knowledge not working alone

Actionable takeaways: read blogs that captivate you comment on like-minded blogs interact on social join facebook groups find local blogging groups + meetups attend blogging conferences establish blog tribes

Meggan and Landon Wood // Lily Jade

The story behind Lily Jade is a wonderful one—this is the cutest couple ever. I hope that my marriage someday will be a partnership like this one. They talked about building relationships with brands. Read on:

Why work with brands? additional exposure personal/career growth you + your blog are more marketable

Partnerships aren't just about what you want—think about what the brand needs.

"We're all just trying to grow together—sometimes numbers aren't everything."

Don't just talk products. TELL A GREATER STORY.

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Callie England // Rawxies

JUST START. If it's not happening yet, make it happen.

Everyone wants authenticity and originality—bring a bit of yourself to the table.


Thanks for reading my sloppy notes! Follow along on Instagram for even more pretty pictures.