March 29, 2013

Blogging Part 3 // maintaining your blog

Part 1 is here

Part 2 is here

Maintaining will cover:
finding your voice
connecting with bigger brands
attending a conference
making money

I think one of the toughest parts about starting a blog is being consistent right out of the gate. Oftentimes we set too high of standards for our posting habits (frequency, content, etc) and then as soon as you miss a day, you feel instantly behind. 

But, once you get to the right balance of blogging, it takes consistency with your topics to maintain your blog. That doesn't mean you can't incorporate new ideas, it just means you have a "default" set in place. You know what you like to write about, and write about it. 

Finding your blogging "voice" is something that comes with time and experience. You will learn what excites you most and what you find most interesting to write about. You'll learn if you like to add a little humor (or heck, a lot of humor) in your posts. You'll find out if you like to be emotional and vulnerable. And that will help you hone in on your voice and your mission statement. Make sure you are writing from your natural self, instead of what kind of writer you "want" to be.

Be sensitive to your readers. Make sure what you are writing is clear, easy to understand, and thorough. Consider various points of view on the topic to preemptively answer any questions readers may have.

Be aware that people are reading what you write. Although it may feel like you are just typing some words and sending it off into cyberland, you aren't. You are representing yourself, your family, maybe your industry, etc. 

I try to always write what I'd be perfectly comfortable talking about to a group of people. Easy or hard topics, I always want to be careful that I'm not over-sharing, and staying within the boundaries that I've set for myself.

A fun aspect of blogging that I've enjoyed is working with brands on collaborations. This could range anywhere from handmade shops to big retail brands. 

I've been lucky enough to work with a range of businesses, with the largest being the Real Simple feature. That was so fun to work on, and it was pretty much the coolest thing ever to see my face on By far, one of the greatest blogging accomplishments I've achieved. 

If you are interested in working with brands, either by product features or giveaways, there are a few things to consdier and some smart steps to take. 

1. Consider whether the product is right for your blog. Would it fit in naturally with your content? It is something you truly like? 
It can be obvious if a certain product doesn't fit your content. I learned this the hard way. So, I'd encourage you to really narrow down what types of products, what brands, etc. you are interested in collaborating with from the beginning. And if you are presented with an opportunity from a brand that doesn't make sense, strongly consider declining. The more "wrong" brands you say no to means you'll have more to say yes to with the right brands.

2. Consider what you have to offer the business. Let's think of a hypothetical Etsy shop called "KittyKitty". Let's say they make cat rings and you want to feature it on your blog. First, lets hope you like cats. If you do, and decide to pursue a feature, draft an email containing pertinent info for the owners of KittyKitty. 

They'll want to know things like :
a. daily page views
b. unique visitors
c. facebook fans/twitter followers/instgram followers/pinterest followers
d. testimonials of brands/businesses you've worked with in the past
e. why you think it will be a great fit on your blog

Create a document that you can send to any business you are interested in working with containing all this information. Update it as it changes. 

Explain a little bit about you who are, what your blog is about, and why you think it would be a good fit. You essentially need to present your blog as an advertising opportunity for the business, with the idea that their "payment" is item they give to you. 

Think also about what sort of things you would like to know if you were in their shoes. They may be interested in knowing how often you are going to tweet about the post, or other social media touts.

Make this document easy to read, like you would a resume. Consider writing your stats in bold or in bullet point form, so it's easy for the business to quickly see what you are bringing to the table.

I'd go this route when contacting any "size" business--from small time to big time. Business is business, and no matter what the cost of the product, you need to offer something in exchange. 

A big question that comes from this topic is "Do you charge for the product feature, or do you accept the 'free product' as payment?"

Honestly, I'd say that's up to you. Whatever you feel comfortable with. While there is a lot to consider, I'd say a safe rule of thumb is when YOU are pursuing a business, consider starting with free product. Conversely, if a business finds you, don't hesitate to let them know what the fee may be on top of the feature.

I think the reason that makes sense is because a business that finds you seemingly already knows you have a fair amount of influence, whereas the business you are contacting may not realize it yet. 

Again, this isn't cut and dry, and I'd suggest doing a bit of research as you are forming your ideas about working with brands. 

In the case of my working with Real Simple, I was contacted by Real Simple. The editor of the .com found my hair tutorials on Pinterest, and pursued me in creating unique content just for them. 

So, don't underestimate the power of your blog in and of itself, pitched or not.

Attending a blog conference is a great way to both learn a lot and meet a ton of other bloggers. In my experience, I've left inspired, motivated, and impressed by the talent of so many other bloggers. 

In 2012, I attended Blissdom and spoke at Becoming. Blissdom was a blogging conference, while Becoming was more of a conference for anyone to come and hear from bloggers on various topics.

This year, I attended Blissdom as a community leader and really enjoyed it. I cannot recommend it enough if you are a blogger--and it does not matter what "level" you are at. Beginner or seasoned, I'm confident you'll leave Blissdom knowing much much more about blogging than before you came. 

Some say conferences are intimidating, but I think it's important to push past any fears and remember we're all in the same boat. So when you are at a conference remember that regardless of page views, you are all "doing" the same thing. We're all bloggers. Defining yourself by your blogs' 
page views, or "length of time spent blogging", or "popularity" may prevent you from meeting some great bloggers! Sure, some blogs get more pageviews than others, and sure, some blogs are more popular than others, but we're all doing the same thing--just in different capacities. 

Transitioning your blog into a business can be something that happens quite naturally. For me, it was around the time that my pageviews took a dramatic turn and I realized my hair tutorials were kind of popular. My first thought was to offer advertising opportunites in my sidebar.

That is a simple way to begin earning income on your blog. Here are a few tips to get that started:

1. If you are a beginner to monetizing, consider "button swapping" (exchanging your button with another bloggers and essentially trading advertisement) as a way to build sponsorship potential. The more sites you have linking in to yours, the better. From a blog swap, you can also have the person you swapped with give you details on the traffic they received from your site. Perfect for a testimonial page.

2. When you are ready to start charging, start looking into other blogs that are similar to yours (primarily in numbers). See what they charge. Average it out to determine a good starting point for yourself. 

3. Consider what advertising options you are going to offer. Is it simply a sidebar ad? Does it include a giveaway opportunity? A social media shout out? A featured "sponsor" post? The more information you can give to your advertisers, the better. 

4. Look into a blog ad management company, like PassionFruit, or consider taking care of it yourself. For the longest time I was simply invoicing advertisers via paypal, but I switched to PassionFruit in order to simplify it on my end. PassionFruit takes a nominal cut of each add, but personally, it's worth it to avoid more emailing and one more thing on my to-do list. 

p.s. PassionFruit has no idea who I am, I wasn't paid to include them, I use their service and like it.

Other money making opportunities include paid guest posts, becoming a regular contributor to another site (sometimes paid, sometimes not), running google adsense ads, becoming an affiliate, or joining a publishing network. 

I've been running BlogHer ads on my site since about Novmber 2011 and it's been a fantastic resource of income. My favorite part of it is that I have to do nothing. After you're accepted, fill out all the paperwork, fine tune what ad's you'll allow, and install the code, they begin running. There are a few rules you need to follow when running BlogHer ads on your site, but they have not interfered in my blogging in any way.

Monetizing your site is a process. I've learned a lot throughout the journey, and will continue to learn as new opportunities arise. 

I also think it's good to consider what you'll monetize and what will remain "free". It's hard to put a monetary value on things sometimes, so bouncing your ideas off of a friend (blogger or not) is usually helpful. You'll find bloggers than monetize things that you wouldn't, and vice versa--so do what you are comfortable with. 

My husband has been a great sounding board for me, always talking through any ideas I have. Sometimes I'm resistant, but in the end I appreciate his perspective and point of view. 

I thought about offering Blog Consulting sessions, for a fee, via skype/google+ and was talking to him one night about it. I was thinking through all the possibilities, getting excited, and as the conversation was coming to a close, and he turned to walk about the door, he mentioned, "what if you just did it for free?".

And I sat there thinking," Hm. I would have really appreciated a "free" chat with a blogger to ask questions to when I was starting, or growing."

I say all this to get you thinking: what do you want to monetize, and what do you want to offer for free? You have to be very careful when monetizing things--customers should leave a session feeling informed, and like they got their money's worth. So, the beauty of doing something for free? Freedom. If someone doesn't like it, or find it very helpful--oh well.

Again, I'm not saying make everything free, just think hard about what you are monetizing.

This is a helpful article on turning your blog into a business!

Another great post about making money on your blog!


Some other random tips I've thought of along the way:

Disable the "spam catcher" on your comment form. It's one more step that is oftentimes unnecessary and will lower a readers likelihood to comment.

I hosted a quick blog chat a few days ago via google+ that was live in YouTube as well, and answered a handful of questions posed my facebook fans. In the chat, I mentioned I would do a little follow up and share some more information here.

So, here are a few more answers to things I discussed!

Adding Pinterest to your sidebar: here is a step by step guide!
If you are interesting in adding a "pin it" button to appear on a photo when a reader "hovers" over it with their mouse, click here

How to create pages in Blogger than go to topics. (someone asked how I created my "beauty" and "style" pages to go to a specific label)

And finally, a few of my favorite blogs. Constantly changing, constantly updating.

March 28, 2013

how to clean your makeup brushes

This is an often neglected step in our makeup routine. A lot of times I put it off because I think, "oh, they won't dry by tomorrow and I need to use them . . . ". But, a lot of times mine are completely dry within about 30 hours, so I've started doing this about twice a month on Saturday mornings. 

Brushes that you use with creamy products (foundation, concelear, cream shadow, lipstick, etc) need cleaning more often than those for "dry" product use. Nonetheless, it's a good idea to clean your brushes regularly. I also use a brush cleaner spray regularly to keep them a little cleaner in between deep cleanings. 

Prepare the cleaning solution by using water + roughly a tablespoon of gentle shampoo. You can also use baby shampoo, vinegar, or tea tree oil.  

Have a fresh glass of water to rinse your brushes before cleaning them in the soapy solution. You can also simply rinse them under a faucet. 
* a few readers suggested not submerging your brushes past the metal part (or the part where the handle begins) to avoid getting water trapped in the brush. So, when you are cleaning, try to keep it on the brush hairs only!

Swirl your brush around a few times, pressing gently into the bottom of the bowl. Use your fingers to work the solution into all the brush hairs too!

Give your brushes a good rinse, and let them air dry completely before using again.

I let mine air dry on a towel, spread out so they aren't on top of each other. Shape the brush back into the proper shape so you aren't left with a spread out, crazy-haired brush to try to apply eyeshadow!

If you have particularaly sensitive or acne prone skin, I'd recommend washing your brushes even more regularly. Otherwise, twice a month should be plenty. Of course, the more you wash/use your brushes, the quicker they will wear out. Treat them with care, and consider a brush spray like I mentioned above to keep them in tip top shape and condition. 

March 27, 2013

What is your life intention?

I recently had the pleasure of listening to Dr. John Piper speak at my church here in Raleigh. He spoke on his personal mission ("I exist to spread a passion for the supremecy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ") as well as the mission of the Summit church, which is to plant 1,000 churches in 40 years.

I left that day thinking about my mission. My ultimate goal, the meaning of my life. And thus far, a vague, typical church-y speak "share the gospel" hasn't been cutting it for me. I am more successful with a clear vision or intention. I set a mission statement for my blog and having a decided statement to frame what decisions I make has made it easier for me to 1. make them and 2. make wise ones. Since I've see the importance of an intention for my blog, I brought that idea into my own life. 

Christian or not, I think it's valuable to have a focus in our lives. A goal. A purpose. And I really do believe that fulfilling that purpose, whatever it may be, is rewarding to our souls.

I want to begin mine like Piper's, with the phrase "I exist". Because otherwise, words like "should" or "will focus on" take away from it being the ultimate goal. "I exist to. . ."leaves no room for misunderstanding or excuses.

So I looked to my bible, which is the primary resource of guidance, focus, and intention for my life. I've been studying 2 Timothy with an amazing group of women, and I have learned so much. From an assortment of verses in that book, I've developed an intention for this time in my life. This may change as I enter new seasons, but for now, this is something that sets me in, what I think, is the right direction.

I exist to make evident the work of God in my life, and to tell others about His unchanging love.  

So through this time of infertility, as well as this time of enjoyment in my career. Through living near my sister, and having the freedom to travel. In struggling with boundaries and time management, and joy in meeting so many wonderful new friends-- I exist not only to experience those things for myself, but to show the work of God in my life, and to tell others about His unchanging love.

Have you thought about a mission, or intention for your life?

March 26, 2013

Favorites Lately (video)

I love watching "monthly favorites" videos on YouTube, so I thought I'd jump on board and make my very first favorites video! These are products I've been loving lately from body wash to nail polish.

dress: J. Crew Factory (only $40! final sale)
necklace: Target (old)

 The products I mention in the video are:
1. C. Booth body wash in Pomogranate (in Rosemary Mint)
2. Philosophy body lotion in Mangos and Cream (out of stock)

If you have any questions about my hair style, see this tutorial. An updated "my haircut" w/ description and photos can be found here

March 25, 2013

Blissdom 2013 Recap

This is one of those posts where I end up staring at the screen not knowing where to begin.

So, I'll start with the beginning.

I attended Blissdom for the first time last year (you can read my recap here) and absolutely loved it. It was so inspiring and I couldn't wait to go back.

This year was the same--it was an absolute blast and informative/inspiring all at the same time.

In order to keep this post under 60,000 words, I'll use the number technique to highlight my favorite aspects of the conference.

1. Friendships (new and old). Carrie, Beth Anne and I all traveled together last year, and this year we did the same thing. Last year we flew southwest, and it was an absolute breeze, however this year we were doomed to fly United, and while we got everywhere on time, there was much stress added to the travelling. Southwest > United.

2. Roommates (new and old). Carrie was my roomie last year. In fact, we had only known each other a very short time before we shared a bed and that quickly brought our friendship to a new level. This year we did the same, and had the pleasure of also rooming with Rebecca and Melissa. It was a great mix. I think it's safe to say we all enjoyed each other! There were many, many laughs.

3. Sessions. I'd say last year my intentions for Blissdom were to glean as much information as I could out of the sessions. This year, however, my focus was more on connecting with other bloggers than the sessions. I attended a personal branding session with John Morgan, a session with some YouTuber's, a writing session with Megan Jordan, and a writing session with Jeff Goins (who is also speaking at Influence Conference later with year, along with yours truly). I skipped out on one session in order to stay longer at a lunch with friends.
Fantastic keynotes were given by Scott Stratten and Jon Acuff, both funny and powerful speakers.

4. Social. I can't even begin to list all the wonderful people I met. Everyone was smiling and absolutely delightful to chat with. I was telling my husband last night that I wish there was a "speed dating" session where you can sit face to face with as many people as possible and have an opportunity to chat with them for more than a few minutes.
I had fun at lunch and dinner with great groups of girls that I wish I could see more than once a year. The closest I can relate a blog conference to, as far as the social fulfillment is concerned, is summer camp. You spend every waking moment with these people who you quickly come to love, and then abruptly leave when it's over. You return home to quiet, which is needed is some aspect, but miss the friendships that only had a short time to develop. But, I will say, traditional friendship is spread over a longer period of time than an intense weekend of sharing a living space--so while I only had a few days with my roommates (and the other girls), I'd say it feels like we've been friends for roughly 7-10 years.

If you asked me what the most informative "session" was during the conference, the piece of information or experience that I'll never forget, I'd tell you that it was a conversion I had with Mindy and her husband Shaun on Saturday night. We ran into each other in a hallway at around 11:30pm (I think? I had no idea) and chatted for an hour or so. They are incredibly kind and helpful, and offered so much advice about YouTube, conferences, and blogging by sharing their experience. I'd say that was the most informative conversation, for me, at the conference in total.

I could go on and on about how fantastic the conference was but now I'll let the iPhone photos (+ dslr photos from Melissa) do the talking.

Melissa, Carrie, Rebecca (who had to be photoshopped in because she was busy selling her beautiful bags at the market!)

Cashew and I

Carrie is always trying to blackmail me.

Celebrating our 1 year friend-iversary


I wish this was real.

Lindsey and I


Kacia and BA

The night I did all their hair, my hair was the boring-est.

I did some 5 minute hairstyles on these beauties before the last event. I only wish I had time to do more/everyone I ever came into contact with.

Carrie is wearing the Half French Twist

A new concept for Kacia

A new concept for Nicole, similar to this one

Raechel is wearing a messy side updo, similar to this one

I could continue, but I'll wrap it up for now. If you are ever on the fence about attending Blissdom, I'd love to push you off of it, onto the "attend" side. It's a lot of fun, really helpful and informative, and I'm confident you won't regret attending.

Hope to see you at Blissdom one day!

March 22, 2013

I'm at Blissdom!

I'm at Blissdom today through Saturday! I'll be tweeting and Instagraming like a fool, so be sure to follow along if you want to see little snapshots of what Blissdom is like!

Find me at  K8_smallthings on both medias.

ALSO, if you are at Blissdom, come find me, give me your business card, and you'll be entered to win a hair product prize pack with some of my favorite products! I'll pick the winner on Saturday before the conference is over. 

Lastly, if you are at here and you styled your hair using one of my tutorials, please come find me and show me. I'd love to see it and get a pic taken with you! 

March 20, 2013

EARH mer gersh. mer ear.

This post contains images of my ear that are, how do I say this. . . not cute. There is no blood, but it's still kind of gross. If you get nauseous easily, you may not want to continue reading.

I'll keep the photos nice and small.


So, what happened to my ear is really ear-itating.

I was ear-nsecure about it.

You may think I'm being ear-rational, but what happened was sort of ear-regular.

(I can't take credit for the ear-itating word--grabbed that idea from Instagram.)

Here's what happened in a nutshell:

My right earring hole embarked on a journey. It was determined to make it's way to the bottom of my ear lobe.

I think it was trying to escape.

Maybe it attempted to whisper, "Kate. . .Kate . . . lighten up on the heavy earring usage, okay? Otherwise I'm outta here. . ."

I didn't listen. I kept right on wearing earrings, no matter how stretched out the original hole became.

Beauty is pain right? 

So, Monday I popped these little beauties in to shoot a few quick headshots and when I took them out I thought, "let me check my ear hole status. . ."

I walked to the bathroom, and pulled my ear a little bit to the right to see just how long/large the hole had become.

I gasped when I saw it was only connected at the bottom of my lobe by a tiny thread. 

here is what the earring hole looked like "normally":

and here it is stretched out:

*pardon my dry skin/ears. My psorasis spreads down to my ears sometimes.


I'll give you a minute to regain your composure.

Okay, ready? 

Let's continue.

"OH MY GOSH. THIS HAS GOT TO STOP." I laughed at the ridiculous situation I had gotten myself into, and sat down at the computer to look into a few plastic surgeons.

That's when I wrote this status update.

After calling a few offices I was finding that a lot of surgeons were booked until mid-april. I didn't want to wait that long. I called a few dermatology offices as well, but couldn't find any that did earlobe repair.

I finally found an office that could take me next week, but I took a long shot and asked if they had anything available for the following day. Turns out that they did. 

So I set up a "consultation + optional procedure" appointment. The consultation is $75.00, and if I didn't feel comfortable going through with it, I could leave after paying that amount. But, if I wanted to go ahead and have the procedure done right away, I could simply stay for the appointment and that $75 would be applied to the procedure.

I arrived at the appointment about 30 minutes early. When I'm nervous, I'm early. And I was nervous.

I entered the office and sat for about 15 minutes. The doctor came to get me, and we went to her office and discussed my options. She took a peek at my ear and seemed unimpressed--as if that was completely normal. And that made me feel good.

She asked, "So, what happened?"

"Oh, I'm an idiot. My ear was slowly stretching out and I continued to wear really heavy earrings for, like, a year."

Oddly enough, only my right ear stretched out. My left ear is completely fine. 

We talked a little bit about the procedure and she drew me a little picture of what she was going to do.

Since the line/hole reached almost completely to the bottom of my ear lobe, she was going to have to cut a triangle out of my lobe, and then stitch it together. 

A lot of people asked if I could just have it stitched up, but the skin had already healed. It wanted to be that large hole. So the doctor had to provide fresh skin that can grow together. ::yack::

I decided to go through with it and asked her two things that I was worried about:
1. Is it going to hurt?
2. Are my ear lobes going to be uneven?

She assured me that it wont hurt, and she's fairly certain the lobes will be as even as possible when it's all said and done.

She took me back to the receptionist, I paid the mere $450.00. (please sense the sarcasm I'm trying to imply right here.)
When I handed my card to the receptionist I said, "most expensive ear lobe ever!" We laughed. I laughed in a I'm-desperate-just-take-my-money kind of way, and I'm sure she laughed in a you-poor-thing-why-did-you-keep-wearing-earrings sort of way.

I went back to the procedure room and a nurse talked me through the steps. My heart was racing at this point. I've never had any sort of procedure done (other than wisdom teeth) and while I don't mind needles, blood, etc; it's the idea of something about to happen that gets me worked up.

So, I laid down on the table, they cleaned and prepped me, and then the doctor talked me through every step. I was very grateful for that.

She said the numbing was the worst part and that didn't hurt one bit. Once I was completely numb, she did her thing. She mentioned I may be able to hear things, but I shouldn't feel anything at all. And that was true--although the noises weren't bad. Frankly, if you compare it to going to the dentist, this was a breeze! 

Once she was finished cutting, she stitched me up. I could hear the thread, but again--I couldn't feel a single thing.

It was over in about 8 minutes. Totally and completely painless.

They told me how to care for it, and set up an appointment in about a week for the stitch removal.

She snapped a quick picture at the end to show me what it looked like, and my ear just looks like it has two small spiders crawling up it.

No big deal.


Black stitches. C'mon. Don't I get a color choice? (I'm completely kidding)

They handed me some ointment to put over the wound this week, and sent me on my way.

So, overall? It was not nearly as bad as I thought it would be.

The rest of the day I felt like I had a inner ear ache, but it wasn't very painful.

I woke up the next morning to a slight blood bath, which was awesome. The doctor warned me that may happen. I may apply a steri-strip at night now to keep from bumping it.

I'll get my stitches removed next week, and begin the healing process--which involves the prevention of scar tissue. I have to give myself tiny ear massages daily and wait 12 weeks before I have the hold re-pierced.

On a completely vain note, I'm bummed it will be 12 weeks. But, you gotta do what you gotta do. And my ear needs a break for crying out loud.

And I Do NOT. Do not want to do this again.

So, there you have it. My ear-ntresting story about my ear surgery.

If you are putting off this procedure, just go do it. It's quick, painless, and you'll be glad your ear doesn't look mangled any longer.

Also? If there is a "before and after" book in the waiting area of the plastic surgeons office--don't look at it. 


March Birchbox

This was a fun Birchbox month!

The Whish shave cream is fantastic. I usually don't buy shave cream, mostly because my razor is surrounded by softening bars, but it was a nice change to use shave cream!

The Make eyeshadow color is beautiful. I love wearing a really pale, slightly shimmery color on my brow bone, and this is a perfect color.

The Make face primer is a little dark for my taste, but I love keeping spare samples around and sharing them with my friends.

I haven't tried the Sulfate-free shampoo yet, but I'm planning on doing a post about sulfate-free shampoos soon!

Oh, and the Madewell nail file? Went straight into my purse. It comes in a nice little sleeve so it won't "file" all your purse contents away.

Any questions about Birchbox? Click here!

Did you miss my post about the best Birchbox of all time? It was actually a year ago this month. Click here!

March 19, 2013

ipad case giveaway!

Today's giveaway comes from Rachel at Pencil Shavings Studio! I bought a phone case from Pencil Shavings Studio several months ago and absolutely love it! 

Rachel sent me a beautiful case for my ipad mini and I love it. I was using a pink case from Target, and while that was okay, I found that the magnetic flap to hold it together kept getting in the way when I had the case flipped open like this:

So, this case --as you can see-- props up nicely, giving you all sorts of choices with angles. The ipad is held securely in place, and the case itself is hard and protective.

So now that I've blabbed about how great these cases are, who would like to win one for your iPad, iPad 2 & new iPad? (PLEASE NOTE- the giveaway is not for an ipad mini case.)

If you just can't wait, shop now and use coupon code "THANKS20" for 20% off!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

March 18, 2013

Triple Topsy Tail Pony Tutorial

 Today's tutorial is quick, simple, and casual. It's a fresh way to change up a typical ponytail, without adding to much time or effort!

All you need is a few clear elastics and a bit of hairspray. Optional: texturizing spray/dry shampoo

March 15, 2013

what to bring to a blogging conference

Blissdom is rapidly approaching and I've started to really think through what I'm going to bring this year. 

Besides your a-game, there are a few other things you'll want with you at a blog conference. I've rounded up a few of what I think are essentials, some things that you may want to consider adding, what's not necessary to bring, and --of course-- beauty essentials! 

1. An extension cord. I think hotels hate wall outlets since there are only about 4 in one room, and usually they are hidden behind the bed. And how are you supposed to curl your hair when you can't plug your curling iron in? I mean, c'mon!

2. A power strip -- to make outlets accessible.

3. A laptop or ipad -- for "taking notes" or tweeting, blogging, emailing, searching, pinteresting, instagraming, etc. 

4. A notepad. sometimes it's easier to write things down.

5. A pen or two.

6. Business cards! (aren't these beautiful!?)you'll hand these out to just about everyone you meet. I ordered mine through Minted and absolutely love them. 

7. A bag for carrying your laptop/notepad, biz cards, swag you will acquire throughout the day, and other "purse-type" essentials you want with you. *BetterLifeBags will BE at Blissdom!

1. Last year I brought my DSLR and didn't even touch it. So, if you are debating between bringing it, or just using your phone, I'd suggest sticking with your phone. It's easier to manage.

2. Unedited blog posts that you think you are going to finish while you are there. It was difficult to find time to work on my blog, but if you need to, the evening is probably the most likely time you'll have to blog.

3. Leave your books at home. Roommate chats can run late into the night. 

1. Find a small pouch to stash all the business cards you will gather during the conference.

2. Hand cream will keep your hands in tip top shape during all the meeting and greeting.

3. A few snacks are good to throw in your bag. Typically the food is just fine, but it's good to have something to grab.

4. I prefer to start fueling up with coffee while I'm getting ready for the day, so bring something you can start in your room. 

5. Consider a small roommate gift, like a candle.

6. Cute notecards are great to have on hand for writing little notes to friends you meet.

7. The more bags to organize your things, the better.

1. While I felt like I got enough sleep at Blissom last year, the nights still ran late. So grab some good under eye concealer for the trip!

2. A flattering shade of lipstick is never a bad idea.

3. Stash some bobby pins in your bag in case of a hair emergency (or just come find me. I'll help a sister out)

4. A scarf for the chilly conference rooms. (sold out)

5. A variety of hair accessories can save a not so great hair day from potential disaster.

6. I love these hair bands for "crease-less" ponytails. 

Did I miss anything? What are your *essentials* for a blog conference?