Flowers and Cakes

As a budget conscious and fairly aesthetic person, wedding planning has been a bit nerve wracking. I really can't see spending a lot of money, but I'd rather do nothing than do something half-assed or tacky (which of course, is in the eye of the beholder.) I've been super lucky, and got my dress as a sample, a veil for half price, $30 dollar wedding shoes, and found out that an "elopement package" for flowers is really quite inexpensive. 

Read More

My Conference Experience

In May I attended my first conference ever - Social Media Camp. It's hosted in Victoria every year, so I got to stay in my hometown, which was super convenient. There were a ton of great speakers with extremely interesting and industry relevant talks. I was also curious about conference scene. What would it be like? 

The Conference

Fortunately, the week of the conference, I developed what I thought was strep throat (my boyfriend's tonsils were green the week earlier - a fair assumption) which turned into the nastiest cold of my life. As an introvert, I was already terrified to attend something where "mix and mingle" was written into the schedule of events (along with a dreaded karaoke night), but having to blow my nose constantly, consume Halls cough drops like they were candy, and intermittently breaking into a head-to-toe sweat from being ill, really rounded off the conference experience. Being the most disgusting you can be really doesn't instil confidence in oneself and handshaking just seemed mean. (Hand sanitizer was applied liberally.) Thankfully I met a companion at my least gross stage during the first day, so it was nice to have someone to discuss (commiserate on?) the day's events with. Still, it was a LONG three days. 

My take aways from the conference experience: Be prepared for the worst. Pack kleenex, every possible cold remedy on hand (you don't want to be that person coughing during the recording), and a ton of snacks. I really underestimated the importance of food - but 9 hours is a long time to go on the greasy chicken sandwich that was only marginally appetizing at lunch. Depending on the area you are - you might not really have access to food. The conference centre is a really neat building attached to the historic Empress Hotel (so amazing!) but there really aren't a lot of places to dash in to get a snack (hence our venture to People's Drug Mart for a sawdust like Lara Bar and apple juice).  Attending sessions, as enthralling or boring as they may be, feels a lot like attending a lecture at university and can be super tiring, especially on day 3. I was definitely not one of the ones at the after party. 

Anyways, here's the relevant part you probably wanted to read about. While I sat trying not to blow my nose, I took 9 pages of notes. Here are some of the main takeaways...

Content is King

You need to educate your audience. You need to give them something valuable to establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry. If you're looking to grow your business - get yourself out there and create something that can be shared on social networks or downloaded by prospective clients. 

Use Social Media to Recruit

You need to establish your company's identity before hiring. What is the culture? Are your employees happy? They are your "brand ambassadors" and what they say about your workplace, casually to their friends, or formally to someone inquiring, can have long reaching effects. People will remember the praises sung by happy employees and might look to your company when unhappy at their current job. 

Create a Brand Story

Who are you and what are your brand's values? These should seep into every level of your business. You should ask yourself "does that align with our values?" each time you make a decision. (This also helps with the above section) By having an emotional mission statement (that's the best way I can describe this) you can weave stories that people care about in your marketing. For example, if you were a life coach and your mission statement was "Helping People Realize Their Dreams" (okay a bit cheesy) you could showcase your customer's experiences in a series of blog posts, tracking their journey that started with your services. 

Be #Disruptive

The speaker discussed creating the campaign for the ugly sweater party/run etc. in Vancouver. It was a very impressive presentation. Thinking outside the box, being fun, putting together something larger than life that will capture people's interests are all great strategies. 

I have a passion for social media, so I'm sure I'll be discussing it more in future posts. 

Have you ever been to a conference? What was your experience?

- Karen


From the Archives...

When I created this website, I wanted a fresh start. A new platform (a blog post is coming about that), a new name, a new look. However, when I was putting the last finishing touches on the current site, I felt a pang of sadness. I was more of a dabbling blogger for the few years I was active, but I still had created content that took some effort, and it was sad to throw it away. So, I decided to import all of my old content into this website as kind of an Archive. 

A bit of history

Initially I created a blog on blogger called "Blue Anchor Crafts". In between my history degree and starting my Medical Office Assistant training, I knitted like mad, creating 50+ dolls and selling them to family, friends and acquaintances. I attended a craft fair and sold
a few of my wares. (Last year a donated quite a few of the dolls I had made to a children's charity for christmas.)

Blue Anchor was also my first foray into graphic design and web design. The blog
contained simple graphics, I used Picnik (now Picmonkey) to edit my photos, and
used image mapping to make my links (definitely not responsive!!). It makes me cringe
a little now, but it's the same as looking back at an old sketch book. You need to try to make mistakes and learn. 

Design Disaster Management 

So, I've tried to clean up some of the content - deleting the worst of the cringe-worthy DIY designed collages etc. There are remaining photos that are a little over-filtered. I seemed to have a love of coloured rounded borders that mystifies me all these years later. (I couldn't help it - I cropped those out where I could!) The photos imported a bit smaller than I'd like, but I think it's worth keeping the posts around, even if they're not perfect. 

A lot of the posts from that time are Tuesday Treasures - curated, usually themed lists of goods from Etsy sellers, prefaced with a brief update. It's been kind of fun to read back over the posts as I've been cleaning them up, seeing which year had a cold rainy summer, or remembering my life in the midst of MOA training and how overwhelming that was. Being a bit of a perfectionist, it's healthy for me to include where I've come from, not just where I'm going. I'm sure as my skills evolve, I will always feel slightly contemptuous to what I've created. I'm going to consciously guard against this. 

Anyways, that's the history of the archives on this blog. I hope to keep creating fresh content! 


Let's see some spectacles

Etsy Love - Vintage and Handmade Admiration

I'm a little bit Etsy obsessed, so to make me feel better about perusing the site when I probably should be exercising (shhh), I'll share collections of vintage and handmade items from the site from time to time. Click on the pictures to go to the listing (I'll list them below as well) If you're in love - hopefully you'll make it in time to snap it up!

As you probably can tell, I'm a vintage style glasses admirer. I remember buying my first pair of "out there" frames a few years ago. A brand new pair of pink translucent cat's eyes glasses from Clearly Contacts. I remember thinking they were almost too crazy for work! Bold eyewear is definitely more acceptable (encouraged?) now, which is super fun. I've enjoyed some of my less expensive pairs from Clearly Contacts (seriously - if you don't know, a pair of glasses can be $40.00 with lenses!! It's not as much of a commitment when they're so cheap, which was always the terrifying part when you're shelling out hundreds of dollars for frames at the optometrist.) I've added some sweet 1960's frames (like the guys on Mad Men wear) and a pair of tortoise shell cats eyes to my collection - which probably total to one pair from a shop. 

I've always wanted a pair of vintage glasses. I purchased an inexpensive pair off Etsy a few years back, but they were almost child sized and severely cats eyed (almost vertical!) so I can't help but laughing whenever I try them on. One day I'm going to purchase a real pair of flattering vintage frames. The quality of things back then were fantastic, and the glasses were definitely more intricate and ornate. I enjoy the history behind wearing something from the midcentury era... something someone actually did or could have worn.