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13 March 2012

Blogging Your Way : NYC Road Trip Part 1

 

Very early a couple of Fridays ago I crept out of the house and set off on a little adventure

 

tulips (3) hollybecker

moodboard

 

When Holly Becker first announced that she was coming to New York to teach her hugely successful online Blogging Your Way’ class in person, my initial instinct was to think that it was a crazy idea; then I remembered how much fun I’d had at Holly’s book signing; then Holly started a persuasion job on me on Facebook (and goodness that woman can be persuasive) and before I knew it I’d booked a place on the class, a ticket to New York and a room at the Ace Hotel.

The weekend was split into two parts: Holly taught the ‘Creative Business of Blogging’ on the Saturday and then Leslie Shewring of A Creative Mint followed on Sunday with a more active workshop on styling and photography.  Since one of my goals for the year is to finally get serious about both my blogging and my food photography, it seemed like a great way of killing several birds with one stone. The fact that it was in NYC might have influenced my decision a leeetle bit too.

One of the things we talked about a lot during the Saturday workshop with Holly was uncovering and keeping true to your own personal style, aesthetic and voice. The quote on the slide above Holly’s head in the above picture is ‘to thine own self be true’ and she certainly practises what she preaches, as I discovered on the Friday night.

 

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                       Friday night                                                                                      Saturday morning
   

Since I was three hours behind New York time and wide awake on Friday evening, I was happy to help Leslie Shewring as she styled Divine Studio in the East Village to turn it from its bare white bones into a creative and inspirational space.  We moved tables, covered them with plain white paper, hung rolls of crepe paper, decorated jars with washi tape, arranged tulips and pretty notebooks. By the time Holly had added Liberty print ties and round tags and floral banners she’d made herself on the plane, being in the studio was like being within the pages of Holly’s blog – all white with pops of colours, lots of pretty pastels and florals, with the odd homespun, crafty touch. 

It’s not exactly my aesthetic, but seeing a coherent look being pulled together with some cheap accessories, a deft touch and a focused styling eye, was one of the most fascinating aspects of the weekend for me.

 

tulips (2)

 

libertyprints (2) libertyprints garland
                                                                                   Holly-isms everywhere
   

Aside from lots of practical advice about blog design, how to build readership, how to use social media successfully and how to monetize your blog, there was lots of stuff on finding your own authentic voice, focus and niche.  Focus is one of the things that my blog has suffered from a lack of over the years (you don’t say! – Ed) so this really resonated with me. I did a lot of soul-searching, both during the class and on the plane on the way home and I think I came to some conclusions.  I’ll share them in a separate post.

 

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Even the food, from City Bakery, was both beautiful and delicious
   

The thing you need to know about Holly is how authentic she is.

She’s had a lot of success but that has come about because she has stayed true to herself, her passion and her vision.  The whole weekend was an object lesson in ‘walking the walk’. From the décor, through the food, to the one-on-one attention, the course materials and the great team of helpers Holly had pulled together (Leslie, Michelle and Melissa below and Julie, whom I sadly don’t have a picture of), everything reflected Holly’s style and the fact that she is so utterly and ridiculously nice. This is a woman who really cares about her readers and the people who attend her classes and workshops, which is why they are so darn fun, creative and inspiring.

And that was probably the most inspiring, thought-provoking and fabulous thing of all.

 

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I’ve got so many pics that I’ve decided to split this post into two parts.  Tune in tomorrow for more about Leslie Shewring’s fabulous styling and photography class.

   

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Comments

What a great weekend! I wish we could have weekends like that more often. Thanks for coming all the way from the west coast. It was great meeting you!

@Tina. Wasn't it great? I wish everyone lived a bit nearer so we could all meet up again. It was great to meet you too and get to know your blog. Kids, read Tina's blog, it's great!

Great story telling! ;) It was so great to meet you!

Wow,

thanks for sharing. :)

Last year I did Holly's Online BYW course and I loved it. It is so nice to hear of your first hand experience with her. I am quite jealous that I couldn't attend. Alas, I live in South Africa. ;)

I enjoyed seeing the pictures of the venue and you guys in action. I am looking forward to tomorrow's post.

You had me at the catering from City Bakery....kidding of course! I lived BYW last year as it was a great intro to blogging even BEFORE I started my blog. Online Holly's focus and vision and "niceness" came through loud and clear. Sounds like in person it was even more so!

What I like about her ideas is that although it's a business, it's also about connecting genuinely with her readers. For me building a readership and getting to know new people is a great benefit of blogging. Otherwise why do it?

Live your recaps - almost like being there...

That's I "loved" - gah, typing on my iPhone - not so good...

Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and beautiful photos. I'm now officially excited! I signed up for BYW2 ecourse which begins in a couple of days. Mel

Thanks guys, for sharing this conductive accumulation.
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I beyond dubiety revalue your articles and blogs

Your blogs are totally worth giving time and energy.

I am sure you have a great fan following out there.

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