Girls Night In at Candlefish

One of the things I truly love about being back in the Atlanta area is reconnecting with old friends!  Recently one of those fabulous friends and lifestyle blogger Tammie Reed of Talking With Tami invited me to join her and other girlfriends for a Sunday afternoon of candle making at Candlefish Atlanta.

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Tammie, our lovely Girls Night In hostess

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The Girls

Don’t you just love a girlfriends day?

What makes one even more enjoyable is making new friends while participating!

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Candlefish (originally established in Charleston) is a new shop located in Atlanta’s Ponce City Market and was the site of this relaxing and educational afternoon with the ladies.  I don’t know about you, but I am a candle junky and keep at least one lit any time I’m home!  When we moved in a month ago candles were some of the first items I purchased for our new home, so choosing a fragrance and making my own candle sounded so exciting!

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Tammie always arranges a lovely event!

With donuts and champagne awaiting her guests, we spent time listening to Hannah from Candlefish explain the technique for making candles.  While you think of melted wax and fragrance going into candle making, I’ve never stopped to consider there are temperature points and specific measurements at which to work and make the perfect candle.

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Candlefish Fragrance Library

We had the opportunity to check out the 100 different Candlefish fragrances, but thankfully if you know your specific taste in fragrances, they can steer you in the right direction!  I’m more of a musky almost men’s cologne type of girl, so after checking out several scents in that category, I settled on #31.  This was actually the first fragrance I smelled and immediately was drawn back to it!

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The tools we used for our candle making class

While making the candles was fun and educational, I truly enjoyed the afternoon making friends and socializing.

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Fabulous treat bags from Tammie for each of her guests

                The candle making class is a perfect opportunity for socializing with the girls.  While there are any number of occasions for a night out, I’m looking at the possibility of a candle making class as the perfect bridesmaid’s outing before MacKenzie’s wedding in June!

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Thank you Tammie for the afternoon and the use of Genae Bank’s photos as well!

How do you like to spend a Girls Night In or Out?

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What I Learned @ the Southern Bloggers Conference

As a first time attendee of a blogger’s conference I was really unsure of what to expect.  When you read  posts from other’s on conferences that they have attended in the past, you get a little idea of what might happen, but in no way do they really prepare you.  
I blog for the fun of it and always have.  Sometimes I wonder about numbers, but quite honestly I’ve never really thought blogging to be more than my outlet; first for my recipes and now for the new season in my life.  Listening to the knowledgable panel of speakers Saturday really inspired me to step it up a little, if for nothing else, my own pride.
While I can’t begin to share everything I got from the weekend, here are a few things I picked up this weekend.

*I have a voice which makes the blog uniquely mine.  I don’t have to channel anyone but me and I sure don’t need to copy someone else’s ideas, because I know I have my own.  Write as if you are conversing with a friend.
*Don’t compare yourself to someone else.  Is that ever a hard one, especially with all of the successful bloggers out there.  We all have our own story & should tell it our way.
*Get to know other bloggers.  Visit around, leave comments, join blog hops, etc… The more you visit, the more likely someone will be to visit you.  There have been some great friendships formed this way.
*I was reminded the true connotation behind the words, “Bless Your Heart”.
Thanks Barb (from the Everyday Home) for the giggles!
*Make your blog a place people might want to visit.  Keep it clean, organized, & easy to navigate. Find your signature style and stick to it.
*If you are trying to grow your blog, don’t be afraid to use social media (Google +, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc…) to interact with readers as well.
*Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.  If you cook an amazing dinner, set a fabulous table or create the most beautiful wreath ev-ah, share it!  You can share it more than just on your blog.  Shout it out!
Awesome websites to shoot out your accomplishments!
*Network.  Hook up with like-minded bloggers for joint projects & posts.
*Use photos that are pertinent to your post.  Make sure they are sharp, clear, and large to catch your readers attention.  People are more likely to stay and read you post (or at least mark it for later), if you have good pictures.  And, watermark your pictures.  Not everyone knows the definition of integrity.
*Don’t sell yourself short.  As a stay-at-home mom who has moved 12 times in 17 years, I don’t have the greatest confidence in myself.  Part of my “lifestyle” change is finding confidence in myself again.  If I can do that through writing, so be it!
*For ultimate confidence, find a rocking pair of earrings.
KariAnne from Thistlewood Farm totally rocked her session!
*There are some really great paints and directions you can go to really transform a piece of furniture and make it “new” once again.  And, I can’t wait to get started!
“What a Croc!”

Created using the Maison Blanche Paints

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*Make sure you are posting quality content.  Even if your post is about something random like hair color or makeup, make it interesting, informative, and don’t lose your voice.
*Don’t be afraid of sponsors/advertising.  People will look to true life testimonials before they will the advice of a TV ad.  Bloggers have pretty powerful voices.  It’s OK to use them, just don’t lose yourself while working with sponsors.
And finally, I learned that packing a suitcase and venturing off to a conference with 100 ladies I really didn’t know wasn’t nearly as scary as I thought it would be.

Maybe some of my self-confidence is returning, at last.


Attending the Southern Bloggers Conference

Oh my goodness, what an ah-mazing weekend!

Attending my first bloggers conference was a most wonderful experience.  Someone made the comment that going to conferences like this was so great because everyone there “gets you”.  That is so true.  I often keep the fact that I blog from so many of my friends and much of my family due to blank stares and rolling eyes, but not this weekend.
It was OK that I had my camera out at the supper table, that I could talk post ideas with someone besides my beagle, and that no one looked at me like I had a ginormous zit in the middle of my forehead when I snapped pictures of wooden boards being painted.

Yes, A bloggers conference is THE place to be!
I don’t even know where to begin in sharing all of the fabulousness!

Maybe I should start with the panel of speakers who shared their stories, secrets, inspiration and tips for us.

1. KariAnne of Thistlewood Farm  2. Rhoda from Southern Hospitality  3. Kelly from Eclectically Vintage  4.  Brittany aka. Pretty Handy Girl  5. Heather of At the Picket Fence

Spend a little time on their blogs and you will see why they were fabulous choices for speakers!

The DIYer in me thinks maybe I should start with the wonderful demos using Maison Blanche Chalk paints or Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paints.

Maison Blanche Paint/Element demo

Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint
Amy from Atta Girl Says showing us how to use Miss Mustard Seed‘s Milk Paints.

I could start with some of the awesome people I met throughout the weekend.

1. You must check out Robin’s blog “Alabama Slacker Mama”; Robin is just the sweetest & I loved meeting her!  2. Jenny owns a darling little antique store in Raleigh.  With her contagious personality you can check her out at “The Red Bulletin Board”   3.  Miss Rhoda of Southern Hospitality.  We have met several times before and it was wonderful to see her again.  If you don’t already follow Rhoda, you need to check out her home she has been remodeling!  Just gorgeous!

Or perhaps it was the food that made the weekend so memorable.

Our delicious sandwich and salad lunch buffet was provided by Hometalk, a wonderful forum for decorating, DIY, and conversations about the home.  I just signed up and you should too!

But wait, let me see, I think the thrifting day around Raleigh is what made it all so grand.

Oh Goodness! I don’t know where to start!

But, it was all so much fun and has really inspired me to do a little more than just throw a post together a couple of times a week.  I’m not going to share every detail of the weekend, but over the next couple of days, I’ll give you a glimpse of the weekend highlights.

If you want all of the details, you are just going to have to attend a conference, because some things just can’t be put into words!

Southern Bloggers Conference

I’ve always enjoyed blogging as it has been a great outlet for me to share my hobbies and random thoughts without care.  In the last couple of years I have made some wonderful acquaintances through blogging and have even had the opportunity to meet a few bloggers through various activities.

From a bloggers dinner to a framing workshop hosted by Larson-Juhl company in Atlanta I have had some really great times!
Next weekend, October 12, 13 & 14th, I am doing something I never thought I would, as I am attending my first blogger’s conference.  Held at the Embassy Suites in Raleigh, NC, the Southern Blogger’s Conference is going to be a weekend filled with fun and new friendships!
And a weekend away from being Mommy!
{We need that sometimes, you know.}

And since it was my husband’s idea that I make the time to go, he knows that as well!


Organized by Barb from The Everyday Home, Amy from Atta Girl Says, Shirley from Housepitality Designs, Cindy from Living on the Bliss, Brittany of Pretty Handy Girl, Kristen of Sophia’s Decor , and Suzy of Worthing Court, a lot of time and prep has gone into this great weekend.  There is an activity sponsored by the Container Store (boy do I need storage ideas here!), opportunity to win prizes through a wreath, centerpiece, craft, decor & table setting contests, an antique/thrifting trip, and of course great speakers, one being Ms. Rhoda from Southern Hospitality!
I am super excited, and yes, even a little nervous.  
But, I do hope to come back with grand adventures to share!

If you want to check out this great conference it’s on Facebook, Twitter and yes, a featured blog!  Check it out.  This is the first year, but if it is a success, I’m sure there will be more!  There are also a few tickets left if you can squeeze in a weekend get-away on a short notice!

As I get ready for this fun weekend, I am curious, have you forged any friendships with bloggers or participated in any blogger meet & greets?  

How did it go for you?