So far I have posted light-hearted outfit posts about the recent rewardStyle Conference 2017 otherwise known throughout social media as #rsthecon or #rsthecon2017. Today, I thought it would be fun to delve a little bit deeper into the two-and-a-half day event in order to give you a complete picture of my experience at the sixth annual rewardStyle Conference.
I’m not sure if this is day one, or day zero, but I am going to call it day one. Ha! I started my day off waking up at 4am pdt in order to catch my 6am flight out of San Jose. I never sleep well the night before I fly; I have this deep-seeded fear of missing my flight. So when I arrived at the airport, my eyes burned, and I already felt exhausted. Yikes!
I checked into my flight and sat down at my gate. I was about to dive into this really good book when I opened up my Instagram so that I could share with the Internet that I was a about to dive into a good book. LOL. Oh my goodness, my Instagram was blowing up! LIKEtoKNOW.it had re-grammed one of my pictures, so all of a sudden I was getting DM’s asking me about the top, asking me how to use the LIKEtoKNOW.it app, and more. Instead of relaxing with my good book, I was enthralled in my DM’s and Instagram. This was an exciting way to start the day!
My flight was on time, and really easy. We didn’t have any turbulence which was fabulous. I grabbed my bag from baggage claim, because I did not pack light for a fashion-themed conference, and went outside to catch my Uber. The weather seemed warm, and it wasn’t too humid-yet.
The Cresent Hotel in Dallas is where the rewardStyle Conference was being held; and as with any business event, we had a block of rooms at a discount. Yay! I love discounts! I checked into my luxurious room, with a broken lock on the french doors (more about that later) and got ready to go back downstairs to check-in.
Check-in was so much fun! No really, checking in was fun! I met so many people from the rewardStyle team that I have only known via email, as well as re-connecting with team members I have met at previous events. I have been in rewardStyle since 2013, so I have been to quite a few events and met several people. They are so nice and professional. It must be a great place to work! If you are wondering what rewardStyle is, it is an affiliate marketing program which is how I am able to bring you links to the products I am talking about in my blog posts, and I make a little bit of commission from the links if you actually buy something. It costs you nothing, and it helps me keep this blog afloat. The links don’t track your general activity, only if you buy something from the retailer I linked to. So big brother is not watching you if you click them. haha
After we checked-in, we were led outside to a meet-and-greet cocktail party. I wasn’t about to drink any champagne for fear of falling asleep; remember I had four hours of restless sleep. So I chatted with people and then met Susan from UnFemme.net and shortly thereafter Alison from WardrobeOxygen.com arrived. It was so much fun to meet these ladies in person. I had only interacted with them via Instagram before the conference, so to meet them in person was super fun. I felt like I was reconnecting with old friends. They were fabulous!
Check-in was fun, but we all needed to unpack and get ready for the welcome party that evening. The event was “Escape to Tulum” and it was held at the hotel’s pool. My original dress didn’t work out and I had to improvise, you can read the whole story here.
The party was decorated with a Tulum, Mexico beach theme, it was so cute! The party got crowded fast, and the humidity increased, so our group of ladies, Wardrobe Oxygen, Un Femme, Fabulous over 40, Style at a Certain Age, A Well Styled Life, and Looking Stylish, went inside and outside, and inside and outside, (rinse and repeat) as we tried to cool off, yet stay at the party as long as possible. It was fun to meet other bloggers I know from Instagram at the party. There was a taco bar, which looked delicious, but there were too many people to weave through to get to it, so I gave up. haha, I was running on no sleep! After the party, a few of us went to Nobu for sushi. It was sooooooo yummy!
Now this may all sound fluffy, but the conference didn’t really start until day two, so here is where the work came in.
The second day, or the first full day, was my busiest day of the conference. We started with Acai bowls for breakfast, which were delicious, but not very filling. Then, we immediately went into the “Main Stage” where we we enjoyed speakers for four hours. The panels and speakers were educational, as well as offering company statistics to us about rewardStyle and the future of the company. This is an amazing, innovative company with a lot of brilliant ideas; and I live in Silicon Valley. rewardStyle can beat pretty much all of the companies I am surrounded by in profitability, creativity, innovation, and let’s face it, professionalism. There aren’t any egos in this company. No-one is looking for stock options to cash in like here in Silicon Valley. This is a tech/social media company who is driven to deliver the best products possible in order to help bloggers, entrepreneurs, businesses, and more. The are passionate about what they do. I wish the folks here in Silicon Valley could have heard the panels!
After the Main Stage speakers and panels, we all walked over to the Shake Shack for lunch. Oh my goodness, these burgers were SO GOOD! This was the first time I had tasted Shake Shack, and I am now a huge fan. You can read more about the lunch here.
The weather was more comfortable on day two then it had been the evening before, so despite the slight humidity, the lunch was comfortable. There were cute little picnic tables set and lots of corners for photo opps.
Banana Republic sponsored the lunch and gifted us with scarves. Here I am with Wardrobe Oxygen, Susan un Femme, and A Well Styled Life. We are being silly with the boomerang, wouldn’t you? I’m representing GenX with my scarf tied “Melrose Place” style.
After lunch I had three classroom sessions in a row. This was three hours straight of classes. I felt like I was in college again. I brought my laptop, but as it turns out, I didn’t need it. I used a notebook and took notes old school; with my pen. The classes were incredibly educational, and I learned SO MUCH! Watch for some updates to my blog design coming in the next couple of weeks! I also learned how to pitch brands, how to handle collabs, and all about earned media.
Despite my outside sale background from the early part of the millennium, I needed these classes. Pitching a brand for a collab I want my readers to experience and benefit from, is a lot more personal then trying to sell internal Human Resources software. I’m so thankful for these classes!
After my three hours of classes, I went back to my room and got ready for the cocktail party. I re-wore my green dress; I had a feeling cocktail in Dallas was a lot different then cocktail in California. I was right! There were people at this cocktail party in everything from Daisy Dukes (no lie!) to Miami type prints. My green dress blended in, which is what I generally like to do at events; I like to blend. Of course, cocktail in California means an above-the-knee formal dress, or a go-to little black dress, or a formal-type jumpsuit. Not in the south it seems!
After the cocktail party, our group of over 40 bloggers went over to the Capital Grill for dinner. So much fun!
The third day of conference I was so exhausted! I slept well, but the lack of sleep from the night before my flight, and my first night in the hotel, really wore on me. To top it off, remember how I mentioned the lock on my french doors was broken? There was a crazy wind storm during the evening before, and at night. The windows blew open, and all this wind was coming into my room! I had to move a chair and prop it up to keep the window closed.
We started the day off at Nobu where they had yummy breakfast burritos. They were SO GOOD and filling. Love that! After breakfast, I had my first of three brands meetings. I have done outside sales, but nothing prepared me for meeting a brand representative cold, and in person. Normally when I meet designers or brands, I have already corresponded with them via email; not this time! Thankfully, rewardStyle had reps at the meetings, so I had a wing-man, or wing-woman. Thank you!!!
My first meeting went well, I think. I met with a clothing retailer, and I absolutely loved it! They have something really exciting in works and I hope to be a part of it since it is something we can all relate to, and love, here in the Bay Area. Fingers crossed and pray for me! I know you would enjoy it!
After my meeting, I darted over to the networking hall where brands had booths set-up; much like a mini-trade show. I was able to talk to a few brands which interest me, but I didn’t have meetings with. I wasn’t able to make my way around the entire room, which was a bummer.
I had one final class to run to, which was about working with brands. This was a really valuable class! After class, I went over to the outside Garden themed lunch hosted by TopShop. Most of the tables were outside, and by the time I arrived after class, the indoor tables were taken, so I snagged an outside table.
Remember the wind I mentioned? Brrrrrr! The wind was crazy strong! It was also freezing! By freezing, I mean it was in the 40’s. Not very garden-like, nor April-like. Despite the cold wind, Alison from Wardrobe Oxygen and I powered through the wind and enjoyed a delicious lunch of salmon, chicken, salad, buns, and something I cannot identify which was very yummy, and definitely healthy; possibly vegan. Don’t laugh! Just because I grew up in Marin doesn’t mean I know all about hippie food. haha
After lunch, I had two more brand meetings, one with a beauty brand, and one with a watch company. I enjoyed meeting with both brands; although I was super nervous when I met with the watch brand. I was studdering, which made me more nervous! Not sure I will land that one, the brand rep might think I am a whack-job! haha hopefully she noticed I was nervous; I don’t know why I was so nervous! Ugh, so embarrassing!!
That was a wrap! The only thing left on the agenda was the LIKEtoKNOW.it finale party; which was black tie optional. I decided to wear a very Bay Area BTO outfit; although I wondered how people from other states would interpret formal dress. I thought my dress was on the casual side of BTO by Bay Area standards, but at the event, it looked like I was somewhere in the middle.
I went with a safe, hi-lo, one-shoulder black gown. Some of the ladies at the party wore sequins and sparkles, while others looked more cocktail or backyard BBQ to me. I guess every part of the country has their own idea of how to dress for black-tie-optional!
Now don’t laugh, it is true, I am matchy-matchy. I chose to wear my Rockstuds instead of my formal shoes because they are comfortable. If you own a pair, you know they are the most comfortable heels with a pointy toe on the market. So, despite the fact that they are so-three-years-ago, I wore them. I wanted happy feet. Sometimes you have to go with function over form; even at a fashion event! Yes, it is true I am wearing a Rockstud handbag too, my formal bags are all clutches and I didn’t want to deal with a clutch, so I wore this bag. Since I blended into the crowd in black, I figured no-one would notice. haha
The finale party started on the rooftop of a tall building; I’m not sure where we were in Dallas. haha. There were a few passed appetizers, and lots of champagne. After one hour, the party progressed to the ground floor where there were balloons for photos opps.
After we all took a few pictures, we went outside where a DJ was playing all the pop music my kids listen to. I may have felt a little old at that point, but it was super fun nonetheless. I danced with Alison from Wardrobe Oxygen and it was so much fun!
After another hour, the party was taking a new turn; or should I say twist. These drummers came out of no-where and started drumming songs. They were amazing! We watched them perform for a few minutes ad then they led us up into the street where a tent was set up.
Inside the tent, there were more appetizers and tons of dancing. This is where the GenX music was played! They played Salt n’ Pepa “Push it,” they also played “Whoop der it is” and more! I had so much fun dancing with Alison and the other bloggers. Sadly, as with all good things, they come to an end. I had to catch an early flight home, and so did Alison, so we ended up leaving about twenty minutes early. It was really fun, and I am so happy I went!
All in all this was an extremely educational work conference. I also enjoyed networking with other bloggers and meeting a few brands; even though I was super nervous with one! Stay tuned! I have one more outfit post from the conference coming up.
Thank you for all your support and for stopping by!