I'm back from THE CREATIVE CONNECTION in Minnesota, and it was a blast!
I had quite the time recovering from sleep deprivation but other then that, it was an incredible event. ha! As I mentioned before, I was selected to be part of the blogger social media correspondent team, that included me, Cindy, Kami, Char, Kari, KimJen, and Amy. We were responsible for all of the social media coverage (aka: blogging, tweeting, facebooking...etc.) Thank you SO MUCH Jo! So besides a ridiculous amount of instagram-ing, you KNOW that I took about a thousand pictures as well, and totally want to share them all... so I'll stop yappin' and just SHOW you my TCCE journey through photos.

The blogger team flew in early, a day before the actual conference started, so once we were all settled in, of COURSE our first stop was to the Mall of America. I had my very first city bus ride. ha! It was quite the experience with 8 giggly girls all in one place.
We chowed down on some Bubba Gump Shrimp, and did some power walking to get in all the stores we could...

Later that night we were invited to the DecoArt Social Artworking pj party, thrown by Kami and Cindy. It was SO much fun, and the basis behind the whole party was how to "get social, through painting!" You can order a party kit and it comes with everything you need to have a paint party with friends! SUCH a fun idea. We all had a great time getting creative and learning how to paint like pro's.
The next morning was TCCE registration! Kim was the top-dog-registration-girl, and was constantly pointing us in the right direction.(thanks Kim!)
During registration we were able to connect with friends and snap a few pictures too!

Next we were onto the Welcoming keynote for breakfast with blogger speed dating, off to a few sessions and then onto our lunch speakers and goodies from Burda Style, Project Life, and Stacy Julian!
Next was the Welcome dinner with fabulous speakers Holly from Decor8 and Cristina Farrare.
We were spoiled with swag from Matthew Mead and the Vintage Pearl as well.

Friday started off with a bang! I was off to learn all about photo styling with one of my favorite people, Becki Crosby from Whippy Cake! Becki was a HOOT! She had fabulous swag for all of her attendees and kept things lively with candy and giveaways! whoo hoo! Who knew that there was so much that went into each and every photo for handmade products!? I learned a LOT and will definitely take Becki's tips and tricks with me, when photographing even the smallest of details for my blog.

The Market opened later that afternoon, and let me tell ya, business was BOOMING! Thousands of creative women all in one place, Oooing and Ahhing over each others handmade crafts was a sight to see. There was a little bit of everything. From crochet necklaces and recycled vintage sheet pendants to handmade soaps and yummy farm fresh goodies. 

Before we knew it, we were on a bus venturing to the beautiful kitchens at Cooks of Crocus Hill for a Start Clean cooking class by Terry Walters! Man this girl knows her stuff! She is a clean-eating expert and had tons of knowledgeable information on how to start a life with a clean body and mind. You can find her Clean Start book here!

Later that night was the book singing signing cocktail party with gobs of talented authors and their amazing books, ready to autograph. At this point in the conference we were all feeling that sleep deprivation and well... let's just say that sometimes when you're not in the right frame of mind, you DO certain things that only SEEM totally normal, at the time. LOL. (just go watch this video, courtesy of Miss Becky Higgins and you'll see what I mean. yikes!) 

Soon it was time for some nutrition, so we headed to the local American Burger Bar, had some yummy dinner and celebrated Marie, Laurie and Kim's birthdays. It was loud, musical, and ca-ra-zy!... to say the least.

After only a few measly hours of sleep we were happily greeted by our favorite McDonald's girls and a yummy breakfast of Fresh fruit & walnut salads, Oatmeal and thirst quenching OJ then next morning. Yum! Perfect start to another busy day.

Saturday started off with Kim's class from The TomKat Studio. Words to describe this class...
Fun, Fun, and MORE Fun!
I was honored to introduce Kim, bust out some dance moves (which you may have caught from that video above. oh jeesh!) and also walk away with some really cute party favors, that the TomKat team taught us how to make! Kim has such a great story. Starting out as a real estate agent, and turning into an overnight party-decor-designer-extraordinaire! I love this girl.

Without a minute to spare a bunch of us from the blogging crew were jogging to the bus to attend yet another fabulous class with model, turned TV personality, turned amazing cook... Cristina Ferrare, from the OWN network! Her new book is called "Big Bowl of Love" and her class at The Creative Connection was on her love for all things simply made with, tomatoes!
It was DELICIOUS, to say the least. Every bite of those farm fresh tomatoes were to die for! That Cristina totally knows what she's doing, and she is so REAL, happy, pretty and kind of reminds me of the ultimate "Mom in the kitchen". I just loved the warm, cheerful passion for food that she brought to her class. 
hee hee... okay, so she didn't say this, but you KNOW she was thinking it! :)

After a quick clean up at Crocus Hill, we were in for one more delightful food class. This time it was all about Photographing Food, with the ever-so-talented couple from White on Rice. These two are hilarious and have such a contagious energy for what they do. I caught myself more then once doing the "Oh ya, you're right" or "I've never thought of that before" expression and nod. ha! You MUST check out their work, it's phenomenal.
Here were some of the photos that I shot, practicing with a few techniques that Todd and Diane taught us.
And last but not least, it wouldn't be a proper conference for me, if I didn't force some of my sweet friends into doing some impromptu head shots. ha!
Remember Blogher? Nothin' like gettin' a new headshot done in your hotel room, by the window and on an unmade bed. hee hee.
At least this time I had an idealistic setting to photograph these pretty-lil'-bloggers in. There's just something that I love about capturing the beauty, that I see in my closest most talented friends, in a photo, that makes me happy and complete at the end of a crazy weekend. I wish I could have gotten head shots of them all!

WHEW! Are you still with me? ha! I know that this was a LOT to take in with tons of pictures, information and even a video, but I have been to a lot of conferences lately and in return have gotten an overflowing amount of emails from fellow bloggers and readers who want to know what REALLY goes on at these events and if it's even worth all the time and money for them to potentially invest in, one day.
So I guess with this post I just wanted to show you moment by moment what kind of experiences and knowledge that I gain when I attend. I know I've said this a million times, but I'm ALWAYS amazed by the amount of talented women who I meet when going to these conferences. For me, I consider it "The Next Level of Networking". REALLY getting out there, face-to-face with people and making in-person connections that I feel go leaps and bounds further then any email or tweet ever will.


  1. WOW - great recap!! And such beautiful pictures. You always take the best ones. I loved being with you. You are an amazing person and friend.

    Love ya!


  2. Looks like a blast! I always want to attend those fun conferences, but just can't find the money or time to. It's nice that Salt Lake City is finally starting to get a lot of the fun conferences. Hopefully I'll be able to attend one soon!

    I saw you in Becky's video earlier -- loved seeing you dance & sing!

    Love your blog Shelley - it's so inspiring! =]

  3. Love it Shelley! Some of those pics made me laugh out loud. I just love you girls, and I'm so glad you had so much fun. And seriously, those headshots are amazing. They really do capture how beautiful those girls are. This post must have taken an ETERNITY. But it's fantastic. As are you! Great job!

  4. Lovely post Shelley! TCCE is on my "to-go" to conference next year! :)

  5. Wow! Looks like you guys had SO much fun!!! You are so beautiful! :) I love your happiness, it is contagious! :)

    Can you help spread the word to your UT friends about my MASSIVE yardsale to raise money for our adoption? You can read more here at hatchlife.blogspot.com :)

  6. You captured the conference perfectly. Happy to be a part of it! Thanks for the fun birthday photos!

  7. That sounds like soooo much fun! You did a great job documenting it and your photos are always so entertaining! You are definitely the life of the par-tay!

  8. Love the photos! Looks like an amazing weekend.

  9. Oh my gosh it looks like you had so much fun! You are all beautiful too & I love your hair by the way! And your glasses :) This totally makes me want to go to a conference someday, you all look sooo happy! And lovely! Everyone seems to have so much to teach & share with each other & I love that.

  10. Oh my word, it looks like you had an amazing time! I wish they had something like this in the Northwest! I'd be there in a heartbeat!

  11. Looks like it was SO much fun! I bet you could've napped for 3 straight days when you returned. LOVE the White on Rice couple--they're fabulous!

  12. Oh my heck.....the pictures! Fab!!!! I love you more than my luggage!!

  13. I just came upon your blog and I love it! I'm an LDS mom in Florence, OR, trying to make my home beautiful. I was reading your post about redesigning your pantry and I'm interested in the vinyl you used on the walls and the labels you used on your jars. You had a link for them, but it directed me to a wonderfully wordy blog that was by invitation only. Would you mind giving me an invitation or letting me know another way I can find out about your vinyl designs? Thank you so much!

  14. Wow Shelley! You are truly one of a kind:) Love it all!!!

  15. WoW!
    Everything looks amazing! Do someone have to be as creative as all you lovely girls to attend?!

  16. Sounds F~U~N!

  17. You are an amazing photographer! Thanks for giving me some tips on buying a new camera, too!! Some of my most favorite moments at TCC is you singing and dancing...can't believe there is so much talent in one gal!

  18. Looks like tons of fun! Thanks for sharing. It is one of my goals to be able to attend The Creative Connection in 2012. I'm a Midwestern girl, so this conference is a little closer to home than some. Carrie

  19. SO great to meet you at TCC! LOVE your blog, and your energy, and your lovely smile! Hope to cross paths again...which shouldn't be that hard in UT, right? Be in touch! xoxo

  20. I have a feeling that wherever you are, it's a party!! Ha! Thanks for letting us tag along on this adventure via tweets and FB! I enjoyed your recap and pics!

  21. Wow! That looks like it was amazing! Now I want to cook something, get a new camera to take proper photos of what I cooked, and to start wearing cute headbands.

  22. So, so fun!! You girls look like you had a blast!! And LOVE all the pics... seriously - you are awesome! XO - Kristyn

  23. I attended TCC and the product photography presentation. I'm disappointed I didn't meet you, but I did write down your blog name during the Becki Crosby workshop, and that's why I'm here! I love your blog, and will definitely bookmark this site and stop by again!

  24. What a blast I had with you! Now we need to schedule lunch and go get a cold cut combo or something!

    The 12 hour post was totally worth it! :)

  25. OH MY GOSH this looks like WAY to much fun!!! Thanks for making me feel like I was at least a little part of it with your fun head shot session. They look FABULOUS!!



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