My first Brandcation was Brandcation Pigeon Forge, Tennessee in October, 2011.
I was a very last minute attendee and I had absolutely no idea what to expect. I knew Jen from Life with Levi on an internet-personal level. I knew that Mickey from A Helicopter Mom was going to be there and that I had recently moved to her “turf” in North Carolina. Of course I knew who Trisha from MomDot was but I don’t think we had ever had any personal exchanges. And I had heard of Alison from Being Alison. Other than that, I was at a loss for what to expect. In addition to being my first time at Brandcation, it was my very first time at any sort of blog event.
I walked into this beautiful cabin, only to bet met with Trisha and Blondie doing the dance from Gangnam style and a mountain of Gigi’s Cupcakes that immediately started calling my name. Luckily, I had brought along my own set of Paleo treats to indulge on. I’ll leave out the part where the cupcakes finally won about 8 hours later.
I ended up meeting some amazing women on that trip and experiencing things I never thought I would experience. I’m not an overly emotional person at all, but I genuinely tear up when I think about the friendships that I built at Brandcation. I don’t think I’ve laughed so hard in a really long time. I realized that I’m not the only 30-something mom who needs a break from her kids from time to time. I found the youthful fun side that had been lost for quite a while.
But more than anything, going to Brandcation lit an ENORMOUS fire under my butt. I went home completely refreshed and ready to tackle my blog. Immediately after I got home, I started working on my new blog’s design; a project that I had been putting off for months. In November of 2012, I started writing here at The Dirty Floor Diaries. With some major help from Lynsey at Moscato Mom, I set a schedule for myself so that I could work on building better habits of work rather than laziness and malaise.
In January 2013, The Dirty Floor Diaries reached 39k unique people.
If you know anything about blogging, you will realize that that is a large sum of people for only 2 months. I couldn’t believe it and I owe every unique to my trip to Brandcation. Before going on Brandcation Pigeon Forge, I was losing steam, and fast. My blog was headed for the ditch and I needed that passion and fire back. I definitely got that through the friendships that I made and the things that I experienced while there.
I have completely different expectations for Brandcation Destin. Brandcation is not only about building friendships with other bloggers, but about building relationships with brands and becoming a different kind of blogger. It is about expanding your options, opening your mind, and building empires. Brandcation is about experiencing things in a new way, with people who do what you do, and looking at things through objective eyes. It is about working through uncomfortable situations like dangling hundreds of feet over the earth on a thin zip wire and going into situations where you know nobody and integrating yourself seamlessly.
If I get to go to this Brandcation, I will take my camera on every, single experience because the bulk of the camera is nothing compared to capturing memories to show the world.
I went to Destin once when I was about 14 years old. As an enormous book nerd, I spent most of the time mourning the fact that my boyfriend was home in Alaska while I spent the summer in Florida. We were with my grandparents who, while very cool, were still grandparents and we were camping out in their RV. I remember nothing other than a tiny, locally owned ice cream shop that had the most delicious coconut ice cream.
Some things that I really hope to experience and document through new, fresh, adult eyes while in Destin are:
1. The Emerald Coast Beaches.
I’m not gonna lie. I’m not a huge fan of beaches. I tell people it’s because I hate having sand in all of my cracks, but it’s really because going to the beach with kids is insanely nerve wracking for me. The Nerd isn’t a strong swimmer at all and The Muffin & The Stinky don’t know how to swim at all. I flip out when they go in above their ankles and I spend the entire time with an elevated blood pressure, worried that the rips are going to suck them under. Changing diapers at the beach is disgusting and difficult, and I’m the master at allowing my children to get sunburned. Bad mommy, BAD! Going to the beach as an adult would be amazing. I could even write a sonnet about floating in the salty sea, alone with my thoughts. And 39 other women.
Arrrrrrrgghhhh! I love treasure hunts, and I’ve always been attracted to Adventure. Nothing says “ADVENTURE” like Pirates, treasure hunts, and shows. While this stuff is really fun to do with your family, it’s nearly impossible to experience it in a way that is easy to document.
I had SO much fun ziplining at Brandcation Pigeon Forge. This time, I’ll know that I need to wear Depends in order to keep myself dry, and I will try everything I can to get stuck half way so that some bearded guide has to come rescue me. Unless our guide is a female, in which case I’ll do everything I can to make it the whole way each time. Ziplining over water would be absolutely amazing.
4. Deep Sea Fishing
I honestly don’t even know if these things are on the schedule of events for Brandcation Destin, but I hear that Destin is a huge fishing locale, and I’ve always wanted to go deep sea fishing. I might even stay an extra day myself to go if we don’t do it with the group. While fishing usually bores me, there’s something serene about being far out at see, rocking in the waves.
5. Jet Skiing and Water Skiing
I haven’t been on water skiis or a jet ski since I was in high school. I’m 31. That’s a long time ago. Having a family greatly changes the way you get to experience things and I hope to experience some adult fun while at Brandcation Destin.
Aside from what Brandcation can do for me, what can I do for Brandcation?
Because isn’t that what this is all about?
- I’m a good, funny writer who works well on a deadline. The posts that I wrote for Brandcation Pigeon Forge were engaging, funny, and turned in on time.
- I am hilariously funny but take my “work” very seriously. I want to get the most out of every experience and focus on what I can get out of it to write about for my readers. While Brandcation is about building relationships, it’s about introducing my readers to the beauty of the area that we visit. I am committed do doing that, and doing it well.
- I’m influential! My readers actually read my blog. My traffic wasn’t built using gimmicky schemes or group giveaways. While I don’t think there is anything wrong with that, my goal for The Dirty Floor Diaries was for it to always be a blog that people read. I didn’t want people to come once for a giveaway and leave, I wanted repeat customers! I think it is evident in my traffic, that I have been successful with that goal. While I might not be the biggest blog on the block, people are here because they trust and want to know what I have to say.
- I’m the life of the party! There were several of us at Brandcation Pigeon Forge that were lives of the party, but I’d like to be the life of the party from day 1 this time, not the last day. I have a gift for making people feel welcome and I think that I would be a great addition to the Brandcation team for showing newbies the ropes.
- I’m READY. I’m ready to take Brandcation Destin seriously, to remember why I’m there at all times, and to build relationships with brands so that I can spread the good word about them all.
So see? This is a beneficial relationship. I need Brandcation and Brancation needs me.
(pick ME ME ME ME ME!)