I got there early again -- this time with a grande iced mocha from Starbucks in hand because, well, why not? (After all, my motto for the trip was "When in Rome...")
I grabbed some breakfast and entered the conference hall, purposely sitting with a new group of women to mingle with over eggs and bacon and hash browns. They fed us well there!
Up first, we heard from Ayinde Howell.
I hadn't heard of him before, but he's a lifelong vegan turned well-known chef who has opened his own vegan restaurant in NYC. He's also acted in a bunch of things I hadn't heard of that I found after Googling him. I thought he was a really captivating speaker. He was funny, witty, and informative. He definitely got our day started on the right foot with his optimism and positivity.
Next was something called "The Pitch" where several women entrepreneurs presented their "inventions" - which ranged from literal inventions to organizations to non-profits. Each woman had a short time period in which to give her "pitch," explaining the importance behind her creation. Up for grabs was a marketing package worth something like $100,000 plus backing by the "She Knows Media" company. Oh, and an Apple watch.
Here was the panel of judges who could ask questions of the women.
Then I headed to another breakout session. I chose "You as a Brand: Brands & Bloggers." This was, by far, the best session. We learned about how to work with sponsors and become part of affiliate programs.
We returned to the grand ballroom for lunch and a keynote from supermodel Christy Turlington Burns (and wife to Ed Burns!). She came to speak about the organization she founded called "Every Mother Counts" that aims to increase awareness about maternal health, especially for women who don't have easy access to that information.
Afterwards, we had one more breakout session scheduled. For this last one, I chose "Social Media Bootcamp: Lightening Lessons on the Latest - Facebook and Pinterest." I have yet to jump on these bandwagons, mostly because
a) I'm a teacher and just think Facebook can be a bad idea, even if it is private
b) I'll get addicted and these are time eaters (keeping up with my blog and the others that I read is time-consuming enough!).
I know I need to join the world of social media to increase my readership, blah blah blah, but going back to work soon in a new building in a new position with new people is stressful enough right now! One step at a time...
Before the closing keynote, we had a break to visit the Expo Hall again. Fashion expert Carson Kressley was there as well as country singer Billy Currington! In fact, I got an autographed CD:
And I'd like to give it away if you're a Billy Currington fan. Leave a comment below letting me know if you're interested.
The closing keynote speaker was Ava Duvernay, director of the movie Selma. She was interesting to listen to, and hearing what she had to say about breaking into the world of male directors in Hollywood was intriguing (sorry for the awful pictures... all I had to work with was my phone!).
From there, we were bussed to Pier 42 (or 43 or 44? I can't remember...) for the closing party sponsored by McDonalds.
Upon arrival, I headed to grab a drink because the humidity was ridiculous! A whole drink station was set up and I got a pink lemonade. Apparently SVEDKA vodka was a sponsor, which I was unaware of until I ordered. A nice man asked if I'd like my lemonade "spiked." Um, yes. Yes, please.
I jetted back to Amanda's apartment and we went to Uva, a great little Italian place on the Upper East Side. We shared a bottle of wine and the waitress brought out bowls with it. She said you drink the wine from the bowls. We were a bit confused, and Amanda asked for a wine glass, but -- remember my motto? Yup. When in Rome...
After we split two (yes, two - they were small) appetizers, I opted for a type of pasta primavera dish with chicken. It was delicious! Amanda got pasta with a duck ragout sauce that was also good.
We headed back to her apartment after another long day, watched a little TV, and had some girl talk.
The next morning, before I headed back home, we grabbed brunch at a place called "The Barking Dog." I got eggs, home fries, and bacon -- my standard -- but Amanda got a yummy brunch salad that I was jealous of once it arrived. It had some lettuce and was topped with bacon, ham, cheese, chopped tomatoes, hard boiled egg, pieces of french toast...
Then I set off to Port Authority to catch a bus home. Although I had such a wonderful time in NYC, I couldn't wait to see my family again!
Oh, and I have to mention this. I was a little (okay, a lot) worried about what the state of our house would look like when I returned after the boys were home together for a few days. My husband actually did a GREAT job of keeping things in order... better than I expected! That just proves to me that he can clean up; he just chooses not to most of the time.
I still have so much paperwork to get through from the conference, but - all in all - I'm glad I went. I met a lot of awesome women and discovered some avenues I plan on exploring in the future!
Thanks for stopping by! Hope you have a good Tuesday.