Fair Warning: This article contains gushing glowing highlights of utter cuteness, random silliness, and my ultimate afterglow from the BlogPaws 2018 10th Anniversary Conference!
It was months in preparing and planning.
Months of anticipation, excitement, and straining to have patience.
Not to mention I was simply amazed and overjoyed to be selected as an Ambassador!
Finally, the BlogPaws 2018 Conference became a reality for me and I am excited to share my highlights with you!
I decided to name this post Afterglow because much like the party after the prom, or other types of afterglows, I felt totally satisfied with my BlogPaws experience.
Disclosure: Affiliate links are used in this article.
Looking Back At Some Of My Favorite Aspects Of The Conference, My Afterglow:
This year’s conference was held in Kansas City, Missouri.
The above photo is a view of the city from my hotel room.
KC is only an hours drive from my hometown of Topeka, Kansas.
I was thrilled when I learned that the conference would be so close to my home.
Being familiar with the area, and having been there a multitude of times kept me from wanting to venture out.
This allowed me to be fully immersed in the conference itself.
I have to say, if I had traveled to a city I had never been to, I would have been tempted to go look around.
The hotel is gorgeous and my hotel afterglow is shining bright.
Even though the event was jam-packed and busy I did get to embrace the ambiance and enjoy it.
Once the Hyatt, now Sheraton at Crown Center.
A little history, something I did not talk about to fellow BlogPaws attendees before the conference is that in 1981 two walkways collapsed.
Sadly, this caused many injuries and deaths.
Not something one wants to tell others who will be going to an event at the same location.
No need to worry people as clearly the hotel is in great repair now.
Checking into the event involved getting our nametag lanyards, and our swag bags!
More on the swag soon.
They did not have Ambassador ribbons for our badges this year.
It wasn’t a huge deal but it did make it a little more difficult for people who needed assistance to find the Ambassadors.
Granted, we were announced, but not everyone will remember each of our faces.
Plus, people can look different in person.
One of my favorite BlogPaws friends said she thought I was tall.
Being only five foot three that was funny, and nice to hear!
I am glad I look taller in my photos.
Here I am all checked in and ready to enjoy the event!
The swag bag weighed a ton!
I knew this beforehand since I helped stuff them.
We were told there would be a ton of goodies this year and they were not kidding!
Above is a view of the city skyline from my hotel room at night.
My room was right above train tracks.
Some people may not have been pleased but I have always loved the sound of trains.
In fact, I have a train track sound on my phone as an app to help me fall asleep at night.
I loved that my room included this for me.
This lovely lady, Denise Yoder-Gruzensky of Denise’s Dog Dish was a lifesaver for me!
She and her roommate Kristin Avery of The Daily Pip allowed me to change in their room for the Nose to Nose Awards.
I had to check out as I was leaving that night and was roomless.
Kristin is the winner of Best Written Blog Post.
A huge congratulations to her as it is well deserved!
Please check out both of their blogs – they are amazing.
This gorgeous lady here is someone I had been excited to meet for a long time.
Jenise Carl of Happy-Go-Doodle will light you up with her smile.
Her dog, Chloe will too.
I have looked up to Jenise since I first joined BlogPaws and she is always so joyful and willing to help.
If you watch the reply of the Facebook live from the Nose-to-Nose awards you will see her a couple of times on stage.
Her positivity is as infectious as her smile.
Above are two exhausted but happy people.
My friend and whether he knows it or not, my mentor, Bernard Lima-Chavez is the creative, artistic, genius behind The Graffiti Dog.
His blog is absolutely gorgeous and so much fun, yet also focuses on serious issues we need awareness about.
The Graffiti Dog focuses on deaf dog awareness, training, and education and Bernard infuses street art into his photos.
Bernard has a way of making us laugh while at the same time getting to the heart of the serious topic of deaf dogs and their care.
Please visit his blog.
You never know what new friends you will make when attending a blog conference.
This powerhouse, Dr. Benzinger of Humarian interviewed me for an upcoming podcast.
I will let you know when that is live and I am sure I will be writing about Humarian soon.
I absolutely love Dr. B’s energy and our interview went so smoothly you would think we had been friends for eons.
Dr. Benzinger is chiropractic physician, speaker and the co-founder of Humarian.
He was a national talk show host for 21 years and has over 35 years of integrated medical experience.
He specializes in musculoskeletal and nutritional management for elite athletes across the country.
I am looking forward to learning more from him and the Humarian products and I have brought some home to try for myself and my pets.
BlogPaws welcomes all well-behaved animals and that includes rats.
Abby of Healing Whiskers teaches us that there is a lot more to rats than meets the eye.
I have to admit, I have never been a fan of rats.
My daughter has been wanting one for a long time and I kept saying no.
Granted, she is an adult now and can do what she wants but after meeting Abby and her sweet little rat, I kind of want one too!
Her blog, Healing Whiskers teaches us about therapy rats and shares her adventures.
Abby was nominated for the Best Beyond Paws Nose-to-Nose award this year which is a testament to her great work on her blog.
Alright, so you all know I love fashion, and I love animals.
Well, Coco, The Couture Cat has won my heart this year at BlogPaws and so did her furmama, Teri.
I read on one of her posts that Cocoa had a total of 19 costume changes this year.
Can you imagine?
I have a hard enough time just getting myself dressed.
Cocoa did look absolutely gorgeous in all of the outfits I saw her in and Teri always looked purrfectly put together too.
Teri is truly inspiring when it comes to fashion and pets.
I should take a lesson from her and start dressing up my pets too.
Can you tell my pet afterglow is simply gleaming?
BlogPaws conference is a busy place and unfortunately, I do not always get the names of the pets and bloggers I run into.
We do not really have time to meet everyone but sometimes I could not help snapping a photo of the cute furbabies I see.
The above photo and the one below are this sort of situation.
Seriously everywhere you look there is ultimate cuteness to absorb!
I love the pup above with the painted head and tail.
If anyone reading knows who this pup is and who it’s owner is please comment and let me know so I can add their information to the post.
Edit: The beautiful dog about is Chilly Pasternak. A BlogPaws regular.
I am very sad to report that Chilly is terminally ill.
From a post on BlogPaws Social Learning Community:
He has an aggressive, inoperable tumor in his mouth. Chilly’s blue-and-purple floof made this outgoing poodle instantly recognizable. Ironically, his mom, Lori Pasternak, is a veterinary surgeon. Lori and her husband, Jake, run the Helping Hands Veterinary Surgery & Dental Care, in Richmond, VA, which offers low cost services. Among Chilly’s accomplishments are raising funds for the Humane Society of New York and providing comfort to hundreds of people. If you met Chilly at BlogPaws, please leave a word of encouragement on their Facebook page or on Instagram.
More about Chilly
• Instagram (#Chillysfinaltour)
• Facebook (facebook.com/helpinghandsvet/)
Please, show Chilly and his fur-parnets some love.
Talk about the most adorable thing.
I literally squeed when I saw these sweet pups above.
Never could I imagine my pets being so well behaved to ride in a stroller so calmly let alone with other pups.
Lyla would kick Link directly out on his rump because Link would drive Lyla crazy.
These sibling pups seemed to have it all worked out.
Again, if anyone reading knows more about this collection of cute just let me know.
Alright, I was wrong, I have three images to share that I have no information about.
This cat above, I can not even begin to tell you how impressed I am with him, or her.
First, it’s absolutely gorgeous but even more than that…
This cat is trained!
Update: Patty who is the amazing blogger of Broken Teepee filled me in!
This cat is named Summer.
She is a therapy cat which totally makes sense.
You can read her stories at Sparkle Cat.
That trained cat is Summer and she blogs at sparklecat.com
She is also a therapy cat.
Who says you can’t train a cat?
I watched this one high-five, stand on his back legs, wave, and push a button for a treat.
After being mesmerized for a good ten minutes I thought to take a video.
I did get one but by the time I thought of doing it the cat and his owner were basically done so my video did not end up being share-worthy.
You just have to take my word on this one, cats are cool!
Red Roof Inn, who I am collaborating with on an upcoming article was in attendance.
Not only do they welcome pets but pets stay free.
I have heard so many wonderful things about Red Roof Inn and can’t wait to experience staying there myself.
Their staff in attendance was so fun, warm, and welcoming.
Just the way I am sure their staff at the hotels are.
We had fun taking this photo with the cardboard dog, no it’s not real, looks pretty convincing though right?
Just like the cardboard dog above, these two pictured here are no angels.
The Halo rep cracked me up while we took this shot.
In fact, I met a large number of Halo staff while at the conference and attended a VIP lunch with them.
I was so impressed by not only the people behind Halo, but the brand too.
One thing that sticks with me is that none of the meat used in their pet food comes from factory farming.
I am so in love with that because I detest factory farming for my own food.
A new to me brand that I discovered is Doog.
The perfect place to find all your outdoor gear for the active dog.
One thing I spotted and could not leave without was the Stick Family Fetch Toys.
The Doog rep let me pick one out for my Link.
Link is a chewer and he devours anything that gets into his mouth.
This is not a good thing when we play fetch with a stick because sticks splinter and can cause irreparable damage to your pup.
Sadly I have experienced this with a pet that is no longer with me.
I was so happy to see someone made a toy like this that is safe for pets to play fetch with.
The Stick Family is made from recycled rubber, have glow in the dark eyes and float in water.
Now they are not meant to be chewed either but I know that they are safer for Link and he may not desire to chew them the way he does wood sticks.
Pets should always be supervised when playing with any kind of stick, wood, or otherwise.
I chose Twiggy for my pup but you have to check out the entire family, they are so cute!
Wanna talk cute?
Check out these pet beds from Dharma Dog Karma Cat!
I want them so badly!
The bouquet is my favorite but they have tons of designs.
I would love one for each of my pets although I do not think Lyla would fit into one.
The other three would adore them, plus they would look stylish in my home.
You know I love all things stylish!
Oh, it’s not just a pretty pet bed though!
They use Himalayan wool for their toys and beds and its is not chemically cleansed.
That means it has a lot of lanolin in it.
Lanolin is the natural oil unique to sheep’s wool and it reminds your pet of the scent of their mother.
Lanolin oil conditions their paws and helps to keep their fur healthy and shiny.
Who knew a pet bed could do that!?
I have to get my paws on these.
There are so many great reasons to attend a BlowPaws Conference but for me, the highlight is the speakers.
I have come a long way with Fashion Beyond Forty but I still have a ton to learn.
Afterall, business is business and while I love every aspect of BlogPaws I am there to absorb as much knowledge as possible.
I have to say absorb I did.
The speakers were amazing.
Jenny Guy, of Mediavine, pictured above, blew my mind with her funny, energetic, and spirited session, How To Make A Brand Swipe Right.
I have so many notes to go over from her session and I am so ready to implement all that I learned.
The trio from Dragon 360 shared valuable information in the Blogging With Goals session.
Another great speaker that I did not get a photo of was Jill Caren of 2 Dogs Media.
It was challenging to take photos in the sessions since I was so into my note-taking.
Jill gave a great talk on SEO and I loved that it was more of a talk rather than a speech.
Speaking of talks, the 1-on-1 sessions were a hit!
Interactive Areas Afterglow:
When it was time to unwind and enjoy the fun I hit the interactive areas.
This was the first year BlogPaws had interactive areas at the conference and they were a real hit!
Everyone loved getting themselves and their pets involved in some interactive play.
Who doesn’t want to get kissed by a gorgeous pup at a kissing booth?
I didn’t even have to pay the 5 cents.
The kitchen interactive area was baking up goodness with homemade pet treats from Whisk & Wag.
I am not a baker myself, not for people or pets so I gave my sample mix to my sister in law who loves to bake.
The interactive areas this year were such a genius idea and it was fun to see the pets enjoying freshly made treats.
The highlight for me of the interactive areas were the kitties and pups ready for adoption.
Cuddles, snuggles, and licks abound from these sweet furbabies.
We could get right in there and give and receive puppy and kitty love.
These two areas really helped me get through missing my own furkids who had to stay back at home.
Many of us have lost a pet and the Honor Flag craft area gave us a way to remember them.
There were a few crating areas at the conference but this one was the most important.
It allowed for us to sit with fellow bloggers and talk about the pets that are no longer with us.
Crafting and creating is a great way to take a rest from the business of the conference too.
Food was in good supply at the conference and it was quite tasty!
From the provided meals to VIP meals, I enjoyed it all.
Far from what I would consider typical catered fair.
My favorite meal, above, was just my type of food.
Looking at it now makes me want to make it myself.
Most of the meals were provided with my conference tickets.
So, if you are considering a future BlogPaws event, remember you are buying a lot more than simply an entry to the conference.
The ticket price was more than worth it!
Photoed above and below is the KC BBQ style lunch provided at the HALO VIP luncheon I was invited to.
VIP events are by invite only but many bloggers were in attendance.
Not only was the food delicious but the CEO of HALO gave an inspired speech.
I mentioned above how their pet food does not contain any factory farmed animals and I also learned how to read pet food labels with more understanding.
That is a hot topic for me because even with my background in understanding human food labels, pet food can be very confusing.
Nose To Nose Afterglow:
So the Red Carpet and Nose-To-Nose events were a bit more difficult for me to get good photos of.
It was so crowded and a hustle and bustle event to say the least.
Plus, honestly, I just wanted to enjoy it.
All of these ladies (and one gent) look amazing even if it is a challenge for everyone to be looking at the camera with the perfect smile at the same time.
Oh, and two of these pets in the photo are Cuddle Clones!
Can you figure out which two?
Note: The above link is an affiliate link from Denise of Denise’s Dog Dish shown earlier in this post.
Use her code DDD for 10% off your own Cuddle Clone.
The awards ceremony was glitz and glam indeed!
I have never been and I may never again attend an event like this.
The BlogPaws team, pictured above on the big screen looked amazing, as did everyone.
I am so honored to have had the chance to meet them all in person and they simply lit up the stage.
Chloe DiVita is such a great speaker!
She was expressive, emotive, and like me uses her hands to talk.
I think I developed a slight girl-crush.
Due to some massive changes within BlogPaws, she gave an uplifting speech that brought some sense to the confusion.
She really lifted everyone up and set everyone back on track in a positive direction.
Alison Reeder, fellow BlogPaws Ambassador and Vice President of Operations at Wayside Waifs Animal Shelter accepts a prize drawing for a massive food donation,
Her organization Wayside Waifs is so deserving of this and I am so very happy her name was drawn!
Wayside Waifs is a no-kill shelter but it’s so much more than that.
Their location features a Pet Adoption Center, Animal Rescue facility, Bark Park, Behavior & Training facility, Vet Clinic, and Pet Memorial Services.
Wayside Waifs is more than 50,000 square feet in size and is located in Kansas City, Missouri.
Alright, I am not going to lie, I LOVE the swag!
Nothing gives an afterglow like free stuff.
Am I Right?
It was so much fun to help stuff all of those swag bags and quite the workout too.
Our group of about 25 people stuffed over 350 bags within a record-setting two hours!
The swag above is what came in my “mixed” bag.
Mixed meant for both cats and dogs.
There were also dog only and cat only bags.
More swag was collected at the vendor booths in the exhibition hall during the conference.
Above is the total of all swag I brought home.
Link and Tibet were the first two that started digging into the swag.
After playing with his new balls Link sniffed out some tasty snacks.
I so wish that I could share everything about BlogPaws and my experience but this article would never end.
Thanks for following me around on this virtual BlogPaws Conference Tour!
I want to give a huge thank you shout out to Earth Brands Shoes.
They provided me with the most comfortable footwear for walking non-stop for the three-day event.
I will be writing a new post about them soon but you can check out another pair of their shoes I wore at the conference until then.