I spent four fun-filled days last week with about 300 of my fellow pet bloggers at BlogPaws 2013. This was my third BlogPaws experience, and just when I think it can’t possibly get any better than the prior year, it does. From attending top-notch presentations by blogging and social media experts to networking with other bloggers, the weekend was a blur of learning, networking, and socializing.
But as was the case last year, the highlight of the conference for me was connecting and reconnecting with my blogging friends, including Robin Olson of Covered in Cat Hair, Tamar Arslanian of I Have Cat, Angie Bailey of Catladyland, Deb Barnes of The Chronicles of Zee and Zoey, Janea Kelley of Paws and Effect, Debbie Glovatsky of Glogirly, Terri Thorsteinson of Curlz and Swirlz, Stephanie Harwin of Catsparella, Janiss Garza of Sparkle Cat, Karen Nichols of Mousebreath, Connie of Tails from the Foster Kittens, Jeanne of Random Felines, Rachel Shubin of Sandpiper Cat, Lisa Richman of A Tonk’s Tail, and so many others. Kate Benjamin of Hauspanther and Joanne McGonagle of The Tiniest Tiger Conservation Cub Club, couldn’t attend this year, and they were deeply missed.
BlogPaws started a day earlier than usual for me this year, as I was helping with set up for the Cat Lounge, which once again turned into the favorite place for all the cat bloggers to gather throughout the conference. Without Kate Benjamin’s oversight, the lounge wasn’t quite as spectacular as it was last year in Salt Lake City, but we did the best we could under the circumstances. A big shout out to Chloe DeVita of BlogPaws, who was in charge of coordinating everything related to the lounge, which couldn’t have been easy on top of all her other responsibilities. She was pulled in more directions than I have ever seen anyone being pulled, and yet, she never lost her poise, and always had a smile on her face. Thank you also to all the fellow cat bloggers who jumped in to help.
Allegra and Ruby were not crazy about having me gone for four very long days, but at least I got to come home at night and we got some quality sleep time together! Even though there wasn’t a whole lot of cat swag at this conference, they still had fun checking out the Cat Lounge bag.
I could have happily hung out in the Cat Lounge for the duration of the conference, but I did make time to attend some of the sessions. The highlight for me was Robin Olson’s presentation “After Tragedy Strikes: How a Blog, a Rescue Group and 15 Cats Helped Heal Hearts in Sandy Hook, CT.” As Robin shared her experience of setting up her “Kitties for Kids” program through her rescue group, Kitten Associates, there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. We all walked away not only in awe of what Robin accomplished with the program, but inspired to make a difference in our own communities.
This year’s conference coincided with my birthday last Saturday, and I can honestly say it was the best birthday I ever had. It’s not often – okay, never! – that I get to celebrate my birthday with 300 of my closest blogging friends. I got many birthday wishes throughout the day, and after the awards ceremony, Chloe surprised me with a “Happy Birthday” from the stage, and it seemed like the entire ballroom sang “Happy Birthday” to me. I felt very special!
But it got even better. My dear friend Robin had planned a surprise party in her hotel room, and I got to close out a spectacular four days with 20 or so of my favorite cat ladies, one cat guy, and four cats. I not only looked like a princess, thanks to the fabulous tiara Robin got for me, I felt like royalty.
Disco and Coco from the Curlz and Swirlz blog were two of my special party guests!
The four days went by much too fast, and I can’t wait for next year’s conference, which will take place in Lake Las Vegas, NV May 8-10, 2014.
Photo credits : photo of me with Triscuit by Debbie Glovatsky, photo of cat ladies by Bernadette Kazmarski, photo of me with Robin by Debbie Glovatsky, photo of Disco and Coco by Rachel Shubin.