Now that summer is here, dress season is in full swing! I really love the shift dress style (a less tailored option with a short hemline) for warmer weather and windy days because the looser fit makes them less clingy and they’re not billowy enough to have to wrestle with against the wind. Since I’m on the shorter end of the spectrum, I love to wear shift dresses with heels to give me some extra height, as sometimes the straight and narrow fit of the dress can shorten my already petite torso. Not going to lie, I’m jealous of you taller ladies because I think shift dresses look amazing when dressed down with a pair of sneakers! See my summer shift dress picks below and tell me which one will you be rocking all season long! P.S. All the dresses are under $100!
Forever 21 Colorblocked Houndstooth Shift Dress (no longer available, similar options linked) Also worn here
Target Merona Lulu Block Heeled Sandals in Black (linked above) Also worn here
BaubleBar Bahama Pom Pom Earrings (linked above)
“Mod Mini” Photographed by Luke Bowes
Hello from New York City! My summer in the city is officially underway and I couldn’t be happier about it! Luke and I headed to the Whitney Museum last week to enjoy the warmth and sunshine on their amazing patio space and peeked at a few of their new exhibits. Read about my first visit to the Whitney and the MoMA here.
I love wearing rompers on these hot days we’ve been having lately and they’re especially nice for times when you’ll be doing quite a lot of walking. Whether you’re exploring your vacation town or visiting a theme-park, they’re such a great cool & comfortable summer wardrobe staple, so I linked several of my favorite options that can take you from day to night all summer long.
Victoria Beckham x Target Orange Scallop Romper (still available in plus size, similar options linked)
Target A+ Black & White Quarter Strap Sandal (no longer available, similar options linked)
BaubleBar Sandbar Drops in Yellow (linked above) Also worn here
“Rooftop Romper” Photographed by Luke Bowes
So you want to attend a Create & Cultivate conference? This post is here to help! I’ll be breaking down my conference experience and comparing my expectations and realities for my weekend in New York with C&C.
As stated in my favorite conference moments post, Create & Cultivate is a movement for female entrepreneurs and their one day conferences have become quite the hot ticket over the last few years. The events are marketed toward bloggers, business owners, and creatives that are looking for a way to monetize their talents. This post is meant to compare what I was expecting to get out of the conference (based on recommendations and reviews from past attendees and the way in which the event is promoted) to what I was actually able to take away. The purpose of the post is to share my honest perspective of the conference for anyone who may be on the fence about attending. Here are my Create & Cultivate Do’s and Don’ts!
… have business cards on hand. With Luke’s help, I designed my own business cards and had them printed with MOO (can’t recommend them enough!). These were so helpful to have because the day was pretty hectic and when you meet so many people (and brands!) in such a short span of time, it’s nice to have something to remember them by. I chose to put a portrait of myself on mine to make the association between myself and my blog easier.
… buy VIP tickets for the ability to choose your own mentors. I was on the fence about whether to buy General Admission or VIP tickets and ended up taking so long to decide that VIP was my only option, as GA sold out in the meantime. I wanted to be able to select my track for the day and my mentors for the Mentor Power Hour, assuming that the mentors would be some of the panelists already on the agenda for the day. Mentors weren’t announced until at least a month after tickets had already sold out completely and when it was time to select mine, I wasn’t familiar with any of them. I chose the ones that seemed to be doing something similar to what I wanted to do, but I was pretty disappointed with this whole segment of the conference in general. The setting was not intimate in the least bit- each “mentor” had a group of 20-25 people surrounding her and, as I discovered in my first session of the two, if you weren’t within a few chairs of the mentor you couldn’t hear the conversation at all. It was a good time to ask questions, but the whole execution of this part of the day was really lacking in my opinion, with each group in large circles back to back in an open, echoey building. I did like getting to choose my track for the day, but in retrospect, I wouldn’t have paid an additional $200 to be able to do this. In the future, I hope to see Create & Cultivate develop an individual placement plan for attendees based on their background so that they are automatically placed in the track that is more beneficial to them regardless of if they’re a VIP or not.
… reach out to fellow attendees before the conference. Since the conference is only one day, it’s a good idea to carve out additional time to spend with like-minded women while you’re in the same location. I just followed Create & Cultivate’s Instagram comment feeds to find other women who were also attending (and leaving comments like, “can’t wait!”) and then reached out to them via email to make dinner plans before our conference event on Friday evening. As an introvert, having a group of familiar faces on the day of the conference was really comforting and it helped alleviate some of the anxiety usually accompanied with large events.
…expect blogging “how-to’s”. There were two tracks at the NYC conference, the one I chose was the more blogger-geared of the two. While each panel had a different topic, most of the six seemed to run together because, for the most part, the blogger panelists gave the same information we’ve all read on those thousands of unhelpful “How to Blog” posts; be authentic, post consistently, only publish high-caliber content. As someone who was looking for answers and advice on how to begin to monetize her platform, hearing these shallow “tips” over and over again throughout the day was quite frustrating. In retrospect, a small blogging course on monetization probably would have been more helpful for this question I was hoping would be answered during my day at the conference.
… get caught up with all of the amenities and fail to secure a good seat for the panels. There were so many good brands represented at Create & Cultivate like Kendra Scott, Birchbox, La Croix, and more but there was virtually no time to interact with them as our schedule was jam-packed. There was only about 20 minutes in between each panel- just enough time for a bathroom break and a quick refreshment refill before heading to the alternating indoor/outdoor stages. Luckily, I had decent seats for most, but I still struggled to hear the panelists if I didn’t have a spot front and center, so I can’t imagine that the ladies in the back of the group heard anything at all.
… book a room at the conference hotel or stay close to the venue. My friend Alexis stayed at the conference hotel and she was able to meet some other attendees that were also staying there and they split the Uber bill for their ride to the conference. I chose to stay close to the venue so that my early morning commute wouldn’t be such a hassle.
… only talk to people you know. The biggest positive outcome of the conference for me was getting to meet other bloggers. While it was nice to have a familiar face throughout the day, I really pushed myself to chat with new people during our breakfast, lunch, and break. You never know the impact that a stranger can have on you until you introduce yourself and get to know them. P.S. Isn’t Rachel just the cutest?!
I am happy that I chose to attend Create & Cultivate, but I do feel as if I could have spent the resources I used on this one event (conference tickets, airfare, and accommodations all add up!) to invest in smaller-scale things that would have been more beneficial to me at this point in my blogging journey and financial situation. For me, specific classes or workshops on blog monetization and growing an audience would have been a more cost-effective option than attending the conference. Looking back, I don’t think I would’ve dropped extra dough for the VIP “experience” because the extra cost primarily paid for a lot of frills that I wasn’t really interested in, like free drinks all day and access to a VIP lounge. As stated earlier, I hope that Create & Cultivate will do a placement system for attendees in the future, especially considering that the panel topics weren’t completely finalized before ticket sales opened, making it hard to tell which panel was the right choice.
Create & Cultivate has created a successful movement of entrepreneurial women and I’m happy to have had the opportunity to be in the same room as some of the panelists and other attendees. I think the conference is a wonderful outlet to meet other creatives and brands and to re-fill your inspiration tank, but if you’re looking for lots of specific blogging tips and tricks, I don’t think you’ll find them at at Create & Cultivate conference.