I was asked so many times since this weekend: “What is this event you were at over the weekend? It looks so cool and like you were having so much fun!” Well, it was cool and I had fun and since I was asked about it so many times, I thought I should do an in-depth recap of my experience at the We All Grow Summit. Warning: This post is photo heavy!!
Your friend tells you about this conference you should go to, where you'll have a great time and learn lots. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I've heard it all before. I mean, how many conferences do you go to that blow your mind? I can count them on two fingers. Oh, and did she mention this is their first year ever? Oh boy… But I listened to her recommendation and registered for the event because I trust my friend and she kinda knows what's up. She was also one of the presenters!
You know how sometimes you are really glad to look back and know you made the right decision? That's how I feel about attending the inaugural We All Grow Summit in Los Angeles, CA last week! Thanks CraftyChica for recommending it to me and pushing me to register! I'm sharing a conference with you because I think if you're a blogger and you're looking for a major motivation boost, lots of knowledge, and truly meaningful fellowship, then you need to read on to see if We All Grow is right for you (it is).
What is We All Grow?
#WeAllGrow Summit is a conference for Latina(o) Bloggers organized by Latina Bloggers Connect. After 5 years of working with bloggers, Latina Bloggers Connect decided it was time to develop a conference to bring brands and bloggers together and to share in our stories, knowledge, and experience to grow together. Hence, We All Grow!
Location: The Line Hotel Los Angeles
The event organizers set the tone with the choice of location, The Line Hotel. Upscale, trendy and effortlessly cool, The Line Hotel has the ambiance to cast an aspirational but chill feel over the entire event. In this environment, you feel everything is possible.
I'll admit some of the items in the room felt a bit twee (crystal sculpture from wood next to a quartz crystal, a rock, and a bright orange tiny glass vase in every room too much?) but the hotel's eclectic decor made it feel warm and homey yet at the same time stark and urban with its concrete walls, sculptures made from trash behind the front desk, and staff in T-shirts. We had a view of the Hollywood Hills from our room – it was pretty sweet!
Above is a photo of the view on Friday afternoon and below a photo of the view on Saturday morning.
I love that some of the chairs were upholstered with Mexican blankets, the entrance to The Commissary had a basket of crocheted afghans you could cozy up with, and the tables were decorated with a-little-bit-dirty terra cotta pots with succulents inside. I do feel a bit like I wandered into a hipster trance but it was all good. It was fun, exciting, and welcoming and you can't say that about many hotels, can you?! I would stay here again in a heartbeat!
Even the conference area was donned in eclectic pieces, from the roadside style conference signage to origami animal lights in the conference rooms.
And coming back to the staff, boy, were they friendly! The valet staff got a kick out of my chunky yarn tassel keychain and they were so kind to humor my repeated requests to put things in my car. The bell staff and the restaurant staff were all equally accommodating and laid back at the same time. No one ever looked stressed. That is a huge feat to accomplish in downtown LA with 250 bloggers running all over, Beyonce staying there at the same time, and stars like Matt Bomer having dinner.
Yeah, that really happened! Maria Jose Ovalle took this photo with her selfie stick – we each got one in our goodie bags!
Event Schedule: We All Grow Summit
The event schedule consisted of morning keynotes and keynote panels followed by breakout sessions where we could learn info specific to our niche, such as food photography, or specific to certain platforms, like Vine and Instagram.
The keynotes were great because we got a mix of actionable information as well as inspiring words to help us get through the day and get pumped up about our businesses!
Sponsors and brands set up in suites or with tables throughout the hotel where we could learn more about the brands, see their products, and participate in special mini events.
I also got my hair and makeup done in addition to having a hand and face massage in the Neutrogena Suite.
And I met this amazing makeup artist, Karla Diana, who actually knew where Hesperia is located! She did my hair and makeup:
And at the registration desk, Neutrogena had a Hollywood Walk of Fame star for us to pose with!
FYI, I just tried the new Neutrogena Hyrdo Boost Water Gel — wow! It is amazing!!! We received lots of gifts and goodies, oh my!
Domain.Me Suite: A caricature artist was on site, drawing us in our element. We also learned more about domain.me, ate red velvet cake pops, and got superhero items to take home!
Pine-Sol Suite: We were encouraged to write a message to our mentor and share the photo on social media as well as add our advice to a giant board in the room. Pine-Sol brought in life coach Deborah Deras to give us one-on-one lightning sessions – I was able to sign up and had a great session!
We also could write inspiring messages on postcards and then attach them to the board with glue sticks:
Andrea Suite: Shoes shoes shoes were everywhere! Bloggers could try on shoes and accessories and then take a walk on the catwalk to model them! You can find out more on the Andrea website.
Crest Suite: A photographer was on hand to give us head shots to use on our blog and social media. They took some great serious photos but I like the one below the best!
Do you think people will still take me seriously?! I also got a fun pic with the Crest logo! We learned about Crest White Strips and I got a sample of their Sensitive Tooth formula which I cannot wait to try. I'll be sharing more info about that with you soon!
Origami Owl Table: The people from Origami Owl were amazing! They gave each of us a special locket to put together with the word “blog” in it. I learned a ton about the company and can't wait to share more with you in another post, coming soon.
Aren't those hexagon shaped boxes to die for?! I also want one of these bracelets really bad. Like really bad. Mother's Day is just around the corner, hint hint!
Vive Mejor Table: Vive Mejor represents many of our favorite brands from Lipton to Knorr and it was great to learn more about the company and all the brands they represent. They also provided chair massages and manicures – I got my nails did:
ScholarShare Table: Have you started saving for college for your kids yet? I had no idea it was so easy to get started – a call to ScholarShare and $25 is all you need! I am totally doing this ASAP and I hope to have more info for you about it soon. Until then, you can check out their website which I linked to above.
Food: Gourmet Food, Snacks, and Delicious Sweets
The food at this event was absolutely amazing! Chef Roy Choi was the mastermind behind the menu and that was an incredible treat! At every turn there were snacks between meals, brownies, rice cereal bars, cookies, and more. Here's a sampling:
These Rice Krispie treats were amazing – I think they were made with Fruity Pebbles! They were served as a between-session snack.
The table settings in the hotel and in the restaurant were all very eclectic. I wonder if they were thrifted or reproductions? Also, we got swag at our meals, like these Neutrogena Color Sticks above and loads of goodie bags!
This salad was grilled radicchio with endive and grilled pear and a mustard dressing. First course of lunch the first day…
The main course of lunch was a strip steak with asparagus topped with a very spicy ginger sauce that was incredibly delicious!
And dessert was slices of decadent cheesecake with fresh berries and cream on top. I totally needed a cup of coffee with this because it was so rich! I ate it before the waiter came around with the coffee!
The next day, we got breakfast in bed. Room service delivers food wrapped in a cloth like above. There was a cute instruction sheet on how to open the food. We got a little bonus – a third meal in our delivery! It was all incredibly delicious and fun to eat. The eggs are burnt because I ordered them that way … don't worry, they know how to cook eggs! If you stayed at the hotel for the event, they sent breakfast in bed to your room! Now what event have you ever been to that does that?! It certainly made us feel really special!
I was super fortunate enough to be treated to dinner at The Commissary one night by one of the sponsors. The restaurant is INSIDE a greenhouse!
The restaurant's wine menu was printed on manila envelopes filled out to look like mailed letters. Scrapbookers would be all over this! I wonder if they used ColorBox ink… we ate family style and all of the food was incredible!
In the Lobby of The Line Hotel was a bar called POT. Yeah, that kind of “pot”. Anyways, the drinks were awesome and my amazing roommate MzLiz and I shared cocktails before the final party of the last night to close the event. I ordered a dark and stormy and it made me warm and tipsy!
My favorite dish was this Black Cod (I think that is what it was) with crispy skin and peas, that was served at the lunch buffet on the last day:
At each meal and keynote, the tables were decorated differently and we were provided with refreshments, like brownies, hot tea, and ice tea:
I will say that it was tough for people with special diets, like vegan or gluten-free or even me with my paleo needs to eat at times. The meals were great but the snack times were largely sweets and cakes and brownies and such. Still, it wasn't like I was hungry after all that amazing food at each meal. I was really impressed with the quality of the food, the taste, and the abundance of food. there were also vegetarian options available. I have been to so many events where they run out of food and I am hungry all day. This event's food service was top-notch and I hope to try to replicate some of the dishes at home. We were even able to go back and get seconds at the buffet lunch and breakfast!
We are Bloggers, Storytellers, Social Media Fanatics, YouTubers, Business Women, Moms, and More
This happens at a lot of conferences: you see LOTS of photos being taken and LOTS of social media updates being posted. It was even more so at WeAllGrow!
It was nice to see everyone getting photos together and chatting things up. It all felt very inclusive. Like if I was standing nearby, people said, “hey, come get in the photo too!”.
I met these two lovely ladies, MzLiz from BBWGeneration and Blanca of elpequenoespaciodelibelulalatina, on the day 1 field trip to the Natural History Museum (post coming on Saturday) and we were fast friends, having a drink at The Commissary only a few hours later!
I was very much out of my element at this event. There were alot of food, mom, and fashion bloggers. I am used to being around a lot of craft bloggers and craft designers, many of whom already know me. It was uncomfortable the first day but that is because of me, not because of anyone else. Nobody cared if I was fat or thin, had fancy makeup or wore none at all, had plain clothes or was dressed to the nines, had 1000 pageviews a month or 1,000,000 pageviews. Everyone was willing to talk to everyone else, share the knowledge, share stories, and uplift one another. I was able to walk up to people at the parties and in classrooms and start conversations. It was like everyone got the memo that we're all in this together, we all get better as we help one another out. Except there was no memo. As someone who has experienced an incredible amount of nonsense in the craft industry, I found this event so stunningly refreshing. It was different, it was thoughtful, it was compassionate, and for those reasons, I will be back. And I would love to see you there too. I will be announcing when the next event is and when registration is open but you can also find info and sign up for updates here:
I was there but not in many of the photos from the official event photographer. I look really really really plain jane compared to all these beauty bloggers! LOL I started editing my photos from the event and I realized, GEEZ, I need to get better at this make up and hair and touching up my lipstick thing. But seriously, I got a good chuckle out of these photos. Here's what I mean:
Hey, you gotta have a little fun with it! A special thanks to #WeAllGrow Summit 2015 and Robson Muzel for getting hundreds of amazing photos of the venue, the event, and the attendees and allowing us to use them in our blog posts! Like I said, if you thought I was having an amazing time, you were totally right!!! I'll see you there next year.