Tuesday, May 28, 2013

#BlogPaws Bits and Bites

 On my way to BlogPaws 2013 I felt as if I was floating among the clouds. 


 Loved the room key!

View from my hotel room

I was proud to be "in charge' of the Newbies Group
 for the third year in a row!
 The Newbies Group in prior years 
had only about 2 tables at the Newbies Friday morning breakfast,
 this year there was a whopping EIGHT! 
Reconnecting with my fellow blogging friends,  such as Terry Frum from Brian's Home and meeting (FINALLY) for the FIRST TIME the "as-nice-in-person-as-she-is-online" Christine Michaels, of Riverfront Cats and Pawsitively Humane.

As well as one of my most favorite people in the world,
 Carol Bryant of BlogPaws/Pet360:

 Kiril from the Opinionated Pussycat (which frankly should be MY name, but I digress).

 as well as many other bloggers who I don't  have photos with,
  I do not dare list them by name, for fear of leaving SOMEONE out!

On the Dog Front:
(due to Dakota's blog)
I was honored to be sponsored,
and will be having an on-going
partnership with
 Rachael Ray NUTRISH

There were sessions that I loved:
Such as:
Intro to Google Analytics
by Blerina Sanocki
Sr.Acct Mgr. Google

in a nutshell, if you are NOT on Google+
you NEED to be!
Changes are coming soon!

The Professional Product Review
by Rose Hamilton of Pet360
Carol Bryant of BlogPaws/Pet360
Rebecca Pollard of Pet360
and PetSmart's Jeff Davis

Key advice when working with a brand
 or when you are HOPING to work with a brand,
 "ALWAYS do MORE than what is expected!

There was:
VIP Influencer Marketing
by Susan Getgood of BlogHer

one of my favorites:
The Key to Marketing with Social Media
by rising star Kimanzi Constable
Before selling 80,000 books online
he delivered BREAD, YES BREAD!


There were cats, dogs, ferrets, chickens
 even a dog who wanted to be a FELINE!

Charles the Monarch
channels his inner feline
with his "Lion" cut

And...because I'm a "tell it like it is" kinda gal:
This was the first BlogPaws where I attended as both a cat AND a dog blogger which gave me a rather unique perspective.  Frankly I don't think people should even be divided  as Cat vs. Dog, but in the pet blogging world that seems to be the case.

I think that Deb Barnes of Zee & Zoey, summed it up the best when writing about what BlogPaws means to her: " But that’s not what BlogPaws is to me. To me, it is a sister and brotherhood of devoted, passionate, talented, creative, and incredible people who inspire others, whether it be through serious and informative blogging, to a humorous and funny blogging, to organizations devoted to rescue and adoptions, to every niche you can imagine to help the creatures of the world, both great and small, to be the best that we can be. We care and our role is important. In that regard, everyone is a hero and everyone is a rock star."

Which leads me to some "Bits and Bites" that I am still digesting
What I learned socially at BlogPaws 2013

That I am thankful that I have a cat AND a dog blog, which enabled me to connect with people who represent both, and enabled me to expand my conference experience by not being limited to interacting with one small group.

That people have their own agendas.

That the conference will be as good as YOU make it.
For this conference I didn't feel a compulsion to attend every session, my focus was more on connecting with fellow bloggers and enjoying their company. The "social" part of BlogPaws 2013 for me was the most rewarding and provided memories and interactions that I will cherish for a lifetime.

That sometimes people don't want to see or spend time with you, as much as you want to see and spend time with them.
  I won't lie, this bothered me and some others, more than I care to admit, but such is life. You have an event with over 500 people, you can't possibly connect with all 500. For every person that might not want to interact with you socially, there will be many more who will.  Don't define yourself by the acceptance or perceived non-acceptance of your peers. You matter, no matter what. Your contribution through the writing of your blog(s), MATTERS, no matter what.

Which leads me to a great quote that I found tonight:
“Without realizing it, we fill important places in each other’s lives. It’s that way with the guy at the corner grocery, the mechanic at the local garage, the family doctor, teachers, neighbors, coworkers. Good people who are always “there,” who can be relied upon in small, important ways. People who teach us, bless us, encourage us, support us, uplift us in the dailiness of life. We never tell them. I don’t know why, but we don’t.
And, of course, we fill that role ourselves. There are those who depend on us, watch us, learn from us, take from us. And we never know.
You may never have proof of your importance, but you are more important than you think. There are always those who couldn’t do without you. The rub is that you don’t always know who.”
― Robert FulghumAll I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten


I learned that the joy of making a new friend whether it is orchestrated by planetary alignment, chance, or some other mystery that has come into play, it is one of the sweetest gifts ever! 

The adorable Sue of the popular blog,  The Island Cats and I both live in Michigan, (approx a half hour apart), but we had to travel to Virginia to meet for the first time! We discovered before we left Michigan for BlogPaws, that we would be sharing the same flight home, seated right next to each other! I had a great time getting to know Sue on our way to the airport and as we soared home above the clouds! We also learned that we are born the SAME YEAR EXACTLY A WEEK APART! How is THAT for planetary alignment?

the view flying home to Michigan!

 I look forward to re-connecting with Sue
 in MICHIGAN one day soon!

So there you have it, BlogPaws Bits and Bites. Thankfully, The "bits" far outweighed the "bites." If you are on the fence about attending a BlogPaws Conference, by all means GO, it will be an experience that you will NOT regret! 


  1. What an AWESOME recap of the BlogPaws experience, Caren!!!
    I especially loved reading your personal take-aways. It was a terrific conference and I loved meeting so many passionate pet lovers...yes even the DOG ones! I especially loved meeting people like you...who I've known in the blogosphere for what seems like forever...but meeting *in-the-fur* is SO much fun!

    ...and what kizmet!!! You and the yellow-haired-lady sharing your flight home right next to each other!

    Can't wait for Vegas!
    : ) GG

  2. Love hearing what everyone has to say about it since I couldn't go. Very cool, you're so lucky to have had the opportunity! More changes to G+? I just got used to the new one! lol... I do love G+ though.

  3. Wonderful post! So fun to see all the pics of the faces behind the blogs. Love the quote near the end. So true! Glad you had a great time and got so much out of it! Hope to be in that newbie group next year.

  4. What a fantastic post and perspective on BlogPaws, Caren! I really, really enjoyed reading this, thanks for being so candid. It is wonderful that you and Sue were seated together and live close. I like what Deb said about BlogPaws and the Robert Fulghum quote as well, it is a good reminder.

  5. Oh you guys are so lucky, I wish it wasn't so far :(

  6. We wish we had BlogPaws over here. Glad you had such a great time. Have a terrific Tuesday.
    Best wishes Molly

  7. A terrific post, Caren. I am glad you felt you could be honest with us about the experience. A great read and very informative. Everyone who has written about Blogpaws has managed to put a different perspective and that helps with seeing the whole picture! xx

  8. OMC, how great is that that you live so close to the Island Cats' human!? And you got to fly home with her! That is just some of the magic of BlogPaws!

  9. <3 you, Caren! Great post. Sharing.

  10. Oh Caren this was a wonderful wrap-up of Blogpaws and I can tell that like all big events with so many people, there were good and not so good moments but overall it was wonderful. You're the perfect person to head up the "Newbies" - warm and welcoming and I would LOVE to have been there among them. You made some new friends and connected with old ones - what's better than that??? Thanks for making it feel like I'd been there - the only difference is that if I'd BEEN there, I could have had a REAL hug instead of a virtual one!

    Love, Pam

  11. It sounds like a mega event with so many attendees!! But you are right to focus on what you want to get out of it and personalising your experience! So nice you met all these other fab bloggers too!!

    Take care

  12. Great review! Was it chance that you and sue were seated next to each other? that is beyond cool. One year I have to go to blogpaws.,,

  13. Great write up, Caren, and I love the friendship quote at the end. That has proven true for me at BlogPaws in so may ways this year. I, too, find that the networking is the best part, and I didn't beat myself up over not attending a whole lot of seminars this year. My only "gripe" about BlogPaws, and really, all conferences of this size, is that there's just never enough time to catch up with everyone. I'm glad that you and I had at least a little bit of time to connect, but I'm really bummed that I missed meeting Sue!

  14. That was a great wrap up. Sounds like every one had a great time. Loved all the pictures. Have a great day.

  15. Mommy really wishes she could attend Blogpaws. But the thought of leaving Daddy in charge of the bunch of us gives her nightmares. Guess she'll just have to contend with just reading about it. :)

  16. How I would have loved to had attended and met you! Gosh I am on Google+ but it confuses me so I seldom bother with it, better learn I guess ;) - great post!

  17. Thanks for more info about Blog Paws. Mom says she likes seeing the faces behind the blogs she admires and follows. Purrs and hugs from the kitties at The Cat on My Head, Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth and Calista Josette

  18. Caren – what a wonderful, heartfelt, and honest review of the BlogPaws conference. You really touched on some key points regarding how we perceive the relationship we have with some of our peers and it is not always as it seems on the surface. But, as you said, and as I STRONGLY believe, we all matter, no matter what, and we cannot define ourselves using the yardstick of others.

    Thank you so much for sharing my quote about how I summed up BlogPaws and I am so glad you finally got to meet my dear friend and partner, Christine Michaels. She truly is an inspiration and she is the real deal! And it’s funny, just like with Sue from Island Cats, Christine and I live relatively close to one another (about an hour apart), but more times than not, the only time I see her is when we are at a conference together!

    It was great seeing you and I hope we can spend more time together the next time we met – it really was a whirlwind of activity this time! I also loved the quote you shared at the end of the post – extremely compelling… xoxox

  19. Excellent post Caren! I look forward to connecting with YOU at the next BlogPaws!

  20. Great bits and bites Caren! Thank you for sharing them all....it was fun and overwhelming to attend my first BlogPaws and I wanted to meet everyone all at once and attend every session so needless to say I almost drove myself nuts! Really looking forward to Vegas! My favorite part of your post is about cat bloggers and dog bloggers....WE CAN BE BOTH! I am and can't imagine selecting one over the other (although my cats would say ditch the dog....BOL). You rock -thanks for writing this post. I am inspired!

  21. I loved this. I am so glad I met you in pawson especially after reading all your post on Blogpaws community site. I look forward to a long friendship. My friends are my family. I am happy you are part of my "family" now.
    Tuesdays tail wags!

  22. Goodness, after reading your bits and bites I kind of feel I was there! But sadly, I wasn't - hopefully next year when it's closer to home. Thanks for sharing your experience and hopefully I can meet you in person next year in Vegas!

  23. sounds like a great experience pity its to far for me to go!xx Rachel

  24. GREAT post! Going to BlogPaws and meeting all of you would be a DREAM. Unfortunately, I live on the other end of the world. Hopefully one day...

  25. Sounds like everyone had a great time. I wish I didn't live so far away!

  26. good wrap up. too funny about Sue :)

  27. Great post Caren It's nice to learn more about BlogPaws, I'm with Molly the Wally it would be great to have a BlogPaws in the UK. I'm with you Cat and Dog Bloggers shouldn't be divided.


  28. I was happy to see you at BlogPaws, and I too was sorry we didn't have more time to chat, but there was just so much going on.

    I don't see it as dog vs cat.. but more of the cat bloggers standing up and not wanting to be ignored. Cats are not small dogs, and when they are treated as such it is just hurtful, only emotionally but in some cases physically (like when vets think they can treat cats the same way they treat dogs)not to mention continues their status as second class pets.

    to reframe the thought, think Men vs Women.

    All too often I see something for "pets" and it all about the dogs. The kitties, the bunnies, the birds, the ferrets and the fish are all left out. I do not think it is wrong or a negative thing for someone to stand up and say 'hey.. fyi, there is more to 'pets' then dogs"..

  29. Caren, my Dad said it is always such a joy to see you in purrson! He also said you should be a carpenter, cause you nailed it!!! That was such a fun post!

  30. I'm amazed how many cat bloggers attended. Oh I wanted to meet Island Cat. Since it's my first time, the sessions were important for me to attend. Too bad I missed the newbie breakfast. You did a great job taking care of the newbies. Golden Thanks and its was a pleasure meeting you. Hope your having no issues with your iPad. Golden Woofs, Sugar's mom

  31. So happy you had a great time again, Caren! My one-and-only time at a (different) blogging conference, a couple of years ago, wasn't nearly so enjoyable; it was awfully "clique-ish", from my perspective. Guess that's the difference between being in a generic group of people and being part of a group of cat- and dog-lovers! :)

  32. From reading your excellent report on the conference it sounds like everyone had a wonderful time. I would love to go, maybe next year.

  33. I've heard very little bad about the conference, sounds like everyone had a really good time!

  34. Great write up, Caren! This year's newbies were the best you will ever have! Hee, hee. Ignore the cliques, life is too short.

  35. Caren, what a great post...you really put it all into perspective. And I think I look really tired in that photo! I obviously had a great time at BlogPaws! Let's not wait until the next one to get together again. ox

    (ps. Ingrid probably doesn't remember, but I did meet her!)

    1. Oh Sue, now I feel really bad! It was such a whirlwind, and I didn't have a card from you! Next year, we'll make a point to spend some time together.

  36. Great post, Caren! We definitely think the best part of BlogPaws was being together with all of the other bloggers. Meeting you in person was SUCH a highlight for us!

  37. Great post! Hope we get to meet in Vegas! I'm a very shy person in person (I cover it well) so sometimes people not spending time with you has a lot more to do with them than with you. :-)

    How cool about the Yellow Haired Lady!! I love both your blogs!!

  38. The social part of BlogPaws sounds like it would be worth the money in and of itself! How I would love to meet all of the wonderful people I've gotten to know through blogging, like you! :) Hopefully next year.

  39. I loved this post Caren. You really covered all the bases. Great job! It was a joy getting to meet "my mentor" in person finally.

  40. Thanks for this enlightening post. Funny how it all works out including the icing on the cake with Sue! I adore Island Cats and you.

  41. I would say go and be yourself... if you haven't been it's insanely nerve wrecking.. I was about to start biting my nails with anxiety.. but that's just me. :)

    I guess my perspective is unique because I don't have a "cat" or "dog" blog, I do pet interviews, I was able to come in and mingle with people who had dogs, cats.. I talked to the ferret lady (sorry! I forgot your name!), I got to pet a giant bunny.. I got to see an overly cute guinea pig.

    I just tried to do my best to say hi to people and tell them a bit about my blog.

    It was great to know I wasn't the only crazy one driving from the lower 48 up to Virginia.


  42. I still have posted my human's experience at BlogPaws :-/

    Sue is a lovely person according to my human and she enjoyed spending time with her at the conference! Also there were indeed many people and many things to do and my human even met new people until the very last hour! So I guess you've got to go to more than one conference to meet everyone... and even then...


  43. Agh, this is one of the many reasons I wish I lived in America. Hahaha!
    Making friends is always great, and what a coicidence she lives close to you too! Maybe it's destined? ;)