After I graduated The Blogcademy I made online friendships with some other Blogcadettes, and one of them was Latanya of Sprinkles and Booze. Last month, she asked me if I would come to the Monarch Workshop in Connecticut. I checked out their website and realized how like-minded these babes were. Confetti, photoshoots, networking? Sign me up. Connecticut seemed far away, but it turns out it’s actually only a four hour drive from Baltimore. Everything started coming together.
The only downside was Joe’s birthday party was the night before I needed to be there. I ended up partying till 4:30 in the morning, got dressed, and hopped on 95 North. I got there in great time despite the snow storm that got more intense the closer I got (Happy Spring, right?). We met at the B:Hive in downtown Bridgeport where we were offered fruit, coffee, and the opportunity to say hi to the babes we’d seen online.
Maddy and Jessica (of Oh My Gemini and The Confetti Bar, respectively) welcomed us and let us know we were about to take a little field trip a street over to The Bananaland. Dozens of energetic and beautiful women trekked in our sparkly shoes through snow puddles and up the two flights of stairs where we were greeted by magic. The tables were decorated in the most aesthetically pleasing way. Everything was stunning. We found our name badges which designated our seat, placed next to our own bottle of champagne, notebook, gel pen, and welcome pamphlet created by Marcy Kovac (who let us have the workshop at The Bananaland).
After we peeked through our swag bags full of amazing freebies from generous sponsors, we got to introducing ourselves. We were asked to bring a tchocke with us to give the group a better idea of who we are. I shared a glittery gold star magic wand, explaining how I believe in magic and want everyone to love themselves even if they’re weird like me and hang out on bridges dressed as a Troll doll. Plus, I leave glitter wherever I go. Lots of ladies were from Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New York but there were actually a couple women from Maryland! Even Danielle, who was from Baltimore! Such a cool coincidence. The energy in the room was palpable, and people started getting emotional hearing others’ stories. We were feeling inspired just an hour in.
Next up was a talk from Cara Alwill and a follow-up activity where we all made our own vision boards. Then we had a mini yoga session with Kat of YogaKat Fitness, where we basically just got to dance our butts off to Natalie Merchant. I was complimented on my dance moves, and I loved with Kerstin came over and we danced together. Our lunch and consistent snackage was catered by Whisk + Brush. Everything was delicious, we had tons of choices, and people have already been asking for recipes! If I knew how to use anything except a microwave, I’m sure I would be asking for them as well.
Before we went home for the day (or to a hotel in my case), Debra Wolf talked to us about nutrition to promote an overall healthy lifestyle, and Julia Lovallo educated us on effectively branding our businesses. It’s probably no surprise that a majority of the women at this workshop run their own business either instead of or in conjunction with a corporate job.
Throughout the day, Ashley raffled off free products and services from our sponsors. I put 2/3 of my tickets in to win this gorgeous sequined tablecloth by Candy Crush. Unfortunately I didn’t win, but there’s really nothing sad about this experience. Everything that happened was just extra cherries on top of the most delicious sundae.
We walked into a different table set up on Day Two, which was really smart on the part of The Dream Team. We were able to mix and mingle with new babes that might have been four tables away from us the first day. We drew angel cards (I got “Inspiration”) and spread out to do a full hour-long session of yoga with Kat. It was calming and intense. We had some seriously tasty brunch (again from Whisk + Brush) that I filled up on and was grateful that we ate after yoga. Then we sat down to do a Q&A session with The Dream Team, where we got well-rounded answers to our questions on life and business.
Next up was a talk from Michelle Bablo, which was probably my favorite part of the whole weekend. I had already gotten to know Michelle a little, but her talk blew my mind. It was incredibly inspirational to hear her story and advice. She wants us all to just fucking go for it, and I whole-heartedly agree.
Did I mention that throughout the entire weekend Nicky Digital had set us up with a photobooth and props where we were able to take as many pictures as we wanted? It was fabulous and a great bonding activity. Featured here is Sarah of NYC Foodie Finder.
To wrap up Day Two, Jennifer Paganelli of Sis Boom came to talk to us about supporting other women and her fabric line at JoAnn’s. She provided us with fun supplies to make our own garlands. We snacked on popcorn and cookies as we made our crafts and exchanged business cards and contact info to keep in touch with each other.
I’m really grateful that Latanya invited me to this workshop, and I can definitely recommend it to anyone considering it. There’s not an official date for the next event, but I think it’s a safe bet to assume it will be sometime in the Fall. I’ll be sharing more about my general experience in Bridgeport, Connecticut soon. I hope you enjoyed the eye candy that is the Monarch Workshop, a totally undefinable experience.