super saturday with boston bloggers

home for the holidays with wayfair / elizabethcraneswartz.com this weekend's fun was an incredible jumpstart to the holiday season. I'd been looking forward to this 'home for the holidays' event that the boston blogger genius ladies, kate and alison, cooked up with wayfair but I had no idea how much until the day was over and I wished every saturday could be like this.

the day kicked off with a great keynote by christiane lemieux and heather armstrong. (I've been a longtime fan of heather's so I made sure to have a front row seat specially since I crashed a christiane talk earlier this year at wayfair and it was so good.) it was basically two friends having an easy and honest conversation about being your own brand and the delicate balance of sharing authentically while still protecting yourself. a couple of takeaways for me? christiane's advice that you should never underestimate the telling of 'the story' whether it's through writing or photos. readers/followers want to see your expertise but they 'don't always come to join your party, some come to crash it' and heather's best lesson learned is that you should NEVER get defensive. it's not good for you or your brand.

we spent the rest of the day in smaller groups moving through four breakout sessions - a nice mixture of making and learning. wayfair made sure there was something for everyone but i will say that getting a behind the scenes look into how they handle their SEO was by far the best thing all day. this is something that's gone over my head (which means I've COMPLETELY ignored it) but when the presentation started with "definition of SEO: {n} a state of being filled with awesomeness" I knew it was going to work for me. also hugely helpful was the idea that not all posts have to be supercharged with tags and keywords and searchability because often we write/blog/post because we love to write/blog/post and that's enough. *phew*

other highlights:

  • I LOVED making gift tags with kate because now I know what to do with all those paint samples I've been pilfering. conversely, I now have a game plan for future pillaging at home depot and benjamin moore.
  • I have a sweet banner to hang above my fireplace for the holidays or really anywhere, any time.
  • during lunch alison shared her strategy for blogging during the holiday season but honestly, this is applicable anytime of year - quality posts over quantity and always ask yourself "why am I blogging in the first place?"
  • abby larson of style me pretty shared not only tips for decorating for the holidays but how she got her start, great ideas for styling photos, techniques for shooting those photos and how to make your content work for you - "posts within posts" because everyone's busy.
  • while it's no secret that I don't eat crustaceans or mollusks it was fascinating to learn more about them from chef, cookbook author and restauranteur jeremy sewall. like how to open oysters, how to cook a lobster and even how to plan a menu.

fabulous H&M top with a hand painted original by elizabeth crane swartz

top by H&M / old jeans but similar at madewell / necklace (coming soon) by me

fortunately my friend alex snapped this photo of me wearing the new multi-strand necklace I made and wore to the 'home for the holidays' event. unfortunately this is the only shot you'll see of me wearing the new multi-strand necklace I made and wore to the 'home for the holidays' event.

I waited too long to take the photo so the lighting wasn't great. I didn't bring a real camera so I handed alex my iphone which was squidgy with fingerprints after a long and fabulous day of meeting, making and munching. but my biggest problem? I have ZERO technique when it comes to posing. I have no idea how people do these outfit posts. I spent the day looking great and feeling confident but as soon as I stood to have my photo taken all that sass went away. if anyone's got any pointers, I'd love to hear.

well... there might be one other photo I can share - supremely awkward outfit photo / elizabethcraneswartz.com

you're welcome.