Two weeks ago I spent the weekend in Charleston for the third annual Southern Blog Society conference! I’ve visited Charleston before but the magic and charm of this city makes me fall in love every time. It feels like there are adorable details, beautiful blooms, colorful walls, and perfect shops around every corner and I could wander around this city for DAYS (although the humidity was freaking killer)!
Friday – cocktails with Swoozies
After getting into Charleston, we checked into our Belmond Charleston Place room early (thanks again Charleston Place!) and I was completely smitten with our room. All of the white, the marble, the soft blue details… basically my version of interior design heaven. *insert heart eyes emoji*
We dropped our bags, took a creepy amount of photos of the room, and then the girls and I went down the street to Tease to get our hair done. Despite my stylist’s best efforts I think my ‘do lasted all of eight minutes in the Charleston humidity… My Living Proof anti frizz and GHD styling tools were the ONLY way I could tame my fro before we went back out!
Next up, it was time to get fancy and head down to the Terrace for drinks and treats – our first SBS event of the weekend! [all of my outfits from the weekend are coming soon in a separate post!] I designed the logo and branding for the conference, so I absolutely loved seeing it printed out everywhere at the party and in details throughout the weekend! (And I totally stashed away napkins, cups, and pamphlets with the logo all weekend… no shame!)
After a fun (but very hot and sweaty) couple hours on the terrace, a few girls and I went to Sermet’s for a tasty dinner. We all read each other’s blogs and feel like we’re already real life friends… even though we’ve never met. So at dinner we made a toast to finally meeting and officially being ‘friends IRL’ that our families would stop judging (“yes mom, I met her online and I promise she’s really cool”).
Saturday – conference and networking
Saturday morning came way too early and after a tasty breakfast we spent the morning and early afternoon across the street in the Riviera Theater learning ALL THE BLOG THINGS. Everything from tax tips to properly finding your market and monetizing your blog. It was so freaking great and the things we learned were applicable for new bloggers all the way up to the old dogs.
When the speakers were all finished, it was time to network with the incredible brands that made the weekend possible. Which basically went like this: mimosa bar, hand out business cards and talk with inspiring women, receive tons of gifts, exchange more business cards, drink another mimosa, go back to the hotel and crash. Basically it was the greatest day in the history of blogging ever. THANK YOU SO MUCH JESSICA AND CATHY.
After a quick recovery, a few of us wandered down King Street to my very favorite shop in Charleston: Moon & Lola. I’ve followed the brand for years and when I got to meet Kelly (THE Lola) and Emily (the amazing brand manager) at the conference, my weekend was complete. Just one look at this shop and y’all can see how it clearly is the embodiment of my style in a beautiful Charleston shop. Really, it was love at first sight and I’m so mad I forgot to bring my DSLR!
Not surprisingly, I spent way too long in M&L and had to sprint back to the hotel to get ready for dinner. I met up with a few bloggers and brand reps for dinner at Edmund’s Oast and we had a blast! Not only was the food/beer delicious, but I got to sit next to my blog idols (Emily and Jessica) and chat with the nicest ladies from Vera Bradley and Dermalogica.
The only way to cap off a weekend this great was with drinks (and the best Mojito I’ve had since I was in Italy) at a downtown rooftop bar – shoutout to Alicia for stumbling upon the Pavilion Hotel!
Sunday – do we really have to go home?!
We woke up Sunday morning and couldn’t believe the weekend was already over – how did time go by so quickly?! We had another yummy breakfast sponsored by Hallmark and jumped in the photobooth.
With iced coffee and cameras in hand, it was time for a fun photo adventure to rainbow row. In case you were wondering, walking with a group of six bloggers is like walking with a small child, we stopped at everything because someone needed to take a photo of it or take an outfit photo. And it was both hilarious and wonderful to be surrounded by women who totally get me (food ‘grams and all)!
After packing up and checking out of the hotel, we took flowers to the Emmanuel AME church. And I cried. And I prayed… Hard. How could such a devastating act of hatred happen in this beautiful city to these beautiful people? It had been on my heart all weekend (honestly, and lots of feelings of guilt for having so much fun in a city that was hurting so badly) and I am so glad we spent the time we did there to pray.
The weekend was incredible and I learned so much from the speakers, the hospitality of the city, and the other bloggers I had the privilege of meeting! Charleston is more than just a beautiful place, it’s a community and a family, and it will always be Charleston Strong.
A note for my readers: I spent so much time on this trip being in-the-moment that I didn’t capture nearly as many photos as I would have liked! All of the photos in this post that don’t have a ‘whitney blake’ watermark are courtesy of Kim Graham Photography, the local Charleston photographer who documented our weekend! Thank you so much for the beautiful memories, Kim!
A note for my fellow bloggers: The Southern Blog Society is expanding! In the fall they will be re-launching as a new NATIONAL brand! If you’re a blogger and interested in joining, you can sign up to be notified of when they are accepting applications for their new regions by clicking your region here. YIPPEE!