BlogPaws 2016: A Full Recap

 This post is sponsored by Seresto® and the BlogPawsTM Pet Influencer NetworkTM. I was sponsored to the BlogPaws 2016 event for helping spread the word about Bayer Animal Health, but CommuniKait only shares information I feel is relevant to my readers. Bayer Animal Health and Seresto are not responsible for the content of this article.
Wow, I hardly know where to begin on recapping 4 full days of experiences at BlogPaws 2016 in Phoenix, but here I go. If learning about blogging, pets or really cool products/companies is not your thing, this is your signal to cut anchor and sail away.
I found out a week before the event that Seresto was sponsoring my trip to Phoenix to be able to attend the conference and I was practically walking on air. I couldn’t wait for everything to get started, so I hopped on a red eye from Honolulu to Phoenix on Wednesday night. I moved so a family could all sit together and within seconds of it happening, their son projectile vomited all over the seats. I felt horrible for the kid, but when the father pulled out a baggie of roast beef ten minutes later, I thought about puking myself. What the heck man, it’s midnight..?!
I touched down in Phoenix first thing Thursday morning and the heat slapped me in the face upon deplaning. I couldn’t get over the hot factor of Hawaii versus Arizona. It was hot, yes, but I couldn’t get enough of the desert landscape. Cacti everywhere! I had just enough to get to my hotel room at the beautiful Sheraton at Wild Horse Pass Resort, shower and head down to check into the first day of the conference. 
I missed Billy & Judy terribly, so thankfully there were dogs everywhere to pet and play with!
I picked up my registration packet and my first official bag of swag (with many more to come). I knew how excited Judy and Bill would be to tear into everything once I got home! The exhibit hall opened and I was able to meet with some of the amazing vendors that were sponsoring the event or had come to talk about their brand with attendees. 
On day one, I was able to talk with PetSafe and Redbarn. I learned that PetSafe offers lots of cool hydrating fountains to keep fresh water available for your pet, a ball launcher for tennis ball obsessed dogs like the Hanson Labs, among many other cool toys and harnesses. 
Redbarn is where Bill Hanson would have been in heaven, because they had bin after bin of chews. Pig ears, bones and bully sticks….oh my! It was seriously a booth made for chewers like Bill, so I picked him up a bunch of samples. 
After mingling with some of the awesome companies in the expo hall, I finally got a chance to meet up with my sponsor, Seresto, who also happened to be hosting the Relax & Recharge station. It was always stocked with chargers, candy and comfy couches. What could be better? Way to go, Seresto!
Seresto included a fun t-shirt for every attendee in the swag bag I talked about earlier, but I was anxious to hear more about their crown jewel — flea and tick protection. Seresto is reinventing flea and tick protection for dogs and cats. Why? Because talking about fleas is SO IMPORTANT.
The convenient, easy to use collar offers a continuous supply of two active ingredients that are released in low concentrations to
provide 8 months of flea and tick protection to your pet. Seresto not
only kills fleas and ticks, but it repels them from your pet’s body.
Now hold on to your pants, because I’m about to get technical for a minute. The two active ingredients in Seresto are Imidacloprid and Flumethrin, a combination that is not found is any other on pet treatment. Imidacloprid, an insect neurotoxin, kills fleas through contact
so the fleas do not have to bite your dog or cat to die. Flumethrin kills and repels ticks. This ingredient, which is safe
for both dogs and cats, kills ticks within 48 hours of the initial
application. Together, they keep your pet happy and healthy. 
One thing that is important to note is that if you have a water baby like Bill and Judy, your Seresto collar will not be as effective for as long. The packaging states 8 months, but if your pups (or cats..meow!) are swimming daily, Seresto recommends changing them out every 5-6 months. 
Between jet lag, the heat and visiting with new friends, I was exhausted. I managed to stick around for only half of Yappy Hour before heading back to my room and passing out!
Friday was jam packed with sessions I wanted to attend so I started my day off early — with the sunrise! I got up early to go for a run and actually saw a snake. It’s a weird thing for me, because there are no snakes in Hawaii. He/she was sleeping all curled up beneath a bush and I kept my distance, but it was still cool!  
Weruva was sponsoring an amazing coffee bar (for FREE) every day of the conference, so I got an iced coconut coffee and headed straight to my first session on reputation management on social media. 
 Soon after, the keynote, Pamela Slim, took the stage and TOTALLY FREAKING ROCKED. She was one of those speakers that, regardless of what you operate (business, blog or brand), what she had to say applied to you. She discussed ecosystems, and how to leverage networks, influencers and companies to get the word out about your blog. I took so many new ideas away to implement here. 

My next session was all about monetizing and using your social networks to work together to build your brand and your bank account. Again, I’m excited to take some of their ideas and test them out here. I think one of the best things I learned the whole day was regarding influencers who take every single opportunity. No one is going to come back to your blog again and again if you take whatever comes your way. Be selective. 
I was exhausted, but I really wanted to tune into a session that was going to talk about creating an irresistible brand. I’m glad I did, but I was SO EXHAUSTED that I grabbed dinner (vegetarian enchiladas..HELLO YUM!) and headed to bed. 
I had been eagerly awaiting Saturday for the entire conference. I was nominated this year for a Nose To Nose Award in blogging and social media and the big ceremony was that night! But before all that could happen, I wanted to meet with a couple other brands to talk about potential long term partnerships and attend an impact photography workshop. My morning was jam packed, but I got in some of the delicious fresh fruit and steel cut oats they had for us every morning. This is a great place for my to stop and commend whoever menu planned, because they had options for EVERY. SINGLE. PERSON. I mean seriously, vegan? No problem. Lactose intolerant? No worries. Gluten free? Of course!

On Saturday, I also got invited to the VIP lunch sponsored by Hill’s Pet and the Humane Society where I learned about all the initiatives Hill’s is doing to help pets that have been affected by natural disasters. So, so sad, but I was very impressed by the initiatives of both Hill’s and the regional Humane Society chapters. 
Of course this particular story involved two chocolate Labs, so OF COURSE it tugged at my heart strings.
I had an opening in the afternoon, so I was able to relax by the pool and hit the gym before getting all gussied up for the Nose to Nose Red Carpet & Award Dinner. 

I was nominated amongst some seriously talented people, so I really had no expectations going into the night. So, you can imagine my extreme surprise when….I WON! I got on stage and had to hold myself back from crying — I was (and still am!) flattered. 
 

Dane was live streaming the event at home with Judy & Bill and sent me this screen shot with lots of celebratory emojis!

When I started blogging in college, I never dreamed it would become what
it has for me today. I feel honored beyond measure to accept this
tremendous award and grateful for all the support I’ve gotten
along the way.

 I still can’t believe it’s all over. I learned so much at the conference and am so thankful to Seresto for making this all possible! This was my first ever blogging conference and I’ll be honest — I was nervous. I didn’t know what to expect or if I would feel lonely traveling alone. I can whole-heartedly say that I’m already looking forward to BlogPaws 2017 in Myrtle Beach and a couple other conferences I’ve been eyeing. If you’ve ever been on the fence about attending a conference — DO IT! You absolutely will not regret it 🙂
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of BlogPaws Pet Influencer Network. The opinions and text are all mine.

June 22, 2016

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29 Comments

  1. Reply

    Jen

    June 27, 2016

    What an amazing experience this must have been! I am so happy for you! 🙂 Congrats!

  2. Reply

    Helene in Between

    June 27, 2016

    UMMM amazing!!! congrats Kait! this is seriously so cool. You totally deserve this! So proud of you!

  3. Reply

    Marette Flora

    June 27, 2016

    Sounds like a good time and I'm sure Bill and Judy love their swag! Congratulations on your award!

  4. Reply

    Erica @ Whimsical September

    June 27, 2016

    Kait!! I have been SO looking forward to reading about this trip!! Aren't blog conferences amazing?! I've only been to one, but I'm DYING to attend more! The connections you can make are tremendous! CONGRATULATIONS on winning in your category! How amazing! And congrats on scoring this sponsored trip. So validating that you're a fab blogger and someone brands want to invest in! Three cheers, my friend! Let's find a conference to go to together pleaseeeee! I need another one to go!

  5. Reply

    KelseyB

    June 27, 2016

    I am so happy you got to do this! And you deserve that award so much! Seriously, what a great experience!

  6. Reply

    Malia Lilinoe

    June 27, 2016

    I've been waiting for this post and what an amazing trip it was for you! So happy for you and congrats on the award!

  7. Reply

    Elizabeth

    June 27, 2016

    This looks like it was so much fun! My cat would likely pee all over the bed to "welcome" me back home though, LOL!

  8. Reply

    Sarah

    June 28, 2016

    SO SO proud of you! Totally deserved!

  9. Reply

    Lisa Brambilla

    June 28, 2016

    It was great meeting you! Hope your pups enjoyed the #Blogpaws swag "haul" of treats & samples. Mine sure are! Congrats on your well deserved "Nose to Nose" award. I'm enjoying your blog posts, and look forward to reading more from you, and staying connected. #livealoha

  10. Reply

    Lisa Brambilla

    June 28, 2016

    It was great meeting you! Hope your pups enjoyed the #Blogpaws swag "haul" of treats & samples. Mine sure are! Congrats on your well deserved "Nose to Nose" award. I'm enjoying your blog posts, and look forward to reading more from you, and staying connected. #livealoha

  11. Reply

    Kasandra

    June 28, 2016

    I happened to be lucky that my friend couldn't find a date for an event so he generously took me with him, which happened to be one of the best experience for me in recent times. I was lucky enough to see these venues Chicago. If you get a chance to check this out please do so.

  12. Reply

    The Confused Millennial

    June 28, 2016

    Gorgeous photos! This looks like so much fun!

  13. Reply

    Mckenna Bleu

    June 28, 2016

    Good thing you moved on the plane! That could have been bad lol. Congrats on the award! Sounds like a fun trip!

  14. Reply

    Tori

    June 28, 2016

    This looks like a great experience! And all of those dogs are so beautiful!

    Tori
    mooretori.blogspot.com

  15. Reply

    Ashley @ Lilly & Lemons

    June 28, 2016

    Such a cute event! Sounds like such a fun time.

  16. Reply

    Susan Friedland-Smith

    June 28, 2016

    What an excellent re-cap. I keep thinking about writing a post but it's almost so overwhelming because everything was awesome. Glad I got to meet you during out quick photo session. And I love the picture you took of the cactus. Bravo!

  17. Reply

    Greta Hollar

    June 28, 2016

    Looks like such a fun event. Congrats on your award!

    Greta | http://www.gretahollar.com

  18. Reply

    Alyssa Guttendorf

    June 28, 2016

    Congrats Kait! What an awesome award — you do such a great job of sharing dog-parent knowledge and taking beautiful pics of your fur babies. It's no surprise that you won! Love the new blog header too 🙂 (I've been out of the blog-world for a long time so not sure if it's "new" anymore haha)

  19. Reply

    Bella B

    June 28, 2016

    So happy for you, this is an awesome time!!

    http://xoxobella.com

  20. Reply

    Neely

    June 28, 2016

    what a fun trip! I love that dress!!!

  21. Reply

    Michaela Quigley

    June 28, 2016

    Sounds like such a fun trip!

    XOXO
    mQs
    http://www.shorelifeofm.blogspot.com

  22. Reply

    Amanda Parker

    June 28, 2016

    Looks like such a cool conference! Congrats on getting to go!

    Xoxo,
    Amanda
    trulyyoursa.com

  23. Reply

    Kristine C

    June 29, 2016

    This looks like such a cool conference. I definitely think my little Jacey would've loved meeting the other pups!

  24. Reply

    Annaliese

    June 29, 2016

    This sounds like such a fun conference!! Congratulations on your award- well deserved! 🙂

    xoxo A
    http://www.southernbelleintraining.com

  25. Reply

    Morgan Flinchum

    June 29, 2016

    This might be the cutest blog event I've ever seen! How fun was that?!

    -Morgan
    How 2 Wear It [] http://how2wearit.com

  26. Reply

    Kayleigh Adam

    June 29, 2016

    What an amazing experience! I'll have to tell my mom since she has a pup!
    http://www.kayleighskloset.com

  27. Reply

    Oz theTerrier

    June 30, 2016

    Kait, it was so great to meet you at BlogPaws! You are super sweet and we hope to see you again in 2017!

  28. Reply

    Seersucker Sass

    July 1, 2016

    This seems like such a cool event! As a dog lover, I would be in heaven. Congratulations on your award! That is SO exciting!

    XO, SS || Seersucker Sass

  29. Reply

    Emmy Scammahorn

    July 15, 2016

    Congratulations on your win! I hope you come to Myrtle Beach and stay longer. You'll be looking at a five-hour time difference, so come on Tuesday so you can meet more people. I hope your dogs enjoyed their swag. Oh, and thank Chloe for the awesome food.

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