Sunday, March 11, 2018

12 Ways #BlogPaws Nurtures Its Newbies (Unlike Any Other Similar Conference)

corgi face in room with baby shower decorations
BlogPaws 2017 Baby Shower Crasher

My first BlogPaws conference almost went off the rails five minutes after I checked in. It was in Tysons Corner, Virginia (outside D.C.) that year--a couple hours (in light traffic) north of me--so I drove up the morning of the first full day. Traffic was awful. I walked into the conference at lunchtime, frazzled, never having met anyone in person, and tethered to my two hyper, young corgis.

After a long walk (only taking a few steps) across the hotel lobby with dogs in tow, I scanned the dimly lit ballroom, containing a sea of tables full of attendees, humming in lively conversation. And I decided I'd rather eat almonds in my hotel room, alone, than walk from table to table, hoping some total stranger would have pity on me and offer me an empty seat.

OK, that's not entirely accurate. I decided I'd rather eat alone than cold-call a table of strangers, but I'd totally sit with people I'd never met in person, if I could find one familiar online friend to introduce me. Good thing I'd exchanged cell phone info with exactly one online friend before leaving home.

And that's how I met my blog idol, Laurie Eno of The Daily Corgi, in person in 2011. She ended up taking me to her table--with an extra seat--and introduced me to the staff of Oldies but Goodies Cocker Spaniel Rescue, local to the area. We hit it off instantly (Laurie, the entire rescue staff, and I), and I've been a BlogPaws fan who is sympathetic to the newbie experience ever since.

The point of my story is: walking into a sea of strangers at an unfamiliar networking event can be scary, but it doesn't have to be derailing (nor a handicap, in any way). The team at BlogPaws recognizes there are unique needs for first-time attendees, and has committed resources to help. Let me tell you about them!

12 Ways BlogPaws Nurtures Newbies
  1. Through me! I'm not saying that to brag; I'm saying it because I'm an official BlogPaws Ambassador, proudly designated for newbies. BlogPaws values first-time conference attendees and their experience SO MUCH, that they appoint (and compensate) a designated support person (aka concierge, ring leader, breakfast host, expert introvert [yes, I am], etc.). I am passionate about tending to the newbies' BlogPaws experience. Let me help you!

    Related: BlogPaws - The Introvert-Friendly Conference

  2. By doing Facebook Live interviews with all the BlogPaws Ambassadors (so you can get visuals and added 411 before arriving in Kansas City)! (My live interview has yet to happen, but stay tuned.)

  3. By creating the How To Prepare for the BlogPaws Conference course in the BlogPaws Social Learning Community (SLC)! Let me explain what the BlogPaws Social Learning Community (SLC) is (according to its About page): "Social learning is the practice of learning from each other. The goal of the SLC is to create a community where our influencers can learn socially with our members, our team, and our partners."

    So BlogPaws has an entire (free and self-paced) course in the SLC, written for and dedicated to first-time BlogPaws attendees (though, veteran attendees might learn something, too). Refer to the image below for course modules. Note: Notice ride share and roommate boards are located here (for all conference attendees, not just newbies).

    BlogPaws SLC Prep Course Contents
    Tell me: what other social media conference provides a newbie resource this cool? Not one*, is what.
    * Based on not having found a shred of contradictory evidence. 

  4. With weekly* #blogpawschat's on Twitter! This is helpful to newbies because...other conference attendees will be there! In addition, you'll get conference scoop, directly from the BlogPaws team. Be there, most Tuesdays, from 8:30-9:30 p.m. Eastern. I'm @ChroniclesCardi; hope to see you!

  5. Through the BlogPaws 2018 Conference Event on Facebook! Make sure you're following it for the latest scoop, and to interact (as desired) with other conference attendees.

  6. With designated Newbies tables during breakfasts at the conference! Located right up front and easily identifiable, be sure to grab a seat and meet some fellow newbies before sessions begin. I will be there, too (not at every table simultaneously, but flitting around). I look forward to meeting many of you in person! (Yes, breakfast is early, but the food is always plentiful and yummy and well, newbies are awesome and totally worth getting up early for!)

    Newbies table full of attendees at BlogPaws
    One of the Newbie tables at BlogPaws 2016 in Phoenix, AZ
    Note: Sometimes BlogPaws VIPs join the newbies for breakfast, like co-founders Yvonne DiVita and Tom Collins (pictured far left to right, respectively) and keynote, Pam Slim (pictured rear, center).

  7. By compiling this Essential BlogPaws 2018 Conference Everything Post! No, really. That's the title of the post. If there's a speck of information to be shared about conference logistics, it's in there.

  8. Through Twitter lists of all the conference sponsors and speakers! So newbies (and veterans) can follow and engage them before the conference (think networking practice).

  9. By providing an interactive, social platform for the conference agenda and speaker roster! The conference's most up-to-date agenda, at, gives attendees a way to create their own personalized, online conference experience. And, as a social bonus, when one registers and creates that experience, other attendees who have registered can see it, too! (Think it's helpful to have an idea of which other attendees are going to be in what sessions/events, possibly at the same time you are? Including speakers, and influencers you'd like to get in front of and speak to before heading home? Hint: Yes!)
    Note: Signing up for sessions in is not a requirement, it's a courtesy to attendees, and a way for BlogPaws to gauge overall session attendance. Once you're at the conference, you can feel free to attend whatever sessions/events you want!

  10. Through influencers' personal tips for BlogPaws newbies, in blog posts like the one you're reading, and this, and this! (Because past newbies are the ultimate experts, no?)

  11. By providing cute "newbie" ID badge ribbons to wear proudly during the conference! Here's mine from last year.

    BlogPaws name badge newbie (new "picture of a bee") ribbon
    Get it: NEW "bee"? (hehe, BlogPaws even has a sense of humor!) Also, I wrote "Ambassador" in ball point pen, because I was (Newbie Ambassador) in 2017, too. (I love BlogPaws newbies...and bees!)

  12. Last, and perhaps most important....BY ALLOWING AND ENCOURAGING ATTENDEES TO BRING THEIR PET(S)! Can you think of a better ice breaker? If so, please tell me in comments, because I can't. 

So, how are you feeling about being a newbie now? Shoot, I'd repeat BlogPaws newbie year, if I knew all this was waiting for me back in 2011! (OK, I'd repeat 2011, maybe, just to appreciate being seven years younger for a few days...or maybe not, because then it would be depressing to come back to the present. *sigh* Alright, never mind. I'm cool exactly where I am!)

What are your questions? Are you excited? Have you packed already? (I guarantee some people have. Not I; although, I started mentally planning my wardrobe last July. A side-effect of being a BlogPaws veteran: fashion hindsight. You have SO MUCH to look forward to!😉) 

I know you're planning on attending the 10th Anniversary BlogPaws 2018 Conference (why else would you have read this far down), but in case you've waited to officially register...I happen to have the link RIGHT HERE! (Don't wait too long; it will sell out, and you'll have to wait until next year to be an awesome newbie.)

I also happen to have a discount code for 10% off the regular blogger rate (use it):


Don't forget to register for and take the brand new, Newbie prep course in the BlogPaws SLC! 

And, of course, follow BlogPaws on social media for the latest tips and updates!

Monday, February 12, 2018

My Life Is a Giant Connect-the-Dots Puzzle, or Why I Must Attend BlogPaws

two corgis lying on a floor
She says we're numbers 10 and 11 on the dot-to-dot rendering of her life.  

Imagine that before you were born, your life was laid out like a giant connect-the-dots puzzle. Do you know what those are? No matter; here's a visual refresher for everyone (from Wikipedia):

This person's life is a bit of a mystery, huh? 

Here's what Wikipedia has to say about them: "Connect the dots (also known as dot to dot or join the dots) is a form of puzzle containing a sequence of numbered dots.[1] When a line is drawn connecting the dots the outline of an object is revealed. The puzzles frequently contain simple line art to enhance the image created or to assist in rendering a complex section of the image. Connect the dots puzzles are generally created for children. The use of numbers can be replaced with letters or other symbols."

Sometimes my kids would bring these puzzles home for math homework. Like instead of the numbered dots starting at 1 and continuing linearly through the end of the puzzle, the numbers were the answers to the math problems (not linear) and connected in the order of the problems on the worksheet. I loved when math homework was a connect-the-dots puzzle, because if my kids didn't solve the math problems correctly, the puzzle would look all messed up when they connected the dots. Then they'd have to go back and fix all their incorrect answers, thereby, guaranteeing a perfect homework grade, AND a pretty picture (usually something holiday-related, like a jack-o-lantern or jingle bells or a buck-toothed bunny). Plus they found solving the puzzles fun. All math homework should be so fun.

I've rambled digressed. Yep, that's what I do...

...whatever. So, humor me for just a minute: imagine that each of us has one of these puzzles assigned to our life, and life events are directing us from one dot to the next, resulting in, if all goes well, a clear picture of something, right before we die.

(Please don't ask me any questions about who picks the puzzle and why, or who gets to see it in the end, or how difficult it will be to solve, and what if we screw up and our final picture looks like a two-year-old's scribble--I do not have all those answers! This is just a metaphor!)

OK, now imagine (without overthinking) that when we've landed on a sequentially correct (life) dot, it's easier to "see" one's path to the next, and so on. (Versus, skipping over a critical dot and having to backtrack, or worse, zig-zag all over the page, making a complete mess, before getting back to the correct dot that compels us toward greater things.)

For fun, here's a puzzle visual that represents someone who is screwed and/or will live to 117 (remember, all the dots are pivotal life events).

Raise your hand if you'd like to be the owner of this life? No one? Really? What if it's 95% good stuff? 

What Does Any of This Have to Do With BlogPaws, and oh yeah, What Is BlogPaws?

I'll take the second part of that question first:

Q. What is BlogPaws?
A. It's a social media and blogging conference (sponsored by pet industry brands) for digital marketers (or anyone who has a business interest in being there). This year is the 10th Anniversary and it's at the Sheraton Kansas City at Crown Center Hotel in Kansas City, MO from April 18-20.

I could go on, but a few of my fellow blog friends (and also 2018 BlogPaws Ambassadors--yes, I am back as Newbie and International Ambassador this year!) have already written so eloquently about it. I'll let you click into any (or all) of their posts, at your leisure, for more information:

Jenise Carl – Happy-Go-Doodle: A Girl Walks Into a Conference...
Dawn White – Lola the Rescue Cat: It's BlogPaws' 10th Anniversary!
Joely Smith – Fashion Beyond Forty: 10th Anniversary 2018 BlogPaws in Kansas City, MO
Alison Reder – Sarcastic Dog: The Best Blogging Decision I Ever Made | Attending BlogPaws

Oh, and here's a fantastic video representation of everything BlogPaws from last year's conference!

Intrigued? You should be.


Q. What do life-sized, connect-the-dot puzzles have to do with it?
A. I'll tell you, but first...I am making an assumption, since you're still reading, that you have some sort of interest in the conference. Why the frell would you still be reading, if not? So, assuming there's at least a chance you might attend, imagine you're coming up on the next dot of your life "puzzle." (Although, technically, you would have no idea, because you can't see the puzzle, but imagine you had inside info...) Now, what if...? What if the option to attend the conference has presented itself because IT IS YOUR NEXT "DOT" AND IT'S GOING TO PROPEL YOU ON YOUR PATH TOWARD GREATER THINGS?

Hmm. Bet you never thought about it that way before. (If you have, please tell me in comments, because that is WEIRD!) How do you think my fellow conference Ambassadors (listed previously) would answer? (Hint: Of course they would say it's a dot! If it wasn't, why would they have been chosen by BlogPaws to be Ambassadors? They are already achieving blogging greatness!)

As for me, Kansas City will be my seventh BlogPaws attended. Seventh. Seven pivotal dots on my life journey. (I'm assuming Kansas City is a dot--since it's in the future--because the previous six are predictive evidence.) I just so happen to have MY life's puzzle, as an example.

dot to dot diagram of a cat with labels
Don't ask me how I got hold of this puzzle. Also, my life might seem simple in comparison to others, but I've lived it, and I can assure you, it's NOT! [meow]
P.S. Yes, if I miss this year's conference, I might die.
P.P.S. Because if I miss (as I am both an ambassador and speaker), someone at BlogPaws might kill me.
P.P.P.S. See you there, because I'm NOT missing! 

Propelled Toward Greater Things (the Proof)

In case you doubt my dot assignments, however, here are a few things I would NOT have done/accomplished had I not attended those conferences:

  • Met Jane H. with (conference sponsor), who, after the (2011) conference (my first), added me to her blogger contact list, sent me a ton of writing opportunities (for my own blog) to benefit homeless pets, got me hooked on rescue, gave me confidence in my writing ability, which brought other (compensated) writing opportunities with other brands, and landed me an award/partial sponsorship to my next (2013) BlogPaws conference. (Jane owns her own marketing consulting business today, still occasionally attends BlogPaws, and remains a trusted role model.)

  • Experienced a large, trade/social media marketing conference as a self-identified introvert and occasionally, socially awkward/shy person. This is critical, because, as a natural leader, it also gave me the burning desire to use my experience (and lessening anxiety) to help other conference attendees (especially "newbies" or first-timers) overcome their fears and make the best of their BlogPaws experiences. (This is my third year in a row as Newbie Ambassador, an appointed position. I got the first gig {2016} by pitching a BlogPaws co-founder, the remarkable Yvonne DiVita, a few months after {secretly and on my own initiative} "trying out" the role at the 2015 conference.)
    See: BlogPaws - The Introvert-Friendly Conference

  • Met all the BlogPaws co-founders and executive team in person. Did this help me get the ambassador role? Not sure, but I'm inclined to think so. I'm also inclined to think that it's helped me get two BlogPaws speaker roles (this year my topic, on Thursday at 11 a.m., is Facebook Ads Essentials: What Every Page Owner Should Know and Incorporate Now {Without a Big Ad Budget}) and several paid contract jobs, assisting BlogPaws team members with tasks, including, most recently this holiday season, Campaign Manager for a major (paid) influencer/brand collaboration. 

  • Met Jill, Jessica (2x roomie), Alison, Maggie, Bryn, Kristin, Jodi, Denise, Christy, and Rochelle, all role models, fellow bloggers, dear friends, and in some cases, accountability partners (all year long). Seriously, meeting these ladies could be pivotal "dots" in my life all on their own. There are too many others--whom I've met at BlogPaws along the years, and who have impacted my life for the better--to name here. Not just other bloggers, but brand reps, business owners, entrepreneurs, editors, and authors. (OK, I'll name one more: Jeremy Greenberg, comedian and best-selling pet humor book author, whom I met in 2017. He turned into my first freelance, digital marketing consulting client, and has already taught me more about the publishing industry, and how it relates to marketing, than I ever imagined I'd know.)
Anyone see a common theme with me? How about networking? Think there might be networking opportunities at BlogPaws? (YES!)

I will conclude with this: If there is anything remarkable to you about the BlogPaws conference--something that compels you to attend, anything at all--and you are here, CAN YOU AFFORD TO PASS IT UP? What if it's your next life-dot? Do you want to zig-zag through the next chapter of your life? 

If the answer is no, I happen to have the link to REGISTER for the 2018 conference RIGHT HERE! (Don't wait too long; it will sell out, and not even I can help you with that zig-zagging then.)

I also happen to have a discount code for 10% off the regular blogger rate here:


Already registered or plan on it and you're a first-time conference attendee? Yay, glad to have you join us! Also, there's a brand new course in the BlogPaws Social Learning Community (SLC) specifically for conference prep! It's chock full of everything from business card and media kit information, to what to pack, to networking tips, to rideshare and roommate boards! I hope you'll go check it out and introduce yourself!

And, of course, follow BlogPaws on social media for the latest tips and updates!

Friday, November 24, 2017

2 Things (including burning up the vacuum motor) My Pets Are Sorry For + Enter to Win $575 in Prizes (incl. a vacuum)!

Don't let their innocent faces fool you; an hour before I got this photo, they both (freakishly) shed their entire undercoat and immediately grew it all back. In that same hour, I (freakishly) vacuumed the entire house twice, and attempted a third time, except the 3,001,297 strands of corgi fur wrapped around the carpet attachment's brush-roller (that I'd neglected to inspect, even though the last time the vacuum broke, the shop said it was because the fur of 1,001 corgis was wrapped around the roller) got severely tangled, and burnt up the motor beyond repair. The corgis were distraught, so I put them in the pen (pictured) to think about the consequences of shedding. In the end (after 1.76 minutes), they simply issued an apology, and vowed not to shed as much, at least not on carpeted areas, rugs, upholstered furniture, lamp shades, or dark-colored clothing.  

Note: Numbers reported in the above paragraph are rough estimates. 
Note: My use of the term "rough estimate" in the above sentence is a rough estimate of the actual definition of rough estimate. 

I own this book. I got it for free from the author. It's so funny, I bought the three others in the series with my own money. 

Speaking of shedding on dark-colored clothing (which all my pets are sorry for)...that is not my Boston Terrier on that adorable-and-also-crude book cover, nor does it represent my dogs' shame (they've never humped a leg--a CAT, or EACH OTHER, though?). Anyway, when I was at the BlogPaws conference last spring, Jon Farleigh (my red fluffy corgi) and I got into an elevator with a guy wearing all black (I think--it might have only been 96% black, but I round up). Picture Bono, or Johnny Cash, except he didn't look anything like them (plus Johnny Cash is dead, may he R.I.P)...anyway, it's a good thing he broke the awkward elevator silence by speaking directly to Jon Farleigh (who was visibly on the verge of exploding with feelings of profound love and affection toward the complete stranger). Because after doing so--and hence, inviting the dog to thrust his entire, blonde-coated, fluffy, molting, gyrating corgi being directly on the aforementioned black outfit, resulting in my mortification--it got out that he wrote funny books about pets being sorry. 

And the next day, he gave me a copy of that one with the Boston Terrier on it. I knew then--after matching the author's headshot on the book cover to the actual person--that I had, in fact, met the real (vs. fake) Jeremy Greenberg--comedian and author of several pet-centered humor books that are in big book stores and make charming holiday gifts for people who love pets, have senses of humor, and can read.  

That's Jon Farleigh in a hotel room at BlogPaws. He wasn't sorry in this photo, because the couch is p/leather so his fur didn't stick. 

That's also Jon Farleigh at BlogPaws (it was in Myrtle Beach). You can bet he was sorry for dumping the sand that had gotten lodged up in the undercoat on his undercarriage all in the backseat of my car, the hotel lobby, and bathroom floor in my room. 

The point of that elevator story, in case you've forgotten how you arrived here, is that Jon Farleigh (not I) should have apologized for jumping up and smearing his loose fur all over the author's black pants. But since Jon Farleigh's not ever getting a mention in a "Sorry I..." book, I'm giving him a pass. Sorry, Jeremy*. 😉

* It's OK, we're friends now. And I'm not really sorry.

So, there's this giveaway...

(Isn't that the REAL reason you're here, after all? It's totally OK.) Yep, we're co-sponsoring--with nine other pet bloggers, for our second holiday season--a fun giveaway, with three pet-friendly prizes (and they're huge)! Read on for details, including how you can enter on all 10 sponsors' blogs, and what you might win, just in time for the holidays!

Here are the other nine pet blogs bringing this awesome giveaway to you!

And these are the prizes!

Y'all, I'd love an Amazon shopping spree and I know you would, too! You know what else I'd love? The cordless PET vacuum (for the corgi tumbleweeds) AND that $75, Etsy shop spending spree! Yes, give it all TO ME! Alright fine; you can have it. I'll just be over here with fur all over my clothes, being happy for you when you win. 

* The 10 participating bloggers each contributed their own money toward the Amazon gift card.
** 2nd and 3rd place prizes have been donated by their respective brands, Black+Decker and the Everyday Dog Mom blog.


Yep! To increase your odds, simply visit all the blogs (linked above) and enter (but hurry, all entry forms will all close at 11:59 p.m. EST on Thursday, November 30)!

One "finalist" will be randomly selected from each blog!

Then all of the finalists' names will go into a drawing, during which three winners will be randomly selected to receive the prizes listed above.

This is great news! That's because even if one of the 10 blogs has 467 times more entries than another, EACH BLOG will still get one finalist in the drawing! (FYI: Chronicles of Cardigan produced the 3rd prize winner in a previous pet blogger holiday giveaway!)

Ready to enter? Yay! But first, you'll have to comment on this blog (and I will check, yo), tell me: 

What's one thing your pet(s) is sorry for (or you are sorry for, on behalf of your pet)? 

Done commenting? Get entered, using the giveaway tool below!

Paws & Santa Claws Holiday Giveaway

Well, did you enter? Yay! I hope you win! Don't forget you can enter at the other nine blogs (linked at the top of the post) to increase your chances! 

I'll post all three winners' names on the Facebook page and Twitter the first week of December!

Good luck!

About the giveaway: 

No purchase necessary. Giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents age 18 and older, except where prohibited by law. Giveaway will run from November 24 to November 30, 2017 at 11:59pm EST. Three (3) winners will be randomly selected and notified via email. Winners will have 48 hours to claim their prizes; failure to do so will result in forfeiture of the prize. Twitter and Pinterest do not sponsor, administer, or endorse this promotion. Participants must read and agree to Gleam’s Privacy Policy before entering and participating in this promotion. By entering this contest, participants grant permission for their email address to be added to the Chronicles of Cardigan mailing list. 

Each participating blogger paid an entry fee which will be used to fund the grand prize. The 2nd and 3rd place prizes were generously donated by the participating brands. Please be sure to visit their websites to see all the incredible pet products they have to offer.

My friend Jeremy (the real Jeremy Greenberg, who invited Jon Farleigh to be bad in an elevator) wrote this book, too. Cats hardly ever apologize for anything, and that alone is worth the read. Except, I'm telling you to read it (or give it to someone else to read) because it's funny, and full of cute cat photos. Like Facebook, except you don't need to log in, or read about your "friend's" politics. 


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