This time last weekend I was well into my third Arkansas Women Bloggers University conference, this year in Hot Springs. Y’all, I’ve talked about it before, but this conference is one that I have deemed a must-do on a yearly basis. It is exactly what a blogging conference should be: informative, fun, relational, challenging, uplifting. And it has ZERO of the cattiness, competition, and clique-iness that I’ve found at other conferences.
See, when I go to a conference I don’t expect much other than to learn new things and hang with awesome people. I don’t need to compare anything, other than maybe notes from a session, and all I really want is to get to know other women who do what I do. AWBU is exactly that, and this year only reaffirmed the awesomeness from the past two years.
That photo above? Was my view as I pumped away in my friend Stephanie’s room. Rather than stay in Hot Springs I commuted back and forth from Little Rock because I just am not ready to cut the cord with my baby for a weekend just yet. That, and it was just easier with the whole nursing and pumping thing. Plus, I ended up getting some good alone time in the car which is SO rare! I love driving and get energized from being alone, so it was kind of a win-win for me.
The conference was held at the historic Arlington Resort, Hotel & Spa, which was such a great venue. The hotel has so much character and charm, and the staff was incredible! Had I not been nursing and all that jazz I would have been thrilled to stay there, but I was just super impressed with every aspect of the hotel.
The sessions were fantastic, and the keynote speaker Rhea Lana was A M A Z I N G. She talked about the story behind her amazingly successful business, balancing motherhood and a growing brand, and remaining professional despite the circumstances. I was so impressed, and ate up everything she shared!
I’m still working through all the emotions that I feel 90% of the time, but figuring out how to balance this whole work-at-home mom thing can be a beating sometimes. It’s just so encouraging to hear from other women who’ve been in the same boat, you know?
Let’s talk sponsors, shall we? There were some incredible sponsors for the conference this year, and I was so impressed by all of them:
Taste Arkansas takes the great stuff farmed here in Arkansas and shows what true farm-to-table cooking looks like. I’ve been blessed to contribute to their fantastic site, and have loved reading every article they post!
Riceland stole my heart at last year’s conference, and I’ve never looked back. I love their products, the company is amazing, and I love that they do great things for this state.
Petit Jean Meats makes the best bacon, hands down, ever. Not to mention all of the other great products, but the bacon y’all. Legit. And they have a heart of a gold to boot!
Alliance Rubber is an amazing family-owned company based in Hot Springs. For two years in a row they’ve sponsored a super fun event at the conference, but at the end of the day they are quality people making a quality product that we use in our everyday. Love it.
First Security Bank is a local bank that I really can’t say enough about. They are a quality organization and run the Only In Arkansas site where you can find really awesome stuff to do here in the Natural State.
The Pack Shack. Y’all, this was probably my favorite thing of the entire weekend. We got to serve other while having a blast, singing and dancing and packing up meals for hungry people. They do stuff nation-wide so you HAVE to check them out!
Rhea Lana is the nation’s premier children’s consignment event venue, and a fantastic organization at that. And you should know it’s run by an amazing woman who really cares about what she does and how she impacts the lives of those around her.
Mountain Valley Spring Water provided ALL THE WATER at our event, and I was (am) SO thankful! I drink a lot of water anyway, but especially while I’m nursing, and this was such a treat to have beautiful and tasty water to drink all conference long!
McDonald’s of Central Arkansas is super friendly, incredibly kind, AND building a new Ronald McDonald House in Little Rock! They do so much for our community!
The conference is so fun, but is made even better with great sponsors like these.
I had a blast, but have been coming off of the conference high all week. I miss my alone time driving and listening to podcasts, but I love spending my days with my two boys. Just make sure I have all the coffee, mmmk?
And AWBU 2016 in Fayetteville? I’m comin’ for ya!