This past Saturday was the first-ever PlannerCon and it took place right here in Atlanta! I happen to belong to a planner Facebook group called Atlanta Planner Junkies and have been to a couple of the monthly meetups. Amy (Planner Sophisticate) announced in the group back in October that she was going to be putting together a convention and posted a link to sign-up. I hadn't met Amy before but the early-bird sign up was just $44 and I figured if it amounted to nothing, I wouldn't be out that much money. I purchased my ticket immediately! I posted about it on Instagram but it was a while before I heard anything more about it.
At the beginning of this year, Amy shared the keynote speakers and workshop teachers. It was then that I started to get really excited!! I wasn't going with any friends so I was nervous that I wouldn't know anyone but my planner friend, Pascha (The Posh Blog), was there and I met so many wonderful ladies! PlannerCon took place at AmericasMart, which is a HUGE convention center downtown. I'd been there once before for a fashion mart. Our convention took place in Building 2. I got there at 9 a.m. for check in. Funny story, I walked in at the same time as Angel, of PenGems, and I'm such a dork, I had no idea who she was. (Seriously, laughing at myself). Anyway, we walked to the 2nd building and got in line together but I never told her how awesome she or her product was! ;)
I hadn't signed up for any workshops and was just planning to enjoy the speakers, and of course, shop the vendors! It was so fun to walk into the first vendor room and immediately spot the Fight Apparel Designs booth! Remember the "Free" tee I wore in my recent Mama Style post? It was so nice to meet Elise, the fighter behind such wonderful Truth-sharing products!
The first speaker I heard was, Vicky Parrilli, of Miss Vicky Bee on YouTube. She shared her life's journey and how planning has helped her to set intentions for her life. She shares her planning and art journaling in traveler's notebooks on her vlog.
Immediately following Vicky was The Reset Girl, Cori Spieker. The first planner stickers I ever purchased when I started planning in this style were by TRG and I was really looking forward to hearing what Cori had to say. Before she spoke, she handed out generous gift packs containing fun inspirational cards and sticker samples (see below). She doubled back on my row and when I told her that she'd already given me one she told me that she knew me. I debated sharing this experience because people get funny sometimes but I wouldn't be giving my authentic recap on this event if I didn't.
Let me back up and mention something funny. Last year (maybe a little longer ago) my family and I were walking the mall and out of no where this girl ran up to me and told me she recognized us from Instagram. It turned out that I had totally worked with her in a collab but out of context I could not place her. It was the funniest and weirdest experience.
So, that brings me to Saturday when Cory told me that she knew me and that she used to read my blog way back in the day. At first, I really thought she must have had my confused with someone else. It was one of those things where you're literally waiting to politely correct a person. Ha! But, then she asked/said, "you used to live in California?" and mentioned my photography and checking back on me years later and seeing Benjamin.
Wow, right? When she walked to the podium the girl behind me asked me for my blog URL. Ha! It was just super surreal and I know that sounds crazy to say but it's not for the reason you think. It's not because Cori has thousands of #plannergirl followers. She could have 1 follower and I would feel the same. Anyone who tells you that they've admired you/your work for over a decade is worth pause and astonishment. I feel honored that anyone would read and remember me. Truly.
But I digress! Cori talked about her life and the ability to "reset" at any time. Her speech obviously resonated with me and my life, as many of you know I had my own reset back in 2011 when I packed up and moved across country. I was a mess of emotions by the time she was done, hence my major cry face in the selfie with her. The things that I admire about Cori the most are her authenticity and how genuinely kind she is.
Following her speech was lunch. Attendees could grab their bag and head to any one of three rooms, depending on whose Q+A you wanted to attend. I hung tight in the main room where Alexis Giostra of Strange & Charmed would be speaking next. Alexis is a fantastic and knowledgeable speaker. I absolutely love her YouTube videos. Her talk was on Functional Planning and I highly recommend watching her series on the topic.
So, unfortunately, I had to leave immediately following Alexis. I was really hoping to stay until the very end as I was looking forward to hearing Christy Tomlinson (The Planner Society) speak, but I had a terrible migraine. Before leaving the event, you "check out" for your swag bag. It was quite a heavy gift bag and I was SO excited to see what we got but I managed to hold out. I really wanted to look through it live on Periscope, so after I napped for a few hours to rid myself of the headache, I checked out the loot. Below is everything I got in the bag and as freebies vendors were handing out!! *heart eyes*
Can you believe we got a Day Designer?! Here is a better look at it. We also got a gorgeous custom PenGems pen to commemorate the event. Love!!
So, here are my pros + cons of the first ever PlannerCon:
- Amazing value for my money! The swag alone was paid for with my early-bird entry. Add in lunch, access to unique vendors, and speakers? Definitely worth it.
- Local for me. Many attendees flew and drove in! That's dedication, right?
- Fantastic speakers. 'nough said.
- THE SWAG!!!
- Not the best communication prior or organization the day of. It wasn't clear to me until a couple weeks out that we needed to buy separate workshop tickets. No announcement was made to bring $25 for souvenir tees (which should have been $10 tops, IMO). Last minute tickets were sold without the understanding that they would not be receiving a swag bag. Seeing someone be denied one was really sad.
OVERALL, I felt this was such a great experience! I had a blast and only wish that I could have stayed and experienced more. It would be awesome if this was a 2-day event with built in "play time" and more of a chance to mingle. How awesome would it have been to have a room of people creating and planning together, similar to a scrapbook crop? I missed out on meeting a lot of people on an individual basis but loved the opportunity to hear some of my favorites in the planner community do their thing. I would definitely look out for early-bird tickets to attend again next year.