Southern Belle in Training

Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle Blog || Est. 2012 || Virginia Beach, VA

August 19, 2016

#TBSCon 2016: My First Trip to Charleston + Blog Conference Experience!

     The professional photos and video from The Blog Societies Conference are finally here, so I am so excited today to be sharing a recap of my weekend in Charleston! I spent August 4-6 attending the fourth annual TBSCon event, and it was both my first time attending this event, and also my first blog conference ever. The experience was absolutely unbelievable, and it's quite honestly still hard for me to put everything into words!

     This year's TBSCon was held in Charleston, SC, at the same beautiful hotel that it was held at last year: the Belmond Charleston Place. My three conference roommates for the weekend were Cara from Caralina Style, Morgan from How 2 Wear It, and Sarah from Stylish, Sassy and Classy, who are three fellow NC bloggers and also three of my dear friends! We explored a variety of lodging options in Charleston before deciding to opt for convenience and stay where the conference was being held at the Belmond. The hotel end up blowing any expectations that we had out of the water- I think that it was one of the nicest hotels that any of us have ever stayed in. 10/10 would recommend! The Belmond Charleston Place is located directly on Market Street and King Street. King Street is where all of the Charleston's shopping is, as well as some of the great restaurants and nightlife, so the hotel's location truly couldn't be better. It's also a short walk away from many of the historical landmarks and other local attractions.

     I haven't even mentioned how incredible the hotel itself was! Our room was incredible, with beautiful views of King Street, and one of the prettiest hotel bathrooms that I've ever seen. There was plenty of room for not only all four of us, but also all of our conference outfits and the merchandise that we received from all of the brands! Here's a few looks at our room:

Beautiful King Street views from our balcony!

I brought my closet rack with us for some of our outfits, but the armoire that came with the room would have been big enough for all of our outfits!

Here are a few photos of the hotel from the official TBSCon photographer:

     Cara and Morgan both had to work on the Thursday that the conference began on, so they took separate cars to Charleston. Sarah and I rode down together in the morning, so that we could have more of a day there! We met up with local blogger Brittany from Collectively Bee for lunch at a great spot called Taco Boy before the conference festivities began. 

     TBS Con opened with a cocktail party in a restaurant at the Belmond on Thursday evening. This was the first time that all of the bloggers and brand reps were together, and it was a great night of meeting new friends, and connecting with old ones! A highlight of the night for me was to meet some ladies in person from the Millennial Blogger Network (which I am a co-founder for), and to be recognized as "Annaliese from Millennial Blogger Network." :D

     {All photos following in this post are from Kim Graham Photography, unless otherwise noted.}

With two of my roommates!

Vera Bradley sponsored the opening night party, and gave us all cute umbrellas (which ended up coming in handy the next morning....)

(I was one of the only ones at the cocktail party drinking beer straight from the bottle, and I had #noshameinmygame)

Opening party outfit details:

      I wore this green dress (which is currently on sale!) for the opening night party. I previously styled it for a blog post that I published back in June, but hadn't had a chance to wear it since. I did a DIY updo with my hair for the party so that it would give give the dress a whole different look than how I had worn it on my blog, and I loved how it turned out!

      Day two of the conference was the longest day of activities. Things kicked off on Friday morning with presentations by the various conference keynote speakers. This portion of the conference was held across the street, in the Riviera Theatre.

     Friday got off to a very rainy start, but luckily we all had our bright umbrellas from Vera Bradley from the previous night's event to keep us dry. My roommates and I began the morning with a quick breakfast and caffeine fill-up at the Starbucks across the street from the hotel, and then headed off to the conference. I enjoyed each and every speaker, and took a lot of notes from each presentation! I definitely learned a lot of new knowledge about the industry, personal branding, and social media on Friday morning.

The Blog Societies (formally The Southern Blog Society) founders, Cathy and Jessica, introducing this year's keynote speakers. 

                 A colorful parade of bloggers holding up traffic as we headed back over to the hotel for lunch!

     I might do another blog post soon detailing who the speakers were that lead the lectures and workshops, and what the most important points were that I learned at TBSCon- would that type of post interest any of you? 

     After the morning of speakers, we all headed to lunch back in the Belmond. My roommates and I enjoyed eating with Boston blogger Katherine of The Style Tab. We then headed to our room for a quick refresh before one of the main events of the conference: the networking suite with all of the brand sponsors! 

     The Blog Societies has many fantastic national and regional brands come to sponsor TBSCon. The networking suite is when each brand gets a chance to set up shop in a large ballroom, and bloggers get the chance to visit all of the brand tables and meet the reps. This is when you pass out your media kits and business cards, and get to sell yourself and pitch directly to the brands! Just about all of the brands also had tons of presents and goodies to give away to all of the bloggers- so it's like a grown up blogger version of trick-or-treating as well. And L'Oreal's booth was doing free hair and makeup sessions for everyone! So basically- it was one of the most fun afternoons of my life.

Vera Bradley gave us these gorgeous tote bags to keep all of our new swag in!

One of my favorite tables was from Swoozies- how cute is this?!

Moon & Lola had an interactive table for bloggers- we each got to build a bracelet or necklace from their popular charm bar! 

So many girls and so many goodies! Can you spot me?

Another peek at the branding suite.

      The branding suite concluded the conference portion of Friday- and I think it was a good thing that this was the end of the day! There had been so much activity that morning and afternoon that it was nice to relax for a couple of hours before dinner. My roommates and I headed out to shoot some blog photos on King Street and other side streets (see my post here!), and then went to dinner with other blogger friends from the conference.

     Saturday morning, the final day of TBSCon, began with breakfast at the Belmond. This morning's delicious meal was sponsored by Kendra Scott. My roommates and I had the pleasure of having breakfast with Sarah and Stephanie from rewardStyle, who were two of the speakers and workshop leaders at the conference! It was lovely to get to know them better, and to learn more from them about social media, blogging, and also what it's like to work for rewardStyle. In addition to working for rS, Stephanie also has an awesome blog, which has since become one of my daily reads since TBSCon!

     The majority of Saturday was spent in workshops.  The Blog Societies sent out a survey earlier in the summer of possible workshop topics, and asked us to pick our top three. I ended up in all three of the workshops that I wanted! Accounting for bloggers, and Founders (a chance to learn more about the business of blogging directly from the founders of The Blog Societies, Cathy and Jessica). I loved all of my workshops, and took tons of notes in each one! My favorite of all was probably the accounting one- finances/taxes/anything math related isn't my background at all, so it was so great to hear from an accountant that specializes in working with small businesses owners and creatives! I feel so much more prepared already for tax season. I'll definitely be sharing more on this soon.

Candid photo of me very engrossed in the accounting workshop that I attended- haha!

     TBSCon concluded with one last luncheon at the Belmond, which was sponsored by Cosmedix. At this luncheon, all attendees had assigned seating. It was a nice final chance to get to meet some new bloggers before the event ended!

     As soon as the conference ended, my roommates all headed to Rainbow Row for a photoshoot... but I headed to bed for a nice, celebratory nap. ;-)

     Last but not least, a few of the restaurants that I enjoyed eating at during my first trip to Charleston:

  • Taco Boy: A fun and inexpensive Mexican restaurant just a little bit outside of the downtown. Very cute patio area outside! 
  • King Street Grill: We ate here for our last lunch before heading back to North Carolina. It is located very centrally on King Street (a perfect place to stop after a day of shopping), and had some nice cocktails and grilled sandwich options. 
  • Fleet Landing: Our nicest dinner of the trip, and probably my favorite meal! Cara, Sarah and I dined here on Friday night with some of our blogger friends from the conference. I later learned that this is Charleston's only waterfront restaurant- how cool! Delicious cocktails here as well.

     I hope that y'all enjoyed this recap post of my first blog conference experience! I do hope to do another post soon with some more details about what I learned from the keynote speakers and workshops that I attended.

     I'm already looking forward to next year's event! TBSCon was 100% worth the investment to go- I feel like I grew from this experience in my businesses knowledge, made lots of knew friendships, got to see a beautiful new city, and I also grew on a personal level. Now that's a win-win! 

     xoxo Miss ALK


  1. I loved reading this round up of the conference. While the conference was going on, I loved seeing everyone's snap stories and I love to know more about what I saw during that time!

  2. Loved reading your recap (I posted mine today as well) and the trip was truly amazing. Loved the "trick-or-treating" bit... so true though! Have a great weekend :)

    xo, Kristina
    Medicine & Manicures

  3. Such a fun conference! It was great catching up with you at dinner!

  4. The blog conference looked so cool! I love how it is held at this old cinema like place (the outside looks like it!)


  5. Oh my gosh, it sounds like you had SO much fun! Now I really want to go to a blogging conference!
    -Anna |

  6. This conference seems like so much fun! I've never been to a blogging conference but I desperately want to go to one.

  7. I want to go to a blogging conference so badly! Next year I am totally going to try to make it happen! It looks so fun!!

  8. I've always wanted to go to a blogging conference, looks like a blast!!
    xo, Syd

  9. This looks so fun! Love all the awesome swag you got.

    Alix |

  10. Your hotel room looks amazing! I love seeing so many MBN girls gathered together! Glad you had such a good time. xx Merisa | Monogrammed Magnolias

  11. This event looks so cool! I love Charleston and King Street, this hotel is amazing!! So glad y'all had a great time!


  12. So glad to meet you at #tbscon! I've loved reading everyone's recaps. Can't wait until #tbscon17!

    Greta |

  13. What an amazing event, you're dress was perfect!!

  14. You look stunning! What a fantastic place you got to stay!

  15. Thanks for sharing your experience attending your first blogging conference! I haven't been to one yet, but hope to do so in 2017. It looks like an incredible opportunity!


  16. When I went to Charleston while on my honeymoon, we ate at Fleet's Landing as well & loved it! Gorgeous views!

    xoxo, SS

    Southern And Style

  17. This looked so amazing! I'd love to see a post on how to attend/everything you gained. I'm super interested in going next year!

    xo //

  18. I loved reading about your weekend at this conference! It looks like so much fun. I hope to attend a blog conference sometime soon!

    Kayla |

  19. What a fun weekend! y'all are actual squad goals!
    Shaguna | gold&hearts

  20. Looks like such a fun weekend! Loved seeing all of your pictures from it!



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