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Suitcase and Heels Suitcase and Heels

BlogHouse Made Me Less of a Dork

Photo: FlipKey

Photo: FlipKey

“They like me! They really like me!” I channeled my inner Sally Field when I got my BlogHouse acceptance letter. I’ve been blogging less than a year and I would never have had the guts to call myself a writer, but it’s a skill I’ve always wanted to improve. So when I saw that the Navigate Media Group were going to be putting off BlogHouse – a small group, multi-day intensive mentorship – in Toronto I applied and crossed my fingers. Being one of a dozen chosen gave me validation that I wasn’t wasting my time at this. Maybe I didn’t suck after all.

I slept in a castle, therefore I’m a princess

Thanks to FlipKey and FlightNetwork we few, we happy few, we band of bloggers stayed in a castle in a quiet part of downtown Toronto. It was as secluded as you could be and still be in the heart of the city. Even cabs had a hard time finding us! But it was great because, while at the house, we could focus 100% on getting our learn on. And we worked our butts off. We lived, breathed and, at least in my case, dreamed about our blogs during our stay. Though really, maybe dreaming of configuring WordPress plug-ins actually qualifies as a nightmare?

I didn’t know what I didn’t know

So what did I learn? So much! Since I’m an experienced web designer/developer I knew that I had a good handle on the technical end of blogging but as for everything else? Well, I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I’ve since learned about photography, videography, creating a media kit, crafting a pitch, stepping up my social media game, writing better stories and more. It sparked something and I now have a list of story ideas the length of my arm and I’m starting up a newsletter (psst…you should totally sign up at the top of the page).

No more talking to plants

It was especially nice going into the TBEX conference knowing that I now had 20 people to talk to as well. I’ve always been rather shy in a room full of strangers. So I was thrilled I wouldn’t have to be the awkward girl by herself in a corner talking to a plant this time. The whole process gave me the courage to brave the potential of looking like a dork and saying hello to those bloggers I read. And you know what? They didn’t think I was a dork! Everyone was so nice. I was able to meet with brands and destination reps and confidently tell them what I do and who I write for. I made lots of connections with some pretty awesome folks and all in all it was a very successful week. So thanks BlogHouse for making me less of a dork!

PS: One of the best perks of the whole thing? I made some new friends. Let me introduce you to them:


  1. Andrea says:

    June 18th, 2013 at 1:37 pm (#)

    Great post, and I’m glad you didn’t feel like a dork LOL! I didn’t know about blog house until it had already been chosen, but I’m hoping they do it again for Dublin… it sounds like it was a really amazing learning experience with some very cool people!

  2. Melissa Hogan says:

    June 18th, 2013 at 1:49 pm (#)

    If they do, you should definitely apply. The Navigate team really customized the schedule to cover what we were interested in and there was lots of time to pick their brains. From a learning perspective I definitely got more out of my 3 days in the BlogHouse than I did at TBEX itself.

  3. Sherry Ott says:

    June 20th, 2013 at 2:55 pm (#)

    Great meeting you! And you def. get the award for best shoes at bloghouse!!

  4. Melissa Hogan says:

    June 20th, 2013 at 3:02 pm (#)

    Aw, thanks! It was great meeting you too. I gotta say, Lindsay gave me a run for my money on the shoe front though.

  5. Alouise says:

    June 22nd, 2013 at 4:52 pm (#)

    Melissa it was great to meet you at Bloghouse. I certainly don’t think you’re a dork, but if you are then you’re definitely the most stylish dork I know.

  6. Alana - Paper Planes says:

    June 24th, 2013 at 4:46 pm (#)

    Totally agree with ‘I didn’t know what I didn’t know’…

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