Last month, Amanda and I traveled to Destin, Fl to attend Sister Site Conference 2018. We’d be kidding if we said getting away for that weekend was easy, but it was 100% WORTH IT.
We began our journey bright and early on Thursday, heading down the mountain on I-17 just as the sun was starting to rise. Flagstaff is about 2 hours north of Phoenix, just a straight drive right down the highway into the Valley.
When in Phoenix you must visit Chestnut Fine Foods and Provisions. We asked for coffee shop recommendations and Chestnut was a fan favorite! Even CMBN Director, Stephanie Flies, chimed in, raving about their Almond Croissants! Thanks for all the awesome suggestions everyone, we have a long list of fun places to explore the next time we are visiting the Valley.
Two flights and a very brief layover later we landed at the Destin Fort Walton Beach Airport. I was super cozy, traveling in my Flagstaff General Store Hoodie! I loved reppin’ the brand and our town as I strolled through the airports. Our plan was to wait for Rachel to arrive from her (many!) flights and then we could all Uber to the resort.
We shared a flight from DFW with Ilex and she offered to share her rental car with us. Score! Rachel arrives and Brandie spots her at baggage claim – and now we have 5 bloggers and a pile of luggage – we’re going to need a bigger car!
Ilex upgrades to a Ford Explorer and we play a game of luggage Tetris to get everything in the trunk! We succeed and we’re off to the resort. Naturally, we get lost once – but eventually, arrive at the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort. We hurry to our room to meet Genevieve and quickly change into our PJs and collapse after a long day of travel.
Despite our best attempts, we’re awake early the next morning – so much for sleeping in! We decide to head to the other side of the resort for Breakfast and Manicures! We begin our long walk, when shortly into our journey a Mini Van pulls up alongside us, with the driver yelling, “ya’ll here for the blog conference?!” We laugh and pile into the car with Jacksonville Moms Blog!
We arrive at the Sunset Bay Cafe, where I climb on a chair (much to the cheers of this team) to score a sweet photo of our breakfast spread. After our amazing meal, we wander around the property snapping photos of the architecture and scenery.
The beaches in Destin are truly stunning, and something that we were so excited to experience. A real contrast from the snow we left on the ground in Flagstaff! Throughout the weekend several people were surprised to learn that, yes – we do live in Arizona – but at 7,000 feet elevation and we get snow!
Rachel, Amanda and I then visited the Spa Sandestin for manicures and mimosas! Talk about the life of luxury! The spa was wonderful and the staff was fantastic. We could have stayed at the Spa all day – but we needed to get on our way to Conference registration, because oh yeah – we’re here for work!
We arrived at the Welcome Center and were greeted with the most adorable and delicious cookies c/o Vanilla Beans & Day Dreams!
After checking in and packet pickup we made the journey back to our room where we donned our fancy dresses for our first Conference, event – Team Photo! Bless Marla Carter for wrangling 120 very chatty women into one massive group photo!
Amanda and I had the opportunity to work with Lularoe Shauna Womack to select dresses to wear during our CMBN Team Photo and The Favorite Things Party. We were asked to wear outfits that worked within a specific “jewel-toned” pallet to allow for a cohesive look among everyone in the photo. I felt paralyzed as most of the clothing in my closet is grey or black.
Shauna welcomed the challenge to dress us in color and paired us with these two awesome options. I love my dress because, #dresswithpockets.
We added some booties and moto jackets and felt like “cool” moms.
After the photo, we took a stroll through Baytown Warf to board the Solaris with Sun Quest Cruises for a cocktail party at sea! It was our first real opportunity to connect and chat with other blog owners, and the setting was absolutely amazing.
We enjoyed champagne, hors-d’oeuvre, and conversation with so many amazing women. We learned a little about Sun Quest Cruises and The Sandestin Property.
At this point we’re feeling completely spoiled – but the night is only getting started. Did I mention it was also my Birthday?
After the Solaris docked we made our way back to the Sandestin Property where we enjoyed a delicious meal and were introduced to our MC’s for the weekend, Leeanne and Michelle! These girls had us rolling with laughter for days. If you haven’t seen this video, go watch. Go.
Following dinner, we enjoyed our Favorite Things Party! This is where the 15lbs of SWAG came from! Each site was invited to partner with a local brand or business they love, to share with the Conference. We were thrilled to work with Bloguettes and provide $100 in Stock Photos to one lucky winner (hi Genevieve!). Bloguettes is a Phoenix-based, female-owned marketing and brand company helping business owners grow their platform.
I was all set to share my “pitch” when Michelle pulled a fast one and had the entire conference sing me Happy Birthday – it was the sweetest thing, and the largest serenade I’ve ever received.
We each walked away with a bag overflowing with amazing products from awesome local companies. We’re slowly working our way through all the items and sharing about them on our Instagram.
That’s a wrap on Part 1!
Part 2 with more of the fun at #SisterSiteConf18 coming soon!