10.17.2012

The Influence Conference

This past weekend (plus a couple days), I attended the much anticipated Influence Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana. For those of you who are unfamiliar, it was the inaugural conference for lady bloggers/ online business owners of the Christian persuasion.

I’ll do my best to share some of what I learned and experienced, but I’m still processing much of it (as most of us are and probably will be for a long time).

Kicking things off with our hosts - Jessi Connelly, Hayley Morgan, Moriah Sunde, & Casey Wiegand. So grateful for each of their open hearts & hard work in making this event happen.

Day 1 outfit - Chambray top (thrifted) $4; pencil skirt (Target) $6; necklace (antique mall) $6.

I sure like dressing up, but what a lot of people didn't know was that the majority of my outfits from the weekend cost under $25. Total. As in for the whole outfit + accessories (ok, minus the shoes - but those weren't very expensive either).

On the topic of fashion, I was heavily encouraged to start incorporating my finds & strategies into future posts, which just might happen. Because I am still trying to figure out which direction to take this blog in...

The conference was divided into a couple different tracks—life sessions & strategy sessions. I tried to keep a healthy balance between two and am so glad that I did. SO MUCH WISDOM ON DISPLAY.

I had the privilege of attending talks from John Saddington, Hayley Morgan, Nish Weiseth, Jessi Connelly, Sarah Matheny, and Jessica Turner.

Of all the sessions I attended, I think Sarah Matheny's (aka Mama Pea) was like a shot to the heart. No PowerPoint. No bullet points. Simply a beautiful woman sharing her even more beautiful heart. Her words have been resonating with me ever since and I would encourage you to stream the audio when it becomes available online.

The She Reads Truth dinner. I wouldn’t have even known about the Influence Conference if it weren’t for learning about it through an Instagram hashtag.

Dinner attire – vintage Oscar de la Renta dress (Dorothea’s Closet) $25.

One thing I was DEFINITELY looking forward to was the Madewell styling session with The No Brainer Wardrobe author, Hayley Morgan. We don’t have Madewell stores in Iowa, so I splurged a little for the occasion. Without spending a whole lot of money, I will add;)

Day 2 outfit – Granny-chic polyester cardigan (thrifted) $4; purple skinny pants (thrifted) $4; necklace (thrifted) $5; tank (F21) $5.

So many lovely things for sale in the Sashes Market. And sooooo easy to justify a purchase when knowing the hearts behind the business owners. Yeah, I left with a couple things: )

Friends & roommates, Nicole & Adri. I also want to point out the lovely scarf I’m wearing in this photo that I purchased from the Sashes Market. It was handmade in Ethiopia through a business called FashionABLE.

Their mission is to provide sustainable jobs to African women who may have otherwise had to make a living through prostitution. I really believe in what they are doing and am crafting up some ideas to stay involved in their endeavors. Stay tuned.

This pile of business cards represents an extraordinary community of women whose common thread is the good & true message of Jesus Christ. If you are able to extract any of their URLs from this photo, I would encourage you to visit their sites—their stories.

I kept hearing the phrase “come tender” throughout the conference, and that I did. I arrived at Influence as a “small potatoes” blogger who doesn’t have sponsors or even an “about me” page. I am working on both. Needless to say, there were times where I felt a little out of place and humbled by my lack of knowledge, experience, and connections.

There were also times where I wrestled with the disillusionment of my expectations vs. reality. My soul got a much needed exfoliating. And that part hurt. I left feeling a little raw. Grace was a huge theme on so many levels throughout the weekend. And once I got over the junk of some of those insecurities, I had a pretty great time.

I want to thank my roommates - Jill, Adri, Amanda, & Nicole for their encouragement and accessibility.

I want to thank the women who engaged in REAL conversations with me. Women who made me feel that their circles weren’t small enough to let one more person in.

I thank God for bringing me to this conference at a time where I needed this kind of experience the most. I am just so immeasurably humbled by His great love for me. Not only that, but for sending along a companion in my journey to help process everything I learned. It's hard to say what my experience at Influence would have been like without my friend, Nicole.

From the bottom of my heart…thank you.

xx

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12 comments

  1. Awesome recap! I didn't get to go, but will next year. Thanks for sharing your heart!

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    1. Let me know if you do end up going next year! I hope to & it's definitely nice to know a few people ahead of time. Thanks for stopping by my blog:)

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  2. It was great getting to know you!! Thank you so much for sharing your heart here. I love your photos, too :).

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    1. Brittany, it was a pleasure meeting you too! Thanks for your sweet comment:)

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  3. So glad you were able to go to this! Excited to see where your writing goes!

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    1. I am excited too!! Thanks for reading:)

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  4. And now you've got me crying again. Thank you for sharing your experience and for hearing my heart. You've got a new reader. I'm excited for you to Influence me. :)

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  5. You're just so cute with all your styles and I love me a good deal on accessories and clothes. And of course, I love how visual your blog is. I'm terrible with pictures but I'm getting better bit by bit. It was lovely meeting up with you at the writers workshop and getting a glimpse into your life and writing. Keep at it, I bet God will use all those words in His time. P.S. I am really crushing on the black and white dress.

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    1. Thank you, Alia!! Your encouragement means a lot:)

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  6. I'm SO impressed by your fashion outfits and the prices!!!
    Way to go! =) You are so talented, I don't find anything as cool when I go thrifting =) That Madewell session looks SO cool! I really wish I had gone to that session. Wish we had met in person at the conference.
    Much Love!
    L

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    1. Thank you!

      I wish we could've met too!! Maybe next year...? :)

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