What happened after I attended BlogPodium…

What happened after I went to BlogPodium - northstory.ca

Three years ago I didn’t have a blog.

What I did have, was a newborn, a new house that needed a thousand renovations and a new neighbourhood where that new house was situated, of course  hours away from all my old friends and family.

So I did the thing any person in my situation with an isolated social life and a baby that kept them up at 3 am would do. I went online. There I joined the world of the thousands of other people all trying to find someone else to talk to about the complicated mysteries of life that included everything from why choosing the perfect grey paint is so damn hard and to how prevent your children from destroying your cream rugs. I failed at both of those. My house is painted white and we have darker rugs now.

At some point instead of just reading and commenting on all these blogs with these great communities of readers, I decided “Hey, I’ll start my own!” It seemed like a natural fit. I used to work in TV where I produced stories. And what comes close to producing your own stories than having your own blog to share your own stories on? How hard could it be?

Oh that’s cute. And so naive.

A lot has changed since the day I registered my then free wordpress blog northofseven without checking to see if the .com version was free. And a lot of progress and a quick education on Blogging 101 has been made. But none more so than this past year, since I attended BlogPodium, Canada’s Conference for Design and Lifestyle Bloggers.

In fact so much has changed with my blog, that this year I am representing BlogPodium as one of BlogPodium’s Brand Ambassadors along with the talented Virginia from Fynes Designs, Melissa from The Sweet Escape and Sarah from Sarah Gunn Style.

The questions often asked to us are “Why did you go to BlogPodium?” “Why should I go to BlogPodium?”

I thought about how to answer them quite seriously and I realized that maybe sharing what happened in the months after I went to BlogPodium, what I learned at the conference and how I applied it to my blog may help clarify things a little better.

What did happen to my blog after I attended BlogPodium was this.

  • I started a Facebook group to keep my new blogging friends connected to each other to keep the momentum going. Through this I found my blogger tribe which is a group of women I chat with regularly all the time and we help and support each other to grow our blogs.
  • I got the courage to pitch brands on my own rather than waiting for them to contact me. Now before I do any project, I think of who I would love to collaborate with. The worst they can say is no. The best they can say is yes.
  • I revamped my blog design and introduced a Project Gallery to make for a more user friendly experience.
  • I got a better handle on HTML, CSS and all the technical behind the scenes work it takes to run a website. Things that only added to my computer knowledge on my resume.
  • I sorted out which social media networks I enjoyed the most and put my time into growing the ones I did like.
  • I stopped working for free. I am now proud to say I am bringing income into our household for the first time since I became a stay at home mom almost 5 years ago. In fact, I’ve created career opportunities for myself. Social media manager, freelance writer, brand ambassador, website producer, etc. The list goes on. I will say this 100 x over but Karen’s (The Art of Doing Stuff) presentation About Monetizing Your Blog had by far the biggest impact on the direction I chose to take my blog. You can read about what happened when I met her here.
  • I got a chance to meet other bloggers who became mentors. Like the lovely Lynne Knowlton from Design the Life You Want Live. Having a blogging mentor is so empowering.
  • I practiced and started taking better photos. This is a photo of one of the first card crafts I ever did along with the worst watermark ever.


Yeah. Take it in. I actually posted this and thought “Why wasn’t this re-pinned?”

Compared to the Christmas cards I made this past Christmas.

DIY Christmas Cards - northstory

  • I pushed myself creatively and rekindled a passion for design and creative projects that got buried for a long time. As a result I’ve had projects featured on Apartment Therapy, IKEA Family Live, Sarah Richardson Design and Babble.
  • I’ve worked with brands including Sears, Kamik, Minted, Garnier, Home Depot, Presidents Choice, Consumer Crafts and am most recently embarking on a new journeys with Nikon and Frigidaire.

I mean are you kidding me?

Three years ago I was a stay at home mom who didn’t know the first thing about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) or how to even set up a menu on a website.

So when someone asks why should they should attend BlogPodium, I tell them because it will cause you to rethink your blog, how you blog, why you blog and be in a room full of people that understand exactly what you’re going through.

Because what you take from the event and the connections that you make, will last you a lot longer that just that day.

This was me and my friend Danica from last year’s BlogPodium courtesy of Anna With Love Photography.

Blog Podium Annawithlove Photography-0219

In fact looking at all the photos from last years event, I now see faces not as strangers, but as friends whose lives I know more about, whose writing I love and whose own blogs have grown by leaps and bounds.

Hopefully that will be you this year.

So come join me and a great group bloggers at BlogPodium this September 13, 2014 in Toronto – tickets are already on sale! There’s also a hotel discount for those of you coming from out of town.

You won’t regret it. In fact it may just change the trajectory of your blog.





  • Reply
    June 24, 2014 at 7:20 pm

    I must say it is an honor to be called your friend! You have made such a big impact on this community and myself. I don’t know how many times I’ve sent you an email asking silly questions knowing you wouldn’t be laughing on the other side. I have yet to buy the blogpodium ticket this year, as much as I try to change the blog to attract readers I feel I am really lacking something all of these great writers have. And for content wise, I don’t feel I have much to offer other then showing people with hard work amazing things can happen. I will continue blogging with maybe not the greatest pictures or story line but with my heart. So many times Branko and I have gone back and read old posts and were amazed at the things we did in so little time.

    This was a great write up, the other day reading the group comments I was thinking what an amazing thing it was you did getting the group started. I believe it has really helped many bloggers grow with all of the support that is provided.

    • Reply
      June 24, 2014 at 8:08 pm

      Oh Danica, don’t ever think you don’t attract readers or lack anything. The work you guys have put into your home is amazing. I see your blog as a journal of your story of how you’re making your home. Just wait til you get into the ‘decor’ aspect. That’s a mountain of posts that you know people will love to see. I’ve done posts on basement renos and the one thing I’ve learned is that as interesting as I’ve found certain elements to be, most people love a good before and after. But that doesn’t mean that happens overnight.

      The group I will say this again, is only as good as the members that contribute to it. Without everyone sharing info and being so open and honest, nothing would get accomplished. I am just glad it’s turned into a great environment for everyone to connect with each other, ask questions and help one another.

  • Reply
    Virginia Fynes
    June 25, 2014 at 7:09 am

    THANKS for the shoutout Alex, I supe look forward to joining you T Blog Podium this year!

  • Reply
    204 Park
    June 25, 2014 at 10:41 am

    I really enjoyed this post, thank you! Us girls have been discussing attending something like this and after reading this post I’m inspired to learn more and grow our little blog- thanks! XO, D

  • Reply
    Julie (@ellivenstudio)
    June 25, 2014 at 11:27 am

    this is such a great post! I truly love it and I also need to get my butt in gear and learn a little bit about HTML! You’ve inspired me!

  • Reply
    Kathryn Blythe
    June 26, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    So proud of you, Alex! Not because you’ve done all this (because I know you, and how great you are), but because you’ve recognized this in yourself. I can only imagine what a lonely road the Blog world can be sometimes, and you’ve not just been making you way through it successfully, but you’ve been encouraging and welcoming to everyone else. Your blog makes me want to blog.

  • Reply
    Victoria • Restoring our Victorian
    June 27, 2014 at 7:56 am

    Sounds like so much fun!! (you reminded me of the good old days – back when I was just starting out and thought this would all be SO EASY.)

  • Reply
    Gemma Bonham-Carter
    June 27, 2014 at 8:28 am

    Excellent post, Alex!!! You should be so proud of everything you have accomplished in this last year.

    As someone who has attended all of the BlodPodium conferences, I have nothing but excellent things to say about them. So motivating, fun, and lovely to connect with other bloggers!

    Look forward to hanging this Sept… 🙂

  • Reply
    Amanda - Small Home Big Start
    July 2, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    Reading about your experience at BlogPodium last year makes me want to take out my notebook (which I feverishly wrote notes and ideas in the whole time I was there) and revisit it again. It was such a rewarding experience and I’m so excited to go back this year. Hopefully I’ll bump into you there!

  • Reply
    July 8, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    I’ve been toying with the idea of attending BlogPodium, but am held back by negative inner thoughts such as, “But my blog is so small.”

    After reading this, I’ve decided to look into flights to Toronto from Edmonton.

    Thanks for the push, Alex! You’ve inspired me.

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