As a Canadian mom blogger, and a rookie/broke one at that, I don’t always have the opportunity to attend some of the bigger conferences that other bloggers do.
There are couple great local Canadian conferences (I can’t wait to go to BlissDom Canada again this year) but it all comes down to a matter of budget.
This past weekend, I had the opportunity to attend #MomsMeTimeTo, a free impromptu mini conference in Toronto. The event was held at the beautiful Renaissance Marriot Hotel, who graciously donated a meeting space.
I connected with a fellow mom and entrepreneur from my area, Rebecca Palmer @MsBizConcierge, and we decided to carpool down and be roomies.
We got down to the Renaissance and checked into our room. I can safely say I speak for both Rebecca and I when I say that we were in awe of our room.
The wonderful staff had even left us a tasty treat!
The mini conference itself was a very causal and more intimate setting than I’ve ever attended before. The format was relaxed and open, giving everyone the opportunity to really talk and get to know one another. We kicked off Friday afternoon with a few great speakers, each donating their time to share some of their wisdom.
Mara Shapiro @ChickyMara – Mara spoke about finding your own way with motherhood and not always giving way to the often unsolicited advice that we all receive. She shared a lot of insight into how as parents, our job is to prepare our children to become adults in the best way possible for them.
Julie Elsdon-Height @SoberJulie – Julie shared her personal story of overcoming her past, taking hold of her fears and not letting them run her life. She shared a wonderful lesson about embracing your own self confidence and not standing in your own way. Given everything I’ve been through in my life, this talk hit close to home.
Meghan Graham @ImAMomToo – Meghan gave us a glimpse into her daily life as a mom of children with special needs. She emphasized the fact that we shouldn’t make assumptions or judge one another.
Naturally, with any type of conference or gathering, There Will Be Food. Lots and lots of food.
A big thank you to the wonderful team at Mom Central Canada who gave us a pizza party. I stuffed my face with some gluten-free pizza (thanks again for accommodating the complicated diet over here!) then headed out for a night on the town.
Rebecca, as well as Lisa and Diane from @Those2Girls joined me to grab some drinks and dancing at The Fifth, a stunning restaurant and club in the heart of downtown Toronto. The charming @ChefBradL gave us some tasty samples & talked to us about his beliefs in raising our children to live cleaner and healthier lives.
Saturday morning started with Rebecca dragging my butt out of bed for a much needed brisk walk to the St. Lawrence market. We grabbed some fresh fruit and cabbed it back over to join the others for breakfast. Coffee and food was generously donated by Tim Hortons.
We headed back over to the hotel for a morning of more amazing speakers.
Cherie-Lynn Buchanan @CLBuchanan – Cherie-Lynn reminded us all that we really do need to take care of ourselves first. While we might be moms, we are also women, and we need to find ways to regain ourselves and embrace our beauty. Cherie-Lynn, who is a photograhper, also offered a huge discount on headshots, so I decided to take her up on it. I see a Wordless Wednesday coming up that will be ALL ABOUT ME
Julie Cole @JulieCole – Julie shared an informative & humorous look at what it’s like to run a busy household. As a mom of 6, she has certainly mastered a trick or two. She stressed the importance of a few ideas that we all know, but don’t always follow; don’t sweat the small stuff, do what works best for your family and learn to say no to avoid over-committing…I need to work on that last one.
Wendy Silva @mapsgirl – Wendy gave a very detailed and informative look at car seat safety. I will honestly admit that I thought I was ok in this department. Then I sat through this session…and realized that while our car is ok, our truck is a deathtrap and there is so much more we should be doing there to really ensure her seat is in properly. It was an eye opener.
For being pulled together in under a week, #MomsMeTimeTO had a great number of amazing sponsors. Companies stepped forward quickly to donate prizes and gifts, including Woodbridge Mom 2 Mom Sale, Old Navy Canada, Glaxal Base Skin Care, Kernels Popcorn, Telus, Dempsters, Sportsnet 590 The Fan, CHFI, and Asterisk Media.
I won a $25 gift card from Old Navy, complete with stickers. Someone was very happy about the stickers portion of that…
I had an absolutely wonderful time and really felt like I took a lot away from the weekend. A major bonus is that I honestly felt that I made some amazing new friendships and connections. Ideally speaking, I will make a point of doing these sort of things more often.