Two weeks ago I rolled down to Portland for Create + Cultivate. As a regular attendee of fashion, tech, and blogger conferences, C+C was such a breath of fresh air from what I'd gotten used to. To be honest, I wasn't sure if I was going to last all day (starting at 9:00a.m. and going well past 10:00p.m.) but I truly enjoyed and savored every moment. It's days like these where I find myself learning so much - not just about new things, but about myself. Little shifts in perspective, if you will. I left C+C with a lot to ponder. Here's a snippet of lessons learned in my reflections (along with my photo diary):
The perfect setting on a perfect day
Go places by yourself.
Like a lot of events, I chose to attend this one alone. It used to be scary (sometimes it still is), but I've always found that I try harder to start conversations and meet other people than when I have a networking buddy. Don't get me wrong - it's always nice to have a friend and familiar face with you, and a lot of people just don't go to things unless they have a +1. I got in the habit of going to events alone back when I'd attend them as part of my Chamber of Commerce job. I've always looked at it as 'part of the job.' Going places alone gets you out of your comfort zone and puts you in an environment that's ripe with new ideas and people. Try it sometime, whether it's an event you've always wanted to attend like I did, or just a new coffee shop or park. Try having a meal or going to a movie by yourself.
I couldn't fit into this vintage skirt last year so I thought it merited a gratuitous selfie.
Zara tank & heels; vintage skirt & bag; Nike FuelBand + various vintage bracelets; wooden polka-dot ring gifted from Anisa in Africa
Alright. There was one familiar face. Thanks Jaclyn for a fabulous day!
Get outside of your own bubble.
When you go places alone, you are bound to get out of your own bubble. I have never considered myself a "creative" type, perhaps because I had a pre-conceived notion that 'creatives' had to be, look and act a certain way. If you would've told me I'd be right at home and really (REALLY) enjoying getting my hands dirty in a crafty way, I would've asked you if you maybe saw someone else who looked like me. Yet here I was, thoroughly enjoying making flower crowns with Riley of Erba Floral Studio; constructing my own earrings with Betsy + Iya and mixing the perfect summer farm-to-glass cocktail with Rachel of Art in the Age.
Our team even won Best Drink (a Thai-inspired, bell pepper rinsed sage spirit concoction) and I won Best Cocktail Name (for our other drink, the Blackberry Hussy!)
Makin' earrings with Betsy + Iya
Tahitian princess vibes with my DIY flower crown taught by Erba Floral Studio
Talk to everyone.
This is one thing I continue to work on. It's one thing to work up the courage to go to an event like this alone. It's a whole 'nother thing to come completely out of your shell. I still get shy, but do my best to force the fear away and just strike up some conversation - with my table mates, sponsors, speakers, vendors, etc. I like to look at it as getting my part out of the investment - I took the time, energy and money to be here, so I better make the most out of it!
Dang Jess look at all these new people to talk to!
Katie and I caught intensely focusing on our photo art. We were talking, promise.
Everyone is inspiring.
The beauty of trying to talk to everyone is that each person presents an opportunity for you to be inspired. About humanity. About challenging yourself to do better. About your passions. About life. Some people can be like inspiration espresso shots, jolting you into a new frame of mind. For Create + Cultivate, the No Subject L.A. team brought in a few female powerhouses to do just that. How to look at things differently.
I loved hearing from everyone, but Jeanine Pesce of Range and the ladies Emma and Tara of Wildfang especially struck me. Jeanine's perspective on trend forecasting and personal branding stems from a background I feel is very similar to mine - heavy in fashion and marketing, but with a yearning to bring more of her real passions (sports and the outdoors) into her career. Emma's tenacity, wit and fire has helped make her e-commerce site, Wildfang, a true community for tomboy lifestyle. She not only filled a business niche that's hugely missed by the rest of the industry, but she's managed to make thousands of girls feel like they have a team that's always behind them.
Clockwise from top left: Jeanine Pesce of Range and Jasmine Takanikos; Melissa & Jessica of Stay Forever Photography; Rachel of Art in the Age; Emma and Tara of Wildfang.
Liz, founder of Sseko Designs, has a moving story of how she's helping women in Uganda attend college through her products. Everything on the right came home with me :)
Be a sponge.
I stole this from Nike's list of Maxims - look them up because they're solid statements to live by and have stuck with me long after my time working there. Anywho, absorb everything. Remember how the colors, smells, vibes, and smiles make you feel. Take those knowledge and creative bombs that were dropped on you all day and give yourself the time and space to truly reflect on them. This is what I told myself as C+C was winding down. All in all, a fun day that will leave its mark on me long after those sensory memories fade.
Special thanks to the No Subject team for a great day!