((this is only the beginning)) my EXHIBITOR2013 experience

to be able to cross off a bucket list item at 23… there are no words, just smiles. i am blessed. it’s incredible the sense of accomplishment that overcomes you as you finish a project that you’ve been pouring over for about 8 months. on march 17th, i didn’t need the luck ‘o the Irish, i knew i was ready to rock my first official debut as a presenter at EXHIBITOR2013. but if we’re looking to really tell a story, we can rewind to last March… take a seat friends, lemme tell you a tale of a social media diva who took her first step in pursuing her dreams…

march 2012

while attending EXHIBITOR2012 i participated in a social media round table. i was sharing my thoughts and experiences with the group, as well as my passion for this topic. afterwards the moderator approached me and asked me if i’d attended any social media classes during the conference and if i had any feedback; i had attended some and while i enjoyed them i felt there was a need for an advanced level social media class. he responded by asking if i would like to host such a session. (insert gasp and holy freaking moly did he just say that?!) he asked me to prepare a session plan to present to the board and get back to him and we’d go from there.i started feverishly working away as soon as i returned home from the conference. i was absolutely ecstatic that presenting a session on social media was just a possibility! i came up with something i felt confident about and passed it along. i had a phone call with the conference director and then all there was left to do was wait…

june 2012


at the airport i checked my email in the elevator and saw an email that literally made me scream with excitement. (this seriously happen, kind of awkward) tears in my eyes and a smile on my face i called my mom to tell her the news; i’ve been invited to speak!!

september 2012


fast forward to the fall; after working on the framework for my presentation over the summer i headed over to boston, mass for speakers training with the one and only Dan Lumpkin. an incredible speaker to learn from. it was 2 short days filled with tips, tricks, best practices and presentations from myself and my fellow presenters. it was a great prep to get me more focused on what i needed to work on for my presentation and to light a fire in me to really get rocking. i left full of excitement, realizing how flipping cool this all is.

november 2012

“this is really happening!!!” the only words i could find to express my excitement when i received the registration packet for the conference, and I saw my name in black and white under faculty. surreal. simply surreal.


february 2013


snaps. one month away from the big day. i camped out at caribou about every weekend that month. something about a coffee house atmosphere and sipping on a yummy latte that puts me in a creative mood. i nearly felt compelled to add a shout out to Caribou Coffee in my session, as they most certainly provided the caffeine and environment for this presentation. all the while wondering, where has the time gone?! so much to do. so much to share. deep breaths. (BIG thank you to my boyfriend for kicking my butt and encouraging me to work on this even when i was trying to put it off)

march 2013 {time for the big show}


march was madness. quite literally. uff da. thank goodness my momma was making the trip to Vegas with me. we arrived early saturday morning and walked along the strip and hung out by the pool soaking in sunshine. then it was time to get down to business. after a little bit of an Internet fiasco (and again, thank goodness my momma was there with me…) i got in a rhythm and piece by piece i felt my nerves melting away.

it’s show time!

EXHIBITOR2013woke up, got ready and sat down to rehearse a little bit more. it was finally time to head down to the convention center. checked out the room, the av, checkity check we were golden.quick lunch stop to fuel up for the afternoon. 1:00PM struck and ready or not this social media diva was in the house. the second i stepped in that room, i felt in my element. time to make it happen.

we started and there were no nerves, no anxiety, no fear. things went great; i had an awesome crew of 36 fantastic individuals with me and i learned so much from them. topic to topic the conversations and discussions flower easier and easier. i just might have had a big smile on my face the entire time. and it was so nice to see a familiar face of my momma out there. and in just shy of 3 and a half hours later it was all over. 8 months of preparation had come to a close. and a giant wave of relief and peace fell upon me. there are hardly any words to describe the whole experience. all of the stress, the late nights and early mornings, the dozens of lattes, the revisions, the anxiety: it was all more than worth it. it was incredible to speak at a conference was a bucket list item for me, and to be able to cross that off at 23 years old, wow. i am blessed. this is only the beginning for this social media diva, mark my word.



thank you to EXHIBITOR for allowing me this opportunity; for my attendees attending and providing great insight; for my momma for being by my side through it all; for my friends and family who encouraged me along the way; for my girl Nastashia for being my fabulous stylist and for Brandon who was there to kick me and motivate me, and keep me calm with wine. thank you all.

from bean town to the town with the bean ((september travels))

it’s been yet again wayyyy too long since i’ve blogged. this is becoming far too common of a trend. so, here we are, near the end of october. and we’ve got a lot to catch up on friends. during the month of september i traveled to a couple new locations. the first week of the month brought me to Boston for speakers training for EXHIBITOR2013 and and at the end of the month i traveled to Chicago for the first time to help with an event for the Ryder Cup. Here are the tales of my travels.

Boston: EXHIBITOR2013 Speaker’s Training

prelude: back in March i attended EXHIBITOR2012. i made some contacts and was given the opportunity to create a proposal for my own session. submitted the proposal and in june i got word that my proposal had officially been accepted. so that led me to bean town after labor day weekend. i was excited, anxious and nervous. i had no idea what to expect. i suddenly felt incredibly i inadequate. what had i gotten myself into?! am i ready for this? it was all suddenly starting to become real. up until this point, it was just a cool thought; “I get to present my own session at a conference.” and now it was about to get real. ride or die time. and after a reassuring call to mom, i got my confidence back as was ready to rock.

it wouldn’t be a emma travel day without some delays. thankfully my layover was only delayed about 45 minutes. by the time i touched town on the east coast it was about 12:30 in the AM. my hotel was about 10 min from the airport, and i didn’t check a bag, so i got all settled in about 1AM. straight to bed and early to rise. breakfast was ready and waiting as i went to meet my fellow speakers. to my pleasant surprise, there were only about 10 of us there for training. i was definitely the youngest one there, but i was super jazzed to get going.

we spent the next two days going over strategies, tips and tricks for speaking. we mind mapped our session, and had to give a 10 minute preview to the rest of the group. all my previous nerves disappeared. i love the adrenaline that runs through me as i’m standing in front of a group to present. it’s my element. 10 minutes sped by and as i listened to the feedback from my peers i felt so ready to get to work.

not even there 48 hours and it was time to peace out. all i got to see was the airport, the hotel and my view of the haaabahhh (harbor). boston, i shall be back. but it was good times while it lasted.

gloomy morning in Boston


ready to rock Speaker’s Training

sunset ova the baaastin hahbah

Chicago: Transportation Ryder Cup Summit

traveled to start off the month and then a trip to wrap it up. i got to take a trip to the windy city to assist with an event for some gents attending the Ryder Cup in Medinah. i  had never ventured to this place before, so i was pretty excited. not that i would have oodles of time to do stuff; but i was going to get to be there. and that’s something. as per the usual, it wouldn’t have been an emma travel experience without a little drama. i literally go the last, the very last, seat on the plane. and they didn’t announce it until, oh about 5 minutes to take off. now thats the kind of stress i could gladly do without. either way, i did get on the plane. and enjoyed a nice and short 55 minute trip to chicago. i’m pretty sure that i waited just as long if not longer to get a cab and get to the hard rock. made my way to the bar to grab some vino and some dinner and then it was time for bed after enjoying the view of the city from my room.

evening view of downtown chicago

day 2 started and it was time to get to work. worked on some logistics and then it was time to explore to find some pumpkin flavored coffee and some breakfast. it quickly became evident that starbucks was where it’s at; since you could hardly walk a block without seeing one. on my way there i caught this amazing view across the river; wow. amazing. i soon found my pumpkiny goodness and ventured to a little park to enjoy.

city views and the Chicago River

explored downtown a little and then it was back to the hard rock to get some work done. soon it was lunch time and i was dead set on enjoying some classic chicago deep dish goodness. i tried to get in to giordano’s per a suggestion that it was the place to go, but the wait was ridic even though it was like 230 and i was in a bit of a hurry. i figured, “hey, i’m in chicago. odds are pretty good that if i wander another block or so i will find another pizza joint.” and i was right. i walked a little bit further and found Gino’s East. I got a seat at the bar, and placed my order for my deep dish. one of my favorite things about traveling on my own is that i get to really do what i want to do with my free time. and since i usually sit at the bar when i eat out, you get to meet some pretty cool people. that night i chatted with a woman who is a stewardess. i ate half of my amazing deep dish, and i was ready to go for a 3rd, but had to stop myself. it was already 6 and in about 2 hours we’d all be going out to a nice place for dinner. chicago deep dish. i was impressed.

Chicago Deep Dish from Gino’s East Pizzaria

day 3 started off by getting the boys off to the Ryder Cup. i finished up a couple other logistics, and then it was time to explore chicago. i got my coffee and breakfast and headed back to the same park to kick off my day. after that, i just started walking. i would pick a street and just go. after chatting with a guy the morning before at the fountain i decided that i needed to go check out lake michigan. i was also set to go to navy pier. and then just see everything i could. i found lake michigan pretty easily. it was just figuring out how to get to the other side of the street that took a little bit of exploring to do. but after awhile i figured it out and sat down at a spot near the beach to admire the view, the gorgeous weather and my pumpkin latte and bread duo. so beautiful. then i walked around a little bit more and managed to find my way to navy pier. i dont think i could have asked for a more perfect day to be out and about in chi-town.

Starbucks by the fountain

gorgeous views by Lake Michigan

exploring downtown Chi-town

views of the city from Navy Pier

reppin’ the 2012 Ryder Cup 

i found a little cafe to eat lunch and then headed back to the hard to get things ready for the night. then i went to be a typical chicago tourist and take pictures of myself at the bean. millennium park was just a couple blocks away from my hotel, so it was a nice short walk. it was just like i thought it would be. tons of people. holding their phones. cheesin’ it up. the nice part of that is, that you don’t feel ridiculous being one of them. i took some pics of myself and then asked someone to take one for me. i walked around millennium park a little bit more, but most of it was closed off for an event. from there i wandered to the theater district, and found a macys to walk around in. by that time it was starting to get dark so i figured since i’m not so good at directions, and i’m in a new city, i should probs get back sooner rather than later.

classic touristy pic at the bean 

being a tourist :)

that night we all had dinner and mourned the loss of USA in the Ryder Cup. we had a meeting in the early AM, i hung out in millennium park one last time taking in chi-towns awesomeness. and then it was time to head back to the airport. and there came one of the highlights of the trip. i got the most legit cab driver ever. he was so friendly and conversational. and then we started playing “cash cab”. he gave me five clues, and i had to guess what country his culture came from. well, i couldn’t get it. but he was so fun. and turns out he’s a bit of a local celebrity.

and with that, september is now more of a distant memory. and i’m off this week to travel it up some more. until my next post, friends. xoxo