This weekend, I attended Create and Cultivate Chicago — a one-day conference for entrepreneurial women.  I learned about the conference from an advertisement on Brit + Co, and when I saw the line-up of talented women, I had to jump on the opportunity!

On both Friday and Saturday evening, I stayed at the Hyatt Place Chicago/River North, which has quickly become one of my favorite places to stay!  Ben and I visited last Christmas, and the location is perfect for walking to different shops and restaurants. And did I mention there is a Starbucks right across the street? Major selling point!  I was able to walk to Friday’s Create + Cultivate Cocktail Hour hosted by General Assembly and take a short taxi ride to Saturday’s Create + Cultivate Conference at the Chicago Illuminating Company.

Create and Cultivate Conference Chicago

The conference began with Check-In and a donut wall.  The donut wall definitely set the tone for a day that would be so colorful, so exciting, and so engaging.  At Check-In, we received a creatively-designed notebook, along with our schedule and lanyard. The Check-In process was really quick and easy.

We began the day with a beautiful breakfast in the courtyard, complete with mini jars of jam. (How cute are they?) I knew the Conference would be lovely — but I especially appreciated these little details.  I met up with a few friends — new and old — and we started our day.

We had an opportunity to explore before the first Session; inside, there was a Beauty Bar, a variety of Pop-Up Shops, and room for lots of photo opps — from a styled ‘living room’ to a lounge area.  It was so much fun to look around at all of the different shops, sample macarons and tea, and take advantage of the complementary make-up application! It was so, so cool to be surrounded by so much color and creativity.

Create and Cultivate Conference Chicago

Create and Cultivate Conference Chicago

Throughout the day, I learned from so many of the women I look up to in the business and blogging industry; I learned more about styling, marketing, branding, and treating my blog more like a business.  I took lots of notes, but I also just soaked up the encouragement given by women like Liz from Sequins & Stripes and Jenny from Margo and Me.

My favorite part of the Conference was meeting in a small group Mentor Session with Liz from Sequins & Stripes.  I really appreciated her willingness to share her expertise in such an honest and authentic way.  She provided our group with lots of key takeaways, which I feel is so needed — and so appreciated!

Create and Cultivate Conference Chicago

Between each panel, we explored the Pop-Up Shops and styled areas; there was so much to look at all day long!

Some of my favorite businesses and brands, like ShopStyle and Lulu & Georgia, also attended.  Needless to say, I was so in love with all of the decor — especially these bold and beautiful area rugs! (A similar rug can be found here!)

After all of the panels and speakers, we wrapped up the day!  As a small group of new and old friends, we went to Michigan Avenue for dinner. Dinner was immediately followed by a taxi and sleep.  It was such a long and busy day — but one I’ll always remember and cherish.

Overall, I’m so grateful I had the opportunity to attend Create + Cultivate!  I learned so much, and I can’t wait to use what I’ve learned to continue growing in my business and blog!

Did you attend the conference?  What did you think?  Please comment below!

Kelly

P.S. Here are a few of my Instagram shots from the day.  (Meeting Whitney Port was a major moment for me!)

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Travel Diary: Create and Cultivate Chicago

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  • I’m so glad you shared about this, I was stalking photos all weekend!! It looks like it was an amazing time for all! xo

    • Jenna, Thanks so much for reading! I hope everything is going so, so well!

  • Jaclyn Johnson

    YAY! This is Jaclyn — the founder of C&C! This is a lovely and thorough re-cap and I appreciate it! I love reading about our attendee experieneces!

    xoxoxo

    • Jaclyn, Thank you so, so much for reading – and for everything you did to create such an amazing event! I can’t wait to attend another in the future! :-)

  • Cecilia C. Cannon

    love your recap and couldn’t agree more. it was fab!!!

    • Thanks so much, Cecilia!

  • MsCareyLee

    Thanks for sharing your experience, I heard about C&C this year and wish I could travel for it. But hopefully I will be at the next one. It sounds like a great event.

    Xx, Carey

    • Of course! Yes, it is definitely worth attending! Thanks so much for reading and stopping by!

  • Rachel Bindl

    A Donut wall!? Rachel Parcell!? Amazing! I so wanted to go to this, but sadly just couldn’t make it fit in my schedule. It looks like you had a great time though! Thanks for sharing it with us. Definitely hope I can go next year!!
    Rachel
    http://www.adetailedpalette.com

    • Rachel, Ahh! I know! So much happiness in one place! I hope you’ll be able to attend in the future! Another conference I really recommend is Go Blog Social! They’re having a Chicago Workshop in October (www.goblogsocial.com) :-) Thanks so much for stopping by!