Monday, August 31, 2015

Goal Updates

It's that time again.. time to see what I did and did not accomplish in August for goals and what to expect as goals for September. Let me take you back..

I planned to use August as a month of forgiveness and letting things go. That didn't happen as much as I anticipated, but that doesn't mean I haven't put some stuff into place for next month to make it better.

I set a goal to sponsor 3 blogs. I didn't exactly do that. I have been hanging out over on Anne's sidebar this month and will be gracing Christine's in a few weeks. I suppose 2 out 3 ain't bad right? I will strive for more in the Fall for sure!

I vowed to pin more.. well that kinda sorta happened cause ya'll I got engaged!  (see what I did there?) I need to start pinning all those amazing wedding ideas right?  Are you following me on Pinterest by the way? If not, why not?!

I talked about my upcoming series.. Which is still in the works as well as a new series so I'd say I nailed this one. Stay tuned this fall for some fun new series and collaborations!

Last but certainly not least I was going to use my media kit more often. I am happy to say even though I did not use it as much as I anticipated to, I did have a an opportunity come my way because of it. So I'd say that is a win as well.

Now lets take a look at what September has in store..

First and foremost the Blog Staycation is back for the Fall! If you are unfamiliar with the staycation; it is a 4 day online blogging event that helps connect you with the blogging community as well as helps you to grow your blog. This will be our third event and it has been a success each time! Go check out the announcement page and get all the deets!  Go now!

To start off September, I always set a theme to go along with my Happiness Project. This is part of my personal growth goals which I feel are just as important as monthly goals. This month I have chosen self improvement as my theme. Because last month I failed at my forgiveness goal, I want to continue to work to get past some of those hard things and let them all go. I want to start September with a clean slate to enjoy the magic that Fall brings. Now onto my monthly goals:
  • Start a journal. If you read my blog on Friday you would see I talked about starting to journal. Not only for self improvement but to also improve my writing. I would need an interactive journal as I would not be able to commit myself to a blank journal. I am planning once I receive the journal to spend some time with it each night, helping me focus on writing more down. Wish me luck!
  •  Next up is collaboration. I really would like to collaborate more in the blogging community and pull myself out of the slump I feel like I have been in. I have a really great idea for October and would love to share it with 2 or 3 others for lots of blog love! If you're interested in collaborating please shoot me an e-mail!
  • Continue to use Pinterest and grow my following. I am starting to pin more with the upcoming wedding whirlwind so I am hoping I will pin more this Fall as a whole. If you  have any tips please send them my way!
  •  Reach 10,000 monthly page views. I know this one seems very hard but I am SO close I can taste it! I suppose if I had did more with getting myself our there and sponsoring more blogs I could have already achieved that. Minor details right?
  • Blog planning. I think this seems to be my biggest problem lately with getting quality stuff posted. I always feel like I am rushing to get stuff done once my work day ends. If I could sit down 1 or 2 nights a week and plan better I think I could completely cut down the frantic moments I have in the evenings before I plan to post something. We shall see. 
So there you have it. I have a lot of my plate for September but I'll be damned if I don't make it work. I hope you all have a wonderful Monday!

What's your September looking like?





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Friday, August 28, 2015

Writing: Therapeutic and Fun

Writing has never come naturally to me. I have never considered myself a writer. I know; shocking considering I write a blog regularly. I am one of those people who has really great ideas and I can picture it all in my head. Every last word right there in my mind. I sit down to write, and bam! it's gone. I remember the concept and what it was I wanted to talk about, but it never sounds quite like I remembered it in my thoughts. Does that ever happen to any of you?

Recently I have had the urge to pursue writing in a different way. I have noticed lately my emotions play a lot into my writing. When I am upset or angry about something in my life, the words keep flowing smoothly from my mind onto the paper. I read it when I am done and I am proud of what I wrote. My words flirt with the paper as they create a great piece. Something I can call my own and not feel inadequate about calling myself a writer. 

Because I am trying to pursue writing in a different way, I have been looking at different journals and options to keep my thoughts flowing. I am not really interested in a blank journal as I am not great at writing daily. I am looking more at interaction journals. Things that will inspire me to participate in writing daily. Not only will it encourage me to write more, it will give me ideas of what I should be doing. I have been looking at thinks like The Wreck It Journal or Live Out Loud. Both of these books are by Keri Smith. I really love the concept of these books and I think they would both be very therapeutic for me.

(Source)

I am hoping one of these options will help me become a stronger writer by inspiring me to write more. Have you ever used one of these types of journals? Did you like it? Can you recommend other options? I can't wait to see what you have to say about these!

Happy Friday!


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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Bridal Expos: Are they worth it?

The proposal happened and you are now wearing a beautiful ring announcing to the world that you are engaged. You can't wait to show if off and go through the "look at my ring" stage to everyone you come in contact with. After all of the congratulations there come's that dreaded question; "When's the big day?"
It then becomes very real that you are not only engaged but you have a wedding to plan. Most brides get married within 12 to 18 months from the time their groom to be gets down on one knee.


Wedding planning can be pretty overwhelming if you don't stop and breathe and ask for help. One of the first things I did after R popped the question was look up bridal events in my area. I have been in a few weddings at this point but somehow how never attended a bridal expo with any of the brides I stood with. After only being engaged for 11 days, R and I braved our very first bridal expo.  So let me answer this question for you; "Is it worth it?"

Me and R headed to Heron Hill Winery in the Finger Lakes for a small bridal expo. Small meaning there were less than 20 vendors. I had no idea what to expect other than the expectations in my head. I pictured a very pink themed expo with lots of overly excited women prancing around in boas. (Yes kind of like a bacherlorette party). Obviously, I was wrong about that. R and I arrived at the event and I was given a fancy "Bride" sticker accented with purple grapes and a ticket for a complimentary glass of wine (Score!). They had run out of "Groom" stickers so R had to brave the tent without a tag.

What a gorgeous view!
The tent was lined with vendors for everything wedding related. We stopped and talked to photographers, DJ's, caterers, bakers, florists, and dress boutiques. We had the chance to sample cake and play around in a photo booth, which is pretty hot right now in the wedding world.  Even though at times I felt very overwhelmed, I found everyone very helpful. I was able to ask questions and get an idea of how quickly I needed to get things booked. Because R and I just got engaged we do not have a date set in stone yet, so they vendors could not help me get stuff set up, but that's okay.


I really enjoyed my experience and was glad this was a smaller event. It let me get my feet wet without diving right in. I also realized I enjoyed bringing R. I hear most brides to be bring their wedding party, best friends, or moms with them, but R was very helpful. I turned around at one point after feeling like my head was spinning (or was it the wine?) and he was happily taking notes. He is a good egg that one and never complained once about being there. He enjoyed talking to the vendors and sampling the cake.

After my first experience, here are a few tips from me on attending your first bridal expo:

  • Start small if you can. The small venue was less crowded and gave it an intimate setting. I was able to speak with vendors without waiting in line or bumping into others trying to visit a booth.
  •  Bring a pad of paper and a pen. Even though you can get business cards from each vendor, sometimes the info you are looking for is verbally given to you. If you do not write these things down it can be hard to remember what information went with what vendor. 
  • Do consider bringing your fiance with you. You can also bring your girls but I found it really awesome to share this experience with R. We had fun and I felt like we were planning this wedding together. 
  •  Ask lots of questions. If you don't see what you are looking for, chances are someone can answer it for you. They are all there to help you.
  • Enter the giveaways. Most of the vendors were giving away something from their business. I saw photography sessions and free tux rentals as some of the giveaways. You never know if they are going to pull your name and that will be 1 less thing you need to worry about for your big day. (I haven't gotten any calls so I guess I didn't win :(
  •  Have fun! This is supposed to be a time to gather information and celebrate your engagement. I left the expo with cards, appointments, and lots of info. This made me smile and ensured me I could do this.
All in all I really enjoyed my first bridal expo. I feel more informed and ready to start planning my big day. It can all be pretty overwhelming at first but with time it gets easier. I will be attending a larger expo next month with my mom and best friend back in my home state of Pennsylvania. Stay tuned to see how that one goes for me. In the meantime come back every Wednesday for a wedding themed blog post. If there is anything you want me to cover in these wedding posts, please leave me a comment below!

Have you ever been to a wedding expo? How did you like it? Would you go again?







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Monday, August 24, 2015

Healing those sore muscles

Welcome back to the work week! I am cruising in feeling a little more relaxed and a lot less tense. The tension that had become my whole body was really starting to take over my life. I felt stiff and had a headache pretty regularly. Between getting back to regular workouts, work overload, and the beginning stages of planning a wedding, I have been pretty beat. Enter Rasa Spa, a full service holistic Healthcare spa in Ithaca, NY.

2 weeks ago I won their first ever Instagram giveaway which was giving away a 30 minute massage. I was super excited go get the message that I had won! I booked my appointment adding on another half hour to make a full hour. It was one of the best decisions I could have made.

*Sorry for the grainy photos.. only had my cellphone and didn't want to distract anyone in this relaxation room!



The whole experience was amazing. The locker room was very inviting with a sauna room, showers and plenty of bathroom necessities like hair brushes and hair dryers. I got dressed into my soft robe and headed to the tranquility room; a quiet room with super comfy lounging chairs and soft blankets to wrap up in. With a quick glance I also noticed a tea and water bar. I barely had time to notice it before I was being lead into my treatment room by a lovely lady named Edith.


Edith got me set up and was back in quickly to get started. I appreciated that. Because of all of my sore, tense muscles I opted for a very light relaxation massage. It did not disappoint. I was putty and feeling great. At the conclusion of the massage Edith handed me a glass of water and offered me a heating pack for my back. This was music to my ears and some sweet loving to my back. Lounging in my chair with the heat made me never want to get up! (Good thing because at that moment it was raining cats and dogs outside!)

I spent a total of 2 hours with Rasa Spa but really felt like so much happened. I felt more relaxed and energized for the weekend ahead of me. It was a few hours for myself that I didn't know I needed. It was a treat to myself for all of the work I've put into other people and projects over the past year. Thank you Rasa Spa for bringing me back to center.

Cheers!


When's the last time you gave yourself a treat?

Happy Monday!




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Friday, August 21, 2015

Being Engaged: First Impressions

I've been engaged for a full week, and decided to compile a list of things things I've noticed just by wearing a ring constantly..

#1: The ring is a magnet for the question; "So when's the wedding?" or "Have you picked a date?" Then there's my personal favorite: "I didn't even know you were dating anyone!" Really?

#2: EVERYTHING gets stuck on the ring. I always have some kind of hair or fuzz attached to the prongs that holds in the diamond. Nothing like having this beautiful diamond covered in mystery fuzz all the time.

#3: I am currently really self conscious of my nails. I never paid attention to them in the past. I don't paint them. They are normally short and brittle and not pretty to look at. This goes back to my days of working in optical and constantly having my hands in acetone. Nails don't bode well in that stuff. Now I wonder if I should be painting them, or using super grow potions so they look nice.

#4: If you throw a party, EVERYONE will come. I am not used to this concept. I usually get a few people to come to my parties, but the one slated for this evening has a pretty large guest list and most of them are coming. Mind you this was planned BEFORE the engagement happened. Not related at all.

#5: No matter what I am doing I can relate it somehow to my future wedding. If I drink a drink, I think "Hmm would this be appropriate for a "signature drink" at my wedding?" or Wow! The color the sky tonight is totally the color theme to my wedding!"

Needless to say there are many more things I have noticed and my brain has fully went into wedding mode! Expect more fun stories along the way.

Happy Friday!

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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Fall 2015 Blog Staycation Announcement!

It's that time again.. and by "that time" I mean Blog Staycation time! If you remember, back in August of 2014 I joined a group of bloggers to bring you the first ever blog staycation. It was such a hit we are now in our third session! I am so excited to announce the Fall 2015 Blog Staycation will take place:

Thursday, September 10th through Sunday, September 13th!





This time around we have so many things to share with you! More giveaways. More expert speakers. More blog help. As always we want to make this event simple for you to participate in with as much help as we can offer. The Blog Staycation was founded as a way to help all bloggers (new and old) work on to-do lists and grow their blogs. We have built a community of such great bloggers, it's almost worth joining just for that!

As always we will be sending out daily emails with the days events, along with updates and any announcements. We will also be hosting fun Twitter parties and Facebook chats. 

So on to the important details:

Who can join? Anyone who wants to connect and grow their blogs! There is no requirement!

How can I join? You can sign up and will be included in all emails moving forward!

When is it? September 10th through September 13th! (That's a Thursday through Sunday)

What's New?

This session we are excited to announce that we are bringing in some experts to answer some of your questions in the chats! We have Karianne, a blogger who earns six figures a year with her blog, to host a chat on Monetizing Your Blog and Kristen, a Periscope expert! I'm getting excited just thinking about those 2 topics! What about you?

We have a new graphic! Thanks to Jenn over at Jenn Wells Design we have an official banner and button for you all to share! Make sure you grab our lovely new button and share the heck out of it!




Need To Knows:

We will kickoff the Blog Staycation on Thursday, September 10th at 9:30pm EST with a Twitter Party! Make sure to follow along using the hashtag #BlogStaycation. Make sure to also follow your hosts Trish, Jen, and Julie!

Make sure to join the Blog Staycation Facebook Group! It it such a great community of bloggers! You won't want to miss any chats or last minute announcements!

We are hosting multiple giveaways! One in particular is the new referral giveaway. The person who refers the most new friends will win an Amazon gift card! So get out there and share!

As always we are here to help eachother grow! Please take a moment to visit my co-host's Jen and Julie! They have amazing blogs and between the 3 of us you will get 3 different tastes if you will :)

Visit Jen!: Jenerally Informed
Visit Julie!: Girl on the Move

Wrap it up:

Before you go make sure you SIGN UP for emails and join the Facebook Group!

We hope to see you there!!



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Monday, August 17, 2015

Big News!

Where do I begin....? So if you follow me on Instagram, you would have seen that I announced something pretty huge. I got engaged! After 2 years of dating, after finally moved in together this summer, R asked me to be his wife!. I am so thrilled to be able to share this with all of you.

I am not going to tell you the official story today because I would like to have some time to write it and make it as perfect as the proposal was to me. I do want to share a few photos and warn you all that I will probably start to participate in "Wedding Wednesday" posts as I feel my way through this crazy adventure I am embarking on.

What I was doing right before the proposal.. arranging wildflowers from our yard.

Horrible photo.. but this was right after R asked! Love the cupcake!

I love it! He did good!
I have always enjoyed reading other peoples stories and wedding journeys so I am hoping to make mine interesting that you all will want to follow along with me. I would welcome anyone's recommendations on where I should start as I am pretty clueless!

Thank you to all of you who have already reached out. I am full of gratitude for all of your support and well wishes so far.

Happy Monday!

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Friday, August 14, 2015

Happy Friday! This is going to be short and sweet. A little something to get the weekend started. I want to share with you a great new service that I encountered at Blogger 2015. If you're an Amazon shopper you will want to check out Jet. Jet is a membership only shopping network that saves you money on the items you are already buying.

They made a pretty great video explaining exactly how it works. I recommend watching it!

Now for the fun part. Jet costs $49.99 annually which isn't bad when you think of all that savings! (At least 10% cheaper than Amazon). Today I am offering 25 FREE 1 year memberships to Jet. All you have to do is go to the Jet website...Sign up and use promo code THETRISHLIST at check out. Voila! You are locked into 1 full year of Jet bliss! But hurry! This promo expires 8/18/2015. 

Have a great Friday!



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Monday, August 10, 2015

August Goals

I really like making goals for myself. They show me that even through the hard times I am accomplishing things, even if they are small. July was kind of a wash with goals, but this month I want to focus on forgiveness. There are so many things I have held onto that aren't doing me any good. I want to finish the summer on a happier note and start Fall with a clean slate.



My happiness project is more than halfway complete for 2015 and I can honestly say they have really pushed me to try new things and set goals that normally would have been left on the back burner. I have had so much personal growth thanks to my commitment to this project. Not only is is helping me focus on me as a person, it helps me focus on this blog. I have some big plans, so let's see what I want to accomplish this month:

  • Sponsor 3 new blogs: I was on a roll for a while and I had my ad all over, but things changed and I stopped sponsoring. I really want to get things back in order and start introducing my blog and content to new people. 
  • Pin more!: I keep saying I am going to use Pinterest more, and then I forget about it. I know it will only help me to be more involved. I am going to make a good effort to be more visible this month. Wish me luck! (and add me on Pinterest :)
  • Series: I have a series I have been itching to get moving. I am going to get everything in place this month to debut it in September. I am really excited and out of all the goals I am hoping this is one of the ones I accomplish. 
  • Media kit: One of the most valuable things I learned at BlogHer 2015 was that I needed a media kit. I have since created one, but have been shy to share it with anyone. I am going to start putting some miles on that baby starting now! 
I'll let you all know how I do next month! Have a great Monday!


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Sunday, August 9, 2015

Silent Sunday: What doesn't belong?





Make it a great rest of your weekend ladies (and gents)


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Friday, August 7, 2015

Happy Week

Thank you first full week of August for showing me what summer is really made of! July really brought me down, so I am really excited to report all of the great things August has shown me thus far. I figured I haven't done a fun Friday post in awhile so I am going to list some fun things that happened this week and continue this high right through the month.

1. I FINALLY crossed something off my bucket list that has been sitting there for awhile. I went on a self guided wine tour with R and some friends around Seneca Lake in the Finger Lakes. We had a gorgeous day with good wine, good food, good laughs, and great friends. If you missed my post Monday about it, recap it here: Wine Tour: Seneca Lake

 
2. Guys I am officially happy with my scale. I stepped on it the first time in months and it actually told me I lost some weight! This was HUGE for me. It has been a long battle and to see 15 pounds gone really make me feel good. I talked a little about my struggle on Wednesday. If you are interested in my weight loss journey you can read about it here: My Weight Loss Journey

Guys I have a butt! Hard work is paying off!

3.  My House Party kit arrived! These boxes always make me so happy because the goodies inside are always so much fun. This is my 5th party in 2 years and the first one that was sponsored by an adult beverage and was geared not only towards women. This one is fantasy football themed and sponsored by a Whisky.


4. Having wine is always fun especially when it's free. My local wine store hosts weekly wine tastings on Thursdays and this week they were hosting wines that come from Italy and Greece. Its really cool because not only do you get to taste new wines, they educate you about how it was made and what region it comes from in each country.

5. I have finally laid out a plan for the blog for the Fall. So many new fresh ideas and making the blog more fresh and clean. I can't wait to share it all with you. One thing in particular that I'm excited for is the third Blog Staycation! So much learning to be had!

Have a great weekend folks!

Linking up today for H54F , That Friday Blog Hop, Oh Hey Friday!

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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Wellness Wednesday - Hope

As I stand in front of the mirror, I have a glimmer of hope that something has changed. Thought after thought enters my head as I stare intently at myself. "My pants seem to be fitting looser and I think my shirt feels more comfortable." "I think my stomach might look smaller, hard to tell today". Then the thoughts go the other way. "Maybe I am just hallucinating. No weight has come off." " You're not beautiful. You are fat." "Nobody likes you anyway."

Self esteem plays a large part in this battle. When you are used to hearing negative things from the people around you, it is hard to believe in the good things. A year ago this month I went on a "sleeping" medication to help me get better sleep which was the excuse my doctor used for my stomach issues. I had been battling stomach pains, fatigue, and weight gain.  She claimed I needed to get better sleep and eat better.

 I became very active at the gym and even took a regular yoga class. No matter how hard I pushed myself the pounds kept packing on. I changed my diet, even eliminating foods with no change. Good news was my stomach stopped hurting and I thought I was sleeping better. Although I wasn't quite sure I wasn't sleeping good prior to the medicine.

I went in for a 3 month check and the doctor asked how I was doing. I told her my pain was gone, but I just couldn't get this weight to come off. She once again told me I needed to exercise more and eat better. I explained over and over again that I've been the most active I've ever been and my diet was the cleanest it's ever been. She sent me away with only asking that I continue to take the medication and continue to be healthier.

My job hosted a Biggest Loser competition in January. I weighed in at the heaviest I have ever been in my life. Each weigh in I barely lost anything if I didn't gain instead. I was frustrated and ashamed all at the same time. Nothing fit. I wasn't comfortable in my own skin. I had to make a change. I finally made an appointment with a new doctor. The first thing she confirmed was the medication was causing the weight gain even when my previous doctor told me that wasn't my problem.

Another thing she confirmed was my life environment was stressful. I needed to cut my stress out to get feeling better. I stopped taking the pills that day. Although my home environment is still very stressful and some of the people surrounding me are still verbally abusive, I am doing better.

For the first time in a year I stepped on a scale and was happy with the result. I am down 15 pounds since I stopped taking those pills back in April. I feel like I have some control back in my life. I am finally allowing myself to see the positive changes. No more negative sound bites in my head.

People do not have the right to make you feel insecure in your own skin, why should you do it to yourself?


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Monday, August 3, 2015

Weekending - Wine Tasting

Whew! What a week it was last week! I recapped all of my Blog Her 2015 experiences along with my conference essentials to help you survive your first or even 100th conference. Then I wrapped up my Summer Tea Swap. It was a pretty action packed week here on The Trish List.

Today I want to give you a sneak peak of my weekend. Me and R were finally able to get together with some friends to do a wine tour. I will be living in the Finger Lakes for 4 years in November and haven't made the time to do one. It was a last minute decision and we had a blast. The weather was absolutely gorgeous this weekend with blue skies and barely any humidity. We decided to do the Seneca Lake Wine Trail and I was super impressed.

I will let the pictures tell the rest of the story:

Seneca Lake
Wine, Swine, and Stein 
We asked and it was CHOCOLATE COVERED BACON :)
This place is GORGEOUS!
<3

Hope you enjoyed the photos! Now tell me about your weekend! I hope it was a good one. Now go and make it a GREAT Monday!


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Sunday, August 2, 2015

Conference Essentials

After attending my first blogging conference in a big city (NYC) I came up with a list of things to pack to make the experience that much better. These items don't only apply for blogging conferences. You can use these items for any type of conference you are attending.



  • Comfy shoes: I know you want to look fashionable and pretty thought out the conference, but if you are planning to do a lot of walking, especially if you are not staying at the conference hotel, having comfy shoes to put on is a must. I picked a pair that were light in weight, yet still comfy and fashionable.
  • Deodorant: Conferences make for a long day, especially when they fall in the summer. Having a good deodorant that works all day is highly recommended. I was glad I packed my Dove Advanced Care 48 Hour anti-perspirant. It kept me dry and smelling good even after running around NYC in 90 degree weather.
  •  Sunscreen: I am pretty white. If I don't wear sunscreen I end up looking like a good ol' fashioned Coca Cola can. It ain't pretty! I rubbed on some SPF 60 sunscreen and off I went. Even while sweating like there is no tomorrow, it stayed on and did the job. Remember, even if your conference is in the winter, you can still get sunburn! Be safe and pack it regardless. 
  • Collapsible Bag: You never know what kind of swag you are going to come across at a conference. Sometimes you are provided with plenty of bags, and sometimes you only have 1. I always carry a bag that can easily fit in my purse just in case. This also comes in handy if you are exploring the city and decide to buy a few souvenirs.
  • Business Cards: Always, always make sure you have business cards on you at a conference. You are going to be mingling with not only other bloggers (or others in your field if this is a work related conference) but sponsors and brands. You don't want to be caught off guard when someone asks for your card. Make sure to bring at least 250 just in case. 
  • Portable Power Charger: Guys can I say how much of a life saver this is? This day in age EVERYONE has a smartphone, so everyone is looking for a place to plug in. To help ease the panic mode when you phone goes into power saving mode, invest in a portable charger and save yourself some grief. You can charge right in your purse and have a totally charged phone in less than an hour. 
I hope this list was helpful for your next conference! What do you consider an essential? Share them with me in the comments!

*I received the Dove Advanced Care from Influenster free for review purposes. All opinions are my own.  
 
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