A couple of weeks ago, I hopped on a plane and deserted my family. Seriously though, I made my farthest trip west and attended an amazing conference. I had friends that suggested I attended Blended and when I saw a great deal, I snatched up a ticket!
The conference is in Arizona and everyone kept talking about how hot it is there. Of course, we live in Maryland where humidity is the real problem, so we're used to heat. As I'm writing this though, I'm bundled up on my couch listening to the downpour of rain outside. It's cold and gross here and I could definitely go for some of that dry heat to help warm me up.
I flew into Phoenix, but the actual conference was in Florence, Arizona, which is about an hour away. I partnered with DriveShop and Mitsubishi to test out the 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander SEL. Some of my blogger friends were coming into Phoenix around the same time as my flight, so it was great that we had plenty of room.
The third row in the Outlander allows for 7 passengers in the vehicle, but when it's folded down, it opens up for a ton of storage space. With three bloggers, we filled that up on the way coming home (with some extra swag in our bags). There are three full-size suitcases, a large duffel bag, and a couple of smaller bags all in the back.
Once we checked into our hotel, we enjoyed a little pool time and dinner before crashing for the night. Of course, I was out long before anyone else – I was the only East Coast girl in my room.
Going to a conference as a blogger may seem like a weird thing to you if you're not a blogger. If you are a blogger and have never been to a conference, GO! As a blogger (full-time gig here folks), I spend a lot of time staring at my phone, laptop, tablet, camera, etc. While I have some amazing friends in facebook groups for bloggers, it is completely different seeing and talking to people in real life.
I walked away from Blended Conference feeling refreshed and ready to jump into a million things that will help this little blog of mine grow. I spent the weekend hearing from some amazing speakers, including Carly of Lipgloss and Crayons, Aubrey of Real Housemoms, Kirsten of Sweet Tea & Saving Grace, and Tiffany from The SITS Girls.
One of my favorite takeaways from this conference is that I need to really sit down and get organized. This is my business. It's hard when your business IS social media, but I need to remember to put it away and really power down, set office hours for myself and work on making more time for me and my family that doesn't revolve around me on a device.
The conference was at The Windmill Winery (I know, sounds miserable, right?). Honestly, we didn't think there would be much of anything in this little town and then bam! Beautiful winery!
While the conference ended Friday night, my flight did not leave until late Saturday afternoon. Jana, Kendra and I made our way back to Phoenix and drove around a little, stopping to check out some cool cactus plants near ASU.
And something I look for in any vehicle now: the touchscreen display. I really like having navigation built right into the car. It definitely came in handy on our trip, especially when the driver (okay… me) misses an exit or a random turn because she was too busy looking at the desert.
Other Features about the 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander SEL:
- Heated Seats – Okay, so I didn't need them in September in August, but there are times that they definitely would be needed!
- Backup Camera – This is one of those things I always look for now. It's just a great safety feature and something that is not always included.
- 710W Rockford Fosgate Premium Audio System – When three women get in a car with no children, they WILL be belting out whatever song comes on the radio. The awesome sound system definitely made it a fun ride.
- 8-way Power adjustable driver’s seat – I'm not exactly blessed in the height department, so I need to move the seat around a bit to get it where it needs to be. With this much control, that was a breeze.
- Sunroof – This is part of the SEL Touring Package, but I absolutely love a sunroof!
After we dropped Jana off for her flight, Kendra and I had a few hours to kill in Phoenix. We found a great burger joint, The Chuckbox, and enjoyed a quick lunch before heading on a little adventure.
It will probably be awhile before I'm back in an area I can explore the desert again, so I wanted to find somewhere to wander around before returning home. After a quick google, I found that South Mountain Park was just about 25 minutes from PHX. We just plugged the address in and away we went! I'm pretty sure Kendra thinks I was being crazy, but we just don't have deserts here in Maryland. I could not get over the fact that there was just dirt everywhere – no grass.