Confessions of a lifestyle blogger: 12 things I learned at my first Media Partnership

66th Edition of Manila FAME + CREATE Philippines
Glamour and Empathy


My mind was prepped and my clothes were pressed, but nothing could've fully prepared me for last weekend’s design and lifestyle show, Manila FAME + CREATE Philippines.

*****

At World Trade Center Manila over a week ago, the last goosebump moment I experienced snuck up on me as I turned a corner outside the exhibition hall. The sun was setting; and I could see the pretty lights from Star City. It was a happy moment. I know, I know. It’s Manila FAME + CREATE Philippines. Groundbreaking.

For a small town girl who's dreamt of a life in socializing and attending posh events since her pre-teen Seventeen magazine flipping days, it really was. I didn't grow up with the same privileges many of my peers did, nor gained so many experienced to cover major events in the city so being here in Manila to cover this season’s 66th Edition of Manila FAME + the maiden event CREATE Philippines no less, was doubly significant.

66th Edition of Manila FAME + CREATE Philippines

66th Edition of Manila FAME + CREATE Philippines

Being the Sagittarian that I am, I took it all very seriously — making sure I arrived on time, and follow the set rules and guidelines between a media and stakeholders, familiarizing the hectic schedule, etc. My Amore who is an expert on hosting events also imparted survival tips: Load up on vitamins; write / scribble the reviews while you have vacant time (yes even during meal; trade pre-bedtime HBO (I don’t have Netflix yet) for sleep. I memorized all the rules, but playing with the big boys (the mainstream media) was a whole different ball game, I would soon realize.

Below, the 12 Twelve Lessons I learned on the field:


1. The design and creative event is a marathon, not a sprint

Manila FAME + CREATE Philippines shows are mercilessly compounded in three days; the first day is longer, with editors, major influencers, and top artisans, and other important stakeholders are busy. The show begins at around 10:30am and there are usually about two to four shows worth attending daily — not counting the press presentations and workshops peppered throughout. I only return to my hotel around midnight, and forgotten my dinner. Gladly, the hotel’s room service is awesome so I managed to grab a sandwich and fresh juice, as I can’t sleep hungry. A grueling schedule, even for workaholics. Energy conservation is key.


2. The shows never start on time

...and they are over before you know it. I did missed some of the talks and workshops, but managed to cover the best parts with the juices cover. The Great Tattoo Artist Apo Whang-Od also started late coz, well it is her time. However, I find the saying "all good things come to those who wait" to be true.

66th Edition of Manila FAME + CREATE Philippines

3. Forget about sitting and relaying on guide maps

There are over 600 enterprises and artisans have joined the event, and I have doubt that I could cover them all 100%. However, I used some few tricks that I’ve learned from my seniors. Talk the first person that you made eye contact with, then the rest will follow. I managed to interview significant number of artisans which connects to my personal advocacy.

66th Edition of Manila FAME + CREATE Philippines

4. Not all the exhibitors are well prepared

Yeah, sometimes the pros who get too excited for the exhibits they even forgot their flyers and business cards in the hotel. But it doesn’t matter. The exhibitor was so nice he gladly wrote his personal contact to my notebook.


5. People aren't always going to be nice

At the risk of hyping a stereotype, here's a true story I'm not ashamed of sharing: I bumped into a prominent design influencer I've long admired after my few rounds of shoot. She too was in line at the Registration area. I spoke first. "OMG. Your outfit is amazing!" Her response, a deadpan "Thanks," proceeded by a pouty one-over. Can't win them all.


6. Some people will be unexpectedly lovely

During my rounds of capturing photos, one thing that makes it too difficult it to take a good photo of me. Of course I can do a selfie, but sometimes it feels a little awkward to do so. Unexpectedly, someone offered if he can take a good photo of me with the huge driftwood bar.

66th Edition of Manila FAME + CREATE Philippines

Feeling relieved that finally I have at least one good photo, I partake and thank him for his kindness. Turns out he is the designer!

7. Fake it until you make it

Fact: You may be a "big shot" online influencer in Manila, but you are nobody in the design show unless you have hundreds of thousands of followers on Instagram, or you're Kevin Cobonpue, or Ann Ong, or their equivalents. Manila FAME is the big league, the Wimbledon of design here in the Philippines if you will. I was a little fish in a big pond, and there was no use in pretending otherwise. The thing is, it's in the biggest of ponds you gain the most rewarding of experiences. While I saw my inexperience as an opportunity, I also had to play my strengths with dignity. We all start somewhere. And mine was one surreal "somewhere" I wasn't ashamed of.

66th Edition of Manila FAME + CREATE Philippines

8. Photo requests are ok, selfies are tolerated but fangirl-ing is not

I died a little inside when I saw the last centenarian tattoo artist Apo Whang-od. "Should I whip out my phone?" "Is it too late?" "Do I leap to hug her and profess my admiration?" are samples of my internal dialogue. Sanity prevailed, thus saving me from eternal embarrassment, thank goodness. I wasn't brave enough to test fashion's cool façade, leaving me without a photo with the legend. Later, I suspected she would have obliged — if only I asked. But then I managed to take some behind-the-scenes-during-the-show photos of her, and watching her few steps away makes me feel relieve and happy.

66th Edition of Manila FAME + CREATE Philippines

9. You can wear whatever you want

Anything goes at design show, from blinding colour clashes to out-of-this-world headpieces. Except few things like skimpy clothes that you must only wear inside your house, and not with the public. The instinct was to dress to impress. At the behest of my boss (Amore), I planned my outfits prior to departure to look on point AF, but halfway into the design leg, my dressing relaxed somewhat. I shunned the comfort-impeding accessories for more practical (though still chic) options, simply because I was on a mission — to attend all the shows in a timely fashion, write thoughtful reviews, eat properly, pee, sleep and repeat. Survival became top priority and that headspace had no room for things that slowed me down.

66th Edition of Manila FAME + CREATE Philippines
Mr. Cocoy Bajuyo, and his Sea Glass Camiguin Jewelry

10. Don’t just take photos and selfies. Listen.

During the course of my experience in covering events, one of the things I enjoyed is talking with the exhibitors and artisans. Yes, they travelled from various far places to showcase their arts and crafts in the city, and it is significant to ask them about it and listen to their stories. Treat it as a once in a lifetime opportunity, to get to know them and understand their values, so you can have a more meaningful input of your stories.

Who knows, maybe this artisan will happily gave you her limited-edition design (*wink).

66th Edition of Manila FAME + CREATE Philippines

11. Don’t become a lazy writer and depends on hearsay. Do your own research.

Yes, oohh yes with a huge check AF. Ready-made press releases are handled to us but is it our responsibility to gather facts, interview, and then fact-check again before publishing our articles. So it is not a valid argument that I will based my article flow through online tweets and FB statuses of people who wasn’t in the event per se.  The right contacts / key people are available even they are busy. Or make it happen.

12. But stilettos are highly impractical

Have you seen the whole area of World Trade Center Manila, including the Hall One? Are you out of your mind? If you answered yes to the first question and no to the second like I did, then you get my drift. Save the blisters for another day!

66th Edition of Manila FAME + CREATE Philippines

Will I sign-up for the next media partnership?

Hell yeah! I love what I do and I’m happy that my blog and the organizers shares similar advocacies.

I love it!

Photos are from me recent Manila FAME and CREATE Philippines partnership. Be sure to frequently check my blog for more updates and stories about these awesome events!


xoxo, Blair




154 LOVES AND COMMENTS:

  1. I also encountered the same deadpan situation with an artist once and it totally changed my view of him. And yes, event never starts on time and at times, finishes way too soon or it drags too long too.

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    1. I got no words when I saw the artist and received her response.

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  2. Very honest confession, especially No. 2 & 4.
    Btw your orange outfit in the last picture is lovely.

    xx
    Puiyeesss

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  3. I've never seen an event like that before nor heard of it. Those are also very good tips I would say to those who have not been to any partnership events like these, like me la.

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    1. Oh of course you can :D
      Just focus on building your brand and your voice to your blog, and have the right network.

      Delete
  4. I recently completed my Diploma of Events Management which taught me much of these lessons - I'm glad to see they can be applied to blogger/media partnerships too. Life is one big learning curve, I'm glad that you had a great time working Manila FAME + CREATE Philippines. :)


    Christie's Take on Life. xx

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    1. I did and it was a great and memorable experience. We shared similar advocacies and definitely I would love to work with this team again :D

      Thanks for visiting Christie!

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  5. omg! that photo of u at the driftwood bar is killer!! and yess events usually dont start on time! They hardly do! hahaha!

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    1. Thank you dear! Gorgeous driftwood, right?! It was a 70-years old tree.

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  6. I agreed with your points. Don't just take selfies and listen..so true! Stilettos part...I really Salute for those who can stand tall with that while working and running here and there behind the scene.

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    1. I believe those women have super powers. I always need my flats!

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  7. That list is super practical & as a fellow Saggitarian - I get it! It's overwhelming with hundreds of artisans and vendors but you just got to pick your favorites and roll w it, and in flats for sure! ;)

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    1. Yeah, pick the best that you find more interesting story and focus on that.

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  8. Absolutely agree with you. Such collaborations are definitely a marathon. it starts by understanding what the two parties can do for each other I guess! Well put!

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    1. You are right. And constant communication. That is why it is called collaboration.

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  9. I just love your tips. This would be a fun time and quite a learning experience. I don't think I'd ever be cheesy and ask someone for a selfie with me. Maybe a regular photo, but I'd feel weird doing anything else.

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    1. Hahaha I know the feeling. Sometimes there is an advantage that you haven't take a selfie with someone you admire or like. This way, we tend to reminisce the moment and the experience, makes us remember more.

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  10. These are great tips and comes handy if I have such opportunity in the future. Thanks for sharing :) I love your last photo, you look stunning :)

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    1. Thank you Yin! My photograph/director keeps on telling me to pose properly, lol she is strict!

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  11. Listening is imperative. A picture only gives one side. The story completes the story. No races, you have to take your time to see everythin most things should not be a sprint.

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    1. You are right! A picture paints a thousand words. Listening is one of the best skills.

      Delete
  12. I love when you said they're late. Well that's Filipino time for you. I wish that mentality will change, it's the most annoying character.

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    1. hahaha yeah, but at least its not so much a big deal since its an exhibition.

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  13. I have not done an event like this before so thank you for the tips! I hope some day I can cover something like this.

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    1. Find a topic that you are passionate and interested-in. Look for a related event. Then contact them for possible partnership. It never hurts to ask. If they decline, don't feel down (if you are truly passionate with the topic), continue to patronize, and eventually they will get YOU.

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  14. Very interesting read. I love going to event like this. It's so cool to see and learn so many things all in one place. Thanks for sharing these great blogger confessions.

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    1. You're welcome Sharon :D I'm excited for our next events!

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  15. These are tips that I can use when I go to conferences. I like the fake it one as you need to be passionate about what you do to get others to be interested in you.

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    1. Thank you dear! Hope you can use these pointers :D

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  16. This was super informative! This isn't something I have gotten into yet but I always love to read about finding new partnerships. Some great tips in here for growing your business as well.

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    1. Thank you Jessica!
      Most of the bloggers and influencers are always after the $$$. I might be a little conservative, but my ways works well to me.

      You have to establish first a good and strong relationship - this will be your strongest investment. Then money will follows.

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  17. I do agree with you on point that the show never starts on time. That happen in Malaysia too. Every event will most likely start 30 minutes after they announce it.

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    1. Hahaha I agree. Mostly, I just treat it as "I just arrived too early" :D but no biggie.

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  18. It's hard to believe there were 600 enterprises and artisans. That's a lot! Think of all of the knowledge they have hidden away if only for the asking. Loved the tip about listening instead of taking selfies. I read today that Barak and Michelle Obama won't let people take selfies with them because it becomes all about the photo and not the personal connection. x

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    1. So true! There is a proper time for requesting a photo opp or selfie. But for more important people, I prefer to listen to their stories and advices, than having a souvenir photos. This makes me recall the moment, and enjoy more the memories.

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  19. That is such a great and honest confession review. The other event really is not getting started on time because people are late and can not get up early and can not get ready for their exhibit. and by the way, Congrats on your first media partnership.

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    1. Thank you! This is my first media partnership with a government agency, and I love it!

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  20. Seems a great exhibition, though many of these points which you have mentioned happen at many such exhibitions/events. We too have similar ones n delhi and people all over the world participate, but the crowd is really decent.

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  21. This is a great post. Stilettosn look great but I could never spend a lot of time walking in them.

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  22. This looks like a pretty awesome partnership and experience. Thanks for sharing your tips. I would love to do something like this one day.

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  23. Such an awesome experience! i like the fake it til you make it sentence :P .. works everywhere

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    1. Hahaha thanks Isaac. Just needs extra confidence.

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  24. Great post on partnership advices. I've worked some tradeshows myself and there was a lot of things to be learned.

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    1. That's cool! Which part of your partnership is the most memorable?

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  25. The marathon not a sprint lesson rings so true for me! As my husband says, trust the process!

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  26. Learnt a lot of great tips here. You are a great blogger.

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  27. Sounds like a great event, and very useful tips for any conference - wearing heels to any sort of event like this is madness, comfy but cool all the way :)

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    1. I agree. So a foldable ballet flats is one of the must-have in my bag.

      Delete
  28. I am always amazed at the artistry in Manila. My late aunt was from Manila. She too was quite artistic.

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    1. Oh that's great Ola! Please visit your ancestors here in the Philippines. Am sure you will enjoy here :D

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  29. Congratulations on your first media partnership! This is a great start!

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  30. These are some great lessons to have learned. I also figured out that events hardly ever start on time even if you are there early.

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    1. I agree. So in case you arrive early, you have to be creative on maximizing your time! I did that and got some of the important stories I want to feature :)

      Delete
  31. I think you are right that stilettos and skimpy clothing are probably to avoid pieces out there. And it is great that you get your content originally and not just from press releases.

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    1. Yeah, I've learned a lot from many years of blogging experience and for constantly researching about the do's and don'ts.

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  32. You have come such a long way. You are an AH-MAZING lifestyle blogger and if I ever meet you... Girl, I am definitely going to be fangirl-ing over you!!!!

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    1. hahaha I will be your fan girl-ing as well! Come here in the Philippines!

      Delete
  33. It was great that you got to attend this event! It looks like you learned some valuable lessons too. Congrats on your partnership!

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    1. Thank you Tiffany! WE have the similar advocacies, so it isn't hard to collaborate with them.

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  34. Very honest confession and there are many tips here. i love your outfit of the last pic!!

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  35. This is really informative! Maybe one day I'll attend an event like this :) Thanks for sharing!

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  36. Sounds like such a fun event! Your tips could be used for most blogging events.

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  37. Manila FAME + CREATE Philippines sounds really grand. I have attended my fair share of events at various roles, as mainstream media, blogger and member of the public. But I have never been as dedicated to attend on all days of the event. Salute!

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    1. Thanks Emily on your input. Yeah, I attended the whole duration because I wouldn't know when will I exactly will capture good stories. You have to be around anytime to catch it.

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  38. This was really interesting to read. Listening is imperative in my opinion. Also taking your pace is important too.

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  39. I think you have to be prepared for anything. Have things to keep you busy and take breaks outside in the fresh air.

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  40. Yes, there are so many events around the world. I can't wait to attend my first blog related event. Loved the pictures and advice.

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    1. Thank you Stephanie :) Find stories that are close to your heart.

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  41. I had such a great time at my first blogging expo. I met so many great people and discovered a lot of wonderful brands.

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    1. So true! This is the best way to network and widen your contacts.

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  42. This was great information. I can only imagine that there wouldn't be much rest during this type of event.

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    1. Oh yes for some, but during this kind of event you have to be creative on how to get your rest :D

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  43. great advice there Blair, I agree to all of it... this is good reading for wannabe bloggers and newbies...

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  44. Aww I'm happy you had such a great opportunity. I remember my first media event and it was wrought wth nerves, stress, and excitement. But so much fun!

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    1. It will always be a great experience, and we learned a lot!

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  45. Aw these are so thoughtful and realistic tips you shared! Thanks for the info, I wish I have some more media exposure in the future.

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    1. Thank you for reading my blog, Claire. I know you can do it too!

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  46. This events looks beautiful but you had loads of work and busy time. Handling different types of people is so diificukt but you still managed.

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    1. Thank you Yukti! Yeah we must master the art of being a chameleon and flexibility.

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  47. It is true not everyone will be nice, let it go and move on.

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  48. Omg.. your put up all in one article and make it so informative. Love it and great one to read and apply it..

    Racheal

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    1. Thank you Racheal! I do hope that many bloggers will learn about my experiences.

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  49. It was so interesting to read about your experience! And kudos to you for scoring this media partnership! That's so exciting - and well-deserved!

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    1. Thank you Lindsey! My passion has been well paid-off. I love this collaboration!

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  50. I have an events management company and have to say I agree with a lot of the comments you have made- great tips! Well done.

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    1. Thank you! What kind of events do you most cater?

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  51. These are awesome tips and I loved the photos!! Sorry that someone you admired wasn't that kind... it's so much easier to be kind! And I'm GLAD you wore appropriate shoes... blisters are never any good. hehehehe

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    1. Hahaha thanks dear!

      I've already get over with it. Many she is just tired (or constipated?) we never know :D

      Delete
  52. I loved the line about your preteen days reading Seventeen magazine! I read that one when I was a girl, too :)

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    1. Hahaha I know right! Nostalgia!
      I'm not sure if they still continue its printing publication.

      Delete
  53. Congrats on the partnership, but it definitely looks like a lot of hard work! I love all your tips; they are a great way to set expectations and that can make all the difference for new bloggers.

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    1. Thank you dear!
      These are also useful for pro bloggers in the industry, because every now and then we need to be reminded of the expectations, and do's and don'ts.

      Delete
  54. It sounds like you had a fantastic time at your first Manila FAME + CREATE Philippines event. These are all great tips to remember for anyone going to an event like this one. Thanks for sharing these awesome photos and tips.

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  55. Great tips. Love the one - don't just take picture - listen. people miss too much while hiding behind their camera,

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    1. I agree. When you don't know the story, and just based on photos you might come up with a different interpretation that will cause damages, and that's what we always avoid.

      Listen to the facts and stories first. There are many opportunity to take photos.

      Delete
  56. This was a great read. Super informative.

    Sondra xx
    prettyfitfoodie.com

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  57. You look amazing on your outfit and with your Stilettos though! But, yeah a bad idea.

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  58. These are great tips to know going in, so that you can get the most out of your experience and focus on the positive. Bet you got some good swag though!!

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    1. Hahaha thank you! Being kind and humble always rewarded :)

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  59. It looks like you had an amazing time except for the gal who doesn't know how to take a proper compliment.... and your photos are fantastic

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    1. Thank you dear! Its okay I've get over with it :)

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  60. That sounds like a great event. I've never been there before, but it looks like fun. PS You look great girl!

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  61. I think a lot of these things are true at other conventions or events. Especially about shows not starting on time!

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    1. I agree. It happens to most of the events. And the best part is, we learned on our experiences :D

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  62. #5!!! I've been attending events since 2013 and though I know I'll some people who aren't nice and yet I still am surprised every time I encounter one.

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    1. Yeah I think it will always happen. However, I've practiced to have an open-mind. Maybe she haven't got her breakfast :D

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  63. Oh what wonderful post. I can tell you're really passionate about this and love what you do. Love your last pic in the heels too! Super cute outfit.

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    1. Haha thank you Steph! Ohh without my flats, I would definitely be a disaster, hahaha

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  64. Sorry that getting to meet the influencer you admire was a bust. Amazing when people show you their true colors. Glad the rest of the event seemed well. Hope you get to do many more like that.

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    1. It's okay Erica. Maybe not a good timing for us :D
      But if I encounter her again, and received the same treatment, then confirmed its a no-chance :D

      We'll see next time!

      Delete
  65. I totally agreed with all the points that you have made Blair! Events like this teaches a lot of personal lessons and changes our perspectives! I'd say that whatever glitters is not always gold!

    P.S. - I loved your outfit girl and you look so stunning in it!

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    1. Thank you Ana! Another rare occasions that needs a little dressing-up :D

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  66. I can definitely relate to this post being someone that attends a number of events and I am usually in heels too, lol!

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    1. Hahaha yeah heels are sexy and fabulous, but having blisters as accessories are not! I need my flats.

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  67. Lol blogging is a marathin. Not a sprint.... & it can definitely be applied to real life as well.

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  68. Looks like a great event, I always find exhibitions can be very hit or miss but still always a great source of information

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    1. Exactly Kim! I think attending exhibition is a great way to learn new things, meet interesting people, and also realized something about yourself.

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  69. Being in a profession which is very different from yours, I can say that your article is an eye opener for me. This is such an enlightening post and I think I have to add too that you look gorgeous with your outfit.

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  70. Valuable tips for the event and in life. I missed seeing your gorgeous pose since last post. Love your lifestyle and your blog really!

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    1. Thank you dear! Sometimes I tried to be low-key because sometimes I feel lazy to dress-up :D

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  71. THE DESIGN AND CREATIVE EVENT IS A MARATHON, NOT A SPRINT(so true) I feel like when I rush I miss so really amazing designers and pieces.Looked like an incredible show :)

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    1. Yeah, there are many designers and some are recurring ones. So I skipped some designers and focused on newbies!

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  72. I want to be your travel buddy! This sounds like an amazing event! Great point about listening....I will continue to do this more at events too!

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    Replies
    1. Come and visit us here in the Philippines and join our events :D

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  73. Hello Blair!
    That really looks like a really interesting and eye opening event! I would be disappointed too when I tot I could meet the influencer I looked up to!

    Xo,
    Everest

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    Replies
    1. Oh its okay. Sometimes in this kind of situation, you have to be open-minded and not too sensitive, because people are very pre-occupied for the event.

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  74. This looks like an amazing event. I would have totally loved to attend.

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  75. Blair, seems like you had a blast at the event. I like events where I feel like a small fish in a big pond. It makes me want to grow event more and shows real life examples that it's all possible. Sorry, not everyone was nice, but at least you got a 'Thanks' ))))

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    1. Hahaha yeah does happen but its okay! I enjoyed the 3 days event :D

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  76. really… very good information…thanks to share this valuable post.

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  77. Great lessons. I can relate especially to No. 10. I find that a lot of bloggers just focus on taking photos and not really listening to the presentations. They miss out on a lot of important info that way .

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    Replies
    1. I agree. And when you forgot things and just rely on photos, they tend to misinterpret it. That is not how to get a good story.

      Delete

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