I love this photo. This is an insider look at a company-sponsored mini blog conference, featuring a crew of connected men and women (okay…mostly women) tweeting and photographing up a storm with media badges and trendy bags in-hand. I've already had five bajillion people ask me about Access P&G, and I've FINALLY settled down enough to share all the details of my fun-filled work weekend. Synopsis: I have the best job in the world.
If you follow me over on Instagram, you probably noticed a plethora of giddy Procter & Gamble-related posts last weekend. I've worked with the brand for awhile now on launches of their latest and greatest products, and they flew me out to Cincinnati to get a more hands-on look at some of their initiatives. My very first day there, I got to meet with spokeswoman and Cincinnati resident Vanessa Lachey! She was so funny chatting up a storm about her favorite handy household products like Downy Infusions and Tide Pods, which make her classic wash-and-wear style possible.
We got a backstage look at P&G headquarters to see how Bounty developers make sure their paper towels stand up against the competition. I shared awhile back that these are the paper towels we use in our house for everything from cleaning up chicken grease to washing dishes. This, people, THIS is why I put my products to the test. Who has time to be messing with inferior construction? I need my products to work right every time.
This adorable little guy is Pawl Griffin, VP of K9 Communications for IAMS. He's definitely the cutest brand rep I've ever met. No offense, Vanessa Lachey…you are also quite adorable. IAMS just launched their So Good line of dog food and Shakeables treats free of sugar, dyes and artificial preservatives. I've heard a lot of readers complain about the high price of caring properly for pets, so it's good to know that there are natural options available in the general market at an affordable price.
I have to give a HUGE shoutout to the P&G corporate and PR team for putting such a phenomenal event together. I felt so well taken care of and comfortable the entire trip. This crew knows how to make you feel at home!
The hotel they chose was SO cool. They put us up at the swanky 21C Museum Hotel which doubles as both a hotel AND a fully-functioning art museum/cultural civic center. Giant yellow penguin sculptures greet visitors at the door and each room has a particular animal theme with unique, hand-crafted artwork. My favorite touch was the funky tiles in the shower that made bath time a bit more entertaining than usual.
The team even flew a world-renowned hair stylist in to help me get all dolled up with Vidal Sassoon Pro Series products! Tip: if you tend to have oily hair like me, try their Extra Firm Hold Mousse. It offers a smooth, flexible look without weighing you down.
Time to pamper myself was a luxury I was so incredibly thankful for. My life is so go-go-go that I rarely get a chance to just sit and chat or actually look in a mirror. A beauty expert gave us all the latest tips and tricks for using CoverGirl's hottest products like Outlast Stay Fabulous 3-in-1 Foundation. He convinced me to try bright pink lipstick, and it has now become my newest obsession.
See? Pretty in pink! This is me and my new pal Maria from The New York Mom. I discovered a whole East Coast blogging crew of awesomeness on my trip. If you have a chance, go check out Whitney from Mommies With Style, Colleen from Classy Mommy and Jessica from Momma's Gone City (who actually happens to be moving to the Bay Area this week!).
My favorite part of the trip was the backstage look at the private P&G archives. It was so neat to see all the old-school ads that have been carefully preserved throughout the years. What impressed me the most on this trip was the passion that everyone showed for their jobs. The archivist was genuinely excited to share P&G's history. The IAMS representative gushed over photos of everyone's dogs, and the lead contact from P&G enthusiastically shared stories about her work travels all over the world. It was astoundingly evident that everyone involved in the company truly cares about their brands. Corporate culture like that always amazes me, because it starts from the ground up. It shows that someone has really invested their heart in this, and worked hard to build an atmosphere where people can grow together.
Let's not forget the location! Cincinnati was such a sight to see.
I asked a local what “don't miss” spots we should hit up and was surprised when he kind of shrugged. “This is a conference town. There's not a lot to see.” It was true that I was able to hit the major areas in just a couple short hours, but I was thoroughly impressed with the pretty architecture and bustling activity.
And the people! Oh my gosh. The nightlife here is a thing to behold in itself.
But I chose to stick around my blogger buds instead of venturing out into the hoppin clubs. There was such an amazingly talented and diverse group of bloggers like Keri Lyn from She Saved and Shellie from Saving with Shellie.
They even flew in some cool Canadians like Jody from Mommy Moment.
I was thrilled to see Crystal of Surviving a Teacher's Salary, who I've worked with a bit on past campaigns. We got to sit and get work-life balance tips from renowned author, speaker, vlogger and mom extraordinaire Danielle Smith. Key takeaway: sometimes balance means NOT trying to do more than one thing at any given time.
Outside of the sightseeing and learning, I'm always so thrilled to travel to blogger events because of the deep connections I make with people who are just like myself. It takes a rare breed to work in such diligent isolation. Maintaining the energy and enthusiasm to type for hours on end, sometimes squeezing words in here and there between diaper changes, feedings, errand runs, conference calls…it's so interesting and empowering to hear how different people do it all throughout their unique life stages. It makes me feel invigorated to see that I'm part of a community.
And last but not least, I need to give a BIG shoutout to my girl Candy for insisting that I leave the hotel room and actually see the city. If it weren't for her, I would have been totally lame and sat working in the lobby my last few hours in Cincinnati. Sometimes I just need to be told when to stop.
Without her, THIS right here would not be possible. Yup. That's me, doing sports. Good thing she thought to snap a picture, because this is pretty much a once in a lifetime moment. Take it in, people!
How do you stay up-to-date and involved in YOUR industry? Do you travel much for work?