Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Blogger Meet-Up in Vancouver

blogger meetup

If you've been following me on Instagram, you've noticed that I've been to Vancouver, Canada. I was there to attend a 40+ Blogger Meet-Up - organised by Suzanne, Sue and Melanie - of 18 or so bloggers, none of whom I had ever met in person...

I follow a lot of bloggers, most of whom have very different styles and tastes from mine. Some of these bloggers look fantastic in outfits that I would never wear in a million years. They come in all shapes and sizes, and they may like colours that wouldn't suit me.

But that's OK as I'm not looking for style tips: I don't want to copy or imitate anyone. What I look for is expression of individual style, and many of the bloggers I follow know how to match their outfits to their personalities. It is this coherence, the harmony between the outward appearance and the perceived personality that appeals to me.


The Vancouver blogger meet-up was a chance to meet, face-to-face, some of the bloggers I have been following, and see what they're really like... because there is always more to a blogger than what they choose to share with you on their blogs.

Greetje taking a photo of me...
I'm sure that all bloggers think very carefully how much and what to reveal about themselves and their lives. I certainly set myself some limitations when I started this blog: I would focus on a few selected topics, never discuss my day job, and keep the overall tone of the blog positive, light-hearted and sufficiently shallow. The last bit was not so much for my readers' but for my own benefit as for quite a while now I've been working very hard at being shallow (yes, I know how strange that sounds...). You see, I'm a 'glass-half-empty' kind of girl, prone to a rather negative outlook on life and worrying about everything possible (and impossible), and this blog is part of my ongoing attitude adjustment project of learning not to take life so seriously.

And it was in that spirit that I left for Vancouver to meet with a bunch of people I had never met in person before...

That's me, with Sheila (left) and Pat (right)
I had decided not to have any expectations, and force myself to step outside my comfort zone. You see, I'm not comfortable meeting new people... which is strange, of course, given that meeting new people is what I do all the time in my day job. Except that usually I would be in charge, and in total control of the situation, calling the shots, bossing everyone around...

So, what I mean is, I'm not comfortable meeting new people and mingling with them as equals...

No, that doesn't sound good, either... How about this: I'm an introvert, a bit shy, and somewhat insecure? And all of my friends reading this just choked on their coffees... Yes, I know I don't seem shy or introverted. I boss people around for a living, after all... Yeah, I'm good at faking it. Confidence, I mean.

Oh hell, my jet-lagged brain is just not up to the task of explaining this. Which is fine: overanalysing everything is something I need to let go anyway, in order to reach my goal of being more shallow...

Pat, Anne, Patti and Louisa
Anyway, let's get back to the blogger meet-up...

There were dinners, a clothes swap, trift shopping... I had a chance to observe how other bloggers put an outfit together, how they find the components of their unique style.


But more importantly, we talked.

We talked about style, fashion and shopping. And about life, our challenges and insecurities.

We connected and shared stories.

I may not be very good at starting a discussion (yeah, cultural differences: I'm a Finn, we don't talk to strangers...) but I can talk about a lot of things to people from all walks of life once I get over the initial awkwardness.

In all gatherings, I'm always drawn to outliers, or  'outsiders', those who feel they are out of their comfort zone, or just a bit uncertain of their role in the situation... Maybe because I always feel a bit like that myself. And I'm not in the least bothered by it. And I also know that sooner or later there's a group of 'outsiders' talking about everything possible. And this, for me, is always the best part of any get-together... because then I'm finally in my comfort zone.


I think its time to put a stop to this incoherent rambling for now. I blame jet lag: a day of travelling and my brain is a mess... I think I should do myself, and you, a favour and get some sleep...

But first, here's a list of the fabulous bloggers who attended the meet-up, in case you want to see what they had to say about the event:

Suzanne: Suzanne Carillo
Melanie: Bag and a Beret
Sue: A Colourful Canvas 
Patti: Not Dead Yet  
Sylvia: 40+Style 
Greetje: No Fear of Fashion 
Trina: Tea Time With Trina 
Tami: Thrift Shop Commando 
Sheila: Ephemera 
Pat: Project Minima 
Ally: Shybiker
Louisa: Damselfly’s Delights
Anne: Spy Girl  
Shawna: The Director Of Awesome 
Tiina : Elegance Revisited 
Jodi: Day 2 Day Wear
Wendra: The Looking Glass
Tracey: Fashion Forward 40 


I will of course be posting some more pictures of Vancouver later, as soon as I get my photos, and my head, organised.

Tiina
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33 comments

  1. I totally understand what you are trying to convey here. As I didn't perceive that you would be shy from the way you write your blog, however I noticed the Tiina that is here on her blog slowly start to emerge as the event went on.

    I'm so happy I had a chance to meet you. I wish I had more time to chat with you one on one.

    I more than delighted you made the trip out and am glad that it pushed you outside of your comfort zone. It is by pushing past our personal comfort levels that we grow. Just ask the gal that had never organized anything like this before and then had to do one of the things she hates most, make an impromptu speech!

    bisous
    Suzanne

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    1. An impromptu speech... now, there's something I could do, no problem. I'm only shy when I'm in a new situation, don't know what to do or how to behave, or what's expected of me... Strange, huh?.

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    2. Not strange at all ;-) I'm/used to be the same way. Tell me the rules, and I won't be shy within them. Without the framework, I'm a tad lost.

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  2. I'm so interested learning all the perspectives on this unique gathering, and I really enjoyed yours, Tiina. I like to learn about you that you can be shy. I like shy people - we feel shy when we feel vulnerable, and we are vulnerable when we are genuine. I love seeing genuine people, not polished easy-going commercial faces - fake faces. From all I am learning about the meet-up, I can tell that that's exactly what happened - people were genuine, vulnerable and a little shy, at least that's how it hits me. And I like that. I would feel good about being in such group of people, I know. xxx

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    1. I'm sort of selectively shy: only when I'm out of my comfort zone. But I'm also good at faking confidence, when necessary (a must in my job). It was quite an interesting, and also exhausting, event. I just wish I'd had more time to talk to everybody. But I got to know some very interesting people.

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  3. Hey Tiina! I really enjoyed our between-the-busy-moments chats! {Loved meeting your husband also!!}

    The first, albeit shallow, thing I notice from you recap-post is how perfectly you coordinate with Vancouver, LOL! You're wearing her colours and looking both lovely and right at home.

    Your words really resonate with me. Melanie and Suzanne had bets on how much panic I was experiencing on Friday morning prior to the event. As much as I wanted to meet people, large scale gatherings make me a little anxious. You've described my feelings to a T, which is appropriate given you are Tiina!

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    1. Thanks, Sue! Well, since being shallow is my goal... coordinating is always good, isn't it?

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  4. I'm following you now, Tiina. And I love my new bag!!!! So glad we got to sit together at the first meet and eat thingy. I'm not good at starting conversations either unless I already know the person, or I'm teaching. And I'm still recovering by sleeping on and off. So glad you came all the way over.

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    1. I'm glad you like the bag, it sure went to a good home. I know what you mean: when I'm teaching I'm in control, I have no problem taking charge and talking, but then it's my job to make other people feel at ease (and I'm really good at that). But being on the other side of the fence... Maybe it's the not being in control bit that makes me shy or unsure of myself?

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  5. Tiina, I was very happy to meet you. I didn't know what to expect. I am a shy person at heart but my social cylinders were firing on overdrive at the event. I wish we had a chance to chat more on a one-to-one basis. I love the photos you have shared here, especially the one from Granville Island. I hope we have a chance to meet again.

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    1. I also wish we'd had a chance to talk more, but that's always the case in these sort of gatherings: so many people, so little time...

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  6. What a nice, candid report. You accurately describe the event and your participation in it. Like you, I'm shy so I was pleased to see both of us push past that and make new friends. By the way, I recognize that balcony from my room in the same hotel! And it's very "meta" of you to take a picture of someone taking your picture. I admire wit like that.

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    1. Thanks, Ally! I also loved reading your account of the event, and it was how you described your feelings that encouraged me to write this post the way I did.

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  7. Such a great event - I love that it was really more about meeting the person behind the blog than outfits, products etc. I hope this will be an annual event and I will be able to attend next year.

    Alice
    www.happpinessatmidlife.com

    Would love to see you Thursday for TBT Fashion link up.

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    1. Well, it's people that are interesting, clothes are just secondary, right?. Or clothes should reflect the person wearing them, not upstage her...

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  8. Tiina so glad you enjoyed the blogger meet up and did it your own way. I had wondered if you were shy , well done on confronting your fears. I have enjoyed your Vancouver shots on IG

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    1. I don't know if I'm shy, really, most of the time... Only when I don't quite know where I fit in or what's expected of me. I can also be very assertive and confident, maybe even intimidating... it depends, on the situation, really.

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  9. Well, my lovely classic beauty, I spoke quite a bit with you (as possible on big events) and I wouldn't have known you were shy if you hadn't told me. Must be because I started the conversation? I am not shy haha. Quite the opposite. People tell me often enough "TMI". What I do share with you is the worrying and the glass half empty. You never would have thought that about me, would you? True though.
    Hope to ever meet you again.
    Greetje

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    1. Yes, you started the conversation, and that was so sweet of you. I really enjoyed talking to you, and hope I will have a chance to do it again.

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  10. Well tell me about worrying too much. Thankfully I had a great teacher for learning to take life less seriously, relax, have fun and well, be shallow ;-) In the right measurement.

    Sounds like you all had an awesome meet-up :)

    Alex - Funky Jungle

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    1. Yes, the meet-up was great. As for being shallow... that seems to be an ongoing projects, and I doubt it will ever come naturally. But I'm trying...

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  11. I'm so enjoying reading everyone's blogs following the meet up and thank you so much Tiina for sharing your experience. I completely understand where you're coming from re being shyin certain social settings yet being very confident in your job. That would absolutely describe me too. And I love your description of being attracted to 'outliers'. I'm never at the centre of things as I like observing and then being drawn into the outliers group. I think it's so inspiring and uplifting that so many fantastic, creative, smart and witty women came together from around the world, drawn by common threads and had what obviously was a wonderful experience. I so hope they do this next year as I'd love to go!

    http://petitesilvervixen.blogspot.co.uk/

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    1. Well, maybe there is another meet-up next year. But maybe we should have something similar in Europe, too (it was a damn long flight... still recovering from jet-lag)

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  12. I would've loved to have been there and to meet you all!

    Thanks so much for being a part of the Fun Fashion Friday fun!
    OXOX
    Dawn Lucy
    http://fashionshouldbefun.blogspot.com

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  13. Have enjoyed your architecture and scenery shots of Vancouver as much as the people.
    This umbrella one is so graphic and makes my eyes go heywire! :-D Jazzy Jack

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    1. Thanks! I just love Instagram because I can post random images, fleeting moments and passing impressions... I will have a more coherent post on Vancouver on the blog, too. Well, somewhat coherent...

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  14. Lovely to have met you, Tiina, and to see your perspective of the meetup. It's interesting how many identify as shy/introverted, including me! However, it was such a welcoming fun group of people that it was impossible to stay in the shadows for long. And there you got me with my mouth full! It would have been that or talking animatedly, wouldn't it? Classic.

    I miss everyone already!

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    1. Thanks, Louisa! It was lovely to meet you, too. Yes, there were lots of likeminded people, which made conversation easier, and interesting.

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  15. Me too! Shy! Would you believe it? My tactic is to let the clothes start the conversation. Well, my choices usually are somewhat LOUD, and it works for me. I felt I had an advantage with meeting all these new people, in that I "knew" most from their blogs. It was similar to catching up with old friends -- the conversation flowed as if we'd just seen each other the week before. Which we'd had, in a sense.
    I hadn't read your blog before the meetup, so I didn't know you and our mutual shyness kicked in, I think. Anyhow, this is a great post. All the best for continued "shallowness"!

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    1. Yes, clothes are a great conversation starter. I sometimes use that at work, when I ahve to get other people to talk...

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  16. Everything you say there resonates with me as well, Tiina - and I'm very outgoing for my day job too, which we discussed. It was so nice to get to know you and chat with you at the meet-up - you are one of my highlights!

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    1. Thanks, Sheila! It was great to get to know you, too, and I loved talking to you.

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