About a year and a half ago, I learned about the Social Media on the Sand Blogger conference and I knew I wanted to attend. I actually visited a Sandals resort back in 2014 and had the best time, so I wanted to visit a Beaches resort. Every so often, I see their commercials on TV, so I wanted to check out the Beaches line of resorts for myself. Plus, now that my kids are the perfect travel age, I was hoping to get an insider look at the resorts to see if it would be a good travel choice for my family.
I have actually only been to a few blogger conferences, so this was the first time I actually paid a registration fee to attend. For me, it felt completely worth the small financial investment, because I knew I was getting to travel to Turks and Caicos – it definitely felt like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity I couldn’t pass up.
Although the first few days, I actually felt a bit sad and lonely because I left my loved ones back home, I did end up really enjoying myself. The conference was beyond anything I could have imaged, so I wanted to share my top 10 moments for the Social Media on the Sand blogger conference.
1. Conference Speakers
I attend a ton of conferences for my day job, so I generally have pretty low expectations about speakers. Well, this conference outdid itself. They pulled together the most amazing lineup of speakers. My personal favorite was Rebecca Minkoff because she told her story of how she founded her brand and she even talked about work she did with STEM education for women. If you follow my blog or social, you know I actually work at a university to promote STEM education in young people – particularly women and people of color – so I was so excited to find that connection. I actually approached her after her talk to learn more about her work in STEM education.
Another amazing speaker was Alli Webb, the founder of DryBar. I really enjoyed her talk too because she really broke down how she turned a great idea into a major business, and also talked a lot about how she manages having young kinds and running a business. Like Rebecca, she was so relatable in her talk.
2. Floatopia Pool Party
The Beaches resort sure knows how to throw a party! We had several parties while we were there, but this one was just so visually amazing. They filled the giant pool with tons of different floaties. It was so fun to watch all the kids enjoying themselves. Another great thing about the Beaches resort parties is that food and alcohol are always unlimited. I mean, you just can’t go wrong with Jamaican rum and all the desserts you can handle.
3. Catamaran Cruise
On the very first night we arrived, we went on a Catamaran cruise. I almost didn’t go because I was feeling so guilty about not bringing my kids on the trip. But I’m so glad I decided to go. Not only did we get to be on the boat as the sun was setting, they also had a great DJ on the boat. A bunch of us girls ended up dancing quite a bit, and it was a lot of fun. I hope there wasn’t much video of my terrible dancing, but regardless, it was a ton of fun! Plus, those Turks and Caicos sunsets are pretty amazing. I’m working on a follow-up post just to share some of my favorite nature pictures, by the way.
4. Swag Bungalow
In our private facebook group for the event, some of the girls warned us that we would receive a lot of swag. I purposely only filled my large suitcase halfway full so I’d have room. Unfortunately, I still didn’t have enough space! We ended up getting so many goodies, especially for my kids. One of their favorites was a shark from Build a Bear. They also loved their Julia doll and book, the new Sesame Street character that has autism. I personally loved the conference bag and also my dress from Lands End. It’s so comfortable and great for summer.
5. Red Lane Spa Facial
Another one of my favorite parts of the trip was the opportunity to learn how to give myself a facial. The on-site Red Lane spa provided us with jade stone and some of their best products for anti-aging. It was really fun to learn about lymphatic massage and how to depuff ourselves using the jade stone.
6. Cabana Chats
Another one of my favorite aspects of the conference was our cabana chats. These were additional speaker sessions that were held right by the ocean. Not only was the view amazing, the speakers were top notch. I really enjoyed the session with Amy Choi of Shopstyle. I learned a bit more about their business and ways I can engage with their affiliate network. Since fashion is one of the main reasons I started my blog, I definitely plan to follow up with them to find more ways to collaborate.
7. Mural Painting
The day before we left, we had the chance to visit a local school to give back, just a little. We spent a couple hours painting the school yard. I helped create a few different murals, one focused on reading. I also painted a large tree. Although it was a small way to help, it still felt good to be leaving the country just a little better than we found it.
8. Meeting Bloggers
An unexpected favorite part of the trip was getting to meet so many fellow bloggers. I really enjoyed talking with so many of them, learning about their blogs and backgrounds, and even making a few new friends. Honestly, a few of the bloggers are the reason I ended up really enjoying myself. As I mentioned, the first few days I felt so lonely, but then a couple girls adopted me and I ended up hanging out with them most of the rest of the trip. (Check out Typical Katie and Meg O on the Go, if you’re not already).
Overall, my experience at Social Media on the Sand blogger conference far outdid anything I could have imagined for a conference. They treated us like queens and it was such an amazing experience to get to be in Turks and Caicos while also learning tips to improve our blogs. Moreover, I just really enjoyed the community of women I was able to meet. I never got into blogging as a way to make friends, but I’ve met some of the sweetest women through this platform.
If you’re thinking about a family vacation, I can’t say enough about the stellar treatment we received at Beaches Turks and Caicos. I’d highly suggest you give them a consideration for your next family gathering. I’m also planning to write a follow-up story about why I definitely think Beaches would make for a great family vacation. More to come!
I received a discounted rate for my stay at Beaches Resort. All opinions are my own.