Geaux Wild | Spring 2016

I was honored to be asked to speak at the very first GO Wild planner conference this past weekend.  My husband, Don, and our four month old daughter, Charlotte (CC), accompanied me to New Orleans for this amazing event.  We had so much fun on our very first trip with our little girl.  It was a unique and special experience for me personally as I overcame a huge fear of public speaking to participate in the conference.

geaux-wild-family-trip-2016

If you’re wondering what exactly a planner conference entails, you’re not alone.  I wondered the same thing when one of the Facebook admins for the popular Planners Gone Wild group emailed me back in January to see if I’d be interested in speaking.  I was still recovering in the hospital after my c-section with CC when the inquiry came through.  Maybe it was the novelty of a conference for Planner Enthusiasts like me or the new mama haze, but I decided to go for it knowing full well that I have terrible stage fright.  I knew nothing about the Facebook group or what I might be getting myself into, but something about it grabbed hold of me and I knew it was an opportunity I didn’t want to miss.

geaux wild travel 2016

We flew out to New Orleans on Thursday, May 19 in the afternoon.  It was CC’s first flight!  I had prepared myself for the worst.  I know how tough it is on parents to have a wailing baby on the plane since there is little you can do and it feels like everyone is completely annoyed with you.  I was pleasantly surprised that we had a pretty smooth trip.  CC didn’t sleep much on the plane, but she happily snuggled against me the whole time.  It helps that she is a total mama’s girl and relishes the opportunity to be close.  She got a bit bothered by the descent and cried for about 10 minutes but once she figured out that the nursing I was encouraging her to do helped her little ears from popping, she was fine.  Big sigh of relief!

geaux wild hotel decor 2016

The conference was held at the New Orleans Downtown Marriott at the Convention Center, conveniently located along the river within walking distance to the French Quarter.  We got in just before CC’s bedtime so we basically beelined to check-in and to our room to try to make as smooth as a transition for her as possible.  I didn’t get to stop and take in the conference decor until the next day.  The conference planners went all out!  There were so many decor details throughout the hotel lobby and conference area.  I never made it into the bathroom by the ballroom where the conference events took place, but I heard they decked that out, too.

geaux wild welcome gifts 2016

Conference hosts Jeanette and Amanda left some amazing welcome gifts for us in our room.  I love how thoughtful they were in picking out some LUSH goodies and a candle for me and cute baby clothes for CC (complete with coordinating shades!).  Their attention to detail both on a personal and large scale level was on point!  Everyone who attended recieved the fun Geaux Wild bag, badge, and festive goodies sponsored by Krissyanne Designs inside when they registered after check-in.

geaux wild schedule 2016

Here’s a look at the conference schedule.  I unfortunately didn’t get to attend much of it as I needed to prioritize CC’s needs.  From what I did get to see, everything went off without a hitch.  It’s hard to believe this was their very first conference!  Even Don commented on how professional the whole thing was.  It was evident from the start that Jeanette and Amanda put a lot of time and energy into planning the weekend.

geaux-wild-ballroom-2016

The conference sessions and events were all held in the main ballroom of the hotel, which comfortably accommodated all 420+ attendees.  The tables were hosted by different shops and brands and were all decked out with different swag the first day.  There was a lot of swag for attendees!  I didn’t see much of it in person since I was otherwise occupied with CC, but looking through the photos on Instagram you can tell there were quite a lot of planner goodies ranging from planner stickers to a Day Designer planner and Erin Condren accessories.  I was excited to be able to contribute a little and use my Erin Condren referral credits to gift a planner pouch to everyone.  My biggest giveaway yet!

geaux wild what i wore 2016

My session was on Friday from 12 – 1 PM.  We decided on a moderated Q&A in advance as I didn’t feel quite comfortable doing my very first public speaking experience solo.  I was quite surprised to find that I really didn’t get very nervous about the whole thing.  The me from just a year or two ago would have sweated over it for months, but I honestly didn’t really worry at all leading up to the big day.

I worked with Jeanette on how to set up the talk.  We decided on a set Q&A portion for the majority of the session with time to open up to audience questions at the end.  Jeanette & Amanda sent out an email survey to conference attendees about a week before asking for question submissions from which they picked out the most popular ones for the session.  Jeanette gave me a good sense of the general topics in advance, but I decided to purposefully not prepare anything.  I never do for my videos so I figured it made sense to stick with that vibe and just answer as I would in a video Q&A, on the fly.  I think not preparing anything in advance worked to my advantage because I really didn’t dwell on it at all and was significantly less nervous than I expected once I walked out on that stage.

I’m sorry I don’t have any footage to share with you, but they wanted to keep the sessions mostly private for conference attendees only.  I can tell you that it was a lot of fun and I felt strangely comfortable, in an I’m-always-this-awkward kind of way, throughout the whole thing.  The hour went by in a flash!  I would happily do it again for a similar crowd if the circumstances were right.  Me, speaking to 400 people?  Who knew!

If you’re curious about what I wore, you can see it’s a typical Jen nice-but-comfortable outfit, including one of my favorite dresses from Anthropologie that I bought last spring, a J. Crew cardigan, and wedges from Naturalizer (also purchased last spring for another conference which you can see here if you like).  I wore a full face of makeup for the second time this year and curled my hair to give it a bit of oomph.  I felt comfortable and pulled together.  The last thing you want when speaking in public is to feel uncomfortable!  I am certainly no fashionista, but I know what works for me and that’s what’s important.

geaux wild erin condren dinner 2016

On Friday night, I was invited with several other bloggers/YouTubers to a special dinner with the Planner Queen herself, Erin Condren.  It was so nice to finally meet her and her team in person!  I was especially excited to meet my primary EC contact, Sam.  We’ve been in touch for so long it felt like meeting an old friend!  I didn’t get to stay for the entire dinner as Don needed help with CC, but I am so happy I was able to steal away for a little bit, meet some fabulous people, and eat some amazing food (at Emeril’s).  Erin Condren handed out advance copies of the new 2016-17 Life Planner to all the gals in attendance.  I can’t wait to show you more soon!

geaux wild charlotte 2016

I thought I’d share a little bit here about our first travel experience with Charlotte.  I don’t think anyone is an expert at traveling with an infant the first go around.  I prepared myself in advance for the worst.  I figured her sleeping and eating routines would be disrupted, which I assumed would throw her off balance.  While she definitely nursed more than usual and slept a lot less than she needed, she actually managed to maintain her sweet composure for the most part.  She’s a happy baby, so long as Mama is around.

We knew the two times I needed to be somewhere without her (my session and the special dinner) might be a challenge.  My sweet and amazing husband, Don, encouraged me to do as much as I could at the conference, but ultimately CC just wasn’t very happy when I wasn’t there, regardless of me feeding her and putting her down to sleep before both instances I had to be away.  It ended up working out in the end, but not without a lot of patience on Don’s part.  She’s still quite young and I’m hoping as she matures she’ll be able to handle a little Mama-free time better.  That being said, I don’t like to be away from her for long either, so it works out for the time being.

geaux wild NOLA 2016

With this in mind, we tried to keep Mama’s away time to a minimum especially since it was CC’s first trip and there was so much going on for her.  We didn’t want to overwhelm her more than necessary.  So, I missed a lot of the conference, but Don, CC, and I were able to get out a bit and see some of New Orleans.  We were blessed with good weather for the most part and took in the sights we could between naps, including a walk along the river, time in the French Quarter, and of course, indulging in some beignets at Café Du Monde.

geaux wild family time 2016

I did a lot of babywearing in my new Lillebaby Complete Airflow soft structured carrier, which CC and I both like so much more than the Ergo 360.  She’s recently discovered the joy of sucking on the straps, so I put our new custom drool pads from Etsy to good use (I’ll talk more about both in an upcoming Mommy Favorites post).  We ate out with CC a few times which isn’t something we’ve really done up until this point.  It was a fun adventure for our little family and I’m so happy it worked out that we could get some quality time exploring together.

geaux wild erin condren 2016

I really wanted to see Erin Condren’s keynote on Saturday and the timing worked out that I could sneak in just after it started once I put CC down for a nap.  I was able to stay for almost all of it and was so happy that I was able to hear her speak.  She is an amazingly talented, driven, and dedicated woman.  It’s no wonder her business has taken off the way that it has!  She has worked hard and it has paid off.  It was interesting to hear her story and learn more about the face behind the Life Planner.  I look forward to seeing where she takes her company next.  The sky’s the limit!

geaux-wild-planjama-party-2016

Don, CC, and I went to the Planjama Party, the conference’s closing event, on Saturday night.  We were only able to stay for a short time as we needed to get CC to bed, but I’m so happy I was able to see how they transformed the ballroom into the perfect party setting.  I was also able to meet quite a few followers who snapped photos with me.  I even signed a few planners!  I never thought anyone would be interested in my signature except at the bottom of a check.  It was so wonderful to meet such lovely people.  There’s something really special about meeting followers in person.

We flew home on Sunday.  Our flight was delayed for awhile and our time spent waiting to get on the plane was the only instance CC cried since I had timed her feedings to work out so I could nurse during takeoff and she was hungry and overtired from the long weekend.  It’s important to be flexible with the unpredictability of air travel!  I fed her at the gate and our flight was delayed long enough that she was hungry again at takeoff.  Once we were in the air she didn’t make a peep for the duration of the flight and slept snuggled against me for a good portion of it.

I vlogged little bits of our trip, if you’d like another perspective into our time in New Orleans:

All in all, the conference was a complete success from my perspective.  Jeanette and Amanda did an amazing job pulling everything together for a polished, seamless event filled with both fun and inspirational sessions and activities.  They made me feel so welcome and well cared for which helped make my very first public speaking engagement a positive one.  I am proud of myself for stepping way out of my comfort zone to do this.  It truly goes to show what a little self-motivation can do.  I believed I could, and I did.  And it was all the more sweet to have Don and CC with me for our first adventure as a family.  I will treasure the memories we made in New Orleans forever.

Here’s to more adventures and experiences in 2016!

PNL_Signature

* This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are genuinely my own. *

54 comments

54 thoughts on “Geaux Wild | Spring 2016”

  1. It looks like you had a wonderful time, I’m just getting into planning but it like there is a huge community out there.
    CC is beautiful 😍

  2. It was an amazing weekend of planner girls, making new friends, listening to speakers like you, Erin Condren, and Whitney English. The organization was on point….what would you expect from planner girls…ha ha!
    Thank you again for taking a leap out of your comfort zone to be a part of Go Wild. I loved meeting you, seeing first had how you and Don navigate parenthood. I’ve always said I can’t imagine how we survived twins and a 3rd child without each other. My husband made it all so much easier!

  3. Way to go Jen! So happy that you did it. It looks like everyone had a great time. I saw a clip of you on stage. You were great! Thank you for sharing! I am super excited for the new EC planners.

  4. Yay you Jen, Don and CC! I am so proud of you and know you enjoyed the outing with your precious family! Thank you for sharing!

  5. Jen, I have been watching you for years now, and I have got to say, you should be so proud of what you have accomplished and how far you have gone; Not only with speaking in public and putting yourself out there but also with the community you have created here. CC is a lucky girl to have such a successful mommy and an amazing role model!

  6. Congrats on getting out there out of your comfort zone! Charlotte is so adorable … she makes me want to go home and hug my grandkids! It was a real treat to have an out and about vlog from you again. We (I specifically) really miss those. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Good to see you vlogging again. Keep vlogging away so we can see more footage of your cute little girl. She is precious, but I am concerned about her relationship with her daddy. It is going to continue to be a huge issue if she doesn’t feel comfortable with her daddy. It will be unhealthy for both you and CC to spend every waking moment together. You deserve a break and Don deserves quality time with his new daughter. Have you devised a plan for how you will help CC develop a healthy relationship with Don and other members of your family? Hope she warms up to her daddy soon! Best to you and yours Jen.

    1. CC loves Don and they do spend quality time together every day, but she is definitely a mama’s girl at the moment and being in a new place made it tough for her. No worries, Don and CC are great together 🙂

  8. Love this post and your vlog! I missed your vlogs 🙂 I would love to go to this event next year. I am just getting into planning and I love everything about it and how I get to express my creativity. Keep up the good work Jen! you are an inspiration !

  9. Oh Jen….I am so proud of you. I also love that you put being a mommy first. You are just the best!!

    Love to you, Don and CC.

  10. Oh Jen you look amazing together!
    Congratulations on your first trip as a big family. CC is such an angel, Don and you have an special glow because of her, an example of pure love.
    Now you could notice that you are capable of doing everything, even talking in front of many people, having a 4month angel on a plane, and continue bloging, such a multitasking mom. And yes for sure you will have so much more adventures to enjoy and share with us.

    Love you 4!

  11. What a great vlog! Thank you so much for sharing this. As a planner lover I was eating this all up! Both you and Don are such a happy couple and throw Charlotte into the mix and it just is ADORABLE!

  12. Reading your post, all I can say: you go girl. I’m truly delighted for you. Facing your fears (or past fears 😉 and doing something about it, is a big thumbs up in my book. Congratulations, Jen.

    Maike
    {My-kuh}

  13. Way to go Jen on your first major trip together as a family! AND with a speaking engagement how neat ☺

  14. So glad that you had a wonderful trip with CC! I wasn’t able to make the conference though I wish I had to have the chance to meet you! You are phenomenal!

  15. Thanks for sharing the travel vlog Jen!!
    Just want to say that you have a really nice singing voice! It was so cute the snap chat of you singing to CC! Cute song! “Your never fully dressed with out a smile!” 😊

  16. Can you share your thoughts on diaper bags? I’m interested for both use with stroller and baby wearing… Love your updates, advice and opinions!

  17. Wow!!! I am truly at a loss for words… Taking a “work” trip like this with a little one, Don being such an amazingly supportive husband and super great dad, cutest ever little CC smiling so much!!! You guys are the best!

  18. Jen, it was such a pleasure to have you join us. Thank you for such a wonderful blog post featuring the event. You’re welcome at GO Wild as our guest anytime! – Jeanette

  19. Eeeek!! Thank you for blogging about the conference!I was a #nogeaux this year, but my company owners, the ones who decked out the bathrooms, were there and sending me updates constantly! I really want to go next year now! I am soooo sad you never made it into our Geaux Wild bathroom experience from Macee Leigh! Send me your address so I can make sure you get some swag you missed out on!

  20. I teared up reading this post. I’ve been a member of the Facebook groups Planners Gone Wild since its very early days in September 2014. Since then this group has become my tribe. It’s where I first learned about your IG and YouTube channel and became a follower. I was so excited when I heard you were speaking at the first conference, and yet I was still blown away by the power of your words. Thank you so very much for taking the time out of your life to speak at this convention. I know it was very much outside of your comfort zone, which makes it all the more inspiring. I will cherish my memories of this weekend for many reasons, your chat included. Thank you. ❤️

  21. Your talk at Geaux Wild was one of my favorites! I’ve been a big fan for awhile now so getting to meet you in Nola was so much fun! Thank you again for adding to the awesome convention experience!

    Instagram: @southernlittlepaper

  22. From a girl who has issues with Panic and Anxiety, I am totally proud of you! You overcame and did an amazing job! So glad you had such a great time 🙂 Much love to yoU! 🙂

  23. Jen,

    Do you still meet with your therapist? Did she give you any tips for public speaking or did you prepare all by yourself? Regardless, be proud of overcoming your fear! Do you find meeting with Judith to be helpful still or have you stopped meeting with her? I imagine your stresses and anxieties have changed since having CC. Would love an update video on your mental health and treatment status.

    1. Yes, I still have weekly sessions with my therapist although they’ve been on the phone since I’ve had CC. I like staying in touch and checking in on a weekly basis even though I don’t feel I really need the sessions on an emotional level right now. I’ve never felt so grounded before! I didn’t ask her for advice on public speaking, because as I mentioned in the post, I really didn’t think too much about it beforehand. That seemed to work out for me this go around!

      1. Congratulations on making so much progress with your mental health, I know how hard that can be. That is great that you still regularly speak to your therapist in case anything happens to come up. I’m sure it is helpful to speak to someone with an unbiased opinion. I would be interested in a video/blog discussing your past experiences with anxiety and depression and how you’ve tackled the disorders (as you’ve seemed to do a great job of it). Have you had any instances of postpartum depression after having CC? Keep up the good work Jen!

        1. I have been fortunate to have avoided any postpartum issues, but I know it is a common problem that afflicts many new moms.

          1. Is CC going to start seeing a therapist soon? I know she is probably too young now, but many people start their little ones with therapists from a young age whether they have any disorders or not, just so that they have someone they can talk things out with. My friend did mommy/daughter therapy once her little girl turned 3 and they found it to be helpful in establishing a healthy relationship. I would recommend you try it out with CC once she’s a bit older perhaps!

  24. Congrats on facing your public speaking fear! I know from experience how tough that is…I have dealt with it for years. However, I know that the older you get, the more “fearless” you become, for some reason. As you proved, the more you allow yourself to believe that it is “possible” that you can do it…you realize that you can! Take care.

  25. You are such an inspiration! You look so relaxed, happy and glowing. Mommy hood looks wonderful on you.

    It’s such a joy to watch your beautiful family grow.

    Great vlog! I hope to go next year.

    I’ve been a fan of yours for a long time. Even though I’m old enough to be your Mom, I enjoy your posts very much!

  26. Hi Jen
    Thanks for sharing your weekend away with us, looks like you all had fun and it was so cute to see little Charlotte in the video.
    Congratulations on your talk in front of all those people (I don’t think I could do it)you should be really proud of yourself 🙂 well done!

  27. Do you prefer holding Charlotte in the carrier rather than pushing her in the stroller? You seem to have her in the carrier quite a bit, but doesn’t it hurt your back? I tried the carrier with my little one but experience extreme back pain, so I ultimately decided to just stick to the stroller. Does Charlotte like her stroller? It must’ve been so hot having her attached to you in the carrier in New Orleans!

    1. I think I do about equal amounts of both. She prefers to be carried especially when in new places for extra security and I enjoy carrying her so it works out.

  28. Looks like a good weekend. Don is such a trooper! Glad he could help you out with the little one. Do you guys have anything fun in store for the long Memorial day weekend? My best to you Jen.

  29. You were awesome! You converted a lot of us to fans. I have not heard one single person say anything even remotely negative about you or your talk at GW. I know there was a lot of negativity after you announced you were coming. Thank you so much for taking a chance on us!

  30. I got excited when I saw your blog video Jen as I will be staying at the exact same hotel in July for a wedding! Any advice on the area or the hotel itself?

    1. The hotel is nice! It is a bit of a hike to get to the real cultural center of town by foot, so bring comfortable walking shoes.

  31. Did I miss the mommy favorites part where you talk about the custom drool pads for your lillebaby carrier? Which month mommy favorites video is it in? I would also love to know about bunzie?

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