rewardStyle Conference | Spring 2015

It’s been just over a week since attending my second ever blogger’s conference and I wanted to recap and share my experience with you.

rewardStyle xonference spring 2015 saturday sessions

I attended the rewardStyle conference last weekend in Dallas, Texas, which is where the company is headquartered.  If you’re unfamiliar, rewardStyle is an affiliate networking company with “a suite of tools that allow top tier style publishers to monetize their entire digital brand.”  Basically, being a rewardStyle publisher allows me to earn an income from my blog through the use of affiliate links.  I’m personally not a big fan of those splashy (and flashy) Google Adsense and similar ads that some other bloggers use.  I find them distracting (which they’re meant to be so you’ll click on them) and generally annoying.  I understand why people use them, as there aren’t many ways for bloggers to generate income from their efforts.  I am grateful that rewardStyle allows me to monetize my blog on my own terms and within my own aesthetic.  I am never showing readers an ad for something I don’t 100% genuinely recommend and all of my affiliate links are intentionally included by me, not some third party.  In short, it’s an awesome service and I was very excited to see what the conference would be like.

Day #1 – April 23, 2015

rewardstyle conference 2015 the joule dallas

Please be advised that some of the links provided are affiliate links and I do receive a small commission if you make a purchase using those links.  This does not cost you any extra when you make a purchase.  I very much appreciate your support of this blog in doing so!

The conference didn’t officially start until Friday the 24th, but I decided to fly in on Thursday so I would have time to get settled and attend the launch party that evening.  I was able to check in early at The Joule, the hotel where the conference was being held.  I like that I could stay on property like I did when I went to my first ever conference for Alt Summit in January.  It makes the whole experience feel more comfortable, not just for the obvious ease of getting around, but also as a person who can get a bit nervous in these sorts of social situations.  It’s nice to have a quiet, easily accessible space with all my stuff to go to whenever I need a breather.

The Joule is located in the heart of downtown Dallas in the business district, which is a great central location.  Thanks to the ease of Uber I was able to get around and take some of Dallas in between conference happenings.  Check in for the hotel and the conference was side by side making registration a breeze.  I had a deluxe king room, which was part of the room block deal (I give a proper room tour in my coordinating video below if you’re interested in seeing more).  I was given a conference program, schedule, lanyard with pass, and a Mini Zip Card Case, which was a gift from one of the conference sponsors, GiGi New York.  I also received a copy of In the Front Roe, a personal style guide by fashion journalist Louise Roe.  I thought this was a lot of swag!  Boy, was I in for a surprise…

rewardstyle conference 2015 swag

After popping out to have a look around and get something to eat, I came back to my hotel room to find loads of goodies from two of the brands attending the conference, Missguided and World Market.  Talk about feeling pampered!  I’m most excited by the Instax Mini 8 camera.  I can’t wait to play with that!


After sprucing up a bit, I headed upstairs to the rooftop poolside party hosted by Stuart Weitzman.  What a stunning event!  I didn’t actually stay long, because I was tired after a long day of travel and feeling a bit shy not knowing anyone, but I’m glad I went to see the scene at the very least.  Absolutely stunning hydrangea bouquets floating in the pool, an onsite DJ, and a specialty cocktail (which I didn’t try but looked refreshing!) all helped set the mood for what would turn out to be a very fashionable weekend.  The party was attended by very pretty people in very pretty clothes, which was a real theme of the conference.  This makes sense since the weekend was primarily geared towards rewardStyle’s top publishers, which happen to be mostly fashion and beauty bloggers.  I did feel a bit out of the loop in this department (and by a bit, I mean really 😉 ), but I still very much enjoyed observing and admiring all of the beautiful styles around me!

I didn’t stay long, as I mentioned, and decided to take myself out to dinner at Rise N∘1, a local French restaurant known for their savory and sweet soufflés.  Double yum!

Day #2 – April 24, 2015

rewardstyle conference 2015 classes

The first full day of the conference was split between classes and one-on-one brand meetings, both of which had been prearranged by the rewardStyle team.  I was able to specify which classes I was most interested in attending when I signed up for the conference back in February, but ultimately the decision was not my own.  This ended up working out alright, as I learned a lot from the classes I was assigned to, including one about Google Analytics (something I know absolutely nothing about), Audience Engagement (something I know a little something about but there’s always more to learn), and How To Take the Perfect Personal Style Photo (something I could use a lot of help with).  I took copious notes and felt like the presenters provided a lot of useful information in an accessible way.

Publishers had access to the Brand Networking Hall on Friday where brands set up booths to showcase their products, many of which gave very nice gifts!  Free goodies are always a bonus, but the best part of perusing the booths was learning more about great retailers.  It was fun for me to see and chat with folks from my standby favorites like World Market and L’Occitane and be introduced to companies I’m not familiar with such as Coastal, GiGi New York, and Kendra Scott.  Their marketing worked on me and I have purchased and have plans to purchase items from these great brands.

There were two brands interested in meeting with me one-on-one on Friday.  My first meeting was with Framebridge, an online framing service.  This was an excellent experience where I felt like I was able to comfortably communicate what I do and learn what Framebridge offers in a friendly exchange.  The nice folks at Framebridge actually gifted all conference attendees their very own framed Instagram print.  For just $39 you can get your own print framed and shipped to you.  I will definitely be taking advantage of this easy service in the future for gifts!

My second meeting was with World Market, a store I’ve loved and shopped at since I was just a kid.  To be honest, I didn’t have the same feel good experience at this meeting like I did with the folks from Framebridge, mostly because I felt like one of the ladies I was talking to was very skeptical about me and my blog.  She didn’t say that outright, but her tone, body gestures, and general manner all gave me the strong impression she didn’t think it was a good match.  Keep in mind, as an attendee/publisher, I did not request these meetings; the brands did that.  It’s rather off-putting to be talking to someone who obviously doesn’t want to talk to you.  That being said, it was a good learning experience about conducting myself in an uncomfortable meeting situation and practicing how to talk about my online content as my “brand.”  I still love World Market despite this and don’t harbor any ill feelings towards the brand.  FYI – just thought I’d share that they’re having their Friends and Family sale right now through Friday (May 8) with up to 25% savings storewide!  


Lunch on Friday was hosted across the street from the hotel at The Woolworth by, a UK based online clothing store with daily new inventory offered at affordable prices.  Boohoo gave a brief presentation about expanding their market to the US.  I was fortunate to run into fellow YouTubers Marnie (MsGoldGirl) and Michele (michele1218).  We sat at a table with bloggers Veronika (from Veronika’s Blushing) and Desiree (from Beautifully Seaside).  It was such a pleasure to meet these fabulous ladies!  I was grateful to them for including me at the other social events as well, as the conference was pretty cliquey and as I mentioned before, I knew no one going in.

I had a little free time between conference happenings and the evening event, so I decided to walk over to The Sixth Floor Museum located at the infamous book depository where JFK was allegedly shot from and killed in 1963.  This powerful exhibit is a must see if you’re in Dallas.  I highly recommend taking the guided audio tour, which is included in the price of admission.


On Friday evening, River Island, another UK based “high street” clothing online brand, hosted a party across the street from the Joule at the Tasset Sculpture Garden (otherwise known at “The Eye” thanks to the enormous sculpture of an eyeball).  The weather was not cooperating and a clear tent was raised to house the amazing party setup, complete with a four-sided bar (more themed cocktails at this one – a definite conference theme), mannequins dressed with recent styles, a flip book photo booth, and a wall of shopping bags/party favors.

The weather turned from bad to worse, unfortunately, and the party ended early for safety precautions.  Once again, I didn’t stay long, mostly because I didn’t run into anyone I had already met and was feeling shy and very hungry.  I did manage to get some good shots of the party scene and snag my party favor (a beautiful bag I am actually giving away – see below).  I grabbed a quick bite at the hotel restaurant, CBD Provisions, and turned in early.

Day #3 – April 25, 2015


Saturday was dedicated solely to big group sessions on the main stage with a rotation of speakers.  I got a breakfast taco and an amazing chai tea latte from the hotel coffee shop, Weekend, to keep me fueled during the morning talks.  It was a lot of great information about things I haven’t paid much attention to before and I felt like I learned some useful things for my new site redesign.

rewardstyle conference 2015 matches fashion lunch

Lunch on Saturday was hosted on the terrace of The Joule by, a global luxury online retailer.  The pretty boxes on the table were actually filled with our lunches!  It was a gorgeous, sunny day in Dallas and I was happy to spend some time outside.  The lunch was centered around promoting a new line of bags from designer Mary Katranzou.

The rest of the afternoon was filled with more main stage sessions.  While I felt these weren’t as applicable to my content as the morning sessions were, it was still interesting to hear about other people’s experiences and advice.

loft geo striped lace dress sale

The sessions wrapped up just after 4 PM and I rushed out to grab an Uber to go to the Dallas Arboretum and Botanic Garden.  Little did I know they actually closed at 5 PM and I sadly missed my opportunity, but luckily my very friendly driver recommended a nice local neighborhood called McKinney where I could walk around, enjoy the weather, and grab a bite.  It was a nice way to unwind after a long day cooped up inside.  I had a delicious burger (complete with truffle fries!) at Village Burger Bar and snagged a great deal on a pretty dress from Loft.  It was marked down from $118 to $42!  I took this find as a sign I should attend the party that night, which I hadn’t originally planned on going to and didn’t actually pack an outfit for.  I paired the dress with some of my new Kendra Scott jewels (Andrea necklace and Parker stud earrings) I also picked up at the local boutique that day for a quintessential Jen look: classic look, comfortable fit.

rewardstyle conference 2015 party

The final party was hosted by rewardStyle as a one year birthday celebration of their innovative tool at the Continental Bridge.  This unique landmark has a beautful pedestrian bridge next to it that has been converted into a park.  It was the perfect spot to watch the sun set on the Dallas skyline.  We lucked out with the weather, which was an extra good thing because the big surprise of the evening was an awesome fireworks display.  I surprised myself by actually staying almost until the end of the party (for once 😉 ) and enjoyed chatting with some lovely ladies.

My Thoughts

I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this conference.  In all honesty, I was surprised I was even invited since, as I mentioned before, I didn’t really fit the mold.  I decided to sign up mostly because I was curious.  Yes, I am a rewardStyle publisher, but I haven’t put a whole lot of time or thought into that aspect of my content.  I appreciate it as a convenient tool that allows me to monetize my blog in my own way with 100% control over what readers see.  Those flashy Google Adsense ads are not my style and I suppose I’m a bit snooty (?) about that when it comes to my website (I completely understand and appreciate why other people use them, it’s just not my thing).  I want readers to be able to see my content, not the ads, but I’d also like to earn an income from my efforts.  RewardStyle allows me to do that with simple hyperlinks and low key widgets that I can seamlessly fit into my content.  I never want you as a reader to feel like I’m constantly trying to push things onto you to sell stuff, because that is not the point of my sharing.  I attended the conference hoping to learn how to better integrate this service into my blog for a more content and user friendly experience.  I picked up some great tips that will help me with not only that but better site optimization (think faster, easier to find content) as well.

I’m never going to be as stylish as the fashionistas who predominated the attendee list and perhaps that makes me less of an ideal rewardStyle publisher.  I hope this doesn’t come off wrong, but I actually feel reaffirmed in this knowledge.  I’m not trying to say I’m better than anyone else that attended because of my lack of fashion sense.  Comparing myself to and judging others isn’t my style, although I do poke fun at myself for being a “black sheep,” as you can see in my vlog.  What is reaffirming is that I still stay true to myself and my own personal style regardless of the circumstances.  This was definitely a situation where I could have stepped out of my comfort zone to try to blend in better, but I didn’t even consider it for a moment.  As someone who uses affiliate links in my content, I hope this is reassuring to you as a reader in that you know I do not link things just to make a sale on the latest hot thing.  I link things I genuinely want to share.  What you see on my blog and YouTube channel is 100% genuine (“Jenuine” 😉 ) me.  I share because I want to, not to make a buck.  But I don’t think it’s so wrong to also earn an income from my efforts.  RewardStyle helps me do that in a way that feels authentic to me.

In short, it wasn’t quite the feel good experience like Alt Summit was where I felt reaffirmed as a bonafide blogger (which I had never felt before), but I am glad I attended the rewardStyle conference and would highly recommend it to anyone who is invited in future years.  As with anything, I recommend going with an open mind.  You’ll learn things both practical and personal that you weren’t expecting.

Check out my vlog from the conference if you’re interested in seeing more about my experience:

It’s giveaway time! I wanted to share the swag love with one of you.  The Conference Swag Giveaway will run until Tuesday, May 12, 2015 at 6 PM CT.  The giveaway is open internationally.  All entrants under the age of 18 must have parental permission to enter.  One winner will receive all of the items below:

conference swag giveaway

You can enter by following the directions in the Rafflecopter widget posted below (check out this blog post for more information on entering Rafflecopter giveaways).  I’ll announce the winners on THIS blog post and contact them directly through email, as always.  Good luck!


Congrats to the winner of the Conference Swag Giveaway!

The Poll Results for *Have you ever received * out of 1107 entries:

No (766) 69%
Yes (341) 31%

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sometimes Rafflecopter experiences technical difficulties. If you can’t enter for some reason, try again later and it will probably work.

I hope you enjoyed this detailed look at my rewardStyle conference experience.  I look forward to sharing more blogger conference experiences with you in the future.  There’s always more to learn about how to share my world with you!


 * Post contains affiliate links.  This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are genuinely my own. *


41 thoughts on “rewardStyle Conference | Spring 2015”

  1. I posted a comment on your vlog, but came here to read your thoughts more. Glad that you were able to stay true to you in the midst of all the “glamour.”I appreciate that! I laughed when you panned out and showed all the shoes at one of the parties. LOL I also enjoyed your thoughts on the JFK museum. My kids and I unexpectedly wound up at Ford’s Theatre one year on the day Lincoln was shot. It was a very moving experience to be there. Thanks so much for sharing your experience with us.

  2. Hi Jen!
    I remember when I attended my very first conference in the spring of 2013, when I was researching potential universities, jobs, and careers. After reading this blog post where you describe an unfortunate incident with someone who was uninterested in you and your blog, it made me remember that experience for me, where I had SEVERAL people that were uninterested in me, and what I was particularly searching for! Unfortunately, during that experience, I had NOT A SINGLE CLUE that is what I was experiencing; luckily, my boyfriend, two of my close friends, and my aide were with me when I went to this conference, and if it wasn’t for them being there, I don’t think that I would leaned anything useful and important. Being diagnosed with a learning disability, called Autism, does make these types of situations very difficult, and unfortunately, people such as that lady from World Market, take advantage of that and make me feel awful about myself, without me realizing it. Since then, I’ve been paying closer attention to how people respond to me when I ask them questions, and as I observe their tone of voice and body language, I can start to recognize the signs of what a particular person is feeling, and/or thinking…
    I have a video request for you: In your latest Q&A video, you mentioned that you were doing a lot of travelling over the summer and I was wondering if you could do a video showcasing how you pack your clothes into PACKIT cubes? I purchased some a while ago, and I have used them several times, but I feel that it made my luggage more heavy than I intended it to be, and was wondering if maybe, I folded my clothes into the PACKIT cubes wrong… I’m sure that myself and other readers would enjoy this and it find it helpful and interesting…
    Hope that you have a great week & take care
    Katherine M.

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience. It sounds like you have a great support system! And yes, I’ve been planning a Pack-It cube video for awhile and will hopefully do one in time for summer travel 🙂

  3. What a fun conference! Dallas is such a fun city and so much to do there! I loved the JFK museum. I have family that lives in McKinney, TX so I have been there a few times too! It is a great place to walk around! Thanks for sharing your weekend!

  4. Hi Jen, loved watching this , do you know I’ve never travelled alone, I’m obviously not as brave as you! Love that you took your own tea – I always travel with my own tea, it’s an English thing! I don’t want to be rude but you have mentioned your skin a few times. I’ve always had oily skin, I use Liz Earle Naturally Active Skincare, it’s a British company but I believe they ship to America. It’s worked a treat for my skin with the added bonus I’m often told I look about 36 – which is cool as I’m 44!!! The trick is not to over strip the skin as it makes it more productive…I’m sure I’m telling you what you already know but we all love to share our stories. Take care Jen x

  5. Love your editing style very professional and I have heard of and river island because I lived in the UK

  6. It was so nice meeting you Jen at the conference and it was fun learning about your vlog! I had no idea vlogs existed and I think the whole concept is pretty cool. Looking forward to seeing you again next near, but in the meantime I’ll be checking out your site every day! XO

    1. I so enjoyed meeting you as well! Thanks for hanging out with me at the party! It was fun chatting with you 🙂

  7. Hi Jen!

    I loved your youtube video about this conference, I am so glad you went because this is how I found out about thru MsGoldGirl (Marnie) since I am subscribed to her channel and now I am a fan of yours as well. Your job is GREAT and on another note, I am like you, I don’t feel very comfortable in big crowds specially when I don’t know any one lol.
    Thanks for the invite of this giveaway and congratulations on your work!!

  8. Honestly, that conference left a bad taste in my mouth. And I didn’t even go!! All of those women trying to one up each other with their outfits. Those lavish parties that so much money went into. And for what? LOL. And you weren’t even fed breakfast which they said you were going to be fed every morning I mean c’mon!!!

    1. To be fair, the conference was only providing one breakfast. The hotel room service messed up the other one.

  9. This blog and vlog post came at a perfect time for me. I recently came back from a conference (I’ve been for the past few years) and I was feeling particularly guilty for not attending all the parties or staying longer. I’m a self proclaimed introvert who knows her limits and does get adventurous at times. However, it bothers me that so much networking and connections are made through partying and “getting drunk”. I certainly feel like the black sheep at these events and it was very nice to see others struggle with the same thing.

  10. Totally respect you even more now! I am very much an extrovert, but seeing someone who isn’t attend ALL those parties! I take my hat off to you! That would have been a lot even for an extrovert-ish person! Love love your travel Vlogs! And it was super sweet to see the reunion with little Winnie at the end too!

    1. Thanks! I didn’t stay at the first two long to be honest but I’m happy I went to all of them 🙂

  11. You are so brave for traveling alone Jen! But that being said, traveling alone is probably a necessary experience. I am glad you stayed true to your self and still had a good time! You inspire me to consider doing things on my own, as opposed to always doing things in groups 🙂

  12. “I will find provisions some other way” LOL!
    Oh Jen, I sure appreciate your authenticity and I hope you realize how much you connect with your readers/viewers by being so vulnerable. You share how you struggle but then you confidently accept how you are made. Such a wonderful example… because we’re all sitting here thinking you are just the coolest and surprised that you have the same experiences/feelings we have and then you model self acceptance for us. I think so often we chide ourselves for not being more ____ (fill in the blank) – so thank you for allowing us in to learn from you. Also, thank you for not overrunning us with ads! 🙂

    1. Thank for you for your lovely comment. I am very far from being the coolest LOL. I’m happy to can see the real (uncool) me in my content. I aim to share authentically!

      1. Thank you for this fantastic post and video,I realy enjoyed watching this beautiful event.It s the first time I discover such a lovely eent.
        It s nice City Dallas, big but great!
        I ve never been there,I ve been in Houston Seattle..Montreal in Canada.
        i actually live in Tunisia,my parentts in Finland, my son in Paris..we all live seperated..I m looking forward for summer,to have them all beside me.I miss them so.
        Anyway,thank you so much for sharing!
        have a fab day!

  13. I don’t know about you not fitting in style wise – I loved all of the outfits you were wearing in your video =)

  14. Loved this post & the video of same. Admire your frankness re your shyness. You are always genuine & never trying to be anyone other than yourself.

  15. This was a fantastic post and video. Thank you for keeping us in the loop and taking us along. The whole experience aesthetically seemed lovely. So happy you were invited and got to experience it!

    I have seen your older videos and you have come so far with your anxiety. I don’t know you on a personal level but it looks like a lot of progress has happened and you are more open to social situations! I don’t suffer from anxiety and am very outgoing but in such clique-y situations, it’s easy to retreat. Your story reminds me of a work event I went to where I could sort of tell I didn’t really fit in but made the most of it. Good job on enjoying yourself and making the best of it! I read about World Market and sorry you had to go through that. Great job on being extremely professional!

    You are one of my favorite vloggers because you are real. You aren’t afraid to be on camera without makeup or act silly. Most importantly, you don’t share products you don’t believe in to make a buck. There is absolutely nothing wrong with making money in the way you do. Kudos to you for doing that. No one has a right to judge you for it, it’s so silly. In short, Jen, thank you for always being authentic and true to who you are.

    Hope you do a meet-up in LA once <3

  16. Loved seeing another video of another conference. I find them really interesting! I can really appreciate how you felt at the parties too but glad you went to them all! It’s a shame that you experienced someone who didn’t seem interested in you and your brand. Hope it didn’t spoil your experience. I love the framing company that frame instagram piccies…I wonder if there is a UK company who do something similar…will have to research! Thanks for sharing!xx

  17. I really enjoyed this peek into your trip, both the video and the blog post. You got some really cool shots and bravo on your amazing editing! 🙂

    Watching you “brave it” at the evening parties totally resonated with me. I feel that way so often! You’re so brave to put your feelings out for everyone to see, but I appreciate knowing I’m not the only one who feels like that. I’m married to a total social butterfly (can men be called that? haha) who doesn’t understand why I’d rather stay at home than hang out with people. I just like to be home! 🙂

  18. I loved watching the vlog! I’m from Texas and miss home, brought back memories. Love that you brought your own tea from home lol, I’ve really been getting into tea lately since watching your videos. What kind of tea carrier or case did you have? It was super cute!!

  19. Yay! I thoroughly enjoyed your travel vlog and am So glad you went out of your ‘comfort zone’ to check everything out and take video for us! Thanks again, I’ll always be a fan!!!

  20. Jen, I really think you should take down the paragraph about World Market. It is business, it is not personal, and it comes across as extremely petty and unprofessional to put that out there for the world to see. It could also make other companies not want to work with you in the future if they know you are going to bad mouth them publicly if their dealings with you don’t always give you a feel good experience. JS.

    1. A big part of what I do is sharing my experiences, both good and bad. I considered not including it, but ultimately decided to, since it was part of my experience and I strive to share authentically. Working with brands is not actually a priority of mine, so sugarcoating an experience to appear more desirable companies is not something I want to do. I am happy to work with brands that I genuinely, personally, enjoy, but I’m not willing to change who I am and what I share to be something I am not just so I am more marketable.

      1. I think that you should be appluded for staying true to yourself. That is no easy thing and it is also the resounding message that I took from this post and from the vlog. Sometimes it is hard to “do you” but it is the only way to be genuinely happy in life.

      2. Hi Jen,
        I think you should maybe take a minute to reread Josie’s comment. It is not about sugarcoating an experience it is about being professional. You could have simply said “and then I met with World Market” and left it at that. Instead you came across and continue to come across defensive and petty. I know how much you appreciate feedback and I think it is great you are embracing the whole “I am who I am” mentality, but maybe remember to have a little class and humility. Have a great day.

        1. Oh my gosh, no! Leave it in… this is the kind of stuff we need to read. We don’t need to read about a person “picture perfect” life- it only makes people feel like they must be doing something wrong. We need to hear about REAL experiences, good and bad, and see how others take accolades and rejections. It’s part of life. This why I read Jen’s blog- she feels real emotions and shares them… they are hers to process through not ours to judge.

          1. I suppose you could look at it like that. I was just under the impression she was trying to start a brand and considered this a business. In business you have to sometimes bite your tongue. The representative from World Market could have had a completely different impression of the meeting, but I would think her comments on the blog would keep World Market and and other businesses weary of working with her now. I could be wrong though, this has all become terribly confusing.

        2. Exactly what I was trying to say, thank you. There is a difference between sharing your experience authentically and being unnecessarily petty.

          Jen, you don’t have to change who you are to be professional and real at the same time. I still believe it was inappropriate to include it.

  21. Hello Jennifer,
    I just wanted to say that I thought it was lovely that you were so touched by the JFK exhibit. My emotions run very close to the surface, and I often get emotional when learning about historic events. My Grandpa always told me that it was a good thing and that the world needs people who feel so deeply because without us important lessons would be forgotten. He survived World War Two and he was passionate about making sure that people remembered what happened and that they understood how it happened, because he believed it was the only way to make sure that it did not happen again. He always taught me that compassion, understanding and knowledge are the greatest gifts that a lady can possess 🙂 oh and by the way, I always think of it as a compliment when someone refers to me as a lady, but I am a 150 year person in a 32 year old body!

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