27 In Fashion/ Personal

Influencers of Midlife Conference

Hello Ladies
Did you ever attend a meet-up, conference, or blog event that got your juices flowing or gave you added inspiration? The Influencers at Midlife Conference, hosted by Robin Lamonte of Hello I’m 50ish  and Nine Bandoni, of Sharing a Journey in Alpharetta, GA this weekend, did just that. The Conference was Friday-Sunday, located at the Hotel at Avalon, a new 1 yr old modern posh hotel not far from Huntersville, where I live.

It has almost been 5 years that I have been blogging and I knew I was interested in learning more about the medium, social media, and also meeting women at midlife, who had such goals and aspirations. I was excited to meet the bloggers that I have known, through blogging, over the past several years. You feel like you get to know a person, when they write a blog, sharing personal things about family, their opinions, fashion, and lifestyle.

I felt as a recharge was needed for myself, not that I waxed and waned in my approach to blogging, but rather, I wanted to hear others views on what worked or didn’t work for them. I knew I would also be meeting with Jessica, my contact with Soft Surroundings, and I was excited to meet her and in person and talk about Brands and PR.

My hubby drove, as it was a 4-hour drive, not far, and certainly much better than the long car trips I have been on lately. I take a fair amount of medications and don’t feel comfortable driving long distances. So, we drove to the Hotel at Avalon ready to begin the evening Friday meeting some blogger friends and kicking off the event!

This event was all about experience your best life at mdlife and beyond! I am not ready to “hang up the heels” just yet, and felt that I was n great company!


( Hotel mirror and Friday outfit. Black waxed jeans, Zara lace blouse and scarf)

The hotel was lovely, they had magnolia designs throughout the lobby, with cushy chairs, and a hotel bar that flowed into the lobby area as well. I had some time to refresh my makeup and then meet the other ladies for our Welcome and first stop at Kendra Scott, just one of the many retail stores in the Avalon area, located outside our hotel. I love her jewelry, so jewelry and meeting other bloggers, I knew I was ready for a fun night. We had Procesco, and browsed the store. I bought a pair of leaf dangling earrings, in gold and mother of pearl, a pair I have eyed on other bloggers and loved, plus they were on sale!  This was the start of the event, and after we would go to dinner, hosted by Robin Lamonte, at the hotel. An Italian buffet dinner, we would enjoy the meal, and have time to meet the other ladies, conversing about blogs and life in general.

I met Suzanne of Crazy Blonde Life and was so thrilled to see her there. We chatted over looking at Kendra Scott jewelry, it was wonderful feeling like you know someone even before you meet. I have to admit, I wasn’t the best at taking cell phone photos of everyone, as I was “living in the moment”, and then forget about my phone! I so wish I would have taken pictures with her .

I also met,  Patricia, another member of the Fierce 50 group, and we first spoke on common ground, when I told her I met my hubby through rock climbing. Patricia loves to hike and has tried inner climbing. We enjoyed each other’s company throughout the event.

We then had a wonderful buffet Italian dinner hosted by Robin, and the Hotel at Avalon. I first met Nina there and was thrilled to chat with her and the other ladies, in between scrumptious bites of pasta 🙂

These were on my Kendra Scott wish list- mother of pearl. I was told these were “me”!

Saturday- The Conference Day and Speakers

After laying in bed, restless from the night before, and having enjoyed a few glasses of wine, I thought I would have hit the pillow and zonked out! I have a tough time when I get worked up from an event or meeting people. So the coffee, Saturday morning, along with a lovely breakfast was welcomed! We had a long day ahead with speakers from Photography to Instagram strategies and more.

We began the day with Jessica Jane Photography talking about photography techniques and how to use photography in Instagram. I would check out Snapseed and VSCO for editing tools.

Some of the other speakers –

Best Self Magazine

Anderson Center for Hair- Courtney Pantelis talked about the reasons after midlife that our hair thins and how hair restoration is a possibility to restore real, growing hair. Many of the reasons, were medical- hormones, medications, stress,. I was surprised to learn that 4 out of 10 women had hair loss by age 40, and 6 out of 10 had hair loss by age 65. Hair restoration was permanent and dependant on the situation as to how many treatments were needed.

Nina Bandoni spoke about writing for the blog and creating great content. I enjoyed hearng Nina talk about SEO, and how we need to work on ths to drive more followers to the blog. Making sure your niche is what you are sharing on Instagram, consistently, will help you work with brands you are interested in. For ex, if I want to work with Louis Vuitton, my blog/IG account should reflect high-end fashion.

Know who your ideal readers are, and are you writing posts with your reader mind.

Brenda Coffee, of 1010 Park place spoke about Survivorship and how, through obstacles in life, she was able to overcome them.

Lisa Washington, a Holistic nutritionist gave a wonderful talk on eating and being healthy involving mind, body and soul.

Digestion being a key to Well Being

Mind- Positive over Negative Thinking

Negativity is elimination. ( this includes your social life and the people in which choose to surround yourself.

Some things to consider- eat on a small plate, ( portion control), surround yourself with good, healthy, positive people. Eat whole foods – veggies, fruits, grains and good fats.  We also had a yummy sample of a gluten-free dessert!

Robn Lamonte, spoke of social media and Instagram strategies, and gave some great insights and tools to posting on IG. I have already began utilizng some of these tools.

J. Jill shared the current and upcomng collecton fo stylish and comfortable clothes for ladies. They shared a fashion show, with some of the ladies that worked at the store, as well as frequent customers.  I love the Rhythm and Blues new collection, pairing musicians with certain looks. See their New Arrivals! 

“J.Jill is easy, relaxed, inspired style that reflects the confidence of a woman with a rich, full life” Quite fitting right?

They also have the  Compassion Fund, Proceeds from items on the website go to Women in need.

I have a swim suit from Athleta, as well as some workout wear. The quality is wonderful.

From the Athleta website, “We believe being active opens doors to a bigger life. And that unleashing the power of your body can translate into mastery of your mind and serenity in your soul, too.” Read about the #powerofshe and how the company supports women and girls. 

The company was there to talk about an active lifestyle and through Mojo Adventures discussed women adventure trips. The Athleta Brand Ambassadors discussed “Girl Adventure Trips,” Yoga for mind and body, and healthy eating for a healthy body.

I had to take a break in the afternoon, not long after lunch, as I was sitting in my chair, feeling the pain of my shoulders, low back and neck creep up. Physically, I felt exhausted, as my EDS reared its head, and begged me to lay down. I missed a few of the talks but needed to listen to my body and rest for a couple of hours, returning to the remainder of speakers that day.

Other topics at the event were the HYdrofacial, Skincare after 40, and GHB for hot flashes/menopause.

Saturday Evening at Soft Surroundings

Avalon is a darling area, with many cute shops and restaurants right outside the door of the hotel. A shuttle bus took us to the Soft Surroundings store, where Jessca Conick, my contact, and PR Brand Rep for Soft Surroundings, would give a talk on working with them and Brands. They had a lovely table set up with peach bellinis and sweets, as we looked around the store, prior to the talk. Nina, of Sharing a Journey, also spoke about working with Brands, and answering questions.

I had a blast meeting the ladies, talking to everyone, and enjoying the meals. I guess by now you figured out I am a talker! 🙂 It was wonderful getting to know people who have been following me, and meeting other ladies I had known on Facebook or through groups. There was wine flowing and conversation enjoyed in the lobby of the hotel as well

( I am in the back, you can see my head poppin up! 🙂 My Soft Surroundings frend and contact Jess ( right of Robin)


The day began with breakfast, and then I wasn’t feeling well, due to muscle pain and fatgue, so we had to hit the road. I do know that I would be interested in hearing the speaker-

How to Write a Book – closing

Closing- Robin, Nina- How we Reinvent Ourselves after Midlife.

Although it took me about 3 days to recuperate from the event, it recharged and energized me, feelng Mdlife is what we make of t! You can continue to live your best lfe by learning, growing and challenging yourself. It was a great time!

I hope learnng about the event has inspired you!


Jess xx

Sponsors for the event were Kendra Scott, Athleta, Soft Surroundngs, JJll., BEst Life Atlanta

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  • Reply
    Claire Justine
    January 31, 2019 at 4:18 pm

    It looks like a great event Jess. I love to go to blogging events but they are usually to far to travel. Thanks for sharing @ Creative Mondays #LinkUp

    • Reply
      Jess Jannenga
      February 1, 2019 at 9:39 am

      Glad you enjoyed the post, yes it was wonderful, difficult on my health but a great experience.

  • Reply
    Suzanne Smith
    January 30, 2019 at 8:35 am

    Hi Jess! What a great post about a really fun weekend! The highlight of the weekend for me was meeting you! You are even more beautiful in person!

    • Reply
      Jess Jannenga
      January 30, 2019 at 9:15 am

      Thank you Suzanne! Aw, you are too sweet. I feel the same about meeting you! xx

  • Reply
    Jess Jannenga
    January 29, 2019 at 11:43 am

    Glad you enjoyed it! x

  • Reply
    January 29, 2019 at 9:57 am

    How wonderful to meet up with so many other inspiring ladies! I’m just the same at events – I get so absorbed and forget to take photos, then regret it afterwards. I love those earrings btw! I hope you’ve recovered from the travelling…four hours is a very long drive to me, I’d be struggling with my back after that long too!

    Emma xxx

    • Reply
      Jess Jannenga
      January 29, 2019 at 10:44 am

      H Emma, it was a wonderful event to meet the ladies, and to get some more nfo. I know about the photos, at least I am not the only one! Thanks! xx

  • Reply
    Robin LaMonte
    January 29, 2019 at 8:43 am


    I am so happy you and your sweet hubby attended the event! I enjoyed getting to know you better and to connect face to face.
    I know it was hard on your health but I am so happy you came.

    Hugs always,

    • Reply
      Jess Jannenga
      January 29, 2019 at 10:42 am

      Thank you Robin, I learned some great tips, and meet great ladies! I feel the same, I really enjoyed talking with you and being a part of this event. xx

  • Reply
    passion fruit, paws and peonies
    January 29, 2019 at 3:45 am

    Well done Jess for getting there and joining in – what a gal you are! Hope you recovered quickly. Thanks for writing this – I feel as if I joined in a little bit! xx Maria

    • Reply
      Jess Jannenga
      January 29, 2019 at 11:37 am

      Thank you Maria, glad you enjoyed reading! 🙂 xx

  • Reply
    January 28, 2019 at 9:20 am

    How wonderful you got to go even though it was hard on your body, Jessica. You really are such a trooper.
    The best part it meeting these fabulous women!! I so wish I could have been there!!

    • Reply
      Jess Jannenga
      January 29, 2019 at 11:38 am

      Yes, Jodie! It would be great to meet you too. I gained alot from the conference and was happy to meet the lades. xx

  • Reply
    January 28, 2019 at 9:09 am

    This was so fun to read. What a great time. I just recently added VSCO and Snapseed to my phone but of course I have no idea how to use either, lol! I need to focus on so many areas honestly. I think it would be great to meet the ladies in real life, it is funny how you really get to know someone through blogging and then meet IRL – such a surreal experience!
    You look great in the photos and I am so glad you had a good time!

    • Reply
      Jess Jannenga
      January 29, 2019 at 11:39 am

      Thank you friend! I am glad you enjoyed reading about the event. It is so true and wonderful about blogging, that you feel like you know someone! xx

  • Reply
    Lisa D
    January 28, 2019 at 7:42 am

    I have always wanted to attend a blog conference to learn new things. I feel like my blog is so elementary. We had one here in Gastonia once but I could not go. I do not think I would travel to one since I work a full time job, but If there is ever a small one going on around me, I want ot go. Looks like you had a great time with a lot of great friends. Hope you feel better.

    • Reply
      Jess Jannenga
      January 29, 2019 at 11:40 am

      Thank you Lisa! There is also the Southern Blog Society, you mght want to look into too, sometimes they do conferences. 🙂 xx

  • Reply
    Suzy Turner
    January 28, 2019 at 7:04 am

    It sounds like you had a wonderful time, Jess! I just wish I lived closer to these events. Sadly, Portugal isn’t a popular place for bloggers meets ups!!
    Suzy xx

  • Reply
    January 28, 2019 at 3:20 am

    That is so wonderfull! I would be so exited for such a weekend! Like a child the night before Christmas!

  • Reply
    Vanity And Me Style
    January 28, 2019 at 2:08 am

    I love events like this Jess. Learning new tricks and meeting fellow bloggers that you can talk for hours with. xx

    • Reply
      Jess Jannenga
      January 29, 2019 at 11:45 am

      Right Laurie? I enjoyed meeting and talking to the lades, as well as learning.. especially those IG tools ( where the medium can drive me nuts!)xx

  • Reply
    January 28, 2019 at 1:53 am

    Oh I am so happy for you! It sounds like some great learning, opportunities, and building friendships!

    • Reply
      Jess Jannenga
      January 29, 2019 at 11:44 am

      Thank you Amy! It was a great experence. xx

  • Reply
    January 28, 2019 at 1:09 am

    nice post, few of name i already known through instagram. Thanks for sharing the lovely post.

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