I’ve been home a week from Miami, and here’s what I learned at Hispanicize 2016. First of all, I learned that it takes a few days to decompress from all the excitement. Stimulation overload is an understatement. We were on the go with events and seminars from 7:30 in the morning until 11 at night for five days. The thing with this conference is you can’t take a pause because you’ll miss valuable experiences. I kept my motor running solid for a week. I came home last Friday night, slept the entire next day, spent Sunday organizing all my notes and unpacking my suitcases, then…
I froze, then face planted onto my bed.
Seriously. I felt like a deflated balloon, overwhelmed with processing and applying everything I learned. I’m talking deep level actions on everything from my business plan to my YouTube channel to my Pinterest account and more. Where does one even start? I couldn’t even muster up enough energy to post a new article on my site for a week. You KNOW I’m out of it when that happens!
You know how I cured myself? I disconnected for a few days. I went in my studio and made five new tutorials, I finished up the details on my upcoming product line, I went to the movies, I met friends for lunch. I had fun and got back to my happy place. This site and all my Crafty Chica stuff, I do it first and foremost because I love it. As soon as it becomes a “job” I freak out and start questioning EVERYTHING. “I’m doing it all wrong!” “I suck!”
Stepping away from it all helped to reboot my spirit and made me excited to come back and take action on all I learned! I told myself that no matter what, my site was just fine as is, to relax, and these were all ideas to make it even better. Changing my thinking helped so much!
And here it is a week later and I feel like all systems are go! You’re going to see a lot of fancy pictures, parties, gifts, food, gifts, etc – but only because I wanted to capture the experience the best I could and share it. How do you take a picture of ideas going into your brain? Right? In between the pictures, I’ll drop some knowledge that I picked up last week. And more to come as the weeks unravel!
“Show people who you want to be, even if you’re not there yet.”
“Courage is standing in the face of fear and doing it anyway.”
She talked about self-care is most important before you can move forward in your life’s goals. You have to strive to have a strong mind, body and spirit. We then heard from other speakers about social media etiquette, working smarter, defining goals, managing finances and more. We then broke out into various 2-hour workshops on photography, video, branding, pitching and so on. I co-presented a book publishing workshop with Natalia Montouri, director of Amazon Kindle Direct Sales.
I spent an hour going over my experiences with traditional publishing and how to write a book proposal, and Natalia shared all the ins and outs of self-publishing, which I found fascinating.
Honestly, I never considered self-publishing, but after hearing her presentation and all the ideas she shared, I’m seriously looking into it. You can still pitch to traditional publishers and have self-pubbed works happening. She told about all the best-selling Kindle novelists that are never heard of on the NYT bestsellers list, but are best-sellers in the digital world. They make six-figure incomes by writing series of books. And they are all over the world. This blew my mind! And how through self-publishing you get a 70% profit. Also about the editing and design services that Amazon has. We filled every seat in that room for more than two-hours, we all learned so much. Personally, I believe every person has a book inside them, a story to be told. No matter if it is through traditional publishing or self-publishing, there is a way to make it happen!
The next was filled with seminars that I attended, a Home Depot VIP breakfast where we learned about gardening trends and made succulent terrariums. At night – the Carnival Cruise dinner! OK, I have to tell you my Carnival story. So, if you have been following this blog, you know we spent seven years with Carnival for the Crafty Chica Art Cruise. Then they stopped offering the conference room exclusivity for the duration of the cruise and we had to switch to Royal Caribbean, and this time, Norwegian. I was devastated because I loved Carnival! Then I received an email that Carnival was a sponsor for Hispanicize 2016 and they were selecting 12 bloggers for a private dinner – this was a couple weeks before the conference. I excitedly applied and talked my friend into applying too. I thought for sure I’d be a shoo-in! Guess what happened? She got invited and I didn’t. How could this be? Talk about TEARS! I seriously had a meltdown for about half an hour, then let it go. It is what it is, right? I figured it just wasn’t meant to be, life goes on and all that.
In order to clean up that negative space in my mind, I took action. I wrote a blog post about how to prepare for a cruise. I wanted to change that anxious energy into productive energy, so I put together all the tips I’d learned from over the years of hosting a cruise event. I allowed myself to have fun – the root of why I even started the cruise! And the positive feedback I received from my readers was awesome!
Well, right before I boarded my plane to Miami, I received an invite! Someone had to cancel, a spot opened and I was next on the list. I was so happy. I had such a great time meeting the Carnival marketing staff, they served an amazing dinner at Barton G Restaurant. Talk about over the top! I got to hang out with other bloggers, like Dani from OK Dani!
The great news is I was able to speak with the marketing team that night, share my story, and fingers crossed, the 11th Annual Crafty Chica Art Cruise will return to Carnival with our 24/7 craft room for 2017!
Here is the lesson learned from this experience: Keep trying for what you want, you may not always get it when you want it, but something will come around in an unexpected way! Stay humble, move forward in a productive way. Don’t hold grudges or dwell on the situation. Take action and do something positive to change the energy!
I had to hustle to leave the dinner in order to make it back to the hotel for a private Amazon night reading party.
This was a cool party with desserts by the pool. Amazon talked to us about the different e-readers they have and turned us on to some new books. They gave us a couple hours to read and talk about our favorite Latino authors, why we need diverse books, why it’s important to incorporate reading into daily and sharing that example with our kids. There under the twinkling stars, we read excerpts from The Alchemist and more. I loved that we were able to chill and hang out with each other. I got to spend some quality time with my dear friend, Jeannette Kaplun! By the time I got back to my room, it was almost midnight. This was just me. My roommates had their own adventures that night at the Hispanicize Positive Impact Awards!
This was also from Tuesday, the second day. Every year Hispanicize has a room dedicated to new music. Site editors like me, can go there to learn about new artists in the Latin music scene. It’s been a year since Will Medina from VeryVinyl.net has been covering music for this site, so I wanted to see if I could find some bands for him to discover! Something you may not know about me, music was always my first love as a kid and teen and even adult. I loved interviewing bands for the high school paper, and then eventually for the Az Republic. I spent many years as a concert promoter, band manager and road tour manager for different acts. This was long before Crafty Chica! My love was alternative rock, and later reggae and Latin alternative. I would sometimes incorporate music into this site, but decided last year to do it monthly, via Will. He’s been doing such a great job and I loved attending these music sessions and meet people in the music industry who follow the Crafty Chica music columns here!
The day was also special because I met up my longtime friend from high school, Maria. She used to sing in one of my favorite bands and we spent a lot of our early 20s in the front row at concerts! These days, Maria is a music exec for Sony! She licenses the music of Sony artists for TV, print ads. Pretty cool that after all these years, we both pursued our passion jobs! She attended Hispz16 to support the emerging artists.
One of the artists I saw and loved was Angelica Carahe, she was one of the #ArtistsOnTheRise, and another singer, Myrna Garibay, who drove all the way from Houston to Miami to try and get her sound heard! Here she is performing in Houston!
Pili Montilla was the emcee and helped curate all the acts. If you love Latin alternative music and want to keep in touch for new tunes, definitely follow Pili!
And look who else performed! La Santa Cecilia!
Tips: Celebrate your love for music! Make a playlist on Spotify (or whatever your favorite platform is) and share it with your friends and family. If you’re a blogger, share it on your site. Music keeps our hearts in tune. Don’t take it for granted. And if you are hooked on tunes from the past, open your mind to embrace new stuff. My suggestion is to go on Spotify or Apple Music and utilize the “mood” playlists.” It’s a great way to nail down the vibe you like and find new artists to match!
And if you are hosting an event, like a birthday party or a whatever, create a custom playlist that people can download to remember after the confetti has been swept away.
Thursday was a big day for me because I had two panels. Oh! Wednesday, I got called in at the last minute to sit on a panel about How to Level Up Your Site with Sylvia Martinez from MamaLatinaTips and Caryn Bailey from RockinMama.net. We spent two hours with a room full of attendees breaking down everything about headlines, photos, bounce rates, affiliate programs, and so much more. I really loved this session because it was far from beginner level, it was 100% drill down info. I was a speaker, but I also learned a lot from Sylvia and Caryn. That’s going to be a separate post!
This is one thing I liked about this year – sack lunches and “United Nations” style of seating. Lonnnggg rows of chairs and tables all facing the stage. There were powerful speakers during the lunches and in the past, you would hear people talking or forks sitting the plates, etc. This time, we all ate quietly to stay focused on the stage’s activities. There was also the Latino Perfect Pitch competition where you could pitch a business plan to a team of investors!
OK, back to Thursday – I was on a panel with the hilarious Jay Mendoza and Oscar Miranda and Maya in the Moment! We talked about short form video. Jay and Oscar said they keep everything clean cut and very relatable. They pick moments of every day life and recreate them in comedy form. They storyboard out the scenes and think of the punch line.
Jay said – “Think of a short form video as a sandwich. You can the two slices of bread, then the contents that give it body. The punchline is the bite!”
We even filmed a Vine on the spot so the attendees could see how it works.
DID HE REALLY CALL ME NANA??????
That night was The Tecla Awards. At the beginning of the awards, they had a video of a bunch of different influencers! Even though I wasn’t nominated for anything, it felt great to be included in this! So exciting!
Maya was one of the presenters!
I got to meet some of my favorite online comedians! David Lopez!
On our last night we went to Havana 1987, which I HIGHLY recommend if you are ever in Miami!
I know I barely scratched the surface of all that went down at Hispanicize. I forgot to mention I received a one-hour critique from the Pinterest folks, which was sooo needed! I’ll have a separate post on that as well, also newsletter and mailing lists! Oh man, so much to digest still!
If you have a passion project, I bet there is a conference for it. Look it up and get there. Conferences are a great way to meet other people in your interest area, plus get tips and guidance on improving you skills so you can grow and rock the world with your talents!
Here is the directory of sponsors, a huge thank you to all of them for supporting this event!
And thank you to Manny Ruiz and the team for another fantastic event! Until next year!
Love & light,