Blog Conference Highlights

*This post has been sponsored by Amtrak and Her Campus Media. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Coming Up Roses!

Ever since the infamous Amtrak accident this past year, you could say I wasn’t the most eager to hop on a train and travel. So as I started this post from a stopped Amtrak car as engineers worked on an outed motor, my new friend Sarah was the calm, cool, collected one as I just sat chugging iced coffee and talking all apocalyptically. Not helpful, right?

But lo and behold, the situation was handled in stellar fashion, and we were on the tracks safely moving back towards PHL in no time. And let me tell you. As a frequent commuter via SEPTA, there’s really no comparison. From comfortability to the peace and quiet and storage of your bags (plus the fact that there’s a café car amiright?), Amtrak is the *nice* way to travel.

Back from where? NYC. Le Big Apple, where I spent the weekend. Remember when I said I was packing up and heading to a blogging conference? It was Her Conference 2015, and it. was. awesome. The whole thing was this mass of pink and pop music and Chipotle and inspiration, so ‘twas a grand time.

So here’s the low down. Her Conference isn’t actually all that much of a “blogging” conference persay…it’s more of a life conference for the Millennial woman. While a blogging panel occurred and lots of super relevant-to-blogging advice was passed along, focus is moreso on the media industry as a whole, both digitally and in print. It really becomes what you make of it; you can go session to session just chilling with friends and doodling, or you can carpe diem and meet all of the speakers and panelists, pass around business cards, make valuable connections and sell yourself.

Instead of providing a moment-by-moment re-cap of events, I figured I’d pull as much relevant-to-you info to make sure this is worth your read. Aiiiight?

The very best tidbits of inspiration, tips and advice from my time at conference: first up, notes from keynote speaker Neha Gandhi, VP of Editorial Strategy at Refinery29.

“Your job can’t be solely responsible for your happiness.”

“All feedback has value, but it’s not create equal.”

“Putting your head down and working hard is important, but it’s not enough.”

“You can start anywhere.”

“You shouldn’t stay in a job where you’re not learning.”

“You’ve got to create opportunities to prove your worth.”

“Add value to your mentor!”

“Network, even when you hate it.”

“Ask for more $$$ when you take the job.”

“Take big risks.”

“Fail forward.”

“If something isn’t going to work, say something.”

“Don’t be an asshole. (; “

On Saturday, I was so freakishly excited for one reason: Hilary Rushford. In case you’re unfamiliar, let me clue you in – Hilary Rushford is this musical theatre alum turned rockstar entrepreneur who is making a living off of coaching fellow girl bosses and killing it on Instagram. Her life is a dream, and in taking some of her coaching classes myself, I’ve just always felt like she and I are kindred spirits – like longlost soul sisters. I digress. One of the Saturday panels centered around blogging and featured my blog friend Tilden, Carly from The College Prepster, and Hilary. And let me tell you – what a total powerhouse panel.

And in the wise words of Hilary:

After a 45-minute chat with this chickadee, I admire her all the more. My blog friends around us said we were really weirdly similar to one another, so you be the judge.


Hamming it up with my soul big-sister, entrepreneurial #bosslady idol, & spirit human @hilaryrushford. #ComingUpDeanSt

A photo posted by Erica | Coming Up Roses (@ericaligenza) on


Then there’s Carly, aka the College Prepster. Blogging extraordinaire who considers herself to be a “professional emailer,” answering nearly every email within 24 hours. #goals, right? I’ve always been a mega-fan of Carly’s personal style – it’s preppy and classy but chic and fun too, and I always thought it resembled my own taste. Turns out, I’d say we were on the same page.

Meeting Carly from The College Prepster

I swear we didn’t plan it. (;

Now for more wise words. A Saturday keynote was Michelle Tan, current Editor-in-Chief of Seventeen Magazine. Her biggest takeaway? “Know what got you here.” Know it, love it, appreciate it, and let it guide you (but not necessarily define you.) And from People StyleWatch Editor Lisa Arbetter comes two key things:

“The work you hate doing is the work you need help with – don’t be afraid to ask for help.”

“Be decisive. You can always change your mind.”

Aaaaaand some pics! Besides Sarah, my other blogging buds Ana and Morgan were in attendance, so we became the fabulous foursome and explored the city, iced coffee and cameras in hand. There were long girl nights with Chinese takeout and wine, and it was grand.

group selfie


I also met Larz, my energizer bunny twin with the friggin’ coolest urban chic blog and biz. We clicked immediately and had completely parallel visions and zests for life; I’m tellin’ ya, this girl is going. places. She’s a spitfire, and she always looks like she just stepped out of Vogue.


And for more fun, Morgan, Ana, and Sarah are three of the biggest sweethearts out there, I’m convinced. While there can be come unnecessary cattiness in blog world, these chicas are so genuine and heartfelt. As if I didn’t know they were the real deal before, they also trekked around the city with me in search of the best cupcakes. Yeah.





By the time the whole thing was over and done, I was good and ready to come home, because my wheels have been turning a million miles a minute and I’ve got some exciting things in the works that I just can’t wait to chat with you about! But before all of that is said and done, I’ll leave you with a fun Amtrak fact (that’s likely to save you a few bucks, too). Since 1971, Amtrak has been America’s go-to for intercity passenger rail services. With more than 500 destinations in 46 states and Canada, Amtrak knows what’s up and ensures that people can be as physically connected as they care to be, beyond this everlasting digital connectedness. High school and college students can save 10% when booking with the Amtrak Student Advantage card. But in the meantime, before your next trek around the world, I want to hear from you.

Have you ever been to a blogging conference? What’ve been your best takeaways from past conferences, or from meeting your own big inspirations?

And until the hump, stay classy, roses! If you’re gonna be live-tweeting along with The Bachelorette finale tonight, let’s get on that bandwagon together, OK?