Barkworld/Meowworld 2014: Time Spent At Blogging Conferences Is NEVER Wasted

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Rachael Ray Nutrish. All thoughts and opinions are my own.  As always, thank you for reading and supporting our sponsors.

barkworld 2014 perfect quote 1

The above quote that I found on Pinterest, to me, the perfect way to begin my recap of Barkworld 2014. Yes,  as many stated on their blogs, it was much smaller, had fewer attendees than last year, (it was my second Barkworld, so I don’t have the years under my belt to compare it to as others had) and less exhibitors, but guess what? I STILL had a great time! 

“It’s not the circumstances that create joy. It’s YOU.”


This was my second Barkworld but my fifth conference experience (I had attended three BlogPaws conferences prior to this conference), so I consider myself to be a veteran. Both years I was blessed to be sponsored  by Rachael Ray Nutrish, I am not only proud to be one of their brand Ambassadors, I am grateful for the many opportunities for travel that they have provided.

My Nutrish T-and the super dog/cat food scooper/bag clips that the Nutrish Ambassadors handed out at Barkworld

My Nutrish T-and the super scoop/bag clips that the Nutrish Ambassadors handed out at Barkworld

I arrived at Barkworld with little to no pre-expectations.  I learned a while back when you arrive at a conference with preexisting expectations, you are bound to be disappointed.

After staying at the Westin (the hotel that hosted Barkworld), last year and being extremely unimpressed, I chose to save money (as well as my sanity),by staying off-site. I stayed approx a mile away at the Hampton Inn Atlanta-Buckhead which turned out to be a decision that bordered on genius!

I had a shuttle that transported me back and forth from my hotel to the Westin, (except for the one day that it was being repaired, and my kind and dear friends Jobi and her partner, Geoff, transported me to and from the hotel) and the privacy and quiet that I needed to re-charge my mental (and actual cell phone!) batteries when needed. It was the perfect oasis from the conference drama, gossip and craziness that exists at ALL conferences. Call me anti-social, for me, this worked!

I arrived in Atlanta on Wednesday, which enabled me to check-in, walk to the grocery store, (a superb Kroger “Super” Store),  that was next to my hotel, (did I mention I had a fridge too? No? Well, I did!), to purchase healthy food for my fridge, and I was even able to attend a Weight Watchers meeting Thursday morning before the conference officially began!

Thursday night I unfortunately missed the opening reception, because I was busy helping the Cat Writers’ Association (of which I am a member), stuff swag bags for their members/conference attendees. (This was the first time that both the Barkworld conference and the Cat Writers’ conference were held together.)

For some reason, at BOTH Barkworlds, the first “people” I run into every time, are Bunny and her adorable poodle,  Carma Poodale! They make me smile whenever I am lucky enough to see them and share some laughs and they always start my conference experience off on the “right paw!”


barkworld 2014 carma and bunny kissing


On my way to my first Friday session I had the pleasure of running into a pack of pups attending the K9 Fit Club Bootcamp led by Diane Silver from To Dog With Love. Please excuse my poor video, the pups were all so adorable and were having a great time, my video does NOT do them justice at all!

Well, except for Carma!! She had me in stitches, because every time she made her way around the circuit, she would look at those of us sitting on the bench watching, with eyes pleading, “May I sit with YOU? PLEEEASE?” We indulged her with petting, which made her turn to  her Mom asking permission to stay with US!

barkworld 2014 carma poodale looking up smiling


My favorite conferences sessions were:

1) From the Paw Up:Cashing In On Your Passions led by Cara Warren.

“Cara Warren is the Founder and CEO of Paw It Forward, LLC – a cause-driven lifestyle brand that values the human-animal bond and celebrates great dogs changing the world!  She is a marketing and business professional with 15+ years of combined experience in Consumer Products with The Coca-Cola Company, Specialty Retail with The Home Depot, and Lifestyle Experiences with Club Corporation of America. “

I learned so much in her session, such as  the importance of getting media liability insurance, and had a great refresher about Journalism and Ethics and tons more!

2) Fearless Photo Editing 101 led by Layla Morgan Wilde of Cat Wisdom 101 who discussed the importance of editing photos, specifically by using the popular photo editing site, Picmonkey,(my personal fave is but I do use Picmonkey as well.

3) Lessons for Influencers: 4 Steps to gaining the attention of top brands led by none other than Julia Cantor, who is from Moxie, and is affiliated with a host of major brands such as Rachael Ray Nutrish and many more.  Julia was the first person I had met from Nutrish, around 4 yrs ago, and it is always a complete joy whenever I am able to see her in person.One of the many important points that Julia mentioned in her session, was, if you seek to have a brand notice you, and you hope to work with the brand, you SHOULD ACTUALLY BE USING THEIR PRODUCT(s). Sounds like a no-brainer right? You would be surprised. That is NOT a joke. Many people will want to align with a brand and aren’t a brand advocate of that product in their day-to-day life. Authenticity is something that cannot be faked, when you truly believe in a brand it will be reflected in your writing about their products. (FYI: I have been feeding Dakota Nutrish since it first came on the market in 2008, his blog began in 2011, ’nuff said). You can find more of Julia’s presentation and her bio in the slide show below:

All in all, I had a great time. I visited and chatted it up with the exhibitors that I wanted to meet with, attended sessions based on my individual needs/interests, and re-connected with some dear friends.

Photo taken by Julie from the blog:Sometimes Cats Herd You. Click the photo to visit them!

Photo taken by Julie from the blog:Sometimes Cats Herd You. Click the photo to visit them!

Dakota and Cody had a great time too!

Now, as I attempt to shake an evil cold that I brought home from Atlanta, I am about to leave yet AGAIN! (Shhh…don’t tell the “boys!”) This Thursday I will be flying to Ft.Lauderdale (courtesy once again of Rachael Ray Nutrish), to attend the Miami-Ft.Lauderdale Pet Expo which will take place this Saturday, November 15th. The super cool part is I will be able to see my brother, two sisters-in-law and one of my brothers-in-law on this trip, so it will be a total blast! Stay tuned for updates!





  1. Mrs. Caren , You just made me feel like a superstar! I am so happy that I am the one who greeted you first at both Barkworlds! I will be your Barkworld buddy as long as you don’t let ma try to exercise with me again. I am no spring pup, you know!
    I totally enjoyed your write up and loved seeing you at the conference. Hopefully we’ll be seeing you at Blogpaws (it all depends on which weekend sissy sarah graduates)
    Hugs and tail wags!
    Carma Poodale recently posted…Sunday Was FundayMy Profile

  2. Sounds kike you had a grand time. Except for that naughty germ that ‘got ya’.
    Growlmy got a bug on her vacation too…sigh…now she is on several meds to try and conquer it.

    Hope you feel better soon, so you can enjoy the nest expo/conference.
    mrjackfreckles recently posted…Barking Like A Dog ~ Non-Selfie-SundayMy Profile

  3. So glad yo had a great time at BW. Woof to Layla. Saw tweets from her great session. Love the slideshow from Julia’s presentation. Have a great time at the expo. For sure you are glad to be missing MI snow. Golden Woofs to Dakota.
    Golden Woofs: Sugar recently posted…Why Pet Parents Should Use Coupons?My Profile

  4. Two French Bulldogs says:

    What a fantastic time. One day we will get there
    Lily & Edward

  5. What a great experience you had and thank you for sharing it with us. Have fun on your next adventure. get well
    Sand Spring Chesapeakes recently posted…Monday Mischief~Purse ThiefMy Profile

  6. katie says:

    Have fun in Florida!

  7. Thanks for sharing. I attended BarkWorld in 2012…wasn’t impressed with the Westin either. I almost starved while there, lol.
    Malia Ragan & Baylie recently posted…How Pet Odor Could Hinder The Marketability Of Your HomeMy Profile

  8. How exciting! I hope to make next year’s bark World and I’d LOVE to visit a Pet Expo! It certainly sounds like you had a fabulous time. Have safe travels and a lot of fun!!
    M. K. Clinton recently posted…BFTB Channel 7 NETWoof News ~ 11/10/14My Profile

  9. So glad that you had a wonderful time and thanks for sharing your experience with us, everything sounds fabulous in BarkWorld. Bet all the “boys” are waiting for you at home now. Get well soon!
    Eva or sometimes Priscilla recently posted…Post-grooming coffees and a photoshootMy Profile

    • Dakota says:

      Hi Eva! You are welcome and thank you!!!! Well, I don’t leave til Thurs…shhhh…don’t tell Dakota, he loses his mind when I leave 🙁 When I got home from Barkworld BOTH Dakota AND Cody met me at the door (unusual for Cody), Dakota had just woken up, (his eyes looked sleepy), and he looked STUNNED that I was there and then proceeded to do the “Sheltie Dance” that only Shelties can do! Love, Caren
      Dakota recently posted…Barkworld/Meowworld 2014: Time Spent At Blogging Conferences Is NEVER WastedMy Profile

  10. Looks like a blast! Rest up and enjoy the Florida weather – with a cold snap coming in, now is the perfect time for it.

    • Dakota says:

      Thanks so much but it is also the perfect time to catch pneumonia!!! lol. Once things slow down I will be visiting you daily again! I am doing my best but life is getting in the way! Love, Caren

  11. Emma says:

    Glad you had a great time and the hotel worked well for you!
    Emma recently posted…The Snowstorm That Wasn’tMy Profile

  12. I wish I had the chance to visit such an event, to meet you and Layla and Carma the Poodle and all other fabulous bloggers :o)
    easyweimaraner recently posted…easyblog TERRIBLE TUESDAYMy Profile

    • Dakota says:

      Oh Easy I would soooo love to meet you and your mom and dad too! What FUN that would be! Love, Caren

  13. Sounds like you had a wonderful time! 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing your experience with us. 😀 Have a wonderful day, sweetie! xx Roxy & Tigerlino <3
    Purrfect Kitties recently posted…Synchronized Sleeping… Doing it Right… 😉My Profile

    • Dakota says:

      Thank you!! I did!!! You are most welcome! Love, Caren

  14. Oh wow! So much fun!!!!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!
    Jenna,Mark “HuskyCrazed” Drady recently posted…#WeRemember – We shall not forgetMy Profile

  15. sara, oreo and chewy says:

    The best part about going away is coming home! Glad you got a good sheltie welcome 🙂

    I think you’d have a good time anywhere you go! You’re always so positive. Enjoy Florida!

    • Dakota says:

      Yeah…and then I am leaving AGAIN! 🙁 Love, Caren

  16. Sounds like a fun time! Maybe when you travel to Florida, you’ll be able to get some nice warmer weather than right now.
    Ann Staub recently posted…5 Adoptable Senior Pets That Will Melt Your HeartMy Profile

  17. Sounds like you had a wonderful time!
    2 brown dawgs recently posted…Gotta Have Some Soft Savories After A Long HuntMy Profile

  18. Clowie says:

    I’m glad you had a good time. I hope you have fun on your next trip, but don’t forget – Dakota and Cody will be expecting lots of extra special treats on your return!
    Clowie recently posted…Carry on socialisingMy Profile

  19. It sounds like you had a fantastic time, we don’t have anything like that in the UK.

    Sheba’s Life Story recently posted…Sergeant Stubby.My Profile

  20. So great to have fun and learn stuff at the same time! And very cool that you get to go again soon! (We won’t tell the boys. Hope they don’t read the blog…) Have fun in FL and kick that cold!
    Jackie Bouchard recently posted…Wordless Wednesday: Something Lovely with Something IckyMy Profile

  21. Thanks for sharing with all of us Caren!

  22. Blog conferences are totally one of my very favorite things! Meeting everyone and having so many people that you have similarities with is amazing! energizing! Now i am getting excited about BlogPaws!
    Rachel Sheppard recently posted…Wordless Wednesday: Pawtini Costumes and Other Fun!My Profile

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