Well, I'm a little late adding my two cents on the RESA International Staging Conference, but I have an excuse since I just got home late Saturday night. My Sister-in-Law and a girlfriend joined me for a few more days of Vegas life after the Conference. Must say I'm "Vegased Out" now, but back to the real reason for my blog - the Staging Conference!
We couldn't have asked for a better turnout, especially for our first conference. Once we hit 200 attendees, Shell Brodnax managed to pull another 20 tickets out of her hat to bring our total up to a whopping 220 professional home stagers from across North America and yes, Australia too - truly amazing.
After our RESA Leadership meeting Sunday afternoon, a networking event was held for everyone. It was very exciting to meet so many of the wonderful people that I have come to know and love through Active Rain and RESA. I must say that I was not disappointed - each and every person was as great, if not more so than I imagined they would be in person. I'm kicking myself now that I didn't take photos of everyone that I met - what was I thinking!
During the networking event, excitement hit the room when you guessed it, the man himself MATTHEW FINLASON arrived.
[ In case you didn't know, I'm the one on the left ;-) ]
Day One of the Conference was kicked off by no other than HGTV's Matthew Finlason with his true signature "Matthew style". He was an inspiration to us all and set the tone for an upbeat day. For those of you that followed my reviews of The Stagers, in my first weigh-in of Episode One, I said that Matthew was a treasure. After watching the balance of both seasons, interviewing Matthew for my blog, keeping in contact with him and then finally meeting him in person at the Conference, I can honestly say that my first assessment of him was spot on - he truly is a treasure.
[Not the greatest of pictures, but hey, it was early in the morning - the photographer was tired.]
After Matthew opened the ceremonies, Shell Brodnax spoke to everyone about the state of our industry and motivated us all to keep plugging away. She spoke about the Law of Attraction and how it's worked for her. She discussed her vision board for the Conference and how everything on her board came true. I think I better get me one of those.
DAY ONE'S SPEAKERS:
Let's fast forward to the evening of Day One - the awards dinner. Talk about a first class event; right down to the impressive ice sculpture engraved with RESA's logo. I would like to give a big congratulations to Michelle Minch who was awarded RESA Stager of the Year - truly deserving.
After dinner, my good friend James Hannah and I had the pleasure of meeting Bethany Souza of HGTV's Designed to Sell.
[Looking very dapper Mr. Hannah.]
At the end of the evening, I met one of my staging idols, Jackson West. What a truly gifted person and just as dynamic in person as he is in front of my computer screen. A group of us went for drinks afterwards. Jackson's a total trip, I loved talking staging with him. Gives "pillow talk" a whole new meaning ;-).
[Loved the suit, that man has style!]
DAY TWO'S SPEAKERS:
Panel of Experts: Matthew Finlason, Jackson West, Christine Rae, Audera Slinkey, Joanne Lenart-Weary
After the final speaker, Shell Brodnax closed the ceremonies. Shell's hard work and determination made the Conference an unforgetable event. Everything went off without a glitch - total perfection. I can't thank Shell enough for pulling this off. She did a fabulous job.
THE GRAND FINALE:
One of the highlights of the trip for me was a dinner that was planned prior to the Conference. A small group of us arranged to go out with Matthew. Once we arrived in Vegas, we ended up inviting a few others to join us. Our group grew to about 17 or 18 - hey, the more the merrier! I just wish I had a group photo.
[A final cocktail before going to see Bette Midler.]
After Dinner Matthew, James, Steven, David & David and myself went to see Bette Midler (it was her last week in Vegas I might add). Unfortunately the two Davids and Steven weren't sitting with us, but I had the pleasure of sitting in between two really cute guys (Matthew and James in case you weren't paying attention). Our seats were in the third row. You could see every wrinkle - oh that's right, Bette's had work done. The Divine Miss M looked fabulous. She put on a fantastic show.
Afterwards, we chilled at Caesars Palace and hit the casino. It was a late night for sure, but one I'll never forget.
[Me and my boys. It's getting real late - time to call it a night.]
Well, this pretty much sums up my very exciting week in Vegas at the Conference. I'm sorry that it came to an end so quickly.
For anyone sitting on the fence about attending next year, get off that fence now and start saving your pennies. I'm sure next year will be even better!
Dezigner Digz is a professional home staging and interior decorating firm based in Burlington, Ontario. The owner, Charlene Storozuk, is a member of the Real Estate Staging Association and currently serves on the Executive Committee as Regional Vice-President, Canada. Her work has been featured in the FabJob Guide To Become a Home Stager, 2009 edition. Charlene has written several articles on home staging, a few of which have been published by the International Business Times. She is also a Contributing Blogger for REALTOR Magazine's blog Styled, Staged & Sold. For more information about us, visit our website at www.dezignerdigz.com