Viva Las Vegas! Reflections on #TpTVegas14

As I reflect on my experiences in Las Vegas for the FIRST EVER TpT conference, so many words come to mind: people, sellers, friendships, Freebielicious, TpT, energy, joy… the list goes on and on. I have been back in Michigan for a week and my body has finally recovered from the time change, but my mind is still racing. As I explained in yesterday’s blog post, it took several days for me to write this post because I have been trying so hard to process my experience in Las Vegas.

Fortunately, a picture is worth 1,000 words. So allow me to take you on a photographic journey and (hopefully) keep the words to a minimum.

One highlight of the trip was FINALLY meeting so many of my Freebielicious friends in person. For many of us, this was our first face-to-face encounter. We share so many of our hopes, joys, ambitions, and sorrows in our little online community, but finally meeting so many of the girls face to face was HUGE. Several of our flights to Vegas arrived within a few hours of each other so we were able to exchange hugs and excitement right away. We rented a limo to our hotel so we could arrive in STYLE. I was beyond excited to meet Jennifer White from First Grade Blue Skies in real life. And of course, this was another chance to hang out with fellow Michigan blogger and TpTer, Marsha MaGuire from A Differentiated Kindergarten. She is one of my all-time best blogging friends and one AMAZING kindergarten teacher.

Jennifer White, Maria Manore, and Marsha MaGuire, amazing kindergarten and first grade teacher-bloggers

Marsha and I were actually roommates on this trip. You will see a LOT of her in these photos. Whenever I get a chance to see that lady, I just can’t pry myself away!

The Freebielicious girls had a booth (with free candy) during the I Teach K and I Teach 1st conferences. I spent a few days in the booth meeting fans and fellow bloggers alike.

Freebielicious fun at the TpT Vegas Conference

We had so much fun at the booth!

Do you recognize any of your favorite bloggers in these photos? Linda, Greg, Katie, Lisa, Tanya, Lita-Lita, Stacy and SO many more!

top Kindergarten and First Grade teacher-bloggers

Even the dynamic duo of DeeDee Wills and Deanna Jump stopped by for a photo.

I want to be just like them when I grow up!

Kindergarten teacher-bloggers with Deanna Jump

On Wednesday night, Rachelle and Natalie from What the Teacher Wants hosted a Teacher-Blogger meet up. This event was packed with educators. The turnout (and enthusiasm) was truly amazing. Natalie also happens to be a very talented photographer. I just LOVE this photo that Natalie shot of myself with a few freebie girls: Marsha, Mary, and Jodi.

top Kindergarten and First Grade teacher-bloggers

All night long, people came up and asked if my dress was from Stitch Fix. It wasn’t! It was actually a $20 bargain dress from TJ Maxx, but I loved that everyone naturally assumed that Stitch Fix had styled me. (PS if you don’t know about Stitch Fix, you are missing out! These blog posts will catch you up in a jiffy!)

I also finally got to meet the ever-so-sweet Laura Martin!

top Kindergarten and First Grade teacher-bloggers

My night was made complete when I was able to hug Cara Caroll with her heart the size of Texas!

top Kindergarten and First Grade teacher-bloggers

The following night, I went to a hypnotist show with several of the Freeblielicious girls, their husbands, and many other bloggy friends. Viva Las Vegas!

Teacher bloggers in Vegas

The First-Ever Teachers Pay Teachers Sellers Conference

On Friday, the big day had finally arrived! It was time to attend the first-ever Teachers Pay Teachers conference! One of the highlights from my trip was definitely being able to meet Paul Edelman, the founder of Teachers Pay Teachers. His vision for an unprecedented way to empower creativity and the entrepreneurial spirit among educators has completely changed my life and I am forever grateful.

Maria Manore and Paul Edelman, the founder of Teachers Pay Teachers

This was actually a selfie taken during one of the TpT conference sessions that I attended with Marsha and the adorable Annie Moffatt.

Kindergarten and First grade teacher-bloggers in Vegas

We even had time for a quick group photo of all of the Freebielicious girls that were able to fly out to Vegas for the event. It was WONDERFUL to finally be face-to-face with this very talented group of bloggers.

Freebielicious girls in Vegas

What I Learned at the TpT Conference

I have been SO busy talking about the amazing friends and colleagues I met during the conference, I haven’t even mentioned what I learned! I attended sessions to help me build a marketing plan with help from Rachel Lynette, learn advanced Pinterest tips from Mel D, improve the visual appeal of the products in my store thanks to tips from Deanna and DeeDee, and I discovered a treasure trove of information about how to make the most of TpT search function thanks to from Ryan Van Meter at TpT and the wonderful Kelly Dolling.

An important lesson to remember from all of this is to follow your dreams and passions; and to do so with honesty and integrity. The most successful sellers on TpT did not join the site to become wildly rich. They became TpT sellers because they had passion for their profession and ideas to share. They got creative, worked hard, and now have something to show for their passion and determination.

That One Rule for following dreams and passion

Those were my takeaways from Vegas.

TpT Vegas travel memories

I’m linking up with Deirdre’s Vegas linky party at A Burst of First! Come see what everyone else was up to during that amazing week.

TpT Vegas Linky Party

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Maria Gavin

Maria is a former kindergarten and first grade teacher, with 13 years of teaching experience. Her love and passion for all things early childhood is now fulfilled as a mom to two amazing kids. She loves sharing practical and creative tips and ideas that are perfect for young learners – in the classroom or at home!

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8 Responses

  1. Wow Maria, it looks like you had a blast! I’m glad you had fun and got to meet all those great people! I love the thought you shared at the end of your post!m I know so many people who do things for money first not for the passion! Thanks for sharing!

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Hi, I'm Maria.

I’m a former kindergarten teacher turned work-from-home mom. I still love sharing ideas and resources to make teaching easier, so you can focus on what really matters in the classroom. When I’m not working on the blog, you’ll find me chasing kids around the house with a cold cup of coffee in my hand (some things never change even once you’re out of the classroom!)

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