Knitter in the Wild: Go Wild in Las Vegas

My recap of my Go Wild experience is a little behind because I had to take a quick time out upon my return to finish grad school. That’s right, peeps, I am officially done! Mini wave in celebration of me! Now that I am back to only having the day job to work around, I am hoping I will have more time for adventures, and as a result, more things to post about.

So let’s start the Vegas recap with the touristy things first. As required when in Vegas, I first made my obligatory stop at White Castle. Because that’s just what you do. After filling my belly with mini burgers and onion chips, I took my onion breath to my favorite stop for this entire trip – the Neon Museum!

Part roadside oddity, part walk through Vegas history, the Neon Museum has old neon signs from around town. I had to stop in during the day, but my preference would be to go at dusk when the lights can be turned on and you get to see the neon glow in it’s full effect. They have a strict camera policy, so make sure you check the fine print before you stop in, but photos taken with your phone for personal use are totally allowed. These were some of my favorite pieces.

Later that day, I stopped in for registration at Go Wild. If you are a reader of mine that doesn’t know what Go Wild is, it’s a planner conference put on by Wild for Planners, the admin team behind the Facebook group Planners Gone Wild. Decorative planners have been wildly popular for a while – I like to think of it as a cross between scrapbooking and planning. Anyway, at registration we were given our first round of swag.

The little selfie light is the coolest thing I didn’t even know I needed. I also checked into the hotel – this year it was at the Hard Rock Hotel, and I got this spectacular view from my room.

And check out the view at night!

Thursday night was the welcome party, hosted by Krissyanne Designs, complete with karaoke. I stopped in for a while, but the party scene isn’t really my jam, so I called it a night after a drink or two and watching some hilarious singing and dancing.

Friday was the first day of the conference and while many people get up early to stand in line in hopes of getting their preferred table, I take a much more laid back approach, preferring to roll in at the end of the line so that I get to sleep in. All of the tables are great tables, you really can’t choose wrong. I lucked out and got to sit at a Cocoa Daisy sponsored table, which seemed to have been fate, as I just recently subscribed to some of their kits. (A review of their sub will come soon.) Look at how beautiful the table was and how generous they were.

The speakers for day one is quite the list. First up was a Boss panel featuring Irene Kwong, Mica May, Tesia Royer, Belinda Seline, Keshia Glam, Michelle Askin and Kaylyn Minix. I find panels to be too short, there is never enough time to get to know each panelist. There were a couple of points made that really stuck with me, however, mostly related to perfectionism holding you back, getting out of your comfort zone, and saving early work. Almost every group of speakers brought swag for the group, so here was the first drop.

I probably need to apologize for the poor quality of the swag photos. There’s only so much you can do in a conference room or in your hotel room.

Next up was Teresa Collins. I didn’t know very much about Teresa before her chat, so it was interesting to hear about how she has overcome so many challenges in her life, including a stroke(!), as she has built her brand. The swag included a notebook and supplies to create what I think was supposed to be a goal oriented planner, but we mostly just listened to her story. I’d like to point out my swag was accurate, though. I am magic!

Next up was a fireside chat with Erin Condren. I always enjoy listening to Erin, and I liked that this year it was a more informal Q&A than a talk. The upcoming opening of her local store (go Irvine!) came up, as well as plans for other stores, new products, and a future option to customize the Life Planner. This last bit has me most excited, as I actually Frankenplanned my ECLP this year to add in extra note pages. EC is always generous with the swag, and this year’s included a sleep mask, too.

After the fireside chat, Erin got to turn the tables and moderate another panel discussion, called the All In panel. The lack of time to get to know each panelist again reminded me how much I would prefer fewer panels, as I really wanted to hear more from this group. In particular, I could listen to Amy Tangerine for days and never get bored. Joining Amy was Jen Dufore, Jen Ross, Jen Robin, Joy Cho and Jaaack Jack.

This was the last panel before lunch, and this is when the PGW swag bag was dropped. This bag is made possible by all of the shop owners that participate in PGW, who generously donate items for the bag. This is a ton of work that should not go unnoticed. I can’t wait until I have a little more time to visit each shop that donated and find some new places to spend some cash.

During lunch, I had a little bit of time to wander around the sponsor area and look at the displays set up. I was happy to see See Jane Work enter into the planner market, the Russell + Hazel/Kikki K booth had some cute products, Filofax had a clever photo OP, and of course, Erin Condren had the pop up shop. There was also a balloon wall for pictures and even the elevators got some decoration.

After lunch we got to listen to a live taping of Cindy Guentert-Baldo’s podcast, The Uncurated Life. You get to listen to it, too, because it will be released on Monday, May 13th, in her podcast feeds everywhere. I was surprised that the podcast was more interactive than anticipated and we did some exercises that required us to get vulnerable with our tablemates. One more swag drop to conclude the day, and it was a set of Powersheets for all of us.

Friday night we were on our own, and I’d like to tell you I spent it resting up for a jam packed day two, but I was in Vegas! My sister drove up for the night and instead we went to dinner and Magic Mike Live. I’m not even a little bit embarrassed about it, either. 🤣🤣🤣 I did take pics, and in particular I took strategically timed Boomerangs, but that’s for another blog on another day. A private one. You know what I’m sayin’? We also gambled a bit, and I walked away with the huge winnings of $0.60. Huge, I say!

After too little sleep, day two came with the first speaker of Kristin Damian, founder and Chief Sticker Scientist at Krissyanne Designs. Her workshop focused on setting goals and chasing your dreams, so I mapped out the steps of a long time dream I have been harboring – buying a house. We’ll see if the workshop helps me get there. Of course, there was related swag.

After mapping out our dreams, we got to my most anticipated workshop, a workshop led by Amber Kemp-Gerstel, otherwise known as Damask Love on the internet. You might recognize her from when she was on NBC’s show Making It! If you don’t follow Amber on IG, I highly recommend it. She is very entertaining and I laugh out loud on the regular following her stories. We made cards and envelopes using her new product line available in Jo-Ann stores called Wild Card. Go check it out! We also all got Xyron sticker makers. I still have my old school X shaped Xyron, and I have to say I like the old set up better.

After Amber, Stephanie Fleming, the creative mind behind MAMBI and the Happy Planner shared her fitness journey and how she used her Happy Planner to help with her journey to a healthier life. Stephanie is just so real and likable – I love listening to her speak. She shared a little swag, too.

Once Stephanie was done, it was time for the keynote address from none other than Terry Ellis of En Vogue. You guys! She’s one of us. Not just ‘yeah, I craft a little’ but full on, has a craft room and a planner stack to prove it. I present to you Terry’s craft room!

Not only that, she sang for us. It was truly delightful to get to know her a little and I very much appreciated how she let her guard down with us. One last swag drop included a tub from Michael’s with notebooks, pens, stickers and washi. As it was very similar to the tub we received last year, I didn’t bother with a picture. And by very similar, I mean some items were identical.

My last event was getting to watch the pitches in the Michaels Make Room, as I was lucky enough to get to snag one of the limited tickets. When I explain to people not in attendance what this was, I describe it as a nice version of Shark Tank, just with pitching items that might show up on the shelves of Michael’s in the future. We were asked to keep things mostly confidential, so I’ll just say this – I am so very proud of the small business owners that made their pitch. I wish that Michael’s had room to choose them all for the development of product lines, even if that isn’t realistic.

Go Wild ends with Planjama, a big party on the final night, but due to my final grad school residency I had to leave early and missed it. This makes the second year in a row where I missed Planjama, but there is always next year!

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