Press Publish Phoenix Logistics and Updates

Press Publish Phoenix is tomorrow, and we can’t wait to see you! Here’s a big long post with all sorts of handy logistical information. We’ll also send Phoenix attendees this info via email, tomorrow morning.

Before you leave home

The conference will be held at the Heard Museum at:

2301 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004

You’re welcome to bring a laptop or other device, though computers are not required. If you plan to attend the workshops We will have staff in the Happiness Lounge available to give you one-on-one help with your blog, so bring your questions! We’ll also be selling WordPress-branded apparel and other items, accepting payment via cash or credit card.

We’ll have coffee and breakfast breads available at 8am, but if you’re a “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” kind of person, you’ll want to eat before you arrive to the event.

Getting to the conference

Directions to the Heard Museum can be found here:

Parking is free in the Heard Museum lot. The conference will be held in the Steele Auditorium.

Press Publish Phoenix Map

When you park, look for the signs that say Steele Auditorium or Dorrance Education Center (adjacent to the Steele). If you find yourself at the museum entrance, walk south past the cafe to the Steele Auditorium. Check in at the registration table out front of the Steele Auditorium.

What time should I be there?

Registration opens at 8am. You do not need to print out a ticket; just come to registration table at the entrance to the Steele Auditorium. You’ll see a sign that says Press Publish Registration, and that’s where you can sign in to pick up your welcome packet.

About those welcome packets… We made a mistake! The schedule in your welcome packet shows the wrong times for the Writing 201: Clinic and Design 201: CSS Basics workshops.

Design 201: CSS Basics will be held at 1:30pm, and Writing 201: Clinic will be held at 2:45pm. The online schedule is correct.

Opening remarks start at 8:50am and sessions will begin promptly at 9am. We’ll provide light morning snacks, coffee and tea all day, lunch at 11:30pm, and afternoon snacks starting at 2:30pm. When sessions end at 5pm, we’ll continue snack service for a social hour until 6pm so you can chat with your new friends and any of the speakers you wanted to meet.

The main program track of the conference will be held in the Steele Auditorium, with some hands-on writing and design workshops in the Encanto Room. You may move between tracks, but please be aware that due to the hands-on nature of these workshops, seating will be limited.

More details

Social media: The hashtag for the event is #presspublish, if you would like to post about what an amazing time you’re having. 🙂

Lunch topics: Sometimes it’s hard to know where to sit at a conference lunch if you’re not attending the event with a buddy (or even if you are)! At Press Publish, we’ll have signs on all the tables in the Plaza with suggested topics of conversation, like “New to Blogging,” “Themes,” and “SEO,” to name a few. Sit at a table displaying a lunch topic that interests you, chat with like-minded bloggers, and maybe even make a new friend!

Photo policy: For community-building and promotional purposes, there will be photographers and videographers at Press Publish. By attending the event, you consent to your image and voice being used in resulting photos or videos that may show your participation in Press Publish.

Code of Conduct: Automattic wants our community events to be truly enjoyable for everyone. The code of conduct for Press Publish is posted here: If you are subjected to unacceptable behavior, notice that someone else is being subject to unacceptable behavior, or have any other concerns, please notify a conference organizer as soon as possible.

Heard Museum Access: Press Publish Phoenix attendees have free access to the Heard Museum on the day of the conference, from 9:30-5pm. Just keep your blue lanyard on so the museum staff will know you’re part of Press Publish if you decide to visit the museum on Saturday.

Help us improve: We will send you an attendee survey on Sunday; please give us feedback on how we can make Press Publish better in the future!

We hope you find inspiration, learning, and camaraderie at Press Publish this weekend. Thanks for choosing to spend the day with us!

Speaker Spotlight: Katherine Fritz

Katherine Fritz
Katherine Fritz

If we had high school yearbook-style titles for our featured blogger speakers, Katherine Fritz’s would be Most Likely To Succeed At Starting A Blog On A Whim To Tell A Story That Was Too Long For Facebook And Then Go Viral About A Month Later. It’s a coveted category, and Katherine pretty much owns it. She might have invented it, in fact. I’m 95% certain she created the Satirical Feminist Fashion Blog genre when she started ladypockets.

Stay on-trend with Ginsberg, Steinem, and Goodall by reading
Stay on-trend with Ginsberg, Steinem, and Goodall by reading

When asked in third grade what she wanted to be when she grew up, Katherine answered “a movie star or someone who puts the makeup on them.” Almost at the same time that she discovered she was (in her words) “a lousy actor,” Katherine also learned she was pretty great at costume design. When she graduated college with a double major in English and Theater, she received one of six internships with the Arden Theater Company, and went on to become an award-winning costume designer who lives and works in Philadelphia. Katherine is the only non-actor member of the Philadelphia Artists Collective, and she’s also worked as a guest lecturer at Temple University and an autism outreach instructor through Theatre Horizon. Somehow, in her completely-not-very-much-free-time, she also mentors high school and college costume designers.

Since Katherine inadvertently became a very popular blogger, her words have been published by the Huffington Post, Thought Catalog, and MTV Style. The New York Times also published a small piece of her writing as part of their “First Crush” series. She also finally told her mother about her blog.

Katherine will be flying in to Phoenix from Philly this week to speak at Press Publish on April 18. Her talk Also, My Blog Made Me Happy will include her love story with blogging and the blogging community. In the meantime, you can learn more about Katherine by reading the interview below:

Katherine FritzQ. What made you start blogging on I Am Begging My Mother Not To Read This Blog?

A. I wish I had a really impressive-sounding answer to that question — that I carefully thought about it and started a blog because I wanted to experience the world in a new way, or that I had a deep need to tell a certain story, or that I wanted to challenge myself as a writer and a creator. The truth is that I got really drunk, accidentally dyed my hair orange, and wanted to share the story with my friends… except it was too long to fit on Facebook, so I started a blog. In my kitchen, nursing a massive hangover, entirely on a whim. I still can’t believe that something that I thought about so little managed to completely change my life in such a significant way.

Q. What kept you (and still keeps you) posting regularly?

A. Because I love it! Because there’s this deep place inside of me that just wants to experience and understand and process the world around me, and I love using this platform to start a conversation about the things in my life that I am experiencing. We’re also constantly evolving, us human beings, and I love having the freedom to experiment with format — to ask some tough questions or to talk about social justice, but also to share goofy doodles I’ve drawn, to try to make someone laugh, to trying my hand at satire.

Q. What are a few of your favorite posts, and why?

A. I have a few favorites! I feel proud of my work on “Race Ya,” an extremely popular and occasionally polarizing piece I wrote in response to the events in Ferguson, Missouri. I have this secret soft spot for a post called “I’ve Lost My Red Umbrella” — I was experimenting with form, and it’s really a simple little explanation of loss, but communicated entirely though pictures and metaphor. My all-time favorite has not been my most popular, but it’s the one that speaks to a very important part of me — a post I wrote called “For Reuben,” about the death of my friend Reuben Mitchell.

I just realized all of my favorite pieces aren’t the funny ones, which is interesting because those are my favorites to write, so let me include my first “Inner Monologues of the Urban Outfitters Models” post. I’m not usually so dopey as to admit that I crack myself up, but when I invented Mr. Chicken … it still makes me giggle. And obviously, Ladypockets is an entire category onto itself … Ruth Bader Ginsburg is still my favorite.

Q. Tell us a bit about your writing process: do you keep to a set routine? Do you edit a lot or not at all? Do you have trouble finding time to blog?

Katherine Fritz having a great time blogging.A. I’ve been experimenting with this for awhile, to be honest. At one point, I set myself to a strict “once-a-week at minimum” schedule, and I found that the quality of my writing diminishing when I was just trying to meet an artificial deadline. I really prefer sitting down to write because I have a point to make or a story to share. A friend recently told me that she stops everything when she sees my latest post in her email because she knows that if I’m posting something, it’ll be worth it — it was such a huge compliment, although frankly I think it’s gotten inside my head somewhat. I mean, that is a lot to live up to!

I try to edit as I go, and I revise constantly. Inevitably, I catch two typos in the moments immediately after I press ‘publish’ … the worst!

I do sometimes find it difficult to find time to blog — my other life as a costume designer and a teaching artist is extremely busy, and those are both jobs which require my full focus to be in the room with other people. On the other hand, I find that those parts of my life feed into my blog completely — there’s so much rich material to draw from.

Q. How have readers responded to your writing?

A. I’m so fortunate in that most of my responses have been extremely, extraordinarily positive. So many women on the internet are not so fortunate, and I feel really lucky that I’ve never dealt with anything that comes close to a legitimate threat. Some of my readers are truly incredible people, and I’ve loved getting to feel like I know them intimately through the comments they leave on my blog. Every now and again, I can feel my ego getting a bit puffed up with all the love and admiration that is thrown my way, and it’s really useful sometimes to take all of that in, to smile and be grateful, and then let it all go and get back to work.

Q. Why did you choose to blog with WordPress?

A. On the advice of my friend Zach! He’s extremely funny and no longer has a blog, but it was hilarious while it lasted. I trust him with most things, and he definitely didn’t steer me wrong here.

Q. If you could go back to when you were getting started blogging and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?

A. Does it have to be just one? Because I can’t really pick between all of these: Relax. Breathe. Calm down. Enjoy the compliments and the attention, but don’t let it get to your head. Let go of your expectations. Trust yourself. Write. Write. Keep writing.

Speaker Spotlight: Russ Crandall

Russ Crandall, sitting on steps
Russ Crandall

Russ Crandall stays busy. He works full-time as an active-duty Russian translator and teacher for the US Navy. Every Tuesday he publishes a newly developed recipe on his award-winning blog The Domestic Man, which has a following of more than 64,000 people. He’s published two cookbooks and has a third coming out this summer. Plus, Russ is a regular contributor to Food and Wine magazine and was recently featured as a Yahoo Food Blogger of the Week.

Russ brings a candid but nuanced approach to food blogging, informed by his background in history and languages. He focuses on traditional, unprocessed, Paleo-friendly foods, and many of his recipes are inspired from cultures around the globe. Russ came to the Paleo movement after suffering a stroke at the age of 25 and then being diagnosed with an extremely rare autoimmune disorder called Takayasu’s Arteritis in 2007. After three years of frustration with the continuous steroid and immunosuppressant therapies used to treat his condition, he happened upon an article about how this crazy new thing called the Paleo diet could reverse autoimmune symptoms. Since Russ started eating a Paleo-friendly diet, he’s been able to end steroid treatment and look forward to a long, healthy life.

The stunning photographs that Russ takes of his food also makes The Domestic Man a treat to read. He currently uses a Canon 6D with a 50mm lens, and the care he puts into his photography and the overall look of his site really shows.

We’re so excited that Russ was able to tear himself away from his home in Pensacola, Florida, to present How I Found My Voice at Press Publish Phoenix on April 18 (and you can still get a ticket!).  We know you won’t want to wait that long to know more about him, though, so here’s our traditional speaker spotlight interview with Russ:

Q. What made you start blogging on The Domestic Man?

A. My friends and I had started a blog in 2007 that focused on movie, music, and video game reviews.  It was a lot of fun, but we had outgrown the concept by 2010.  I still wanted to keep blogging, so I started up The Domestic Man to pursue one of my other passions: cooking at home.  It was pretty haphazard at first, but I changed my eating habits later that year to focus more on the burgeoning Paleo movement, and it was only then that I found my voice and direction.

Russ holding The Ancestral Table
Russ holding his first cookbook, The Ancestral Table

Q. What kept you (and still keeps you) posting regularly?

A. Initially, I used the blog as a way to keep me accountable.  I figured that if I publicly declared that I was trying a new way of eating, I was going to have to stick with it.  After a while, I realized that other people were actually reading and using my recipes, so I felt accountable to them, too.  At this point, I like to think of my blog as a service to my readers.  Many food bloggers and cookbook authors seem to eventually move away from the “dirty work” of developing recipes and shift to a more lifestyle-centered blog.  I made a decision early that I’d always focus on the food, and everything else would be a bonus.

Q. What are a few of your favorite posts, and why?

Russ Crandall's Paleo Sweet and Sour Chicken
Russ Crandall’s Paleo Sweet and Sour Chicken

A. It’s hard to only pick a few — I think I’m my own site’s biggest fan!  One dish in particular that I am really fond of is my Sweet and Sour Chicken recipe.  Initially, I tackled the concept of re-creating a Chinese-American classic with pretty low expectations; but once I made it, I was blown away at how easy and tasty it was.  My readership agreed, and it’s been such a great experience that I’m writing a cookbook on that very concept (Paleo Take Out, out this summer).

Another favorite post is this one called A Brief History Lesson: Beef Bourguignon.  In the post, I deconstruct the individual history of every ingredient used in the dish, to show the amazing amount of history in every bite we take.  It was a lot of effort to check all of my work, but it was totally worth it.

Tendergrass Farms, photographed by Russ Crandall
Tendergrass Farms, photographed by Russ Crandall

Lastly, I really enjoyed writing this post about visiting and staying at a local farm for a weekend.  I spent the time discussing not only how the farm operated, but really dug into some philosophical questions about the direction of our farming industry.  It was enlightening and fun to spend time to think a little more deeply about how the food we eat gets onto our dinner tables.

Q. Tell us a bit about your writing process: do you keep to a set routine? Do you edit a lot or not at all? Do you have trouble finding time to blog?

A. I’m active-duty Navy, so it is difficult to keep the blog afloat.  In my first year I realized that I couldn’t post more than one recipe a week, so I made that my self-imposed requirement.  It’s worked, because I haven’t missed a week since I started the rule in 2011!  I learned early on that I needed to batch-develop most of my recipes in order to keep up with that schedule.  So on the weekend I’ll develop and shoot several recipes, which I can then spread out over time.  That night I’ll usually process the photos (tweak their attributes and resize them). I won’t start the front-end of the recipe (the history behind the dish, variations, etc) until a few days before I publish it, and I like to go over it at least three times before hitting the “Publish” button.

Q. How have readers responded to your writing?

A. I get all walks of life reading my blog, from the diehard Paleo eaters, to foodies looking to branch out, to harried parents just looking to put something on the table.  Each one responds differently, but I’ve found that despite blogging about food and diet (both very personal subjects), my commenters are really civil!  The feedback to my posts are mostly questions about the recipe – variations, clarification, or suggestions.  I love that, because it helps me tweak my recipe development and writing style.

Q. Why did you choose to blog with WordPress?

A. I played around with other blogging platforms first, but kept coming back to WordPress.  I love the simplicity and all-inclusive nature of platform – every tool I need is easy to find in a single source.  The social approach of WordPress is awesome too – from troubleshooting to sharing, I always feel like part of a community.

Q. If you could go back to when you were getting started blogging and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?

A. Quality is always more important than quantity.  It’s better to write one unforgettable post than ten mediocre posts!

Speaker Spotlight: Emily Austin

Do you ever wonder how successful bloggers became successful? Emily Austin of The Waiting ( started blogging in 2011, and by 2014 her blog had over 13,000 followers. In 2014, she was also selected as a BlogHer Voice of the Year and landed a job as a communications specialist for a local non-profit. Not bad, right? So how did she manage it?

Emily Austin with her daughter
Emily Austin with her daughter

Born and raised in Memphis, TN, Emily is a gentle person who is funny, loves to write, and yearns for connection in a way that has served her well in her blogging career. When she writes about trying to blog, her daughter’s 8-month birthday, or finding your people, Emily does so with empathy, frankness, and humor. You get the feeling that she’s a lot like you; she’s got some thoughts, and she just happens to write them down and share them with you on the internet. Her blog happens to have over 14,000 subscribers, but her voice is as candid and personal as when she started 4 years ago.

In Phoenix on April 18, Emily will be speaking about how she built her blog’s community of followers in a session titled, “Slow and Steady Wins the Race.” It’s full of not-easy answers to the question of how she got to where she is today via blogging, and we’re pretty excited to share it with our attendees. (In/near Phoenix? Get your ticket!) To tide you over until then, here’s Emily in her own words:

A photo of Emily AustinQ. What made you start blogging on The Waiting?

A. I had planned on starting a blog during the summer of 2011. I was about to turn 30 and I realized that there were still a lot of fairly basic grown-up things that I was inept at. The blog was going to chronicle me learning how to type (and yes, I am a professional writer who does not possess by-the-book keyboarding skills. There’s hope for us all.), how to change a tire, and how insurance actually works. Then, right as this blog-that-never-would-be was starting to take shape in my mind, I found out I was having a baby. Obviously, since no one blogs about their family and people who cannot operate a Xerox machine without spraining their brains should *totally* make small people, I decided to throw my hat in the parenting blog ring.

Q. What kept you (and still keeps you) posting regularly?

A. I’ve heard quite a few bloggers say that blogging is a lot cheaper than therapy, and this is totally the case for me. I need to write to retain what shred of sanity I still possess. It’s also a great way for me to chronicle my daughter’s development and my own decent into toddler madness.

Q. What are a few of your favorite posts, and why?

Picture of Emily Austin looking unenthusedA. The Reluctant Mommy Blogger is special to me because I wrote it out of pure frustration for being “just a mom” not only in my life but in my writing as well. The actual act of writing that post made me recognize the root of a lot of the malaise I was experiencing at the time. It also really struck a chord with other moms, so that was awesome.

I’ve also written a fair bit about my dad who died when I was in college, and I invariably love those posts. But my favorite is Meet Ed Pate, Salesman because it 100% celebrates who he was rather than the feelings of loss I associate with him.

Finally, I love this post that I wrote on my daughter’s first birthday. Reading it still makes me tear up a little. I seldom get all the words just right, but I think I got there with this one.

Q. Tell us a bit about your writing process: do you keep to a set routine?

A. When I was posting on The Waiting 2-3 times a week, I definitely had an organized routine, mostly because I was also a stay-at-home mom to a baby. I wrote when Cee slept, and luckily, she was a really good sleeper. Now that I’ve gone back to work full time and a significant portion of my job (and energy) is managing other blogs, my writing “routine” — if you want to call it that — basically consists of me writing until I fall asleep at the keyboard a couple times a week. Where I am right now, it’s more important for me to write a couple times a week than it is for me to actually post.

Q. Do you edit a lot or not at all?

A. It depends on the post. For the more cathartic, journal-y posts, I really only line edit and make sure there are no glaring errors, and I also make sure that I haven’t revealed anything so personal that it would violate the line of discretion I have around my family. I edit and polish the general parenting and humor posts a lot more heavily so I can cross-post them to websites and blogs other than The Waiting.

Q. Do you have trouble finding time to blog?

A. “Yes,” she types on her phone while making a lasagne and erecting a Duplo tower with her child.

Q. How have readers responded to your writing?

A. I am still absolutely astounded that anyone reads my blog at all, but I know better than to question it. I’m very blessed to be surrounded and supported by readers who run the gamut of parent and non-parent alike. Even though The Waiting is most easily categorized as a parenting blog, I like to think of it as a human-ing blog. We’re all doing the best we can with what we’re given, and I think that’s the chord my stuff strikes with folks.

Q. Why did you choose to blog with WordPress?

A. My husband suggested that I set my blog up on WordPress because, ahem, it’s easy to use and the tech support is great (I would need ease-of-use and support…a lot). Considering that he took me to see The Ring on our first date, it wasn’t the worst suggestion he’s ever made. I’ve stuck with WordPress over the years because the community of bloggers and readers I’ve found there are supportive and discerning. Everyone’s voice has validity.

Q. If you could go back to when you were getting started blogging and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?

A. Don’t ever hold back. The regret you’ll have for being completely candid pales in comparison to the regret you’ll have for never having written at all.

Phoenix sessions announced

I’m excited to announce that today we published 13 sessions to Press Publish Phoenix’s schedule!

When you buy your ticket for Press Publish Phoenix, you’re signing up for useful tutorials on tools like widgets and themes, tips and tricks from SEO and marketing experts, and a panel of successful bloggers discussing the many different financial opportunities that have come to them through blogging.

Successful bloggers of many stripes — humor, food, parenting, and crafting — are represented in our lineup, and they’ll each be talking about how they made their mark using WordPress. Plus, the Happiness Lounge will be staffed all day with experts, available to give you one-on-one help with your website.

Tickets are available now, and come with a one-year Premium upgrade or a one-year subscription to the VaultPress Backup Bundle ($99/yr plan).

Don’t miss out on any of these great sessions or the other fun stuff in store for you on April 18 at Press Publish Phoenix — get your ticket today!