12. Take on brave things… like being a keynote speaker at Blogpodium

Donna Williams of Funky Junk Interiors takes the stage at Blogpodium, Canada's largest blogging conference via FunkyJunkInteriors.net / FlowPhoto.com

Does this flannel wearin’ tool holdin’ girl look a little excited to you? 

Well, she sure was! 

And did you GASP at the mere presence of a flannel shirt at the largest blog conference in Canada?!

Well, there was a method to my madness. And here’s how it all went down…

Hotel room inside the Royal York, Toronto Ontario at Blogpodium via FunkyJunkInteriors.net

Where we left off – I had just arrived to Toronto and settled down in this incredible, 8th floor room at the Royal York. With the CN tower wonderfully illuminating a city night glow through my window, tomorrow was speech day…

The morning came fast. (Don’t they always?) As I got up and made my in room Keurig coffee (seriously!!), I looked at my chosen clothes, and as always, second guessed my choices. But I waved my hand in the air and reconvinced myself, “Nope! You have a plan. And you need to carry it through! They’ll get it.”

Oh I hope they get it… 🙂

And then I caught myself rehearsing my speech yet again. But my words kept changing… uhh… no. This won’t do.

“You need to just go and speak from your heart. WING IT. If it’s perfect, it’ll sound planned.”

That inner voice always knows what to say. Let’s go get some breakfast… 

Blogpodium, Canada's largest blogging conference via FunkyJunkInteriors.net
Quick recap… the night before, I specked out where the stage was located. Oh my goodness… this gorgeously grand, muffly cozy room did not feel intimidating one bit! I stood up on the stage, took this picture, and didn’t feel nervous at all.

Blogpodium, Canada's largest blogging conference via FunkyJunkInteriors.net / FlowPhoto.com
Well, the room looked a little different the next morning… 

So many tables, so many lovely people! Breakfast among blogger friends? Nothing like it!

But when speech time approached, I excused myself so I could ‘get into the zone.’ You get that, right?

I found a lovely quiet spot in the ladies’ rest room on a lounger. There was a sitting room in the restroom and it was exquisite. Perfection. 

And then it was time…

Donna Williams of Funky Junk Interiors takes the stage at Blogpodium, Canada's largest blogging conference via FunkyJunkInteriors.net / FlowPhoto.com
I went up there with a conservative black pinstriped jacket on, black T, funky jewellery littering one lapel, and torn jeans. Oh yes I did. Let’s call this one conservative funk. 🙂

My intro was made… but then I stalled.

I started again… but then lost my words, and came to a halt. 


“I’m sorry guys… I thought I could do this, but I can’t.”

More crickets.

“THIS way. MY FIX PLEASE? Sorry, I really thought I could do it without my fix. One moment please..”

With that, Ryobi Canada brought in my favorite tools, Urban Barn brought in my chosen upcycled home decor loves, and the table beside me was littered with fabulous, junk lovin stuff!

Donna Williams of Funky Junk Interiors takes the stage at Blogpodium, Canada's largest blogging conference via FunkyJunkInteriors.net / FlowPhoto.com
And that’s when I removed the blazer and put on my mom’s flannel shirt… and became… me.

Seriously… scroll between the two pics. Which one looks right? No contest in my eyes. 🙂

This segment was to bring home the importance of branding. My tools, junk and flannel shirt are part of who I am, and how I present myself. Another thing I’m (apparently) known for are pallets. I wonder why… 🙂

These are all normal, everyday things, but people think of me when they see some of this stuff, so that’s part of the branding package that I don’t even have to pay for.

See where I’m coming from?

And then the slideshow took off. I talked along with it, with very few notes.  

Jen, of Blogpodium desired my speech to be about how I stay authentic, and to divulge some my secrets.

And since you weren’t there, I’ll say this.

My authenticity derives from my own story. I went through some tough trials at the beginning of my blog career. And when you hit bottom, you have no where to go but up. 

So I slowly climbed my way out of that dark hole, and started doing the only thing I could. I scrounged off the side of the road, in order to decorate my home. I fired up a blog called Funky Junk Interiors, and… here I am, doing my best to encourage those that think they have to go without. Because they don’t.

All it takes is creativity, and a belief in yourself, and you can work up to your heart’s desires.

Ask me how I know.

Everything else I talked about was centred around my story. For it’s your story that changes you. I’m all about teaching because I needed teaching. I only want to do simple but cool things because that’s where I use to be and I get how it feels when you desire more but can’t do anything about it. 

So I poured it all out. I made them laugh, I made them cry, and hopefully they left inspired to the point of knowing they got this, just by being themselves.

After the speech, I sat to enjoy the rest. I glance down at my phone for a moment on Twitter, and that’s when my jaw absolutely dropped….

There was tweet after tweet after tweet of quotes from my speech. I’ve never seen anything like it!

And here they are… it’s long, but it’s a keepsake for me. 

I tried to cut and paste the feed but lost half my blog post due to corrupted file, so this will have to do… you know who you are. 🙂

– – – – – – –

Fantastic keynote speaker today!!

“be originally you…everyone else is taken”

“Be originally you. Everyone else is taken.”

Be originally you

I’m inspired and touched by Donna’s story of how she began her blogging journey.

“You look like you. You look like you blog.” Great quote. Dress like you.

“If I like it, someone else will like it” – thanks

“Don’t be hard on yourself. Be yourself.”

“Be originally you. Everyone else is taken”

thank you!!!! Super inspiring.

“Be originally you. Everyone else is taken” love this!

thx for sharing your story with us

Don’t be hard on yourself, be yourself.

‘don’t be hard on yourself, just be yourself!” more great advice

One blog does not fit all. Be originally you!

One blog does not fit all

“from day job to dream job” inspiring story

Love hearing from Donna, her words are so inspirational, glad to call her a friend!

“Have faith in yourself, read your mantra, stay motivated, and take the jump!”

“Partners first. Money second.”  THIS x1000000. Work with good people.

This lady is the real deal. Inspirational & genuine keynote by

“Social media is a necessary evil. Use it efficiently. Tools like Viraltag allow you to double up.”

Numbers are not that important, it is what you do with these numbers. Advice by Donna Williams

inspiring words! “Stop competition by being original.” Everybody take notes!

hey lovely Layla, Donna is chatting about you:)

‘Focus on your content – the rest will take care of itself’

Focus on creating quality content and everything else will follow.

Focus on your content, the rest will come.

“Focus on your content first, the rest takes care of itself”

“It’s not all about numbers. It’s what you do with those numbers.” Wish more brands would think like this.

“Focus on your content. Do your own thing. You will grow from there.”

“When I focus on my content, the rest takes care of itself.”

“When I focus on my content, the rest takes care of itself,”

when you focus on your content, the rest takes care of itself

“How do you grow? Focus your content and the rest takes care of itself.”

Speaker Donna is full of great advice for bloggers! => What competition? Be original.

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and learn as you DIY and blog. Use screws instead of nails. (:

“When I focus on my content, the rest takes care of itself”

How to deal with the competition? Be original!

“Be original in what you do”

Write a mantra for your blog and stay authentic to it

“How do you deal with competition? Be original and don’t think about what other people do”

be original with what you do and there is no such thing as competition

“push yourself into new zones”

“Fill lots of dumpsters. If you don’t, you’re not pushing yourself enough.” So good

learn, grow, make mistakes – use screws instead of nails:) great advice from

Write a mantra! Stay true!

“Learning is critical. Google it. Use Facebook Groups. Fill a dumpster, or three!”

Create a blog mantra and stay authentic to it

So many bloggers relate to this…

Write a mantra for your blog.

Thanks, Donna for validating my love of hoarding ‘stuff’ for future projects!

“Go home a write a mantra for you blog. It will change the way you blog.”

“Ditch pride. Allow help. Take risks. Believe in yourself. Trust others. Become a better you.”

‘write a mantra for your blog’

If you’re going thru a difficult time, your story is not over

my hardships gave me a new life:)

“Ditch your pride. Take risks. Trust others. Let the hardships give you a new life.”

ideas can give you ‘things’ 🙂 love this!

“My day job gets in the way of my success”

“I get it, there are roadblocks. But there is one way to get back on track… tell your story.”

lovely story

Donna’s speech makes me want to move to the country.

if creating for your blog doesn’t make you feel all ‘woohoo’, then rethink it & re-focus

Love her too!! Great keynote to start the day!

Homework tonight-find something that I can use to brand myself for my blog

“We are writers, bloggers, photographers. We are so many different things. How do we define what we do?

Think of something inexpensive to brand yourself with as a blogger. Wise advice

Donna is shaking things up at Blogpodium and sharing tips on branding blogs (and looking chic in flannel to boot!)

your brand is your story to tell

“Brand yourself. Pick something that is you. Something that represents you.”

“Pick something and brand yourself with it”

Know your brand and embrace it.

So glad Donna made the trip to Toronto for Blogpodium today – her energy this morning is already inspirational!

‘what is the one thing you can brand yourself with?’ asks Donna ‘people will associate that with you/blog’

giving props to Urban Barn for their great stuff

Listening to Donna funky at Blogpodium . She is the ultimate DIYer. Looooove her passion.

love the energy coming from

Of course Donna’s keynote message is just as fun as her blog.

he is so real genuine and delightful.

Donna has only been speaking for 30 secs and she’s already inspiring!

something you love and are passionate about can BE your career

Welcome Donna! Very excited for your keynote 🙂

We are so honoured to welcome our Keynote Speaker, Funky Junk Donna, to the Blogpodium stage! Let’s give her a warm welcome!

– – – – – –

My eyes blurred as I read all the tweets. I was so very touched that so much seemed to get through just the way I intended. My heart was completely full.

And then it was time to take in the rest of the conference.

FlowPhotoBlogPodium.19 PM
This table made me LAUGH! And learn so very much. You all are so amazing. 

blogpodium conference day-8705
Me, Lucy via Craftberry Bush, Jen of Fusion Mineral Paint 

These girls… how I love these girls! I met so many bloggers I’ve wanted to meet. I’m so glad Lucy was among them. 

And Jen! Talk about a new friendship meant to be… you’ll soon see why. 

blogpodium conference day-8686
Celebrities Scott McGillivray and Brian Baeumler of HGTV fame! 

I had a chance to chat with Scott (first name basis, you know..), and he was soooo personable. His speech was truly inspirational for any blogger, very down to earth, relatable advice.

These guys were so great. Did I tell you we go way back? Oh yeah… they were sitting in the front row when they heard I was a key note, giving me the thumbs up all the way through! So grateful they had time to come just for me!

We’re all hookin’ up for the HGTV Christmas party. See you soon, guys!

#dreamon #I’mkidding #bigtime #butIcanstilldream

blogpodium conference day-8702
Meeting old friends, making new friends, hanging out with some major HTGV stardom, taking in the classes, talking it up with the sponsors, amazing food, beautiful decor, staying in such a high end hotel, in a fabulous city, it was all so overwhelming in the very best of ways.

I am so very honoured to have been a part of Blogpodium. Jen, thank-you so very much. I’ll never forget the experience and new friendships made.

And a very special thank-you to Flow Photo for the pictures! I couldn’t have shared this story without them!

– – – – –

And then I met a girl… her name was Jen and she approached me and said she loved my blog.

Jen just so happens to be Fusion Mineral Paint, and Homestead House, creator of Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint. That’s all. 🙂

And she offered to take me around Toronto the very next day… a full day tour. And I so very excitedly and gratefully accepted….

Next up? Jen and I get high… so very VERY high… and so MUCH more!

Stay tuned… 

Read all the Toronto adventure series to date HERE

Visit all dream box building updates HERE


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Categories: 31 Days Dream Box Building, Blogging, Career building, Inspiration, Junk Drawer, Travel
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23 thoughts on “12. Take on brave things… like being a keynote speaker at Blogpodium

  1. Donna! How great.yep…looked 100% you, in your moms flannel shirt. You’re a true inspiration and I often send your articles on to my two girls who are just about to graduate collage. They know they can do anything with hard work…but it’s nice to have great role models. Congrats ❤️Mimi

  2. This is great! I love your energy and completely agree about the branding. I recently did my first stage appearance and I got my branding about half correct. I was building on stage and quickly discovered you have to dress the part all the time when you create. It was still fun but I learned something and that was key. I have a gardening blog where I build all my props and I have so much fun putting it all together. I kicked this project off the first of Jan 2014 and I’m having a blast. I plan to step things up after my son graduates at then end of the year as I’ll have additional time to do more. I love that you shared this experience because it’s inspiring and reminds me to not give up. Your blog and your actions have been helpful and who knows maybe one day we’ll have the opportunity to build together on stage.
    Have a Great Sunday – this post was Awesome!
    Carole @ Garden Up green.

  3. Hi Donna!
    I just want to say that I am so sad that I could not make it to Toronto for that conference! When I read on your blog that you would be the keynote I gasped! I am such a fan of your work and I am just in Attica New York which is about 2 to 3 hours away from there! I am an full time elementary art teacher here in this little town and while I do that job along with decorating homes and dressing people on the side I am trying to help get my husband through nursing school and take care of our two kids and now new puppy! Yikes! A little crazy and stressful right now but we are almost through it all. He will be graduating in December! I originally started a blog thinking that it could be another part time job that could help my family and I get through a tough financial time. For the last three years I wanted my husband to focus on school so we were down to one income. The fact that I thought it could be a part time job is actually hilarious looking back on it now because if there is one thing I have learned through working very loosely on a quiet blog is that it is a full time job that takes time and a lot of hard work to make successful. I then came to the conclusion that I enjoy writing about and showcasing my creative endeavors at home and else wear and if I can help just one person it is all worth it. Sorry that was a lot of words but I just wanted to give you some background info. Anywho, I just love your creative mind and funky taste and felt freaked at the thought of being able to attend a conference where you spoke. So I am totally hoping and crossing my fingers that you will be there next year! I promise I won’t miss it! I know you blew them all away and I am so glad that you were your true self as usual! I am so excited to hear more about your trip! You rock sista!

    • Aw, sorry I missed out on meeting you, Sara!

      Here’s hoping my travels will take me near your area one day again soon! New York is most certainly on my bucket list… BIG time! Is that any closer? hahah

      Keep doing what you love and amazing things will happen for you! And others around you.

  4. You are so very brave! You’ve already inspired me (I bugged my shipping store) to acquire pallets 🙂 well, 2 so far 😀 You are inspirational, intelligent and did I mention, brave?
    Congratulations, on a job well done

  5. Wow Donna.
    I would add writer to your list of accomplishments. It is great to relive that fun day from your perspective.
    You were and are authentic. You are a great inspiration. You are well branded.
    being a farm girl I always think of cows actually being branded, Ouch!

  6. Wow, what a fantastic opening to your speech. I was smiling at the computer monitor and giving you a thumbs up as I read. Wish I had been there. Blogpodium – never heard of it but as a fellow Canadian blogger it has now been added to my bucket list. I love that you’re a Canadian blogger who’s passion and authenticity is making it big! You’re an inspiration for us Canadian bloggers daring to climb the rungs of the Blogging Ladder.

    • Aw Marie… sweetest comment ever! I’m not sure about the making it big part, but I’m going to continue to share encouragement and inspiration as long as others still decide it’s worth their visit. I just really feel it’s what I’m suppose to do. 🙂

  7. I just knew you would be great and I even told you so. What a great experience that was and you know because you did so well you are going to be asked again and again. I’m so jealous you got to meet Bryon, I just love him. I’m glad you had a good time and some of the things you were quoted as saying ring true no matter what you do and where you are in life.

  8. Oh my goodness Donna…this blog sounds just like my day today…except that I was teaching 5th graders about the great creativity of our Lord. I told them that since we were made by Him we can do and think creativley too and can do wonderful amazing things with His gift. Thanks for sharing yours – I love it!!
    Oh, and I got a hug from THE cutest 5th grade boy EVER, almost as good as a pic with THOSE two guys, haha!

  9. So happy to see what’s happening with your amazing talents that you share so openly with all of us,this was truly amazing.God bless you for all your doing☺️a friend in sunny California

  10. Donna, I can honestly feel the energy from this room! I would have loved to be there. Is it an annual event? You rock…of course.

  11. Oh my gosh girl, you never stop to amaze me. Looks like you had the time of your life, and the comments, tears in my eyes. So proud, Dad and Mom are laughing up in heaven at their girl, shirt and all!!

  12. Wow! Sounds like you rocked the house! You are a very talented young lady. You are also very wise – “if you like it someone else will like it to” – that is very very true. And your outfit was adorable. You go girl!!

  13. Wow, that sounded exhilarating and a lot of fun. Blogging can really change your life, if you let it, hey? The green glass inkwell (? looks like) is adorable in your table collection.I’m such a keener for that colour. I hadn’t been by before, I think I followed something here from Pinterest, LOL. What an inspiring place you have here, off to snoop around Cheers!

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