Okay, so I have finally regained my eyesight. (Last year the hotel tried to kill me. This year American Airlines did. After flight cancellations, a standby list of over 200 and finally catching the last flight out of Chicago, I made it home. With two severe eye infections. I was told there were ‘ulcers’ on my eyes. Ulcers. On my eyes. What the hell? So, computer time has been limited. Anyway…) Since this has the potential of being very long, I will break it down into sections that may make it more reader friendly.
I was able to go to several sessions, though I did miss quite a few I wanted to go to. I obviously had to go to the State of the Momosphere session seeing as just 2 years ago a mom panel almost did not even happen because “Why would anyone go listen to what Moms have to say?” so Jenny, Meghan and I had to be convincing that the panel would in fact be a success. (It was!) Now, just 2 years later the Mom panel has become standing room only. (Go, Moms!) The other panels (or is it sessions?) I went to were very well moderated and had terrific panelists. They all were informed, entertaining and great speakers. Some sessions I enjoyed just listening and hearing other thoughts. Some were informative and I feel I really was able to walk away with new information that will benefit me. And there was one or two that I wasn’t sure I would enjoy at all and find myself listening intently to what was being said. One on a topic I knew nothing about but learned enough to want to hear more. And one that I was able to make excellent professional connections afterwards. All in all, the sessions I attended were well worth it. Even the closing political keynote. (Still, no need to be apologetic that I am from Texas, Ms. Edwards.) Those I was unable to go to had excellent live bloggers covering them not to mention the actual BlogHers who were there sharing what they learned. (Thank you live bloggers!)
My only regret is that you had to either stay from beginning to end to attend a session in each track or you had to choose what to miss if you had to head back to the hotel for any reason. Friday I spilled coffee all over myself which necessitated my heading back to the hotel. There goes a good hour. The location of the conference and the hotels were both amazing and I am not complaining. Just sad I missed a few sessions I wanted to go to.
The pranks, parties and pratfalls
By now I know you have heard about the story of the Stinky Cheese making the rounds at BlogHer. Great prank. When it wasn’t in my room. Or in my roommate’s bag. Or when I had to save the world from the Stinky Cheese. Otherwise, the horror, fear and trauma it caused was hilarious. I have never seen such dry heaves over cheese as I did at BlogHer. Seriously wrong. But seriously funny.
There were a lot of parties going on. I made it to a few, but not all. I am only one person with only one liver. Some of these parties were amazing and “all inclusive because we love all of our BlogHers” and some that were more exclusive and not pleased by all of the BlogHers who did not have official name-tags and were treated with disrespect after initially being welcomed in. And then of course there was the “what started as small but everyone is invited including that nice woman in the elevator who must want to join us because you are so cool and hip being at the W” party. Yes, the ever inclusive 2603 party. Most. Awesome. Inclusive. Party. (To be shut down by two of the hugest specimen of human males ever.) I got to get thrown out of a party! So college fun! Thanks, Y and Lena. Best burgers and drinks ever. Seriously. Never loved a burger more than the one that night.
And you would think that when you are in a group of friends and someone (I won’t mention names) accidentally has her wine glass fall out of her hands while in the lobby of the hip and trendy W lobby, her friends would make sure she is okay and all is right with the world. You would be wrong. The moment the glass hit the floor and before her “Oh shit” was bellowed across the lobby, we scattered like roaches at night when a light is flipped on. Gone. Abandoned her. In fact, I joined Biff and Barbie at the bar and totally pretended to be with them the whole time. They completely went with it and acted as if I was part of their date. So. Bad. In my defense, I did give said un-named person the rest of my wine. I mean, I am not totally cold. And the wine could have had the effect of making her forget we bolted. Doubtful but possible.
The crushes, the networking and the babies
How do I ever link to all of the amazing women I was able to meet for the first time, see again after a year or reconnect with after a year of emails, phone calls and shared experiences? I don’t know how I can. I would certainly leave someone out. I can’t do that. It would be wrong because everyone I talked to was so kind and so warm that I would be crushed if I accidentally left one out because I am still Blogstipated after the conference. However, if even one of you wants me to link to these wonderful women in a post, let me know and I will do it. You are all just that amazing. Oh, and if I introduced myself to you on numerous occassions, I am really not stupid. Not really. Just Over.Whelmed. To the point of having great conversations with a blogger I adore so much and then not even realizing it was HER the whole time. She of a blog I read daily. Okay, maybe I am stupid. So? Link in an entry or blogroll it? You tell me.
What about some authors that have helped me along the way as well? I can share with you that I did finally meet a friend who has helped me immensely with my book. Yes, I am talking about the wonderful Jen Lancaster. If you think she is funny and awesome in her books and on her blog, you are not even scratching the surface of how warm, funny and (sorry, Jen) nice she is in person. And the infamous Fletch. The man reminds me so much of my husband with how he “handles” Jen. (But can you really “handle” anyone named Jen/Jenn/Jenny/Jennifer? I don’t think so.) AND she and I are working on a Special Project that will be underway as soon as we get our manuscripts to a point where we can do it justice. Because, these book things we are working on are priority right now. We are excited, so pretend to be excited with us. I also was able to meet author Wendy McClure who not only gave me some incredible literary advice, but we shared some personal moments that both of us wish we were not in a position to be able to share together.
I would be remiss if I did not mention my incredible soul-sister roommate, Busy Mom. Did you know she has a real name and so does her family? Who knew? Let me tell you something about this woman. When trying to get her roommate out of bed, she found the perfect way to send me rolling out of bed laughing. How? By throwing open the infamous shuttered bathroom “window” and belting out The Sound of Music. Way more awesome than a wake-up call.
And a personal thank you to Izzy for staying up with me until 2:30am talking, decompressing and sharing our thoughts on blogging, life and the conference. I know I stole your sleep, but it meant a lot to have a quiet moment.
And the blog crushes I was able to meet in person. Numerous and incredibly nice and warm and open to any conversation breaking into that was going on. Instead of trying to link to every one of them, I am going to create a blogroll of them that I insist you go visit them. Insist. So look for me to put the blogroll up so that you can go read my crushes. They deserve your time.
I was finally able to meet Nataly of Work It, Mom! who interviewed me a while back for her Daring Females series. (Great interviewer, by the way.) We have emailed and such since I started working with them, but the face to face meeting was so nice. Especially when I was coffee-less and hungry and had the personality of a doorknob. And yet she still did not run from me regretting her decision to work together. Bless you, Nataly.
And oh, the babies. So many adorable babies. They made my uterus twitch for more. Of course, my husband’s radar went off from many, many states away with one phone call declaring, “I sense you are around babies. No babies. Do not touch the babies. No, Jenn. No!” Damn male baby radar super sense of his! I kissed heads of many babies. One of which I did not realize was nursing at the time and even though I got permission from his mom, I felt badly about interrupting his meal. I kept asking what vendor booth had the adorable babies as swag, but no one would tell me. AND none of them would let me “borrow” theirs for a few years. (Selfish new moms and their silly attachments to their babies.) But, unlike in prior years, I did not once have to seek out a baby for a desperate lactating mom. They all had either babies or pumps to relieve their agonies. (Yeah, for the pump & dump!)
And, finally, the swag.
I just learned this year that swag stands for Stuff We All Get. Learn something new all the time. I am so easily impressed. I really only have one thing to say about the swag. Okay, I never have one thing, but something to keep in mind…it was FREE. You did not shell out $20 for every item in your bag. No one duct taped you to a chair and made you proclaim your undying love and devotion to it. It is swag. And pretty good, in my book. The break and shake martini glass. How fun is that? Loved it. And the potholder? Please, like I cook? But I have it and will use it. (To hand to my husband when he cooks.) Nothing was trashed. Nothing was dissed. Nothing was unappreciated. If you hated it, then pass it to the person beside you. They may really need/want/covet it. Just remember that it isn’t a person to person swag bag. No one size fits all bag of goodies. Love it or hate it, at least you got it. /end soapbox
Great job to everyone involved in planning this conference. It was amazing. You pulled off a great event.
Amazing BlogHers I was able to spend time with: I miss you already. I mean, I really do. Call me? *grin*
[Update] I totally forgot to add…AND I had my very own lap dancer. I feel so shamed to have forgotten her. My bad! 😉