#BlogHer11 in Sixes

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In an effort not to just give a timeline of “I did this and then I did this and then I went here,” I'm going to make some lists. Everyone loves lists, right?
There's no significance to the number six; I just randomly asked Twitter for a number and @MojoMamaBlog answered first!I've split my lists into 6 (Hey! That's totally a coincidence!) cateogries… Highlights will be specifically conference related things I loved, and Critiques will also be conference-related. Clothes are obvious, just some general observations. Swag is some of my favorite, or Max's favorite, from the goodies I brought home, and People and Parties are pretty self-explanatory, I think! Regarding the People category, it's based on people I have photos of/with, so please please please please don't be offended if you aren't on the list!So, let's get to the lists! In no particular order, my #Blogher11 in Sixes…

Highlights

  1. Bumping into/meeting/thanking the 2 women who are directly responsible for my blogging the way I do now (Being “a blogger” instead of just “someone with a blog”). Gwen Bell was one of the organizers of Reverb10 last year, a daily blogging challenge from December, and Rita Arens, who works for BlogHer and was the one who sent the email asking if they could syndicate my self-portrait post on Blogher.com. And, I only cried a little bit!
  2. The “Own Your Beauty: If we can change the conversation, can we change the world?” session on Saturday. An incredible panel of bloggers, talking to a room full of incredible women, talking about beauty, aging, and raising the next generation of women. It was the only kind of “inspirational” session I attended, and I'm glad I did!
  3. The food options for allergies; I'm lucky in that I don't have to deal with allergies, but I have friends who do, and know enough to be very appreciative of the Gluten-Free and Vegan tables set up for every meal and snack time.
  4. Voices of the Year; I'd heard things, “Bring your tissues” was a big one, but I didn't know much about the event itself… I'd read a few posts that were nominated, but wasn't totally clear on what it was. What it was, was magic. Posts read out loud, by their authors. Funny stuff about what some hipsters claim they'd grab in a fire, to heartwrenching posts about red underwear. Amazing stories of recovery, and some “walk a mile in my shoes” tales. I loved getting to hear some of the real emotion behind the words, and have set a goal for next year to write something I'm proud enough of to submit for 2012.
  5. #OperationGlory. I already posted a little about it, but seriously. I still can't listen to “Edge of Glory” without dancing a little bit. It was incredible to be a part of it, and the women I met while preparing.
  6. The air. It was Electric. The community that came together is/was incredible. I've heard rumors of drama, but A) It's bound to happen when you've got almost 4000 women all in one place, B) I was blissfully unaware of it. I didn't have any bad interaction with people, beyond the TSA agent who stepped on my barefoot toe and chipped my nail polish, so my impressions of everyone ended up positive. Even the couple of ladies I had less-than-stellar first impressions of redeemed themselves before the weekend was over.

Critiques

  1. The Geek Bar is something I was really, really excited about. The availability of WordPress education was the main reason one of my sponsors agreed to send me, and since I've been wanting to port over for some time now, I was really looking forward to getting pointed in the right direction for my relocation.
  2. Yup, The Geek Bar gets two entries in this list, I was *that* disappointed. It's my understanding that this was the first year they did this format, and it really felt that way. I'd signed up for a 15 minute, small group conversation about WordPress. What I found (after wandering aimlessly around the room for several minutes) was a group of about a dozen people sitting around a table, talking about how to share a YouTube video. If I get back to a future BlogHer, and they offer this Geek Bar format, I'll give it another try, because I heard some sessions were good, it was just my interests that lacked, I guess.
  3. Expensive hotel and city I understand that they want a great destination for people, but once I'm sitting in a conference room or rocking out at a party, I don't care if I'm in San Diego or Tulsa.  (Well, I might care about Tulsa, no offense to Oklahomans!) A grande coffee was more than $3 at Starbucks, and even the “special rate” at the hotel was close to $200 a night (or something… I didn't deal with that side of things! LOL). I loved having the Gaslight district so close by for exploring, but at what overall cost?
  4. Private official event registration There were a bunch of events announced at the last minute; a lunch with Jane Lynch, a workout with Bob Harper… all of these limited attendance events fill up in minutes, and it makes it incredibly difficult for West Coast/working outside of the home types to get access in time to sign up. I think the Jane Lynch thing filled up in 2 minutes or something… It would be awesome if they could release limited registrations at staggered times to give everyone a better chance to get in.
  5. Arrive on Wednesday This is totally on me, and has nothing to do with BlogHer itself, but I really wish I'd gotten in a day earlier. Besides the Pathfinder Day that I'd love to do someday, I wish I'd had a little more time to explore and just relax. I didn't even *see* the hot tub!
  6. Oatmeal Yes, I understand that Quaker was a sponsor for Saturday's breakfast, but that oatmeal got nasty after a while… and yes, this is just because I needed one more critique!

Wear what you love I'm so glad I didn't only shop my closet and got that sparkly pink dress! I loved it, and can't wait for us NorCal bloggers to plan a fancy GNO so I can rock it again! Clothes

  1. I was comfortable; wore either flats or my one pair of extra-comfy Born sandals. Wearing clothes I love made a big difference to me… when I feel good, I'm more confident, which makes me more outgoing.
  2. Bloggers are a gorgeous, stylish bunch! Seriously. I'd read in advance that people would be wearing everything from yoga pants to skirt suits, and it really was true. I saw the whole range throughout the weekend. Even the parties had varying levels of dress… I didn't even bother changing on Saturday night, I just wore what I'd been wearing all day.
  3. Change shoes midday Even if you're wearing flats at all times, it's nice to have the change in just how your toes are squished, just what part of your heel gets rubbed.
  4. Custom clothes/accessories Someday, I'll have a t-shirt with my blog logo or a necklace with my Twitter handle… these were some of the most adorable things I saw.
  5. A cardigan I read it everywhere, “Bring a cardigan for the conference rooms! They get cold!” And then every room I walked into on Friday was warm/bordering on too warm. On Saturday, I left my sweater in the room, and promptly froze nearly to death in a couple of sessions. Lesson learned.
Yes, BOTH of those are 100% swag.

Swag

  1. Solar Cell Phone Charger I got this handy little gadget from a swag get-together, and it was supplied by Imagine Toys. Such a handy little thing, especially in 2 weeks when we're camping and my sister's baby is due while we're gone! LOL
  2. Jeans I managed to snag a spot for a professional fitting with Lee Jeans, and am anxiously awaiting delivery of my new jeans! It's really nice to have a totally neutral person be totally honest with you while jeans shopping! I'd show you a picture, if I wasn't still waiting for delivery! Darn these legs of mine, needing long length and they didn't bring any!
  3. Dr. Scholls Custom Orthotics You know that crazy machine at the drug store that you stand on ad it analyzes your feet and tells you which pair of $50 orthotics you should buy? Yeah, I got a pair of those, and I can't wait to try them out… just need cool enough weather for me to wear my Cons!
  4. Grocery coupons We made a trip to the grocery store the other night with a handful of freebie coupons in my hand… ended up redeeming more then $30 in free stuff, and I have more to use in the future! Coupons are good: easy to get home, don't make my luggage heavier.
  5. Dole Fruit Crisps OMG, so good! It's a little fruit cup, but comes with a crispy topping… they suggest you warm it up first, and the Apple Cinnamon one was delcious, and my parents really liked the Apple Pear I gave them.
  6. T-Mobile Flying Monkey I'm only putting this on here because it's totally Max's current favorite, but it rotates fave status with the Chuck the Truck DVD, Wondertube and Hot Wheels car. The monkey has rubber bands in his arms, so you can launch him like a slingshot, and when he flies, he screams like a monkey. It gets old fast, but Max adores it.

People

Me, @elainea and @bargainshopmom at CheeseburgHer
@frelle, me, Leila's tiny hat and @oldtweener at Sparklecorn
The ladies of #OperationGlory Photo credit: Modchik
@OhYeah_Her, me and @WendyWillBlog
Me and @dontspeakwhinese
Me, @galitbreen, @mamatrack, @farewellstrangr, @madwomandiary, @mytimeasmom

Parties

  1. Sparklecorn The best party by FAR! I haven't danced that much, or had that much fun in a long freaking time, if ever! It really was all it had been talked up to be, and I had an amazing time.
  2. Clever Girls “I'm with the Brand” private event This was only OK. It was the first real party I attended, and don't know how long I would have hung out if not for my snarky soulmate, Leila keeping me entertained. I think the first night is a little soon to have a karaoke/dance contest event; I know I wouldn't been WAY more into that come Saturday night!
  3. People's Party I didn't get there until like 10:45, and it ended at 11. I heard it was good, but the highlight for me was getting to meet The Bloggess and snapping a pic with her.
  4. Sweet Suite This was an event put on by The Big Toy Book, and when someone said toys, I knew I wanted to check out the party, and I was thrilled when I got off the waitlist and got a ticket. It was my first event of the weekend, and I was on my own, so I made the rounds to the vendors, chatted with them a bit, had a glass of champagne and headed back to the hotel. But the swag was great, and Max and my nieces made out like a bandit there!
  5. Aiming Low It was loud and hot and crowded. There were cool tattoos that said “Internets. Hell yeah” or something, but it was too much and I was exhausted. I made a lap around the room and went back to my room. #partypooper
  6. CheeseburgHer The official closing party of the weekend, I tried to stay, but just couldn't do it. I was exhausted and with an early flight on Sunday morning, I only lasted about an hour. I ate a McDonald's french fry, had a drink, and went back to my room to pack and organize swag. The highlight was getting to meet Kit from Blog Dangerously. And the french fries, if I'm being honest.

So, that's it. My BlogHer11 in sixes! I'm pretty much positive I'll think of more stuff I meant to mention, so I'll do a follow-up post again next week! LOL

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13 Comments

  1. Ok, I thought I spent a fair amount of time with you, but clearly next year I need to follow you everywhere. You got great swag!

    Great recap – love that picture of the group of us 🙂

  2. I am trying SOOOOO hard not to be jealous , but it's not working. 😉

    Iam so glad you had a good time, got great stuff, laughed, danced, cried, enjoyed and came home to tell us all about it. I love reading these posts!

  3. Great re cap post!! Love the pictures and yes I agree…Sparklecorn is by far the best party. Did you see my post with Amy (@madwomandiary) biting my ass?

    #GoodTimes

  4. I think this may have been some of the best critiques i've read. I totally agree about the Geek bar being disappointing.

  5. I love reading all of the recap posts.

    It sounds like you had a really amazing experience, besides the Geek Bar 🙁

    Also, I think I have that pink sparkly dress. I bought it for Vegas this year when I went with the hubs.

  6. I enjoyed this! I plan to go to BlogHer next year, so I'm taking in all the recaps I can.
    Came from the WOE linkup…

  7. The number six, yeah,you're rocking it! I agree with so many of your observations, the shoe & sweater thing made a massive difference in comfort level. I also LOVED Sparklecorn, aren't our people beautiful?

    thanks for bringing my mind back to a great conference!

  8. I'm so sorry I didn't get to meet you.

    There was so much going on for just those 4 days.

    But what a memory.

    It felt like Disneyland for grown ups to me.

    All those avatars come to life, so surreal.

    Going to NYC for BlogHer 12?

    I will look for you, I've heard your tall..my favorite flavor in people.
    xo

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