After Blogher11, I wrote “Blogher11 in Sixes” so I'm going to go ahead and make that a thing and do the same.
- The fashion show: I don't know if there's much I can say that I didn't already talk about in this post, so go read that and maybe you'll know why it's a highlight. Because it was THE highlight of all highlights. The only word is amazing.
- Speaking as part of a panel about building community: I don't know if I can quite describe the thrill of a DM from @MrLady on Twitter, saying “Hey girl. Any chance you want to join a panel at BlogHer with Disqus, to talk about community building and comments, both as a blogger and the SM manager for a brand?” Because I guess Shannon gets some of her hotness from Ryan Gosling, and OMG YES SHE REALLY JUST ASKED ME IF I WANT TO SPEAK AT BLOGHER!
- Speaking at open mic: I got to close the Listen to Your Mother Open Mic salon! I was the last piece chosen, and the only less-than-perfect part is that the internet connection crapped out a couple of people before me, so I was unable to pull the image, which is the basis for the post, up on the screen. The piece I read is called “You Get 940 Weeks” and you have to look at the photo to really understand it. (So I apologize if you were there that night and didn't get to see the image. Go look now!)
- Being called “The Hugger button girl,” which actually ties with “I've seen the #HugHer13 hashtag but didn't know what it was about!” A silly idea I had in 2011 came to fruition this year, and I couldn't be happier with the reactions I got from people. Interesting observation: The non-huggers almost ALWAYS wanted more that one button, in case theirs got lost. Also, many non-huggers are married to fellow non-huggers, and requested buttons for their spouses.
- Being surrounded by my tribe: When I got in on Wednesday afternoon, it started right away. Waiting in line to check in, I was greeted by Melisa, Liz and Momo, members of the BlogHer team who I happen to adore. That night, the hotel hosted a social hour thing, and everywhere I turned, I bumped into people I know. I was convinced I knew every. blogger. in. the. world. until I realized that it was only Wednesday, and only my fellow mega-geeks had arrived yet. The normal ones wouldn't show up until the conference actually started. You know, on Thursday. Or even Friday.
- The gathering: This is different from my tribe. This is the energy. The magic. The rising ocean lifting all boats. It's the beauty of the giantness that is BlogHer. It's a shared thread, no matter the subject matter. I know, in that space, that there's a “me too” for every single thing I can think of. And it's unlike anything else.
- Long shuttle ride to convention center: I think it's about 3 miles from the Sheraton to McCormick? It was, admittedly, not as bad as I had mentally prepared myself for, but it was tough. With the buses only leaving every 15-20 minutes, what started as running 5 minutes late could quickly turn into being 30 minutes late, which turns into “The bus drop off is HOW FAR from the session I want?” which logically becomes “I should just skip the session I guess… it's more than half over now.”
- Missing Gale Ann Hurd due to fashion show prep: I loved being in the fashion show, but am a little bummed I missed out on someone I was really looking forward to hearing. There's a video somewhere, right?
- Not McDonld's burgers and fries at CheeseburgHer: Not that I'm normally a huge fan of Mickey D's, but there seemed to be something wrong with having kinda fancy hotel catering burgers and BlogHer branded paper bags. *Disclimar: I've never actually worn the paper bag hat. These might have been superior bags?
- Lack of WiFi on lower levels of hotel: The ballrooms where some of the parties happened, the conference room where we spent hours getting ready for the fashion show? No WiFi. You can't just cut a blogger off like that! It's worse than swimming immediately after eating a big meal! It's just dangerous!
- Stuck on bus, waiting to depart for convention center: See #1. Buses only left every 15-20 minutes, even when there were 3 or 4 of them stacked up.
- Did I mention shuttling to the convention center?
Clothes I Wore
- Fresh Produce Infinity Dress: I was lucky enough that Fresh Produce Sportswear agreed to be my wardrobe sponsor for the conference, and they sent me these 2 gorgeous (and comfy!) dresses to wear in Chicago. This is the first one, and I fell in love with the neckline when I saw it on their website. It's a great weight for summer, and so easy to wear!
- Fresh Produce Faux-Wrap Dress I love a good wrap dress, and this was a perfect pick for the South Walton White party I got invited to! I paired it with this gorgeous layered necklace and have actually worn this outfit several times this summer, including to Max's preschool graduation. Again, it's effortless and comfortable and I get a ton of compliments whenever I wear it.
- eShakti print dress: I've told you before how much I love eShakti, but this was actually the only piece I packed for Chicago. It's comfy and has a really fun print, so it was a no-brainer for something easy to change into after the fashion show.
- Red cardi: I'm a sucker for red. Red shoes, red accessories, a red cardigan. I chose to pack my red one as my only layer because why not? It goes with everything!
- Heels: I actually wore heels this year. I have a super comfy pair of wedges that I wore almost every day, and picked up some lovely Born gladiator flats too. I brought my TOMS, but only brought them out once Max and Jamie joined me in Chicago.
- Accessories: Who am I kidding? Every blog conference I go to, I have grand plans to actually accessorize (I'm terrible at it) and pack a random jumble of things with the intention of actually wearing them, and then I never do. Except that gorgeous necklace Fresh Produce gave me. It's a must-wear!
- Guy Kawasaki: I've been a fan for a LONG time, so actually bumping into and chatting with him TWICE in a weekend is pretty awesome. He's also a huge fan of my employer, so I got to personally thank him for an awesome shout-out he gave us in a talk at CES this past year.
- Amiyrah: My gorgeous roomie who I adore. We didn't get to hang out nearly as much as I'd have liked, but she's still the best ever.
- Tracy Beckerman dinner gang: I had dinner Wednesday night with a bunch of Aiming Low peeps and some other friends; there were about 20 of us. Tracy had suggested it as a chance to chat before things got crazy, so I was thrilled to be invited. No agendas or sponsors or anything, just a group of friends having dinner (Have I told you about the lychee martini? AMAZING) I loved the chance to connect and get charged up before the conference got going. Also, Tracy suprised us all by buying dinner as a thank you for supporting the publication of her book, which is fabulous and you should buy immediately. Here's a link for easy purchasing: Lost in Suburbia: A Momoir
- My #Seatnahs: Kerri, Kate, Tricia and I got involved in an epically long chat thread on Facebook about something silly, and we're still chatting. We got to be better friends in the weeks leading up to the conference, and I adore them for no reason other than they are them. And I can't believe we didn't get a photo together!
- All the new people I met: Too many to list! (But if we met for the first time, please say hi in the comments so I can make sure I follow you and all that stuff! I'm a slacker about that)
- All the people I'd met before: My friends, my lovelies, my happy place. People I connected with previously, over whatever common bond, you know like they say…
- South Walton White Beach Party: I felt really lucky to get invited to this one, because I've always wanted to go to a White Party! It was lovely, and exactly how I'd picture a Florida vacation to be… lovely drinks, delicious seafood, awesome background music, and good friends chatting. It was low-key and perfect. And now has me yearning for a beach vacation!
- Fashion Show after party: I was still on a high from the show, so I had a BLAST at this party! I discovered I actually like those Bud Lite “Lime-a-Rita” things and am totally planning to get some next time we go camping. Lots of dancing and laughs. (And maybe tears when I saw the video of my strut on the runway. But good tears. I couldn't believe that was me)
- Sweet Suite: The only private event I really loved; it's a great chance to connect with toy companies, and who doesn't love toys? They also, I'll admit it, have an amazing swag
bagbox that has crossed a couple of kids off my Christmas shopping list already! 😉
- Wilton: I love to bake, so when I got invited to visit Wilton's HQ outside of Chicago, tour the facilities and get some hands on workshop time in their test kitchens, I was thrilled! I came away with a couple of new buttercream techniques and a whole new excitement for making stuff that is as pretty as it is tasty! So now I can totally make a screen door or flyswatter themed cake! See?
- Queerosphere: I wasn't here long, but a true highlight was Ann doing a reading of her Denny's menu, and Katherine reading the White Cloud (toilet paper) poem. They also had delicious snack food.
- CheeseburgHer: Crowded, hot, burgers and bag hats. It's about what I expected, but I had fun with the bed/photobooth this year. It was a great way to end the conference, and we even got yelled at by hotel security about being too loud in the hallway!
So that's it for my Blogher13 wrap-up, I think. Unless I get a really amazing stroke of inspiration. I've got Type A to prepare for next month! You should join me!