Back From BlogHer 2012
Safe and sound in the safety of my lovely Connecticut home, but not before being stranded on a Metro North train during a down pour. Getting home was much more difficult than getting there!
I had an awesome time this year. It was much easier to take on the conference as a whole, and I was far more confident than the first time I went in 2010. It did help that I had a ton of friends there.
I have a lot of reflection and thoughts to put into the post, so please hang tight with me, I promise it will all be worth reading.
I got in Friday afternoon around quarter after five at Grand Central, and being the naive traveler I am, I didn’t anticipate having to stand and wait in a line for a taxi cab outside of the station. After standing in the same place for 20 minutes watching only two cabs pick up people from the front of the 45+ person line, I gave up and started walking. A block up the road I was able to easily hail a cab and I was at the Hilton by six.
I met up with Marie, who I shared a room with in 2010. We originally met through the BlogHer website. We were both on the “looking for a roommate” board, eagerly searching to share a hotel room. Marie and I roomed together after we hit it off on the phone, and included Debbie with us last minute days before the conference. We have all stayed in touch over the past two years. She has become a second mother type figure to me.
Marie has MS, and I wanted to help her as much as I could through the conference. After hearing her sub-par tale of Friday’s activities including being passed on by for many opportunities for being in a wheel chair it not only upset me, but it made me look at life from a new perspective. (Which I will include more about in my section about Saturday)
Marie and I were going to hit up Times Square for some sightseeing she wanted to do, but when the time came her legs were in pretty bad shape, and she wasn’t up for going out.
I met up with April who I met recently through the awesome Rivet & Sway glasses project for BlogHer, and picked up my new specs. In the end, I picked the Hungry Heart frames, and absolutely love them! I got tons of compliments on them as well, so I guess I picked the best ones!
After that we were starving, and I promised Marie I would bring her food, so over to Chipotle we went. Since I didn’t really have much planned for Friday night – since I wasn’t going to come in till Saturday morning, and Marie wasn’t feeling so hot…we got kind of bored after we ate.
Since I had a Saturday only pass, I stuck to the rules and didn’t head down to all the fun everyone else was having downstairs, but as soon as the parties started to end my phone started lighting up like a Christmas tree. I met up with The Eco Chic (and her hysterical husband), Amanda from The Eco Friendly Family, The Cloth Diaper Geek, and ThinkFeminist who became my new BFF in a mater of minutes.
All I can say about that hour of my Friday night… Those ladies (and man) are a good time. We had a total blast, but I headed off to bed since it was almost two in the morning and I wanted to actually eat breakfast come eight-thirty.
Saturday morning Marie and I were down to breakfast a little before nine, and I was on a mission to make sure she got her food and tea without any problems. The day before she had been virtually starved to death from the lack of courtesy of others.
Things went pretty smooth, and when Marie was sick of my doting she shoo’ed me off to my first session.
Branding and Blogging Professionally with Jill from Baby Rabies, Gina The Feminist Breeder, Charlie from Howtobedad.com, and a new face to me – Mandy from Harpers Happenings. There was a ton of awesome information. I took a lot of really great notes for little changes I want to make around my own website as well as links for great resources. Big props to all four for the fancy post cards they had made with the QR code of information. Without that I would have missed out on a ton of links and information. A wealth of knowledge if you will.
After that I headed across the street for Getting Gorgeous. I went last year when I was pregnant with Addison and I was super thankful I was able to go again this year. I was disappointed to see the amount of complaining and even harassing tweets from people who didn’t get invited (towards the event planners/hosts). People aren’t going to get invited to everything, this isn’t the playground kids… we are adults. GET.OVER.IT!
A little while later I was back to the room to collect Marie for our afternoon of lunch, and a little time in the expo hall before I headed to the 3:15 session I wanted to check out.
There was so much stuff everywhere. A lot more sponsors and booths than two years ago, but my only complaint was the fact that they were spread out instead of in one area. Making it sometimes confusing and difficult to make sure you really saw everything.
This is where my journey got more real. Going around the expo hall with Marie was a serious lesson. Every booth we would go to, the rep’s would address me and virtually ignore Marie. Was it because she is in a wheel chair? Who knows, but whatever their excuse was… it was rude. I continually included her into the conversation and make sure if she wanted something like a duck tape sample or just a insulated bag from Land O’ Lakes… she got it.
A note in the future for all the people working in these expo booths… take the time to interact with all bloggers. No matter what size, shape, or disability they may have. If you shrug them off for another blogger who might not anything more than the free shit you are handing out… you may miss out on a huge opportunity – or even worse – set a bad example for the company who you are representing.
Then came the closing of BlogHer with great new website information for the BlogHer site, and then the big announcement that BlogHer 2013 will be in Chicago!
This is exciting for two reasons…
1 – My husband wants to come on this trip since he has never been to Chicago. He would love to sight-see, catch a game at Wrigley Field, and just experience the whole “conference” as a whole.
2 – I have never been to Chicago! I always have wanted to check it out, but I have never had a reason to go!
At six I met up with a ton of people (I think we had 13 total) to head to Ruby Foo’s for dinner in Times Square. IT.WAS.HORRIBLE. If I didn’t have good company, I would have been even more pissed about the crappy service, and the sub-par food. John (Gina – The Feminist Breeder)’s husband didn’t even GET his meal. They “accidentally” canceled it and the poor guy sat and watched us all eat. I felt so bad for him.
When I went to the conference two years ago, I didn’t really enjoy the parties. I didn’t have anyone to hang out with and I felt like I was there to work and not let my hair down. This year, I knew I would have a good time at the parties, because I have made so many more blogging friends during the past two years.
I think the best part of the night was having such a good time with @RealPoshMom when I just met her for the first time earlier in the evening.
I had a lot of hopes and to-do’s for the next couple months. I am glad I took as much as I did away from the conference.
What made me happy?
- Seeing happy people – Like genuinely happy people…
- Meeting people in real life when I talk to them almost daily online…
- Seeing such good educational messages in real life (in the sessions)
- Seeing less swag… (at least in the Expo Hall)
What made me sad?
- Seeing people complaining about swag and/or the lack there of or wanting more…
- Seeing arguments or mothers telling each other how they should parent (I actually WITNESSED someone telling another they need to medicate their child.) I was heart broken by the look on her face.
- Not enough time to see and do everything… (Is there ever enough time?)
Overall it was an amazing time. I can’t wait to head out to BlogHer 2013 in Chicago next July!