Last year at Blogher ’13 I came back feeling so inspired, so excited for what my blogging career held.
Maybe it was because of my first conference.
In ’13 I got to meet some amazing people there, reintroduced myself to reps that I wanted to work with, and came home with some sweet swag to boot. I left most of that in the hotel room, but things like a Jambox, gift cards, and fun toys for the kiddos added confetti and excitement to the 3 days in Chicago.
This year I went with the purpose of connecting with other bloggers (which I did) and learning something new about the world of blogging, especially vlogging (which I did not). More on that….
I thought the 10×10 concept was a good idea and really enjoyed the first two Danah Boyd and Shannon Des Roches Rosa. Danah is an incredibly smart person, ahead of her time with blogging and like many of us just stumbled upon it as a means for therapy. Shannon’s story was also a blogging for therapy, hers about her autistic son. Both pretty inspiring. Started off my conference well.
shitty picture. I know.
I was excited to see Jenny Lawson (aka The Bloggess) as the opening keynote. Really that was the main reason for getting a full conference pass over the expo/party pass. I love how random and real she is on her site. Trust me, she’s like that in real life. Unrehearsed, a bit of a mess, and completely tangent-driven. Relatable. When she came out she had writing on her arm and I could just see her realizing it 5 minutes before she was to go onstage and frantically licking her thumb to try to wipe it off.
I went to a vlogging session that day. I figured that I wanted to grow that part of my online presence (I already have a channel, but I do fuckall with it). The session was good for someone who had no knowledge of it, but me being of a photography background and not being a complete moron knew most of the tips and tricks. I just didn’t know I knew them.
Around 12:30 I was starving, saw a couple of bloggers had sandwiches. They said that they were in the grand ballroom. Apparently they were out for a very short period of time because I went in and there was just coffee, nothing else. Boo. So I went to the expo hall in search of food. I found more coffee. I found shots, I finally found the Yoplait booth and grabbed a yogurt. Water? Nowhere to be found. That really sucked because when I don’t drink water I get a raging headache. Couple that with a lack of protein and you do not want to be near me. I ended up heading to my hotel room where I knew I had protein bars. But hey, the coffee was flowing EVERYWHERE.
That afternoon I got to race around a wet track with Bridgestone. I need to apologize to the other two bloggers with me for nearly killing them when I lost control of my BMW on the track.. can you imagine the headlines? “three mom bloggers dead after one tried to be a bad-ass around a hairpin turn at the Bridgestone DriveGuard event”.
I had dinner with some fab chicks and a guy that night then spent the rest of the evening doing drunk karaoke and wandering aimlessly around downtown San Jose wasted on Twisted Shotz searching for cigarettes. No, I don’t smoke…
The next morning I wanted to see Arianna Huffington speak, but really I wanted to eat. I got breakfast – runny eggs and cold sausage along with hardish pastries. Perfect hangover food…. But hey, coffee was there. And I didn’t get to see Arianna’s keynote because I had to pee and then felt weird sauntering back in (“don’t mind me”). So off to the Expo Hall.
The Expo Hall was to be expected. I met a few pr reps, found an entirely inappropriate piece of swag, which I called out on Twitter and promptly got called out in person for it. *awkward*. Surprisingly she said that nobody else had complained but they pulled it from their swag bucket after my tweet. Later on I discovered that others were as appalled as I was.
On the subject of swag… we go to these things expecting it. It’s like the gold star at the end of the day and gives us an excuse to give our kids as to why we are leaving for a few days (“If you’re good mommy will bring back PRESENTS!”). My kids are 4 years old and there’s only so much I can try to tell a 4 year old how awesome a plastic tumbler is. It seemed like that was the giveaway of the day. I ended up with like 15 of them at one point and headed to the Swag Exchange to drop them off, only to be greeted by boxes upon boxes of them.
I realized why there was a sheer lack of quality swag… there were no outboarding parties. Last year I got some amazing bamboo bootie socks, some great toys for the kids, and gift cards, all from off-site shindigs. This year I did get a lovely bag courtesy of the Sangria Soiree that included a beautiful yoga top, Skype had a great phone charger (smart thinking there), and Chuck E Cheese was giving out board games that I’m sure were left in hotel rooms by bloggers who flew. But overall there wasn’t a whole lot. Not like I need anymore shit, but it would have been nice…
Don’t get me started on Khloe Kardashian being at one of the booths. In my opinion the Kardashians are everything wrong with today’s society and pop culture. I have never seen such a wealthy group of people cheapen the world. I could care less about them and was frankly pretty appalled that icons like Kerry Washington and Arianna Huffington – smart women – were in the same agenda as someone who really doesn’t add anything to women’s rights and the professional society. And talks like a damn baby. Can’t we have someone of quality and beauty?
I also totally insulted David Tutera purely by accident. He will never use hot pink in any of his wedding designing again. I mentioned twins. He and his ex split theirs up to raise the separately. Oops…. but WHO THE HELL DOES THAT?!?!?
The two biggest wins in my mind were the inclusion of the band The Mrs and the McDonald’s Closing Party with Rev Run (yes, THE Rev Run!). The Mrs has an incredible message of self-acceptance and had me sobbing as hard as the day I lost my FIL. Really I can’t describe it. I don’t even want to try to at this point because it was so personal. And Rev Run… well, that was fun.
I would go back if it was in Portland next year, but I think, for me anyway, it was a glorified and expensive girl’s weekend. It’s possible that’s because I was drunk for half of it. I did meet some really fabulous bloggers and got to see friends that I usually only see online. I also got to race around a racetrack which made my husband super jelly. I guess I had a lot of self-realizations which could be a good or a bad thing while there, but that’s not exactly what I was expecting going into it.