I’ve been away.
First on vacation with my family and then I indulged in a weekend of connecting and networking with fabulous bloggers at this year’s BlogHer event in San Diego. To say it was a dream come true wouldn’t do it proper justice, I am still reeling from meeting these amazing people that I have been following online since I started this whole venture.
A totally surreal experience you might say.
So what did I see and do?
Reunions and Meetups.
First I met up with my dear friend, Kathryn who writes an amazing financial blog over at Kathryn’s Conversations. We are old work colleagues from my finance days and through the years and because of our
addiction love to social media have reconnected and grown to be closer friends. She’s the reason I decided to go to BlogHer’11 in the first place. When we saw each other for the first time it was one of those awesome great to see ya, I can’t believe we are here, super long hugs.
She’s pretty much going to be the next Suzy Orman for our generation but not as annoying and harsh. Just hanging out with her I feel like my Mommy brain sharpens a little bit from its foggy state. Another highlight was being with her at the conference when the US debt got downgraded. Watching her squirm during the Voices Of The Year presentations was kind of funny because I just knew she wanted to be digesting all that was going on in the real world outside of BlogHer but she was trapped. She blogged about it today – so if you want to know what you need to know about the debt situation go read her post here. You’ll feel smarter when you do.
Secondly I got to meet IN REAL LIFE Ilana who does the best humor parenting blog over at MommyShorts. I knew we were friends online but to be honest, I was nervous to meet her in real life. What if we didn’t click? What if she thought I was a total dork. This would be the first time ever I would be exposing my online self to my real self. What if I was a fraud?
When we spotted each other with the help of cell phones, I was like: “Can I give you a hug?” Weird right? But it wasn’t. And she is AWESOME. Even more so in real life if that’s even possible. All weekend long I was like, why does she still want to hang out with ME?! I’m so friggin’ glad we connected and hung out together – hopefully one day I will get to meet Mazzy the true star of MommyShorts.
Go read Ilana’s hilarious wrap-up of the BlogHer weekend here.
There were lots of famous personalities at BlogHer. From the Swiffer dust guy, the Charmin bear to the Jimmy Dean Sun to some of the bigger fish like Jane Lynch from Glee and Elmo (both of whom evaded me) and then there was the adorable and personable Bob Harper from The Biggest Loser.
I got to have breakfast with Bob.
Well, I ate and he talked but I did get to ask him a question. (Which I’ll add he said was a VERY good question, ahem…)
I asked him what his favorite songs to work out to were so I could add them to our Periwinkle Papillon Ultimate 3 Day Walking Playlist. For the record, they are Down With The Trumpets and Ameli. (I am not spelling the second one properly but I’m working on finding out what it is!)
He’s super nice and personable, even more in person. I hope he gets his own show soon because America needs more of him.
But my ULTIMATE celebrity sighting for me was meeting the lovely ladies of the Parent Experiment: Producer Kathee and Stefanie Wilder Taylor (where the heck was Lynette anyway?). I’m a fan of their podcast and I’d seen they were going to be at BlogHer in the Final Inches suite. Stefanie was going to be handing out copies of books: Sippy Cups are Not for Chardonnay and I’m Kind Of a Big Deal. I told MommyShorts and Kathryn that we had to go say hi.
Of course they hit it off with Ilana and interviewed her for the segment spots on ‘Stellar Moments in Parenting’ or is it shitty moments in parenting? I can’t remember. Anyway, it was very cool and in the suite I also connected with some other awesome bloggers.
Later they told me via Twitter that they called out to me at Listen to Your Mother event (I put my name in the pot hoping to read this post) but apparently they called out: “PAP!” and I did not turn around. That’s something you have to get used to… being called by my Twitter handle instead of my first name.
Not All Fun & Games
So it was not entirely play, play, play at BlogHer. While networking and meeting PR reps and other bloggers I did attend some sessions. My favorites were How to Pitch A Book (you can read the transcript of the session here) and Blog Design. These were 2 panels I walked away from feeling pretty jazzed and enlightened.
I connected with a couple of brands that have some really great breast cancer awareness campaigns coming up. Most notably Lee jeans and Egglands Best. Both of these companies are huge contributors to breast cancer causes and I hope to work with them in the future to get the word out about their efforts.
I also did a quick spot for Lowes were I talked about my chair makeover (post coming soon I promise). Remember these chairs? Well I talked about how I did it and what bloggers want to see from Lowes in terms of support when doing DIY projects. I think I said something about more tutorials and Before & After pics.
Anyway, here’s a pic of me on camera that Kathryn snapped:
My other favorite moment was at the Voices of the Year speakers and listening to Lori from In Pursuit of It All. Her Red Underwear reading was emotionally breathtaking and I have a new favorite gift to give to all my girlfriends going forward. You must, must, must, go read her post the Red Underwear to understand what I mean.
Shwag and Stuff
Before heading to BlogHer I did some due diligence on what to expect. I read Cheryl at Mommypants’ primer and heeded her advice. I got business cards, I decided not to stress about what I wore, and I hugged online friends with abandon.
I’d heard there’d be a lot of vendors to schmooze with at BlogHer and that they’d be handing out lots of schwag. I’d read that you should pack an extra bag so that you can lug all this stuff home. I did that. And my kids now want me to go away every weekend and come back with cool stuff.
Here’s a glimpse at some of my haul:
StinkyKids and the Runaway Scissors book by Britt Menzies. I read this to my kids when I got home last night and I’m not making it up when I say Anna asked me: “Mommy can we get more of these books?” I think they’re onto something here… ♥ Hex Bug toy which is now roaming our kitchen making my kids giggle. ♥ Skinny Girl Margarita bottle courtesy of the super cool ladies at Bankrupting America ♥ Dinosaur Train Crazy 8′s game from Pressman ♥ Silly Situations game from Highlights and Discovery Bay toys ♥ 70% Nut Crunch Intense Dark Chocolate from Lindt Excellence ♥ Spot The Dot and Chuck and Friends apps courtesy of Ruckus Media Group ♥ I got to sample and get a few coupons for the new Coffee-Mate Natural Bliss creamers, how great is this? Coffee creamer that is not full of scary ingredients, I can’t wait! ♥ This GORGEOUS PaperCoterie gorgeous desk calendar ♥ Smurfs BINGO game ♥ Hasbro Transformers Rescue Bots, Jack was excited to hear about these and loved the book they gave me. My husband just shook his head and said, ‘why don’t they just make them like they used to?” ♥ Twizzlers (everywhere I turned there they were handing me yummy red twizzler sticks) ♥ gift certificate for fashion playtes which I know Anna and I are going to have a blast using together ♥ philosophy samples – Kathryn and I got our pictures taken here and it’s a super cute step and repeat pic, they quizzed me on being a philosophy product expert and I failed so they didn’t give me a t-shirt. Being as it was at the end of the day I thought that was kinda lame but I still love their products ♥ dolphin organics - I didn’t get anything from them except their spiel as they well all out of samples. I found them on the corner of the expo hall on the last day but I have to say their products really intrigued and I can’t wait for them to come to Northern Cali.
Things I Wished I’d Gotten To…
Apparently there was an awesome seminar on E-Books and I wish I’d gotten to go to that one.
Also the list of my Twitter peeps that I couldn’t find among the masses is long and I’m sad I didn’t connect IRL (in real life) with so many of them. Good news is there’s always next year… BlogHer’12 will be in New York baby! I’m coming home! Woo hoo!
Other than that I had a blast and learned a tremendous amount. Now I need to go connect with my family and try to digest it all.