Tuesday, August 9, 2011

BlogHer '11: The Conference, the People, and the Endless Walking of San Diego

BlogHer logoThere was this little event that happened recently. A small gathering where a few people were planning to get together and have a relaxing time sitting and chatting about their hopes and dreams and passions.

Whatever that was, it sounds pleasant. But I wasn't there.

I was at BlogHer, the biggest of the big blogging conferences, in beautiful San Diego.

San DiegoThanks to Melissa of Sippy Cup Mom for letting me be lazy with my camera and instead use beautiful pictures like this one of hers

As I mentioned before the conference, I was pretty certain in my hunch that things were going to be a little wild and crazy. With so many places to be (many all at the same time) and people to see, how could it not be?

Last year when I showed up that first morning at breakfast, everything was new and exciting and I felt the need to do everything possible to try to get the BlogHer experience "right." I dutifully attended informative sessions, I made connections with each PR contact I came across and I attended both the public and private parties that happened all across New York City. Did I have fun? Absolutely! But did I take advantage of it all? I'm not so sure... because I was probably thinking about it all a little too hard.

This year I had the benefit of being less stressed about it all. I had my handy dandy little schedule all typed out ahead of time and figured that I would make it to as many things as possible, but if something was omitted? Then that just must have meant that I was enjoying myself enough elsewhere, I suppose.

And enjoy myself, I did.

Post-conference last year I felt at a loss for words as to know where to begin to describe something like BlogHer and, sure enough, I feel the same way this year. Do I write about the business meetings that I had? The parties I attended? The there's-one-in-every-bunch drama queen blogger that I had a chance to see in action who made my skin crawl?


What mattered the most then and what matters the most now are the friendships, because those are what I hold the most precious from blogging anyway.

I got to spend my first afternoon (and much more time later) with the amazing Kailani...

BlogHer11Thanks to Kailani for this picture of the two of us and our lucky (or, actually, unlucky) ducks. We later had manicures together, which was only appropriate after we had pedicures together last year!

...chat and walk and laugh and spill my guts and walk some more with the incredible Liz (better known as Blueviolet to her abundance of adoring fans)...

BlogHer11...and enjoy every moment that I got to spend with the warm, caring, adorable, friendly-beyond-words Melissa...

BlogHer11Thanks to Liz for snapping this picture of us dancing away at Sparklecorn!

And those are just a start. I spent time with Alissa, Cathi, Debra, Leanne, Laurie... and, oh man, these are awesome ladies but there are so many more. How did the blogosphere get to be filled with such great people?

But even though I was a veteran BlogHer attendee this year, I'm pretty sure that the main lesson to be learned was exactly what it was last year: if you tailor the many possibilities at a blogging conference of this size to be the most beneficial for you, then you've done the best you can.

I was less worried that I was going to be missing information of the utmost importance somewhere and instead knew that doing things like having breakfast with Bob Harper or lunch with a California Raisin...

California RaisinYes, we planned ahead of time that he would color-coordinate with my awesome Tea dress

...was going to be just as good for me. Yes, I could have been in an in-depth session learning all kinds of things to implement to make my blog better, but if that meant that I would have had to miss meeting the gang from Sesame Street, well, then I'm glad that I did.

Sesame Street charactersThanks to Sesame Street and Playskool for this one. I look a little freaked out because, Hello! This was the real deal! These weren't stand-in characters or backup actors, these were the true Sesame Street stars from my childhood! Talk about celebrities!

In the end, I arrived home after a long day of travel (I'm pretty sure that there is a certain airline out there that just gets kicks out of sending me to random cities and leaving me sitting there for hours just for fun) completely exhausted but with a lot to think about. Changes, improvement, direction, balance... someday it will all work itself out, right?

Of course I have to say a big thank you to Invitation Consultants for their wonderful sponsorship and CleanItSupply.com for their generous support as well to help make the trip what it was. I love companies that see the value in bloggers and support us as we continue to type our way into the future!

Would I do it all again? Definitely. As always, there might be one or two things that I would go back and change, but the overall experience was another one for the memory books. Which brings me to BlogHer 2012 being back in New York City - who's coming with me this time?


StacieinAtlanta said...

What a crazy busy conference it was. Glad that I went and glad it's over. So nice to connect with you. :)

Liz Mays said...

Endless walking is right! I've never had that happen to my feet before!

That picture of you and Melissa makes me giggle whenever I see it! (And then I think of how we all practically limped off the dance floor.)

I totally heart you, lady, and I can't wait to hang again next year! Woohoo!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Sounds amazing. Cannot wait to see you again next year, I am thrilled!

Lisa Noel said...

I went to zero sessions! debating on full pass or not for next year. I had a great time with the ladies I spent time with but wish I'd have had a chance to really hang out with more bloggers. So next year will be a less is more schedule.

Sippy Cup Mom said...

Oh my gosh, I miss you already so much!!! <3

That picture of us is too funny!

Hope to see you soon!

♥Yaya's Mommy ♥ said...

AHH I didn't see you there. I will be at NY. Bought my ticket already. WOOO HOOOO

Jenny said...

That is so great that you got to experience that! You look like you had a great time. I love that purple Tea dress, it's cute!

Jenny said...

Oh and I had to LOL about the drama queen. There's always one, isn't there?!

MIG said...

I'm so glad you had a great time at BlogHer again. I so wish I could have been there with you! Well there's always next year in NYC since it's so much closer. By the way...you look fantastic in all your photos. Rock on, my friend!

Heather @ Girl Gone Mom said...

You are so adorable. Sorry I missed the conference and the drama (well not really) - but I'll see you next year!!

kailani said...

Thank you so much for hanging out with my at BlogHer. You're such a blast to be around. Can't wait for NYC!

Mellisa said...

This looks like so much fun! I really hope I get to go next year in NYC! :)

Terra Heck said...

I haven't had the opportunity to attend BlogHer yet but I sure hope to next year. It sounds like a whirlwind of activity. Thanks for sharing your experience with us.