BlogHer

Blogging Conferences Summer 2015

It seems as if this week is chock a block with blogging related events and while I do love to get out and meet fellow bloggers, it can be overwhelming to have a super scheduled week. Need ways to keep it together? Yes, me too, that’s why I’m writing this – I need the reminders.IMG_1424

1. Load up that calendar on your phone with the dates, times and locations of the events and the links to the tickets in the notes section. Build in plenty of travel time, you’ll be glad you did.

2. Traveling with a few events to go to? Try on planned outfits ahead of time and try to pack early and light! Nothing like finding out you are missing a button or the shirt you were planning on wearing is ripped. Comfy shoes! Seriously! You will be on your feet non-stop.

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Card design by Rugg Road Paper Company, Boston

3. Download apps like Uber and Lyft to get you where you need to be. In the city? Or grab a metro card and try public transportation – it’s the fastest way to get around.

4. Have plenty of business cards – if you can write on them all the better. You think you will remember but there’s a lot going on. Take notes.

5. Bring your smile and look forward to getting to meet other bloggers and company representatives, and that means looking up from your phone now and then.

Have fun! I’ll see you there!

 

The Best Part of BlogHer 12

So you know I won prizes if you read my last post, in my head I call it Break Even Blogher, that makes it look like all I did was collect stuff. Not true. I had lovely conversations with many people, attended sessions, chatted in hallways, elevators and in line (lots of lines), and learned about small start ups, new products as well as talking to established companies. I basically went through the expo hall once and stopped wherever I was warmly greeted, curious about the brand or already knew and liked the brand. What did I like? Quite a lot.

Britely, a site to make picture flipbooks and share them easily – great for bloggers. I recognized the rep from the Newbie Breakfast line. She is a blogger and we had a lovely chat.They are even running a contest – Brite of the Week through September, Get on board, you could win $1000! I just made one for Blogher 12…

Muller Yogurt (recently bought by Quaker Oats and really delicious). I thought I would only want a small taste, I ended up eating a whole container.

The National Honey Board gave out great recipes and as a bonus, honey sticks. I had one after my run on Saturday with a banana and a Kombucha. Breakfast on the fly.

Moo.com, my favorite business card source was there and their reps are just as nice as their cards.

Zeo,  A headband like device that helps you track your sleep (I could sure use that) – a cool product and app.

Love with Food – Get 8+ new gourmet foods delivered to your door for $10/month and they’ll donate a meal to a hungry child. What a good idea! The foods were all great and you are doing good at the same time.

The Expo floor was completely overwhelming, I saw pushing when the Pioneer Woman took to the butter booth…Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond at Blogher 12 Capability Mom Blog

The only swag I sought out was the big Blogher Bag that was really hard to find, tucked into a side room – you had to ask where people got it.  I was told it was there to drive traffic to the room, but there needed to be signage…maybe Blogher footprints on the floor?

The best part of Blogher was not the coupons, free stuff or even the sessions, it was hearing the people nominated for Voices of the Year read from their work.  I cried every day at Blogher. Yes, every day. Maybe it was all that estrogen in one place. I cried at the McDonald’s breakfast when the young mom blogger got up to thank McDonald’s for the support she received at the Ronald McDonald house while her son went through 17 heart operations. I cried at Voices of the Year, more than once (I laughed a lot, too).

Voices of the Year wasn’t overly promoted – it actually was not promoted enough at all and I am so glad that I went.  I was solo and nipped in the back of that really cavernous banquet room, plugged in my phone (8% power left) and recharged both physically and tech-wise. Other women around me were similarly solo or in groups of two or three at almost empty tables, plugged in, some on laptops or hunched over phones like me, shoes off, some grabbing wine or a snack from the dinner setup. From the back of the room it was a drop-in session, I never made it to the front of that room so I have no idea if it felt more formal and pulled together up there, I hope so.  The large screen television screens were how I watched and listened and learned.

The readings were varied – some poignant, lovely, funny and heartfelt and some were all of the above.  It reminded me that what I want to do is to write. Sometimes playing with plugins, tweeting, and playing with social media gets in the way of why I started this blog.  Go here for a really well-written post about it from Jess of Don’t Mind the Mess.

Because Pragmatic Mom is all chatty and friendly, we met and shared a cab to Penn Station with Nancy Baggett of Kitchenlane.com  (her new book is about cookies…sign me up). Nancy taught a writing lab Waging War on Wordiness: Tips for Writing More Powerful Prose at Blogher. Now I am re-reading my posts for possible wordiness….

 

 

Post BlogHer Post

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Well, I am back from a whirlwind weekend away at the blogging conference that is BlogHer and I haven’t written until now. It takes a lot of work to step out of our lives for even a little while, and while it is easier for me than for a mom with young ones, it was still challenging. I had (first time) sleep away camp to prep for (she packed herself while I was away – well, with help from Dad) and only forgot one thing which I actually had in the car. By the seat of my pants, I tell you.

Here is the thing, I started this post days ago and have hesitated to hit publish because I wasn’t expressing the over-riding feeling I have had from BlogHer. Gratitude. Exhaustion and Gratitude.

Sometimes I have a gratitude problem. It is true. Many of us do. It is easy to criticize, to correct, to suggest ways to improve on something (and I have plenty of suggestions for the organizers, if they care to ask), but here is the main takeaway:

I am lucky that I could go – it is an expensive trip and lucky that my family is supportive.

I learned things (about blogs, social media, conferences, expectations, how to present myself, how to give an elevator pitch).

I met interesting, kind and generous people willing to share their knowledge and experience at the sessions, on the expo floor, in a cab, in a restaurant. Everywhere.

I got to travel in a Blogher Bound bus (Thank you, McDonald’s) to an exciting place that I love and don’t get to often enough.

I won prizes. What? Prizes, you say? Yes. Prizes. Like what? Let me say that as a Blogher newbie, I didn’t even know there would be prizes. I had heard about the swag but really had no idea that it was anything and certainly not why I went.

But, what did I win? A $100 Best Buy gift certificate. I was walking down from the suites on the 42nd floor (TMobile, Hershey’s) because the elevators were so very busy when I got the call and I didn’t realize the expo floor was closing. By the time I got there, the super nice rep from Best Buy was alone in the almost empty hall waiting for me to claim my prize. So nice! Above and beyond, Best Buy! Thank you!

I also won a folding bicycle (a very sweet ride from Gotham Bike) from the lovely people at Advil for taking part in their scavenger hunt. It is really cool and I can’t wait for it to get here! I’ll take my own pictures when it arrives, and I think it has already been claimed by my children.

I got a ride with McDonald’s on their bus bound for BlogHer and learned more about them, and that was really nice. Thank you, McDonald’s.

More, yes, there is more. A $25 Pet Smart Gift card, and some Lysol products. bags, pens, notepads and zip drives. Am I done? Kind of. The stuff wasn’t why I went to Blogher but it’s what I tally when I get back. That and the stack of business cards I am still puzzling over (I did not write on them as I was advised to do. Next time I will).

I met people from Newton, Needham, Boston, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, New York, California and Canada. I enjoyed every conversation and meeting. I had two breakfasts on Friday, the one for newbies and one with McDonald’s. Here is a link to Honest and Truly blog and a transcript of the Question & Answer session at breakfast. I got a recharge massage at TMobile (their tech stuff is awesome).

I went to Getting Gorgeous, had my hair straightened (thank you, GG and CVS, and I love my Extracare card) and it held up in the humidity, and have some more great stuff there. Okay, I’ll share! Super cute dark wash boot leg jeans from Coldwater Creek that make me look smaller than I am, a pair of gorgeous shoes from Naturalizer, and a gift card from Diet Pepsi! There is more but I think that may be another post.

So…Blogher in NYC. Huge. Overwhelming. Loud. Crowded. Busy. Both the city and the conference, so imagine them combined. I like the chaos for a while (as the oldest of five, it is my natural state of being) but then I need a break which I took in the form of a run through Central Park on Saturday morning.central park imagine strwaberry fields nyc manhattan capability mom blog

It was wonderful to connect with bloggers from Boston Parent Bloggers some I met for the first time on the BlogHer Bound bus. We had plenty of laughs (especially at the rest area where seven other buses stopped at the same time, yes, I said seven) and we got to know a little bit about each other, and found out we shared some connections other than blogging (even though that would have been enough). I had a Martha’s Vineyard connection with one super nice, grounded blogger and learned about more about Kegels than I ever thought I would know), talked to another BPB Blogger who is running the Falmouth Road Race to benefit the Melanoma Foundation of New England (something I am into, too) and I met someone who is funnier than I am (it is rare because I think I’m really funny – ask my family).

Once we got there, it was super crowded and chaotic. The elevators were jammed and it didn’t help that FFaNY was in the building (all the rooms on our floor were shoe showrooms except for ours and one across the hall). What a confluence that could have been. Women with sore feet and 14 stories above people selling shoes. Next time, FFaNY, bring shoes to sell. Seriously. Twitter was full of people looking for other shoes because they only packed cute heels.

But I digress. The conference proper is kind of hard to tease out of the side events. While it was great to meet so many people with a shared interest in blogging, writing and playing nicely with social media, it it does seem like it should be easier to find and schedule things.

One of the sessions was so overcrowded (so great that so many people wanted to learn about turning posts into published essays) that I stood against a wall trying to find enough air to breathe, never mind trying to take notes. I think PhD in Parenting was there,too, but couldn’t confirm. That was my main celebrity sighting* and I’m not even sure it was her. I may have been lightheaded from lack of air.

As always, NYC is a great destination and there could never be enough city love time. I wish that some events were “off campus”, as in not in the Hilton (as nice as it is). It is a shame to not explore such a fabulous city.

Pragmatic Mom and I found a great local restaurant (Thank you, Hilton concierge) and had a wonderful dinner where we met some lovely shoe people from FFaNY. We may even have a shoe giveaway with them – Stay tuned!

Best things about BlogHer? The people, the sessions (although they need a better system), the location (more recess time needed if you are in the city), and the sponsors are interesting and varied, which is always good. I saw Advil, Clorox, Lysol, CVS, Verizon, Best Buy, Disney Jr, Poise, Dannon, Samsung and so many more. I’ll go into it later or this will be the longest post ever.

I liked connecting with people, brands, bloggers, seeing new things, learning something new (so like Martha), trying something new, and sharing it all. Did I love every minute? No, I am no Pollyanna. Some things were size and location related, some easy fixes, some more complicated. If you really want to know, comment below! I promise to share and even over share!

*Correction – I did get to see Jeannie Mai, host of The Style Network’s “How Do I Look?” She looked great. I was in a button down and a pencil skirt. Ehh.

Lest this post makes it sound like I was careening hither and yon getting swag, I was not. I went through the Expo Hall and stopped at booths where I engaged in a dialogue with brand representatives and happened to get lucky. I found great new finds and will write about them when I sort through the bag of note and paper…too much paper!

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