You never know how a conference is going to go when you sign up to attend, but when it comes to BlogHer, you can count on three things: lots of connecting with bloggers and brands, lots of running around between sessions, expo appointments and parties, and lots of fun.
This year, we had an extra dose of the fun part.
My proudest memory of BlogHer is our Operation Glory Flash Mob. A bunch of bloggers worked in secret for about a month before the conference, guided by our fearless leaders Mary and Theresa (@MamaMaryShow and @RockonMommies). We had live streaming practice and a closed Facebook group that tried to keep it all confidential. When it came time to perform, we shined! Our FlashMob experience took us to “The Edge of Glory” with LadyGaGa and made these moms feel like rock stars for just a few minutes. You can watch our performance here.
My favorite surprise came from the Hallmark suite. I received a couple tweets from @HallmarkPR letting me know I’d been “carded” and needed to get to their special room to pick up my neat treat. Hallmark had set up a suite where bloggers could go in and pick out two cards to send back home, to friends, or even other bloggers. I was incredibly touched to have two cards waiting for me from people at the conference who wanted me to know I was special to them. It made my day. Hallmark really rocks at making you feel special and they proved it at this conference. The people who were thoughtful enough to send the cards (@DesireeScales and @PosPositive) should know I was truly touched.
My favorite swag item was the Braun Satin Hair Brush (with IONTEC) given to me by P & G. Oh. My. Goodness. I am not the kind of gal who gets excited about makeup and shoes so much, but I LOVE THIS BRUSH! I have hair that’s been damaged by too many treatments and a straightener and some product are usually required to tame it into shape. Then, after a few hours I still look a mess. But this cool new brush changes all that. You just turn on the switch, brush through your hair a few times, and end up with amazing! Your hair looks great and feels even better, all soft and shiny smooth. I assure you I’m not being paid to say this. I’m simply hooked. I love this brush. Love it.
My favorite session was on Perfect Product Reviews, hosted by @StacieinAtlanta, @MommyNiri and @MomSpark. To be honest, it’s the only session I made it to (I told you, it’s a busy time and I wanted to spend my hours connecting with the people, hoping to catch up on the sessions via posts that others published). But, this was a good one. It validated what I’ve come to learn in the past year or so of blogging—that it’s hard work to review a product, especially if it includes a giveaway (@StacieinAtlanta points out she sometimes promotes her giveaways on 30 other sites!), and we can have very different opinions on what/how we should be compensated for a review.
My favorite party I attended is just too tough to choose. I loved the Thursday night pre-BlogHer party with Vicks. This was nice because it wasn’t too overwhelming, we got to bowl while we bonded (more fun than I thought it would be), and it was my first chance to see some old friends and meet some new ones (special shout out here to @MommyCosm). I also loved it because @KimVatPG was kind enough to bend the rules to let an uninvited blogger in the door because of his charitable blog. When you see @BudgetsareSexy you’ll understand he sort of attracts attention. He sports a spiked mohawk, so some may instantly judge him as bad news, but he’s anything but. This guy has a heart of gold and is half of the Love Drop team, a group that travels the country dropping in on families in need. He is the king of good deeds. And it was an honor to hang out with him for much of the conference.
There were other great parties, too, including the @CleverGirls bash that sported the Smurf theme (I had so much fun in the dance contest trying to win my daughter a stuffed smurfette). And the Secret Style Suite sent me home feeling very cutting edge with a feather in my hair (it’s the latest trend, don’t you know?). The One2One Network party was pretty cutting edge, too, with moving mosaics on the wall. The Toy Book party made my kids the happiest when I got home since I left that bash with a bag full of fun stuff. The people’s parties were pretty good, too. I got to meet the Glee cheerleaders at one and met Cher’s lookalike at the next bash, Queerosphere. Silly fun, I tell ya’.
The craziest part of BlogHer was the mad dash for my roommate, @MommyInsider, and I to get out of our room and into the airport shuttle. We did it in nine minutes flat. No joke. I know no one else who can move like we did…literally throwing things into our carryon bag while still putting on our pants trying to get out the door in time to make the next shuttle to the airport. Keep in mind this was just three hours after we had put our heads on the pillow from the parties and packing the night before. Meantime, our bellman was weighing our luggage, making sure we hit the right weights for each suitcase (and we were dead on—exactly 49 pounds on my bag of swag and exactly 48 pounds for my buddy). Our cleaning lady was left some sweet swag, too.
The worst part of BlogHer was our pedicab experience on our second night in town. The guy took me, @MommyInsider and @MommyCosm just a couple blocks and tried to charge us $60 for the ride. The same ride cost 4 people only $15 total on the way to the location. If you know me at all, you know I didn’t go for that, so I whipped out the video camera and started interrogating him on why he’d gouge visitors to his beautiful city, how he felt it was ok to take advantage of tourists, and on and on. After threats to call the police (his threat, which we told him to go right ahead and do), we split the difference and gave him $30. And we learned a valuable experience about setting prices before the wheels move in the future. We tweeted about it and found we weren’t the only ones ripped off by bad pedicab drivers.
The other worst part was that the fun had to end. I would have loved a little more time to go to the beach and stick my toes in the sand, or would have settled for another couple hours by the pool, but my family was waiting at home and I was pretty excited to see them again, too. My blogging buddies will see me again next year, no doubt!