Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Can we all sing kumbaya now? Or, my BlogHer12 Recap

Have you ever been somewhere that made you feel so happy, at ease, and in your element, that you just wanted to reach out and grab the hands of those next to you and break out into a chorus of Kumbaya?

No? Okay, well, feel free to roll your eyes at my slightly over emotional geekiness.

Yes? Then you totally get why I loved BlogHer.

Let's rewind to the Thursday I left for the conference. A friend came over to watch Carina while I jetted off to the train station. There were some tears when I left (on my part - not hers; she was too busy playing), but as soon as I boarded the train to NYC I was overcome with excitement.
Radio City Music Hall, New York City, Sparklecorn cake
NYC! Sparklecorn cake, me in my lovely Seraphine outfit and e-friend/roommate Stephanie
Once I arrived, the whole weekend was a whirlwind of friends, sessions, parties, speakers, meeting with people, and what seemed like an endless quest for food. After getting settled and meeting my awesome roomie Stephanie from The Froggy & the Mouse, I caught President Obama's live address via satellite in the Hilton Ballroom. Whatever your politics, being addressed live by the President of the United States is pretty awesome. Apparently he thinks bloggers are quite important and influential! Take that anyone who has ever raised their eyebrow or chuckled when I mentioned that I "blog" ;)

Afterwards, I think I trekked a total of 3 miles across Manhattan (umm...what was I thinking?) to attend three different parties, including my favorite - SweetSuite12. It was held at TRL studios - cue late 90's Mama G geek-out - and featured a number of toy and baby/toddler brands and companies. I spent so much time here speaking with the reps, and playing with the toys, of course! The other parties were more of a meet and mingle atmosphere with music and drinks. I think they would have been a bit more fun if I wasn't hugely pregnant and uncomfortable standing.
Swag, Hershey's suite, giant microbes, BlogHer12
My favorite swag: egg & sperm, Katie Couric keynote, bags of swag, Hershey's s'more suite
Friday morning I had breakfast at the hotel and then breakfast again (what can I say? ME SO HUNGRY) at the Highlights Hello release party. I was/am super excited about this! Do you remember reading Highlights magazine as a kid? The hidden picture puzzles were my favorite. Anyway - they are launching a brand new magazine for babies ages 0-2 this Fall/Winter! Carina already has her hands on a copy, and in just a few weeks I'll be posting a review and a giveaway in which you can win a subscription for your little one - yay!

Later I spent some time browsing the Expo Hall and attended a session on Social Media where I learned a handful of really helpful Twitter and Facebook tips. One take home: Timely quickly analyzes your followers' activity levels and tells you the best times to Tweet for maximum reach. Also on Friday afternoon, Martha Stewart was the keynote speaker during lunch and I must say it was really interesting to hear her thoughts on being a woman in business. A few of her comments rubbed me the wrong way - but that's a blog post for another time ;)

What I loved most of all as I went about my day(s)? Meeting all these people who have lived in my computer for so long.
Seraphine Dress, Jenni from the blog, Froggy and the Mouse, Simply Stavish
Getting ready to take the bump out for a night on the town, with Stephanie at Sparklecorn, me & Jenni, craziness at CheeseburgHer with Stephanie & Mindi

After a quick Connecticut Blogger get together I headed out for dinner with Stephanie (shrimp & crab macaroni and cheese, anyone?) and then waited way too long to get into the Hasbro Party. About 5 minutes before we reached the front of the line an usher came out and brought me inside - I must have looked like I was ready to pass out by that point. Despite all the braxton-hicks contractions that plagued me most of the night, I had a great time. The highlights? Meeting some amazing bloggers and using Furby to hide the baby bump in the photo below.
Candice, Melissa, me, and Melissa (ahh! 3 Melissas!) at the Hasbro Party
Then came Sparklecorn. I don't even know how to describe it other than glow sticks, glitter, unicorn heads, and utter craziness. Sadly, the bass was up so high that my belly started reverberating weirdly after just a few minutes and I had to step out. Check out baby's first glow stick, below.

After getting lost a few times looking for the correct Starbucks to meet a few people in on Saturday morning (there were 3 within just 3 blocks!) I made my way to the session I was most excited about: How to Manage Social Media on your Windows Phone. Unfortunately, they had switched the session to iPhones and no one ever told me, so I still have no clue how to do anything on my new phone! So I attended a session on Google Analytics and spent some more time at the Expo instead. Later, I ate lunch while listening to Katie Couric speak and then attended a number of parties specifically for pregnant bloggers! I don't know how that many baby bumps fit in one small room ;)

Sparklecorn, glow stick belly, unicorn balloon, Times Square, TRL
Sparklecorn craziness, view from TRL studios in Times Square during SweetSuite
Saturday evening I walked to Central Park to meet up with my friend Staci so she could snap some maternity photos! Thanks for all of your opinions as to what I should choose to wear - I went with the Fuchsia Knot Front Dress from Séraphine Maternity. Afterwards we caught a quick dinner and then I headed back to the hotel in time for the CheeseburgHer party.

As much as I love McDonald's, they are on my naughty list because they didn't have any fries at the CheeseburgHer party. There were plenty of hamburgers and cheeseburgers (which I don't like, sadly) - but no fries! Apparently they had them in previous years, but this year they decided to cruelly deprive me of my most coveted craving. BAD MCDONALD'S!

S'mores, Hershey's, Simply Stavish
Mindi & me having some s'mores in the Hershey Suite! (reproduced with permission)
I headed out early Sunday morning to catch the train to Philly so that Mike, Carina, and I could arrive in Virginia Beach for vacation at a decent time. The hardest part about getting out of the door? Fitting all the swag I received in my suitcases. I ended up leaving almost half of it behind! When I finally saw Mike and Carina at 30th Street Station in Philly there were tears in my eyes. I was so so excited to see both of them after 3 days away.

My overall impression? I had a fantastic time. Sure, there were some things that could have been improved and/or might not have been what I expected, but I am so glad I went. I met amazing people (those not mentioned already include my other roomies Caitlin & Linette, Jessica, Kat, Courtney, Natalie, Kami, Darcy, and Melissa), learned so much, and I feel like I can now be a better {and happier} blogger as a result.

BlogHer swag, swag
HOLY swag!
Since I know that there are quite a few of you planning on going next year (it's in Chicago!) I'd love to go into more detail with first-timer tips and things I'll do differently next time, but for fear of this post growing to {scary} monstrous lengths, I'll save that for another post next week! Stay tuned. Are you thinking about going? Let me know! Or any questions you have? Feel free to ask.

Thanks again to my wonderful sponsors Itzbeen and Simple Wishes for supporting my trip, and to Séraphine Maternity for keeping the baby bump in style ;)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...