August 25, 2011

Party Sequence

Pink Floyd, The Final Cut 1983

Finally, my recap of BlogHer11.  But first, I would like offer up my Annual Obligatory Clarification of BlogHer's Attendance Policy:

BlogHer is a conference for everybody

This is not an exclusive conference and it is open to the public.  Seriously! Anyone can buy a conference pass.  After all, they've let ME in year after year, so that you should tell you something about the inclusive nature of BlogHer.  Furthermore, BlogHer has perfected the party process - every single night there are plenty of open party options to attend.  In fact, I only attended ONE private party - all the rest were BlogHer-sponsored parties open to all conference attendees.

In short, YOU should come to next year's BlogHer.  Get cracking on that BlogHer 12 registration, folks.

In 2005, BlogHer consisted of 300 people.  We crammed into a small conference center in Santa Clara, CA. We were given 2 drink tickets for a small cocktail hour after the first day's sessions.  There were no parties.  Dinners consisted of haphazard plans based upon whomever you happened to have ran into just before heading out.  Our "swag" consisted of a notebook, pen and bag.   I was 7 months pregnant with Arun and I used that notebook to record all the typical newborn stuff - feedings, diaper changes, eyelashes growing.  20 months later, I recorded Anjali's newborn activities in it.

I still have that notebook.

In 2011, BlogHer consisted of over 4000 people.  We were spread out over a HUGE convention center.

Sometimes, bigger IS better.


The Roommates
I roomed mostly with Liz Rizzo of Everyday Goddess and Celeste aka Average Jane.  Saturday night, Siel of green LA girl didn't want to drive back to LA, so she roomed with us.

Honestly?  Having roommates could be stressful, except that for me, it easily becomes the best part of the trip.  Having so many roommates is like having an extra set of eyes and ears at all times. Not in a gossipy way, but in a fun, Trixie Belden way - a roommate can be a valuable source of information!  Also,  I love the Spring Break Feeling, I appreciate meeting back in the room and hearing about all the cool things and people that my roomies may have ran into that I might have missed. And truly, I love seeing all the goodies that folks have gotten and am geniunely happy for my roommates when they score big.  Liz was the Big Winning Roommate this BlogHer - she came away with an iPad, a spa gift basket and a HUGE basket of Lindt chocolate.  (Celeste also won a basket of chocolate which worked out spectacularly for me since we were flying back to Kansas City together.  Yeah, baby!)

One of my favorite Roommate Stories happened Sunday morning.  I was saying something to Liz about Manoj, when all of a sudden Liz said "I thought your husband was Native American!".  I can only imagine how confused Liz was the entire weekend, what with me talking about my "Indian husband" and who knows what else came out weird over the weekend!

Also, my roommmates didn't mind at all if my nose was stuck in my phone while talking to them.  I wonder why?

The Venue:
BlogHer was held at the San Diego Convention Center. The venue was GORGEOUS and the staff was amazing.   While it was a crapton of walking, I didn't mind the walking part.  Although, that did make it a wee bit stressful in that you really had to be careful with time - it could easily take 20 minutes to make a "quick" trip to your room.

Speaking of the room, the view from it consisted of this:

And this......

And this!

While I am excited to be back in New York City for BlogHer 12, I am going to really, really going to miss those views.

The Parties
I mostly went to to open BlogHer Parties.  Liz did score me a +1 invite to one of the private parties she was invited to and I was so appreciative.  It was held at the beach at the Del Coronado and sitting oceanside by a fire pit listening to live music was so relaxing.  I didn't even mind the chilly temps.

My two favorite BlogHer parties this year were the Queerosphere (I haven't been to a drag show in forever, so that was a special treat!) and the Social Fiesta.  I was a little hesitant about the Social Fiesta because um, in case you hadn't noticed, I am not Latina.  However, but it didn't matter - it was a warm, inviting atmosphere and so much fun.  Hands down, it was my favorite party with my favorite food and favorite dance music and favorite atmosphere.

The Celebrities
After the Voices of the Year cocktail hour, I met The Roommates at the poolside bar.  I noticed there was quite the crowd around them and then discovered that we had inadvertently become the line wranglers for Ricki Lake:

I can report that Ricki Lake was SO sweet, warm and genuine.   I only spoke to her for the briefest of milliseconds, but we watched her for a long time greeting people.  Consistently, she was professional, polite and respectful. I was really impressed with her, quite frankly.

The other "celebrity" I encountered? Came out of the blue.  I was on the dance floor at the CheeseburgHer party and I introduced myself to the gal dancing beside me by beginning one of those Loud Dance Floor Conversations.

Kelli(!!!!!!): Hi!  I"m Kelli!  And your name is? 
The "Celebrity": Laurie.
Kelli (!!!???): Oh.  You look familiar!  What's your site?
The "Celebrity": I don't have a site. Do you have kids?
Kelli (??????): Yes, ages 4 and 5.5.
The "Celebrity": Well, I'm Laurie from PBS Sprout. That's probably where you know me from.

At that point, I start laughing hysterically which, Gentle Reader, did NOT seem to impress Laurie The Celebrity From The PBS Sprout Morning Show.  The funny part is that from some dark chamber of my deep subconscious, I probably did recognize her from PBS Sprout, but we have rarely watched her show.  Ever. For one, we only got PBS Sprout for a brief while a few years back and for another, we are a Nick Jr. family and for yet another, my kids are notorious night owls - they are rarely up in time for any morning show much less the one starring Laurie The Celebrity From The PBS Sprout Morning Show.

The Sessions
I really enjoyed the sessions this year at BlogHer.  Hands down, my favorite sessions were the food photography ones.  The official BlogHer session was less informational and more inspirational, but I had no complaints.  The Hillshire Farm session I mentioned in my last post was awesome.  The Voices of the Year was excellent, per usual - my favorite post was Oh Good, You Saved Your Bullshit by Oh, Noa.  Seriously - go read it!

The Swag:
My favorite overall swag bag came from Missouri Wines because it was such a fun grab bag of odds n' ends.  My favorite individual pieces were the mc3 head phones and the etyBLU2 headset from Etymotic that I received at the Clever Girls Collective TechBrunch (many thanks to Celeste for snagging us spots at that!!)  I also LOVE my personalized journal from Paper Coterie from the MomSelect Suite.  (Full Disclosure: These links are not sponsored and I didn't have to link, but I did want to share my favorite bits of gear I came home with.)

The People
I am not going to lie - every year (except for BlogHer 05, which was like freaking Woodstock)  I get dissed by someone directly to my face or it becomes obvious that the person I am talking to would rather be with someone hipper, cooler and they look over my shoulder for an escape route  It happens every single year.  However, since I allowed something like this to nearly ruin BlogHer 06 for me, I've chosen to not talk about it in my recap posts.   And yes, this year was no exception my Poor, Sensitive Feelings.  Gentle Reader, they couldn't catch a break.

I was having such a horrible time at Party-That-Must-Not-Be-Named, that I nearly left in tears.  I was mortified and really hesitant at what to do.  And then?  A girl came up to me and said "Hi!  My name is Lauren."  She was not a blogger and was at the conference for business. We chatted that night and eventually, some folks I knew showed up and we all hung out together.  Lauren and I ended up spending a good portion of the conference together.  And that is why I choose year after year to not make a big deal in my wrapups of how hurtful other people can be. Because there is always a Lauren in the crowd somewhere.  There is always someone who is not focused on Their Cool Factor and is simply there to learn.  Someone who just wants to meet new people and hang out.  (For example, at BlogHer 05, it was everyone in attendance, at BlogHer 06, there was a Brit and a Zoot, and ..... so on.  Every BlogHer, I manage to find someone. Thank goodness!)

So, thank you, NonBloggerTypePerson Lauren for being friendly and showing me, yet again, one of my very favorite bits of BlogHer.

Meeting new people.

And also, thank you, NonBloggerTypePerson Lauren, for making my favorite CheeseburgHer McDonald's Bag Concoction to date - a hippie headband.  Novel!


Monkey McWearingChaps said...

Glad you had a good time!

Olivia said...

Yay for Lauren! I'm sure no matter how prepared you are for it, being dissed stings.