BlogHer '10…The Good, The Bad and the Baby

By August 11, 2010Blogging, Conferences

There are hundreds of posts in the blogosphere on BlogHer 2010 this week as 2,400 of us settle back into our homes and our blogging routines and reflect back on the experience.  I am just one more voice but I do think that as I reflect on this large conference it has many applications to life in general, at least mine.  I know a lot of my readers are not bloggers, so bear with me.

BlogHer was exhilarating, chaotic, heart-warming, scary, inspirational, funny and totally exhausting.  Ring a bell?  As expected, some bloggers absolutely loved their time in NYC and some have already vowed not to return.  I will certainly attend BlogHer again but without a baby and with very different expectations and a much better plan to meet the wonderful bloggers I want to connect with.  Having a baby there is beautiful because everybody wants to hold the baby and chat with you and you do not have to leave your baby but I spent more time nursing her than connecting.

First Hugs and Chats and Flash Mobs were Totally Worth It!

I met so many fabulous people at BlogHer that will bring me back again and again because I absolutely love finally connecting in person with people who are part of my daily life now.  I could not even start to name all the precious women who embraced me with open arms and were absolutely warm and friendly.  If we met and we talked and you complimented Violet or even better took her and gave my arms a break – know that I heart you and just want to see you again! 

I also got to meet and sing with some awesome gals at the Kirtsy Gala and really – for me – this rocked!  I’m at home on a stage baby!  We sang “Tomorrow” from Annie.  It should really be my theme song – it’s totally true.  The Sun Will Come Out.  That’s me in the center in the yellow dress.

Just Like in Life – Not Everyone is Nice

I saw women cry at this conference and overheard conversations about being hurt by other women.  Women who would not talk to them or pay them any attention.  I was certainly overlooked by some bloggers but with baby Violet with me I probably just did not have time to reflect on my feelings until now.  I want you all to know that we are all worth talking to.  We all have a message, a voice, a story and if you reach out to someone you should never be snubbed.  Again, you have great worth.  

To be honest, I think I had such a hard time recognizing people that by the time I was snubbed it was too late for me to know who did said snubbing.  Lucky for me huh?  I also was proud of myself for coming out and saying hello to as many people as possible and introducing myself and I had mostly great experiences, a few “why do I care” type looks and only one really rude encounter.     All in all that’s great considering what I have read and heard about.  I get why a company might pay more attention to a bigger blogger and I totally understand that some bloggers have had years to develop friendships and obviously have their own agenda (a smart move in my book) but there is no need from one blogger to another for rudeness.  That just plain sucks.  I am totally nice and if you missed hugging me – I give good hug.

Make Plans with the People You Love and Want to See – before you get there

Experienced BlogHer’s made plans in advance.  End of story.  I wanted to love every minute of the conference while I embraced my cyber friends in real life and had some sort of smorgasbord love fest with them.  This totally could have happened (and did for so many people) except it was so much harder to find people than I expected!  Even with twitter and texting and all that good modern stuff it was damn near impossible to hook up without some sort of plan.    Just as in my everyday life sometimes I think things will happen and I hope they will and then I am all pissed off when they don’t because I did not plan.  These days are over.  I am going to go after what I want – not just hope it comes flying into my lap.  So next week with my friends here and next year at BlogHer – a dinner party!  A real place to talk and laugh and cry and get to know one another better.  The gals at BlogHer who did this were so smart and looked so happy to leave the melee for a few hours with friends.  I was jealous because there were times, surrounded by thousands of bloggers, that I felt lonely and quite lost and wished I had an intimate evening with friends planned.

Eat – Food Provides Energy You Will Need

Speaking of dinner dates, next year I will eat.  I swear I went 4 days with a couple of bagels and $18 grilled cheeses in my room because the dining hall was way too loud for me and scared the crap out of Violet.  I know what makes me nervous and on edge and a thousand chattering voices does it every time.  This could totally be another opportunity for coffee and a bagel with friends in the a.m.!  Let’s just say that I am lame-o for missing out on all BlogHer meals but so be it.  You might have seen me in the lobby with my bagel and Diet Coke every day.  Wish I had set up shop there!

Bag the Swag for a Little While

You are stronger than me if you can resist the temptation of cookies and candy and free toys for your kids but make a time to visit the expo hall and swag suites and maybe hit 1 or 2 parties but don’t make your whole BlogHer experience trying to run from one free stuff place to another.  When I think about most of the stuff I got for free it did not come close to the amount of money I paid to be at the conference with other bloggers…not filling my bags.  It is totally possible to spend your entire BlogHer weekend running around getting swag, so just be aware that you are missing out on some quality time either attending a session or chatting with some really cool people.  A lot of the parties are extremely crowded and difficult to maneuver once you have a giant bag full of stuff anyway.  I will say that some parties were very well done and had superb swag.  Yes, I am talking Mouthy Housewives, where I was actually able to talk to people and where LG was on hand giving every one attending a new vacuum!  (This will be for my husband…so he can help!)  Have fun with the swag – but remember to ditch it and have some good clean fun for a little while!

Note:  There are cute pictures to be had in the Expo….

A Conference Virgin May Want to Start a Bit Smaller than BlogHer

This was my first BlogHer AND my first blog conference ever.  If I had to do it again, I would have made every effort to go to a smaller conference first and get my groove on with a little less stress.  Bloggy Boot Camp would be a great 1 day conference to start with where they limit attendees to about 100, have locations across the country, and have tables where everyone sits and gets to know each other.  Ahh – sounds nice right?  Then you can pack your A game and your list of bloggers you already know and head to the big show a little more prepared than I was!

Bringing a Baby Brings Lots of Smiles but Sorely Hampers Your To-Do List

Violet is 6 months old and eats ALL the time from my boobs so I had no choice…she came with me to BlogHer.  I thought I had it all planned out and would put her in childcare for the day and have all this time to myself.  It just did not work that way.  I ended up bringing her everywhere with me and would like to thank Huggies for allowing me to bring her to the Every Little Bottom Booth each morning.  Yes, she brought in lots of people to learn about diaper need and how to help, but I was exhausted by the constant demands of a baby and making sure she was okay.  She got tons of attention and hugs and kisses and I would have missed her terribly if I had not brought her but it would have been a lot easier. 

Violet does not nap and is always happily making loud baby pterodactyl like noises, making it impossible for me to attend sessions.  Yep – I went to BlogHer and missed all the sessions – even the ones I really wanted to hear and the keynote because she had the poopiest diaper ever – like we were on an airplane during takeoff – right before the speakers came on.  It’s a good thing she ‘s cute because I was not amused.

After a camera hit Violet in the head at the Martha Stewart party I got babysitters the other nights for her safety and my sanity.  I was able to see some of my friends from high school and beyond and relax over a glass of wine for a few hours.  Total relief!  A baby at BlogHer for me now means a totally low key conference with very little partying and a lot of changed plans.

Still, a baby will help to start a conversation and can make almost any blogger smile!  Here she is with Loukia…who might have recognized her before me!  Violet pulled a lot of hair and made a lot of friends!

Participate in the BlogHer Parties and Get Inspired!

While I was only able to attend the Kirtsy Gala and Art Auction it was absolutely inspirational.  People had their bodies painted with words of strength and courage, there were vintage cameras where you could get old fashioned photos taken, Jenny The Blogesswas typing poems for people and the art was awesome with boards where you could write your own thoughts.  This was good because I could find absolutely no on that I knew and was having a full on panic attack and all.  But it was gorgeous to be there and to participate and to see what BlogHer is supposed to be about.  And I finally started to meet people and was glad I wasn’t running around the city but meeting people right there.  I saw these balloons and I almost cried.  This is what I try to do every day and I certainly tried my best in NYC as well.  Each balloon says MAKE IT COUNT.

 Finally….Relax and Have Fun and Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

Be yourself.  It is way too stressful to try and be anything else and you are there so that people can get to know you.  Do what you want to do and don’t just follow the crowd if the crowd ain’t going anywhere you are interested in.  Have fun and if you want next year…find me…because I just want to have fun too!

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Join the discussion 24 Comments

  • I’m so sorry I missed you and the Annie performance. Want 10 Annie wigs?

  • Kelly says:

    Love your recap and words of advice. As someone who hasn’t attended a conference or meetup (yet), it’s nice to get the been-there-done-that perspective. And your photos are great!
    .-= Kelly´s last blog ..Bella in love Giveaway! =-.

  • BlogHer was my first conference as well and i second your advice on going to a smaller one first – it was wonderful, but at times a bit overwhelming!

  • Loukia says:

    I am so glad I met you and your beautiful baby girl. My GOD she is SOOOOOOO adorable it really almost gave me severe baby fever! She was so smiley and lovely. Too bad everyone wasn’t as sweet as her at BlogHer! I agree, the swag was a bit too much. I left a lot. Next year I will plan for more time just TALKING to my friends, the bloggers I want to be hanging out with. 🙂 You have to come next year!

  • IASoupMama says:

    Wow! I’ve never attended a conference, but can imagine how exciting/fun/overwhelming/etc. that was. I once took my nursing Violet to a figure skating competition because she, too, had nothing to eat but me. I nursed her in my costumes in the stands…

    Good for you for giving it a go!
    .-= IASoupMama´s last blog ..My Pregnant Hubby =-.

  • I wish I had met you earlier in the weekend — I would have brought you some food. Overall, I had a really great time. I thought some of the sessions were disappointing, but meeting people with amazing insight & ideas made up for that!

    Let’s get the group blog going and let the Queen City sponsor us all the way to San Diego. Sound good?? 🙂
    .-= Sara @ The Football Wife´s last blog ..Things I Love Thursday- The Boys of Fall =-.

  • Ronnica says:

    Not sure I’ll ever go to a blogger’s conference, but this sounds like great advice. I can’t imagine going with a baby!
    .-= Ronnica´s last blog ..Golden Dreams =-.

  • Melisa says:

    Great overview. From all the post I have read it seems the key really is having some sort of plan to meet those you want to me, ahead of time.

    I have to wonder about the folks that are going around snubbing people. No one wants to call anyone out (taking the high road) but maybe everyone needs to call them out so we can stay away from them. Or maybe they don’t even realize they are doing it? I mean you can be you online but the you someone meets in person is going to be just a wee bit different because not everything carries over exactly as one reads. Some people need to get a grip and get over themselves. Thank goodness there are plenty of nice, caring, authentic bloggers out there. You, my friend, are part of the good crowd. 🙂
    .-= Melisa´s last blog ..Why Ill Never Be Great =-.

  • Karen says:

    Sorry I missed seeing you there, but since we don’t live far away from one another, maybe we can get together some time.
    .-= Karen´s last blog ..Money Saving Tip- Always Compare Prices =-.

  • Shafeena says:

    Of all the LOOOOONG blogher posts. I think this one is my fav. Because you really say it like it is. And make it seem interesting and fun and difficult at the same time !! you are wonderful 😀
    .-= Shafeena´s last blog ..You Know you’re a mum when… =-.

  • Julie M. says:

    I wish I would have seen you for the 24 hours that I was there. The short time I partook was amazing and overwhelming all at the same time. I loved it though! I can’t wait to head to a few smaller conferences this fall and hopefully get myself in the groove to maybe… maybe attempt BlogHer all out next year. See you at Type A!

  • I totally missed the Annie on stage part of the conference. Ugggg!!

    The babies… this is what I LOVE about BlogHer and female blogging conferences. Babies are welcome AND cherished. 🙂

    The snubbing… hmmm… some people might have been mean and nasty. Others may have been tired. Still others might have lost their glasses in someone’s room after a long night on a red eye and couldn’t even see her own best blogging buddies unless she stood right under their noses. Oh wait… that last one was me. It was a huge conference. Personalities are bound to show up. No need to cry. We’re all big girls.
    .-= Sugar Jones´s last blog ..My BlogHer Top 10 =-.

    • Brittany says:

      I agree I felt so bad that people were hurt. I just let it roll off thinking maybe they are drunk or blond or they would like me right 😉 I think people get distracted and like I said some bloggers have more commitments than others and do not have the time to talk to every single person. I am not easily recognizeable so I did not have problems having to turn people away – haha! I really am so glad I met you and found your blog. And next year I will be drooling over OPB (other people’s babies!)

  • What a great recap, so much I can completely agree with! The most important thing I learned was to lower expectations, to remember that just because you make a connection online doesn’t necessarily mean it will translate smoothly offline, and just go with the flow. If I’d done all of that I would have had a less emotional experience. I left feeling like perhaps I wouldn’t attend another one, but here I am a week later making plans and strategizing so that I can go next year. So I guess the impression wasn’t all bad – certainly not after having met people like you (which was such a tease!) I wish you were closer, and I’m looking forward to our friendship growing.
    .-= Christine LaRocque´s last blog ..This much I know =-.

  • mom101 says:

    Wise advice lady! It’s true, you can’t possibly eat enough free breakfast sausages to pay for your plane ticket, but the time with friends and the connections made are worth about 100 times that.

    Sorry I didn’t get to enjoy one of those good hugs. Sounds like whoever you feel snubbed you was missing out.
    .-= mom101´s last blog ..The last deposit =-.

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