My recap of BlogHer ’13, in many more words than needed, probably.
BlogHer was amazing, first off. I was a newbie this year, as were about 53% of attendees, according to the stats they threw at us the first morning.
I met tons of really awesome people (and absolutely no one asked what my site stats are, which is good, because
1) i have no idea, and
2) if I have to guess, I’m going to go with 5. 5 people who visit here most months without running away screaming. 6 on a really good day! also, i probably would have been incredulous and rude if someone had asked me. I’d rather you asked me what type of panties I’m wearing, to be honest).
The tons of awesome people gave me tons of awesome cards, which are currently sitting in an intimidating pile of awesome that I keep trying to go through but haven’t managed yet.
These cards have useful notes written on them based on what I remember about a person, which includes details such as LEAN IN HARDER BITCHES, Crotch-fruit!, that one chick, and Nature+Kids=YAY. Which actually works for me and I remember who ALL OF THOSE PEOPLE ARE.
There aren’t notes on more than half of the cards of awesome, so it could be months before I figure out who everyone is and why I kept their card, because in all honesty, if the blog subject isn’t an interest area for me and the person and I didn’t click REALLY HARD right away, I probably threw the card away.
Don’t judge – I’m sure there are multiple silverspiral.net cards sitting in other people’s trash cans because they either didn’t embrace the awesome or didn’t give a damn about yet another blog about whatever-pops-into-someone’s-head.
SO! It was, overall, completely awesome.
I met Ree Drummond, who talked specifically about the early days of Pioneer Woman and how it evolved into cookbooks and a tv show:
I got ridiculously, stalker-ly close to Queen Latifah, who was the emcee for the Voices of the Year awards, and she was gorgeous and amazing and then got whisked away before I could meet her or propose or do anything more than stare up at her with hearts in my eyes, which was ok, because I probably would have lost the power of speech and just made vowel sounds before running away:
I skipped out of Guy Kawasaki’s lunch keynote, so I missed both the good and the possibly bad, including where he evidentially said something along the lines of “You woman bloggers have the cutsy-est names for your blogs!”
If that’s true,
1) I’m offended because FUCK YOU, I think you mean, “you bloggers”, and
2) silverspiral.net will now be known immediately as DEATH-METAL-WOODSHOP, which sounds nice and masculine, don’t you think? Not that I’m into gendering anything, up to and including words or colors.
The keynote by Sheryl Sandberg was amazing, and she was well spoken and articulate and strong, but the Lean In activity, my table agreed, came off as vaguely condescending (they gave us a list of “feelings words” to pick from! Questions like, “What was your proudest moment?” were asked, which isn’t bad in itself, but all of the questions were like that) and then my table broke all the rules and did whatever we want and had a wonderful time and I hardcore love all of those ladies, the end.
The Voices of the Year presentation blew me away, and I laughed and nearly cried at how you should never ever make a pine cone wreath, how to best use the phrase This is Unacceptable, and how much it sucks to realize you’re gay when you know your church family is probably going to reject you.
I loved some of the panels I ended up attending, and the Expo Hall was insane amounts of fun.
So, to wrap up, what have I learned for future BlogHer attendance?
1. Either pack fewer clothes or bring a bigger suitcase
I took my little rolling suitcase because I hate having to check stuff, which would have worked better if I had taken less clothes – many of which I didn’t wear. I packed 2 dresses, 4 shirts, shorts, capris, and a skirt, flipflops, tennis shoes, and cute sandals (to be fair, I was packing for the entire week because I went to my sister’s house to visit after). I wore a dress to VOTY, but otherwise lived in my capris and flipflops. Packing up all of the swag received was frustratingly entertaining due to this. AND THE SHEER AMOUNT OF SWAG. And I had to check my suitcase on the way back anyway or else TSA would’ve taken some of the swag.
2. Pick up your swag bag on the way OUT of the hall
Skye stopped me from getting mine on my way into the Expo and I’m so glad she did, because my arm was about to fall off just with all of the OTHER swag being given out by sponsors.
The mostly complete collection (and almost all of this I managed to squeeze into my suitcase somehow:
And, go on and enter the giveaways, even if the person you’re walking around with can’t due to working for BlogHer. I won a 3 month subscription to Love With Food, 20 instagram prints from Walgreens (pity I don’t instagram), and a vibrator from Trojan that I’m really glad I didn’t have to buy, because vibrators are expensive.
3. Sit with people you don’t know
Seriously. As awesome as Skye is (and she totally, totally is), if I had attached myself to her arm like a barnacle all weekend, I wouldn’t have met nearly as many people (I did get to know Sarah and Christina through Skye, and they are also amazing and fabulous). So, I got in the habit of plunking myself down at a table with people I thought looked vaguely like they could be kindred spirits and introduced myself.
This only backfired once, when I ended up sitting at a table full of beauty and fashion bloggers, all who knew each other, and I had very little to say. They were very nice, I just have no interest in beauty/fashion stuff, and that’s what they were discussing.
4. Pick your panels, but leave if it ain’t working for you
This is one I struggled with. I went to mostly very interesting panels, but there was one or two where I was bored and should’ve left to find something that was a better fit.
5. PACK SNACKS
This one is focused towards others like me who are very picky food-wise.
Or are gluten free, vegetarian, or whatever.
Lunch on Friday was really good, and I was stuffed, but the reception after VOTY featured 4 different kinds of hot dogs (which gross me out) and multiple kinds of potato products, so I had tator tots for dinner. The following morning, I had bacon for breakfast. All of the bacon. ONLY BACON.
So, next time, I shall pack sunflower seeds and granola bars, just in case.
6. Join Twitter
I didn’t tweet, but now I do, because that is how everyone connects with everyone else. Plus, each panel had its’ own hashtag, so you could follow other people’s thoughts during the session. Which was a little trippy for me, because I have a hard enough time focusing my attention on speakers while doing something else, and now you want me to listen, read twitter, AND type and post? Impossible!
None the less, I did give in and I am now a twit. Follow me at @tasteslikefail, if you have nothing better to do with your life. Warning: I mainly retweet junk I want to remember.
That’s that! I had a great time, and I’m definitely going again. I’ll be checking out people’s blogs as I sort through massive amounts of cards and stuff, so feel free to drop me a line here or on twitter or SOMEWHERE if you want me to get to you sooner! Or if you weren’t there, didn’t have cards, ran across me randomly and think I’m cool*.