Confessions of a first-time BlogHer attendee

My first BlogHer experience is over with and I’m left wondering how it can already be done. While at times it seemed like the weekend would never end (or rather that I would never sleep again), it also seemed to go by in a blur. I already miss the women I got to know better over the weekend – women who are more than just blogging buddies, but who are friends. I decided to compile a list of sorts with some of the things from the conference that surprised me, made me smile, had me laughing out loud, saddened me and even made me cry. Without further ado, here are my BlogHer confessions.

Once my husband and kids dropped me off at the Denver airport Thursday afternoon for my trip to BlogHer ’09 in Chicago, I didn’t really have any anxiety the whole weekend. I did take 1/2 Xanax Thursday night, but only because, after lying in bed for hours, I could not fall asleep and I was hoping it would make me tired enough to finally crash. It did.

I don’t usually dress the way I did at BlogHer. I rarely accessorize, but I wore a necklace every day I was there – sometimes two different necklaces in one day. I bought nearly everything I wore there new (or second-hand) before the trip. I definitely used BlogHer as an excuse to get myself some new duds.

Thanks to Twitter, I found another BlogHer attendee to share a cab with to the Sheraton and, during the drive, discovered we had quite a bit in common.

Annie from PhDinParenting and me

Annie from PhDinParenting and me

My roommate Annie was much taller than I expected her to be. She was also very nice, considerate and quiet as a mouse when she woke up in the morning before me.

Allie from No Time for Flash Cards, Casey from The Beautiful Letdown and Jenni from Zrecommends

Allie from No Time for Flash Cards, Casey from The Beautiful Letdown and Jenni from Zrecommends

Three of the women I hung out with the most (other than my roomie) were Jenni, Allie and Melissa, although there were so many others that I met up with for a couple seconds, to a few minutes, to several hours. In other words, way too many names/blogs to list. Just know I enjoyed meeting every single one of you. I have no complaints!

I often felt torn on who I should spend my time with. There were so many fabulous women and so many places to go and only so many hours in the day/night that it was hard to pick where to go and who to hang with.

When “they” tell you you don’t have to go to every session and you should take time to just chill and relax during the conference, believe it. The weekend, while amazing, was incredibly exhausting and I wish I would have purposefully scheduled in a nap or two.

I confess I didn’t recognize some people who introduced themselves to me. However, upon going home and seeing their Twitter avatar or going to their blog, it then clicked who they were. A-ha! I think everyone should have their Twitter avatar on their name badge. It would make identification so much easier. :)

I approached a few women thinking I knew them, but it turned out I did not. It was fine though. I’d rather say, “Hi, do I know you?” than regret never asking.

I didn’t take nearly enough pictures, but I’m happy with the ones I did take.

Katja from Skimbaco Lifestyle and me at Bowlher

Katja from Skimbaco Lifestyle and me at Bowlher

I teared up after running into Katja on the elevator and then having a chat about our past struggles with anxiety in the hallway (after she teared up). Chatting with her was one of the highlights of my trip.

I dripped “juice” from my chicken sandwich down my shirt and into my cleavage while enjoying room service on my bed Friday night. Even though my bra had dried “juice” on it, I wore it on Saturday too.

I woke up with a killer headache and threw up once twice Saturday morning and didn’t emerge from my room until noon. I don’t see how I could have been hungover (since I only drank two and a half glasses of wine the night before), but I think the combination of getting very little sleep for several days, not eating the kinds of food I’m used to, and having so much going on just all caught up with me. Thankfully, once I got a little food to stay in my belly, I was fine the rest of the time.

Sommer from Green and Clean Mom and me

Sommer from Green and Clean Mom and me

I was surprised by how much fun I had with Sommer and Jennifer Friday night. They were both a riot! I laughed so hard my face hurt.

I was kind of disappointed by some of the breakout sessions I attended. I walked out of one of them (I felt the content was seriously lacking) and felt another one I went to was rather lacking too.

Inspiring green bloggers - Maryanne from MCMilker, Beth from Fake Plastic Fish, Lisa from Condo Blues, and Lynn from Organic Mania

Inspiring green bloggers - Maryanne from MCMilker, Beth from Fake Plastic Fish, Lisa from Condo Blues, and Lynn from Organic Mania

I surprised myself by raising my hand to talk into the microphone during the Green Blogging session. Public speaking didn’t kill me! (Though it did make my heart race for a few minutes.) I hope to write more about the green blogging session (which was easily my favorite) at a later time.

I packed way more clothes than I wore, but forgot to pack my toothbrush and razor. Thankfully, the front desk had both.

I didn’t have to pump the entire weekend, but I did manually express milk a couple times. Never got engorged – thank goodness.

I didn’t make it to either of the BlogHer sponsored cocktail parties.

I watched too much HGTV on the plane ride home and have all kinds of projects in mind for myself (and ones we will need to spend good $ on) on how to stage our home for selling next year. Just what I need – more projects!

I was surprised by how excited and crazed some women seemed to get about swag (free stuff). The consumption and waste I witnessed at times throughout the weekend saddened and frustrated me.

Although I rarely drink soda (pop), I had a Pepsi at lunch on Saturday to help me recovery from my headache and upset stomach. It was one of the only things that sounded good.

I was pleasantly surprised that a few women deliberately checked in on me to see how I was doing (with my anxiety and all). I thought that was super sweet of them.

I was also surprised that The Blog Frog wanted to do a short video interview with me.

I didn’t really truly miss my kids until I was on the plane ride home. Then I missed them terribly and couldn’t get home fast enough. (For the record, Jody and the kids did great without me.)

A small piece of me hoped my 2.5 year old son Julian might forget how to nurse while I was gone. He remembered and I was honestly relieved.

Jenni from Zrecommends, me, Ivy, Steph from Adventures in Babywearing, and Tara from Feels Like Home

Jenni from Zrecommends, me, Ivy, Steph from Adventures in Babywearing, and Tara from Feels Like Home

I was surprised by how many amazing, talented, funny, inspiring, sweet, eco-conscious, adorable blogging women (including several local bloggers from Colorado) I kept running into and yet I still left the conference with a long list (in my head) of more I never got to meet. (Next year, right?)

Annie - PhDinParenting, Jenni - Zrecommends, and I on the red carpet at Bowlher

Annie - PhDinParenting, Jenni - Zrecommends, and me on the red carpet at Bowlher

Someone told me that as soon as BlogHer ended this year, I would already be looking forward to doing it all over again next year. She was right. BlogHer ’10 is in New York City (be sure to register early so you get in before it’s sold out) and I’m already planning on being there.

For those of you looking for more pictures, check out my BlogHer09 flickr stream.

Lastly, thank you sooooo much to my sponsor Stonyfield Farm and their organic Oikos Greek Yogurt for helping me with my trip expenses. I really appreciate it! (And everyone I gave an Oikos Greek Yogurt coupon to was thrilled.) :)

Edited to add: Oops! One last thing! I got so many compliments on my photo cuff bracelet at BlogHer and I wanted to tell anyone who’s interested in getting one where you can buy them – Check out Smoy.net. Wonder if I can get them to sponsor me next year. Ya think? :)

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37 thoughts on “Confessions of a first-time BlogHer attendee

  1. You’re completely adorable and I’m more than thrilled that your experience was positive. Especially after hearing so many other women talk about the horrors of this years conference. YAY for a great time, and new friends.

    Nell

  2. I loved meeting you and regretted not having a whole lot of time to get to know you better. We will have to make time here in CO to get together!
    @chaotic_barb

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  5. Great post! A got a feel for what the conference is like from your descriptions and pictures. Also, I like that you are so positive, even when writing about things you didn’t like.

  6. I loved reading your first experience. I am so happy you got to go, had fun, and had a good experience. You look so cute in your new clothes too. :-)

    I thought about you a lot over the weekend, but because of my health, I honestly had no desire to go this year.

    I do remember whining about not being at BlogHer last year, so I hope I can make plans to attend ’10 as soon as I can. Maybe the thyroid cancer association will sponsor me. LOL.

    Thanks for sharing your experience, and you can show me the ropes next year. :-)

  7. Sounds like a blast! Thanks for the pics and updates. It was fun to make connections even though I didn’t make it. Maybe next year…NYC is just a hop, skip and a jump away ;-)

  8. I just loved hanging out with you (and everyone) at BlogHer! It was so inspiring to see and meet with all the people I’ve been reading and chatting with for the last few years! I came back inspired and ready to blog more!

  9. Thank you for sharing your experience. I have read and heard so much about it on BlogHer, it is fun to hear all the individual stories.

  10. Don’t think I got the chance to meet you, but wish I had…I’ll be sure to try and keep up with your crunchy posts. My efforts at organic veggie gardening were smashed (literally) while I was away at BlogHer. Major storm with tons of hail in our area. Caused a lot of damage. Very sad.

  11. I’m glad it went so well. I hear you on the consumption/waste thing – I often feel kind of surreal when I come across events where this is all happening. Like I’m out of synch with it all. ;-)
    I see Whitney (from SK) was there too..

  12. Great review thanks for sharing your experience with those of us who did not make it to BlogHer09. Perhaps next year you can help them get more on the green track.

  13. Hooray! I’m so glad you had such a great time. Sorry you got sick but glad it went away quickly. When I went last year I tried to get to a breakout session each time but finally became aware after popping in and then leaving a few (because the subject matter was either too focused – there was one about photography that was specifically for photographers and I am not one of those – or too heavy) that I was completely saturated and couldn’t take any more in. I went back to my room and tweeted, called my family, and just basically chilled out for a while. So I hear ya!

  14. Meeting you was one of my highlights at BlogHer, you are as nice as I imagined, and I just wanted to take you home with me :) I agree with you – the swag hunting made me sick, but I was happy that they had organized the swag recycling center where you could take things you didn’t want to take home. Hope to see you next year in NYC!

  15. Amy,

    It was wonderful to finally meet you at BlogHer. We all have preconceptions of our favorite bloggers, and I have to say, you were nothing like I imagined…because you’ve been so open about your struggles, I expected you to be a bit down…but you were so bubbly and so much fun! And just beautiful — your pictures do you no justice! It must be that happy “green glow” inside.

    Like you, I had my share of ‘Eco-Confessions” – primarily about the swag, which I shared on my blog.

    Thanks for including that cute picture of me and some of the other green bloggy gals!

    Look forward to keeping in better touch!

    Lynn

  16. Hi,
    I surfed on over from another site listing BlogHer posts.
    I’m thinking about doing BlogHer next year. Hopefully we can swing it and at least one other summer trip. We are thinking about going to Europe with my daughter’s class next June!
    Glad you had some fun.
    The photo cuff looks neat, I bookmarked the site. Perfect MIL gift!

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  18. Great recap! You did great on the microphone during the green blogging session, I’d have never guessed you were a bit nervous about that.

    Too funny about the similar post titles.

  19. It was so great to meet you! I’m a bit embarrassed because I probably talked your ear off. Which is what happens whenever I’m horribly nervous when meeting someone whose blog I adore. :)

    Also: love the bracelet!

  20. Hi Amy. I wish we could have hung out more. You looked fabulous. It’s kinda funny that you ended up drinking Pepsi for your tummy. I ended up drinking Pepto Bismol for mine. Yikes. And now I have a cold.

    Even though I had some serious issues with the commercialism of the conference (which I’ll be writing about today as soon as I can get my act together) I thoroughly enjoyed meeting people like you who I only knew online. I wish we could have a smaller swag-free green blogger conference with a lot of time to hang out and get to know one another.

  21. Hi Amy,

    Really great to meet you at BlogHer – even though it was brief. Let’s keep in touch via posts and tweets and hopefully we’ll see each other next year!

    Micaela

  22. It was so great to meet you in person and hang out at BlogHer! My stomach was doing flip flops all weekend due to the lack of real food (although it was better than in past years I’m told), lack of sleep, and stress to meet everyone and attend every session I possibly could.

    Room service! Duh, I could have ordered hotel room service to get food to quell the samba in my stomach from living on finger food all weekend. Caulk up a lesson learned for next year.

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  24. Wow, sounds like this was a great experience! I’m new the blogging world and have thought about attending a conference – I think you’ve just helped me make up my mind! Love your site by the way – gave me lots to think about as I’m trying to blog my way through the decision of whether or not to have kids.

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