This is my favorite photo from BlogHer. It shows a big group of women in the elevator going from one party to another on Saturday night. Look how giddy everyone seems!
Saturday was the only day I went to any official parties, but once I was committed to the idea of party-hopping, I was in for the duration. I even made it to CheeseburgHer this year, although the Aiming Low party was more my speed (read: I got a free shoulder and neck massage).
Aiming Low is also where I got this "Internets! Hell yea" temporary tattoo that I finally removed ten days later when daily showers and exercise failed to affect its adhesion one iota. Nail polish remover did the trick, though.
One thing I didn't do at the Aiming Low party was let someone write on me. That was a good move as it turns out, because it was a little risky:
I am telling all this way out of order. Let me start over and see if I can get a little more chronological up in here. I arrived on Thursday afternoon after a long travel day. This is what I saw from my hotel window, so I knew I was in for a wonderful trip:
So within a few hours I'd gathered my roommates together and we all went down by that beautiful pool to grab a drink and have something to eat. Along the way we met up with lots of other bloggy friends.
Liz Rizzo of Everyday Goddess, a.k.a. Roommate #1
Cagey from Rancid Raves, a.k.a. Roommate #2. I'm willing to bet she got a lot more photos than I did.
Once we'd snacked and socialized to our hearts' content, we made our way over to the exhibit hall, where we ran into more blogger buddies.
As you can see, we had our big bags o' swag from registration. We went back later on that evening for the sneak preview of the Expo Hall. Some of my colleagues were working there so I said hello and made my way around looking at the various sponsors. As is my custom, I entered every iPad giveaway I could find. I did not win an iPad. (However, Liz won an iPad. And a big basket of chocolate. And a fitness basket with lots of dried fruit. I'm not jealous. Really.)
I got up early on Friday morning to do a 5k and ended up walking with Liz and Kim. I downloaded the iMapMyRun app at Kim's suggestion and now I use it every time I walk and it's making me very competitive with myself.
Once the 5k start time of 6:30 a.m. Pacific rolled around, I'd already been up for a couple of hours, discovered that the hotel Starbucks opened at 5:00 a.m., and talked them into making me my Shakeology shake for breakfast. I wouldn't get a shake that actually tasted good until the next day, but at least I managed to establish that they were willing to give it a shot.
Speaking of apps (as we were a couple of paragraphs ago), I used the heck out of the BlogHer app. In fact, it's the only place where I have a record of which sessions I attended and I would love to tell you what they all were but my phone is all the way downstairs and, you know, tired.
So I spent all day in whatever sessions caught my attention, including a couple of invitation-only ones such as a Jimmy Dean cause marketing workshop where they discussed their No Kid Hungry program, and a Pepsico Sofa Summit featuring Sarah Brokaw that netted me an autographed copy of Fortytude that I'm reading right now.
I attended the Voices of the Year Community Keynote, which was wonderful as always.
On Friday evening, I had the good fortune to once again attend the Nintendo Ambassadors' party with Liz, who also managed to get a spot for Cagey. We took a boat cruise to the Hotel del Coronado and had a luau-themed party on the beach.
Saturday was lather, rinse, repeat when it came to my getting up early, having Starbucks make me a breakfast shake, etc. I attended sessions all morning except when I was donating blood (which made me miss part of Nerdy Apple Bottom's session, darn it), managed to miss a flash mob at lunchtime because I was too lazy to turn around and figure out what all the commotion was about, and skipped a couple of afternoon sessions in favor of flat-on-my-back-reading time. I got back to the convention center in plenty of time to see the closing keynote, but I had to duck out a little early because I got a tweet that I'd won a prize at the Lindt Chocolate booth in the Expo Hall.
Cagey and I stopped by to visit some of our Missouri blogging pals (and share chocolate) before making our way down to the poolside bar where it turned out that Ricki Lake was holding court and providing ample quantities of free margaritas.
We picked up a fourth roommate for Saturday evening. Siel of Green LA Girl decided not to drive back home that evening, so we added her to our room.
The party-hopping I mentioned at the beginning of the post began shortly after that.
Liz Rizzo and Neil Kramer
That's about the time I stopped taking photos. I don't think I took any at CheeseburgHer, despite the fact that, as predicted, I used exactly ZERO of the ten drink tickets I'd been given. After all, I had just given blood that day.
On Sunday morning I got up early (no surprise there) and got my breakfast shake. While I was hanging around on the main floor of the hotel, I checked the #blogher hashtag feed on Twitter and discovered that there was a Clever Girls Collective tech brunch taking place later that morning that had some slots open. After a couple of emails and a quick check-in with the roommates, I got us all registered.
The brunch was at a boutique hotel not far away and it had some great tech sponsors including Etymotic, PopCap and Logitech. We had really interesting discussions about the future of tech and personal computing. I was very glad I'd spotted the opportunity.
When we got back to the hotel, we had some time to kill before Cagey and I needed to head to the airport. We ran into Georgia from I Am Bossy in the hotel lobby and invited her to accompany us to the bar for a pre-flight cocktail.
At some point I checked the #blogher hashtag again and noticed that a company called Cloudflare was offering free limo rides from the hotel to the airport. We were happy to take advantage of that service in exchange for a brief sales pitch, so I got us lined up to travel to the airport in style.
Then we spent the next 5+ hours at said airport thanks to a flight delay that was never explained to my satisfaction. The less said about that the better, except that we got a chance to hang out with BlogHer co-founder Elisa Camahort Page and her husband Chris Page for a while as we waited, which was lovely.
Cagey is a great traveling companion but I'm pretty sure she was thoroughly sick of me by the time we finally boarded our flight. I will honor that by not posting the obnoxious photo I took of both of us toward the end of our extremely long wait.
We didn't get back to Kansas City until almost 2:30 a.m. on Monday, so you can kind of see why it's taken me two solid weeks to get back on track.
And that is my whole BlogHer story, minus lots of details that would have been a lot clearer if I'd written this when I should have. I'm sure I've failed to mention people and events integral to the actual story, but don't hesitate to comment with stuff I should have included.
Now, on to the next trip and conference!