Despite the Drama & Swagwhoring, BlogHer 09 Didn’t Suck

Posted by on July 28, 2009

I actually considered writing this post on the flight home when everything was still fresh in my mind but then I thought better of it and took a nap. PRIORITIES, PEOPLE!

Every time I come back from BlogHer I grapple with this post because I want to name every person I hugged, met, reunited with, saw eye-to-eye with, admired or crushed on etc. I want to take the best parts of my experience and commit it to words so my memories will never fade.

I still want to do those things but you know, what if you forget someone? What if you get a name wrong? What if someone is offended or gets their feelings hurt?  (yes, I actually care about shit like that).

TOOOO MUCH PRESSURE.

That said, I had a fantastic time at BlogHer 09. I really did—far superior to  the last one I attended in 07, also in Chicago. Looking back, I can’t put my finger on it but I just wasn’t feelin’ it. The lovey-dovey inspirational vibe of 06 just wasn’t there for me.

That was remedied this time around because I had a fabulous time and other than feeling pulled in 5 different directions almost every waking minute and never feeling like I had enough time to REALLY talk to people, I don’t have any real complaints.

Yes, people were grabby and greedy about the freebies.

Yes, people bitched endlessly about not getting swag from certain parties and sponsors and yes, people were rumored to be sponsor-hunting rather brazenly.

Yes, some swag bags were reportedly stolen off elevator carts (unbelievable).

Yes, there was some totally made-up drama in the Room of Your Own  panel with Vaginally-Challenged bloggers (more commonly known as “men”) It was stupid and unnecessary and I’m not going to rehash it here. And for the record, I’m okay with men attending BlogHer.

Yes, a baby wasn’t allowed into a private Nikon party being held at an extremely upscale restaurant/lounge (and???).

Even I whined to my friends when I was denied a BlogHer registration bag because they ran out. I owe my pal and roomie Shari for rectifying the situation as she brought my bagless plight (that’s a JOKE) to the attention of  those in charge and they found one for me.

Despite all of the above, BlogHer 09 didn’t suck (read: don’t hate on me or call me a Pollyanna Sugarcoater just because I wasn’t miserable or disappointed)

I met a number of super people/new friends and I was beyond flattered at those who came up to say they enjoyed my blog or were longtime readers because let’s face it, when you leapfrog around and change names as much as I have this year, you kind of don’t expect that—so thank you to all you nice folks. Thank you for taking the time and for making me feel much more positive about where I’m at right now.

All the parties I attended were good in one way or another but a special shout-out goes to MamaPop, and especially Tracey and Catherine, for putting together one HELL of a party. You’ve raised the bar, ladies. Thanks for a fab time.

To everyone who came to our Room of Your Own panel (Blogging Identity and You with myself, Anissa Mayhew and Tanis Miller) I just want to say thanks. YOU made it a huge success and and it wouldn’t have happened without you.

I want to tell my friends how lucky I am to have every single one of you. You really made my BlogHer experience what it was…awesome. You’re like shoes that don’t cause blisters and bra straps that don’t slide and ice cream without penance. You’re ALL the bomb diggity. LOVE.

And finally, the first day I’m home, my skin has totally cleared up.  Why does the universe hate me so much? You know how vain I am, universe. Why do you insist on f*cking with me like this???

****** STAY TUNED FOR PHOTOS—IN A FEW DAYS *****

Now, for the practical part of my post…

Everyone should put their photo on their business cards. I know you’ll probably feel silly doing that but seriously, it would help me a lot. Just sayin.

As a party co-host myself (The People’s Party) I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest swag bags stop being given out at parties. Offer your guests food and drinks and good music instead. This might cut back on the greed and entitlement issues that have been the 24-7 topic on Twitter and on blogs since Blogher ended yesterday. I know the bags are a huge draw but do you really want people to just come, elbow babies in the head (yes, that really happened), get their bags o’ stuff and then leave? Remove the stuff and remove that element entirely. Of course, I’m only one vote with The People’s Party but that will be my suggestion for 2010.

To those looking for sponsorship, I’d like to suggest you build relationships with companies. They may well end up sponsoring you if you have something of value to offer them in return you but making that the focal point of your conference attendance is ill-advised and makes us ALL look bad.

And to EVERYONE… In the future, try to have a little patience & understanding with your fellow conference attendees. I got into a verbal altercation with another attendee who assumed I was trying to cut her in line at the Tim Gunn thing when I had actually just stopped to say hi to some friends who were in line. She sniped at me. I sniped back. It was really unpleasant and after mulling it over and  putting myself in her shoes, I concluded that I might be irritated if I assumed, mistakenly or otherwise, that I was being cut in line. I went back and apologized to her. She returned the apology and that was the end of it. Hopefully.

And in the same vein, the aforementioned reminds me that I did jump the line at the Nikon party but ONLY because they said they wanted to photograph attendees with Carson Kressley  in pairs and I wanted to be with mah girl, Anissa. I sincerely hope that was understood.

Oh, and Wife and Mommy… I promised you a shout out—I totally didn’t forget about you and your awesome hairbrush contraption.You were very kind to share it with me, a total stranger. So nice to meet you :)

I have an assload of pictures. Some of them are a bit…risqué—nothing REALLY bad—but you know, I like to ask permission so if you did anything you might be embarrassed about in front of my camera, particularly if you were intoxicated, tell me now if you don’t want them published.

Surprisingly, I kind of enjoyed my time at the Expo Hall. By Saturday, the vibe was relaxed, the swagwhoring was at a minimum  and I actually had some really good exchanges with the folks from Pepsi/FritoLay and Clorox Greenworks. I’d also like to give a special nod to Expo sponsor Johnson & Johnson for removing parabens and fragrance from their baby lotion. I was rather vocal last year at J&J’s Camp Baby about them removing certain unsafe chemicals from their products so I’m kinda stoked.

Thanks to Nikon and Estee Lauder for treating us like rockstars and thank you to the always gracious (and incredibly pretty) Isabel Kallman for the Starbucks Recovery Suite on Sunday. It was SO nice to have coffee and pastry with my friends before rushing off to a long day of hellacious air travel.

AND FINALLY…You may have heard about an awesome new site called Aiming Low. See my button in the sidebar? Yeah, well it does kind of rock and you should check it out if only to feel far superior to us because you don’t wear the same pajama pants all day for three days in a row. Not that I would know anything about that. Ahem.


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