As I mentioned on Friday, I ditched my husband and child on our anniversary and went to San Diego for BlogHer. (Not to go to Sesame Street, as the picture up top suggests.) For those of you who don't spend all your free time ignoring your family in favor of putzing away on your computer, BlogHer is a huge-ass blogging conference attended by 3600 women bloggers, five-ten creepy men and a handful of muppets.
PRO TIP: If you are a company sending men to represent you at BlogHer, it's possible they will be mistaken for random dudes who wandered in off the street and are making up brand affiliations to get womens' business cards to add them to their stalking rosters.
PRO TIP EXCEPTION: Unless, of course, you send the hottest men on earth, outfit them in construction worker uniforms and tell them to give out Kudos Bars. (This was a real thing.)
At it's core, BlogHer is this totally overwhelming experience designed to paralyze unorganized people like myself. There are so many people to meet, sessions to attend, parties to go to, etc. that it is impossible to do everything you want.
Also, in addition to the conference sponsored events, there are tons of events sponsored privately that require invites. Unless you are The Pioneer Woman, you need to be prepared to feel very unpopular.
BLOGHER GUARANTEE: Every time you are on your way to some super exclusive private event, you will pass someone with an even more super exclusive private event and immediately feel like the biggest loser on earth. And every time you return with an awesome gift bag from a swag suite, you will pass someone with an even more awesome gift bag from an even swaggier suite. For instance, if you come back to your hotel room with a beautiful personalized journal from Paper Coterie, your roommate might come back with the keys to a brand new car.
Of the three conferences I've been to this year, BlogHer felt more about the people and the parties than about the sessions. So although I can't say I learned the secret to massive blogging success, I can say I learned some very important non-blogging related lessons.
TOP SEVEN NON-BLOGGING RELATED LESSONS LEARNED AT BLOGHER
1) DON'T LET PERSONAL ELMO FEELINGS CLOUD YOUR JUDGEMENT
One of the events I was invited to was a Playskool meet and greet with Elmo, Cookie Monster & Abby Cadabby. The invite said everyone should line up at 2pm and the first 120 people would be eligible for a photo opportunity. The photo sessions would be at 3pm and 4pm.
This meant that I'd have to dedicate my entire afternoon to POSSIBLY getting a picture with the red-headed monster and friends. (Isn't that just like him??) At which point, I'm sure he'd roll his eyes and talk endlessly about his more photogenic celebrity pals. "When Elmo was photographed with Mr. Jude Law this…" and "When Elmo was photographed with Miss Anne Hathaway that…"
I decided to skip it.
Then, as it approached 4pm, it hit me that beyond the photo opportunity, there was going to be a real "LIVE" talking Elmo there. Can you imagine if I actually had a conversation with Elmo?? The blog fodder possibilities are endless! My kid would think I was a hero! I would be one step removed from Jake Gyllenhaal!
I ran over as fast as I could but unfortunately, I got there just as it was ending. Elmo was nowhere to be found. I'm sure as soon as the last shot was snapped, security detail wisked him away to dinner at the White House or high tea with Will & Kate. He most certainly wasn't gonna hang around waiting for a latecoming plebian such as myself.
Thankfully, I got a stuffed Cookie Monster as a "Better Luck Next Time" parting gift.
And I have to say, of all the swag I left behind in San Diego, there was no way I was going anywhere without the miniature Sesame Street figurines I snagged from the Playskool booth.
Mazzy, of course, was beside herself with excitement.
Note: The picture of me at the top of the post was not taken at the Playskool event, but at their booth in the Expo Hall. Sadly, it is only the shell of Elmo. But it's convincing enough so that I can tell Mazzy— not only did I abandon you for the weekend, but I did it to visit Sesame Street without you! See you in therapy!
2) ALWAYS HAVE A HORRIFIC PARENTING STORY HANDY
My friend is a huge fan of The Parent Experiment, a parenting podcast that she insists is a lot cooler than the word “podcast” suggests. Stefanie Wilder-Taylor, one of the women on the Parent Experiment, is also the author of “Sippy Cups Are Not for Chardonnay”. She was having a book signing so I stopped by to check it out.
I was in the middle of talking to Stefanie and Kathee, the producer of the show (both very cool and funny— my friend was right) when all of a sudden they’re like— let’s do a “Stellar Moment in Parenting” segment! And I'm like— what's an example of a "Stellar Moment in Parenting"? And they're like— well, there was one woman who was repeatedly trying to close a car window not realizing her baby’s arm was hanging over the glass!
And we’re laughing and laughing and all the while they're turning on microphones and putting on headsets and I'm like HOLY SHIT— did I just take a wrong turn into a podcast? Also? I really wish I had seriously injured my daughter at some point so that I would have something "stellar" to say… maybe I should have left her alone in the bathtub or had her occupy herself with a toaster and fork so I could totally rock this thing!
Instead I told a lame story about Mazzy eating a handful of crayons, while making a mental note to give her something more toxic to play with in the future, in case the lovely ladies ever choose to have me back.
I'll let you all know when it airs!
3) IT'S NO EASY TASK TO SCRUB OFF EYELASH GLUE
In the Expo Hall, brands compete for your attention by making fancy booths and giving out free swag in the hopes that you'll mention them on your blog. (Look it's working!!!) One of the best ideas I saw was for Skinny Cow. They were applying fake eyelashes (mimicking the long lashes on their cow logo) to anybody that would wait in line. I had seen a few people do it the day before and they looked awesome. Add a low calorie ice cream sandwich to the wait and it seemed like a win-win.
But by the time I got up there, all they had left were these super long ridiculously unnatural looking eyelashes. I thought— what the hell. I got them, wore them around for an hour, then went back to my hotel room where I discovered— I looked like a llama who had their eye make-up done by Tammy Faye Baker.
I ripped them off but the glue made my eyelid skin stick together so I had to scrub my eyes clean with soap, water, a wash cloth and make-up remover. About twenty times. The glue was black and it kept moving but would somehow never leave my face.
Kind of like what I imagine Tammy Faye looks like after taking a dip in a swimming pool.
4) I AM NOT A FLASH MOB KIND OF PERSON
Mary from The Mama Mary Show emailed me about a month ago to participate in a secret flash mob during Friday's lunch. Initially, I said yes.
That was before I attempted to learn the choreography through a posted video.
I’m not sure how other people’s brains work but I cannot understand left from right when translating video footwork into real life. Ditto for aeorbics classes if the teacher is facing the class instead of the mirror. Which means I can't follow workout videos either.
I also don’t understand how you can learn choreography when there is hair flipping and spinning involved. Bcause that means taking your eyes off the screen. Plus the spin means you might accidently catch a glimpse of your unshowered-pajama-clad-uncoordinated self in the mirror and realize this is JUST NOT HAPPENING.
Call it being lame, call it being self-conscious— I call it knowing your own limitations.
5) SOMETIMES TRYING TO BE A COOL NEW YORKER IS NO FUN
In New York, when you see a celebrity, you are supposed to totally ignore them and act like it’s no big deal even though inside you are like— HOLY CRAP! THAT’S MR. BELDING!!!
I saw Jane Lynch outside of my hotel. I did the look away thing. When what I should have done was — "OMG! I am totally having this baby celebrity lookalike contest and you would be the best judge ever! Here’s my card. I’m sure you’ve heard of me. I’m the one who told that awesomely stellar moment on The Parenting Experiment podcast!"
I did however have the nerve to go up to one person. He was cardboard and abnormally large but it is a moment I will remember forever.
6) I WILL NEVER PASS UP THE OPPORTUNITY FOR FREE TWIZZLERS
7) I HAVE REAL FRIENDS HERE
I have been best online buddies with Sara from Periwinkle Papillon (pictured bottom left) for at least six months. This is the first time we met. Sometimes you meet people you know online and the same connection is just not there. With Sara, we are already planning a joint family ski trip. (Not really, but maybe one day.)
I also want to thank my awesome roommate Holly from The Culture Mom (pictured bottom middle) for being a sound sleeper and not hogging the hair dryer. And I want to thank the lovely Wendi Aarons for introducing me to a slew of very funny people.
I'd also like to give shout-outs to Maria (pictured bottom right), Betsy, Liz, Elaine, Kathryn, Gigi, Mae, Elise, Kristine, Morgan, Lori, Gina, Nicole, Natalie, Katie, Alexandra, Kelly, Erin and all the girls from The Red Dress Club. I'm sure there are so many more I am forgetting.
Everywhere I turned, there was someone with whom I wanted to talk.
That is a rare and wonderful thing.