BlogHer is probably the largest Blogger
Convention Swagfest that exists. It has almost 5,ooo writers like me usually attend, great talks, incredible guest speakers and some amazing sponsors.
I already talked about it HERE but wanted to share how it went…it seriously had my head spinning for over a week, while I was at a cabin in the North Woods of Wisconsin with my family!
I had a full conference ticket that allowed me to hear the speakers, get the meals, go to “‘official” parties and the Expo.
There was a lot crammed into three days.
First of all – my great roommates:
Amanda, Me, Ashely and Julie …. 4 Wisconsin Blogs representin’. Mine, Moroco Mama, Coupons For Wisconsin and Wisconsin Parent. Splitting costs 4 ways makes it a very thrifty experience…from travel, to hotel stay.
You know I planned ahead of time…
These envelopes came in SUPER handy — one for each event or meeting. Inside I put the cards of who I talked to (after I wrote notes on them) and my post conference follow-up has been SUPER easy!
Now, let’s talk fun…I did Yoga in Millennium Park with a bunch of ladies. It was hosted by Yasso Yogurt and can you spot me? It’s hard to find me in the crowd. hint: I have a red shirt on.
This wasn’t billed as an “experienced” yoga class – and the instructor called out freaking things that only a real yoga person would know. (Frog anyone?). I am a Wii Yoga person and of the 45 minutes, she called Downward Facing Dog about 25 minutes — Add Cobra and Warrior in there too while you are at it. Bad shoulder = a very short DFDog time limit. I started doing “Tree” or “Sunrise Salutations” when she called the others, LOL. The plus side? We kept the yoga mats, got a bag of fun stuff like water bottles and coupons for FREE Yasso products!
I went to a lot of events that involved brands (companies) that I felt were a match for you – my readers. I know of people that went party crazy and hit over 20 of them in the 3-4 days and that didn’t make sense to me. Why would I want to connect with an online digi game casino when I wouldn’t really share that with you? (unless I am wrong and there are some heavy gamblers reading…)
I went to events like Social Soiree at YOLK, sponsored by Restaurant.com and Lands End. I LOVE $25 restaurant gift certificates for as low as $4 and know it helps families be able to eat out on a tight budget. And Land’s End? Seriously well made, long-lasting items. (Winner)
They had GREAT food too – like a crepe bar and fruit kebabs. I am SOO going to recreate the crepes at home: Nutella Strawberry, Peach Cobbler, Bananas Foster, etc. O.M.Gee…. delish!
Hasbro bought out the local Hard Rock Cafe for the night.
We got to play with the newest toys, everything from the new Monopoly cat to the new My Little Pony hair accessory line. Can I just say – the grilled onion sliders ROCK!???
There was a party from Lifetime TV — that was all about pampering us. I loved the massage and professional makeover…but am not sure I liked the fortune-teller. If you are following me on Facebook, you already know that she told me I would get pregnant in December. (ahem, I am 45). Needless to say, the other gals I was with are waiting to see if my prediction comes true before applying what she told them to do…
There was even the Verizon Time Shift Party — I have told you before that I am a Verizon Ambassador, so it was like going home to friends at this event. You will learn what “Time Shift” is next week, but they had a fun take on it for the party: each decade of the last century had its own table. Each table had popular hors d’oeuvres and drinks of that era. Yes, I had a Harvey Wallbanger from the 80’s and a Cosomo from the 90’s! (So Sex-In-The-City of me) They were SUPER generous and gave us BlackBerry z10 phones, in their exclusive white color! (and a speaker docking station and tablet keyboard).
You see my room mates AND Rose, Jennifer, Bobbie and Mary Jo! (warning, I look a little different from the Yoga picture).
I hit parties that had toys (working on a Best of the Best holiday list for Wisconsin Parent), Natural Foods (working with Miss Sarah’s food allergy) and Disney. Yes, Saturday night, we got to see Delivery Man with Vince Vaughn. I can’t say much about the movie now, but a have “2 Thumbs Up” review post ready to go live as soon as I can. Seriously, great movie.
Vince was planning on being there to meet us but his wife kinda went into labor so he stayed in California… oops!
I also hit the expo hall looking for companies along those same lines: food, kids, healthy living.
There were a LOT of booths there, but I really didn’t need to talk to companies that sold furniture or mattresses, etc. I wasn’t there as a consumer but as a scout for YOU. I wanted the latest and greatest in bargains, healthy living and kid stuff.
I don’t really see myself becoming an Ambassador for Trojan. (No offense Trojan)
You don’t want to know how many bags of stuff I took out of there… a lot of neat things to review/try and I successfully cemented a few deals.
I won’t show you a picture of the ridiculous amount of stuff I came home with. I WILL be having a lot of fun giveaways and our local giving tree around the holidays is in for a big treat from us this year. I know right now, that we could easily take care of 10 kiddos. LOVE that! That is why I called it Swagfest. Seriously, the 4 of us ladies barely had room in my extended version van to bring it all home.
I didn’t make it to all of the classes I wanted to — I was either at a private meeting with a company representative or PR person. But DID get to hear Sheryl Sandberg talk about empowering our little girls to become incredible leaders of the future. I want to read her book now…and have already reserved it at my library. I am sorry I missed Ree Drummond who kicked things off, but was getting myself back together after Yoga.
I haven’t touched yet on the people I chatted with. I got to know other bloggers better, learned some “insider tips” and some things blogger are doing to generate income that make me sad. You will see my “Behind the Top 10” story next week. The people were really the hilight of the event for me.
I would be more than happy to go through this all again, but can’t imagine trying to fly home with all the “stuff” they send home with you. 2014 better be a driveable location again, LOL.
I am looking forward to so many neat things to share with you this fall — hang on, it’s going to be a fun ride!