Sunday, July 26, 2009

Two days in the life...a few bottles at a time: BlogHer '09 Part I

How do you wrap up a few days of your life, describe an event that you've never imagined that you would ever attend, and encapsulate the various emotions that you've felt ...into but a few words in a blog post?

As I sit here in the Chicago O'Hare Lounge, taking advantage of that fact that my flight home has been CANCELLED and I've got an extra couple of hours to fill before the next flight, I will attempt to do just that. And probably not very well. But it's a start.

The Logistics:
Okay, boring start, I know. But this event was HUGE! I thought Toronto rush hour was bad, but I'd forgotten that Chicago rush hour was at least twice as long. Let's just say I was glad that I had booked the earlier flight that I did. Confused shuttle limo service and rush hour did not mix well.

At least I had the pleasure of riding the shuttle with my twitter pal Kellyology and a few more bloghers that I didn't follow. I didn't know I had this talent for picking out people's faces from their tiny avatars, but I recognized Kelly's pretty face immediately. So that was a bonus.

No matter, I still made it at a decent hour, but I did NOT make it to the Social Luxe Lounge as planned, so missed what was likely the best swag of the weekend. A Kodak Video camera, seriously? Oh well, it's not all about the swag. Mini rant over.

The hotel was also HUGE! And freezing. But the amazing thing was, from the time I was in line to check-in, to the time that I got to my hotel room, I met at least six bloggers that I know and who KNOW ME - (at least after a bit of nudging - A Whole lot of nothing; Secret Agent Mama; Her Bad Mother; Redneck Mommy, Mr. Lady, Motherbumper). Cue the faint and silent squee.

More shameless blognamedropping (including fab Ms Rockandrool) to follow.

The Location:
Chicago, what a beautiful, beautiful city. We were situated right by the river, one and a half blocks away from the Magnificent Mile. Although I didn't really leave the hotel until my last day, this trip wasn't about Chicago. I'm lucky I've been to Chicago before and will come again. Last time it was on a wild 10th anniversary weekend, and I got carded and wasted. But this time, the goal was to meet some friends. Alcohol would still be involved, of course.

The Sessions:
Why, yes, I did attend some sessions. It was a conference, after all, come on people! I was here to socialize, but also to bend my brain in ways it hasn't been bent before. The last conference I attended was work-related, and well, this one wasn't. When I initially signed up, I thought I would check out some of the "business" track. This whole area of sponsorship, reviews, blog for profit - it's still very new for me, and I am interested in the world of possibilities. But honestly, the emotional lean was toward the personal blogging track. "Lifeblogging" as you will. For what I learned as a result of this experience, was that mommyblogging is much too narrow a term. For although we are mothers and we are women, we are so much more. We give life, we work life, we live life. So from now on, I think I'll call myself a lifeblogger.

The highlights for me of the scheduled sit-down time?

1/The Rooms of Your Own. These were topics suggested by the BlogHer community, and run by the bloggers, for the bloggers. Bloggers who I read, bloggers who I know, and even some who read me from time to time. The panels were about blogging identity, blogging as you or an alias, blogging TMI (yay Ms Zoeyjane), vaginally-challenged bloggers (inc. my pal Busydad), blogging about celebrity gossip versus pop culture (Mamapop), and the BEST session for me: Humour blogging.

I'm certainly not laugh out loud funny, but I try to inject humour when I can. (I'm told I'm better when drunk, well at least I'm louder). This final session was the one that I learned the most from, as the tips raised during discussion could be applied to any type of blog. Oh, and the women who were on the panel WERE laugh out loud hilarious. So that was a bonus.

2/Community Keynote: a.k.a. Kleenex session extraordinaire.
I was so proud of my girl Don Mills Diva, and some of my other fellow Canucks as they demonstrated why they are such blogstars. Some of my fave bloggers were up there, and I was exposed to more talented bloggers that I will surely follow. All of the readings were phenomenal. But I'm sure you won't be surprised when I tell you that the one post that had me laughing and then sobbing like I should be hiding in the corner, was written and read by brilliant Melissa of Stirrup Queens. (I never thought to follow my husband into the sample donation room during our infertility treatments.) Yeah, go read it.

The parties, the people, more BFF's, the gossip and the pics. I'm exhausted.

So, you'll just have to wait for it won't you?

Part 2 on its way...


melissa said...

it's so funny to look on your twitter widget and see that tweet from when our phones were dying!!
it was amazing. the whole experience. meeting everyone. meeting you...finally. and the weird thing is, well to me anyways...there were no awkward moments. it was like all of us had been friends forever!!
i loved hanging out with you. you're wonderful! exactly how i thought you were going to be!

Toronto Limo Service said...

I appreciate it very much, at least I know from it someone is reading the contents I have here.

Tooj said...

I'm happy to hear you arrived home safely and enjoyed yourself. :) And I guess we'll just have to wait...yes. Happy Monday!

Anonymous said...

It was awesome meeting you honey! You're a fabulous person and I can't wait to keep in touch!

Kami's Khlopchyk said...

You make it sound so amazing. I really am thinking of going next year, I mean NYC, how can I not? I have always wanted to go.

I am forwarding this on to Cheryl. She had got to read Mel's post, that is a scream!

Emailing you too!

Kelly said...

It was great meeting you too! Made that long drive to the hotel much better. Too bad you weren't on the way back to the airport as well as our driver who decided to take an off-the-beaten-path route, and we got to see many of Chicago's various neighborhoods. It was awesome. Yes that's sarcasm. lol

Don Mills Diva said...

You forgot to mention that you were the most stylish girl there!

Colleen - Mommy Always Wins said...

Sending a little more BlogHer love your way! LOVED meeting you, hanging out with you, drinking with you...{hugs!}

Courtney V said...

Loved meeting you Karen! It was such a pleasure!

Domestic Goddess (In Training) said...

Changing my name to "Crazy Jealous."

motherbumper said...

First recap I've read and it made me wish I was back there (waaaaaah). Glad we got to hang out, as fast as it was.

Jill of All Trades said...

Hey Karen, Great to meet you at the big Meet-Up! I was with Miss Kelly on the "limo" ride. Was quite a weekend huh!

Beck said...

It sounds like fun. I doubt I will ever, ever go.

Nap Warden said...

I'll be waiting for part two. It was great to meet you!

Mrs4444 said...

Someone this morning wrote that BlogHer was "like meeting a celebrity who is also your best friend." (I should probably remember who said that!) It was so great to meet you IRL and share the BlogHer experience with you. So fun.

Now, where is that picture?! I looked and looked on that table, never seeing it, and now I know why! Are you going to post it? I would love a copy.

J at said...

Thanks for this...all I've heard thus far is all about the blog with integrity thing, the marketing push, etc., so it's nice to read some details about something ELSE from BlogHer. :)

Momisodes said...

You were one of the bloggers I REALLY wanted to meet at BlogHer. You are just as beautiful and kind IRL as you are here.

So glad we had a chance to hang out.

nonlineargirl said...

I saw Melissa (Stirrup Queens) posted that she met you - the original head on a stick that my friends and I found at last year's blogher and that inspired me to send my head on a stick to blogher with several people (I was home with twin infants this year).

When we found your head last year, we asked a bunch of people who you were, but never figured it out. I am thrilled that Melissa solved that mystery for me!


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