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.
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.
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.
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...