July 25, 2009

BlogHer 09 So Far

Let me just tell you that this year's BlogHer is so different than last year's. And much different than I would have ever expected. Both good and bad, as is probably many things in life you look forward to.

First of all, I have to say I've had a blast hanging out with Beth and did you see how awesome a time she is having and who she met?

I wish there was more down time for me to just sit on the floor and hang out with many of my in-real-life and also on-line friends. Having Ivy and a too-packed schedule has been wonderful, but limiting. Hopefully today...

Apparently many women attending BlogHer this year are ONLY here for the swag bags (which really aren't that great if you're sitting at home all envious.) There have been tramplings and pushings and shovings come swag hand out time and I think this is so disappointing. Thursday night I didn't even ask for my swag bags. I didn't care, and I was too busy saying Eeeee! every time I would see someone I couldn't wait to hug. They were much more valuable to me than samples of laundry detergent and a pair of Crocs.

But don't get me wrong- the swag bags I have been given that had my name on them and were going to be mine no matter what time I made it or how long I stood in line, they have had some pretty sweet stuff in them. (Thanks Hanes & e.l.f.!)

I had been asked if I wanted to attend the Nikon party a while back and declined because it was not in the hotel and with Ivy, it's hard to be coming and going like that, plus it was ending late. I kinda just went with my gut feeling EVEN though it was Nikon. And everyone I talked to that heard I turned it down thought I was an idiot! Well... turns out it was meant to be because the Moms with babies that planned to attend were turned away from the party. Because they had babies. I don't think it has anything directly to do with Nikon, as I've heard that it was the restaurant's policy, but still. You know.

If I had gone and had been turned away? I would have probably cried.


I really wanted to attend one session in particular yesterday and the room was too small and filled to the brim with people, so I couldn't even fit inside to see or hear the panelists. I am hoping to arrive early to the two sessions I am determined to sit in today.

This morning we plan to head outside for a bit and hang out with friends and then come back for the sessions we want to see in the afternoon. And then, I think, more parties.

My experience so far really has overall been very pleasant. I have been able to finally meet so many of my favorite bloggers, my favorite readers, and I only wish I had ten more minutes with each of them, or just more time to sit down instead of passing in a hurry in the halls. I am not here for the parties, but for the people. So I need to remember that for next year. Less parties. More people.

The best parts about the BlogHer experience is what you just let happen, the little things that surprise you.

There was a moment Thursday morning as I awoke next to Ivy and we snuggled, and I thought back to last year with her kicking in my belly and knowing she was a girl, knowing I had so much to look forward to, I feel so incredibly wealthy that I get to love her. She's mine.

And she's all the swag I need.

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  1. I like your swag...much more kissable!

    I was turned away at a wedding this weekend b/c I have a baby - no babies allowed, even though my husband is the best man and we planned this time away for months.

    So, how do you attend parties with that baby of yours anyway? And do you room alone? I'm going to the Type-A mom con w/my (will be) 7 month old and am a bit nervous...

  2. Absolutely, Steph! I'm doing a lot of reflecting on this time last year right here where I am (home) as well, and loving my almost-one-ish boy through a cozy, happy little cloud of nostalgia. I'm glad you're having a good time despite the crowds and swag-hags (oh, that was mean, Megan!). You and Beth give each other hugs from me! (And smooches for Ivy, too.)

  3. Interesting that Nikon or the restaurant or Blogher did not inform the moms with babies ahead of time that the party was adults only. How inconvenient for the moms who made the effort to go to the party to be turned away! Plus whether it was Nikon's or the restaurant's decision or policy, think of all the negative feelings those moms will have about Nikon as well as the restaurant. Perhaps they ascribe to the idea that there is no bad publicity.

  4. Heck yeah! Your swag is more yummier :)

    I hope to go next year :) I'll remember what you said....

  5. Beautiful post.

    And pushing and trampling for swag? EW. Ugh.

    I am so determined to go next year (I mean, NYC? How could I NOT?) but I am DEFINITELY there for the people, and I hope to be able to keep that in the forefront of my mind.

  6. Glad you are having a great time, but if I had to witness trampling over some crappy swag, I'd be so turned off and would just want to leave. How disappointing!

    I'd be much more interested to hear what the speakers at BlogHer have to say, that is what I really wanted to sit-in on.

  7. Absolutely the best swag of all! Nothing like a baby snuggle.

    Thank you for your insight! I am planning to go next year and like knowing what to expect.

    I totally agree...for me, it will not be about the swag, but about meeting friends "in real life" and soaking up as much info as I possibly can.

  8. Awww, great post Steph. While I really wanted to go to BlogHer this year, I need one more year to get my stuff together. I'm planning on 2010, more to meet everyone. (I'm really shy...so please say hi!)

    I'm nervous, but not putting to much into it, just having a good time!

  9. It is so interesting to hear first hand about blogher...thanks for your post! You really do have the best swag of all - that little bundle of joy!

  10. Of all the bloggers I follow, you are the *only one* at BlohHer POSTING for us little people at home! Thank you!! Sorry to hear about the tramplings and away-turnings, but it sounds like you've got the better deal. :)

  11. I'm glad you're having a good time and Ivy is the best swag ever.

    That's really too bad about the Nikon party.

    I would love to go and meet all my favorite bloggers but I don't do well with huge crowds and NYC I think would kill me.

  12. I would leave with a disappointed heart if I would have seen the pushing and shoving for free laundry detergent, too.

    Going to a blogging event would be all about the people, for me. That is why I am hesitant to go to blogher, because it seems next to impossible to really get to know people there.

    Should I attend any event in the future it would likely be a much smaller deal so that I can make true connecting and friendships with people.

    Blogher looks like one big, ongoing party... which is neat, but not why I'd want to go.


  13. That is so sad that grown people are acting like that!! Ugh!

    I am just bummed for missing BlogHer and all the great people I wanted to meet in real life! :o)

  14. That's really too bad about the swag bags and the bad behaviour. And turning away people with babies. I would likely have cried, too.

    I'm enjoying reading about your experience. I don't dare travel that far with my own almost one-year-old, he's such a menace. But hopefully I can make it next year. :)

  15. Thanks for the update. There is part of me that wishes I could be there....


  16. So glad I got to see you briefly yesterday. And just to make everyone jealous, I got 2 kisses blown at me from IVY!!! It was the cutest thing.

    I think BlogHer can kind of be what you want it. It is huge and sometimes overwhelming, but if you make up your mind to connect with the people you want to see then it somehow manages to be small again.

    As for the swag, I have gotten my share, but thankfully have somehow avoided the obnoxiousness. I have seen it go on, but I just run the other way.

    NYC 2010!!

  17. I seriously cannot even stand it that I'm not there. The kids are not over their sickness yet, one will get better and another will get worse, and its a neverending cycle but its IMPOSSIBLE not to be SO down about not being there, and missing out on all my bloggy friends. I unpacked my bag yesterday, finally, and cried.

  18. Can't wait to go to Type A Mom and hopefully see you there??

    I love your realism about Blogher--and you are so right, it is not about a bag of free stuff.

    The thought of Mommies shoving each other over the ugliness that is Crocs....sigh.

    I hope you make it to all of the sessions you wish for--and get a front row seat<3


  19. Wow... I am considering going next year,(almost went this year at last second, but decided against it) but I'm not really the party type. More of the friendship / listening to speakers and soaking it in type. So I'm not sure if Blogher is the right conference for me or not? I'm starting to lean towards not. HMMMM I'm glad you are enjoying yourself to some extent though! I would love to meet you & Ivy! My Annika is just about 3 weeks - a month younger than Ivy,(and she has 3 older brothers as well) so it would be fun to meet at some point! We actually are only about 2 hours away - we're in Milford, IL.

  20. You're swag is way more pretty than anything you could fit in a bag. I appreciate your honest recap of BlogHer. I was wondering with all the parties and swag talk if people were not appreciating being able to meet and talk to each other. I could see going to dinner or a cup of coffee with one of my fave readers or bloggers as being more exciting than a party. I will definitely keep this in mind when I head to NYC next year!! I'm glad you and Ivy are having so much fun.

  21. She is great swag.
    Sounds intense there! That sucks about the Nikon party. LAME.
    I would love to go next year, but definitely to meet people, not for the stuff. Stuff is nice, but meeting people face to face is even better.

  22. Talk about bad planning on the Nikon party. There should have been a check ahead and a notification process given a lot of women who are moms are likely to bring their children (especially if nursing).

  23. Love the post!

    (And I still hope I can go to BlogHer 2010!)

  24. I'm so glad you forgot about me at 6:45. One of the best things to happen to me.

    People who trample for swag? Should be cut. A lot.

  25. I'm glad you're having a good time, despite some of the negative aspects. I can't wait to see you and hear all about it!

  26. Dang, that stinks that people are getting a little crazy over the bags-and how rude for a restaurant to turn away moms with babies!

    If I get to go next year I'll be sure to set aside time to hang out AND good note to get to the seminars early-though what a shame the rooms aren't bigger!

    I'm so glad you are having fun, though! Hugs to Ivy!

  27. I was very lukewarm about the whole experience. I'm home with my kids today and quite happy to be here.

  28. Great swag. I have some cute swag at home too.

    Thanks for the post. I bought my ticket for next year and it is good to know the bad/ good about it.

  29. There seemed to be much higher expectations from most bloggers that were there vs. what it actually was. I have, however, thoroughly enjoyed reading everyone's tweets and blogs, but I am just living vicariously through you guys - I am way too shy to thrive in that kind of environment - especially if grown women are pushing and shoving for stuff..hmmm. So glad you have cutie patootie Ivy as your swag! :-)

  30. Hi Steph. I ditto Sky Seery about wanting to attend in 2010. It's too bad folks are fighting over swag. Better off entering contests for stuff like that on the mom blogs from home. Thanks for posting about what's happening while you're there. I don't know how you keep up with the party-hopping with a baby in tow!

  31. If parties/gatherings are adults only that should definitely be stated up front and BOLDLY. I would have a hard time not feeling angry at Nikon in that situation.

    I dream of going to BlogHer next year in NYC, but realistically I doubt it will happen. Unless I win the lottery. But I think you have to play to win so, unlikely.

  32. Great post! Some people think that Blogher is all about swag bags (and fashion show! for some).

    I haven't been to the US and next year's Blogher event being in NYC make me kind of excited. It's early but I'll be planning to go!

    They won't shove, push, trample bloggers from abroad, right? :-)

  33. Steph, I already adore you but this post made me adore you even more. I've had a lot of conversations with people about what they want out of conferences like this, or whether they got anything out of it... I'll be sharing some thoughts soon.

    But meanwhile, yes, for me, it was utterly joyful to see friends like you, meet friends that I hadn't yet connected with in person, and make new ones.

    At the end of the day blogging is about sharing and community. It makes me sad that people are losing sight of that in the presence of free sponges and stickers.


  34. New to blogging and wondering about attending next year. Would love to hear more about it!!

    Glad you didn't go to the party. I can completely relate and knw I would have burst into tears being turned away too!

  35. I was sad to hear about people actually stealing swag bags and stuff like that...totally not what BlogHer is all about!
    And I was in the dark about the baby/party issue but the Nikon party was in a full on bar, they didn't have hardly any food out, just hard mixed drinks. I can understand it might have been a state law to not admit people under 18 or something. Our local tattoo parlor has that rule...

  36. so jealous of all those attending blogher this year ... realized that i must go next year. quickly also realized that i'll have a 5 month old at the time, my third.
    this post ... made me think that it still might be possible. thanks for the encouraging realization that i can still do it with baby ...

  37. Glad you are enjoying it. It would be nice to meet all of you one day :) and yes it should be more a people thing than parties and so on.

  38. You didn't miss out at Nikon, trust me, darling :-). And the swag...I missed out on a lot. I thought it was unfair that there were people "swag hopping" that weren't even on the party lists. Fortunately, companies will be mailing some stuff my way which is very thoughtful. I was also happy to be handing out my own swag bags. People really appreciated it and that was swag enough ;-).

    Wish I could have seen more of you and Ivy, but hey we'll be seeing plenty of each other in the near future :-).

  39. I love your little swag! She is such a sweetie. I'm glad you posted this because it actually makes me feel a little bit better about the fact that I couldn't go! LOL! I just can't get into people pushing over material possessions... never will.....

    But.. maybe I can attend next year so I can meet some people! It was great meeting you a few weeks ago.

  40. It was so nice to hang out with you and thank you for you and Ivy being my Special Guests at the Hanes party. I agree with you on the swag... it was disgusting how this made some women behave (but I did like my new Hanes bras I admit). See you in New York next year!

  41. It was nice seeing you again this weekend...I know you had to do a double taken when I was pushing a stroller. :-)

  42. I was pretty turned off by the whole "swag" thing myself. Of course it's nice to be offered "free" stuff (although mine wasn't that free after having to pay extra for my huge suitcase!) but c'mon ladies it's SO about the people, NOT the stuff. Especially meeting sweeties like you and Ivy in the flesh, considering it was certainly a highlight of my weekend. I had the best time watching her play the other night, anticipating what it's going to be like to have a sweet little girl soon myself... Hugs Steph!

  43. Ohhh silly silly swag... sooo disappointing and silly that people get so worked up about it! I packed most of mine up into bags and donated it to charity. (thanks to MommyGoggles for delivering it for us!)

    As you said, it is about the PEOPLE! I had soooooooo much fun seeing you and all my dear friends as well as making new friends, that I was oblivious to much of the negativity.

    Will I go next year? Of course - I have so much fun seeing you dear bloggy buddies. It is like summer camp.

  44. Once again, it was an absolute pleasure to see you and your beautiful baby. I had a great time at the conference and frankly, the only swag I wanted was the BlogHer registration bag because I knew it had one of those damn USB drives in it, which I desperately needed thanks to a nearly full hard drive and a camera full of pictures. Thanks for coming to my rescue and being so thoughtful.

  45. You are 100% right.

    I was just telling my husband about all the posts I've been reading about the pushing and shoving and craziness. It's such a shame, really. Products just aren't worth all the fuss. People matter most of all.

  46. How sweet. The last sentence brought tears to my eyes.

  47. Great post. I didn't make it to BlogHer...maybe next year. I am content knowing my swag is tucked into bed fast asleep, maybe I will score some freebies next year ;)


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