Yes, I’m home. Along with 1800+ women (and a few men) that are going through the process of re-entry (#ReEntrySucks) in to their every day lives. For me, I’m struggling. Struggling to write something profound and heartfelt regarding my experience at #BlogHer14. All I have left in me is silliness. What heartfelt thoughts I did have made it in to my post for Chicago Parent that you can read HERE. And since I wrote the Unconventional Getting Ready for #BlogHer14 post, I thought I would do the same for my “official” recap. So here goes.
My Top 10 Unconventional Take-Aways from BlogHer14:
1. BlogHer bacon is magical. For the second year in a row, I became enamored with all things bacon every morning at breakfast. Bacon became my main entrée with a side dish of every thing else. We stole bacon from one another’s plates when friends weren’t looking – with no shame. We waxed poetically with friends who weren’t there about the bacon at last years BlogHer. And we sent each other texts like this when we arrived home:
To the powers that be – pretty please make sure there is always bacon??!!
2. I didn’t freeze my booty off. Thank you to whomever the mad geniuses were at the San Jose Convention Center for keeping the air conditioning at a comfortable level, despite the warmer than usual temperatures outside. Not once did I feel the need to bring my fuzzy blanket from the hotel and wrap myself in it in order to feel my fingers so I could take notes.
3. I’m still enamored with accents – and apparently I have my own! Whether it be the smooth Canadian speak of my new friend Trina from Walking With Scissors or the sassy Scottish stylings of the Ginger Warrior, I could listen to people who sound differently from me all day. And there were quite a few people who figured out I was from Chi-CA-Go within three minutes of me opening my mouth. Apparently I have an accent, although I don’t hear it. Hopefully that’s a compliment right??
4. I am the queen of power! Power chargers that is. Thanks to my Anker backup charger* (which also works for my iPad) I was never without my technology. Because it has TWO places you can charge from at the same time, Sam from Airplane Rides and Guacamole Sides and I spent quite a few times attached via charging cables so that we could both charge AND use our devices at the same time. Wanna make new friends at a blogging conference? Offer to help someone charge their phone when theirs is almost dead. I guarantee they will be your friend for life. (I’m not sponsored by them in any way, I just love this charger. I was able to charge my phone SIX TIMES on one complete charge of this thing! *affiliate link).
5. It’s okay to come home without massive amounts of swag. I’m sure I’ve just lost some people with this one. Last year was my first BlogHer and I went swag-crazy. Because the conference was in Chicago (where I’m from), it was easier for me to bring things home. I didn’t have to think about packing or checking bags, how much my bags weighed, etc. So I brought a LOT home. This year, it was a totally different ballgame. Being a massive over packer, I had ZERO room in my suitcase for anything additional. I did make a run to Target the night before I left to grab a soft bag to pack with me in case I needed an additional checked bag. I didn’t use it. Here’s the thing – it would have cost me $25 to check an additional bag. Whatever I filled it with better be products that were more in value than the $25 it was going to cost me to bring it home. Nothing was for me. I appreciate all of the time, energy and hard work each of the sponsors went in to designing “swag” items for us. I’m not disparaging the quality of items in any way! But for me, it didn’t make any sense to pay to check a bag to bring home a new Monopoly game that I can go to Target and purchase for way less than $25. So I removed the entire idea of swag from my equation at the expo and I found that I enjoyed walking around and networking with the brands much more. I came home with a pad of paper, a book from The Bloggess that I purchased, some window clings from the Mrs. Band (awesome idea!) and a set of trivets from Cuisinart that were small and easy to pack. That’s it – unless you count a belly full of Baskin Robbins ice cream!
6. Guys that blog are cool. I haven’t been exposed to many men that blog – and I was completely blown away by Doug French and his 10 x 10 presentation. Call me “Bubble Girl”, but I had no idea that there were so many cool men that had such amazing voices in this arena. My goal for this next year – follow more men bloggers. #GuysRockToo
7. Room mates are a necessity. Last year, I had three roommates who are my close friends. While I found the chaos and madness of four women in a room together to be too overwhelming (as well as sleeping next to someone in a full sized bed when I’m used to sleeping in a king), I ran too far in the other direction this year and roomed alone. I believe there is a nice balance for me, and one roomie would have been it. There were times I felt alone – mostly at the end of the day – and it would have been nice to have someone to chit-chat with or talk about the cool things that happened.
8. I should have primed my liver. There was a lot of free alcohol floating around (hello @TwistedShotz) and I wasn’t prepared for the lack of carbs and the increase in alcohol that would deviate from my normal diet. I AM NOT COMPLAINING. I loved every minute of it, but I was reminded of what a light weight I am. I get the giggles, start laughing this barking-seal laugh that causes more laughter (especially in those around me) and then I get a headache. Put on next year’s list: toughen up or go dry. Either works for me.
9. Be prepared to dance your a** off at the closing party. I knew from last year that there would be dancing at the closing party. With Rev Run from Run-DMC headlining this year’s party that would be a 100% certainty. Last year, I spent the evening in dress clothes and was miserably hot. I made the appropriate wardrobe adjustments this year and was prepared for dancing. And WE DANCED. Jumped. Screamed. Waved our hands in the air. Took video and selfies. As a child of the 80s I was in HEAVEN. No one cared what you looked like, all anyone cared about was dancing and having a great time.
10. It’s not about the celebrities. Sure, it really cool to see Kerry Washington and Ariana Huffington during the keynotes. They both had great words of wisdom to share with a packed ballroom. But I was moved the most, affected the most, and felt connected the most by the words of those that spoke during the 10 x 10 presentations, the Voices of the Year, and the Listen to Your Mother Open Mic night. I want to hear the stories, the experiences and learn about the LIVES of the men and women who are my peers. I want to cry with them, celebrate with them, and laugh with them. I want to be amazed at the depth of their words and admire the courage they exhibit by standing on a stage and speaking those words, no matter if there are 20 people or 200 in the audience. Those are the people who are the real celebrities to me.
I guess I had something heartfelt to say after all.
Did you go to #BlogHer14? What was your favorite take-away?