I go to BlogHer for the networking and relationships. It’s the “place to be” for bloggers, and the one conference each year I make a full commitment to attend. If you’re here to find out what I thought of the sessions, you’ll want to move right along. I am one of those people who doesn’t attend most of the sessions, if any. I’m not bragging about it, because I think there are always some great sessions, but it’s not where I find value. For me, the value is in the space in-between. Indeed, the best information I received this year came from a chance run-in with another blogger at the expo hall, and some casual hang-out time in the hotel lobby. Still, I’d like to give a shout-out to some of my favorite events, experiences, and memories of BlogHer11.
In no particular order:
Dove Ice Cream Cruise – This may have been my favorite brand event, in part because the yacht was crashed by one of my absolute favorite bloggers and her mom. Yep. Angela from MommyBytes and her mom took some cute pictures of me from the shore and then managed to finagle their way on board. But it was also a great time because the team from Dove were genuine, friendly, and low-key. There was no pressure going on. And then there was the Dove ice cream bars. Yummmm. As if all of that weren’t enough, we were all surprised by some rockin’ fireworks right overhead in the harbor. Really fantastic night. The lovely Dove gals sent us home with pretty chocolate brown wraps and some little gift bags. It was the perfect balance of strong branding (without a sales pitch), fun times, and good company.
Dinner with The Online Mom and company – Monica Vila, aka @TheOnlineMom, invited me for dinner with some other cool tech moms, including @Robynsworld, @Nerdmom, @Momstart, @Waystosave and @GeekBabe. The Fish Market had the most fabulous sweet potato fries, which more than made up for the face that I don’t eat seafood. Even better was the conversation and the wonderful new friends I made.
Geeking out with the 3M Team at the Goin’ Coconuts Party – I arrived a tad late to the 3M Goin’ Coconuts party, but was thrilled to see some delicious food that actually had some substance to it. But my favorite part was hanging out with the 3M team, learning more about 3M as a company (I didn’t know they have a huge dental supply division!), and talking Command Strips. I thought of them today as I was re-hanging some of my kitchen décor on their Command Strips hangers.
My Roommate, Kate – I shared a room with Kate from Adventures in Parenting. She is such a doll, and I can’t thank her enough for being so supportive when I needed it most. There’s Kate, along with me and Angela from MommyBytes (yeah, she just loves the CheeseburgHer hats).
The Big Toy Book Party hosted by The Big Toy Book and KidVuz – It’s no secret that I love toys, and there were a few favorites here including HexBugs and LeapFrog. The highlight of the night for me was trying out some of the upcoming Kinect for Xbox games, including Kinect Disneyland Adventures, Kinect Star Wars and, surprisingly, Sesame Street: Once Upon A Monster. I could have played all night. Can’t wait for those to come out. This party had an absurd amount of swag. In a good way.
Tech companies – I was thrilled to see so many tech companies present at BlogHer this year. I mean, bloggers love tech, so it makes sense. I had a lunch with the team from Verizon Wireless that I really enjoyed. The folks from LG were wonderful, as were the Samsung team and, of course, my friends at the Intel booth. I was disappointed by HTC, as their PR team left early, taking some of the tech they were supposed to be promoting with them. The spa was fine for some folks, but I actually wanted to see their product. I also enjoyed a beautiful sunset sail with the Microsoft team, but I think they already know I’m a fan. That’s me on the sailboat with Susan from FiveMinutesforMom.
Clever Girls Collective Ladies Who Tech Brunch – I am always thrilled to hang out with my tech ladies, and it seemed like a theme for me at BlogHer this year. I’m not complaining! But the Clever Girls pulled off yet another amazing event with their post-BlogHer brunch. It was a gorgeous view, yummy food, and wonderful conversation. I’ll definitely be talking about some of the brands present there.
San Diego Marriott Hotel & Marina – What a beautiful hotel! And all of the staff was friendly and helpful. Best of all was the gorgeous view from our balcony. Yeah, I didn’t want to leave.
Boston Parent Bloggers – We had about 12 members present at BlogHer this year, which is fairly impressive given how long/expensive it is to get from Boston to San Diego. I got to spend some quality time with most of the members attending, so that was great, too.
San Diego – Yeah, I’m in love.
Disclosure: All of the brand events were sponsored by the companies in question. The opinions are still my own.