Sigh. Finally a moment to sit back and reflect on my BlogHer ’11 experience. By now, you’ve likely come across many tales from other fabulous bloggers, but I’d like to share my thoughts as well as have something to add to my pile of memorabilia.
(My travel buddies for the trip were Tammi from My Organized Chaos and Farah from Faces by Farah, so you’ll likely see their lovely faces in a lot of my photos from the trip. And, many of the photo credits go to Tammi – such a wonderful shutterbug!)
Getting there was a whirlwind. With a golden ticket from Ford and less than two weeks to wrap my head around the fact that I was actually going to BlogHer, I had suitcases to pack, babysitters to arrange (thanks husband!) and babies to wean. (Turns out that Reid was just fine while I was gone – but literally jumped on my boob the second I walked through the door. Huh.)
|THE BEAUTIFUL DOWNTOWN SAN DIEGO
|PALM TREE LINED STREETS
Although the conference took place on Friday and Saturday, I was crossing my fingers that I’d touch down in time for Mom Central’s Canadian Embassy Party on Thursday night. Turns out I had plenty of time to arrive at the hotel, relax and shower before clinking wine glasses with wonderful Canadian bloggers and friends. Putting a face to many of the bloggers I had chatted with online was so enriching! And, the @MC_Canada ladies were beyond wonderful as always – they continually inspire, teach and support moms and blogging in Canada. Fan 4 Life.
On Friday morning, a pulse check with the Ford ladies during breakfast at the Hard Rock Hotel. Ford put together one classy group of social media-minded gals; I was looking forward to getting to know them all over the next few days. Our little group included Donna Marie Antoniadis ~ ShesConnected, Erica Ehm ~ The Yummy Mummy Club, Raymi ~ Raymi the Minx, Shannon ~ Zchamu, Tenille ~ Feisty Frugal and Fabulous, Sarah of Get Mommy Some Gin and Dee ~ Cocktail Deeva. Friday also saw the first day of the conference and me popping in and out of the conference hall, taking in the bits and pieces of all BlogHer has to offer. Much time was spent in the famed expo hall, where I chatted with brands and of course, snagged a ton of swag. Thankfully, I was very selective with my freebies (read: too cheap to pay excess baggage fees) so I whittled down the loot to mainly toys, makeup and chocolate. Lots of chocolate.Many of the booths offered photo ops – too good to pass up when you’re hanging with two gorgeous babes!
Friday night was the much-anticipated yet socially-taboo Softcup party. Anticipated because it was held on a rooftop patio and promised appearances by Mario Lopez, Ryan Cabrera and Amanda Beard; socially-taboo because it was sponsored by a tampon alternative. Regardless, the fun ride via pedi-cab, yummy apps and Cake Vodka shots made it easy to attend and enjoy a party put on by menstrualogists. Bonus: had a chance to hang with the gorgeous Stephanie from Sassy Modern Mom and the equally adorable (and mummy-to-be!) Shelagh from Practical Mum.We then hightailed it to the Cheap Sally party at Stingaree. With a reputation as being San Diego’s best nightclub, noticeably absent were the caged go-go dancers. But I digress; there were jars filled with Rockets (or “Smarties” as they’re known in the US), a Gordon Ramsey cooking display complete with cushions emblazoned with his gorgeous face (managed to snatch one of those!) and a continuing parade of martinis, kobo beef sliders, party goers and party anthems.
A quick pop into the Sparklecorn party was a bit of a letdown; most of the attendees were already sobering up and a quick walk around the room had us running back to the hotel to turn in.
Saturday was a repeat of Friday – dabbling here and there in the seminars and sponsor exhibits, in addition to meeting with friends, bloggers and brands. I was dying to indulge in authentic San Diego fish tacos, so off we trotted to a local Mexican bar/resto for lunch. Yum!
Saturday night; another Ford reunion at Tabule restaurant. On the menu for moi:Shared Starters:
Shrimp and Crab Portobello
Lettuce Duck Wraps
Thai Baby Back Ribs
Mesquite Smoked Ahi Tuna Tacos
Do I really need to say any more? We finished the night partying at CheeseburgHer, where yes, bloggers do wear McD’s bags on their head (I didn’t) and help themselves to a buffet of (wait for it)… cheeseburgers… all night. There was much tootsierolling on the dance floor (you’re welcome Farah) and after shaking our money maker to some old school R&B, it was time to turn in.
At the Ford Family Picnic on Sunday, I had the awesome opportunity to learn about Ford’s Focus on Safety, test drive the peppy Focus (with Donna from She’s Connected playing navigator and Rose – Ford Canada’s rep – describing features and benefits from the back seat). And, we enjoyed the most drool-worthy BBQ at the South Embarcadero Marine Park which was literally right on the water. Bliss.
Donna and Rose weren’t just awesome driving buddies; they later proved to be even better shopping partners as we booted it to Fashion Valley Mall, Nordstrom Rack and Target. When I finally strolled in at 10:00pm that night, it hit me that I hadn’t yet packed and had a 6:00am flight the next morning, necessitating a 3:30am wake up call. Needless to say I got my sh*t together in a hurry so I could hit the hay! The flight home was unremarkable and I literally wept with joy when I saw the faces of my two sweet boys waiting for me at the airport.
Next year BlogHer ’12 is back in NYC – who’s coming with? xo