Over the weekend, I attended my very first BlogHer conference, an annual event at which over one thousand women bloggers gather together for learning, networking, and socializing (this year, at last, it was held in New York; it switches venues each year). It was an amazing experience for me. I’ll try to explain why.
At BlogHer, I met women with whom I have much in common (such as single moms, or moms raising kids with special needs). I also met moms with whom I seemingly had nothing in common (such as homeschooling moms), but learned to see that we actually have the same values in some other important ways. I also got to meet some truly amazing, inspirational women such as Anissa Mayhew, a well-known mom/blogger who suffered a stroke last year and almost didn’t make it. Meeting her in person at BlogHer (visibly affected by her stroke, but vibrant and funny as ever) was an absolute highlight for me. I told her how much her story has inspired me and reminded me to appreciate what I have (most importantly, my health) in the face of other challenges. She squeezed my hand and said some really lovely things, which of course made me cry. It was that kind of weekend (yes, cheesy, but true). Scenes like that played out everywhere- women connecting, meeting each other IRL (in real life) having followed each others’ “virtual” stories, and drawing strength and inspiration from each other. Not to mention some great professional networking and advice, super cool events, and, yes, swag- but more on those things later. It was that good.
There’s a lot more to tell, but perhaps I’ll start by showing you some pictures. First, the conference kicked off on Thursday on a very high note for me. I was interviewed by Today Show producer Alicia Ybarbo for an upcoming online segment on Today’s Moms. I will let you know when it goes live!
I hit some events and parties on Thursday night, including Social Luxe Lounge where moms were primped & pampered pre-conference. I had my make-up done (I rarely wear make-up), which was a real treat.
At the Social Luxe party I met one of the friendliest “A-list” bloggers ever, the incomparable, self-described “foul-mouthed liberal” Cecily Kellogg.
Next up, at a dinner for the Bloganthropy awards, I met Katherine Stone, the founder of Post Partum Progress, the most widely-read blog about postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety, postpartum psychosis & other mental illnesses related to pregnancy and childbirth. She has helped so many women.
David Lauren introduced the RL Gang, the cutie-patootie models whom you may recognize from Ralph Lauren’s print ads for children’s clothing. And told us about a new Ralph Lauren project that will interest moms- more on that another time.
Moving on. On Friday, in between panel discussions and sessions, I visited the Expo Halls, where you could meet reps and sample products of everything from Huggies to Playskool to Earth’s Best (I’ll be posting at a later date about some of the new products I learned about). Plus you could engage in a “Just Dance” dance-off with the likes of top bloggers Liz Gumbinner of Mom 101, Kristen Chase of Motherhood Uncensored, Amy Storch of Amalah, and Catherine Conners of Her Bad Mother (and while you’re clicking on links, you must read about Catherine’s nephew Tanner, whom I got to meet later in the weekend. Quite an amazing young man).
On Saturday, S’s 4th birthday, the kids and I were treated to a private visit to Toys R Us in Times Square. They enjoyed testing out some new toys and indulging in ice cream, birthday balloons (thank you!) and a ride on the ferris wheel. I’ll report back soon on some new toys plus Toys R Us’s latest toy guide for differently-abled kids. I am so glad that they publish that.
There were also lots of post-conference parties on Saturday night, including “Sparklecorn” which I can’t even describe except to say that it includes 80s music, glow-sticks, Pop Rocks, Unicorns, and lots of moms letting loose. I guess you had to be there.
Coming up soon: BlogHer ’10 Part 2: Panelists, Products and Presents and BlogHer ’10 Part 3: Giveaways! Oh, and before those, I’m going to share some super coupon codes I got at the Expo Hall, too.