I've tried to condense my experience at BlogHer into a manageable read. Really, it was an quite an experience. I'm not sure I'll attend another conference, but if you are a blogger, attending the World's Biggest Conference for Women Bloggers at least once is certainly worthwhile adventure. My BlogHer trip encompassed more than just the convention. We made our trip to Chicago into a mini family vacation and my husband and daughter accompanied me on the trip.
Thursday, Day 1: Our drive to BlogHer went smoothly until we reached the outskirts of Chicago and hit slow traffic. Due to the stand-still, a 15 mile drive into downtown Chicago took 1-1/2 hours. We're still not sure what caused the delay, but later we found out the President Obama arrived at O'Hare sometime that afternoon and the Gold Cup semifinal soccer game was held Soldier Field that evening.
When we arrived at the hotel, the first blogger I met Candice of Mom Most Traveled while waiting to check-in. I recognized her immediately, her blog picture is a very true likeness. Since we were late I decided not to attend SocialLuxe and went to the Mom Central party instead. There I had a nice chat with fellow book lover Florinda from The 3 R's. She wrote a lovely recap about the need for BlogHer organizers to work in topics for book bloggers. I agree.
For supper, my husband, daughter and I ate at PJ CLARKE's and consumed more than our share of the famous "Minnie®" Cheeseburgers. On our way back from the restaurant we noticed lots of activity at the Hyatt across the street. The President attended a fundraiser there and we were impressed by all the officers involved in security and controlling traffic. Later in the evening, I swung by the People's Party, listened to Chris Mann and briefly looked in on the Room 704 party and stumbled upon Problem Solvin' Mom.
Friday, Day 2: While my husband and daughter went to the Field Museum to see the T. Rex, I met a few bloggers at the Newbie Breakfast and then attended the Welcome and speed-dating session. I wish they would have had a few more BlogHer speed-dating sessions, because I met 10 different bloggers in a matter of 10 minutes! During the break I headed down to the Exhibition area and checked out the many, many sponsor booths. To say that the conference was commercialized is an extreme understatement, but without all those sponsors it wouldn't have been nearly as glitzy. Had my photo taken with the Michelin Man. My favorite freebie finds were the kiwi scoop from Zespri and the book light from PBS parents. The lunch, sponsored by Ragu, featured over the top decorations, but the food was very good.
I attended two sessions, Business of You: Brands and Bloggers and Room of Your Own: Blogging Identities and YOU. However, the Community Keynote was most definitely the highlight of the conference. So many heartfelt, amazing stories from real bloggers. After the keynote, I ate supper at the Energizer Suite party, stopped by MomSelect Suite and then headed back to my room to put my dress on for the two evening parties: Type-A-Momfluence (awesome chocolate fountain) and MomPop (equally awesome unicorn cake). The parties allowed me to chit-chat with some other fun bloggers like Sleepy New Mommy.
Saturday, Day 3: Orginally we were planning on attending a family function on Saturday, so I only registered for Friday. A month ago the family function was canceled and it was too late to register for the rest of the conference. That's OK though. We used the free day to visit the Museum of Science and Industry and, to my delight, viewed Harry Potter: The Exhibition. (I'll post about that later this week.)
Staying in downtown Chicago rocked and the Sheraton was very nice, although the bed was a little soft. I'm sure we'll take another family vacation to downtown Chicago again. I want to walk around Chicago's Magnificent Mile on Michigan Avenue and spend a little more time sight-seeing.
No, I didn't see Tim Gunn or celebrity chef Paula Deen but then again that is not why I registered for the event. I went to meet other bloggers and meet I did. Thanks to BlogHer, I can say that I know other moms all over the U.S and Canada! I chatted with them, laughed with them, and now have some wonderful memories.