Okay, so after all my planning and advice-giving on getting the most out of your BlogHer experience through the power of organization, I thought it fair that I give you the low-down on how I actually fared in trying to stay true to my grueling party schedule. I know it is now two weeks later and everyone is all BlogHer’d out, but I needed some time to come down from the stratosphere that I my adrenaline had launched me into and I think has yielded a better perspective on everything.
Man, Thursday was the toughest day to keep going. I had just flown into the States from England on Monday, so I was still working a little bit of jet-lag, but the adrenaline had been pumping for days, so I seemed okay physically. Mentally, however, I think I was in desperate need of a break. I ended up catching a towncar into the city with a stranger (a very pretty, pleasant stranger, I might add), because I forgot to link up my new pay-as-you-go phone to twitter, so I had nothing but a phone number for Cindy (@poubou), who had texted me to let me know that her flight was re-routed to JFK. Blerg.
So, I got to the hotel and was thankful to have about half an hour to catch up with Ann and Lee, who both started blogging about the same time I did and happen to be two of my favorite people on the internet, before I headed to the Gap on 5th to go get all #GapMagic’d up. What is this Gap Magic, you say? Well, in a stroke of brilliance that has rendered pretty much nothing but goodwill, The Gap approached every person who was speaking at BlogHer ‘10 and asked if we would be interested in letting them help outfit us for the conference by giving us two outfits for free. I KNOW. And on top of that, they were so nice and were willing to work with all the international bloggers coming in to the USA by setting up appointments that weekend at the Gap that was located right by the Hilton.
So, anyway, the manager, Ryan, helped me and Karen (who was also a Voices of the Year speaker) get all gussied up. I’m rocking a new pair of black skinny pants (which look way more expensive than they are) and some of the 1969 skinny jeans (also looking way more expensive than they are) and some cute T’s and a blazer (that no less than three people were wearing at my ROYO session on Saturday) in gray. Thank you to the Gap, who didn’t say we had to say anything about them for the gift, but that I was incredibly grateful and excited to receive. I mean, who doesn’t love the Gap??
From the Gap, I skipped back to the Hilton and was relieved to find that Ann hadn’t yet left for the Social Luxe affair, so I threw on a dress, grabbed my camera and headed out. On the way, I recognized the tattoo on the woman in front of me and started saying, “Grace. Grace. Grace!!” She finally turned around and immediately recognized… Ann. Not a word to me. What the heck? She was with Guavalicious, though, and she and I recognized each other from our twitter mutual-admiration relationship, so we got acquainted while Grace continued to actively snub me. OK, fine, she wasn’t actively snubbing me, but I finally was like, “Hey! LOOK at this (holding up my badge), it’s ME, Amy the Bitchin’ Wife?” And she was all like…. OoOOoh! And then we were like total best-ies for the rest of the conference because Grace is, quite simply, freakin’ awesome.
The Social Luxe event was, first and foremost, an extremely sweaty affair We got there on time, but the doors were closed and a long line had formed. A line that we waited in, while sweating. Imagine 150 women all standing in 95 degrees of NYC humidity, their perfect makeup starting to slide, and their enthusiasm for said event wilting on the vine. Okay, well, that was how it felt for ME. And, of course, I was keeping an eye on my watch and commenting to friends, “Well, that’s just great, my party schedule is now effed by one hour. What am I going to have to cut?” We finally got in the doors, though, and, of course, it was swell. The space was cool, but packed, the bar had great drinks, but was packed, and the awards ceremony was awesome, except you could barely hear over the crush of people in every corner of the space yammering excitedly to each other about how awesome air conditioning is. Oh, was that just me?
I kid, the Social Luxe ladies put on a great show, again, and I was super happy that MamaPop won in the category of “Best Guilty Pleasure Blog.” Heck, I even got to almost go up on stage while Tracey and Amy were accepting the award. It was more like I got to the top step and then all of sudden we were all trotting back down and back into obscurity. Cie la vie.
Now, let's get to the brass tacks: The SWAG. I don’t care what all those other people say about how they hate the swag and how it isn’t the reason they come to the conference, and oh, lordy, isn’t all that swag such a pain to pack? NO, I am one of those people who squeal with excitement when they see the swag and ooooh over the cool stuff, crow over the useful stuff, and just generally swoon over the prospect of getting stuff for free. BlogHer is awesome for that kind of thing, so I was in the right place.
Social Luxe swag bag faves:
The Cambria Cove box that contained some really fantastic soap and some really gorgeous earrings. My fashion guru, Pendy, was the recipient of this treasure.
Zappos.Com $50 off code in the plastic folder full of coupons and info on the sponsors. I’m afraid a lot of people will miss this treasure either because they accidentally threw it away while packing or once they got home. Fact o’ the matter is that the folder contained a slew of really great deals. Like:
Moji coupon for a free Tension Release heating pad thing that you wear like a little vest so it covers your shoulders and neck…. just where a blogger feels the tension most. I am uber excited to get this and try it out.
Mabels Labels coupon for a free pack of labels. Always useful, always handy to have. Free $21 set of labels=awesome.
Also fab and in the bag: Skull Candy headphones of the Small Paul variety, Aveda travel size shampoos and lotions, and StriVectin face scrub, which I think is the best exfoliator I’ve ever used. Honest.
Next up, I got myself over to the Martha Stewart Blogger’s party that was being held in the Martha Stewart Omnimedia offices on 26th. Very cool offices. Apparently, Martha was there, but I missed her since I got there late. Again, there was a crush of people, but I met some cool ladies and then hooked up with Kevin from Always Home and Uncool. He sent me a text telling me was the easy to spot guy in the purple shirt. Oddly enough, when I tapped the shoulder of the guy standing right behind me, in the lavender shirt, with a big, familiar “HEY!!,” it was not him. Whoops! I found the real be-purpled Kevin over in the corner. (By the way, please support Kevin and his quest to eradicate Juvenile Myositosis by voting in the PepsiRefresh challenge. The button is located in the sidebar to the right. Thanks!) We had just started talking and taking pictures when I heard my name called loudly through a PA. Turned out I had won a new Breville 5qt. stand mixer!! They told me I needed to fill out a little card and it would be shipped post haste. Cooooooool. (I just made cookies this morning with the Breville and am pleased to report that it rocks. And kneads, and stirs, and scrapes. All while looking very cool and stainless. : )
Martha Bloggers Swag Faves: What can compare to the ultimate swag of winning a raffle? The Breville mixer wins, hands down. There were some other cool things in the bag, but just between you and me: the Miracle Whip handy-squeeze just seemed like filler. I mean c’mon Martha, Miracle Whip? Really??
Finally made it to the Nikon Night Out party after dropping off all the swag at the hotel. I got there about two hours late, with Lee and OHmommy and Grace, among others, and the party was dead. Just a few people were around and I was happy that one of them was Loukia, whom I had been dying to meet. But, we were so late that we missed the fashion shoot, most of the food, and most of the people, but were there in time to still get a pretty killer margarita at the bar, try out some of the Nikon lenses that they had on display (I want to borrow that 50mm 1.2 lens for a longer try-out), and get happily man-handled by some of New York’s finest fire department studs. You heard me. And I present this photographic evidence, too------------------>
OK, so here is where the evening fell apart. I still had time to make it to the D3Publisher party and/or Queerosphere. The D3 party was in Times Square and I would have had to go alone. I wisely decided not to do it and headed back to the hotel where I thought I’d go up to my room to freshen up and then head to Queerosphere which was in the Hilton. However, I got up to the room, started talking to Lee, and then crawled into bed and never got back out again. It was awesome. And turned out to be the only chance I had to really catch up with Lee, who was there in the role of producer for the Mom Casting project and uber-busy the whole time. So I was happy as a clam, just hanging with her.
I guess that is where the flexibility factor came into my party plan. Sometimes you just have to back away from the party bus and say that you’ve had enough for one night.
Friday was completely effed because I was so anxiety-ridden about performing for the Keynote. I managed to make it to some great sessions and see some of my friends who were speaking, but I also missed sessions that I really wanted to see. Like the other photography session by these talented ladies. Boo. I was back in my room by 3pm to practice my song in front of the mirror and Maggie, who had agreed to meet me upstairs so I could give her a run-through in my costume and “Popular” persona. I ended up also performing for our cleaning lady, who was still working on the bathroom while I was practicing and, God bless her, told me before leaving, “You have nothing to be nervous about. You have a beautiful voice.” Her words actually did a lot for my confidence and by the time Lee dropped in and then Maggie, I was keyed up in a good way, and ready to show them what I had.
The performance ended up going very well. I think. Still no video from the BlogHer team, so until I see it I can’t say with total certainty whether or not it was as good as I wanted it to be. Plight of the perfectionist, right? Over all, though, it was such a rush to be on stage and to hear my voice singing through the PA system and liking what I heard coming back at me. People seemed to be laughing in the right spots and I only lost it a couple times when I started laughing, too. Another shout-out to my amazing and talented friend, Pendy, who put together my entire bitchin’ outfit, which literally gave me the confidence to strut out on that stage like I owned it.
Unfortunately, not half an hour later I was being upstaged by THIS guy:
*eyeroll* Like I can compete with that! Grayson Chance is seriously a child prodigy… he was amazing, so comfortable talking on stage, and scary talented. Sheesh. : – )
After the Kirtsy Voices of the Year Gala, where I got to see the artwork inspired by my post, courtesy Aimee Giese, aka @Greeblemonkey.
I headed over to the MamaPop writer’s party which was held at fellow keynote speaker, Jason’s, aka Out Numbered Is Me, offices not too far away. Aside from the stellar company, Tracey went all out and rented us a first-class karaoke machine that we abused all night long. My personal atrocities were committed by the mere selection of Shakira’s She-Wolf and Ke$ha’s Tik Tok. I’m afraid the lingering endorphin rush of performing at the keynote may have made me a little unbearably rock-star-ish, but I was having way too much fun to even note whether or not my ego was floating over Manhattan like some errant bat-signal. The MamaPop crew were so much fun to finally meet in person and I loved that they were all completely whip smart, really cool to hang out with, and witty as hell. “Razor sharp wit” was never so perfectly personified, in my opinion. I got a chance to meet and talk to the adorable, and much more soft-spoken than I was expecting, TwoBusy, who reminded me of one of my adored brother-in-laws so much I kinda felt like I’d already known him for years. I had a chance to talk to Ryan, which was great since we were meeting the next morning to present our GeekLab ROYO together. It was cool to be able to just chat about stuff, not work. I also may have appointed Kelli my new best friend from Iowa, but don’t tell my old Iowa friends that, Ok?
Cab rides back to the hotel ended the evening and it was on to the last day of the conference!
This post is getting a wee bit too long, so I will post about Saturday next time, okay? I will also talk about the Mouthy Housewives Cocktail party that I completely omitted from Friday's round-up. And it was a doozy!
This post was written and formatted with Windows Live Writer, available on PCs running Windows 7 or Vista. Microsoft has kindly loaned me an ASUS laptop for the month of August to test out Windows Live Essentials while blogging. So far... I am becoming more disloyal to my Macbook by the hour.