the sparkly life: What Really Happens at a Blog Conference: My BlogHer '14 Recap

Monday, August 4, 2014

What Really Happens at a Blog Conference: My BlogHer '14 Recap

At the closing-night party with my two new friends: Lindsay and Michelle. (They are launching this site...check it out!) 

From top left: Guy Kawasaki interviewing Arianna Huffington was a highlight. She's so awesome; the Kerry Washington interview was also great--and her braided updo was SO cute. (Kerry W photo by Liz Pyo); another highlight: my SMO session with Peg Fitzpatrick and Maribel Lara. Learned so much!; Khloe Kardashian made an appearance at the Hairfinity booth--and my buddy Jen Atkin was there doing her hair!
The theme of this BlogHer was "Selfiebration," and I clearly celebrated that sentiment. From top left: Me at the Yoplait yogurt booth after doing a blind test between Yoplait's Greek yogurt and Chobani. I chose Chobani! In front of all of the Yoplait marketing people! #yikes; one of many elevator selfies; at the Bona booth (a.k.a. probably the only time you'll see a pic of me cleaning); obligatory bathroom selfie
front and center in the SMO breakout session (photo courtesy of Peg Fitzpatrick)
The BlogHer closing party was so much fun! They had a McDonalds food truck serving Happy Meals, fries, and (haha) salads, which was kind of amazing. And Rev Run DJ'd! The music was SO good--he played literally every single fun party song that you love and can't help but sing out loud to. I seriously can't remember the last time I danced so much. Oh-and I tucked a cheeseburger in my purse before we left. I wish I could say that I didn't eat it alone in my hotel room when I got back there at 1am. But, well, I wouldn't want to lie to you. #nomnom

Me and my peeps!
I'm back from BlogHer '14 (my first blog conference!). And despite a few initial nerves, I had a great time! For those who don't know, BlogHer is a gigantic annual conference where bloggers (mostly female, often "mommy bloggers"--though not always) from across the country (or, really, around the world) convene to connect and learn. 

I attended this year in San Jose, CA, because I was curious, because I wanted to learn ways to improve and grow my blog, and I wanted to network with brands. I accomplished all of these goals, but I also accomplished one that I hadn't even set out to do: I made friends! Weirdly, it hadn't even occurred to me that I might meet cool people that I would end up hanging out with for more than a few minutes, but I totally did. During the first 30 seconds of the conference, when I walked into my first event, two girls came up and introduced themselves to me and we hit it off right away. Michelle, Lindsay, and I ended up spending almost the entire conference together. They're awesome and we're already talking about attending a conference together next year. (I also met a great girl who lives literally three blocks away from me. We're planning a playdate!)

So, besides the new friends, a few other highlights of the conference for me were...

The classes: This was the number one reason I attended BlogHer. I really want this space to be the best it can be, so I was excited to learn about new ways to expand it. And I LOVED the classes! I took one on adding video to your site, one on social media optimization, and one on blogging fundamentals (legal/tax stuff). The only problem? They were too short! I was scribbling like crazy the entire time because there was so much good info. I wish each session had been longer (maybe three hours?). There was amazing information, but the classes felt super rushed.

The speakers: There were lots of amazing people speaking--Kerry Washington, Arianna Huffington, Kara Swisher, plus top bloggers and executives in the digital field. The speeches ranged from inspiring to funny to moving, and I learned a ton. Arianna Huffington was particularly great. I'm going to do more on that talk in a separate post because there was so much good stuff in it.

The brands: This was fun. There was a big expo area filled with companies ranging from Angel Soft (yep, the toilet paper people) to Skype. You'd go around, meet them, chat about their news, and often sample some of their products. (Let's not discuss how many Sonic cherry slushies or Baskin Robbins mini ice cream cones I consumed, 'k?) A lot of the brands were geared towards industries I don't really cover here, but it was still interesting, and nice to make the connections. I did learn about some really cool new products, companies, services, and apps though, and I will definitely be sharing a few of them here. Stay tuned.  

There were so many other great moments--too many to include here. (I even got to try out for a new TV show! More on that tomorrow...) All in all, it was well worth it for me. I had a great time and learned a ton. What more can you ask for? I'm already dying to go to my next conference.

Have you ever been to BlogHer? Or to a different digital conference? Tell me all about it below, please! I need to plot my next adventure. :)
p.s.: And everyone loved these business cards!


Jessica said...

So happy you had a great time!

Anonymous said...

I think when we met I said you looked familiar and I couldn't place it... Well, shame on me. I regularly read your blog. I have no idea why I spaced on the title and wish I'd recalled it so I could have told you I'm a fan. Was lovely to meet you!

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