In two weeks I head to Chicago for #BlogHer13. I’ve been so excited about this blogging conference since….I guess since the day after BlogHer12! Attending BlogHer12 with all it’s ups and downs was really a life changing weekend for me. I chose to attend on a whim and am so grateful that I did. I was SO inspired and learned tons. Did I implement everything I learned? Nope. And that’s OK. I’ve still improved a lot. What I loved was that the inspiration wasn’t just blog-related. I got life-related, woman-related, entrepreneur-related inspiration as well. I knew after that weekend, that I’d be going year after year. I just knew it.
In 2012, I was an emotional, lactating mess. This year, I’ll be an emotional fully weaned mess! And I won’t have a baby strapped to the front of me either….
1. I’m officially going baby free!! It’ll be a working vacation. I’ll get to sleep and wake up when I want to. Use the bathroom without a buddy. Eat meals without being stalked and begged. No diapers, no full-time responsibility for keeping another human happy and healthy. I’ll be FREE….for 3.5 days. Let’s see how I handle my first time away from my little guy. I’ll either be swinging from the chandelier with a bottle of moscato or in a heap on my hotel room floor sobbing and trying to book flights home early.
2. I’m not a newbie! After attending BlogHer12, I am used to the size and set up of the conference this year. I’m prepared on how to handle the crowds, the sessions, what to pack, etc. I’m way more prepared than last year. I’m ready! Ready for the expo, ready to talk to a million people, ready to find loads of new blogs to
stalk read, ready to hear amazing keynotes and presentations. Ready to put aside any nitpicking and just enjoy every minute and soak up all the goodness that is a BlogHer conference.
3. I’m going to sound lazy…but…My hotel is connected to the conference site. I honestly didn’t want to have to schlep bags of swag, or … bags of anything, really, around all day before taking a shuttle back to my hotel. So I switched! It’s nice that my hotel is connected to the site so I can easily drop my bags….and drop into bed for a nap perhaps…without worrying about shuttle buses or spending on a cab if I were impatient. Bonus is it’s less expensive too…and I’m a reward member.
4. I’ve got a new phone to take with me! So I’ll actually be able to tweet like the rest of the tweeting maniacs there, and take great photos without my huge dslr, or my little point and shoot that I forget everywhere. I’ll be able to do some live vlogging, instagramming, and just be “social” which is super important at these events. God bless my new smartphone.
5. I’m making tons of connections before heading to Chicago. Last year I didn’t do so much of this, and it didn’t exactly hurt me, to any noticeable degree, but didn’t help me at all either. I just made friends on site, and winged it at the Expo. This year I’m connecting with brands early, and have contacts with brands I met last year that I’ve been in contact with throughout the year. And I’m meeting amazing women on all the BlogHer FB groups.
6. I’m a better blogger. (at least…I think I am! LOL) I’m more focused now and have a vision for my blog and how it fits into my larger career plans. Because of this viewpoint I’ll be better able to rep myself when speaking with brands, pr folks, and other bloggers. Even thought I was working with some brands last year, my blog still felt like a hobby. This year my mindset has changed and my blog is going to change to reflect that.
7. My business cards don’t suck. Last year I really wasn’t happy with my cards. I still handed them out, but I think subconsciously I didn’t lead with my card because I disliked them. This year, they don’t suck as bad so I’ll be happy to hand them over liberally.
8. I’m doing the 5K Fun Run. Running (ok…well..jogging…well..mostly walking with a lil jogging mixed in..) a 5k has been on my “gotta do one day” list for too long! I’m glad I’m going to be able to cross it off the list soon, and glad they give us breakfast after cuz I am going to be spent. It’s at 6 effin 30 in the morning! *shudder*
9. I get to partay! I’m attending Lipstick & High Heels and the Hasbro party like last year. Both were absolutely wonderful. I’m also heading to a party for a great cause thrown by the Baby Ladies, and may attend an event for Escalate. I’m super excited to attend a screening of my tall boo Vince Vaughn’s movie the Delivery Man and a cocktail party with the folks from Disney afterward.
10. Oh yeah, there’s also the conference itself! 🙂 It’s going to be awesome. I feel like I need to clone myself so I can go to all the sessions I want to attend. The agenda looks jam packed with useful stuff. I keep planning and re-planning my day. But no matter which I attend, it’s going to be immensely educational/valuable.
Are you heading to BlogHer in Chicago this year?!
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I want to get the most I can out of this trip to BlogHer. I’m grateful to be partially sponsored by The Pomade Shop and Silk Dreams Haircare so I want to make the trip as valuable to me and my sponsors as possible.
I’m still working on my plan of action but here’s what I’ve got so far:
- Hit the expo early or in spurts
- Plan my sessions & backup sessions
- Arrive early to sessions
- Talk to EVERYONE – don’t be cliquey
- Go Solo when I can
- Capitalize on connections made pre-conference
And, if I am blessed enough to be able to leave Roey with my mom and travel solo:
- Work out
- Attend all the parties
- Work in some “me time”
Let’s talk these through, shall we? I’d love your input!
Hit the expo early or in spurts:
The women at BlogHer descend on that expo hall like vultures! Everywhere you turn there are women grabbing samples, pushing to speak to reps, and doing the most to go home with boatloads of “swag.” It’s a crazy and kinda draining energy. If I go early, or in short bursts I’ll be able to spend time chatting with the brand reps of the brands I’m most interested in meeting with, and not feel pushed along by throngs of people. I’ll also be able to keep my energy up to deal with the crowds.
Plan my sessions & backup sessions
Last year there were several sessions that were either overcrowded, with women sitting on the floor or standing in the back of the room, or were closed (with a poor abused volunteer serving as a bouncer) due to too many people. When sessions were closed off, I had to scramble to find something else of interest and get to the room before being too late, and often had to just head to the expo or find people to chat with instead. This year I’m planning my A and B sessions so I’ll always have somewhere of interest to attend and learn.
Arrive early to sessions
Piggybacking on that last item, I’m going to be sure to get to sessions EARLY, and not just on time. I don’t know if this year’s venue is larger, but I’m not taking any chances about getting closed out of a session I’m interested in. I’m going to be there early and be sure to snag a good seat!
Talk to EVERYONE – don’t be cliquey
It’s so easy to gravitate to the bloggers you already know, and follow. It’s so easy to just hang with them the entire time, especially if you’re interested in the same sessions and therefore have the same “schedule.” This happened a little last time, and while I loved it, and loved the girls I was around (shout outs to all of you) I know I need to branch out and talk to more people. This year my goal is to leave BlogHer with a boatload of new “friends.” Plus I’ll be yammering about hair with anybody who’ll have me, so that’ll help (me and my sponsors lol).
Go Solo when I can
In addition to being more outgoing, I need to also do the opposite and go solo in certain situations. I didn’t have an opportunity last year to experience the expo alone. I was always with another person. This is fun, but didn’t allow me to interact with the brands in the way I wanted to. You never know how other people interact with brands, either clamming up and seeming unfriendly, or being overbearing (read: annoying) and talking the poor reps ear off. (Not saying my partners in crime did this by any means!) I just want to have some good one-on-one vs two-on-one interactions at each exhibit table.
Capitalize on connections made pre-conference
Last year I went to BlogHer without a true plan, it was my first year, I didn’t know many people attending, and just happened to luck out with some of the familiar faces. This year I’m actively meeting people beforehand and have been in contact with brands well beforehand also. I’ve noticed some…unseemly twitter behavior w/ some bloggers and brands, so I’m glad to have started my interactions early and not be so…parched. (read: thirsty)
Getting in a run and a little weights is the best way for me to have a morning blast of energy, and be sure I’ll maintain my energy throughout the day. If I’m not baby-free…I’ll be caffeinating myself in regular intervals.
Attend all the parties I can
So grateful to be invited to two parties already! Woot Woot (I’m a cool kid now!) But there are loads of BlogHer parties that go down each year. I only attended two last year (Hasbro and Lipstick&High Heels) due to being lactating and obsessed with my 8-week love. I didn’t attend any of the BlogHer-thrown parties at all. If no baby, I’m totally going to every one (ok maybe not EVERY) so I can meet more people and have MORE fun 🙂
Work in some “me time”
Listen. I’m taking a bubble bath. And I’m gunna sleep soundly from whenever I wanna go to bed to whenever I wanna wake up. And I’m going to journal, and blog, and read and drink my coffee in bed without interruption. The end.
So what are your thoughts on my action plan so far?
I’ve got more to come. So much planning goes into one weekend for us as attendees. No wonder it takes a full year of planning for the organizers at BlogHer to plan and pull off this weekend. Sheesh!
What’s on your BlogHer (or other conference) Action Plan?
Do you have hair? Good! Go check out my sponsors SilkDreams Haircare and The Pomade Shop!!!
Confession: I’m nervous about taking Roey to BlogHer.
No one is coming with me so I”ll be solo with the boy the entire time. There is a day care facility being set up for the children of the attendees, but I’m really nervous about enrolling Roey. The facility is at the hotel…the conference is at a convention center a cab ride away. I know I was brave and left Roey in the babysitting service while cruising, but I was just a staircase away. This…is scary.
I wonder if I should schlep Sharkie around the way I did last year. He was a real ladies man and a people magnet in general. I wonder if I’d be doing myself a disservice by not having the cutest conversation starter ever with me. I wouldn’t have to worry about the staff, him crying, him eating, him sitting in a poopy diaper, or worrying about any type of neglect at all… Or worry about bebe’s kids knocking him over or taking his toys or something.
But, last year he was just a mushy, docile, 8-week old nugget of yummy. Now he’s a wild billy goat shark hybrid toddler that cannot sit still unless it’s story time…or he’s being plied with puffs.
I’d love to be able to leave him at home, so I can make the best use of my BlogHer time without having the momworry sucking my thoughts up, but John has to work, my mom has to work, and my brother will be in FL. I was considering bringing my brother to be my “manny” for the weekend, but by the time he decided he would do it, the flight prices were a bajillion dollars. 🙁
Taking him to the sessions and to the expo would be daunting, I think. I feel like I wouldn’t be able to pay attention well enough to the presentations if I’m tending to his needs. Then we have his meal and napping schedule to think about.
So it’s looking like I’ll be taking him and the smart move would be to put him in the day care. I’ve just got to wrap my head around leaving him with strangers…for hours…in a strange city…alone…*GULP*
F it. I’m not going to BlogHer.