Everything Else Travel

Went home a BlogHer vet?

I woke up Sunday 8/7 knowing I had to quickly say goodbye to my now good buddy, Miranda {Diana had left in the middle of the night}. I helped Miranda ship off some of her swag & Diana’s forgotten laptop. While in the hotel lobby {in my pj top no less}, I was able to say goodbye to Erika, Casey, & Katie as well as figure out that Nichole & I had similar flights out.

I’m still in shock that Alena collected enough swag to fill a double bed, that my swag filled a huge suitcase, & that my Scout bag made for the perfect carry on. Yes, you can call us BlogHer newbie swaghags. I love free shit. I won’t buy shopping bags, lip stuff, cloth diapers, water bottles or pens for a while. I’m thrilled with the children’s toys, other toys, books, nail polish, gifts & gift cards I brought home.

After a hastily eaten quesadilla with Jen & Angela, I said goodbye to Hannah & Alena, dragged my bags & checked out of the beautiful hotel. Nichole & I left at noon & chatted non-stop until her flight left at 330. It was great to have more one on one time to talk infertility & future blogging as well as having someone to watch your bags while you enjoyed a diet coke or as in my case, figured out all my delays. I hated saying goodbye but am already enjoying a closer online relationship with her.

Knowing I still had time in San Diego plus a very close lay over, I switched to sit closer to my gate & found Molly. Yay for more bloggy chats in the airport. With hugs goodbye, I boarded the flight to Phoenix. My Phoenix to RDU flight ended up being delayed 3 hours which meant I was able to get on it yet it also meant that I arrived in Raleigh at 3am.

Was the BlogHer hangover worth it? Absolutely. Have you seen that it took four posts to recap the fun?! I love the women I met, the companies I connected with, the friendships I grew. I realized from BlogHer that I like who I am & came home maybe a little more confident that I could go off kinda {but not really} alone & have a rocking good time. BlogHer taught me to feel like a real blogger/writer now instead of this girl who does this thing on the internet.

I felt a bit that BlogHer was like high school for me {yes, I’m a weirdo who enjoyed HS}. I loved & tried to be involved in so many groups because I hated to not spend time with everyone. And I still feel like I didn’t get enough time with each individual blogger. I don’t know what I’d skip, but I left craving more time to absorb awesomeness from so many ladies I just barely had time to chat with & hug.

Will I be photographing & running around in NYC for BlogHer12? Maybe. While I admired & enjoyed seeing the babywearing blogging mommas, I don’t think I’d want to do that. I also don’t think I’d enjoy BlogHer super pregnant. So BlogHer12 is a maybe. And if I’m not there, someone better take 500 photos, so I can live it vicariously through them!

With that, my BlogHer recaps are done. Can I call myself a BlogHer veteran yet?!

Everything Else Travel

I Skipped & Shopped

I skipped the BlogHer breakfast & instead headed next door to the Manchester Grand Hyatt for the De Wafelbakkers pancake breakfast. Fresh fruit, blueberry pancakes & a funny pancake hoarder video {tell them I sent you if you check it out} were enjoyed. I left with a great reusable grocery page {especially for frozen items}, a fun peace/love/pancakes T, & a pancake pillow that I gave to Mae Callie, one of the organizers of Haute Green, had emailed saying she’d received some late swag, so I stopped by her room & picked up a Ergo pouch, another Thirties duo & some more Rocking Green soap.

I dropped off swag then Miranda & I walked together towards the conf center. We met Katherine Stone at the elevators & walked the rest of the way with her. Then we turned the corner & saw Bob Harper & Guiliana Rancic.

BlogHer titled my first Saturday session Til Blog Do Us Part. I took the description to mean incorporating your marriage into your blog ~ like how bloggers talk about kids non-stop but leave husbands out. I figured the session would discuss how to talk about your marriage more & how to do it without hurting your marriage/spouse. Sounds good right? Instead 3/4 of the panelists blog about divorce &/or co-parenting & much of the session went on about that. The upside, I managed to check email & twitter.

I met up with Miranda, Diana, Erika, Rebecca, Molly & Devan for lunch. As you can see with our schedule, time to just talk was rare & I really enjoyed catching up with these ladies over lunch. BlogHer Saturday MorningThanks to my time on twitter that morning, I chatted with the ladies from Lee Jeans & was able to jump in on Diana’s fitting. I hopefully have a pair of great fitting dark jeans headed my way. The booth next to Lee’s was Retail Me Not. I climbed in & walked away with $30.

With cash in my hand, I rushed off to the Queen Bee Market which was held at the beautiful Hilton just on the other side of the convention center. Prepare to be overwhelmed by the cutenesss & talent displayed at QBM. I was thrilled to meet Jess from Allora Handmade & Hannah from Peggy Ann Designs. Queen Bee Market1 I purchased a melon AH cuff, Pleated Poppy card wallet & hair clips, & an owl ornament. Take a good look at the broach Jess gave me {my giveaway win} which I clipped on my bag then proceeded to lose between the hotel lobby & the street. ::sad face:: Queen Bee Market2

Enjoying my first sort of alone time in days, I walked through the conference center back to the Marriott. I dropped off my purchases, chatted with Miranda for a minute, then headed up to the Daisy Recharge suite {another morning twitter find}. I enjoyed low fat cottage cheese & fresh fruit as well as having my make up done. Daisy recharge suite

I’m not sure why, but I was the only one of my roomies to have time at the Save & Spurge suite at the Hard Rock Hotel. Another rooftop suite event, but this time, it was just me & Carole overlooking the city & pool below. We were joined by Kitty, champagne was poured, & blondie brownie enjoyed. Carole showed us all the great deals available on {affiliate link} & the frugal-lover that I am signed up. I also left with a swag bag that included a Boden scarf, wine opener, some gift cards & a Mikasa clock.

The Hard Rock is across the street from the convention center & I made it just in time for a quick Sabra hummus snack & to find an open table behind Jamie & Kylee & other friends for the closing keynote. {Yep, that would be my first official BlogHer keynote attended} I really enjoyed Ricki Lake & the other panelists discuss women in media. I got chills watching the preview of the follow ups Ricki has done for Business of Being Born. I really need to add that to our netflix que. BlogHer Closing Keynote

Eileen had organized dinner at The Marble Room. I quickly changed & cabbed it over to join 15 other ladies for dinner. Dinner was fabulous: great conversation, drinks, appetizers, dinner, & atmosphere. I walked back so I could enjoy the Gaslamp District at night with Katie & Miranda. Marble Room Dinner

Diana, BA & I chilled at Aiming Low. Fun laid back theme, cool cake, & everyone was given quirky, original tags. Mine said “fun”. Guess not everyone’s was original, huh? Aiming Low & CheeseburgHER You can’t go to BlogHer without having gone to CheeseburgHer {you remember Suzanne’s advice & photo?}. While I refrained from the bag {I never found the decorating station} & eating a cheeseburger {I don’t eat beef}, I did rock a temporary tattoo & helped my friends eat fries. I also chatted Gigi‘s ear off & sadly said goodbye to many new friends.

In case you missed them, here’s my previous BlogHer11 recaps: Wed/Thurs, Friday, & Sparklecorn.

Everything Else Travel


My Friday BlogHer post was getting ridiculously long. And honestly, a party as hyped & photographed as BlogHer’s sponsored Sparklecorn, requires its own post. I think I’ll just let my photos tell the story: of the people, the outfits, the cake & me dancing on stage. BlogHer Sparklecorn 1BlogHer Sparklecorn 2BlogHer Sparklecorn 3Yay for such a fun party with bloggy friends!

Oh & go check out this Sparklecorn video. I’m not in it but it’s very cool.

Everything Else Travel

BlogHer Awesomeness {part 2}

The roomies were supposed to have breakfast all together. I was the last to shower & the first to be ready {I wasn’t shocked by this}. Miranda & I were too hungry to wait for Alena & Diana, so we went along & enjoyed eggs & fruit & muffins. BlogHer expoIt was so loud in the breakfast room that we decided to skip the welcome keynote & instead check out the Expo hall. My headache was quickly cured by a trip to the Advil/Chapstick booth. I’ve been loving the Philosophy lip gloss, enjoyed chatting with the Softcups reps as well as Yo Crunch, Paper Culture, ClickinMoms & tempur-pedic {thanks for the eye mask & pillow which have been used ever since}.

I met up with Suzanne at the Write Brain session. My favorite notes include: remembering to edit, edit, edit ~ your voice will still stand out, stick with the right tense, over-write personal feelings then pull back to where you’re comfortable, know who you’re writing to, & don’t repeat words.

My HTC Meet Up appointment was at noon, so I quickly left Suzanne & rushed over to the HTC suite. An hour of candid cell phone discussion later, I left hopeful to see what they’ll come up with next & with a HTC 4G Sensation.

Penny De Los Santo’ Food Photography session was one I’d been looking forward to before I even bought my pass. I loved seeing her magazine photos & the stories behind them. My favorite of her tips: that she added connection to the standard light/color/composition/subject list of what makes a great photo, never use a flash~ the dark can tell so much & be so romantic, use the photo to tell the story of the action & the place.

I sat enraptured by the Perfecting Product Reviews session with Amy, Stacie & Niri. While I haven’t done all that many product reviews, I enjoy them & took pages of notes on ways to improve. Hopefully you’ll see those notes in action in my After Flats post as well as future product reviews.

I downed a new Peanut Butter Dove bar with Miranda & Katie before we decided to skip the community keynote in favorite of going to the room to get ready for a night full of parties. First up was Softcups, so Diana, Rebecca, Erika, Miranda & I walked outside to await the free pedicab. While waiting Rebecca realized the one & only Kelle Hampton was walking by. I’m so glad she stopped her but am sad I was stuck in the pedicab & unable to hug her myself. San Diego on route to Softcups partySoftcups party meant Uv vodka drinks {& shots for some}, eating more than a few caprese skewers, meeting Veronica, seeing Amanda Beard & yes, that’s me hugging on Mario Lopez aka you’ll-always-be-AC-Slater to me! Swag bag included 14 Softcups & carrying case, mini bottle of vodka, & some tea in a black with bright pink interior bag. Softcups Party

Softcups Party
Photos courtesy of CrunchyVTMommy

Just down the street was the Cheap Sally Dance Party at Stingeree. We were able to get Rebecca & Diana in with the rest of us {yay!} & a enjoyed plate of pasta as well as a few more drinks {Suzanne shots!}. We weren’t there long, but I did come back with a swag bag that include a bottle of water & loaf of gluten free bread. Cheap Sally Dance PartyLucky for us {& our feet}, Hotel Salamar, the location for the Hostess with the Mostess Wonderlandia event was literally across the street. After some fun photos outside, we wandered upstairs for signature drinks as well as meeting up with old & new friends. Hostess with the Mostess Wonderlandia PartyAs you can tell, they went pretty all out with lightning effects for this rooftop, pool-side party. Swag was a super cute lunch bag stuff with Opi nail polish & a party book among other things. Hostess with the Mostess Wonderlandia

We ended our night with Sparklecorn. So many photos from there that it requires it’s own post tonight!

Everything Else Travel

Arrival as BlogHer Newbie

Things just work out perfectly sometimes. Miranda‘s flight into San Diego was delayed while mine arrived early. Katie‘s was on time. We met up with hugs & squees as we dragged our luggage to the taxi line. $15 split three ways later, we’d arrived at the San Diego Marriott. We grabbed room keys, dropped off our luggage then headed out by the pool. BlogHer11 Wednesday NightWhile I have done little outside this summer in NC {besides sweat}, San Diego has the perfect hanging-out outside weather. Wednesday night they had the fire pits burning if that tells you anything. Miranda & I enjoyed a glass of wine. We met Jill, Jen & Kit, & took silly photos with Molly. I crashed with new found friends Kate, Jen & Alissa.

After Alissa & I’s first BlogHer night, Kate asked what we thought. Alissa said it reminded her of sorority recruitment & as I think back & compare the two, I couldn’t agree more. It’s trying your best to look cute but also kind of laid back & comfortable, days of being “on” all the time, & wanting others to like you & you them.

As that set of roommates left to work out, I met Diana & found our room. Miranda joined me there before we left to feast on the P&G sponsored breakfast of fresh fruit & muffins. Alena found us just in time to listen to Gretchen Rubin from The Happiness Project. My how-to-be happy notes: make your bed & keep clutter to a minimum & fake it til you make it.

My P&G hair appointment was at 1030. Before was my normal mousse & go Suz. I love the 20 minutes later curling iron’d Suz {which lasted all day & night long}. Alena’s hair was styled a little later & Miranda had her make-up done.

Alena, Miranda & I had planned to grab lunch outside of the hotel, but when we ran into a crowd of e-friends enjoying drinks on the pool side couches we could help but join in. My margarita & fish tacos were awesome!Time flies by surrounded by these amazing women. After a quick change, Krystal & I walked over to the Dragon’s Den for the Haute Green party. We were joined by BA, Jamie, Jill & Diana, Katie & Morgan as well. Swag included momma cloth, wipes & eight cloth diapers – I have built quite the pre-baby stash!!

Haute Green & Big Toy Sweet Suite PartiesI missed my Big Toy Book Sweet Suite time {thank goodness I quickly learned that party appointments are pretty flexible}, so I walked with BA around the Padres stadium to the Hard Rock Hotel. Welcome to toy overload! I played with a few toys, made a bracelet, enjoyed champagne, Pinkberry, & cupcakes before leaving with a mega swag bag full of games & toys. {bottom left photo from Mandy}

Some brave ladies & I walked over to the Babeland Toy Mixer. Different toys from my previous party. Loved hanging out with Eileen, Jen & Kit here too. Still laughing out loud at my TMI swag mistake.Social Soiree & Babeland Parties BlogHer11We all walked together over to the New Children’s museum for the Social Soiree party. All the roomies were together here for the first time. I had a quick class of wine & sent a few postcards home before grabbing the fabulous pink Scout swag bag & heading back to the hotel.

Everyone {yes, it seemed like everyone} went to party with the Clever Girls. Diana & I are Clever but never made it off the waiting list. Instead we had our own party at the Goin’ Coconuts 3M sponsored party at Roy’s. Diana & I stuffed ourselves with skewered chicken & shrimp, lobster-filled gnocchi, signature cocktails {& in her case mocktails}.Goin' Coconuts Party BlogHer11BlogHer sponsored People’s party was almost over when we finished chatting & walked over. Where I met Suzanne & then with Morgan & Linz, I was able to meet Jenny aka the Bloggess. After the party, I laughed over Miranda’s Clever Girls characture & couldn’t resist another photo with Ree. M & I then walked into the Queerosphere party next door just to talk to Katie, Nichole & Natalie. Add wine & infertility discussions meant sweet Nichole & I are crying & hugging. People's PartyCan you believe this is just one day of awesomeness & BlogHer officially hadn’t even started?!