If I were to sum up this year's conference in one word, it would be "overwhelming." Granted, I did attend the Chicago conference last year and loved it, however this year it was a bit too much. From scheduling with parties and events to the 2400 attendees to the frenetic atmosphere of New York itself, I was feeling burnt out even before the conference began. Hence why it's taken a week to revisit the conference and write this post.
Thankfully I had Naomi to be my roomie and shoulder to whine on (it was damn hot in the city!). The thing I most loved about the conference was getting to feel like pre-motherhood Kathleen again, and just hanging out with friends is the easiest way for that to happen.
Got to meet Jennifer too!
The conference itself was pretty ho-hum. Not to be sour grapes, especially since many of you weren't able to attend the conference, but I was expecting more from the sessions. I enjoyed listening to Gabrielle Blair, aka Design Mom at one of the sessions (apologies for the terrible photo--I didn't want to be that annoying person using flash photography in a session).
For the most part, the sessions I went to were vague and poorly organized. Presenters were typically just speaking off the cuff without any power point slideshows or organizational tools. Often they'd rely on the audience to ask questions (sometimes tedious ones) and then the panel would fumble around amongst each other to try and answer. The one on monetization was insanely crowded, and I ended up leaving early for fear of getting stepped on while sitting on the floor. Clearly the session was not interesting enough to risk a broken ankle.
And since I'm complaining, BlogHer folks, PLEASE discourage presenters from singing during the Voices of the Year segment. That was just flat-out awful and not humorous at all.
It was fun trolling the Expo Hall, not just for the free stuff, but to bump into other bloggers and see the creativity behind some of the booths. I liked the Hershey suite, which was not in the Expo Hall but in a hotel room.
They totally transformed the room into a S'Mores campfire space.
You could even make S'mores over a little sterno-type thing. I have a soft-spot for Hershey though, since the town is close-by and I loved visiting Hersheypark as a kid.
The non BlogHer parties were fun too. I was shockingly invited to the Getting Gorgeous Event, hosted by Vera Sweeney and Audrey McClelland, which was really well done. Lots of great sponsors like Lia Sophia, Sketchers, Hanes, and Pier 1.
With lots of opportunities for pampering, this was a well-thought-out event.
I was also invited to the Stride Rite party. I love their shoes, and need to get another pair for Soren for the fall. Thankfully they gave out 15% off coupons and really nice swag bags--the one I chose was a purple Lillebaby Stockholm bag, which is a perfect downsized diaper bag. Inside were some cute Robeez moose boots, socks and other goodies, most of which went to my very pregnant friend. Go enter their Facebook Contest to design the next Robeez shoe! We colored some designs at the party.
By far I was most impressed with the Hallmark party I attended on Friday night. They really went all out with the decor, food and presentation.
The theme was "Christmas in August" and the hosts from Hallmark did such an amazing job of banishing the hazy summer air (at least indoors anyway).
The peppermint martinis were delicious, and they had a cookie decorating table. Oh, and hot guys serving it all up and one Aussie dressed up as Santa in front of the Christmas tree.
The event was in the penthouse of our hotel, and its patio was amazing. The view of Central Park made me melt want to melt along with the heat of the evening.Now that I've been home a week, the conference seems so far away. I do regret not meeting up with Lisa, Kayla, Laura and Nicole (!!). I really tried, but in a conference of thousands, a city of millions, and a hotel room beckoning for a rest on its plushy couch, my BlogHer10 ended early on Saturday night. It was great to connect with so many people (my favorite times were breakfast and lunch, meeting new people) and to just hang out with my pal Naomi in the city that never sleeps. San Diego, you seem like a much manageable locale for next year...we'll see if I make it to BlogHer '11!