August 8, 2013

A Newbie's Guide to #BlogHer: Fact vs Fiction

So how many of y'all out there were newbies at BlogHer '13 this year? Show of hands? Yeah, me too! How many of you relentlessly googled packing lists, check lists, what to bring to the sessions lists, how to dress lists and what to say (or not say lists) until you were sick at your stomach and kind of overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information out there? Totally guilty over here.
It's ok though because if you are considering heading to BlogHer '14 next year I've got your back with the truth on all of the advice!

1) FACT: Ditch the high heels. I know you've read this so many times, and it is so true. Here's the thing, people dress all differently at these things. I saw folks running around wearing jean shorts with a hoodie, people accessorized and coiffed to the nines and lots of people like me in jeans or leggings with a cute top. Unless you are a fashion blogger or really used to wearing high heels just leave them at home. I took exactly two pairs of shoes this year and it worked out fine! I wore my Tory Burch sandals during the day and a pair of goldish/silverish cocktail sandals at night. Voila! Done! This also saves room in your suitcase! Winning!
2) FICTION: Bring all the snacks with you. Look, if you are a lactating momma or have other needs go right ahead and bring some snacks. I bought two boxes of Luna bars for Erin and me, and while they've been lovely for breakfast since we got back, we didn't eat a single one while we were actually in Chicago. Yes. There were a few times when I was hungry, but only one was like DEFCON 1 and that was only because a "lunch" event we were invited to was more like "we're going to make you sit here for an hour before we feed you!" event. I will say that by the time I was home I was ready to eat a real meal. I also had one full meal with my (non-blogger) friend Courtney, and it was very welcome. I skipped out on lunch at McCormick on Saturday to eat with her, and that veggie burger was delicious!
3) FICTION: Bring your DSLR. Look I get it. Those of us who love photography tend to get separation anxiety when away from our Nikons and Cannons. I brought my Nikon this year as well as my every day 18-200mm lens. If was definitely not necessary. Other than having it for a quick FlyDIY session I really didn't use it. I didn't have time to go out sightseeing. The conference completely overwhelmed my time. However, if you are coming in early or leaving late to go sightseeing or play the tourist I would say the DSLR would be worth it.
4) FACT: You will be really really tired. Have you had a newborn before? If so back that kind of tired off about ten notches and then you'll know how tired you'll be. Have you pulled an all-nighter in college? Think right at about that level and that's how tired you'll be. You will search for all.the.coffees like a crazy person and hit up the Folger's booth more than a few times in the expo hall. You'll wake up with eyes so red you'll wonder if you somehow sleep walked through a crazy party and you just don't remember it. I couldn't even put my contacts in on Saturday because my eyes were so tired. It's ok. You will get sleep when you get home. Until then keep calm and drink all the Starbucks.
5)FACT: Don't be afraid to go with the flow. Yes. I know. This coming from the girl with her color coded calendar set two weeks before the conference. It's ok to change things up mid-stream and go to a different session, not stay for the whole thing, ditch the conference and go grab a bite to eat somewhere local. It's ok to just go with it. One of the sessions I planned to attend was canceled. Another we missed because we were getting our hair done. The world didn't end. Also, a little tip from me to you, you don't have to stay the whole time at the private parties. I wish I had known that. That way you can attend more.
6) FICTION/FACT: Swag. Let's talk swag (or as my brother says Stuff We All Get). The outside world paints BlogHer goers as rabid swag hoes desperate (DESPERATE I TELL YOU) for a piddly little pizza wrap coupon and willing to punch fellow bloggers in the face to get one. We'll take all the free stuff!!! I also heard stories like this from former attendees. I also heard how the swag was "epic" and "legendary". 
So, ok. First of all I am sure that there are women out there who took a whole bunch of junk just because it was FREE! I however found that I preferred to be selective in what I accepted as a gift. Honestly, 98% of the time if I wasn't going to legitimately use it when I got home I didn't accept it. To me that just seems like more stuff I am going to throw away and more waste clogging up our landfills. There was that one time I took a coffee mug I knew wouldn't make it home, but I had such a great conversation with the brand I didn't feel right turning down the offer. I did however decline the offer of a second or third and dropped the mug off at the swag exchange in hopes that it would find a good home.
I only had one person physically touch me to get to some swag; she was very tall and actually grabbed both of my shoulders and shifted me out of her way. I was so shocked I just laughed. Did that just happen? Overall the behavior of all of the attendees was exemplary (from what I saw).
As far as the actual swag goes "epic" and "legendary" would not be the words I would choose. Sweet! I got some free Windex. And a dog toy? And some fruit snacks? Maybe I just don't have the killer instinct but I definitely saw some women walking around with BOXES of Folger's k-cups. I didn't get that. However, that didn't bother me because I wasn't really in it for the swag!* The best swag I got was from the private parties, and my two favorites were Sweet Suite and Nature Made. Nature Made was pretty awesome. Sweet Suite really was epic, and they shipped it to us which was legendary. Evie, my Godson, his older brother, soon to be younger brother and their cousin are on their way to a really sweet Christmas.
With that I'm concluding all of my recaps of BlogHer '13. If you didn't go this year and you really want to attend BlogHer '14 I encourage you to make it happen! If you blog this conference is for you.  If you have any questions for me feel free to hit the envelope icon below to shoot me an email or leave them in comments!
Yikes! Google reader is going bye bye this Summer! Make sure to follow another way so you don't miss a thing!
Follow on Bloglovin