Although Mommies with Style is primarily a product review site, I wanted to share something a bit off-topic today. This past weekend, I attended BlogHer ’09 in Chicago. This is the largest women in blogging conference in the country. I met some wonderful women, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t post about the conference after the enlightening weekend I had.
I’ll break this post up with a “Read More.” If you aren’t a blogger or have no interest, feel free to scroll down to the last product review. I promise I won’t take it personally. If you want to hear about some rockin’ women and a good time, keep reading.
So. There’s been a lot of bitching and moaning about various issues at BlogHer ‘09 in the last few days. There’s bound to be drama when you gather 1500 women together (less the 10% men).
Personally, I grew up with a traditional family who liked to say things like “least said, soonest mended” and “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” I’m not going say that my experience at BlogHer was 100% positive – I’m no Pollyanna – but I don’t think that adding to the complaints will better the world or blogosphere so what follows will only be positive feedback.
For me, the best part about the weekend was the face-to-face interaction with other bloggers. I’ve been blogging for almost five years now – in that time I’ve had quite a bit of online involvement with other bloggers and PR reps. Some of the women I met over the weekend were nothing short of inspiring.
The parties. My God. I happened to turn the ripe old age of 35 while I was in Chicago and I will say this: I can’t party like I use to. My hat’s off to all of you women who party like rockstars – I am still recovering.
The sessions were interesting – lots of panels and discussions about blog integrity, how to brand yourself & your blog, and working with marketers in a way that will make both parties (the PR folks and the bloggers) happy and satisfied. Interesting debates and commentary. I was really impressed not just by the many panelists but by the educated women in the audience.
I plan on sharing my thoughts in more detail at a later date when I things settle down but here’s what I took away from the panels. But the short of it is that I felt the following were the important topics: blog integrity, reduction of waste and remaining honest, transparent and true to yourself in your blogging.
The fun stuff. Shout outs and other random bits from my head:
• Jodi from Mom’s Favorite Stuff and Jill from Alex Casey Baby, both of whom just rocked my world – they are awesome – so genuine and friendly.
• Dinner with the folks from PBS Kids & 360PR at Viand in downtown Chicago. Dinner was yum-O, and the ladies were a nice group to chat with. I really appreciate what PBS Kids is trying to do with television & children. Education and listening to parents feedback is #1 on their list, which makes me feel good about my kids watching their programming.
• Meeting Nina from the Good Night Show on PBS Sprout – my kids were thrilled to hear about it.
• Flying and hangin’ with my favorite local Philly blogger, Colleen from Classy Mommy
• Having more than five minutes to finally hang out with our beloved Ciaran from Mommies with Style (infamously known as Momfluential) was such a treat. Props to she and the other girls from Social Luxe for throwing what was arguably one of the best parties of the weekend.
• Shanna, who not only has a full time job but designs awesome websites on the side (Mommies with Style!) AND parents 8 children, was there with her two daughters – I loved getting to meet her IRL.
• Jen from the Eco Chic Organizer had me in tears, I was laughing so hard with her one morning at breakfast.
• Several Mommies with Style members were in attendance so it was cool to hang with them – Jen from Ellie Bellie Kids, Jamie from MiniMe Baby Gear and Joya from Joya Baby. And I met Jo from Let’s Go Strolling. (Wish it could have been longer, girl! Next time.)
• Kelby from Type-A-Mom came to my rescue Saturday night – as I stood in line by myself to enter BowlHer, about to walk the red carpet all alone, I was having a boohoo-I’m-feeling-a-little-lost-here moment. Kelby wrapped me into her posse’s fold and let me laugh and have a great time taking photos and being generally silly and fun together. Plus they were just a cool group to hang with and I enjoyed chatting with them all over cocktails.
• meeting some of the PR folks with whom I’ve been emailing for years was a thrill
• A little bit of my old life mixed in with my BlogHer weekend: Kathy from Panini Happy and I went to high school together; Leticia from Tech Savvy Mama and I know each other from college, so it was cool to meet up with both of them as well during the course of the weekend.
• Meeting so many other wonderful, amazing bloggers. I only wish I had more time to interact with so many of you for longer. Next year!
Photos – not necessarily in any particular order: