Monday, August 06, 2012

BlogHer12 Wrap Up

After sitting at the gate and then on the runway for hours last night, waiting for mechanical problems to be fixed, then for a storm to blow over, I returned home late last night.  I stress late, but it wasn't really that late because I lost an hour coming home to the Midwest.  My family, including the little one, was all up and energetic and excited to see me.  Me?  Well, I was dog tired, stiff and crabby from a miserable flight.  I collapsed on the couch as the kids jumped all over me.  Jasper collapsed into tears as soon as he reached my arms.  My absence was particularly hard for him.  With my kids in my arms, my husband standing by, I felt that wash of emotion and gratitude upon seeing them again.  I love my family.  It was hard for me, too, to be away.

That is not to say that the trip wasn't totally worth it.  Really.  I had been warned that maybe BlogHer isn't the best blogging venue to get me going.  It is (was) enormous with 4,000 plus women in attendance.  I didn't listen to the warnings as I was terribly excited for an excuse to go to NYC sans kids.  It all turned out great.

I left in the wee hours on Thursday morning to try and catch BlogHer's HealthMinder day.  That is what I'm trying to write about most of the time and I was anxious to meet who else writes in that space and hear their experiences.  That plane was also beset by mechanical issues and after a long wait at the gate, we had to leave and get on another plane. 

This guy was OUT.  We all had a good chuckle at the big guy spread across the seats snoring loudly, but as we all filed out, no one bothered to wake him.  I did.  Don't call me a hero, because he wasn't too pleased.  I should have left it to the professionals.

One of my favorite purchases for the conference was this new shirt by Michael Kors.  When it comes to plus size designers, he is one of my favorites.  He doesn't treat the large woman as if we enjoy comical, silly patterns and designs.  Who does?  Except hospital nurses, maybe (nothing against them, but those cutesie cats on pink scrubs, I just don't get that).  This shirt traveled well with no wrinkles and enough movement to get comfortable on a tight plane.  My skinny jeans, however, are just a bit too skinny for me.  Too much eating during all my travels this summer has put on some extra weight.  No problem, I'm home now and loving my fridge full of gorgeous veggies.

 HealthMinder day was fantastic and left me with so much to think about and write about (another day).  I wish I took more photos of the women I met to help me keep the names with faces.  I know this is the biggest cliche to write about when attending a conference, but can it be a cliche when it is real?  When I first arrived I felt so terribly self conscious.  It seemed everyone had a group of gal pals to hang out with and I was alone with my own dorky self.  Well, I soon realized that as soon as I stood still in any place, someone was likely to sidle up next to me, exchange cards and strike up a conversation.  That's why everyone looks like they've got friends there, because all these women were so gracious and friendly.  Soon enough, I got the knack of it and began extending myself to others as easily as they extended themselves to me.  I have about fifty blogs that I need to follow now, because the women behind the urls are that great.

I attended the closing keynote speech for HealthMinder with Dr. Pamela Peeke.  She promised that what she had to share would have us so electrified that we would all be shaking in our seats.  Really?  I thought she looked a little too surgically enhanced, artificially highlighted and overly tanned for me to really find her interesting.  Boy, I couldn't have been more wrong.  I am so grateful for these times that I'm shamed for my negative thinking by judging someone based on their appearance alone.  This is an incredibly accomplished and intelligent woman.  She shared a bunch of exciting research (love that word, research, especially in the wild, wild, west of the health and fitness world) about epigenetics.  Big, new word for me.  Read DNA is Not Destiny to get yourself acquainted.  So interesting that even my completely science based spouse finds it interesting, and credible.  I left her session electrified, just as she promised.

President Barack Obama via Satellite
Then I went on for a meeting with the President.  Not exactly.  President Obama was the keynote of all keynotes to officially welcome us all to BlogHer12.  He piped in via satellite to give us all his stump speech.  Everyone was pretty impressed, but me.  I do respect that he took his time to address the conference, but come on, it's an election year.  He will be doing that frequently over the next several months because in spite of being the leader of our nation, he is also a politician.  And that's what he gave us, his stump speech to women.  I suspect that his speech will be memorized and repeated to a gazillion women's organizations before next November.  Okay, enough of my cynicism, moving on.

The rest of the night it was parties.  I've heard that there are tons of private parties that are invitation only by sponsors or really popular bloggers.  I didn't get invited to any of those.  Instead, I attended the BlogHer12 sponsored parties which were so spectacular that I felt no envy for all the elite party goers. 

At the risk of going into every boring detail, I'll try to sum up my stay with photos:

Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart came (in person) for a luncheon on Friday.  I've never been a huge Martha fan, but didn't dislike her either.  She was so interesting and funny and gracious as she gave all the bloggers in attendance a free iPad app subscription of her four magazines.  I'm a fan now.  It was her birthday so we all sang for her.

Martha Stewart
 After eating lots of unhealthy foods during the conference and suffering some pretty nasty headaches as a result, I took both my sisters out to dinner at a funky raw food restaurant, Quintessence,  in the East Village.  I'm going to make a point to discover new raw restaurants whenever I travel.  Eating here was such a treat, especially with two women that I love so much.
Thea, me and Mara.
I got back to the hotel in time to check out what Sparklecorn was all about, another fabulous blogger party.  Lots of glow sticks, alcohol, food and fun blogger women were in abundance.  Alas, I made the dreaded mistake of wearing brand new shoes all day so I stayed only a bit and went to bed early with blisters on my heels.  Ouch.

Sparklecorn Cake.  My kids would have loved this.

The next morning began with the best session that I attended, sex blogging.  I was interested for a new site that I've been musing about.  Everyone was so out there, funny and unashamed.  It was here that I received my first vibrator at the conference.  There was plenty to pass out, and before leaving for home, I ended up with three new vibrators from sponsors, lots of lube and even a cock ring.  I'm slightly embarrassed just to write that.  Perhaps I'm not up for sex blogging.  Just got to say, with all that sexy swag, the conference organizers would make sure that all 4000 women at BlogHer12 would have a great time.

The lovely and funny Queerie Bradshaw
Lunch was with Katie Couric but I left when my head wouldn't stop pounding.  Three Advils later (thanks Pfizer sponsor people for graciously filling my purse with samples a day before you opened your booth) and I came down to catch Soledad O'Brien lead a panel with Christy Turlington Burns and Malaak Compton-Rock on Women Influencers as Change Agents.  All three women have started their own foundations, each doing incredible work in the world.  Kind of makes me wonder, what have I been doing all this time?  Time to get busy.

Christy Turlington and Soledad O'Brian
Christy's foundation, Every Mother Counts, was inspired by her difficult child-birthing experience.  I was crying when she told about the work she does.  Check it out, give money or get active. 

Malaak Compton-Rock
Malaak Compton-Rock was tongue tied every time a question was directed at her.  I hope it was nerves and not drugs, because everyone at the conference was really concerned.

Me at the fashion show.  Like my new look?
Later was the fashion show where every size and shape was represented.  This woman came out and I could have sworn it was my sister-in-law, Mara, from A Blog About Love.  Same hair, same posture, same confidence.  I was texting her like crazy, how could she not have told me?  Nope, not her.

Just kidding.  I haven't lost that much weight - yet.
I got a lot of compliments throughout the weekend for this necklace.  I had completely forgotten that I owned it.  I packed a purse that I haven't used for some time and found it.  Perfect to avoid loneliness.  I was photographed and complimented frequently.  People found me because they recognized the necklace.  Someone had given me the advice to wear something distinctive throughout the conference so people can find you.  This was the accidental, but perfect accessory.

Before leaving on Sunday, I chiseled out a few hours to explore the Museum of Modern Art.  It's been over ten years since I was to walk those hallowed halls.  In three hours I only covered two floors.  Arrgh.  I've got to get back there soon.  Here are some of my favorites:

Starry Night, Vincent van Gogh

Homestead, Thomas Hart Benton

Shoot - forgot to note the artist.  Someone fill me in, please.

Lunch at MoMa.  It was art, believe me.

Detail from Everything, Tutto

I've got to say, New York, I don't miss living here, but I sure do love you.

Love, Robert Indiana

Next year, BlogHer is coming to Chicago, my hometown.  I hope to see you all there.



  1. Sounds like you had a great time in NY! I like that necklace too! where did you get it?
    I know Jasper couldn't wait til you are home;( that's really cute.
    I do like that shirt you are wearing! I like his stuff too;)
    Do you still have "sexy samples"?LOL gosh, one day, Jasper will find it from your room and use those for his daily science! be sure to ready for explaing what those are exactly!;) ha ha!

    1. We've got a lock and key for our "game" drawer : )

  2. I loved reading this wrap-up! I narrowly missed going to Alt a couple of years ago, and I have no plans to attend one in the immediate future - so I love getting the inside scoop. One without a filter is even better! ;)

    1. Come to Chicago next year! I'd love to get some photography pointers from you. My SIL really loved Alt. But SLC vs NYC? I dunno.

    2. If I'm not preggers by then, I will seriously consider it! I guess that means I need to get back to blogging on a regular basis. Ha!

      P.S. Can't WAIT to read your raw foods blog! I agree with you that I probably will never go 100% raw (I'll email you more about why...) but I want to incorporate as much of being raw into my diet as possible.

  3. LOVED reading this, Dominique. So entertaining! And so glad I got to experience a bit of it because of you.

    1. And I loved seeing you there. I should have stayed with you. I probably would have drank less, and exercised more. But then I would have missed the dancing : )