how to keep your sanity at BlogHer

I’m gearing up to head to BlogHer this weekend.  This will be my 3rd time going, and it’s in New York again so I am looking forward to the conference as well as a couple days of geeking out to Broadway shows. Mark will be joining me on Saturday for what we’ve dubbed our Epic NYC  Date Night Weekend.  Our last time together in New York was two years ago when we were on The View.  That time, we had about 24 hours in the city and stayed out all night visiting places we love.  I’m excited that we’ll have a bit more time this year. My brave sister-in-law and her husband will be watching our kids, along with their two, while Mark and I hit the town. I’m gonna owe them BIG. This is going to be one of those posts where I break the first rule about blogging: don’t blog about blogging. It’s also a re-work of my advice on BlogHer last year, but I think most of it still stands.  So . . . .if long posts about conferences full of social media devotees aren’t your thing, skip this one. But if you are a blogger and you are headed off to BlogHer this week, here are some of my best tips, being the expert BlogHer attendee that I am. (I’ve been twice) But first!  A little plug for my friend Tara Livesay.  Tara’s blog is the first I ever read, and was one of the main inspirations for me to start blogging as well.  She’s smart and funny but more than that, she makes me think differently about the world and inspires me.  She lives in Haiti, doing incredible work with at-risk mothers.  Every year, the BlogHer conference honoros Intenrational Activists,  women who “work tirelessly for social change through blogs and Internet tools.”  I nominated Tara this year, and deservedly, she won!! She will be at BlogHer receiving her award and speaking, and you should definitely check out her panel, along with the three other Activist recipients (Ana Santos, Fungai Machirori, and Maha El-Sanosi).  It’s on Friday at 1:15. I will be there with bells on. Alright, now for the part where I pretend to know what I’m doing.  

How to stay sane at BlogHer

The drama.  The egos.  The social posturing.  The politics.  The parties.  The private invites, the rejections, the corporate deals, the free stuff, the cat-fights over swag, the celebrities, the drinking, the dancing, the tattoos, the time Mike Tyson’s tiger was found in Pioneer Woman’s hotel bathroom . . . BlogHer is crazy, ya’ll. BlogHer was kind of like a big giant stress-dream for me.  I think it is anxiety-provoking for all of us.  It is a bizarre alternative universe, this blogging world, where corporations are courting stay-at-home moms, and where the amount of traffic or comments you get in a day somehow moves you up the social totem pole.  Most bloggers spend their days sitting at a computer – many of us doing our jobs surrounded by small children.  To suddenly be swept into an environment where there are leaders in our industry, along with brands we’d like to work with, along with cocktail parties and drinking and dancing and 2000+ other women?  It’s easy to be overwhelmed.  Hence, my first tip: Expect to be overwhelmed.  The pacing of BlogHer is insane, and so is the sheer volume of people.  Prepare to be overstimulated.  If you are an introvert, prepare to be REALLY overstimulated.  It’s normal.  Figure out what you will need to regroup a few times a day.  Don’t be afraid to skip a session to go lay in a quiet hotel room, or to seek out a few friends and go to a quiet coffeeshop. Be present.  There are a million things happening at once at BlogHer and it’s easy to get caught up in wondering what everyone else is doing.  And with the phenomena that is the Twitter hashtag, you know at any given moment that there is something going on that you are missing.  To be honest, it seems like some people take a little glee in this, announcing at regular intervals about HOW FUN this ULTIMATELY PRIVATE PARTY is that they are at, along with the appropriate hashtags.  (i.e. #blogher11 #yousowishyouwereatthisparty  #seriouslythispartyisbetterthanyours).  Don’t worry if the place you are at is the best place to be.  MAKE it the best place to be by being present.  You can’t be five places at once, but you can enjoy yourself wherever you are. Don’t take it personally when people look over your shoulder, snub you, or are generally rude.  It will happen.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a conversation with someone at a conference while they checked their twitter stream, craned their neck to see if someone better was standing nearby, or walked off to say hi to someone else mid-sentence. Normal human rules of interaction and courtesy sometimes fly out the window in this environment.  Try not to act like a douche, but don’t get your panties in a wad if someone does it to you.  Everyone is over-stimulated and social graces may fall by the wayside.  It’s not you, it’s them. Find solace in the Serenity Suite. The Serenity Suite was created for the overwhelmed at BlogHer.  It is the brain child of my friends Heather and  Maggie, a space created for people to come and decompress from the madness of the conference.  Last year it ended up being an amazing resting spot for a lot of people (and also a space for an impromptu 12-step group . . . love that).  It’s open during most of the conference, in ROOM 4246. Pace your drinking.  The 10 drink cards that came with your 3-day BlogHer pass should be an indication of the amount of alcohol involved, and the private parties will be passing out lots of cocktails as well.  If you drink, you might want to think through your strategy/boundaries before you find yourself struggling to walk straight after an overly-sweet Truvia cocktail at 5pm with three more parties on your roster (speaking from experience).  BlogHer is about having fun, but it’s also about networking, and at the end of the day it is a professional conference full of people you may work with in the future.  You probably don’t want to be remembered as the girl who fell on the escalator outside of Sparklecorn and bled all over the hallway. So monitor your drinking accordingly.  Prepare to be sleep-deprived.  The parties go until the wee hours, and even then you may have a hard time sleeping.  I barely slept last year . . . I think it was a combination of my body still being three hours behind my own time zone, and the way my brain was racing with thoughts of ALL. THAT. SOCIALIZING.  I have a hard time settling down to sleep after any big social event, be it girl’s night, a party, dinner with friends, etc.  But at Blogher, it all seems so magnified because instead of one party, you are hopping to several, and meeting SO many people, most of them people you have never met before but feel like you know because of their blog.  So at night my brain was buzzing, as I rehashed every interaction and worried whether or not I had adequately expressed admiration without seeming stalkerish, or fretting over the fact that I had not had more time to chat with certain people, or whether or not I was succeeding at seeming fun and friendly because my default mode of morose and sarcastic is not that approachable.  You may have to really concentrate to quiet your mind at night.  If you have insomnia at home, you may want to bring whatever helps in that scenario along with you. Wear clothes you are comfortable in.  I am always amazed at how much of the BlogHer twitter stream is devoted to clothing choices.  And shoes.  And losing weight.  You’d think we were all attending some sort of a beauty pageant.  As opposed to a conference FULL OF WOMEN.  Women who sit with a laptop on their lap most of the day.  Who probably don’t spend a lot of time fussing with their hair (or slipping out of their pajamas).  I’m really not sure who we are trying to fool. Don’t get me wrong – I get caught up in it, too.  But I really think the best strategy is to avoid going and shopping for a bunch of new outfits, and to wear things you know make you feel good.  For one, wearing a new outfit means that you might be in the middle of an important conversation when you realize that your Spanx show when you sit down, or your new dress wrinkles in an unflattering way if you bend.  Most of these people don’t see you in your daily life, so your best outfit at home is probably your best choice for a conference.  Stick with what you know works. IMG_2510 (And I will be doing just that.  Prints and summer patterns be damned.  I like black dresses, and that’s what I’ll be wearing.) Pack your clothes in outfits.  Speaking of clothing and pacing . . . BlogHer is a whirlwind.  It is unlikely that you will have a lot of time between keynotes and cocktail parties to leisurely change into your evening attire.  Most of the time at conferences I am busting into my room with about 15 seconds to spare as I change for the evening.  I’ve made it a practice to have my outfits on a hanger, with corresponding jewelry and accessories hanging from a ziploc.  I iron all my clothing for the weekend on the night I arrive, and have everything hanging and ready to go.  I am never this anal at home, but I really value the time at conferences and don’t want to be spending the dinner hour ironing a dress and fishing earrings out of my suitcase.  Also, since I typically fail to sleep at conferences, I like the time that this buys me when I’m trying to get out the door in the morning. Make a map on mapquest.  There’s nothing quite like being lost in a new city.  If you have some off-site activities, you can plot them all out on a saved map with mapquest and then print it.  It helps to have a visual of where parties are, especially if you are as completely directionless as I am. Put everything in your schedule.  It really is helpful to plot out where you want to go, and to put the times and locations of parties into your phone’s calendar so that you aren’t trying to search through eventbrite or your email archives for addresses prior to the parties.  Again, the pacing is crazy.  A little planning before-hand will help you be less frazzled during the conference weekend. Don’t be afraid to talk to people you admire, but give them grace if they disappoint.  It is normal to want to introduce yourself to writers that you admire.  But keep in mind that they are human, too . . .  and if they are making a living writing about their personal life on the internet, there is a good chance they are either introverted or socially anxious OR BOTH.   They may also be overstimulated, or late for a session, or tired, or just at the limit of social interaction.  Also, certain bloggers might feel like celebrities at a conference but with very few exceptions most of us aren’t used to being recognized when we go out on a daily basis.  It can be disconcerting, therefore, to suddenly find yourself in a group of people who know who you are, and not everyone handles it well.  I can say for myself, the one thing that goes through my head when someone gushes about loving my blog?  I’m going to disappoint you right now.  That’s what I’m thinking about – that this person won’t find me that likeable in person.  I know this has caused me to act less-than-personable before.  If you do have the courage to approach a blogger you like and it is awkward or you feel snubbed, don’t overanalyze it. and definitely don’t let it ruin your night.  It happens.   It’s not you, it’s them. Get out of your comfort zone.  It’s easy to gravitate to the group of people you know and feel comfortable with, but do try to put yourself out there and meet new people.  One of the things I love about the blogging community is seeing the unlikely close relationships that happen between people from really different walks of life. Say yes.  BlogHer is a short time frame.  Give yourself over to it, make the most of it, and sleep and work later.  GO TO THE COMMUNITY KEYNOTE.  Seriously.  This is what it is all about – hearing the best writing of the year, read by your peers, and boosting them with your support.  I don’t care what brand event it coincides with.  There’s just no excuse to miss the Keynote.  It is awesome and you will be missing out. Don’t fret about the private parties.  Private party events are not a measure of your worth as a blogger. Let’s repeat together, shall we?  Private party events are not a measure of your worth as a blogger. Most of the private parties are sponsored by brands that are looking for bloggers who will promote them.  Some of them event required promotion to get on the invite list, making people tweet or schill posts for a ticket in.  If you aren’t going to private parties, make your own fun.  Invite people to dinner, and enjoy the public parties because they really are a ton of fun.  Go to Sparklecorn.  I promise, the fact that I am now writing for MamaPop does not influence this recommendation – Sparklecorn is legit awesomeness. This party is the most fun of the conference, due in no small part to the fact that it is a) open invite b) devoid of product pitches and c) focused on dancing to great music.  I had a blast last year, and managed to get through the evening without my feet bleeding.  Plus there is a famous DJ and unicorn cake.  UNICORN CAKE! Prioritize friends and learning over parties.  If you do get a lot of invites, it can be difficult to decide which parties to attend, and how this fits with the friends you want to spend time with.  BlogHer can feel very decentralized and so dominated by private parties and invite-only events that the feeling of community can really get lost.  Last year, even though there were upwards of two thousand women, none of us were ever in the same place at once, and many times I had to split off from friends because of different party schedules. This dynamic felt really awkward to me..  I was invited to some parties.  I wasn’t invited to others.  It was weird either way, since I couldn’t just invite whatever friend I wanted along to wherever I was going.  But it all pulled the focus away from the thing.  You know, the blogging/community thing.  And speaking of parties . . . Be honest about the private party dynamic with your friends.  It’s hard to know how to approach the party situation.  You can be open about where you are going and share notes, but then someone is liable to feel left out (or assume you are bragging about your invites).  But the other alternative is to keep mum about where you are going, which is a weird dynamic between friends, too.  One of the yuckiest moments for me last year was when a friend lied to me about a private party.  She told me she was tired and going to bed, and later I saw her out at a private event that I hadn’t been invited to until the last minute.  It would have been so much better to just have her tell me that she had a private event and excuse herself.  Remember, your loyalties are to your friends, not to the PR person who asked you to stay mum about a party.  Keep perspective on the swag.  You’ve probably spent a lot of time, money, and effort to get to this conference.  Do you really want to blow off a session to go to a swag suite to get a labeled tote bag and ipod speakers?  Is a bag of stuff valued at $25 retail really worth a taxi-cab ride to an off-site party?  Is it even worth paying for an extra bag to lug it home?  It’s easy to lose rationality about free stuff, and if you really lay out your priorities for the conference, I doubt it’s about sample-sized detergent or hair pomade.  Keep your wits about the swag. Adjust your expectations. It is a crazy, manic experience, and I didn’t feel like I got enough time with any one person, but that is probably just not possible with that many people in one place.  You probably won’t make it to everything you want to attend, and you probably won’t get to talk to everyone you want to meet.  That’s okay. And if you are going to this conference and see me, please say hello.  I really would like to meet you – please don’t mistake my deer-in-headlights expression for aloofness.  In case you want to find me, I look like this: Okay, that is a seriously flattering photo of me. At the conference, I will look more like this: Please note the bags under my eyes, the obligatory special event breakout, the butchered bangs, the double chin from eating crappy hotel food all week, the food stuck in my teeth, and the stain on my shirt.  Not pictured: the sunburn I got on my head in Palm Springs that has resulted in a peeling scalp that looks like mutant monster dandruff flakes. If you’re going, leave a link to your “about me” page in the link-up below so I can stalk you a little before we meet. (If the link-up isn’t showing below, click the post title to refresh).

highlights from mom 2.0 summit

After our big trip to Florida a couple weeks ago, I got to head down to Miami for a few days to catch up with the Mom 2.0 Summit. I wasn’t planning on attending this year – I’ve been trying to reign in my travel schedule and Miami seemed so far away. But when I realized that our Disney World trip would have me in Florida the very day that this conference started, I couldn’t bear the thought of flying home just as all of my favorite blogging folks were arriving.  When Laura asked me to speak, it was a no-brainer.  (Except for the part about Mark having to fly home alone with four children. But alas, they survived, thanks in large part to Virgin America’s plentiful snacks and constant streaming of the Disney Channel.) IMG_2141 I am sometimes hesitant to post pictures of conferences, because it makes it appear as if the weekend is just one big “Moms Gone Wild” episode.  But I promise . . . during the day, we are actually conferencing.  See? image It’s just that photos of the conferencey-part aren’t all that exciting. But suffice it to say, the conference part was incredible, educational, smart, and inspiring.  Mom 2.0 is the brainchild of Laura Mayes, and let me tell ya: if you ever have an opportunity to attend something that Laura is hosting, get yourself there.  I got to speak on a panel about the hot topics of 2012, and it sparked some really great discussion, especially surrounding working moms and gender roles. I’m working on a post about that. But for now, I’m just going to post pictures of the conference highlights.  Highlight #1: the view from my room. IMG_2169 Highlight #2: the mojitos at the pool bar. And great company. IMG_2144 IMG_2179 Highlight #3: Taking a bus to a party at the Vercase Mansion. LIKE A BOSS. IMG_2148 There was paparazzi awaiting us as we walked into the mansion.  I suspect they may have been disappointed to discover a bus full of ladies who write on the internet in their pajamas for a living, but WE were excited about it. IMG_2154 Just chilling in the mansion. NBD. IMG_2150 IMG_2185IMG_2155 I kept waiting for the party to get so raucous that someone jumped in the pool.  That never happened.  But a bunch of us danced like idiots on the dance floor, so there’s that. IMG_2158 The biggest highlight of the trip is a moment I don’t have a photo of, but I’ll try to paint you a picture. We leave the mansion, and a group of us, including my long-time girl crush Samantha Bee, go clubbing at a roof-top bar overlooking South Beach, and dance like fools until the wee hours. You know, just everyday stuff. BUT WAIT! That’s not the best part. The best part happens later, when three of us find ourselves in a cab with an elderly Haitian driver who has an affinity for 80’s ballads, and at around 2am ALL FOUR OF US are singing along to Bette Midler’s The Rose, with full harmony and hand motions.  I don’t know when I’ve laughed so hard. It was a really great trip, and in addition to being very fun, I also made some great connections in regards to my online writing.  I’ll be announcing some of those things soon. In the meantime, I’ve so grateful that I have a job that affords me some silly excitement in the midst of my typical routine, and some amazing relationships with incredible and inspiring women.

building community in the digital age

This post is sponsored by Chase – a strong supporter of the Global Cities Initiative

Last week I had the chance to attend the Global Cities Initiative in Los Angeles. This is a five year initiative to equip cities to strengthen their local economy through research in exports, foreign investment, and immigration policy.  It is bringing together local and international leaders to expand global reach, based on best practice and policy intervention around the world.  There was an emphasis on the importance of education for all people, as well as the benefits of globalization for both those in the first and third world.  It was right up my alley.

While the benefits of globalization have a positive effect on businesses and economy, I couldn’t help but think about how globalization has improved my personal life as well.  The new digital age that we are living means that we have access to building digital communities with people from all over the world.  This accessibility has expanded my worldview and made me feel a part of a broader community of moms. I have never had that sense of isolation as a mom that I heard my mother’s generation talk about. Despite the fact that some days I don’t ever make it out of my pj’s, I still feel like I get to do a little socializing every night on facebook. When my kids go down for a nap, I can catch up on my reader to see what my friends are doing, or relate to an anecdote from someone else in a similar lifestage. I can blog about my worries about overscheduling, or my disdain for kindergarten homework, or my inability to remember my assigned snack day in the classroom, and the comments often feel like my very own community of women, propping me up and guiding me along the journey.

It has also been a huge blessing for me to develop a digital community of other adoptive moms.  If I were confined to friendships that were only geographically close, I would only have a handful of friends with families that look like mine.   Thanks to my online communities, though, I have made so many friends I cherish, who I can turn to for support.  I may not see them every day, but I know they are out there, and I get to keep up with them on facebook and twitter and through emails in the wee hours.

I’ve also loved how I’ve been able to be a part of the blogging community.  Writing can be a very isolating job.  We don’t have a water cooler or a conference room where we can catch up with coworkers during a break.  Most writers work alone, and it’s easy to feel alienated from the outside world.  I’ve also found it difficult as someone whose job is “online”, because so few people really understand what I do.  I love that I’ve made connections with other bloggers . . . many of them moms, and many of them struggling with the same work-balance, boundaries, and type-A tendencies that I deal with.  I can’t imagine doing what I do without having a group of women I’ve come to be close with to lean on for support and understanding.

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I love that the digital community has allowed me to connect with other people who I can relate to, and I know this is true for others as well.  I’ve talked with friends who have found so much solace in finding groups of people online who relate to their own unique lifestage that they probably wouldn’t have found in their local community . . . for everything from parenting a child with Down Syndrome to living with diabetes.

Do you feel like you’ve built a digital community?  Are there certain aspects of your life that you find supported through people you’ve met online that may not have been met by people in your local community?

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mighty summit 2011

I’ve been meaning to sit down and write about my time at Mighty Summit three weeks ago.  I’m finding it hard to know where to begin.  I was beyond flattered to have been invite to this event, and confess to having some pre-summit jitters that were about 10 times as nerve-wracking as my usual pre-conference anxiety.  The Mighty Summit is an annual conference for leaders in media, so the list of attendees was an impressive roster of women who have edited magazines, written tv shows, designed homes, authored books, and helped influence some of the biggest sites on the web.  It was a little intimidating for a blogger who spends a bulk of her time writing irrelevant stories about spilling water or sneaking alcohol into Medieval Times.  But this group of women were truly so amazing that within minutes of arriving, I felt welcomed and supported. mighty summit 2011 epiphanie bags Upon arriving, we each received a bag full of incredible gifts.  I was pretty thrilled with the epiphanie camera bag that held our goodies.  My friend Maile designed these genius bags to give photographers a fashionable option beyond the typical hideous camera bag.  I’ve been coveting one for years, and now I have a pink one of my very own.  You can read all about the Mighty Summit swag at Laura’s blog, and you can even enter to win a tote full of swag yourself.  (Maggie and Helen Jane are doing giveaways as well.)  My favorite items were the Tieks fold-up ballet flats, the Bamboo Dahlia Necklace By Feisty Elle and The Happiness Project book by fellow attendee Gretchen Rubin.  The goal of the weekend was really simple: to make connections with each other, and to help each other reach the goals on our life lists.  Okay . . . that’s not entirely true.  Having fun was also a pretty major goal.  The weekend was very unstructured, which was great because it left so much time for getting to know each other.  In many ways it felt like a big slumber party.  A big slumber party full of rather powerful women.  The setting didn’t hurt . . . we stayed in the adorable Boon Hotel, which felt like a modern hipster summer camp.  We were in wine country, so naturally there was some vineyard touring involved.  And some wine.  A LOT OF WINE.  Arista Winery may be my new favorite.

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mighty summit 2011 group shot On our first evening there, we had a campfire with s’mores.  I don’t remember what we talked about.  I do remember that I laughed until my cheeks hurt.

Our second day was devoted to sharing a few of the things on our life list with each other.  This was a little intimidating for me because I am a weirdo about announcing my goals until I am 99% sure that I will achieve them.  I was tempted to share some of the things I know I can easily achieve in the next year . . . things that are pretty nearly in the bag.  But I decided to go big, and shared some things that I have dreamed about doing that feel a little ambitious.  I’m so glad I took that risk, because immediately I had new friends giving me advice and offering assistance. On the last night, we all dressed up a bit fancy and had our last supper together at Applewood Inn.  This place . . . wow.  The food was incredible.  The company was even better. mighty summit 2011 fancy group

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At the end of the night, we were gifted with a beautiful gold necklace by Lemonade Handmade, with five rings representing the five goals we had stated for ourselves.  In all, it was a really incredible weekend, and I am so thankful for the women I met, and to Maggie and Laura for including me in the lovefest.

this week in iphone photos: blogher edition

kristen howerton

This past week was BlogHer, so before I left I had a little mani-pedi session with India, in a joint effort to both make my feet presentable and assuage my guilt for leaving for the weekend.

After learning that hotel parking was $26 a night, I decided to take the train down to San Diego.  It ended up being really relaxing, and I had a chance to chat with Ciaran and assemble some of my marketing materials for the conference. (I stole this photo from her page.)

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This would have been a great promotional idea had I actually remembered to pass out the gum at the conference.  Instead,I lugged it around in my purse and then brought it all home with me. Next year?

In other news of me being forgetful, I did a whole bunch of stuff on Thursday including a party with our MomsLA crew, a party with the completely awesome writing team of MamaPop, and a party with Clever Girls (who hook me up with these pretty sidebar ads), followed by some great conversations in the lobby bar until the wee hours.  But I failed to take a single picture of any of it.   So we’ll start with Friday morning.

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Our ShePosts staff, together at last!  Esther (in the middle) is the founder, I am the managing editor, and Kim Tracy Prince (on the left) is our all-star writer.  I don’t think we’ve been in the same place at the same time all year.   When your job is reporting on the news of the blogging world, it means at conferences that nearly every conversation is proceeded with “this is off the record”.  I had to constantly remind people that I spent ten years as a therapist, so confidentiality is kind of my gig.  But man, I do have some juicy tidbits lined up for that blogging tell-all that is sure to make me hundreds.

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I met some sweet friends for breakfast on the first big day of the conference.  Katherine and Ellie and I were all sporting yellow.

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Continuing the yellow theme, Heather and I had a little down-time in the cabana.  Heather is my editor at Curvy Girl Guide.  I kept looking for a pool boy to do our bidding but he was not where to be found.
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Maile was my roomie for the weekend.  She is my people – we have so much in common that it’s frightening and she was a breath of fresh air in the frantic pace of this conference.  Even if she did keep me up until 4am each night against my will.*

*this is not true, I was a willing participant.

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This is the only photo I took of Sparklecorn.  I was too busy dancing like a fool and being groped by Robin Plemmons.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again . . . there is no party like Sparklecorn.  (There is an awesome slideshow of the night over here.  Blink and you will mess my sweaty dancing self.)

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On Saturday morning I was invited to a swag suite for breakfast, and it involved neither swag nor breakfast, but rather a very pressured sales pitch to join an affiliate program.  The combination of hunger + having my time wasted made me a bit grumpy.  Just ask Heather.

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On Friday, I had lunch with some lovely gals from Microsoft – a nice transition from the morning mayhem.  I’m a Windows girl so it was fun to learn about some of the new things on the horizon.

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Saturday night I had dinner with some more lovely people (there were just so many of them!), including Karen and Kelly.  All three of us are a part of the adoption triad and part of transracial families, and it was so good to sit and chat about some of those unique dynamics with two women I really respect.

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Mark was planning on bringing the family up on Sunday for a couple kid-friendly events.  But a combo of Maile leaving mid-day on Saturday and learning about a potential sitter (thanks Stephania!) made us decide to have them come up early and spend the night.  And that’s how I came to crash the Aiming Low party with four kids.  When I talk about Aiming Low, I really mean it.  I have a baby.  In a bar.  The kids feasted on meatloaf and mac and cheese, and got their Internet, Hellz Yeah temporary tattoos and custom body art from Robin. 

They also got to meet their Uncle Nick, who I think was trying to get Karis drunk. 

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Nick is Esther’s husband, and I was really glad he was there for Mark at this conference full of female bloggers.  Of which both Mark and Nick are neither.  Which made them instant besties.

After some carousing at the Aiming Low party, our sitter arrived (hi Katherine!) and we put the kids to sleep and made our way to the CheeseBurgher party.   I had some frieds (dancing fuel) and then hit the dance floor.

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And then we pretty muched danced until our feet bled.  Robin and Cecily and Jenny and Aimee and Sarah – so much fun having real-life and internet-life boundaries blur into great friendships.

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Robin and Deesha are like long lost dancing soul mates. 

I was a little nervous having Mark at a conference.  Would he think that this conference business is just a cover for a bunch of girls getting together to party?  (He did).  Would he have fun even though he didn’t know a soul? (He did).  I am lucky to have an extroverted husband who worked the room better than I did.
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Okay, remember when I said we danced until our feet bled?  Well, that wasn’t entirely true.  I did have a wee little incident trying to backtrack up the down escalator after realizing I’d left my purse in the ballroom.  You know those rules about wearing shoes on escalators, and only going in the intended direction?  Turns out there is a reason for them.  And I took quite a tumble that pretty much sliced my toes open, which meant that Mark had to pull me off the elevator in his arms.  At which point, I started passing out, because that’s what I do when there is blood+pain.  So I just looked like a really, really bad drunk with bleeding feet in front of about 20 other bloggers.

My friend Heather helped me to a chair and made sure I was okay, and THEN SHE TOOK PICTURES OF ME.  And I can’t even be mad at her, because it’s what I would have done, too.  It’s what we do.

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The next morning we had breakfast with Aimee and Heather, to try to further illustrate to the child that mommy’s friends on the internet are real people, too.

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Then we went to an event where the kids got to meet Ruby from The Feelings Show.  (Best kid’s DVD ever).  We love this show.  We love Ruby.  Can you tell they are a smidge excited? 

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All in all, I had a blast at BlogHer.  And I walked away with some really great souvenirs!
 
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