Friday, August 10, 2012

blogher 2012: still processing

the view from the empire state building - 86th floor
i am sort of back, sort of still processing the whirlwind that was last week. somewhere in mid-manhattan i left a little piece of my heart and can't wait to take my family back there someday. it was beyond hot and humid but i pushed on and crossed a lot off things of my life list last week, two-hundred and twelfth floor of the empire state building, check.

i have three-hundred some odd photos to manage my way through this week and some to trade with emily then i can really share with you what a dream trip to the concrete jungle looks like. emily was amazed at my "so and so was filmed here" movie trivia knowledge and i got to see barak obama address a room full of women on topics that concerned us personally, it was life altering. as i continue to process what this week was to me, i wanted to do a little breakdown on the big picture.
manhattan and the staten island ferry

new york city: it is true that at first i felt overwhelmed, terrified, and experiencing major sensory overload - including smell, it really smells in the city when you are experiencing soup air as we affectionally came to call it. thank god for emily and her ability to plan like a pro, we started our trip with a pretty solid list of "to-do's" and where they were located, and what we should try and do each day already planned out making it easy to glide from one attraction to another. eventually we settled into a routine and got used to walking and when we needed to take a cab or open a umbrella.

we did the empire state building, where with our special passes rode literally to the top, in the antenna part! it was terrifying and amazing all wrapped into one, a must do for anyone traveling to nyc, you really can see everything from up there. we saw the flat iron building, strolled through bryant park, took photos of the amazing ceilings in both the new york library and grand central station, we were in awe at saint patrick's cathedral (even if it was covered completely in scaffolding, boo), and saw spiderman. 

we took a circle line cruise and waved hi to the statue of liberty, heard the story of the brooklyn bridge, and learned that the empire state building was built as a blimp airport. we saw the two newest towers on the world trade center site but didn't get a chance to tour that area, i bought my kids i heart nyc shirts, and we contemplated the giant ferris wheel inside of toys'r'us. we were unimpressed by fao swartz but thought the twenty-four hour glass apple store was pretty neat. we rode the subway and saw cat sized rats, experienced a lot of horn honking, uninterested wait staff, and near misses with taxi cabs. i took photos of the plaza hotel for rowan who has a mild obsession with her doppelgänger eloise and i stood inches from my favorite van gogh painting a starry night and monet's water lilies in complete awe. 

oddly, one of the most breathtaking moments i experienced, was when i stood where john lennon had been shot thirty-two years ago. we had just walked out of central park, absolutely positive i was having heat stroke, where we had just seen the "imagine" mosaic - decorated with rose and candles, street preforms singing beatles songs with a guitar, and "all you need is love" sprawled in chalk. the park had also offered amazing views of the famous castle, turtle pond, bow bridge, great lawn, and more - i only wish it had not been so hot, it was almost impossible to take in and enjoy everything i was seeing.

this city is magical and horrific at once, i can't imagine how people call it home, but i wouldn't change one second of my time spent there. next time i go will most definitely be in the fall or winter and with at least my husband in tow. i want to see the wtc site and stand outside for the today show, so until next time new york - thanks for the memories!

blogher conference: i didn't know what i expected of the actual conference and sessions it offered, but i was caught a little off guard considering what i did experience. there were over five-thousand bloggers in attendance this year, and poor planning and lack of staff showed. there were cliques and snarks and it was almost impossible to network with people that were awesome and relevant to my own blogging. luckily i snagged the cards of a few fabulous ladies i would love to work with and was grateful that at one meal we ended up at a table with like minded mommy-bloggers.

martha, katie, and obama were, well, epic to say the least. martha stewart gave a absolutely charming interview and wasn't afraid to, constantly, toot her own horn. we waited in line hoping for autographs but about five minutes into her signing and eighteen people from us, she "had to go." katie couric was adorable and flashed her guns for us after many tweets to the interviewer asking about them. she talked about powerful things and promoted her show that i can't wait to watch. the president, joked about his household full of women and just how they, women, play such a crucial role in his election and what he is fighting for, i said it before, but my vote for him is unwavering.

i was only able to get in one and a half sessions, as we were squeezed out of many that were too full upon the start. the ones i saw didn't offer me anything new and useful in furthering my blog career - in fact one tried to make me feel bad for monetizing my work and i sat in that same conference with my hand raised being ignored for the hour. i am going to give the sessions a second chance as i catch up on the video + audios from the ones i couldn't attend, but i don't expect anything groundbreaking from those either.

the hotel staff were rude and pushy, some meals were lacking, especially any gluten free options. we were constantly confused on where to go, what was allowed, or who was in charge of anything - it was really exhausting. the one attempt at blogger speed dating was a huge fail and i think i met four new people, none of which i could relate to at all. i promise, it wasn't all bad, but in my true blogging fashion i want to be totally honest with you so you can make well-rounded decisions if you are thinking about attending.

the ups? i did meet a few people that i can't wait to talk more with! i handed out almost 100 cards and the verdict is still out on the impact from those. there was diet coke for days and i got to finally meet in person some great blogging and tweeting ladies i have followed for years.

i am glad i went, but will i go to chicago? it is very unlikely. 

the parties: sparklecorn and cheeseburgher, the two i attended. both like walking into a tame version of a rave - loud music, glow sticks, and photo booths. people had their infants there, their infants! the music was too loud for my adult developed ear drums (who am i?) and i even left early in fear the baby probably didn't appreciate the bass much either.

sparklecorn, it was fun, i danced more then i have in a long time and couldn't stop laughing at jenni from the blog's belly unicorn horn. i was in awe of the cake made by charm city cakes (from the show ace of cakes!) and i talked emily into stealing a cardboard cutout of buzz lightyear for stella - possibly the best part. i was sad to see that even thought the mamapop camera was constantly snapping around me, emily nor i were in a single photo.

cheeseburgher, we stayed for about thirty minutes, just enough time to make a hat out of a mcd's bag and regret the two burgers i scarfed after missing a real dinner. 

overall, it was fun to dance with my lady friends but i was not impressed, tired and grumpy.

the swag: outside swag parties seemed to over-take everyone's plans and motives for the conference. while i snagged some fun things for me and the kids, was it worth it? i came home to hundreds of spam like emails from people who had scanned my badge or demanded i drop a card in a bowl. some i will for sure bring up in a post here and there, but most i will not, like certain-dri deodorant? yea, not the content my readers are looking for...

the people: emily and diana were amazing room-mates, we fell into a good routine of sleep and showers, and they put up with my suitcase explosion. i saw most of my favorite pnw bloggers and met some long time internet loves and traded cards. the downside, everyone was already best friends and i found it difficult to break into a conversation in the middle of group. my favorite part was everyones outfits - there was some great style all throughout the conference!

the people in nyc were interesting, not rude, but not interested in you for sure. i am pretty sure everyone hates there job in the city too - smile people! we giggled when we spotted hoards of nannies pushing babies around the park, it was so right out of a movie. 

the heat: i almost died it was so hot, that is all you need to know. oh, and just when it couldn't possibly be hotter, we rode the subway, waiting for the subway is like standing inside of soup.

i loved new york and i loved and hated the conference. i wouldn't change any of it for the world but it really left me wanting the "learning" and "growing" part that i missed. i am already contemplating smaller scale conferences that i can check out, maybe ones more focused around my niche. i want to dive into more online alt sessions and talk with more of my favorite bloggers about the hows and whys of things.

six days was a long time to be away from home - but it was equally nice to stretch my legs as a human, outside of being a mom and enjoy myself for a bit, eat food without sharing and laugh with women i love. i got in a quick visit with my brother in law, who is on a long vacation there until the end of august, he got us lost on the subway but i quickly forgave him when he treated me to a giant bowl of lemon gelato. i can't wait to read all of your experiences from this year!

when blogher rolls around next year i will be sure to share my packing dos and don'ts and the nitty gritty of surviving amongst five-thousand people. so until then, thanks for reading!
the dakota apartments - home of yoko ono and john lennon, where lennon was shot out front.
grand central station


melissa rohr said...

well...there you have it...seems to be the same opinion of most I've read. I've spent lots of time exploring I'm glad I didn't spend thousands of dollars to make it to the conference. Chicago however is a place im dying to visit...maybe they'll have their acts together by then!