Everyone takes away their unique experience from BlogHer. Last year, I was inspired and exhausted. After last weekend, I am exhausted, yes. Inspired, too. And I’m swimming in gratitude. Just beginning to get my ducks in a row again.
I came to BlogHer without setting crazy expectations. I had friends to see, old and new. I had a panel to speak on. I had sessions I couldn’t wait to sit in on. I awaited VOTY with great anticipation and Kleenex. I packed my iPad and a notepad, a stack of business cards and allergy free snacks to get me through each day (but I kind of did a lousy job on the food front and was wiped by about 7pm each night). But I planned to kind of go with the flow.
I did not live up to my not-so-great expectations. And that’s OK because I still got a ton out of it. I saw some dear friends and met some new faces. There are some paths that never crossed however much we tried. Not enough hours in the jam packed days. See that whole time thing I’m always talking about.
My panel was a great group, but oh, what I would have given for a bit more time to talk with attendees and answer questions (but I will do it – more on that below).
As last year’s photographer, I recognized so many faces wandering the hotel, and while some I have connected with via URL and IRL, there was a constant sense of “don’t I know you?” that I then realized hadn’t been via conversation but rather through my lens last year.
I went without a camera this year. No DSLR. No point and shoot. It was really kind of fabulous when a friend turned to me at one point and asked it I could take a photo of something, something that would require more than my phone, and I had to say no. Not fabulous because I couldn’t help. I would have loved to. But the fact was I spent my time at BlogHer mindfully aware of where I was and what I was doing and not busy trying to capture it all. I swear, I don’t even recognize myself.
The conference was huge and attendance was record-breaking. And the long days and the heat and all the people was, at times, a bit much. I didn’t get to all the sessions I had planned. Midday Saturday, I found myself wandering the largest of the expo halls, wanting a little time to simply have some quiet. (Only later did it occur to me I could have gone to the Serenity Suite, a space just for that very purpose.) I wandered the expo, stopping to chat with a company with a line of products that make my food allergy-filled life much better. Never underestimate the joy that comes for those with food allergies when they find themselves eating a fudgesicle for the first time in 20 years. I think I said thank you at least sixteen times for all the ways they’ve expanded the ways I can cook.
Rounding the corner, there was a booth for massages and things and I stopped to see if one was available. No, but they had a spot open for a light makeup application. I sat enjoying the moment to just relax, not realizing until she was done that at about 2:30pm I had smoky eyes and bold lips more 8pm ready. At least I had little to do to get ready for the evening.
I didn’t make it to every sessions I wanted to, though I went to some great ones. And in that time I needed to unwind, I ran into people I might not have otherwise seen.
Two three four, oh I lost count, people I had wanted to see but had yet to, including Diana and Wendi.
As for my session, it’s virtually impossible to share all you want in 1/3 of a 75 minute session. So I’ll be doing the first follow up post on Friday about using Pinterest well as a blogger.
After the conference, I didn’t have the time to see family and friends I had hoped for. But just before and after the conference, I did make it to the places that balanced the busyness of BlogHer with time for myself. Popping into the MOMA. The Met. A walk Sunday afternoon through the park, stopping at The Strand kiosk to grab some books. A visit with my great aunt. A walk on the High Line. Drinks at The Essex House. Just enough to remind me why I adore this city so. There really never is enough time. Never.