I Survived: Blogher Conference Edition. Part I
I wonder how many post Blogher conference posts you all have read by now. Consider yourself warned if you are sick of conference recaps and reflection. This is a long, multi-part, and freaky journey I am taking you on. Here we go.
I love San Diego but traveling across the country with a ten month old is challenging. Thankfully I encountered many sweet people along the way. Strangers at the airport kindly helped me with my stroller and luggage. Post conference my girls Mamabmy and Little BGCG were my saviors.
I paid $75 to switch my crazy flight schedule that involved three layovers and twenty-four hours of travel to a more reasonable one. I ended up hanging out with Becca at the airport and flying with Christa. We sat next to each other and she comforted me while I freaked out over turbulence. She even held my baby while I used the airplane lavatory. My return home would have been totally miserable without the help of these girls. I am not exaggerating when I say that my return flight was a million times better thanks to these girls. I also got extremely lucky with Cmoney. You couldn't have asked for a better baby to fly with.
Lessons learned: People like to fart at airports and on airplanes and it is wrong. I will not fly for more than three hours unless I am in business or first class. I am serious. I don't care if I don't go anywhere for the rest of my life. Flying is needlessly primitive. It is 2011 and cars should be hovering by now. Paying $500 for a ticket to San Diego and sitting in a fart cloud for five hours is not cool.
San Diego is gorgeous. If I didn't have the baby with me I would have taken full advantage and partied as much as possible. I did get to visit two places I had been to before when my husband and I were in San Diego. Andaz Ivy Rooftop for the Softcup party and Stingaree for the Cheap Sally Party. Last time I was in San Diego (before I had kids) I cried because I didn't want to leave Stingaree. True story. My husband still makes fun of me.
Lessons learned: There are pot smoking homeless people on the streets in San Diego. If you walk too closely too them you will arrive at your destination reeking of mary jane.
Marriott Marquie San Diego Marina is a gorgeous hotel but the staff was very disorganized. We thought everyone had free wi-fi. Then we thought we had to pay so we just stayed off the internet. Then we found out that it would be comped at the end of the weekend. I had some things I really needed to take care of that I put off since I was annoyed at the prospect of paying for wi-fi.
Communication from Blogher in this respect was not good. They did not tell people that there would be no hotel room swag drops until the evening before the conference. A lot of people stay at the host hotel for that very reason. Everyone could have stayed at a cheaper hotel, with free wi-fi, and saved $100-$150 dollars if Blogher had bothered to disclose that information. I am sure they have their reasons for doing so but it annoys me that I could have stayed at a cheaper less crowded and noisy hotel.
OH! The walk from the hotel to the expo center was a little brutal when I was wearing the baby but the worst part was the hooded creeper lurking in that area that told me he liked my camera and started following me. There was no security between the hotel and the expo center. Many wallets and swag bags were stolen over the weekend.
Lessons learned: Ask many questions prior to my arrival at the host hotel. Do not wait to ask upon check-in when I am worn out and frazzled from traveling. Also do not walk around alone with high value items. Just because it is daytime and a high traffic location it does not mean that you won't be robbed.
Off-site Private Parties - Softcup:
I have no idea how many private parties I was invited to versus how many were hosted. I am not an internet celebrity nor am I a mega blogger so I was surprised to be invited to any at all. The two I was able to attend were Softcup & Cheap Sally.
Softcup was great. They had free pedicabs at the hotel that took us to the venue. It was a terrifying (we almost got hit by a car!) but fun way to travel. The hors d'oeuvres were delicious. My sister and I gobbled up the beef carpaccio and barbecue shrimp like competitive eaters. I even had a drink and sipped a shot (I have to sip since alcohol does not agree with me since I had Cmoney). UV Cake vodka is ridiculously tasty. I had no idea vodka could taste so good.
The main event was the arrival of Mario Lopez. I didn't care much but it was funny seeing him in person. This event one was one of the highlights of my trip because I got to hang out with some wonderful girls (and spend some alone time with my sister). Katie, Alena, Krystal, Suz, and Miranda are fabulous. I could go one for days about how much I enjoyed spending some real-time with these girls.
Check in tomorrow for Part II: Private Parties - Cheap Sally, Mean Girls, Conference Content, and Sponsor Events.