OK, so I know I’m not updating as much as I did at last year’s BlogHer conference. But when you have an eight week old baby with you in a sling all day long, you don’t have a lot of time for blogging. Not to mention that her supplies took up so much space in my laptop bag that there wasn’t room for my laptop.
Yesterday was an adventure, as we made the six hour drive to Chicago. Thanks to the magic of our newly purchased portable DVD player, the drive was a relatively peaceful one, although I never want to hear the theme song to Little Einsteins ever again. We’re going on a trip, in our favorite rocketship…
Cordy also found other ways to amuse herself on the drive up:
Once here, we checked into the hotel and settled into our room. Due to making my reservations one day too late, the W hotel was sold out, so we’re staying at the Chicago City Centre hotel. Having now seen both hotels, I wish we could pay the extra $20 or whatever a night to get the better hotel. The W Lakeshore is swanky; the Chicago City Centre is your standard cheap bedding, 80′s decor, what is that stain in the bathtub?, don’t-sit-on-the-comforter-naked hotel.
Last night there was a welcome party in the bar of the W. The party quickly overwhelmed the small bar. I must be getting old, because all I could think of was, “Great party, but it’s too dark in here and the music is too loud.” One of the highlights of the evening was watching skeevy businessmen trying to hit on mommybloggers. Sorry guys – they do look hot, but they’re nearly all married with kids.
This morning Cordy woke us up bright and early at 4:50am. This was her first night sleeping in a room with another person, so I think she did pretty well. I tried to sleep a little more while Aaron got up with Cordy, pulling out our new favorite friend – the DVD player – for another episode of Little Einsteins.
While in line at registration, I began seeing so many familiar faces. Lauren, my editor from Family.com, also found me and I joined her for breakfast after saying goodbye to Aaron and Cordy. (Aaron took Cordy to childcare.) After breakfast, there was an attempt at a “speed dating” session to get to know some new bloggers. However, we’re just too chatty a bunch, and there were several snags when people didn’t want to quit talking when time was up.
Once again, the schwag did not disappoint. A very nice Blogher satchel, a laptop bag provided by AOL, a jump drive, nice bath & body products, t-shirts, etc. In the exhibitor’s hallway, there was even more free stuff to be had, as well as great conversations with some interesting sponsors.
How were today’s sessions? I have to admit, I only went to one and a half. Mira was fussy during the first session, so I had to step out to feed her. The second and third sessions were spent running back to the hotel to relive myself of the weight of all the free stuff, then talking to others I ran into in the hallway. It’s so exciting to meet the bloggers you “know” in person, finally putting a face to a name, or laughing your ass off because they’re just as smart and funny in person. Honestly, I care more about getting to talk to the other bloggers here than I do about the sessions. The sessions are still important, but it’s the one on one and small group conversations that make this conference special.
I did manage to sit through the entire panel on mommyblogging. It’s funny – last year’s panel on this subject focused more on getting past the mommyblogger label and the dealing with hate from some non-mommy bloggers. This year, while the issue of the mommyblogger label is still prominent, some of the negativity towards mommy blogs has switched from the “clique-ish nature” of who we are to the debate on the monitization of mommy blogs.
There were many opinions expressed on the topic of making money from a mommy blog, all with very valid reasons for and against running ads, doing product reviews, and participating in other forms of paid advertising. Several marketing and PR professionals attended the panel, and they were given the advice to please take the time to read a mom’s blog before e-mailing her to offer her the chance to try out a product. The issue of PayPerPost was also brought up, with some expressing their dislike for the company.
After the mommyblogging panel, it was time for the first cocktail party on the roof of the Navy Pier. The view of the lake was beautiful, and the alcohol was plentiful. Aaron, having spent the day shopping and sight-seeing, picked Cordy up from childcare and joined Mira and I. Cordy was in a grumpy mood, partially because the childcare service lost her sippy cup (and she’ll only drink from one kind of sippy cup), and partially because we left her with strangers for the day and she did not approve at all. Due to her grumpy mood, which couldn’t even be improved by the adorable Juniper handing Cordy her puppy every time she threw it in frustration, Aaron took her back to the hotel early. I followed about an hour later, after eating my fill of sushi, beef tenderloin, and other delicious morsels passing by me on trays.
Pics of the day:
Mira and Catherine in coordinating pink skulls:
Mira and Sage meet up at lunch:
Drew joins in to check out the ladies. He clearly likes the younger women: