Monday, August 19, 2013

BlogHer13 Recap

My first BlogHer is officially in the books and I have to thank my friend Jolyn of Bargains To Bounty for selling me her ticket and not being able to go! I had an amazing time there!  Here's my story:

I actually took the super cheap way to Chicago and bought myself a MegaBus ticket.  It cost me $20 round trip!  Amazing, right?!  Yeah.....just don't use the bathroom on the MegaBus or you might be traumatized for life.  Just sayin'.  I arrived a day before the festivities began and stayed with my friend Kyle.  He bought me a week pass for the public transit.  This is the FIRST train I've ever been on in Chicago pulling in.  If you can't tell it's the Red Line.  
I was so excited I could hardly stand it!!!

We walked all over downtown Chicago my first day and I even found a place to get a gluten-free Crepe!  I was in heaven.  My second day kicked off with an unofficial BlogHer party called "The Big Toy Book Sweet Suite."  It's exactly what it sounds like folks.....LOTS of toys everywhere!  

I rode the red line back to my friend Kyle's with lots of swag!  I felt pretty awesome!  The next morning, was the first big day of BlogHer!  The newbie breakfast started at 7:30 am, so I got up at the crack of dawn (conquered public transit) and checked into the Sheraton in Downtown Chicago for the night.  I had a gorgeous view of the river from my room!
I was ready for my day to begin!
 On the way down to load onto the shuttle bus to McCormick Center, I met Heidi of Parties For Pennies!  We instantly became new besties when we realized we were both going to be looking for the gluten-free food at breakfast!
Hi Heidi! I miss you BFF!

We started the day with breakfast full of lots of fruit  (because we hadn't yet run into another gluten-free person who told us there was a separate buffet line full of gluten-free choices.  oops)!
After the newbie breakfast, we all gathered together for some opening remarks from the founders of BlogHer.  Then, we had the pleasure of listening to The Pinoneer Woman herself, Ree Drummond.
She's very funny and whitty when she speaks.  It's inspiring!
I met her in person later in the day.  I asked for a picture with her on her way out.  She said sure, took this picture with me (I was standing on my tippy toes and she was crouching)
and then she walked away. :( I was sad.  I had this huge plan to give her my cookbook.  It didn't work.  Bummer. : /
Next, I went to a couple sessions, then had a wonderful gluten-free lunch while listening to Guy Kawasaki. He's an entrepreneur who is all about self-publishing, so his speech really spoke to me!  I'm on the right path and just need to keep going!  Thanks, Guy!

 After day one of sessions were over, we headed back to the hotel to head to the Voices of the Year Community Keynote with Queen Latifa herself!
The diva was late (they say traffic.)  It was cool seeing her, but we left early.

After we left Queen Latifa, we ran into Steve Harvey's producers in the hallway!  Everything happens for a reason, right?!  So, I didn't get to give my cookbook to Ree Drummond, which meant it was still in my purse, which meant I could give it to Steve Harvey's producers instead!  And I did!!!!!!  It made my entire day!
To celebrate our successful day, we went out to dinner in the Windy City.

 We had some fun with our Steve Harvey mustaches!

Oh, the day didn't end there!  When I finally made it back to my room, there had been a room drop of goodies from White Cloud and Denny's!
I went to a party I was invited to.  It was a total bust.  So, I took my exhausted self back to my room to sleep on the 5 star Sheraton pillows.  Best. Pillows. Ever.  No, seriously!

Day 2, I was back at it and ready for action!

We started off our day having breakfast while listening to Sheryl Sandberg.  She's truly inspirational.  What spoke to me most was her Lean In campaign.  We were told to write down ONE thing we would do if w
e weren't afraid.  I INSTANTLY knew what to write, and wrote it through tears in my eyes.
 I challenge you all to do this.  It was very empowering for me. (A big thanks to Heidi for being there for me as I had an emotional melt down at our table and cried. You're the best!)

After breakfast, I headed to the Expo Hall finally!  WOW!  Where to begin?!!!!

 Wow was there a lot to look at, taste, sample, do......overwhelming!  This is just a sampling of some of the crazy things I did at the Expo Hall!

At lunch that day, we had a presentation by Lourds Lane....she was very "theatric."  I will just leave it at that.

There was then a round table discussion with the founder of BlogHer and Majora Carter, Lisa Donovan, Brit Morin and Randi Zuckerberg.  It was ok, but I think I was a bit pre-occupied and overwhelmed all at the same time by this point.  I headed to one more session after this, where Heidi from Parties for Pennies had a brilliant idea!  You see, in our BlogHer swag bag were these breast "measuring cups."  Basically, they were thin plastic cups that you could theoretically put over your breast to see what size you are.  Let's just say they don't come small enough for me......anywho, back to Heidi's brilliant idea....
She turned these....
into these!
Snacks were served for our last and final speaker of BlogHer13!  LOL  We were making quite a spectical as you can imagine!  We were laughing so hard we were near tears!

I semi-ended my day with an Unofficial BlogHer event!  I saw a special screening of the upcoming movie Delivery Man, starring Vince Vaughn.  It's so good....can't wait for you to see it!

then had dinner with a wonderful new friend, Sarah from Mohawk Flooring!  She's sweet as pie and I'm so happy to have met her!  It was the PERFECT way to end BlogHer!

I had a fantastic time at BlogHer!!!!  I honestly couldn't of had more fun!  I met some wonderful friends for life, gained lots of knowledge, encouragement and courage and came home with A LOT of swag!!!!!
(This isn't even all of it!!!!)
Till next time, BlogHer! :)
(Or maybe BlogHerFood14 in Miami?????!!!!!!!  Swoon!)
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