Yes, BlogHer 2011 was a month ago. But August is the worst month of my life in terms of commitments I can't control (well, maybe besides December into January, but that's another story.) So I haven't really had the time to catch up with anything the way I wanted to.
This year was especially and differently wonderful for a variety of reasons, and I thought I would share them in a list format, just to keep me on task.
Especially and Differently Wonderful Things About BlogHer 2011.
1. Sarah made me get up early and fly to California.
This is not something I'd expect to think was a positive, and at the time I was forcing myself off the couch at 5ish a.m. I wasn't happy at all. But she planned the flights, which is always a huge bonus for me (thank you, I never thank you appropriately for taking care of that stuff, and of me.) (Also I owe you money. Be very pleased that the house sold.) But more than that, she also made the entire trip worthwhile before we even left the airport by making me laugh from the time we got there until we were in the air. This is so useful for a bad flier who usually flies alone and is therefore solitary with my own thoughts about mortality and mechanical failure from the time I leave my house for the airport until I land wherever I'm going.
I don't even think she did it on purpose this time. Suffice to say that she hallucinated a Thanksgiving-table-ready turkey on the security conveyor belt and had her Dick knife confiscated by a TSA agent who I'm convinced was thisclose to letting her keep it because he seemed torn between laughing his ass off at a grown woman genuinely bereft at the loss of her Dick knife and sorry for her because he was afraid a grown woman was going to cry because she was genuinely bereft at the loss of her Dick knife.
It's complicated. (And anyway she has a new one now.)
Add to this a double shot of "hosers" and a Cash Cab story that made us both cry-laugh and I'm fairly certain I didn't even need the Bloody Mary or two I had on the way, although I had it anyway. So that was good.
2. Coronado and the ocean, basically.
I loved Coronado and I loved just...getting on a boat and going there as soon as we got to town. I am a water person and a beach bum at heart, and something about being able to be near it and in it whenever I really want is so freeing to me. It was a good thing. I loved the location this year. It was good for my soul and I loved being with my friends in that gorgeous -- and fairly chill- -environment. The pool alone? I could be sitting in that place right now and be perfectly happy. Who's in?
3. My roommate
Jenny Mae is a brilliant, funny, kind soul and I loved getting to meet her and know her a little bit. I was working a lot this conference so it was even harder than it usually is for me to light anywhere (and it is always hard.) But we seemed to run into each other at the most opportune times and co-existed quite well when we were in the same space. This is something I value so much, as a person who lives alone and tends towards the super nervous about my own effect on others in my space. (I was an only child for the first ten years of my life. I always had my own room. I never lived in a dorm. I live alone. I'm basically a sociopath. Also, I snore. If you can hang with that and not make me feel like an asshole? I could probably live with you.)
She also is remarkably crafty, inventive and creative, not to mention giving, because she brought me this and I love it.
(That is my pillow. I hope there is no visible drool.)
I like her. And not just because she brought me a present. That was just extra like. She's @ohjennymae. She's really fucking cool. Avail yourself, although she may cut a bitch from her trapeze of awesome. Sometimes it just goes down like that.
4. The weather.
Oh my God. The weather. I've been to San Diego thrice before and never was it this perfect. If I'm ever independently wealthy, please know that I will be Augusting there. Maybe if I'm not even wealthy, but just become a drifter? I will August there that way.
5. Another Present!
I met Janet at Mom2.0 in New Orleans in May. She walked up to me the first day and told me that she, too, had brought me a present. (I support the bringing of surprise presents to me. Maybe we can make this a more widespread thing this year?)
And then she gave me this.
It was no big deal, it was $5.50 at Claire's or something, she said, but it reminded her of me.
I wore it all weekend, and I got more compliments than I have gotten on any piece of jewelry that I can remember, even stuff I bought from friends that they made with their own hands. I love it. When it falls apart, as pieces of jewelry like this tend to and also because I break things with alarming frequency, I will keep all of the pieces, because I am a sentimental idiot and also because I want to know how to remake this necklace because I think it could make a killing on Etsy.
Also it may be the case that Janet and I have discussed other, er, cottage industries involving this particular piece. Or not.
6. My people. (and a little bit of reading of blog posts, as it turns out.)
Glennia was there. Just thinking about Glennia being alive in the world makes me happy.
Deb on the Rocks. That is all.
ClumberKim and her merry band of Clumber People!
Also MotherBumper stalked me a little bit, and that was delightful.
Jen B., who it's just nice to see wherever I go.
Shannon, who I just love so much. (Looking at this list, I don't understand all over again why I haven't been to Canada.)
And so many more, I can't even begin to list. I haven't even talked about the Voices of the Year/Community Keynote, and getting to hear Bon Stewart read live, which to me was (and I mean this, no matter how corny it sounds) a gift. I love her words and it was so great to hear her speak them aloud. I also just love Kristen Chase, I do. Have since I got off a train in New York a couple years ago and met up with her on the way to a blogging event, having never met her before, and it was like I'd always known her. That is my favorite kind of person. I thought she did the most fantastic job reading. Every year is great, but I had a soft spot for this one. I thought it was beyond great, maybe almost as good as the first year, which will forever rank as the top spot on my very short list of reading honors, so it always has to be my favorite.
Also I loved watching Sarah and Suebob read at the fabulous Ann (of Ann's Rants) Listen to Your Mother Salon. Suebob was a keynoter with me, and it was time for Sarah to do this. It made me very happy. I'm also grateful to call Ann a good friend, and I love what she's doing with this project. She's unstoppable, y'all. Watch out.
7. Baseball with TwoBusy (hey man, that could be a thing.)
Sarah and I, along with the Kotecki-Vests, were lucky enough to attend a San Diego Padres game with this guy. I could tell you about him but then the Internet would explode and I'd be sentenced to watching all of the remaining bajillion Red Sox games that will be fielded in my lifetime, and we can't have that. So here is his sandwich. It is from the Food Network, ostensibly. It cost $13. The potato sticks were like the ones that come out of the Heinz can or whatever brand, and they were just as disgusting and delicious as they were when I was a child.
His gifts are unceasing.
It was the best time I've ever had at a baseball game. It was fun to go with someone who really loved the game and could point out things that were going on that I wouldn't normally notice, and also it was a rather exciting game.
Yes, I acknowledge the excitement in a baseball game.
He's one of the best people I know, and I'm very lucky that he is my friend. Just saying.
8. Shooting the Bob Harper/@mytrainerbob workout.
I got out of bed at 6:45 after a night of parties to go downstairs to do this particular thing.
Well, I didn't kick my leg up like so, but I did lurk around the Bob Harper workout and take pictures. I recapped Biggest Loser for many, many hours and weeks last year, and I was determined that I was going to see this.
And I saw it. I even popped into his oatmeal breakfast after, after I did a flow yoga class (because I'd totally taken leave of my senses)
but I got a little shy and plus, I needed a shower. My favorite part of the morning, however, was SueBob tweeting out smack talk when Bob's "LET'S GO LADIES!" yells into his microphone apparently woke up the higher floors of the hotel. Oops.
9. Working with Snapfish.
I had a wonderful experience shooting the conference for Snapfish/HP. I am very grateful to them for the opportunity. I also had the most wonderful time doing the panel on ways to actually get your photos OFF of the hard drive and maybe into frames or books or onto coffee mugs or whatever suits your fancy. I did the panel with Amanda of Parenting By Dummies and Samantha from Snapfish, and I thought it went quite well. I am normally at least a little bit nervous during panels and workshops, and this time I wasn't at all. It was a topic I felt very comfortable with and that I feel fits so well with the BlogHer crew, and I love talking about pictures and how to make them better. Win.
I felt truly lucky to be a part of it, and to shoot head shots for so many lovely women afterwards.
My BlogHer Sundays are my own tradition. I usually stay over in whatever city I'm in for a day, and leave on Monday. Genie and I kept them up when we were roommates, and had great days in San Francisco and Chicago. Last year, Sarah and Kim and I hung around for the day and a Yankees/Sox game that is one of my favorite memories. It's partially to see where I am a little more, partially to take my time saying goodbye to so many people who I may only see on Twitter and their blogs until next year, and partially (and mostly, I think) to help me transition back home, which is really, really hard for me every year.
This year Sarah and I ended up at the Clever Girls Tech Brunch at Hotel Solamar, which was wonderful. (When I go back to San Diego, I want to stay there. So cool.) The brunch was hosted by Beth Blecherman of TechMamas, Kris Cain of Little Tech Girl, Heidi Leder of Coast to Coast Mom and Leticia Barr of Tech Savvy Mama. The mimosa bar was inspired, the food was delicious, and there are a lot of things that are way worse than sitting on a gorgeous California hotel rooftop and talking about geeky things with cool women. It was sponsored by Podotree, Logitech, Popcap (I'm a Bejeweled freak so I love my spiffy coffee mug), Etymotic and iLove Robots. I got a mouse and earbuds, and since I'm prone to breaking things I can always use the help staying stocked.
I've love being involved with the Clever Girls Collective, most of all the professional and personal inspiration of watching the founders/partners -- Stefania, Cat, Sheila and Kristy -- work so well together to provide such cool opportunities for bloggers. I also appreciate that so many of their opportunities are not just open to moms, because as has been mentioned here a few times, that is not what I am. But I still blog, and I still love gadgets, and I still like to talk about things I (genuinely) use and enjoy. Thanks, ladies. Your hospitality and openness to all of us you work with is one of my favorite things about my online life.
Then, as I said before, Heather was there, and she went out to the beach with us, for just the most wonderful day.
(One for luck.)
11. It was a wonderful year.
Thank you to the BlogHer founders for making this event possible seven (seven!) years ago. This year I appreciated in particular Erin Groh and Lori Luna of the BlogHer events crew for looking out for me and helping me be better at the things I try to do, among the many other jillion things on their to-do lists. Also? Denise and TW get props for always being there to yell at me in the best and most loving possible way.
Thanks and mad respect most of all to my friend and mentor Elisa Camahort-Page, who never, ever settles for a lower bar or the status quo. You change lives, never doubt it.
See y'all in New York. In what may count as the first advice dispensed for BlogHer 2012? Get in line for the halal meat cart at 7 a.m., and save me some. I hear it's worth it. Also? If you go to the Carnegie Deli? Split a sandwich.