My fears disappeared as soon as I popped the Ativan on the airplane. I travelled with some awesome bloggers, so that helped calm down my mommy guilt, since it was my first time flying without my boys. This year, the 'party plane' as it's been dubbed, will be filled with awesome Canadian bloggers including the girls from Mom Central Canada!
In summary, BlogHer last year was an absolutely amazing experience, which is why I'm going again.
Without further ado, here is my BlogHer advice to you, if you're going for the first time:
If you want to meet someone, don't be shy. Run up to that famous blogger you love, professing your love for them and shoving your business card in their face. Don't forget to hug them really tight, too! The worst thing that'll happen? They'll stare at you like you're crazy and walk away, leaving you sobbing all by yourself, as you put your business card back in your wallet and head to the bar to drown your sorrows in a row of shots.
When you're at the Expo Hall, make sure to run to each booth and greedily say: "Is this free? Is this free? Is this free? Oh, look! A pen! Yay!" That's what networking is all about, and it's a sure-fire way to make great connections and to secure future business opportunities with the amazing companies who helped sponsor BlogHer.
If you're sharing a room with someone you really like, but have not met before, make sure to take hours in the bathroom getting dolled up, making them wait for their turn to shower and get ready. Leave your clothes scattered about, and keep the room as messy as possible, so you're reminded of the state of affairs back home, keeping your "I miss my kids!" tears at bay.
Take full advantage of the free cocktails at all the parties you'll be attending. Don't stop drinking! Nothing is more glamorous than when you're so drunk you can't even walk straight anymore. People will definitely remember you!
In all seriousness, just have fun, and be yourself. Yes, this is the number one piece of advice you'll hear from everyone else, too, but it's true.
Also, remember this: you're a BLOGGING conference. That means all 3,000 of us? We are there for the same reason. We love to blog. And it doesn't matter if you blog about fashion, entertainment, health, life, or motherhood—we share a common interest. And we're all a little geeky.
Introduce yourself to new people. Sure, you're hopefully going to see (and hang out with) the bloggers you've been wanting to meet, but you should also talk to the girl in front of you in line for drinks, or the people staying in the hotel room next to you. You never know who you'll end up clicking with and spending time with!
Exchange numbers with bloggers and friends you want to hook up with before hand, so you'll be able to reach them once you're in San Diego.
Don't be stressed about what to wear. Your best accessory is your smile and personality. Sure, I loved getting dressed up for the parties last year, and BlogHer is a great excuse to get that new dress or pair of shoes you've had your eyes on, but you don't have to shop for a new wardrobe before BlogHer. Wear what you love, and the fun will follow!
I pack all my 'party' clothes and shoes in my carry-on, so that way, if my suitcase gets lost? I won't have to worry about the clothes situation once I arrive to the hotel. The fewer things I have to worry about, the better! Oh, and bring a big suitcase. Last year there was a lot of swag!
Bring lots of business cards—you will be exchanging cards with people you meet all the time.
(I'll be giving away business cards with Tiny Prints this week, too, so stay tuned!)
Don't worry about what parties you're invited or not invited to. The most fun can happen when you least expect it. I had a blast having drinks with Jessica, Pauline, Adam, Emily, Muskrat and Sam at the rooftop bar of Hotel Gansevoort. And going on a quest for a slice of pizza with Jessica at 1 a.m. was quite memorable, too!
Plenty of fun random get-togethers will take place in the hotel lobby or bar. I plan on spending a lot of time outside by the pool talking to friends this year. And working on my tan!
I'm not going to give you a list of all the things you should bring (or not bring) with you, but comfortable shoes are a total bonus. And don't forget your cell phone charger, a laptop, or your ipad. And money and a camera, of course!
I met so many fabulous people last year, too many to name here, and I can't wait to see new friends (like my roommate Lotus! Yay!) and see old friends again in two weeks.
I hope you have a great time in San Diego. Even if you spend some time solo, you'll be fine. You will learn a lot and you will have a fantastic experience if you make an attempt to do a few things that scare you. Smile. And have fun!
Oh, and if you need new amazing business cards? I have a $50 Tiny Prints giveaway just for YOU! Tiny Prints was nice enough to make my cards for me last year and again this year, and now they're giving YOU some business cards, too! Just leave me a comment below telling me how excited you are about going to BlogHer11 and I will pick a winner on Friday, July 22nd!
See you in San Diego...P.S. I'd like to thank my friends at Mabel's Labels for partially sponsoring my trip to Blogher!
P.P.S. In case you didn't know, I'm a new blogger over at Yummy Mummy Club! My blog is all about what I love most in this world, after my children... that's right: shopping! And right now, I'm giving away a pretty awesome cosmetics gift from Luxe Box! Check it out!