I'm Naming This Post Shut Up Because...You'll See

I quit my job for this.*

Blogher wrap-up posts must be so boring to read if you weren’t there. They’re kind of boring even when you were. Especially when this year they all seem to share the same sentiment “It’s fine to like free stuff, but don’t be an ass about it”.

But, this post will be superior because it involves a butler and dinosaurs. Beat that, internet.

First off, you’ll be happy to know that I did not in fact perish on the flight to Chicago. Although at one point I did say “Oh, God save me” out loud and reached out for the lady next to me.

In a nutshell (doesn't that phrase always make you think of Austin Powers? "Help! I'm in a nutshell!") my experience at Blogher was that it was probably one of the best weekends of my life.

I wasn’t sure what to expect this year seeing as I’ve missed the last two Bloghers. I wasn’t sure if anyone would know me anymore or even care to, especially considering my spotty posting. I thought I knew for a fact that none of my loyal readers could possibly be there. I based this on insecurity and sense of doom rather than actual research. (small voice) Also, my sitemeter.

But, I didn’t really care. I was going with someone who I love and adore in real life and was fortunate enough to be involved in three kickass parties, so I was happy to come as The Help.

Imagine my surprise when I spent the entire time being punched in the face with love and support from brilliant and funny people.

Yes, what you read is true. There were total swag hags (credit: Lindsay) and they were pretty intent on getting their lip glosses and kiwis. I was even chastised by one woman when I picked up a keychain out of curiosity and was frantically told “I was reaching for that!”. I put the keychain back down in shock and made it a point not to look at her Blogher badge. I didn’t want to know who she was. What if I loved her blog? I didn’t want to know who she was. Awesome.

It’s true that some people were grabby and greedy and downright criminal about the...things. And you know what? I feel bad for them. I feel bad that they will never know what Blogher used to be, and what Blogher still is to those of us that have been here awhile. Blogher was an extension of the blogosphere, a continuing conversation. Not a vulture fest.

I feel bad that they will never know the feeling of walking away from Blogher with a fistful of new blogs to read, a camera full of memories, your mouth aching from all the smiling, your voice hoarse from all the laughing. I pity those that think Blogher is about free detergent. But, I comfort myself with the knowledge that I can choose MY Blogher experience. I refuse to let the swag hags take that from me.

Pretty much any swag I received had my name on it. I never felt entitled and I honestly would not have minded if those bags intended for me went to someone else. I got what I wanted: friendship. I can’t begin to tell you how overwhelming it was to have people tell me that I’m the reason they started blogging, to have people whom I admire and respect the hell out of tell me that I have talent, to laugh until I cried with Yvonne and Amy and Lindsay and Isabel and Jenny just to name A FEW and all of these you-just-had-to-be-there-funny people.

I left Chicago thinking “How lucky am I?”. How fortunate am I that I get to leave Orange County with no money in the bank and spend four days being ME. How fortunate am I that I can meet someone who reads my blog and know immediately that I don’t have to pretend. They already know. They know I rent. They know we struggle. They know my failures. They already know me.

I can’t tell you how many people came up to me and whispered “We were almost in foreclosure too” or “My dad died of cancer too” or “I can’t have another child either”.

Where else do you have conversations like this within minutes of meeting each other?

I know I’m being self-indulgent and cheesy, but I don’t care. This weekend was a life-saver. It was an ego-saver. It was emotional salve for my battered spirit.

People who elbowed babies in the head for stickers will never understand that. And I pity them.

I pity them with humor.

Getting Blogher: FAIL

Blogher is about supporting each others’ writing. And for most of us it still is.

As I told Chris in comments, the good writers will win out. They have to.

Now a word about sponsors. I L-O-V-E that there are big name sponsors at Blogher now. I am so freaking appreciative that huge brands have realized what a valuable market we can be and are willing to trust us with thousands of dollars to have a good time with our friends while incorporating their brand into our warm memories, NOT our conversations.

I’m so appreciative that major brands are willing to trust their reputation with our vision to create top notch events like this:

The CheeseburgHer Party

And this:

SparkleCorn Party

(How many brands should be OK with me riding an invisible horse across the dance floor clutching a string of drink tickets in my teeth? All of them.)

And may I also mention, the parties I was a part of had zero swag. The wave of the future? We shall see in New York 2010. Because I will so be there.

*Pic credit: Angella (thanks yous!)

Update: Telling Dad is my new hero.


Never That Easy said...

This is exactly what I'd hope to get out of BlogHer - I post anonymously, so that the people in my offline life don't know most of the things I talk about online. If I were able to be in a place where people knew, just knew? I hope I'd be able to grab THAT with both hands (and without elbowing any babies).

Michelle Smiles said...

Sounds great - I hope to make it some day. And lordie could the 4 of you in the mirror be more gorgeous?

Jenny said...

This is the kind of post that makes me want to try and stifle my fear of scaring people with my dorkiness and shyness and just GO. I too would like to ride an invisible horse across a dance floor. Who wouldn't?!?!

Angella said...

You are a bundle of sunshine, wrapped up in hotness.

SO HAPPY to have met you and spent time with you.


Julie @ The Mom Slant said...

OMG I love that picture.

Lena, I'm so sorry I wasn't there to see you again this year. Because I damn sure remember you and would have loved to chat and laugh and eat cheeseburgers.

Next year. For sure.

Sunk Costs said...

I love your dinosaur so much.

Do you happen to know who the curly-short-haired blonde is in the 6th photo at the sparklecorn party? I need to find out all about her A+ hair regiment.

Karen said...

That dinosaur sums up bloGher this year. I loved meeting you though!

daw said...

I haven't been able to attend BlogHer yet--kids, life, etc. But I am hoping to in New York. It makes me sad that so many people are looking for the "free" stuff. When I go, I want it to be about relationships and camaraderie.

I want it to be just like you explained it. About us and our writing not about who is giving what away for free.

dawn said...

sorry--comment should say Dawn not daw...hit enter too soon.

kdiddy said...

I was so tickled to be able to hang out with you. I can't wait to do it again!

Jay Ferris said...

I'm half annoyed that guys don't have a BlogHim, and half relieved that I don't have a "baby being elbowed in the face" story. Which I hear actually happened.

chris said...

Can't WAIT until next year! I was thrilled to see you again. And possibly the invisible horse riding was a highlight of my weekend ;-)

j.sterling said...

i was so happy to see that you were there! your hair is SOOOO LONG!!!!!!!! i hope you go next year cause i miss your gorgeous face!

mouthy_broad said...

great recap of your experience. it is so wonderful to feel even through a blog how much happier you are feeling.

your hair is long! i was thinking-i guess she is past the "wearing your hair in 2 ponies." haaaa.

Maris said...

Lena, it was great meeting you at the recovery breakfast! Thank you for your coffee-toting help :)

I loved your BlogHer recap post. I had no idea that all of the swag-grabbing was even going on until I read about it after the fact and I agree that BlogHer is whatever you make it to be.

Kristin said...

Maybe next year will be the year I finally make it... looks like a good time and you look cute as can be!

Shash said...

I was SO HAPPY to see you again!! Your sunny smiling face was a sight for sore eyes!

I got the same thing out of BlogHer, and I look forward to doing it again in NY in '10.

See you there!

Amy said...

I will make New York next year if it kills me. The dinosaur will be my mascot!

Laura K said...

I met you for 10 min and thought you were genuine and sweet. I wish I had more time to talk with you and Yvonne. I read about the drama about swag and people being bitchy and even punching people and found it hilarous and sad. Halarious because if they did it to me, a punch in the throat would have ensued and sad because well, I would have had my ass kicked out and never had met you two. Seriously, who punches people over a friggen pen, sticker, or CROCS? Crocs? Seriously? The shoes that make you look like a Muppett foot?

Sad to see that it's in NY next year. I'm sure we would have had many things to share (I can relate to the things you listed) and laughs would be had. But we'll always have blogging/Facebook for that. Plus with those, I can Photoshop the hell out of things.

I'll keep reading.

JP said...

I love that pictures of the gals! (And of course the dino, too.)

Glad you had such a good time.

Ali said...

you are so lovely in person...I'm so glad I got to meet you, lady!

lynn @ human, being said...

I totally ate 2 (TWO!!) cheeseburgers off that very tray you are holding. I should have kept the wrappers as souvenirs.

I'm glad to see what Blogher used to be. Cuz it ain't that anymore.

Heather of the EO said...

This post wasn't boring. Just sayin'.

I was a first-timer at blogher and found the swag to be the people as well. I missed all the drama because I was so in love with the fact that bloggers popped out of my computer and hugged me and stuff. It rocked.

Crystal said...

I missed you. Again. I would love to meet you next year. BUT, if they start giving out bags full of bra's you better GET THE HELL OUTTA MY WAY, SISTER.

Lena said...

@Crystal: I was SO BUSY running around doing party errands that I feel like I barely got to hang out with anybody. Next year I'll try to calm down. TRY.

Lena said...

@Shash: It was nice seeing you again too! I was SO TIRED at that recovery breakfast! Your pep is always a shot in the arm. :)

Lena said...

@JayFerris: It totally did. Amalah's Ezra of ALL BABIES.

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I loved, loved, loved meeting you.

jennyonthespot said...

Ha! Nice wrap-up :)

I searched the whole wide interweb to find you *swoon* We met briefly at your most esteemed CheeseburgHer party... oh lolly fun! And you so kindly posed for a picture with me and I wanted to share it with you...

I stand with you on the swag perspective. Seeking out swag had to steal so much time from the heart of this event. People. Meeting online friends in real life and getting to touch their skin... making new friends and adding to one's life.

To be honest, for a moment I almost slipped. Forgot my intent. My curiosity and mob-mentality distracted me, if only a moment. My heart's desire was to build relationships and swoon over those I adore. And that is what I did. And I experienced fullness... a joy to see you did too :)

Agent P or MamaJan said...

As happy as I am about my free detergent samples, I am much, much more excited to have met you!! I have to confess I would have elbowed people out of the way to get to you ... but there you were, right at the door of CheeseburgHer!

The people were #1 for me, both bloggers and also a lot of the expo sponsors who made me feel special just by being willing to talk with me; that was waaay better than just being handed (or grabbing) stuff.

Looking forward to next year!

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