BlogHer Was…

by Ginger on August 9, 2011

in Blogging & Social Media

Fun. Exhausting. Hilarious. Overwhelming. Inspiring (but not how you might think). Eye-opening. Affirming. Exciting. Nerve racking. Loud. Hectic. Not what I expected. Exactly what I expected. Worth going to. At least once.

Obviously, it was an interesting weekend, one that I enjoyed immensely, even if it wasn’t for the reasons that other people enjoyed it. But it was exactly what I hoped it would be, and then some.

My big goals for the weekend? Well, I’m proud to say that I met them all. If this were a performance review, I’d be rocking a solid Meets Expectations for meeting people (it’s hard to meet everyone you want to folks. I tried. I probably had a 75-80% success rate). And a BIG OLE  Exceeds Expectations for stepping out of my comfort zone (more on that in a minute) and going with the flow. I think it really really helped to have limited expectations and I worked really hard to remember–successfully!–what I wanted to get out of BlogHer to feel like it was a worthwhile weekend. And I did. I got what I wanted to out of it.

So, let’s get to some details shall we? How about we look into the highlights of the stepping out of my comfort zone goal? Cuz I’m pretty damn proud of myself for these.

  1. Reading at the Listen To Your Mother/Letter To Your Mother Open Mic salon. I had been toying with the idea for a few weeks, even mentioning it it my pre-BlogHer post as a way of stepping outside my comfort zone. The salon was on Friday night, and I went around and around and around about it until, literally, 20 minutes before the event. I was at a party and happened to start talking to Gigi from Kludgy Momand mentioned something about it in passing. She told me that she had done one of the LTYM events in Austin and how fabulous it was, and told me how supportive the room would be. Her words were just the push I needed to make the decision, so off I went, arriving right as things were starting. I put my name down on a piece of paper, picked a post after some agonizing, and figured if they called my name it was meant to be.

    I was the last name they called.

    I read my post titled In My Head, In My Heart. And it was awesome. I was nervous, but not. I was scared, but not. And I’m so, so, SO glad I did it. (and I owe Gigi a high five for it. You were right lady, it was totally worth it).

    Ginger reading a post at Listen To Your Mother Open Mic Salon at BlogHer11

  2. Flash Mob? Don’t mind if I do.You may have heard me talk before about wanting to be in a flash mob sometime in my life. If I had a bucket list, or life list, this would be on it. Or…would have been on it:This isn’t the full dance (if you want to see the full 2.5 minutes, here’s a good vid.) , and you can’t really see me, but I’m there in the back, I promise. Nicknamed #operationglory, the flashmob was coordinated via a private facebook group, online video rehearsals, and bloggers from near and far coming together to cross this off our life long to-do lists. And it was fun, and scary, and I‘m sure know there are people who judged us for doing it, but it was honestly one of my favorite things I’ve ever done. I think it took a good 30 minutes for my adrenaline to slow down enough for me to eat after we were done, but every time I think about it, I smile. Which makes it totally worth it.
  3. Dance dance revolution. I used to dance. A lot. And then, I got bad knees, an aversion to crowds and became lame and old. Well, luckily, I put that aside at BlogHer, because two of the most spontaneous fun times I had were dancing my fool head off at Sparklecorn and playing a dance game with my roommate Megan at CheeseburgHer. I had a blast, even if it took me a minute or two to get over my initial “I’m too old for this” reaction (and even if I apparently did a little nerve damage to my feet. Stupid dancing in heels). But in an effort to spend the weekend saying YES more than no way, dance I did, and I had a great time.
  4. Go, even alone. There were times when I had things on my agenda and no one to go with me to those things. I…normally would back out of that kind of stuff. But, back to my motto of saying yes, I decided to just..go. Even it meant going alone. It wasn’t always easy, and I spent a fair amount of time giving myself pep talks. But every time I did, I had a great time. I either heard something interesting, talked to someone interesting, met someone new or did something fun. Hooray for saying yes.

BlogHer was so much more than just those things though. There was the beauty of not only putting faces and voices to avatars and URL’s, but the beauty of finding out that the people you were pretty sure would be your friends in real life if you only lived closer…not only would be, but now ARE. Of all the people I met this weekend, of every single one…there was only ONE disappointment (and even that one, I’m going to blame on timing and venue). Everyone was as I had hoped they would be, and more. (although, to be fair, I didn’t approach any “celebrity” bloggers, so maybe that helped. I saw a lot of them, they looked lovely, but I have a thing about going up to people who are considered celebrities. Maybe that’s my bad, but it made for a much less awkward experience than it might have been otherwise.)

Honestly, at the end of the day, the reason I enjoyed BlogHer so much was because of these women. These women who I spent hours talking to, about motherhood, and marriage, and feminism, and blogging, and work, and health, and friendship, and every other topic under the sun. These women I stayed up until 3 am gabbing with. These women, who I know FOR SURE, are my people. In fact, if I have any sadness at all about BlogHer it’s that now I have incontrovertable proof that these connections we make online can be real, and fulfilling…and now I’m sad that everyone I met doesn’t live next door. Come back ladies! BBQ at my house! And I’m sad that all of you weren’t there. Because now, even more than ever, I have to make it my mission to meet you all. I don’t know how, but I need to give you all a hug, sit and talk and laugh with you, like the old (and new) friends that we are. For all my other thoughts on BlogHer, that’s my big sappy one.

 (ed: To the adorable lady who came up to me at CheeseburgHer and said you read my blog: You disappeared before I could say hi properly, so HI! I wish I had had a chance to talk with you, but you seriously made my night that night!)

emily @ the happy home August 9, 2011 at 12:29 pm

it was so great to meet you! the flash mob was absolutely awesome. i wish i was more talkative when we met– i was so overwhelmed by that point, it was hard to keep thoughts straight. i’m so glad you had a good time– are you going to go to 12?

Ginger August 9, 2011 at 8:07 pm

I wish we could have talked more too–but it was the end(ish) of a LONG weekend…next time!

The stars would have to align a certain way for me to go next year. I’ll be in NY in Feb & May for business, so to go again (on my dime) in August? I dunno if I can make that happen. But now that I know that my enjoyment of it comes from the people, it is tempting.

Fearless Formula Feeder August 9, 2011 at 12:31 pm

I love this post. My regret is that I only went to BlogHer for the one day – I had such an incredible time hanging out with you and the others and I wish I could’ve been more of a part of the experience. Luckily, you and Megan and I do live close enough to get together once in awhile, and I hope we can.

Although I have to disagree with you – I felt like I did meet celebrities. You and Anna are totally bloggy celebs in my mind.:)

Ginger August 9, 2011 at 8:09 pm

You are definitely on my favorite person list now–and I will for sure find a way for us to meet up again 🙂

And seriously stop it. I’m so far from a celebrity it’s not even funny. Now Anna…

The Sweetest August 9, 2011 at 12:39 pm

We should have busted our way to the front of that flashmob. Or even changed to group 2. We had the moves down, and nobody will ever see it.

Ginger August 9, 2011 at 8:10 pm

I found one of the videos where if you squint and turn your head sideways you can KINDA see me…

Erin August 9, 2011 at 12:43 pm

I’m sorry I missed Listen To Your Mother! That was so brave of you, and I love the post you picked. It was great meeting you even if it was just for Twitterholics. 🙂 And I feel the same way — I wish a lot of these ladies lived closer to me so I could invite them over for wine and chocolate.

Ginger August 9, 2011 at 8:12 pm

I was thinking later that I should have tried to put together an impromptu dinner that night with the folks (like you!) I met but didn’t have enough time to hang with that day. Darn hindsight!

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks August 9, 2011 at 12:44 pm

So glad you had a worthy time at BlogHer. I went a few years ago and was very disappointed. If I were to advise others about going, I’d say you need to be all-in or don’t go at all (i.e., stay at the hotel, commit to day and evening stuff, etc.). I went when it was in my home city, so I stayed at home. And I felt like a commuter student at a fun school – it just wasn’t the same. I also think that, for me, a smaller sort of gathering of a more targeted group of bloggers would be much more beneficial for me … BlogHer has gotten so big (and good for them for their successes!).

Ginger August 9, 2011 at 8:15 pm

I think it definitely made a BIG difference being there the whole time. The ability to stop and have conversations in the hallways, stay for the parties, stop in the bar…those were almost all my favorite moments. I also went in with VERY low key expectations, and that helped me to not be disappointed. (Don’t get me wrong. I have some less than gushing thoughts about parts of the conference, but I also wasn’t surprised by the parts I didn’t love. So I think that helped me from being upset when I didn’t love it all.)

Anne August 9, 2011 at 12:50 pm

I’m so glad you had such a great time! It sounds like you got to do some really amazing things, and that flash mob is AWESOME. I have to admit to shutting off TweetDeck for a lot of last week because I was pretty jealous of everyone who got to go. Next year it’s back on the east coast, and I swear I’m going! (I say that every year, but now I REALLY mean it!)

Ginger August 9, 2011 at 8:18 pm

I did the same thing last year. (In fact, I tried really hard to keep my tweeting as light as possible since I knew how much I hated it last year). But it really was a fun time…as long as you go into it with your expectations reasonable I think!

Cloud August 9, 2011 at 12:59 pm

I didn’t go- but I’m glad you had fun! I think I would have enjoyed the “meet the bloggers I read” part, but thought I’d end up with more ideas for my blog than I have time to implement, which (knowing myself) would have made me feel bad.

Anyhoo, if you’re still looking to meet people, we should do that lunch we talked about. I’m between massive deadlines at work, so can actually go out and eat a nice lunch instead of hunching over my keyboard while absent-mindedly eating!

Ginger August 9, 2011 at 8:22 pm

I’ll be frank, I didn’t really get much for my actual blog, other than a better understanding of things I DON’T want to do (I may write about this tomorrow, we’ll see). But then, I’ve been to what feels like a billion seminars/conferences/web conferences on blog building, so there wasn’t a ton of new info for me.

I went in knowing that it was about the people for me, so on that end it was totally a success.

And yes, we should definitely have lunch. So much better than spilling soup down my shirt as I work on performance reviews! I’ll email you!

Brooke August 9, 2011 at 1:11 pm

I totally thought that walking into the room at 2 am to porn would have been one of your highlights 🙂 I’m so glad we got to hang out, and I agree that the people I thought I’d love, I did. And it doesn’t seem so weird to call them friends after spending three whole days with them!

Ginger August 9, 2011 at 8:30 pm

Oh, no, it was definitely MEMORABLE. If I mentioned all my memorable moments, this post would have been 3000 words instead of 1000!

Megan August 9, 2011 at 2:47 pm

Excellent recap!

I am happy to be able to call you and others friends after this weekend. I think that is one of the best things I got out of this weekend. That, and the massage at Aiming Low. 😉

I’m so glad you told me about the LTYM reading, and that we both got a chance to read. That is definitely what I am most proud of, and I also got introduced to some great blogs that way.

Ginger August 9, 2011 at 8:32 pm

Ooh, if you have a list of the people who read at LTYM, let me know. Stupid phone died (and so did my memory), so I’m just trying to look for hints on Twitter!

And I’m so glad you read too. For one, it made me less scared. For two, it was great to hear you read. For three, hopefully it was the beginning of something that makes you post more!

Dead Cow Girl August 9, 2011 at 2:51 pm

I didn’t realize you were in the flashmob! It was Ta Awesome! I was so glad to be there to see it!

I also didn’t bother any of the “celebrity bloggers.” I met plenty of people and had a blast with out that added humiliation.

Ginger August 9, 2011 at 8:34 pm

I feel like a lot of people think my time wasn’t that well used because I didn’t go up to some of the celebs of the online world. But I figure, this way, I spent my time making friends instead of star gazing!

Carolyn (temysmom) August 9, 2011 at 4:16 pm

After missing you at BBC you were on the top of my list of people I had to meet… and lucky for me you ended up being the very first person I met when i got to San Diego. So glad we had a chance to spend some time together at lunch. Seems silly that we all can’t figure out more opportunities to get together since we only live 2 hours apart. I’m glad you had a good time… I did too.

Ginger August 9, 2011 at 8:39 pm

I’m so glad that having lunch with you was my first BlogHer moment. Because honestly, it was so perfect and comfortable and you were (and are!) so adorable that it made me feel like I could totally take on the rest of the event.

And maybe when you come down for Legoland we can find a way to get together for a minute!

Carolyn (temysmom) August 9, 2011 at 10:26 pm

Absolutely. I’ll let you know when we come down. We’ll probably end up staying overnight somewhere so I’ll have some extra time.

gigi August 9, 2011 at 4:49 pm


I’m so excited that our conversation (which I thoroughly enjoyed) spurred you to action. Congratulations!

I loved meeting you and chatting about our moves to itch and being spontaneous. It was truly one of the best conversations I had during BlogHer!

Ginger August 9, 2011 at 8:42 pm

I loved chatting with you (and obviously I’m glad you pushed me to do LTYM).

And when you make it out here, hopefully we’ll get a chance to talk more. North County isn’t that far from you 😉

Ann August 9, 2011 at 6:03 pm

I’m so glad you did too! Thanks for helping make the Open Mic Salon so special.


Ginger August 9, 2011 at 8:43 pm

It was awesome. Even if I hadn’t been able to read, it still would have made my Best Of list from BlogHer. So thank you for putting it on!

Trina August 9, 2011 at 10:05 pm

You already know how special you made my first blog her. I loved it and really learned from all the women there that I met. I’m already saving for next year! lol

Natalie August 9, 2011 at 10:23 pm

Wasn’t it amazing? I loved every minute of that dance – because I was with amazing people! BlogHer too! So great to meet you face to face!

Kim August 10, 2011 at 9:25 am

Big congrats on stepping out of your comfort zone. I have a lot of the same issues & easily placed myself in your shoes while reading your recap. Glad you had a good time. Would love to get more involved & maybe attend one of these some day.

Nanette August 11, 2011 at 9:00 am

It was so nice to meet you, albeit briefly! I’m glad you had a great time, and I’m TOTALLY jealous you did the flash mob! I caught a glimpse of it at lunch, and it looked so fun!

Cam August 11, 2011 at 10:09 am

good for you! it’s so hard to step out there. sounds like you did it and rocked it! BlogHer was a pretty good experience for me. It was worth going – at least once!

Becca - Our Crazy Boys August 12, 2011 at 8:12 pm

Wasn’t it overwhelming? I had no idea how hard it might be to connect with other bloggers. But that being said, it was wonderful to be around those who “get” you!

And seriously. The flash mob. AWESOME!!

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