BlogHer11: The Venue

Last year, after attending the conference in NYC, I was so excited to hear what exotic city I’d get to explore next. And the announcement was made:

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA! COME ON DOWN! YOU’RE THE NEXT CONTESTANT ON HOST MY BLOGGING CONFERENCE.

I didn’t give it a second thought. Of course, I was going. I’ve been to San Diego a bunch of times. It’s just an airplane trip away. So off I went to buy my super early bird ticket as my Christmas present.

Then came time to plan and I realized this thing is freaking expensive. And my husband decided that since I was flying across the country, we should ALL fly across the country. So off we went.

We arrived in San Diego on Wednesday before the conference and checked in at the Marriott where we were greeted by a room with a view. I will tell you that when you have a 4 year old in the room, it’s great to have an endless supply of tugboats, barges, and various other monster ships floating by your window. Thanks for that, San Diego Harbor.

Note the expert photography skills here.

I have to admit, though, I was a little surprised by the entire BARGE of Dole containers in the harbor. Just what exactly are they shipping in all those containers. I don’t want to spread any rumors and start an international incident (since they gave me lots of free coupons and all) but I might look into exactly how much fruit Dole is shipping. And why.

Just why does Dole need an entire barge...

Plenty of other San Diego sites to see around the harbor area. I was especially enraptured by all the bizarre vegetation. Maybe it was the drier climate or the wind but it felt a bit like bizarro world.

Bizarre San Diego vegetation

It wasn’t much different on the streets of San Diego. When you weren’t being harrassed by the pedicab drivers, you saw expensive exotic cars and things like this. Yeah, I don’t know what it was either.

It's a car. It's a go cart. Actually, what is it?

And then there was the color of the city. In addition to the food, the people and non-people were always eccentric. The small dogs everywhere captured my heart. But this guy was definitely picture-worthy.

The hippest dude in San Diego

San Diego wasn’t just about the bizarre sites in and around the city. It’s about THE FOOD. (Well, for me, it’s always about the food.)

When you’re living in the South, you don’t exactly get exposure to fine cuisine. We met up with my longtime college friend, Dave, a resident of this wonderful city. When we asked for Mexican food, we weren’t expecting this. But it was A-MAZ-ING. Soft corn tortillas with jalapeno butter anyone?

Mexican + Soul Food = Deliciousness

However, being as we were tourists, we had to eat tourist Mexican food in Old Town. It was good. But I think North Carolina does Mexican better. Sorry, San Diego.

Aye, chihuahua!

Since my husband had been tooling around the city without me, he seemed to want to pick the good food spots. He insisted I go to Hob Nob Hill for “San Diego’s Best Breakfast.”

More like "San Diego's Pretty Good Breakfast"

Since it was on a TV show and all, I figured it must be good.

As seen on "Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives"

The eggs benedict was delicious and the kids French toast divine. But the thing that captured my heart…

Their "Almost Bottomless Mimosa" (limit 6)

…were my preflight mimosas that put me close to a coma state.

As long as we’re talking food, it might be time to move on to the conference. A conference wouldn’t be complete without fried macaroni and cheese. Thank you, Aiming Low, for your wisdom and forethought with your menu planning.

Be still my heart.

Even when we were taking a break in the Serenity Suite, I got some good snackies. This was a lovely green tea cake ball made only better by the company I was chilling with.

 

Serenity now.

Did I mention Dove ice cream was there? I know you don’t believe me but I didn’t have one single bite of ice cream while I was there. I’m just not a big fan. However, I couldn’t help but snap this classic shot of the baby bellies indulging in ice cream. (P.S. That’s @MommyNaniBooboo on the left! Update: That’s @hollywoodhwife on the right!)

That's great PR if I've ever seen it.

And there was lemonade to be sampled. Tropicana lemonade to be exact. In celebration of their light lemonade (sweetened with stevia) and their raspberry lemonade, they were offering manicures with pink or yellow nail polish. Tip for next year: pick  a really odd nail color and you’ll have a conversation started everywhere you go. (And yes, it got a lot of free press from me for Tropicana).

My Tropicana Lemonade manicure.

But enough of that. You know what you want to hear.

THE CELEBRITIES.

Who did I meet? Who did I mingle with? There was rumor that Sheryl Crow was in the hotel. Ricki Lake and Jane Lynch and Bob the Trainer were all there. But I didn’t meet any of them. I had a special group of celebrities lined up.

Like Mr. Pringles. He creeped me out a bit.

Mr. Pringles and his handler.

And then there was THE Gordon Ramsay. He was so generous to pose with me.

Me and Gordon Ramsey. He was a lot softer than I imagined.

And yes, I found the Biebs. He’s a lot taller than I imagined.

Me and the Biebs.

But this was my favorite superstar of all. Those celebrities have nothing on a puppy.

My favorite superstar

After three days of nonstop conference events, day and night, I was exhausted as evidenced by my hair on my first morning post-BlogHer.

My first day post-BlogHer

But at least I had a chance to relax after that, right? WRONG.

We spent the next day walking all over SeaWorld and the following day hiking throughout Legoland (details forthcoming).

Once the madness ended, we decided to pack up all of our souvenirs and head home. We were all set until my husband decided once again to mysteriously head out for “coffee” and returned with his souvenir from San Diego. I’ll let you know when we make our first trip to the emergency room.

My husband's souvenir of San Diego.

My souvenir was quite a bit cheaper but oh so much more memorable.

My souvenir of San Diego.

Thanks for the beautiful weather and the beautiful memories.

Stay classy, San Diego.

Farewell, San Diego. Until next time...

Don’t forget to tune in tomorrow for the stunning conclusion of my BlogHer11 series where I talk about fabulously people, post way too many pictures of myself, and name drop like nobody’s business.

  • http://www.crazyadventuresinparenting.com/ LisaCrazyAdventuresinParenting

    YOWCH! That sunburn looks painful. Are you still as sore as I am from the trip!? What the hell did San Diego do to us?

    • Anonymous

      Apparently old folk like us can’t handle time change and climate change like we used to!

  • http://sortacrunchy.net SortaCrunchy

    Great recap of San Diego! I was in love from the minute we rolled into town. The food, the views, the ocean breeze. Just amazing.

    (PS – that’s my darling friend Hollywood Housewife with MommyNanniBooBoo! Aren’t they the CUTEST?!)

    • Anonymous

      Thank you for the Hollywood Housewife credit! I’m sure I shook her hand but all of BlogHer was a blur. I added her info and I’m her newest follower!

  • Anonymous

    It’s great that you were able to take your family.  As soon as I got there, I immediately regretted not having my kids and hubby there.  I knew they would have loved it!

    • Anonymous

      We had such a nice time that we may make NYC a vacation next year too!

  • http://www.hinessightblog.com Hines-Sight Blog

    The pringle man cracks me up.  I’ve not been to San Diego so enjoyed the post. 

    • Anonymous

      I’ve been for work but it was a beautiful city to just enjoy. A lot more walkable than I thought. Hope you’re considering NYC next year!

  • Anonymous

    OMG Fadra I saw that dog when I was driving down the street on Sunday leaving SD. Did you see it Sunday? I would admonish you for not wearing SunBlock, but I’ll refrain since I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt that you actually didn’t forget SB, it just wasn’t enough {wink wink}. Promise me I get a whole conversation w/you the next time we see each other.

    • Anonymous

      I saw that dog as I was walking back from a breakfast on SATURDAY so he/she must get around. I was only out for a little bit on Sunday for the Ford picnic without sunscreen. And then I slathered myself for all the touristy stuff. Too little too late :(

  • Anonymous

    Glad you enjoyed my hometown of San Diego! I love hearing what others say about this place since it’s just home to me. Isn’t Barrio Star amazing? I went there a few months ago and have been majorly craving it for months. And yeah, Old Town’s touristy, but the food isn’t that great.

    • Anonymous

      My friend knows the owner at Barrio Star. I loved it! And I wish I would have gone back there instead of wasting my tastebuds in Old Town. NOW I know!

  • Anonymous

    The line about North Carolina doing Mexican better than San Diego…SHOCKING! I’m speechless actually. 

    • Anonymous

      Come to NC and the Mexican food will be my treat. There is actually a big Mexican population here. I don’t know if it’s authentic but I love it!

  • http://twitter.com/MandiMcClure Mandi McClure

    I’ve never had any desire to visit any part of Cali but you may have just changed my mind with this post.  Hmmmm…  I’ll just remember to eat Mexican before I leave home.  Great post.

    • Anonymous

      California is a beautiful state! I spent my honeymoon in Northern California and San Diego is about as good as it gets for Southern California. Actually, I love most parts of the U.S. I only have about 24 more states to go!