BlogHer12: The People

Oh, BlogHer. How I love thee.

Yes, there are many emotions swirling after this year’s mega-crowded event. Some walked away with bumps and bruises and rude encounters (with brands AND bloggers).

As for me, I walked away with a lot of swag, great scenes from the city and the conference, and a lot of mixed emotions. It wasn’t the same as NYC two years ago. It wasn’t at all like San Diego last year. It definitely wasn’t my favorite conference this year. But I’ll be in Chicago next year for BlogHer13.

Because BlogHer? I can’t quit you.

You bring me together with what seems like virtually all of the blogosphere and you make me feel alive with blogging pleasure.

When I set out to attend BlogHer this year, I vowed to make it a different experience. Last year, I attended what seemed like every single party. I got a ridiculous amount of swag. I basked in the sunshine of Southern California. But I felt empty. I met a million people and really got to know none. And the people are why I go.

So for those of you who didn’t get a chance to attend, or maybe didn’t even want to attend, this is going to seem like a self-indulgent name-dropping, photo-sharing post. And it is, to a degree.

But really this post is the place where I acknowledge how many wonderful people I met, show you how beautiful they are, and let them know how important they were to my entire BlogHer experience this year.

The trip started in good company with fellow blogger, Anne (@Anne_Hogan) who served as my driving buddy and roomie.

I started the conference in style at the Social Luxe Lounge where I felt like I ran into everyone I know. I had a chance to briefly reunite with my NC friend and blogger, Andrea (@andreaupdyke) as we were not unexpectedly photobombed by Amy (@AmyMcHodges).

So I finally gave in and gave Amy the spotlight. Except she had to share it with me, of course.

Then it was off to the Sweet Suite, sponsored by The Big Toy Book.

I ran into Onica (@MommyFactor) right away and she reminded me to SNAP SOME PHOTOS THIS YEAR.

And that was the start to me spending too much time at this party and missing my next party!

How often do you stop to take a picture with a vendor? Every chance I get if it’s Janis from Imperial Toys (@imperialtoy). She’s fun, hilarious, and she remembered me!! If you haven’t seen Janis in action, you need to watch my BlogHer12 swag video and check at the 3:20 mark.

Daytime was a little more laid back but the people were just as fabulous.

I finally got to meet my BFF-to-be, Victoria (@savvymommy) right before breakfast.

I got to sit next to the amazing Emily (@westoftheloop) as we grilled McDonald’s while enjoying a breakfast from McDonald’s.

I actually had no complaints for McDonald’s except that I’d like to see the Asian Chicken Salad on the menu year-round. And Jan Fields, President, McDonald’s USA (@McDonalds), took it all in stride. I was totally impressed by this former fry girl. And she knew who I was!! (see Hey McDonald’s, I’m Lovin’ It)

And of course, I made the rounds with some of my favorite brands.

I mean, who could resist snuggling with a Hot Pocket?

And the Lorax? Well, I just had to harrass him about once again not looking into the camera.

The Smith Brothers were there too. You know, Trade and Mark. Yep. Those guys.

And while I met so many people from so many brands, I have to give a special shout out to this lady.

It was after 5pm on Saturday and I happened to be cutting through the Expo Hall. Most of the booths were already breaking down and Love with Food was still there ready to engage every last blogger. Gourmet food delivered every month. Buy a box, donate a meal!

But my daytime fun was spent with bloggers o’plenty. Starting with my Getting Gorgeous buddy.

Hanan (@lilaccitymomma) happened to be standing in line with me and so we got a little gorgeous together. Well, we got a little goofy together, thanks to Downy.

And I got to FINALLY meet Melissa (@MelissaG813) while she was having her nails done at the party.

Oh, and did I mention brunch? I attended a generous brunch by Time to Play. But my favorite part? You guessed it. People.

I was lucky enough to sit at the very end of the table with other latecomers Christine (@youngmommy) and Jen (@jenrab). Jen and I got to chatting and she invited me to an Avon reception that was amazing. And so was she. I kept running into her and I felt that we’ll forever bond over Avon now.

And on Saturday, I ran into my favorite expatriate, Laila (@parisbug). We enjoyed views of New York, had massages, and generally pretended like we were living the cosmopolitan life.

We carried that theme into the evening as we laughed, drank wine, and, well, ate McDonald’s cheeseburgers together.

There were other day to night lovelies too. Like my Charitable Influence partner, friend, and roomie, Heidi (@conscious_blog).

While her baby-to-be kept her from hanging out late night, we still managed to party like it’s your birthday. In fact, we grabbed our third roomie Anne and rode to the rooftop party in style.

My very first limo ride, y’all!!

And proof that I did keep her out a little late one night.

And then the conference was drawing to a close. And the very last party of the very last night left me scrambling to see all the people I wanted to see.

Me, Erin (@ErinMargolin), Jessica (@JessBWatson), and Alex (@L8enough) looking a little devilish.

Me and Julie (@JulieDutch) – see what happens when someone doesn’t know how to focus an iPhone?

Me and one of my favorite Canadians, Jen (@littlemissmocha)

Me and my favorite Minnesotan, Tracy (@sellabitmum)

Me and Stephanie (@GGirlGGreen) – also a lovely Canadian (I don’t hold that against her)

And I finally met my girl, Rachee (@sayitrahshay). You can’t tell it here but I’m the missing triplet along with her twin sister @mrsrkfj.

One of my favorite pictures with two of my favorite ladies, Christy (@morethanmommy) and Amy (@amymchodges).

And then Eden (@edenland) and I were finally able to recreate (almost) our magical moment at CheeseburgHer and I was able to reaffirm my love for her.

Soon after, Laila (@parisbug) and Kate (@woogsworld) showed up and we created an international incident.

Laila and I closed down the evening looking fabulous just before we had one drink too many and did something crazy like karaoke (not everyone was as lucky).

The next morning, I eased my way back into normal life by enjoying a gorgeous view of NYC with some gorgeous friends like Emily (@ColoradoMom) and Amy (@AmyBHole) courtesy of the Clever Girls Collective.

And at this point, I think I’ve seen enough pictures of myself to last the whole year (and I’m sure you have too) so I’ll leave you with a smiling face that also happens to be one of my favorite people in my very favorite photograph from BlogHer.

Aloha, Kelly (@centsiblelife)! BlogHer Hawaii???

Hope you enjoyed my iPhone rendition of BlogHer12 and the little bit of fun I had with PicMonkey.

  • Somebody’s Parent

    Oh Fadra!  I’m so sad I didn’t get to snag a pic with you too!!!!  That’s exactly what I wrote about my first experience at BlogHer.  People!  It was amazing and crazy and weird and exhausting but I’m so glad I went!!!! It is definitely not what I thought, but better, you know?  

    • FadraN

      I think if you go with no expectations, you won’t come home disappointed. There are things that could have been better/different but I just can’t quit BlogHer. We’ll get a picture soon!!

  • Heidi

    Um yah. That was about 10 seconds before I threw a cheeseburger in my purse and left.
    I loved connecting with people, and I think I would to make the trek back to the next BlogHer simply because of this (even if the conference was just meh).

    • FadraN

      At least you know what it’s about. I’ve never gone with any expectations so I’ve never been disappointed. But I wouldn’t mind if it’s a tad less crowded next year. I plan to be there!

  • Alex@LateEnough

    I even look like I’m doing a devilish laugh — so nice to meet you even if I did mispronounce your name :)

    • FadraN

      Did you? I didn’t even remember. And just so you feel better, there’s a new FB group (not started  by me) for people who mispronounced my name.

      • Alex@LateEnough

         I figure that I get a pass anyway since no one has ever pronounce Iwashyna correctly. The FB group is funny.

  • Andrea(LilKidThings)

    I loved looking through your pics! I think maybe this year I had a similar experience as you described for last year. The definite highlight was the people. So glad I got to see you even for just a few minutes!

    • FadraN

      Yeah, it can be a whirlwind. Fun but a little empty. I’m glad we at least got to spend some time together at Type-A!

  • Tracy Morrison

    We kind of look like we have light-up floating heads. Also it looks I might eat you at any moment.  Seriously girlfriend, I love you so much and I LOVED the crazy of BlogHer because it’s all about the fabulous peeps – like you. xoxo

    • FadraN

      We WERE floating heads. Don’t you remember? It was crazy. It was fun. It was crazun. I just invented that word.

      See you soon, I hope.

  • Kelly Whalen

    Wow, I got bottom billing. I think that’s kind of awesome. 

    • FadraN

      I saved the best for last.

  • O’Boy! Organic

    WOW! You had one amazing time :) So wish I saw you for more than a second during the weekend. That was a big disappointment of mine, not seeing as many people i knew IRL. I did get a chance to meet many new friends though. Love ya girl!

    • FadraN

      I didn’t take pictures of my feet aching or my terrible headache Sunday morning! I’m glad we had time at Type-A before the craziness of BlogHer!

  • Colleen – amadisonmom

    OK… I’m now making it one of my BlogHer13 goals to get a pic with you.   (It’s not too soon for BlogHer13 goals is it?)

    • FadraN

      I’ll make it my goal to have you in my recap post next year :)

  • Elaine A.

    I go for the people, which is pretty much what I said in my post.  But you out-pictured me! 😉  Great to meet you, although WAY too brief.  Hope to see you and hang out in Chicago next year! xo

    • FadraN

      I ALWAYS forget to take pictures of people. I have plenty of pictures of food and the skyline. But this year, I made a specific effort to capture the people! Yes – Chicago, next year

  • Onica {MommyFactor}

    You are pretty awesome with taking photos. I can learn a lot from you. So glad we stopped to share a photo and some laughs

    • FadraN

      You were very easy to spot and look exactly like your picture! And thank you for prompting me to take a picture. I was reminded to do that everywhere I went!

  • Good Day, Reg People

    Ah, you make anyplace a success.

    It’s what you bring to it, Fadra…so sensible.

    Glad I saw you on the last night. 

    • FadraN

      How could I have seen you oh-so-briefly? I wanted to connect you and Eden on that last night. I hope you had a chance to meet.

      Until… next year? Can we do it sooner?

  • Stephanie Moram

    What great iPhone pictures especially with that lovely Canadian gal! I can’t wait until next time when we will have the chance to chat and hangout more! Big hugs and kisses! :)

    • FadraN

      See – I loved ya so much that I used my pic, double chin and all, because I liked the lighting. Soon!

  • Aaron Coe

    I think that top Eden pic could be your FaceBook cover photo.

    • FadraN

      So I totally tried to. But I couldn’t get it to look right. I could get the size but not the detail and, well, maybe I just need help. It looks awesome, though, doesn’t it?

  • Melissa_FillingOurBucket

    Eek! There I am on your blog! You are on mine too, same picture! Meeting you was one of the highlights of my experience at BlogHer. :)

    • FadraN

      It’s been 2 weeks since BlogHer. Seems like MONTHS ago. Still catching up on recap posts. Need to read yours!

  • CarenOsrinGittleman

    great and fun post!!! I am embarrassed to say with the 300 blogs I follow I only knew 3 of these bloggers (one being YOU!) Kelly spoke at BlogPaws in 2011 and I loved her. BlogHer Hawaii is a great idea!

    • FadraN

      Don’t be embarrassed. The blogging world is HUGE and with 5000 women, I’d say you’re doing pretty good!!

  • Bocafrau

    Great pics. Look like you had fun. 

    • FadraN

      It was fun. And exhausting. I still don’t feel like I’ve recovered!

  • Janis Van Tine

    I absolutely ADORE YOU Fadra and you are always a HIGHLIGHT for me! I am sincerely touched by your sweet, warm and wonderful message and I just love you! Thanks for bringing your effervescence my way and I cannot wait to have some great holiday fun with you AND see you again real soon! Love, Light and TONS of serious laughter and remember – YOU ROCK! Love, Janis