I’m not quite sure how I’m functioning right now given the fact that the past 96 hours at BlogHer 2016 in Los Angeles were filled with complete chaos. But totally well worth it.
I woke up at 3:30 a.m. Thursday morning and got ready to head to the shuttle. I arrived at the airport way earlier than necessary but better safe than sorry I guess. I walked to a different concourse because obviously I needed Starbucks, and then headed to my gate to wait for Ady. We’ve never met in real life but we had chatted a lot and it felt like I was meeting an old friend to catch up.
We grabbed a mimosa (no kids, woo!) and then boarded for our 4 hour flight. To my surprise, there was no wifi on board (LIKE WTF) so the plan to get some work done was pretty much out the window. But it gave me a chance to listen to some music and relax. I wish I had brought a book with me but oh well, what can you do?
We landed in LA around 10:30 a.m. and were of course starving because it was lunchtime on the east coast. Our Uber took forever but once we finally got picked up, we knew where we wanted to stop first. In-and-Out of course! Ugh, so delicious. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Ady secured a fabulous room for us at LEVEL so once we finished lunch, we headed over to check-in early (thank God).
The room was seriously STUNNING; it was a blogger’s paradise with all of the white furniture pieces and floor to ceiling window. We each had our own room with a full kitchen, two bathrooms, access to amenities, and pretty much everything you could think of.
We hung around for a little bit and then got ready to head to meet Carly, Andrea, and Kait! These girls have been OGs with me since the beginning of my blogging experience and I was so excited to get to spend time with them in person. It’s weird how you meet people and develop these relationships with them, some you have a ton in common with and some you don’t at all. But it feels like you’ve known them forever and you feel totally comfortable around them.
We headed up to registration and then went back down to the lobby for a drink before the Expo opened. The Expo is where a ton of different brands set up a booth and it gives you a chance to chat with them and learn about their products and potentially work with them. I’ll be honest, it’s a little overwhelming at first but if you take it one booth at a time it’s not as bad. I have some tricks and tips I’ll share about the Expo another day.
We were so exhausted from traveling so when the Expo ended at 8, Ady and I headed back to the hotel room while our other friends went out for drinks and apps. Seriously, I couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore!
I had my first party at 7:30 a.m. Friday morning so it was a super early wake up call for me. So this is where it gets kind of confusing so bare with me. There’s an agenda for BlogHer and then brands that have sponsored the conference can opt to hold parties for select attendees. It kind of sucks that the parties are in the middle of some of the speakers I wanted to listen to but what can you do? These are opportunities to get to talk to the brands more intimately, listen to panels of experts and leave with some swag.
In addition, some brands run live social media contests that enter you to win prizes in real-time. So if you tweet, Instagram, whatever using the brand specific hashtag for BlogHer, you can win a prize.
I got to my first party a few minutes late and was in line for what I thought was check-in and red carpet photos for the social media contest. Well apparently it was the red carpet line and I had to check-in first. No big deal, I got out of line, went to check in and then went to the back of the line. They started to shut down the red carpet because they needed to get breakfast rolling and then again, another line for that! I started to catch on that lines were going to be a trend of the weekend…
After waiting 25 minutes for my breakfast, I finally got myself some food and coffee, hence making me a little more bearable to be around. I took my seat and waited for the fabulous panel to take the stage. My favorite person on the panel?! Lori Laughlin!
SERIOUSLY, AUNT BECKY! Life made. She’s so elegant and poised and not to mention, TINY. She makes me look like a cow! But I had to run and get to the next thing on my agenda, which was the Sarah Michelle Gellar Keynote session. We all know her as the actress but she was there as the Mompreneur. She recently started a company called Foodstirs and I loved hearing her talk about it.
Next the girls and I headed to the My Printly private party where we got to see one of their newest products (hitting the market later this year) and we even left with a printer! There were crafting stations, desserts, and it was a great chance for us to all talk before the chaos began.
What chaos? Keep reading.
I had a private event at 12 p.m. but I really wanted to see Kim Kardashian. She was one of the reasons I booked the ticket to the conference and I didn’t want to miss this once in a lifetime opportunity. So I checked in with the Lamps Plus crew and told them I had another event to attend and they were so great about it. So I sprinted back to the room where Kim K was going to talk and the lines were out of control. There were so many people standing and it already felt like the vibe had shifted from the calmness of the Sarah Michelle Gellar talk.
The Keynote started with Sheryl Crow speaking about early detection in breast cancer and just listening to her journey. She’s a serious badass and her talk was so inspiring.
When she was finished, it was time for Kim K to come on. To be honest, her talk wasn’t what I was expecting at all. I wanted to learn some social media strategies and ways to implement them but from what I saw at the Keynotes, they were not a place for learning but rather getting inspired and listening to certain individuals and their success stories. Which is fine but just totally not what I thought it would be!
Once her talk was over, it felt like a Twilight Zone. Everyone RUSHED the stage to try and get a selfie with her and it was like a mosh pit. My bag was stuck around the other side of some girl and she wouldn’t move, people were pushing and shoving, taking selfies and posting them right then and there without moving and letting other people get a chance. Sure I wanted a selfie, but I’m over it. At the end of the day it’s just a picture and she’s just a person. I didn’t need to subject myself to the animalism that was the other bloggers and left feeling down and defeated.
Following the Kim K talk was a McDonald’s private party. It was on the rooftop near the pool so it was a nice breath of fresh air and change of scenery, They chatted with us about their new products, changes they’ve made to the menu, and we even got to sample some of the new items. So. Good. Did I mention they had spiked strawberry lemonade available to us? Because they did and it was delicious.
After the party we went back to the Expo to mingle with some more brands and I happened to see that Freddie Prince Jr. was still signing cookbooks at the Best Buy booth. So I booked it over there and got a place in line. Well they decided it was time for him to go and cut the line off at me, go figure, right? Third time that day I had been denied! I lingered over on the side hoping that I could sneak one with him but all of a sudden I was overwhelmed with exhaustion and emotions and just hit my breaking point. I was supposed to have another dinner 7-9 but Ady and I decided it was time to call it a day and head back to the hotel.
We grabbed some dinner at Whole Foods (with some champagne, duh) and then headed back for a little Neflix and Chill. We didn’t stay up too late because of course we had another early day again.
Saturday morning started with a private party breakfast with Kaiser Permanente. We listened to a panel of women talk about their expertise and they were seriously so knowledgable in their field. We ended with some chair yoga and I have to say, it just made me want to start every morning that way!
After breakfast we headed back to the Expo for a bit and then broke for a Starbucks break. I had no idea there was one right outside the hotel or I would have been there the past two days! We headed back upstairs to the Aldi suite and it was absolutely adorable. The theme was a baby shower to introduce their new line of baby products exclusively for Aldi. So precious and it was so nice to talk to them for a little (one of the employees went to my college!)
Next was a session from a super knowledgable panel of ladies about passive vs. non-passive income. I already knew some of the things they mentioned but I also learned a lot. And it lit a fire underneath me to get my butt in gear.
We hung around for a little and chatted about blog life, real life, and just shot the shit in general. We were going to go to a dinner and talk some more but we were so exhausted that Ady and I decided to hit up Whole Foods again and take it back to our room. Robes and Netflix was pretty much our go-to all weekend.
Another early wake up call Sunday morning which involved trying to fit all of our crap into our luggage. Thank goodness I walked away with an extra duffle bag and was able to check my original suitcase. Otherwise I would have had to leave stuff behind! But we did it and even remembered to grab the champagne out of the fridge before left. Obviously a necessity…
The airport was a complete cluster and seriously, I’ve never been to an airport with no good shopping or food options. Until LAX that is. The line for Starbucks was like 45 minutes (no exaggerating) and so we opted for some disgusting soggy $20 takeout. But we made it on the plane and I slept the wholeeeeee way home. Which you know means I was tired because I can never sleep on planes.
I got home around 8 p.m. and everything on my body hurt. So sore, tired of sitting, and ready to just be back in my own bed again! But overall, it was a great weekend and I am so lucky I was able to go. I learned a lot from the panels, brands, and other bloggers and that’s exactly what I went to do.
Sorry for the novel! If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading! I’m catching up on emails and I’m still exhausted from the chaos and traveling so if you need me, I’ll be chugging coffee in the corner.