What exactly is this "BlogHer" monstrosity that has plagued the internet and caused Twitter-er's to want to blow up the entire network?
It's a conference. Ya' know ... just a conference.
I have had so many people ask me to explain it, including both of the lovely gentlemen who sat next to me on my flights (hello, lovely gentlemen!!). So you start to say, "It's for women who blog ... or who want to blog ... or have some sort of vested interest in blogging or those who do ... or ...." Gets messy pretty quickly. Also, once you've been there, it's even harder to explain. I have finally landed on an explanation that truly captures all that is BlogHer:
"Ya' know how when you go to a conference, you tend to be surrounded by people somewhat like you because you are gathering under a similar interest? Well, at BlogHer, the only thing that all attendees have in common is that they're women. Outside of that ... the sky is the limit."
Of course, for me, that is magical. Over 2,000 completely different women in one place at one time. FASCINATING! There were women who cared about food, and shoes, and real estate, and yoga, and babies, and dancing, and politics, and storytelling, and advocacy, and ... See what I mean? The list never ends.
There were women who absolutely spent more money on their entire outfit than we could have gotten by selling my '93 Sentra. There were women who will not eat out for the next four months because of all the penny pinching they had to do just to GET to the conference. It was beautiful. I could relate to every women, because at some point in my life I have been almost all of them. Some were rude, sure. Some of the private parties wafted an air of elitism, sure. But the majority? The very vast, massive majority?
THEY WERE LOVELY. They were kind and thoughtful. They offered up extra seats when they saw perfect strangers wandering a room, not sure where to land.
Now, more specifically, let me introduce you to the gals with whom I annoyed to the greatest extent, because I adored them so very much (and YES, I will totally leave some people off, because I met SO MANY - stay tuned for MONTHS, as I slowly get it all into print).
First, old news, I got to shack up with Kristen. If you read me, but you don't read her, I honestly have no idea what you've been doing with yourself. Her life has been just a piece of cake lately *cough* so go catch up.
I received an email from this Megan Terry person, about two weeks ago. OH MY LORDY BE! This gal is a treat. A giant, yummy, Kentucky treat. She is dealing with some "stuff" as her youngest navigates attachment and transition. Go love on her.
Hopped in a cab with Heather of the EO and Maggie Dammit. (Kristen did NOT throw up in the front seat of the cab - yea for her!) And it was wonderful and funny. I found their stories so brave and amazing. They, of course, found the whole trailer park and five kids thing very fascinating. Beautiful. These two are starting to collaborate on a book. Keep that on your radar!
My very first BlogHer party was sensory overload. There was a very long wait outside (with some very sincere apologies and explanations since that time - kindness, I tell you!). Once inside, I was handed a swag bag larger than my carry-on. There were lots of little pampering things going on and awards being announced and drink tickets flying. Oh, and how could I forget the prettiest gentlemen on the planet walking around with trays covered in scrumptious hors d'oeures - each and every one of them looking delighted to just stare into your eyes? Not kidding. It was crazy. I mean, I get that a lot out here in the country, but it usually involves a "Hey, I got some extra tators from my momma's garden. You want some, what with all them kids?"
So, I found a place to lean and I just watched. I watched everyone. That's when it happened. I met Sandra.
Sandra is from Canada, but recently transplanted to NYC. Sandra is hysterical. Sandra was also just leaning and watching people. Sandra and I became fast friends. Sandra does not even write a blog yet, which depresses me, because I so desperately want you all to "know" her like I got to "know" her this weekend. She is simply nuts ... and wonderful. As soon as she is posting, you will know! Right now, you can get your fix by following her on Twitter (@Dopeysmom). NOTE: the dog is referred to as "dopey" - she does not call her kid "dopey!" - at least not in public.
Not to mention, if it weren't for connecting with her, I would have never met Lisa. I know, right? FRIEND JACKPOT ... but wait ... there's more ...
Two tweets pre-conference led me to start reading miss tehota and Cathy. T.J. and I had not connected, so she tweeted me that she would be easy to find - bald black woman. Know what I love about BlogHer? Just the night before at the Queerosphere party, I was chatting it up with yet another bald black woman (who only hands out her business contact info - or at least to people like me - so no linkage)! I did find her, though, as most of the other attendees did, in fact, have full heads of hair. I found her. She was d.e.l.i.g.h.t.f.u.l.
While at the Green Affair party, I was pretty sure I saw Cathy. I waited a while, though, because ... well, she may not be the ONLY red head with that same exact hair cut. I took a chance, though. It was her. I fell in love and we danced the night away. Literally. I blame her for my ankle pain today.
Had known of Jenny on the Spot forever (we were both a part of the Sprint/BlogHer Mom Spotting program this spring). Thankfully, she was one of the first to stand on a vast stage and do karaoke with a live band. As she tried to place me, she noticed the dreads and just grabbed them, "Oh, right - THE HAIR!" Sure makes intro's much easier for me these days.
There was the gal with the lovely ink all over her.
"I love your ink!"
"So, what do you blog about? What's your thing?"
"Porn for women."
Oh, you betcha', I pulled up a chair and began asking an endless strew of questions. J.D. Bauchery is a fascinating chic, and allowed me my intrigue as to her career ... and her story.
Esther actually reads me because they are in the process of adopting. Got a few stolen moments with her, but she had to do lots and lots and lots of picture taking.
Ohhhh, Varda! Isn't that a fun name? I just like to sit around and say it. Varda, Varda, Varda. Her name is almost as cool as she is.
Sitting at the Adoption "Birds of a Feather" lunch, I caught one woman connecting adoption and breastfeeding in the same sentence. Sure enough, Mama Bear is all over it, and we had such a wonderfully rich conversation over phrases like "Jack Newman" and "lact-aid." That sooooo does not happen every day.
Prairie Mama was knitting in the Serenity Suite ("SERENITY NOW!" Sorry - I did that in my head every. single. time. that place was mentioned). She is a DANG good Stitch n' Bitcher, let me tell you. Came home and started to read her story. Oh my soul, has this woman walked through the mountains and valleys. I now regret that our meeting was so very short.
Sat next to Vic DaChick one morning at breakfast. Yeah, I'll give you two seconds on her blog to figure out why I would spot her and go introduce myself. She is so full of energy (and piercings). Vic, thanks for letting me crash your meal.
Sitting in front of me at one of the sessions was this extremely handsome gentleman with the most gorgeous salt-n-pepper hair. I looked up to see their laptop open, with the most intriguing and beautiful website pulled up: "Lesbian Dad." I did the double take back and forth. Showing my absolute nosiness that I had been staring at someone else's work space, I blurted out, "OMG, that's your blog! I'm pretty sure I would really like to know you!!" Sweet love of all loves, Polly is one of the most engaging and precious people I have ever met ... in my life. Got home and was finally able to pull up her blog and wadda' ya' know? She links to my Annie! (Why, yes, I do actually own Annie. Bought, paid for and have the papers. I'd show you, but they seem to be misplaced). So, anywho. I then spent the entire evening just watching Polly dance. SO FUN! I'm tellin' ya' - engaging and precious!
To top it off, I met a nice chunk of the Grown in My Heart gals. May I just say that I have a special warm mush in my heart for Tonggu Momma. It may have something to do with how we hijacked an entire breakfast table as we talked about all the interesting ways our children use bodily waste to communicate. Maybe it was the way I could give her the heebie-jeebies by talking about anything remotely sexual (that was a WAY fun parlor trick!). However, I'm pretty sure it also had something to do with her refusing to leave my side when I could not find my purse when we were leaving a party. She had just had her phone and laptop stolen on the train, days before. She understood my panic. She's a jewel.
I know, I know. It's a lot, right? And I haven't even talked about the actual sessions. But I won't. You can dig all over the BlogHer site to find those break-downs. Yet, what no one else can capture for anyone is your own personal experience. I would absolutely go again. You cannot bring 2,000 women together without kinks and disagreements and vastly different personalities and lifestyles. Yet, the common ground and the richness of the individual ... that is absolutely worth the effort, the planning and the expense. My life was expanded and enhanced in those few days.