Where bloggers meet other bloggers.
And take lots of pictures on Instagram.
Of their cute outfits.
This is what I thought blogging conferences comprised.
Just getting Starbucks, tweeting activities, and dressing really cute.
And wearing lots and lots of chevron.
And that was kind of the reason I didn’t even want to go.
Because for a long time, I was afraid of meeting bloggers in person.
I had heard horror stories of meeting these “amazing” people you loved to read and banter with online only to realize that they really are “amazing”.
Only on paper.
Or in our case, on a computer screen.
But when I really met some amazing people in December, it got less scary.
Three of whom became good friends: Melisa, Marianne, and Jeanette.
I literally went home and bought my ticket to BlogHer that week.
|With Jeanette after meeting in December 2012.|
Melisa, my new friend, told me in the cab ride we shared to the hotel I needed to go to BlogHer.
And that I totally needed to get roommates.
And that she was in the fetal position crying on the last night because she had so much fun with her friends there.
I laughed about it but in my mind thought, no way will that be me.
Because here is the thing, as much as I love my female friends, I have never been one of “those” girls who have HUGE groups of girlfriends and love spending massive amounts of time with them.
Large groups of women get on my nerves.
I just don’t do well with that whole dynamic.
So crying on a bed or being sad to say goodbye was NOT gonna be a problem for me.
|Tracey Becker and Marianne.
Fast forward one month to a fateful lunch on an unseasonably warm late January day.
Melisa brought together a group of women for lunch under the ruse that we all needed to meet each other.
This you need to know:
The night before this lunch, I had a phone call from an old friend informing me she was not inviting me to her upcoming wedding. It’s a long, involved story that you aren’t interested in, but I was sad.
I even thought of canceling the lunch.
Unbeknownst to me, I would meet two of my roommates at that lunch.
Jennifer, Shannon, and I hit it off instantly.
Over the course of six months, my new friends (Marianne, Jeanette, Jen, Shannon, and I) spent hours texting about our favorite side of the bed, messaging on Facebook about what pranks we were gonna pull, and tweeting little jokes only we knew.
Basically, we bonded and established rules for our room.
I can’t remember most of the said rules, but there is one I feel inclined to talk about.
No pooping in the room.
Or “emptying our bowels” as Jeanette puts it.
This will play out in importance later on.
|View from our room.|
Here are the highlights of my first ever blogging conference.
|That is a full-size bed.
For two grown women.
I ate Combos for dinner on my first night there.
Washed down with two glasses of white wine and a Twizzler.
|What they don’t tell you about a blogging conference.
All the crap that accumulates in your room.
At the expo, they had free booze samples!
Three different wine companies and a frozen alcoholic slushie company.
They knew I was coming!
How welcoming of BlogHer!
|Marianne marked her booze immediately.
Kind of like dogs marking their territory.
On the shuttle bus on the way to register at McCormick Place our first night, I said to Shannon we were in a “bus full of bloggers”.
That made me chuckle out loud.
I don’t think she found it as humorous as I did.
It was darn funny.
And I am totally using that as my rock band name if this blogging thing doesn’t pan out.
|Me, Shannon, and Melisa|
Having a Blair Witch moment in the back of a cab while Jen was in the front seat trying to figure out where the hell we were going.
|Marianne, me, and Jeanette.
Being five years old.
|Of course, she has chevron on!|
I saw Ree Drummond in the hallway, said hi to her, and didn’t ask her for a picture because I was afraid to be “one of those people”. She was quite lovely.
I loved walking the exposition floor with my friend Marianne and our new friend and fellow Chicago blogger Tammy.
We got lots of free shit and got shit faced too.
|Do you see my wine friends??
I mean, the many fine BlogHer sponsors?
Watching Voices of the Year, laughing and crying with some readers.
And proud of our Shannon for her piece being selected among the other amazing pieces.
I love her and thought of my mom because she loves her and Ree.
I wish I could have brought my mom with me.
Actually getting a picture taken with Ree Drummond.
And flashing her my boob.
|Why yes, that is my bra hanging out.
And yes, I could have photoshopped this.
But I am becoming “the girl who showed Ree her boobs” so I got a reputation to keep up.
Going to Portillo’s on Ohio Street with Julie, Jen, and Tammy.
We have adopted Julie into our group.
Julie was a Portillo’s virgin since she lives in Maryland.
|Jen, Julie, and Tammy|
Going to all the BlogHer after parties in the hotel.
Roaming from room to room and seeing and meeting some cool bloggers.
|Yes, we hit all these parties.|
Having a fellow blogger recognize me in the hallway when we were leaving to go to another room party.
This was the conversation:
“Are you Kari from A Grace Full Life?”
“Oh, my gosh! I love your blog!”
MADE MY YEAR.
AND I have witnesses!
And I don’t know who you were because honestly, the cocktail was heating me up AND I was just so overwhelmed.
Think tears in my eyes.
So whoever you were, you really made this little blogger feel like a superstar for a few minutes.
Thank you, thank you, thank you. 🙂
|I didn’t think to take a picture of the above blogger so for your reading pleasure, enjoy Flat Sue enjoying her first taste of Portillos.|
Jen and I stole the huge cardboard sign with Shannon’s entire blog post written on it from Voices of the Year reception for our room.
|You are welcome, Shannon.|
I miss it.
|As shown by my five-month pregnancy bloat.
No, I am not pregnant.
Spilling hot chocolate all over my cool green Capri pants during Randi Zuckerberg’s conversation.
Then writing that I “crapped my pants” on two forms of social media and then uncontrollably laughing the “ugly” laugh during a quiet moment in a session.
To where I needed to leave the room.
|The stain came out.|
Dancing for two straight hours at the fashion show party on the last night surrounded by some amazing friends.
Walking into our bathroom at one in the morning the last day to find someone’s underwear on the bathroom counter.
|L-R: Julie, Katie, Jen, Danielle, me, and Flat Sue.|
Takeaways from Blogher
I am short.
Or I need taller shoes.
|I am standing on my tippy toes in this one.
L-R: Marianne, Jen, me, Jeanette.
I am much better in public situations than I thought.
I love people, but too many people, AND having to be ON for three days straight was a little daunting.
It was overwhelming but not as much as I thought I would be.
Marianne giving me some moral support.
I love my blogging community.
|What a big clump of awesomeness.
Clockwise: Tabatha, Natasha, Melisa, Tracey, Jen, me, Liz, Jennifer.
But most of all, I want to take this time to talk about my closest blogging friends.
Particularly my roommates: Jen, Shannon, and Jeanette and our honorary roomie Marianne.
|Jen, me, Marianne, Jeanette, and Shannon|
I am so glad I had all of you to go through this with.
|With Shannon and Jen|
And had I not been so exhausted, I would have sat in the fetal position and cried the last night there.
|With Marianne and Jen|
You were right, Melisa.
Shannon sent me a text the next day mentioning something about being emotional, and I felt the same way.
It was emotional, sharing this time with these women.
An artist, an entrepreneur, a columnist, and a hometown hero.
Beautiful, strong, cool women.
Who also write blogs.