I can’t believe how worried I was about going to the BlogHer '13 conference. But the reality was that I had no anxiety! None. Nothing. Nada. As my mother would say, “No shpilkes.” Yes, I had worried about the color of my toenails. It didn’t matter. Did any of you see my toenails? They were a beautiful red, Geranium by Essie. And I’d obsessed about how many business cards to bring with me. Two hundred? Four hundred? I wound up with six hundred! How about buying the perfect journal for notes? Anyone notice the orange-not-to-be-missed cover? Nope, that didn’t matter either. How about the cool, blue pen I used? None of it mattered. What really mattered was coming to Chicago for my very first BlogHer Conference and meeting bright and talented bloggers from all over the country.
The thrills started when I landed at Chicago's O'Hare Airport.
First things being first, I headed to the ladies' room. Now, I’ve been in airport ladies’ rooms all over the world, but I’ve never seen one with toilets as nice as these. The seats are automatically covered with fresh paper after each flush!
Beverly Hills Hotel: Please note.
After dumping my stuff in the room at the Sheraton, I met up with my buddies, Julie DeNeen and Linda Wolff at the Chi Bar where a bunch of other bloggers had gathered. We all start screaming. “Oh, I’m so happy to meet you. Finally! You look just like your avatar. I love you, I love your writing!" Love, love love –– it was in the air. Everyone just wanted to meet, hug and talk.
After breakfast the next day, Julie DeNeen, Linda Wolff and I started exploring the city.
Chicago welcomed us with Blogher banners, stunning sculpture and striking architecture...
...and Navy Pier.
I found the Herald Tribune Building fascinating.
There were stone fragments collected from all over the world embedded in one long wall. It looked as if there were hundreds of them. These stones represented historical events and locations but I could not explore them further because Julie wanted to go to the American Girl Store.
We then went over to the Expo at McCormick Hall. It was filled with over a hundred sponsors such as La-Z-Boy, Coca-Cola, Pillsbury, Windex, Samsung, Ulta, White Cloud, Folger’s, Dodge and my personal favorite, Trojan Lubricants.
They were all giving out loads of swag. Julie, Kate and my other Blogettes insisted I stand in line to win some Trojan lubricant and a vibrator. I stepped up to spin the the Wheel of Lubricant (my name for it). Round and round it went, but I lost. I only won the lubricant. But my gang wanted me to have it all. They insisted that the wheel be advanced one click so that I could win the Grand Prize of lubricant and vibrator (!) or they were going to tweet to the whole world that this 72-year-old blogger was denied a vibrator. Trojan caved!
There were parties and parties and parties on top of parties. At one bash, Julie, Kate, Stephanie, Helen and I met a charming, funny, young man, Spencer_ Whitman (note the underscore). He created an application, www.appcertain, which monitors what children download to their iPads. He told us to always include the underscore when searching for him on the web because if you search for him without it, you’ll end up on a male porn star’s website. He told us this so often, that I started calling him Spencer Underscore. We decided to adopt him.
After more rounds of parties, finger foods, drinks and free Budweiser-flavored lip gloss, suddenly it was the last night and the last party. The music was blaring, booming and deafening, and I wanted to walk out. But Spencer Underscore Whitman wanted to dance with me. So Grandma started rockin! We sailed through “The Wobble”, “Put a Ring On It” and a bunch of other music that I’d never heard before. It didn’t seem to matter and all of us just danced and danced.
Then it was off to the CheeseburgHer party in the Presidential Suite on the thirtieth floor. How could I miss that one? So we all crammed into the elevators like grunions throwing themselves on the beach. When the doors opened, we were swept into a glorified frat party with more earsplitting music. Donning our CheeseburgHer hats, we jumped and jived to more unknown dances and unfamiliar music.
My favorite event was the Voices of the Year Awards, presented by Queen Latifah. The awards were given to only 100 out of 3600 blog submission world-wide. I was very fortunate to have my post, "My Mother Left Russia with Rags on her Feet" honored. Some of the other winners read their posts on stage. Many of them were quite moving and others were hysterical.
That’s me right next to Queen Latifah. It's probably the closest I’ll ever get to a Queen.
The conference was a blast. It was a mixture of summer camp, the first day of school, frat parties and the running of the bulls in Pamplona.
Did I have fun? Yes. Did I meet smart people? Yes. Would I go again? YES! In a heart beat!