I’m still trying to wrap my head around that which was BlogHer. First of all, I had an absolute blast. There’s just something about having friends who normally live in the little box on my desk suddenly come to life that is surreal, and wonderful, and crazy all at once. Have you ever read a book you really loved and wished you could jump into into so you could meet, and hug, and talk with those characters? It’s pretty much exactly like that.
So the experience was amazing, as was visiting NYC for the first time, but I’m having mixed feelings about the conference itself. I absolutely love and respect the people behind BlogHer. The founders, their staff, and the many volunteers do an incredible job and I appreciate them so much for their hard work.
That said, in my opinion it was just too BIG for me. I am someone who is very comfortable in crowds, and have no problem walking up to anyone and introducing myself, there were overwhelming amounts of people around every corner. Every session, keynote, party, (elevators!) everything everything was packed to the gills and people had to be turned away from events that were supposed to be open to everyone (Martha.)
From my understanding they are dealing with that situation next year in Chicago by having the sessions and expo in a different venue than the hotel and they will bus everyone in between. Honestly, I’m not really sure that’s the solution. I’ve already made up my mind that I’m probably not going to go unless something drastic happens that I feel like I can spend the money on it again. The enormity of it just doesn’t feel right to me – just me – anymore. I may look for a smaller conference that focuses just on writing and photography so if anyone has a suggestion for such I’m all ears.
The ONLY bummer for me all week was the BlogHer 5K. If you follow me on twitter you know that I trained really hard for this and it was supposed to be my FIRST REAL 5K. I wanted it to be special, and it was most definitely not. We arrived downstairs that morning to find complete disorganization.
We had no official map, just some suggested runs that the organizers were unable to share with us via any electronic means. I looked at the routes to see if I could just program my own GPS and lo, they were only 2.5 miles. That is not a full 5K. The friends that I had agreed to run with and I went out on our own, knowing a vague route through Central Park, and knowing two out of the three of us had a GPS. We were fine and we did it.
It was fabulous in that I RAN in Central Park. ME. And I made two new friends. BUT. It was not a real 5K. There was no number on my shirt. There was no one to greet us when we got back. No one to hand us water and say congratulations. There was no finish line.
If you are BlogHer staff and you are reading this, I have some pretty specific ideas on what simple changes you should make for future 5Ks and I would love to talk with you about it. At the very least, if you can’t have a greeter with water at the end, you probably shouldn’t have a 5K at all.
Okay! Moving on. There were far MORE things about the conference itself that I loved than not. OMG the President spoke to us. I was trying not to bawl because it was so awesome. And Katie! I always liked Katie Couric but I was never a fangirl. I’m a fangirl now! She was so personable, and smart, and funny, and real. Then there was the Serenity Suite and the people I connected with there. My heart, they were fabulous.
I had favorite sessions too, there was one about technology and fitness during HealthMinder Day, and the one I was really looking forward to on iPhoneography on Friday was a good as I hoped, and the very last one I went to on Saturday was just a big meta conversation about blogging. LOVE. So good to hear so many perspectives. The best thing I took away from all of it is that no matter what you’re doing, as long as it works for you, it’s all good. There is no doing it wrong when it comes to blogging.
I know what you really want to hear about is the parties, but I have to be honest with you. I went to all the parties, went in, hugged many people, and left again. (SO MANY HUGS!) I only left because I can’t stand how loud the music is and I hate having to shout and strain to hear other people talk. (I’m OLD – what of it?!) So if you saw me sitting just outside the parties? That was not me disparaging them or fearing them, that was just me hanging and chatting with friends and enjoying every minute I could.
I have so much more to say, about the city itself – photo post to come! – and about the people. It always comes back to the people. I fear doing a linky-love post because I know I will miss someone but I also really want to shout out to those who I had so much fun with. I have to think about that!
If you’re thinking about going to a BlogHer, know that it is really an incredible experience and it’s indescribable and of course different for each person. You just have to do it and remember that what you get out of has everything to do with what you put into it, and not all of it will be perfect. If you hide in your room, you will regret even bothering, but if you make an effort, it will come back to you ten-fold. On that note, I’m going to take another nap. Re-entry is hard yo. xoxo
Filed Under blogging, friends Tagged blogging, blogging about blogging, BlogHer
It’s that time of year again, when bloggers everywhere start losing their minds over that behemoth of a conference – BlogHer!
If they’re not going they’re lamenting it, (loudly – like me last year!) and if they are going they’re thinking about it, talking about it, tweeting about it, and apparently freaking the heck out over it. Just take a look at the #BlogHer12 hashtag and you’ll see what I mean!
As someone who has been to BlogHer once before I have a few bits of unasked for advice for those who are STRESSING!! You need not stress. Really, it’s awesome and huge and there will be a crazy number of women (and a few brave men) there. Many of them have some sort of anxiety, ADHD, or social disorder. You are not alone! Unless you want to be. 🙂
Here are all of my best tips that I learned from experience:
- Wear comfortable shoes! Seriously. If your feet hurt you’ll be miserable and who wants that when you’re going nonstop for 18 hours or more for days? If you don’t normally wear heels this is NOT the time to start.
- Same goes for your clothes! Wear what you like, not what you think everyone else is going to wear. I live in tee-shirts and shorts/capris most of the time so that’s what I’m bringing. I might trade in my shorts for a skirt for some of the evening events but then again I might just wear pajamas to the parties too. Who knows, who cares?! Along that same line – don’t feel like you need to go buy a whole new wardrobe for this. If you want a few new pieces that make you feel great then by all means, but no one expects it, and no one will notice if you’re wearing anything new or old. And remember NYC is hot and humid in August! Bring extra underwear for mid-day changes. And a full size deodorant! Smelling good is more important than looking good. IMHO. Ahem.
- Don’t plan on carrying a ton of stuff around with you all the time. If you have a small purse or bag you that can carry your phone etc in that’s great, but stash your big items in your room until you need them (like a session on blog design – obv you’ll want your laptop for that.) I carried my laptop and a big notebook around with me all the time in ’09 and I barely used them. I’m sticking with a small cross body purse that I can stash my iPhone, a small notebook, and business cards in – both mine and the ones that people will hand me.
- Yes, you need business cards! At least a few hundred of them. Everyone should have them, no matter how big or small your blog is, or even if you don’t have a blog. Your name, twitter name, and email address, and URL (if you have one) are must haves on your card. It’s a great way to break the ice and remember everyone you talked to.
- Go to sessions! I know everyone thinks it’s all about the parties, but the sessions are great and you’ll get to talk to way more people there than you will at a loud, dark, crazy party. Don’t feel like you need to go to Every. Single. Session (!) but try to get to some of them. Look at the schedule in advance, plan the ones you MUST go to and be flexible on the rest! Sometimes the best sessions are the ones you didn’t think fit your style but you ended up in by chance.
- Yes, the parties are awesome too! Let me just say this right now; the Official BlogHer parties are just as fabulous if not MORE fabulous than the private, invite-only, offsite parties. For REAL. Last time I went I way overbooked myself and really regretted going to so many offsite events. I would have been way happier and less stressed if I had stayed in the hotel and gone to the official parties. I think I would have connected with way more people too. Don’t worry if you haven’t been invited to ANYTHING. You don’t need to be invited, or sign up, or RSVP to any of these awesome events.
- If you want to connect with brands, but you’re worried you won’t if you don’t go to a specific brand event, STOP worrying! Brand reps are everywhere, in sessions, in the Expo, and hanging out in the halls, just like you. Don’t publicly beg pr reps for invites, and I beg you, don’t abuse the BlogHer12 twitter hashtag trying to get a brand to notice you.
- Take some down time when you need it. Go to your room and take a nap or a shower. Hang out in the lobby or restaurant. Sit on the floor in the hall. Hide in the bathroom. Check out the Serenity Suite. Have a quiet convo with one or two friends. Whatever. Just don’t think you need to Go Go Go every second or you will burn out.
- Stop thinking about Swag.
- I repeat: stop thinking about SWAG. The swag is not the reason you are going to BlogHer. Right? You are going to BlogHer to see friends, meet new people, maybe get some education, maybe connect with brands. You are not going to BlogHer to get STUFF. BlogHer swag can be fun, and frankly it can be weird, but if that’s all you are there for you could save your money on your conference pass, hotel bill, and plane/train ticket and go BUY THAT STUFF. The swag is just a minor extra perk and that’s really all the attention it deserves.
- Exchange cell phone numbers with the friends you really want to see. Sometimes a text is quickest way to get in touch with someone if they don’t check their email or twitter messages often. If the hotel’s wifi is a little slow (expect it!) sporadic cell service might be all you have to rely on.
- Don’t be afraid to go introduce yourself to that one person standing alone. You might just make their day, and yours too!
- Prepare to hug and be hugged. Especially if you meet me. I’m a hugger!! If you are having the worst day ever, come find me and I will hug the crap out of you!
- Bring earplugs in case your roommate(s) snores. Bring extra in case YOU snore so you can share. Y’all need what little sleep you have time for! (Especially the night before the 5K that SOME of us are crazy enough to sign up for!) Also, pack Tylenol/Advil and bandaids.
- Take photos! I only took about 6 pictures the last time I went and boy do I wish I had taken more!
- If you could only go to one event the entire weekend, make it the Voices of the Year. Seriously, don’t let anything else keep you from going to this. You won’t regret it.
I hope this helps even a couple of people! I remember being so nervous before I went to BlogHer and I read everything I could get my hands on about what it’s like. I don’t think anyone can really tell you though, you just have to experience it. If any of you want to connect with me there my twitter is @annettek or let me know if you want my cell #!
Oh, and if any of you have been and have any tips to add I’d love to hear them!
I love geek holidays, I can’t help it! Are any of you baking pies in honor of Pi day today? I wish I had time! I’d like a blueberry pie, or maybe a chocolate cream pie, or oooo, a bacon quiche? That totally counts as pie right?
In case you noticed my lack of internet presence, I’m completely swamped with work right now. As great as it is to have plenty of contracts and a good chunk of money flowing in, it makes my life completely insane. I never want to be someone who complains about work though, because oh, would it suck to not have any. This is just me saying, I miss you guys!
I really want to be a better blogger though, so in light of that, I’m going to Blog Better Boston in a couple of weeks. It’s just a one day thing, but I suspect I’m going to get a lot out of it! I’m really looking forward to the food photography course I’m taking there. If you’ve ever tried food photography you know it’s wayyy harder than it sounds.
I also decided I’m going to go to BlogHer 12 in NYC this summer. I’ve haven’t been to BlogHer since 2009, the timing just hasn’t been right for me the last few years. I’ve heard it’s gotten sooo much bigger and intimidating but that’s okay with me. I have a pretty good idea of what to expect, I want to spend some time seeing the city through my camera lens, and I have a fabulous roommate who I know will let me tail her like a puppy when I don’t know what else to do with myself. 🙂 Will I see any of you there?
Okay, so speaking of photography, we bought the cutest camera you have ever seen! It’s small like a point and shoot, but has interchangeable lenses. I’m kind of in love with it and kind of afraid of it! I’m really hoping someone will buy me a macro lens for it. And teach me how to use it??
Soooo, that brings me to the reason we bought the camera – because we’re going on our first “real” vacation EVER. I think every vacation we’ve ever taken has been either to visit family, has been part of a business trip, or has been a staycation. Since we managed this one car thing for so long, and are planning to continue it indefinitely we decided to use some of the savings we would have spent on a second car and go on a trip to the Grand Canyon.
You guys! The Grand Canyon! This is truly a trip of a lifetime for this New England girl. It’s something we’ve always wanted to do but never thought it would happen. I’m sure I’ll have much more to tell you about it as it gets closer. Or hey, no promises, I might not have time to blog again until after it’s over! Either way, I guarantee you I will have a million and one photos to share with you. Heh.
I hope y’all don’t mind if this ends up being a photography blog!
Hello Spring! So glad you’re almost here!
Filed Under blogging, photos, Uncategorized Tagged blogging about blogging, BlogHer, photography
You know how right before you fall asleep you think of something so totally freaking brilliant you’re sure you’re going to remember it in the morning? And you wake up and don’t even remember you thought of something much less what that something actually is. I swear that’s why I haven’t written anything here for weeks. I always come up with great topic around 11pm. When I was a newbie blogger I would actually get up and write it out as soon as I thought of it, and then I would hit publish at 2am and no one would read it. By the next day I was happy that no one had read it because my middle of the night ramblings were never quite as good as I thought they were going to be. Usually I wrote stuff about cat puke. Wait, that’s not a good example because cat puke is actually funny. Unless you’re the one cleaning it up. Or stepping in it. Especially when it’s cold. And the ickyness of it makes you hop around on one foot, in the dark, when your muscles are already screaming at you because you went to Zumba the day before. Okay that didn’t really happen. Stepping in the cat puke after Zumba that is. That was a hypothetical situation that I made up to illustrate the typical things that befall me. Stepping in the cold cat puke in the middle of the night was actually 2 weeks ago, and well, the week before that too. Going to Zumba was only a few days ago, and although I couldn’t walk for days I laughed my butt off while I was there. If only that were true, right? That you could actually laugh until your butt fell off? I would be sooo dang skinny. But then I wouldn’t need to go to Zumba. And I wouldn’t be able to laugh with my friends there. And then I wouldn’t be skinny anymore. It’s a vicious, vicious cycle I tell you. Obviously Zumba is bad and I need to get my exercise some other way. Like shoveling the driveway. Which I am certain to have to do again tomorrow. Because of course it’s going to snow again, again, again. And January is never going to end. And I am going to have to rake the stupid roof one more time and my arms will fall off and we’ll get killer icicles. I won’t be able to defend myself from the killer icicles because I won’t have any arms and that is much, much worse than not having a butt. In conclusion, snow is even worse than Zumba and the only good thing about this post was the cat puke.
And I didn’t even write this in the middle of the night.
Go ahead I dare you to comment.
Filed Under blogging, humor Tagged blogging about blogging, humor, inner workings of my brain
We had a fabulous day at the beach with my sisters and their families yesterday. The weather was absolutely perfect, 85 and sunny, and the water was warmer than its normal freeze your toes off temp. Perfect shark weather, but no, we didn’t see any. 😉
I gotta tell you, I had better pictures than this one, (all taken with my new-to-me iphone!) but my boy won’t let me post them. ~sigh~ This blog has been going through some growing pangs lately, because he doesn’t really want me to write about him or post pictures of him anymore. He only approved this one photo because his back was to the camera.
I’m being censored.
If we are doing anything fun or if I innocently take a photo I am often asked “you’re not gonna blog about this are you mom?” Huh. I guess not!
He and I have been here before…you may have noticed there have been several posts about him lately that didn’t really show him. A birthday post without a birthday boy, a science post without a clear face, a post about his treehouse with only one blurry image. As you can see, I’ve had to get creative with my photography. It helps that I’m not particularly good at taking pictures so blurry faces are a natural. 😉
I knew this would come eventually. I just didn’t think it would be so soon! I kind of thought I had until he was 10 or 12 before he stopped letting me write about him. In fact, if he knew I wrote this recently he wouldn’t be very happy about it. I published it because I know someday he’ll appreciate it.
I’ve always self-censored anyway, not wanting to get overly personal on something that can’t ever really be deleted, but I’ve always felt pretty free to post about his childhood. Like I own it or something! Well, he is his own person, and has the right to keep his life off the internet if that’s what he wants. I still might write about him, but only if he approves it. Future photos will be faceless, like they were back when I first started and blogged anonymously. Or there won’t be any photos of him at all. I just don’t know yet.
What happens to a mommy blogger (ugh, it’s what I’ve become but I still hate that word) who can’t blog about her kid?? I really don’t have the answer right now! It’s why I don’t post as often as I used to, and I don’t foresee it getting any better.
Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t depressing. It’s just different. I have to make a change. Write about my own life, or don’t write at all?
Filed Under blogging, family, life, the boy Tagged blogging about blogging, meta, the boy
(Disclaimer; If you aren’t blogger, most of this won’t make any sense to you. So don’t even bother!)
Somehow it’s been two weeks since I last blogged. As so kindly pointed out not only by the lovely folks behind the BlogHer ads, and by a real life friend who I didn’t even know was reading here but apparently is tired of looking at my last soup post. ~ahem~ So this one is for you Jen, such as it is. 😉
Anyway, two weeks. There was a time, for a long time, when I couldn’t go two days without writing, much less two weeks. Heck, there were days when I posted twice! I know! What happened that I no longer feel like posting the exciting events minutiae of my day, every day??
Those were the days when I obsessively checked my stats, hoping for more than a handful of hits. I lived and died by how many comments I got in a day. I pimped my posts on twitter and commented like crazy on every blog in my expansive feed reader.
I got my own domain, and a unique design. I thought hard about branding, and niches. I got ads!! (A year and a half and $45 later…) I even started a second blog! Because one was not enough?!!
I envied those going to all the conferences and meeting each other in person. So I went to a conference, and I hugged people I never thought I would meet. I made real-life completely awesome friends. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,* and I loved every minute of it.
But my life got busier in so many ways, and twitter got boring and celebri-fied. I stopped checking Feedburner, and forgot my password to Google Analytics. I stopped using Stumble or Digg, forgot about Technorati, and I haven’t looked at my Page Rank in forever. Heck, I even forgot how to check my Page Rank. And Alexa, wha?
It’s the typical evolution of a blogger. I’m sure you’ve heard it before. (And don’t we all just love these posts?) I know I have, but I never thought it would happen to me! D’oh. and? Duh.
My kid is growing up, and doesn’t really want me telling stories about him here. Posting family pictures in public is getting awkward. One can only blog about a cat so often. (Unless I become the Crazy Cat Lady, and frankly there are too many doing it better.) Weight loss? Heh. Only if it was happening! I have no idea what to blog about. Or even if I want to bother figuring it out. Meh.
And yet, I’m not thinking about shutting it down. I haven’t lost the will to write, just the impetus; that driving force that can turn the smallest moment of the day into a great post. I’d like to be able to do that again.
* Yes, once-in-a-lifetime. I’m not going to BlogHer ’10. As much as I would love to go, I just can’t justify the expense. Sorry peeps. 🙁
Filed Under blogging, writing Tagged blogging, blogging about blogging, meta
Dudes. My blog is depressing. Maybe that’s why I don’t come here so often anymore.
I seem to go to a lot of funerals. Another one of my Aunts died this week, another of my father’s siblings. And another funeral to attend this coming Tuesday.
I’ve seen so many people do this great “best of 2009” round up posts so to cheer myself up I thought I would take a look at my archives and see what I could link to as my “best of.” Except all I can find are “not the worst of 2009” posts.
My one shining moment of true hilarity was cause I was doped up on pain meds. Honestly, I haven’t written anything humorous since them because I just can’t compete with myself. Ooooo, I last saw my funny at the hospital!! Maybe it’s at the lost and found! ~sigh~
See? My best posts are the pathetic dregs of the blogosphere.
Bring back the funny.
ps. Rest in peace Aunt Lee.
Filed Under blogging Tagged blerg, blogging, blogging about blogging, death, life
My brain is mush. I just can’t think of anything interesting to write about.
I had wonderful company (my friend Teresa while her husband Bill is in Ethiopia!) last weekend but that would be a very long story. I have more company (one of my sisters – yay!) coming this weekend but that story hasn’t happened yet. I have an aunt who is very sick but that’s not my story to tell.
I held a day-old baby on Monday but I had to give her back. 😉 I have weigh-in coming this Sunday but I don’t think I’ve lost a pound this month. Josh is going to start t-ball tomorrow so the time suck begins again. I tried to go without wheat for a week, and I keep forgetting.
The rain is keeping me from gardening. Work is slow this week, although I’m sure it will get busy just as soon as my sister arrives. I’m not entertained by anything on tv. Twitter is irritating me – too many retweets, celebrities, and promotions, blech. Whatever happened to original thought and conversation?
I’m more than a little cranky. And worried. Very tired. Not to mention restless, boring, and repetitive. And perhaps whiny? Geez, I really need to get over myself. And I need to find my funny. It seems to have run away from home.
Yeah. I’m all over the freaking place. Give me something to write about would you? An idea, a question, anything you want to know about me? Help. I need to blog through the block.
Filed Under blogging Tagged blogging about blogging, inner workings of my brain, life, random
A year ago today I jumped into the blog pond with this post.
It was short, mostly because I didn’t know what my voice would be or if I even had a voice. I was scared to put myself out there. I didn’t know what to say, if I had anything to say that mattered or that anyone would care about. I stayed anonymous for months even, thinking that if I was terrible at this, no one would ever have to know.
As it turns out, I’m not terrible at this after all. I have a voice and a few people actually listen and have things to say in return. I’ve taken chances and put myself out there for scrutiny like I’ve never done at any other time in my life. I’ve come out of hiding and I’m better off for it.
I may not be popular, or have lots of traffic, or make any money, but none of that really matters. What matters is that I love doing this. I’m a better writer, a better parent, a better photographer, and a better friend, all because of this space.
I’m glad I took the plunge, 235 posts later and I’m still here, and I know I have more to say! I mean really, when have I ever been able to stop talking?! I can’t wait to look back and see what I did in year two. I hope you’re all still here with me. 🙂
While I was away over the weekend, my dear husband spend a considerable amount of time fixing some little things here on my site. Some adjustments will just help me in the background, but other changes will make it easier for you all to navigate.
The best change of all is that my SEARCH function now actually works! It is in the upper left hand corner, and it does search all the text of my posts, not just tags. Yay!
You’ll also notice you can see the tags for each post, as well as the categories they are filed under. And squeee (!) look in my left sidebar at my sweet new tag cloud! Go hover your cursor over it, I’ll wait…
Isn’t it the cutest tag cloud ever?!
Btw, if you are using anything other than http://feeds2.feedburner.com/catnipandcoffee (or http://feeds.catnipandcoffee.com/catnipandcoffee) it would be great if you could change it. If you’re using the old atom feed I can’t guarantee it will work in the future. So update, I beg you! 🙂