New York City, in photos

Here are some of my favorite photos I took while I was in New York for BlogHer last week. It was so hard to choose! All of these were taken with my iphone.

Amtrak baby. So much better than flying.

I have a thing for taxi pics. I took a lot of them. I can’t explain it.

You know I couldn’t go to NYC without getting at least one shot of a manhole cover right?

I loved Central Park. I desperately want to go back and spend more time wandering there.

I pretty much want to go back and wander everywhere.

post BlogHer – barely coherent thoughts

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

stress free 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:

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!

happy pi day and other random bits

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!

the fun and the funny, BlogHer style

I’m going to stick my head in the sand for a bit and ignore some of the strange/bad/crazy a$$ stuff that went down at BlogHer. Especially since everyone else is talking about it – I certainly don’t need to. No, instead, let’s talk about me. Me, and the fact that people(!) you can’t take me anywhere! I truly am the epitome of disaster walking.

Before I even got there I dumped most of my in-flight ginger ale on the poor dude sitting next to me on the plane. Ice and all. I got plenty on myself too. After I said sorry a million times all I could think to say was “at least it’s nice and cool – it doesn’t seem so hot in here now.” Yes, I did say that, and he looked at me like I’d lost my mind. Well, it was hot in there! Oy.

It’s good I had two more hours left to dry off before deplaning. If I hadn’t I would have been walking around O’Hare looking like I’d had an accident. If you know what I mean.

The rest of the day weekend I spent stalking seeing bloggers friends I knew and squealing like a, well, like a girl. Squealing doesn’t quite cover it though. I don’t think Stimey has yet recovered my hug attack. I did get a bit of a reputation for my hugs though, didn’t I Pocklock? 😉 Heh.

Friday just got better. Especially lunch, when I got a piece of dear-god-the-driest-chicken-I’ve-ever-eaten-in-my-life stuck halfway down my throat. Do you know what you shouldn’t do when you have a piece of chicken stuck in your throat? Drink water. Don’t drink the water! Because you will spew it all over the table, your lunch, and quite possibly probably most assuredly down the front of your cute new green shirt.

Since I could actually breath, just not swallow, I waved off all the waiters lining up to give me the Heimlich and ran off to the bathroom to stick my finger down my throat to get the freaking piece of chicken out! (Thank for watching my stuff while I was gone Kelby!) Can you imagine if I’d had the Heimlich 3 weeks after abdominal surgery? Just imagine! I’d be known as the girl who choked on a piece of chicken and then bled to death at BlogHer! I’d be famous infamous. And dead.

Moving on to parties. I went to every party I possibly could. And then spent my time explaining/apologizing for not being able to dance/bowl/eat/drink because of the gallbladder thing. I can’t believe I talked about the stupid gallbladder so much. Yikes. Am boring.

Anyway. The parties. They rocked. I wore princess crowns, and bright pink boas, and ate from chocolate fountains (that I was afraid I would fall into – for real afraid – because you know – past history and all) and didn’t eat a cheeseburger, because of the stupid gallbladder, but I was there. I was there for everything I could stay awake for.

I’m really really glad my friends took pictures since I only snapped like 4 the whole time I was there. This was one of them:

This is Leighannthe best roommate ever – she didn’t mind my junk everywhere or my going to bed late or my tagging along with her to lots of stuff! Or when I spilled yet another drink at BowlHer. Luckily not on her. Love you babe!

I can’t possibly link to everyone I met, and hugged, and loved, loved, loved. I had more fun than I ever imagined I would/could/should have. And I really did go to sessions. Pinky swear.

blogher: really in real life

I once said that BlogHer is what happens in the hallways, and these last few days have only confirmed that. There is nothing like randomly running into someone you only recognize from their avatar or their url and having that instant “OMG I know you!!” ~squee!!~ moment with. And then repeat that moment a hundred times over with a hundred different people. And then do it again the next day with another hundred people.

Imagine sitting there chatting to someone for 20 minutes while you’re taking a break and finally saying, “so what’s you’re twitter name? What?! I totally follow you!” It’s actually quite bizarre, in a good way!

For me, BlogHer is also sitting in a hot, crowded, session surrounded by women typing away on their laptops and iphones, intently listening to freaking fantastic panelists and tearing up because you suddenly realize I have found my people. These are my people.

I know what you’re waiting to hear me say, you want me to talk about cliques and snobbery. Not gonna happen. Because it didn’t happen.

Here’s the truth. I have not met one person who snubbed me. I have not witnessed cliques. And not because I haven’t been in the thick of it. I’ve been all over, met a million people, and had my own fan girl moments and honestly, it’s been amazing. I’ve hugged everyone I can get my hands on, and I’ve been hugged right back.

I’m not going to sit here and name drop so-called “big bloggers” that I had dinner with or who I hung out with at this party or that. You know why; because they don’t see themselves that way and the big blogger rock star crap embarrasses them. They are just women (and a few men) trying to have a good time and not hide in a corner because they’re afraid no one will talk to them, just like the rest of us.

Um, hello, most bloggers blog because they have some form of social anxiety. Lucky for me I don’t really. I’m pretty dang good at introducing myself with no expectations. And you know what always shocks me? When someone knows who I am in return.

Let me also say one thing that BlogHer ISN’T about. Swag. I know. You’ve all heard about swag and wondering what we got. Well yeah, some people got some cool stuff if they happened to be at the right place at the right time. The majority of us got a lot of tote bags, water bottles, some toys for our kids, and strange amounts of laundry detergent handed to us. And you know what? Who cares?! It’s just not about the swag! I would much rather collect friendships thank you very much. I have missed a number of opportunities to get “stuff” in order to hang out and have actual CONVERSATIONS. To each their own, but that’s my take on it and probably the last I will say about the swag.

Anyway, I can’t tell you enough how incredible this experience is. Busy and crazy and fun and crowded and overwhelming at times. What I’ve learned, and what I’ve done, and who I’ve met have imprinted themselves on me. I know now that the way I blog is just fine, because it’s my way. I do it for fun, for an outlet, for me and me alone, and I’m much more secure about that than I ever was before this.

As soon as I get home I need to start saving for BlogHer 2010 – in New York City. I’ve found my people, and it’s fantastic. (And yes I have some funny stories for you, soon!)

keep scrolling

Seeing as I’m going to a blogging conference I probably ought to post something on this here blog eh?

Nope.

Got nothing.

Um. So what are you doin’ this week?

I’m packing….sort of.

Flying alone. Yep. I am. Not worried though. Nope.

Oh, and did you know stupid United Airlines charges $15 extra to check just ONE bag? The outrage!

Yeah, I really got nothin’.

Oh, wait! News! I actually changed my twitter avatar to a REAL picture! I know! It’s so people at BlogHer can, you know, recognize me. If they can recognize me off a itty bitty thumbnail that is.

Anyway. I’m working, and packing, and generally getting ready for my first alone vacation in, well, um, ever. Ever. Alone. Can’t wait. Can’t wait. Can’t wait. I wish I was leaving NOW instead of Thursday.

Let me leave you with this. In my pre-BlogHer preparations today, I charged up my camera battery and cleaned off the memory card. And found…the reason I need a vacation:

There’s a whole SERIES of them. And of the cat, and of his toys, of the back of my head, and of half-black bananas and…you get the picture. (~Snort~ I crack myself up.)

God I love this kid.

But I am soooo tired.

If you aren’t going to BlogHer, well, I’m sorry for this

It seems like everyone is writing a pre-BlogHer post this week. I’m of two minds about writing one of my own. As much as I am giddy with excitement, I know my non-bloggy friends really don’t understand the concept of going to a conference for blogging. Of all things. Blogging? Wha??

Beyond that, I remember what it felt like last year, (heck, and the year before too) when I stayed home while every blogger I read and wanted to meet was headed for San Francisco. Can you say burning flames of jealousy? I don’t want to make anyone reading here feel that way. Just know my friends, that I wish ALL of you were able to go to Chicago so I could meet each and every one of you.

In any case, most of the BlogHer posts I’ve read have basically been about angst. As in; don’t have any and you will be fine. Good advice, I can live with that. For some reason I’m not at all nervous about flying to Chicago on my own and meeting some 1,000 or so other bloggers. (Mostly) Women bloggers. Geeky (mostly) women bloggers. There’s no reason to have angst about meeting other geeks/dorks/nerds, right? Right. I mean I know I’m one anyway.

Anyway, here is my list of what I will be doing at BlogHer:

And now here’s the list of what I will not be doing at BlogHer:

There. That’s it. I did it. That’s my first real pre-BlogHer post. I hope it was good enough. (Oops, that was my angst showing.) Kidding!!

Seriously, though, you all know I’m KIDDING. I really don’t have angst. I’m just a little snarky.

this should have just been a bullet post

I have spent all my time this week doing just a couple of things – healing, sleeping, and trying to catch up on work. Healing is going well, the other two? Meh.

I’m a stomach sleeper. Always have been. I hate, hate, hate sleeping on my back. Needless to say I can’t sleep on mah belly right now. Or even my side. So I don’t sleep much at all really. Kinda stinks since sleep is what I need the most right now.

Work is tough because I just feel so overwhelmed by how much I need to get done, and yet my brain, she cannot focus. Big bad cycle that is.

Thank god for good friends who have taken my boy for playdates a few days this week. Especially Kristen who had him from 8am to 5pm yesterday. I really needed that. Like desperately.

Speaking of desperation. Damon leaves for another business trip tomorrow. Early Saturday am to late Thursday pm. I’m not quite sure how I’m going to manage.

I can’t even drive yet but I’m hoping to feel up to it in the next couple of days. I’m off all the pain killers so I’m allowed, yet my stomach muscles just don’t feel right and I don’t know what my reaction time would be if I had to slam on the brakes or something.

I still have nothing (no really) to wear to BlogHer and shopping this weekend is out of the question. Next weekend my home girl Nicole is going to drive me around and carry my bags so I can at least get something cute to wear. That hopefully fits. (Good lord, Tim Gunn is going to be at BlogHer Saturday so I need one good outfit!)

My body is so strange right now. I’ve lost an additional 7 lbs due to my all-liquid-all-the-time diet in the hospital. (Not including the 15 lbs of IV fluid gain/loss too.) However, my stomach feels very swollen and I can’t yet button the size I was in before I went into the hospital. That really stinks. I’m hoping the swelling goes down before I need to try on clothes.

The good news is that extra 7 lbs – if it stays off – brings me to a grand total of 34 pounds lost. (Okay so yesterday I subtracted in my head and it was 39. I’m going with 34 but it might really be 39 – I’m losing track of where I started.)

Thirty freaking four pounds. I’ve never been this committed, not ever. Now I just have to get past this little gallbladder hurdle and get back on track. Well, in about five more weeks that is. I do worry that as I feel better my appetite will come back I will put some pounds back on while I can’t exercise. Worry, worry.

Sorry this post was so random! I just looked back and it’s just a jumble, but I’m going to leave it that way, because that’s just where my head is at this moment. I shoulda just done bullets.

xoxo

finally, the Boston BlogHer BBQ post!

In all the craziness lately I completely forgot to tell you all the Most! Important! Thing! that happened last week!

Josh lost his first tooth! At the Boston BlogHer BBQ! In the donated Friendly’s ice cream! 😉 (Dang, we had good sponsors – Peapod, Springpad, Home Free Treats, and Hebrew National in addition to Friendly’s.)

It wasn’t the ice cream’s fault though.  It was the fruit salad I made. He went to chew a piece of pineapple – hit his top teeth on the bottom teeth and ~crunch~ the very loose tooth was hanging and bleeding. Poor kid! I’m sure it hurt like crazy.

He wouldn’t let me touch it so I figured I’d deal with it at home later. So I gave him ice cream to soothe it. Next thing I know he’s standing there grinning at me with a little itty bitty tooth in hand. Whoo hooo!!!

So better late than never, I just want to give a shout out to my BBQ peeps, Susan Getgood, Fairly Odd Mother, Chicky Chicky Baby, Susan Forshner, Boston Mamas, Momisodes, Daddy Scratches, More than Mommy, Miguelina, Mommy Bytes, Karen, the Meal Makeover Moms, Mommy Niri, Liz, Alex Casey Baby, Good Girl Gone Blog, and oh geez I know I’m forgetting some!

It was such a fun afternoon that I heard rumors that plans already may be in the works for another meet up in the fall. I hope so! And for those that are going to Chicago – it’ll be great to know a few faces in that a vast sea of bloggers!

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