I’ve been reading eleventy-billion BlogHer ’11 posts over the past few weeks. I’m not complaining about that either; I love them! I love reading what people are thinking and feeling and planning to do and not planning to do and generally freaking out about everything under the BlogHer sun. Last year, they made me anxious. This year, I’m just commenting and stumbling and sharing them around.
I’m kinda not freaking out this year. It’s less about my confidence level (…) and more about who I’m bringing with me.
I’m arriving on Wednesday morning with my be-mustached husband in tow. Last year, he gave me fake attitude when I got home from BlogHer ’10 in New York City. He gave me a pouty lip and pseudo-whined about being left behind. So I bought him a Party Pass and a plane ticket and, well, here we go! My parents and his mom are splitting the childcare duties for five days. It’s kind of our own personal last hurrah of life before the school system intervenes as BigBrother will start Kindergarten ten days after we arrive home. We’re throwing our life as we knew it a goodbye party. But, really, he’s my rock and grounds me when my anxiety busts through the glass ceiling.
So, yes, I have the lovely comfort of having my husband in tow. We have plans for ourselves. I have plans with friends. There’s a bunch of stuff to be done at BlogHer itself.
So do I have advice? Sure.
1. Don’t room with someone just to room with someone. Yes, it cuts down on cost to room with someone. But if you’re like me and you need some time to just occasionally breathe — and by time, I mean hours — don’t do it. I know this advice is likely too late as everyone has pretty much paired, tripled or quadrupled up. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, please don’t forget about the Serenity Suite. Also? The beach. Hit it.
2. Get cell phone numbers of those you want to be sure to meet ahead of time (and make sure they can text). You can say you’ll rely on twitter, but then your push message will fail or we’ll crash the network and you won’t find anyone. If you feel weird about asking someone for their number, explain that you think they’re the bee’s knees. If they fail to respond, they’re probably not the bee’s knees. Right? (I just exchanged numbers with Jamie at Grumbles & Grunts. See? Easy.) But? Don’t feel bad if you miss your favorite bloggers. 3000 people makes for a bit of chaos.
3. Wear whatever you want. But don’t judge me for wearing dresses the whole time. Know why? I think I’ve worn one pair of shorts since May 3 of this year. The rest of the time? Dresses. (Except for that freakishly cold day when I wore jeans and a sweater.) My reason? I, uh, sweat a lot. Dresses give me, uh, a breeze. Unless you want me to positively melt, please let me wear my dresses. I’m not going to give two rips if you’re wearing jeans and a sweater. Promise. Oh, by the way, I may be wearing some killer Adidas sneakers with a skirt here or there. I got style. Plus? You look fabulous. And you should Own Your Beauty. Mmhmm.
4. Get out of the building. There are amazing restaurants, bars, and experiences in general all over San Diego. Check out San Diego Blog Conference for some great tips. Go experience something. Yes, BlogHer is awesome. But so is San Diego. You’ll kick yourself if you don’t do something. Friends of >mine are going kayaking. Tip there: Stalk San Diego Groupon for some good deals. My husband and I are going geocaching because how can you geek up a blogging conference just a bit more? Go geocaching! And again: The beach!
5. Don’t overextend yourself. Yes, there are some cool off-site parties going on. I’ve turned down a few invitations because I didn’t want to be go-go-going the whole time. I wanted to have some down time. Some time to do what I wanted. And I sure as hell wouldn’t want to miss the Voices of the Year Community Keynote. (I said that over on Chronicles, but I maintain it. No swag party is worth missing the Community Keynote. It’s why we blog, people.) Take some time to just sit in the lobby and talk with friends. Take some time to meet someone new. If you see someone who looks like they might be overwhelmed or all alone at a table, stop and say hi. It might be me, just taking a breather, and I’d love to meet you!
6. Make sure your blog is updated and that everything works. This should be common sense. But, uh, I didn’t do that before my last conference. Fantastic!
7. Take pictures! That’s not surprising coming from me, I know. But don’t forget. If you leave your camera in your room (GASP!), use your phone. Or make your husband carry your camera. What? I bought his plane ticket! He can carry the camera, right? No? Okay, okay.
And that’s kinda it. I would offer you advice about schmoozing with brands or how to get the best swag, but that’s not what I’m good at — mainly because I get distracted by meeting my favorite bloggers. I can’t even tell you which sessions I am attending because I am blown away by The Complete Awesome that I have to choose from in each time slot. (Though, if you don’t like a session or feel that it’s not what you were looking for, feel free to quietly get up and go to another one that would be a better fit. The people up front are too busy to notice you sneaking out. And probably only two people will tweet that you left the room.) Oh, and don’t forget to hit up the free BlogHer parties on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening. Apparently CheeseburgHer has fries this year. Save a mushy one for me, okay?
Now that I’ve said entirely too much, I need to make my official list: Are you going? If so, please leave a comment. I’ll contact you for your details so we can meet up. Feel free to link up your pre-BlogHer ’11 post too! Also, I’m very easily found in a hallway sitting on the floor. In a dress. Next to a be-mustached firefighter if it’s in the evening. And I’ll likely be wearing green, except for the Community Keynote. I changed it up and went blue. I’m living on the edge.