20 July 2008

San Francisco part one: BlogHer ’08

By: Jessica B.
After three crazy days, a run-in with hotel security, a cheeseburger party, damaging photos, many late nights and one early morning, BlogHer ’08 is officially closed for this year. And now it’s 1:15 a.m. San Fran time and I’m blogging because I can’t seem to fall asleep yet. That will be painful tomorrow. Anyhow, my time in San Fran for the conference has been amazing. Truly eye-opening and just an overall a great experience.

It’s true that I haven’t been “warm,” except for my time around a microwave and heat lamp, since I arrived on Thursday, but I would come to this conference again in a heartbeat. But next time, I’ll bring warmer clothes as opposed to the “cute cool” clothing, which I currently have. Yeah cotton jackets and layered T-shirts = not a good idea. I should have listened to my friend Sarah’s advice a bit closer.

I don’t want to bore you with all the details of the conference but I did want touch on some of the highlights from this part of my San Fran visit.
BlogHer ’08 Highlights:
  • Cab trip to the hotel
  • My interview with the New York Times
  • Bloggy meet ups
  • Parties
  • Presents
Cab Ride:
So on our way to the hotel from the San Fran airport, we got our first real indication that we weren’t in Chicago anymore. Cabs here proudly state that they take credit cards. That is awesome. In Chicago, I have to fight with a cab driver to take my credit card but here, they not only state that they’ll take it, but display the credit cards they accept. I love San Fran!

So during our bumpy ride into the city, our cab driver suddenly pulls over along the side of the road (not in front of our hotel) and a man, who was waiting on the sidewalk we pulled in front of, approaches the car, and slips something to the cab driver in exchange for money. My car-mates, Danielle and Teresa, and I didn’t quite know what to say and then suddenly we’re back in traffic heading to the hotel. It wasn’t until we were checked in and Teresa and I met up later that I said, “hey was our cab driver doing a ‘drug deal’ on the ride to the hotel today?” Now I can’t say for sure that’s what happened but it was O-D-D.

Me & the NYT:

Yep that’s right, I was interviewed by a Style-section reporter for the New York Times. On Friday, the first day of BlogHer, I was really excited to attend the Twenty-Something meet-up session. I met a ton of nice people in my first few days here but I was really looking forward to this meet up to find people in my age range. After the meet-up, the reporter approached me and introduced herself and said she wanted to ask me a few questions. The Times is doing a story on BlogHer and she interviewed me for part of the article. Now I’m not expecting to see my name in the paper (even though it would be awesome) but as a NYT Style-section fanatic, that would definitely be a treat. So fingers crossed and I’ll keep you guys posted when the article runs.

Bloggy meet ups!

Obviously there are a lot of bloggers at BlogHer, specifically women bloggers (shocker I know.) As I mentioned above though, everyone I’ve met here has been really cool. And my bloggy business cards (picture still coming) from Angie were a huge hit. People have commented how “cute” and “clever” they are, to which of course I say “thank you.” I’ve collected a ton of cards from mom and 20-something bloggers and overall, I found that people were really interested in finding out what people were blogging about, how long they’ve been blogging and what kind of topics they write about on their blogs. I will be working on adding some of the new blogs to my Reader next week and checking them out as soon as possible. And I met someone Saturday night who already reads my blog, which was a huge treat. I felt insanely flattered.

Part of my Chicago blosse and my new blosse addition: Vanessa

One of the most interesting things I overheard in a break-out session was, “I work in porn, but I don’t use my real name. I mean I want to be a teacher one day.” Awesome, just awesome.

Famous blogger “run-in:” At the BlogHer Community Keynote speech on Friday night, a co-worker I was sitting with casually leaned over and whispered at me:

“Do you know who is sitting at the table next to us?


“Dooce, she’s sitting like in your seat at the table next to us.”

“Really? No way.” (Turns out my co-worker was right, so to share this news, I texted a few friends about my fortune, followed by me repeatedly staring at Dooce without trying to look like a crazy stalker.)


The time change has been hard over the last few days, but that hasn’t stopped me from partying like a little rock star! Thursday night we went to the Newbie party at the hotel, where I got to see my Chicago blogger buddies and meet a Katelin and Vanessa in person! The bar at the Newbie Party was also very generous – Teresa’s cranberry and vodka was about 80/20 in mix, with the 80 being vodka. Meow!

The hotel was also hosting a People’s Party, which we got to a bit late and thus lost out on the goodie bags. They were really cute too, which made it all the more disappointing that I didn’t get one.

But Sprout was doing a drawing for a gift bag, full of yoga mats, SIGG bottles and kid-friendly toys. And let me say, I entered the drawing only because I know I wouldn’t win. I never win stuff like this but I always throw my card in anyhow. So you can imagine the SHOCK on my face when the woman doing the drawing pulls out a business card and says, “Everyday Adventures of Me in the City? You’re the winner!” I seriously burst out laughing and “woo-ing” very loudly (because of a glass or three of wine). So I grabbed my HUGE bag of stuff and filtered through it in the hallway answering “no I’m not a mom but my friend is!” to people’s questions about my prize. Now, I have plenty of gifts for my beloved Ada, Sarah and some for me too.

Then Saturday night, TNT hosted a BlogHer party and I was particularly excited because, as you all know, I just listed The Closer on my list of “things I love” right now. Gina Ravera (Det. Irene Daniels) from the show was there and I was literally trying not to geek out in front of her.

I had my picture taken with her too, but I need to track it down from the photographer so it’s coming! I’m not letting that slip by. And some of my 20-something peeps at the party and I closed that night club, Ruby Skye, down…at 9:30 p.m. It was a ton of fun, and proves again that Chardonnay for me is very effective in helping me to loosen up.

Below is a picture of the cocktail napkins at our Macy’s party last night. I thought this napkin was the most genius idea ever. By day 2 of the conference, a lot of bloggers had run out of business cards so this was a proper substitute to hand out to people. Our Chicago/LA/Texas bloggy group thought it was awesome. I hope someone grabbed a stack before we left the party.

Christmas morning-like joy

OMG I have so much stuff, I’m so glad I brought a big suitcase to take back to Chicago. Below is a picture to show you a sampling of the stuff I got here at the conference. I will definitely be keeping some of it and donating it to my friend Sarah, who is hosting me Sunday-Tuesday at her apartment, and giving some to Yoda Amanda’s daughter Ada. I’m getting Karma on my side by paying it forward here.

So in a nutshell that’s my time at BlogHer. I could go on and on about this for days, but rather than ramble about it, I’ll just say this on top of my highlights. Going to BlogHer was definitely an experience. It was overwhelming at times, but totally worth it. I got to go to some great sessions and meet some really cool people. It wasn’t all play (I was there for work) but the opportunity to go was amazing and I really hope I can go next year too. And I have more pictures to collect so there are more antics caputerd on film that are not represented here.

So what’s next? Well while co-workers and blog buddies are flying back to Chicago today, I’m opting to stay behind on the West Coast and get some “R&R” with my buddy Sarah, who lives in San Fran now but is in the process of moving back to Chicago in August.

I’ll be back in a day or two with the second part of my San Francisco adventure: the chronicles of Jess and Sarah. And our adventures are starting with the Dark Knight in IMAX and will likely end with someone being drunk dialed as we sing/scream Journey into the phone. Beware.


  1. ~Angela~ says:

    Who’s jealous? Oh, right. That’d be me.

  2. Heidi Renée says:

    What fun–and you got to go for work, even better.

    My Pay It Forward packages have (FINALLY) been mailed–keep an eye out for yours!

  3. Marianne says:

    Wowowowow sounds amazing!! So jalouse – very glad we had you there reporting back! So exciting about the New York Times- can’t wait to see that article.

  4. Maris says:

    I keep reading about the cheeseburger party and I don’t know HOW I missed that one. Now I definitely have to go again next year!!

    Random question:: how do I set up the RSS button so that people can subscribe to my blog? I use wordpress but I can’t seem to figure it out!!

  5. Cheryl says:

    cheeseburger party? nice!

  6. Jessica Sutton says:

    Sounds like and awesome time! Congrats on the NYT interview!!!

  7. Blaez says:

    very awesome! i’m so happy you had a wonderful time. i can’t wait to visit cali, that’s on my “todo” list!

  8. EP says:

    So much fun! It looks incredible, and I cannot believe that you were interviewe for the NYT! I hope you made it into the article — that would be amazing!

  9. LJ says:

    Wow sounds awesome! I love that the cabs take credit cards! Last time I took a cab in Chicago I had to have the cabbie bring me to the ATM before my stop, because he wouldn’t take Visa!

  10. Angela says:

    HOW FUN! You sound like you had SUCH a great time. And now you’re still in SF being able to just chill! I can’t believe your cabby did a drug deal, with you guys in the car like that! That’s messed up.

    Those cocktail napkins? AMAZING! Old-school social networking style!

  11. Alexa says:

    i’m not jealous, not at all.

    the above statement is a lie.

  12. Vanessa says:

    It was so awesome to meet you in person. The whole weekend went by way too fast and I think trip to Chicago is in order because I can’t wait another year to see you at BlogHer09! You can always come to Dallas of course too!

  13. Jamie Lovely says:

    This was the most amazing weekend ever.

  14. megkathleen says:

    I think I’ll have to go next year. I hope your interview is featured in the NYT article!

  15. Katelin says:

    it was so fun meeting you! and love the post, you definitely got that up quick, haha. hope you have a great rest of the trip and loved batman as much as i did :)

  16. Rachel says:

    I just….oh man….that is so awesome….I’m literally glowing green with jealousy.

  17. carrie lea says:

    I’m jealous! Can I go with you next year?

  18. Miss Grace says:

    It was great meeting you this weekend! You’ve done a MUCH better job (as have a lot of people) with the summarizing and the posting and the whatnot. I feel OVERWHELMED with the amount of stuff in my brain. Who knows what will make it into my self-published little world.

  19. kay* says:

    sounds like a fantastic time! if i was on the west coast i would definitely go – maybe next year!

  20. The Modern Gal says:

    Lucky duck! It sounds like so much fun. I’m definitely going next year!

  21. thegoodnamesaretaken says:

    Sounds like an awesome time! I’m glad you’re having so much fun :)

  22. jesslovesnyc says:

    Sounds like you are having a blast!! I so wanna go to BlogHer next year…:)

  23. chickbug says:

    it is official. i need to go next year!

  24. Erin says:

    Sounds like so much fun. I’m dying from the jealousy back here in the sticky midwest.

    Have fun on the rest of your trip!

  25. SF says:

    ooh sounds like you had a lot of fun….kinda creepy about the cab ride though..hmm…i would totally think exactly what you thought about that!

  26. TKTC says:

    Sounds like a blast!! Looking forward to catching the full scoop from you and Danielle in person:)

  27. Kate, RD says:

    So glad BlogHer went well and that you are having a fab time! Can’t wait to catch up with you back at the Aon – our Friday lunch date can’t come soon enough!

  28. Sandy says:

    Sounds like so much fun! Glad you had a good time- and that cab trip? Something was definitely up..

  29. Jenn says:

    I can’t believe you posted already. I’m too exhausted to even remember what happened Thursday! It’ll give me something to do on the plane :)

  30. Princess Pointful says:

    Wowza… that’s a serious trip.
    It sounds like an absolute blast, though– and it seems as though San Fran is bringing you some good luck. Enjoy the rest of your holiday!