‘BlogHer’ Category

09 August 2010

Weekend recap: NEW YORK!

By: Jessica B.

Woo, happy Monday everyone! I am BACK from New York! Yes, I’m still exhausted after sleeping only about 15 hours in four days but the Big Apple and BlogHer were amazing.

So let’s cut the crap and get to the good stuff!

BlogHer. This is the third time I’ve been fortunate enough to go for work and each time, I go through the same motions: nerves, extreme nerves, shyness, drinking, fun, wondering why I was nervous.

I’m crazy. This year, the conference was pretty big, around 1,800+ and honestly, it kind of felt big. Sitting in the grand ballroom, looking at a sea of people at tables was overwhelming for a minute, but once you got into breakout sessions and wandered around, it felt more comfortable. I got to sit in on some interesting sessions and learned a lot, plus hit the expo area, where I tried not to take everything in sight.

But I did walk away with some cool stuff, like a Pillow (client), Anti-Aging Eye Roller and pseudo electronic toothbrush. The last one shakes, so you can imagine what the TSA may have thought was in there when it accidentally turned on in my suitcase (wink wink).

Oh and I got to meet Padma from Top Chef. She’s absolutely gorgeous in person but a little dry on conversation. Still gorgeous though. I am a Top Chef geek.

And along with BlogHer, I got to see some of my favorite people in the entire world in New York. Another reason I love BlogHer, it lets me see some of my bloggy buddies in person. Sadly, I only see them a few times a year so makes me so grateful we can be together. I also got to know some bloggers better and meet new awesome people too.

We even got a group together for a 20sb meet up Saturday night. Look at us represent!

Photo courtesy of Katelin

Friday night I got to be Katelin’s date to the Brand About Town Nintendo dinner at the Central Park Boathouse too. It was gorgeous and such a great night. Brand About Town even hooked us up with the best transportation ever, pedicabs with drivers dressed like Mario. I mean, adorable, OMG.

Photo courtesy of Katelin

I won’t go into the stories of pounding champagne or being out until 3:30 a.m. or being locked out of my room twice because someone tried to impersonate me at the hotel, but instead I’m focusing on the great time with everyone and wondering how those four days could go by so fast :(

Guess it’s time for another trip back to NYC this fall :)

How was everyone else’s weekend?

04 August 2010

Big love for the Big Apple

By: Jessica B.

Tomorrow I’ll be on my way to New York for BlogHer and before I succumb to the bright lights and big city, I wanted to take a minute and appreciate the Big Apple.

Sure, I live in the Windy City, the third-largest city in the US, but my lust for the big city started in New York.

The first time I visited New York was a long time ago with my dad and brother. I wanted to see everything touristy and we almost did. I loved the feeling of the city, the people, the pulse and the noise (minus cars honking). I remember waking up in the middle of the night to see if the Times Square lights were still on (they were) and feeling like this was the most amazing place ever.

I’ve been to New York a bunch of times now but there is something about it that still makes me smile. I love Chicago, I love this city, but sometimes, going to New York is like going on a rollercoaster with your hands up in the air. It’s a rush.

So in prep for my trip, below is a little list of things I love about New York:

  • Rockefeller Center
  • Broadway shows (the music sounds so amazing)
  • Street vendor shopping (pashminas for $5? Three please!)
  • Food (last time I was in NY, I went to Perilla, Harold’s place from Top Chef season 1, and it was incredible)
  • Central Park (Gorgeous bit of nature)
  • Walking the neighborhoods (like Chicago, each has such a great vibe, I love watching the scenery change)
  • The Met (this place still blows my mind with all the gorgeous artwork)
  • Late night tapings (I’ve seen Conan, Stewart and Letterman live, would give anything to see Colbert!)

If you want the BlogHer play-by-play, follow me on Twitter! If you don’t, well forgive me for the BlogHer-related tweets then. I’ll try to update Twitter as much as I can, pending Sprint’s reception in the hotel.

What about you? What do you love about New York? Have you been before?

30 December 2009

Peace out 2009 and hello 2010

By: Jessica B.

So tomorrow is New Years Eve, which means I’m taking a look back at 2009 and looking ahead to 2010 by making a list of resolutions.

Or as I like to call them “things I try to achieve when I’m not lazy.”

But before I go out tomorrow night, drink loads of champagne, possibly force a guy to make out with me and spend the first day of 2010 hungover on my couch, I want to highlight a few 2009 highlights (in no particular order):

All in all, 2009 was a pretty good year, lots going on but a lot of positive things too. So as I continuously try to become a better person, let’s look at how I plan to do that starting Friday. Oh and this is separate from the yearly pledge to lose more weight.

2010 resolutions:

  • Sign up for dance classes (real ones at a real dance studio)
  • Run a 5k (and start the Couch to 5k program)
  • Be a better friend and daughter
  • Start a knitting project (other than a scarf) and FINISH it
  • Make one new recipe a month
  • Be more active in blogging communities in addition to my blog

Well that’s my 2009 wrap up and 2010 sneak peek for now. I hope 2010 will be as exciting and good to me as well as for all of you. I think 2010 could be the year of me!

I’ll be back this weekend with more but in the meantime, I hope everyone has a safe and Happy New Year! My New Years Day plans involve my couch, a pizza and lots of water and Naked Juice. Let’s party.

What was your 2009 highlight (blog or otherwise) or what’s your big 2010 resolution?

New movie review is up! You can read my full review of the musical Nine, get those jazz hands ready!

What I’m wearing: Sunday, I put up a picture of me wearing the below outfit over the holidays and then I didn’t share what stores I got everything from! I’m sorry! Details on my comfortable, “trendy” look are below.

Outfit breakout:

Shirt: Old Navy

Long vest: Banana Republic

Leggings: Hue, purchased at Nordstrom

Necklace: Banana Republic outlet

Boots: Banana Republic

Bracelets: Old Navy (black jet beaded ones) and David Yurman

As many of you know, I’m a huge Gap/Banana/Old Navy fan. Minus the Yurman bracelets, the most expensive item from this ensemble was the boots, which were $100 on super-end-of-season sale. Everything else individually was $40 or below.

28 July 2009

BlogHer recap – Close encounter of the Tim Gunn-kind

By: Jessica B.

That’s right. I was touched by the right hand of fashion and style, Tim Gunn. Actually, we hugged. And yes, I almost screamed out loud like a teeny bopper waiting at the mall. But we’ll get to that later.

This past weekend was BlogHer and I love it because I get to hang out with awesome people I read all the time, get my geek on and party like a blog star.

And this year was no different. I got to meet up with some of my favorite bloggers from San Fran last year and discovered three new blog crushes: Modern Gal, Life in Pink (who has the best laugh ever) and Chookooloonks. I actually fell in love with Karen while we were talking after a session she moderated. No joke.

There were a lot of highlights from this year’s conference, and I’ve put them together in a little list and photo montage for you below.


  • Sit-down dinner at the Signature Room (thank you Brand About Town). Our table kicked a**! I’ll never look at a scratching post or think about dry humping the same way again
  • BowlHer/Cheeseburger party. I won’t lie, I was so drunk I don’t remember a lot of both parties, but if  I slapped your butt, tried to pull your shirt down and/or grab your boob. I’m sorry (sort of)
  • Lunch! OMG the lunch food was so much better than last year. I got to sit and eat family style with awesome people. Win, win
  • Sheraton hotel beds. I’m not kidding, it was one of the best beds I’ve ever been in. It was like sleeping on a cloud, wrapped in a hug (and you know how I love to hug)
  • Friends. I’ve said this before but I’m so fortunate to have great blog friends. One bought me champagne to congratulate me on finishing my work at the conference and everyone was so supportive when I thought I might lose my mind
  • Wooing. BlogHer can be a little overwhelming so to keep our group of bloggy ladies together, we adopted the “woo” chant, a la HIMYM. Silly? Maybe, but it works

Okay here are some of my favorite photos.

Me and Tim Gunn – Yes, that is the look of pure joy on my face

Me and Edward Cullen – I think that is the only clean picture we took with him :)

Photo of me, April and Rick Bayless. Me = Super Top Chef fan

So that was BlogHer 2009 in Chicago. And let me just say, it blew my skirt up (not literally).

We’ll see you b*tches in NYC next year. Woo woo!!

Tonight’s question! If you had the chance to meet one celebrity, who would it be and why!

Reader note: Thank you everyone for your sweet words about the new blog design! I’m super happy with it and am so glad you’re joining me over here. Your comments definitely made my day!

Site updates: Sorry about the little feed issue last night. Google went a little crazy on me. So sorry! Working on resolving that issue now. Stupid feeds. Also, the “Subscribe in Google Reader” link on the right is now working!

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.