What to Expect When You're Expecting. . . {To Go to Blogher}

Continuing on the "omgwtfbbq Blogher is in 4 weeks!!" reactions that've been popping up around the blogosphere, I figured I'd throw my hat into the ring of "seasoned" Blogher goers and write another advice post. These tips might be a little less traditional though...  

1. Make a calendar... and then throw it out the window.

I still have a calendar for this year, but the difference between this year's and last year's is that for this year, I know that my scheduled events are 110% flexible. There's a couple parties that I absolutely want to go to, and maybe 1 session, but that's it. Everything else? Take it or leave it. If I get to meet up with ladies like Morgan or Melissa and spend a few hours with each like I did last year? Way more worth it than a session that I may or may not get anything out of.

If you're curious, though, here's my calendar!    

2. Carry a small purse with just the essentials.

You are going to get a boatload  metric shitton of swag at this conference. Cards, pillows, sex toys, you name it. I got playdoh perfume last year, no joke. Shipping it home has been made easier by BlogHer as they did a shipping station (UPS, i believe) last year for people who felt like paying to send their free shit cross-country (yeah, I don't get it either). But what to do with all of your handouts while you're trolling the endless exposition halls? I thought I'd be smart the first day and bring my laptop to the sessions... which meant schlepping the lappy, the charger, my wallet, phone, biz cards... all in my laptop bag. I was already carrying a good 5 lbs on my shoulder... and then I hit the Expo. Luckily, BlogHer and White House Black Market gave us bags (I still use the WHBM bag to carry groceries from my car upstairs) to help carry around all the schwag. Even so, I still wound up going back to my room to dump stuff a couple of times-- including my hefty lappy. Moral of the story: travel light AT the conference. Small purse, with just the essentials (and an ipad or notebook if you must), and you'll be able to navigate your way through the conference 10 lbs lighter and a lot less awkward (awkwardly?)

 

3. Speaking of essentials... 

There are a few things I'd carry with me during the conference: camera (or phone), extra batteries (for camera) and/or PHONE CHARGER, extra business cards, a light cardigan (it can get chilly in those conference rooms), a granola bar or two (it's easy to miss lunch!), a pen or two, and if you're vain/self-conscious like me, a mini makeup touchup kit... because there will be a zillion and a half pictures taken. Also, if you're wearing uncomfortable shoes for whatever reason, bring a pair of flip flops in your purse. You'll be doing a ton of walking. You'll thank me later.

 

4. Birthday suits are generally frowned upon... 

At least until the parties get going in full swing ;) In terms of daytime clothing, I plan on bringing a couple sundresses and a cardi to wear over them if needed. I'll be wearing a pair of flats/flipflops or a pair of wedges (thanks to Blowfish Shoes) during the day. I'm a bit of an accessory fiend, so I'll be bringing a lot of fun baubles (made easier by traveling down in a car)... but they're a good way to dress up a plain solid-color dress if you go the sundress route. I'll probably also pack a pair of shorts and a kickass tshirt from Band Back Together (cute, super comfy AND for a good cause!) in case I get sick of dresses.

Nighttime is the hard part, for me at least. Last year, I had 3 dresses that I'd brought. I actually wore jeans and a cute top/heels the first night (for People's Party, which was more low key but I felt underdressed regardless), and then a cute strapless cocktail dress the next. The third night, I busted the zipper on my super cute but too small dress in the hotel lobby, so I wound up repeating the boobalicious cocktail dress form night two. Every night, I agonized over what to wear... although it didn't help that my roomies were ridonkulously cute and I didn't feel that way at all. Back to the point, if you can fit them in your suitcase (roll em up!), bring an extra dress or two as an alternative, just in case. Plus, you'll get sweaty dancing the night away and you won't want to wear a dress twice if you don't have to.

Nighttime shoes... up to you. If you have COMFY heels (or ones you can still stand in once you start drinking), go for it! Otherwise, prepare for pain. Lots of walking and dancing in ill-fitting or uncomfortable shoes == bad bad news. I'd also bring a pair of flip flops in your purse for the stumble home (At least, that's what I'll be doing. It's like college all over again.)

 

 

5. Talk to people -- in advance -- about hanging out.

For me, and I know a lot of other people, a hugely anxiety-producing aspect of a conference as big as BlogHer is not knowing if you're going to find anyone nice, or friendly, or welcoming to tag along with. I solved this last year via Twitter-stalking (during the conference!) Morgan, Melissa, Sandy, and a few other people who all turned out to be crazy awesome. If you're less of a Twitter stalker than I am, though, I'd advise talking to people in advance. It's ok to ask "hey, what are your plans for saturday? want to be conference buddies?" If it makes you feel any better, most people are feeling the same way. Last year, The Bloggess hid in the bathroom... you're not alone. Also, remember your anxiety meds/alcohol/recreational relaxants if you take them regularly. Forgetting them will make you more stressed out and you'll spend your time worrying about that instead of meeting awesome people and having fun.

Oh! And don't be afraid to go up to random people and look at their boobs. By that, I mean check out their nametags, see if you know them/their blog/their twitter handle :) Say HI, for god's sake. While some people go into BlogHer knowing a lot of other bloggers, some people (myself included) are still relative or complete n00bs...and everyone knows that, so they tend to be pretty welcoming.

 

This has been an epic 1000 word essay... so I'm going to end it here for now. I'll be back with a couple more tips and some things you should know about me pre-conference tomorrow, though! Oh, and did I miss any untraditional tips or secrets to surviving? Tell me in the comments!