I’ve been to two blogging conferences since Fitbloggin’ without sharing what I experienced and learned other than tidbits in other posts. Well, I’m about to remedy that and we’ll start out with the BlogHer 2013 conference in Chicago this past July.
This post will discuss official BlogHer events and I’ll have another one this week with other events I attended while in Chicago. My Two Savvy Sisters blogging partner and sister attended with me.
Hotel and Conference Venue
The official hotel was the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers which is located in downtown Chicago right on the Chicago river. The photo above is the view from the seating area behind the lobby and next to the bar. The weather was great.
Our room was nicely appointed although smaller than the New York Hilton the previous year. We were pretty high up (I can’t remember at this point) and had a nice view of the city and river. There weren’t any elevator problems (as in New York) and the service was fantastic!
There were room drops this year (yay!). This is the a picture of the first night. I didn’t use the Steve Harvey thing and gave Melrose my Windex touch-up. Not because I didn’t want it but didn’t want to ship it. The next night was Denny’s bag with gift card which I was happy to use!
Although official parties were at the hotel, the conference was not which was an inconvenience. The conference was a bus ride away at the McCormick Center. This distance meant we spent less time at the conference because once your bags were full from the expo, your options were shipping it home from the conference center business center or returning to the hotel to drop it off.
My sister who drove went back to the hotel but then who wants to ride the bus back?
BlogHer has pre-conference sessions but we’ve never attended. The official conference kicks off with a party in the Expo Hall on Thursday evening. It conflicted with other events we had and due to it being a bus ride away from the hotel we couldn’t swing by at all. Following the Expo Hall opening, there was the People’s Party at the Sheraton.
The BlogHer parties were in smaller rooms than past years. This made them uncomfortable and overcrowded unless you got there as soon as it opened. I say bring back the ballrooms!
Melrose went to a breakfast hosted by PetSmart (at the Sheraton) and I went to an unofficial event so we both missed the kickoff keynote with Ree Drummond at the convention center. After our breakfast events we headed to the convention center and hit the Expo Hall until lunch.
We attended the US Cellular luncheon which included a great discussion about children and their access to cell phones and social media. You can see highlights from the event including side and back views of me (I’m wearing an orange blouyse) in this US Cellular Luncheon Video. My favorite part (other than the food) was trying out the Google glasses!
I shipped a box home from the conference center and visited exhibitors a bit longer before heading to the hotel for a round of off-site events.
Although we didn’t get in at first, a White Cloud sponsored party, Cocktails in the Cloud, took walk-ins and it was fantastic. They had a representative wearing a dress made from White Cloud toilet paper greeting guests as you came in. Everything in the room was white and blue including white fog.
There was a photo booth, food, drinks and a fun performance art presentation. I really regret not taking more pictures!
Party attendees were shipped a box of goodies afterward with toilet paper, a comfy robe, slippers and a power bank. Class act!
There was a full slate of BlogHer parties open to everyone Friday evening. I think we briefly hit all the tribes parties starting at 9 pm. My favorite was the Queerosphere party. They had great food and a fun vibe. I’m not a DIY-er but they had things to make for those that like crafts.
With four parties going on at the same time, we didn’t stay any one place very long and hit our sacks around midnight.
Our morning started off with the Nature Made breakfast event which I shared with you a few months ago. It was a well-done event as well. It was nice to meet them again after my first introduction at Fitbloggin’.
I ran over to the main breakfast room and arrived moments before Sheryl Sandberg took the stage for and interview and discussion on how the concept of leaning in applies to the audience. She is awesome and inspired me to buy the book (which is still waiting for me to crack it open).
We did eat lunch at the conference and the only other official conference session I attended was the Midlife bloggers roundtable discussion which was much too short!
The last official event we attended was the CheeseburgHer party. This has been an annual event since we attended BlogHer for the first time in 2009. The only disappointment was that it wasn’t McDonald’s food this year (for the first time). The burgers and fries were good; it just wasn’t the same.
I’m glad we decided last minute to attend this year despite the bus situation to attend the day events and expo. There were fewer attendees in New York which made it possible to enjoy the expo hall and sessions. Was it the best BlogHer conference I’ve been to? No. Was it worth it? Absolutely.
I’ve already bought my ticket for 2014 in San Jose and can’t wait to see what it brings.
Sarah S says
I booked my hotel for BlogHer last week, excited to be going it will be my first time, and its less than an hours drive for me 🙂 Look forward to seeing you there
Kay Lynn says
Sarah, you’ll love it. I’m excited about the fact they’re limiting tickets. The first one I went to in 2009 had about 2,500 attendees and that was a perfect size.