The best part of going on vacation immediately after a conference like BlogHer is that you are forced off of the grid (for the most part) and NOT forced to immediately see all the pictures, read all the posts and rehash every moment, session and party.
It’s a lot to comprehend, you guys. There was a lot of discussion on the days (hell, weeks) leading up to it. Questions about wardrobe, worry over being the “new girl”, the “non-mom” girl, the “single” girl – or any combination thereof. I read and saw it all and really had no idea what to expect.
2400 women in one place. You can imagine what could happen. I’m sure a lot of the expected drama did happen. We women are like that. But I can only comment on what I experienced – and it was really, really interesting.
I had party invites – and only went to a few. I had sessions mapped out for all of Friday – and only went to one. I had some sessions mapped out for Saturday, too. But you wouldn’t find me in the hotel Saturday until later. I missed the whole day – almost the whole conference if you looked at it on paper.
But I missed nothing.
I went to one session – the one on fashion blogging. I manned up and asked a question and heard from some bright, talented and stylish businesswomen who were kind enough to indulge a newbie. I met a woman who represents a store that holds great sentimental value in my mind – and helped me loved fashion and shopping at an early age. If you’ve ever undressed in a common dressing room, you’d smile along with me about this.
Out of that session and through a strange turn of events I had a chance to have dinner with the powerhouse named Nichelle Page – StyleMom. I don’t get surprised often, but here I will admit something. Much like many others have written, I am ashamed to admit that I wasn’t sure if any of the “rockstar” bloggers on these panels would really be generous enough to spend time with some of newbies in their niches. You would think at (shortly) 40 years old I’d have learned differently.
Sometimes I’m an asshole. It doesn’t make them one.
I so enjoyed meeting Nichelle. She is tough, bright, smart and we spent endless amounts of time talking about old school glamour, manners and style. And, yes, these kids need to pull their damn pants up. I hope we get to do some collaborating this year – something tells me it’d be an awful lot of fun.
Out of that dinner came laughs with two other fantastic women – the precious Lindsay from Gemvara and yet another Nichelle G from 55SecretStreet. Confession: Nichelle and I spent Saturday walking the hell out 5th avenue. She indulged me in my need to walk through the magic B’s of New York: Bendels, Bergdorfs and Barneys. We talked about the fashion publishing industry, the city, the market and about a hundred things in between including how we were pretty much convinced we were best friends in a previous life.
Then there were more surprises. Aimee being one of them. Oh, my lord, how I love this woman. She is my sister soul in many, many ways. I had no idea how I was going to meet her (and, oh, how much I wanted to). Thank G-d for the Chevy Volt charging station and having to sit and watch people walk by – ‘cause she did. Random introductions became a date for pizza later and with Aimee came the force of nature called Jorja. There just are not words for this woman. Go get to know her – your life and your heart will be better for it.
My life and heart are better for knowing and spending time with my roommates – Jennifer and April. Three different women from three different cities and three different backgrounds who laughed and giggled and strategized and OMG’ed each and every day. I’m pretty convinced April is going to take over the world – and Jennifer will pick the finest wines to celebrate when she does. We have nothing and everything in common and I don’t think I’ve laughed that hard in many, many years.
Was it all glitter and rainbows and unicorn farts? No. I think the swag was not only overdone but poorly conceived in many ways. There was a point at which I wanted a button that simply said, “Pitch me your blog and I’m going to punch you in the tits.”
I’ll get around to your blog – I wanted to know YOU. Not your platform.
But am I glad I went? Yes. Absolutely. I am so looking forward to continuing all the great discussions that just started in New York. These moments – filled with insight and inspiration and compassion and generosity and humor and LIFE.
Those are the best swag of all.