July 31st, 2013

10 Things I Learned at BlogHer

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Groovy Green Livin BlogHer

BlogHer Safer Chemicals Healthy Families gang, Penelope from Toxic Baby, Kathy from Safe Mama, Lindsay from Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, Micaela from Mindful Momma, me, Anne from Flour Sack Mama.

I just got home from a whirlwind of a weekend at BlogHer in Chicago. This was my third BlogHer and I managed to keep up my tradition of coming home inspired, rejuvenated and completely exhausted.

After giving some thought to my experience as a whole this year there are at least 10 things I took away from the conference.

1. A cute outfit matters. Let me clarify this so I don’t sound completely shallow. It’s so important to wear something that makes you feel good. If you’re going to spend 2-3 days pitching yourself and/or your product you need to feel confident and gorgeous from within.

2. Midwestern accents make me feel at home. Having grown up in Madison, Wisconsin there’s nothing that makes me feel more at home than hearing so many midwesterners talk the talk. It got to the point where I was stopping random people just to have a conversation. 

3. You can actually learn something from attending a session. Sometimes I tend to get wrapped up in everything but the sessions. This year I ran into Laura Fuentes from MOMables in the Expo Hall and she reminded me that she would be speaking. I went to her session and got my money’s worth and then some.

4. It’s OK to step outside of your niche and have some fun. Yes, I’m a green lifestyle blogger, but I’m not one dimensional. I have many other interests and they’re not always perfectly “green”. There are two standout events from this year’s BlogHer that I will remember forevaaah. 

Having my hair styled by celebrity stylist Mark Hill and his team was a weekend highlight.

Groovy Green Livin BlogHer

Attending a screening of Delivery Man was a perfect way to wrap up the conference. I laughed and I cried with some of my favorite bloggers.

Groovy Green Livin BlogHer

Trina from O’Boy Organic, Micaela from Mindful Momma, Leah from Mamvation, Me, Sarah from Mindfully Frugal Mom.

5. The people at the conference are what make me tick. There’s nothing like meeting someone in real life that you’ve been connected to online. Hearing those coveted words “I read your blog” or “You helped me change” is what it’s all about. Real life community.

Groovy Green Livin BlogHer

Me, Mariel Hemingway, Penelope Jagessar Chaffer and Tamara Rubin at the Healthy Child Healthy World, Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families event.

Groovy Green Livin BlogHer

Micaela, Ed Brown of Unacceptable Levels (I’m hoping to bring a screening to Boston) and Me.

6. Sponsorship with like-minded brands and organizations works. There have always been mixed reviews on whether or not sponsorship to a conference works. Over the past two years I’ve been sponsored by brands and organizations that I believe in, which for me makes it an organic fit. This year I was honored to receive sponsorship from Safer Chemicals Healthy Families, an organization that I’ve worked with for quite some time. I also was sponsored by two fabulous eco brands, Better Life and MightyNest.

7. It’s not about the swag. I have a gene from the depression era buried deep within that encourages me to seek out free products. It’s innate. My body goes into overdrive and my inclination is to run through the exhibit hall collecting free swag from every station. This year I managed to take a step back and ask the question “Do I really need this?” The press-on nails, the bra sizing kit? I left a lot for others to enjoy, but somehow my luggage still managed to tip the overweight scale at the airport.

8. There will always be drama. Throw a large group of people together and there will always be controversy. Was Sheryl Sandberg’s presentation spot-on or did she miss the mark?  Should the tradition of private, off-site parties continue to be allowed at BlogHer?

9. Find time for yourself. BlogHer can be overwhelming, especially for those of us not used to being ‘on’ 24/7. Finding time for myself was my key to survival. I was able to find time for some yoga and a run around the lake.

10. My family is amazing. But I already knew that. Without the support and encouragement of my family my 4 days away would have never happened. I knew that while I was ‘working’ the conference my husband was entertaining our three kids plus one friend. No worrying needed on my end. They had the time of their lives. Whether it’s family or friends, finding support in everything you do makes a difference.

I have so many more photos to share so stay tuned!

Have you been to BlogHer or any other large conference? Any words of wisdom?

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