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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21 Responses to “10 Things I Learned at BlogHer”

  1. It’s hard to come up with a fresh slant on BlogHer, but you did it providing both insight and useful information for the next year’s attendees. You all look so great!
    Mary recently posted..How do I say this Richard Lindzen… Your Opinion is Moot in the MarketMy Profile

  2. I love this post, what a treat to spend the weekend with you. Your hair looks fabulous :) I really agree about the midwestern accents, it’s a little piece of home! Thanks for all that you do.
    Lindsay recently posted..Back to school: Keeping our kids safeMy Profile

  3. This was a great post! I am not a blogger and have never been to a conference, but I think a lot of this could apply to other situations. I especially liked number 10.

  4. Thanks Marsha. I’m guessing you’re right-these tips could apply to a lot of situations. I also love # 10 :)

  5. So wonderful to spend the weekend with you Lindsay. Thanks for everything. Those midwestern accents are hard to miss and boy do I miss them! I know you can relate. Thanks for all YOU do!!

  6. Hopefully we’ll see your smile at BlogHer next year Mary. We missed you!

  7. Sounds like you had a great time! Too bad I couldn’t make it, would have loved to hang out with you, but we are busy moving into our new house.

    Will you go next year?

    Dagmar

  8. Hi Dagmar, It would have been really nice to see you-but I completely understand! Moving is a huge undertaking. I’m not sure about next year. They still haven’t announced where the conference will take place. I’m also toying with trying a smaller conference. I’ve never been to any others aside from BlogHer. Will you go next year? Best of luck with the move! Very exciting.

  9. I loved your reflective post on BlogHer 2013. It was so on point. I have attended many conferences and I have found that it is so important to reflect, recap and determine next steps as soon as possible after the event.

  10. While I was not at BlogHer this year I will say that last year one of the highlights for me was just meeting other great writers and learning about what other people write about. It kind of goes with your outside the green bubble points. So many talented people go to these events it is always great to meet them!

    PS I wish they would just announce next years location!
    Leigh recently posted..6 Things You Need In Your Kitchen To Reduce Food WasteMy Profile

  11. Nice post Lori! Sounds like ypu had fun. I would add this to the list – don’t be intimidated by “famous” speakers. Most speakers are happy to chat with attendees. They are social by nature! You can get a lot out of introducing yourself to someone you admire and you never know what cool things might result.
    Holly Chessman recently posted..The Human to Human ConnectionMy Profile

  12. [...] also spent time with friends (Lori has a great BlogHer recap here) and was connected with new health/green minded bloggers. This is a small but might online [...]

  13. Great point Holly. Thanks! I’ve found over the years that the speakers are very receptive to talking and exchanging info. Thanks again!

  14. I have to admit that I really missed having you there this year Leigh! I’m waiting patiently to see where it’ll be next year. Maybe we can have a stellar turnout again, much like New York.

  15. Thanks Deborah. I’m curious – what other conferences have you gone to? I’ve only been to BlogHer and would love to check out others.

  16. Wow, Lori, I am beyond impressed that you fit in yoga and jogging at BlogHer! You are absolutely right that being at BlogHer is like being “on” 24/7–that’s exactly how I described it to my husband. And yes, it certainly does help to have a supportive family waiting for you at home. I shed a few tears of joy to see my family waiting for me at the airport, the kids with their little homemade cards–so sweet!
    Joy @ Joyfully Green recently posted..My Blog or My Life: The Slippery Slope of Balancing Work and FamilyMy Profile

  17. [...] that were lovely and informative (the Healthy Child Healthy World event to which I was invited by Lori and the Vision Council session on UV and skin cancer prevention), and fun (Sweet Suite, a toy [...]

  18. Thanks for your way of encouraging all the other bloggers you meet. And yes, thanks to Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families for all they do to educate and empower women and families.
    Anne recently posted..Flour Sack Mama’s Fresh Pick Southern Sandwich: Recipe and Mezzetta GiveawayMy Profile

  19. Joy-it was SO great meeting you at BlogHer! As much as I loved being at the conference, I loved coming home even more. I’ll have to work on my three to make me homemade cards next time. I’m a little jealous :)

  20. It was so nice to spend time with you Anne at BlogHer. You are truly an inspiration.

  21. […] year MightNest was one of my sponsors for my trip to BlogHer in Chicago. I had a chance to meet the lovely Annie from MightyNest in real life, which always […]

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About Lori

I’m Lori Popkewitz Alper, a recovering attorney and the Founder of Groovy Green Livin. I like to make noise and stir the pot especially when an issue hits home and effects the health of our families. Join me as I make some noise and share along the way tips for living a green and healthy life. Read more.

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