I want to first say that the parties and events I'm going to talk about were not official conference activities. They occurred off site while I was at the conference, but they were not associated or affiliated with the BlogHer '12 conference in anyway.
It's been a month since I returned from BlogHer in New York City. August turned out to be a very busy traveling month for me and I'm just now feeling like I'm recovering from all of it! Unfortunately, my memory of the parties and events I attended while in NYC isn't as sharp as it was a few weeks ago. I've been meaning to share some highlights with you, since I know some readers have been curious!
My main focus for attending this conference was for networking. I wanted to meet brands and bloggers. I wanted to talk with them and develop relationships and exchange business cards. While some of that occurred, it didn't happen as much as I had hoped. Most of the private events I attended weren't well suited for good face-to-face conversation. Many of the events were cocktail party style, which would have been more fun if I hadn't been pregnant.
I by no means think the events needed to be more pregnant friendly, it's just the reality of what my situation was while I was there!
No matter what, blogging friends make it all worthwhile!
If I had to do it all over again, I would have worked harder at setting up individual appointments with brands and reps I want to work with. I thought if I was invited to their exclusive party, that was the way to go, but then if I did find a rep I had to compete with all the other party-goers for that precious face time. And the swag. Why would I want to miss attending a party and getting an awesome swag bag?
I wasn't in it JUST for the swag, but I did get caught up in some of the hype surrounding all the “awesome swag” lots of bloggers were talking about. Did I want nice stuff to be gifted to me – of course! But I wanted to be more than just another face with a bag.
And some of the parties I went to where nice enough, just the sponsors there weren't necessarily a good fit for me. Again, no fault of the organizers – it wasn't a baby blogger conference. I hoped for more baby and toddler connections, but didn't encounter very many. There was such an array of blogging niches represented that there's no way every event (including the official Expo Hall) could make everyone happy.
Anyway, I had a few favorites which tended to be smaller gatherings were I was able to chit chat with people easier. A couple were put on by networks I work with, so it was great to put a face with all the emails. The Mom Central cocktail party the first night I arrived was far from the hotel, but gave me a good opportunity to talk with some of the campaign leaders as well as fellow bloggers. The second day I was there I thoroughly enjoyed being pampered courtesy of Glam Media, my ad network, with a mani/pedi.
After that my schedule was a flurry of activity. I had things scheduled pretty back-to-back but with enough time that I didn't feel too pulled around. I even had time to be with Brian and Rissa for most meals! A couple events were like their own mini-expo halls which gave me a chance to talk with brands and reps, this I appreciated very much. I tried to be respectful of all and visit only those that truly interested me so I wasn't taking up time or samples from others.
The Highlights breakfast was nice and it allowed me to bring Brian and Rissa along. She had a blast in their reading/play area. In fact, Rissa cried when it was time to leave. She did NOT want to go!
My very favorite parties were more of gatherings of people with similar interests as me…. well, they revolved around babies and pregnancy anyway! My absolute favorite events were the Baby's First Test Blogger Baby Shower and the Fertility Meet and Greet for pregnancy and trying to conceive bloggers. These were much smaller and more intimate, they were very targeted to where I am in my life and blogging, and I got to talk with other preggo bloggers!
The women I met were phenomenal and I need to make an effort to keep up those connections (I've been slacking on that right now as I try to catch up!). It didn't hurt that I won some awesome prizes at both of those, but one of them I didn't know I won until after I was headed home (and already declared it a favorite to my husband). From the Fertility Meet & Greet I won the adorable egg with the magnetized sperm connected to it. From the Baby's First Test Blogger Baby Shower I not only came away with important information for newborn screenings when I have this baby, but I won a new stroller! A tandem stroller! I can't tell you how lucky I feel and how much I am going to need that with Rissa and Baby Z.
You know what I am missing a lot of? Pictures. I hardly took any and now I'm bummed I don't have more photo memories.
If you went to NYC last month, what were your favorite events/parties (sanctioned or not)?
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