In Real Life: BlogHer ’09 [Friday]

by Jenn (eating bender) on July 25, 2009


I still can’t believe I’m here! I love Chicago and blogging :) Wait, I already loved both of those things…

I woke up bright and early to make sure I could get the most out of my Friday morning at the conference. I made plans to meet up with Kath for breakfast, so I arrived at the hotel by 8:15. After registering, I found where she was sitting and went to get some grub.


The selection was quite nice! I always have the hardest time deciding what to get at a buffet, but I eventually decided to keep it simple with some fresh fruit – pineapple, cantaloupe and watermelon – and a blueberry bagel with blackberry preserves. I also had a small glass of OJ, courtesy of Tropicana.

Before the official welcome, I decided I wanted some coffee – it was pretty chilly and I didn’t bring a sweater (of course!). We searched and finally found a Starbucks coffee table. I was just pleased because I also found a packet of hot chocolate – always go for the Coffee Cocoa when it’s available πŸ˜‰


Eventually, the ladies of BlogHer themselves made it to the stage.


They brought up a lot of interesting points. For example, did you know:

  • 30% of people surveyed spendΒ less time reading traditional media now that there are alternatives such as blogs
  • 80% of people surveyed read blogs daily or 2-3x/week
  • 57% of people surveyed blog daily or 2-3x/week
  • 80% of people surveyed use social networks
  • 35% of people surveyed do status updating

In the words of Velveteen Mind, “BlogHer is about the people.” I couldn’t agree more! After the welcome, we had a “speed dating” session where I had a chance to meet roughly 10 or so new bloggers and exchange cards. I made sure to bring my Foodbuzz MOO cards for the occasion!

After our speed round, I made my way to Break-Out Session #1 of the conference. Kath and I both decided to go to “Business of You: Bloggers are Pioneers in a Post-‘Employee’ World” and snapped a picture :)


The session was really interesting. The panel talked a lot about ways to market yourself beyond your blog. I’ve never really done much “pitching” of myself, so it was all news to me. One of the main points the ladies made was that if you don’t value yourself, others won’t know how valuable you are. If you are looking to turn your blog or writing skills into a business, you need to be confident in your abilities and know what you are worth. It will make you that much more appealing to your clients!

After the session, Kath and I made our way down to the exhibition hall. We had a lot of fun meandering around! It’s exhibits like these that make these conferences so valuable to both bloggers and PR professionals alike – there are a lot of opportunities to network with one another and, as a result, learn more about the brands.


We walked around for about 1/2 hour and then decided to hit up the Ragu-sponsored lunch. Ragu really went all out with their decor – check out this jar of “sauce” made entirely of veggies!


The buffet-style selection made it difficult to choose once again. Just look at this upside-down pizza!


Eventually, I made my selection and we found two red and yellow chairs.


I sampled a little bit of everything for the main course: Caesar salad with mozzarella balls and grape tomatoes; upside-down deep dish pizza with broccoli and cheese, roasted veggies and rice, vegan chickpea salad (my favorite of the bunch!), and 1/2 slice of fresh focaccia that I split with Kath.


I also got a sampler dessert platter, which included 3 tiny cookies (scone-like in texture and very good!) and an awesome 1/2 of a cannoli, which had a cheesy-sweet (sounds odd but it was delicious) center with small pieces of chocolate. It was my first time trying a cannoli and I loved it.


After lunch, I headed back to my office for the afternoon, but was thrilled when I found out that I would be able to leave a bit early and return to the conference in time for the keynote and cocktail party!


The keynote speakers were all very interesting – they were real bloggers who read from real posts on their blogs. It was a wide range – I was laughing hard and crying by the time it was over. While we were listening, I snacked on some dried fruit and nuts that they had outside at a snack table.


After the keynote, it was time to party :) Kath and I headed back down to the exhibition hall and immediately found the wine table. I chose the Frei Brothers Reserve to start per her recommendation.


I also snagged some of the appetizers that were on trays as people walked around: crackers with chicken salad, tomatoes filled with guacamole, and some really excellent (not-so-greasy!) crab cake.


As we were looking for food, Kath was recognized by Sarah from Stonyfield! I’ve worked with Sarah in the past and she is just as sweet and cool in person. Check out Kath’s post for a funny story about how she thought “Oikos” was pronounced :) Sarah also shared a cool link with us about where Stonyfield gets its blueberries.


After chatting with Sarah for a while, we made our way back to the cocktail food. We both agreed that there could have been a bit more selection (everything was breaded and fried), but it was still good. I got two coconut-crusted shrimp (yum), a dumpling and a Parmesan artichoke with tomato butter.


Then we ran into Sahar, a very cool lady (and fellow broadcast journalist by study/practice!) who Kath had met last year, and headed over to MizFit’s table!!!!!!!


She is absolutely 100% as authentic and awesome as she is on her site. We had a lot of fun gabbing for a bit and talking about how we would never be brave enough to do the karaoke that was there πŸ˜‰ Then I went and grabbed a drink from the Izze table – the guy told me it was pomegranate but I’m thinking it was orange. I can’t imagine why…


I also grabbed another chicken salad cracker and some smoked salmon on a tiny piece of bread.


It started to get really loud in there, so the three of us – along with two new blog friends, Andrea and Mary! – left to go to another party. I brought white wine with me.


The ladies took Kath and I up to a mommy blogger party. We waited in line for about 1/2 an hour or so because of the rumor that there would be some awesome HP fun awaiting us. When we got inside, we went to the buffet, which had some great selections that included a chocolate fountain. I only ate roughly 1/2 of everything I took, except for the watermelon and cracker because they were both excellent.


We decided not to stay too long. Most of the girls had another party to attend, so Kath and I decided to walk around the hotel and look for another soiree :) We eventually ended up at a princess party sponsored by Wine Sisterhood. And yes, a princess party does mean that there are crowns.


Oh my.

We wandered over to one of the tables and found some really cute cookies – they reminded me of the super buttery ones you can find at Target. No nutritional value, but absolutely phenomenal.


I had another glass of white wine – BlogHer is only once a year and the selection was great!


We visited with the girls from springpad – it’s so much fun to meet the people you connect with via email in person because they are always awesome – for a while and then made it to the last buffet of the night. There was another chocolate fountain, so I dipped a little bit of everything in and had a bite of each. The best was still that half-eaten sugar cookie!


I think you can imagine that at this point, I was pretty much sugared out. There wasn’t much to choose from in terms of healthy eating for the evening, but I’m definitely not complaining because it was still a really great time! I’ve met so many amazing women so far and know it will continue on Saturday!

Hope everyone has a fabulous weekend! More to come :)


1 ksgoodeats July 25, 2009 at 7:10 am

Oh my gosh – that looks like so much FUN! I love that the sauce bottle is made out of veggies and I also love your crowns :)

2 eatingbirdfood July 25, 2009 at 7:30 am

It looks as though you and Kath had so much fun. What a great way to meet other bloggers. And the parties looked rockin – I love the princess crowns!

3 Foodie (Fab and Delicious Food) July 25, 2009 at 7:49 am

Great recap! Looks like a lot of fun!

4 Sara July 25, 2009 at 7:59 am

Ah, this looks so fun! She great eats and such great info!

5 Hangry Pants July 25, 2009 at 8:01 am

First time trying a canoli? I am shocked. I guess because they are a staple at all family parties in my life. πŸ˜€

Anyway, it looks like such fun and I’m so glad you were able to attend. I’ve missed your blogging.

6 Shelby July 25, 2009 at 8:05 am

I live in Chicago, I love blogging…why wasn’t I invited?! πŸ˜‰

7 Mara @ What's For Dinner? July 25, 2009 at 8:16 am

You have absolutely no idea how beyond envious I am that you get to go to all these cool events! I wasn’t blogging yet when the tickets went on sale… oh well, maybe NYC next year! Tonight will be FABULOUS!!! Love you girlie!

8 Erica July 25, 2009 at 8:50 am

SO fun! Look at all that amazing food!!!! Jealous that you got to meet MF- she rocks :)

9 justine July 25, 2009 at 9:27 am

Wow! What a fab treat night!! Sounds like you had tons of fun and it must have been awesome to connect with some many wonderful women :).


10 peanutbutterandjenny July 25, 2009 at 9:43 am

looks like you and miss KERF had an awesome time together :) and there’s more to come tomorrow?! dang, you are livin’ the life miss Bender!

11 MarathonVal July 25, 2009 at 10:35 am

How fun! I wasn’t blogging when the registration opened a while back, but it looks like such a fun and educational experience! Hope today is equally as good of a time! :)

12 inmytummy July 25, 2009 at 1:51 pm

Wow. All that food looks wonderful. Sounds like a fun weekend!

13 Paige @ Running Around Normal July 25, 2009 at 3:32 pm

It sounds like you guys are having so much fun! All of the food and drinks look delicious! I love Chicago, too.

14 glidingcalm July 25, 2009 at 5:57 pm!

15 Rebeca July 25, 2009 at 8:20 pm

I’m so glad you got to go to BlogHer… lucky lucky… meetup at BlogHer 10?

16 Lynn (The Actors Diet) July 25, 2009 at 8:54 pm

looks like a blast!!!

17 luckytastebuds July 25, 2009 at 9:34 pm

AHhh Ms. Jenn you do THE BEST re-caps!! It’s as if I was there myself, but better, cuz I don’t have to move my butt anywhere. πŸ˜› It totally looks like lots of fun…lots of interesting food and cool people!

I am now TOTALLY going to catch up on all your posts because I’ve been away for so long!!! MAN, long story short, I basically had a fall out with MY room mate (they can be terrible huh?) and now I’m moving out…so…yes, it’s bad. Good news is, I’m moving closer to navy pier, which….is closer to Millenium Park and…you!!! :) We MUST do a meet up sometime yes? Maybe when you miss NU!

18 Mary :: A Merry Life July 25, 2009 at 10:49 pm

I love this post! So glad I’m in it. :) Seriously it was great meeting you and so much fun at dinner tonight!

19 Erin July 26, 2009 at 1:01 am

Ahhhh Jenn, that looks/sounds like so much fun! And so much sugar…love it :)

20 Jessica (jesslikesithot) July 26, 2009 at 1:20 am

You and Kath are so cute! That strawberry-covered (??) pretzel stick looks amazing!!!! I just had some strawberry and peanut butter fro yo and i’m sure that the pretzel stick would have been a delicious topping….or any of those treats, actually! πŸ˜‰

Glad you had such a great night Jenn!

21 Marianne July 26, 2009 at 6:52 pm

Sounds like an interesting conference. What exactly is the point of it though? I guess I don’t really know alot about BlogHer.

22 ttfn300 July 27, 2009 at 5:47 pm

such an informative time, and you met miz!! jealous πŸ˜‰

23 Penny July 28, 2009 at 8:59 pm

Blogher looks like it was so much fun! Just came across your blog, it was linked from Kath’s, who I have been following for awihle now. Imagine my surprise when I saw her in your pics!
Love your blog!

24 Alana @ The Good Girl Gone Blog July 29, 2009 at 9:25 am

It was FANTASTIC to meet you. PS those cookies were great :)

25 AJ August 4, 2009 at 7:49 pm

I had a blast meeting you too! πŸ˜‰ Andrea/AJ

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