#BlogHer09 in Chicago, Take Two

July 23, 2009

This post was originally written two years ago after I attended BlogHer in Chicago. I’m reprinting it today because I’m headed to BlogHer again in Chicago, I’m wicked excited, and while this time will be very different, I will be missing Belinda who can’t make it this year. Posts and photos to come for this year, so be ready!

________________________________________

I’m sitting here, going over in my head all the things I want to share with you about my BlogHer experience; and I just don’t know where to begin.

I suppose I could start off all usual-like and tell you I made it to the airport faster than I thought I would, and randomly introduced myself to someone that I thought might also be a blogger traveling to Chicago (embarrassingly, she wasn’t; but she was incredibly sweet and we chatted for quite awhile); or, I could start with my arrival into Chicago, when I freaked out because I was all out of sorts by myself since I haven’t traveled in a very long time without my kids..but why start there?

I’ll start by telling you I arrived in Chicago carrying my baggage and went straight to the hotel I thought (more about that later) we were booked into and dropped off my bag, then headed for the Navy Pier. I almost tripped over Mocha (Kelly) trying to find her. I met several women I had read online religiously for over a year. Jen, Heather B., Susan, Sarah, OMSH, Karen, Zoot, SueBob, Lena, SJ, Belinda, Jessica, Mary, and JenB. Oh, and I got some swag and went to some really great sessions. I met Kristina, who was in the hallway and I saw her blog over her shoulder. I also got to hug Erin, who I hadn’t seen in FOREVER; which was pretty cool.

Blah, Blah, Blah, ya’all really want to know about the swanky suite, don’t you? Okay…here goes:

  • After a really nice (and incredibly expensive) dinner at a restaurant I can’t even pronounce properly unless I am drunk; Belinda, Kelly and myself headed to the hotel. Except…we couldn’t find it. Nor could we agree on which hotel it was. Apparently Marriott has decided to own something like 15 hotels in a span of 15 blocks. So we started at the Marriott/Magnificent Mile and they told us (actually, me) that….we were at the wrong hotel. Kelly was parking her car in a garage and I had to call her to come back…which she loved. They gave us directions and once I figured out my left from my right, we made it back to the hotel that I left my bag at.

  • We go inside, and I tell the desk clerk we’d like to check in. She begins tapping at the computer and tells me she can’t find our reservation; do I have my confirmation number? Uh, why yes, I do, on my email. So she directs me to a computer, and I get the necessary information. This is about the time I get that look on my face that Belinda refers to as “truculent”. You would too!, I mean, it’s after 12 am! I’m an hour ahead still, so my body is wanting sleep…She does the smartest thing of her shift, which is she says “I will get the manager”. She lives another day.
  • The manager, a very nice gentleman, tells me that we are in fact supposed to be back at the Marriott/Magnificent Mile. By then I had had enough, and I figured that Kelly and Belinda were starting to rethink rooming with me in the first place, so…I begged the manager to please, pretty please just give us a room. Here’s my certificate*….and he says no, he can’t. We have to go back…but he will make sure we are taken care of..he promises.
  • I think I might have cried at this point, the details are sketchy.
  • We get into the car, again, and by now I’m fairly certain Kelly wants my head on a skewer. We get back to the Marriott, and the bell boys remember us. They may have laughed, or at least snickered. I head inside and check us in, which I have to say, they were incredibly obliging. Comped the valet parking, gave us a room on the 45th floor. Things were looking good….
  • We trudge to the room, open the door, and I set my bags on the closest bed to the door, and look to my left. Through the open door is this beautiful vision.

Do you hear the harps and angels singing? We did.

  • So we entered. And I think a few “holy sh*ts were said as we checked out the place. It had a dining room! Stairs! A frickin’ CHANDELIER! And…the room adjacent to the dining room was also open, so that made 3 bedrooms – one for each of us. Then a bloodcurdling scream came from the upstairs loft and I ran up to see what was going on. Kelly showed me this:
Thank God for Mr. Jacuzzi and his greatest invention.
Oh, and the shower had TWO shower heads.

  • So of course the first order of business was taking showers. Then we all settled into our respective rooms and slept soundly until morning came. It was heavenly.

  • Saturday came with Boca Java coffee made using a paper towel (ok, toilet paper – but it makes a great decent filter in a pinch!); followed by some Starbucks in the lobby.
  • Then we headed out to Navy Pier, where I met Amy Sedaris (my photo of us is now lost to the ether – SOB!) and I got to spend time with Kari, who is so awesome. I felt so comfortable with her that we didn’t need to talk much; and when we did it was casual, friendly, comfortable- like we’d been friends for years and years. It really made me relax there, more so than I already had.

  • The highlight of the sessions for me on Saturday was Jen Lemen’s awesome session on It’s Your Pa
    ssion, Not Size, That Matters
    . I came away invigorated, and reminded that this “thing that I do” is important, and it deserves to be nurtured.

  • The other best part was the women I spoke with after the session. Each and every one of you are wonderful. Thank you.

  • The cocktail party was marred by the fact that Belinda and I walked the ENTIRE PIER getting to the soiree. Some great pictures were taken, but I think we would have rather been chauffeured. (right, Belinda?)

  • Fun Fact. Did you know that if you spend time with a bunch of women that your menstrual cycle speeds up? Yep. I can vouch for that scientific phenomenon.

  • Saturday Night we ordered pizza from Giordano’s. It cost considerably less than Friday’s dinner. It was very tasty too. I then passed out.

  • Sunday morning we went here. I watched Belinda spend an inordinate amount of money on a doll that looks just like her daughter. We also went here, where I stocked up on delicious treats that I’m currently eating whilst I type this missive. Then we hugged goodbye and headed toward our respective airports.

  • I made it home in one piece. My extra camera battery took a separate flight, because I forgot it in my hotel room. It was still plugged into the wall. I’m a study in brilliance.

So that’s my BlogHer story. I made loads of new friends and saw old ones, got great swag (thanks Sarah for the bottle opener, I use it daily!), and spent time in a beautiful city. I also had to go all the way to Chicago to run into someone I worked with at a record store here in Orlando back in the early 90′s. Very surreal, but very cool.

Which just about sums up the experience for me. I can’t wait for next year!

Click here for my Flickr Photoset!

*I have to point out here that our hotel stay was FREE, compliments of my traveling husband who spends many nights away from his family, eating fancy meals expensed to the company and sleeping in swanky Marriotts in far-flung locales. Without him, it would have cost a small fortune to stay in a hotel in Chicago. So here, in print, is my thank you. I love you sweetie. You are wonderful.

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Posted by Shash @ 6:37 am  

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