Here's the thing about conferences; I'm not really sure of the point. This one was no exception. I think the point was to make me a better blogger. Or maybe it was to network and meet all kinds of great people who will then read my blog and I'll read theirs and we'll live a little through each others blogs. Or maybe the point is to escape the normal work-a-day life and have a kick ass time eating drinking and collecting sweet swag. IF the point of a conference are ANY/ALL of those 3 options then by all means BlogHer food 09 was a rip roaring success.
I thoroughly enjoyed myself. How could I not? I was in a beautiful city hanging with my peeps. People who talk passionately about food, A LOT. I was anxious about this event because I was basically going in knowing one person. But I met 2 more before the conference and they were so wonderful they completely set me at ease. Thanks Heather for going to the SF MoMA with me. Thanks Susan for dragging me all over Chinatown or was it the other way around? I don't know and I don't care! These 2 wonderful women made me feel funny, hip, knowledgeable and secure. I needed that to get me TO the conference.
I'm shy. Did you know that? I get terrible nerves and decide I am not worthy and try to skip out on stuff. I couldn't talk on the phone until I was 8. Scared the daylights out of me.
I went early to register and of course you read the fiasco with my name tag so I was pretty much petrified. Then I met my friend Janet(pretty green girl) who is a blog buddy. She set me right at ease and boom shyness gone. From there on out I was cool with networking, handing out my card and giving my blog lowdown. We breakfasted and were joined by Heather. Another lady asked to join us and pretty soon our table was almost full. I was talking Alaska when one of the ladies asked if I new a blogger named Christo. When I said yes it was a hilarious moment realizing that he had told her to look out for me and we found each other boom right away. Diva on a Diet is her name and she writes Beach Eats, great blog and blogger!
Off to session one. I chose the values track which was on the politics of food and food blogs. Interesting track and lots of good things were said. Greg Massa, a local organic brown rice farmer, was on the panel and he had a lot to say about blogging and spreading the word about his rice via blogs and social media. I will be including links to transcripts if I can find them.
Lunch. Oy. So much has been said about the LUNCH FAIL. I feel I need to add my 2 cents here. Lunch was a fail because many of the sponsors for this event were promoting pre-made food. Food bloggers make their own food and we rarely use frozen pasta dishes. I do not want to bite the hand that feeds me but I think the sponsorship was all wrong. There were no high end products, no local, no organic, no real food products. Not that we don't occasionally eat frozen pasta or healthy choice entrees but they were completely wrong for a foodie event. Period. I think it was the big fail on the part of BlogHer rather than Bertolli who many are blaming. Why were there hardly any real foods included? Was it a lack of ability to see who the main focus was? They should have had a foodie advisory panel that gave them a little direction. All that being said; we got wine with lunch so who gives a rip?!? No seriously I think this was the first year and if I know one thing about the BlogHer ladies they learn from their mistakes and this will only happen once. And really the pasta dishes? Edible. For a food conference? No. The fact that they were served up while listening to Rocco Dispirto flirting with the ladies made them a little better.
Christina? The Pioneer Woman slipped in late and sat at our table for dessert. She was very sweet and shy. I liked her but the girl next to us almost wet her pants in excitement. Scary.
The second panel I skipped because it was so full. Yikes no sitting on the floor for me! The other choices were not interesting so I drug my huge bag of swag home to the hotel and because the day was 90˚ out I changed my shirt and pulled my hair up. Ahh better.
The third session was about finding your voice. It talked a lot about kind of setting the tone and staying the course. Staying true to yourself. But also about how your blog should change and grow with you. It to was very interesting.
After this session we received a Scharffen Berger Chocolate gift bag. YUM! We watched an unfortunate dessert idea where people scooped chocolate and toppings out a huge chocolate box with a gloved hand. Um no eating chocolate from an exam glove is not pretty nor does it inspire the desire to eat. I overcame that though to try some of the Mushroom Council's Portabellas Stuffed with Sprouted Quinoa. Yum although it needed a bit of salt. I'll live.
The rest of the evening was pretty much spent in a chocolate induced coma while I watched David Lebovitz, The Pioneer Woman and Simply Recipes answer questions on stage. An odd way to end if you ask me.
Then I spent the rest of the time in a pink champagne induced haze at the cocktail party where I'm pretty sure I spit on several people (accidentally). I hung with Heather, Janet and Diva on a Diet and Jeremy(who fit in how? I'm not quite sure) We snickered at some of the annoying attendees (we are perfect!) and noshed on yummy eats. And more drinks. Repeat.
Then at 7:40 I marched everyone I could round up right over to the after party ( I knew where it was and no one else did another case where amazing anal retentiveness is awesome!)where the real fun began with free flowing margaritas, chocolates, White Russians, taco bars and ceviche. Whoa. I didn't eat out of 'the fear' of well never mind. So I drank more. And more because screw it I have to leave in the morning. I remember dancing to brick house and trying to smoke a cigarette(what??). Then we poured out into the night collected our swag bags (2 more!!) and stumbled off to collect Pretty Green Girl's bags at the ST. Regis where I was bowed to like royalty by the whoever collected our bags.
Gah I figured it was about 3 in the morning uh yeah damn I'm old it was only 9:30 at night. After that I staggered off to buy a new suitcase to put my clothes in so I could use the other to pack ALL THE AWESOME GOODIES IN. Thankfully I fit everything in except 2 cans of soup and a truffle I bought. It was a feat of engineering and packing marvel.
I took only about 3 pictures the whole conference I was too busy networking, eating or drinking. All good to do when all else fails and the shy in me wants to jump out.
Must sleep, I'm almost recovered.
Peace and Love,