1) Don't set expectations too high. There were a couple of bloggers that I wanted to meet while I was there. A few "top tier" bloggers. I set my expectations too high for some of them. I expected them to be just as sweet as they seem on their blogs. Maybe they are but I wasn't feelin' it. I'm sure it was nothing personal. They were there to have fun with their friends like everybody else. Their intentions for BlogHer were not necessarily to meet and mentor new and inexperienced bloggers. I did get to meet Beth Anne from Heir to Blair. OH MY GOSH is she exactly like I had imagined. Just as unfiltered and funny and kind as she seems on her blog. I will blog about our meeting later on.
2) Stay in the host hotel if at all possible. This will save you time and hassle. I didn't stay in the host hotel. I didn't stay in a hotel within walking distance. It was a PAIN in the buhunkus. I got loaded down in the Expo Hall and needed to drop off all my swag so I had to catch a shuttle to the hotel and back. This kills about 45 minutes of the day at a time and that is only if the shuttle is available at that moment. Or my pregnant feet needed to prop (per the medic-another story) and I had to plop in a corner of the Convention Center somewhere instead of my room.
3) Be yourself and don't be afraid of it. I am myself on my blog. I don't try to portray myself as a better mom then I am. I don't try and make it look like I have an awful life just to get sympathy. I don't try and be fake. I decided to be the same at BlogHer11. There were plenty of people there. If somebody didn't like me for the person I am then out of 3600 people somebody was bound to befriend me. And they did! I met some wonderful ladies there!
4) Put yourself out there. I didn't do this as much as I should until the second day. I should have been a little more direct in introducing myself. I also didn't "practice" my pitch as much as I should have. The more people you network with the better.
5) Work the pregnancy. Because people won't work it for you! In the airport when I was rushing and basically throwing myself into contractions trying not to miss my plane NOBODY cared. That was partially my fault. I didn't ask for help, I just assumed somebody would step up and help the pregnant woman. I didn't want to look like "that" pregnant woman but I would appreciated some sympathy every now an then. But I take fault for that because I didn't ask and I was always "okay". Shame on me.
6) Remember your water bottle. There were places to get water in every room. We were told to bring our water bottles but in the rush of packing I completely forgot. I think my lack of water intake was partially to blame for the onset of a few contractions. If I would have had my water bottle it would have been better.
7) Just because I'm not a "top tier" blogger doesn't mean people aren't effected by my words. I occasionally find myself questioning why I'm really blogging or if my blogging effects anybody. I eventually realized I blogged because of me and because I like to do it. When I finally accepted that to myself I got a sweet surprise from a mommy who was at BlogHer11 that I hate I was not able to get up with. @ramblingstump (Nasreen Stump) tweeted this to me this week: "A little sad I haven't run into 2 mommies who turn my thoughts into words on their blogs- @crunchyvtmommy & @RiCiReid . #Blogher11" Of course I teared up and that really hit me. The right way. It doesn't matter if I "only" have 72 followers. I appreciate everybody who comes to my blog to read it and the fact that my words have touched at least one person makes me incredibly happy.
So, there is my sum up of things I learned at BlogHer '11. There are a few stories I can't wait to tell you all about! I'll give you a teaser of the things to come: Bob Harper, Ricki Lake, sweaty palms, the onsite medic, new friends, give aways and two books!