Tag Archives: BlogHer

A Blissdom Series: Blissdom vs. BlogHer

This weekend was life changing.

I feel like I’ve said this before, but I guess I say that after leaving a lot of conferences because when you choose the right one’s you leave feeling uplifted, inspired, and rejuvenated. And that’s the way I felt after leaving the Blissdom Conference this weekend. 

I have so much to process and think through (which I’ll share in later posts), and hopefully implement in the future! But for now, the one thing my brain wants to process first  . . .how does Blissdom compare to BlogHer? 

It’s so completely different . . .but similar at the same time! 

After working through some of my mental notes, I realized there are 4 major differences, and I’m not quite sure if those differences are good or bad. So you tell me! 

BlogHer and Blissdom both begin with registration and sponsor booths on Thursday with the actual conference kicking off on Friday and running through Saturday. 

Both start with a breakfast; although at BlogHer some of the breakfasts are “by invitation only” or for newcomers only. Blissdom provides breakfast on both days. 

BlogHer is very intense with sessions running back to back with very few breaks. There’s usually a short 30 minute break in the morning, a short break in the afternoon while they set up for the Closing Keynote, and of course a longer break for lunch (which is provided both days); however, there’s usually a notable keynote speaker during lunch so although you’re “resting” you’re still processing. 

Blissdom is the opposite of this. Blissdom classes only last an hour. With fewer, shorter sessions, they allow for longer and more frequent breaks. Meals are done on your own; with the exception of lunch on Friday.   

The benefit of Blissdom is there’s more time to visit the sponsor booths, meet new people and have conversations with other bloggers, and enjoy some down time before heading off to the next session or event. The downside is there can often be too many breaks. 

By the end of the day Saturday, the breaks seemed to get longer and longer; especially once all the sponsors had been visited. This might discourage people from staying as there was a lot of sitting around waiting for the final Keynote. 

BlogHer and Blissdom are very similar with how they run their sessions. Both have “tracks” that you can choose to follow. 

Blissdom has 4; Photography, Writing, Life Development, and Business. 

BlogHer gets a little more specific with The Personal, The Political, The Professional, The Technical, The Writing, and The Visual; plus a few other “personal” tracks like The Geek Bar and Room of Your Own. 

Both bring in experts of their fields to speak in these sessions; however, BlogHer chooses to use a panel of experts in most of the sessions rather than a solo speaker like Blissdom.

Blissdom offers time to process in each session with handouts and Q&A, where as BlogHer plans in Q&A, but length of content sometimes doesn’t allow for it. 

This is where I discovered the drastic difference between the two conferences. 

BlogHer attendees are very introverted. Although you’re among thousands of women who do the same thing you do, you’ll often find it difficult to meet other people. In my opinion, the atmosphere of BlogHer is every woman for herself. 

Blissdom is not this at all! From the moment I walked through the doors of the Newcomer Meet N’ Greet, I felt welcome. There were community leaders there to make me feel at home and wanted, and that lead the way to an amazing weekend. Women walked up to me to introduce themselves, and these women introduced me to others. 

During breaks as I was meeting new people, I felt that women were open and honest and supportive of my goal and saw the benefit of communicating with one another. 

After Hours

I’m sure you’ve heard about the parties of BlogHer! Well, what you’ve heard is true! BlogHer parties are hoppin’ . . .IF you’re invited to them

BlogHer after hours parties are all exclusive with the exception of the few parties that are hosted at the hotel/convention center by BlogHer. 

Huge brands like Hasbro, Mattel, Bravado, etc. will all rent out large facilities and event centers to host “by invitation only” breakfasts, cocktail hours, and dance parties where they’ll throw amazing swag at you; so much you’re expected to bring an extra suitcase to ship everything home. The more brand parties you’re invited to, the more popular of a blogger you are!

Blissdom, once again, does the opposite. They don’t believe in segregation. Brands throw parties . . .but they’re for everyone. Sponsors will have suites during Blissdom, but they’re not private. Everything is designed to make you feel like you’re important and not a nobody. 

In the End. . .
Both conferences are beneficial and helpful to bloggers, but what expectations you go in with are different. I, personally, was looking for in BlogHer what I found in Blissdom. 

If you want to attend a conference and be with some of the best in their “blogging fields”, BlogHer will get you there. With amazing and informative sessions lead by some great speakers, you won’t be disappointed in the knowledge you’ve gained. 

If you want to attend a conference to feel like you’re a part of a loving community, Blissdom is the place for you. You won’t have as focused tracks (or a suitcase of swag), but you’ll leave feeling inspired and important. 

Have you attended both BlogHer and Blissdom?
 What were your thoughts of the conferences? 

My Experience as a BlogHer Newbie

I’m not new to the blogging scene. As a matter of fact, I’ve been blogging since 2006, and that was way before it was “cool.” But for me, blogging has always been a way of journaling the story of my life and expressing my thoughts and emotions through writing; especially since we all know my verbal skills are lacking!

It’s only been recently that I thought I’d try and make something more of blogging. . . Enter Dallas Moms Blog. It’s become more than a hobby for me; I can definitely see myself writing for this site for a long time to come, which is why I’d decided to attend this year’s BlogHer conference in New York. 

I first discovered BlogHer when they began to recognize several of my blog posts on my personal site by featuring them on BlogHer Moms. (First in January, then again in April.) I’d been slightly participating in BlogHer up until that point, but really began to feel validated as a writer by being featured. This encouraged me to starting looking at my blog not just as a journal, but as a platform. 

The more I got involved in BlogHer, the more I realized I wanted to learn as much as possible about the world of blogging to attract more readers to my The T-Shirt Mama site and be able to write more interesting posts for Dallas Moms Blog. 

So, this past weekend, I found myself at my first BlogHer conference! 

For those of you who might not know what a BlogHer conference is or haven’t attended one before, this post is for you! I honestly searched the internet looking for all the helpful advice I could find before attending, and I still felt under prepared. Hopefully, this inside look will give you a better idea of what it’s like to attend a BlogHer conference, and give you some idea of whether or not you’d like to attend next year in Chicago!

Being my first conference, I chose not to attend the Pathfinder Day. (To be honest, I’m still not quite sure what it is, but now that I have my BlogHer feet wet, I might attend next year to discover more.)  Instead, I met up with Steph from City Moms Blog for lunch, and picked her brain on what to expect. And I’m so thankful I did because it really helped me understand what the sponsors were expecting from the bloggers. 

Thursday night I attended the Evening at the Expo. Imagine any Expo you’ve ever attended, and that’s Evening at the Expo. Sponsors and exhibitors are lined up in a large conference room (At BlogHer, it’s 4 large conference rooms), and they’re there to pitch to you. They want you to hear about their new products and offers hoping that you’ll help them promote. In exchange, you’re building relationships with them in hopes to build your “brand.” 
I spent almost an hour walking around and only made it through one floor of the Expo. And that was rushing! 

It was also at this Expo that I was able to grab my first BlogHer swag bag, and boy did it get filled! 

For Newbies: Thursday night is your opportunity to scope everything out. Bring lots of business cards and expect your swag bag to be extremely heavy by the time you leave. Don’t feel the need to grab freebies that you won’t end up using, and pay careful attention to all the fliers. Many have offers on them which require you to just send a simple email, and you’ll have easy connections with the company. 

Friday & Saturday
Anyone is welcome, but BlogHer hosted a Newbie breakfast that I attended. The food was good, but the room was packed with people! I arrived about 10 minutes early to stand in line, and I wasn’t even near the beginning. 

I was thankful to have someone to sit by, but I quickly found that most people come on their own. I wasn’t alone in feeling alone! 

For Newbies: Don’t worry if you arrive slightly late to any of the meals. They don’t cut off the food until the end! But don’t be surprised if seats are hard to come by. For several meals, I walked out and found many conference-goers sitting on the floor and in the lobby. And don’t be afraid to sit by new people! That’s what you’re there for!  

The rest of the day was spent in sessions. I attended several that would help me with both my personal blog and Dallas Moms Blog; including a brief review of HTML and how to effectively use Facebook & Twitter. 

Many of the more technical sessions were crammed with people, and if I didn’t arrive early, I found myself sitting on the floor. Even still, I found the speakers to be loud enough that it didn’t cause me to lose out on the session. 

In between sessions, and when I could find the time, I continued to rush through the Expo to try and build brand connections. I also made my way upstairs to the suites where several companies had set up shop. 

These were my favorite way of meeting people because it was typically a lot less crowded, and there was more time to visit and discuss any questions you had about products. 

Visiting with a dermatologist one-on-one about rosacea and other skin care questions. 

 Each suite did an amazing job decorating to fit their theme and brand! Hershey/Walmart turned their entire room into a camping ground complete with campfire and s’mores. Which (by the way) I’ve been craving ever since! 

Lunch time on Friday and Saturday was a unique experience! The Hilton did an amazing job ushering almost 5,000 bloggers through almost 8 buffet lines.

 It all seemed very unorganized and chaotic, but surprisingly we made it through really quickly, and even found a seat in time to hear. . .  Martha Stewart!

Martha was the keynote speaker on Friday, and did an amazing job of making the audience feel empowered by their use of the internet. She discussed her personal experience with using blogs, e-magazines, Facebook, and Twitter. She even revealed that Twitter is probably her favorite platform. 

Saturday was more of the same. Sessions and a keynote speech from Katie Couric. 

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend the Voices of the Year ceremony after the session had ended. My pregnant body had given up on me by this point, and I had to force myself to head back to the hotel. 

For Newbies: Each day of the conference, I highly recommend not overwhelming yourself with feeling like you have to do everything! The most valuable part of the conference is the sessions. Plan those out first, then fill your time with the sponsors, Expo, and other off-campus activities. The more involved you get, the more overwhelmed you get! 

At one point on Saturday, I just accepted the fact that I wasn’t going to get every free object to be had. I wasn’t going to be able to attended every session. I also didn’t need to feel bad if I had to stop and rest instead of heading to a party. 

The Parties

Being that it was my first year, I felt honored to be invited by Hasbro to attend their sneak-peak party on Friday night. (Apparently it’s one of the parties to go to, and now I know why!) Since it was the only one I was invited to, I wanted to make sure I attended. 

The first 300 people to arrive were given a swag bag, and I’m happy I arrived 30 minutes early because the line was already about 70 people deep.  

Although standing in 90 degree NYC heat for thirty minutes wasn’t ideal, it was in line, that I met some great bloggers like Rachel Marie Martin of Finding Joy and Jenn Perry of Daze of Adventure who offered to let me hang with them since I was clearly alone. :) 

Being pregnant, I knew I couldn’t keep with them, so I ended up grabbing my glass of water, and finding a table where I had a great view of the party. 

I walked away with over $100 worth of Hasbro products (to put in the top of the closet until my son is old enough!) and some great memories! 

For Newbies: When attending parties, they expect you to participate and be a part of the fun. If you’re expecting to go and just show up for the free goodies, you’ve got another thing coming…they make you work for them! Pictures like these may even surface the next day. :) 

Overall, I had a great experience at BlogHer, and I don’t even feel like I fully participated. As you may already know, I cheated slightly by bringing my husband along just in case it wasn’t what I expected. But it was way more!

A big THANK YOU to Stephanie who helped me so much this trip. Without her, I never would have known about the BlogHer Conference Planning Guide and all the other little tips she gave me a long the way. I also appreciate her letting me tag along as she presented City Moms Blog to potential sponsors. I learned so much, and I can’t WAIT to attend BlogHer ’13! 

For Newbies: 
My last few pieces of advice:

  • Apparently the internet never works correctly at BlogHer. If you bring your laptop to the sessions, and can’t log in within the first hour, don’t bother bringing your computer to a session again. It’s not worth the weight on your shoulder, and most of the sessions were posted online afterwards anyway. I just took notes! 
  • No joke. Pack a suitcase inside a suitecase. You’ll need it for all the extra items you bring home or you have the option of shipping. 
  • Speak up! When you sit down at a session, turn to the person to your left and then your right and introduce yourself. It’s the best way to meet new people, and discover weird coincidences! 
    • For example, at the Newbie breakfast a random stranger sat down next to me. She just happened to be rooming with Jenny (a fellow DMB writer!). 
    • Also, standing in line at the Hasbro party, I never would have known I was standing in front of the original author of “Dear Mom Letter”s who we just quoted on DMB. 
    • Or walking up to the Soda Stream station, I’d meet fellow Dallas blogger, A Frugal Friend.
Will I see you at BlogHer ’13?

Thirty by 30: No 8

When I was making my Thirty by 30 list, I wanted to come up with some tasks that I knew I could easily complete if I just made the time and I also wanted to add some “to do’s” that would require some extra effort. My No. 8 definitely took some effort, but I’m so happy it’s crossed off! 

 A year ago, I kept telling Tim that I wanted to go to New York City on my 30th birthday. I wasn’t sure how it was going to happen, but I wanted to make sure it did. At the time, we hadn’t been on vacation since Hawai’i almost 2 years prior, and I thought NYC would be a great way to get away and celebrate! 

Sometime around January, I then decided that I wanted to attend the BlogHer ’12 convention and it just so happen to be in New York and within a few weeks of my and Tim’s 8 year anniversary. So. . .change of plans, instead of bugging him to go to NYC on my birthday, I now wanted to go for our anniversary, and now, I actually had an excuse as to why we HAD to go! 

Flash forward 7 months later, and we found ourselves repacking our bags after only being home a week from Maui and jetsetting off to New York. It was a whirlwind “vacation” and ended up being nothing like I expected, but I am still so glad we went. 

First night in town and we were already craving John’s.
Good thing it’s the “city that never sleeps” because we didn’t arrive at the restaurant until almost 10pm. 
I’ll save my BlogHer experience for another post, and I’ll skip to the parts that mostly involved the city.

In between running around attending the conference, Tim and I tried to make time for some fun. We also padded an extra few days before and after BlogHer to get some time to do what we wanted to do. 

Oddly enough, there wasn’t much we hadn’t done, so we decided it would be new experience to be super cheesy tourists. And that’s what we did! 

One night we took a Harbor Cruise around Manhattan. We started down at the Chelsea piers and sailed to the Statue of Liberty on a 105′ schooner.  To be honest, this sounded like a terrible idea to me: sitting on a boat for 2 hours just gazing into each others eyes and the skyline? Corny! 

But it actually ended up being better than that. There actually was a lot to see, and between talking to the crew and Tim, the trip went by really fast. 

The most moving moment for me was when we sailed past 1 World Trade Center. The last time we’d visited was New Years 2007, and they were still clearing away a lot of the rubble and getting the foundation in place. It was amazing to see the building almost complete again. 

1 World Trade Center
Empire State Building lit up for the Olympics.
The weather in New York was also VERY fickle. Before we left, I’d read that the high for the weekend was going to be in the mid-80’s, and it’d be mostly raining. The whole weekend, we were sweating and miserable because we’d apparently been misinformed. It was in the 90’s and humid beyond belief! Then as we were getting ready to leave, it seemed like a huge storm was rolling in. How do you plan when every time you turn around the weather’s changing?! 

To play it safe, we decided to do some indoor tours, and headed to Rockefeller Center. We actually did the NBC Studio Tour, but unfortunately, do to copyright infringement we weren’t allowed to take pictures. But we did see behind the scenes of Rock Center, Dr. Oz, and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. I was really hoping to see the set of Saturday Night Live; however, since it’s the summer, they were using the SNL studio for Olympics media and it “wouldn’t have been recognizable.”

Afterwards, we headed up almost 70 floors to the Top of the Rock. 

If you’re ever in New York…I know the Empire State Building is the “thing to do,” but consider Top of the Rock instead! Having done both, I can say Top of the Rock was the better deal! We had ZERO lines to wait in, and were able to go straight to the top. Once we walked off the elevator, we had the option of staying at the observation deck on the 68th floor which was fully enclosed (which had it actually rained would have been a lifesaver.), or head up to the 69th floor which was open with a glass partition, or to the very top 70th floor which was literally the top of the building and completely open except for a waist high railing. 

Top of the Rock and NBC Studio Tours was probably the best part of the trip! We just had a great time wandering around the city, and taking advantage of the air conditioning. 

I also continued the tradition of taking my unborn child to New York. It just so happened that August 2010 was the last time I’d visited the City and it was while I was pregnant with my first. 

Maybe we’ll make it a tradition with the 3rd too! 

How to: Sight See In New York Without Really Trying

This past weekend was my 5th time to visit the Big Apple, and I’ve gotten to the point where I feel like I’ve seen most of the tourist attractions. Within my first two visits, I’d dragged my family through subways, long walks across the numbered blocks, and up and down the island of Manhattan trying to cross off all the points-of-interest on my list; from the Statue of Liberty in the Harbor to the famous “Restaurant” as seen on Seinfeld. 

Statue of Liberty
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Rockafeller Center
Ellis Island
Central Park
Times Square
Museum of Natural History
Canal Street
5th Avenue
Brooklyn Bridge

I can officially say that if I died tomorrow, I feel confident that I’ve seen New York. 

By your third or fourth trip, the novelty of seeing the more touristy sights sort of wears away. I no longer come to the city with a long list of things I must do. (My list mostly now consists of restaurants to try.) But I have to say, the city still amazes me and I can’t help but still get a little “star struck” with each visit. 

This trip, we never went further north than 63rd Street or further south than 23rd, and in that time I couldn’t believe all that I ran into. With every turn of the corner, a visual surprise was waiting!
Ed Sullivan Theater
59th & Broadway
Rockefeller Center & Ice Rink (In the Summer)
51st & 5th
NBC Studios / 30 Rock
49th & 6th
The Original Soupman
55th & 8th
Oops! You caught me taking a little break in Central Park from all the walking! 
Bad Boy Entertainment
55th & Broadway
Radio City Music Hall
50th & 6th
Times Square
47th & Broadway
Who knows? 
You might even run into your favorite characters!
(Or your child’s favorite characters and you feel the need to pay $1 
to send them a picture of Mommy with them!)

If you’re planning a visit to New York and you’re worried you won’t find the time to fit everything in, remember this piece of advice: Plan your trip around the larger points of interest and don’t worry about all the little places in between. Believe it or not, they’ll find you before you feel the need to go searching for them! 

What are your favorite things to see in New York City? 

#BlogHer12: Here I Come!

Well, Maui is officially in the books which means it’s time to begin thinking about our next trip coming up on Wednesday! 

After spending the last year stalking BlogHer conference attendees, this year I made the decision to go! It’s being held in one of my all-time favorite cities and since I’m taking my husband with me, I thought even if the conference is a fail, at least we can make a vacation out of it. 

So, here we are. 1 week away, and I’m starting to get really excited. 

This morning, I sat down and began to plan my conference schedule. BlogHer is organized in a similar fashion to other conferences with breakaway sessions and keynote speakers. For two days, I’ll be sitting in hotel suites and conference rooms with 4,000 other bloggers listening to experienced speakers on topics that range from the personal to the technical. 

On Friday, I’ll be attending a Newbie Breakfast where I’ll get to meet other new conference attendees (like myself). I’ve already discovered a few people through friends of friends that I’m excited to get to meet in person. Afterwards, my weekend will look a little like this: 

One of the biggest draw to BlogHer conferences are the swag bags and parties! Thursday night I’ll be hanging at the Hilton and meeting potential blog sponsors with an event called “Evening at the Expo.” Then on Friday, I’ve been invited to attend a private party with Hasbro! I’m a little disappointed because I’m awarded free drink tickets to the events. . . but since I won’t be using them if anyone would like my tickets, please let me know!

If you’re interested in “attending” BlogHer 2012 with me, you can get all the latest news by following me on Twitter or Liking me on Facebook

Come talk to me at BlogHer '12

Featured Blogger

I couldn’t be more excited! This morning BlogHer Moms is featuring my blog post Part of a Community on their front page.BlogHer Moms has featured me once before as a Spotlight Blogger, and I was thrilled that they wanted to feature me again! 
The post they’re choosing to feature is one of my favorites from my blog. If there were one post I’d ask them to select, it would have been this one. MoPS has become so important to me over the past year; for the friendships I’ve made and the growth I’ve made as a woman, wife, and a mom. I genuinely hope that if readers are only able to take one thing away from my post, it’s that they entertain and explore the idea of MoPS in their lives! 

If you haven’t discovered BlogHer yet and you enjoy reading the reflections of others, take a look around the site. There’s topics for everyone, and I bet it will help you fill all of your “free” time. 

Exciting Things To Come!

This past weekend was the start to some amazing adventures for 2012, and I’m really excited to finally be able to share some of them with you!  One of my goals as a mom is to get out and meet other women like me; young moms in their twenties and thirties who are living each day to the fullest. I want to model for my son how to build healthy friendships and relationships and not be afraid to get out at meet new people; which is something that I struggled with a lot as a child. So, I‘ve spent the last 10 months going outside my comfort zone and meeting a lot of new people through MoPS and Baby Boot Camp

But I know the world is bigger than my little bubble which is why I’ve tried to become more involved in the blogging community. Through the web, I’ve discovered some awesome programs that I can’t wait to be a part of.

BlogHer '12
Thanks to my husband’s work travel, I get to take advantage of all the airline miles he’s racked up and will be heading to New York in August for BlogHer ’12! 

When I’d first discovered this conference last year, it was in San Diego. As I read through some of the first-hand accounts from the event, I remember being amazed by all of the women who are out there blogging about their lifes’ passions. 

When I realized the conference this year was going to be in New York and around the same time as our wedding anniversary, I knew I was destined to be there. A quick phone call to Starwood Preferred Guest Services and American Airlines, and we were booked for a 6 day trip to NY! 

I’m really excited for the learning and network opportunities this event will bring, and I’ll do my best to help you share in the action through my posts! 

Then, there’s . . .

If you’re a mom and you’re not familiar with Project Mom, I highly encourage you to browse around on their blog site. Started by a children’s minister and a hospitality attorney, this organization strives to bring moms together through fun and educational events in the Dallas-Fort Worth and Oklahoma City areas. This year, they’ll be hosting their Dallas conference the weekend of April 27-28, and I’ve already bought my ticket!

This year’s breakaway topics include tips on how to stay organized with kids in tow, teaching kids common-“cents”, and ways to relieve some stress. Plus you’ll hear from guest speakers like the Crockin’ Girls (formally the Crock Pot Girls), Markus Lloyd from Legacy Church in Plano and Melissa Jennings & Sherry King from Stockpilingmoms.com.  

Now, I know your interested, so why don’t you join me? 
Get your ticket here!
Plus, for reading about it on my blog, 
enter the code FRUGAL and you’ll get an additional $15 off your ticket. 

Not to mention, this past weekend we also managed to book a July trip to Maui with all of my husband’s immediate family and discussed plans in June to visit the Carolina’s and my brother before he’s completed his Marine Corps service.

It’s going to be a busy, but awesome year!

*Any mention of businesses or organizations are not sponsored. All opinions are 100% my own. 

I’m Honored!

You may have guessed, but I’m a little excited!

Yesterday, I was featured as the BlogHer Spotlight post on BlogHer Moms
BlogHer.com uses social media platforms (including Blogs, Twitter, and Facebook) to share news, advice, and information to “34 million women each month.” 
Directed towards women of all ages and stages, BlogHer covers many topics such as family, news, sports, careers, style, food, technology, and much more. My favorite two sections are BlogHer Moms and the Book Club (Great place to get advice on that next book!). 
BlogHer Moms features different blogs relating to motherhood questions, advice, and stories. Some of their blog series have included “The Heart Stuff of Motherhood,” “Taboo Mommy” and “Keeping Up Appearances.”
Even if you’re not a blogger, the stories written by other moms are amazing and often inspirational to read. And if you’re not a mom, there’s always a topic of interest for you!
Swing on by sometime and check out BlogHer
(And don’t forget to leave a comment on my feature!) :-)