July 26, 2008
BlogHer ’08: Thursday Edition
I know I’m very late in posting my BlogHer Conference recap, but after I returned home from the beautiful city of San Francisco, it took several days to decompress and return to normal life. Whatever normal is, I have no idea.
The Wednesday before my departure, I frantically ran around town as well as around my house, completing last minute errands and checking my luggage 80 million times to make sure I wasn’t forgetting anything. Total waste of time, because I realized I packed too much when the mountain of swag I collected wouldn’t fit in my suitcase. I ended up having to ship most of that stuff home on Sunday, because there’s no way that Northwest Airlines would let me check that bag without charging me $50.
I couldn’t sleep at all that night, the anxiety and anticipation were killing me. However, I had nothing to worry about, because this year’s trip to BlogHerCon was fantastic. 100% better than Chicago, and I love that Windy City.
Thursday morning I woke up at the ass crack of dawn, showered and got dressed, while Doug got Dawson ready. My boys were driving me to the airport and thankfully, I was smart enough to put all my bags in the car the night before. At 5:30 a.m. we were on the road for the 35 minute drive to Central Wisconsin Airport.
It was kind of difficult for me to leave Dawson. I must have kissed him 100 times and I started to cry as I walked into the airport and saw my little boy waving from the backseat as they drove away. Doug didn’t want to bring him inside the airport because Dawson wasn’t so happy with me leaving and it might have made matters worse.
After the usual checking-in procedures and getting through the grueling security measures, I was on my way to San Francisco . My plane departed at 7 a.m. and I was dreading the 4 1/2 flight. I was so excited to be going to California for the very first time.
I arrived in the City by the Bay at around 11:30 a.m. Pacific time, and I managed to find a shuttle to the Westin St. Francis Hotel where the conference was being held. Once I got to the hotel, I tried to check-in but didn’t realize the intricacies of hotel check-in procedures.
Turns out, I need a credit card with a huge limit in order to stay at the fancy Starwood hotel. For security reasons, we keep our credit limits low ($500 max) to avoid huge losses in the event our cards are stolen, so I wasn’t able to get my room keys. I tried to use my debit card to pay for the room in full, but apparently the Westin doesn’t accept payment in full until check-out (which is very, very strange) and instead they asked me for a cash deposit for the room cost plus $200 for incidentals.
Unfortunately, I don’t carry $800 in cash because my greatest fear is being mugged. So, I had to sit in the lobby for nearly two hours until my amazing roommate got to the hotel. She was able to use her American Express card to get us checked in.
While I was waiting for Anne and our other roommate Elizabeth, I found PunditMom wandering around the lobby and we had a quick bite at Caruso’s, a little cafe in the hotel lobby. While we were chatting, Jenn from Mommy Needs Coffee stopped over. A few moments after that, Christina from A Mommy Story popped over and we all hung out for awhile.
After that, Jenn welcomed me to her hotel room to wait for my roommates, and I met Busy Mom for the first time. She and Jenn were roomies and they graciously allowed me the use of their ladies room to straighten my hair and change out of my travel clothes.
A little while later, I met Krisco from Crib Ceiling and told her how much I missed Mary Tsao. She and Mary were roomies at BlogHerCon last year, and I told her I go to Flickr every day to get my Daily Dose of Mary via her fabulous photos. I was happy to learn that Kris does the same thing!
Finally, Anne called my cell phone to let me know she arrived at the hotel and just a little while after that we had keys to our room. Or so we thought. We got up to room 952 and started to put our luggage on the beds. The I looked in the closet and saw someone else’s clothes hanging in the closet. Anne discovered a man’s business cards on the desk. We had been checked in to an occupied room.
I made a frantic call to the front desk and told them about our problem and I was assured that we’d be checked into a fresh, clean, unoccupied room immediately. I ran downstairs to get the new keys and then Anne and I rode the elevator to the eleventh floor and where we found our new, much larger and totally awesome room.
We each claimed two corners of the room to toss our suitcases, and then I patiently awaited for Elizabeth’s arrival a little while later. Once she got in, I gave her a room key and then we all just sort of chilled for a few moments.
Elizabeth then introduced me to her friend Lori who came down to our room awhile later. Lori is awesome. She has this sweet, southern accent that I somehow managed to pick up. Okay, really, I’ve always had this knack for picking up accents, but the suthin’ speak is something I’m accustomed to, being that one of my closest friends is from Texarkana and whenever we hang out I start saying things like, “Fixin’ to” and “All y’all.”
After our introductions and a few photos, Elizabeth, Lori and I headed to the lobby to meet Jennster (also known as Dirty Mouth Whore, if you ask Lori — don’t worry, it’s a term of endearment, I promise) before going to the Kirtsy/Alltop party at Guy Kawasaki‘s house. Anne stayed behind to freshen up and grab a bite to eat before the many other cocktail parties going on Thursday night.
Let me just say that Guy Kawasaki lives 31 miles south of San Francisco, and somehow we thought he lived 31 minutes south of the city. After a two hour shuttle ride to Atherton — two hours because our driver was a moron who twice passed the street we needed to turn onto — we arrived to a beautiful California home with rose bushes and hydrangeas lining the flower beds.
Guy’s backyard was meticulously manicured. Green grass, beautiful Japanese lanterns and swimming pool in shape of the number eight were just part of the scenery. The food was delicious. We had paella, grilled vegetables and barbecue in a cup, as well as delectable hors d’oeuvres and wines.
I was in awe of everything, and when I was introduced to Guy Kawasaki, I was rather shy. In all honesty, I didn’t know who he was, other than the founder of Alltop (and no, I’m not on Alltop, but I was asked that a hundred times that night).
We stayed at the party for about an hour and then promptly got back on the shuttle to head back to the city for the three other cocktail parties we had to attend. We stopped by the Mom Central party, the Experience Project Party and then finally, the People’s Party. (Note to future party hosts: Please, don’t have all the parties on Thursday night! It’s too much stress and takes way too much planning to be able to attend everything all in one night.)
I can’t exactly remember all of the goings on of Thursday night, but I’m sure the pictures will explain it all:
Christina, Me, Deven, Lori & Jennster
Christina, Me, Julio & Lori
Lemon Drop…deliciously tart.
Guy Kawasaki & Me
Me & Jennster and boob grabbage.
Jenn & Me
Caruso’s, in the hotel lobby.
Stay Tuned for Part II of my trip to BlogHer.