15 Things I Wish I Had Known About BlogHer

Alternate titles:

  • The things people didn’t tell me about BlogHer before I went, but what I wish they would have.
  • Unsolicited advice to newbies who might go to #BlogHer12.
  • Things that did not happen to me at BlogHer, but that happened to a friend of a friend of a friend.
  • Yet another #BlogHer11 recap post.

What I wish someone would have told me prior to going to BlogHer ’11:

  1. When packing for a blog conference, include a collapsible duffel bag in your suitcase.  Use it to bring home massive amounts of swag, dirty laundry, or perhaps that blogger that you just adore and want to keep as your new real-life BFF.  Not that I’m endorsing kidnapping.  But you never know when that duffel bag will come in handy.
  2. Making eye contact with people in the hallways is really hard.  People aren’t looking straight ahead.  Everyone is tweeting, texting or emailing on their smart phones.  If you want to get someone’s attention in the hall, the best tactic is to accidentally bump into them.  Or, better yet, send them a DM.
  3. You will be showered with swag.  And I don’t mean the fun, Christmas decoration sort of swag.  I’m talking tchotchkes, in embarrassingly obscene amounts.
  4. Only bring home swag that you would be comfortable handing over to TSA for hand inspection.  Don’t be tempted to pick up, say, paraphernalia from an adult toy booth, unless you’re willing to explain repeatedly to the security guard, “I swear.  It was a blogging conference.”
  5. You’ll meet some people that you immediately adore.  Some may exceed your expectations of what they would be like in real life.  And yet others may fall a little short of what you would expect them to be by reading their blogs.  That’s life, I guess.  Or, more accurately, that’s life when you bring thousands of women together in one place.  Move on to the next person.
  6. Drink tickets are worth their weight in gold.  So much so, that they are sometimes bartered for swag, favors, and places in the ladies restroom line.  Hold on to those suckers for dear life until you’re ready to redeem them.  And if you’re not a drinker, for Pete’s Sake, give them to someone who will put them to good use.
  7. Don’t worry about buying meals when you’re at the conference.  There is literally food everywhere.  One night, I had a 12 course meal while making my way through the expo hall.  And, yes, I regretted going back for seconds at the Dove ice cream booth.  And thirds.
  8. If you think Twitter moves fast in every day life, just try to keep up with the hashtags when you’re at a blog conference.  #itsimpossible
  9. No matter how short you are, ditch the high heels.  You might get compliments on your cute new shoes.  But the whole look is offset when you get blisters on your feet, and all you have in your purse are Hello Kitty band-aids.
  10. Starting a conversation with, “So, how long have you been blogging?” or “What’s your blog about?” might not be the best idea.  Especially when you’re unknowingly standing next to someone that’s been blogging since the dawning of the internet, and you have no clue who they are.  Instead, maybe start with, “Ooh, I love your shoes.”  They’ll appreciate the effort you took in noticing.  Especially if they’re wearing cute heels.
  11. Don’t be afraid to go out of your comfort zone.  For someone who spends 14 hours a day behind a computer, this was a toughie for me.  In some cases, I had to force myself to break out of my reclusive behavior to interact with real people.  And, in the end, I’m glad I did.  Even if it was scary.
  12. Smile.  Please.  You’re so much more approachable when you do.
  13. On the way home, allow extra time going through security.  Especially if the conference is in San Diego, and the security line makes Black Friday shopping lines look like a walk in the park.  And if you disregarded point #4?  Just be forewarned that you might never get to your gate on time.
  14. Always introduce yourself by at least one or more of the following information: first name, Twitter handle, and blog name.  Ideally, at least some of these are the same.  Otherwise, you’ll end up starting conversations with, “I’m Kayleen, but my Twitter handle is @booyahsmomma, and I write at a blog called Chip and Bobo.”  Yeah.  I don’t blame you if were confused after meeting me.
  15. And while we’re on the subject of names?  Whatever you do, don’t name your online identity or company with a name that contains an apostrophe.  There might be a computer error that cuts off the last part of your name.  And you might end up walking around with a badge like this:

And you might just feel a little silly.  Either that, or it might be Booyah.

These three words mean you’re gettin’ busy

Generally speaking, I’ve been a little AWOL lately.

Things have been a wee bit busy around here lately.  And today is no exception.

Because I’m not here.   Literally, at least.

In lieu of posting anything meaningful here today, instead, I’ll be:

  1. Rejoicing at the fact that I won the Nigerian lottery.  Again.
  2. Slaving away at my day job, trying to earn money to pay for this week’s ridiculously expensive veterinarian bill.
  3. Guest posting over at the home of the fabulous KLZ (as in, Taming Insanity).  I’m talking it back to the old school a little with this one, so you may just see some familiar lyrics in that post.  Whoomp!

If you’ve never been over to KLZ’s place, you’re in for a treat.  She’s smart, funny, and one of the most supportive women I’ve met while blogging.  Plus, she also happens to be my Fairy Blogmother.

So, please, go.  Visit!

There’s a party over there.  And you’re invited.

How to write the perfect pitch letter

When I started publicly blogging last year, I was pretty naive.   I had no idea that some people made money off this stuff.  Advertising.  Sponsorships.  Book deals.

Clearly, I had never heard of the Pioneer Woman.

I’ve never written here with the ultimate intent of making money.  First and foremost, I do this for me and for my kids.   However, I have to admit, the idea of monetizing something I spend a fair amount of time doing does have its allure.

My only problem?  Of the various unsolicited pitches I’ve gotten from different companies, none have appealed to me.  They just don’t seem to represent me, or what I feel comfortable promoting.

So I’ve decided to take matters into my own hands.  I’ve determined that maybe the best tactic is to approach brands that I want to work with, and sell my value to them.  With that, I’ve written a few pitch letters to various companies.

I’m thinking this kind of partnership would really be a win-win for both sides.

I just hope they realize what a good deal it would be for them.

Linked up to Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop.

Why daddy bloggers are deliciously evil.

There is a certain je ne sais quoi about daddy bloggers that I find so appealing.

Don’t get me wrong.  There are some truly amazing women, mothers and writers in bloggyland.  There is a sisterhood amongst mothers that is unlike any other, and I feel lucky to call some of these women friends.

But on a different plane, I’ve always been the type of gal that, on some level, has related more closely with men than women.  In college, I roomed with 5 guys.  (That went over really well with the folks, as you can imagine.)  My best friend is a dude.  Secretly, I think “pull my finger” jokes really are funny.

So when I happen upon a parenting blog written by a man, there’s something that draws me to it.  Here are some of the things I like about some of the daddy blogs – and bloggers – I interact with. Disclaimer: There may be some blatant generalizations and stereotyping in this post.  Maybe none more glaring than my use of the phrase “daddy bloggers.”  That said, here is my take.

Daddy bloggers are always amongst the first to comment on a post containing references to potty humor or farts.  I really love that about them.

On a related note, daddy bloggers often aren’t afraid to write about the big grumpy they took, or the epic wind they broke.  And sometimes it’s funny.  In a deliciously evil sort of way.

Daddy bloggers usually assume you’re being a smart ass, rather than being vicious or snarky.  And, at least in my case, they’re almost always right.

Daddy bloggers are, sometimes…quintessentially…guys.  They almost always get my references to poker, sports or deliciously evil things like bacon.  Mmm, bacon.

Daddy bloggers have been known to make not-so-thinly-veiled sexual references that I’m pretty sure I couldn’t get away with.  Pop’s balls pretty much epitomize all that is deliciously evil.

Daddy bloggers, at least the ones I know, aren’t usually caught up in the drama and controversy that sometimes engulfs women in bloggyland.  Maybe it’s because they recognize there are more important things to talk about.  Like poop.  And bacon.  Mmm, bacon.

And daddy bloggers aren’t afraid to reveal their sensitive side.  Sometimes they write about things that touch us to the core, or bring tears to our eyes.  Sometimes they write movingly about their children, or the women in their lives.  They write things that remind us of all that is good, and pure and beautiful about fatherhood.  Perhaps they remind us of some of the things we love most about the men in our own lives.

Yep.  There’s something about daddy bloggers that I find touching, hilarious, and deliciously evil all at the same time.  And with that in mind, I tip my virtual hat to a couple of my favorite bloggers with the Y chromosome.

Big Daddy Autism and Go, Pop, Go – I hereby present you with this Deliciously Evil Award.

As with past Deliciously Evil Awards, there are no stipulations with receiving it.  Meaning, you don’t have to pass this award on to anyone or tell us 10 things about yourself.  (Seriously.  I already know more about your bodily functions than I’d care to admit.)  I’d just be honored if you took it.  With my thanks.

It’s guys like you that make me think we might be better off with a little more testosterone in bloggyland.   Just don’t ask me to pull your finger.  I fall for that one every time.

Dear John. I mean Blogger.

Dear Blogger,

This is a difficult letter for me to write.  Frankly, I don’t even know where to start.

Remember how, a few months ago, I professed my undying love to you?  When I said I’d stick with you, through thick and thin, despite some of your shortcomings?

I lied.

The truth is, I’ve met someone else.

Our affair actually started quite some time before I wrote that post, but I tried to keep it contained to the workplace.  But then he began wooing me with all of his fancy plugins, themes and widgets.  I admit, I was drawn in by the bling.  But it was just so sexy!

I tried to resist at first.  And I tried having the conversation with you.  Unfortunately, you can back with too many no-replies.

I’m not knocking you, by any means.  I still think you’ve got a lot to offer.  And I wanted to make it work, because, let’s face it… you were the first platform I jumped into bed with.  You were my first bloggy love, and you’ll always hold a special place in my heart.  But it was time for me to move on.

I still think you’re awesome.  And I hope we can still be friends.

PS: Because I’m not sure how you’re going to handle the news (and because I was also ready for a change), I’m changing my blog name.

PPS: I apologize to those readers I might have inadvertently spammed with a barrage of blog posts in the move.  Breaking up is hard to do.