BlogHer. Just that one word makes me smile. It makes me remember the connections I made, the memories that are mine to keep, and the inspiration I received from others. But it also makes me think of something else – my place in this blogging world.
Every year I read the recaps from other people and I am just so surprised about some of the stuff that people complain about or their take on the few days spent around thousands of other bloggers. Then I take a breath and remember that we each have our own experiences. This year, I had one goal in mind when going to BlogHer and that was to help others, to inspire them, to ignite the passion in them that is in me. You see, when I do that, I get it back tenfold.
This pic was taken in the Best Buy booth – WOW. I loved it! It captures me so well – happiness is radiating from this shot.
I always have people that want to pick my brain on traveling full-time, being a content writer, or who want a site review. I posted that I was available and had quite a few people take me up on it, as I was giving away all of my knowledge instead of charging my normal consulting rate. It is my way of giving back to a community that has given me so much.
Jema Anderson was the first person to reach out. Let me tell you about this woman – she is another full-time traveler who has traveled the last 4 years around the US in an RV with her 4 kids. Yep, you read that right! Jema has such a beautiful soul and we had an instant connection. There are very few full-time travelers out there – I mean the ones that don’t have an address and are truly nomadic. Living this way does something to you that is hard to explain, but when you meet someone else who does it, it is like a beacon of light radiating out of them. Check out Jema’s blog to be inspired not only about traveling, but on interpersonal connections.
Jema has written a book on road tripping: Road Trip Planner: Explore The USA With Kids
Jema and I and this beautiful floral background. Long lost soul sister right here.
Jema and I hung out all weekend as I introduced her to brands and other bloggers. It was her very first conference and she was shy and nervous, and not exactly sure about everything. We come from the same niche, so it was easy to show her the ropes. I might have taught Jema to be bolder, fearless, and to come out of her shell, but she reignited the passion switch in me. A switch that has been broken for a long time when it comes to writing.
Kristi + Jana + Jema = One helluva good time!
Jana Seitzer with Merlot Mommy is a great friend of mine. She is the one that came and spent a week with me in Alaska this past May. This woman gives me sage advice in everything from blogging to my love life and being scared to let go. Spending time with these two amazing women was a little bit of Heaven for me.
BlogHer Awesomeness right here – Elisa, Lizz, August, Jema, and me!
The best part of going to conferences for me has never been the swag. It is the meetings that popup in the hallways, the giggles at midnight at the bar, or the chance meetings of all of your favorite people at the same time. I go to conferences to connect with people, network with brands, and to come away with memories I can take on my journeys. Check out these women in this photo – so much awesomeness: Elisa Camahort Page is one of the Co-Founders of BlogHer and her passion for the rights of women inspires me daily. Lizz Porter is a funny, brilliant writer and community manager for Small Businesses at Google. August McLaughlin is a sex writer and awesome podcaster and advocate of Girl Boner.
I was invited to Monster Headphones private dinner and took a couple of my blogging buddies too. If you remember, I covered Monster at CES this past year. I love their product line, and had a great time getting to know their CEO, Noel Lee, better. I’m wearing Monster’s Diamond Headphones here – diamonds are a girl’s best friend, right?
I met two women at Monster’s dinner that will forever be a part of my life – Renata Hill and Marilyn. Two black, lesbian women living in New York City. Renata had a documentary, Out in the Night made about her, check it out as it is a heartbreaking story about race and sexuality. We shared so many laughs and heartfelt moments in one night – these two are extraordinary women and I was blessed to have met them while I was in NYC!
You all know I don’t have any children. But boy do I love to hold babies. Little itty bitty babies. Earlier in the day I had gone up to a blogging group of women with babies and asked if I could hold one. And I did! Later that day I saw my friend Becky Willis who just had twin girls. I asked her too if I could hold one of her babies – cuddling babies made me so happy!
Where is my Minion?
BlogHer’s closing party is called CheeseBurgHer and is sponsored by McDonald’s. It is the one time every year where I eat a cheeseburger and french fries. So good! They even somehow managed to have hot Russian waiters serving them up as well as the awesome cocktails. Boys II Men and DJ Nick Cannon were the closing acts and let’s just say, I was a dancing fool that night. I also might have drank more vodka than I normally do and let loose. I might drink beer and wine for this blog, but I rarely, and I mean rarely, ever really let go. It was good to just relax and let the night play out. Beautifully, I might add.
I bet you are wondering about the sessions and all of that? Well, I went to a session on Video and loved it. Finally, there were actionable takeaways and things I will be doing right away to bring video to this site. Other than that one session, it wasn’t my focus this year. I did what I set out to do – I connected with others. I helped anyone who asked about monetization, site design, or traveling the US. I loved every moment of it.
I flew back to San Francisco and I might not know where I am going next, but I do know that I am so inspired to write my book again, that I can’t stand it. Thank you BlogHer for helping me find my passion for writing again, for inspiring me. Priceless.
Every year at BlogHer I hear how I inspire others to take the road less traveled. This year, I received that back in spades. Thank you BlogHer!
Here is last year’s recap of BlogHer in San Jose, California: BlogHer: I Won the Best Swag Ever