8:57 am – I arrive at the Westin St. Francis, panicked because I’ve left my drivers license on my desk at home. I’m concocting all kinds of stories in my head when I walk up to the registration counter. “Name?” the woman asks. I tell her. She hands me a badge. I’m momentarily befuddled. What, no long story about how I am who I say I am, and hey, do you wan to see my picture on my website to be sure that I’m me…?
9:02 am – I obediently pick up a swag bag. It weighs about 8 pounds, and I’m instantly regretful. I peek inside – there’s a plastic bottle of water (!!), a million brochures, a grooming kit, a magic 8 ball, a DVD of the first episode of The Closer (Seriously, for one measly episode you burn a DVD and put it it in a plastic shell? Get outta here), and other things I can’t remember.
9:07 am – This place is mobbed. People swarm the hallways. I see TV cameras; microphones. There are strollers everywhere; Sesame Street booths, children’s books. Am I at BlogHer or Mommy Hazza Blog?
9:24 am – I walk into the Grand Ballroom, where announcements are being made. I meet someone new. I look at the schedule and think about where I want to spend my time. Amy Sherman finds me – hurray! a friendly face! – and we chatter about writing projects for a few minutes.
9:36 am – Every room has buckets full of bottled water and sodas. So many plastic bottles; I want to cry.
10:14 am – Thanks to a tip from Amy, I head for the Zivio booth and score a sweet Bluetooth headset.
10:30 am – I attend the Taking Care of Business panel, where three bloggers talk about taxes and running a blog business. “Just to put it into perspective for you, the tax code is more four times longer than the Bible,” says Kelly Phillips Erb.
11:12 am – I step into Zwaggle, the swag recycling room, to offload most of the contents of by BlogHer canvas bag. This Zwaggle thing is brilliant. I wish the sponsors would walk into this room and see the piles: magic 8 balls – they’re legion. The Closer DVDs – they form a mountain on the table. Would different marketing decisions be made if they could see this pileup?
11:16 am – I walk down the hall to the food blogger meet-up, led by the wonderful Kalyn Denny. Should I really be here, considering that I’m not so much a food blogger anymore? I see Sean, looking dapper as always. And Shuna! And Sara from Ms. Adventures in Italy. I’m staying.
12:13 pm – I do a bit of work in the Grand Ballroom while people around me eat boxed lunches of Thai beef salad and Florentine wraps.
12:45 pm – I attend the Syndication panel, where the subject is Digg + Twitter + StumbleUpon, and how much work it takes to promote your blog. One woman says she spends up to 8 hours promoting a single great blog post. No wonder I don’t have thousands of readers – I have neither the time nor inclination for all that. Gwen Bell is fabulous. She convinces me to sign up for Twitter. Save me?
2:05 pm – Random hallway chats * * * * * *
2:30 pm – In a small room that holds only about 25 people, Susan Mernit talks about funding and incubation opportunities. The energy in the room is palpable. She invites people to share about their funding journey, and their experiences as women entrepreneurs; hands fly up. Stories are shared. Patricia Handscheigel talks about selling her site, StyleDiary. She’s refreshingly candid, and more hands are raised. This is the best, most inspiring stuff I’ve heard all day.
4:10 pm – I see Cathy Brooks in the hallway. Hey, I miss you! We resolve to hang out in August when she gets back from traveling.
5:17 pm – Home to walk and feed Petra (Sean to me: I have a husband who takes care of that. Me: *&^*%(*^@#*).
7:00 pm – Back downtown, to feast on garlic crab and Peking Duck with the one and only Elise Bauer and more foodies.
12:18 am – Tucking into bed. Morning will come too soon.